April 22, 2010

Like: Facebook’s ambition to sweep the web

The new "like" feature that jumps off Facebook and onto other sites on the web should pull even more organizations and small businesses and off the web and into Facebook.

Although this week's announcement focuses on companies like Pandora getting the shared like button, I think the move will increase the need for the smaller businesses and organizations making sure they are a part of the Facebook network.

Creating a page/mini-site within Facebook will be the easiest way. Still, for many organizations even this will be a challenge as the requirements for Facebook success goes beyond words and visuals. Regular updates and frequent interactions are keys to success.

A Facebook site is not something to just hand off to a third-party for design and implementation. It takes integration within the organization. It means making interaction part of the company's daily infrastructure. It means making openess more then "my door is always open" from the top executives.

Lots of talk on the web, but technical evangelist Robert Scoble pulls together a good summary of the news, what it means, links, and video in a s post on Facebook’s ambition. The man who Facebook dropped for 24 hours once explores the scariness of the new effort and shares a conversation with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg:

"Today I told Zuckerberg that he now has the modern-day railroad in his grasp and challenged him to both win our trust and not abuse the major power he’s going to aggregate."
Scoble suggests that the Facebook moves completed "a major piece of commerce infrastructure that would affect our lives for decades" and compared it to the completion of the railroad tracks across the United States.
"It opened the west. Made new careers possible. Let fresh food from California get to Chicago before it spoiled and all that. But it created an organization that had a LOT of power that wasn’t always used well."
It's up to businesses, organizations and people, whether they are friends, members, fans or likers, to become the check on Facebook. You won't get that by staying away or by jumping in only to answer random quizzes and play games.

Updated April 26, 2010 to fix typo in Scoble quote so that it now reads new careers, not few careers.

Right word won't roll off tongue or keyboard for non-conformists, new products

What do you call experimenting journalists without newsrooms?

What do you call a product that will bring together diverse information and publish it many forms?

How much baggage does a new word carry when it is created from old words?

If you were fast, you read that I called Dan Paecho an ex-journalist in a post on his newest venture of presenting the news, a venture called FeedBrewer.

I called him that based on a conversation months ago when I was struggling with how many months out of the newsroom makes you an ex-journalist. The conversation was prompted partially by Wired Journalists decision to limit its network to only journalists.

Over on Twitter, we "discussed" how seeing the ex-journalist in the headline got Dan to "realize I'm not ready to ditch the "journo" description" even though he had for a short time at least.

Indeed, his Twitter bio once again just says journalist, with no sign of the former journalist label that was there. So I changed the headline to read journalist before Dan said that was unnecessary.

Dan says:
"Ex just sounds so final. I prefer "former" (although I since removed that too). I'm all mixed up."

Perhaps "journovator?"

Indeed, Dan is mixed up, mixed up in trying to innovate within a traditional field. He's not alone - check out a Twitter list he maintains and you'll see the names of people who have spent time in and out of newsrooms experimenting with different ways to find the news, define the news and present the news.

I can't tell you when a person needs to give up the journalist title.

And no one could call Dan a traditional journalist. His new venture, FeedsBrewer, will take him further out of the newsroom. Says Dan:
"We need a new term for people who help journalism happen all around them, vs. the traditional definition (only doing it yourself)."journo" description. Perhaps "journovator?""

Although there are people with interests in journalism and innovations, I'm not ready to bless journovator. Can you say it with a straight face?

Dan's Tweeted reply was:
"I dunno, I think "journovator" sounds like it was made for t-shirts -- which is the litmus test for good names."

I think there are terms for people who help journalism happen - publishers, editors, advertisers, news sources, etc. None of those fit  what Dan or his journovators are doing. But I don't have a better idea.

Brewing information

I also don't have a better name for his new venture even after talking about it on Twitter. I started with:
"What we should talk about is @feedbrewer The name generates an image of cooking up RSS feeds"

The Feedbrewer logo (which I've mangled above with words) should inspire thoughts of brewing coffee. Twitter talk also suggested comparing the venture to the act of brewing beer or coffee.

From Dan comes this:
"Think brew as in beer or coffee, not witches' brew. Who knows, perhaps we will make homebrew for a launch party :-)"
I'm sure they've done research and Dan says:
"Personally, I think FeedBrewer rocks as a name. It brews feeds into delicious eye candy. One day, maybe beverages, too."
But when I hear FeedBrewer, I think of RSS feeds pulled into one device for reading. Or perhaps I'm thinking of Feedburner.

I understand I'm in the minority just by knowing of RSS feeds and Feedburner. I know no one put me in charge of language today. But this language thing boggles my mind.

Perhaps InfoStew better reflects this new product, new venture. I can serve stew with its mixture of vegetables and meat in a bowl, over rice, or a mound of potatoes. The product delivers information in a write once, read many ways and places. (Wasnt't write once, read multiple places the dream of the website language html?)

Guess I need to wait for the product to understand what is being said on Feedbrewer's web site and Facebook page.

Crusading for print?

Or perhaps I'm just ornery right now. Another cross platform conversation - started on Twitter, moved onto Facebook, then switched to email - on my crusade for print journalism - ended with an equal amount of frustration.

I never thought of myself as crusading for print, more for journalism, more for the sharing of information in interesting ways, or the telling of stories in multiple mediums.

Look at my past. Even while working for a newspaper company, I pushed for delivering news and information via phone, fax and online. My non-work time went to creating a community computer network that remains alive (barely) 16 years later, to putting Girl Scout information on an email list, on gopher and then the newly World Wide Web.

Crusading for a title

Look at my now. I'm pulling and pushing for information on Facebook, on Twitter, on FriendFeed for Girl Scouts, small businesses, and class reunions.

My eyes now light up as I talk about social gaming and figuring out the puzzles presented by FarmVille for those who call me guru, boss and expert.

I get excited (still) about new product launches, ideas for ensuring a community's stories are shared, and the restructuring of organizations that didn't realize soon enough that most women work now, often for businesses that release work schedules on Friday for the next week.

Now, if only I could find the right word to describe who I am. Retiree ain't cutting it with me.

April 21, 2010

Let's start over, please

It was a rough morning. Too much too wrong. Too dark inside when I can see that the sun is trying hard to peak through the crowd. It tumbled into a rougher afternoon.

Funny. I just wrote peaking through the crowd when I meant clouds. Or did my fingers know what my brain sometimes forgets.

The first status, posted on Facebok on April 13, 4:30 p.m. said:
Days like today help me understand how stereotypes begin. I don't like that. But I'm not real happy with many males today either!
Go ahead. Imagine the type of behavior that would encourage me to understand why males gain a reputation for being uncommunicative, or bossy or easily amused by unfunny experiences. Or how many times they speak in sports language, expecting the non-athletic to understand the secret language created on courts, courses and fields. I can probably top what you thought with what took place.

Still, that's not the thinking I want to encourage or the people I want to hang with so I decided to change the only thing that I can: My attitude. That led to this Facebook status at 5:44 p.m.:
OK. Let's start over. Good morning world.  
Who said my day had to start in the a.m. or when sun popped up.

The status prompted responses such as:
"Good morning. have you had your V-8 yet? A good way to start your morning.
Hey, sunshine. Good day to you!"
 and, despite what I just said, my favorite one of all:
"OK, so like in golf. We should get, say, 6 mulligans a year."
I can get by with  do-overs a year. Can you?

April 20, 2010

Success breeds CEO role for journalist

Outside the box thinking has led to out of the newsroom work for Dan Pacheco for a number of years. Today, I learned he's using the success of his Printcasting project to jumpstart a new business - FeedBrewer.

The new business, like the old project, is a way of delivering content in an efficient way. It also recognizes that publishing once on a web page is not wise for news organizations, businesses or any non-profit.

From the About Us page:
"FeedBrewer is a one-stop shop for quickly creating beautifully-designed content that is instantly published to multiple platforms -- including tablets (such as the iPad), mobile devices, and even printable PDF magazines. Simply provide the RSS feed from any blog or content management system, choose a design scheme, and we'll do the rest. You can also add content manually by posting text and uploading photos."
Dan is the new CEO for the new company. Here's his explanation for Printcasting:
"About two years ago, we wrote up an idea for how to leverage standardized Web content to create locally-targeted publications with less time, money and software than ever before. The technology and content would be digital, but the output would be optimized for physical distribution as printable PDF magazines. That concept became Printcasting and it earned us a Knight News Challenge grant."
And, hey, he's done a great job answering how Feedbrewer differs:
"Sounds a lot like Printcasting, doesn't it? It should, because we're simply expanding the concept of print publishing to portable publishing. In our new thinking, printable content is subsumed under the mobile meme. That may sound like a stretch to some, but it makes sense if you think of print as the original mobile / portable format."

Read the rest of his post for details.

I have signed up to be a beta-tester for this project too. I found working with Dan when Printcasting was in its early stages to be rewarding personally and professionally. I especially like how receptive he was to suggestions and how well the project communicated with potential fans and customers.

Dan is an impressive guy with experience as an online producer at The Washington Post, a multimedia producer at Knight Ridder Tribune Interactive, a product manager at AOL, and most recently senior manager of digital products for The Bakersfield California.

All of that, plus his experience with the Knight Foundation grant and Printcasting, should help ensure success of the project.

Now about the name, Feedbrewer ... I have to think about that one.

Note: This post was updated to remove ex- from journalist for Dan about 4:30 EST April 20,2010. His Twitter bio says he is one. No insult intended. I misunderstood a long ago discussion about when a journalist stops being one.

I've mentioned Printcasting before: