Monetizing Your Tag Cloud

I have had some struggle with this concept. I am a huge advocate of folksonomy, the mother ideology behind the now ubiquitous social media practice of tagging and the use of tag clouds. I love tag clouds, I love searching by tags-- and was a little irked when after Upcoming.org was acquired by Yahoo earlier this year that their big, gorgeous tag cloud was relegated to an anonymous URL that I had to get by contacting them and requesting it. At any rate, the latest monetizing scheme to pop up in the ever-evolving social media enterprise is monetizing the tag cloud. The catch-22 is that I often tell my clients just how important their tagging is-- it is not just throwing up keywords to posts, but that tagging is a conscientious marketing scheme. A prominently displayed tag cloud on a web site or blog instantly informs your reader of the kind of content they will find throughout the site. Making sure the most interesting and relevant tags to your demo appear largest is key. I suppose the next logical step after this is monetizing those tags if say, on your fashion blog Barney's wishes to have prominence in your tag cloud. Still, a part of me wonders if monetizing your tag cloud is as bad as paid editorial? Its almost as bad as Vibrant Media's "solutions" of in-text and popover video ads polluting publishers' content. I mean, where do we draw the line between monetizing and fair advertising and questionable journalistic ethics? At any rate, Ads-click is one of the first to offer bloggers the chance to monetize their tags, it will be interesting to see if this practice catches on.


Social Utopia: A Decentralized Social Graph?

Brad Fitzpatrick, whiz kid creator behind LiveJournal (Six Apart) and OpenID wants to dislodge the equilibrium a bit more and create a decentralized "social graph"-- a way a to aggregate the social metrics of individual sites into one, open information platform. Sounds awesome to me, but perhaps a lofty, utopian goal? Fitzpatrick outlines the initial steps necessary to begin building the social graph here

Original Killer Startup of the Week: Retroland.com

A place to reminisce about Atari, He-Man, I Love Lucy, and missing the original M&M colors with a community of Nike vintage and TVLand lovers...Retroland!


Now You Can Be a Private-Beta-Invite-Only Superstar

Ah, the private, invite-only beta, the hallmark of any self-respecting Web 2.0 start up-- first there were the coveted Joost invites (which, I had courtesy of the 2007 Web 2.0 Expo, thanks O'Reilly!), then there was Meebo and Pownce. Now, web junkies and aficionados alike need not be excluded ever again from pesky private betas: enter Inviteshare.com, the Techcrunch-owned invite sharing community. Its like getting to sneak behind the velvet ropes of "private beta" and saunter your way into the VIP room.


NoSo: The Anti-Social Web Experience

I found this the other day and, well....its awesome. Kudos to the art geeks at Glowlab and Southern Exposure for promoting the anti-social internet movement...a tongue in cheek, though no less compelling, questioning of our current definitions of "social interaction" vs. empirical experience....

Unplug yourself here...

Social Media Optimization

Optimize Your Online Presnce
Make Your Content Travel & Leverage the Wisdom of the Crowds

Social Media Optimization (SMO) is about making a web site’s content travel beyond the scope of the site on which it is published. Today’s young internet users maintain several different individual profiles across multiple platforms--and they want to share content that interests them via social media tools. This is evident in the huge popularity of social bookmarking sites, media-sharing utilities, and the 70 million personal blogs on the internet. Young, online consumers have an independent spirit with regards to media consumption. They want to create, aggregate, and share content important to them. This is because for Generation Y, the media and products they consume are direct reflections of their personal identity, and indeed actually create their personal identities. Leveraging this desire by utilizing the proper social technologies will make your content travel beyond the borders of your site.

A second aspect of SMO is leveraging the “wisdom of the crowds.” Today’s consumers have a vast amount of choice when it comes to media consumption--where, how, what and when they consume. The internet provides near limitless choice and self-epxression. As internet analytics have shown (Coremetrics), this vast amount of choice has created an online culture in which users more often listen to each other, instead of advertising messaging, when making choices. Examples of this can be seen on Amazon.com where when a user browses or purchases a particular product, they are offered other products based on the purchasing habits of other consumers who bought the similar products. Wisdom of the crowds is also evident in the hugely popular Wikipedia, where all articles are contributed and edited by anyone who wishes to submit one. Wikipedia is now the number one trafficked online encyclopedia. The tools and technologies of social media help a publisher or advertiser leverage the power of these behaviors to the benefit of both themselves and the consumer.


Socializing: Wikis, Blogs, Widgets, Oh My!

Like everything else today, your brand needs to be socialized properly to become the heatlhy, well-adjusted brand it ought to be. Navigating the social media landscape, however can be daunting. Here I have highlighted some common terms & technologies associated with social media and Web 2.0:

Terms & Technologies

User-generated content- Content (pictures, videos, text) posted to a website that is not posted or controlled by the site publisher/administrator, but by individual users of the site.

Blog- A blog is a simple publishing tool that allows for instantaneous publishing to the internet. Blogs allow for users to post reply comments to each entry. Because every entry in a single blog is indexed as an individual page by search engines, blogs can help organically increase SEO.

Widgets- A widget is an embedable chunk of code that links to an external site that may be installed by end-users on personal blogs, social network profiles, or other web sites.

RSS Feed
- RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. XML files allow syndication of content to be aggregated through search engine readers and other feed readers such as FeedBurner.

Podcasts- Syndication of mp3 or video files through RSS/XML feeds. Podcasts can be downloaded to a user’s iTunes or desktop.

- Groups are the second generation forum/message boards. Most social networking sites have “groups” that multiple users join to discuss issues and share group related content (photos, videos).

Tags, Tagging & Tagclouds- A tag is a keyword applied by the end user for the purpose of organization. Tagging is the act of adding tags to content. Tagclouds are modules that aggregate tags within a site, and displays these tags in varying font size to indicate popularity. Usually a tagcloud appears on a landing page or may be on a separate page entirely.
Implementing tagging into a site is important for gathering search data, gaining insight into user behavior, organization within the site, and for SMO.

Folksonomy- Folksonomy refers to information organization based on tags. Its "organization by the masses." The name is derived from “taxonomy” which is an hierarchical organizational scheme.

Social Bookmarking & Link Sharing- Bookmarks are URL’s which are saved to a browser or to a bookmarking site such as del.icio.us or StumbleUpon.com. These kinds of social sites allow users to save URL’s (links) in an individual account, and then share their saved links with other users. Most sites also provide RSS feeds to users’ accounts so that other users may subscribe to a person’s feeds, receiving real time updates each time that person saves another link to the account.

Search Engine Optimization- (SEO) A site’s search engine rank is determined by the content and structure of the site itself. Optimization of the site is implemented in the coding of the site. A site’s rank also increases with the number of other pages that link to it. Google’s PageRank technology uses an algorithm which determines a site’s rank based on inbound links.

Other Technologies

- A wiki is a collaborative website which can be directly edited by anyone with access to it.

- A “blidget” is a live feed of blog posts in widget form.

Mashup- A mashup is a website or application that combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience (by embedding widgets, for example).

Social Media: Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0

Social Media: Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0

The new internet, dubbed “Web 2.0” by O’Reilly Media’s Tim O’Reilly, is in many ways a significant shift from what the internet was in the 1990’s and early 2000. To be clear, old internet (1995-2001) may be referred to as “Web 1.0” while the new internet (2002-2007) may be referred to as “Web 2.0.” The differences between 1.0 and 2.0 are as much about ideology as they are about function and design. Web 2.0 may be thought to be the new “social” media that embraces the democritization of information and transparency. There is a conversation happening on the internet, and it is dominated by the users. For brands this means learning to integrate seamlessly into that conversation to establish an effective online presence.

Highlights some of the key differences between 1.0 and 2.0 sites:

Web 1.0

Information is proprietary
Dialogue is one-way, similar to television
Design resembles print media layout: screen real estate saturated, text is hyperlinks, static content, screen divided into columns
Navigation is complex
Sites operated as digital versions of print magazines or as storefronts
Site about the publisher

Web 2.0

Information is encouraged to spread freely
Dialogue is now a conversation
New design aesthetic emphasizes clean screen real estate: white space, large print, rich media, fewer columns.
Navigation is simplified
Sites operate as a platform for conversation
Site is about end user: Social Media