What is 'CMS' (a Content Management System)?

Historically, the content and design of a website have been inseparable. In more technical terms, that means that the data (‘content’) and the presentation (‘design’) elements have typically been mixed together in one document, that document usually being a web page (such as “index.html” or “about.html”). In order to create and format the content of a page (i.e., use different positioning, font styles, colors, etc.), it was necessary to know HTML mark-up, thus limiting the ability to create a web site to a select few. The role of the webmaster was born.

Software expanded the ability to manage and design websites to a larger number of users yet still demanded a level of technical expertise. Creating and managing content on the web boiled down to two major problems – the ‘architecture’ of a web page and technical aptitude.

[Read more…]

The Million-Dollar Blog

Think there’s no “real money” in blogging? When it’s a marketing tool for big-ticket products and services it sure can be.

J. Craig Williams is quoted in the latest U.S. News and World Report:

“Attorney Craig Williams says his blog (mayitpleasethecourt.com) and podcast have generated close to $1 million worth of client referrals since they started three years ago. He thinks of his site as ‘my handshake to the world.’ ” (nice choice of metaphor)

Now that’s what I call ROI!

You should know that Williams puts a ton of time and money into his site, and it shows. I presume he doesn’t do the web design himself, but he personally writes 1-2 posts a day and podcasts each and every one.

via Stephanie West Allen via Lisa Stone

The Conversation is Real

As I recently wrote in an earlier first technology brief, one of the key benefits to blogging is to “join the conversation”. Blogs are providing a new forum for people to communicate that consists of a much larger base of opinions and ideas. Popular bloggers are engaging and learning from their readers. They are participating in the larger conversation that is the blogosphere and weighing in on the subjects that the public and their readers want to know about.

A conversation is a two way street – at least a good conversation is. In blogging terms, that means that a successful blogger will need to do more than just write, they also need to read. Blogs that consist of someone yelling from a mountain top about how good a product or service is or about how smart they are, remove the quintessential element to blogging – interaction.

The conversation is real. It is not just a selling point to get you blogging. I’ll provide two really neat examples I recently came across in my daily scouring of the web:

  1. TechCrunch is becoming the source for Web 2.0 product updates. They are “dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing every newly launched web 2.0 business, product and service.”

    Just over a month ago, they profiled a new social bookmarking tool called BlinkList. BlinkList joins a number of other similar services including del.icio.us (the leading social bookmarking tool to this point), Furl, and Simpy, amongst others.

    After reading through the profile, I noticed that there were a total of three comments. One was from a Simpy representative, the next was Mike Arrington of TechCrunch, and the final was by Ozzy of Blinklist. The conversation is real.

  2. As TechCrunch is the Web 2.0 product source, Richard MacManus of Read / Write Web is the de-facto Web 2.0 knowledge source. Richard is in many ways the pioneer in setting up a framework to describe and understand Web 2.0.

    In his latest Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, Richard examines Web 2.0 in “the real world”, a new feature to his informative weekly summary. There he details a Web Ministry that is focusing on using the web to make “an eternal impact on the lives of individuals.”

    Of course, not long after that post went up, Rob, the author of that same Web Miinistry, commented on the Read / Write Web blog.

    David Teten commented to me: “Technologies like Pubsub make it easy for you to monitor in the blogosphere who’s talking about the subjects that most interest you (particularly your name!). One of the great advantages of online conversation is that you can have a conversation that transcends time and space limitations, while at the same time creating an instant community of people who share similiar interests, e.g., Blinklist and like technologies. That’s one of the advantages of blogs, as opposed to traditional walled vertical communities. Out of the enormous number of blogs, I can converse specifically with those people with whom I share interests, and I do not need to predefine with which people I share interests. If I only participate in a mailing list for graduates of my college, instead of using a blog, I’m much more restricted in the number of people I can build relationships with.”

These are just a couple of quick examples of showing that “the conversation is real”. There are many, many more. Feel free to share some of the examples you have seen by commenting below.

9/30 in New York: Enterprise Social Software & Tools: Business Blogs & Narratives

Nitron Advisors is a corporate sponsor of this event:

Enterprise Social Software & Tools: Business Blogs & Narratives
— Friday, Sept 30, 2005 —
— 8:00am – 5:00pm, NYC —



Enterprise Social Software & Tools: Business Blogs & Narratives is a Cluster experience in two parts. Part One is “Next Practices” — a deep dive of over 70 case studies of successful enterprise, corporate and institutional blogs, wikis and RSS.

Part Two is appearances and book signing by two of the most distinguished and globally recognized thought leaders on knowledge management, enterprise narratives and the rapidly changing nature of work, Steve Denning and Bill Jensen.

Both parts are described below.

The most immediate and practical social media are of course, blogs, wikis and Enterprise RSS. Many people are asking for independent, non-vendor, case-based advice on the best approaches to implementations, rules of the road, success stories and Next Practices.

Upon completion of Business Blogs: Next Practices you will —

  • Understand what critical competitive advantages blogs bring to business
  • Be able to assess the opportunities and risks of business blogs
  • Understand the uses of blogs for external and internal communication
  • Lead blog tactics for Personal Knowledge Management
  • Understand wikis and how they accelerate effective collaboration
  • Know how to get your blog at the top of the search engines
  • Understand the basics of Enterprise RSS how-to syndicate blogs
  • Define clear blogging objectives for your business
  • Be able to start a business blog with confidence
  • Organizational blogging can be challenging and risky to implement. It can also have a major and continuous impact to productivity and effectiveness.

    Blogs can greatly increasing the reach and richness of all knowledge-based business processes. Individuated social media can be instrumental in transforming employees into leaders. Effective blogs create sustained value.
    The best, least expensive way to learn how to lead your implementations is to ask the experts. It is FAR more cost effective to shape your approach through authentic conversation and case-based learning, than by costly trial and error.


    Part Two — Enterprise Narrative and What Really Matters

    Your event sponsors are delighted to announce that Steve Denning and Bill Jensen will join your Fall 2005 NYC KM Cluster in person.

    Steve Denning, globally recognized enterprise KM authority and storyteller extraordinaire, will lead conversations on the importance of narrative and his latest book, “The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative. http://www.stevedenning.com/

    Bill Jensen, of Simplicity and Work 2.0 fame, will discuss these principles and his latest work, “What is Your Life’s Work? — Answer the BIG Question About What Really Matters…and Reawaken the Passion for What You Do.”

    The social reorientation of knowledge work, productivity and innovation is accelerating rapidly. New tools and techniques are essential to competition and prosperity in these new professional and personal habitats. The work ecologies of the future require personal mastery of narrative and electronic technology. Maintaining and improving focus on what matters is critical.

    Blogs and the narratives they create are the keys to fundamental professional and personal advancements. Your Fall 2005 Cluster event provides the foundations and insights need to thrive in the 21st century’s knowledge-based environments.

    Participation is limited to optimize conversation and collaboration. All material, meals, refreshments and registration are included. All event participants receive a full license for an electronic copy of “Business
    Blogs: A Practical Guide,” and all of the important case studies, implementation guidelines and research.

    This action/research gathering provides the gentle on-ramp need to assure immediate and ongoing success with social media, narrative and discovering what really matters.

    Wi-Fi enabled laptops are recommended. A one year subscription to the Cluster SharePoint collaboration environment is also included. These workspaces contain all event memory, presentations, rosters, papers and other materials from the far-flung Cluster network.

    Cost: $349. RSVP

    Today is BlogDay

    Did you know that today, August 31, is BlogDay 2005?

    One of the things that happens as we get more and more blogs out there is that existing bloggers spend less time reading new weblogs, and there are some really great ones out there that are being overlooked.

    Blogger Nir Ofir dreamed up the idea of BlogDay to address this. To participate in BlogDay:

    1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
    2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2005
    3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
    4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
    5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link: http://technorati.com/tag/BlogDay2005 and a link to the BlogDay web site at http://www.blogday.org

    I’m off to find 5 new bloggers. If you decide to participate, feel free to provide a link to your BlogDay post in a comment here.

    Oh, and this will be my first entry using Technorati tags — I hope I get it right! 🙂

    Tags: , , ,

    Repurposing Content for Different Contexts

    One of the essential skills that allows you to reach more people with less effort is the ability to repurpose your content for different contexts. Some examples:

    – Take what you write in a private e-mail, expand on it and post it in a discussion forum
    – Adapt what you wrote in a mailing list to work as a stand-alone piece and put it in your blog
    – Use excerpts from your best blog posts and link to them as an e-mail newsletter
    – Formalize your best blog posts into articles for publication on other sites
    – Compile your articles and blog posts into a book
    – Take old articles or excerpts from your book and re-frame them to fit the context of a new publication venue

    This is all stuff David and I practice routinely, to the point that I’ve practically forgotten about it as a “practice”. I was pleasantly reminded of it this morning by John Stephen Veitch, who wrote four reviews of The Virtual Handshake on various sites: two of his blogs, his Ryze network and Amazon. What intrigued me was that he used the same basic review for all four entries, but framed each one for its context so that it was relevant to that readership.

    In his Step by Step for Newbies blog, which provides simple, how-to instruction for people new to the Internet, he writes:

    Until now too many people have been unsure what to do “now that I’m online”. The Virtual Handshake is a solution to that problem. It’s plain and clear that what you choose to do online is important, and the authors give you strong, specific and easily understood instructions about how to “do it” right.

    For internet newbies The Virtual Handshake has detailed instruction on the simple things you need to do to get started. The Virtual Handshake also tells you how to create an online presence that will attract to you the people who are most likely to help you to succeed. Read more…

    On Open Future, his blog which looks at innovation and adapting to change, he starts differently:

    CEO’s and business managers is general have been slow to get online. Those who have been early might have made all the mistakes, but a good number have also made significant money by trading with or doing services for somebody they first met online. Until now too many people have been unsure what to do “now that I’m online”. The Virtual Handshake is a solution to that problem. It’s plain and clear that what you do online is important, and the authors give you strong, specific and easily understood instructions about how to “do it” right.

    For the business executive The Virtual Handshake has detailed instruction on the need to maintain both face to face and virtual communications. Managers tend to be siloed by their work. The Virtual Handshake tells you how to create an online presence that might attract to you the partners you need to succeed. Read more…

    On his Ryze network, Veech Innovation Network, he frames it yet again differently:

    Chapter 30 of this book tells a story of innovation. People in every part of the USA have worked hard on the internet for many years and developed understanding, skills and abilities that most other people do not yet have. Scott Allen in looking for success stories for his book about success online wrote a request to a Yahoo Group. David Teten in New York who was also planning a book saw that request and responded.

    The books each author had planned were not the same. The skill sets of the two people were different. But they both had experience and expertise and they were able to work together on it. I’m sure the resulting book is stronger for that.

    For the innovator The Virtual Handshake has detailed and specific instruction on the need to maintain both face to face and virtual communications. Innovators tend to be isolated by their work. The Virtual Handshake tells you how to create an online presence that might attract to you the partners you need to succeed. Read more…

    From there, the reviews are all pretty much the same – almost verbatim. But by properly framing it for each context, John makes it relevant for each audience. Context creates meaning! By simply repurposing the same basic content, he was able to get four reviews done in a fraction of the time it would have taken to write each one individually, and yet each one reads as appropriate for that venue, rather than just a copy/paste job from somewhere else.

    Of course, now the secret’s out… 🙂

    The biases of links (danah boyd)

    danah boyd writes a very insightful piece on differences in link patterns between men & women, the Technorati Top 100 and lesser blogs, blog communities (LiveJournal etc.) and blogs outside of communities (like this one). I thought it was particularly interesting how many of the Top 100 have dropped their blogrolls because they don’t want the social pressure of keeping them current. That’s a path we may have to adapt here as well.

    New technologies in the blog/podcast/IM markets

    Shannon Clark of Meshforum had some valuable comments on our book. My comments to his points are in brackets.

    I’m also not sure about the stats you cited [in your book] about IM clients – at least in circles I follow ICQ seems very much on the wane with Skype very rapidly (within the year) becoming the primary IM client for many people I know, myself very much included – while I use other clients and systems, I tend to focus on giving out my Skype address. [DT: I agree.]

    Another item you might want to mention in the general blog section are tools such as Blogjet which allow a user to compose entries for a blog offline/on their own machine – but then add them to a blog running nearly any of the major blogging software packages (whether a hosted service or an installed system).

    You may also want to mention MSN Spaces (over 5 millions blogs in < 1 year) and Yahoo! 360 as two of newer and very large blog hosting sites. And with those numbers I think the 8 million number you cited is low by many multiples (not to mention that there are many times that many blogs outside of the US). [DT: That was a typo.] Definitely one of the more challenging sections for you to cover without being dated. ... Do you address podcasts at all? I think they offer some unique opportunities - with the value for many people not probably being in setting up your own, but in participating in the best and most valuable ones for your audience (not dissimilar to the value of participating in media outside of the Internet). They also offer a unique value-add proposition for using the Internet to find and participate in specific conferences - the recorded audio from those conferences can reach 20x even 100x more people than the conference itself (MeshForum for example reached 50 people or so in person, but the online audio sessions are likely reaching 20,000+ and since some have been amongst IT Conversations top 20 rated sessions ever, it is very likely that they will reach significantly more than 20,000.

    Finding a Job with Your Blog

    A well expressed blog can do for a job seeker what a resume cannot — it provides insight into your thought processes, creativity, and communication skills. It can demonstrate to your reader how involved and interested you are in your field, and this presence can make all the difference to a potential employer. In fact, when Nitron Advisors is looking for consultants for the Circle of Experts, the blogosphere is one of the major places that we look.

    A few examples of bloggers who took significant career steps forward because of their blogging:

    Matthew Yglesias’ blog served to be the crucial factor in getting him a journalism job out of college.

    Similarly, Rick Klau was hired as the VP of business development for SocialText after the company’s CEO, Ross Mayfield, visited Rick’s weblog and was impressed by the ideas that he read.

    And Terrance Heath was not even searching for a job when he received an employment opening from a company who had read his blog. Less than a year after creating it, it was his blog that got him the new job.

    As a result of this rise in blog-facilitated job opportunities, there are now entire blog networks dedicated to job searching and displaying resumes.

    Just as when using conventional resume and interview techniques, there are certain characteristics that a jobseeker should strive to demonstrate on a weblog. A potential employer can determine the degree of your industry interest and expertise by reviewing your discussions and the types of blogs and sites you link to. They can also get a feel for your personality and communication skills based on the style in which you write your blog. Therefore, keep in mind that since a blog provides such intimate insight into your character you should strive to demonstrate your integrity and professionalism. Show well-roundedness by indicating expertise in:
    o Interpersonal and Management skills
    o Finance
    o Negotiations
    o Technology & Operations Management
    o Marketing
    o Competition and Strategy
    o Politics, Macroeconomics and International Relations
    — Check out this resume checklist for more information on the qualities that your weblog should illustrate.

    Also, here are a few examples of great weblogs and online resumes:
    Hank Grebe’s weblog does a great job of demonstrating both his skills and his personality.

    Darren Chase self-referentially demonstrates his expertise in organization and blogging.

    Patrick Ruffini’s blog demonstrates his interest and expertise in politics and, no surprise for the webmaster of the 2004 Bush campaign, has a lot of bells and whistles.

    We are now drafting an article on this topic. Have you landed a great job or consulting client solely because of your blog? If you have, please comment on this post, below.

    (Thanks to Micaela Owusu for her help in researching this post!)

    Legality of Linking

    In his latest blog, New York Times columnist David Pogue asks, What’s Wrong With Linking?:

    Every now and then, I get an e-mail message from someone, asking permission to link to my personal Web site.

    I always grant it, of course. Isn’t everyone with a Web site hoping for as many visitors as possible?

    So I guess what I don’t get is: Why would anyone ask permission? Would anyone deny permission?

    This was a subject of some controversy for many years, and the details still haven’t all been ironed out, especially internationally.

    Some of the legal issues involved include:
    – Defamation (e.g., Googlebombing with defamatory anchor text)
    – Copyright infringement
    – Trademark infringement and dilution

    It becomes even more complicated when you talk about “framing” (presenting another site’s content framed within a presentation page you control), “deep linking” (linking directly to a specific page on a site that ordinarily must be navigated to), and “inlining” (displaying text or images from another site seamlessly within your page).

    Fortunately, the U.S. courts have ruled very clearly that hyperlinking, in and of itself, does not constitute any kind of copyright violation. In the 2000 case of Ticketmaster Corp. v. Tickets.com, Inc., the court ruled:

    Further, hyperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act (whatever it may do for other claims) since no copying is involved. The customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is happening. This is analogous to using a library’s card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently.

    So for the general public, no permission is required to create a textual link to any other publicly available site. Even the use of trademarked names within the links, so long as they are linking to the owner of the trademark, constitutes fair use. And the owner of a public website cannot, generally, deny permission to anyone else to link to them with a text link using reasonable, non-defamatory text.

    However, as ruled in Playboy Enterprises, Inc. v. Universal Tel-A-Talk Inc., the same is not true of using a company’s trademarked logo. Playboy argued, and the court agreed, that the use of the logo might confuse visitors to the site by implying that Playboy somehow endorsed or sponsored the site.

    Also, if you enter into any kind of contractual obligation with a site, such as becoming a registered user or affiliate, then the contract may specify the terms and conditions under which you can link to the site. Some companies have attempted to put linking restrictions in the terms of use agreement for their public websites, generally intended to prevent deep-linking. This hasn’t yet been tested in court — a lawsuit between Ticketmaster and Microsoft over this issue was settled confidentially out-of-court.

    For more on this issue, there’s a great overview at FindLaw and an extensive bibliography/webliography created by Stefan Bechtold.