Thursday, November 30, 2006

CEO Blogging Guide

CEO Blogging Guide: your one stop source for focused, targeted, and obsessively minute analysis of how to do a blog, in a powerful and satisfying manner, for the high ranking, visionary executive.

For any organization or leader in any field. Learn how to get it right the first time, and get right in step with the smartest, most effective CEO bloggers active today.

Frequently updated page. Scroll once a day, and every day it will evolve, startle, expand within and without. When the scroll reaches it limits (?) or our limits of endurance, the last word at the furthest bottom point of the post will be a link going to another page, the only way to navigate to it, BTW.

An Anti-Wiki, and you saw it first done by your pal, Vaspers.

Why? If you have to ask, you will never know.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Share Economy Communicators

As the Share Economy Communicators move forward, the greed modulators and exploitation machines dissolve in red syncoptic dissolution.

Encouraging musicians to post FREE music mp3s on their band sites. Inspiring consultants to engage in public harangues, telecommunication tirades, and spirited symposiums on vital issues and key processes. Helping the old, outmoded POE (Pricetags On Everything) economy in declivity and declension.

Sycophant of the unspectaculor, just a day or two away from the edge of no universe.

instant telepresencing interactivity is the future

Resist it all you want in a secluded anti-commercial cave somewhere, but Instant Telepresencing Interactivity is the future of communications technology and popular behavior.

People are not just reading words. Or just talking out loud to earwrap mics. Everybody who's anybody is repeatedly mulimediating themselves in infotainment blissed out co-identities.

When the Machines told us they were all now compatibly connected and reasonably reliable, we eventually realized that this meant that We Are Connected. Then, we started talking to each other. The technology grew dim and dusky, passing for full-throttle invisible in some stations.

We had nothing to sell or shill. We weren't out to trick anybody or hurt anything. We reveled and relaxed in our impoverished paradise of legendary benevolent exploration and common concern. We hooked up in serious, professional, and tribal configurations with liberated idealism, satirical lyricism, and dialectical immaterialism as our lofty low-fi goals.

It's all different now.

But we hardcore radical tech types keep finding new holes to osmotically perpetrate. You can feel the tidal waves pulling you now into the Instant Telepresencing Interactivity Future I have shyly decreed as the Inviolable Mercurial Mandate.

Blogs will now remain and evolve into the Super Attenuated Touchy Feely Machines of the Post Hypervirts. We will be able to manifest our entire, revised, or selected portion controlled selves to our participatory audience, comment contributors, email pen pals, widget operators, download funnelers, ghost pollers, and user-viewers, in multiple digital dimensions.

We will formulate digital surrogates in the form of RSS and permanently out-of-the-office autovoxes. As emancipated ematiated mail delivery messengers, we drift out of sight on heavily mined pools of text soup.

But our customers are laughing at our Virtual Assistant telling programmed jokes, downloading a PDF and an mp3, and watching two of our video presentations simultaneously while a podcast of your rock band's latest demo is playing in Odeo as the background collage sprinkled with Google Chat box mayhem thread hallucinations and your VoIP is bleeping twilight zoney phantom tones with your email inbox exploding with voice juice.

3 most horrible podcast portal usability errors

(1) Difficult to quickly, skeptically, impatiently (the universal trinity of user behavior) distinguish audio vs. video files. LESSON: Even though you may display the full URL of a file, in common usage (.wav, .mov, .mp3, etc.), audio podcasts still need to appear in an isolated clump for easy inspection and expedited downloading, they need to be set apart, with distinct and uncleverly labeled Audio and Video tabs in your home directory page, contents listings, or portal index.

(2) Podcast mp3, when downloaded and an Open attempt is made via your favorite multi media player/archiver/disk burner, an error message pops up: it's PHP file. LESSON: Keep your mp3 links active, or delete them. Nobody likes linkrot dead files.

(3) Long rambling interviews with marginally non-self promoting clueless pundit wankers. LESSON: Better to podcast yourself and your own ideas, than attempt to promote others in a mutually opportunistic and mercenary manner.

spam message madness exposed

How spam smart R U? Take this test. Which spam messages presented in sickening detail below would you have fallen for, based on the truncated Subject lines?

(1) "Warning: If you would like to make big money doing..."

(2) "WOW This is FANTASTIC...!!! Blog your AD to millions..."

(3) "Got a couple of ideas based on what I saw on your blog. Digital satellite TV pain meds for erectile misogyny dysjunction droopiness..."

(4) "Eerst Europa Doelstellingen: De Ci2i Versekering..."

(5) "Hello Steve I am looking for a mind map or visual ma..."

(6) "Rene Keiser signed up, and here's what happened..."

(7) "Hi all. Take a look. A lot of fantastish beautiful..."

(8) "I am conducting some research on various safelist..."

(9) "Interesting. I learn something every time I visit your well-designed blog. Thanks for providing this valuable information. Next time, I'll read the entire article. Do you suffer from projectile hen-whipped syndrome disease? Your manhood will not refuse to lustre..."

(10) "If you like movies, like we do, be sure to check out our new site Outlandish Peerings and Hearings, on the DynaMate Network of Forlorn Lovetorns..."

(11) "Pirate Leroy says MAKE a virtual animator man chow..."

(12) "Sudden instruction gives everyone a wicked sand torch respect sword..."

(13) "Show her you are more man than that other dude she been doing..."

(14) "Hello casey hay young kat bobbi eden guage samantha mask spray heckle..."

(25) "Rich men reveal secrets of internet fortunes, with no risk for qualified dream applicants switch harness buoys in..."

(26) "Halo 12 Ultra Gore weapons on SALE for a party favored lamplight Vitamin See thrill..."

psycho blog violence war

from: compu-telepath 112_U~4n+*1
to: earth-install vpn 55_8Ag-T

This is your elusive exclusive Psycho Blog Violence War report for Wednesday, November 29 Tuesday, November 28, 2_NothingZero_6.

On the fringe of the uppermost deck of the Blog Ambience Front, the Decon Philosophemes have suffered staggering defeats, structural devastation, and massive casualties. They cannot hold together much longer, in the face of highly organized droves of droning cloned buzz agents. Word of Scripted and Compensated Mouth has pretty much wiped out the feared and hated Trust Web Confidante System of the early blogosphere.

Grasping at a forgotten and ill-represented esoteric deconstructive analytic device, one of them, a pseudo-mysterious and spuriously inconsequential Vaspers the Grate, aka 2nd Trimester A to Z, aka Pink Freud Apocalypse, abruptly hit like lightning the main headquarters of the masterful Impudent Mediocrity forces, striking a crippling blow from which they will not soon recover, if recent assessments of contaminated leadership, rapidly declining fighting spirit, and mercenary disorder in the rank and file are reliable barometers of their jejune resignation and organized despair.

Botkiller Militia has gained impressive losses in futile conflict with heavily armed foes in the Automated Blog Comment theatre of carnage and sorrow. Spontaneity Insurgents have not been seen anywhere for several hours at last RSS update. Members of Nonparticipatory Passives were recently seen in droll dress, dripping with mental gloom, as dismalities of every size and shape, now ascending, now descending, enclouded their fractured faces, that were frozen in a cartoonish and overly emotional rendering of relentless dread and woe.

The peaceful Bookish Pacifists were celebrating the prophesied dying out of the warrior breed in a cleverly antiquated but solemn and premature burial ritual consisting of lots of funny smelling substances imported from Africa, the Andes, and Australia.

A blogger comes up to you with a word of advice, and now, we have to worry about how much he MIGHT HAVE BEEN paid to say that.

Especially: if he mentions, or Golf forbid!...praises or presses heavily on a holy anointed Product or sacred unfathomable Company.

You ask a question about a specific brand, in a comment at some blog or forum or discussion list, and right off the bat, it's called spam with indirect commercial intent subterfuge.

Now what do you do? Explain you're not interested in their sex-stained and bloodthirsty money?

Describe how all your electronics equipment is half torn up hybrids you've hypnotized into some semblance of vague and sporadic obedience a, a fragile and flimsy dysfunctionality? How you spit on cash and bury coins?

How the Psycho Blog Violence War means more to you than life and death themselves?

We must not lose the core values of blogging just because stay at home mommy bloggers chant on YouTube the hideous praises of Paid Enthusiast blog fortunes, with cute kids dancing around hungrily in a dumpy trailer hitched to Sleepy Briarpatch USA.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

the blog conversation

Sterling at Chip's Quips, in "a touch of Krome", mentions how he received some coding help or suggestions from a reader of his blog, and rejoices (modestly) in "collaboration", quotes around it not to make it a sarcastic so-called, but to make it stand out.

Project teaming. Working together in unison or unity or a unified fight.

The blog conversation is taking place in reverberations we cannot ascertain in their totality. We publish a post, submit a comment for moderation and eventual, hopeful inclusion in the topic thread of a blog we so long to be a part of, or pretend to avoid.

But we can't avoid the always aspect of the blog. The blog is always on, constantly there. Staring at whoever comes near it, hearing things you later claim you didn't say or mean, then bouncing off the non-reflections that dance in molten twilight and a hercules there instead.

We say, type, convey something. It stings. We retreat: mute, worn, received. Then off to the dusk again, with as many dead balloons as we can conceive.

Ah, yes the collab lab of weblog island. I love the way the cake of understanding (whose icing rubs off on our arrowed minds as we shrug our way past the unwashed masses and kiss the cathedral of undrilled militant attention to user detail) marches past. So, I pause to consider every post at my own scroungey belittled blog, every post that gets from 1 to 2 comments at least, is a collaborative project between me and another blogger with nothing better to do or not do and leave undone.

#1 ecommerce website sales tip

When a buyer goes to your ecommerce or corporate website, ask them to register, and fully explain to them WHY they should register now. Offer them real tangible benefits for registering, like a FREE sample, product, or customized, user-specific information.

Capture only name, business address, phone number, extension, email address, fax number, and VoIP handle or number.

In some cases, you may need to capture industry and purchasing decision authority. But the less you capture initially, the more responses you'll get. If you need more qualified responses than mass responses, capture more information.

Just don't get marketing-research greedy. Keep it to a bare minimum. If they're a hot prospect, most will probably not mind giving you more info on your quick follow-up to their online registration at your site.

Then, within seconds after this registration is submitted, have a salesperson:

* phone him

* fax him

* VoIP him

* send him an email

* mail a personal postal letter.

Thank him, by name, for expressing an interest in your company and products. Ask about his specific problems, needs, questions, complaints, suggestions, or interests. Offer to send him more specific information, price quotes, product comparison charts, competitive comparison charts, how to tips...anything that can move him closer to you as a trusted advisor and friend, and eventually, customer.

You strike while the iron's hot, while they are expressing white hot interest in you as a possible supplier of some product or service.

EDIT UPDATE: Do not hound the prospect, do not use high pressure sales hype on him or her. Tone this down and customize the concept to best suit your audience.

I repeat: if the prospect is HOT, meaning ready to buy now, from somebody, you ought to consider trying to understand the need, the problem, and see if your product can be relevant and economical for them. That's all.

EDIT UPDATE #2: It seems that this "sales tip" would probably be more appropriate for high ticket, complex, or abstract products and services. For "commodity" goods, impulse purchases, low ticket items, and simple products, this seems like "overkill". The debate has been going on both here, at the Evolt! web developer discussion list, and in emails to me. Thanks for all the insights, everyone.

I must also state that I dislike registering at sites where I have to fill out long forms, screen after screen of personal or company information, and they also toss in promos for various newsletters and topic update alerts.

I'm all for user empowerment and I'm against aggressive, intrusive sales hype. My main reason for the instant phone call, as I said, is to pinpoint customer questions, complaints, problems, etc. that the company representative might be able to clarify or solve, plus identify those registered users who are ready to buy now.

Calacanis, web design, low usability

(1) Jason Calacanis is looking for a new site design. Check out his "Top 10 Web (Website) Designers Today", so far, post. Have a half a heart, and help the kid out, okay?

What's with the weird, non-standard "web (website)", Jason? You make Vaspers laugh confusedly. Web covers both apps and sites.

(2) Test your web design and usability skills. Which of these praised sites are worth a shot?

Sexiest Web Sites You Forgot About

I checked the first one, the Verdure Thought site.

Powerful immediate visual impact of class and prestige, which soon pales, because of low usability, due to poor type color and background: both are rather close shades of green. Not easy or quick to skim for relevant info.

If type was in white it might work a lot better for readability and user interactions. Have to give this a D+. Sorry.

legit plus unknown links comment spam

Here's an obvious example of dubious/dangerous blog comment spam. It's a real life example of crafty, clever, possibly detrimental, and unprofessional "Legit Plus Unknown Links Comment Spam".

This has a seemingly friendly, techie text, but watch out! The first URL is a well-known web site, but the following four or five are unknown to me. I am not willing to take the risk of clicking on these links. I "Reject" the comment, after copying and pasteing part of it here.

You cannot let comment spam slip into your blog. I'm ruthless: if it's got a link, I consider it spam, even if it's from a trusted friend. Why so extreme? Because even allies can goof up and pass a soiled URL to you, unsuspectingly.

Just give me a company name to Google, and I'll do some pre-navigation research on the search results and then decide if I want to consider visiting the possibly malicious or spyware attaching site. I am not (inordinately) paranoid (nor wimpy), but I am al(so)ways no(t) (a) gullible, vulnerable chump (or namby pampy dolt).

I quote only part of the spam message, which was being held in moderation. Rejected.

[QUOTE--with URLs deleted]

Hello Steve

I am looking for a mindmap or visual map for blog's content.

I have seen contents pages, such as, Search By Label [URLs deleted ... along with the rest of the stupid spam or artificial word of mouth, pseudo-blogobuzz, faux-viral message]


Be defiant. Delete and do not publish any of these suddenly swarming spam promotions, that are attempting to use our blogs as message boards.

my narcissistic comment on Peoria Pundit re podcasting

Whither Podcasting by Peoria Pundit.

1. Deleted comment
2. False comment
3. Actual comment split into
4. Fragment comment w/podcast link
5. Convoluted comment fragmentation #2

  1. . [EDITORS NOTE: TEXT DELETED was a valid, and totally nice comment by someone else, not me, with clever remarks about the undeniable benefits of podcasting, good podcasting, but One Hour Shows on local politics?]

  2. Vaspers disagrees. Make it 4 shows of 20 minutes each max. Series it like Peoria Prostitutes and Serial Killers #1, #2, etc. Break it into digestible chunks. Users are very busy, hard to lull, difficult to seduce, unmanageable, in a hurry, multi-tasking, and I do'n't give a dharma, or a damn, I shall keep repeating this truth until I die in disgrace.

  3. V- a%S(p#E*rsT=`hE..]gra_Te[ on November 28th, 2006

    I contradict myself brilliantly in my miserable little post on podcasting that good Peoria Pundit esteems enough to link to, poor misguided chap.

    I end my little harangue of bad podcast practices, saying I gravitate toward podcasting more than video, which until lately, I was championing like a deeply disturbed marketing guru.

    I have done short sci fi stories (”Hair From Hell”, “Age Reversal Ray”, etc.) and my noisey CompuMusik songs, plus some random ignorant blogology rantings, over at Evan William’s post-Blogger project Odeo.

  5. Forget ROI, most everything’s free nowadays. I use mostly open source and free web services, like free Odeo podcast studio and it even converts your podcast to mp3 for emailing or otherwise hosting or distributing.

    I contradict myself, as usual, because I’m operating on several planes of metaphysics and web analysis simultaneously.

Monday, November 27, 2006

How To Deal with People Who Talk Too Much

First, in my obsessive eternal teaching mode, let me state that I was going to title this "Dealing Decisively with Psycho Blabbers", but changed my mind. I figured it would attract more traffic if I cleverly used SEO technique of stating the probable phrase that a typical user might type into a search engine to find info on this topic.

Okay, so I call super aggressive, domineering or bullying, obsessive chatterboxes, who refuse to shut the hell up -- I call them: Psycho Blabbers.

Let me repeat: I'm not making fun of "the gift of gab", salesmen, extroverts, charismatic leaders, drill instructors, teachers, eccentric poets, la la landers, or lecturers.

I'm talking about the boring, narcissistic, exhibitionistic fool who sadistically, and freakishly, inflicts his nutty personality and materialistic bragging -- a faith or unbelief system, a hobby, a political idea, a dietary oddity, a form of government, a sexual quirk, an operating system, a programming language, a movie, a taste in music, a philosophy, a prejudice, or whatever -- on everybody in the universe, indiscriminately, inappropriately, tyrannically, non-stop.

Being an incurably lazy type of over-achieving and inspirational but modest genius, let me also state that a grandiose delusional personality is always involved. My antidote for that self-impressed trait within me is simple self-loathing, auto-parody, and deliberately stupid posts like "Deleting the Entire Internet".

And being a 20 work-day loafer, who nearly never contradicts himself, I must now quit being so original and just lazily quote comments from my related post "Mouth as Weapon", to finish this post.

Seriously, this is a rather important topic, and we are rarely fully prepared when faced with such bizarre psychopathy. Many encounter it around the winter holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's.


Anonymous said...

If you can find a way to effectively combat this type of person, please post it. I am dealing with one of these personalities now... borderline insane... threatens legal action against people who disagree... no concern for others... more than your average asshole. What these people inflict on others really needs to be classified as harassment.

Monday, November 27, 2006 11:13:02 PM

steven edward streight said...

Oh, I have my ways of dealing with it, but I seek a few more myself.

One way is to abruptly, with no explanation, vanish. I did that once or a thousand times.

I myself am a freaking blabbermouth and I have to forcibly subdue myself, to avoid getting an iron skillet on my head repeatedly, WBW (wielded by wife).

Another way is to rise up above it all via weird meditation techniques, but watch out you don't get a demon flying in there.

Still another way is to greet it with a more massive ego treatment. Be even more mouthy. Ruin and wither his oratory. Like St. Stephen, the first martyr, make them "unable to resist the power and wisdom by which he spoke". But alas, he was stoned for it, and I don't mean can can.

I advise NEVER (well, almost never) confronting the person with how boring and selfish they are. I think that will backfire and cause even more disruption, anger issues, and sorrow for everyone.

Generally, total avoidance and shutting them out of your life, is advised as the ultimate solution,whenever feasible and reasonable. The sanity of you and your loved ones is paramount.

You seem to have a curiously dangerous case there, so I strongly advise you to get professional help immediately: cops, lawyers, shrinks, social workers, gurus, whatever you can muster.

Please stay in touch, friend. (See how prolix this reply is? It takes one to know one, sigh...)

Monday, November 27, 2006 11:34:16 PM

steven edward streight said...

I also think these people are beautiful hateful angels sent to us for our training in this saha world.

You must somehow do the illogical and thus spiritual: have compassion on the stupid annoying jerkbag, and wish for his eventual or abrupt Enlightenment and Transformation.

Every enemy must be dealt with appropriately, sometimes violently mentally, but also with some mercy and compassion.

But too many are chumps, with no spine. We must figure out a dignified but decisive solution, before it's too late and someone commits homicide or suicide, which is very probable in too many cases.

Monday, November 27, 2006 11:38:41 PM


7 podcast tips for more effective communications

Here are 7 vital tips on how to make your podcasts more effective.

Keep Your Podcasts...

(1) Short.

Only arrogant ego maniacs make 45 minute podcasts of random ramblings. Only amateur business people start with long introductions of participants or interview subjects. Get right to the meat of your presentation. People simply cannot focus on audio messages for long stretches of time, no matter who it is or how interesting the topic. Mind is restless. Mind is easily bored.

(2) Relevant.

Avoid going off on tangents. Stick to the topic. Stop a wandering podcast and start over again, or edit the finished podcast. Please remember that users have millions of other things they need to do, or enjoy doing. They are not hanging on every word you drool.

(3) Identified by Title and Time Duration.

Never call your podcasts "Podcast #1", "Podcast November 21, 2006", "Podcast Beta 6", etc. Think of some title for it, something that indicates what it contains. And let users know how long it is. Standard form is (4:12) for 4 minutes and 12 seconds. This is something I almost never see done. But many people will skip a podcast if they don't know what the time investment is going to be. To omit a title and time duration is sloppy, lazy, and amateurish.

(4) Introduced by Brief Textual Summary.

Again, think. Ponder how to best sum up the podcast content in a brief statement, or a few sentences, whatever it takes to entice people to listen to it. Even better, provide a summary that conveys the meat of your message, so busy people can get the gist of it, without having to listen to the whole thing.

(5) Divided into Topic Segments.

It's pretty much impossible to "search" the contents of a podcast. The only way I know of would be to provide a timer or a scale that indicates position of various parts, then providing a key, like (0:00 - 1:50) = web design comments, (1:50 - 5:37) = usability tips, (5:37 - 7:15) = credibility enhancements, etc. This would help users find relevant information and skip irrelevant discussions.

Another way, much easier, would be to simply break the long podcast into shorter segments, then label them, like this: "Web Insights 1: Design", "Web Insights 2: Usability", "Web Insights 3: Credibility", etc. Don't forget to provide the time lengths and summaries.

(6) Defined by Audience Targeted.

In some cases, where it may not be obvious, indicate what your audience for the podcast is. Like: "For advanced bloggers", "For C ++ Programmers", "For web developers". Or label the podcast as "comedy", "political commentary", etc.

(7) Clear and Pleasantly Listenable.

Be sure to check and double check your audio volume levels and sound quality. I have often re-done a podcast, started all over again, because the background music was too loud, or my voice volume was not loud enough, and so on. Don't just rush into a podcast, assuming that the levels are right.

podcasts are still poor communication tools

Podcasts are catching on, sort of. But are they any good? Most are boring and too long to keep anyone's interest.

Usage numbers are escalating, but most internet users are not getting it yet. I think shopping, news gathering, photo sharing, music downloading, video viewing, and text communications (email and blogs) are still the primary online activities.

According to a new Pew Research podcast usage report, in the Pew newsletter that entered my email inbox today, only 1% of internet users download a podcast, on any given day, for later listening. But 17% of internet users have downloaded a podcast at some time in the past. I would be more interested in how many have subscribed to podcast channels and how many are doing their own podcasts.

My guess is that people are far more interested in hearing music, than in hearing lectures, interviews, and other verbal ramblings. Why download a podcast that you'll only listen to one time, and maybe not the entire thing if it gets boring, which most are?

Podcasts violate just about every rule for effective communications, and the perpetrators seem to not care. Thus, most podcasts seem to be done by egotistic people who think we hang on every word that comes out of their mouths. (See my recent post on "Mouth as Weapon").

Podcasts are ill planned. Poorly recorded. Way too long. Don't contain much meat. Have very little of value to others. Podcasts are mostly "me me me". Podcasters screw up more than bloggers or videocasters do. Podcasts waste time introducing people or rambling on myopically.

Since I have to interrupt my computer usage and lie on the floor every 1/2 hour, due to Steve Ballmer-type back and geek neck problems, I seek interesting, relevant, instructional podcasts to listen to while I'm resting my spine. But you know, I usually just read a book or listen to music.

I like the Jason Calacanis podcasts, because he has a nice voice, good guests, and relevant, marketing oriented topics. The podcasts are really long, but sometimes I'm in the mood for a long sonic adventure.

I have suggested to Jason that he group all his CalacanisCast podcasts (in Beta now) in one place, in a category on his blog sidebar. It is a pain to try to hunt through his blog for all the podcasts. I am downloading and saving them all.

For myself, I'm gravitating more to podcasting, and away from video. Even though I believe in video as a more powerful medium. It's just that I cannot figure out how to effectively use video. I feel much more at home in a writing medium or a talking venue.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mouth as Weapon: 9 Signs of Psycho Blabbers

Sterling, in a post at Chips Quips, got me going on a special form of violent assault, known as "talking someone to death". You know, the constant blabbering about nothing that drives you stark raving crazy. On and on they go, jabbering, in a manic chatterbox hysteria, often wildly animated, on and on forever.

I'm not talking about a person who's got an immense wealth of knowledge about something you really care about. We all enjoy discussing issues with someone who has had interesting experiences and has done a lot of research and thinking. That can be fun, enlightening, and helpful.

No. I refer to a person who talks about themselves, their hobby, their blog, their vehicle, their kids, their political party, their faith or atheism...and they are totally oblivious to the looks of boredom, frustration, and impending insanity in those who must listen to their harangues.

You can't get a word in edgewise. They won't shut up. If you try to say something, that is regarded as a rude and unnecessary interruption. It's as though their mouth is a gun they're shooting at you, repeatedly, killing your input, murdering your opinion, annihilating your point of view.

They never ask your opinion. They never pause to allow two way conversation. They never listen to a damn thing you say, they just deal with your remark in a hurried manner, agreeing or dismissing, then rush headlong into their boring recitations again. It's like they were getting paid by some dumbass Word of Mouth Marketing agency, at a rate of $100 per word.

Yak yak yak. Blah blah blah. On and on and on they go, without the slightest concern for how others feel about it. Without any need for comments coming from outside their mouth.

What makes someone do that?

I've identified several factors that seem to always enter into the psychological reality of this abnormal situation and sick personality.

9 Signs of Psycho Blabbers

(1) Arrogance: seeks to bully others into listening to, and agreeing with, him.

(2) Self-centered: thinks only of his crap, and is deluded into grandiose visions of how great he is, thus, how small everyone else is in comparison.

(3) Insensitive to others: so full of himself, he can't even really see others or read their facial expressions and body language.

(4) Uncaring about others: not interested in what others think, do, or feel.

(5) Self-impressed: assumes that what he believes or likes is what others will agree with and have a passion for.

(6) Stubborn: gets fixated on an idea and clings to it like a life raft. The less secure he feels about the idea, the more he inflicts it on others.

(7) Insecure: is not sure about actions, decisions and opinions, so he keeps repeating them, thinking that constant self-affirmation will make them more real and true.

(8) Hostile: will hound you, follow you around, keep calling you on the phone, and then act upset or even angry if you dare to hush him up, beg him to chill out, or request a moment of peace to collect and reassemble your own shattered psyche.

(9) Hiding: there is some secret within him, some dark reality that he's warding off with this relentless stream of words--abuse as a child, a huge mistake he's made and is afraid someone will notice it and confront him, or whatever the case may be. Also, there are some disturbing, subconscious thoughts that keep trying to rise to the surface, and the constant stream of talking wards them off. When not talking, he tends to watch TV or listen to music--silence and relaxed contemplation are intolerable, even psychically painful for him.

Don't tell me "he just like to hear himself talk" or "he's always been like that, that's just the way he is". I don't think these people hear themselves, because if they did, they would have died of boredom a long time ago. To blow it off with "that's just Bill" is to offer no explanation or cure.

In The Analysis of the Self: A Systematic Approach to the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorders, by Heinz Kohut, MD (International Universities Press, NY, 1971), I encounter such terms as "the grandiose self", "narcissistic rage", "tyrannically and sadistically asserted demands", "diffuse narcissistic vulnerability", and "an intense hunger for a powerful external supplier of self-esteem".

The big mouth/motor mouth has trouble being self-contained, he cannot generate sufficient self-esteem through achievement, contemplation, study, or normal give-and-take social interactions.

These types tend to never appreciate anything, they tend to take advantage of others, and they tend to act superior to those who are less fortunate ("poor people"), other races, and members of other political, technological, or religious persuasions.

I will return to this subject, but for now, to avoid being a Psycho Blabber myself, I leave you with two relevant quotes from that Kohut book.

"...the patient's heightened pleasure in himself soon becomes submerged again and the increased vitality of his actions cannot be maintained long. A rebuff, the absence of expected approval, the environment's lack of interest in the patient, and the like, will soon again bring about the former state of depletion. " (p. 17)

"At slight signs of disapproval of him, however, or of lack of understanding for him, or of loss of interest in him, he would feel drained and depressed, would tend to become first enraged and then cold, haughty, isolated..." (p. 58)

While I have not fully formulated a solution to this problematic personality, I mean I have no clear way of confronting it and shutting it down, I feel I am inching closer to the answer. What interests me is not how to "change" or "cure" the person, but how to deal with him, how to successfully end his repeated acts of verbal aggression.

Don't think you have to put up with it, until it drives you crazy and makes you depressed. You don't.

poets vs. musicians

Many of you are painfully aware that I am a music composer. Since I hate most musicians, I call my works "noise concertos".

Musicians have never liked me. I violate all their prissy little rules, I upset their theories, I delight in taboo knob-twiddling. "Don't touch that dial," they shriek with shrill, girlish hysteria, as I spin away and turn the music world upside down.

When I go to classical music concerts, I leave after the tuning up of instruments, which to me is the only music that is made during such events. I have a whole slew of clever remarks designed to disconcert the musicianoids. They worry so much about "what is music?", "who is the King of Music?", "how can I protect my music?", and "playing in key", and all those other silly notions. No wonder all rock, rap, classical, techno, etc. music sounds exactly the same and remains frozen in a form for centuries.

One of my favorite poets has recently expressed an even more profound view.

From "Interview with Bill Knott" at BookSlut.


Does rock music interest you at all? If so, what kinds, bands, etc? If not, what music do you listen to?

I don't like music; I try to listen to as little of it as possible.

Anybody who reads poetry can see the ubiquitous self-doubts poets evince regarding the validity/value of their art.

Compare that to the eternally smug self-satisfied attitudes exhibited by the advocates and practitioners of music. They take it for granted that music is the highest art, the universal art, the only art that transcends all borders and babels. They never question that given assumption.

The arrogance of composers and musicians is insufferable. They really believe Pater's dictum that all the other arts are inferior, that all the other arts "aspire towards the condition of music."

But every military that ever marched out to murder rape and destroy was led by what art: were those armies fronted by poets extemporizing verse -- by sculptors squeezing clay -- by painters wielding brushes -- actors posing soliloquies? No, the art that led those killers forth, the art whose urgent strident rhythms stirred and spurred their corresponding bloodlust, was the art to which they felt closest, the art that mirrored their evil egos.

That's why they have always put music up there at the vanguard of their war-ranks, because not only is it the emblem, the fore-thrust insignia of their purpose, it is their purpose: it is the condition to which they aspire.


Make your mind smarter. Improve your vocabulary. Buy and read a book of poetry today. Try John Ashbery, Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Arthur Rimbaud, Christina Rossetti, Robert Browning, John Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth, James Tate, e.e. cummings, Dylan Thomas, T. S. Eliot, Paul Valery, Rilke, Shelley, Milton, Blake, or Allen Ginsberg.

"Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!
What had I on earth to do
With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?
Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel

One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake.

No, at noonday in the bustle of man's work-time
Greet the unseen with a cheer!
Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be,
'Strive and thrive!', cry, 'Speed--fight on, fare ever
There as here!' "

--Robert Browning, from: Epilogue to Asolando

deleting the entire internet

Over at "The Power of Parody" at CK's blog, I was finally questioned about the symbols in my comment signature. When I fill in the box, on a comment form at other blogs, that asks for my name, I usually use some cryptic symbol sets, for example:

Posted by: V-+a%S(p#E*rsT=`hE..]gra_Te[ | Saturday, November 25, 2006 at 05:24 AM

The symbols in my name are an esoteric Captain Crunch type code that, when anyone clicks on my name to visit my site, triggers a certain config file that begins a secret process that, once enough people click it, will eventually delete the entire internet.

It's my little magic trick. Jealous of David Blaine and other illusionists, I crafted this plot to suit my relentless need for peer-approval and my loathing for authority figures.

As of November 24, 2006, I have amassed nearly all the clicks necessary to pull this off. I need only a small number of additional clicks to reach the critical mass, what I tenderly refer to as the Toilet Threshhold.

I have already moved most of my duplicate blog files to the network that will be replacing what we web guys call the Commodity Internet (the one most people know and use).

The Commodity Internet, full of filthy porn, dorky games, pseudo-pharmaceuticals, and annoyingly boring personal drivel blogs, is doomed to collapse soon, with or without my little scheme. I'm just racing to be the one who gets all the fame and glory and mainstream media attention. I want to be the one who successfully deletes the entire internet.

I suggest you start switching your browser controls and system protocols to the Interplanetary Sporadic Connectivity Network, which is what I believe will be the replacement net.


This little prank of mine will make free expression haters, computer-phobic hicks, and the MSM happy, which is a regretable side effect. On the bright side, I will single handedly ruin a buttload of porn producers and shatter the online gaming community.

But more imporantly, I will achieve a place in history books for many centuries to come. I will be more famous than Bill Gates, Elvis, and the Beatles put together.

"Vaspers the Internet Deleter" will be my new title. On my tombstone: "He erased all the root servers and directories of the Commodity Internet".

Here, as a passing curiosity, are the latest global Nielsen/Net Ratings stats for the Commodity Internet

Month of September 2006, Panel Type: Home

September 2006 August 2006 % Change
Sessions/Visits per Person per Month 33 33 0
Domains Visited per Person per Month 69 69 0
Web Pages per Person per Month 1,446 1,469 -1.56
Page Views per Surfing Session 43 44 -2.42
PC Time Spent per Month 29:01:50 29:04:26 -0.15
Time Spent During Surfing Session 0:52:58 0:53:29 -0.96
Duration of a Web Page Viewed 0:00:43 0:00:43 0
Active Digital Media Universe 322,885,426 322,426,832 +0.14
Current Digital Media Universe Estimate 482,821,770 482,013,552 +0.17

your pal,

Friday, November 24, 2006

evaluating blog contents and functions

How do we decide what to put in our blogs? What policy or rules do we apply to determine "in" or "out", "on the blog" or "off the blog"?

A blog can contain, in body or sidebar or navbars:

* text posts
* photos
* RSS feeds
* email subscription forms
* reader polls
* cartoons
* browser promo buttons
* feedrolls
* graphic links
* "best of" link lists of your posts
* credibility features (e.g., Consumer WebWatch)
* testimonials
* blogrolls of other blogs
* chat boxes
* comments posted at other blogs trackers
* text ads
* graphic ads
* search boxes
* contact forms
* mp3s
* embedded podcast or video players
* donation (tip jar) buttons
* special links to relevant sites (e.g., Wikipedia, Google Analytics, Career Journal)
* downloadable products (like software, games, PDFs or ebooks)

...and much more.

I have printed out my drastically reduced blog contents, to enable me to more easily assess what I have left, and how to group things in logical formations. Like all feed syndication widgets in one place, all contact info and functions in another spot, and so on.

How To Determine
Blog Content and Functions:

The test for any item on a blog must certainly be:

(1) "Does this humanize my blog and make it less cold?"

(2) "How does this convey my expertise or personality?"

(3) "How does this really benefit my readers?"

(4) "Is this nice, but adding a download time burden for dial up users?"

(5) "Does this make my blog claustrophobically cluttered?"

(6) "Why am I REALLY putting this on here? Narcissism...or Altruism?"

(7) "Are smart or popular bloggers doing this? Why or why not, I wonder?"

Restless Conclusion:

Sometimes I find myself wanting to impress people with my technical savvy, my web design skills, my many alleged talents. But why be so exhibitionistic and self-absorbed? I'd rather have a link to "How to Do Such and Such" than have a demonstration of how I can do such and such.

Was the Digg feedroll on this blog actually benefiting anyone? Did my Library Thing sell any author's books or turn readers on to good books? I do know that my Swicki/Eurekster custom search engine is used by half the daily visitors to this blog, because I get feedback via email from Swicki, and can compare it to my Google Analytics or Sitemeter stats.

What's YOUR opinion?

How do YOU determine what to include or exclude on your blog? How do you prioritize and organize the items in your sidebar?

How often do you do a re-design? A new photo of yourself? A new color scheme?

How many new enhancements have you added to your blog since you first started? Do you visit successful blogs and study what they're doing with functions, buttons, and design?

Static there any future in it?

blog surgery at Vaspers the Grate

Jim Estill suggested I kill the word verification for comments, since I already have comment moderation. Done. Thanks Jim. However, Blogger is having technical difficulties, so I may not be able to effect the change tonight.

My buddies on the Evolt! web developer discussion list have suggested that I do a JPEGectomy, to optimize my blog for download speed. Done. I even deleted my Amazon ecommerce widgets, the Digg feedroll, numerous graphic links to my other blogs, most of my sidebar photos, and all the ads.

Blog surgery isn't so painful. You just separate yourself from any personal attachment to your own ideas. You get ruthlessly committed to helping users/readers/visitors to derive benefits from your blog.

It's slash and burn time, people. You know, it's very exciting to be on the receiving end of blogology for once. I give out tons of free advice to others, but now it feels so good to obey the suggestions of others.

I hope this massive deconstruction enables more people to visit and comment on Vaspers the Grate. Bear with me as the dust settles. I am still moving things around in the sidebar, so for a while it may look a bit chaotic.

P.S. As a side note to new visitors: "grate" means "abrasive", not a cute trendy way of mis-spelling "great". I am not "great" by any means. But I am harsh when necessary.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

some favorite bloggers: PART ONE

I'm going through my blogroll and finding smart posts by my favorite bloggers. This is my way of saying "thanks" to them, and of turning you on to some incredible minds and astonishing personalities. Of course, most of them are as combative as I am, but with more diplomacy and other niceties I cannot quite manage.

This is just PART ONE. I will be doing more posts like this in the coming days.

(1) Jennifer Rice, What's My Brand Mantra blog: "Trying to be cool"
Why companies who try to be hip...just look stupid and opportunistic.

(2) Shel Israel, Naked Conversations blog: "Bloggers and wise old asses"
Why "A Lists" and traffic mean nothing. Blog your passion and be oblivious to results!

(3) Fortune Business Innovation Insider blog: "Managing an orchestra can make you a better innovator"
How a conductor has a vision of a composition, and has to inspire his musicians to follow it.

(4)John Battelle, Search Blog: "Er...Not to Split Hairs...But"
The continuing saga of idiot companies suing YouTube/Google for their f-ing "copyrighted material". Talk about marketing suicide! When kids upload the "copyrighted material" to YouTube, it is free promotion. They are just too old, outmoded, and greedy to understand this Share Economy reality.

(5) Seth Godin "That Was Quick"
Seth points out how CBS is happy to have a quote from YouTube, how ironic!

(6) Jim Estill, CEO Blog - Time Leadership
The whole blog is fantastic. Notice how Jim rarely "promotes" his company, and how he simply blogs about books he likes, lessons he's learning, strategies he's implemented, eating habits, other marketing bloggers, etc. This is one of the best personal/CEO blogs out there. Humble. Clear. Wise. Read it and learn. I sure do.

Avant Garde Music TV episode 10

Allen Ginsberg & Paul McCartney "Ballad of the Skeletons" (5:02)
Famous beatnik poet with a pretty anarchy song. Gotta love it.

Stereolab "Les Yper Sound" (4:12)
I just love this influential electro-post-punk band!

Amida Tong "In the Time of Cherries" [John Ashbery poem] (1:17)

Felt "Primitive Painters" (4:55)
One of my favorite bands. Lawrence (vocals) is so spiritual, looks like Rimbaud here, and he said his favorite Felt album was the one he is not on, "Train Above the City". Modest genius! Lawrence solo project Go Kart Mozart (MySpace page).
Barnes & Noble Music article on Felt: New Puritan Music.

Ken Nordine Word Jazz "Night Music" [live] (4:00)

Incredible String Band "Everything's Fine Right Now" (3:39)
1960s hippie folk forest band. Love this group so much.

Soft Machine "We Know What You Mean" (2:58)
1960s psychedelic/avant jazz band.

La Kuizine "Soup Pop" (3:04)
Cooking soup with oscilloscope on screen behind pot. Funny electro.

La Kuizine "Program" (4:24)
A cover of Silver Apples song.

Music Store

Free Music Downloads

Gibson guitar commercial on YouTube

I often state that you should show the product in use by a customer, and show it solving a problem or enhancing a life. This commercial, uploaded to YouTube by Gibson, comes closer to the "enhancing a life", by implication. I like this mellow and visually interesting video. It promotes Gibson, but with specific features and showcasing the craftmanship.

I think this video commercial works. However, another video that features Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong is repetitious, visually trite, and ultimately boring. Not Billie Joe's fault, though, and I like how he chews gum as he talks.

Gibson Guitars: "Making of Gibson's Master Museum Acoustic Guitars" (3:50)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

blog history timeline

I'm thankful for the pioneer bloggers.

Many more would be included in this list, but they fail to include an archives link, an historical note on when they started, or any other way to determine when their first post was published.

I hope to do further research and expand on this timeline below.

Why has no one done this yet?

As incomplete as my Blog History Timeline is, it's the best thing available today, as far as I can tell, as of the date of this post. Be sure to read Rebecca Blood's insightful "Weblogs: a history and perspective". She mentions how the early bloggers were aggressive in expressing their opinions.

Now for my timeline. I'll be adding to this as I gain more info. I'll email a number of bloggers and rattle their cages for their Blog Start Dates. To know where we're going, it helps to have some idea where we came from. How many ideas from blogging's past are still in need of deeper appreciation and further development?

Blog History Timeline

January 1992 -- Tim Berners-Lee "What's New"

January 1992 -- Doc Searls "Reality 2.0" featuring: "Time to Grow Up" (share economy)

June 1993 -- Marc Andreessen "What's New"

January 1994 -- Justin Hall "Links from the Underground"

January 1995 -- Carolyn Burke "Online Diary"

August 1995 -- Michael Sippey "Stating The Obvious"

April 1997 -- Dave Winer "Scripting News"

June 11, 1997 -- Cameron Barrett "Camworld"

September 1997 -- Rob Malda "Slashdot"

December 1997 -- Jorn Barger "Robot Wisdom"

1997 -- John Hagel III and Arthur G. Armstrong, book: Net Gain: Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communities

May 1998 -- Peter Merholz "Peter Me"

September 1998 -- "MemePool"

April 1999 -- Cluetrain Manifesto

1999 -- Brigette Eaton first blog portal Eaton Web

1999 -- Andrew Zeepo first to offer automatic HTML blogging template Pitas

March 1999 -- Brad Fitzpatrick "LiveJournal"

Fall 1999 -- Doc Searls Weblog

August 1999 -- Evan Williams "Pyra Labs" that becomes "Blogger"

September 1999 -- Tom Peters (starts as book list: "what Tom's reading")

November 1999 - Marc Ginsburg, John Hiler, Biz Stone, and others launch Xanga

December 1999 -- Rusty Foster "Kuro5hin"

February 2000 -- Boing Boing

September 2000 -- Rebecca Blood "Weblogs: a history and perspective"

August 2001 -- Glen Reynolds "Instapundit"

September 2001 -- Christopher Locke, book: Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices

September 2002 -- Biz Stone, book: Blogging Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content

May 2003 -- Dave Walker "The Dullest Blog in the World"

2004 -- Biz Stone, book: Who Let the Blogs Out?

2005 -- Hugh Hewitt, book: Blog:Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World

2005 -- Elizabeth Castro, book: Publishing a Blog with Blogger

2005 -- Reporters Without Borders, e-book: Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents

2006 -- Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, book: Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers

NOTE: Corrections and additions are welcome. Don't be shy, tell me when you started. Thanks.

being dead is easy

It's not so hard to imagine you're already dead and it gives you great leeway in projecting yourself through the enveloped world of transient gleamings. You see what's wrong, and you persecute it, chasing it near and far, and you come out ahead every time. Dead to the twisteds, dead to the scants, dead to the deaf radar of the plummetings. As the assumptions pile up, you merrily enter the gloom, intact, preserved, shining like a starberry. With the torrential consoles laughing unexcitedly, you peer more deeply into the extinguished flame, the ride of unimaginable launderings poked through and glum. It's really rather easy to be a dashing dot cadaver, immune to the lashings of the severed statements, glistening instead of listening, triumphant in a corpse-like bliss of far hits and near misses. You're impenetrably monstered in your nuanced surrender to the fadings and lack of fate. Don't worry because it's easy, unfathomably easy to be dead to the things everybody's living for, what everyone's dying to possess, as you sand, sift, and surge onward toward the impossible ideals. It's done. Poetically.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

iTunes upgrade sucks

Since when is iTunes and QuickTime combined as one upgrade? I don't remember this being the case in the past. How I wish I had not upgraded to the new version. It sucks. It's the worst software on my system right now. I cannot activate iTunes without Repairing, i.e., Reinstalling it every time I want to use it. It seems I cannot install earlier versions of iTunes. (I get an error message.) Anyone else having this problem?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Share Economy is the only way to succeed

The new way is Share Economy. The old way is Price Tags on Everything.

Why do I say you must give away tons of FREE stuff, if you want your business to prosper and grow? Does this sound self-defeating to you? Are you reluctant to jump into the revolutionary and wildly spreading Share Economy?

Here's why you have no choice.

You must start sharing freely, abundantly, and cheerfully. It's the only way to go from Unknown to Known. It's the only way to move from Desired to Demanded. Especially if you have an old business that seems passe, or a new business that is lost in the mix of millions of other companies.

Let's concentrate on the new business, new music band, new artist, new consultant.

Here's why FREE is the only way to generate SALES: you have way too many competitors offering the same basic things. Oh sure, you think you're "special", an "exception", an "anomaly". YOU...ARE...NOT...UNIQUE.

Okay. I know this goes against all your sensitivity training and New Age humanistic beliefs. But, while you certainly are unique and special to God or The Universe, you are not all that much different from other bands, companies, artists, authors, whatever, who are in your niche, industry, or field.

Your product is not a snowflake, different from all other snowflakes. Unless you have some secret element that baffles all the experts, your product will soon be adrift in an ocean of competing "me too" products. Every time a new product appears, and becomes successful, droves of competing products arise. No product leader remains on top of the heap without constant improvement and clever promotions.

You are very similar to your competitors, but you can defeat this competition by cleverly, creatively surpassing them in how you present yourself, how stubbornly you persist, and how you give tons of FREE stuff to potential customers.

I always use music as the best example. There's just way too much of it. And most of it is good, really good. Not just major labels, but all the indies and net labels and private releases. The technology of high quality music composition and recording has made it possible for the most obscure homeless musician in Siberia to be played in my home in Peoria, Illinois and my outpost in Bentley Subglacial Trench, Antarctica (metaphysically).

You have to give people large doses of your product, if you want to spread the benevolent "contagion". Nothing goes viral so fast as FREE. Nothing is easier to promote and distribute than FREE.

Of those people who get your FREE stuff, many of them will become your FREE sales staff. Many of them will push your products, expertise, samples, into places you never dreamed of.

The Share Economy is the only way to succeed in any business today.

You have no choice in the matter.

ROI and blogs? ha ha ha

There is no ROI from blogging in the vast majority of cases.

Why should there be? Why can’t we do things for sheer good will and candid communications, enabling our customers to deal with us directly?

ROI or Return On Investment is an accounting problem, where you try to determine if the money you've invested in something is paying off. You don't want to dump funds into technology or personnel or training, and get no financial payback from it. That's logical.

But it's illogical to expect ROI analysis of every little thing a business does. It's insane, especially when there is no investment to begin with, at least no money invested. Ever since me and Bennett Theissen invented Zero Budget Marketing in NYC, initially for our music band Camouflage Danse and his avant garde theatre promotions, we've proven over and over again that it works.

You can start a business on the web and not pay a single penny...EVER!

I do it all day, every day. My wife Andrea is an accountant. She keeps track of what is spent on my consulting business. Nearly nothing. I travel almost not at all. I conduct most business via email and free VoIP (Skype). Computer related expenses like broadband, Norton Anti-Virus, toner, paper, and hard drive upgrades would be incurred anyway, for our personal use.

This rage for ROI is what Theodore Levitt (former editor, Harvard Business Review) calls a “harsh and narrow discipline” in Thinking About Management (The Free Press, 1991, p. 111).

What’s the ROI on new carpet? new office furniture? business cards? company cars? conference attendance? Speaking engagements?

Some things we do simply because it’s the right thing to do, or a wise thing to do, and we should not need to justify everything to accounting departments.

Since a blog can be created and hosted for FREE, and many smart business people are using free hosting at WordPress or Blogger, what’s the ROI on Zero Investment? Pretty good, I’d imagine.

No, no, no. If some company is stalling around like idiots about blogging, while their own teens are all over the map with it, what gives? Where is the visionary leadership required in this volatile business climate where many giants are collapsing?

You blog, not for revenue streams, but for enhancing customer relations, telling your side of a controversial story, and establishing your innovative orientation.

Blogs are antiques already.

The real pioneers and entrepreneurial leaders have already moved far beyond the simple text blog, into videocasting and podcasting, super-interactivity, massive customer empowerment, technical support chat modes, videoconferencing, the multi-media Web 2.0 blog realm.

What needs evaluation is not ROI, but rather ROT.

Return On Time.

The time required to publish posts on your own blog and post comments at other blogs, can be prohibitive for many CEOs and others. If you think you can just dash off a quick little diary entry a few times a week, and call yourself a "blogger", that's idiotic and self-defeating. Bloggers must interact with other blogs. And that can involve a large amount of time, which you may not have. You'll find out soon enough, once you get started.

passive web users vs comment posters

Jakob Nielsen sends a FREE Alertbox to subscribers. I strongly urge you to sign up for it, and to check out his entire list of articles. His Alertbox updates contain extremely valuable and practical tips on web usability and content writing.

The latest one arrived in my Gmail inbox today: "Digital Divide: The Three Stages".

Nielsen should have used "3" instead of "Three". This usability error is from a guy who teaches a lot about micro-content writing. Proof that none of us are perfect. Why do I say "3" instead of "Three"? Because "3" has faster recognition as users engage in high speed skimming and scanning.

I keep pounding on this very vital point: users almost never read your precious little blog or nifty web site in a slow, relaxed, leisurely manner. Users are multi-tasking, distracted, impatient, in a hurry, and only looking for immediately relevant or entertaining content.

The only person who reads slowly. Every. Word. In. Sequence. Is. Your. Mom. (sometimes)

Moving on, look at what Nielsen says about how the vast majority of web users (and blog visitors) do not contribute content, i.e. don't post any comments anywhere. Also please notice how marketing guys trick passive users.

"Some users remain at the mercy of other people's decisions". Bleh.

"...the user's attention can be sold off like sheep to the slaughter". Double bleh.


Participation inequality is one exponent of the empowerment divide that has held constant throughout all the years of Internet growth: in social networks and community systems, about 90% of users don't contribute, 9% contribute sporadically, and a tiny minority of 1% accounts for most contributions.

In researching how people use search engines for my seminar on fundamental guidelines for Web usability, we've found that many users don't know how to use search to truly master the Web.

People don't understand advanced search features, they rarely employ query reformulation, and many uncritically select the first search results. Also, many users don't understand how search engines prioritize their listings, and some users don't even know that the euphemistic label "sponsored links" refers to paid advertisements. (For more info, see Consumer Reports' study of what users know about search ads.)

Because they lack the initiative and skill to take matters into their own hands, some users remain at the mercy of other people's decisions.

For example, people sometimes accept the default home page chosen by their computer vendor or ISP rather than select one that's better suited to their needs. Again, this means that the user's attention can be sold off like a sheep to slaughter, as indicated by deals where search engines pay computer vendors millions of dollars to be the default setting on shipping PCs.

Similarly, some users limit themselves to "free" Web applications that display ads. What such users don't realize is that better applications (more appropriate, powerful, and liberating ones) are available at a cost that's far less than the value of the time they waste trying not to look at the ads.


Nielsen fails to mention how better applications exist in open source and don't cost anything. Why say that the options are Free Web Apps with ads...or...Priced Web Apps?

There are also Free Web Apps and Desktop Apps WITHOUT ads. Many open source web applications are ad free, though there may be a low key link to the source, which I don't consider an "advertisement" at all. I consider it a reference or source link.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Decent Marketing blog abandoned and spammed

Decent Marketing is one of the first business/marketing blogs I ever read. I was quite happy to see a marketer devoted to ethics and morality, which is quite rare. Decent Marketing was also an inspiration for my Blog Core Values, which I need to update more frequently.

Katherine Stone, former director of Coca Cola Experiential Marketing, is the blogger. I emailed her to ask if she was okay.

Notice how the last post is dated February 03, 2006 "A Museum for Condiment Packages". See the number of comments at the last post? 35 comments. But other posts have 1 or 2 comments. Since Katherine does not use comment moderation, and has apparently abandoned her blog, the spammers are hitting it hard.

This is why I urge every blogger to get smart and use comment moderation with delayed posting, and email notification of new comments awaiting moderation. Otherwise, say you go on vacation, or are hospitalized, or something, and for some reason you don't have internet access, or are unable to blog.

This opens the door to spambots, automated programs that seek blogs to befoul with their idiotic ads, linking to dubious, con artist, or malware/spyware attaching sites.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Kat Herding Means Business photo

Since Kat Herding Media came into my life, I find that I have more time to ponder the deeper and more serious realities of life. And now my lawn mows me, instead of vice versa. Friends, this is a thrilling time to be me, and I hope that, given my not very ordinary delirium, I can figure out a way to convey my well-directed enthusiasm.

I am not and will not be compensated, paid, stroked, flattered, nor will I be given "favors", "special treatment", product discounts, consulting fee waivers, or otherwise incentivized for making this, or any future, announcements or endorsements for Kat Herding, who happens to be, beyond any debate: The World's Most Perfect Blogger.

Kat, who is both beauty and brains rolled up in one energetic package, has taught me, just by reading a few of her astonishing posts, how to Be the Blogger I Was Meant To Be. She, with gentle prodding of "teach by example" karate, has helped me get in touch with my Inner Blogger, who is eternal and perfect, like her.

If you love online figureheads, avatars, and web ephemera, you'll surely jump for joy for my recent discovery,

A discovery which was prompted by a curious email from a Mr. Christopher Locke today.

In his angry message, Mr. Locke aka Rage Boy, was ALL CAPSing me, scolding me (unprovoked) about my "messed up" blog, and loudly demanding me to visit Kat Herding, or else he would abruptly stop giving me free marketing advice and inside dirt on respected Web 2.0 personalities.

According to Christopher Locke, Ms. Herding is not only a top ranked marketing strategist, but she also has a deeply human side to her that can touch the hearts of millions upon millions of readers and business clients.

Kat Herding is a true revelation of everything a blogger is supposed to be, but rarely is or becomes.

I plan to shyly suggest some kind of partnership with this lady blogger.

Vaspers is quite adamant (first time I ever used this word, I think) about how her talents and his own could coincide into some amazing results for clients. I'm talking massive sky-borne fireworks, big colorful balloons, huge contracts, and hot dogs for the kids.

Ms. Herding is currently working on some important work for IBM and Walmart, possibly Audible and Krugle, too. These clients have deep pockets and plenty of stuff that's desperately in need of analysis, so keep your fingers crossed for me please.

She actually heard some of my CompuMusik CD "Music for Florida Art Galleries" and said it was nice. Now I'm sure she meant "barely tolerable at near zero volume", but, due to her enlightened understanding of not one but many spiritual paths, she was too kind to give me any bad news about my noise junk that I force on people in a cruel and misanthropic way, for which I assure you: I feel ashamed and debased.

(I am listening to Hovhaness "Symphony #2: Mysterious Mountain" as I type this.)

I keep reading her URL as "kather ding" and I can't stop it. I guess that will gradually give way to more pleasant associations as we dream up ways of working together to make Web 2.0, 3.0, and Infinity. 0 (my keyboard doesn't have an 8 lying horizontally, which us smart folks know is the official mathematical symbol for infinity) a reality.

mainstream journalists vs blogosphere

Is it good that mainstream journalists are blogging?

Mark Glaser at PBS MediaShift asks if the blogosphere will somehow be "improved" by these professional news hounds and their assumed "high standards". When I get done laughing my guts out, I'll share with you how I responded.

"Should Bloggers Disclose Conflicting Interests?"


With so many journalists now blogging — thanks to so many mainstream media websites adding journalist blogs — the question is whether this new wave of bloggers will bring a different ethos to blogging.

Say what you will about mainstream media’s various foibles and biases, but professional journalists often keep the interest of their readers — instead of their own self-interests — paramount.

The journalist’s code of ethics requires that a reporter should “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.” But in the blogosphere, the rules are a bit fuzzier. Silicon Valley insider and TechCrunch blogger Michael Arrington recently reacted to the lastest charge of his conflicts of interest like this:

TechCrunch is all about insider information and conflicts of interest. The only way I get access to the information I do is because these entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are my friends. I genuinely like these people and want them to succeed, and they know it and therefore trust me more than they trust traditional press.

So what do you think about this stance and others by bloggers who feel that they can give honest commentary even though they have conflicts of interest? Will bloggers lose credibility by having these conflicts, or will disclosures help keep everything transparent? Is there something bloggers like Arrington can do to minimize conflicts?


[VASPERS comments]

Transparency is only the prelude, and disclosure can be faked. For example, who cares if a PayPerPoster declares that they're paid to promote (or attack) something?

What matters is the agenda, whether hidden or confessed. We do not wish to hear from paid enthusiasts or hired flamers. We want to hear from unincentivized, uncoached, unrehearsed, unscripted users who have no axe to grind and no butts to kiss. True word of mouth buzz in the blogosphere is based on this peer-to-peer recommendation system.

In online journalism, we expect the same lack of bias and good breeding. Plus, the ability to post comments in a thread directly connected to the articles, and not shoved aside to some forum space where few readers venture.

This is the global democracy revolution: from now on, everyone is on a level communications playing field. Political, governmental, religious, family, commercial, and other domination systems give way to the voice of the individual.

Journalism is not known for universal high ethics, but they used to be good at keeping the interest and loyal readership of an audience. That has now changed.

I don't think the question is: "How will the blogosphere benefit from professional mainstream journalists?"

The question is: "How will the blogosphere continue to destroy the very fabric and foundation of mainstream journalism?"

And: "How do we keep the creepy agendas and bias of mainstream journalism OUT of the beloved blogosphere?"

As far as TechCrunch, and other bloggers who are suspected of dubious or detrimental policies, we have our ways of dealing with such things in the blogosphere.

Influencers and friends of influencers can cause rapid avalanches when necessary.

Basically, we want most [that is, the corrupt, arrogant, and greedy] businesses and journalists to stay out of the blogosphere. We don't need or want them.

By steven e. streight aka vaspers the grate 10:23AM on 18 Nov 06


Friday, November 17, 2006

virtual community marketing intrusions

Those pesky marketers are not only invading the blogosphere trust-web. Now they're showing up in virtual communities. Will the unwashed virtual masses kick them out? Depends on the nature of the intrusion and the benefits for the user.

The real question? "How much reality can virtuality handle?"

Without losing it's grasp on unreality, I mean. If you put too much non-actuality in your life, you end up in big trouble, dead or institutionalized. So how much actuality, real advertisers or real pain delivered via immersive haptic teletactiles, can a virtual world gamer permit? Without....what?

What happens when worlds collide: real and virtual? Annoying, Distracting Advertising vs. Ecstatic, Utopian Fantasy?

Put on your mis-thinking caps and check out this PC Mag article. Deconstruct it, young pioneers.

Yell hello to Johnny Dvorak while you're there. He is a prophet of doom on Zunes music player/sharer/whatever the hell new tech they think we can stomach in the midst of all this Over-Technologicalization hosted grandiosely, delusively, by The Technological Imperative (what can be made, must be made, like it or not--who cares how users might misneed and misapply it?).

I don't do MUDs or any other simulated reality. The blogosphere's bad enough, it removes me far enough away from ugly boring reality, as far as I feel unfrightened to go.

I'd be interested in hearing from virtual community members, those really addicted in a very sick and dangerous way, and getting your perspective on virtual community marketing, the kindly withered hand "reaching out" (with products and hype) to this wonderful illusionoid realm.

Ya want advertising and salesman hounding you in digital la la land?

Dell to Sell PCs on Second Life

By Natali T. Del Conte


Dell held a press conference in the virtual world Second Life on Tuesday, announcing that the company has opened an in-world island with a retail store where customers can actually order PCs to be delivered to their home.

"Second Life allows us to connect with customers in a rich and robust way," said Ro Parra, senior vice president and general manager for Dell's Home and Small Business Group.

[VASPERS: Danger! Warning! Stop! "connect with [i.e., manipulate, exploit, drain, hype to, and leverage lecherously] customers in a rich [i.e., wealth-producing for the company] and robust [i.e., we're passionate about ripping you off with our crap products, consulting, or services]".]

"It will tell us what we're doing right and will tell us what we're going to improve. So we asked ourselves how to extend this relationship with the customer to create a different experience. We want to be where people are gathered and they're gathering on the Web in growing numbers."

[VASPERS: Eat me.]

Visitors to the Dell Island will be able to examine Dell products in an interactive, 3D way. They can rotate, change colors, and look at the inner components of a Dell PC. The Second Life stores are also linked in real-time to the e-commerce system.

[VASPERS: These rotters actually think in a fantasy land, two steps further into dreamable dissolutions than even the blogosphere, will just hop right into branded stores to shop for pretend products with pretend money for a pretend home in a pretend usage situation, "Hey, kids look at the branded Dell computer I purchased today."??? Don't make me vomit. Again.]

"For the first in-world resident to order their PC from us, they'll get it for free," Parra said. "We asked ourselves if Second Life customers want to build a virtual PC and want to get it delivered in real life. We think some of them will."

Dell Offers AMD-Based Notebook on Its Web Site

On the island, customers will pay for their virtual Dell machines in Linden, the official Second Life currency.

Customers who want to order a physical machine to be ordered to their home will pay in US dollars. The Dell Island also has a virtual replica of the Dell factory and a computer museum featuring a model of founder Michael Dell's college bathroom where he used to hide parts for the computers he was building from his parents.

Dell is not the first one to sell computer products in Second Life but it is certainly the first major manufacturer to have such a large commercial presence there. The island will be fully staffed with people in red jackets who visitors can ask questions to and have conversations with. Dell also plans to use their in-world conference rooms for retail focus groups.

Dell's Second Life presence was built by a company called Infinite Vision Media in Massachusetts.

Parra could not disclose the price that Dell paid for the Second Life real estate. "I don't have specifics on the amount but we're looking at this as an investment that we're making in Second Life," Parra said. "While we're excited about this step, we believe it is a small step. We think this is just an exciting medium for us and we're eager to tap into its power."

[VASPERS: Danger! Warning! "We...we...we...we blah blah blah." Self-centered means greedy and crass. "small step": they don't know what they're doing, but they smell money, so here they come whoever you are, it's your demographics that's the target, not your psychodynamics. "eager to tap into its power": its power to make them cream money out of its milk pails.]


Thursday, November 16, 2006

5 blog comment posting strategies

Do you have a blog comment strategy? I mean, why do you post comments at other blogs? Do you do it randomly and impulsively...or do you have a policy, plan, or goal?

5 blog comment posting strategies

(1) Opportunistic:

Some people target high traffic or heavy influence niche blogs, and post self-serving comments there, hoping to drive traffic to their blog.

Basically, it's hijacking a blog for selfish purposes.

"Spam" technically refers to messages, in email or blog comments, that display a URL to a commercial or malicious (malware/spyware attaching) site. But "spammy" is the posting of comments, perhaps obsessively, in hopes of attracting attention and getting new people to visit your site.

(2) SEO-centric:

Others will liberally sprinkle SEO keywords related to their product or expertise, into all posts at other blogs. Again, these commenters are not contributing to a conversation, but are seeking to use another's blog as a tool for achieving a selfish end.

(3) Exhibitionistic:

This is the compelling desire to express opinions and divulge personal feelings and thoughts to any passing stranger. The comment is posted, not for the benefit of the topic per se, but more to just parade one's ego, expertise, or product in front of others.

(4) Sadistic:

Trolls, flamers, baiters, con artists, and predators. This is the use of interactive forums to cause trouble, to insult and talk trash to upset people. Attacks people, rather than debating ideas. Personal hostility or deception.

(5) Altruistic:

More valuable by far are those who are passionate and insightful. They post comments because they care about a topic, issue, or activity. Their comments are designed to help, clarify, question, praise, shame, or challenge. Posting a comment is their way of contributing to the common welfare, forming alliances with like minds, and sharing news, products, or advice with others.