Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The establishment always wins

Well, it looks like Mitt Romney, despite his inept campaign skills, is veering back onto the inevitability track. The noisiest conservatives are not pleased about it, but what can they do? Ratcheting up the invective only stiffens the GOP establishment’s resolve to hush them into the background.

Baby boomer liberals who have retained their rebel sensibilities have to like the anti-establishment streak in tea partiers. I know I do—I like the zeal while abhorring most of the message. And I keep thinking we should be able to make common cause on cronyism if we’d be willing to (selectively) forget about team colors ...


OK, in case you are rolling your eyes about that hastily chosen old video in the cheesy 80s TV studio setting, here is a live version to show you that fans still like the song. The old one does capture the era, though, doesn’t it?

Remind me sometime to tell my favorite Mellencamp story. (It involves a mock confrontation with him; I was six month’s pregnant.)

See if I like this new “embed Tweet” feature in the Twitter web interface:

Alright. I was expecting something more graphical, but that’s probably the best way to handle it.

@MittRomney   @SarahPalinUSA   @johnmellencamp  
Posted by amyloo on 02/29 at 05:44 AM

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Funny blatant pimping for “likes”


The film society is partnering with PBS on an online film festival.

@NatFilmSociety   @PBS  
Posted by amyloo on 02/28 at 05:24 AM

Social mediaPermalink

Quick look at Votizen

Had to sign up for Votizen after hearing the buzz this week about its new funding.

It connects you and your online social network, and looks up your voter registration, lists your elected representatives, and provides ways to hook up with other voters but doesn’t force you to share. Pretty slick. The blog could play a bigger role, it seems to me. Maybe they’ll hire some writers with some of that money. They’re looking for marketers and engineers.

Sean Parker is an investor. He does have an image problem, doesn’t he? I have to admit I was influenced by the portrayal of the Napster founder in The Social Network movie, and I’ll confess that, for me, the slimy residue slides right onto whatever he’s associated with. Really unfair, because I don’t know much about him at all. Will try to remedy that right now. Movies can be so powerful in creating or reinforcing beliefs.

@2gov   @sparker  
Posted by amyloo on 02/28 at 04:22 AM

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Two ideas for Current TV

A couple of quick thoughts—one promotion idea, one scheduling idea—on Current‘s politics shows:

  1. Ask bloggers to put widgets or free banner ads on their sites. I don’t know if I would, but I’ll bet some of the #FOKers who are bloggers and who have crushes on Keith would do anything. It would be a little like volunteer street teams for bands, or like Palin fans promoting Steve Bannon’s film for him.
  2. Replay Keith, Turks and Granholm in the morning as an alternative to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, especially for channel switchers. I’d click over when the table at Joe’s starts talking about soccer. (This one may be naive. For all I know, Current has lost some of its interest in building the prime time shows and is settling back into its former sweet spot, the documentary.)
@current   @keitholbermann   @TYTonCurrent   @JenGranholm   @stephenbannon
Posted by amyloo on 02/27 at 06:52 AM


‘That’s twisted,’ I yelled at myself, scornfully. ‘Whatever made you even think of that?’

I don’t know.

Just happened to wonder if any campaign had ever considered staging an assassination attempt as a sympathy ploy. I mean, seriously considered it. It must be something that has popped into the head of a desperate staffer or two, don’t you think? Anyway it might be a good sub-theme for a political novel, or the main theme for a political short story.

After all, Bill Clinton was accused of wagging the dog, as I was reminded by the recent bio film on PBS American Experience.

@ClintonTweet   @Poliwood   @AmExperiencePBS   @Amyloo  
Posted by amyloo on 02/27 at 06:19 AM


Sunday, February 26, 2012

It’s about point of view—don’t tell me I’m nothing but an eyeball to you

Why can’t marketers look at things from the consumer’s or reader’s point of view?

I hate to pick on Talking Points Memo because I truly admire Josh Marshall and what he did on the U.S. Attorneys issue—and all that he’s accomplished since with his sites.

This is just a little nitpick, but it’s one of my pet peeves. I spent several years in PR, sales and marketing before turning to the internet, and it always puzzled me when marketers—who ought to know all about customer perception—could not seem to turn the tables and recognize when their tactics were too transparently self-serving.

When I saw that TPM was reaching me on Twitter using a tool called MarketMeSuite, I felt ... well, used. It’s a bad product name because it appeals only to the commercial tweeter wanting up rack up page views for advertisers—not to the user who would prefer a softer term like a form of the word “share.”

MarketMe seems to be TPM’s tool of choice for the umbrella brand. Individual writers use Twitter’s own Tweet Button, the sharing tool embedded on the page being linked to.

While Twitter (the company) claims most people use the web interface at to read and tweet, analysts believe third-party tools are used for about half of all tweets. The tool used to issue a tweet is reported and I tend to notice, maybe notice more when I’m using the Twitter’s great iPad app, where the font for the tool mention is more prominent.

It’s kind of ironic that there’s double promotion going on here. TPM is promoting MarketMe, too.

I wonder if the actual name of the third-party tool necessarily has to be exposed in the end-user context, or if the string that appears to users can be configured separately.

This perspective blindness happens in venues outside social media, too. You’ve probably seen product information documents called “sell sheets.” Everybody knows they’re being pitched, all day long, every place they look; nobody likes to feel like prey. Why not call them “product benefit briefs” or something that doesn’t trumpet commercial aggression?

@TPM   @joshtpm   @MarketMeSuite  
Posted by amyloo on 02/26 at 03:38 AM

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Homage to three of my favorite bloggers (web wonkish)

I’m ripping off Paul Krugman and Steve Gillmor in one shot.

Krugman is much more than just a blogger—he’s also a Nobel prize-winning economist, Princeton professor, columnist, textbook author, valiant spokesman for what remains of the New Deal liberal clan, and a personal heartthrob of mine in a geeky old-lady way. But he is what Dave Winer would call a ”natural-born blogger.” (And Dave, as a pioneer of blogging and its tools, should know. A lot of what I know and believe about blogging and the web in general has been influenced by Dave.)

Krugman established a convention of warning non-economist readers when a post’s content gets into the technical weeds by appending ”(wonkish)”, in the headline, in parentheses.

Gillmor—whose columns I haven’t seen on Techcrunch on recent Sundays and hope that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped—also introduced a blogging convention I like. He’s a proponent of what he calls the @Mention Cloud, and reinforces his mission by referring to people by their Twitter handles and sometimes placing the handles at the bottom of blog posts. 

I’m going to adopt the practice of listing Twitter handles, and wanted to get wonkish and explain how I automated it in about 15 minutes with my favorite CMS in all the world, Expression Engine. You could probably do something similar in WordPress if you self-host and know your way around templates. Really easy. In fact it will take me longer to write this post than it did to implement the feature.

First, I made five custom fields. This is the first one, the rest are copied from it. Note it’s set to no formatting so EE doesn’t put in P tags.

Then I used conditionals to tell my template to output the handles with links to the Twitter profile pages if I’ve entered any handles in the new fields on my post entry or edit form:

That’s it. Now off to work to wrestle with Sharepoint. I’d much rather live in LAMPland.


@davewiner   @stevegillmor   @NYTimeskrugman   @EllisLab   @Amyloo
Posted by amyloo on 02/22 at 06:03 AM

Permalink reaching out to NPR audience

On the drive home last night I was a little surprised to hear that the news was sponsored by Current TV. The short tagline allowed in such sponsorships promoted the prime time news shows hosted by Keith Olbermann, Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm. It’s probably a good fit—at least in Chicago and other larger urban markets.

I watch Keith, though I tend to surf during commercials more than I did when he was on MBNBC, checking in on Ed and even peeking in to see what mischief O’Reilly might be up to, and sometimes get waylaid before I get a chance to discover who is the Worst Person in the World.

I don’t care for Uygur‘s and Granholm‘s shows, and I can’t really put my finger on why. The grunge sets are cool, but leave me feeling gritty. Uygur’s lack of journalism background shows. In introducing a recent guest who is a writer for Reuters, he said the reporter worked for “Reuters magazine,” not appearing to know that it’s an old established wire service, now part of an info conglomerate. Granholm, I just don’t know. I like her, like her politics, like that she was governor of my home state. Maybe she will grow into the host role.

Does Current have a shot at breaking through? The NYTimes Media Decoder column in January reported a bright spot: the channel does attract that elusive younger audience that doesn’t “do TV” much anymore. The young audience likes the net, but Current has a problem there; it can’t post full programs to the web because of its agreements with the cable cartel. I don’t really know the business equation but I’d surmise that from the cable companies’ point of view, the channel is just too small to have the clout to get on the channel lineup at all unless it caves to any and all cartel demands, including forcing viewers to watch on the tube. Squeeze-them-‘til-they-squeal deals like those may be history soon, at least we can hope.

Looks like the flap between Keith and the network over GOP primary coverage is over. If you missed the drama, you can catch up on the Hollywood Reporter site. They seem to enjoy covering him. There’s some charm in that. It seems to show a form of affection.


@keitholbermann   @jengranholm   @cenkuygur   @current   @THR
Posted by amyloo on 02/22 at 04:18 AM


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yup, TechPresident is still publishing

Hadn’t heard about this cycle. It doesn’t seem too active, though.

Personal Democracy media, the site’s parent, which also organizes the Personal Democracy Forum, is promoting a premium service for tech/government junkies that I hadn’t heard about either.

Glad I stopped by this morning after such a long absence, and bookmarked a group of videos from a December event on Occupy and the Tea Party. I’ve been seeking more input on the juxtaposition of the two movements.

Posted by amyloo on 02/21 at 06:23 AM


Organizing on Facebook

Rachel Maddow talked last night about the Virginia women who organized the dramatic silent protest against the state’s proposed bill requiring ultrasounds prior to abortions. They raised a big crowd and pulled it off on Facebook.

Check out the video of the silent protest. It’s chilling.

The Right uses Facebook to rally the troops, too. American Grizzlies United, a pro-Sarah Palin group, (tries to) supplement its push to recruit GOP national convention delegates on its Facebook page.

Palinistas seem to have a tight Venn diagram of overlapping fan circles which helps the network effect, but each of the circles are relatively small. The synergy sounds loud right in the eye of the storm but its influence never reaches much of the electorate that has long made up its mind about Palin. That’s not to say the groups don’t have a large presence online; it’s just that blogs may be the medium of choice. The Conservatives4Palin website, founded by a blogger who later worked as a communications aide for Palin, enjoys a flood of traffic and an active, lively, passionate and committed community of commenters.

Posted by amyloo on 02/21 at 05:18 AM

PalinSocial mediaTVPermalink

Monday, February 20, 2012

Instant action on petition

Jay Rosen, an NYU journalism professor tweeted a request to sign his petition just a few minutes ago and the petition already has over 100 signatures.

Contrary to what you might think (I think I might have), is not affiliated with Obama’s campaign. In fact, the site is for profit.

Posted by amyloo on 02/20 at 08:11 AM

Social mediaPermalink

Jaw-dropping ignorance

McCain would “continue to have an open dialogue” with the queen of England on the subject [of Britain’s waning support for the war in Iraq].

That’s how Sarah Palin reportedly responded to a Steve Schmidt question during an issues coaching session during the 2008 campaign, according to a Saturday L.A. Times story on HBO’s Game Change movie. It is sure to spread like wildfire across the internet today. The Politico segment on Morning Joe mentioned it this morning (though I don’t see a post about it yet at 7:30 a.m. Central time). John Heilemann, a co-author of the book on which the adaptation is based, was on the Joe Show panel and defended the book’s reporting, calling the work a historical account.

The astonishing addition to the Encyclopedia Palinignorata already is being tweeted at a fair clip. When another MSNBC show mentions it, the tale will get tweeted more often, then another MSNBC show will notice the net buzz and mention it again, because ... that’s how this works.

The incident is one of a few new tidbits about Palin that will be revealed in the movie that were not reported in the Halperin-Heilemann book, according to the Times story. Schmidt confirmed the veracity in an interview. He had to explain to Palin that Great Britain’s prime minister heads the government.

Why will this be a big deal today? 1) It fits a pattern (which is different from a spun-up narrative). 2) We’re dumbfounded to conceive of the idea that the governor of a state would not know something we knew in junior high, if not grade school. Why won’t it matter to many of Palin’s staunchest fans? They may share the same knowledge gaps—and some of them are proud of it.

(You’ll have to forgive my obsession with Palin; I’m writing some fiction that includes a character something like her, and the preoccupation sometimes seeps up to the public surface as I puzzle through how to draw the character.)

Posted by amyloo on 02/20 at 06:23 AM

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Online MSNBC: Rachel blogger, head-desk, #uppers, Melissa H-P

Steve Benen left Washington Monthly late last month to become a producer for The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. If you read the Maddow Blog, you've been seeing his byline there for about three weeks now, and his writing has been a nice addition. Maddow's audience seems to live online so it makes sense to bring on somebody with an established reputation to work on the internet arm of her show's presence.

I follow Will Femia, a self-described web elf for Rachel's show, on Twitter. You've seen him retweeted if you're in my circles or near them. He's the one with the great animated head-desk avatar.

Up With Chris Hayes continues to impress. It's a nice blend of hip libs, smart talk and serious topics. They can't help but devote segments to the GOP primary horserace, but that's fine by me. I know I'm supposed to be ashamed of becoming caught up in the inside baseball but it's impossible not to; it's so entertaining. Also on MSNBC, the Up show starts sticking to a regular time slot tomorrow -- 8 until 10 a.m. Eastern Saturday and Sunday. It must have been a pain to promote the show when it started at different times on Saturday and Sunday.

Chances are you've run into the #uppers Twitter hashtag on weekend mornings. It's quite a lively community. Almost too noisy to follow in real time while the show is on. I made a Twitter list of the show's guests starting with the Dec. 17 show and have maintained it since then almost faithfully, so it includes the tweets of a number of weeks' guests. Since each show includes guests with varying expertise depending on the week's topics, the collection of current tweets is pretty eclectic. See widgets for the hashtag and the list below.

Melissa Harris-Perry's show debuts tomorrow, right after Up. The new show's hashtag is #mhpshow. Or it's #nerdland. Not firmly settled I guess. The crowd will make a chaotic executive decision.

Posted by amyloo on 02/17 at 06:52 PM


Maine county’s vote report filtered as spam

When you think about the intersection of politics and the internet, you tend to look for the lofty and theoretical, the trends and surprises—at least I like to think I do.

But there’s the mundane, too, and here’s an example: Maine GOP caucus organizers admitted today that one county’s caucus tally came to headquarters in email, but got caught in a spam filter.

A Ron Paul Democrat I know who caucused in Iowa told me the individual caucuses there phone in their results. Though Iowa had their organizational troubles.

Rachel Maddow was all over these cauk-ups, as @mickeleh reminded his followers today.

Posted by amyloo on 02/17 at 06:14 PM


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Palin’s star power is the oddest thing ever

Sarah Palin’s worst nightmare, Gryphen at The Immoral Minority, wonders half seriously if Fox Business Channel canned a number of primetime hosts because Palin’s appearance on all three shows doomed them. Yeah, proabably not.

The network has been struggling, with the shows in question scraping the bottom of the cable rankings. Last week’s HuffPost story says “The network has long trailed its major business news rival, CNBC, in the ratings. On Wednesday, for instance, FBN drew just 64,000 total viewers. CNBC drew 187,000. For all of 2011, the gap was even wider: 54,000 versus 228,000.”

The more likely story on Palin:  the Fox employee was deployed to shore up ratings for the business network. Whenever she appears on TV the videos are embedded on blogs across the political spectrum, and maybe the marketing crew thought the foundering shows could pick up some viewers by that route. Her star power is real, but it might not be of quite the right quality to convince her type of fan to become interested in a business channel generally.

And what of that famous Palin star power? It’s the oddest thing ever, isn’t it? A variety of conservative worships her, so they’ll tune in and they’ll read news stories and blog posts whenever her name is in the headline. She’s a pageview phenom for liberal media outlets, too. Libs will click through just to see what the new trolling behavior might be today—hoping to find something to be indignant about. I guess that’s a form of popularity.

Palin bonus: The Baltimore Sun’s TV critic says HBO’s “Game Change” will score Julianne Moore an Emmy, and the TV movie promises to be one of the most culturally important films of the year. Wow. I’d watch it eagerly even if it looked as though it might be really bad (I devoured the book), but this is pretty exciting. Look for ”Game Change” to be talked about. Constantly. It premieres March 10.

Posted by amyloo on 02/14 at 05:17 PM

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