Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy New Year!

For the time being, I'm out of the internal communication racket. But there's a funny thing about that. I'm applying most of the same skills to my new role (consumer experience champion) that I used as an internal communicator.

Clear writing, illustration and video still matter. Strategic thinking matters. Effective measurement matters. Most importantly, putting yourself in the shoes of your audience and learning to advocate for both your audience and your client – that matters.

And as communicators, we tend to keep our eyes open for new communications opportunities. So we’re often more technical, more aware of the opportunities opening up on the Web and in mobile communications, than many in business. It’s natural, really, if we get pulled into other areas.

I don’t mind confessing that I spend a huge amount of time on the Internet while on the job. Some of it is directly connected to what I do – anyone would recognize it. But you and I know that it’s often the off-beat and unusual that sparks the new idea, or at least provides the zest to keep us going.

I’ve added a list of favorite Web links to this blog. Some spark thinking, some are terrific tools. I’m sure the list will grow and change over time, but here’s what I have today:

  1. Seth Godin's blog – Godin speaks for a new era of marketing, delivering fresh insights nearly every day. What are we but marketers, after all? Subscribe.
  2. The Consumerist – If you work for a business, the Consumerist will give you that exposure to what your customers are ticked off about. No waiting.
  3. Putting People First – An exhaustive and constantly-updated compendium of the latest developments in human/product interaction in just about every field you can think of.
  4. The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs – Consistently the funniest blog on the Web. And you may even learn something. (It just may not be true.) Hey, laughter matters.
  5. Ragan Communications site – I had a grudge against these guys, since they never invited me back after what seemed to be an extremely successful presentation at a convention a couple of years ago. But I have to admit that the revamped site and the Daily Update is interesting, dynamic and valuable. Hmmph.
  6. – A commercial site that gives away great information – sign up for the quarterly report.
  7. We-make-money-not-art – We need some sites to find pure inspiration, right? Start here.
  8. boingboing - a directory of wonderful things – Among the most successful sites on the ‘Net, and it’s easy to see why. Wonderful indeed.
  9. The Cool Hunter – More neat stuff.
  10. – Never mind the technology – keep up with how people are actually using it to communicate.
  11. – Need pictures of consumers using your products – or pictures of anything at all? Incredible resource.
  12. YouTube – Ditto above, for video.
  13. Simple Sample Size Calculator – How many surveys do I need to be able to defend my results? Here’s what I use.
  14. SurveyMonkey – The communicator's little friend. The paid version is a steal at $20/month but the free version is useful, too.

What sites did I miss, and what are they good for?