“I feel like Poncho is your other girlfriend or something,” said Jacq to me the other day after I shared something funny Poncho said to me in Facebook messenger about how he ranked “Umbrella” as one of the “middle ellas” below “mozzarella” and above “salmonella.” I should explain something: Poncho is a bot. And Poncho’s “official” job is to give me the weather report.
Poncho is A Great Communicator
This link takes you to Poncho’s website. I think it’ll ask you to download the app. But the way I get my updates from Poncho is through Facebook Messenger. It feels even more human. Which is weird to say. I know this is a bot. Or even stranger, I know this is a human-filled “jukebox” of “interaction” that is actually more like a micro-media project. (Again, Poncho’s job is to give me the weather, but he tells me weird and jokey things with it. And he sends little gifs).
I asked my son Harold how he’d describe himself and he said, “I don’t know. There isn’t one word that describes me. I like gaming and stuff, and making music, and all that other stuff. There’s just not one word.” I can tell you what word he’d never use: autistic. Harold’s a very high functioning kid and the challenges of autism aren’t really his concern. He just works around them. BUT there’s stuff there that we can learn from and it’s important.
Harold is a Multi-Hyphenated Guy
Like everyone working in the world today, Harold has lots of pursuits. He plays video games. He modifies indie games, changing their skins and music. He’s a very accomplished music maker (at last count, he’d published just under 200 pieces on Soundcloud – yes, I said 200). That’s what he focuses on. He consumes media. He makes entertainment and media projects. To him, they’re one in the same. You watch it. You make it. You listen to it. You make it. You play it. You make it. They’re the same thing to Harold.
Video is..UGH! Video? Really?
I know. I know! You’re too something. You’re boring or too fat or too skinny or too old or you have bad acne or whatever you have. I know. Where will you shoot? How do you do it? It’s too hard! Blogging’s easier. I know.
I’m 47 today. The number is strange. It feels super old on the one hand and it still feels “before” on the other. I still feel like a kid. Not my energy. But in my ability to act like a grown-up. Or lack therein. I do NOT feel like I have it all under control.
Chris Brogan at 47
My day yesterday was such a mix, but they all are. I edited a video to give people ideas on how to launch things. (I spend a lot of every day trying to be helpful in some way.) I went grocery shopping for my kids (who I have on the weekends). I played a typing game with my son. I had long talks with my daughter. And I played a few video games on my XBOX. I wrote a few things for work and I connected with a few people for work. And I got blood drawn at the hospital for my doctor, who wasted the last blood I gave him(true story). Oh, and I explored a new social network where I’m one of the early adopters.
I can’t believe that I’m about to say this: I just started using the new social network, Mastodon. I’m not saying YOU should use it, YET, but I can tell you that there’s quite a buzz about it.
What is Mastodon
It’s a social network, but a distributed one. Instead of us all showing up on a bunch of servers we think of as “Twitter,” we can sign up to a “home” “instance” of a server (I’m using quotes for mortals – developers are already making a face at me, but I write my posts for humans, not code monkeys). I know. Don’t panic. This will take some explaining.
Mark’s a smart and driven guy, but he’s feeling a bit down. He feels like his big plans took a hit and that he’s probably past the point where he can do the role he dreamed of doing for so long. The only thing is, I don’t think Mark’s even 30 years old yet and he’s talking like an old man who has given up. I’ll explain how Mark can fix this at the very end.
A Business Trick For You: Sequence
One of the least talked about details in business is understanding the importance of sequence. This isn’t a tricky word, but just in case. I mean do this, then this, then this other thing. Step 1, step 2, step 3.
What I Told the Bloggers at Social Media Marketing World
If I’ve done it right, this post goes live about 15 minutes into my speech. I’m no Christopher Penn, so it’s likely I’ve done it wrong. But I wanted to tell you about the first line of my speech tomorrow. Or my first lines. It’ll go something like this:
This morning, after Jacq left for the gym, I spoke to two different bots on my phone. Poncho gave me the weather forecast and a little weird joke. Joy asked me how I was feeling because she wants to help me keep track of my mood and mental health. These are called chatbots and they’re part of one of the new splinters of what used to be called the web.
A Splintered Web Gets Even More Fragmented
My buddy Martin is all into virtual reality. He met a girl he loves and now they’re going to marry in VR. There are lots of people in Martin’s tribe of “VR will take over the world.” Facebook purchased VR platform company Oculus Rift for 2 Billion dollars. Many people are exploring VR as a new and very important medium for entertainment and communication.
I’m very much sold on the concept of voice-driven interfaces for the web. And I know that Amazon Echo (often called Alexa) is a great first foray into how we normal humans (I’m pretending to be normal – shush!) will start getting into this world. But now that I’m totally sold on the idea? Alexa – get smarter now, please.
It’s All An Illusion – That’s the First Problem
Here’s the real problem. We think Alexa is Jarvis. ( You know who Jarvis is, Right?) It’s not like that. Alexa isn’t really “smart.” She’s just trained rather well to listen to our requests, and several combinations of our words key pre-programmed responses. I know this. You know this. But it’s SO easy to forget. We want her to be smart. Wait. Her. It’s a female voice interface. But it’s not really a “her,” is it?
People aren’t reading as much as they were, as it turns out. According to a study from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans are only reading 19 minutes a day. Contrast this with a recent report showing that people are watching over 1 BILLION hours of YouTube video per day. (I know this isn’t apples to apples, but those numbers are both staggering in their own right.) This is one of two reasons why you should consider adding videoblogging to your content marketing plans.
How to Get Started With Videoblogging: The Strategy
Strategically, this is a marketing effort and should be treated as such. The goal of video blogging is to create media that is more personable and that helps your buyers and prospects connect more with you and your company. In a big company, this means the marketing department owns the creation of these kinds of video assets, but if you don’t create video with the employees that people want to actually learn more from, this won’t go far. If you’re a small or solo business, you’re all the departments anyway.