What is the power of YouTube?

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube

One of the powers of YouTube is to create commercials that people actually WANT to watch and distribute while avoiding the constraints of television advertising which most people ignore anyway!

How to become a thought leader on $137.88 per year…

A couple of days ago, Craig Badings of the Thought Leadership blog asked me to complete the following sentence: “Thought Leadership is _______”. My response? Fundamental. As in “thought leadership is fundamental”. Craig asked me if he could post my definition on his site with attribution and frankly I don’t know if it’s because he thought my response was stupid or brilliant or somewhere in between. Let me explain however, what I meant…

At a time in history when almost 90% of people search Google before making a buying decision you need to show up in search in a good way. To me a thought leader is someone who uses the incredible good, fast and cheap tools we have at our disposal to get found when people are looking for what they do, or, in what Google calls the Zero Moment of Truth. They use blogging and social media to attract and retain fans who either buy into their ideas or by their products.

It was Leonardo da Vinci who said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. I maintain that if you aspire to thought leadership there are only two activities you must master: finding and sharing good information. When I teach my college classes, I call this deepening your expertise and documenting your expertise. Any person who aspires to thought leadership has probably done Malcolm Gladwell‘s 10,000 hours of work to gain their expertise but if you want to be a thought leader you must continue to nourish that expertise and stay current on the things that are important in your field of study. That’s what I called deepening your expertise. The second part, documenting your expertise, simply means to use the publishing tools available on the Internet to provide social proof of your work. If you’re a great thinker who aspire to thought leadership that’s all you need to know — hence my statement that thought leadership is fundamental.

I have developed a simple workflow that I call a ‘Me’cosystem which anyone can use to establish a thought leadership position over time. All of the tools are best of breed, free or freemium, and completely cross platform down to the smart phone level. There are nine different activities in which the thought leader must engage and I outline them here:

I’ll be going into more detail in each of these stages later on in the series. Organized efficiently from the beginning to the end of the process, it looks more like this:

And again, I’ll be going into more detail in subsequent posts. All I think you really need to know at this point is that the process really does work and that it’s simple enough and cost-effective enough that even someone who does TED talks can use my system. :-)

Next week I’ll start with the analysis phase in the flowchart. Questions? Feedback?


How to harvest content in the age of ‘trusted relationships’…

Michael Moon – author of the book Firebrands – hypothesized prophetically and correctly 15 years ago when he stated that we had moved beyond the information age to the age of trusted relationships. I always found this curious because we had just entered the era of the personal internet – surely THIS was the information age! What was Moon thinking?

Just a few years later, however, Eric Schmidt of Google stated:

Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003, according to Schmidt. That’s something like five exabytes of data, he says.

Let me repeat that: we create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.

“The real issue is user-generated content,” Schmidt said. He noted that pictures, instant messages, and tweets all add to this.

So apparently Moon really nailed it when he said that we would need to rely on trust networks in order to manage all the information we need to do our jobs; networks of trusted sites, searches and sources that would wade through all these exabytes with surgical precision and deliver the goods we need to do nourish our expertise.

Recently, author Nilofer Merchant added a new aspect to the ‘trust network’ discussion in her book 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era [affiliate link] when she pointed out that another aspect of work in the #socialera – work is now freed from jobs:

“This means that human resources change when most of the people who create value are neither hired nor paid by you. And competition has changed so that any company can achieve the benefits of scale through a network of resources”.

Merchant, Nilofer (2012-09-12). 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era (Kindle Locations 665-676). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

As Schmidt says the real issue is user-generated content. People all over the internet are posting, pinning and tweeting up a storm! We can leverage all this activity for our own thought leadership if we simply track the sites, searches and sources that publish in our brand space and then leverage that content to provide social proof of our own thought leadership…

I’ll try to explain it better here:

Here’s a growing list of tools that help me track the sites, searches and sources I need to nourish my thinking:

[listly id=”6P9″ layout=”full”]


This list will have a permanent home on the site here. Questions? Feedback? Specifically, do you have a cool tool that I missed?

Which blogging tool should I use; WordPress.com or tumblr?

The answer is yes! While I normally advise clients, students and readers to “never use two tools were one will do” here is a case here is a case where using both is not only acceptable but desirable. Here’s why:

  • WordPress.com is great at Search Engine Optimization [SEO] but it does not allow JavaScript or iframes amongst other things
  • Tumblr is not as good at Search Engine Optimization [SEO] but it does allow JavaScript and iframes amongst other things
  • For whatever reason — technical or political – tumblr is available as a sharing option where WordPress.com is not so you can pick the best tool for the job
  • ‘Curation’ via tumblr’s bookmarklet is a little easier than WordPress.com’s ‘Press This’…
  • They can be linked together from a technical perspective in a way that makes them appear to be one website to Google
  • They can both be scripted by ifttt.com
  • Both have great – but different – fans [which will give you more exposure]
  • You can have a unified WordPress/tumblr site for less that $20 per year

…and I’m sure there are some other reasons that I’ve overlooked!

Let me talk you through some of the issues here:


Can a Website Have Too Much SEO?

…and what the hell is ‘over-optimization’?

Personally, I think Matt Cutts and the Google Webspam team have waaaay too much power [which means you’ll probably never see this post!]. Watch any videos of him speaking about how the Google Webspam team treats specific technical issues and I think you’ll see what I mean. Struggling with the issue of how to adjust client sites for the latest release of updates to the Google search engine, I came across this:

Google’s Matt Cutts announced that Google is working on a search ranking penalty for sites that are “over-optimized” or “overly SEO’ed.”

Matt announced this during a panel Search Engine Land’s Editor-In-Chief, Danny Sullivan and Microsoft’s Senior Product Marketing Manager of Bing at SXSW named Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!. The audio for the session has been published where I learned that Google has been working on a new penalty that targets site’s that overly optimize for search engines for the past few months.

Matt Cutts said the new over optimization penalty will be introduced into the search results in the upcoming month or next few weeks. The purpose is to “level the playing field,” Cutts said. To give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great but do a better job with SEO.

Source: Too Much SEO? Google’s Working On An “Over-Optimization” Penalty For That

Here’s a video clip of Matt discussing the issue…

And, if you really want a scare do a search on the phrase “Google penalizes” and you’ll see that Matt and his team have mafia-like powers to ‘disappear’ people and websites!

Now, here’s my issue. Can anyone define for me exactly what constitutes ‘over-optimized’ – even Cutts skirts the issue because defining the term would be to reveal too much about the Google search algorithm would be my guess. The question I have is this, then: if most sites are ‘under-optimized’ then are sites that follow best practices ‘over-optimized’?

7-3-2013 3-09-17 PM
Click image to enlarge…

Take for example a website that uses a tool like RebelMouse or Twylah to capture their tweets and other social media shares as Search Engine Optimization [SEO] by adding those tools as a cname extension, or one that adds a blog to a static website using tumblr or WordPress using the same approach – are these sites ‘over-optimized’ because the webmaster is clever?

See what I mean? Search Engine Optimization [SEO] is a moving target and Google-style ‘leveling the field’ means content creators are shooting at a moving target in the dark. What do you think?

The end of Google Reader [and what it means to me]…

This is the final installment in my series [rant?] about the death of Google Reader…

Teaching social media in my classes at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and coaching my clients, I frequently quote the words of the great philosophers .38 Special who said:

Google Reader is gone. No farewell message. No thank you for the support. In fact, I can see my feeds in Google Reader, I just can’t interact with them.

A pretty clear indication that Google really doesn’t give a Tinker’s Damn for customers – only their data and the dollars they can glean from it. This whole experience has had a profound impact on me from the first moment months ago when I first learned that Google was killing Google Reader for no good reason [and believe me, I’ve read them all over the past few months].

This stupid move, along with other ones like Windows 8 by Microsoft leave me wondering where I can place my trust. Oddly enough, I find myself rethinking open source products like Ubuntu, Firefox and Thunderbird. Who knows where that will lead?!

In the meantime, thank you Google Reader. Thanks to you, I consumed over a half a million articles in the past 6.5 years of use and I am what I am today because of what I learned from you. And, thank you feedly for stepping into the breach! I have loved you for over 4 years and used you alongside Google Reader. I’m glad you won the reader race!