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business 2.0

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If you’re not familiar with Dooce View definition in a new window’s new(ish) assistant, Tyrant, and his Verizon-sponsored Flickr feed, Uploads from TyrantCam, it’s time to subscribe. Here’s why: after all of these years, TyrantCam is the closest we have ever gotten, and probably the closest we will ever get, to an unvarnished, third-party look inside the Blurbodoocery.

Dooce and Jon put together a slick video about the remodeling of their office that Verizon is sponsoring for them. It’s professionally done, and there are some interesting things about it; for example, they didn’t embed it with a third party video hosting site — it is hosted directly from a site for which they are paying. I assume this has to do with the commercial aspects of the video and its relationship with Verizon, though I think they do a good job of making it not feel like one, in part by making the relationship so explicit (via graphics, etc.) that you cannot take issue with it without feeling like a douchebag. Also, there are impressive technical things about it, e.g. they use graphics, text, and a dooce logo on the bottom right corner of the screen, and that makes me think that they had to buy new software to make the video.

But way more interesting for me than the actual video made for Verizon is the TyrantCam behind the scenes look at it (video posted below) because:

  1. What the FUCK camera is Jon using? Did they BUY that thing? Is Verizon paying them THAT much for this? Holy HELL are they making a lot of money, in that case, because that is a full on TV rig that dude is using;
  2. Even if they didn’t buy that thing, how much do you think it costs to rent that thing? Plus all the sound equipment? Wow! Man! This must be a big gig! Did Verizon demand this? My mind is racing! All the questions! Because maybe Verizon did not request it but Heather and Jon thought they should make this a really professional looking product because they wanted to get more gigs in the future;
  3. Yeah, that might be it, more gigs in the future, more TV gigs in the future! They want more TV gigs in the future! But wait, my secret tip that I got was that the reason she’s not doing Momversation videos anymore was because even though she told me, twice now, that she was going to have a TV show with HGTV at some point, she’s not actually going to have a show with them, but was only hired to drive web traffic, but still has an exclusive deal, and cannot appear on other TV stuff. So wait, if that’s true, who is she trying to convince that she should be on TV? Maybe she’s trying to convince HGTV? IS THAT IT? OMG!

Do you see?

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s no such thing as unmediated discourse that comes out of the Blurbodoocery. But the more meta View definition in a new window-content that is produced looking at Il Duce View definition in a new window from the outside, the more difficult it is going to be to run it through the Gaussian Blur, and the more we can find out about what is really going on. Now, maybe that’s not what they want, but that IS what their fans want, so I think that TyrantCam might end up with more exposure than their interested in, but it will also end up in more loyalty from their fanbase.

What say you?

vintage dooce

A few weeks ago we were talking about Heather Armstrong View definition in a new window and how her blog has changed over time.

Some changes happen over the course of a career, particularly as over the course of a career of a blogger, because people change as they age and the way they see the world changes. Also, when you write every day, your writing changes. It’s inevitable.

But usually those kinds of things are positive changes and are not likely to have a negative effect on your readership. What we were discussing a few weeks back was how to retain your readership in the face of major life changes that might land you in totally different circumstances from the ones in which you found yourself when you originally charmed your readership. And if your readers can no longer relate to you, how are you going to keep them?

Success for Heather Armstrong is kind of a trap in this way. Her fans say they want her to succeed but in a way they don’t, because the more that she does, the less they can relate to her. The more that she shows them the trappings of her success, the more they begin to resent her and the less they feel she can relate to her. But the thing is, why shouldn’t she share with them how she has been able to turn her blogging into a successful venture? And also, if her business is to make her life into a blog, then how is she going to possibly continue without showing what her life looks like now, new houses, Twitter parties, HGTV sponsored events and all?

I suggested a few weeks ago that what I thought she needed to do was to start posting the things that she didn’t think she should put on the internet on the internet. Like she did in the old days, before she was famous. Maybe those things don’t have to do with postpartum depression anymore, or maybe she cannot say them about her family anymore, but maybe there are still some things that she can say or do that are vintage Dooce View definition in a new window that still have that vintage Dooce flavor, that remind us why she became who she is. And I wanted to post this today, because she’s done just that a few times lately and it’s really made me feel like there is a way out, or to transform, even once you reach that level. That even if you feel like you’ve painted yourself into a corner, if you are still willing to take chances, you can still do things that are new, if you want, and I think that Dooce is thinking about doing just that, based on a few things she’s done lately, and that I’m hoping she’ll expand into her blog as well. For example, this tweet, which infuriated several of her followers, but was also retweeted by 67 people:

vintage dooce

Why am I applauding this? Particularly when it led to an inevitable unfollow threat and subsequent pile-on by Dooce fans of the unfollow-threatener? Because 1) it’s funny, and 2) it’s vintage Dooce. It’s not safe funny. It’s not all-caps, hyperbole funny. And it’s not a crazy threat against a corporation or throwing Twitter weight around. It’s just Dooce making a politically incorrect joke. It’s a side of her she has not let us see for a while, and I think it would be nice for us to get reacquainted.

Another example, from the recent flare up of the sparklecorn View definition in a new window controversy, Dooce made an appearance on behalf of Mike Monteiro (from his Flickr Photostream:

This is Dooce having fun and being funny. Not worrying about corporations, or being Dooce the brand. Just being funny.

I like it. And I think it’s good for her brand, too.

What do you guys think?

Glossary terms: unfollow threat View definition in a new window

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I had been hesitant to write about the upcoming BlogHer View definition in a new window conference because 1) it seems like everybody is already cashing in on the preBlogHer tip posts and 2) there’s already far more anxiety floating around than this conference is worth. But, nobody that I’m aware of has really addressed it from a getting your money’s worth from a business angle yet, so I thought I’d offer my thoughts on that, for what it’s worth.

1. Everybody You Meet Is A Potential Contact, So Treat Them Respectfully.

The same rules of common courtesy that apply to all contacts in the blogosphere apply even moreso in person. Smile, say hello, give your business card to people who ask for it. If you see somebody looking lonely in the corner, endeavor to break out of your social phobias to invite them to join you. [By the way, if you see me at BlogHer and I'm unfriendly to you, there's an excellent chance it's because I'm obsessing about myself and something stupid I've done. Many bloggers are like this, there are very few of us who are fit to be around other humans.]

You are going to meet all kinds of different people at conferences, and many of them are going to have vastly different backgrounds from you. This does not mean they are not potential business contacts for you. They might be a reader, they might be an advertiser, or they might know an advertiser, or they might be somebody who is friends with somebody who can help you get a spot on a conference panel someday. At the very least, they are other people who share, in a really general sense, an interest with you. You don’t have to become best friends with them, but you do need to be respectful of them and their time. Every year you hear about somebody who says something like, “I’ve never heard of you,” or something to another conference goer. Those people live to regret those kinds of statements.

2. Notes Are Not Likely To Be Necessary Unless You Need Direct Quotes For A Post

I saw something somewhere about taking notes in sessions for BlogHer. No. You do not need to do this. Trust me on this. The only reason you will want to do this is if you are liveblogging the session, or if you want to directly quote somebody for a post. Otherwise, the material is definitely not so complex as to require notes. You might need to remember somebody’s name, I suppose, if you’re not already familiar with a panelist. But trust me, at BlogHer the material covered is not revolutionary material. And even if it were, there are no tests.

3. Networking Is The Biggest Bang For Your Buck At BlogHer

Though there are a huge number of people at BlogHer, there is not a ton of valuable information disseminated at the formal conference sessions, in my opinion — at least not in comparison to other conferences. The scale is just too big. The people who have the valuable information are too busy. They have too many people vying for their time to discuss stuff with you at this conference in detail. The best thing you can do for yourself, then, is get yourself out there and known with a bunch of people at this conference. Make friends, become involved, participate in a bunch of activities, get people interested in you so that when you go home they will want to visit your blog. As a result of going to BlogHer, my experience was that I had an increased amount of visibility in the community last year. This is because I was there, went to events, met other bloggers, talked to PR reps and participated in the discussions before and after the conference. That’s what makes it worth going to the conference. Those things drive traffic to your blog in a way that you cannot achieve other ways.

4. Get To Know Small Business Owners

The Expo hall at BlogHer is full of giant companies with big booths, free samples, and good looking twenty something PR reps who want to get your business card. It’s fine to talk to these people and make connections with them if you want, but don’t expect a whole lot from it. The best leads you are going to get are from smaller business owners who are attending BlogHer — etsy shop owners, smaller boutique owners, people who run their own mommy-oriented businesses who are helping to sponsor an offsite party. Get the names and contact information for those people if at all possible, and try to make a connection with them — they are the ones who will be buying ad space from you and looking to partner with you in the future. The huge conglomerates are mostly looking to use you as free ad space, and even when they aren’t, the PR people they send to conferences are not the ones who have much say in anything anyway.

Good luck, and I hope to see you all there!

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