Google: Veni, Vidi, Vici

June 15, 2008

Wait? Didn’t we just meet? Is it time for class again already? We’re going to spend all of tomorrow’s class looking at Google, which has become the most powerful media company the world has ever seen.  It’s so huge that the presidential candidates are beating a path to its door (as are desperate authors like myself). Your assignment for the week’s blog: Should we be afraid of Google? Don’t worry: I won’t worry too much about the due date for this blog since it’s a short time between class and I’m a little late getting this up.

As you read Battelle, think about what he means search as a database of intentions. What impact does this have for better and worse? In class, we’ll watch a video about Googlezon, predicting one possible future.

Make sure to also check out this Economist article, this piece by Google about why it remembers searches, some Google tips and tricks, this explanation of page rank, and this funny story of Ted Leonsis and how he seized his own page ranking.

Simply Google puts all of the various parts of Google on a single page—it’s an impressive representation—and Scoble, whom we discussed last night and the author of NC, says there’s DOG afoot! Could Google end up owning the internet? Could sites like do search better? Yahoo!, the perennial also-ran in search, has been expanding too, although as you probably saw Microsoft may end up owning Google. Will Google kill Wikipedia? Will it own the wireless arena? Google today encompasses some huge brands, like Blogger we mentioned last night and YouTube, so here’s some YouTube history for you. Here’s a Google cheat sheet.

GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps are incredible products, putting resources that in our lifetimes once belonged only to the wealthiest and most advanced governments in the hands of anyone. Here’s some fun stuff about them. Have you looked for your house in GoogleMap? I know if you go to my address, you can see my car sitting in the driveway.

Want some alternatives to Google? Try this resource for 100 other search engines or use Googlonymous. Why do alternatives matter? Because it turns out that what you find depends very much on where you search!

Lastly, if you just can’t get enough on Google, here’s a bunch more: Google Health, Google Search, Google Privacy, and just some fun.

Also, try to send me an email this week about how class is going for you. I’ve thrown a lot at you in the last two weeks—do you feel like you understand the material? Are we covering too much in class? Too little? Am I talking too much? What do you need from me to be able to do better and learn more? I want to make sure that you all are equipped at the end of the class to navigate the digital world and so if we need to spend another week on blogging, online communication and PR tips, etc., we certainly can do that. Meanwhile: Several of you have asked about whether you’re on the right track blogging-wise. I’ll send you each an email this week about your blog.


Blogging, Social Media, and More Head-Spinning

June 10, 2008

First some links from last night: Metadata and tags, folks and tax, RSS (more) and Technorati. Here’s a good Seth Godin blog post on Bobcasting too. You should load Seth’s blog into your RSS reader if you haven’t already. He writes one of the best marketing blogs out there.

I hope your heads have stopped spinning from all the different forms of blogging last night—I know I threw a ton at you. We’ve just got so much to cover and so little time! I’ve put all of the links from last night (and will put all the links from future nights) at Check out the links to your heart’s content. I hope you’ll plan on spending an hour or two after each class going over what we covered in class with more time and leisure.

Also, for Friday’s class I want you to watch some vlogs (video blogs) and listen to some podcasts. Here are the links to TWiT, Rocketboom, Webb Alert, and Ask a Ninja. Feel free to explore and see some other vlogs and podcasts.

If you have iTunes on your computer, the best place to find podcasts is in the iTunes store. You can download individual podcasts or subscribe. You can get a ton of your favorite NPR shows (This American Life, Day by Day, Diane Rehm, etc.), listen to speeches, and even download the Sunday talk shows, among the many professional podcasts. More fun, though, are the random podcasts.

For your blog entry this week, talk some about your reaction to Chris Anderson’s idea of The Long Tail and whether you’ve found yourself exploring new areas in the internet’s long tail. Also, write a paragraph about exploring podcasts and what you chose to listen to.

We’ll be talking more over the semester about what makes a good blog and some of the various formats blogs have taken. Here are the blogging tips to get you started, as well as some other tips here, here, and here.

The topic for Friday’s class is social networking and social media. We’ll spend most of this week looking at a a few of the major social networking and social media sites: MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, and

For starters, dig through my files on Facebook, and make sure to read the following articles: Jeff Jarvis, Fast Company, Wharton, Mashable, CNN, and check out this tips and tools for Facebook. Here’s some info on how companies are using social networking and who are the demographics. Compare who uses MySpace and Facebook? What’s different? Why? What does friendship mean online? Watch Scoble’s take on Kyte TV (you may have to install Flash) and then ask yourself: Is Robert Scoble media? What does the future for media look more like? Scoble or the Wall Street Journal?

We’ll play with Digg, Flickr and YouTube in class some, so if you’ve never used those sites, make sure to spend some time on them. Here’s some background on Digg. They are some of the leading examples of social media. is a form of social media too, and here are some other examples. You want some concrete examples about how this works? Take a look at this report on social media and public radio. And take a look at how to do effective online advocacy in social networks.

One question to ponder for this week: Do we need a Bill of Rights for the social web? Boy, that would be a good “extra” blog entry, wouldn’t it?

First Class Details

May 22, 2008

I think this is going to be an exciting semester—thanks for coming along for the ride. I’m excited about having such a small class; it should allow us to have more freedom for discussion and individualized case studies. Sorry for the confusion about the wired status of our first class—I hope SCS can sort that out by the next time we meet, so please stay tuned for a new classroom.

A few assorted notes:

* Don’t worry about buying and setting up a domain name. We’ll tackle that in class on the 9th.

* Make sure to email me the address of the blog that you set up. I’ll want to start following along and add you to the class blogroll to the right. Also if there’s an email other than your Georgetown email that you’d like me to use, tell me that sooner rather than later.

* Please friend me on Facebook and LinkedIn before our next class—if you don’t have accounts on those two services, you’ll need to create them. We’ll cover in the coming weeks what makes them useful tools.

* Thank you to everyone who voted—the voting wasn’t all that close so our random make-up class will be held Friday, June 13th. That means that, after not meeting for the next two weeks, we’ll catch up on schedule very quickly with three classes in eight days. I understand that a couple of you expressed concern that a Friday meeting conflicts with the Jewish Sabbath and I understand that and so will tape the class as a podcast for you to listen to over the weekend. It will not count towards your two absences as long as you email me ahead of time.

There’s a lot of reading to complete by Monday, June 16th. You’ll need to read Cluetrain Manifesto, We the Media, Naked Conversations, The Long Tail, and The Search by Monday the 16th. If you need to skimp a little bit on the reading (which I would understand), the “long tail” concept can be grasped in just a few pages—the book is mostly case studies and examples of how the “long tail” plays out in society. That said, it’s a pretty easy read and well-written so you might find it easy to plow through.

The plus side, of course, is that the reading drops off very quickly after that—there are only two other books the last six weeks of class. Sorry for the front-loading, but as I said in class, there’s no way to do this other than complete immersion.

So just to clarify what you owe me for our next class meeting June 9th: one blog entry, a couple of links, Cluetrain, We the Media, and Naked Conversations. We’ll spend that class going over blogging tips, looking at what makes a good blog, and then you’ll have another entry and round of links due that week on The Long Tail. For your first blog post, tell me what you think is the most important point in “We the Media” and, of course, why?

[Logistic note: Normally I’ll have this blog post up on Tuesdays rather than Thursdays, but I waited until people had a chance to vote on our make-up class.]

Please email me if you have any questions or outstanding concerns.

Hello class!

May 19, 2008

Welcome to Georgetown’s Summer 2008 social media class, MPPR 850-60. Stay tuned here for lots more information over the course of the semester.