Big news coming later this week.
Over the last few days, I’ve noticed a sudden increase in the amount of what I call “organic spam.” These are comments that are targeted to specific subjects that I write about, and obviously written by a human being who digested and comprehended the material on my site. It has none of the hallmarks of traditional auto-bot-spam, with the disjointed “Mad Libs” approach of dropping in keywords:
Hey. I was searching the internet for definitions ofChocolate Covered Cockroachesand I found your article. Funny stuff! I’ll be sure to come back often!
Fortunately, these nuisance comments and pingbacks tend to be easy to swat away. I use Akismet and Bad Behavior, and that’s been a great one-two punch. Until now.
One of my recent entries, Delegation, drew the following comment today from Chayah Masters:
Exactly what I tell my clients when they hire a part-time assistant from my company Gittel on the Go. It’s amazing how people want to be helped but have a difficult time letting go. I guess it is silent commentary on the state of our society. Work ethic is not what it used to be. That’s why my clients are overjoyed when they hire a “Gittel” from GittelontheGo.com. No micromanagement is needed and my clients are elated at the results they get merely from making a clear request.
That’s an 88-word response, to an entry that had 18 words. (Brevity is the soul of wit, after all.)
Not Just Blogs
I’ve seen this happening recently on a journalism forum I moderate. Human beings signing up for accounts, leaving one or two fairly innocuous comments, then pumping an obvious pitch to their website and service. In the case of the forum, we had to run them out of there, because they were directly competing with paid advertisers with their linking.
So — that lends us to the question, What is Spam anyway?
- Unwanted advertising?
- Gaming search engines for links?
- Shameless self-promotion?
We all bring our own flavor to the definition. And I’m going to spend some time trying to draft a policy that more clearly enunciates what I consider “spam” to be.
Before the arrival of Akismet and the other tools, blog engines like WordPress used to add a “nofollow” attribute to comment links. That way, even if a spammer got through, it wouldn’t get any link-credit from Google and Yahoo. However, this got in the way of legitimate links and promotion of a sense of community.
I had switched some code on Occam’s RazR to allow for the links to count, but that policy is changing. I’ve now gone to a system that will give my commenters credit for their links, but only once they’ve left three comments here. For those of you on WordPress, the plugin is called Nofollow-Free. It allows you to configure the number of comments, and which sorts of links get the treatment.
What’s your definition of spam, and how are you going to deal with this new twist?
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, spam, blogging, communication[/tags]
I’m taking the day off from here, having spent the time writing communications pieces for other sites.
Go check out my analysis of the convergence of news media over at Media Bullseye. Or, if you want something a little fresher, a brand new look at an oft-ignored pitfall of corporate blogging in my Tuesday column at Now Is Gone.
Push and shove your way to the nearest exits!
I’ve been tagged.
- not in it for the “long haul”
- you want quick, easily digestible bits
- you want to consume it where you want, when you want, and how you want
- you raid it with impunity, and get fat and lazy.
Okay, I added that last one.
Anyway, Jeremiah started this whole concept, which has now been passed from blog to blog until Lauren Vargas ran out of other people to link. Failing to find any others, she tagged me to answer the question: what do *I* do to cater to “media snackers?”
Let’s go left-to-right, starting in the sidebar.
- four most recent posts
- four most recent comments
- six most recent “RazR choice cuts” from the web
This is really just an extension of my del.icio.us bookmarks, coded and tagged just to share here. I called it “Linkage for Thinkage” for awhile – but it is essentially something that made me think, and I wanted to share it.
- most recent Twitter messages (in a custom balloon)
- four most recent posts I wrote for the Now is Gone blog.
It is certainly noteworthy that most all of this content was already syndicated in one way or another. I appear to have been way before my time as a one-man Media Snacking Catering Company. But that’s only my dark side! (Get it?) Let’s get to the content:
- Your Moment of Venn
This classic three-ring circus is an important tool in understanding logical relationships and deconstructing Aristotelean syllogisms. And they are great visual representations. And they are easy to understand. And cool.The Moment of Venn was my first conscious effort to explore a more visual medium and condense a lot of thought and information into a digestible morsel – and then it become the icon for Occam’s RazR. I am particularly proud of PR and the Gray Zone which almost-but-didn’t-quite get noticed, and the Sweet Spot of Influence, which got no notice at all.
- My Quotes
(As a helpful hint, I have taken to employing visual cues to ensure that Snackers recognize the wrapping)
See how easy that is? And My Quotes even have their own feed. How nice!
- Demotivational Devotional
Okay, I admit it. I was just looking for a way to make fun of people. I learned a long time ago that if you make someone laugh hard enough, they’ll forget everyone else is laughing at them too. At least long enough for you to run away. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
That’s an awful lot of stuff that is designed for quick consumption. If I were a convenience store, nutri-Nazis would picket me. If I were a school lunchroom, hippies would protest me. Yet I am manna, concealed in a junk-food wrapper.
So, who gets “tagged” next? Good question. Let’s shoot for some folks that I suspect may occasionally peruse this space: Eric Eggertson, Lee Hopkins, Nicki Faulk, Katya Andresen, Rob LaGesse, and Jason Falls.
Let’s see who can stack up against the Snack Daddy.
I’m still getting around. Another random check of my recent visitors showed the following:
More than enough to stage a World Cup sectional:
- Canada (4) *
- Austria (2)
- Australia **
With three ‘Unknowns’, there stands a chance (slight) that more than half of my recent traffic comes from outside the United States. Fascinating. Also, the closest was Winter Park, Florida, 460 miles from my home. (Josh, I’m holding you and BlogOrlando responsible for that one.)
* Peter, three of the four Canucks came via you. You’re big in Canada.
** Lee, the Aussie was yours.
(Postscript: After that snapshot, the next hit came from Tuscaloosa, a scant 60 miles away.)
I’m not taking a “blog vacation,” not yet anyway. But things might be a little slow at Occam’s RazR for just a little while. I’ve been asked (and am happy) to contribute to some other sites for the time being, as well as working on blog-mentoring for many of my Red Cross friends.
- Geoff Livingston’s book “Now is Gone” comes out in October, and he has a blog that resumes the themes from the book and continues the conversation. I’ll be dropping in some thoughts about Social Media, business communications, and my own homegrown communication theory and insight. As of now, my entries at the Now is Gone blog ought to hit on Tuesdays, and I join an esteemed cast of writers: Geoff Livingston, Brian Solis, Kami Huyse, and Toby Bloomberg.
- In my role with the American Red Cross and as a blogger, I’ve been asked to contribute some disaster preparedness organization tips to the Clutter Control Freak blog. These will run throughout the month of September, which is National Preparedness Month. (Thanks to B.L. Ochman for the invite.)
- I’m also providing some online tutorials for Red Crossers who want to learn how to support our upcoming Online Disaster Newsrooms. What better way to teach the ins and outs of blogging than with a blog, eh? That’s how I learned. The first couple of lessons were distributed by e-mail to a select group – the rest are being published on my WordPress.com page which has been converted just for this use.
So – I’ll be here. Maybe not as often for a while, and certainly less often if the Gulf starts rumbling with big nasty storms. But I’ll be around.
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, Geoff Livingtson, Toby Bloomberg, Kami Huyse, Brian Solis, Now is Gone, American Red Cross, Clutter Control Freak, B.L. Ochman, WordPress, blogging, communications, Social Media[/tags]