Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Electric Light Orchestra. That is a very cool name for a band.

Also, I'm going to say that beyond how cool the name is is how cool the music is - in that holy crap someone had an idea way as opposed to that hey they dropped acid and used a MOOG way.

That's what is missing from the series of tubes, the web, things ON THE WEB - an idea. Where's the idea? What's the idea? I keep harping on this because it's so important to have one. I don't care how good an album is, it's better if it's a concept album. Even if I don't get it. I don't need to get it. Tell me what the idea is and I'll give you kudos for having one that you wrote about/around. Now I'm not talking about an idea based around a fantasy novel you happen to have read, although there's nothing wrong with that. It's just that by now, they've all been read and sung about, if you know what I mean.

Seriously, if one more song is written about Mordor and Sauron I think I'm going to barf up a Hobbit. No more LOTR concept albums, people. It's gone and done. Past. You're not going to top one you're not going to bottom one. Don't do that any more. And calling your song My Precious doesn't count so don't tell me you have a great techno ballad you want me to hear called Go Ask Samwise or Merry Doesn't Live Here Anymore. I ain't listening. (Okay I'll listen but I might LOL and then what will you do? Hmmm? GHCTM?)

So the reason we're talking about ideas is that I think I finally figured out what it is from the 70s that we need to bring to the www. Are you ready for this? Violins, man. It's violins. We need to bring 70s violins to the www. Build me sites that have the same qualities that violins added to concept albums from the 70s and I'll show you AWARDS BABY. Better than that, I'll show you sites that people love. Sticky ones. With eyeballs. That people want to make out with!

So how do we bring 70s violins to the sites we build? That is such a tough question but the answer is simple, which then makes the question simple too. Circles. I'm going in circles. That's code and if you don't know what it means that is okay because I'll put it another way. Go download the first E.L.O album. Listen to it. It doesn't matter if you like it. It's one of their best and that is general consensus amongst people who know. Some people know more than you do so go on and take their suggestions. (I'm not talking about me, here. I did research before I downloaded a bunch of E.L.O today and that is that. I took some albums and not others based on research.) I happen to love their first album and I'm sure I'll love the others as well and I'm hearing violins. A lot of them. And E.L.O has a very distinctive sound that I've never forgotten. That many have never forgotten. We've already talked about staying power so I don't need to remind you why it's important what people don't forget.

Here's another thing. The ENTIRE discography downloaded in only a few hours while it's taken me many many days to wait for one or two Japan lps. So there are a ton of peers seeders and bottom feeders offering up the E.L.O and not very many offering up the Japan. Japan is great but Japan did not make concept albums so I don't think they have the same staying power and their best stuff sounds a lot like Roxy Music anyway so whatever.

Back to violins. It's a metaphor. Listen to the album and see what the violins do for the album. What they do is what you need to replicate on line. So if it's real violins KNOCK YOURSELF OUT AND SEND ME THAT URL CUZ YOU'RE A GENIUS. If it's the equivalent of violins and you figure that out DITTO. What you're looking for is something to fill out your content. Something that makes your site RICH. I am looking for the truth in RICH MEDIA. The violins. It's not RICH just because you add audio. It's not RICH just because it has video. That's so yesterday, people. I'm not being facetious.

When banners were animated gifs that barely did anything at all some people were really good at making them "sing". Those people had a kick ass idea and put it to work with that little something extra. Then flash banners came along and some people got good at making flash really work, not just punch the monkey. Then expandos with rolling point stuff and measurability and ROI and ROOIBOS and Captain KangaROO and blah blah blah blah blah. And now EVERYTHING IS RICH MEDIA AND IT'S BORING VIDEO SLAPPED ON THE WEB AND THAT IS NOT RICH.

VIOLINS ARE RICH. GIMME PROG ROCK CONCEPT WEB SITES AND I'LL GIVE YOU DEVOTEES. I'LL GIVE YOU THE WEB VERSION OF GROUPIES. They're called GROPIES. They'll grope your site until advertisers are begging to buy space. They will grope your site so voraciously you'll have to call the cops. They will grope your site for so many consecutive minutes they'll add a new category to Cannes called LONGEST GROPE and you'll win the GOLD GROPE for 2 years in a row. That's rich.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

mad men too real

I'll admit it I absolutely love AMC's Mad Men. It's just dirty. (Raw and buck, as Mia Michaels from SYTYCD is wont to spew.) But the gritty qualities are disguised ever so delicately by it's oh-so-frikkin-perfect for HD spic and span art direction. Yum, it's like doing the tasting menu at George. You want each segment of the program to come with its own glass of wine. It's eerie how the AMC people manage to keep it simultaneously viscous and crunchy. Oh how one does need to thoroughly masticate each episode. Slowly. Savour the dialogue. Sample the cigarettes. Swish the scotch. There's no throwing it down your neck, Battersby. You have to take your time. They make you take your time. And I love that. I'm impressed. I'm also mortified. Mad Men is just too accurate. It's too real. Things are being said. Things are being shown. Civilians can't handle the truth about our back-stage shenanigans and hoot-nannys and debacles and strangeways here we come! What goes on should back there should be on a NTK basis for anyone with tender ears and innocent eyes. We must protect the innocents. We cannot let them see us for what we are:


What I like is that everyone is portrayed as horribly and fallibly human. That's right, even though the characters are shady and despicable some of the time, each and every last one of them is still human. That's why it's eerie. It's not the truths being told that freak me out. It's the fact that I can see why each and every one of those beeyaches has done what they've done and that puts me in a place where I need to re-evaluate my own methods by which I process the politics engrained in agency culture. Or couture. Hoax couture. (I won't take credit for that play on used to be and maybe still is a shop down in the fashion district. However, I will take credit for applying it as a descriptor for the kind of agency depicted on Mad Men.) Back to the future:

Mister Marshall Mcluhan was correct. So was Anthony Burgess. There are two writers who were correct. They didn't even know they were writing about the same thing - Narrowcasting and Subculture. Narrowcasting is really podcasting but even better because it's roots are in the grass. And that's the basis of any subculture, right? Here's a stream of consciousness equasion that may mean nothing to you but something to someone, which is what qualifies this as a REAL BLOG. (Little thoughts typed into text boxes and expanded and expounded upon grow up to be REAL BLOGS. They don't need to be truthful. Pinochhio wasn't truthful. So there.)

Ahem. Podcasting=narrowcasting=mcluhan was right=mad men is such a specific thing isn't it? And it is too real. That means it's appealing to 1. ad folk 2. people who like too real 3. people who like Grace Kelly and if you don't watch the show you don't know what I mean.

But what does it have to do with Burgess? The language born from subculture. That's what I say. Because podcasting is narrowcasting and if you're not a webnerati you don't understand any of the language around podcasting and you are just SOOL because all this stuff is TGTBT anyway. Does your gulliver hurt? Exactly.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

what's next?

So my niece, who is 16 years of age, was telling me that there is an educator out there, Mister Ken Smith, has taken a rather unusual position on spelling words incorrectly. He suggests we label those misspellings as variant, not wrong. Here's a snippet from the article in Time Magazine:

Most teachers expect to correct their students' spelling mistakes once in a while. But Ken Smith has had enough. The senior lecturer in criminology at Bucks New University in Buckinghamshire, England, sees so many misspellings in papers submitted by first-year students that he says we'd be better off letting the perpetrators off the hook and doing away with certain spelling rules altogether.

Okay. Sleeves up. Gloves off. Here's a rant I'll ne'er be ashamed of.

Are you on crack, sir? What possible benefit is there in letting your students spell words incorrectly? Is this some kind of lefty, pinko, liberalist ISM? Is you so fixed on being inclusive that we support the lack interest in learning one of the basic Rs? Or are you just looking for solutions because your pupils don't seem to be learning? What's next? Letting them skip class? Letting them write on their desks? Are you looking for an earlier flight to Armageddon?

Admittedly, in advertising, we pulverize most of the rules of grammar and sprinkle them on our Corn Flakes but that's obviously wrong and goofy and everybody knows that you don't turn to a billboard for edumacation. We do those horrible things to our language in the interest of sales! But good god man, in the name of all that is true and pure, are you suggesting that because your students can't be bothered TO USE SPELL CHECK they should be rewarded with a degree?

(In fact, you should penalize them doubly for being so stupid as to ignore the spell check function that is what makes them bad spellers in the first place. Fail them for showing such a lack of intelligence. That's what I say.)

Come on, professor Ken, we're not talking about memorizing the entirety of the Yongle Dadian, written during the Ming Dynasty, when at least 3 000 scholars spent 4 years to write all 11 095 volumes with 22 877 chapters. We're not talking about having to memorize all 370 million Chinese characters. We're talking about the letter R in February. What's that? February has a silent R? Well I suppose you make a good argume...hey wait a minute. February doesn't have a silent R. We pronounce it as though it does. Oh, your students spell twelfth twelth? Because the F is silent? That's not silent neither.

You're fed up having to correct spelling errors? It's tiring? Let me get this straight : You're a criminologist and the biggest trauma you experience is using a red pen on a paper titled "Strategys Four Righting Effecsively."

As an educator, I would glorify the uniqueness of the inconsistencies in the English language. Glorify them, I say! You know, English is one of the most drab and monotone languages on the planet. We don't have any throat clicking. We don't have any sing-song inflections. All we have is trough and plough and draught and quay and queue! You can't take that away from us, Mister Ken. Does anybody see a freakish coincidence here?Ken Smith=Ken Lee.


Here's the TIME article
Here's another

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

frozen dinner and Betty Crocker

LOL people were really harshing my buzz with the "your blog is in boxes" critique. Okay. I hear you but it's a template, after all. I don't have many to choose from and who has time to build one from scratch? My mother is a great cook but when it comes to baking she will call the Sweet Talker for a birthday cake. When I'm in a hurry, I am not ashamed to use the microwave on a frozen entree. But I'm not going to do that for guests, now am I?

What I'm getting at is that boxes are only evil when you have control over your site. Boxes are only evil when you are selling a brand, creating an experience, designing for a box maker. (How cheesmo would that be? A box site in boxes. I bet $500 that exists somewhere.)

Boxes on your blog are OK. It's predominantly text. Tons of text we all need to sort through. Archives. Links. Gadgets. Videos. You post it daily and you are in rather a hurry, yes? Furthermore, you get what you get when you get something free. "Hey I know this service is GRATIS but I demand fluid templates and experiential blogging!" That don't fly.

So there are exceptions to every rule, like speaking in colloquialisms to emphasize a point. Like saying "Yatta Yatta" and "Meow Meow" instead of "Blah Blah". Like petting your cat in the opposite direction of its' fur to give it a mohawk. Whatever puts the hop in your bunny. UNLESS A CLIENT IS PAYING FOR YOU TO SOLVE A DESIGN ISSUE OR BUILD THEIR LOVELY BRAND ON LINE. THEN YOU DON'T USE BOXES. NO BOXES. BOX BAD. BREATHING SPACE GOOD.

So enough with the hateratin' while you're waitin'...gimme some wiggle room. That being said I chose a new template as I was due for a refresh. But...I think if you stretch this page wide enough you'll see boxes anyway. From a distance. But you don't surf like that. SO THE OTHER RULE IS SHOW YOUR DIGITAL WORK DIGITALLY ON A BIG SCREEN TO REPLICATE THE USER EXPERIENCE IF YOU'RE IN A BIG ROOM. SAVE A TREE. DON'T BOARD IT.


So no all caps. Unless you're shortening things like VIP, RIP, PMS, ADD, DTs (oh that's a combo job) and SWAT.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

are you missing anything like a metaphor?

A friend and I were at lunch the other day and it occurred to me that metaphor is most important when doing creative work. A strong metaphor can save you a great deal of circumlocution in your busy day. I'm guessing you're one of the masses who feels you're getting older just as the time between sunrise and sunset seems to be getting shorter. Which amounts to -- tired by 9PM. So if you're in the biz of being creative all the live long day and you have what we call "deadlines" then you might find this helpful at some point. Or not.

During lunch, Dave Allen at Large came to mind. Do you remember that show? Do you remember him? That's right, I am bringing up the 70s again. (See previous post.) But the 70s were chock full of wonderment so why Dave Allen? His finger came to mind. He was missing half a finger. Maybe your creative is missing metaphor. See? It's a lateral thought but a thought that lead to this thought...He was a story teller. His stories were rich with metaphor. And they were insightful so that made them funny and memorable and relevant.

If we agree that A = B and B = C then A = C and that metaphor = insightful, insightful is what makes your brand and your consumer jibe. Tango. Knock boots. Static cling. Whatever you want to call it. It's what you need to ensure a connection between your brand and the consumer. Buyer. User. Disco dancer, for all I care. Where is this going? Get an insight and you have a key. Use a metaphor to bring that key to life and you have CREATIVE. That's right, my children, without the metaphor you have ... well...just an insight. Which is also a driver for a strategy. Is strategy your creative product? No. Is insight your creative product? No. So now you get where I'm going.

What's the big deal about metaphor? Metaphors are part of a collective unconscious. Ask Carl Jung - although he might have articulated that differently. And probably in German. If you don't speak German, ask Northrop Frye. They're both long gone but they'd likely agree that a metaphor is something that can act like a endoscopic exam for all of humankind. It's the same for anyone - you swallow a scope and it and it reaches down down down into the core of your being! So you instinctively know, understand, comprehend, relate to something. You acknowledge your humanity if you've ever had a scope done. Am I right people? Metaphor is human and real.

(Aside: I'm aware that saying a metaphor is like a endoscopic is a simile. Not a metaphor.)

So what is a metaphor and not a simile? I can tell you PUNS ARE NOT METAPHORS. DON'T USE PUNS IN YOUR CREATIVE. Back to Dave Allen. He was very smart. He GOT metaphor the way you need to GET metaphor. Here's an excellent example of metaphor that I never forgot even though I saw this ONCE over 20 years ago. That's staying power.

Watch this: Funeral

That was funny, right? And insightful. Pretend his set up for the video is your brief. (Only in a perfect world would the client be something like So and So Sons Funeral Homes. That would never happen so forget who the client is and try to think outside the box. Did you catch that joke? Coffin? Box? That was a pun. How hard did you laugh? did that change your life? Don't use puns.) Aside...under no circumstances should you EVER use the term outside the box unless you're poking fun at boxes. No boxes.

Now I'm not going to explain the use of metaphor in that video because you don't need me to.
Besides, there's so many levels to that skit I don't want this post to scroll from here to eternity. But after 20 years that metaphor stands solid. The insight you get from it is solid. That is a rock solid ad for the Dave Allen brand. People didn't foget about Dave Allen's funeral skit and while everything on Earth seems to be on on Earth is not. That 20 year old metaphor was posted more than once for a reason. Some stuff on youtube is there for a reason, even though that is hard to believe.

Dave Allen at Large - not an ad dude but on a subconscious-collective unconscious-smoking-drinking -archetype level - he was a stand up bloke nonetheless. More importantly, he reminded me that metaphor=insight=commitment=brands we understand=brands we love=brands we eat drink man woman=timeless=relevant after 20 years. RIP Dave Allen.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

the 1970s

You're going to have to deal with reading things like "Of course, (_____insert thing here______) is brilliant! It came out of the 1970s," on a regular basis if you're going to read this blog. You know why? Because I know if this blog came out of the 1970s it would be brilliant, that's why. Now, that's unpossible but a Verger can dream. Oh, how a Verger can dream.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to throw some things out there and see if your puppy can catch them. It might not be that easy for your puppy to do. Might just throw a drift out there and hope your puppy can catch that. Might be a Frisbee. I'm not trying to be condescending here. I am warning you that what I throw out there regarding the 70s might be challenging for your bad self. I'm not talking questionable content. (It's the web. You want I should have to point you in the direction of peep shows? You must be new to this.) I'm talking about stuff that is very obviously dated held up as an example of brilliance. It's easy to do with an ad. You hold up a Volkswagon piece and say "See? This perfect." Easy. No one will argue with the LEMON print piece. I'm talking about ... never mind what I'm talking about I'll show you. Here's how it will go sometimes:

1974. Brian DePalma. The Phantom of the Paradise.

That's right I said it. This one is a must. Why? Here's an idea (from Wiki) of what the film is about. There's no argument here. This movie would never be made today. Never. No matter what. And yet, now is time time to be making movies like this because now we have the technology to support the plot. Now we have the Hellboys and Constantines and all the other Hollywood Marvel rip-offs to support this launch. But no one would make this today. And yet...Brian DePalma did make it. Over 20 years ago. Please take a moment to peruse the plot. And then take a moment to view the trailer on the yube.

Oh did I mention I'm making it my mission to have the entire planet shorten facebook to fboo and youtube to yube? Spread the word. It's organic!

Plot taken (and abridged, come on people this is too long) from Wiki:

The story follows a music composer and singer named Winslow Leach who works as a back-up act to the no-talent nostalgia band The Juicy Fruits, who are produced by Satanic record producer, Swan (played by Paul Williams). Swan is deeply moved by Winslow's pop cantata "Faust", and has his right-hand man Philbin steal it.

When Winslow arrives at Swan's record label, Death Records, he is thrown out. When he tries to find out what's going on, he meets Phoenix, an aspiring singer whom he deems perfect for his music, and the two quickly fall for one another. Swan orders his minions to frame Winslow for drug dealing.

Winslow is given a life sentence in Sing-Sing Prison. In prison, Winslow's teeth are removed and replaced with shiny metal ones. When he hears that The Juicy Fruits, who he hates, have made a record of his music, Winslow goes berserk, escapes and tries to destroy Swan's record factory. His vocal chords are damaged when a security guard shoots him in the throat, and his face is mutilated in a record press accident. Fleeing, he leaps into New York's East River and is presumed dead.

Winslow sneaks into the Paradise, makes up his face and dons an owl-like mask and black leather costume, becoming The Phantom of the Paradise so he can terrorize Swan and his musicians. Swan attaches a voice-box to the Phantom's vocal chords, enabling him to speak and sing (voice of Paul Williams). Swan asks the Phantom to rewrite his cantata for Phoenix. The Phantom reluctantly agrees, on the condition that Phoenix is the lead singer, signing a contract in blood.

Okay so that's the plot but did you catch who plays Swan? Paul Williams. As the Devil. As a villain. Like, a bad guy. He's pretty little and kind of well proper and stuff to play the Devil. Now you have to see the movie, right? Not yet? Check it:

Did I mention Brian DePalma directed this? Brian DePalma. Yeah, you'll hear more about that guy if you don't know who he is. But you should know who he is. How did it perform at the box office? What do you think? It failed. Horribly. Terribly. Wickedly. Flop. Poo. People wouldn't pay to see it.


From the Wiki:

The film was a box-office bomb the year of its initial showings. Curiously, the film's major market during its theatrical release was in Winnipeg, Canada where it stayed in local cinemas over four months continuously and over one year non-continuously until 1976. Relatedly, the soundtrack sold 20,000 copies in Winnipeg alone, and it got Gold status in Canada.

Explain that, Mythbusters! Explain that, Sister Wendy! Explain that, MISTER PEABODY and SHERMAN! Get in your wayback machine and figure that one out because we never will.

If you consider yourself ANY KIND OF WEB GEEK see this movie. It's your duty to spread the word, make it viral and resurrect the presence of this film in pop culture. YOUR DUTY.

Annnnnnnd. I'm done.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

gloves are off in the boxing ring

Well I'm going to sound like I'm complaining but I'm sharing and that is what the interweb is about, right? Did we agree on that in a previous post? Let's pretend we did even if we didn't.

I'd like to toss my hat into the ring, on the issue of BOXES. What is up with all these boxes on line? What makes a site with BOXES more navigable that one without BOXES? Why do we think that putting a BOX around something and then putting another BOX right next to that with something else in it is the best way to design a site? Who died and made the BOX king?

The problem is not the BOXES themselves. BOXES are nice and good and if you love them and pet them and feed them they will grow into healthy corrugated recyclable companions. My issue is how many sites use BOXES and how we've become accustomed to seeing them. So accustomed that we don't really need to think about seeing content in any other form. It's disconcerting, to say the least. Why?

We are only a few steps away from turning our "lean forward" medium to a "lean back" medium just because we are getting lazy. BOXES are the lazy-man's answer to a site with a lot of content. I don't mean to insult anyone here. I know how easy it is to slip into a groove when you have so many big builds and so little time. But we have stopped solving our problems creatively. We are resorting back to the same old layouts for no particular reason. Am I wrong or did www 1.0 go out with New Kids on the Block? Oh wait, some of you are still dreaming about hanging with Donnie.

You know, when I was still gushing over a Donny it was an Osmond. Back then the cars could seat 4 portly aunties across the back bench and you still had room to sit 4 kids on their laps on the way home from a family picnic. And that was legal. No seat belts required or even recommended. Back then you had to opt for power steering and take 12 minutes to roll down your window if you wanted to let some air in when you left your kids in the car while you sat in a bar for a quick snap. Back then everybody smoked Rothmans and Export A. Back then you pushed hard on a button to change the AM dial. Back then things were mono. Back then Jack Nicholson was hot and Tony Manero was cool and Cher was fresh off one of the Allman Brothers and Canadian Club was a luxury. Now I feel old.

But you know what else makes me feel old? BOXES. BOXES make me feel old because they are so throw back I can actually reminisce about a 14.4 modem when I see them. Enough with the boxes already.

Unless we challenge people to actually look at a page and roll their mouse over something and think while they use the navigation we might as well forget the notion of user experience altogether. Forget content. Just take your TV ad and put it on a page with a logo. Hope that if you build it they will come. Wait. We covered that already.

I'm not recommending we make it difficult to navigate a particular site but I am advocating that we start challenging ourselves to challenge our users. Isn't that the spirit of fresh marketing? Mr. Whipple =BOXES. Stop squeezing the Charmin and start treating your users like they have the ability to learn and change with the technology they're using every day.

Down with complacency up with clickers!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

lather rinse repeat

banners don't work unless

: you spend a lot of time thinking them through
: you spend a lot of budget relatively speaking
: you spend a lot of time developing a really strategic and painstakingly sophisticated and targeted media buy that is somehow reflected in the creative thought

they are costly.

because banners:
1. are the single most difficult objects to execute properly
2. are way too general or way too specific no matter who writes the brief
3. travel in packs (ever see one alone?)

not to mention that:

most web pages are so over saturated with ads of all sorts that expecting your message is going to cut through that clutter is like expecting

to snag an aphid with a set of chopsticks so you'd better hope your average www user has a keen eye and hands like a lizard's tongue.

think about the average www user. think about click through rates. think about really successful banner campaigns that exceeded all expectations regarding click throughs. think about all the steps you took to ensure you had killer ROI, killer creative.

share your stories with others so they know how much work went into one of those success stories because banners don't work unless

: you spend a lot of time thinking them through
: you spend a lot of budget relatively speaking
: you spend a lot of time developing a really strategic and painstakingly sophisticated and targeted media buy that is somehow reflected in the creative thought

they are costly.

because banners:
1. are the single most difficult objects to execute properly
2. are way too general or way too specific no matter who writes the brief
3. travel in packs (ever see one alone?)

not to mention that:

most web pages are so over saturated with ads of all sorts that expecting your message is going to cut through that clutter is like expecting

to snag an aphid with a set of chopsticks so you'd better hope your average www user has a keen eye and hands like a lizard's tongue.

think about the average www user. think about click through rates. think about really successful banner campaigns that exceeded all expectations regarding click throughs. think about all the steps you took to ensure you had killer ROI, killer creative.

share your stories with others so they know how much work went into one of those success stories because banners don't work unless

: you spend a lot of time thinking them through
: you spend a lot of budget relatively speaking
: you spend a lot of time developing a really strategic and painstakingly sophisticated and targeted media buy that is somehow reflected in the creative thought

they are costly.

because banners:
1. are the single most difficult objects to execute properly
2. are way too general or way too specific no matter who writes the brief
3. travel in packs (ever see one alone?)

not to mention that:

most web pages are so over saturated with ads of all sorts that expecting your message is going to cut through that clutter is like expecting

to snag an aphid with a set of chopsticks so you'd better hope your average www user has a keen eye and hands like a lizard's tongue.

think about the average www user. think about click through rates. think about really successful banner campaigns that exceeded all expectations regarding click throughs. think about all the steps you took to ensure you had killer ROI, killer creative.

share your stories with others so they know how much work went into one of those success stories because banners don't work unless

if you build it they will come

Not so much. Not so much Mister Man character whose name I can't remember who said that in that movie Field of Dreams. That may apply to a bunch of ghostly baseball players but it doesn't apply to the masses on the www.

Just because you build a site doesn't mean they'll come. Just because you brand it, doesn't mean they'll come. Just because you choose not brand it, doesn't mean they'll come. Doesn't mean they'll sign up for your newsletter. Doesn't mean they'll suck up your RSS feed. Doesn't mean they'll tell their friends. That's like saying just because he buys you a drink you owe him a pajama party. That's like saying just because she promised she'd buy clotted cream she'd bake the pie from scratch. That's like saying just because it rained last week you're going to learn how to play the Star Spangled Banner on a harmonica while simultaneously playing God Save the Queen on a kazoo hanging out of your left nostril. Stop expecting that. Your expectations are too high. You don't get eyeballs just because you think you deserve them. And you most certainly do not get eyeballs just because you learned the buzz-word-term "eyeballs" ... but THAT is an aside we'll save for another day. Back to expectations. Stop that. Stop having them.

You know why you should stop expecting magic from your web site?

You don't deserve the magic. Not really. If you think you deserve it, you'd better take a look around the www and start making lists. Try this at home: get a sheet of lined paper. Draw a line, vertically down the centre. Now you have two columns (row span TBD for all you web geeks out there). At the top of one column put the heading SITES WITH TONS OF COMMITTED TRAFFIC and at the top of the other column write SITES NO ONE VISITS. Ready, set, surf!

First, applaud yourself for finding the sites that no one visits. Second, fill in the columns. Take a yellow highlighter and highlight the sites that deserve their fate. What does the first column look like? Yellow? Or is the second column yellow? If this was a balance scale that measured the heaviness of yellow, which side would it tip toward? If you had on glasses with blue tinted lenses, which side would turn green? If you had a clay pot full of buttercups, which side would camouflage the flowers? The left, or the right?

Now ask yourself why you just wasted all that time.

The only way to have committed traffic is to give people a reason to be there. The reason is not your unique selling proposition for your brand new product. That's not enough to engage a user. We're talking committed traffic, not just traffic. What's committed traffic? Users who are willing to and wanting to engage with your brand on line. Not just sign up for the contest. Not just write on your wall and bam thank you ma'am. People who want to be there because they have found an extension to what they already know and respect. Your brand. The purpose of the www in relation to your brand is to stretch it out NET. A net So that it becomes something huge. Something that grows in an organic manner. Your brand can grow like that. Like ivy. Moss. Create Coverage. Wide. Web. Net. Works.

Digital. Yep. That's where it's @

Monday, August 11, 2008

SON OF BLOG : the Blog that Ate the previous Blog

So this is the second coming.
The reincarnation.
The what in tarnation?

A colleague of mine, MJ ( I don't want to name drop), who has one of the most popular Blogs in the land, referred me to a book titled Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads by, Luke Sullivan. It's quite marvellous and I am quite enjoying it. It's relevant to this post and there's more on that below.

I deleted the previous Burgeon Verger for a reason.
It was OLD. Sunset Manor OLD. Shady Pines OLD. Last year OLD.
It doesn't take much to make anything so 5 minutes ago and that, my children, is the real impact of this series of tubes we call our INTERNET. It is ours, after all and what makes it ours is our ability to SHARE what matters.

"Technology" has created extreme and exceptional circumstances wherein we are able to remain connected 24/7. Extreme, you ask? Yeah verily. My children, think upon what you were doing at 2AM approximately 20 years ago. I guarantee that whatever you were doing then you aren't doing TONIGHT. Tonight you are connected. But it's an addictive connectedness
(I berry in my sleep. Thumbs akimbo and warning warning a simile approacheth...) like the urge to chew that spot on the inside of your cheek that you accidentally bit when you sneezed. "Technology" - as wonderful as it is, it's impact on our lives is extreme and sometimes we furrow our brows and sigh a nostalgic breath in memory of rotary phones long forgotten. (For those of you who don't know, it took so long to dial a number you'd just get in the LeSabre and drive there instead.)

But the that's a side of tech that you just have to love because it's more than just a tool that ensures connectedness, it's about SHARING. In a world where post-apocalyptic "you'll die a horrible and graphic death due to a scratch you got while selflessly breaking into an animal testing lab and freeing simians infected with a rage inducing virus" prevails...the word SHARE is a welcome motif.

The only place we, as growed-ups, see the prompt SHARE on a regular basis is on-line. (Unless you are in catechism class. But how many of you are in catechism class? What great word, catechism. That's what I'm calling my next kitten. I digress.) Yes, sharing is the new opposable thumb. Did the missing link share? Only a tad. Did cro-magnon man share? Barely a whit. But medieval THAT was sharing. "Plague, anyone?" It is civilized MAN that shares his collection of Peter Pan outfits, parasitic tapeworms and disdain for David Blaine. The series of tubes is but a conduit for MAN'S innermost thought.

The Internet is to SHARING as KRAFTWERK is to RADIOHEAD. That's right, I said it.

Remember back in the day when when we called the Internet cyberspace? (Then it was pronounced sssssssyyyyyyybrrrrrrsppppaaaaaaasssssse in a whisper. It was cool and full of mystery, subversivness and all your bombs are belong to us!) Remember how NEW MEDIA companies were being radical by calling themselves CYBERsomethingorother? Remember that? No? How could you forget it was only 5 minutes ago?

Speaking of you remember Mr. Peabody and the WayBack Machine? No don't Google that, Twitchy Finger. Leave that track pad alone and concentrate. Does that moniker mean anything to you? If it means something to you, you'll Blog about it tonight because you'll say "Oh yeah! I forgot about that show. I loved that show". If it doesn't you'll look it up and embed the wrong link on your page like so:

To some of us, Mr. Peabody and Jay Ward meant something. We want to SHARE what it meant. And then we want you to SHARE what our sharing means to you. It's therapeutic. It's a circle of chairs and there's coffee and cigarettes and stories and bad muffins.
The interweb is therapy. That's exactly what it is.

Except when it's social experimentation. Social labs. Beaker, Blogger. Test tube, Youtube. The list goes on...and here's some proof ...I have that fakebook page and you probably got here from there. That's not even me but it's my picture and those are my friends (you're on of them) and I made it a goal to have over 100 people accept my invitation to join my list of fakebook friends within 48 hours and it happened. Right across the planet it happened. And I asked each and every one of you to accept me and my nom de plume into your bosoms and you did. And I thank you for that. I really do and that is the irony in the whole thing. Except that there's even more irony because if those are all of my friends then that is me? Am I a new me now that my fakebook profile is populated by my friends and pictures of me? Even if that's not what I wanted in the first place? And why do I all of a sudden feel like SHARING? Now that you're part of my fboo group, all I want to do is SHARE. I never would have written this if you hadn't accepted my invitation.

All that being said SHARING is so 5 minutes ago. So let's change the topic because I'm bored. The purpose of this blog is to

Check back. Find out. Gimme 5.