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Can we stop being so defensive about the tools we use?

This is a bit of a rant about something that is occuring all too frequently these days on my favourite social tool – Twitter. Yesterday an article in the Globe & Mail by Margaret Wente appeared that questioned, in her particular snarky tone of voice, the value of Twitter. You would have thought she questioned the cuteness of puppies by the vehement reaction by the Canadian Twitterverse. Update after update sought to match her snide tone and “set her straight”. It was an over-the-top reaction to a piece that in the grand scheme of things was just one persons opinion based on the plethora of mainstream media attention Twitter has been getting recently as the “next Internet phenom!!”. 

We really need to stop being so defensive. It’s a tool some of us use. It’s not for everyone after all and none of us own stocks.

Sure, it would have been nice if Wente had spent more time getting to know the tool before writing a piece about it, but let’s not forget that not every one has hours to spend figuring out the ins and outs of what is a highly charged, established community who are quite vocal when they deem you aren’t using it right. Not every one wants to either. If we cheer when Twitter makes the Wall Street Journal or The Star, are we not asking the general public to join based on what they’re reading? As with anything in life (and marketers should really know this already) people go through phases before deciding to buy (or join). Sure, we’d *like* them to take a test drive, but sometimes we have to rely on the dry specs and pretty pictures to even get on their consideration list. So Wente (who most likely has been hearing about the wonders of new media and Twitter from her colleague Mathew Ingram for months now) checked out the public stream and wasn’t impressed. Not surprising, there’s a lot of updates there about what people are having for lunch, and unless you have a group of people for whom you care about what they’re having for lunch, it really would seem silly for the lay person if we’re being honest. Of course that isn’t the *only* thing happening on Twitter, and not the reason I use it (I’ve explained before here and in an interview on CityNews recently why I use Twitter), but it takes a lot of time and energy to build that network… and maybe that isn’t time some people want to invest, or know they have to. Twitter works when it’s a conversation vs a monologue and perhaps, just perhaps, someone may have other channels they use when they want to converse. 

Let’s also add some perspective to the time investment using Twitter properly is – some people may not be able to bill clients for the hours upon hours they spend using the tool each day either, because they aren’t in marketing communications, PR, or customer service (or an entrepreneur, artist, etc.). Let’s keep that in mind when we jump all over people for not “getting” the tool.

I’m not a fan of Wente’s writing (or opinions) for the most part, but I recognize frustration with over-hype when I read it, and that’s what her piece felt like to me. I also wonder why no one called out the most glaring thing in regards to her article — she asked @biz (the guy who OWNS Twitter) for a chance to interview him the day before the piece ran. Did he care enough to defend it, or even respond? Perhaps her view of Twitter may have been different if the guy with the vested interest in getting positive coverage of his business by Canada’s largest daily paper had gotten back to her.

Twitter is for some, not for others, and it would be productive in my view to allow that there is more than one way to use the tool, or not. 

Also, that everyone is entitled to form an opinion based on what they read/ see. It’s up to the community to convince people the tool is right for them if we are going to get so defensive when they don’t “get it” and vocalize that, question it, or poke fun at it.

[photo credit: merwing via Flickr]

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Ada Lovelace Day – recognizing women in technology

March 24, 2009 is Ada Lovelace day and people from around the world are marking the occassion with blog posts recognizing important women in the tech field. While I initially thought I would write a post about a famous woman I admired, a trail blazer in the space, I ultimately decided to write about someone closer to home, someone I’ve known and worked with personally. Think global, act local if you will.

If you don’t know her already, her name is Vanessa Williams (aka @fridgebuzz) and she’s a leader in the tech and interactive space in Toronto. What makes Vanessa someone I admire is not only her incredible intellect and ability to code like a maniac in complex languages like Juxta, but the trail she blazed by being a leader when women programmers/ techies were a rarity. She’s commanded respect from her teams as well as from clients… all while believing in her inherent right to be treated as an equal in a male dominated field. She also took a chance with an idea she had for a startup and toiled away at her computer to make her vision a reality.

I don’t claim to know the intricacies of the work she does (I’m a strategist, not a programmer), but I do know that she always delivers results and I’ve had the pleasure of sharing many a pint on a patio and discussing the industry, technology, and the world with her. 

Vanessa is someone you should get to know.

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Google Maps as Wiki

418459742_94d74b3f57_m

Google Maps now allows users to edit and move the marker location of their home or business with a registered account. There are a few restrictions (you can’t move a government building, hospital, or claimed business within the Local Business Center), but for the most part, if your house is listed on the wrong side of the street or the wrong corner within Google Maps, you, the user, can change it. The change also pertains to Street View.

In my view, this is another great example of Google trying to make their results as relevant as possible and "organize the world’s information". It’s been a long road with all map services over the years and anything that can be turned over to the people with the most amount of knowledge about the issue is a great thing in my opinion.

Google, being Google, have put safeguards in place to prevent abuse, such as adding a "show original location" link and sending any change of over 200 meters to human review. It may not be the perfect solution, but it’s a good start.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

[photo credit: WhirlingPhoenix via Flickr]

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Beware malware online ads served via DoubleClick platform

Malware attack

It was only a matter of time…

Via /.

The worst-case scenario used to be that online ads are pesky, memory-draining distractions. But a new batch of banner ads is much more sinister: They hijack personal computers and bully users until they agree to buy antivirus software. And the ads do their dirty work even if you don’t click on them.The malware-spiked ads have been spotted on various legitimate websites, ranging from the British magazine The Economist to baseball’s MLB.com to the Canada.com news portal. Hackers are using deceptive practices and tricky Flash programming to get their ads onto legitimate sites by way of DoubleClick’s DART program. Web publishers use the DoubleClick-hosted platform to manage advertising inventory.”

Is this DoubleClick (or Google’s – the parent company) fault for accepting the ads with the malicious code (my opinion is: yes to both Google and DoubleClick)? The website’s for accepting questionable ads on their property? Our ad-based, get it live now, society?

If you were doing public relations for DoubleClick or the online destinations, what would you advise your client?

It also appears that, based on some of the comments on the post, ad-blocking software is not fool-proof against this type of attack.

btw – all comments are set to go to moderation now… been under heavy spammer attack recently. Apologies to legit folks, I’ll try and approve as soon as I can!

[photo credit: KOoLiNus via Flickr]

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The Internet Becomes Cable…

The Internet Becomes Cable - EFF

Or why the EFF is good. Nice illustration of the battle over Net Neutrality.

[H/T - kevin via Corrente - view larger size]

Speaking of Cable… A new YouTube product placement agency out of Montreal: BrandFame.

Youtube product placement

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