Web International Awards

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19

APR 2007 1

Interview with Brett Borders

Webia: Hello Brett. Tell us something about yourself.
Brett: Hey! My name is Brett Borders and I'm an internet marketer living in Boulder, Colorado. I've been on the internet since 1992. I majored in sociology and I love computers, so naturally I love social media. I currently run an internet marketing consultancy called Copy Brighter Marketing where I've been doing a lot of online reputation management work. Online reputation management involves a lot of social media marketing and public relations. But most of all, I enjoy writing content, blogging and participating on social media. The digital "buzz" that you catch from reading and writing great stories - and sharing them with the whole world - is massive. There's no greater feeling (at least while sitting in front of a computer).

Webia: What do you think about Youtube? ( Past, Present, Future )
Brett: I think YouTube is an incredibly fun site. It's so much more enjoyable to watch user-generated video content than to watch corporate television. I don't even have cable TV, I rely totally on the internet for watching video now. I watch a lot of IPTV channels in my living room on a Mac connected to my HDTV. I think internet delivery of high- definition video is going to be really big in the future. We're going watch the cable companies and old, corporate media die out, kicking and screaming, or else evolve and survive. Whenever I watch daytime TV, it's always shocking how old-fashioned the ads are - and how they assume we are dumb. There's definitely a new kind of digital consciousness emerging - people are quickly becoming more aware and more discriminating.

Webia: How about Twitter?
Brett: I have been using IRC for over 15 years so the idea of "tweeting" updates to friends doesn't seem so revolutionary to me (and neither does the Twitter interface or backend) - but I can really appreciate the community of new social media types that has gathered and blossomed on Twitter. It's defintintely a vibrant community where information travels much, much faster than on blogs. I'm really liking the interface on Plurk, though. I haven't gotten really active on the site yet, but I've tried it, and it seems much more polished.

The thing I've learned over the years is you have to be careful not to let IM services suck away all your time. Use them in short bursts and then close the application. I believe that our brains are going to have to evolve new powerful ways of multi-tasking in order to help divide our attention between so may different windows, applications and messages. 20 years ago, the only time we received personal messages was maybe once a day at the mailbox. Now we receive hundreds or thousands of messages competing for our attention. Some people are going to adapt quickly to it, some people are going to get left in the "stone ages." The digital divide will widen.

Webia: And Digg, Magnolia, Reddit, and alike?
Brett: Digg is awesome for reading, but it's not as fun as it used to be. I used to be a very active Digger, but as the community has grown and the site algorithm has changed (harder to Digg friends' stories, takes 150+ Diggs to go home page) - so it's much more time consuming and less enjoyable to actively participate. Reddit has intelligent commentary and good content, and the team is doing a lot of good changes to the interface. It's cool that you mentioned ma.gnolia - I really love that site! The user interface design is amazing, and it's such a pleasure to use - much easier than del.icio.us. I wish more people used it.

Webia: Where do you think the web is headed in the near and distant future?
Brett: In the near future, I think that people are going to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information they need to process, and there are going to be all kinds of digital aggregation and simplification services. For example, here in Colorado, there's a local company called Social Thing that has a pretty good prototype of a social media consolidation system - where you can get updates from various services in once place.

I also think there is going to be a major crisis with various closed systems, DRM and proprietary formats. Stuff like Windows / Exchange and Apple / iTunes are all designed to lock people into systems and keep them purchasing the hardware forever, making it extremely inconvenient to quit. People are all excited about Apple's shiny new gadgets.. but they are all locked and designed to only play nicely with content that you buy from Apple. It's designed not to give you any freedom or flexibility. I think people are largely oblivious to this now, but as Apple's corporate greed increases and the screws tighten, there will be more outcry in the future. I fully support open source software projects like Linux operating systems and alternatives to iTunes. I run OS X now, but I can see myself switching to an open source OS in the future.

Webia: How much does social media influence SEO on a scale of 1 to 10. Describe.
Brett: I think social media is having a profound influence on SEO. Social media is one of the last legitimate places on the web that a site can get links from. Just yesterday, Google's Matt Cutts did an interview with an SEO, and he basically says that Digg is an acceptable, creative way to get good links.

SEO providers who don't evolve, those don't understand about making social connections and promoting viral content... will lose out to those who do.

Webia: What books, and websites do you recommend for this domain?
Brett: Hmmm. I really like Dosh Dosh. Maki is one of the brightest minds in social media today. On the lighter side, I'm impressed with Cracked magazine. When I was a kid they were struggling along in old print media, but they've really taken to the web and learned how to make a lot of "grand slam," viral social media content.

Webia: Not so popular as Youtube, Digg etc is Second Life. Do you think it will become as used and popular as Youtube? What will happen next? Do you consider that a Virtual Life phenomenon will occur sooner or later?
Brett: Ya know, I have never tried Second Life, so it's hard for me to say... but I think game-like systems only appeal to a small sect of "geeky" people for now and in the near future. I think that social media is a kind of "virtual life" - and maybe it has more mainstream appeal. I think the lure of such digital worlds that stimulate the intellect and imagination can be very strong.

Webia: Any advice for our audience?
Brett: If you are reading this now, you are an early adopter. Most of humanity doesn't read blogs, most people scarcely know about them yet. I don't think that social media is a fad. It will not disappear. The information age is a real thing, not a theory. Social media is the human connection and community that we all innately crave, that got disrupted by mass media for the past 100 years or so. But now the connection is back.

If you feel the call, try and get more involved. Become less of a social media consumer and more of a producer. Create content. Get creative and help make the digital world a better place. I think we are on the cusp of something big, and that any effort you put into honing your social media skills now will really pay off in the near future. Go for it!

Thank you for your time Brett!

Published on Thursday, April 19th, 2007 at 2:46 pm in 2007.

About Bogdan Pop

Bogdan Pop is a young Romanian entrepreneur who runs WebRaptor. He is a web developer with awesome design skills, who enjoys writing about everyday's work and usability. He relaxes by taking photos every once in a while and by mixing french electronic music. Connect with him via Twitter.
 
  1. Past interviews round-up says: April 12th, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    […] Thursday, April 19th, 2007 Published in 2007 | No Comments » […]





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