Category Archives: Social Media

Virgin America Safety (Music) Video

I love everything about this music video and overall campaign for Virgin America’s safety video. The self-awareness (“for the .001% of you who have never operated a seatbelt before…”), catchiness, and entertainment value is not hard to produce but is a much more enjoyable (required) experience. My guess is other airlines aren’t doing something like this for two reasons: 1) safety is a priority and should not be relegated to a side show, and 2) it’s not the way it’s been done before.

This whole thing makes me step back and wonder why the safety and instructional videos are shown (or demonstrated) in-flight and not something all fliers should pre-qualify for1 (like a drivers license test) before getting on a plane.

  1. I believe Bruce Schneier or someone similar proposed this when discussing security, TSA, flying, etc. 

Chris Brogan, on Ev William’s Medium:

I’ve written five posts, all of them in a different collection … I’ve written about what mantras and chanting have done to improve my business. I’ve written about Microsoft Windows 8 and how it’s a disruptor. I’ve written about my mostly plant-based eating choices. All over the map. If I wrote this way on this blog, it’d be hard to know whether to subscribe or not. (Yes, I write somewhat varied material here, but there’s still a general theme.) That, to me, is the magic button of Medium.

I disagree. Lots of services already aggregate long-form discussions around a common taxonomy (Tumblr being of note).

Plus, this is something Chris Yeh first talked about back in 2007: The Grand Unified Theorem of Blogging — I piggy-backed on it with my own post titled Blogging Audiences and Feedback

In short: the more you talk about, the less focused you are, the less readership your site will enjoy. In other words, if you don’t write for a niche you won’t be “successful.”

As Yeh followed up in the comments: “Success means different things to different people. Like you, I’m content to write about the things that interest me, and to let the chips fall as they may.”

While Medium certainly reminds me of the blog networks and webrings of the early years, I’m confident they’re also aware of the reasons we no longer see webrings and blog networks. “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Related: What competition is WordPress up against?

Is WordPress a development platform or a product?

I’m not sure if I’m thinking about the WordPress Open Source project and its “competition” the right way…

Two years ago, Alex wrote some thoughts about how we discuss WordPress as both a product and a platform with potential clients:

Some people view WordPress as a CMS platform to build on. They want us to help them create a website, service, etc. and they see WordPress as a platform that their idea can be built on […] On the other side of the spectrum are people who come to us viewing WordPress (and the thousands of plugins that themes that are available for it) as a product. These folks typically are looking to create a website with a certain feature set and may already have in mind a collection of existing plugins that they think may be useful for creating these features.

As you’re likely aware, the lines are blurry between WordPress being a “product” and a “platform” because WordPress means a lot of things to a lot of people now (even more so than two years ago when Alex wrote that article): is a different experience than downloading the Open Source package. WordPress that your roommate uses to blog about traveling abroad is probably set up very differently from WordPress that large publishers have customized for their daily use. Some sites use WordPress with no customizations and are very popular whereas some WordPress sites use many plugins and features and are quantifiably unpopular. Some companies run WordPress on their own web hosting servers whereas some folks may log in to WordPress installed on someone else’s servers. Some folks want to enable features and expect everything to work “off the shelf” while others anticipate needing resources to get their exact configuration in place. Some folks build businesses and platforms and products on top of WordPress, while others expect it to work as it says on the label. Sophisticated APIs can be created with WordPress, while beautiful photography portfolios can, too.

This means WordPress is up against a lot of competitors: paid services like Squarespace, free services like Blogger, other Open Source content management systems like Drupal, web development frameworks like Ruby on Rails, social networks like Facebook, etc.

I think this all leads to my point: making decisions for a “platform” can be much harder and much more different than a “product”. Does the WordPress Open Source project have “split personality” disorder based on its blogging (product) origins? Has it grown to warrant the kind of management and architecture decision making like a Ruby on Rails (platform)? Is it possible to exist both as a content management development framework and a publishing product?

That question is probably too hard to answer today.. maybe instead the point I was getting at previously is this: I think it’s worth defining “the competition” at the Open Source project level (are they products, services, or other platforms?) so that future design goals and decisions can be measured against it.

Without this kind of concrete direction, I feel that the project could experience severe cognitive dissonance and the product-platform chasm will only grow wider.


Don’t worry, Instagram users: I just read Flickr’s terms of service agreement and it checks out OK. (Reminder: I’m not your lawyer)


By Rebecca Greenfield at The Atlantic Wire:

Preteens posing with helicopters they did nothing to earn and posting the pictures online for others to ogle provides an easy in for commentary on the state of the American dream. (Dead.)

We stumbled upon this yesterday and had a good laugh, but after reading this I realize it’s indicative of something interesting going on and I’m a bit more self aware of how I present myself.

You Suck at Retweeting and Favoriting

Dan Frommer at SplatF on the subject of Twitter:

…it really bums me out how bad many people are at retweeting.

I think his post dovetails into a larger discussion on how I think Twitter intends people to use their product now (but not everyone has caught on or chooses to follow).

I feel most users continue to use Retweets for things they should’ve favorited, or simply replied to:

  • Favorites: interesting things said that I like and want to be able to recall, but need not broadcast directly to my followers, but perhaps indirectly through the Discover tab or third-parties like stellar (positive mentions, links to me, funny video clips)

  • Retweets: things I found interesting and relevant enough that my audience of followers would too, thinking “if I wrote this would I expect others to share it verbatim?” (sharing links including photos and video clips, or quotes from direct sources)

  • Replies: I want to respond to something or someone and if my followership happens to overlap, I can provide a great threaded discussion where context is already known and easy to follow… or I can write an original thought in response to something if I want all to see (by removing the @reply prefix but keeping the reply association)

The biggest violators of the above make for a noisy, circle-jerk of self congratulations, duplicate content, and one-word replies copying entire tweets senselessly. I’ve found these violators sometimes amass a large following and are actually doing the opposite of much of the above intentionally (social media “experts” in some cases).

More and more I’m starting to find the structured-but-not-entirely-enforcable nature of Twitter to be less endearing than a controlled experience like Facebook.

According to the Facebook S-1 they earn approximately $9.61 in revenue per user per year. But, averages are deceiving. Based on anecdotal evidence, this is likely how the long tail of Facebook’s revenue ties out: the lion’s share of money comes from shared revenues of grandmas and kids accidentally buying currency and credits in Zynga games.

Prove me wrong?

Denver Post prints partial quote, Councilwoman provides full context via blog

I just love that my councilwoman, Judy Montero, has her own blog (on WordPress). Not only that, but she can respond to an article published in the Denver Post which printed only part of her prepared statement that lacks the full context of her response. Not that the news hasn’t been doing this “fit the quote so it fits our story” game forever, but now the public can easily see the other side.

Here’s what the Denver Post printed on in their story describing medical marijuana grow sites in Denver:

Councilwoman Judy Montero, who represents north and central Denver, went a step further, suggesting that the presence of grows in some areas might need to be re-evaluated as those areas look to redevelop.

“I don’t see the uses of medical marijuana grow facilities being consistent with our land- use visions for the future of these communities,” she wrote in a prepared statement. Such a clash has already occurred in Montero’s district…

This statement only suggests she’s against the grow sites (negative) then the article goes on to conclude that the sites are very much friends of the community (contrary to her point).

Stepping back, if you read the full statement it may paint a fuller picture of her thoughts on the future of the community (excluded text is highlighted):

The grow facilities you see on the ground today are a reality of today’s economic climate and obsolete land use policies of the past. Unfortunately, I don’t see the uses of medical marijuana grow facilities being consistent with our land use visions for the future of these communities – visions that include new parks, affordable housing options, retail, and other amenities that are the foundation of a sustainable neighborhood. So if market conditions start to change, I am not confident that grow facilities will still be considered an appropriate use as these areas start to transform themselves with exciting redevelopment opportunities.

I’m happy to see the internet is able to help balance the discussion and remove some of the power that the media has to form public opinion in their own views. Check out the comments on the article to see how individuals specifically ask what Montero’s vision includes…



As soon as I saw Facebook’s new “Ticker” (a.k.a. Facebook within Facebook) I wondered if Facebook was smart enough to “surface” the right stories to me. MG Siegler at TechCrunch:

But while all the competitors were busy making that button, Facebook was busy making the button obsolete. Today’s Open Graph changes represent a world where the button isn’t needed. Sure, it will continue to exist for certain types of content. But it will be more like an on/off switch.

Once I saw the long term plan (with the new Timeline), it became clear that the Ticker is the new Beacon. Facebook is told about everything you do. Then between a mix of curation (updating my Timeline) and algorithm (Facebook determining what is important) the stream of updates within Facebook will become meaningful again.

Or, at least, thats the hope.