ShellyBlog Shelly Brisbin's life consists of several long tails. She writes about them here.

August 22, 2008


Filed under: New Media and Tech,Politics and Public Affairs — Shelly Brisbin @ 10:36 AM

The collective press, and even my Twitter stream has been infected by veepstakes fever, mostly on the Obama side. It’s become a little annoying at this point, I’ll admit. And by the way, I haven’t given my cell number to the Obama campaign for this purpose, though I’ve been on his text message list in the past.

What I realized this morning, as I read the Mashable story about fake iPhone lines in Poland, is how similar this week’s veep frenzy has been to the run-up to an Apple launch. Of course, the iPhone lines are not Apple’s doing, but are bought and paid for by the local carrier, Orange. Apple, like Obama, has not had to resort to fakery as yet, counting more on the genuine excitement of its base customers. What happens after the launch, well, that’s another story.

It’s not a new observation that Obama is the Mac of this election season, to John McCain’s PC. But who knew that the Obama campaign was so in tune to the Cupertino company’s marketing strategy? Take a situation that has generated real buzz, and withhold as much information as possible until just the right moment. To heighten the effect, taunt the press mercilessly. They’ll play along.

Is that my phone? BRB

August 20, 2008

New Media Expo’s Middle Year

Last week’s New Media Expo was, to a large degree, what I expected it to be. Frankly, I had hoped that my original expectations would be proven wrong, because I like attending this event, and I think its focus on the podcasting aspect of new media (despite the more inclusive name) is a valuable concentration for those who are more interested in making and producing audio and video than they are in finding new ways to market themselves in 140 characters.

Despite assurances to the contrary, it has seemed to me since the announcement that NME would move from the isolated Ontario California to the bright lights of Vegas, that the change would not produce the kind of cred the show needed in order to grow. I think I wrote at the time that a move was inevitable, and a good idea, but that I questioned Vegas as the next step in NME’s evolution. The basis for that conclusion, borne out by the 2008 show, was that a city like Vegas, with its myriad distractions, and a venue like the Las Vegas Convention Center/Hilton, with its cavernous spaces, could not hope to support the networking and community aspects of NME that most repeat attendees prize.

In my blog drafts folder is an unfinished post about the NME conference program. In it, I suggest that despite the innovation inherent in the Podcamp format, NME’s nuts and bolts attention to the tools and techniques of podcasting make the conference a better choice for serious (hobbyist or pro) podcasters than the most recent batch of unconferences. It’s fair to point out that many of NME’s speakers are repeat presenters, and that’s a bit disappointing, and frankly, indicative of the lack of growth in the podcasting world. But it’s also clear that at NME, marketing from the front of a seminar room is kept to a reasonable level, and that the focus is less on trendy “social media”, and more on making, distributing, and selling better content.

But a respectable group of speakers and an organizer who I sincerely believe wants to produce a conference that is good for podcasters (Tim Bourquin is a podcaster himself, after all) is not enough to leverage the successes of NME past. Like it or not, the community aspect of this event is integral to its success. It’s not merely a warm fuzzy for what Bourquin calls hobbyists. Podcasters have tended to create formal and informal alliances, reference one another in text and audio form, and evaluate the viability of attending a conference based on “who else is going”. Then too, a lot of podcasters think of themselves as “social media” creators, and that demands, well, some socializing.

Much of this community-centricness was baked in at the crowded Ontario Marriott bar, and on an exhibit floor that served as a daytime mingle spot for those who couldn’t afford the sessions. This year, the usual social networking tools made it possible for people to plan meetups, but the lack of natural gathering spots, and a dearth of sponsored evening parties made it hard to find the people I wanted to see or meet, beyond a group of friends who communicated via Twitter and text message, all pre-arranged. The tepid show floor experience ensured that visits there were shorter, depriving attendees of another chance to see and be seen.

How to fix? Linda Mills of Podcast User Magazine twittered about rumors that the next expo might take place in San Francisco. And at this writing, no dates for a 2009 show are posted on the NME site. Further, Tim Bourquin, in a very informative post on the difficulties of running trade shows on a small scale, suggests that he might be leaving the business.

I for one hope that NME can be revitalized. San Francisco is a great choice for next year’s event. I would also like to see a Midwest (Chicago) or East Coast (Boston) event. Podcamp attendance patterns could provide good gudeance about locations that could best support a podcasting conference. Finally, I would like to see Tim hire a community-builder for NME. This person’s job would be to develop events and venues that would be conducive to more social options. Two important parts of this job would be finding sponsors for open events, and seeking out affordable, public meeting places that would draw NME attendees willing to socialize on their own dime.

August 6, 2008

Six Random Things…

Filed under: Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 8:02 AM

I’ve been tagged. The delightful folks over at For Whatever Reason insist that I share Six Random Things About Me. I’ve done this before, but what the hay? Also, don’t it seem as though the very act of podcasting consists mostly of random things about oneself?

The Things:

  • When in my own home, I am usually barefoot.
  • At age 10, I accidentally stabbed myself with a Girl Scout pocket knife. I have the memories and a little scar in my right palm.
  • My dad’s nickname for me was Chickadee. (chirp, chirp).
  • I built my first Web site in 1994.
  • My first trip on an airplane was on Texas International Airlines. My mom made me wear a dress!
  • I can sing an alarming number of the songs from Sweeney Todd. It scares the cats.

All righty then. Time to spread the tagging love. I choose Rod & Chrystal of The Life of Spaguy’s Wife,, Dave, Dawn, and Tim and James of Tastes Like Burning.

Oh, and here are the rules for your tagging reference.

The rules for the game are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

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