Sunday, May 25, 2008

enforcing Terms of Service violations

If you provide Terms of Service (TOS), are you ethically or legally obligated to enforce them? Let's look at the Twitter TOS controversy, from a simple, common sense point of view.

Ariel Waldman is a Twitter user. She complained to Twitter about another user who was harassing her on Twitter. This was beyond mere disagreement or a casual "you're nuts" type comment. The harassment involved filthy language.

Twitter, not known for being open to user requests and suggestions, not only did not enforce their own Terms of Service. They also shamed the victim, whined about their small staff, and declared they were "offended" at the victim accusing them of not caring about users.

This is not the proper way for a company to respond.

Some relevant items from Twitter's Terms of Service (due to change soon):


4. You must not abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Twitter users.


Violation of any of these agreements will result in the termination of your account.

While prohibits such conduct and content on its site, you understand and agree that Twitter cannot be responsible for the Content posted on its web site and you nonetheless may be exposed to such materials and that you use the service at your own risk.

    We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time.

    We may, but have no obligation to, remove Content and accounts containing Content that we determine in our sole discretion are unlawful, offensive, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene or otherwise objectionable or violates any party's intellectual property or these Terms of Use.


    Did Twitter stand true to their TOS, and account removal policy, in Ariel's case, or were they negligent?

    Here's the TOS / Ariel Waldman debate on the Twitter blog.

    More here: Summize archive re: Ariel.

    And here: Twitter refuses to uphold Terms of Service.

    It's not "mediating disputes between people" that's the issue here. It's enforcing your TOS.

    You decide if you like Twitter's tone and handling of this situation. Personally, I do not.

    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    blogs are the NASCAR of the internet

    Corporations can learn a lot from NASCAR.

    People are losing faith in corporations, for many reasons. People are sick of the aloof, pompous, unapproachable nature of many CEOs and companies. Customer service is often reluctant, insincere, and even outsourced to individuals who don't speak good English.

    Blogs can repair much of the damage to public perception of corporations.

    If the CEO, or some passionate and informed company spokesperson, has a blog, then trust can be built. Customers and prospects can post comments, which may be questions, suggestions, or criticisms. A smart business values all input, both positive and negative.

    Increasingly, in the new digital world we live in, if you don't have a blog, you don't exist.

    If you don't have a blog, you send this message:

    "I don't care about starting conversations with anybody. Why form relationships? Why be transparent? Why value customer input? I value only customer dollars. Buy my product now."

    Dale Earnhardt, Jr., in his book Driver #8 (page 5-6), said:

    "Being a Winston Cup driver means being accessible to the fans. This accessibility is the basis of NASCAR's popularity...

    The drivers have known for years they weren't anything without the fans. So they signed autographs, did interviews, and they let the fans get close and see them. The fans felt like they knew the drivers personally, and the result was fan loyalty.

    This continues today. When a lot of other sports see declining loyalty among fans and players, NASCAR fans remain faithful."

    Blogs enable your customers to get close to you.

    Implemented correctly, a CEO blog can be far more effective than any sporadic damage control PR. To ignore the blogosphere is to remain stuck in Business As Usual, which leads to Business As Over.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    12 tips on live streaming video

    Today I received an email newsletter from UstreamTV, regarding best practices for live streaming video shows.


    “What are the keys to a good stream?”

    The basics are pretty simple:

    * Make sure you have good lighting - This is super important.

    * Make sure you have a good internet connection - this prevents frame loss and choppy video.

    * Make sure you close programs on your computer that you aren't using - computers bogged down by other programs can cause your stream to be lower quality.

    Lastly...have good content!


    To expand a bit on that message, here's my list of some additional best practices. These tips will help your live streaming video show be more interesting, enjoyable, and successful.

    (1) Purpose

    What's the goal of your show? To ramble on about anything that pops into your head may work for some, especially pretty females, but generally, it's a formula for failure.

    Share your expertise, passion, skill, or hobby, in a way that will benefit or entertain others. Make them smarter or make them laugh. If you can do both simultaneously, you're a genius.

    Have a unique comedy show. Play music. Present tutorials. Do something that people will want to view live or in the archives, something of value, something that lends itself to visual display, like art or poetry readings or technical how-to instructions.

    I recall how on Justin.TV, there was a woman who, with a swimsuit on, read her poetry while sitting in a bathtub. That was weird, funny, and unique!

    (2) Audio Quality

    Bad sound, or volume levels that are too high or low, can ruin a show and make people decide to never return. Music bands often encounter this problem, but few have the expertise to solve it.

    (3) Appropriate Environment/Decor

    Barren rooms are bleak and not interesting.

    Why not have a sign in the background that identifies you, by name, or by the title of your show? All music bands should have the name of their band displayed on the drums, on tee shirts, or on a big sign, during live shows in both real world venues and live streaming video.

    Have a nice, or bizarre, or ritzy setting for your show, whatever style is appropriate.

    Vary the decor or even the location, as much as you can. Go to thrift stores to find inexpensive, but eye-catching props, which could be toys, paintings, backdrops, or mannequins.

    Have the URL for your blog or website on a sign behind you. Display your email address if you want people to contact you. Don't just hold up a sign for a few seconds. Keep the sign visible all through your show, for latecomers.

    (4) Appropriate Length

    If your shows are too short, it will look like nothing could possibly be going on. If your shows are too long, people will get bored part-way through, and probably never return.

    Remember, your show is actually two separate events: the live performance and the archived performance.

    Viewers may tolerate a long show while it's happening live, but people who check out your archives may be turned off by anything that's longer than 30 or 60 minutes, depending on who you are and what your show is about.

    (5) Planned Content

    While some web-casters can get away with being spontaneous, as a general rule, improvised shows are vulnerable. You may suddenly not know how to continue, things could fall apart, and you'll look too amateurish, too disorganized. Viewers will get impatient watching you fumble around and grope for some way to fill the time.

    At least have a basic outline of what you want to cover. Don't count on viewers providing great questions or comments via the chat panel. When a web-caster relies on audience participation to provide direction for your show, you will probably flounder around and look ridiculous.

    If you do react to live chat input, do more than just answer a question with a few sentences. Use the question or comment as a springboard to move to a discussion, but don't ramble on too long.

    Have a back up plan if a scheduled guest doesn't show up, or some other aspect fails to come off right. Try to have more options than you think you'll need, just in case.

    (6) Varied Content

    Treat your fans to unexpected experiences. Have a guest speaker, a live debate or panel discussion, or let some other band perform. Play some public domain or non-copyrighted material in the background or incorporate it in your show.

    Dress in unusual outfits or wear a uniform that you wear at your job. Put on a wig or a pair of really far-out sunglasses.

    Avoid doing the same things over and over again.

    If you're in a band, don't play the same songs every time. And never assume that "band practice" is of any interest to anybody. Live streaming video shows should not be "practice" or "rehearsal", but should be polished performances, unless your band is so famous, people will watch anything.

    (7) Delete and Re-do

    After a show is presented, saved, and archived, view it immediately. If there are major mistakes, like horrible sound or visuals, delete it and re-do it, even if all your live viewers have left.

    A music band that I help did a crap show last Saturday. They left the soundboard audio levels up high from a recording session, and forgot to turn them down for the live show. So the entire 60 minute episode was rotten, unlistenable, unbearably bad.

    I suggested they do a quick re-do. They took a break, then jumped back in and did a 17 minute show that was much better.

    Think in terms of archives. You don't want people to check out the archived shows and see a terrible show. A short good show is always better than a regular-length crap show.

    (8) Audience Interaction

    Be sure to interact, as much as possible, with viewers, via the chat panel. This will make your show more interesting, and you'll be considered more friendly and approachable. It's all about connecting with people and sharing your life with them.

    (9) Kick and Ban

    If your video stream site enables you to kick trolls and filth-talkers off your channel, and ban them from ever visiting again, do it. Don't be shy. Why let some jerk ruin it for everybody?

    Female web-casters especially need to exercise this kick and ban functionality.

    Some men will stalk these live streaming video channels to find women to prey upoon. They'll "innocently" say things like "I don't see a man around. Are you single? I saw your daughter. It must be tough to be single mom. Living alone can be a drag, huh?" and so on to get the woman to let her guard down and reveal things she should not reveal.

    (10) Missed Episode Notification

    If for some reason, you must skip a regularly scheduled episode of your show, at least put up a sign in your photo slide show that explains it. Or do a brief show prior to the regular one, in which you personally tell your fans why there's no show coming on the date and time they normally expect it.

    (11) Regular Schedule

    Commit to a definite time and day for your shows. For example, every Saturday at 5 PM CST. Do not deviate from this, and try not to miss any episodes.

    (12) Good Equipment

    Don't use the cheapest webcam you can find. I recommend the Logitech UltraVision for HD sound and image.

    Try some effects for a bit of fun. Have a friend who knows something about film-making or using a webcam do your video. Vary the angles. Use a bird's eye view by hoisting the webcam up high above the scenes. Put the webcam on the floor and point it up. Try a black and white episode.


    As a final note, be sure to watch other live streaming video shows, and try to figure out why some shows are far more popular than others. Interact with other webcasters and contribute nice comments to their shows. This can drive traffic to your show, and you may make some good friends of other webcasters, too.


    Monday, May 12, 2008

    hype vs marketing

    Is marketing just hype? Or is marketing, in the best sense, something other than bullying, exaggeration, and fluff?

    What is hype? What is marketing? What separates them as opposing concepts?

    Hype is any form of pushy sales, where the company wants to overpower, overwhelm, and overcome your resistance to purchasing their product right now.

    You, as a potential customer, are not important or interesting: it's your wallet they're after. They don't have time to understand your specific problems and needs, they just assume you could use their product, so they try to clobber you with thought clubs. Beat you into submission. Trick you, seduce you, lure you. Force you or dazzle you into buying their product.

    Hype, being product-centric, rather than user-centric, uses "we", "us", "our" instead of "you" and "your".

    Hype is akin to frenzy, hysteria. It's fluff in higher gear.

    Hype is arrogant, egotistical, neurotic. Hype is grasping, craving, obsessing over converting you into a paying customer, then moving on to the next "conquest". As in romance, the conquest is not treated kindly by the pursuer: customer loyalty and repeat purchases are lost by hype.

    Hype is hyperbolic, i.e., exaggeration, partial truth, pregnant with undisclosed downsides. It paints an over-excited picture of the miraculous product, and the extreme proclamations and claims are clownishly coy and patently absurd.

    Educated, sober, mature customers don't fall for it. Hype offends the right-thinking person. Hype only works like hucksterism, snake oil salesmen, and cult leaders: they prey on the weak and feeble minded, the young and the senile, the paranoid and approval addicts.

    Marketing is sober communication of how a product can solve a problem, or enhance the life, or meet some need, for a customer.

    Marketing helps the customer decide which model, color, size, style, etc. is right for him or her.

    Marketing helps the customer understand his or her own problem better, which is due to a truthful positioning of the company as a leading expert.

    No exaggeration. No inflated claims. No sex appeal. No reaching out to baser instincts. No bedazzling with showy gimmicks. No rush to make the sale and move on to the next victim.

    Car commercials are idiotic hype, for example, almost without a single exception. Driving at illegal speeds, with no other traffic, and no pedestrians, or cops, around for miles. Or balloons and hot dogs and popcorn, it's a circus, not a car dealership. You get the idea.

    Music band promotions are 98% hype. Exaggerated claims of virtuosos, new directions, unheard-of sounds, giant leaps in imagination, trend-setting stylistics, astonishing lyrical gifts, beautiful crooning...and it all sounds mediocre, exactly like, or less than, what came before.

    This topic of Hype vs. Marketing was inspired by a Twitter message ("tweet") from @markdavidson:


    My own PR person just told me my passion might be coming across too much like an infomercial. (This is why I retain a PR professional.)


    An infomercial is advertising that pretends to be providing information about a skill, industry, need, or how-to topic, but is using the information to trick people into receiving product sales promotions.

    Here are my Twitter replies to him:

    hype vs. marketing 1

    @markdavison - Your PR person may be right. Try to be more enthusiastic about your niche or field, not about yourself or your products.

    hype vs. marketing 2

    @markdavidson - For me, it's all about being passionate about ideas, and not about my own products, music, or marketing expertise.

    Marketing begins with the customer's needs, problems, or desires. Not with the company, product, or sales pitch.

    You start with the actual situation and human reality of the customer. You build a gestalt, a complete vision of what the customer wants to accomplish, then present the product in terms of how it helps the customer in a reliable, economical, efficient, satisfying manner.

    Or, as in music and food especially, the instant consumables, you give free samples. Let the product sell itself to those with the required tastes, interests, and needs. Talking about music is boring. Let's hear it and have it. Let your fans hear and have your music, for free, abundantly, and they may do you the favor of distributing it to others, and causing a groundswell of craving for more, at any price. The collector mentality.

    If you want to annoy people, use idiotic, self-centered hype.

    If you want to help people, use smart, altruistic marketing.

    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    Twitter as social bookmarking

    Twitter is a popular micro-blogging, status update, link archiving, and asynchronous chat communication tool.

    It's also, like many Web 2.0 sites, a lively social community. Users share everything from what they had for lunch, or what airport they're stuck profound declarations of revolutionary activism and links to emerging tech tools that are now open to beta testers.

    Unlike FarceBook, I mean Facebook, it's remained simple, streamlined, and sleek.

    Let's look briefly at using Twitter as a way to keep all your favorite or important links in one convenient location, while enabling others to visit those. Saving a URL to your Favorites or Bookmarks file is private bookmarking. Sharing links with others, in addition to archiving the links for personal use, is called "social bookmarking". is a popular social bookmarking site. Jason Calacanis once said, on Twitter, that he was going to "blog over at" for a while, exclusively, as an experiment. You can blog on because you can attach comments to the links you post.

    But if Twitter is your primary communication channel, why not use it as your social bookmarking application?

    You have a Twitter account.

    You tweet (send a Twitter message) to your Followers, and if they happen to be on Twitter's rushing river of brevities at that moment, they'll see it "live", in real time. If not, they won't ever read it, unless they consider your tweets so valuable, they click on your Profile and view your past messages.

    So, there you are, communicating in 140 character bursts to your Followers. Pithy writing, condensing a complex or frivolous thought to essential wording, this is a marketable skill. Business writing is not easy, and brevity, being concise and short in your communication, is a valuable art. So as you tweet, you're increasingly gain skill in fast, brief communication.

    But let's say you're not on Twitter, you're just surfing the web, researching a topic, or looking for something entertaining, a blog post or video or music. When you find something that is so cool or helpful, you wish others could know about it, Twitter the link.

    When you share the link with your Twitter community, you must turn a long web address into a short one. You can use TinyURL to accomplish this task. Use your cursor or keyboard command to highlight the URL, go to Edit in your browser chrome and click on Copy, or use Ctrl + C on your keyboard.

    You have now saved the URL to your browser memory, and can convert it to a shorter web address. Paste that long URL into the text entry box on the TinyURL interface. Once you've shortened the URL, it's ready for your tweet.

    To speed up the conversion process, install a TinyURL toolbar button on your browser, so every time you need to convert a URL to short form, you just click on the button. TinyURL then converts the URL of the web page to a shorter code.

    SAMPLE Twitter message, in social bookmarking mode:

    Free legal mp3s of A Silver Mt. Zion, avant-garde classical art music, at

    That's about 90 characters, well under the 140 limit. But it conveys what the link is, what kind of music, and name of band, with a URL that your Followers can click on to visit the site.

    Voila! You've just shared a link. You've also archived it, for your own future personal reference. You may want to print out your tweets, so you have an offline copy of your messages and shared links, for when Twitter is down, or if Twitter ever vanishes.

    SIDE NOTE: A blogger once said that TinyURL could be the next Digg or YouTube, perhaps even bigger. TinyURL database contains URLs of web pages that people have gone to the trouble of converting to shorter addresses, so these web pages must be significant. The data mining possibilities are clearly there.


    Friday, May 09, 2008

    Sources Quoting Steven Streight

    View Steven Streight's profile on LinkedIn

    Steven E. Streight aka Vaspers, web usability analyst, web content creator, and social media specialist, has been quoted in the following books, publications, and blogs:

    Naked Conversations:
    How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers

    by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (John Wiley & Sons, 2006)

    US News & World Report

    50 Ways to Improve Your Life:
    Start Your Own Blog

    BusinessWeek Blogspotting “The Importance of Taglines

    The blogosphere is not credible?

    Blog Marketing by Jeremy Wright (McGraw-Hill, 2005)

    Society for Technical Communication
    Usability Interface Newsletter Online

    User Observation Testing: Forms & Procedures

    Better Communication Results (Lee Hopkins)

    "The regrettable Amanda Chapel imbroglio"

    Jason Calacanis
    Entrepreneur in Action at Sequoia Capital, co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., and GM of Netscape.

    "Feedback on My Linkbaiting Rules"

    "#2: Vaspers the Grate--a blog I read all the time--also has some really interesting thoughts on linkbaiting." - Jason Calacanis

    CEO Blog – Time Leadership
    Jim Estill, CEO, Synnex Canada ($3 billion company)

    CEO Blogs and CEO Blogging

    Doc Searls Weblog (pioneer tech blogger)

    Where 0.1

    All the news that’s fit to annotate

    John C. Dvorak

    (PC Magazine, CBS MarketWatch, Dvorak Uncensored)

    Wall Street Journal Still in the Dark About Blogs

    Consumer Reports WebWatch

    Websites that are pledged to uphold credibility guidelines.

    Listed as Streight Site Systems.

    Evan Williams (EvHead, Blogger, Odeo, Twitter)

    "Measuring Blog Impact

    Darren Rowse (Pro Blogger)

    Writing Effective Post Titles

    Katherine Stone (Decent Marketing)

    "Don’t Worry, Be Crappy?"

    Dave Taylor (Intuitive Life Business Blog)

    What makes a successful blog?

    Satish Talim

    (Appliblog: Applied Software & Technology)

    8 ways to decide what to blog about next

    Jennifer Rice (What's Your Brand Mantra)

    Not Worthy

    Debbie Weil (BlogWrite for CEOs)

    What makes a successful blog?

    Thursday, May 08, 2008

    futuristic soundscapes CD

    Str8 SOUNDS
    "Futuristic Soundscapes"

    FREE mp3s of entire CD at:
    The Str8 Sounds on

    Electro Harmonix Rhythm-12

    (1) Wild Animal (2:56)

    (2) Art Forum Magazine (6:42)

    (3) Synthesizer Modulated by Voice (10:14)

    (4) Candy Rain Glow (11:04)

    (5) MR-12 Rhythm on Mars [essentialist mix] (6:17)

    (6) Soundscape #6: Yamaha MR-10/Casio/Arp (6:58)

    (7) Korg MiniPops35/Conn MinOMatic (9:17)

    (8) Super Nice Divinity (7:25)

    (9) Electro Harmonix Rhythm 12/Farfisa (7:28)

    (10) Peptide Pomade (4:35)

    Total Entertainment Time = 73:24

    Emu Edrum

    This album includes virtual simulations of all
    these old rhythm machines, and many more.

    Korg MiniPops 35

    Maestro Rhythm King

    MPC the Kit

    pure internet music

    What, if it occurred, could we reasonably regard as Pure Internet Music?

    Growing weary of my physical sound devices, mechanical tone generators, and manufactured synthesizers -- my Casio, Farfisa, Yamaha, plastic clown organ, plastic shepherds pipe, Marine Band harmonica, and crazy chicken squeak toy -- abandoning these professional concert instruments, I sought what was beyond them.

    I relinquished my grip on the real world instruments, though I did continue to add them into the soundpathing to further confuse the issue and add sonic textures or contours to the final mastering process. But they became marginalized, addendum, no longer front and center.

    I aggressively hunted down the Instruments That Don't Exist (...but the music does, it's recorded and duplicated on physical CDs!).

    I mytho-poetically pursued virtual music instrument simulations, online audio and video studios, and web-enabled beat-mix machines.

    My latest music, collected as Str8 Sounds "Futuristic Soundscapes", relies almost entirely on my manipulations and orchestrations of online beat mixes, old synthesizer product demo records (Casio, Arp, Orchestrator).

    NOTE: I'll upload the entire "Futuristic Soundscapes" CD to my The Str8 Sounds on page later today. You may hear tracks "Super Nice Divinity", "Wild Animal", and "Art Forum Magazine", songs constructed from virtual instruments, rhythm machines, and product demos, at The Str8 Sounds on MySpaceMusic.

    I'm also using virtual simulations of retro rhythm machines: Korg MiniPops 35, Electro Harmonix Rhythm 12, Boss DR 55, Electro Harmonix Space Drum, Roland TR 55, Yamaha EM 90, Seeburg Select A Rhythm, MPC the Kit, Seeburg Rhythm Prince, Maestro Rhythm, Conn Min O Matic, Tronix Rhythm Box, Susuki RPM 40, E Mu E Drum, Austin Rhythm Box, Univox MicroRhythmer, graciously and without charge, from a virtual audio museum.

    All these unique instrumentations are processed, usually quite heavily, through the virtual effects of the Audacity online music studio. Music videos and art films are produced using a popular online movie editor.

    Services, is what they all are, more than merely instruments, museums, or studios.

    But it's all online, all free, all democratic and anarchist in their indiscriminate abundance and lack of use restrictions or rules. They are simulations, existing only on the internet, and everybody can use them. It's fun to use them in ways their creators never intended or imagined, btw.

    Str8 Sounds Therabusive Noise Carnival officially now is using predominantly non-existent musical instrumentation, having invented many of the presiding techniques in this burgeoning field.

    Akin to the Circuit Bender phenomenon, and Net Art experimentations, Unreal Music Fantabulation (encompassing all the recording, production, social networking, and distribution tool associated with music creation and marketing) is the Next Big Thing in both democratic indoctrination and music domination.

    Democratic Indoctrination: the universal availability/accessibility of these ultra-post-submodern music tools are heavily seeded fruits of democracy, internet, and the phenomenal rise of individual empowerment for the common person.

    Music Domination: you must use these social networking and music distribution tools to promote all types of music, not just electronic, rock, and avant garde. Everybody's surfing the web, with PCs and cell phones, hunting for information, news, bargains, opinions, social interactions, and entertainment. If your band isn't all over the internet, in many different virtual venues, you increasingly don't exist.

    Your band needs to be heavily present on:

    1. MySpace (music artist account)

    2. YouTube (director's account)

    3. (band account)

    4. Twitter (social networking)

    5. UstreamTV (live streaming shows)

    6. Local music scene websites (like LiveMusicPeoria)

    Those are the top six methodologies that I recommend, just to get started in music marketing.

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    why critics are not always right

    Critics come in many varieties.

    In blogocombat, one must ascertain what type of critic is on the offensive against you: a person who wishes to help you, and is not jealous ... versus a troll who just enjoys inflicting hurtful comments on other people.

    Some critics offer you helpful hints on how to improve, or how to fulfill their own personal vision of what you ought to be, or how to please their individual tastes. Others attack you out of jealousy and a feeling of inadequacy. They hate how popular and successful you are. Then there are sadistic misanthropes who just love to argue, injure, demoralize, and mock anyone and everyone.

    Some critics are smart. Some are stupid. Some are insightful and profound. Some are purely emotional. Some critics are creative colleagues. Some critics are mediocre wankers.

    So why would a blogger state that all critics are always right?

    Why would you assume that if someone dislikes your work, you must change for them?

    Why would you assume that if someone is angry at you, that you caused this anger, and you must appease the critic, make them happy again?

    Why assume that every critic has noble intentions and valid perceptions of you? This is a very masochistic and subservient point of view, one that is inappropriate in business, art, and social interactions.

    "Let Me Save You $40, Here's How to Be Happy"


    5. Your Critics Are Always Right

    If someone seriously says that you are some way — if they tell you you’re embarrassing to be around, or if they compare you to someone you hate, or if they say you’re not a very nice person, or whatever — then you are that way.

    You may not be that way in the core of your being, and you may not want to be that way, and it may be a surprise that you have come off that way, but their perception of you is valid, and you need to accept and deal with that.

    What did you do that made them think that was true? Where are they coming from with their experience of you that made it seem accurate? Ask yourself (and them) these questions, and see if you can take it as an opportunity for self-improvement.

    Don’t do what most people do, which is to take it as an attack that needs to be responded to with anger and yelling. Then you’re just taking an opportunity to make yourself better and replacing it with an opportunity to hurt a your relationship with them.

    Now, of course, you need to be sure they’re serious: something said in the middle of a fight or said flippantly doesn’t really qualify. So you need to be sure they’re serious. But if your critic is serious, then your critic is right.


    "If the critic is serious, the critic is right"...? Seriousness is sometimes envy in disguise, and even if it was totally benevolent, a critique is not "right" simply because the critic is serious, sincere, or well-intentioned.

    Many hateful people try to coat their venom and vindictive in a scholarly tone, for a fake "authoritarian" pomposity that tries to belittle or diminish what you're doing. Your attempts and efforts make them uncomfortable, because they are reminders of how your so-called critic has failed, or has been to afraid to experiment.

    "...their perception of you is valid, and you need to accept and deal with that." ? Says who? What makes someone's perception of another person valid? Don't people have misguided perceptions? Don't we experience errors in perception all the time? What makes a jealous person's opinions, feelings, and perceptions "valid"?

    This is the mantra of the battered wife: "He beats me, but I deserve it. I'm a bad person, and I need to be punished and humiliated. It's all my fault. I'm always wrong, and he's always right. I'm lucky to have him. Nobody else will ever want me."

    Let's say you're a really nice person who loves to help others. But one person tried to bully you into watching a film he just made, and you have prior commitments. So that person, acting as a self-appointed critic, calls you a "selfish jerk".

    Is that critique "valid"?

    No, not at all. He's the selfish, domineering manipulator, and you're just a person who has to do something other than what he wants you to do.

    What if you're writing poetry, and have a blog devoted to your poems, with lots of nice comments from your fans. A person you know also writes poetry, but is too insecure and sensitive to post her poems on the internet, for she fears "destructive" (honest) critique. Now, what if she criticizes your poems and says you should not post them on your blog, your poems are so horrible.

    She says, in her opinion, that your poems are bad, your fans are few and deluded, and it's your vain egotism that is driving you to publish a poetry blog. It's upsetting her, and you must quit.

    Would that be a "valid" critique?

    Don't we have to do more than just accept any input from any source, as valid feedback?

    I'm not saying that only positive feedback is valid. I'm just saying that all critique is not of equal quality, nor is critique a one-dimensional event with no context or history.

    Consider the source, as they say. Contemplate why someone is trashing you. Could it be more than cold, scientific, unbiased, impersonal objectivity?

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    May 2008 artwork 1

    perfection flaw

    (digital paint)

    woman with hamburger

    (acrylic, interior/exterior spray paint,
    newsprint collage on 20 lb. /
    110 bright computer paper)

    we (the) others

    (webcam photo w/digital effects)

    ,efficiency / friendly technology

    (interior/exterior spray paint, synthetic flower,
    dimensional fabric paint, acrylic,
    yellow mustard, wood glue, newsprint,
    on 20 lb. /110 bright computer paper)

    heightened attention

    (digital paint)


    (acrylic, interior/exterior spray paint,
    dimensional fabric paint,
    scented water color markers,
    rubber band, Scotch tape, cashew,
    toilet paper, sock cloth,
    newsprint collage on 20 lb. /
    110 bright computer paper)

    inner swim

    (webcam photo of strobe light,
    w/digital effects)

    infinite creativity

    (acrylic, interior/exterior spray paint,
    scented water color markers,
    newsprint collage on 20 lb. /
    110 bright computer paper)

    information act on it now

    (acrylic, interior/exterior spray paint,
    scented water color markers,
    newsprint, on 20 lb. /
    110 bright computer paper)

    self calming

    (digital paint)

    death is unreal

    (photo w/ digital effects)

    eye of space

    (acrylic, scented water color markers,
    toilet paper, newsprint,
    on printed photo)

    worldly experience

    (acrylic, scented water color markers,
    newsprint, transparent plastic,
    on 20 lb. / 110 bright computer paper)

    voyage one

    (digital paint)


    Thanks to Art Forum
    and Ubu Web
    for the inspiration/infotainment.


    For a LIMITED TIME only...

    Listen to STR8 SOUNDS tune:
    "Art Forum Magazine"


    The Str8 Sounds on MySpace Music


    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    how to announce a canceled internet TV show episode

    What do you do when your band can't perform their unique live streaming video show, due to conflicting family events? You can't just not do the show, and not explain why. You have to please your fans and respect their cravings. Your fans will be disappointed, some may be angry, or so bored and in need of an easy internet thrill, they move onto some other entertainment, permanently.

    Here are some ideas:

    (1) Put a "No Show This Saturday 45-4-2008. Sorry. We'll be back next Saturday." message on the site that hosts your show (UstreamTV, JustinTV, KyteTV, etc.) and all your band's blogs and websites.

    (2) Get the band together to do a special quickie show, prior to the regularly scheduled show (thus: few fans will be watching it live), but archived so fans can view it when they show up for the regularly scheduled show, as a placeholder fill-in. It will give your fans a little something to chew on, and ensures the perception of continuity of your programming.

    (3) Do an explanation video, with just the band leader and a family member, or a friend, or your manager, or whoever you can toss a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon at to do you a fast favor. Be creative. Make even a No Show video announcement as interesting and entertaining as possible.

    (4) Record a new music video, of a song you do well and fans like it, and put that up on your streaming video host site, MySpace page, main band website, and blogs. Let that be in lieu of a full show. At least you're giving them a little bit of what you normally do on a larger scale. That might tide them over till the next show.

    (5) Link to a special, new, free mp3 download of a tune, or upload some video footage from a recent show, or some new photos of the band.

    Now try to dream up your own ideas on what you could do to Keep Your Loyal Fans Happy. That's really the name of the game, right? In business, we say that the most valuable asset of any company is it's customer list. That's true in music marketing, too.

    Why let a scheduling conflict ruin things for the fickle web surfer community that loves your innovative show?

    By doing SOMETHING rather than NOTHING, your fans and newcomers will be impressed. These little dopey things mean a lot to music lovers, who are abnormally sensitive to slightest details in the music and presentations of bands. It's kind of like how baseball fanatics know all the stats on players and stuff.

    SkabTV had to skip an episode.

    Here's what was done to announce it: the SkabTV Crow Take-over mini-episode...

    Friday, May 02, 2008

    priorities for modern music marketing

    Today's music marketing requires a band, or at minimum, their manager, to experiment with emerging forms of digital connectivity: online publicity, social media music communities, and internet music distribution.

    Should we abandon the old fashioned "gigs" at real world venues like bars, clubs, birthday parties, and ampitheatres?

    Here are the priorities I would suggest for music bands.

    Modern Music
    Marketing Priorities

    Assuming your music is polished, and your band is a coherent unit, ready for mass acceptance and universal fame, proceed with the following actions.

    (1) mp3s uploaded, as free full-length downloadable files, to MySpace Music (artist account) and

    (2) CDs given to friends, family, fellow musicians, music reviewers, music bloggers

    (3) mp3s uploaded to net labels and

    (4) live streaming video show (not band practice, but actual events: a set of songs, a comedy skit, interviews with other bands, guest band performances, discussion of music topics, music news)

    (5) band blog: where news, photos, videos, opinion, reviews of other bands and CDs, etc. can provide value to fans

    (6) videos uploaded to YouTube, the band's MySpace Music site, the band's blog

    (7) photos and poster art uploaded to the band's blog, MySpace Music site, flickr

    (8) live performances in real world venues

    I put live performances in real world venues last, not to degrade or devalue it, but to emphasize how the online world is rapidly becoming the primary source of news, opinion, and product by and about musicians.

    You get more bang for the buck, so to speak, by emphasizing the digital tools of music promotion and distribution.

    Quit thinking only in terms of "getting gigs" in real world venues. Stop craving only a "recording contract" from a traditional record label. Look into doing online shows and videos for web surfers. Realize how music fans are spending way more time discovering bands, listening to mp3s, and downloading music...than they are going to "gigs" in bars and arenas.

    Real world venues are great. Nothing can replace the experience, the atmospheric electricity of being in a building, in close physical proximity to a band you like, and watching the flesh and blood musicians struggle on stage to entertain you and fulfill their artistic vision. can reach MORE people FASTER when you use online tools and internet venues.

    Let's finish this harangue with a few observations on live presence vs. virtualized action, or, in other words...

    Live Real World Venues


    Live Streaming Internet Video

    In a live show that occurs in the real world, you reach from 50 to 50,000 people...and, unless you're a really big national or popular local act, only a fraction of them are real fans. Many are just bar clientele who happen to be there when you play, others are attending the show just to get out of the house for a while. Then you have people who know and like your music. They may be the only ones arriving at the show specifically to see you play.

    Live streaming video productions are different. People are watching it on their computers because they're curious or they know and like your music. In a bar, if the band is boring, you can at least go get another beer or hit on some attractive barfly. But if your live streaming video show sucks, disappointed fans just click...and POOF. They're gone. It's easy, and nobody gives them a funny look.

    In a live show in the real world, your music and performance quickly fades from memory. There is often no recording or archiving of it. It vanishes into thin air. But in live streaming video shows, you can archive and label show for future viewing. It's all there. Forever.

    You may want to delete or hide certain shows due to flawed performance, bad sound quality, poor video work, failed skits, or other reasons that make put your band in a bad light. Don't worship your work: critique it and get rid of the crap, even if most of it is substandard. Keep only the real gems, that you're proud of and fans rave about.

    You can't do the same old junk every show when you're live streaming a video show. Fans can watch previous episodes for songs, skits, and discussions you've already done. This is the challenge: to keep doing new, unexpected, entertaining things.

    This may mean going to thrift stores and buying wigs, masks, crazy hats, and assorted props. It may include doing parodies of rock star celebrities, or arguing political issues, or doing a satire on a recent mainstream news item.

    Explore. Experiment. Extract the good, and delete the not so great.

    You don't need a lot of cash or equipment. Your soundboard, a webcam, a computer microphone, perhaps an online audio editor like Audacity. That's about it.

    Start with making music videos with your webcam or digital camcorder, then uploading the best ones to YouTube. Grab the embed code and put them on your MySpace Music and blog or band website.

    Make an abundance of free material available to fans and music lovers.

    Free generates Paid.

    There is too much music. There are too many bands. Fans cannot make sense of all the options for satisfying their music hunger. Too many bands think that photos, videos, and hype will get them fans. No. You must provide music lovers with ever increasing amounts of free full-length mp3s, to let them hear your sound.

    Hearing leads to having and wanting, and fans turn into unpaid buzz generators, promoting your terrific tunes.

    Free takes you from Unknown and Known and Craved.

    Once your free product generates buzz, your collector mentality, hard core fans will demand almost any price. For bragging rights mainly, or perhaps: a true love of your music and its message, if you're lucky.

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    If real life was like Facebook VIDEO

    This brilliant gem is from a Twitter link by @nicolejordan to @stevehall Ad Gabber blog.

    "Life Would Be Very Strange If Facebook Interaction Was Real World"

    What if interactions in the real world were like Facebook?