Imagination, the company I work for, is currently seeking a web editor, here's the general description:
Imagination is seeking a web editor who will manage features, e-newsletters and rich media for two professional association websites. In this role, the editor will interface with clients to generate and update an editorial calendar, write, assign and edit all necessary content according to Imagination’s quality process, and ensure it meets client approval before posting. In addition, as part of an editorial team, this full-time position will be responsible for two special print publications and assist the team, as needed. The ideal candidate will have a degree in journalism, a B2B writing background and an enthusiasm for web and print publications. Experience is preferred, but not necessary—we will train a go-getter who shows initiative, passion and creativity.
And best of all, you get to work with me!
Your role will really involve interfacing with the client on editorial planning, interviewing sources, identifying opportunities for rich media features and working with our video and production team when necessary. Both of these sites garner an extremely high volume of traffic by themselves, but editorial content is a recent addition -- so its really an exciting time to see what your features can do in terms of generating traffic and engagement. One of the sites already has an incredibly strong print magazine supporting it in our office, so there will be lots of opportunity for synergy in content planning.
If you're interested, go apply (tell em you heard about it from me) - I'd say to just leave a comment, but I'm out all next week.
I'm on a bit of a blogging spree here, but I just saw this recent story about Walmart and their Facebook app ...
A third attempt by Wal-Mart to be Web 2.0 savvy hasn't turned out much better than the first two. Slashdot notes that angry Facebook users have hijacked a page aimed at selling back-to-school supplies to college kids and turned it into a missive on the evils of Wal-Mart's labor and business practices.
Of the more than 200 posts, only a handful relate directly to dorm decorating. And instead of color coordinating with roommates, users seem to prefer talking about how the retail giant "destroys communities" and prevents unionization. To be fair, there was one comment on a 4-pack of men's environmentally friendly organic socks for $4.
Last year, the company set up a blog "written by two independent consumers" that was later revealed to be backed by an Wal-Mart PR initiative. The company then tried its hand at its own social network, The Hub. It was closed after 10 weeks.
Look, opening up your brand to social media means you're letting the community have a more vocal way to talk about what you do. If the community views your brand negatively, guess what, if you just toss your brand out there and say, "use this to buy stuff!!!" you're going to end up with the above result.
Wal-Mart, take my advice, for now it's free:
Some people, especially college students, don't like your brand. They may like low low prices, but that's not your brand. Go have a conversation with one of these kids you wanted to market to, then have another, and then another, and then a few hundred more. Don't bring cookies.
Then grab a video camera and walk into a college lecture hall. Ask these kids what its important to them, ask them why they're so turned off. Have some answers that go beyond talking points. Admit when you're wrong. When it's over, turn the tape over to the kids. Let them decide to post it or not.
Do the last thing 50 times.
Listen and learn something. Go back to the boardroom and make changes. Real changes.
I hate to say it, but he's just not that into you.
Sure, he occasionally takes what you're selling, but that last commercial you put out, he didn't even look up from his Us Weekly to watch, he just sat there on the couch while that cute character you spent weeks auditioning for sang that song you paid that famous producer to write all while she skipped through that entirely computer generated landscape -- you got George Lucas's people to put that together! A little appreciation, if you please ...
Customers used to rely on brands for information -- we used to rely on food companies to tell us what a balanced meal was, we used to rely on financial institutions to tell us what a reasonable APR was, we used to rely on retailers to tell us what was in style right now, and we used to rely on associations to say, "oh you're a ____, meet Tim, he's also a _____."
But down the line, probably right after we noticed that our balanced meals were killing us, and our APR's were bankrupting us, and our clothes were humiliating us, and we realized our dues could be used to pay for our own networking/bar events, we stopped needing companies to answer all our questions.
This is where we get the line, "It's not you, it's me," and like always, it's completely bogus.
But fear not, megalithic corporation, you can still compete in educating your customers. You just can't do it the same way anymore ... You can compete, but you have to compete on honesty, judgment, and relationships that lead to trust and ultimately something for me. Those are values you win customers with.
Scarcity. It's where we make the most money. When something is in short supply, or a service is hard to find, we swoop in and monetize. But lately, something fishy is happening. Scarce is hard to find.
I say it alot -- alot alot, that quality content is becoming less scarce, that the community is creating it and promoting it all on their own -- and I think even more about how we, as content creators, can survive the rising tide.
Creators are the first to die -- we're like the lumbering leaf-eaters at the top of the food chain. We're used to having the tree tops all to ourselves. When we lose our advantage, we either have to be quick on our feet or become tomorrow's fossil fuel.
We have to learn to be more than creators, we have to become activators, conversation starters and community organizers. Our content has to do more than echo alone in a vacuum -- it has to set off the ripple.
Ouch ... This vid is 2 days old with almost 90,000 views. That's the community -- they may not have been saying it before, but they're all thinking it now. It's not right, it's not wrong, it's just happening.
Ethan, our web design guru/yogi/ninja, is heading to the Austin City Limits Festival in September, us Austinites just call it ACL Fest -- and he asked about things to do ...
Well, it just so happens that I'm heading back to Austin the first week of September -- so here's my preliminary "things I gotta do" on my trip home:
1) Convince Ian McLagan and the Bump Band to play that Thursday at the Lucky Lounge (Ian was in the Small Faces, then the Faces -- and he wrote some amazing songs -- and he's also played with Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, the Stones, Billy Bragg, and more) He plays a FREE show most Thursdays with a tight little Austin group. 2) Eat some BBQ -- starting with Stubbs, then moving on to Rudy's 3) MILTO'S! Mmm cheap pizza and gyros -- tastes like college 4) End up at Beauty Bar at 1:30am with Britt Daniel of Spoon again 5) Grab a drink at The Peacock lounge on the east side 6) Waterloo Records -- this IS Austin 7) Walk up and down South Congress -- visit Joe's, take the gf to Feather's, maybe buy a new pair of Lucchese boots at the Justin store, enter and never leave the Continental -- especially if Redd Volkaert, Cindy Cashdollar, or Earl Poole Ball are there. 8) Catch up on my honky tonk over at Don's Depot -- cheap beer and real music and more Earl Poole Ball (he was Johnny Cash's piano player, but you knew that, right?) 9) Go back to my home away from home, Little City downtown -- I'll grab an iced mocha, the hummus plate, and sit on the sidewalk staring at the Capital only a block away. 10) Alamo Draft House -- no kids allowed, wide rows with tables for your bucket of beer, your nachos and themed meals to the movie (for Willy Wonka, they served a chocolate dinner)
I can picture the whole town, city limit to city limit. Love Austin? Leave your top ten in the comments.
Reaching into the worlds of economics and statistics, I'd like to share a way to measure the health of online communities:
This all started sometime around 2001 -- I originally heard of the Gini coefficient freshman year in college during one of those massive lecture courses of Economics 101. From Wikipedia:
The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality of income distribution or inequality of wealth distribution. It is defined as a ratio with values between 0 and 1: 0 corresponds to perfect equality (e.g. everyone has the same income) and 1 corresponds to perfect inequality (e.g. one person has all the income, while everyone else has zero income).
It bounced back in my brain one day a while back as I overheard someone lamenting the 90-9-1 rule of online participation: that 90% of your users will be "lurkers," those who read but don't contribute, 9% will contribute sporadically or only occasionally, and 1% of your entire user base will make up the bulk of the total participation in your community.
Some people like to use the 90-9-1 rule to boo-hoo any attempt at building an online community, some like to do a little math and say "hey, 1% of my total user base is still a big number if they really do become outspoken evangelists" -- but everyone is always looking for a way to break the rule and encourage widespread participation.
But how do we create a metric that allows us to track the ROI of our efforts to increase participation? We can build our own Gini-like metric ....
WARNING: this is a long one but if you stick with me, I bet you're going to start thinking about measuring online communities in a different way.