Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Well, That's Interesting: Freeplaymusic.com

My son-in-law pointed be toward a quite promising resource: freeplaymusic.com. I'm doing due diligence now, starting with their Terms of Service.

But, as it stands: this looks like the best thing since sliced bread.

Provided I wanted the material for personal use, broadcast within America only, and some other applications, I'd be fine. As it is, the TOS specifically excludes "web broadcasts, advertising commercials or promos" - which are the uses I had in mind.

Back to the drawing board - but it was certainly worth a look.

I may be back, for personal use.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Pretty Good Article on Twitter Misuse - and SEO My Way

I'm borrowing the format from my Apathetic Lemming of the North blog for this post: excerpts from an article, then my take on it.

"Why Your 4,243,564 Twitter Followers Don't Mean Jack
aimClear Blog (January 15, 2010)

"When Twitter launched four years ago, it (perchance inadvertently) gave businesses the most precious gift imaginable: an intimate glimpse into consumers' daily lives. It gave them the power to monitor brand reputation in a clean, accessible interface. Corporate brands like @Zappos, @Starbucks, @Dell, @JetBlue, and @TheHomeDepot, as well as personal 'brands' like @StephenFry and @AlyssaMilano have been wildly successful with social media because they're structured, devoted, attentive, engaging and personable.

"Tragically, there are also bandwagon-jumping companies and celebrity glory-whores who go at Twitter like a portly dude at a buffet. They use it as self-centered bullhorn and nothing more...."

Two examples, without the accompanying screen grabs:

"...6) You dove into Twitter because it seemed cool. And then you just, like… stopped. Then you started using an API for your PRs. And we all hated you a little bit more. | @tgifridayscorp

"Companies who thrust themselves into Twitter without a clear set of goals are setting themselves up for humiliation. Just because Twitter is free doesn't mean the marketing campaign should be half-assed. This pitiful stream of tweets will haunt TGI Friday SERPs for all eternity. (Hat-tip @PureDriven for this example.)

7) You don't encourage, you expect. (And you @mention yourself. Seriously?) | @coldstonecream

"Coldstone makes some wicked tasty ice cream. But what kind of success can they hope to achieve with social media when they talk at people rather than with them? The last @mention they exchanged with another real live human being was in April of 2009. (Hat-tip to @MerryMorud for this laughable gem.)..."

There's more, like: the fellow who has upwards of three quarters of a million followers, follows two people, and hasn't tweeted in almost three months; the ball team that tweets status updates, and nothing but status updates.

This Sort of Thing Gave SEO a Tacky Reputation

Not the article: the "lobotomytastic" (coined by the article's author, as far as I know) examples of self-destructive public relations listed.

I enjoyed reading the article - apart from the occasional vulgarities - and think that it's a pretty good resource for anybody who's trying to get the right sort of attention on Twitter.

Or any other sort of social media, for that matter.

A bottom line, I think, is to remember that social media is social. Anybody trying to use something like Twitter would be well advised - again, I think - to remember that people who Twitter aren't a demographic; they're not the masses; they are people.

Only a few of the folks I communicate with on Twitter and elsewhere use their faces (or, like me, parts of their faces) as avatars, so I don't know what they look like. But as I communicate with each of them, I get to know them. And they get to know me.

Which is the whole idea of the exercise.

About SEO having a tacky reputation? I may have overstated that. On the other hand, I use Search Engine Optimization techniques myself - and still tend to cringe when I see "SEO" in a title or summary.

For me, that's because so much were (and, astoundingly, still are) suicidally clever ideas floating around: like putting lots of naughty words in your HTML tags - and in text that's the same color as your page background.

Bad idea. In my opinion.

The SEO I use isn't my invention: it's a set of ideas culled from what people who had a reputation to lose wrote on the subject.

The basic idea is to remember that you're trying, eventually, to communicate with people. People who don't have infinite patience and aren't necessarily die-hard fans of yours.

Since this is my take on SEO, I'll call it "Brian H. Gill's SEO Tips" - even though it's cribbed from what 'real' experts had to say.
  • Decide what you want to say
    • If you change your mind, half-way through
      • Go back and revise the first half
  • Pick a half-dozen or so words that connect with what you want to say
    • If you're writing about browsers, that might be
      • Browser
      • Web
      • Explorer
      • Firefox
      • Safari
    • You get the idea
  • Put as many of those words as will make sense to a reader in
    • The title
    • The first paragraph
  • Let the reader know what you're writing about
    • In the title
    • In the first paragraph
  • Stay on-topic
  • Don't write fluff
    • Even if you have to write a set number of words
    • Anecdotes and reminiscences are okay
      • If they relate to what you want to say
I've read that search engines are getting better at reading data that's not straight text - but in general I keep my pages and posts simple, anyway: with as much information in text as possible.

If that doesn't sound clever and innovative: it's not supposed to. It's supposed to make it possible for search engines to mine my posts and articles for keywords, index them, and ultimately for someone interested in SEO, aardvarks, cosmology, interior design, or whatever, to find my pages.

("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

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