Friday, April 30, 2010

Rich's Social Media Meditation

My experience with Social Media has been picking up steam lately, and it's showing specific results (even as my blogging here paused for a short time). My vlog is evolving from an exercise to a real tool in various segments of my life.

Creatively, vlogging feels like a vast storytelling "sandbox" - I've been experimenting with various approaches my vlogging "technique," and interacting with viewers with a directness and immediacy that's unique to the online world. I've come to think of vlogging (and grassroots online entertainment in general) as a form in its infancy, much as early Hollywood or the early days of television. There is an excitement to the form that I've not only witnessed and experienced through online contact, but in meeting a number of the vloggers I've come to know over the past few months. If you haven't seen my commentary on meeting those vloggers, it's here.

It's beginning to pay off in other ways. I've found in a number of professional interactions, that clients and/or potential clients have been watching my work, and have found a value in getting to "know me" before actually getting to know me.

In what are really my earliest stages in this world, I'm finding real value in staking my online claim.

More to come!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Social Media, Socially

The other day, I was looking over a list of the dozens of "social media" related seminars, conventions and conferences that are being held across the country. Most the descriptions offer, in often breathless terms, to present to the attendee the information they need to succeed in growing their business with social media tools.

It's occured to me that online social media technology is moving so fast that any information presented at these conferences will be based on experiences gained in the recent (ancient) past. It's not any fault of the conferences - it's just the reality of the situation. Conferences of this sort seem to be archaic in a time when trends and experiences can be immediately shared online and in near-real-time.

Social media tools themselves present the real opportunity to learn from the pros. Following social media sites (like, as an example) and taking part or even just browsing discussion in specialized sites like Linkedin provide such an in-depth and interactive environment that I really would tend to doubt that most of these conferences are necessary. I think that those that are looking to understand "what it's all about" would be better served by rolling up their sleeves and diving in.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Us Versus Them

Security was tighter on Amtrak when I was heading back from San Diego recently. It was certainly more visible than the last trip – with K-9 sniffer dogs prowling along the San Diego station platform, and aboard the train as we were on our way. The extra security wasn’t intrusive, though – and perhaps the whole point was to provide a random presence to act as a deterrent.

In the nine years since 9/11, we’ve become used to increased security and increased surveillance where ever people tend to gather – it seems to have become another price we pay for the freedom we enjoy.

Yes, we still do have quite a great deal of freedom, including freedom of expression – probably to a great extent than anywhere else in the world – despite how some might portray our situation.

I tend to try not to see issues in the extreme – there’s a middle ground – an area of compromise – with any disagreement. I also believe that most are frustrated with the political extremes that define US politics. When major policy votes are reduced to strict party-line votes, I have to wonder sometimes if any of our representatives have the courage to vote their conscience.

The night the health-care bill was passed in Congress, a Republican yelled out “Baby Killer!” at a Democratic pro-lifer who didn’t agree precisely with his position. Really? “Baby Killer?” This individual is an elected representative to the US House of Representatives? Earlier in the week, some protesters were incensed enough to yell racial and sexual slurs at black and gay politicians. While I doubt they represent the great majority of protesters, the atmosphere that makes such behavior acceptable (or seem acceptable) is frightening. I have to wonder how far “us vs. them” will go.