Northern Voice continued….
So, I had to actually take notes while the computer was powered off, but here is the mishmash of the speech from Robert Scoble:
3. Halo 2
How to build a movement?
How to read 1000 blogs a day…
About the blogging trends
- it is a great way to attract more customers. Think of it as an amplified word of mouth. It shoulds louder and gets to more ears faster. How did you hear about Firefox? was it from the NY Times piece or from a friend or colleague? I bet it was the latter. At least I was using Firefox way before the ad was in the Times.
- The fallout from the disaster shows just how efficient blogs can be at creating conversations, comparing notes, and guaging reactions. You get the story faster – real time. No waiting for organized press to get together and formulate a piece. And you got to actually hear from bloggers right there.
One thing Scoble did at the early aftermath of the Tsunami was to create a PubSub subscription of Tsunami so that he could get all the relevant news delivered to him via RSS rather than having to go out and search for it.
3. Halo 2
Halo 2 had a lot of hype around it. Lots of big marketing dollars spent to get it so. Whenever this happens you get a) lots of revenue on the first day and big revenue after or b) lots of revenue on the first day and then a big falloff rate. This depends on whether people like it or not – and what they say about it on their blogs and in their word of mouth. For Halo 2, it was positive. And they grew.
You need RSS in order to buidd relationships. Who wants to link to a site that doesn’t have an RSS?
There are a number of ways you can approach in formatting your RSS for dissemination. The way you choose is a key to what your motives likely are for having an RSS feed in the first place.
1. header/title only
- this is the norm for the business model approach. I see a lot of old newspapers doing this. Intended use is just a draw for other purposes (see below)
- This basically says: if you want to read my post, you HAVE to come to my website. Read, you have to come and click on my ads and buy my products too!
2. Excerpt or Entire post
- Intended use is syndication or publication
- This shows that you want to share it so others can just do whatever they want with it. Link to it, take it and use it, write opinions, share it
Blogs as a way to listen
The blogosphere is just the tip of human experience – it is your way to get a sense of what other people think.
For example, if Robert catches wind that there is a complaint on Microsoft, he can email it around to the appropriate people who can then take action. If he was not reading the blogs, listening for the complaints, Microsoft would be SOL.
If you listen to what people are saying, you can find out what they want. What they don’t want. What they think. You can then build these things into better products and services. And actually connect with your customers (if you are a business, of course). If you are the only blogger in your company doing this, how valuable do you think you are? My guess is, very.
How can you possibly find out what people think?
Aside from aggregators for looking at blogs you know, another great way to listen is to use Pub Sub
Pubsub is a way to keep your ear to the ground without actively searching on a constant basis. Scoble calls it “pure sugar” because it only spits out stuff related to your keywords. It may or may not be exactly the content you are looking for, but it lets you look at entire category of information without actively searching for it. The only downside of PubSub is that it only shows you who’s talking on a subject from that point forward – no historical perspective.
Basically, you can subscribe to a feed for keywords such as “Microsoft” or, in our case “Blogaholics.” When someone posts something using these terms, I will know. However, this does not mean I have a relationship with those people who talk about me. That only happens when I take an interest in the blog itself – subscribe to it, comment on it – start that relationship. However, PubSub is great because it does not matter how small the blog is, I can actively take an interest in the topic and even begin a conversation with those people who have talked about me.
You NEED to be involved in the conversations or you WILL be out of business. BLOG OR DIE. It is a very true mantra.
An interesting aside: when Scoble mentioned PubSub, suddendly every screen around me was at the site, subscribing to new feeds. Perhaps they knew of it, perhaps not. That is the power of word of mouth and how quickly it can work in the blogging world.
Blogging on PR
You cannot be a part of PR anymore without know about blogs and actively listening and participating in them. How else are you going to know that Jack over in Minnesota has told hundreds of people about his problem with his widget unless you are listening. RSS is the new way to listen, and blogs are the new way to speak.
In order to build movement, understand competition, and to track the changes out there the PR executives must be bloggers. Not to mention the benefit that PR could derive from actually using blogs to create conversations with customers.
How to build a movement
The easiest way to build a movement is to get links. 5 is enough. If you have 5 people talking about you or what you have to say, that is 5 links. That’s 5 people who think your idea is so cool that they are telling other people. If they are a big enough person (or as they are known by some as “sneezers”), your name will be spread to not just a few other readers but potentially thousands.
Robert calls himself the connector. He links people together to make relationships and things happen.
You cannot expect people to just link to you. You cannot just ask for it anymore. You have to deserve it. If your blog is cool, it may be read by a lot of people. But until one post is so cool in and of itself you may not get a link. You must give your readers something to talk about.
Technorati is a great tool. It lets you see linking behaviour between blogs. For example, if you look up a blog you will see a little thing that says “x links from x sources.” The more links, the higher your peers rate you. And the higher you are in the Technorati search on a topic. If you compare news between Technorati and a standard news medium you can see a) how important real people think a topic is vs b) how important the news organization think a topic is. Very interesting.
You MUST use an aggregator. There is NO way you can handle 1000 blogs by reading them in each individual websites. Why is this?
- websites have slow load times – You will waste time waiting for each to load
- there is no guarantee that each website will have new content
- you will have to remember what you’ve read so you dont reread it
- you need to mentally remember each website design to navigate between content, ads, organization etc.
Aggregators out there
Well, of course Scoble uses Outlook as its way to read his feeds. This allows him to email interesting posts around to others.
How Scoble reads 1000 blogs a day
Using his aggregator to pull his information, he can then access it on his laptop, his cell phone, or even on his television. Yes, it seems it is with him no matter where he is (except perhaps when he is sleeping. We hope). Part of his strategy is to have an offline way to read them so he is not dependent on internet access. He can read them in the car or in the plane without problem.
His feeds are organized into folders, and those folders are organized alphabetically. He usually is methodical, reading top down. If he does not finish, he will go bottom up the next day. Only one main reading period per day.
The benefit of an aggregator is that it organizes the new posts in a “text river” showing you the titles and or content top down. You can pick and choose what you want to be as you scan it. Very easy. By scanning so many topics and feeds, how do you possibly decide what is worth while? You look for trends. That is the benefits of multiple feeds at this magnitude. You can spot the trends very early (can see x number of people on the same topic in a short time period) and talk about them yourself when the idea is still new.
If Scoble scans something he wants to read, he reads it. If it’s good, he will click through to the website itself or save it to his “Blog It” folder.