January 30, 2010 by Aceyg
The privacy of our visitors to zmogo.com is important to us.
At zmogo.com, we recognize that privacy of your personal information is important. Here is information on what types of personal information we receive and collect when you use and visit zmogo.com, and how we safeguard your information. We never sell your personal information to third parties.
As with most other zmogo.coms, we collect and use the data contained in log files. The information in the log files include your IP (internet protocol) address, your ISP (internet service provider, such as AOL or Shaw Cable), the browser you used to visit our site (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox), the time you visited our site and which pages you visited throughout our site.
Cookies and Web Beacons
We also use third party advertisements on zmogo.com to support our site. Some of these advertisers may use technology such as cookies and web beacons when they advertise on our site, which will also send these advertisers (such as Google through the Google AdSense program) information including your IP address, your ISP , the browser you used to visit our site, and in some cases, whether you have Flash installed. This is generally used for geotargeting purposes (showing New York real estate ads to someone in New York, for example) or showing certain ads based on specific sites visited (such as showing cooking ads to someone who frequents cooking sites).
DoubleClick DART cookies
We also may use DART cookies for ad serving through Google’s DoubleClick, which places a cookie on your computer when you are browsing the web and visit a site using DoubleClick advertising (including some Google AdSense advertisements). This cookie is used to serve ads specific to you and your interests (”interest based targeting”). The ads served will be targeted based on your previous browsing history (For example, if you have been viewing sites about visiting Las Vegas, you may see Las Vegas hotel advertisements when viewing a non-related site, such as on a site about hockey). DART uses “non personally identifiable information”. It does NOT track personal information about you, such as your name, email address, physical address, telephone number, social security numbers, bank account numbers or credit card numbers. You can opt-out of this ad serving on all sites using this advertising by visiting http://www.doubleclick.com/privacy/dart_adserving.aspx
You can choose to disable or selectively turn off our cookies or third-party cookies in your browser settings, or by managing preferences in programs such as Norton Internet Security. However, this can affect how you are able to interact with our site as well as other zmogo.coms. This could include the inability to login to services or programs, such as logging into forums or accounts.
Deleting cookies does not mean you are permanently opted out of any advertising program. Unless you have settings that disallow cookies, the next time you visit a site running the advertisements, a new cookie will be added.
1. Content: Great blogs have great content. Ensure that the blogs overall design and theme coincide with the content. Make any navigation through the content simple by utilizing simple terms and easy to read fonts. Keep your content easily readable by ensuring good contrast between the background and the foreground. Typically white background with black font will have the most contrast and therefore be easiest to read. Whatever colors you choose, be sure to use a very light color with a very dark color to ensure readability.
2. Ease of Use: Readers of your content may never come back if you make your otherwise great content difficult to see or get to. Horizontal scrolling is a huge obstacle for readers, so take that into consideration when designing your blog.
Look at the smallest screen you are targeting and design for that resolution. Many blog creators decide that their blog should have animation or utilize heavy amounts of Flash.
Avoid this urge. Using animation of any kind can be distracting, annoying, and can cause your site to load very slowly.
3. Good Header Graphic: A good header graphic is like a good billboard for a business. It will tell you everything you need to know. Use high quality photos or professional looking logos. First impressions are the most important and a strong, yet non-obtrusive header will be your best tool.
Think of your header as your calling card. Don’t overcrowd it and don’t shroud it with advertisements.
4. Obvious Comment Section: Blogs are all about interaction with your audience, so to encourage this, make sure that the ability to comment on your posts is very obvious. Comment areas are like mini forums with the posts as the header.
Making commenting difficult or not intuitive can be the death of your audience interaction. And since an involved audience is more likely to become a loyal audience, the comment area can be a Make or breakÂ section of your blog design.
5. Tie into Social Media: Utilize the existing infrastructure like Digg, delicious, twitter and Facebook to allow your readers to forward link to their family and friends who may also be interested. This can help grow your audience and increase your traffic. Likewise, posting updates from your blog to these social media sites can help drive traffic which will expose your site to more readers.
Be careful not to overload your blog with too many options. Stick with the social media sites you are aware of. This will ensure your posts don’t look like an old suitcase with hundreds of stickers on it. Clutter kills.
6. Illustrate Your Content: If a picture says 1000 words, then you better take heed. Photos and graphics can be your best friend in a blog post. It will help the reader’s visualize your content and make your posts more interesting. Be careful not to over-saturate your posts with too many images. Less high quality images are better than many poor quality images every time.
7. Don’t Overcrowd Your Content: I have said it before and I will say it again, Clutter kills. Ads can play an important role, but don’t sacrifice your entire site design just for a few bucks.
Be very cautious where you add advertisements and other extraneous content. If it isn’t directly related to the content or the blog, it would be better to leave it out.
You don’t want to read a newspaper and have to hunt for the content. Don’t do that with your blog either.
Hopefully these 7 simple tips will help you as you design or redesign your blog for maximum benefit and foster loyal readership.
First up, http://noodle-house.blogspot.com/ Much like getting dressed in the morning, putting black and navy blue together is not always a wise choice. The various blocks seem to sit uncomfortably on the blue background and seem unintentional. The goldenrod borders around everything, including boxes within boxes, stare at the reader like a bad blind date. Thankfully, the fonts are white on black background, so I have an opportunity to read the content. Let us not forget the Sylvester the cat graphic with a white background sitting on the dark blue background. The only thing I think Sylvester is missing is possibly a goldenrod border.
Next, http://happymomiam1.bravejournal.com/. I love that this blog resembles the exact table cloth my grandmother used so we wouldn’t spill food on her table. Unfortunately, the color scheme of baby blue, red, grey, acid green, electric blue, and orange says I don’t understand hex notation so I just guessed. The badges for several other sites sit haphazardly under the horrifying animated gif logo at the top of the site. The Beauty of Life? The travesty of design.
I have to include this one because it is SOOOOO ugly. http://cmdshiftdesign.com/ilovesmekitty/
This blog follows the rule, if one animated gif is good, then six is better. Everything is animated on this site, but it has NO content. Just pictures of her cat, a terrible cat background along with ANOTHER cat background in the left column. Visible table holding links that are barely legible, visible hit counter AND my browser got a warning that a Windows Media Player was trying to start. As if there wasn’t enough going on in this site that is the equivalent of a 12 year old girls messy room.
http://www.hammerdowndesign.com/ugly/ is the next blog that makes my design brain physically hurt. Having only four animated gifs on the page, the designer, and I use that term loosely, has decided that a repeated image of Sarah Palin is the best background for any blog. Unfortunately, one of the graphics is broken, most likely it was an animated gif of me scratching my eyes out. The most appauling thing is that the domain name, HammerDownDesign, alludes to someone who thinks they are actually good at this. Less is more, Hammerdown.
Lastly, http://jayj.dk/grim/. Blogs typically want people to read their content, but this site seems to be hell-bent on the opposite. With barely readable text on tie-dye-inspired backgrounds and badly executed animated gifs, this site verges on abominable. The structure of the page seems to be two columns occupying 50% of the width each combined with NO content. What surprises me most is that someone, somewhere thought this site would drive people to their door asking them to design a site for them as well. Sort of the philosophy of a wedding photographer advertising the business with blurry dark photos of someone’s cat.
So, keeping those sites in mind the next time you set off to design a web site, avoid the busy backgrounds, make your design seem intentional, avoid animated gifs, make sure the site has purpose and valuable content. Choose colors that contrast well with each other and limit your color choices to prevent the site from looking like confetti. Lastly, if your site ends up in an article like this, it’s time to rethink your design and career choice as a professional web designer.
As Twitter has matured, the Twitter clients have appeared, and they have flourished. Being a twitter addict, I felt compelled to check into some of these for you so you wouldn’t have to install them only to find out that they are incredibly painful to use.
Here’s my list of Twitter Clients:
The Web interface : (http://www.twitter.com) It would be a disservice to leave out the twitter.com site itself. In fact, many people only use the web interface to update their tweets. It’s simple, it’s fast, and it gets the job done.
TweetDeck: (http://tweetdeck.com) TweetDeck is the dark alpha dog of twitter clients. It is feature rich with the ability to monitor multiple twitter accounts, Facebook,, and MySpace. You can also quickly see replies, direct messages, topics, saved searches, and it has a built-in spam monitor.
Twhirl: (http://www.twhirl.org) The cheery twitter client, twhirl is a bright, well designed interface that allows you handle all your usual twiter needs, but also includes the ability to send photos to TwitPic, automatically shorten long URLs, and cross post to Jaiku.
Twitterfeed: (http://www.twitterfeed.com) Sign up and enter your blog RSS feed and Twitterfeed will publish your blog posts onto your twitterfeed. You choose how often it published the new blog content.
Tweetie: (http://www.atebits.com/tweetie-iphone/) Strictly for iPhones, Macs and iPod Touches. It has a super clean look and lets you post to multiple Twitter accounts. It allows you to follow tweets, replies, direct messages and trends on Twitter. It is super easy to set up and will help tweeting on your iPhone, Mac or iPod Touch easier and more powerful.
Twitterberry: (http://www.orangatame.com/products/twitterberry/) one of the best twitter applications for the Blackberry platform. Twitterberry separates the replies, direct messages and the posting tof tweets, but makes it very usable on the Blackberry. Currently there is not integration to TwitPic within the application, but that would be a nice addition¢â‚¬â€(wink wink).
Ping.fm: (http://www.ping.fm/) What Ping.gm brings to the table is how it centralizes updates of Twitter, but also Facebook, Jaiku, Bebo, Friendster, and Myspace. The interface is simple and straight forward. I’ve experienced a bit of a lag on the cross-posting, but the ease of use to update all those sites at once may be enough to lure you over to this site.
HootSuite: (http://hootsuite.com/) Tweetdeck can tend to be a bet wide especially on netbooks, but that’s where HootSuite comes in. It allows you to create custom columns to store searches so you can keep an eye on people talking about your store or brand name. HootSuite was one of the first to incorporate multiple twitter accounts as well.
Seesmic: (http://seesmic.com/) Available in a web application, a desktop application and rumor has it, a mobile application soon. Seesmic is one of the dominant twitter clients and it’s easy to see why. They are continually pushing the envelope of features including a single column interface that resembles the familiar e-mail interface. They also allow an unlimited number of columns to be added, a simple way to watch search terms, direct messages, and @ replies. They included all the follow stats and complete profile view of your followers. Not bad for a company that started as a vlogging site. Seesmic is making tweeting on any platform easier and more intuitive.
Destroy Twitter: (https://destroytwitter.com/) An unusual name for an application, but in a sea of weird twitter clients, it needs to be this odd to stand out. After all, it would be a little different if you were building an application for your Mac called Kill Apple. I am digressing. Destroy Twitter is eerily similar to Tweetdeck (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?) What appears to be Destroy Twitter’s strong suit is configuration. You can choose when to ping twitter, font size, column size and a plethora of other settings to make your tweeting more enjoyable
Every person has different likes and dislikes, but if I were to recommend three to look into, they would be Tweetdeck, Seesmic, and HootSuite for their attention to detail, ease of use and over all usefulness in daily tweeting. No go forth and tweet!
Halloween is coming soon, so now is the time to get your technology ready and maybe express some of your geekiness. Besides the staples of candy corn, plastic orange pumpkins with black toothy grins, and kids dressed like Spiderman, here’s eleven items to put the geek back into your Halloween.
- Turn your monitor into a strobe light. http://www.bobshowto.com/fun/strobe-light.htm
Maybe it’s a laptop, or a big projector, get a great spooky effect in your house with just your monitor and this web site. This would be perfect for a haunted data center for the co-workers to walk through!
- Decorate your workstation for the spooky season with this USB powered decoration set. http://www.thisnext.com/item/C5EB1B00/BC37BE2A/USB-Halloween-Decoration-Kit
Complete with seasonal mouse pad, lights to hang on the monitor or possibly your collection of action figures in your cubicle.
- Build your own talking skull. http://www.kickthefog.com/talking_skull.htm Everything you need to build your own creepy talking skull. This is an involved build, but the result is one that will make all your geeky friends drool with jealousy.
- Create your own Jack o Lantern carving pattern. http://www.canadianliving.com/crafts/other_crafts/digital_crafts_jack_o_lantern_templates.php That’s right. Want to carve Tux or maybe a portrait of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? Follow these instructions and you will have a 100% original pumpkin on your porch this season! Here are a few of the geekier Jack-o-lanterns I’ve seen decorating the porches of probable geeks.
5. Use a voice changer. http://www.screamingbee.com/product/download.aspx Sure there are great toy versions of this technology, but here’s a free piece of software that will morph your voice into something a little creepier!
6. Dress up like Master Chief from Halo. http://halloweenaddict.com/2009/08/halo-master-chief-costume.html Who wouldn’t want to be master Chief from Halo? Hop on your Warthog, although it does looks more like a Puma and go blast some enemies. Afterwards, kick back and watch a little Red Vs. Blue.
7. Dress up as Pixels. Get a bunch of square boxes and spray paint them different colors. Walk next to each other all night. Try to look Jaggy.
8. Get answers from the Beyond on the internet. http://www.witchboard.com/online-witchboard/Online Ouija-like board for your amusement and Halloween fun! Ask questions like What is the next Apple Announcement and see what the digital spirits have to say. Hopefully it won’t be a Null Pointer Exception.
9. Online Trick or Treating? http://doorlesschambers.com organizes online trick or treating for virtual Disney-themed goodies every year from October 25 through the 31st. It may not fill up your pillowcase, but it might be just what you need while you are stuck answering tech support phone calls on October 31st.
10. Make your own real Spiderman web slinger. http://www.instructables.com/id/Creepy_Cobweb_Shooter/?contestId=V9T8TI4FLROLS8R Instructables does it again with a great video and set of instructions on creating a webslinger. Sure you need an air compressor, but what Spiderman fan didn’t want their own web shooter?
11. EVERYTHING Halloween Online. http://www.halloween-online.com/ Buy a prop coffin, check out some ghoulish recipes ( I like the Skull Jell-O mold), find some costume ideas, check out some Halloween games to play with your friends, and even Halloween party planning ideas and suggestions. This site has everything you need for a fun and safe Halloween.
When Twitter was first created many people couldn’t understand the point and proclaimed, Twitter sucks!. Many still don’t see the point of it. It’s ridiculed as lazy blogging, pointless drivel, a waste of time, and the end of the world as we know it. With things like potted plants and grocery stores tweeting, the derision of Twitter grows.
Many things that break new ground are often misunderstood or greeted with skepticism. Twitter has begun to evolve into a huge part of the web, and more and more people are using it for all kinds of things. The skeptics just haven’t found their niche yet, or are too stubborn to open their eyes and see what’s evolving. They’re distracted by the noise, spam and useless information; All common problems across the Internet. There have been polls that suggest 40% of all Twitter traffic is basically useless information. Is this out of character for the Internet? Look at all your emails for a day; how many of them are spam, newsletters you never read, and forwarded chain letters? Poke into any random forum post about any topic and you’ll likely find 40% of it is just reiterating what’s already said, unrelated tangents, and one line agreements with the the original post. If you just take a quick glance at a couple of twitter pages and don’t find the information to your liking doesn’t mean that there is no value there. Tweets are fleeting, and they reflect present time much more than they provide any archival value.
Even what’s deemed useless information or a waste of time might be helpful to someone. Maybe checking out what others are having for lunch will help you make your own decision about what to eat. Maybe you’re in a basement somewhere but noticing tweets from people you know are nearby about the crazy thunderstorm that just rolled in reminds you to bring an umbrella when you go out. Other people’s meaningless tweets could serve as restaurant reviews, traffic alerts, or a note about a nice sale at the mall. Twitter is by no means the be all and end all of social media. However it’s an important first step in what will eventually be one big integrated redevelopment of how we use the web.
Twitter reflects the stream of consciousness of the Internet, and sometimes the Internet contains noise, spam, and junk. There is also value if you know where to look. If you are tuned into Twitter, news will come to you without having to search it out. Once you build a solid group of followers with a diverse subset of interests stories and news and information that is actually pertinent to you will come across your Twitter screen. Instead of having to hunt down information, often when you don’t even know that something has happened, you check Twitter and everything is there for you. Rather than have to listen to news reports or radio stations, news and events that may be relevant to you or your day can be accessed via Twitter.
Twitter is just like what you would discuss at the water cooler in the office, except you’re discussing it with everyone, at every water cooler, at every office, in every part of the world. If a major sporting story, such as a no-hitter in baseball or a player getting traded, chances are you’ll first hear about it on Twitter. If a celebrity dies, a new movie trailer comes out, or a band adds a tour date to their schedule it makes it’s way around the world via Twitter and everyone that’s interested finds out about it. For those further interested, a simple search on Twitter will reveal all sorts of chatter and discussion around the topic. You can here anything anyone has to say about it, instantly. You’ll see statistics mentioned, highlight plays, discussion on the player’s attitude, and just about anything anyone has to say. On a broader scope, you could follow big events like the NFL draft, a presidential press conference, or the World Series of Poker as they are happening. This is what’s called trending topics, which are basically the hot news of the hour. If you search for these trends you’ll see a continually updated stream of people weighing in on the topic. Some of it will be from experts or authorities on the topic, and others will just be the thoughts and word of mouth of other people that are interested in what’s happening. Instead of tuning to a news channel or going to one news website, you’ll be tuned into the stream of consciousness from interested parties around the world. If someone 3000 miles away happens to hear a tidbit of information in his own corner of the world, he can instantly tweet that data and suddenly everyone knows it. This information gets propagated and retweeted throughout Twitter until the insight of one individual is carried across the globe.
From a marketing standpoint, Twitter can provide some instant feedback on your product. You can conduct surveys and interview people and find out what people are thinking, or you can type in your product’s name into Twitter and find out what people are saying. One quick search can tell you what people think about a new movie release, a new commercial, or a new piece of software. Faster than any RSS reader Twitter can alert followers to a new post on a blog.
Twitter is a part of the future of the Web. Even people that don’t tweet are affected by Twitter because it’s become a concept more than any one site. It’s about the propagation of information, and that propagation continues beyond the website when users repost what they’ve learned into IM away messages, email, IRC chat rooms, Facebook, or by word of mouth to the person sitting next to them. This concept has been there all along, and Twitter just streamlined it. As more and more people and companies start using Twitter it’s only going to continue to redefine how we use the web.
Clearly, video games like Fallout 3 and other post-apocalyptic venues are not enough as a new MMO called Fallen Earth is about to hit the market.
I am not certain if this is the first post-apocalyptic MMO to hit the field, but I believe that the post apocalyptic genre has the potential to be the most imaginative. I can imagine that all the developers of Fallen Earth are scampering like crazy to make players a realistic landscape of what the world would look like after the buttons are pushed.
Then again, is that what happened in Fallen Earth? According to the Press Release, a disease started in Asia that was nicknamed the Shiva Virus. Thousands were dying, and, from out of nowhere, the release says: then the nukes started going off. What?! What is this, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy? No, you can’t have an apocalypse without a sufficiently written backstory, Fallen Earth!
Or maybe you can, but whatever the case, don’t just start some backstory without completing it. Perhaps the player will find out how the world ends in the course of the game. I don’t really think that I have seen that in an MMO game before. That could be interesting.
As it is, I have included a trailer that discusses some of the backstory and how the last ember of civilization assembled at Hoover Dam. I’m guessing that every character starts out there, and I would imagine that the first stage of this game takes place around the Grand Canyon area.
Hopefully, the player can go to bombed-out areas nearby like Las Vegas, Reno, or maybe even Los Angeles! I’m certain that you see the potential here of a virtual landscape that is just like the real world, but destroyed. Then again, many cities that you see in MMO games are just giant boxes of buildings with minimal traffic. At least I can understand the lack of traffic in this game.
As you can also see from the trailer, there are six different factions fighting: The Enforcers, the C.H.O.T.A.s (Child of the Apocalypse), the Vistas, the Techs, the Lightbearers, and the Travelers. I wonder if these are the character classes? Probably.
I have included another trailer of the game so you can see more of what Fallen Earth is about. There was one that I couldn’t find that boasted: Sick of ogres, elves, and pixies? So are we. Clearly, Fallen Earth is supposed to be sticking it to the World of Warcraft crowd. The slogan about bury your crystals and quit playing with your wand is just way too innuendo for me.
Apparently, the game also says it is the real deal and this isn’t your Daddy’s MMO. By the way, most MMO players don’t have daddies who play MMO games. You really should be stealing that old this is not your father’s Oldsmobile slogan unless your father has actually used an old version of that product!
Anyway, feel free to venture over to the Fallen Earth website if you want to learn more information about the game itself. This game has been under development for about four years, which is no surprise for an MMO, and I believe they might be ready for Beta soon.
Significant changes to Digg’s Application Programming Interface (API) promise to open up new possibilities to third-party developers, and might even make them some money.
Last week Digg announced some important changes to the policies that govern what sorts of things third-party Digg application developers may do. The changes lift old restrictions on certain Digg app functionalities and present new options to developers, giving them the freedom and flexibility to create programs that interact with the social networking site in ways not possible before.
There are a few differences between the old Digg API and the new. First, developers no longer need to get permission from Digg to make applications that make use of the site’s content. Also, third-party developers may now charge for access to their apps and make use of ads. Essentially, third-party Digg application developers are now free to make applications on their own without oversight from Digg, while profiting from them, which means we can expect a lot more Digg apps competing for users’ interest in the near future.
Third-party developers now also have developer’s access to the Digg search engine, allowing them to make use of all the particular Digg search functions in their apps. Along with access to Digg’s search functions comes access to users’ favourites, allowing third party apps to make novel use of info about which stories are most popular among Digg users. Essentially, third party Digg application developers may now make use of the most crucial information about Digg stories, so we can expect plenty of applications in the future that give users new insight into the trends and popular topics of Digg.
Finally, third party Digg apps can now participate in Digg just like a normal user. Users may vote up , bury, comment on, and favourite stories through third party apps. Formerly third party apps could only watch the digging action from afar and were powerless to affect the Digg world.
The bottom line is that the new Digg API will allow for the creation of Digg applications that will give users a new level of interactivity with Digg stories. With unprecedented access to essentially all the information on Digg, it is easy to imagine that many apps will make full use of that info to glean as much of an understanding of the mysterious Digg popularity algorithm as possible, giving users the ability to understand and contribute to popular Digg stories more effectively than ever before. Applications like Sub Digger will no doubt benefit a great deal from the new API.
A couple questions arise about this change though. First, will this shift the balance between those users with a great deal of influence and the average Diggers? Digg has long had something of a problem with so-called power users. The idea is that some users have so many influential friends and such a tight grip on the pulse of the Digg community that the majority of their stories make it to the front page — the hallowed halls of Digg where continued success is guaranteed.
Sometimes this popularity is even detrimental to average users of Digg, who might post a story earlier than a power user, only to see that their own story has floundered while the power story has gained a truckload of diggs, due to the power user’s influence. For some it is a frustrating trend that runs counter to the communal, semi-democratic character of the social networking site.
It’s easy to imagine that these new developments to the Digg API could make the power users’ job even easier, further cementing their status as top Digg users. With applications that give novel, and possibly even better, access to and understanding of critical Digg information comes a better grip on control over Digg stories.
But of course this might work both ways. Average users will also have access to many of these apps, giving them the same competitive Digg advantage that the power users have, evening out any benefits gained. New third party apps might even give the average users, who formerly didn’t have much at their disposal to help them with getting digged up, a new tool to compete with power users.
It’s hard to say exactly what will happen, although I’m inclined to say that any advantages given will likely benefit the power users more than the average users. They are called power users after all, and are more likely to take full advantage of whatever is available to make Digging easier, while the average user is more likely to continue using plain old Digg as a simple pass-time, not worrying themselves with the complexities of the Digg hierarchy. But perhaps these new apps will make it easier for the average user to become a power user, giving them access to all the information and tricks that were formerly exclusive to power users. Only time will tell.
But the other obvious question is: will this make Digg profitable? This seems to be a conscious move on Digg’s part to open up the site to a wider market, essentially making a small industry in which developers can focus on making money off of Digg applications. This is reminiscent of the iPhone third-party app model, in which developers can make money for themselves while simultaneously increasing the desirability of the iPhone among consumers.
The short answer to the question of profitability, unfortunately, is no. The difference between Digg and the iPhone is that the iPhone costs money. Third party app development encourages people to buy the iPhone, whereas third party development for Digg will only encourage more people to use Digg for free more often. At best, third party developers will make money off these apps, but until Digg figures out a money-making strategy, which has eluded them until now, it will remain unprofitable.
But in the long term the answer is a bit more optimistic. Digg’s choice to make these changes to its API seem to mirror the strategy of the social networking powerhouse Twitter. Twitter has long allowed development of all kinds of third party applications, letting users make use of Twitter however they feel with whatever app they feel, not just through the Twitter site. Third-party Twitter apps are so integrated into the service that the submitted through X application signifier is tagged onto every post, allowing users to see what third party app was used to make a tweet. (I can’t believe I just wrote the word “tweet.” Forgive me.)
Essentially, third party development has allowed the outside world to improve upon Twitter, making it all the more popular. Mind you, Twitter has yet to make any serious money either, but building massive popularity and a cottage industry around third party Twitter apps can’t be a bad place to start when trying to become profitable. It would seem Digg is trying to do the same, which in the long run may pay off.
In the end, this is probably a smart move on Digg’s part. By making Digg more accessible, improvable and open, it is attracting not just more users who will make use of third party apps, but a whole slew of developers who will now be dedicated to working on the networking service while making some money of their own. Essentially, Digg will hopefully be able to build another whole community besides the one that already exists, out of application designers and marketers.
And if it all works out, we can finally see the website that brings us important news — like caterpillars who need a haircut — become profitable.
Last week, when I reported that Turbine was allowing people to play Dungeons and Dragons Online for free, I only briefly mentioned the negative press that Role-Playing Games received in the early eighties and late nineties.
As a kid who used to play D&D and other role playing games, I heard stories of people who committed suicide when their Player Characters had died, and I didn’t really give it much thought. However, when many Christian groups began to equate the game as some portal into Satanism, I often wondered if they were talking about the same Dungeons and Dragons game.
I remember reading one Christian pamphlet that was supposed to be an expose on RPGs, but some of the information in it was just plain wrong. I mean, it said that the He-man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon was inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. I’m sure there are a lot of geeks out there now who are thinking: oh come on! Do your research.
I’m sure the person who wrote that pamphlet just didn’t get their facts straight. There was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon that ran for about two seasons. They probably just heard that there was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, and just simply assumed that the He-man cartoon was it. It’s an honest mistake, but it shows how much conservative groups never actually researched, much less played the RPGs that they criticized.
There must have been some sort of anti-D&D bandwagon that was happening, and those who never played the game were creating a boycott for those who played the game. In the same manner, gamers who heard the argument against RPGs could not accept the facts as given any more than I did.
The alienation of RPG gaming eventually led to a very strong gamer counter-culture which is no doubt the target audience of most MMO and other RPG video games of today. Still, there seems to be a strong pervasive stereotype that says that gamers are guys who still live in their mother’s basements, and are completely incapable of living in any reality that is real.
For this reason, gaming continues to have a negative slant in today’s media. There is yet to be a movie based on a video game that has been a huge success, and most video games portrayed in movies tend to be negative. That is, you always see the geek characters playing them while the cooler characters apparently have better things to do.
Another negative portrayal is due out this Fall that is simply called Gamer. It takes place in a future world where gamers can somehow play other people, like puppets, apparently. Their puppets are actual prisoners put in violent scenarios, and the public just sits back and watches. Think of it a better version of The Running Man, but it has Gerard Butler instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yes, Gamer confirms all of our fears about video games taking over the world, turning into a hellish place. Once again, the video game industry gets another bad spotlight since The Ultimate Gamer. Could someone make a film that put video games in a positive light? Something that isn’t like The Wizard, which was some huge ad for Nintendo. You know, video games do inspire people once in a while. Every thought about doing a film about that, Hollywood?
He calls himself a Social Marketing Rock Star! His web site was designed for “successfools” like himself. He runs a Ustream broadcast on a regular basis and has amassed over 13,000 (and counting) followers on Twitter. His profile proclaims that he is “ADDICTED to people, their passions, and teaching them to use Social Media Marketing to get Internet Famous! He’s a blogger, a speaker, a coach (a puppet, a poet, a pawn and a king!). He’s Internet Famous and has a story to tell.
In a recent interview I conducted with Alejandro Reyes, he confessed that Internet fame was not something he sought out, but was more about something he “knew he could leverage.” He believes in social marketing and feels that this platform gives him latitude to “entertain and inspire people,” something he is very passionate about.
Alejandro credits the birth of his daughter as one of the initial triggering events that created a buzz about about his persona and its impact on the Internet. On April 24, 2008, utilizing Ustream as a media tool to communicate, Alejandro conducted a broadcast to brag online about the birth of his daughter to his wife’s family who resided in another state. While transmitting the live stream titled “Social Media’s First Baby,” he decided to tweet it out to his Twitter followers at the same time, and in one of the first simulcasted communiques combining streaming video with tweeting, he was pleasantly surprised when he received 60+ tweets from his modest (at the time) fan base.
It was at this moment, he began to understand the power of the Internet and the connection he could make in people’s lives. Today, simulcasts of this nature are conducted regularly by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and P.Diddy when they want to broadcast to their fan base. And consequently Ustream has since integrated Twitter into their chatrooms.
This intimate entree’ into people’s lives ‘positioned’ Alejandro as someone who was willing to share personal stories with total strangers. In the Web 2.0 environment we all reside, here was a guy who was willing not only to be upfront and personal, but also one who was transparent in a very honest and forthright manner. Dissimilar to the self-promoting “online celebs” or “snake oil” netizens that abound online, Alejandro displayed substance and delivered advice that was consequential. He found his soap box, and as an online town crier, the Internet community was willing to listen.
After this event, Alejandro indicates that things really began to ramp up. While the live Ustream involving the birth of his daughter gave him a jump start, it’s what Alejandro was able to do with the buzz thereafter that was critical. He cautiously warns others that this is where many often drop the ball: “A lot of people miss the boat. They do something that creates a buzz, and then they don’t capitalize on it. When you secure momentum, you gotta keep it or it will die quickly and get lost in all the Internet ‘noise’” that continually competes for our everyday attention.
It was at this tipping point, that Alejandro changed up the game. Differing from others that often rely on the status quo, he decided to transform the way people saw “entrepreneurship” by making it a fun thing to manage. And while he continues to offer human interest life examples (e.g dancing with his daughter) he balances these vignettes with inspirational success training. In this way, he works collaboratively with his audience. He collaborates with them in creating his personal brand… the “successfool” brand…a process he calls “collaborate or die.”
Collaboration is the key. Without involving his audience, Alejandro would not be the success he is today. For him ‘branding’ is really all about listening to your followers and building your persona around one’s passion. To further illustrate his point, Alejandro cites an analogy that underscores brand management: “your brand is like a ‘jetliner’ and your passion is the ‘jet fuel’ that jettisons that brand forward. “You and your brand can only go as far as your fuel and passion will last.” He sees a direct correlation with this and the age-old tried and true philosophy that if “you love what you are doing, you’ll never have to work another day in your life.”
Today, Alejandro conducts a Successfool.tv Ustream broadcast every Wednesday night at 6pm Pacific time. The focus of the show is to motivate, inspire, and entertain entrepreneurs through live skype interviews, success tips and tools of the week, and accompanied by some weekly rants. While monetizing Successfool.com is a goal, for Alejandro, it’s more important to “build a brand that people trust, love, and know that they’re not going to get some cheezeball marketing pitch every week with tons of advertisements.” Presently his website receives 10-15K hits per month, according to Compete.com.
As a result of the success of Successfool.com, he’s created a coaching program, hosted a conference, and launched a local marketing company that is quickly generating a ton of buzz in the Sacramento market area. Alejandro’s Social Marketing Rock Star Webinar series provides an 8-week video training course that helps users learn how to use social media marketing as a tool and how it can boost one’s website traffic.
The series teaches people how to develop a long lasting Internet business by building their brand online through Social Media. The webinar modules include, Branding, Blogging and Advanced Blogging Strategies, Social Networking with a focus on Twitter and Facebook, Video/Live Streaming, Podcasting, Web 2.0 Properties and How to use Social Media to become a local hero. Since its success in ’08, a new Social Marketing Rock Star series will launch again this July.
Alejandro’s life journey revolves around his ongoing quest to determine “what success really is?” As we all know, success means different things to different people. When asked if he feels successful and whether he has reached his goals, Alejandro admits to only just getting started…and that his life long dream is to enter the entertainment field. Whether “that’s hosting a TV or radio show, that’s yet to be determined,” states Alejandro. So if Oprah, Ellen or Conan are reading this…you might want to give this “successfool” a call. He is in a passionate over-drive mode to take his social marketing rock star fame to another level.
Alejandro Reyes is one “successfool” that doesn’t fool around with success!
P.S: If you are thinking about contacting Alejandro on Twitter, you might want to congratulate him on the upcoming birth of his 2nd baby...Social Baby #2!
For other stories on the Internet Famous, check out my previous interviews with Nick Thune, Marina Orlova and Julia Allison… and stay tuned for more stories of the the Internet Famous in the weeks to come.