One thing I learned from looking at my Day One post on the various aggregation engines and trackback excerpts is to never lead with an image again. You get his horrible “<img src . . . ” as your lead in which doesn’t exactly draw readers to the rest of your post.
Day Two was demo day with Matt and Om walking us through WordPress 1.6 and WordPress.com over breakfast coffee, Dean Hachamovitch, Sean Lyndersay, and Robert Scoble running through Internet Explorer 7 in the first session, and our very own Anil Dash speaking faster than I’ve ever seen him during his run through of Movable Type 3.2.
The gulf between pro-bloggers and the corporate types that are still trying to figure this all out became very obvious to me today. Dean summed it up when he said that there, “are some good tail lights to follow” but no one has it all figured out yet. Everyone said in their presentation somewhere, you just need to start blogging and then it will come to you what you need to do. I don’t think this really sat well with the visiting corporates who need to summarize this all into a PowerPoint SWOT Analysis of having a corporate blog with steps on “how to” listed up nicely, one, two, three.
Microsoft on RSS:
The power of RSS subscription model is that it’s like a TiVo for the web, it changes people’s lives and puts the web on their own terms.
For businesses, it’s less about the technology used to drive the site but more about what you can do with this technology. Businesses now have the ability to reach out directly to their customers and present them the “unvarnished truth.”
Internet Explorer will make subscribing to RSS feeds as easy as adding favorite bookmarks. If used in conjunction with Windows (XP service pack 2 and above) all RSS feeds and their content will be stored in a central location that can be used by other Windows applications. Additional extentions which Microsoft is releasing under Creative Commons license will allow IE 7 to sort and filter feeds based on feed-specific parameters such as price, date, or neighborhood for a real estate feed that was used in the example.
A point was made that Microsoft originally embraced RSS and handed out jackets at Gnomdex with RSS written on them and that this message is now confused with their re-naming it a “feed.” Scoble countered that there’s confusion in the industry – Safari calls it RSS and Atom RSS, Computerworld calls it XML Feed. Dean sums it up by saying, “I’m unaware of any decision in the tech industry that has be unanimous – Feeds will be Microsoft’s label. In their view, they are both “Feeds” and talking about “RSS Feeds” is akin to talking about “TCP/IP” instead of “networking” or “HTML pages” instead of “Web Pages.” In order to really widen the adoption, you need to ditch the acronyms.
At one point, Dean talked about using RSS to update Calendar events. That got me thinking – RSS as a version of distributed Exchange? Hmmm. Interesting.
Will RSS replace email? Scoble counters, “did TV replace radio? did radio replace newspapers?” Dean says that until there is a security in which you can create a secure feed for a specific, authenticated individual, it will be impossible to replace point-to-point communication for which email is best. I would add that there would need to be a financial incentive to go this route – email still works really well for point-to-point messages, it’s just the anonymous and group email stuff that needs to be taken out.
Lessons Learned: GM & Intuit
Intuit has a “follow me home” interaction with its customers in which they are used to following users home from the store and seeing how they use their products. This level of interest in user feedback is in the company’s DNA so blogging is a natural extention of this. There is no formal approval policy but, Paul Rosenfeld just last week met with the Founder and the CEO to ratify a corporate blogging policy which they kept to one page. Training on blogging is encouraged but not required.
Paul’s word to future corporate bloggers is to resist the requirement by “blogging police” to post at least once every three days. It can wear you out and cause you to lose focus. Keep to your audience and only post what they want to read. Respond to comments and questions honestly and faithfully.
A bit of legal advice from the audience. Rather than put your blogging policy on the page as with Intuit Quickbooks blog, best to link to the legal disclaimer with a more prominent link higher up on the page.
A day in the life of GM’s Fastlane team. Posts are sent from Bob Lutz’s Blackberry for approval by two communications handlers who review and, if necessary double-check facts before posting. The approval process has been streamlined and now only takes a few hours. There is someone on the team that spends about half her day monitoring comments for approval. There is a weekly editorial meeting to understand what types of posts they can be expecting from executives posting.
“Dress for Success” says Darren Barefoot Your site design reflects as much about your business as the way you dress says Darren who is one of the few in conference wearing a necktie and suit.
Funniest Line – “At one point there were 9 rules but since I never wrote them down, I forget what they are.” – Paul Scrivens of 9rules.com