How to be successful on the internet – part 3

We’ve been through content and conversation. Today I have a short note about:


In this world of infinite content you need context. In the form of metadata describing your content. In the form of tags. RSS feeds, widgets. All possible tools you can think of so that people find you and understand what you are up to.

On YouTube you are not even allowed to choose the file to upload before you give it a title, description, tags and a category. A video on YouTube with no metadata is wasted space on their hard drives.

Context makes it easier for people to find your content. On your site. And through Google.

And context is extremely important when you want people to find you down the long tail. Remember, “90 percent of everything is crud“.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you why you should loose control.

How to be successful on the internet – part 3

More on the conversation and the content

Atle b has a comment on my article about the conversation society that deserves to be read:

Well, you’ve upped the ante – the Google count now stood at 54 – with three of the top five referring back here. How is that for instant visibility?

If you change the viewpoint slightly, there is already a term and a discussion – namely “conversational media” clocking over 56 000 hits. I view it partially as a spin-off from “participatory journalism” and other ways of saying user-generated content.

Which brings it back to your current topic of content – is it “content” when I say to my co-worker “Gee, it’s raining outside. Again.”? Does it become content if I post it to a MySpace page? Then how about if I type it in MSN? It is saved, it is visible and there are ads making it a commercial “channel”

The main problem I have with YouTube and MySpace is that they take ‘traffic’ from everyday actions, and make it into “The Next Big Thing”:

zapping the channels on the tv you can scan the 20 channels twice in five minutes – does that mean you have just had “40 video views”?

talking nonsense to a friend to pass time – is that debate and commitment?

Like Bruce Springsteen said – 57 channels and nothing on – so why not spend time mindlessly looking for that one great video on YouTube? While posting the best links to your friends MySpace page?

Having a blog and a couple of very intelligent readers is a nice thing…

More on the conversation and the content

How to be successful on the internet – part 2

As promised. Part two in my series of posts on why content, conversation, context and control is important issues on the net. Today, it’s all about…

Shouting to the world


I have mentioned Cory Doctorow and how he question that old saying that content is king. It seems like the people that combine content and conversation is on to something.

Have that in mind. MySpace and YouTube is about the combination of content and conversation. They use the internet as a communication channel. MTV is still mostly about content. And they still think about the internet as a distribution channel. If your bosses talk about this new distribution channel and the information society you should tell them about this new communication channel and the conversation society.

People still want professionally produced content and huge hits, but it must be made available and it must be possible to discuss it.

Yes, I know. 90% of the pages on MySpace are crap and 90% of the comments on YouTube are crap. Still it is important. It makes people feel in control. We feel like we own a part of it. We feel important. And we are. Even if 90% of the stuff we create and discuss is crap.

And the conversation gives you google juice. You know. That magic that makes your stuff hit on page one in Google. Because the discussion is not only taking place on your page. It is all over the internet. And people are linking. My readers have discussed my pretty detailed list of media center alternatives on their blogs. Currently it is among the first ten hits of 70 million if you search for “free media center software” in Google. The conversation got it up there.

Other stuff:
How did I make that ugly illustration? Like this.

How to be successful on the internet – part 2

How to be successful on the net – part 1

This is part one in a series of four articles about content, conversation, context and control. Put that on a yellow sticker and cross check your ideas towards these four words when you design your next big hit for this new communication channel. First out:

The Long Tail


Yes, we still need content. And you should make it available. When people want all their music on a small player in their pocket you should give them that. The music industry is in a big mess partly because they did not understand the concept of availability.

They wanted to keep pushing plastic when people wanted hard drives and availability. Mr. Jobs came to the rescue. Maybe too late.

So you have made your content available. Then you should think about the long tail. The concept of how behaviour change when the amount of choice gets closer to infinite. 57 million blogs. 100 million MySpace users. Millions of videos on YouTube. Insane amounts of content.

On the internet you don’t have the benefits of being the only one with an expensive license to reach out. Or being the only one with a printing press and a huge system for distribution.

On the internet your million dollar content have about the same priority as that video about people having fun with Diet Coke and Mentos on YouTube.

So, you need to read the next three articles. About conversation, context and control. “Conversation” will be out tomorrow.

How to be successful on the net – part 1

When will this media center thing catch on?

Friday bonus video. Bill Gates from CES 2005 on YouTube.

Okay, so everybody and your grand mother still have no media center at home. Where are they? By now, all of us should own such a magic box. With music, images, movies, broadband and TV in a nice simple interface where everything is available at the touch of a button.

True media centers are still something for the people that are way above average when it comes to interests and knowledge about computers. I have already published my recipe for when gadgets break through. Let’s have a reality check on media centers:

Engineers – is it possible?
-Yes. There are nice boxes out there that offers fantastic capabilities of handling media.

Marketers – have you done your job?
– Partly yes. Microsoft have launched Media Center Edition and done quite a bit of marketing. However, I find most of the marketing pretty lousy. Too much focus on features. They should have focused on the story. What will happen in your home? And, the most important people of them all, the sales people in the shops have no clue. Absolutely no clue.

Economists – is it cheap enough?
– No. Not at all. We need a proper, noiseless, nice looking media center for under $500,- Right now a proper media center is at least $1000,-

Usability – is it easy to use?
Yes. And a huge NO! When it works it is easy to use. As long as it is running I can give the remote of our media center to whomever visiting our living room. No problem. They find music, videos, images, recorded shows, the electronic program guide, the broadband services and the TV channels. It is in fact much easier to use than a traditional setup with separate boxes for DVD, CD, TV and radio. When I have people visiting and they have a look at the media center in our living room just about everyone instantly asks for price and availability.

Trouble is that there are still two major problems with media centers (in addition to price):
1. Setting it up
2. Keeping it running

A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference where we put up a digital living room to show people some of the possibilities. We had the most modern and state of the art components you could imagine. A new media center, an HD capable LCD screen and a multi channel amplifier with 6 speakers.

Getting image and sound from the media center was pretty easy. Setting up the TV channels and program guide was as usual a pain. But, getting the image completely right with 1:1 pixel mapping and the audio in six channels was nearly impossible. With my degree in engineering, huge amounts of experience with media centers and several very clever people around me we did not manage to get proper multichannel sound and a perfect HD image out of the media center.

No offense when it comes to your grand mother, but she’ll have to wait a second before this is possible to use for normal people.

I know that a media center is more complex than a regular DVD player, but the vendors need to work on this. Media centers will not be something for the masses before you can buy it (for under $500,-), take it home and connect audio to your amplifier and video to your screen, turn it on, do some simple setup stuff and then use it happily ever after.

And eventually that will happen. “I want one of these, where can I get it?” is the mantra at home when I show people our digital home. No doubt about it, people want the functionality. When you get used to it it is very difficult to imagine a living room full of several different boxes, different remotes and shelves full of plastic containing digital media. Digital media deserves to live a life on hard drives and in the network.

…and by the way, you find more about Bill Gates and stuff going wrong during presentations over at “Nobody’s perect (redux)” on Presentation Zen.

When will this media center thing catch on?

Google and winter in Norway

Google is currently updating some satellite images for Norway. Problem is that these new images are taken during winter. And the difference between winter and summer in Norway is huge.

I don’t know what they’ll settle for, but a random combination of images from winter and summer makes both Google Earth and Google Maps look quite interesting.

Bonus link for new readers: My video of the seasons in Norway.

(Thanks, Anarkistix for the tip)

Google and winter in Norway