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Usually, by the time a fad or emerging technology goes mainstream it’s the sign that it’s no longer a fad, emerging, or cool. We have seen Twitter rise as an astronomical success … despite all the Fail Whales and identi.ca’s. Twitter will be around for a while. It’s not dying. It may just be that it will become less useful if the users continue down the same track. It will, eventually, become way to noisy for the major voices (Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, etc.) to follow everyone that follows them. It’s just untenable. Despite all the tools that allow you to group your friends and maintain conversations, Twitter wasn’t built well enough to truly show the evolution of a conversation … certainly not as well as FriendFeed.

One other ironic thing is the way that traditional media has grasped onto this ‘2.0’ technology. As we can see from this compilation, there are hundreds of reporters on Twitter. If only they were this fervent about blogs when they were in their infancy … maybe we wouldn’t be saying goodbye to our local news and hello to hyperlocal news.

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In boardrooms across the country, screenshots of twitter still evoke chuckles every once in a while. I still play the word association game when it seems appropriate (What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say “Twitter?”). While I still hear the words noisy, chaos and waste of time, it does not elicit anywhere near the reaction that Second Life does.

Over the weekend CNBC covered, in great detail, the business of Second Life and the growth it has allegedly seen since September (a 30% increase in user transactions). While many people have their doubts about the ‘world,’ the business model, and the statistics, what is astounding is the resurgence and apparent need Second Life has cultivated due to the economic conditions (who do I owe a nickel to for saying that phrase?). Trying to think of an analogy for this situation is somewhat futile, but fun nonetheless. It’s kind of like going back to Friendster because the lines are shorter … no, It’s kind of like going back to MySpace because the new TOC at Facebook impinge on your social liberties. No. It’s like going back to the BBSs because you can only afford to use the web over your 14.4 baud modem. Maybe.

Regardless, I think this resurgence in Second Life is more of a last gasp than a Second Wind. Second Life is doomed (and has always been doomed for the mainstram) to fail because it fosters fantasy and caters to people trying to obfuscate from their real persona. Social Media is succeeding because it allows people to connect, engage, participate and affect. While Second Life does meet these curt criterion, Social Media, generally, exists to build the brand and network of real people. And though you can’t argue with the business being done on Second Life and the fortunes being spent there, you can still make fun of it (if you wish). After all, the internet is serious business.

Yes, we will see a short uptick in the use of Second Life for Corporate Events, Trade Shows and other business uses. But I don’t think anyone that’s not a Furry is Long on Second Life.

UPDATE: Reuters closes bureau in Second Life today!

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When you write a press release, your first objective should always be: Get your message out and across to your key audiences. Now, due to the growing desire for optimized press releases, many people want their press release to be keyword rich documents which guarantee results on search engines. The ‘new’ audience is search engines. There is, however, a double-edged sword when it comes to keywords that people need to be aware of.

Every one of our clients wants to be on the first page of search results under the keywords closely associated with their industry and vertical. Obviously our clients want to, and should, appear on the first page of results with their company names, product names, executive names, etc. They should also be concerned about what else appears on that page. Are there blog posts on the first page? Videos on YouTube? Images? After all, people are far more likely to click on search results that have a thumbnail than results that don’t. Additionally, it can take a lot more ‘work’ to get some blog posts off the first page than to get your content on the first page …

We know that press releases drive traffic, spread messages and sell products… they also, however, play a major role in online reputation management. Press Releases can push down negative coverage of your company, competitor’s websites and other sites that don’t fit with your message.

Not every keyword is a word you should be fighting for… not every word is possible for you to own online. Whether it is “cell phone,” “office products,” “semiconductor,” or “asthma,” these words are already owned and are very difficult to penetrate (ask me how!)… these are words you should target with AdWords. That said, you can also fight the fight by including those phrases consistently in your messaging and placing them in very visible parts of your release (headline, subheadline, first graph, anchor text, etc.).

So, which words do you target with your press release? This is where tools like Google.com/trends and Blogpulse.com come in handy … even sites like delicious and reddit can be used to determine the folksonomy of your organization. “How are our consumers defining our company?” “Are we a company that makes sneakers for running or sneakers for jogging?” “Do more people associate my brand with data storage or cloud computing?”

A lot of agencies, influencers and clients talk about tags within a release and using anchor text to add Google Juice. To say it plainly and loudly, the best thing you can do with your release for search is to write a relevant release for those keywords you are targeting. Of the thousands of sites PR Newswire distributes to, only ours will be the one that hosts your tags and ‘keywords.’ While we put up a good fight with Yahoo and Marketwatch, very often those are the sites that are going to appear higher in search engine results within the first few days and weeks. They, however, purge their data after 30, 60, or 90 days. This is where SEO really helps.

These are all issues that an agency or corporations needs to address in their goals.

If I made you even more confused, I apologize and extend the opportunity for a personal discussion at your convenience.

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Live Tweeting has replaced Live Blogging, if it wasn’t already obvious. I can’t remember if it was the latest Jobs MacWorld Keynote where it became apparent (because Twitter was much faster than MacRumors) or if was during one of the 25+ debates this past election season … all I do know is that Twitter has replaced blogs for instant information. It has ceased to be a microblogging platform. Twitter has become a macro-messaging dashboard.

Whether it is finding out the new relationship between SalesForce and FaceBook, the trade of Allen Iverson, or the untimely death of Tim Russert, information is being learned on Twitter more than any other medium. For it to make it to Twitter, it very often has to be broken by a (hopefully reputable) source first … but once that link exists, the chances of it going viral (assuming it deserves to go viral) is greater. Is Twitter even faster than Digg now? That answer is definitely YES.

While I wasn’t the biggest advocate of Twitter for a while, this particular use of the platform is transformative.

As many of you know, I do a lot of presentations for agencies, corporations and industry events. Recently I have been playing a word association game with Twitter while presenting. I ask the audience, “What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say ‘Twitter.'”

I started doing this because I had a very surprising experience at an agency. There is a small firm in downtown NYC that pretty much exploded in laughter when I pulled up the screenshot of twitter. So we went around the room and asked everyone what they thought? The words that were thrown out were: ridiculous, crazy, boring, waste of time, bird, etc. I don’t remember anyone in those events saying journalist, influencers, instant messaging, conversation, etc.

I’d love to be able to do it now, but due to time I’ll have to save my, “Why Twitter is Important” post for later and just point you towards HubSpot’s solid tome.

UPDATE: The untimely and unfortunate death of Barack Obama’s grandmother was spread on Twitter only seconds after it was broken on MSNBC and beat Reuters, CNN, Marketwatch, etc. to the news. It also beat Digg by a mile. I’m very saddened by the news and hope it doesn’t come across as callous.

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All This Fuss Over A Can?

Can you believe there are hundreds of people arguing (including Seth Godin) about whether or not Pepsi should have redesigned their can? Even worse, people are lambasting the company for reaching out to influential bloggers … GASP!

If you aren’t familiar with the idea, they sent influential bloggers all of their cans dating back to the stone age. How they actually delivered the cans is brilliant. Read Peter Shankman’s post on it … (Yes, they did ask for addresses. Otherwise, that would be creepy.)

So why, when you go to Chris Brogan’s post, is there outrage in the comments over how much this endeavor must have cost?

Are you serious? This endeavor, in total, probably cost less than one ad buy on television talking about the new logo. Moreover, they didn’t even have to talk about it … this strategy enabled us, or You, to talk about it. This is the way brands should communicate. The problem is, when you do talk about it … you completely miss the point.

Darryl Parker compiled a list of people who received the ‘gift basket.’

One of things that I think PR people and agencies should really think about moving forward wit h a program like this is: What kind of pickup did it get?

Sure, this got posted in many of the most influential blogs online. But it seems mostly only in the PR, Marketing and Communications field. This is the one issue I have with outreach programs like this, the Nikon D80 Campaign, Virtual Thirst, and, less so, the Acer Ferrari program. All of these programs got a lot of views and had a lot of conversation around it online. However, with the exception of the latter, they were in sites surrounding the PR, Ad, and Marketing communities. The programs that do the best, or will do best in the future, are the ones that reach out to the community at large … the ‘regular folks’ that aren’t in the biz.

Regardless, I love the new design and am very proud of Bonin and his team over at Pepsi for what is a new approach to blogger outreach … one that ethically guaranteed pickup, unlike so many of the precedents.

If you like, go to FriendFeed and participate in the conversation at the Pepsi Cooler.

(Photo Source)

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A New Friend

For a Friday night …

Friendly Company

For a Friday night