Thursday, April 26, 2007

How many blogs are blogging this?

This Dilbert stuck me as quite apropos, if not a little scary. (And as an aside, I'm sure many of us marketing types recognized the situation. Poor Tina the Tech Writer! We feel your pain.)

In all jokes, of course, there's a kernel of truth, and Mr. Scott Adams, as per usual, has hit on an emerging truth in business culture. The blogger you're reading may not be who you think it is. No, it's not yet at the point where we automatically distrust the source, e.g., we know now that "hotbunny69" who was pinging you on IM is not really an interested girl trying to strike up a friendly conversation. But as this Dilbert becomes more truth than joke, it won't be long before we do.

The social media/Web 2.0 revolution has given us these tremendous communication tools, and business, moving ever faster to gain competitive edge, is busy exploiting them -- or swallowing them up outright -- but to what end? It's no secret that the user-driven Internet mediums are being utilized (exploited? raided? crippled?) by Corporate America. That's not necessarily a bad thing -- Corporate America made the Internet, originally an altruistic but only marginnally useful invention, into what it is today. But as blogs are becoming less user-driven and diary-like and more commercial-driven and advertising-like, some may see that as robbing the medium of what was its main source of attractiveness in the first place, rendering it irrelevant. So business bloggers beware! Think hard and long before you try to use any social media for corporate marketing purposes. Media maven Marshall McCluhan said "the medium is the message," but consider this: Just because the Pointy-Haired Boss wants to implement a blog, that doesn't mean he actually has anything to say.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Congratulations go out this morning to my good friends Michael McCord and Katie Paine!

"Michael McCord of the Portsmouth Herald has been named the 2007 Journalist of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration's New Hampshire office.

The statewide award is part of the SBA's Small Business Week awards, which also feted Katie Delahaye Paine of Durham, founder of KDPaine & Partners LLC with the Woman Business Owner of the Year."

--From today's Portsmouth Herald. Notice the new web site they're sporting today, too. It looks fabulous!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Took the iBook out to Market Square this morning... I had heard reports that the wi-fi signal from our new, top-secret indoor location, was not quite up to snuff. Well, sad to say, those reports are correct. I got no signal at all in Breaking New Grounds (even from the window seat). After walking and dowsing, I finally grabbed the signal in front of the church. Coming back to BNG, it held until I got the kiosk, where it ironically dropped. (Ironically because of course that's where the WAP used to be housed!) So apparently we've got some tweaking to do. I'll keep you posted here.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A sure sign of Spring -- besides the predictable April snowstorm -- is the relighting of the free wireless Internet access point in downtown Portsmouth. However, this may be the last time our wi-fi hotspot plays the role of vernal harbinger. Yes, by popular demand, we've finally gone year-round! Adam Leech of the Portsmouth Herald continues to follow our progress closely.

Now that our WAP is in a secure, undisclosed location (no, not Dick Cheney's bunker) we are asking for feedback on the signal strength and range. We should still be able to hit BNG no problem, but let me know if you have any issues wherever you like to connect.

Also, as with every year, please don't take the demographic survey more than once per year; we'll set the password for this year and it won't change from visit to visit. (Uniquely, we collect basic demographic information to report the usage statistics to the City Council, and as I have market research experience, I'm the one who has to go through the Excel spreadsheet to de-dupe it. Now that we're up to thousands of users per year, needless to day, I appreciate your cooperation!)

Of course, the idea of cities and towns offering free wireless Internet continues to gain traction, worldwide and locally. Wi-Fi is actually very close to the tipping point, actually -- wi-fi has gone from way-cool bleeding-edge stuff when we first started to something we've come to expect when we open our laptops. Locally, they're loving it at Me & Ollie's in Exeter but in the "sleepy" town of Kingston, no so much. This last article quite correctly points up the fact that libraries tend to be the first wi-fi beachheads in small towns, and indeed, why not? Libraries have always been the great equalizer of information access, and I'm pleased to hear that even the smallest local NH libraries (Raymond, Fremont, Newton) plan to offer wi-fi. Cheers to Nichols Library in Kingston, Wiggin Memorial Library in Stratham, and Exeter Public Library for already providing the service.

Full disclosure: For those who haven't heard the news, I work at another small town library -- I'm now the director at the Langdon Public Lirbary in Newington. And yes, we have wi-fi. ;-)