Podcasting

Blogworld 2009: Human Business and a Guinness World Record

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Social Media has definitely grown out of its infancy. Although, according to all the geeks that attended the first integrated edition of Blogworld and New Media Expo in Las Vegas. More than 2500 bloggers, podcasters, consultants and other new media mavericks visited Sin City for 3 days to talk about and share experiences on Social Media. Close to 300 speakers gave dozens presentations and panel discussions on a large variety of subjects. Without going into detail of all of them, I will give you the highlights of the conference.

Twitter rawks

If there was one subject that was mentioned in almost every discussion then it was Twitter. With great passion Twitt-lebrities like Laura Fitton (@Pistachio), Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) and Aaron Strout (@aaronstrout) shared the power of Twitter. “The power of unisolating people”, according to Laura. “And it’s not about the writer, it’s not about the number of followers you have but it is about the message you share. People are made to socialize, also in business. For that it is important to surround yourself with inspiring people. Twitter is a great tool for that.”

Guiness World Record

Thanks to Twitter a Guinness World Record was set during Blogworld. The highest number of social network mentions within 24 hours. And last Monday the record was confirmed by Guinness World Record: a total of 209,771 social network mentions of #beatcancer in one day via Twitter, Facebook and blog posts. As a result eBay/Paypal and MillerCoors offered a donation of $70.000 to four non-profit cancer organizations (Spirit Jump, Bright Pink, Alex’s Lemonade, and Stand UP to Cancer). As the campaign continues, you can still donate and help promote this initiative via Beatcancereverywhere.com.

shoe4africa

Shoe4Africa
More good causes-support from eBay/Paypal. Their booth was completely dedicated to this theme. One of the good causes was Shoe4Africa, a non-profit organization aiming at ‘empowerment through sports and education, creating unique health initiatives, and promoting AIDS awareness.’ Cornerstone project is the development of a children’s hospital in Kenya, which will be the first public hospital in Kenya and the largest children’s hospital in Africa. The project is supported by Anthony Edwards, who sat in the keynote Celebrity panel. Although not yet very active in Social Media, Edwards understands the difference he can make as a celebrity using Social Media to spread the word around this project. So at Blogworld, he lost his Twitterginity and made his first tweet. Follow him on @anthonyedwards4. We also had a short interview with him which will be published shortly.

Dutch presence
And of course we ran into Vincent Everts, a webexpert and trend-watcher. Vincent presence at Blogworld was to promote yubby.com, a video aggregator the collect videos from over 30 popular video sources. Previously known as Dik.nl, but you can imagine, not a name that would work well in the US (although, flickr didn’t change its name for Holland…) And of course, Vincent not only did his upmost for yubby, he also worked on his own brand. Being very present at various sessions and as member in one of the panels, the success of his quest was confirmed to be successful during the closing keynote. When one-time talk-show host Guy Kawasaki asked the audience who has not heard of Jenny the Blogess, Vincent raised his hand as one of the few. Guy looked at him and said ‘oh, that’s that guy in the white suit’. An interview with Vincent will be launched shortly.

Chris Brogan

If there is one Social Media guru that is reaching superstar status without losing it, it’s Chris Brogan. I think he is the most mentioned, quoted, RTweeted and appreciated speaker of Blogworld 2009. And true, Chris is a very sympathetic and respectable person, but moreover, he is a visionary and true knowledge expert in the field. His keynote on day one was for me the most inspiring of all sessions. ‘Stop tapping each other on the back, but get out there and start working. There is so much to do out there’. And he is right. Social Media has grown out of its infancy. As much as we liked the pioneering atmosphere at New media Expo 2007, those days seem to be over. Social Media is becoming true business. Moreover, we shouldn’t call it Social Media anymore. It’s Human Business.

For more details go to Chris’ blogpost on his keynote. Here you can find the entire keynote (and all other keynotes).

Trend for 2010
On the exhibition floor, there were several companies that demonstrated applications based on aggregation of content. We already mentioned yubby.com as a video aggregation site, but aggregation goes beyond video. Zemanta is an application that helps you look for content related to the blogpost you are writing. While you’re writing, it ‘looks over your shoulder [..] and gives you tips and advice’. It analyzes your content, suggests keywords and related articles. With Zemanta, your blog becomes more visible and generates more traffic.
Regator goes even further in aggregation. There is an enormous amount of content available within the blogosphere. Regator ‘gathers the world’s best blog posts and organizes them in a way that’ makes it easy to find the things you need’. This selection is not purely done through some fancy algorithm, but through a team of editors. Yes, real people that search the web for valuable content. In fact, they decide for you what’s valuable or not. Regator uses criteria like regular updates, topical, well written, originality and whether or not your blog is ‘awesome’ based on which you can be added to the selection. The last criterium is rather vague and subjective, but that’s admitted by Regator.

Content is still king in new media. But finding the right content becomes like a monk’s job. For that we need aggregation, and we predict aggregation becomes the trend for 2010.

Audio Bummer
Was it all highs in Vegas? No, there was definitely a bummer. As there were more than 5-6 simultaneous tracks, you had to make up your mind what session to attend. Obviously, that was challenging as interesting presentations were scheduled at the same time. At New Media Expo in the past all participants were given the opportunity to download the audiotracks of all presentations. For free (or better, at no additional fee). Blogworld changed that policy: audiotracks are now available for $15 per session. Not funny. I can’t split myself up in 6, but feel that I have paid close to 1200 bucks to make all these sessions possible. Therefore I plead that all participants should have access to all recorded sessions (at least audio). And I was not the only one complaining about that. Organizer Rick Calvert should make up his mind or consult Tim and Emile Bourquin, former organizers of New Media Expo.

Another disappointment was that there was not much on the use of New Media for internal communication, in our view the way to learn what New Media is, to gain experience and in addition, to improve your internal communication, which in many organizations is underdeveloped. Truly win-win. A separate track should have been developed for this topic. Hopefully the organization considers this for the next edition.
Further, there was a strong focus on blogging, too strong to my liking. New Media is more than just blogging and Twitter. The focus overall was too much on the technology. There was hardly any attention for the development of a New and Social Media strategy. If we really want to go out there and help companies adapt New and Social Media, we need to understand that this is key to success. From that perspective I didn’t really hear anything new in these three days.

Conclusion
Conclusion for Blogworld and New Media Expo 2009: a lot on technology (and then mostly blogging) and too little on strategy. A lot of panels, some good and some which had a tendency towards too much ‘incrowd’. Some very inspiring speakers, a good atmosphere and at night awesome parties. Overall, a more than average event. Rick Calvert only has to solve this audio issue and I will certainly consider attending Blogworld and New Media Expo 2010.

people blogworld


How to create a secure podcast channel for internal podcasting

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One of the things which are pretty crucial when you do internal podcasting and deal with sensitive information is the security level you implement in order to protect the sensitive information from unwanted eyes. In the early days when we implemented one of our first podcast series for a pharma company we were shocked to realize that all podcasts showed up in regular podcatch sites such as Odeo. Especially embarassing when Corporate Communications found out about it. Not good.

We learned a lot since. However, most knowledge we learned from trial and error. Surprisingly not a lot can be found on the internet about the process involved. Sure, there are many podcast hosting sites where you can upload your podcast, create a feed and submit it to iTunes. But when you do internal podcasting that is exactly what you do not want to do. Remember, when you use internal podcasting for business purposes two things are important:

1) You do not want your podcast to be found by the Googles in this world
2) You want to password protect your content

In addition, podcasters should in general consider the following as well:

3) You want to be flexible in your decision which hosting service you use
4) You do not want your feed to change since that will result in losing listeners

Regular podcast hosting services are aimed at obtaining an audience as large as possible, and create buzz wherever possible. Internal podcasting wants to stay below the radar, only accessable to selected members.

A few hosting companies have specialized themselves in this area. But not a lot. We have been using Podkive from Genetic Hosting for a while which provides easy creation of the feed through a simple web interface. However, lately they have been having some problems with their uptime, so I decided it was time to investigate other possibilities.

After half a day I think I have figured it out. It does require some logic thinking and I have to admit, it’s not for the technofobes. But it works. Until somebody comes up with an easy point and click system this is what we’ll be using. Let’s have a look.

The ten steps of creating a secure podcast channel:

  1. Take an account with a reliable hosting service which offers password protected directories. I’m not providing any ‘reliable hosting service-lists’ since you can find these plenty on the internet. Make sure that you have sufficient storage and bandwidth.
  2. In your home directory, create two folders: one for the files (video/audio) and one for the XML file.
  3. Password protect the folder with the files. Do not password protect the folder with the XML file.
  4. Upload your content via FTP to your files directory.
  5. Fire up your feed creation software. I use Feeder for that (Mac only, I’m sure Windows has similar programs too). Create your feed. This may require some setting and filling in the right paths where to find the content.
  6. Upload your XML feed via the software to the unprotected folder in your host directory.
  7. Check if your feed works. Copy and paste the feed address in your browser. If all went OK you should get a pop-up window asking for your username/password when you want to access the content.
  8. Now it’s time to make sure you will have the same feed till the end of days. Go to Feedburner.com and burn your just created feed into a Feedburner feed.
  9. Take this feedburner feed (starting with feeds2.feedburner.com/[feedname] and check if it works in your browser. Again you should see a pop-up window asking for your username/password. Fill in your credentials. You should be able to see your content
  10. Copy and paste the Feedburner feed into iTunes (Menu Advanced/Subscribe to podcast…). Hit OK. Fill in your username/password and off you go (remember to check ‘Remember Password’)

Because the folder with your content is password protected, Google spiders can not enter and hence can not find your data. If somebody finds the original path (which is difficult since it goes through Feedburner) they still can’t access your files without udername/password. If you want to change hosting services you just link a new feed to your Feedburner feed. End users won’t see the difference.

We think this is a nifty way of creating a secured channel. Is it 100% secure? Most probably not. Die-hard hackers will be able to hack into everything. And remember: the chain is as strong as the weakest link. Change username/password regularly, especially when people leave the company. And of course the morst important tip of the day: Don’t use sensitive information in your podcasts. We use no absolute figures when we talk about sales developments, only percentages. Treat this digital communication channel as any other. Cautiously.

Third part of my presentation

Finally got some time to edit the final part of my presentation at the Digital Pharma congress in Barcelona: “Best Practices Using Internal Social Media”. Check it out here:

 

Digital Pharma Congress 2009- Socially Challenged Pharma

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We all know Social Marketing is the Next Big Thing. Or at least, that’s what we are all saying to each other. Making each other believe that the era of the 4/5/6 P’s is finally over. And of course Big Pharma can not stay behind forever. In a relatively short period the content of pharma congresses has changed dramatically. Two years ago a typical pharma marketing congress dealt with eDetailing, brand management and CRM systems. Now it’s about communities, Twitter, authenticity and transparency. Finally.

 

 

It was the first attempt for EXL Pharma to enter the ‘Old World’ with their Digital Pharma congress. Already an established event in the States, they now found the time right to see whether the Europeans are like-minded in the exciting area of new/social/digital media in pharma. And it seems that they are not the only one, by the way. This year alone we have been contacted by two other congress organizations which are planning to enter this space as well. It’s an interesting area to be in right now, especially when you have a story to tell.

We just returned from Barcelona (raining for two days, bummer!) and we look back to -in our view- a succesful first event organized by EXL. Of course not all things were perfect, it usually isn’t – especially when you do it for the first time. But I have to admit that Jason Youner and Bryan Main did a good job in pulling this thing off. Kudos go to them.

Now, let’s dive a bit into the program. I won’t cover all presentations, only the ones which were truly remarkable for me. For the Twitter feed with all tweets during the conference I refer to the EXL website with the Cover It Live feed (or search Twitter with #digitalpharma)

Old skool
EXL’s Digital Pharma Europe was organized in Barcelona on March 30 and 31. See for the full program here. The morning of the first day was reserved for a workshop entitled ‘Successfully integrating Digital Media into the Overall Marketing Mix’. Sam Trujillo, Director of Marketing Women’s Health explained in a three hour session the view of Bayer Schering on the way to engage with digital media in the marketing mix. Apart from the fact that a workshop usually involves ‘working’ and we didn’t do more than just listening, I did not find his story appealing and at it’s place at this event. His story was mainly focussing on digital media (fair enough) but it looked like the process he was presenting very much described the traditional approach of pharma companies using media: to stay in control. Seriously, I just do not think that putting your commercials on YouTube will generate a lot of traffic towards your channels. Who on earth is going to watch voluntarely a commercial of a pharma company, including the usual fair balance BS? It’s just not the channel for that.

The rest of the day was reserved for more Social Media stuff. So did Jeff Hithcock from ‘Children With Diabetes‘ (CWD) a touching presentation on his social network for parents and children with diabetes. Once started as a virtual space he created for his daughter suffering from diabetes, now a huge online community for thousands of diabetes children. Recently J&J acquired CWD. It’s not clear to me however what’s in it for J&J.

Pharma going social
Another great presentation was from Heidi Youngkin, Executive Director Global Marketing at J&J. She held an informative and engaging talk on her ‘Social Media Adventures’ within J&J. Intruiging to see that a pharma company is already that advanced. No doubt the fact that J&J is a huge company with a lot of FMCG might help, but still. I’m sure that her guidelines will be used as a ‘golden standard’ and reference frame within more pharma companies (I saw a lot of people making notes, since her presentation was not available online). Interestingly J&J started slowly with a blog about the history of the company (nice and safe). After they gained sufficient experience with this new medium they introduced a blog more specifically targeted towards their end users and dealing with more complex subjects. Now they have entered the third stage, going beyond blogs such as participating in the beforementioned community CWD. During the rest of the  conference J&J was quoted and cited as ‘Best Practices’ on several occassions.

The first day finished by a lively panel discussion moderated by Len Starnes, Head of Digital Marketing & Sales General Medicine at Bayer Schering. The panel discussion covered the paradigm shift of web 2.0 in the pharma world. Or should we say how pharma lives in the past not using (some of) these technologies. Interestingly it turned out that the FDA was present as well. Silently sitting in the back of the room, observing how Big Pharma is struggling with this paradigm shift. It sure is a pitty they (or anybody else for that matter) didn’t take the opportunity to start the conversation. And where were the European authorities?

Doctors and communities
Len must have done a great deal with EXL ;-) because the next day he kicked-off the second day of the event with his presentation entitled ‘Healthcare Professionals’ Social Networks – The Beginning of the End of Pharma Marketing As We Know It’. We’ve met Len at several other congresses and it’s always good to listen to his vision on digital marketing within Big Pharma. This time he gave a sound overview of all possible social networks available for the HCP (Health Care Professional). Although a few big players (Sermo and MedScape) there is still room for niche players like Ozmosis for example. And what about Europe? Well, it seems that Doctors.net.uk and DocCheck Faces are the biggest players on our continent but they will soon face competition by the Powerhouse Sermo which intends to introduce here in the not so distant future. Main question of course is how Big Pharma can participate in these communities. Sermo has a partnership with Pfizer, so is this the way to go? Len was firm in his statement that the pharma industry should observe, research, engage and discuss, but under no circumstances should hard sell. He also did a small poll on LinkedIn which showed that 86% of his network believes that Social Networks will have an impact on pharma marketing within the near future.

Enterprise 2.0 and innovation in Pharma

My presentation was next, talking about the internal use of Social Media in the light of innovation in marketing services. I am always surprised to see that an entire industry just jumps on the bandwagon of using social media for external use and just forgets that they first have to deal with yet another -equally important- community: their employees. Why is it that I can’t find more about my colleagues in Outlook’s address book other than their name, telephone number and office number whereas when I check on Facebook and LinkedIn I can find half of their life? Why is it that even a New Media Specialist is blocked access to YouTube at the office because she ‘might watch YouTube videos all day long’? Get seriouss, executives. Wake up in a new world and embrace yourself for the entrance of the digital natives, people who are actually used to share information with each other (and are hence not afraid to lose their ‘power’ when they do). Or read this for a change. We want to create a common platform within our organization where employees can find our internal blog, wikis, podcasts and share ideas. And if that means that we have to pull-in some people screamin’ and kickin’, so it is. Change is never without some pain.

 

 

 

 

YouTube genius
Yet another great presentation was from Kevin Nalty, Marketing Director Dermatology at a large pharma company which name could not be revealed but starts with an ‘M’ and ends with ‘erck’. Besides his serious job he moonlights as an official YouTube Comedian. His website Willvideoforfood is described as ‘a blog for online video, advertising, viral marketing, consumer generated media and blatant self-promotion’. Don’t know if he really needs a site doing all this since he’s one of the top-10 most viewed YouTube comedians with more than 750 videos seen in excess of 60 million times. He even wrote an e-book ‘How To Become Popular On YouTube Without Any Talent’. Well, I don’t have to explain you that we 100% agree with his vision about the power of video in communication. What we do differ in opinion is that although content is still king, form is becoming more and more important. By that I mean that the basic elements of filming should be carried out well (e.g. sound, lightning, basic rules of camera movement). That doesn’t mean that I think one should make a slick commercial. Please don’t. Some ‘rough edges’ gives it most of the time a bit more genuine look. But I will skip videos where the sound quality is poor, even if they have a nice story to tell.

Now, online video is exploding: Pharma, wake up and start using it!

The last presentation was an overview of the possibilities Google has to offer big Pharma. Interesting in that respect is Google.org, a CSR initiative of Google helping the community with their innovative concepts.

A quick wrap up ended the Digital Pharma Congress in Barcelona. Main take home messages of the audience (well, from people who actually dared to shout it out loud):

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That last point was not put in by me, but most probably due to me…

The future
I think it was a good start for such an event. I hope that for next congresses dealing with this subjects participation of European authorities is paramount since they are the gatekeepers of communication possibilities within our industry. Compared to the US Europe is different in that respect, also because we (still) have many different local authorities which can play and are playing according to their rules. The market is changing, people are getting more informed. The question is which information they use in order to get informed, and to what respect the quality of information is improved if Pharma can participate in the discussion. Pharma on the other hand should take it’s responsibility too, by being open and transparent about their products and claims. Pharma is low on the trust-scale, time to open up and fix that. Looking to the people in the audience I have the feeling that Pharma is ready for it. Now authorities, give them the opportunity to do so.

Stay tuned, soon I will post my presentation including the video online.

Students perform better with podcasting

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Something we endorsed some time ago is now ‘scientifically’ proven: the use of podcasting technologies make students perform better in class and is therefore better than the ‘real thing’. According to a study executed by the State University of New York “Podcasted lectures offer students the chance to replay difficult parts of a lecture and therefore take better notes”, says Dani McKinney, a psychologist at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who led the study.

To study the differences between traditional ‘live’ attendance to lectures and the ‘on demand’ lectures McKinney had 64 students taking a single class on an introducory psychology course. Half of the students who physically attended the class received a printout of the slides from the lecture. The other 32 downloaded a podcast that included audio from the same lecture synchronised with video of the slides. These students also received a printed handout of the material. They were told that they would have an exam the week after.

The results came out pretty clear: students who downloaded a podcast got a 71 (out of 100) on average, whereby the ‘traditional’ students got a 61. But if you were also taking notes during the listening of the podcast the average score would increase to a wobbling 77.

There are several hypothesis for this variation. One explanatioon could be that new technology is…well.. new. And most young people tend to start trying new technologies fast, and hence adopting it. So what would be the effect if the ‘new’ wears off? Back from scratch?

Having said that, the fact that with a podcast you can determine when and where you can consume your lectures plays in my view a much more significant role compared to the ‘latest and greatest’ motivation. Who doesn’t remember physically being present at a lecture on university, but mentally in another universe? Either because it was just not your timing, of you had a terrible hangover (or both, actually). To complete the disaster you would have a professor trying to squeeze an inhumane number of words in a sentence, preferable without interpunction. Bye bye exame.

But if you would have the same lecture on audio synchonized with the slides? First of all, you would follow that lecture once your hangover gained an acceptable pain-level. Secondly you could rewind the wordcruncher over and over again, just as long as you need to understand the guy. And that helps improving understanding (and thus scores).

We are living in a new world where technology is leading us the way. In the Netherlands, classrooms  don’t have a blackboard. They have a whiteboard, attached to an ethernet socker so you can go on the internet. Teachers can show multimedia presentations, as well as the kids. And kids have their own laptop which they bring to school. Every statement done by the teacher can be doublechecked immediately. These kids need new ways for training and education. They can not be formed and shaped like we were (talking 30+ years ago). But also grown-ups can benefit from these new technologies. May be even more since time is often even less available. Within DigiRedo have proven over and over again that the use of these new tools dramatically increases understanding of your message. And understanding the message is what it is all about. Who’s next?

René features in podcast 'Robin Out Loud'

 

Remember we met Robin Maiden from Delta Airlines at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas and had an interview with him? Well, he returned the favor by interviewing René for his podcast ‘Robin Out Loud’.

They talk about internal podcasting and the power of new media for internal communications.

Guess what, we even got a Lever Award from him. We are honored Robin, thanks!

Listen to the podcast episode here.

Audio Indexing from Google Labs

They say great inventions are invented simultaneously around the world. So I was writing yesterday about a cool feature in Adobe’s Creative Suite 4 where video is transcribed and searchable, today I learned that Google has launched it’s Gaudi (Google Audio Indexing) in their Google Labs. 

Although still in it’s infancy the application looks promising. I can’t wait to lay my hands on the API.

New Media Expo 2008 Interview: Robin Maiden (Delta Airlines)

Robin Maiden is a busy man. He not only is a pilot at Delta Airlines, but also a New Media Strategist and a Podcast Consultant. Now, being a pilot is a lonesome profession, and many of those pilots are a bit ‘disconnected’ from head office. Can podcasting help? Robin thinks it does. He started his one man show by providing audio podcasts to thousands of Delta pilots around the world (and now also Northwest), dealing with internal subjects pilots can relate to.

Still, using such a new technology, people have to get used to it. “It’s hard for somebody from let’s say the print world to say that this is a technology which can affect cultural integration through this new tool”, Robin said. “We’re not there yet, but I’m gonna keep doing it and provide the tools and opportunities and keep explaining my bosses that this is an extra tool on their toolbelt”.

Robin gave an interesting presentation on the New Media Expo 2008 and we had to chance to interview him. 

New Media Expo 2008 Interview: Paulo Tosolini (Microsoft)

Paulo has a vision. Paulo wants to make everybody within Microsoft to start podcasting. For that, he thought, I need a platform. And so it started. Last year Academy Mobile was launched to the sales force and this year the platform, named the creative title: Podcast Kit for Sharepoint can be downloaded for free as an add-on to Sharepoint. “You can think of it as YouTube within your company”, Paulo said, “where anybody can upload content. It could be training, best practices. Essentially it’s giving a voice to the employees”.

That the platform is a success is quite clear: “After one year we had 2,500 podcasts in the system, whereas we had anticipated on 750″, he said.

See an enthousiastic Paulo in our interview, when we met him again at the New Media Expo in Las Vegas.

 

US, here we come!

Passport, credit card, ticket, some clothes, camera, mic… It seems that I’m set to start one of the most interesting trips in my career as a New Media entrepeneur. First I fly to New York where I participate in a small expert group discussion of one of our clients to brainstorm about the use of new (social) media in the marketing of one of their products. They have collected a truly remarkable group of people and it is the intention to come up with some innovative concepts. The session will be moderated by CScout, a company specialized in trendwatching. Google is one of the participants as well, and to create a ‘stimulating’ environment we’re going to have one day of the session in the Google office… (I wanna have a step too!)

Next I stay a few days in New York to buy some hardware …I mean, do some sightseeing.

On Monday I fly to Vegas for the annual Podcast and New Media Expo. René will arrive the next day and before Mieke arrives on Wednesday we’ve already been in all the exciting attractions (sorry Mieke, but we’ll go twice if we have to).

The big thing starts on Thursday, all the way through Saturday. The program really looks compelling and we claim sponge Bob our hero again (yes, we do absorb the most knowledge when we’re sitting on the first row).

After the New Media Expo René hurries home to dive into the dipers again, and Mieke and I are heading East to visit some of the most beautiful places on Earth (apart from Boxmeer, that is). This however has nothing to do with new media, so we just call it ‘holiday’…

Keep an eye on our blog since we intend to post a lot, or follow me on Twitter.

Bye for now!

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