Been a while

That’s the least I can say. I haven’t written anything on this blog since March and already then it didn’t write as much as once before. I still want this blog/site to change form like I mentioned in that last post, but in the meantime I will start writing stuff again. When I look at all the tabs that are still open in browsers on my computers or all the things that have been favorited in Google Reader or Twitter, I realize I need that external window to share my thoughts.

In the meantime I’m still looking for the WordPress dev with a little bit of free time on their hands to help me out re-shape this place. Cheers!

WordPress 2 for iPhone

Trying out the new WordPress 2 app in the iPhone. IT beats me why this is a new app and not an upgrade to the v1 of which I had already but anyway the app looks handy and a good step up from the first version. Two things I still miss are the lack of access to your stats such as you can see at http://m.wordpress.com and … there is no more second point since inserting link just now takes away the comment I wanted to make related to the lack of an easy way to add links :)

Looks nice, now hit publish.

3 years

It’s been 3 years since I started this place and I must say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. I had my ups and downs like everyone else, blogging rhythm and style have changed over time, so did content etc but overall this was is a great experience.

Next steps? Re-design, most probably on self hosted WordPress this time and I’ve been thinking (in line with the re-design) that it would be cool to create some kind of logo for ‘Cross The Breeze. Ping me or leave a note in the comments if you would like to create one. Credits where credits are due as always.

Voila, and as of now the 4th year has started. Thanks a whole lot to all of you who passed by on a irregular or regular basis and who have taken part in the discussions, you know who you are. Hoping to see you all back this year ;) Cheers! Kris.

Personal/corporate identity

Last week at SIME during the first speaker gathering Ola Ahlvarsson (CEO of SIME) thought it was a good idea to introduce Thomas Crampton and myself to each other… he sure was right :) Thanks for that Ola!

We got talking right away (part of which translated in a little video interview – see below) on several things relating blogging, corporate blogging, identities, transparency, … and how difficult it can be to turn small company learnings to good use at corporations, or how US learnings wouldn’t necessarily work in Europe or Asia (where you don’t have one market / one language).

Interestingly enough, the topic seems to surface at other places as well these days, look at this post on MarketingProfs for instance. The video below is part of the conversation I had with Thomas, focusing on identities. Thomas called it “difficulty of blogging for Microsoft”, I see it more as “challenges in corporate social media” or something but that doesn’t sound half as good… and the chat would have been the same anyway so why bother ;)

The reason for this was the notion that corporate blogging projects that get listed this days only seem to relate to initiatives that are set up centrally and less about the ‘accidental spokesperson’. LionelatDell or ComcastCares (aka Frank) or … are real people, real but corporate identities, transparent and honest (I presume) but set up for the company they work for. What if you (like myself) already have that presence and identity, which is personal, but talks about work stuff as well? What if you set up a corporate initiative next to your own, that you own for a long time already? Again, not really problems, but questions/challenges I like to think about… and so does Thomas.

Not for sale.

This was a post waiting to happen and the flights to Munich and Hamburg this week were all I needed to write it down. When I started blogging almost 3 years ago it was mainly to find out for myself what the whole blogosphere thing was all about. Initially the idea wasn’t to keep on doing this for long but it caught on to me and I stuck to it since then. There are ever more signs thought that blogging is not quite the same anymore as 3 or more years ago.

Most people start blogging because it’s providing them with an interesting way to share their thoughts and interact with others based on that, whether it related to your work, hobby or personal interests. Just check the ‘about page’ on a random blog and in most cases this will say something like “This blog is about my personal opinion, my thoughts and my thoughts only, etc.” A blog is where you can be yourself. We say what we think, the way we think it without compromising. At least we did, but is that still the case?

Lately I get the feeling this idea of ‘honest personal opinion’ is fading out as more and more blogs seem to pick up on the cheesiest pitches from marketers, agencies and PR folks. Being a blogger myself I get a lot of the same requests, offers, freebees, … from agencies like many of my blogging colleagues do so it’s easier to see when someone picks up on an offer. And I got to tell you, when an agency sends you something like this (recent example via Facebook):

“Hey Kris, I had to contact as much bloggers as possible from my boss to show our latest project for brand X. Check it out and link to it if you like it. That way I have to pay less on banner advertising.”

… and when in the 2-3 days after that you see some of your valued blogging colleagues write about this, I can’t help thinking bloggers actually became a very easy audience. This particular case is a Belgian example but since blogger lists like the Power150  exist there are also much more global examples as well.

Not only the personal blogs seem to change though. Don Dodge noticed recently that blogging has gone commercial and that there aren’t much individuals left in the top bloglists. And the ones that are still there are also selling out, think of Scoble’s latest tweet ‘featuring’ Seagate!

The bigger commercial blog networks then? They became media… Techcrunch is going gossip, Valleywag is going naked and Pete Cashmore of Mashable is your next tech rock star. It sometimes feels like half of Mashable’s posts are about Pete, the meet ups and all the sponsors related to all this. And remember how I wrote earlier about how Marketing Pilgrim preaches Marketing 2.0 and at the same time is stuffed with display ads all over the site.

I guess I could go on and on for a long time on this. Every week I read something that shows how the blogosphere is changing: you can hire a blogger at Marketingfacts to live blog your event, Lifehacker Gina Trapani created a PR blacklist, … not sure if it’s all for the best.

Discuss. Just remember one thing, this is my blog with my opinion… and definitely not for sale.

Business as usual

It seems ages since I last opened up Live Writer last time. This is not because I stopped loving it, but because the blogging rhythm on this blog (and on I Blog Mustang) have been very slow lately. It seems like the only times I get to do some writing lately is when traveling. The last posts were all (or almost all) written on trains and planes.

While I see people writing about how Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, … or whatever other service has taken over from their blogging, that is actually not the case with me. I am indeed more active on Twitter than on this blog, but that is because of the short and instant nature of the service vs the time you need to spend writing blogposts. I do still dedicate the time I need to reading my RSS, luckily enough as I’m addicted to news – couldn’t do without.

In the meantime we’re working hard on releasing some new campaigns for Windows Live and MSN in Europe (more on these at Live In Europe) and we’re also gearing up in the planning for next year as our fiscal year starts at July 1st and not January 1st like with most companies.

For now, I’ll just try and write some more posts about things that I’ve been meaning to write now that I am on my way to Stockholm. Share your travel via Dopplr if you want ;)

Blog design

I find myself slowly getting tired of my actual blog design these days. Looking back at when I actually changed to the current theme it seems to be almost a year ago, so I guess this is a yearly recurring thought. The biggest difference between now and then is that back then I really had it with the design, today that’s not the case yet. I just notice I’m getting ready for a change.

Together with this yearly design question, the self-hosting question pops up as well. I’m not a techie so I like the fact that I don’t need to care about any updates or hosting issues. That said, there are only that many themes you can choose from on WordPress.com and the limitations on adding code for widgets and tracking can be annoying from time to time as well. I understand the balance between the 2 current options you have with WordPress, it’s just that I’m not sure where I should go for today.

What do you think? I could use a bit of help on this one. Should I just leave all as is? Should I stay on WordPress.com and just get a new theme (like I did with my other blog a few weeks ago)? Or have someone do my own design and host the whole thing myself as well? I don’t know, you?

 

Into reading again

Books that is, still doing more than enough reading online, but it’s been a while since I read my last book. Today the first bunch of books I ordered on Ebay a couple of days ago have arrived so I’m ready to get at it again. First books to arrive where ‘Blog Marketing‘ by Jeremy Wright and ‘The Dip‘ by Seth Godin. I met Jeremy in Paris at LeWeb3 and it was interesting talking to him. I didn’t know he had written a book though (sorry Jeremy) so I decided to buy it right after I got back. And Seth, well that’s easy, I’m behind on Seth Godin so have some catching up to do.

Also ordered, but not delivered yet are ‘Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure‘ and ‘Round Ireland with a fridge‘ by Tony Hawks. They were both recommended to me so let’s see if I like them as well. Especially the Googlewhack Adventure is already 3 years old so it’s about time :)

And then today Joseph Jaffe reminded all of us on Twitter about the UNM2PNM initiative he’s doing for ‘Join the Conversation‘ (or Use New Marketing to Prove New Marketing). Just like with ‘Life After the 30-Second Spot‘ everyone who has a business/marketing related blog or podcast that agrees to review ‘Join the Conversation’ in it will receive a free copy of the book. That is… the first I don’t know how many (150 or so). So thanks Joseph, looking forward to the book.

Other books on my wishlist: ‘Welcome to the Creative Age‘ and ‘Herd‘ both by Mark Earls because of this podcast with Hugh, Mark and Johnnie Moore that I listened to today. And that’s about it for now.

Any other books you would definitely recommend? Let me know in the comments.