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Tech delegation explores Siberia, looks for connection through digital diplomacy [#RusTechDel]

Delegations from the State Department to Russia haven’t generally been accompanied by  great fanfare. In an information age where a growing social layer for the Internet provides unprecedented means for people to share their experiences online, the progress of the “innovation delegation” through Moscow and Siberia has been marked by a steady progression of tweets, online video and photos.

This is, after all,  a group of “geek luminaries” that has considerable reach online and into popular culture. Unsurprisingly, the member of the tech delegation that’s attracted both the attention of mainstream media in the US and fans abroad is Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher brought with him more than 4.5 million followers as Twitter’s most-followed user (@aplusk) and, perhaps even more crucially, an iPhone equipped with a video camera and a uStream account.

The delegation is led by Jared Cohen of the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning and Howard Solomon of the National Security Council. US Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra joined them in Moscow. They  are also traveling with:

“We’re trying to look at how Russia can utilize its population as a health resource, as an education resource, as an anti-corruption resource, as an anti-trafficking resource,” said Cohen, as quoted at Wired’s Epicenter blog.

According to Wired:

“the group hopes to emerge with clear deliverables. Women in remote areas could receive information — either online or using the SMS feature on their cellphones — on how to have healthy pregnancies. And in order to prevent Russian cellphone companies from being pressured into divulging the names and locations of those who report human-trafficking violations by SMS, the complaints could be cleaned and anonymized outside of the country, according to Cohen.

“The State Department is not bringing these people over as CEOs,” Cohen added. “John Donahoe is the CEO of eBay, but he’s also an expert on e-commerce and building platforms that move large sums of money in ways that aren’t corrupt, so he’s an expert on ‘e-anti-corruption.’”

The success of the mission hit at least one roadblock: Moscow traffic.

Despite tweeting about people, the ballet, the Kremlin, food and one another, the tech delegation was quiet about missing a meeting with Russia’s communications minister — and six Russian tech companies.

Other visits, at least viewed from through Kutcher’s livestream and Cohen’s able narration, have been more productive. Twitter gained another high profile user, after Jack helped Donahoe sign up on Twitter.

[ / CC BY-NC 2.0]

Sometimes the best record of an event is in pictures of the delegation’s progress. Three of the pictures in this post  are from Esther Dyson’s Flickr photostream. While the tweets of delegation tell a tale, as do reactions from Russian students and the rest of the online audience, her pictures and captions is the most eloquent storytelling I’ve encountered to date.

Search engines and science

What’s the fastest growing search engine in the world? Apparently, as the delegates learned when they visited headquarters. The Russian search engine has the fastest rate of growth in the world, according to Comscore. After we met on Twitter, Nick Wilsdon also shared statistics on Russia’s top social &

Students and social media

As with students elsewhere,  Russian students are using phones and social networking to exchange information. Warrior shared a picture of the students gathered at Novosibirsk on Twitter, tweeting about an “energizing chat w/ univ students, topics ranged from talent, innov., corruptin, beer pong.”

Given the return of state control of domestic television networks in Russia, the Internet’s role as a vital means of communication and global news has perhaps never been as acute.

What else will come of the “innovation delegation?”

Veterans of the Cold War might wonder why the U.S. or its entrepreneurs are offering advice or a forum to a former opponent. Even if the “missile gap” is a remnant of the past, Russian and U.S. relations haven’t been exactly sunny over the decades.

It may be that this delegation is a physical expression of the hopes that Hillary Clinton expressed in her speech on Internet freedom. And, in fact,  Jared Cohen tweeted the State Department’s  innovation delegation is  “an example of 21st century statecraft driven by Hillary Clinton.”

But putting concerns about aiding Russian industry aside, creating the conditions that make Silicon Valley or NYC fertile grounds for tech entrepreneurship won’t be easy. “We’re developing joint projects w/Russia on education, anti-trafficking, health, e-gov, anti-corruption using tech,” Cohen tweeted earlier today.

“Novosibirsk is Russia’s 4th largest city,” tweeted Cohen, “less than 100yrs old, Russia’s hub of innovation, & just northeast of India in middle of Siberia. [The] challenge in Siberia is not lack of innovation, but rather avenues for entrepreneurs to attract start-up capital.”

Giving young Russian entrepreneurs confidence about both patents and ownership of intellectual property would help, as would mentors. “I’ve been interested in Russia, working in computer science, engineering, mathematics for a long time,” said Dorsey in Novosibirsk. “Russia has been a major part of the story. I’ve found that there’s a real desire to create projects and an entrepreneurial spirit but not enough face to face discussion.”

Dorsey pointed out that the U.S. tech community regularly has meetups in Silicon Valley and New York City where the largest companies constantly invite people to come in. “When you have that supportive culture, it’s very easy to take risks,” he said. In Russia, Dorsey observed, “There’s not this desire, or a structure, or momentum, to get together and talk about what we want to create together. If you bring people who can fund this from the beginning, you start building angel networks, which are the basis for all innovation in the US these days.”

Desire, control of intellectual property and a tech community would be an incremental change on a larger continuum. As Fraser Cameron wrote in a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has called for a number of reforms, including a return to elections and freedom.

Cameron points out that Putin “failed to encourage investment in new industries, technologies or infrastructure.” In that context, will access to Western angel investors or social media matter?

Or, to reiterate the questions I asked to the delegation last night:

What uses of tech do Russians admire in the US? Where could new ICT help there now? How important is free, open speech to stimulating a culture of innovation? What about the use of open source tech? (Listen in for answers in Kutcher’s archived streams.)

Kutcher (above, in his own Twitpic) evidently has gained some perspective, at least on the impact of state involvement. “My perception of Russia and Russian technologists was always based on Russia’s ability and interest in scientific achievement,” he said. “The one thing I’ve found since we’ve been here, without Russian government controlling the room, is that it becomes a much more vibrant, expressive room. My perception of control levels and the reality were two different things.”

Donahoe, former head of Bain & Company, had different considerations. He said that while he saw potential to expand eBay into Russia, it would be on the condition: that law enforcement and the Russian government cooperate on anti-cybercrime.

Donahoe was impressed by a number of experiences, particularly in a new view of Siberia. “There’s a wealth of talent, real opportunity to build on a tech center,” he said. “I’m truck by the talent of Russian engineers. They should continue to play a leadership role in the World Wide Web, as they have continued to do with Google, Paypal and  Skype.”

On techno-utopianism and digital diplomacy

[Photo Credit: Jarod Liebman]

The ability of social media platforms to provide a platform for conversations was repeatedly shown in 2009, particularly in Iran’s elections. As Jack said to ABC News, “when you can see more of what’s happening you can really see more of the opposition is arguing about and take those arguments head on and have a conversation about them.”

The same communication tools can and have, however, been used in “digital dictatorships,” as Evgeny Morosov wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday. Rita J. King’s considered rebuttal in the “The Evolution of Revolution,” pointing out where digital diplomacy has had effect.

Cohen’s own involvement in the Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM) conferences would seem to extend from a similar belief in the potential for 21st Century statecraft.

Some of the most important interactions, after all, are likely to always be in person. As Jack tweeted, “having lunch together is so much more important to creating something than a business meeting -@edyson.”

The role of ICT

[Yuri Marin of, a self-publishing/printing site in Novosibirsk. Credit: / CC BY-NC 2.0]

As I listened to the discussions with Russian technologists about what could be done to improve innovation, particularly for civic gain, I thought of a long post that MIT Professor Andrew McAfee posted earlier this month on information and communication technologies (ICT).

As he wrote in “The Oxygen of Bandwidth, or How I Spent My Winter Vacation,” “researchers report that people in the developing world are willing to skip meals in order to buy more bandwidth.”

McAfee’s advice for helping the people of the developing world is simple: “Help them acquire technology that lets them help themselves, and that lets others help them. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: give them the ICT tools, and they will finish the job.”

Mitigating the dangers of journalism in Russia isn’t likely any time soon., but given Russia’s technological base, many of its engineers, students and scientists are equipped with the ability to create such tools already.

Whether this trip will create avenues for better communication, investment in startups or anti-corruption is an open question. It’s one of many that the delegates themselves will no doubt continue to answer in the days ahead.

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On Twitter, neither a Luddite nor Biltonite be. Simply be human.

The wrangling about whether Twitter is revolutionary, useful or mindless twaddle simply will not end. Given the continued interest in the microblogging platform in the media, that is perhaps to be expected.

Last month, David Carr wrote in the Sunday edition of the The New York Times that “Twitter will endure,” exploring how he’d initially dismissed the platform and then found it useful. In late January,  The New Yorker‘s George Packer responded to  Carr, deriding Twitter as “information hell” and comparing it to an addiction to crack in “Stop the world.” That brought a flood of attention from online media outlets, including Nick Bilton, lead writer for the excellent Bits blog at the Times, who wrote that “The Twitter train has left the station,” defending Twitter from the point of view of a journalist who has found utility amidst the stream.  On Thursday, Mr. Packer offered a rebuttal, positioning himself as neither a “Luddite or a Biltonite.” Jeffrey Goldberg has now weighed in at the Atlantic, consigning Bilton and others who might share his conviction to the arena of “info freaks.”

Well and good. (At least Goldberg tweets.) Two disclaimers:

1) I am a long-time reader of George Packer’s excellent work in the New Yorker. I found “The Assassin’s Gate” to be one of the best books written about the early stages of the war in Iraq.

2) I’ve found considerable utility in Twitter since I joined in March of 2007.

I don’t expect either truth to be degraded by the spat between Bilton and Packer.

I was, however, surprised that Packer had chosen to criticize a platform that he hadn’t used. Few serious technology journalists, book reviewers, movie or restaurant critics would consider rendering judgment without personal experience. Such considerations don’t hold back millions of Twitter users, bloggers or, I believe, any number of television pundits, but since I admire Mr. Packer’s professionalism, that approach surprised me.

When he wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged” six years ago, my sense was that, despite his misgivings and evident frustration with pajama-clad pundits, he’d read some blogs, even if he doubted their utility as serious platforms for commentary or criticism. Given the maturation of blogs in the years since (including, I might note, at New, I wonder if revisiting that analysis might have been more useful, rather than dismissing Twitter without first dipping into the ebb and flow of news there.

In his second pass, Packer wrote that he had, in fact, “sought out a Tweeter,” without linking to or identifying that person. Well and good, but perhaps a weak strawman. As a commenter at Packer’s blog reflected, much of the content produced there is ambient noise, or digital “phatics” as Kevin Marks has rightly described them.

Twitter is profoundly social. That’s is why, despite the mindless hype surrounding the phrase, “social media” has had staying power in describing Twitter, Facebook or other platforms that allow two way conversations.

Twitter, like so many other things, is what you make of it. Some might go to a cocktail party and talk about fashion, who kissed whom, where the next hot bar is or any number of other superficial topics. Others might hone in on politics, news, technology, media, art, philosophy or any of the other subjects that the New Yorker covers. If you search and listen, it’s not hard to find others sharing news and opinion that’s relevant to your own interests.

Using intelligent filters for information, it’s quite easy to subscribe and digest them at leisure. And it’s as easy as unfollowing someone to winnow out “babble” or a steady stream of mundanity. The impression that one is forced to listen to pabulum, as if obligated to sit through a dreary dinner party or interminable plane ride next to a boring boor, is far from the reality of the actual experience of Twitter or elsewhere.

There’s also genuine utility there for the journalists who choose to experiment. When stories break, we can use it for real-time news and information. In the case of Haiti, Twitter was relevant, immediate and helpful, given that phones went down and the Internet stayed up. NPR was able to use Twitter and Skype to find sources on the ground. Disaster relief agencies were able to coordinate with one another. And in one notable instance, Doctors Without Borders was able to call attention using Twitter at @MSF_USA to the fact that its plane was getting turned away. Ann Curry heard them and helped to amplify the issue:

“@usairforce find a way to let Doctors without Borders planes land in Haiti: THE most effective at this. 11:52 AM Jan 17th

Packer and others are right to caution against hype and techno-worshipers. On balance, however, Packer errs in tarring much of the online community with a broad brush.

One passage in particular stands out: “There’s no way for readers to be online, surfing, e-mailing, posting, tweeting, reading tweets, and soon enough doing the thing that will come after Twitter, without paying a high price in available time, attention span, reading comprehension, and experience of the immediately surrounding world.” As Marc Ambinder tweeted earlier today, “I read many, many books in 2009. Including yours. And I Tweet.”

The same is true for me, and for many others. I read much of the New Yorker, the Economist and the Atlantic each month, along with numerous newspapers and technology blogs or trade publications online. (I write for one of the latter.) I also read on average 2-3 books every month, depending upon the rigor of travel, conferences or other factors. I also dip in and out Twitter throughout the week. That may not be an ideal information diet for everyone but for this tech journalist, it works. Even if I miss a story, it’s extremely rare that my network of friends and sources won’t find it and share it.

That’s why this “social news” phenomenon has become of keen interest to Google, as evidenced by the inclusion of social search into its results.

I share Packer’s concern about how the use of the Internet is changing literacy, critical thinking and creativity. Well and good, if not exactly novel. I look forward to more research on how and where those effects are found. I find hypotheses that place high consumption rates video games, television and movies is at the heart of poor information literacy instead of the wired world more convincing.

As for another comment regarding the tweets that flew about Ann Curry being stuck in the elevator, I share the amusement from the perspective of the man who sat next to that remarkable woman for ninety minutes. (So did the folks at Gawker, who wrote about the elevator incident at length.) Ann and I talked about Haiti, changes in media, religion, the utility of the iPad and yes, Twitter, all gloriously offline and in depth. I enjoy that memory; there’s a lovely montage of images up at, whose camera took the excellent shot below.

The fact that the world knew we were all stuck in that elevator was merely amusing, however, as opposed to a critical message that would best be conveyed to a 911 operator. We all found the intercom more useful than our smartphones, given the awful reception.

Sharing our experience with our networks of friends, however, was a natural extension of life in 2010. It certainly wasn’t breaking news but the act of communicating about it offered me, at least, an opportunity to interact with a broader audience of other humans around globe. That’s an unalloyed good.

I agree that “cheerleading uncritically” is not useful, nor a mentality that any writer should adopt. I do not share Packer’s conviction, however, that the news landscape can’t be occupied by more technological platforms, including reporters tapping away on BlackBerrys. One important example of that is Mark Knoller, the CBS White House correspondent whose tweets read like a they’ve been adapted from a history book already written.

If Mr. Packer would like to meet over coffee in DC to talk further about how life has changed in the age of Twitter, consider this an open invitation. Given my experience with his writing, I am certain that @GeorgePacker would be worth following.

-Alexander B. Howard


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Notes and Tweets from the TechTarget ROI Summit at #TTGTSummit

Marilou Barsam at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit

Marilou Barsam at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit

The week before last, before I went off to San Francisco to be immersed in security, compliance and cloud computing at the RSA Conference, I was lucky to be present at TechTarget‘s annual ROI Summit. The event, held in Newton, Mass., showcases the best research, advice and case studies from TechTarget’s online marketing efforts. I attended at the invitation of Dave Bailey, an estimable director of corporate marketing at TechTarget, sitting in on his panel with Sean Brooks on the ROI of Social Media.

Before that session, however, I was privy to a full slate of presentations and findings in the main ballroom. The following post is a reflection of the “best of the back channel,” as represented by posts (so-called “tweets”) to Twitter from attendees and TechTarget staff on site. The hashtag for the event was #TTGTSummit, as you can see if you visit and search for it. Tweets are presented in chronological format here, as opposed to the most recent additions you’ll find in the links above.

Given the 140 character limit to each post, there is naturally a need to condense the insight and add context and resources with hyperlinks or other usernames. In aggregate, however, this conversation provides some useful insight into the state of online marketing, as practiced by one of the leaders in the space. I enjoyed the opportunity to “micro-report” on it using my personal account @digiphile.

You can read Marilou Barsam’s “Takeaways from the TechTarget 2009 East Online ROI Summit” at “My Educated Guess.’

Introductions & Keynote from Greg Strakosch

digiphile: The TechTarget Online #ROI Summit is getting rolling here. Follow the #TTGTSummit hashtag. More info:

digiphile: Glad to find @RandyKahle @GSasha @AqaMarketing @Cathie_Briggett @rsk1060 @ESalerno here. Consider using #TTGTSummit & following @ITAgenda

digiphile: My CEO is up at the #TTGTSummit. Enterprise IT pros researching at the same activity level during this #recession, despite budget tightening

digiphile: Over 60 websites in the TechTarget network as of April 2009. In aggregate, that’s the largest audience of IT pros on the Web. 

digiphile: Barsam introduced the concept of the “hyperactive lead” at the #TTGTSummit | My take: IT pros consume media like bears eat blueberries.

digiphile: An IT pro here at the #TTGTSummit describes himself as an “informavore” – always foraging for information. I share that hyperactivity.

Online Marketing Case Studies

InboundMarketer: At TechTget Online ROI Summit (#TTGTSummit) talking abt nurturing in 2 ways-inside ur environment & outside of it, both need 2 b synergistic

digiphile: Panel on #OnlineMarketing drives home importance of integrated media & customized, thoughtful messages. Many touchpoints. 

digiphile: The # of tools #OnlineMarketers have now is unprecedented. Virtual trade shows, videocasts, social media, data/Web analytics 

digiphile: Detailed case studies of how #OnlineMarketers use automated CRM tools/dashboards to gather & track leads at the #TTGTSummit | Analytics key.

digiphile: PRT @InboundMarketer Tableau software uses Eloqua; “great 4 a small co,” uses CRM ( 4 visual scoring w/dashboards 

Andy Briney’s Presentation on trends for CIO spending

cappypopp: IT in ’00s: ‘webify’ servers, apps, infrastructure. Bandwidth leasing, compliance. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Online ROI Summit #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: To succeed IT is going to need to rejustify its role in the business #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Only 29% of companies to grow their IT budgets in ’09 | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Andy outlining major IT trends for 2009 : Consolidation (virtualization, outsourcing w/cloud/SaaS) & compliance. >regs coming |

cappypopp: 96% of co.’s (of 500) believe that IT’s role in compliance hugely important; 70% of IT pros surveyed will focus on it in ’09 

digiphile: What’s the #1 IT spend area in 2009? According to Briney @ #TTGTSummit, it’s disaster recovery. Hurricanes had an impact on banks/insurance.

cappypopp: What is ‘business intelligence?’ Getting more and better data faster. | #ttgtsummit

ITCompliance: PRT @cappypopp 96% of Fortune500 co’s believe IT’s role in compliance hugely imptnt; 70% IT pros surveyed will focus on it in 09 

ITCompliance: RT @ITAgenda Major recession-proof areas of IT spending: Business Intelligence/BPM, Compliance, Disaster Recovery, Consolidation

digiphile: RT @CappyPopp “Consolidation, compliance, DR, & BI are not “opportunities” for IT: they are imperatives” -Andy Briney 

InboundMarketer: – Techtarget Online ROI Summit #TTGTSummit main session room

ITCompliance: Andy Briney gave special note at the #TTGTSummit. USGov/EU regs have made “IT” a crucial issue for #2009.

cappypopp: IT marketers: target proj. teams, not all stakeholders, and audience closest to your product or pain. Use independent content | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Good advice for #OnlineMarketers: Focus on unique value prop, stick to the truth, get specific, speak prospect’s lingo -Briney 

Tedesign: RT @ITAgenda: There are 4 major recession-proof areas of IT spending – BI/BPM, Compliance, Disaster Recovery, Consolidation #TTGTSummit

CIO Panel

Note: Linda Tucci wrote about this panel at, publishing “In Great Recession of 2009, three CIOs do more with flat IT budgets” the next day.

digiphile: At a #TTGTSummit #CIO panel. Jay Leader, iRobot’s CIO here. Noted Roomba & IED detection. Also: a gutter cleaning robot

digiphile: CIOs for TAC Worldwide ( & PlumChoice ( also presenting on #TTGTSummit #CIO breakout panel.

cappypopp:#CIO panel #ttgtsummit: focus on speed and resilience. Keep up w/ speed of business.

digiphile: @cappypopp iRobot #CIO kept IT budget flat in 2009? Focus on managing IT as a business is key for all orgs, profitable or not.

ITCompliance: “SOX is the magic word that gets it past the CFO.” #CIOs on #TTGTSummit panel note poetic license in GRC software purchasing.

ITCompliance: A #CIO at the #TTGTSummit noted necessity of “J-SOX” #compliance at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Wikipedia def:

digiphile: iRobot #CIO places 2009 focus not on tools (has BI & ERP) but on getting better use from them & optimizing data/biz processes | #TTGTSummit

digiphile: Top drivers for #virtualization for these CIOs are consolidation & DR. Reduce # of servers, contain costs, provision faster. 

digiphile: Watching @ltucci take notes on today’s #CIO panel. Her last post shed light on CISO risk mngmt mind-set:

digiphile: Key Q for a #CIO: What can we *do* with it? What business problem does it solve? Applies to SOA, Twitter, UC, you name it. 

digiphile: “It’s not the solution, it’s the box that goes with it. Support, implementation costs, configuration, etc.”-Jay Leader, #CIO

cappypopp: iRobot #CIO Jay Leader: never vets technical products, done lower in hierarchy. He does business eval: does it solve a problem? #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Very hard to access #CIO s to sell to them. Panelists almost never talk to vendors. If they do you better KNOW your product. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: ‘Sell your product in a way that tells me how it solves MY problem. Understand my business. No webinars!’ #CIO panel #ttgtsummit

digiphile: “A ‘#green data center’ only matters to a #CIO consuming megawatts of energy or dealing w/colocation. I’m a capitalist.” 

JeanSFleming: RT @digiphile: “Understand who I am & express your solution to me in a way that shows me how to address a problem.” 

cappypopp: #CIO Jay Leader (iRobot): DONT CARE a/b green tech. I’m a captalist. Green tech == no $ for us. Solves no problem in my space. #ttgtsummit

rotkapchen: @digiphile Or “don’t waste my time” Problem: High cost to ALL of that — figuring it out. Must be mutual discovery. #CIO

digiphile: @rotkapchen I agree. There IS a high cost to figuring out how to market to an enterprise #CIO. First step: Understanding IT.

Social Media ROI Session

cappypopp: #ttgtsummit Measuring #ROI of social media panel with @seanbrooks @digiphile David Bailey. Waiting for the @radian6 mention. :)

digiphile: Panel on #SocialMedia ROI starting at #TTGTSummit. @SeanMBrooks up. Nearly every hand went up when asked who uses SM. ~75% on Twitter now.

digiphile: Case study in #socialmedia success from the audience. #Intuit promoted a webinar w/Twitter, blogged it, engaged influencers.

cappypopp: Amazing difference in one year of audience survey of %age that use social media. Easily 75% of hands up. Last year: maybe 20%. #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Uses of #socialmedia from @SeanRBrooks: Focus groups, new distribution channels, feedback, real-time product/company tracking 

digiphile: Quick hits on corporate #socialmedia case studies getting ROI on Twitter from @SeanRBrooks: @CAInfraMan @NetBackup

cappypopp: ‘take a breath, learn how to respond.’-@SeanRBrooks Re: #Twitter | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: “Instant feedback using Twitter or other #socialmedia platforms is easy & quite powerful.”-@SeanRBrooks. Example: Try @TwtPoll | #TTGTSummidigiphile: “Empower your employees to participate in #socialmedia. They’re already doing it.”-@SeanRBrooks on suggesting best practices. | 
digiphile: Other #socialmedia best practices: Strategy 1st, don’t sell, offer help, make it P2P, allow criticism, accept feedback, have fun 

cappypopp: ‘sitting quietly and letting comments sit’ not a great idea. #Socialmedia is 2-way – @seanrbrooks | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Measuring success? @SeanRBrooks suggests #socialmedia metrics like ROMO (return on marketing objective) vs ROI. RTs/links. 

digiphile: Suggested #socialmedia tracking tools from @CappyPopp: | http://tweetgrid |

digiphile: Effects of #socialmedia? @SeanRBrooks asks: “How big is your reach? Traffic benefits? Happier customers? ‘Influencers’ linking?” 

cappypopp: Serena Software #socialmedia campaign case study – generated 14x avg CTR on #Facebook. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: #Norton brand advocates: #Symantec built 15k customer advocates using #socialmedia and raised their Amazon ratings accordingly #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Dave Bailey presenting on thought leadership in #SocialMedia. Start w/strategy, objective & audience. Then choose tools. 

digiphile: Bailey showed a detailed media plan summarizing a Dell campaign at @ITKE that integrated multiple #socialmedia components. 

digiphile: Next #socialmedia case study @ #TTGTSummit: #IBM‘s B2B play across multiple platforms: @MrFong |

digiphile: Remember blogs? Dell does. Ideastorm blog went from “worst to first” (-@JeffJarvis). -27% negative blog posts. =$100M in ads? 

digiphile: More on measuring #socialmedia: Reach, Traffic, Leads, Interaction. Watch subscription #s, CTR, PVs, RTs/@replies & comments.

Google/TechTarget Research

digiphile: Final session at #TTGTSummit features research from the @Google/@TechTarget Roadshow: | #Search behaviors of IT buyers.

digiphile: Next from @Google #search? Perhaps: concept clustering, filtering w/in results, categorization by page type, on-hover preview 

IBM_ECM: RT @digiphile: This post from @ChrisBrogan is for those in #SocialMedia session wondering where to start:

Closing Notes

InboundMarketer: Create a separate remessaging strategy based on content consumption & velocity of consumption – good advice, #ttgtsummit

ITAgenda: Online media complexity creates opportunity – examine metrics carefully and see how media plan improves SEM/SEO strategy #TTGTSummit

digiphile: Closing notes at the #TTGTSummit from co-founder Don Hawk: “Complexity creates competitive advantage.” Execution matters — & it’s not easy.

cappypopp: Thanks to all at TechTarget Online ROI Summit. Great job. #ttgtsummit

rsk1060: @jhurwitz shared some great ideas about articulating new concepts to IT professionals at #TTGTSummit – thank you!

rsk1060: Peter Varhol’s session at #TTGTSummit provided interesting research information indicating the #SOA is, in fact, not dead.

LeahRosin: Article on #TTGTSummit #CIO Panel: “In the #Recession of 2009, 3 CIOs do more with flat IT budgets” (HT @digiphile)

digiphile: “Content is still king in IT marketing.” @BennettStrategy, on @TechTarget/@Google research: | #TTGTSummit | HT @MarkMartel

ITAgenda: Marilou Barsam’s key technology marketing takeaways and wrap-up from the #TTGTSummit on My Educated Guess blog

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@Google visits Boston at Cambridge Meetup

Google Mug | Chrome color?

Google Mug | Chrome color?

I stumbled into Adam Lasnik in Harvest Coop in Central Square in Cambridge, Mass. last night on my way to Google’s first official Boston Meetup and asked him if he knew where Enormous Room might. I knew I was in the right general spot but hadn’t been there in a while. Plus, his fleece read “Google” on it.

I think asking Adam where something was may actually count as “googling” something in person.

And, true to his role as Google’s Search Evangelist, Adam was quite helpful.

I walked over and up to Enormous Room with him as his two other Google compatriots finished a snack.

Since I followed him, that may count as using a human version of Google Maps.

After a snagged a tasty “Blue Bear” at the bar, I started circulating and meeting the crowd of local entrepreneurs, webmasters, analysts, marketers, writers, IT pros and other Cambridge tech mavens. Good times.

Eventually, the Google organizer for the event, Nate Tyler, welcomed the packed room to the evening and then turned it over to Adam. He took questions submitted online using Google’s own moderator tool. (See all the archived questions here). Adam mentioned that Google itself uses the tool every Friday to collect questions internally. Great insight into corporate culture.

I tweeted the following posts during the presentation:

When the Q&A ended, the Google guys unexpected asked “Who is digiphile?” and noted I’d been busy on Twitter. They offered me a t-shirt or a mug. I went with the latter (above.

I met many new people, caught up with the local social media crowd that had traveled out west at SXSW in Austin and generally enjoyed the turnout.

Tom Lewis (@tomdog) was on-hand recording videos. He and I have been following one another on Twitter for many months but this was our first meetup “IRL” (in real life) — always satisfying to put a face to a name.

Tom recorded the following video from the event:
Bostonist @ Boston's First Official Google Meetup from Tom Lewis on Vimeo.

Note to self: As I mentioned to him earlier today, I need to remove the word “value” from my personal spoken lexicon and look into the lens more. The light on the HD video camera he brought was, unfortunately, bright enough to make that uncomfortable.

Tom blogged about the Google Meetup much more extensively at Bostonist:
Bostonist @ Google’s Boston Meetup

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Shadow, at least, is glad to see the country ‘going greyhound’

As I looked over the Sunday New York Times today, surveying the economic carnage of the past week, assessing the different perspectives on the stimulus legislation and examining the state of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one particular story jumped out at me: What’s Your New Plan B?

Why? Simple — the Jaguar and Greyhound graphic at the top of the article.

Buy Jaguar or Go Greyhound? (by Ji Li at the New York Times)

Buy Jaguar or Go Greyhound? (by Ji Li at the New York Times)

The metaphor has particular resonance with me because of my own hound, Shadow, who has been a faithful companion for almost seven years.

Shadow in the creek

Shadow in the creek

I never expected to have a greyhound growing up; we had a wonderful Basset hound/border collie cross, a Great Dane, a Doberman and a Labrador, each of which set a particular standard for both canine excellence and outrageous behavior.

I’m glad he and I found each other at the Animal Rescue League in the South End in the spring of 2002.

If you’re looking for a dog, I hope you’ll consider a greyhound — they’re quiet, loving, biddable and the fastest couch potatoes you’ll ever find.

(Photo courtesy S. Josselyn)

(Photo courtesy S. Josselyn)

All things considered, I’d prefer the conditions that are forcing my fellow citizens and me to tighten our belts change, and quickly.

If, in the near term, that means that more of us adopt the greyhounds that need a new home instead of a pure bred, I’ll call that a silver lining.

Or, perhaps, a grey one.

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