Skip to content

The Industry Review

One Guy's Thoughts On Technology, Social Media, Internet Marketing, Artificial Intelligence, and more

Archive

Tag: Darren Williger

Ancient PC

Ancient PC

 

This post was partially inspired by Darren Williger’s keynote speech at Social Media 201.

 
Despite the fact it’s a common perception that social media is a new phenomenon, it’s actually far from. Both Darren and myself have been using the Internet since the 80s. We ran a small competition: turns out that if you Google us, the earliest result is mine (from 1989!) though Darren was active online about 2-3 years before I was. So it’s a draw ;-) .

 
Back then the online world was very different. In the mid 80s BBSs (Bulletin board systems) were what we all used. These were phone-based systems, usually run by individuals, though some companies had their own, that enabled people to connect using dial-up modems. They were infinitely slower than today’s internet, and all text based, but they were awesome!

 
BBSs included forums, multiplayer games (though not real time ones), downloadable computer games (yep, some two decades before Bittorrent) and a lot more. In other words, we all interacted, and much of the content was user generated. Sounds to me a lot like…social Media and Web 2.0. Of course, this wasn’t Web 2.0 because this was almost a decade before the World Wide Web (Web 1.0?) was created! Though BBSs weren’t a part of the internet, they offered much of what the internet could offer at the time.

 
When I first starting using the internet, in 1987 or 1988 (I need to figure this out one day…), I stopped using BBSs. The internet had so much potential! My friends and I actually didn’t refer to it as the internet back then but rather as the Bitnet (which was always a subset of the internet but was separately accessible at the time). When I look at old emails that are archived online, we actually referred to the internet as the InterNet. How quaint! Amusingly, there was a local news story about us at the time: “Local teenagers chat with people all over the world using computers”. It sounds ridiculous now, but it was very “exotic” back then.

 
Bitnet email accounts were very simple: mine was nyschles@weizmann (yeah, no .com, .net or whatever). The internet equivalent was nyschles@weizmann.weizmann.ac.il though I rarely used it at the time.

 
Not long after I had my first chat (using Relay – the ancestor of IRC which itself had a multiple offspring from multiple “wives”: chat rooms, various messengers – even chat roulette). I was introduced to a radical concept called MUDs (Multi User Domains). MUDs are the prehistoric ancestors of massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest and Ultima Online. There were several variations of the concept: some were created for social interaction (the modern equivalent is Second Life), other for gaming, etc.

 
MUDs were just as fun as modern games, despite the fact that the vast majority were text based. However, in a way they were far superior to even the most modern of these games. How so?

 
The type of MUD I used was called an LPMud. This was a classic multiplayer online game: once you registered, you were given a character that would have to fight monsters and get experience points to advance in levels. Depending on the MUD itself (there were hundreds, all run by individuals and as far as I know, hosted at universities), you could choose a class (i.e. a wizard, a druid, a fighter), have spells, and a do whole lot of different things. I’m sure this sounds very similar to anyone who has played World of Warcraft or similar games.

 
The difference is – and that is a huge, enormous difference – is that all MUDs were based on user generated content.

 
Once a character reached his 20th level and has done his share of quests, he became a “Wizard”. Wizards weren’t players anymore.. but were more like MUD administrators. Each was given permission to program a part of the MUD – his domain. Most Wizards created an area with a theme: I remember Castle Dracula, Sesame Street, Star wars, and basically everything you can imagine.

 
User generated content? Web 2.0? in the late 80s?! These terms were used long after these events despite the fact this was decades before they became mainstream.

 
Even today, you still can’t do the equivalent with games such as World of Warcraft (though I do remember that a few years ago, a group of people was able to successfully replicate EverQuest’s framework and protocols and effectively recreated a home-brew version without Sony’s permission).

 
It may really surprise people who started using computers when the internet was already ubiquitous, but back then, things were just as fun despite the technological limitations. There was no spam either!

 
I hope you found this history lesson interesting ;) . Although this post can be read on its own, I gave it for a reason – in order to be able to share an event that took place at the time. Read my next posts for more details.

 
Here are links to the other parts.
The Prehistoric Times of Social Media: The Sting (Part 2 of 4)
The Prehistoric Times of Social Media: Cybercrime (Part 3 of 4)
The Prehistoric Times of Social Media: Crime and Punishment (Part 4 of 4)

 

 Mail this post

Popularity: 5% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark

 

Somehow often my best posts involve videos by Darren Williger. Darren created a “behind the scenes” video summarizing our experiences at Social Media 201 which I just had to share (my own perspective is described in this post).

 
I barely appear in this video (fine with me!), part of because Darren’s camera had a hiccup during my talk.. and when I do appear, from some reason I’m whispering (not sure what was going through my mind…). Also featured are Darren, Bille Baty, Jeff Dance, Joe Kennedy, Eric Weaver, Kris Ruby – and even the SeattleWineGal.

 

 Mail this post

Popularity: 2% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark

Social Media 201


 
Before I begin, I’ll diverge a tiny bit: Years ago I used to get quite nervous when I had to do any form of public speaking. While I can’t say this is second nature to me even now, a simple advice given to me by my Ph.D. adviser has really made a big difference. His advice was very (very) simple: “try to enjoy it”. After years of public speaking, I can say: it’s true.

 
I give the same advice to people who are interviewing for jobs. It might sound a bit surprising, but when I used to interview for positions myself (before becoming self employed) 95% of the time I genuinely enjoyed my job interviews – after all, it gives an opportunity to speak about myself and my accomplishments – so what’s not to like? Probably as a result, I used to be very good at job interviews. I believe the same kind of logic applies for public speaking. When one talks about a subject he or she is an expert about and likes it, the passion comes through and people get it.

 
Ok, back on track. Social Media 201: What a blast! Hard to summarize these three+ intense days.

 
This conference originated from the mastermind calls of a group I’m a member of. We have weekly calls, though since we work on joint projects, sometimes we form subgroups and talk twice or even three times a week. We’re a pretty big group and we’re spread out all over the US. As you may imagine, speaking so often with a group of people whom you share both your professional and technical experiences as well as personal lives brought us together, and we have all become close friends even though most of us have never met in person.

 

From left to right: Bille Baty, Darren Williger, Udi Schlessinger (me), Mike Whitmore and Eric Weaver

From left to right: Bille Baty, Darren Williger, Udi Schlessinger (me), Mike Whitmore and Eric Weaver



 
Social Media 201 included several of us: myself, Darren Williger, Bille Baty and Mike Whitmore, who co-organized the event with Joe Kennedy. It was more than exciting to finally meet my close friends in person – and in fact, it felt like we already know each other. Even “fate” made it more excited: Mike picked me and Bille, we came out of the elevator exactly when Joe and Darren came out of another elevator… the timing could not have been better.

 
So, to me, and I believe everyone else, the speakers dinner on the first day was fantastic. Even though the food was great, it was the company that really mattered.

 
The next day we rented a recording studio. Our goal was to create professional videos that can be used in group projects as well as by each of us for his/her own products. Since I’ve never been in a professional studio (green screen and all), and in fact, kind of avoid doing videos since I never like the way I come off, to me this was a very new experience. However, this was a LOT of fun.

 
A professional recording studio

A professional recording studio



 
Darren and me

Darren and me



 
Darren and Kris talk about dating (in Social Media!)

Darren and Kris talk about dating (in Social Media!)



 
We took turns interviewing each other. Not sure which background I want for my interview with Darren – which was as serious as we get (we never get serious!) – perhaps the Matrix’s scrolling green code. Trust me, it’ll fit well with what we discussed (the future of advertising in the context of the increase in mobile devices: Smartphones, iPads, etc).

 
Social Media 201 at Microsoft Headquarters

Social Media 201 at Microsoft Headquarters



 
The next day was the main event: Social Media 201. The conference was sponsored by Microsoft and Comcast in addition to several other companies, and took place at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond. Since I’ve known Microsoft and used their products since the mid 80s, it was exhilarating visiting MS HQ. I certainly hope it’s not the last time!

 
The conference itself was superb. Obviously, the main theme was social media and how small to medium businesses can leverage it to their advantage, and do so correctly. Eric Weaver gave a fantastic keynote speech. Jeff Dance, Kris Ruby and Bille Baty shared their expertise on various aspects of this process. Darren Williger gave an amazing keynote speech about the future of social media (check out the site he made for this topic).

 
My talk about SEO for Small Businesses

My talk about SEO for Small Businesses


My talk was about SEO for small businesses: how small businesses can improve their positioning on all search engines. Although this is not exactly Social Media, considering the target audience, we felt this fit right in – and in fact, someone tweeted at some point “how come no one mentioned SEO so far? – only to have me talk afterwards.

 
I think it went very well: many people approached me during the break, quoted me in tweets, and sent email to let me know they liked it. In addition, I really enjoyed giving my talk, which might be a reason why it went so well. My favorite tweet about my talk was “Dude’s hip hop” – since I used the phrase “it’s all about the Benjamins” as a reference to getting more business :)

 
SeattleWineGal and Kris

SeattleWineGal and Kris


After this was done, we went to a tweetup organized by SeattleWineGal, Seattle’s female answer to Gary V :) This was great, and I got to meet a lot of great people.

 
And then it was all done. After a few days of bonding with good friends who became much closer in this time, I have to say I was quite sad to say goodbye. Darren Williger is a walking, amazingly funny, personification of energy. Bille Baty is a legend – just being next to him makes a person wiser. I didn’t know Kris Ruby until before but she’s fun, smart – and our group will be much enhanced by her joining.

 
This may sound a bit melodramatic, but that’s how it feels. Fantastic 3 1/2 days.

 
Here are a number of websites and blogs that mentioned Social Media 201. It got rave reviews!

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/04/guest_post_social_media_201.html

http://seattledesigner.blogspot.com/2010/04/business-card-is-still-currency-in.html

http://eco-maven.com/2010/04/20/a-social-media-freshman-in-the-sophomore-trenches%E2%80%A6-sm201-conference/

 

 Mail this post

Popularity: 3% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark

Twitter Money

 

A conversation I often have with fellow internet marketers who are not in Twitter is: is it worth the time investment from a financial perspective? Usually I am told that this is obviously not the case, and thus, disregarding the fact it’s a good way to befriend people, it’s not a good investment in terms of time and money.

 
Although I know some people who have been monetizing Twitter rather successfully, my answer is: yes, this is right in the short term, but no in the longer term. Yes, I’ve made some money using Twitter with SponsoredTweets and Ad.Ly, as well as the occasional affiliate offer, but overall if one wants to monetize his time, then there are definitely easier to make money online.

 
That being said, every day I meet great people and make many useful business connections. To use one example, if it weren’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t have met the incredible, pancake loving, Darren Williger (@williger) who invited me to participate as a panelist in a webinar series which is not only great fun, but will be monetized soon as well. Nor would I have been invited to ad:tech as press (yes, I came thanks to this blog – but ad:tech heard of my blog through Twitter). Or be invited to the MarketLeverage VIP Yacht Party during Affiliate Summit East (which obviously was an event many would have paid to participate in and was incredible from a networking perspective).

 
Personally, I think this is just the beginning. The more time passes, the more people I know, the greater my online presence and the possible networking that I can do. So judging Twitter just by the immediate ROI is a mistake, in my opinion. Ask me again in 6 to 12 months and I’m confident I will have significantly better examples than the ones I’ve given.

 
This conclusion is emphasized by the fact I’ve been very active on Twitter for a rather short amount of time – only since the end of July 2009 (though I did register in March).

 

 Mail this post

Popularity: 2% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark

After you’ve used social media sites for a while, you start finding common patterns, specifically, annoying patterns. Although each one of us is annoyed by different things, usually there are commonalities that annoy each and every one of us. I’ve decided to create my own list of pet peeves and share it with you.

 
Originally I was hesitating whether I should call this article ‘Pet Peeves in social media’ and have one section for Twitter, one for Facebook and one for LinkedIn, all sites I know really well. However, considering I have fewer LinkedIn pet peeves, than say, Twitter pet peeves, I think I need more time to get a list worth reporting. So for now this is only for Twitter.

 
Second, after I came up with this subject I met a great guy on Twitter, Darren Williger (@Williger). Not only he’s extremely witty and hilarious, but it turns out he also created – a video – that (can you guess it?) is about Pet Peeves in Twitter. I thought that I can’t seriously write an article on the subject without including his video. I am fully aware that no matter what I say, people will remember Darren’s video (which is awesome) as the point of this post. Oh well, I bow down before you, Darren – absolutely brilliant video!

 
Here’s my list of Pet Peeves. Feel free to add some of your own.

  1. Many users have some kind of auto-follow script – so when you follow them, you get a direct message (DM) “Thank you for following me, blah blah blah”. That’s fine with me. However, the thing that irritates me the most (more than spammers!) are the users that send you the DM – but don’t follow you back, so you can’t respond! It goes along the lines of “Thank you for following me. Here’s my blog. Can you tell me about yourself?” (remember, all automated). But I can’t answer! Because you haven’t followed me! I’d much rather not get anything, and not be followed than get a message I can’t reply to!

     

  2. Following the previous item are the users who have an auto-follow that sends you to some kind of unrelated sales page. Sometimes the description is even deliberately misleading like, “learn about me in this link” or “read my blog here” but when you press the link, it’s a sales page! Dude, we just got to know each other, and you’re already asking me to buy something from you? What are the chances this is going to work? Occasionally these links are broken and don’t even work – which truly makes these users look ridiculous. I used to respond to them “your links are broken” but never received a response. Not even once.

     

  3. Bots, particularly the sophisticated ones. I don’t know whether these are real people who do 90% automation, or bots that occasionally have a real person controlling them (there’s a subtle different in my opinion). But do any of these sentences look familiar?
    • 140 cramping your style?
    • Apu Akhbar?
    • Ma Shlomkha?
    • Como está?
    • Hur är det?
    • What’s everyone talking about?
    • Robin Williams survived open-heart surgery; has new role in film – and life
    • Too many tweets. Too little time to reply.
    • Why is Twitter a verbal gym? Stress relieve for the mind.
    • The day ends with a tweet.
    • iphone is always ringing. standby
    • Random tweets
    • Is Obama doing a good job?
    • Ogenki desu ka

    I’m sure some at least look very familiar. Guys, I understand you want to automate things, but for crying out loud, get a better list. All these are real messages I’ve seen over and over and over and over. The ironic thing is that one of the messages is ‘random tweets’. My guess is that someone made a list of things to tweet, and the title was ‘random tweets’, and somehow this got into the actual list of things being tweeted about.

     
    I tend to retweet them with a smart ass comment, and never, ever, received a response. i.e. “Ma Shlomkha? -> Do you even understand what that means? Of course you don’t, you’re a bot” (it’s “what’s up?” in Hebrew).

     

  4. Spammers: I won’t elaborate. They annoy me less than most people. I even find them funny at times (read my post 5 Different Types of Spammers).

     

  5. Users promoting products in an idiotic way. Personally, I have no problem with people using Twitter as a vehicle for promoting products – not at all (hey, I may do this too at some point). But come on, be smart about doing this. Don’t say “Want to learn how to make $158,081 in less than 8 hours?” or “Gain 1,500 followers in the next 21 minutes!”, be smarter about this. No one in his right mind will take you seriously. And if they do, I assure you, they don’t have a credit card or a way to pay you.

     

  6. People doing #FollowFriday for people they don’t follow themselves. Quick explanation: #FollowFriday is a very nice Twitter Tradition. Usually every Thursday/Friday people will tweet a list of the people they recommend for following. Some just include names, other give lists with brief titles “amusing conversations” “sweet and funny”, etc. This is what gives Twitter its personality.

     
    However, some people do #FollowFriday for people they don’t follow themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s okay to retweet someone’s FollowFriday tweet even if you’re not following the person (since you’re basically just saying “listen to this guy, he knows what he’s saying”), but don’t publicly recommend following someone when you’re not following your own advice. It’s like a health guru eating junk food in secret – do what you preach!

     
    In particular I was irritated by a guy I tried to converse with a while ago (we have some things in common so I thought he’d be interesting to chat with). He ignored 2-3 tweets I sent him. One day I RTed two of his tweets. he ignored these too. Ok, I get it, he doesn’t want to talk. However, the next Friday he included me in his #FollowFriday. He wasn’t talking to me (at all), or following me himself, but he publicly recommended that people follow me. How hypocritical is that?

     

  7. The last one is pretty mild: Direct Messages (DMs) that require 10 separate messages. Yes, I understand the whole 140 character limit (that’s the point of microblogging), but at times you want to say more, and the only alternative is to use 10 consecutive messages. My friend Suzanne gets a phone call for every one of those and it can become really annoying. I would’ve much preferred if the direct message system was not limited to 140 characters (blasphemy, I know!), or alternatively, it could send you to an extra app that allows you to write one long email which will automatically be broken up. Or even just use real email (which is my preference).

 
That’s my list. Any ideas for more?

 
Edit: Although Twitter is still crawling with thousands of bots, they did take out the bot network I mentioned in #3 about 1-2 months after I posted this (not that I think there’s a connection…).

 
Edit 2: After writing this post I befriended Darren (the funny guy in the video). This friendship was a catalyst for so many positive things in my life. One of these is Social Media 201.

 Mail this post

Popularity: 4% [?]

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Share/Bookmark
Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wpburn.com wordpress themes