Happy Birthday, America!

Here in the United States, today is a very special day. Other countries celebrate Independance from whomever or whatever they became independant of but more times than not, it doesn’t stick. It seems like every few years, we hear of another coup d’état happening somewhere in the world. In Fiji last year, the government was overthrown in a bloodless coup – this only six years after the Fijian coup of 2000. Clearly, these people have a serious case of ADD or something.

In the United States, we have amazingly weathered some pretty intense storms in our past 231 years. Somehow, a ragtag set of colonialists with nothing in common save indignation over the tyrannical rule of the British Crown managed to defeat the war machine of the British Empire in 1776. Then again in 1814. Split by a deep hatred in 1862, the country weathered secession and civil war and by doing so, seemed to commit to a less than ideal path of overbearing centralized government.

In 1917, the United States entered World War I against the judgment of the populous of the United States and as a supplemental force backing England. After World War I, Congress decided it was a good idea to outlaw alcohol and passed the 18th Amendment to the Constituion introducing the era of Prohibitionsim. This failed policy was repealed in 1933 during the Great Depression as the government realized that, aside from being failed policy, was preventing potential economic benefit necessary to escape the Depression.

A mere 8 years later, the United States would exit their historical posture of isolationism and enter World War II after being blind sided at Pearl Harbor. This ended with the introduction of the nuclear age in 1945.

In the last 60 years, upheaval and progress have mutually been the name of the game. In that time, we have had 13 armed conflicts and 0 declared wars.

  • Korea (1950-1953)
  • Bay of Pigs, Cuba (1961)
  • Vietnam (1961-1973)
  • Dominican Republic (1965)
  • Lebanon (1982-1984)
  • Grenada (1983)
  • Panama (1989)
  • Gulf War (1991)
  • Somalia (1993)
  • Bosnia (1994-1995)
  • Kosovo (1999)
  • Afghanistan (2001-present)
  • Iraq (2003-present)

Added: Through my sleepiness, I forgot to talk about the good stuff too.

  • Played a large role in the downfall of the Soviet Bloc
  • Civil Rights
  • Women’s Right
  • Provided aid around the world
  • Played critical role in the evolution of the internet
  • Powered the bulk of the economic boom of the 1990s (and the bubble burst!)

America has been through a lot. We’ve done alot. Good and bad. Politics aside, I’d like to return to the period of isolationism, but that won’t happen.

This country is a great country. We may not have the best reputation at this time, but the country is still great. We’ve made many mistakes, but the principles that have guided this country for 231 years have been a solid foundation while countries like Fiji go through coup after coup. Don’t believe the hype. Despite our mistakes, this nation remains a great nation. Happy Birthday, America.

Labor Attorney Needed

If you are a labor lawyer, and are licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland, I need to talk to you. My wife and I have a situation to deal with regarding her sleazy former employer.

Interview With MySpace Professional Kevin Palmer

Kevin PalmerKevin Palmer blogs at buzznetworker.com for b5media, his blog covers how to use social networking websites to build awareness of your product, site, or yourself.

Palmer has used his myspace page to become one of the most read bloggers on the social networking site. His grasp of the social networking phenomenon has led to a creation of a consulting business. He has gone on to help produce campaigns for offroad.com, Hack!, and is now working closely with Frontal Lobe Films.

You and I have clashed over the last few months regarding social networking stuff. You happen to have built a professional profile on MySpace. I was wondering if you can tell folks how you went about that and how long it took.

All this is rooted in a personal story, I moved from New York to California to go back to school and finish my degree. When I moved out here I had a job where everyone was using MySpace, personally I didn’t see what the hype was about but eventually I joined it to appease my co-workers. Soon I started posting humor blogs so my friends could see what was going on in my life without having to write them individual e-mails all the time or constantly calling them.

It turns out my friends weren’t the only ones reading it, through word of mouth I developed an audience and went from thirty people reading my material to hundreds to thousands. This was really through no promotion at all, so I decided to try and market myself on there for a little bit to see what happened. In a matter of a few short months my audience exploded, it got to the point where out of 400,000 blogs posted on MySpace per day I was always one of the ten most read. I began to get messages from various people reading my blogs, be it offers to do some different projects to people coming out of the woodwork saying they enjoy reading my stuff, including director Kevin Smith, it was all rather unexpected. By the end of my second year on MySpace my popularity led me to jump into standup comedy, co-host a webtv show, and occasionally get asked to do various interviews.

During all this, I was approached by a friend about working with an independent film to promote their movie on MySpace. I created a viral campaign for them using MySpace as the backbone that initially did well. From there I was hired by other companies to do the same thing, something that originally started out for fun had turned into a new consulting career. For the last year I have been working as a consultant to companies to help create campaigns on social networking websites.

As far as how I did it, well the tips and techniques are too many to name here, but that is what my blog on b5media is about, using social networking websites to promote yourself or your business. Starting the second week of July, I am going to begin a ten part series about creating a large blogging audience on MySpace, where the techniques used in there can be applied to just about anything else people want to promote on that site.

How is MySpace better than Facebook?

I know I have given you a hard time about Facebook but in all honesty I like the site a lot, I use it mostly for personal communication with classmates and to stay in contact with people that are in my Masters Program. On the personal side of things, I don’t enjoy Facebook as much because I want to meet new people, I want to stumble across profiles and find a new band, comic, blogger, or friend. Facebook is more about communicating with people you already know, I already have 10 different ways to do that.

From the viewpoint that I write about social networking, from a marketing perspective, I think MySpace is superior. The sheer disparity in numbers alone makes it my personal choice to create marketing campaigns. It is the quickest way to build grass roots support to yourself, your business, a product, or a cause.

Is there anything about MySpace, and other social networks for that matter, that allow people to network better than more traditional methods?

I just think the reach of social networking allows someone clear across the country or even the world to reach out and connect with a fan, a potential customer, or whatever you are looking for so easily. Sure the internet has made the world smaller and you could reach out before the birth of social networking websites, but their creation has made it easier to focus in and find people that you want to connect to.

Do you see any validity to the idea that LinkedIn could be taking a run at Facebook?

None”¦ LinkedIn in is a niche site. While the site is well done and I enjoy using it, it is still a niche site.

Following on the LinkedIn question, LinkedIn is niche but it is seen as the niche where anyone who believes networking is the key to the ultimate job goes. That seems to be a growing number of people, particularly in the internet industry. I don’t know about you, but when I look for a job I talk to people I know rather than putting my resume on Monster, CareerBuilder or even Craigslist. Isn’t it possible that business networking really could be the “mature” response to Facebook?

Yeah but because it is in a niche it is limited ultimately in appeal. If I needed to ask a question about where to find a someone with a good background in PHP and SQL, I am not going to turn to MySpace and Facebook to post a bulletin or a note. I would use my network on LinkedIn to see if I could get a some recommendations, and hopefully be put into contact with someone that can help me.

If I am looking to find a date, hear what people think about a movie, read something funny, listen to new music, posts pictures of my trip to France, or do whatever, LinkedIn can’t fulfill those goals. LinkedIn is perfect for what it does but because it is a niche site it isn’t going to overtake something with a broader appeal.

No social networking site is ultimately “the one”, you see a lot of debate in blog comments or forums about who is passing who or who is better than what. When ultimately they all have things they do well and things they don’t or they do a better job at reaching certain people than others. In the end what is going to win out is someone that comes along and introduces a dashboard that allows you to use all of these together. You are seeing some web 2.0 applications that allow you to pull data from all of your sources, or display to people all the different sites you belong to. Someone needs to take the next step and create a website or software that allows you to manage all of them from one setup, where you can participate in these communities without having to log into all these different sites individually. Where you can combine all your contacts and choose what platform or profile you want to send messages from, something that keeps tracks of all the different discussions you are in the various groups on various sites, or see what your friends have stumbled, dugg, or bookmarked.

That is where the real victor is going to come from. Because there are only going to be more social networking sites, businesses now are looking how to turn their sites into something with more of a social bookmarking feel. We can only participate in so many communities online, and to get the most out of all of them there needs to be a way for us to manage them centrally.

Cool…. Now you get the Seat of Heat Question. Seat of Heat was a Jon Stewart segment until he discontinued it where he asked folks a total random question outside of their normal expertise. :)

Your Seat of Heat question is this: Do you like the new CNN.com design or not? :)

I like it, I think it is much cleaner, half the time I am only going there to go read Monday Morning Quarterback… Now if we can get them to stop covering stories about Paris Hilton right on their front page we would be better off.

Thanks, Kevin!

Universal Music Goes the Wrong Way on iTunes Music

Odd that Universal Music is apparently thinking it can walk away from Apple and iTunes. You heard that right. Universal Music Group is talking about walking away from the third largest retailer of music in the world – online or brick and mortar. The Unofficial Apple Weblog has the story.

The story was originally floated by Drudge and apparently the Wall Street Journal is backing the rumor up – though the WSJ has the walled garden policy in effect, so I can’t confirm.

The really odd part about this is that the rest of the music industry seems to catch the vibe and finally coming around. EMI has released their entire music catalog as DRMless music in the iTunes Store and my thought was that was going to be the trend of the future. I still do, but I fear mob mentality from the other music companies.

Apparently, Universal seems to be on board with the DRMless music and has some history in the area of offering music for free.

This story is still developing.