Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Social Media is About Sociology Not Technology

The bottom line is that we have to understand the sociology of social networks before we can either write them off as a useless tool or more importantly, participate in them.
From Brian Solis (PR 2.0), via Spin Thicket.

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Sex Pros Make Better Bloggers

That's what Secondhand Rose says. Here are a few key points in her essay (which is not to imply you shouldn't read it all ~ on the contrary, it's good stuff!)

She begins with a discussion of the standard practice of sex pros to use a stage name, pen name or other 'name that is not your real name' in order to keep yourself safe, shield your family & friends, as well as to signal when you are performing. Rose believes this standard practice and mind set is what makes for better blogging.
Because it is so natural for professionals to draw these lines right away, we are more prepared to think of privacy as a right which also applies itself to others.

...If more bloggers understood the tentative nature of trust I believe less mistakes would be made, less hurt and anger would ensue.
On the specific issue of censoring for the people in your personal life, a question asked by The Man With Secrets: "Would you say, however, that what you write about someone remains unchanged once you know they are reading it? That's an important question, I think."

Rose replies:
My answer is, "No, my writing does not change because someone I know is now reading what I write."

To me it's not a matter of "What do you write?" but one of "Who do you tell?"
Next she quotes Tom Pain:
Sometimes I think the burning "need" to confess is really a passive-aggressive response of "I'm going to educate you about this situation whether you like it or not." Acceptance of alternative lifestyles is in vogue these days, despite the inherent risk of pain and confrontation.
I must admit, this runs rampant in our culture ~ especially with those in sex work or advocates for positive sexuality. We tend to be on a mission, which is understandable, but we shouldn't do so at the risk of others or to make choices for them. Here I'll refer you here to Silent Porn Star's post on this:
Fundamentally I am anonymous for the ease of things -- but it angers me too. Why should I have to do this? Why should I have to shield and 'protect' family and friends from such associations when nudity, sexuality, is completely natural and normal?

Being a child of the 60's (technically born in, however those first few years I was but an infant), I do believe that if you're not part of the solution you are part of the problem. So sitting back resting on my anonymity feels like I am wrong there too.

While I'd truly like the world to be free enough to sexuality as a whole, I do realize this is not so. And any battle I would pick on behalf of being part of the solution would mean I was selecting this battle as one for those I know and love as well. So I let the cool waters of unselfishness sooth the agitated heated waters of these unjust realities.
Finally Rose points to the ethics of the matter of censoring your blogging:
Suggesting a blogger taint their stories or the presentation of their stories based on who is reading them is saying that it would be fine for any reporter or reviewer to go gently in areas where they knew someone. Would you even suggest that a movie critic be kind in their review of a film because they knew the director? Would you expect a restaurant reviewer to take it easy on a friend's restaurant? If we knew that either had done so we'd call them unethical. Why would sex bloggers be any different?
Why indeed.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

SEO Talk That's Fun & Educational

You know I'm not much for SEO (I don't think it's spam, I just believe in content more than key words etc.), but darn if Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land doesn't capture my attention. Who wouldn't love a post (The Promise & Reality Of Mixing The Social Graph With Search Engines) which kicks off thus:
I'm having a bad day. Aside from my desktop crashing, we get another spate of "let's blame SEO" to start my morning off. Robert Scoble uses that theme as a launching pad for a series of videos on how Facebook potentially could be a killer search engine -- regardless of the fact he seems to have no clue that "social graph" or social networking mixing has been tried and abandoned with search. Having watched his videos, which have sparked much discussion, I'll do some debunking, some educating for those who want more history of what's been done in the area, plus I'll swing around to that New York Times article today that ascribes super-ranking powers to SEO. Plus, I'll use the F-word along the way. I said it was a bad day.
Educational and enjoyable ~ grab a cup of whatever it is you drink, and read.

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Race: It's Not Just Something You Win

My post on Minority and Media Marketing made The 16th Erase Racism Carnival.

Should you be looking for more, check out this post on race and marketing at BlogHer too.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Today's Cautionary Lessons

First of all, as the button says, "Don't Be An Idiot". (Click it and find out more.)

Here's a good read illustrating what may happen when you don't look over the site you are requesting links with (NWS). The blogger or webmaster has their reasons, and you should respect their right to say 'no'. Please do your homework prior to asking, or risk alienating.

We all know in sex there's a lot of faking it, but how strange folks would try faking the smells in the used panty business ~ but they do, so now they have a policing organization. (NWS) Everybody wants to get rich quick ~ as if it actually exists. :snort:

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These Carnivals Are Made For Workin'

The post title sounds so much better when you are listening to Nancy Sinatra, as I am ~ but the information in these carnivals is good stuff no matter what plays in the background.

I'm listed in each of these carnivals but I'm not just sucking-up by posting links to them; there's really good reading & learning to be found in them.

As the carnival names say, these carnivals are made for bloggers:

! a make money blogging carnival. (The carnival host, SuccessPart2, is where I also found his:What Would You Do With $200? a contest where you could win $200.)

Carnival of Blogging Success (Eve of HomeBizBlogger is the host, and reading through her blog I found BlogBeat which is worthy of a mention too.)

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What's More Important: Technorati, Alexa, Traffic, Pagerank or?

Alternate Title: Rankings, Smankings? (Part Two)

From my collected emails on the subject of what tools and stats are most vital, comes a set of questions like this:
I'm very confused with all the stats and ranking options... I'm not sure I have time to follow all of them. Which one or two are the most important? Isn't traffic, people actually visiting your site, the real bottom line?
Sure it's more important to get visitors to your site ~ if they arrive there looking for what you've got.

This is where monitoring your stats, referrals & tools comes in; there's no value in people arriving here for 'whores for hire' as I'm not that kind of whore. I know I may sound like I'm beating a dead horse here, but most of this reply comes down to your target market: Who are you trying to serve &/or appeal to?

If you are aiming for other professionals (such as media folks, buyers who might carry your product in their stores, those who buy ad space, investors etc.) then Alexa may be very important to you. While Alexa is by no means perfect, as noted here, it is free and so remains sort of a bible for many who are trying to evaluate the 'weight' of your site.

Alexa appeals to a more 'old white guy' mentality (not the uber rich sort; they use Nielsen//NetRatings), and thus is the wunderbar to beat when trying to appeal to conservative professionals or businesses. Alexa is also best for websites (as opposed to blogs). If any of this applies to you and your company, you'll want to monitor and increase your site's Alexa ranking.

If you are trying to be perceived as an authority, with a blog, then Technorati is the standard. Technorati basically monitors links to a blog ~ be they in sidebars or posts ~ and uses each unique site linking in as the way to determine authority. (More sites linking to you is more authoritative than several links from the same site.)

Technorati's ranking system is monitored by the hip and trendy, as well as those who need to know about the hip and trendy. Hip and trendy, of course, is relative ~ for the most part just knowing of and understanding the importance of blogs separates these folks from the old white guys at Alexa.

Technorati is widely used by both readers/consumers and professionals alike. Playing at Technorati (or at least monitoring the Top Searches, Top Tags and WTF posts) allows everyone (bloggers, media pros, consumers, companies, personalities, etc), to monitor trends ~ including bloggers, media pros, consumers, companies, personalities, etc. Some use Technorati as their blogging search engine, though they more likely refer to this as 'listening to conversations' because they are hip and trendy. (Though not uber hip & trendy or they'd be doing it at Twitter.)

PageRank is another way to measure your site's pull and power. This ranking system includes blogs and websites and is most often used by other webmasters and bloggers to evaluate the competition, SEO results, and/or another site for link swaps etc. It offers none of the options of play that Technorati does, nor does it have any appeal for readers/consumers really. In fact, I personally don't give much thought to page rank. This likely surprises no one, as I am no fan of SEO work. However, as your Technorati &/or Alexa rankings increase, so does (or so should) your page rank. So concentrate on one of both of them and PageRank takes care of itself. At least that's my philosophy.

What all of the above (and other sites/tools too) do is present collected data. It's up to you to interpret it ~ and put that knowledge to use.

As to what's more important to you, well, again that all comes down to what you're all about and who you want to reach ~ you'll want to use the tools which seem to most accurately reflect your potential customers.

If pressed to make a specific recommendation in a general sense it would be that each tool has merit and ideally you want each to increase your ranking in all of them. Working each tool or angle that fits your business is the best way to try to cover all the bases and to see where your marketing may be weakest.

However, remember that these are tools. They help you evaluate, offer means to monitor effects of programs/campaigns and changes in those programs/campaigns, but they are not, at the end of the day, success. Success is achieved when you receive sales ~ sales customers are happy with. For example, focusing on increasing your Technorati rank does not ensure that you'll increase your traffic or that someone from the media will contact you for a quote (and should you be blessed with the latter, that still doesn't ensure traffic or sales).

So use the tools, let them inspire and challenge you in running your business; but don't let them use & run you.

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If I Had A Million Dollars

Fleshbot says:
Teh internets are buzzing today with news about Zivity, a porny social networking site that's been likened to everything from MySpace to Playboy to Digg to Suicide Girls. If you're a regular reader of this site, you might be saying "Why is that news?" There must be half a dozen or more sites out there that have already tried to build a smuty website around the basic principles of Web 2.0—user-generated content, web-socializing, and community voting. So what makes this one special? It might have something to do with the $1 million it managed to sweet talk away from some high-powered Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
Just another thing to note in the the Web Poo Point Doh (remember, that's copyrighted!) hype.

If I had a million dollars, to spend or invest, that would not be my choice. I would even consider buying y'all each a green dress (but not a real green dress, that's cruel).

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Call Me!

No, I'm not desperate after what we did last night *wink*

Due to the increasing number of emails with 'just a quick question...' I'm implementing phone consulting via Keen.

If you're interested, make an appointment and I'll do my best to let you know when I'm available too.

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Tips From The DC Madam

I can't believe I forgot to post Radical Vixen's Interview With Deborah Jeane Palfrey, AKA The DC Madam!

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Minority Media & Marketing

Found in an unlikely spot (Silent Porn Star's post on risque Nipsey Russell recordings), I found this great bit on media and minorities:
The cover states it was the Negro National Network, but it was (should you care to continue searching) in reality the National Negro Network, started in 1953 by Leonard Evans. W. Leonard Evans, Jr. died in June of this year (2007); he left a wonderful legacy of African-American media. Here's a wonderful 1963 interview with Evans titled "Why Do We Need a Negro Sunday Supplement?" Should that site remove the recording, or you'd prefer to download it for listening to later (it is quite long), I've uploaded a copy here.
While hearing the word 'negro' sure is shocking, the 58 minute interview is worth downloading and listening to. Have we come a long way? How many of the questions and issues raised by Evans are worth asking today?

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thoughts On A Conference Not Attended

I've been waiting for Libby to write up her experiences at the BlogHer Conference in Chicago (she only attended the "Off The Record" session, at the invitation of Susie Bright ~ part of that story is here in this entertaining-not-educational post), but I don't want to forget a few comments that I have...

First of all, I didn't attend the conference ~ this is important to note. Not only since my comments on the conference are all based on what others told me, but because the reasons why I didn't attend are, I think, equally important to what did happen there.

Primarily I didn't attend because there seemed little there to warrant my attention as a "sex blogger." There were just two sessions on the topic, one of which was the aforementioned "Off The Record" session. (And it's being designated as "off record" created great confusion, both in terms of assessing its value in the "should I attend" way as well as from Libby's "should I cover it" question. Should such a session be held again, great care should be taken to outline what "off record" means and doesn't mean.) The bottom line is that out of a two-day conference, there were only two sessions specifically for "sex bloggers."

While I'm the first to admit that "sex bloggers" are neither "all about the sex and only the sex" (most of us hate being called "sex bloggers" and chafe at the idea that we are limited to "just sex"), I am also the first to recognize that we are called "sex bloggers" (and other names) in order for the "mainstream blogging world" to differentiate "us" from "them". This isn't just a matter of censorship (though I will admit it plays its part), but a matter of categorization. No one, including "sex bloggers," wants kids or others who would be offended to stumble on in, so we rather collectively, if a bit reluctantly, agree to use the "sex blogger" moniker.

However, I'm also the first to admit, the moniker is more than a warning for visitors ~ it can be rather like a scarlet letter or a yellow star.

Now I'm not saying BlogHer was preventing "us" from attending the conference, but I've been to enough of these things to know what happens when you attend a "mainstream" session: Either you have to shut up about what you do or be prepared to face the consequences.

If you do the former, why go? You can't really network and you can't really ask questions because they must be phrased so generically that you get equally generic responses (and look like a simpleton).

If you do the latter, you risk being ostracized. At best, others will avoid sitting by you for fear you'll taint them (grown-up conferences often can resemble high school cafeterias). At worst, you become the poster-child for porn and are expected to answer all sort of questions and address issues past your scope just because you're a "sex blogger" (this is rather like being the only black person in a room full of white people).

And then there's the matter of the conference organizers themselves.

Once word gets out that "sex bloggers" have attended, they'll have to deal with complaints. While I find BlogHer.org is more tolerant than most mainstream groups (they even have a category for sex and relationship blogging), it's not difficult to imagine they would be forced to respond negatively to sex blogging simply because of a majority vocalizing outrage. This outrage, as we well know, would not only be directed at BlogHer but at sponsors and supporters. With few "sex bloggers" in attendance, we certainly would be the minority.

Again, "sex bloggers" could, like "food bloggers", attend more general sessions ~ but we sex bloggers wouldn't be as free to participate simply because "sex" freaks so many people out whereas other topics do not.

Given all of this, I opted not to bother to trek to Chicago for the event.

However, I did hear positive comments on the conference. When Libby told me some of the issues they discussed (she did not give me names or specifics but told me what they discussed, such as privacy, how blogging about sex and relationships had negatively impacted people's lives, etc) I wished I had been there. I think my years of experience would have been helpful, yes; but I also would have liked to meet and network with the small group who had attended.

What I gathered from Libby's comments was that this was a worthwhile experience and that more of this is needed. It made me wish that BlogHer would include we "sex bloggers" in their plans more.

Would it be fair to have 20 "sex blogger" sessions when no other blogging theme has so many? On one hand, the "sex" category clearly has far more specific matters to address than any other area. Name another category which has such issues with hosting, censorship, and legal issues. Sure, all bloggers should be addressing matters of ethics, responsibility, marketing, etc. But add "sex" and there's an added dimension or twist to all these things. And like I always say, mainstream sure can learn a lot from the adult industry. (Even privacy isn't a matter of safety only for those of us who post about sex and relationships.)

If an increase in the number of sessions aimed at "sex bloggers" isn't seen as the appropriate way to go, what about making it clear ~ to all ~ that "sex bloggers" are welcome and will be attending. Take the shock factor out by eliminating the element of surprise. Let folks believe that at any given moment they could be sitting next to a "sex blogger" as well as a travel, food or mommy blogger (and perhaps that lady is all four?) and that she might just raise her hand to ask a question or two.

We promise not to shock, or monopolize; but to elevate conversation. After all, our issues in specific pertain to a large part of the blogosphere; in general we are interested in all blogging issues.

By being more inclusive, not only do we all stand a greater chance of learning from one another, but we break down stereotypes. Perhaps meeting a fellow "sex blogger" will remove the silly fears that "we" are a perverted, disease-ridden lot ~ along with the fear of the unknown.

If you've thought about attending a BlogHer Conference but were put-off by all of this ~ or even if you hadn't before, but are thinking about it all now ~ BlogHer has a survey. You can take this even if you did not attend, so please take it and voice your opinions. Maybe I'll see you there next year?

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shoe Fetish?

Naughty Surrealism Used to Sell Shoes - Fashion Mag Gets Controversial (GALLERY)

(TrendHunter.com) V Magazine used a controversial fashion editorial to showcase this season's must-have shoes. Combining images of the female form and stylist Brian Mollov's foot-wear picks for the fall, the magazine spread is tastefully done, yet is still facing a lot of scrutiny by more conservative types.

The ph… [More]

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Happy In The Trenches

Slip of a Girl has a (two part) interview with Nerys Hebdon of And God Created Woman. This is from part one:
Slip: ...But I find that many lingerie brands and other companies with products which are clearly associated with sex -- sell themselves based on sex even -- are reluctant to be associated directly with sex. For example, there are restrictions on ads, affiliate programs, and places where the products might be seen. And there are outrageous reactions to sexy women. Have you run into any similar troubles or reactions with your company?

Nerys: I've had a few sales calls which have ended abruptly with "we don't do anything like THAT!" and one lady even wiped her hands clean on her skirt after reading a flyer. But I'm happy to say those reactions have been far out-numbered with those of support and enthusiasm -- in fact I've had a lot of candid reactions "remember when we used to do that dear?!"

Slip: Someone actually said, "remember when we used to do that dear?!" I don't know whether to giggle or cry over that... Why should people have stopped?!

Nerys: I know what you mean... he still had a twinkle in his eye though!

It reminds me of the quote "When things don't work well in the bedroom, they don't work well in the living room either". I think there's a lot of truth in that.
In part two, Nerys says that while she didn't plan on entering the 'sex' product market, she's happy to be here:
I wasn't really put off by the sexy thing (in fact I love being able to work in that field) although I know it's perceived as 'bad' by some people. I think there are some great brands out there (Coco de Mer, Agent Provocateur, Myla) that have pioneered sexy on 'her' terms -- or in a less male-focused way and there's a clearly a market for it.
I like hearing from those happy in the trenches, don't you?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

News & Views You Should Use

Chris Brown asks, "Am I the Only One Who Doesn't Like Flash?" ~ and no, Chris, you are not. *wink*

Amanda sent me this ages ago, and I'm just getting to posting it now: 11 Mistakes Your Blog Makes In Bed. (Super and cheeky fun to read ~ thanks Amanda!)

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Still Right After All These Years: Content Is King

Nearly half of Internet users' time online is now spent with content, emarket report says:
Internet users now spend nearly half of their online time visiting content, according to the Online Publishers Association's "Internet Activity Index," conducted by Nielsen//NetRatings.

Time spent with content is up 37% over 2003 levels, the OPA claimed. The Index measures time spent with e-commerce, communications, content and search.

"The index indicates that, over the past four years, the primary role of the Internet has shifted from communications to content," OPA president Pam Horan said in a statement. "[The Internet now handles] traditionally offline activities, such as getting news, finding entertainment information or checking the weather."




Which means that content isn't only king, but vital.

The article continues to say:
The association also noted that search is better than before. This lets consumers find what they are looking for more quickly. That reduces time spent on search and increases the amount of time devoted to other activities.

So although the number of searches overall has boomed, the percentage of time spent on searching is still minimal.

If content is consuming so much of Internet users' time, where does that leave search? For those marketing a retail e-commerce site, search still matters.

The American Marketing Association's "Mplanet" survey ranked the online resource consumers were most likely to use first for product information during last year's holiday season in different retail categories. Search engines (43%) and direct visits to company Web sites (29%) were the sources consumers turned to first for product information, regardless of product category.

Newer types of consumer-generated content, such as online social networks, blogs and chat rooms, were less important as a primary source for finding product information.


While I daresay that search function has improved, I still maintain that unique and decent content is the best way to be found in search results.

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Burning When Twitter Pees

Them: Gracie, where you been? And why don't you twitter?

Me: Working. And twitter wouldn't count ~ it rhymes with fritter. :P

Them: But they all say twitter is "It." Not only are the big names are using it, but it's the best way to contact them.

Me: I thought "it" belonged to eBay?

Them: lol But... Twitter is HUGE.

Me: In my business, using twitter is just asking for trouble. The minute we use it we're the burning when they pee, the symptoms of STDs. No one wants porn at their party. At least that's what they say. But ask the working girls why they attend conventions ~ any convention ~ and the truth is seen. Twitter's just too public for folks who want sex to remain private, or folks who want to remove sex from the world. "All hail the petri dish."

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Want Fries To Go With That Shake?

James Hibberd says Porn Descriptions Challenge Copywriters:
Somewhere there is a copywriter who had to create a description for "Brazilian Butt Fetish" in 10 words or less without offending anybody. This unique occupational challenge stems from two relatively new events: Cable and satellite providers quietly adding harder-edged porn channels to their lineups, and the advent of detailed on-screen interactive program listing guides.
Fleshbot picks up the baton and asks, "What Would Fleshbot Readers Do?" (NWS link) and presents a challenge:
Given the title and premise, can you describe a XXX film in ten words or less without profanity? We'll even make it easy for you and choose our one of favorite porn epics of last year ever: "Dirt Pipe Milkshakes 2." We know the title sells itself, but think of the late night fapper who needs a little more convincing. Best entry wins the respect and adoration of tens of your fellow commenters.
Go on, give it a go *wink*

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

House panel approves legal shield for bloggers

ZDNet reports:

A congressional panel on Wednesday voted, against the Bush administration's wishes, to shield journalists including advertising-supported bloggers from having to reveal their confidential sources in many situations.

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