March 2013 – Stay N Alive

The Death of Google Reader: Did Email Kill the RSS Star?

Alas, the day has come. We knew it was coming and we were all just digging in our heels waiting for the day. I admit I’m not as mad as before, as the dust has settled off since they killed sharing and replaced it with a very limited Google+ sharing feature (on top of the “send to” feature that was there before). At the same time we see other “social networks” of Google’s (Youtube) hitting over a billion active users. Compared to that, Google Reader was minuscule.

With all that though, there’s no doubt to those of us, the most devoted and perhaps heaviest users of Google Reader (I saw some stats that I promised not to share that suggested before Google Reader killed sharing I had some of the highest numbers of shares on the site), will miss the service. Like, a lot. So much that you see all of us bloggers that depended on its superior interface (which works best in Ninja Mode, btw) screaming from the house tops like little children. Many are even screaming that the death of Google Reader is the death of RSS and the beginning (or end?) of the death of “open”. Truthfully, there is nothing else out there like it and most of us don’t know what we’re going to do.

With all that I can’t help but wonder if the paradigm has just shifted. Users have spoken. While RSS is great for B2B applications of sharing information and likely won’t go away, from a consumer perspective I think email has won this battle. If your site, which previously had a “subscribe via RSS” button on it doesn’t also have a “subscribe by email” button, it probably should. It is evident to me that while many are searching for a new RSS reader that the answer for many trying to guarantee delivery of content will actually be email. In many ways Google Reader is forcing many of us to simplify.

The advantage RSS gave us is that for every site that implemented it it gave more than just a way for Google Reader users to subscribe and get updates one-by-one with their “j” and “k” buttons on their keyboards. It gave every user on the web a way to consumer information any way they wanted. And for that, I’m sad. Google Reader was the last straw, supported by a great brand that made it official.

As much as I hate it, I’m afraid we’re headed towards the death of open ways to consume information. Every website is being forced to create their own APIs for accessing information, and there is now no good reason to use a common standard as simple as RSS to allow consumers to consume information on your site.

There will be a day when we all look back and remember “the roaring 90s/00s” where anyone could consume any data they wanted on the web. The problem is businesses found easier ways to make money and RSS never found a way to fight back.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope RSS makes a come-back. If not, I hope some other standard comes available that makes the web a more open and connected place again. I hope big businesses like Google and Facebook and Microsoft will fight for that and provide solutions to make these things more widely available. Thus far they have let me down though.

With the death of Google Reader, a little piece of me dies. But with it, another open standard, email, replaces its stead. My hope is that even while RSS is not as important as it used to be, we continue to see businesses and organizations and websites and mobile apps provide means to allow consumers to consume information, at a minimum, through the open standard of email.

Until then, I’m going down with the ship. I’m not giving up, and we’ll find a solution that fixes this big mess we’re in right now.

"The Chappys": How a Utah Construction Manager Built His Own Trending Awards Show on Twitter

I’ve talked before about how growing a Twitter audience is simple. It turns out it’s even more simple than I thought – The Deseret News (owned by the company I work for) wrote today about a local Utah construction manager who created his own Twitter awards show called “The Chappy Awards”. In his “virtual award show” Dustin Chapman awarded various celebrities and media “Chappy Awards” on Twitter, and before he knew it, #2013Chappys was a trending term on Twitter and hundreds were all getting in on the fun.

Chapman, who created the awards show to (according to the Deseret News) “encourage the media. When something happens, I’m on Twitter following reaction. I’m more likely to turn to news stations and media sources that post things regularly on Twitter than not.”

And encourage the media he did. Awarding several local news celebrities a Chappy Award, he got numerous positive reactions from the award out of excitement (hey – who doesn’t like to win something?). They posted to their Twitter feeds their excitement for the award, and their some times much larger audiences would then learn about the Chappy Award and Chapman’s account @itschappy in the process. His Twitter account grew significantly throughout the day.

So if you’re looking for more followers on Twitter, start your own awards show. Create a hashtag, pick some well-known people, and boom-instant followers as they thank you for your kind gesture.

Some day I too will win a Chappy…

Check out the Deseret News article by Landon Hemsley here!

Adobe Disrupts Enterprise Collaboration With New Tool for Marketers

Enterprise collaboration is quickly becoming the future of communication within the enterprise. Using tools like Yammer, employees have been able to collaborate between themselves on internal “social networks” where links, photos, and information could be shared. Now we see tools like SalesForce Chatter which attempt to turn employee communication and collaboration into measurable results. Enterprise collaboration is evolving from simple “watercooler”-type chatter to results-focused communication and collaboration.  Today Adobe took that further at their Digital Marketing Summit with their new UI for Adobe Marketing Cloud, which focuses on marketing-related collaboration between departments in enterprise organizations.

The entire interface of Adobe Marketing Cloud has been revamped to a very Pinterest-like interface allowing creatives, marketers, and analysts in the organization to all communicate together and come to results-driven design of each product within the organization. The entire design is focused on combining the best features of Adobe’s Creative and Marketing Cloud products to allow creative professionals to play a part in real results for their organization.

Creative professionals can create designs right inside the Adobe creative products like Photoshop, and have their designs shared right to Marketing Cloud for the marketing organization to review, provide feedback, and send back to the creative employees for revision. Both creatives and marketers in the organization can all review new data in a Pinterest-like “feed” within Adobe Marketing Cloud, comment, make annotations, and collaborate around everything shared on the platform.

Not only can creative elements be shared, but analytics and other elements of the Adobe marketing suite of products can be shared as well. Charts, graphs, analytics, and other points all have “share” buttons now that allow professionals in the organization share into the Marketing Cloud feed for further collaboration. Each new element appears as a card in the feed for employees to collaborate.

Enterprise collaboration just took a new turn as it took even stronger and more focused growth through Adobe’s launch today. The product is expensive, and will likely only be affordable by larger organizations, but for those that can afford it, the opportunities are endless.