Posted by: mattsnod | April 8, 2009

New site, new feed

As a reminder to those getting this via the old RSS feed, please re-enter the feed address for the MattSnodBlog feed as feed.mattsnod.com

Thanks again to the inimitable Kris Smith of Palegroove Studios, my feed is now set up properly. I encourage you to visit the new site to see all of the crunchy goodness, extra links, and ways to get in touch with me.

Posted by: mattsnod | April 5, 2009

New Look

If you’re on the site, mattsnod.com, you’ve by now noticed a shiny new look to the site now that I’ve switched over to using SquareSpace to manage it. They’ve got some great WYSIWYG tools for tweaking your site, and I think this is a much better look with more options to it.

If you’re subscribed to the feed, what I’ll ask you to do — because I messed up — is re-enter the MattSnodBlog feed as feed.mattsnod.com

Thanks to the inimitable Kris Smith of Palegroove Studios, my feed is now set up properly. I encourage you to visit the site to see all of the crunchy goodness, extra links, and ways to get in touch with me.

Rock on!

Posted by: mattsnod | April 3, 2009

Way to Go, Government!

FTC

Once again, we can thank the U.S. government for stepping into the world of technology and crushing innovation with their size 18 boots of regulation. Today, the Financial Times reported that the Federal Trade Commission is pushing through revised guidelines for endorsements by bloggers.

The revised regulations would allow for a blogger to be sued for false statements in a blog post about a product that was sent by a company for testing and/or endorsement. Not only that, according to the proposed rules, the company could likewise be sued. That means that if a blogger were to get some information wrong about a product that were construed as false or misleading, both the blogger AND the company that makes the product could be sued!

This has wide-reaching ramifications for marketing and PR agencies who often send bloggers products for review on companies’ behalf — and hopefully get favorable commentary on that product. In those instances, who gets sued? The blogger? The company? The PR agency? EVERYBODY?

This is just the kind of heavy-handed, ill-informed overregulation by the U.S. government that has stifled innovation and technology. From granting cable companies and MSOs (multiple system operator) a virtual monopoly for two decades to postponing the analog television shut-off to allowing arbitrary punitive lawsuits by the RIAA to net neutrality to government spying of e-mail to the Internet defined as “series of tubes,” it’s been one uninformed decision after another. There’s a reason why the FTC and FCC is filled with people who aren’t on the cutting edge of technology — it doesn’t pay well enough. Why do you think they’re having such a hard time filling the CTO cabinet position?

The environment that best fosters growth in technology is in a free market. Mind you, the government itself used to be a haven for a great number of technological advances, but should we really count the atomic bomb?

If you’d like to lodge a complaint about this, the general phone number for the FTC is 202-326-2222. Better yet, the publicly available number for William E. Kovacic, chairman of the FTC is 202-326-2150.

Posted by: mattsnod | April 1, 2009

Online Video Viewership

According to a recent comScore finding, the average U.S. online video viewer watched more than 5 hours of video online in February 2009. Of note is the jump in ranking of Hulu as a destination for online video consumption — and more importantly — premium content.

In February, Hulu jumped up to the #4 spot among the top online video properties. Google continued to hold the #1 spot with nearly 41% of the share of videos viewed with YouTube accounting for more than 99% of that (no surprise there). In a distant second and third, respectively, are Fox Interactive Media and Yahoo.

I found it interesting that apparently so many people still watch videos on MySpace (a Fox Interactive Media property) that it keeps Fox ahead of Hulu (a joint venture between Fox and NBC/U).

Expect to see Hulu continue to rise in the rankings now that Disney is in talks with Hulu to air its content. Disney seems to be taking the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach with this. This means that Hulu will prospectively have 9 of the top 20 rated shows (w/o Mar 22), which is quite a feat, considering CBS alone holds the other 11 shows in that list. In one online destination (with a great user experience, by the way), you’ll be able to watch such powerhouses as The Office, 30 Rock, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, House, 24, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, and the list goes on. Who needs a DVR?

CBS Interactive seems to be struggling with their online video property, TV.com. They currently have 0.9% of the viewing audience. I’m not a fan of the TV.com user experience, which is why I credit Hulu with its success. Long term, I expect CBS to bite the bullet and offer their content on Hulu. Let’s wait and see.

Posted by: mattsnod | February 25, 2009

Battle It Out

This Saturday, Lippe Taylor and our client Clearasil are going to be holding the Casting Call for the Clearasil Pimple Blocker Battle. It’s shaping up to be an awesome event, where we’ll be seeing young, up-and-coming dance crews for a chance to become one of five finalists to compete in Times Square for the grand prize on April 7.

The crews will audition in front of celebrity choreographer GEO, his sister, Beth, and a New York dance agent. The five crews will then battle it out at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on April 7 in front of celebrity judges and a celebrity host. Whichever crew wins the battle will be chosen as the first Clearasil Crew and win a $10,000 prize package.

If you know of any dancers who could field a crew, have them check out the site for information. We’ll also be posting photos from the two events to the Flickr page and video to the YouTube channel. Tag is “pbb.”

Pimple Blocker Battle

Posted by: mattsnod | February 19, 2009

Lost Church Basement Coordinates

lost-postcard

Tonight’s episode of Lost (Season 5, Episode 6) featured a scene where Ben, Jack, Sun, and Desmond were all led into the mysterious basement of a church, created by the Darma Initiative.

Around the room were various machines, buttons, gauges, and displays. One display board showed coordinates of six locations.

For those of you who are superfans of Lost, here are the coordinates that were on the board in the basement of the church about 5 minutes into tonight’s episode. To the right of each coordinate is a link to see that location on a Google Map.

LONGITUDE       LATITUDE        
DEGREES MINUTES SECONDS DIR DEGREES MINUTES SECONDS DIR  
0 27 16.5 N 158 39 17.6 E Map it
24 14 33. S 172 15 17.5 E Map it
23 17 36.5 S 163 4 3.7 W Map it
28 15 59.2 S 135 21 49.3 W Map it
15 42 45. S 145 57 27.1 W Map it
29 43 31.3 S 174 17 32.5 W Map it

 

I hope you enjoy! And good luck finding the island.

Posted by: mattsnod | February 16, 2009

No Love for “Big Love”?

 

The other week, I was walking in the pedestrian tunnel that goes from Times Square to the Post Authority in Manhattan. Lining the entire walkway, which takes up a whole city block, were posters promoting this season of HBO’s “Big Love.”

The interesting thing about these posters is that near each character’s head in the posters was a minipin headphone jack. The intention was for you to unplug your iPod and plug your earbuds into the jacks in the posters to hear the inner thoughts of that character. You were hit up with statements like (from memory), “My husband doesn’t know the baby isn’t his” or “I wonder if they have camera in the office — could they know we did it in the conference room?”

I thought it was a really interesting, different, and innovative bit of advertising. But this was one of those cases where you can’t really know the outcome until the rubber meets the road. As I was standing there — for a good 15 minutes and with hundreds and hundreds of New Yorkers passing by — not one person, but for myself, stopped to plug their headphones into a poster. Not a one. It was a shame really, because it was obviously a case of a risk-taking company like HBO trying a bit of experimentation.

Mind you, it could be that New York is a test market for this. Or it could be that the 15 minutes I was standing there was not indicative of its true engagement. I’m hoping it was the former and that they may find a way to modify it to entice listeners to participate, because I think there just wasn’t enough incentive to stop for a few minutes during your commute to do this.

Posted by: mattsnod | February 14, 2009

It Doesn’t Add Up

It seems Marian Salzman may be at it again. She recently posted an article on cnn.com noting how data from a Porter Novelli poll showed that romantic feelings are on a downturn as a result of the economy. It notes two polls taken by Porter Novelli — one in 2003 and one recently — that show that numbers for women and men feeling romantic are down over that period (44% down to 42% and 38% down to 36%, respectively).

When I read this, I instantly got one of those “this doesn’t sound right” feelings. It could also have been the controversy of a previous cnn.com post by Ms. Salzman that raised my RADAR. So I did some digging and found that this, apparently, is not the case at all.

Checking U.S. census records, I created an Excel chart that plotted the annual percentage change of the GPD (an indicator of the economy’s health) with the annual percentage change of the U.S. birth rate. I figured, what better way to tell if people are ‘getting busy’ than if the kids start popping out?

As you can see from the below chart, since the 1950s, as the economy does better, fewer children are born. When the economy’s in the tank, more children are born. I guess this stands to reason … if you’re out of a job, what else is there to do?

So it seems that Ms. Salzman may have not taken the margin of error into account from the two polls. If that margin was anything more than 2%, then the conclusion is invalid. Or it could have been that she just wanted to author another thought-provoking lifestyle article. And mind you, she did. It provoked thought in me, but it should have been based on more conclusive data.

 

(click for larger view)

(click for larger view)

 

Disclosure: I am a former employee of Porter Novelli and have nothing but fond memories of my time there.

Posted by: mattsnod | February 14, 2009

The Apps the Pros Use (Part 6)

 

In this world of social media, there are a few folks who stand out above the rest. They seem to be the ones who “get it.” They Twitter often, blog often, use video and podcasts, speak at conferences, and do all of it really well. They’re the ones you see posting a couple hundred Tweets a day, and you wonder, “Do they sleep?”

I decided to try to crack open the psyche of a few of these social media gurus to see how they work on a daily basis — what applications do they use and why? Over the course of 6 days, I’m going to feature one person per day and show the apps they use to get their jobs done.

Jason Van OrdenOur sixth social media master in this series is none other than Jason Van Orden. Jason is co-founder of Internet Business Mastery, creator of HowToCreateAPodcast.com, author of Promoting Your Podcast, a consultant at Van Orden Marketing and Media, LLC, and one of the most knowledgeable guys I know in this area. He epitomizes the term “digital nomad.” Jason travels pretty much all of North America — from Argentina to Alaska — and settles down where he and his lovely wife, Melanie, see fit. There could be a “Where in the World is Jason Van Orden?” show, and I’d lose. He’s pretty close to living the 4-hour work week, but his output is tremendous.

On a personal note, Jason and Melanie are also cherished friends. There are few couples I’ve met lovelier than they. Okay, Kris and Betsy Smith of The Croncast are probably tied! Whenever I have a question about feeds or XML or Word Press, Jason knows it cold.

When asked what makes him so effective in front of his computer, here’s what he told me:

  • Mindmeister = Collaborative mindmapping for planning and getting things done with my business partner
  • GMail = The best spam filtering and handling of email conversations
  • Skype = Used sparingly to interact with colleagues
  • KCRW = One of my favorite sources for discovering new music while I work
  • Mindjet = The primo mindmapping tool. Used for my personal GTD (getting things done).
  • Google Calendar = Used to schedule meetings and track usage of my time
Jason Van Orden desktop

(click for larger view)

Thanks for your interest in this series. If you’d like to keep this going, please send me a comment, or e-mail me at mattsnod (at) yahoo.com with your suggestions on other social media mavens to investigate.

Posted by: mattsnod | February 13, 2009

The Apps the Pros Use (Part 5)

 

In this world of social media, there are a few folks who stand out above the rest. They seem to be the ones who “get it.” They Twitter often, blog often, use video and podcasts, speak at conferences, and do all of it really well. They’re the ones you see posting a couple hundred Tweets a day, and you wonder, “Do they sleep?”

I decided to try to crack open the psyche of a few of these social media gurus to see how they work on a daily basis — what applications do they use and why? Over the course of 6 days, I’m going to feature one person per day and show the apps they use to get their jobs done.

Mitch JoelOur fifth social media sage in this series is the one-and-only Mitch Joel. Mitch is president of Twist Image (pronounced ih-majz), Business Columnist at CanWest MediaWorks, and author at Hachette Book Group USA. You may know of his blog, Six Pixels of Separation. Once referred to as the “Rock Star of Digital Marketing,” Mitch gives a great presentation on marketing yourself. This guy’s a cool character when it comes to all things blogging, podcasting, and digital marketing in general. To meet him, he might remind you of a young Lex Luthor, but then you realize he’s smarter than Lex Luthor. Let’s just be glad he uses his genius for good.

So when I asked Mitch what applications he uses on a daily basis, I was prepared for the deluge of apps, sites, widgets, blogs, tools, and utilities one might expect a Mitch Joel to use. To my surprise, his reply was classic — and classically Mitch:

“I don’t really work like that. I have a Google Reader screen and that’s about it ;) BORING!!!”

Not at all, Mitch. Not at all.

Tomorrow, Jason Van Orden.

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