Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It Truly is a Flat World for Social Networking

My latest trend post about social networking here.

For those of you who don't care about these things the way I do, my basic point is that we are about to see the proliferation of niche social networks in a major way as a result of companies like Ning.com. The same way there are now tens of millions of blogs, we will see millions of niche (and many private) communities launch leveraging easy to use and virtually free online tools.

Click the link above for my more complete thoughts...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Humans Are Better Than Computers At Finding And Polishing Talent

The good news is that anyone is now a publisher and producer. That's also the bad news.

Now that anyone can create, publish, and distribute their own content in the matter of minutes we are entering an Age of Clutter. There's a lot of great content being shared, but there is also more junk than ever.

Don't believe me? Just do any search on Technorati or spend time on MySpace and YouTube.

For anyone interested in this issue, I highly recommend watching this presentation by Andrew Keen, the author of The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture.

I wrote a whole post on this on our business blog at OrganizedWisdom here. The video is worth a listen and the folks at Google ask some great questions.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

White Stripes Rocked Madison Square Garden

Jack and Meg White put on an amazing show Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. The room was packed, people were bouncing, the sound was good, the stage was simple and elegant, and the music rocked.

Here's the review from the New York Times:

Once the show started, the White Stripes were left alone: the two of them spent nearly two hours on a big stage in a big — and full — room. “I don’t believe we’ve played this bar before,” said Mr. White, surveying the Garden. He probably didn’t feel quite that blasé, but he certainly didn’t seem intimidated, or thrilled, or even triumphant. He simply went to work, howling and shrieking and sighing, while inducing his guitars to do the same.

The Invasion of SPAM Sites

Over on my business blog at OrganizedWisdom, I've been writing a lot about the problem of spamdexing and how spam sites are cluttering up search engines these days.

If you ever search for health information online you may be interested in this post I did today titled: How To Judge The Credibility of Health Sites - 10 Tips To Help Weed Out SPAM Sites.

If you have any tips of your own to add, please do.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pictures from Cuba

I stumbled upon some of my old pictures from a great adventure in Cuba a few years back. Thought I would share a few here and put the rest up on my Flickr page.

Sadly, I had several hundred more pictures from that trip, but due to a very tragic computer mishap (thanks bro!) I lost most of them along with several thousand other photos. I've since learned my lesson and back everything up multiple times.

At least I have a few pictures to remember Cuba by. What a great place!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Adventure Notes and Pictures: Back from Telluride

Late last night I made it back home to New York City from a wonderful week's vacation in Colorado. I hadn't been on vacation in quite a while so it was refreshing to get above sea level (13,000 feet!) and into the fresh cold air.

Here are some quick notes about my adventures, along with some pictures and a video of me jeeping around Imogene Pass.

Click here for pictures on Flickr.

I arrived last Saturday midday, landing at the Telluride airport, which I learned has the highest elevation landing strip in the US. I've landed in some hairy places before (including Hong Kong and Sao Paulo), but this is by far the scariest landing I've ever experienced. It was quite a thrill and since I was one of only 5 people on the plane I was able to see the view over the pilot's shoulder. I wouldn't want to do that one everyday, but it was fun.

First, I headed into Telluride with Scott and Roberta for lunch and then took the gondola up to Mountain Village and baked a little in the sun. Back down for a walk around town to shoot pictures, shop a bit, and get a sense of the town. My first impression: the residents of Telluride are pretty lucky.

Then we headed up to Hastings Mesa, my homebase for the week. It's about a 30 minute drive to the top from town and every inch of the drive is stunning. The switchback roads must be a real thrill in the winter.

Sunday was an all day adventure. A full 12 hours of jeeping over mountains with Lauren (who is the director of the Telluride Museum) and Scott. We went over Imogene Pass from Telluride to Ouray to Silverton. What a trip. Anyone of a hundred times I thought we were heading off the road and over a cliff.

When we got to Silverton we enjoyed a beer and game of pool at the local Miner's Union which was memorable for this bumper sticker on the wall:


The next few days were jam packed with relaxation. Since I had lost my cell phone charger I could only turn my phone on twice a day to check messages which was a real blessing. Finally some relief from my blog, twitter, email, etc.

I spent a couple days at the nearby Hot Springs soaking with the locals and some other tourists. On Tuesday night we went to support Bobbie Jean Murphy and watch her play at the Silver Nugget Saloon.

Wednesday was another all day adventure to Mesa Verde where we walked around the ancient Cliff Dwellings of the Ute Indians. You could spend a year there and not see everything. Since we only had a few hours, we saw some of the main attractions.

Perhaps there is no better way to end a vacation than a live Bob Dylan show. He headlined a fundraiser for KOTO radio and My Morning Jacket opened. We had about 20 people in our party, although Vadra and I opted to cruise around the venue most of the time which was a lot of fun.

There were many other great adventures including staying up all night hanging with Vadra, having a black bear thrash our freezer in search of food, and too many scenic walks and drives to count. But those stories are for another time...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Going To The Mountains

I'm leaving for Telluride tomorrow AM so won't be blogging. Maybe some twittering and photo-blogging from the back of my horse, but beyond that, I'm unplugging :-)

Pictures and a Bob Dylan bootleg upon my return...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

SPAM Sites Are Ruining The Web - Humans Need To Take Action

I've been thinking and writing a lot about this issue lately. Here's my latest blog post about this issue over on my business blog at OrganizedWisdom:

First SPAM Tried To Take Over Email. Now SPAM Sites Are Invading The Web And Hurting Our Health.

Today, I also posted more about the Squidoo SPAM mess:

Seth Godin And Squidoo Finally Respond To SPAM Problems

What's the solution to filtering out all these SPAM sites invading our Web? My guess is technology alone won't do much good. Just like the Post Office, humans are going to have to carry us the last mile home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Have Journalists Become Today's Most Reviled Profession?

Are You Fed Up with CNN's Poor Excuse for Journalism Too?

Once the innovator of the 24/7 news cycle and insightful coverage of live events, wars, and debates, CNN has moved away from their journalistic roots so much these past few years, the Network can't even admit when it makes a mistake (see above). Whether it plays loose with their language, distorts facts, or distracts with their incessant multimedia video montages, we need to be asking what News actually means to CNN (and to many of today's journalists.

Good thing we have people like Johns Stewart, Bill Maher, and Michael Moore to call them on their poor excuse for journalism these days. And perhaps that's another reason why blogging continues to take hold so rapidly. People don't believe the main stream media anymore because they have eroded (forgotten?) their standards and faltered so many times.

Wolf says it best in the video above:
CNN is a business.

Is the subtext to Wolf's tone and response to Michael Moore, coupled with Dr. Gupta's response on Larry King Live last night telling us that because CNN is a business, they can report whatever they want?

CNN is not all bad. For example, I love Larry King Live, but that's because it is clearly an entertainment show, not a news show, and the viewers know this.

If news programs like the Situation Room and today's actor/anchors don't get their act together, they will forever tarnish the profession of journalism worse than they have already. (A few years ago we expected it from FOX News, but not CNN).

Who woulda thunk, "bloggers" would become this generations Most Trusted Source for News.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Why Personal Portals Are The Future Of Controling Your Online Identity ( or The Guide To My Blog)

Everyone seems to be focusing on building out their profiles on Myspace, Photobucket, Flickr, and now Facebook and Twitter. With all these new social networks it's hard to keep up. Where do you tell your friends and colleagues to go to now!?! Google?

The reality is, for online "Actives" like me (those who participate frequently in online networks, forums, blogs, communities, etc.), it's hard to keep up these days. So many new sites, new communities, different profiles...how does anyone keep up and where is this all going anyway?

My best guess is that all of us "Actives" will realize that by creating our own personal "online hubs" (gateways that lead to and link to everything else that we are doing), we will regain control of our online information. By aggregating all of our profiles and online information, we are better able to manage, share, and distribute all of this disparate personal information. Many bloggers have figured this out already, but most people have dozens of "accounts", "pages", "sites", "articles", etc. all floating around cyberspace. Why not get control by aggregating all of your cyberdata?

That's the approach I'm taking now. My personal blog, Stoaked! (here at unitystoakes.com), is my personal hub. You can pretty much come here and get to everything else. This is my personal portal. My thoughts, my links, my favorite content, my stalker feeds, my profiles, my pictures, my reviews, my recipes, my lists...the portal to my online life.

A few years ago, the concern was all about privacy. Now, it seems we are entering the Age of Transparency.

For example...

* I make it easy for you to read all the recommended articles and blog postings I find interesting by checking out my "Shared Items Widget", now at the top right of my blog. I read about a hundred blogs right now using Google Reader. When I find an interesting posting, I flag it and share it via this widget. The reality is, I save these postings more for myself than for you so I can go back to them later, but I also do it to promote other great bloggers, thinkers, designers, trend setters, and ideas. Why not share these ideas this with you!

* Keep tabs on my every move by checking out my Twitter Widget (also on top right of this blog). Find out what I am doing "now" or get random thoughts I post when I am out and about. People seem to either love or hate the concept of Twitter. I think it is an incredibly useful and collaborative new tool to connect and share information.

* Check out my links and discover my other Web sites, business, and family.

* Click on the Google ads to help make me money:-). Every time I buy something on Amazon, I use my own Amazon Widget and save an extra 4%.

* Subscribe to my blog to get updates via your RSS reader.

* Connect to my business contacts via my Linked In Profile. Want to meet someone in my network? Let me know...

* I don't use My Tumblr very much but every once in a while, I post random quotes, pictures, and fun links that I don't want to put on my main blog. It is sort of a random offshoot of my main Blog.

* You can even check out My Netflix ratings, My Yelp reviews, or Delicious links.

* Don't know what to get me on my Birthday?:-) That's what my Wish List is for.

Obviously since this is my personal online "hub" most of the links and information won't be that interesting to that many people. But that's the point. It is only interesting for people who actually care (like my friends and family, colleagues, and crazy stalkers), and it enables me to tell a more complete story of my life.

The combination of Participation and Transparency is very powerful. Now that anyone can Google you and find everything in 10 seconds anyway, my philosophy is it's best to "own" your information. Aggregate it. Control it. Share it. Shape it. By flooding the world with information, you regain your privacy and have some semblance of control again.

Don't leave your online identity in the hands of Google. Guide people to your information yourself! If you haven't already, it's time to build your online "hub" and get control again.