Posted by: paulfbove | September 19, 2008

Has Twitter Use Run Amuck?

My boss sent our new media team this article today. Here’s the headline: “Rocky Mountain News plan to Twitter another funeral canceled after staff complaint.” Twittering at a funeral, especially the funeral of a 3-year old is just sick. I’m sorry, I’m all for free speech, free press, new media, etc., but having a reporter Twitter from a funeral just smacks of a huge lack of journalistic integrity.  I’m glad that the editors bowed out of doing it from more funerals. I think that as new and social media press on, people are going to have to define what is appropriate and what is not. If you want to Twitter from an event, fine, but a funeral goes well beyond the pale. Wake up Rocky Mountain News.

Posted by: paulfbove | August 24, 2008

San Francisco Outside Lands Festival

Here’s my quick review of Day 1 of the Outside Lands Festival. Things didn’t go smoothly. Day 2 was FAR better. Depending on time I’ll post that review today, or once I get back to DC.

Posted by: paulfbove | July 28, 2008

Need more search.

And as this semester of Digital Campaigns comes to a close, I thought this article is a perfect adieu. A start-up from former Google engineers is gunning for Google’s search dominance.

Cuil Inc (pronounced “cool”) is offering a new search service at that the company claims can index, faster and more cheaply, a far larger portion of the Web than Google, which boasts the largest online index. Cuil has indexed a whopping 120 billion Web pages, three times more than what they say Google now indexes, Patterson said, adding the company has spent just $5 million.

So what does this all mean? Well, for starters, anyone who is gunning for Google has to have brass balls. They are massive (Google, not the balls, which would also have to be massive). They are a Website that became a verb for Christsake! As I wrote about previously, they have the Googlebot! They are so huge that I will not link to their Webpage because if you don’t know what Google is, just give me a call and I’ll come over and hit in the head with a hammer cuz you’re stupid! It just seems to me that going after Google would be a daunting task. OK, so Cuil was created by former Google engineers, which presupposes that they know how Google works. And they’ve already indexed 120 billion Web pages. That’s a few more than I read this week for my final project.

But seriously, in my mind it’s not important that somebody is trying to fight Google. What is important is the relevance of search and how it relates to digital campaign strategy and online business in general. Search can make or break a company, a candidate, an entity, whatever. It’s about your brand. If people can’t find your brand, or the first hit they get is negative, you’ve lost. As practitioners of new media, it is our responsibility to help improve search and maintain a strong online brand reputation. The Internet has gone miles to give voters an impression of their candidates, and what the voters can find is often kept in perpetuity. It is hard to hide from what was posted years ago. Somebody will always find it. Search will always be important, but more important will be what is kept out of search. Ahhhh, think about it.

And to end, here’s the final song quote of the semester that fits today’s mood.

“Oh your collegiate grief has left you dowdy in sweatshirts/absolute horror!”

Vampire Weekend “One (Blake’s Got a New Face)”

Granted I don’t have a sweatshirt on because it’s been in the 90s. But I do have the same t-shirt I’ve worn for the past 2 days. And I could really use a shower. And a detox from caffeine. And some sleep. Collegiate grief indeed.

The countdown? Two more classes, one project done to be handed in tonight, one more huge paper due Wednesday at 7:40 pm. Completion thus far? Ummmm, do ideas count as part of completion?

And here’s your pop culture reference to the blog post title

Unfortunately, I can’t embed the video because it’s been removed from YouTube, but here’s a link anyway.

So Obama and his people know everything that you do. Actually, McCain and his people know what you do too. Don’t be scared though. They only want to help you. Microtargeting and datamining, similar, but not exactly the same, are nothing new. Politicking has really embraced datamining and targeting so they can try to get your vote, and/or your contribution, but the practice has been used for years, by all kinds of industries. As discussed in Applebee’s America, casino’s do it too. Through the use of loyalty cards, Harrah’s Casino used targeting to learn about and market to its customers

Harrahs’s knows all customer’s age, sex, zip code, and other demographics, as well as how much they bet and win when they play in the casino. It’s LifeTargeting Vegas-style (p. 75).

So all of this data gets crunched, analyzed, and used to help whomever is requesting the information. And it keeps getting bigger and bigger. As the article states

The 5 million people on Obama’s e-mail list are just the start of what political strategists say is one of the most sophisticated voter databases ever built. . . . . It’s an ambitious melding of corporate marketing and grassroots organizing that the Obama campaign sees as a key to winning this fall.

This giant database will allow strategists to target and drill down as deep as they want to find out every little habit and custom of any group of people.

By collecting their own data, then bouncing it against publicly available information like Census reports, voter registration files and other databases, Obama aides can slice the electorate up almost any way they want.

I’ve read the various studies that state that, “a white male from Sheboygan with a masters degree will drink Miller High Life while listening to the Stones.” (I just made that up, but it might be true.) And while I might see some patterns that fit me, I honestly believe that microtargeting does not have a fix on me just yet. Must be those aliases I use. There’s micotargetting, and then there’s WOW microtargetting

For example, aides can track what time you open e-mails from them, and if you show a consistent pattern, they’ll start sending them at around that time of day. “The marginal benefit of sending some people an email at 2 o’clock vs. 3 o’clock vs. 4 o’clock might not make sense [at first],” said Michael Bassik, a Democratic consultant with MSHC Partners.

When the campaign knows what time I open my email, that’s when it gets a little scary to me. And it definitely appears that the Obama people are really perfecting the capabilities of targeting. Though it’s been used before by other campaigns and corporations, there is a new depth that most people probably never would have fathomed. Which kind of makes me scared for what the future might bring!

“It’s not an innovative campaign, but it’s an extraordinarily professional one,” said Zephyr Teachout, who ran Dean‘s online organizing. “They’ve taken all our stupid ideas and made them smart.”

Posted by: paulfbove | July 24, 2008

Obama Love from McCain?

I read this article from Business Week today and watched the accompanying videos that went with it. Granted, in the morning I usually quickly scan a story and then read it in depth later. The article is good, but it’s not the important point here. As I scanned the article, I watched the first video and thought it was a funny “love letter” to Obama from some psychotic fan. It is, but it’s from the McCain camp (you can also view the video on his Website). Watch the video below. So what’s it about? I thought it was a humorous look at how the media is gay for Obama. It shows TV journalists, like Tucker Carlson and Chris Matthews, swooning for him. At the end of the video, you see the stamp “Paid for by John McCain 2008.”

Now, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, poli sci degree notwithstanding: 1) I don’t particularly care for politics and 2) I don’t fully understand politics. If the average person out there views this video, there is no indication that it is from John McCain (unless you watch til the bitter end and see the campaign stamp). Apparently, the message has something to do with McCain whining that the media likes Obama better. Guess what? That might NOT be what the video is about, but that’s what I got out of it. As Joe Average viewer, if that’s what I’m getting out of it, chances are others are too. As the article states

This new “Obama Love” video from the McCain campaign may tickle the nutsy Sean Hannity crowd. But I’m thinking it spells “loser” to independents. C’mon, McCain is bitching because Obama is a better communicator? Because the media is paying extra attention to the first African-American candidate with a serious shot at The White House? One wonders what ads and videos McCain and Schmidt might have run in primary ads if he was up against McCain’s hero Ronald Reagan.

So is this a bit of reverse psychology?? Are we supposed to feel bad for McCain because the media doesn’t love him as much? Damned if I know. Is this supposed to be an ironic video? Again, damned if I know because nobody knows what irony is anyway. (I do know that it’s NOT “like ra-ai-in on your wedding day.”) I guess the moral of the story is that the communications people who pull the strings for the candidates ought to think a little harder about how their message will be perceived. Because as far as I can tell from this video, McCain, like the news journalists, is gay for Obama. Did I get the message right, McCain camp?

BTW–if you don’t get the “gay for” reference, brush up on your Simpsons quotes.

Posted by: paulfbove | July 22, 2008

1,000 Hits!

Wow. The excitement today just never ends. Read this story on my other blog to see how my day started. But wait! The boss hits just keep coming. I broke 1,000 visitors to this blog. I was kind of hoping that balloons would fall from my ceiling or perhaps I’d get a free smoked salmon, but alas, nothing.  Oh well. I’ll keep writing. You keep reading, and we’ll aim for that salmon together.

Posted by: paulfbove | July 22, 2008

Where Was This a Few Years Ago????

Check this little morsel out for solid technology! Here’s the gist

Slydial, a new service from MobileSphere. . . allows users to call any mobile line and go directly to voicemail, without the awkward conversation. Their phone will actually display a missed call from your original number, but they won’t have a chance to answer it.

Wow! What a boon this would have been for anytime you had to call the “random” hookup to cancel a date. I can also see the utility of this product if you have to call the boss in the mornign to say you’re sick. Gotta love technology.

Posted by: paulfbove | July 20, 2008

Social Media–It’ll bite you in the ass.

A co-worker sent me this article on Friday. It’s about people getting screwed because of something they posted to social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. In this case, 

Two weeks after Joshua Lipton was charged in a drunken driving crash that seriously injured a woman, the 20-year-old college junior attended a Halloween party dressed as a prisoner. Pictures from the party showed him in a black-and-white striped shirt and an orange jumpsuit labeled “Jail Bird.”

The result: The prosecutor presented Lipton as “unrepentant”, and the judge sentenced him to 2 years of prison.

We’ve all heard stories about people getting in trouble when somebody Google’s their name, or perhaps they lose a job offer because HR found something salacious online. But going to prison over photos is new. One of my favorite stories is from a buddy of mine who worked on Wall St. A few years ago, his banking firm hired a new college grad. My friend and his co-workers Googled the kids name and the first hit was a police blotter story about him getting arrested for public urination at his college. HR didn’t fire him or anything like that, but he did get ribbed by his co-workers for being busted for pissing.

It seems like you hear more and more stories about people not getting hired because of bad online pictures or posts, so moral of the story is to keep yourself in check. Those cleavage shots while pounding tequila in Cancun might be fun to share with your friends, but the firm you applied to might not like them as much. Mind your online reputation people. Social networking could bite you in the ass. 

Posted by: paulfbove | July 20, 2008

Online Political Coverage

As the semester of Digital Campaigns draws to a close (thankfully only two more weeks left–I’m simply not cut out for summer classes!), I’ve been thinking about all the new information and media that is available to people. I’m relatively apolitical, but I’ve actually kept up on what is going on during this election. (I’ll try not to break my arm patting my own back.) Because media now includes “new” media, “social” media, “digital” media, and Web 2.0 in general, anybody running a campaign must be sure to include these new avenues in their fight. Because I enjoy new media, the campaigns have been able to talk to me.

Just as campaigns of old had to rely on what was then the “new” media, such as radio and television, to reach their audiences, young people must now be reached via online content. I read this headline in a press release last week, “Mochila and BarelyPolitical Team Up to Drive Awareness of Online Political Coverage Among Generation Y Web Users. Young Voters Driving Engagement and Increased Traffic to Online Political Sites.” The release included stats from a Pew study that reinforce just how important online campaigning has become:

A December 2007 survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that more and more young voters are flocking online to get informed and engage with others about the campaign. Two-thirds of Web users under 30 said they use social networking sites for campaign news, compared to only 20 percent from older age groups. Plus, 40 percent of those surveyed under the age of 30 have watched candidate speeches, interviews, commercials or debates online, substantially more than other demographics.
If you study new media or have been alive and breathing for the past few years, none of this comes as a surprise. Without overstating the obvious, online resources have proven their worth as a way to win public opinion. And in context of the topics we’ve studied this semester, campaigning has gone a long way since its early reliance on media. I’m especially curious about the future. Not much will change prior to the November election, but I’ll bet that technology will create a lot of new applications for the 2012 election. And though I think that traditional media (newspapers, TV) is still important for a campaign, the campaign managers will really be challenged to keep up with emerging technology. After all, how else do they expect to reach the millions of people like me? If it’s not on the Internet, chances are good that I won’t see it.

So, this blog here had a good point about whether social media experts are the new Webmasters (i.e., on the road to becoming obsolete). Because I missed the dotcom boom and bust, all I can think is, “Dammit! Too late to the party again?” No matter. I think the future will be people who actually remember how to write and speak face to face. We’ll be needed to fight the robots. Interestingly, it appears that social media experts should have jobs for at least a while longer as we study digital campaigning. Consider that campaigns are just in their infancy of Web 2.0. Yes, digital campaigns all began in 2004 with the Howard Dean campaign, and yes, there have been great strides, but seriously, campaigning is barely scratching the surface of what Web 2.0 has to offer.

The current presidential race has embraced digital media, but it was mostly the Democrats who took off with it. The Republicans were slow to come to the party, and that ultimately can be a big factor in the election. If you look at Obama’s campaign Website, he is indeed everywhere. If there’s a social media application to use, he’s using it. As Cyrus Krohn, Director of the Republican National Committee’s eCampaign Division, informed us in our class, “Republican leadership was slow to embrace technology.” Now they’re playing catch-up. There are many tools out there being used for campaigning, and anyone who studies new/social/digital media knows that micro– and moblogging will really come to the forefront in the upcoming months and years. Twitter anyone? Yeah, everyone is using it now. For class, I just created a digital campaign strategy for Mark Begich, Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska. He’s running against Ted “Tubes” Stevens for U.S. Senator. Anyway, Begich, whose digital campaigning is pretty solid, uses Twitter. Earthshattering? No. But consider that a mayor in Alaska is using it for his Senate bid, and think about all the other seats for Senate, the House, local government, etc. Lots of opportunities for Twitter and the rest of Web 2.0. So I think that social media experts will have jobs for a while.

And here’s some fun stuff about Google Maps.

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