Archive - October, 2006

Des Moines Register: Seriously Blogging

Now the Des Moines Register is getting serious. Serious about creating conversations with and about their communities.

Most of the blogs are co-branded under the Juice banner, columnists and journalists are blogging, readers are commenting — and last week, the Register launched the Urbandale Community Portal which I think is a super idea. They’re paving the way for communities of conversations.

Best move? Their blogroll. Sharing a spotlight on other Iowa voices will be important in building a loyal community (kinda surprised they didn’t include chew shop).

While I’m not a big fan of sites like because of the limitation of voices on a particular subject matter, there seems to be few limits to how the Register creates community online.

I’m unsure if the Register can still lay claim to being Iowa’s newspaper. However, by embracing blogging in a serious matter – they may just become Iowa’s community news portal.

I’ll be adding all the Register and Juice bloggers to later this week. Although if the Register wanted to take over the reigns of that site – they now qualify.

Today’s Specials are…

Wouldn’t it be great if your favorite restaurant/deli/caterer would announce specials via RSS?

A menu:


An image:


Links back to their site for each item (maybe with an order form). Use of Technorati Tags or Bookmarks.

All delivered via RSS. That would be nice.

Photos from Panera (where else?)

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo — on

Nanowrimo As I gear up for the start of NaNoWriMo starting on Wednesday, I decided to write the book simultaneously on a blog.

I was thinking about how the blog should be built – and I’d have loved to put it on

My plan is to have different pages:

  • The Book – The main page on the blog would actually be the book as I write it.
  • Character Profiles – As the characters get fleshed out, I would like to have sketches and profiles of each of them.
  • Maps, Photos, and other "props"
  • A journal of my NaNoWriMo experience.

As I said, it would have been great to try this with, but without being able to register a domain name or have domain mapping…but wait…

Now you can Use Your Own Custom Domain on $10/year if you already own the domain, $15/year to register through WordPress. Thanks to Matt at The Blog Herald for the tip.

I’ll let you know more about following my NaNoWriMo journey on Wednesday. Why am I writing the book on a blog? Because the main character is a blogger, of course.

MyBlogLog Communities – Gems and a Jim

One of my goals this weekend was to dive deeper into the fast growing community of MyBlogLog. I joined several communities of familiar and favorite blogs. I also placed a Recent Readers widget in the Experiments section in the sidebar.

As I was joining some of these communities, I kept seeing one person’s picture over and over again. Recognized commonality is a foundation for community building — and the more I saw Jim Walton appear and comment, I knew I had to read his blog.

He only launched this month and already has some great conversation going on. Provoking thoughts and inspired stories. Stay contagious, Jim.

Thowin’ My Dog…an RSS feed?

Lucy2 As soon as I read Renee’s A Little Love and A Whole Lot of Tips, I called Lucy up on my lap.

Lucy loved it. Her first blog. We continued surfing and I taught her about RSS feeds – she learns quick, but she’s a Sansone.

She asked if we could subscribe to a few blogs, so we found some she liked:

We found the Embrace Pet Insurance corporate blog. Lucy asked if she had coverage (she’s had a few ear problems recently and she’s 11). I assured her she was well-covered.

We tried to find if there were any Pet Hospitals or Veterinarians blogging…hey Lucy…where ya’ goin’?  I guess we’ll do that search another time.

Are Auto Sellers Blogging?

While in the bookstore to pick up my copy of What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting (did you know there are six Iowans interviewed?), I briefly met a local Chevrolet dealer and we chatted a bit about blogs.

There were some quizzical looks mixed with genuine interest. And so it goes for those who evangelize blogging as a conversational medium for business.

Curious to how many local (anywhere) car dealerships were blogging, I went to Technorati and Google Blog Search.

Of course, the GM’s Fast Lane  and FYIblog appear, though I didn’t see any GM dealerships in their blogroll. Other tidbits:

So how could a car dealer tap into the blogosphere? Aside from publishing a blog, there are a few ways to Put an Ear to the Blogosphere:

- Do a localized Google Blog Search on phrases such as "Love my Chevy" or "need a new car"
- Run a Flickr search on Chevrolet and then use those pictures to find story ideas (online or offline)
- Search tags on Chevy and find out what’s important to others.
- Run a Technorati Blog Directory search on Chevrolet
- Compare keywords in a BlogPulse search (Why are so many more blogging about Fords?)

Each of the above should be a one-time Search Once and Subscribe because they offer RSS feeds or OPML for the search.

There are probably more uses and ways for car dealers to hook up with their customers. I think I’ll go read my new book and get some more ideas.

The Nuts & Bolts of Lawyer Blogging

I’ll be speaking at YBLAWG 2006 on Friday, November 10 in Johnston, Iowa.

YBLAWG is a cooperative effort between successful Iowa blawgers, Brett Trout and Rush Nigut. It is believed to be the first conference on blogging that offers CLE hours (7.0 CLE hours, including 1.0 on Ethics).

There’s still time to register (and who knows, maybe I can swing some seats on a pass list).

Dive into Some Archives

When I first started out blogging, I took a few hours during the weekends to dive into some archives of blogs from Jodee Bock and Raj Setty. I learned a lot from what they wrote, but also by their examples about voice, length and conversational tone.

If time allows, I plan on diving ‘n’ digging into a few archives this weekend (we’re always learning, right?)

  • A Bird’s Eye View by Susan Willett Bird. Smart Talk on Conversation
  • Motivation on the Run by Larry Hendrick. Including podcasts
  • Jessica Doyle by…Jessica Doyle (emotion creator). I’ve already started here. Heart-piercing stuff. Go slow.

What archives are you diving ‘n’ digging?

Incredibly Humbled

Incredible Maria Palma has honored a armful of bloggers with entry into the CustomersAreAlways Hall of Acclaim.

I’m humbled to be included with such a great group of customer-lovers because I read each of their blogs — you see they (including Maria) help shape my view on customer service.

If I could, I’d gather this group around a Panera coffee table now and again so we could brainstorm about customer service. Since that’s not yet physically possible, I do so by reading their blogs.

You see, while blogging may be a tech-centric tool, part of the business case for blogging is to build meaningful relationships through conversations with your prospects and customers.

It sounds like Maria is about to launch a portal view of customer service blog posts. Great idea! 

Thanks, Maria. YouAreAlways….Incredible.

Did You Get the Memo? CGM in WDM

Pete Blackshaw is coming to Des Moines next week. And he’s bringing some CGM knowledge with him.

The originator of the term "CGM" and co-author of a recent Whistle Stop, Why Blogging Matters… will be in Iowa for the AMA luncheon on Wednesday, November 1.

CGM has long been a passion for me, having operated the AOL Real Fans Network Team Clubs in the late ’90s prior to the Sportsline purchase.

It’s a good time for CGM in Des Moines too, as the Des Moines Register blogging efforts grew with the launch of Urbandale Community page (more on that another time).

If you’ll be joining me in attendance at AMA, RSVP by Friday. Maybe we can get Pete over to the Panera University experience.

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