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Denver turns 150 Saturday - celebrate with BUCKFIFTY.ORG (get it?)

Just when you thought Denver's 150th was going to wind down with the cake-fest on Saturday, the party will carry on in the form of an engaging online project BUCKFIFTY.ORG. The brains behind the project are craftily trying to maintain anonymity, but I can tell you the founding team includes artists, an editor, a design guru and no one named Joe, but they are trying to find one.

BUCKFIFTY.ORG is an online forum for Denverites and those who love Denver (Denverphiles?) to share their passion. Submissions include: art, video, writing, images and anything else that can be wrangled into an electronic format. Submission guidelines are pretty generous:
At buckfifty.org, we want a wide range of content for our site. We’re not placing restrictions on topics; as long as it has something to do with Denver or the Denver area, it can be about people, places, your experience, history, art, politics, or whatever interests you. What we are looking for is some sort of point of view, and hopefully some sort of hook that will make it interesting to read, or look at, listen to, or watch.
(Note the superb use of the semi-colon. Don't see that anymore!) The goal is 150 posts in the next six months- about five new submissions a week. Just because you send something in, doesn't mean you'll make the cut - uninspired leftovers from a college essay are not going to make the grade. So what've you got? I can think of a lot of folks who should contribute and you should too! Better yet, pass the buck and get your neighbor to contribute. More details are available here.

Don't miss out on the great Anniversary events this weekend!


It's Hockey Season!

In celebration of #1 Colorado College Tiger Hockey, Snoopy will be entertaining us for today's Sunday Funnies.



A Change Will Do You Good: Change.Gov

In keeping with a far-reaching online campaign, President-Elect Barack Obama's team hasn't skipped a beat and launched Change.Gov, the official site of the Office of the President-Elect. It's not a place holder. The web site has everything a good website has to offer: content, interactive features and an easy-to-use design.

I just have to say I expect big things from President-Elect Obama and how using social media will evolve the relationship between Americans and their President. The president's weekly radio addresses can now be downloadable podcasts, press conferences can be streamed live, foreign policy junkies can follow negotiations via twitter, the new First Dog can have its own web page (actually, that already exists. See Barney.) and we can all attend online events through Facebook. Pretty soon it's going to be hard for constituents to not be engaged in important legislative actions. This is what Obama's campaign was all about- change in the form of building community online and off.

Let's take a look at how the transition web site is going to facilitate more community building:

What do you want to know? Joe's bio- check. Issues Agenda - check. Acceptance speech embedded video - check. Blog - check. Can you imagine a potential blog name, "The First Blogger"?

One thing I noticed is that some content is replicated across pages- the blog and newsroom are currently one in the same. And, while most pages currently have content, the press room does not yet have information posted for reporters.

Interactive Features

Watch the speech, sign up for updates and apply for a job. Apply for a job? Yep, there is an Expression of Interest form, fill it out and later you'll get an email with a more complete form to fill out. Not to sound like a skeptic, but we need to wait and see if this is window dressing.

And there's a page where every American can tell their story. The government is clearly going to need to expand server capacity... My favorite feature? The little line at the top left that has a countdown: 75 days until inauguration.


While it lacks the graphic splash of the campaign web site, we'll cut them some slack here they got this up in 24 hours, it is very easy for users to navigate.The toolbar across the top is easy to understand, the drop down menus are helpful and, repeat here, thanks to a large-enough font size, I do not have to worry about going blind while reading the content.

What's missing?
Not a whole lot, but to be fair let's serve up a little feedback here- comments features are not yet enabled on the blog and, as well all know, it's not a blog if you don't allow comments. Well cut The First Blogger a break by recognizing that it would take a small corps of online community managers to manage the flood of comments he would received on a daily basis.

We know it's early, but Mr. O. was a prolific twitter (followed 124K+, followers 120K+) and text user during the campaign, we still do not see that capability yet. How fun would it be to get messages like "@rahmmie ordered the fries again. I am so tired of PBR." Important stuff like that to keep us filled in on the transition...

And when will the Facebook page be up? Step it up pal! ;-)

I'll follow the site and keep you posted. In the meantime, in case you want to watch it again, here is "The Speech.

Happy Thursday!
-I Can't Keep Up


Children of the '80s: You Want Your MTV

OK, I am resisting the urge to publish a list of Hallowe'en online goodies here. For your Friday "goof-off" however, I am providing something else. Remember the thrill of getting cable TV in the '80s? And watching "All news. All the time" wasn't it. I have fond memories of remaining slumped on the couch, eating cookies and watching video after video on MTV.

Today's kids apparently think that MTV is "The Man." We know better and here is living proof: MTV Music. The site allows you to create a profile, view and list your favorite videos, build a friends list, etc. Some goodies are missing though. While album title, studio and genre are listed for each track, there is no release date noted. I am sure junkies will find even more stats missing. And why is Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up the second most viewed video? Also missing are the ability to create playlists, a help page and a blog keeping users informed as to the site's development. It's a good start though and enough to get people hooked.

Video Killed the Radio Star, Like a Virgin, Love Shack, Money for Nothing, and Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) are all there to take thirty and forty-somethings down memory lane. It was nearly impossible to stop creating this list! I have to add though that there seem to be some notable exceptions to the collection: the band Men at Work, Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and The Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian." Sigh.

It was tough to pick one video to post! I am going with Peter Gabriel.

Happy Hallowe'en

-I Can't Keep UP


word gets around: the math

In my last post, I talked about how to use social media in tight times. And, as luck would have it, someone helped spread my blog post through word of mouth online. In honor of the Society of Word of Mouth's conference today, SWOMfest, I am going to break it down for you by the numbers. (And, if you want to participate in the conference, you can watch it live on the SWOMfest website.)
What is Word of Mouth? (WOM) Storytelling- others passing on the stories of their direct or indirect interactions with a person, place or thing. Their stories can be flat, positive or negative- or a combination of the three. This morning's SWOMfest speakers Haley Rushing and Yaphet Smith talked about purpose, passion and how both drive your storytelling to create word of mouth. And, Haley pointed out - if you aren't out there telling your story, somebody else will be.

Today I am going to skip the content piece and just talk about how quickly word of mouth can travel online, by looking at the numbers. Keep in mind- content is important too, but we'll get to that later. This post is about showing how far something travels and how that happens.

My audience, including friends & followers on my blog, twitter, facebook, plurk, StumbleUpon, email subscriptions and online communities I belong to, is at 3,600+.

The key person who "Stumbled" my post, Te-ge Bramhall, has about 640 "subscribers" on StumbleUpon. She "stumbled" my post- which means she gave it a thumbs up and reviewed it on that website. When she did that all of her subscribers were notified that she stumbled it. A number of them and their friends- well over a thousand folks- visited my site. A few of them stumbled it too, but a lot of them signed up to be subscribers which is even better.

Then, after posting my gratitude to Teeg on Plurk, Mack Collier of The Viral Garden, also mentioned it on twitter. He has over 2,000 followers and about 100 of them checked out my site. One of his followers, @dayngr, "Re-Tweeted" his message and about 150 of her 2,000+ followers also visited my site.

So let's add this up. At a minimum, 8,240 people received word about my post. About 2,700 people visited my site 24 hours after I posted. I received almost 200 new email subscribers and about 200 new RSS subscribers. From a percentage standpoint that's pretty extraordinary. And most of it was because my friend Teeg thought it was a pretty good post and spread the word about it via online WOM. Thanks Teeg!

To check out the bios of Haley Rushing and Yaphet Smith, go to the SWOMfest website and click on their names. Also, @dayngr has a cool blog Honor, Duty, eMail in support of our troops! Check it out and send them some love via eMail.

One more thing. How do I know all this? I use Sitemeter to track all the traffic to my blog. One of the statistics it keeps is what website referred the visitor to your site. I was able to count all the visitors from each of these sites and any others that sent traffic to my blog- including Mack Collier's and @dayngr's referrals from their twitter pages. Pretty neat, huh?

Another spectacular day in Denver. How's yours?
-I Can't Keep Up


using social media in a tough economy

Don't let the economy rain on your parade. Even if your budget is tight, there are great ways to use social media that cost very little and help build your community at the same time. All the efforts I list below help build word of mouth recognition for you and your organization. Word of mouth in the social media world expands and enhances non-cyber-world communication.

Use LinkedIn to reach out
Update your contacts in LinkedIn and go through them- who haven't you talked to in a while and who has updated their profile? Have you updated your profile and your company's? Making sure your info is correct helps people find you when searching for services. And don't rely on people finding you- search LinkedIn for professionals that you may share common interests with, answer questions to increase your visibility, join groups and share information.

More importantly - make sure your employees are doing the same.

Build your team with facebook
Build/update your profile on facebook. I spoke with a friend the other day who told me her staff, located all over the country, are now using facebook to build their team relationships. What they realized in the process is that their clients and business partners are finding them on facebook as well. She's the kind of person who knows her staff, no matter what their capacity, are the best ambassadors for their company. To help promote the use of facebook, she paid for everyone to have fun headshots taken to use as their profile photo, created a company group- branded with their logo, of course, and made sure they felt comfortable with facebook time during the workday.

Maximize twitter
Are you using twitter? Now that major news organizations are incorporating twitter into their broadcasts, people are using it in place of text messaging and major corporations are using it for customer service, twitter is taking hold in the mainstream. Set up an account and learn how to use it. Once you get that down, start searching it to listen and see what folks are saying about your organization and industry. And, as above, help your staff do the same.

Word of mouth outreach can't be underestimated. Think about the last time you heard great things about a restaurant from a friend and then decided to check it out, or about the time someone complained about the bad service they got at a restaurant. Online, these kinds of word of mouth conversations travel a little faster and a little farther- get out front and maximize your opportunities now, so you are not just putting out fires, but building business!

Make sure your electronic contact info is everywhere it should be
Recently I received a membership mailing from a museum- there was no web address or email contact on the enclosed letter, membership card, envelope, or the large, obviously expensively produced, poster enclosed. What a missed opportunity? Your email and web address should be on your business cards, letterhead, collateral materials, promotional gifts and in the signature of your email. That seems like a no-brainer, but I would put it up there with forgetting business cards for a networking event and thinking, "People no where to find me, I will just email them when I get back." Well, not having the card misses an opportunity to remind them of you and ditto for not providing electronic contact info.

What are you doing with social media to be a world-beater?

Enjoy the autumn colors!
-I Can't Keep Up