Sips from the Firehose
A blog that seeks to filter the internet into a refreshing, easily-gulped beverage

Aug 02

Bill Cosby is Not Dead Yet: A Viral Marketing Set-up?

Posted: under advertising, Amusing Nonsense.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

First day back from a much-needed “decompression” trip to the redwood forests of West Marin, and I’m greeted by the strangest trending topics when I fire up Tweetdeck for my re-immersion in the raging info-torrent:

twitscoop shows bill cosby denying his demise as top trending topic

So many people are ReTweeting Cosby's denial of his demise that the keywords are showing up all over trending topics.

Strange. The words “Cosby,” “demise,” “rumors,” “confirming,” and the Palin-esque portmanteau “rebuttaling” are trending. So when I click through to see what everyone’s talking about, this comes up:

twitter users retweeting cosby demise denial

Check out how many people are just hitting the "RT" button to repeat what Cosby said -- without any sort of editing of the message whatsoever. Thus including the link.

Wow. OK, either there’s some sort of radio or TV contest going on here, or there’s a genuine story brewing. How can I tell that it’s not just one Twitspammer clogging up the Twitosphere? Well, check out the sources of the Tweets: Twidroid, web, UberTwitter (not shown: Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and about a dozen other clients).

Spammers give themselves away by using only one (or at most two) channels to shovel their dreck. Usually they just compromise one platform and then quickly cram their message through the crack in the security wall before someone notices and plasters it over again.

Still, there’s a possibility that there was a massive exploit of user’s Twitter accounts, and that the weblink will lead to a page where the Trojans & Spyware lurk. So, setting the various anti-virus & script-blockers to “Red Alert” status, I clicked on through. Turns out that the Cos actually does have an app.

Bill Cosby's twittered rebuttal of his demise

A simple message - and one that has been picked up by a significant portion of his million-plus followers.

Now, I’m not sure if this was entirely scam-free. Cosby is a shrewd marketer & hustler; I wouldn’t put it past him to stage a non-event like this to take advantage of the overheated, overhyped nature of the Twitosphere to get his name out there (and how many times in the past six months have you actually even heard Bill Cosby’s name? Yeah, like that). One of the surest ways to cause a kerfuffle was proved a year ago when the news of Michael Jackson’s death caused the FailWhale to appear … so maybe Cosby & his web team figured out that sock-puppeting a rumor of Cosby’s sudden death would be enough to set off a ruckus.

Which Cosby could then take advantage of by issuing a denial … and tying that denial to a message plugging his new money-making app.

Convoluted? Damn Skippy. Like setting up a three-cushion shot on an uneven billiards table. Being carried in the back of a flatbed truck. Over a rutted backwoods Arkansas dirt road.

Then again, Bill Cosby was something of a hustling pool player, once upon a time…

Bill was not always "Mr. Establishment." He had a funky side - maybe it was Sidney Poitier that brought it out of him...

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Mar 18

Audience Planbook: A Step-by-Step Plan to Transform Newspapers

Posted: under Digital Migration, New Marketing, new media, Newspapers.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Big Scary Project that I’ve been yammering about for the last five months is finally live & open for business.

The way out of the maze just got a little easier (click for larger image).

The way out of the maze just got a little easier (click for larger image).

The Audience Planbook was designed to guide newspaper execs through the process of transforming their familiar (but no longer safe) businesses into popular & profitable New Media information centers.  Here’s what the front page looks like:

This Planbook is an answer to one of the most persistent and trenchant objections to all this “New Media Strategery” — that is, that previous case studies and industry analyses have been long on strategy, and short on tactics.  There are hard drives bursting with essays, webinars and podcasts calling for “disintermediated information flows” and “leveraging Web 2.0 to enhance user experience,” but the practical means by which to transmute these philosophies into concrete policies & procedures has been lacking.

No longer.

I’d like to publicly thank & brag about my writers:

Chapter 1: Stacy Lynch writes about how to assess your current situation to spot where opportunities exist – even in this down economy & print-hostile environment.

Chapter 2: Heather Schlegel (aka Heathervescent) shows how to construct User Personas to start focusing in on audience groups that you want to turn into readers/users/contributors/evangelists.

Chapter 3: Chris Willis takes on one of the toughest problems in media organizations: the change-resistant culture, and shows how to start the internal change that will then manifest itself as an external renaissance.

Chapter 4: Francis Pisani brings a breath of fresh air to the product launch process – his experience as an “Alpha Blogger” in France & Spain brought him into contact with tech teams that are doing spectacular things.

Chapter 5: Sean McDonnell uses his experience of working to build communities for the banking and financial sector to show off the newest viral marketing tools.

Chapter 6: Erik Johnson shows how to push, pull, coax and haul our audiences up the engagement ladder; because an engaged user is far more valuable than a drive-by browser.

Chapter 7: Janine Warner dissects the business and organizational structures that New Media companies are using to produce this kind of content.

Chapter 8: Kevin Featherly takes the results of all this labor, and shows how to make an informed decision to “hold ’em or fold ’em.”

I am tremendously proud of the work that they all have done.  We are all trying to peer into cloudy crystal balls here, and they have uncovered some real gems.

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