Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Easy Mac Death Metal Update

Back when the somewhat scatalogical student production "Easy Mac Death Metal" had 22 hits, I predicted it would do well.

It has. In one month, it has nearly 2,000 views. Now, we can argue over whether that's successful for a YouTube video or not, but it's significantly more views than the high-priced The Undergraduate video by The University of Florida has gotten in over eight months. And this is a video shot in 10 minutes with no marketing or promotion of any kind.

Why does it work? Just look at the title. It taps into broad pop culture themes.

When I found Easy Mac Death Metal, I posted it to a music mailing list I'm on. It's a small list, but it easily reached 40 people. And those 40 people are all different ages, with different social networks: it seeded into a dozen other networks.

I'll say it again: the secret with viral video is your prime audience is not your targets, but your carriers. (And I apologize for that sounding so marketing-like, but it's true). Figure out what people will enjoy receiving, and then work from there. If something is truly viral, what you're selling will be irrelevant to 99% of the people that forward the video. Repect them and keep that out of their way.

Friday, April 27, 2007


As some of you know, political blogging is a hobby of mine. I run a blog called Blue Hampshire, which is kind of odd because I'm not that political a person, really. I was angry about how some stuff was going in Iraq, so I started local blogging with a few others. And no one else was doing it, and people seemed to like it, so we kept doing it.

We get a lot of coverage from multiple places. We get coverage from other websites, and coverage from the traditional media.

Here's the interesting thing to me: when we get covered by something like the Daily Kos blog, which puts a link in their text to us, we get a huge increase in traffic. Thousands of new visitors.

But when we get covered by the AP feed, in something like 176 papers across America, we get barely any people coming to the site. Why? Because the AP does not traditionally provide web links in their stories.

Last night this happened on a massive scale. After the debates, CNN covered our blog. They said the name, they showed the big logo with the name, they apparently talked about a couple of comments on it. It was portrayed as a major progressive blog.

Millions of people were watching that. All these people had been watching the debates, the Democratic debates, so this would be our ideal audience: left-leaning political junkies. Millions of them.

How many hits do you think we got off of that?

About 40 hits.

That's right -- an audience of millions and we got less hits than if we were mentioned in some random person's blog.

This is the concept of friction -- how many steps seperate impulse from action. The Average Viewer of CNN is not in front of their computer while they watch. They see the blog, they are interested; but to check it out they have to turn on their computer, fire up the browser and google "Blue Hampshire".

It seems so small a set of steps. But it's huge. The friction in that process takes millions of viewers and instantly funnels them down to forty visitors.

So, if you think that a newspaper article is going to provide a flood of visitors to your site, think again. A well placed comment on a forum can get more people to your site than a mention in the Boston Globe. A well written blog entry can get you more hits than CNN.

So here's a couple questions: why aren't you out conversing with people that can link to you? Why aren't you blogging? Why are you hoping for that Boston Globe article when you can be just as effective without them?

Find where your audience is surfing. Offer them something they want. Provide a link. And watch what happens.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blackberry and AlertFind

From ComputerWorld, E-mail alerts may not be best bet in an emergency like Va. Tech shooting:

Casey Paquet, the Web manager at Eckerd College, a liberal arts school in St. Petersburg, Fla., said Eckerd deployed an emergency notification system from MessageOne Inc. a year ago to better protect students in case of hurricanes and other weather emergencies. The AlertFind system allows the school to send custom on-the-fly alerts instantly to its 2,200 students, faculty and staff members during any emergency, Paquet said.

And by an odd bit of synchronicity, this article appeared in the same electronic issue:

The BlackBerry wireless e-mail service from Research In Motion Ltd. appears to have suffered a widespread outage that started last night in the U.S.


New York television news channel NewsChannel4 reported last night that the problem affected "all users in the Western hemisphere."

However, comments from operators in Asia and Europe, as well as postings to the BlackBerry Forums, suggested that the problem may be limited to North America.

"Officials with RIM said they are trying to reset the system and told NewsChannel4 that they are concerned that the backlog of data, which will rush through when it comes back on line, could cause a bigger problem," the news channel reported on its Web site.

RIM officials advised people who use Blackberry as a major way of communications to make back-up plans, the channel reported.

As we go forward with our crisis communication plan, we should keep in mind that a key feature of all successful natural communication systems is redundacy. It's not only about getting the right modes of communication, it's about getting enough modes of communication.

In Keene, it's probably important to note that U.S. Celluar had a massive outage last St. Patrick's Day, as all our students messaged each other they were back from Spring Break. The system also crashed during Pumpkin Fest as everyone mailed each other pictures of pumpkins.

I'm not saying we shouldn't investigate the option mentioned in the first article. Far from it. But we should keep in mind that a silver bullet solution is also a single point of failure.

So while discussions on campus-wide communications systems move forward in other departments, I'm going to be looking at expanding our toolbox of options. Small little initiatives to expand our ability to tap into extant student networks when we need to. Stuff to complement any larger initiatives we may be looking at.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Seth Godin on College Admissions

Applying his notion of "The Dip" to College Journal's recent article Summer Is Time To Polish Resumes, Seth says this:

For right now, the key lesson is this: colleges (the most coveted ones, anyway) are picky. That means they have a choice. And given a choice, they always do the same thing: they pick the best in the world. It's quite a Dip, one that most students ought to reject in my opinion. Instead, egged on by guidance counselors with a vested interest and parents who mean well but don't see the problem, they throw themselves into the system, almost certain to get stuck in the Dip instead of playing a different game altogether.

The opportunity for 95% of the student body is this: reject the idea of being almost good enough to get in to Harvard and embrace the idea of being extraordinarily good at something else.

I wish I could bottle that up and send it to every high school junior.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Third Man

I'm fundamentally interested in the psychology of marketing. I've also got a bit of a political bent.

That makes this article one of the most delightful reads of the past several weeks.

Read it, and then think to yourself: We know our competitors, but who is that all important third candidate that sets the frame?

It's probably more important than you think.

Friday, March 30, 2007

It's just starting to sink in

If ALL Head Lemur's accounts were hacked, as he claims, then the real celebrity attacked here was Head Lemur, and that was always the point: to discredit and destroy him entirely.

Under this analysis, what confused the issue was the mean, but not over-the-line remarks made on the blog as a matter of course.

But if Head Lemur, and not Kathy Sierra was the target of the attacks, that changes things entirely.

So, that is to say, contrary to what I said below about this settling down, this is just getting started.

My remarks about celebrity stand, though.