Google Reader Causes Pivot (and Purge)

Reader

Well, the RSS apocolypse is upon us thanks to Google’s planned sunsetting of Reader. Now that my Reader has been scheduled for termination, expect a pivot.

Of course, the sunsetting of Reader disrupts my and many other bloggers’ daily link sharing on Twitter and Google Plus, which causes change. Since xPotomac and SxSW have passed (creating more time), I plan on starting anew, and rebuilding on Feedly and Flipboard with new voices on a wider range of topics.

I go through periods of discontent online. Currently, I’m in one.

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Transmedia Writing

Stories told across multi-platform media environments — or transmedia stories as they are commonly called on the edge — require more complex writing. A story unfolds across diverse media with readers/viewers opting in to each layer.

At the same time, as writers we want to build an experience that satisfies casual consumers on the first level without requiring them to dig deeper into the media experience.

Writing for transmedia environments invokes a parallel to the classic journalistic pyramid style where details expand as a news story continues. Print journalists are trained to write so that areas can leave the story at any point fulfilled.

However, transmedia requires three dimensional thinking.
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How to Differentiate Your Content

Different
Image by Ksenia Krneychuk

After my speech two weeks ago on blogging, a TribeUp NYC attendee asked me how to differentiate content.

I’m sure other strategists have their methods, but here’s how I do it.

There’s one critical precursor to success: You must possess substantial knowledge about your topic area, and keep abreast of current trends, not only in the mainstream but on the edge of your sector. Become a subject matter expert.

If you don’t, it will be difficult for you to compete. You need this knowledge to determine the trends you should cover.

Start with Irreverence

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Bashing Google+: Fashionable, but not Smart

Pinata time
Image by Monkey at Large

Many social media wonks bash Google+ at social media conferences and in online conversations. Doubting the new social network is the fashionable thing to do. Yet you have to wonder if this absolute negative view is professionally smart.

While the network has not surpassed Facebook and to date lacks the business impact of established networks Twitter and LinkedIn, it has developed its own community. Engagement waned after a stellar launch, but new voices continue to join Google+ and more of Google’s core applications have been integrated into the network. As a result, traffic has increased. AddThis recently reported that Google+ had its third highest in bound traffic week to date.

Google continues integrating its entire ecosystem into the + social network, and the biggest social chip is being added to the mix — YouTube. As YouTube (and Chrome) become more integrated, Google+ will only gather further steam.

Keep in mind, my attitude about Google+ has been conservative with a wait and see approach. As time has continued doubt remains, but Google+ is consistently a top 10 referrer to my blog. In general, because of the larger ecosystem, the smart thing to do is to begin engaging mostly because of search benefits, and to protect brand reputation.

Regardless of pros or cons, a professional’s job is to view Google+ with an analytical eye. Otherwise, it is hard to provide objective counsel.

History Shows Google+ Won’t Beat Facebook

Much of the Google+ negativity finds its basis in the over exuberance of some social media experts who initially lauded Google+ as the great Facebook killer. But marketing history shows that it is almost impossible to unseat an entrenched market leader like Facebook head-to-head.

When competing against a dominant leader with no major differences in technology, distribution or product, most companies cannot win. Avis’s “We Try Harder” positioning against Hertz rental cars was an acknowledgement that it could not escape second in the marketplace.

Ironically, Google is one of those rare companies who has knocked out a market leader. In the 1990s Yahoo! had a lock in the search marketplace. But in 2000 it lost its lead to Google, which won the market with its unique search algorithm.

Yet Google’s success over Yahoo was due to an improvement in technology. Without some sort of major game changing technology or major collapse on Facebook’s part, Google+ will likely end up competing for second place in traffic and page views against Twitter and LinkedIn.