Friday, February 24, 2006

Dig into Dugan's Flickr Hacks

Kevin Dugan over at Strategic Public Relations has provided a great list of ways to use photo sharing service Flickr creatively to benefit your organization. Lifehacker even swallowed its pride by linking to a flack and tipped its hat to Kevin for the post, who's been providing this kind of useful commentary online to the PR community since June 2002. Brainstorming, event promotion, recruiting - he's shown how to Flickr your way through each.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Google Beta Launch Lasts Four Hours?

Google announced today a Beta launch of its new Google Page Creator, a WYSIWYG application intended to make it easy for individuals to create a hosted Google website. Hadn't seen much buzz on it in advance of today's announcement but people listening closely heard rumblings as early as July. For those in the industry for whom the new service could present a threat, this is another example of why listening to the online chatter is worthwhile.

Either way, this morning I was excited about giving it a whirl and posting my findings here.

Unfortunately, although the announcement hit the wires at 6AM ET this morning, Google filled up on beta users by the time I tried to sign up at 10:40AM:

Thank you for your interest in Google Page Creator! Google Page Creator has experienced extremely strong demand, and, as a result, we have temporarily limited the number of new signups as we increase capacity. In the meantime, please submit your email address and we will notify you as soon as we are ready to add new accounts. Thank you for your patience.

It could just be a testament to Google's presence that they got all the users they needed for a beta in about 240 minutes, or an indication that they weren't looking for that many people to try the tool.

Or it could be a tactic for building buzz - make something available, but keep access somewhat scarce.

That would follow a similar pathway in how Google launched Gmail - it started with a small group of users and gave them the ability to invite a limited number of friends to join. A Gmail account became a bit of a techie's status symbol during the first few months of the service.

Or maybe Google hasn't made a big fuss because they just figure it's not that big of a deal.

Those who have accessed Google Page Creator haven't necessarily been awe-struck, pointing out feature deficits for anyone but beginning users and a lack of differentiation from available solutions. Blogger Andy Brudtkuhl felt a bit of deja vu, reminding us of longtime provider GeoCities.

But, as the "mofo" linked above pointed out, for now, it's not as much news about a website design tool as news that more free web space is on its way.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Venti Map a Frappr-ccino

About a year ago, I was looking for a free online resource that would allow me to automatically map the locations of YoungPRPros members, but couldn't find anything that didn't require a technical understanding of SQL databases and the like.

A few months back, Frappr launched just that type of service, incorporating Google Earth's full functionality. Plus, members can add their own photos, which can be streamed via a feed into blogs and other online destinations.

This is a great free tool that could be used to bring more of a community feel to user groups, member organizations, even internal communications at large organizations. I think it's also interesting in that it is among the first examples I've seen of a creative application of Google Earth technology.

Here's the YoungPRPros' Frappr map for YoungPRPros so far:

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ten Clicks for PR Kicks

Okay, so this blog fell silent for awhile there. Not surprisingly, the industry was able to hold itself together without my commentary.

In fact, recent estimates place the number of PR bloggers at 350. That's a whole heck of a lot of flacks with an opinion. It's gotten to the point where you better have a few favorite PR bloggers whose opinions you've decided are most worthwhile or you'll spend your entire day trying to keep up.

While adding my daily opinions to the mix may be tempting, I think it might best serve my readership (hi Mom) to focus on relaying the most usable content from the PR blogosphere - tools, resources and practices that can be immediately implemented for success.

So let me start by catching up from the last few months with some of the top tools that emerged during my blogging hiatus.

Dave Sifry's Updated State of the Blogosphere
Updated on February 6, Technorati's Dave Sifry imparts some excellent statistics that you can use to make a business case for blogging and blog monitoring.

Daily RSS and Digg
Two tools to help you sort through the din of stories and posts out there on a daily basis. Blog post and stories rise in an aggregated list of links based on either rating, in the case of Daily RSS, or popularity, in the case of Digg.

The Bad Pitch Blog
Created by Strategic Public Relations' Kevin Dugan and Richard Laermer of RLM Public Relations, the likes of Gawker, BusinessWeek and CNET have all quoted or commented on the hot new property.

Google Mobile Personalized Home and WinkSite
Robert Scoble has called for all blogs to go mobile in 2006. Here's two ways to do it. Optimize your feed for mobile environments with WinkSite or get RSS feeds on your phone via Google.
This site converts email newsletters into RSS feeds in just 30 seconds - a great way to get your organization into the blogosphere in seconds.

Today's Front Pages from Newseum
Great way to scan the world's headlines to get a sense of the news day.

A great tool that allows you to subscribe to 22 different search engine feeds at the same time - read: no missed client placements.

Steve Rubel's Ten Technorati Hacks
A great set of tips from Micro Persuasion's Steve Rubel for getting the most out of Technorati, the defacto leader in blog search.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

YoungPRPros nears 3000th member

The online group I started for junior PR professionals, YoungPRPros, is coming very close to another milestone - 3000 members. If you or someone you know could benefit from joining a free community of peers in their first 10 years of public relations, look our way.

The 3000th member gets a free T-Shirt (pictured).