On March 11th Arrange a Meeting


March 11, 2004.
Ten bombs exploded on four trains during the
rush hour in Madrid. More than 190 people died, almost two thousand
were injured. It was one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in
Europe in recent history. As in the United States of America on
September 11 2001, it was an attack on freedom and democracy by an
international network of terrorists. One year on, Madrid will be the
setting for a unique conference, the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King of Spain.

One year on Madrid is holding the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security (March 8th-11th). Aside from the King of Spain, its Prime Minister, Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton and other illustrious former world leaders, some well-known bloggers will also be taking part - people like Dan Gillmor, Joi Ito and David Isenberg.

On March 11th, people across Madrid and other Spanish cities will be marching to remember those who died.

The organisers of the event are also inviting people to hold meetings:

"Sit down with friends, family or colleagues, and reflect on what happened at Atocha station, what happened in New York, and in Bali, and in Baghdad."

If you hold an event, you are asked to take notes and send them through to the event organisers.

"After your meeting, we want to hear from you about what you talked about, what you think is really important in opposing terrorism and what you think of the Madrid Agenda. You can send us an email or fill in the form on our website. We will present those views to the Club de Madrid as part of the process of refining the Agenda over the coming months. Doing this will help make the Agenda relevant to people’s lives, and it will also make it clear to political leaders that the Madrid process matters and that the principles expressed have to be taken seriously."

Their downloadable pdf document offres quite a few suggestions as to what you should discuss and how to go about organising a meeting.

Why don't you get involved? Simply, go to the website and fill in the registration forms. Alternatively, let all your friends and peers know about the event .

Here are some thoughts: set up a blog, Skype friends and family, have a chat on Yahoo! or MSN Messenger, even do a podcast of the meeting you hold. Feel free to add your thoughts and should anyone wish to arrange a meeting, where people from Madrid could be present, please let me know.

Harvard Business Review Cites Blogs as a 2005 Breakthrough Idea

Here's another recent article which focuses on how blogs are gaining power and influencing people. The Harvard Business review identifies 20 breakthrough Ideas for 2005 and in at number 10 comes Blog-Trolling in Bitstream. The article is written by Mohanbir Sawhney, from the Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, and looks at the grassroots nature of blogs and how the rules of the blogosphere are different to those of traditional media. He eludes to the fact that marketers will find it "difficult to navigate this complex blend of advertising, content, dialogue, and public relations."

He's certainly right there and I believe that it will take tradional PR and Marketing people a while to adjust to this new medium. There are so many of them who are so unsuited to marketing online that they may never grasp, and/or be able to use effectively, this exciting new marketing channel anyway. Much like search engine marketing blogging requires site owners to focus on their target market and speak in their language.

Mohanbir identifies 3 areas which corporate marketers have to deal with:

"First, they must realize that the blogosphere is not just a place in which to advertise; it is a medium in which to participate. Marketers can join the conversation on influential blogs realted to their products or companies -or, even better, they can become bloggers in their own right by hosting blogs for customers.

Second, companies must try to cultivate bloggers rather than control them. Instead of making ham-handed efforts to influence bloggers, marketers should attempt to win them over by sharing information openly with those who write about their companies and by responding to the issues that are raised, even - especially - if they are negative.

Third, the blogosphere is fluid and ever changing. Ad buys will become more dynamic, as new technologies and modifed contract terms let marketers shift rapidly from blog to blog in pursuit of customers' fickle attention."

Effective use of RSS Feeds by Morgans Hotel Group

Whilst searching for hotels in New York, I was pleasantly surprised to see one hotel group, Morgans Hotels, making good use of RSS feeds to keep guests up-to-date on latest offers. Their 'Special Offers' page invites visitors to sign up to their RSS  Feed.

Not sure what a RSS Feed is? Well, here's how the Morgans Hotel group clearly put it:

"A news feed (also known as an RSS feed) is a listing of a website's content in a news-headline format. It is updated whenever new content is published to the site. News readers "subscribe" to news feeds (websites that provide the service), which means they download lists of stories at an interval that you specify (every 30 minutes, for example), and present them to you in your news reader."

And the objective of this RSS Feed?

"Morgans Hotel Group uses this method to make our users aware of the latest special offers, often exclusive to our site, as soon as they are released. There is no cost to receive the news feeds from Morgans Hotel Group."

Great stuff! Judging by a recent article on Robert Scoble's blog, he would be well pleased

Wall Street Journal says: “The Blog as Business Tool has Arrived”

There has been a huge amount of press recently about the rise of the blog. The Wall Street Journal is probably the most respected financial newspaper in the world and a couple of days back it featured an article titled: "Blogs Keep Internet Customers Coming Back". The story takes a look at blogs from a business perspective, describing them [rightly] as a new marketing channel and showing how they  can be used to "engage in direct dialogue with customers".

The article has a few good examples of effective blogs and they all seem to have one thing in common: their ability to humanise a company and give it personality. It would also seem that they have ALL contributed to increasing their company's bottom line.

Original Source
The blog as business tool has arrived (Larry Bodine)

Technorati’s Top 100 Blog List

If you want to know what is going on in the world of blogs, you should make your way over to Technorati. Technorati is a "real-time" blog search engine, which measures the pulse of the blog world every few minutes. Unlike Google, where the spider will index your site every 24 hours (at best), Technorati's search engine will update your blog listing within minutes of posting.

Here is the Top 10 from Technorati's Top 100 List of "most authoritative blogs, ranked by the number of sources that link to each blog."

  1. Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things   Bubble_h17 18,705 links from 11,822 sources
  2.  Bubble_h17 14,336 links from 9,351 sources
  3. Gizmodo  Bubble_h17 9,802 links from 7,595 sources
  4. Photologs and MoBlogs: Buzznet  Bubble_h17 97,049 links from 7,485 sources
  5. art  Bubble_h17 10,406 links from 7,438 sources
  6. Davenetics* Pop + Media + Web  Bubble_h17 7,547 links from 7,390 sources
  7. SuicideGirls > Girls > Ciel  Bubble_h17 8,052 links from 7,160 sources
  8. Penny - Arcade  Bubble_h17 7,873 links from 6,844 sources
  9. Daily Kos  Bubble_h17 9,869 links from 6,825 sources
  10. eBaum's World - Media For The Masses - funny videos, flash games, jokes, clean humor, hilarious flash, funny pics, office humor  Bubble_h17 9,290 links from 6,347 sources

Hell, in the time it has taken me to write this article, Technorati has already  updated this list!!

Blogs El Mundo Style

I was looking through the on-line site of Spanish newspaper
El Mundo today, when my Descodificador_2eye fell upon the word “blogs”. On clicking one of
the links, El Descodificador, I was taken to strange looking blog format. It would appear that El Mundo’s take on blogs is a
list of (undated) articles that comprise four lines of introductory text,
followed by a link to “read more”.

However, the really strange thing is that though
each of these articles allows you to leave a comment, the comments are actually
linked to phpBB bulletin board – yes, a bulletin board to leave your thoughts! I can’t
understand why El Mundo, which has one of the best (and free) on-line newspapers
on the Web, would have taken such a step. Please, let me know your thoughts.

Blogger Quits Job to Become a Full-time Blogger!


I came across an interesting article today about a blogger, Jason Kottke, who has decided to quit his full-time job to become a full-time blogger. In order to fund his 'new venture' Jason is inviting viewers to his site to contribute $30 a year, or $2.50 a month. As Jason puts it,

"For you, $2.50 is a coffee in the morning, a magazine at the newsstand,
or a beer at the pub but in the aggregate, it will help me immensely."

His idea is to:

"make about 1/3 to 1/2 of my former yearly salary
to support my efforts here for a year. I have no idea whether this goal
is even remotely achievable"

Judging by his "micropatrons" list (those who contribute), things aren't going too badly. He has already got 200-odd people to contribute towards his fund - though it's not clear how much they have given. I should point out that in order to read the blog, you won't have to make a contribution. Jason says that the content of the blog won't change - he pretty much writes about everything - though he will now have more time to get involved in creative projects and get out to interesting events.

Quite a lot of what he writes will resonate with bloggers, namely the time that blogging can take up and how it can effect your family and social life:

"The site was getting out of hand and wasn't fun anymore. It was taking
me away from my professional responsibilities, my social life, and my
relationship with my girlfriend. There was no room in my life for it

Well, I wish him all the best and must start looking at my own "Contribution" scheme!

Robert Scoble, Blogging and the Fall of PR as we Know it (or not)


The Economist has a great article on Robert Scoble - Chief Humanising Officer - the highest profile blogger on the web and Microsoft employee, to boot.

In a nutshell:

Robert Scoble started out as a blogger for NEC. He is now an employee of Microsoft. His blogging profile landed him the job of Microsoft’s “Technical Evangelist”. What does the job consist of? Mainly blogging!

Now, isn’t that cool!

His weblog, Scobleizer, is one of the most widely read blogs on the Internet. He discusses Microsoft, competitor products, his family and many other things that come into his mind. It's all to do with putting things into context - if you know about the man, you'll know where he's coming from.

However, Robert Scoble has managed to succeed where PR types have failed before. As the Economist states,

“he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience.”

Scoble previously worked for NEC where his technical support skills, delivered through his blog, became a must-read. Microsoft heard of this and thought that they could do with Robert Scoble’s evangelical skills.
The Economist discusses for the most part the impact that blogging is having on traditional PR and how the threat of litigation could put a halt to the some of the key tenets of blogging: namely, its honesty and immediacy.

Original Source
If it's in the Economist it must be true (Marketing Playbook)

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