Category Archives: digital media

the wired side of mass media

social top source for mainstream media

social networks drive mainstream media

for the first time, social channels drove mainstream reporting

For the first time, social channels drove the broadcast, cable and print news cycles and were repeatedly sourced for content and tone. Big brands soared to the top of mainstream media reporting in February as a combination of unrelated events underscored the importance and immediacy of social engagement.

Consumer brands Oreo cookies and Maker’s Mark bourbon both got a thumbs up for their conversation handling. Oreo’s reaped a whirlwind of p.r. goodwill for their initiative during the Super Bowl partial blackout, while MM parent Beam quickly did an about face after announcing a change in the whiskey’s formulation.

Those examples contrasted with Carnival Cruise’s headlines for a different reason, and who knew that President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and the Republican response would offer a gold-plated opportunity to score huge headlines. Unfortunately, not everyone is up to the task of monitoring, let alone responding, to social media’s powerful audiences. Read more here.

barcamp tampa 2012 – new directions

BarCamp — A Premium Social Digital Experience

barcamp fills the hunger gap with traditional food

This year barcamp returned to the University of South Florida’s School of Business Administration for a combined event with codecamp. More than 300 creatives, engineers, and coders from a broad range of backgrounds began lining up before 7:30 a.m. for name tags, coffee, donuts, and a presenting slot. view barcamp Tampa 2012 on flickr

To the average person who might find themselves marooned in this gathering by either a fussy Garmin GPS or a galactic wormhole, barcamp tampa surely comes across like Santa’s Little Helper on the Simpsons – blah blah blah blah blah. I’m no coder, so much of what enters my ears during each of the day’s 50-minute sessions finds me in full agreement with that cartoon greyhound. What does get through, though, is often priceless in terms of application and value.

from statistics to startups to plugins – what you can learn

Barcamp Tampa 2011 was my introduction to the network’s universe of mostly backend web and app design. This year, a shorter list of speakers meant a leaner menu of topics, spread across nine venues in six time slots that started at 8 a.m. and ended at five.

I finished the day with three solid seminars under my belt, leaving a couple of half-baked selections behind on the table. Even though overall the offerings were pared down, Beyond Netflix – New Frontiers in Algorithms, Harvesting Social Data, and WordPress Optimization added up to several hours of insight, information, and takeaways that would have proven elusive, if not impossible, to discover if not for barcamp.

quantity and quality – tough to choose from a broad list of topics

  1. Beyond Netflix – New Frontiers in Algorithms This presentation by USF faculty member Balaji Padmanabhan explored the future of preference aware software, using Amazon and Netflix models to demonstrate the value of sentiment analysis engines. In other words, knowing what you want before you do.
  2. Harvesting Social Data TAWLK engineer Lance Vick described the advantages of live tracking search and sentiment analysis simultaneously without having to open a separate window for each stream. The software, still in beta, uses keyword entry to filter results from whatever channel platforms are selected, including social, blogs, and other accessible content.
  3. WordPress Optimization Website host IT manager David Parsons laid out options and best practices for WordPress blogs, ranging from plugin strategy to security to graphic overhead that can slow down load times significantly.

google forces seo strategy upgrade

seo strategy a must as sophisticated algorithms become more selective

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

Trying to achieve page rank by relying on a domain name stuffed with keywords just got a lot harder. In an update unrelated to Panda, which puts more emphasis on well designed and written quality content, Google’s latest algorithm begins to make the practice of keyword-defined URLs obsolete and thus encouraging (forcing?) content managers to develop rank organically by adding meaningful content.

siebenthaler creative consistently earns page one rank

It works for me. Googling “powersports (advertising – marketing – pr)” usually results in page one rank for Siebenthaler Creative. In September 2012 screen grab below Siebenthaler Creative is the only SERP that doesn’t have “powersports” in the URL. This query returned two of my pages based on “powersports advertising,” more on subsequent SERPs. Bottom line: if the goal is to be seen by as many as possible, you need a strategy that doesn’t depend on shortcuts, and one that can survive and adapt over time.


new google search challenges content

to earn google rank, get busy with content

Google’s latest product is their highly engineered search algorithm Knowledge Graph. Exactly how it works is a mystery, but best guesses are a wide ranging capability to reference major data sites, including Wikipedia, using a predictive intelligence that intuits a user’s intent beyond the specific search query. I’m just assuming this thing’s got artificial intelligence down cold and am preparing new content accordingly while retrofitting the archives to conform.

Read If Google Can’t Find You, Your Market Never Will for tips on how to upgrade your content and create a strategy for search success.

china’s syndrome: getting past the past

conceptions about china may be incomplete

When it comes to opinions, those regarding China by Westerners seldom rise to superlative. From child labor sweatshops to cheap plastic trinkets to shoddily constructed knockoffs to IP piracy, the average take is commonly one of polluted cities and human rights abuses. Apple’s iPhones aside.

SapientNitro Global Marketing Strategy VP Freddy Laker tackles the existing memes with a compelling view of an alternate digital universe that’s on track to provide over half of all online content by 2015. More revealing is his take on the web landscape trod by Chinese, with same as, yet different, versions of familiar check-ins like facebook, Groupon, twitter, etc.

Does the electronic firewall separating the PRC from our digital daily life matter? Apparently not, as the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit has spawned look-alikes in a stunning variety of flavors, all without missing a beat.

This slideshare adaptation of a 2012 SWSWi preso “China – Will It Redefine Our Digital Landscape?” is a half-hour peek into a world I didn’t imagine existed. Bonus footage: Laker’s unique strategy for assimilation into China’s culture. Hint: TMZ meets ET, hatches HuffPo hybrid.

barcamp tours tampa

Barcamp — A One-Day Digital Media Geekfest

barcamp brings top talent to tampa

Perfect Fall weather meant standing room only when Kforce’s Tampa headquarters opened their doors for a dynamic day-long code fest of presenters gathered from across the country. view barcamp Tampa 2011 on flickr

It was my first Barcamp, so it wasn’t until I parked and checked-in for the Saturday series of 30-minute presentations that I fully realized it was a coders’ boot camp with plenty of designers and social media marketers along for the ride.

Unlike the formal speaking schedule found in typical conferences, presenters show up with thumbdrives full of SlideShare, Prezi and PowerPoint content, much of it in beta form, then scribble their themes and topics on Post-Its that serve as both log-in and journal for speaker and subject.

speakers sorted and assigned to rooms

After that it’s up to organizers to arrange the order based on content and context, which is where the Post-Its come in as they’re sorted, organized, and debated before making it on to the quasi-spreadsheet wall listing. The audience gathers around, making notes of which sessions they’re interested in attending.

The unique approach means there’s no way to know ahead of time who you’ll see or when you’ll see them – an experiment in back end democracy, as it were. Barcamp rolls with a dynamic lineup ranging from top tier industry talent to first time content breakouts. Graphic, social media, and styling presentations from notables like Chris Coyier, Dave Cross, and Ethan Marcotte made sure my first Barcamp wouldn’t be my last.

the end of end-to-end online print?

Khol Vinh is a designer. Not that unusual, but his previous job as design director for makes him unique and his skillful accomplishments considerable.

He publishes his highly refined blog ‘Subtraction’ on the Expression Engine platform, which alone qualifies him for a spot at the podium. Khol takes what might be the long tail view of publishing content for consumption when he predicts that he, “…just can’t see the end-to-end magazine format surviving.”

In a short, insightful interview on digiday, he challeges the cultural tradition that starts on C1 and proceeds to C4, digital pages turning at regular intervals like scheduled stops on a train trip.

Read more of Mr. Vinh’s insight into digital magazine publishing here. Originally sourced in a posting at Poynter.

compuserve’s first live digital image

Digital photograph of ASMP Central Florida chapter February, 1993. David Heller (seated, center) provided IT supervision. ©John Siebenthaler

my digital photo first upload viewed live on compuserve

The photograph above is one of the first real time, commercial digital images ever viewed on the internet.

Today we snap anecdotal photos by the billions, using miniaturized smart phone cameras to simultaneously update our visual interests to any number of social sites. It wasn’t always this painless. This is what it looked like in the beginning.

ASMP Central Florida Chapter Newsletter March-April 1993 February, 1993, and commercial digital photography is in the very early stages of development. Essential JPEG (.jpg) algorithms now taken for granted were still being finalized. TIFF was the standard (and inefficient) format for rasterized image content. <download chapter newsletter (left) PDF

At the same time while what we now know as the web and its browser viewed rich content was still being imagined, the internet of the early years ran over household telephone lines behind an impenetrable wall of individual cantons.

I belonged to CompuServe, the first and then largest of a half-dozen or so commercial intranet services (AOL, Prodigy, GEnie, each serving their own customer base and incapable of talking to each other) popular at the time. Members jumped online with dialup modems that connected to local access nodes peppered throughout the continent. Common practice when traveling was to tote along a phone jack hack kit and a list of hit-or-miss toll-free numbers.

first national online site for professional photographers

As an administrator of Compuserve’s Special Interest Group (SIG) Photography forum, I was able to carve out a private niche for the American Society of Magazine Photographers, becoming the first online presence for a national professional photographer’s organization. (I also formed and chaired ASMP’s first technology committee, authoring the first report to address the issue of online digital access and what that might mean to photographers’ usage rights.)


A regional meeting in Orlando of Florida’s ASMP chapters was the opportunity to photograph members with Kodak’s beta DCS 200mi Digital Camera System. I’d made the loaner list for their $20,000, black and white only, heavily modified motor drive Nikon mated to a small, slow hard drive powered by 16 rapidly drained AAs. (So much for blaming Kodak’s eventual bankruptcy on a lack of digital imaging knowledge – this was the first practical digital image capture commercially developed.)

There was no in-camera preview; the image first had to be transferred (over SCSI cables) to a Mac IIsi for viewing in Photoshop and downsampling before being uploaded to Compuserve’s mainframe in Columbus, Ohio, a process which took nearly half an hour over a staggeringly slow 2,400-bps modem.

To complete the project, Compuserve’s Photography forum owner in Sacramento had to merge the image into the forum library, and within 15 minutes it was available for viewing and download by ASMP members worldwide. As part of the experiment, ASMP members in three separate chapters throughout the country were also able to conduct live online chats within the forum. The photograph above is one of the first near real time, commercial digital images ever viewed on the internet.

social strategies: tech talk in tampa

social media strategies matter

(TAMPA) The Tampa Bay chapters of Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) co-sponsored a half-day professional development social communications meeting that spotlighted the intersection of mobile, social and point-of-purchase (POP) media. Read more about how POP can deliver a targeted message here.

Presenters included Pinstripe Marketing’s Ginger Reichl, Bryan Marks from Irvin Steel, Mad Mobile’s Greg Schmitzer, and newly named Public Relations and Marketing VP for Moffitt Cancer Center Joe Hice. Continue reading

social fresh tampa: breaking it down

Whether you define social media as the 20th century spanned by two phones hooked together by copper wire or a bluetooth keyboard tapping out a tweet that ends up as smart phone text in the 21st, success with the medium begins with understanding the process.

Social Fresh Attendance by Category

Which is exactly where Social Fresh has landed on the map of the Continental United States. I was able to gain critical insight from some of the best in the business when Tampa played host to their multi-stop tour in February, promoted across the social media spectrum by founder Jason Keath (@jasonkeath) as the answer to marketers in various “underserved cities” wailing at the “How does all this stuff work?” wall of confusion.

The 1-2 day conference objectives are teaching marketeers – ad shops, pr firms, corporate communication staffers, philanthropic agencies – first the basics, then expanded specifics of invoking social media in its various forms. Facebook and twitter first, augmented by late breaking news in the app and cloudware departments later.

more than who had what for lunch

The chart above shows the typical conference breakdown of attendees by channel, and is indicitive of the broad interest among corporations, marketeers, government, non-profits and others in learning how social media communication strategies can be applied across markets. Social Fresh brings in a full slate of new media stars to shine in a venue that’s part camp meeting, part Mary Kay convention, where they’re free to serve up advice and instruction on the best ways for an audience of mostly pilgrams to navigate a landscape where there’s still no road map. It’s a job for experts, and Social Fresh delivers.

You can view more on the evolution of social media here.