Category Archives: CMS

The Real Driving Force Behind Social Media :: Might Surprise You

Previously, I mentioned the question I received during the HighEdWebDev conference. I was asked the always difficult question, “So, what’s next? What is the next thing on the horizon?” Again, if I knew (if any of us knew), we’d invest in it and reap the rewards. I did not have the answer, because I don’t know what is next.

It did remind me of something that I’ve thought about for a long time. The relatively unsung true driving force, in my opinion, of social media’s growth. Surely, the overall contributors are the users. But the initial force was (and continues to be) a relatively small group of young people that had an idea, a lot of curiosity, and the ability to write code.

The developers of the various open-source platforms would be excellent candidates for honors as The Real Driving Force Behind Social Media. Most were college students when they spawned their ideas.

I’m talking about the people that launched WordPress, LiveJournal and CivicSpace, for instance. Aside from Tim Berners-Lee, who did start it all, these people have been the agents of change: Matthew Mullenweg of WordPress, Brad Fitzpatrick of LiveJournal and Zack Rosen of CivicSpace Labs (blog) are the best examples.

Another is Drupal. and the remarkable story of then-student, Dries Buytaert. Continue reading

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Testing JustFree.com’s WordPress and Other Hosting

I

nteresting new site, JustFree.com.

They offer auto installs of WordPress blogs. I created one here: “Test Blog” and it only took a few minutes. You get a subdomain, but you may also redirect a domain you own to the site. So, it is essentially complete hosting.

You also get:

Disk space usage: 40mb
three (3) MySQL databases
and three (3) MySQL users

So, you can have three different sites in one hosting.

Their application installer will also install the following programs for you. The links below will take you to each platform’s development site. Check out each platform and see what it can do for you.

osCommerce – an ecommerce platform for Online Merchants
MyBB – a bulletin board / forum platform
sBlog
– a blog platform (beta)
MyLittleForum – a bulletin board / forum platform
Mambo
– a very robust CMS site platform
Xoops – a portal CMS platform
gallery – an image gallery platform
SMF – Simple Machines Forum / Bulletin Board
WordPress – likely the best blog platform of all
Joomla – a powerful CMS – “Mambo-like”
wikiwig – a wiki collaboration platform
ZenCart – an ecommerce platform for Online Merchants
tikiwiki – a wiki collaboration platform
cutenews – news management platform
coppermine – an image gallery platform
Nucleus – a blog platform
bBlog – a blog platform
4images – an image gallery platform
phpBB2 – a bulletin board / forum platform
UseBB – a bulletin board / forum platform

That is especially cool. Truly, it is now easy for individuals to experiment with all of those platforms. This could be the makings of an excellent education resource, alone.

Now, it isn’t quite as simple as all that – as in, one-click and you’re done. But, it isn’t too many clicks, at all. You do have to go through a database setup process. It isn’t hard and doesn’t take long. But, for those new to web hosting, it might be a bit of a struggle. I hope JustFree.com starts putting up some help files. That would spur on more users.

That’s pretty cool. I wonder how long they can sustain this “free” hosting offer. And, I wonder what their goal is for the future? It would seem that advertising is the only way they can sustain the offering, absent requiring fees for hosting.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The strangest thing about my upload experiences to-date? They will allow .js files but when trying to add a new theme, the server stopped only – .css files. Very strange. I submitted a support ticket. We’ll see if it is just a glitch. I think they’re just now getting started, so glitches can be expected. Hope the site grows and succeeds. It will be a good resource.

StoryCrafter by Edelman :: My Take

Before writing this post, I prepared a long post filled with notes and comments about StoryCrafter.

…StoryCrafter is a CMS adaptation of the works of many people with the goal being to further development of the SMNR…

However, having watched and read the comments and posts made by some re: StoryCrafter, this post seems more appropriate now. Perhaps I’ll post that long review, of sorts, later on. It is ready in drafts.

I don’t know, I’m funny in that I like to keep all things in perspective whenever possible. So, a little perspective.

First, and foremost, the problems with releases today has little, if anything, to do with how they are delivered, nor how they are formatted. Period.

The problem with releases today is, first of all, the writing of said releases. Next, the problem with releases is that way too many are being released. They don’t contain actual news.

So, with that covered, we turn to another reality of social media releases.

Take a pie. A big pie. Cut a sliver, oh … say angel hair width. Got it? Well, that sliver drastically over represents the people in the world today that likely have any desire to receive such a release. In fact, you could likely cut that sliver into 1,000,000 parts and 1/1,000,000th would represent the journalists, alone, that would likely want to receive such a release. Truth is, no one knows. There has been no research into the question – that I know of, to date. And, actually, I’m probably over estimating the percentage in each case.

The social media release is just one of many issues being discussed and tinkered with in public relations today. We want to know about it. It is interesting. That is all.

So, with a bit of perspective established, here are my thoughts … if you care. It is long. I’m really just writing for my students (I can make them read it) and for myself as a note taking process.

First, some of the comments left on the first Edelman StoryCrafter SMNR are ridiculous. Seriously. Others actually give ridiculous a bad name. Then, some are fair observations and suggestions. Go look for yourself. I don’t think you’ll need any guide from as to which ones are goofy. Continue reading

Web Site Development Week :: HigherEd BlogCon

HigherEd BlogCon is still going on this week. The month long event concludes with Websites & Web Development. This is a good group of articles. Mike Richwalsky serves as Section Chair. Karine Joly and Rob Pongsajapan assisted in setting up the week of posts.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Legal Education Podcasting Project

John Mayer
Executive Director
Elmer Masters
Director of Internet Development

Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction/CALI

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Student To-Do List RSS Feed: Combining Audience and Task Navigation

Matthew Winkel
The College of New Jersey

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Using Web Traffic with a Kaizen Methodology

Tiffany Vincent
Academic Web Services

brilliantignorance.com

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Know Enough to be Dangerous: Tools for Taking Control of HTML and CSS

Steve Lawson
Colorado College

Bringing Audio to a Visual Medium: Podcasting News and Events

CASE Online Speaker Series
2:00-3:30 ET (Paid registration required.)

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Fast Track to Agile Web Apps: Best Practices for Higher Ed Web Development on Rails

Jason Garber
Eastern Mennonite University

HigherEd BlogCon :: New Media in Communications; Resources for Further Learning

HEBCWednesday, April 19, 2006: New Media in Communications; Resources for Further Learning

Podcasting Agriculture News

HigherEdBlogCon 2006 Blair Fannin
Texas A&M University System
AgNews – Texas A&M

Using Wikis to Facilitate Communication, Collaboration, and Knowledge Sharing Among Admissions and Administrative Personnel

Brendon Connelly
George Fox University
Brendon’s Blog – Slackermanager

Sean McKay
George Fox University
Sean’s Website

How Can I Learn More About New Media?

Dan Karleen
Thomson Peterson’s

HigherEd BlogCon is also underway…

HEBC or HigherEd BlogCon.

HigherEdBlogCon 2006
HigherEd BlogCon is Sponsored by:
Other Supporters:
collegewebeditor.comDrexel CoAS E-LearningFuture of PRInformation Wants To Be FreeProfNetSinking ShipsSyndication for Higher Ed

transforming academic communities with new tools of the social web

HEBC is “an online event focused on how new online communications technologies and social tools are changing Higher Education. The month-long event (offers you) …presentations about the impact of new tools on teaching and the learner.”

…transforming academic communities with new tools of the social web

Next week is the Admissions, Alumni Relations, and Communications & Marketing section. The schedule, at this time, will offer:

  • The new media landscape
  • Student Voices Online: Podcasts as a Department Marketing Tool
  • Case Study: Blogging and Podcasting for Student Recruitment
  • The Teeming Web
  • Freshmen Reveal Their Secrets: The Mansfield University Podcast
  • Alumni E-Networks: Using Technology to Engage Alumni and Constituents
  • Online Networks: A New Tool for Alumni Relations – How Third-Party Social and Business Networking Sites Can Benefit Alumni Communities
  • Social Networking: What is it and where does it fit in the Alumni world?
  • How can I learn more about new media?

Please visit HigherEd BlogCon.

This is “a fully web-based event focused on how new online communications technologies and social tools are changing Higher Education. Except as noted, presentations are offered free of charge.”

Nobodies Anonymous :: 12 Step Program

To be honest, I only spent about 20 minutes on this, so reader beware. Without a great deal of time to work this up, I’m just going to share it with you in the hope that we can make some sense out of it.

The recent launch of I’m nobody… who are you? was spurred on from the snarky and rude editorial by David Murray and it made me start to think about this. Do those stuck in a world where they only trust what they know (traditional old school strategies and tactics for communication) need a 12 step program? I don’t know. But, if they do, would it look something like this:

Nobodies Anonymous: A 12 Step Program for Nobodies

…social media isn’t the next big thing, it is here and really just another tool/tactic…

Liberally taken from, and adapted from, the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program, here is a 12 step program for those that feel wary of social media and online communication.

Face it, some people are drunk on blog and social media koolaid just as some are addicted to only using the strategies and tactics that they are comfortable with practicing. Maybe we all need a little help.

So, here is a sample 12 step program.

Definition: Word-of-Mouth

1. We admit that WOM / social media no longer allows us to have total control over the message.

Reputation management has become more unmanageable thanks to social media. But, we want to understand how – if at all – we can engage in conversations to at least provide direction for the conversations.

Word of mouth is the passing of information by verbal means, especially recommendations, but also general information, in an informal, person-to-person manner, rather than by mass media, advertising, organized publication, or traditional marketing. Word of mouth is typically considered a spoken communication, although web dialogue, such as blogs, message boards and emails are often now included in the definition.

2. Social media has provided a power greater than traditional media and information systems and now gives everyone a voice.

Blogs, alone, now offer everyone their own personal op-ed page. Add wikis, podcasts, photo and video sharing services and it gets mind-boggling. With meme aggregators and search engines, the possibility for anyone to have a voice in conversations has arrived. Moreso, the ability to voice those opinions is constantly expanding and growing. From podcasts to social photo sharing groups, the ways to participate are mind-boggling.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to one simple reality. The game has changed. No one person or deity is in charge of the message anymore.

Source: Wikipedia. I only use Wikipedia because it, too, is a social network. The definition is not, IMO, the best.

There are no clear rules anymore. The ability to engage groups, small and large, in conversations sees a new launched opportunity every day. Yesterday, it was MySpace. Today it is Meebo, or a dozen others. Tomorrow? Who knows.

The unpredictable nature of communication today means you might as well start praying if you are not actively involved in these conversations. To make it business – or communication – related, millions and millions of relatively equal voices are now capable of impacting your reputation. WOM was once ethereal. It was out there on the winds of public discourse. Now, it is written down and stored in search engines. It is public record and easier to find and adapt in your own voice than ever before.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (and our company or organization’s reputation online).

Ah, what a perfect way to discuss online tracking via search. From search engines to news alerts and RSS search, the opportunity to see what people are saying about you, your products, your services and more has never been so easy – and so intimidating. The most important lesson here is to determine when to engage and when to leave well enough alone. Perhaps even more important is to learn how to engage and find any and all references to your reputation online.

5. Admit to yourself, those in your organization, your stakeholders, and to any other interested human beings the exact nature of your wrongs.

This is all about the engaging in conversations in an honest and transparent practice. People and organizations find themselves challenged, or even attacked, online every day. The art of Fisking is being honed by millions, too. So, best to fess up and take the high road. The low roads will inevitably be monitored by snipers and snarkers with the goal of picking you off. It is scary. Just like overcoming performance anxiety (stage fright) in speech, the best way to succeed is to prepare. Practice. Learn. Get involved and become comfortable with online tools and tactics.

6. Be entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Left that one alone. Why? Well, because customers (or stakeholders, whatever you want to call them) have a right to voice their opinions. And they are. It is easier than ever before. Plenty of people online see themselves as the ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong. That is the nature of blogs, for instance. It is a personal voice shared with whomever surfs on by your little soapbox. And, you know, for some people – those they influence – they may be right. They are not gods, but they are idols to some. Some people call them influencers. Come on, you know that some people today see personal voices as more trustworthy than traditional information sources. And, that personal voice could just be Biff in his basement. But Biff could take your company or organization for quite a ride if you aren’t careful. Actually, he or she, could take you for a ride even if you are careful.
7. Humbly ask your stakeholders to remove our shortcomings.

On this one, you might as well ask them to and let them do it. They will anyway. But, you can have a voice, too. Engage. Participate. Learn.

8. Make a list of all persons you have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.

This one makes me chuckle. Think of blogrolls and link love. Think about CRM and customer service. The rules have changed. Write to your critics. Write about your critics saying, “Hey, you know. You were right. This helped and we have changed.” Also, respond to them in their blogs. Now, you only do any of this if it is justified. If it is a rational response. Yes, there may be some people you don’t want to respond to – and shouldn’t. But, at least be aware of them – and watch them. Even anonymous character bloggers are being picked up by more traditional media. In Canada, they had an anonymous blogger for a TV network talking about the candidates and issues. It was popular.

9. Make direct amends to these people wherever and whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Fess up. Make things right. Be willing to say, “I was wrong.” Or, be willing to say, “I’m sorry.” The most important thing is to mean it. Be sincere. There are many ways to accomplish the “making of amends” to those you’ve done wrong. First, saying you’re sorry (see above) is the easiest and often all that is required. Other than that, give refunds or replace their damaged goods whenever appropriate. That can get expensive, so it has to be a truly unexcusable error on your part to prompt the action. I’m not saying give away the store. Hey, for some online detractors, a link back with a comment in their blogs may provide all they want.

10. Continue to take personal inventory and when you are wrong promptly admitted it.

This one is easy. Track. Track. Track. Monitor. Monitor. Monitor. Engage when necessary. Then, if you engage, fess up when you are wrong.

11. Seek, through prayer, meditation or whatever works for you, to improve your conscious contact with whatever overlying force guides your life. Human beings, customers or stakeholders – whatever you want to call them.

It may be as practical as praying only for knowledge – or seeking out the knowledge yourself – and come to terms with what is important for your organization’s communication plan. Think communication audit.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps. Try to carry this message to other communicators, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Hey, think Code of Ethics. What a concept. Maybe we could all actually read it and then – the big shocker – practice it, too.

I am also thinking that the word blog should be used less and less. Even social media is too over used.

Although word-of-mouth (WOM) is also another buzz phrase, it is most likely the best – easiest to relate to – concept to start using as a more encompassing phrase / term. WOM is easier to understand, or accept. There is familiarity. It just covers more areas of communication as there are more channels and tactics today. So, consider the above to be a WOM 12 Step Program for new communication experiences.

Just thinking out loud, here. Sometimes that is dangerous.

Update: Thanks to Lauren Vargas’ comment below, I have found her 12 Step program “Coming to Understand”. On a somewhat different topic, whe offers an “approach (that) can surely be adapted to the rebuilding of public trust in the communications industry.”

In the interest of this research, ‘Him’ is the Customer. We must first admit the customer comes first. We live in a customer-centric ecosystem in which we, our jobs/passion, is dependent upon this audience. (Source)