Video Clip

Myspace is my ex-girlfriend

This cracked me up. I was never into Myspace the way I am into Facebook. But it goes to show you that one day Facebook will be the ex-girlfriend we lament about.


5 Reasons I Love Social Networking

The last 12 months has seen a major shift in how people view social networking. A year ago most adults (who weren’t in youth ministry) said the word “Myspace” with a suspicious scowl. If they used it they kept it on the downlow.

Now everyone has Facebook. (150 million users and growing every second; it would be one of the largest countries in the world by population.) Now, most everyone is jumping on Twitter and getting completely addicted to that. The swarm of humanity has taken what was done in the margins and brought it to the mainstream. It’s a beautiful thing!

As a person who “lives online” through my work, I thought I would share 5 things I love about social networking.

1. Meeting new people. I’m pretty brave so I’ve taken to joining meet-up groups and showing up to meet people who share a special interest. It’s really not as creepy or as weird as I thought it’d be.

2. Learning stuff about people I already know. The “25 random things” meme on Facebook has reached legend status. I’ve been tagged on that thing probably 50 times and I don’t mind reading them all.

3. Reconnecting with long lost friends. Sure, there is the occasional misfire as a person who was a jerk to you in 8th grade friend requests you or wants to follow you on Twitter. But over all, I’ve had amazing reconnections.

4. Getting exposed to the good stuff. This is especially true on Twitter! If there is anything new and noteworthy, social networking sites are all over it way, way before it hits the mainstream media. I suppose that’s both good and bad as there is such a thing as being too current on stuff. Also, a danger to this is that it’s hard sometimes to distinguish right away what is actually newsworthy.

5. Instant feedback. Who needs focus groups anymore? I can pop an idea on Twitter of my Facebook status and get 25-50 responses right away.

What about you? What are things you love about social networking?

Web/Tech Weblogs

Oops. A little over technology

It seems my eagerness to spread the word about the YS podcast may have actually hurt our distribution a little. I think the right word is “counterproductive.”

With the new format for the podcast I thought it would be helpful to cross-publish it a few places. So you may have seen it pop up on Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, and Blip. This is fine, and the numbers of viewers of the podcast have been great.

The factors

1. Blip is cool because it has a great interface. As a content publisher I love the fact that I can upload a video, it gets published there… then I can select a bunch of places to crosspost. So I upload at blip and it does all the work for me to send it other places. (Facebook, myspace, twitter, and blogs)

2. iTunes. Unfortunately, one of the places it sends the podcast is iTunes. And since we already use another way to publish podcast to iTunes the double feed gets both banned! (iTunes fixes the problem, but it is embarrassing and ends up making the show harder to find for th 24 hours it takes.)

The lessons to learn.

Being overeager sometimes has negative results. My initial reaction to “put it everywhere” had some negative implications.

Good content will get found. To the core of my web-being I know this to be true. I know that less channels is better for content than more channels. This was just a case of trying to jump ahead of the curve… and in the end it hasn’t worked out.

hmm... thoughts

What am I working on?

Here’s a quick rundown of the things I’m up to over at YS.

#1 I post regularly at the new YS blog.  Here are 3 posts you should check out. Big vision for Cabot. Youth Workers Who Twitter. Carrie Clausen and Her Youth Group. I’m loving the blog. It’s really a fun way to connect people together.

#2 The big 3 of social networking. I spend some time each day talking with people on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. If you want to friend us, follow us, or join our group just click on the links. 

#3 Custom social networks for our events. This is very unique to YS. We’ve created full-blown custom social networks for people coming to our flagship event, National Youth Workers Convention. Here’s the one for folks headed to Sacramento in October. So far there are a total of seven websites associated with NYWC this fall. I’m helping the YS convention get web-o-riffic in a hurry. 

#4 Relaunching the podcast. Starting very soon is a brand new format to the YS podcast. I’ll bring some of the flavor of the YMX podcast to YS as well as some other cool features. Keep an eye on this page. We’ve got the first few episodes ready to go… great content in the new format!

#5 YMX stuff. Since YS purchased YMX back in June things have changed only slightly. Seriously, I think the only thing that got changed was the privacy policy and about us pages. The first change is coming soon as YMX will host the next generation of the website, YM Women. There will be a special section of the website dedicated to women in youth ministry. I think this is a cool compliment to the HERstory conference that meets at NYWC. Looking forward to YMX going to “generation two” of its existence.

#6 Experimental stuff. Just think of my office as Area 51 for YS. OK, not really. But I’m always playing with new ideas and seeing what will work or not work on the social media front. When I first started I talked to the internet team about “Adam’s sandbox.” I said, “Just give me some place I can create things, try out things, play with ideas and strategies, and basically do things with no fear of failure.” So I’ve got room to do that! I love knowing that everything I try has to be safe enough to succeed. Think of a lot of what I do as Google Labs. Some experiments make it past beta testing and some don’t. 

What about you? What are you up to at the job these days?


Converting User Names to Real Names

It goes without saying that I’m a web dork. But I have to be honest and say even in my dorkiness I sometimes get confused on who is who. A blog may be named “Two fish with green eyes” but I know it’s Joe’s blog. And his AIM name is probably “PistolJoe” and I know that too. Then his YMX name is “JoeFish” and his myspace is “GreenfishJoe.” Weird legacy old school web stuff… and it’s plain confusing to me. Yuck, I hate it.

So in the last few weeks I’ve been changing everyone’s feed titles in Google Reader and AIM screen names to their real names. (Easy options for both) It’s happy on my eyes.

Real names? Yeah, like the name mommy and daddy gave you when you popped out. You’re name isn’t some weird web-name you use… it’s a first and last name. 

A vent: Now that I’m completely addicted to twitter [follow me] and now that I’ve been sucked back into myspace… I wish I had a way to edit both of those profiles with people’s real names. Hey myspace and twitter… figure that out!

Maybe this is why I like the idea of OpenID so much? Having a single, cross-platform profile/login will be commonplace in a few years… the whole “pseudo name” thing really is archaic. 


Facebook changes on the way

Facebook changesI’ve not been shy in sharing my preference for Facebook over Myspace. (Although I will admit that Myspace is much better.) Well, a friend of mine sent me a link about some upcoming changes to Facebook as they seek to de-clutter the site.

If you are getting fed up of all the vampires, booze mail and super wall posts, then help could be on the way.

The social network site Facebook is getting ready for the first major makeover in its short history.

Designers are planning some widespread changes to the way the core profile page is organised, aimed at making it “simpler, cleaner and more relevant”. link


Basically, their solution isn’t to get rid of anything. It’s just to offer tabs to sort all of the different applications, photos, wall posts, and other stuff. It’s a welcome change.

Bonus: Not that anyone cares but me. But I’ve gotten tired of Firefox’s instability on OSX (mac) and am trying out Safari. So far so good. 


I could do that, it’s easy

innovationThis week I’ve had a couple of people approach me about YMX. One said, “I thought about doing that but you just got to it first.” The other person said, “I thought about doing that but I just didn’t have the time.

Really, both are saying the same thing. I’ve heard it hundreds of times before. What I translate that to mean is… “I wish I had thought of that.”

We’ve all done it. We’ve watched Donny Deutsch or 60 Minutes and we’ve thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Then when we meet someone who invented something or started their own business (and succeeded) we think to those moments and jealousy swells. Then we say something really odd like, “If only I had the capital I could have done the same thing.” They just smile and nod.

It’s time to let you in on a secret… 99% of the best innovations in the world come out of the same formula. So if you’ve got a great idea. If you think you’ve got the next Google. If you think you’re ready to be the one who answers the innovation questions instead of asks them. Are you ready to see if you’ve got what it takes? Here’s the formula.

Innovation = hunger + brains + guts

Innovation: You know it when you see it. It’s a hot seller or a great idea or that little thing that makes life easier somehow. The best ones are the most obvious. But how do I get there?

1. Hunger: As I’ve said before, 90% of the population is lazy. They strive to be mediocre. But a small percentage of people wake up one day and say… “I’m just not making it the lazy way. I want something else in my life.” Maybe it’s a bill that has to be paid and you don’t have the money? Maybe its that you live in a small house and you are having a kid and need a bigger one? Maybe you need a raise and the only way the boss will take notice is if you come up with a great money saver? Hunger… either literal or figurative… is the root of most innovation. I’d even add a healthy dose of desperation to show you how important hunger is. Very few fat cat companies invent the iPod or Google or Berkshire Hathaway or Facebook. If a company has to hire research and development people, paying them a fat salary, to invent something… that company is not hungry. (Prime example: The auto industry) But when your company CEO and a core group of people have an “oh crap, we’re all going to go bankrupt” meeting… then you’re hungry enough to invent the iPod.

2. Brains. Let’s face it. There is a reason why most innovations never make it to the marketplace. They may be good ideas. But the person who is hungry enough to innovate something may not have the brain power to see if its a market-worthy idea, know how to capitalize the idea, or even how to make the idea a reality.
In actuality, the best thing most innovators can do is find the right people to pitch the idea to. YMX would have never gotten past a proposal on a Word document if I hadn’t bounced the idea around with some really smart youth ministry folks, technology folks, marketing folks, and business folks. All of that bouncing around is totally free… and totally made the difference between YMX being a good idea and YMX being just another failed start-up. Trust me when I say those people saved YMX from my incomplete thoughts. The reason we are alive as a company today isn’t luck… it was hunger + brains + guts. Sometimes “brains” also means recognizing that your innovation may be cool, but it isn’t profitable enough to make it. Having brains means knowing the difference between a great idea and a great idea I can live off of. And having brains is getting the right people on the bus before you leave the station.

3. Guts. When I get those people who come up to me at the booth or IM me or talk to me after church… I can tell they don’t have it in them. They may be hungry enough to innovate. They may have a MENSA mind. But they are wimps when it comes to making their ideas a reality. The last component is the differentiator. If you want to take your great idea to market. If you’ve bounced that idea around and gotten a million thumbs up. You have to pull the trigger and go after it with all you’ve got. It takes guts. Don’t have guts? Innovation isn’t for you.

I love watching Donny Deutsch because there is a common thread with his guests. At some point most of them marched into their bosses offices and said, “I’m leaving to go do this, I quit.” Most of them had no income to fall back on! They were hungry enough for that innovation that they were willing to be more hungry to make it happen. They were smart enough to know that they couldn’t really innovate at night after a hard days work. And they knew that to make their idea a big idea worth a lot of money… they’d have to put their life on the line. It takes guts to do that. Do you have what it takes?

So, if you’ve got the next great idea… and I think you do… now you know. It doesn’t happen by mistake. It isn’t an accident. It isn’t “dumb luck” or “good timing” and it’s never handed to you on a platter.

Innovation = hunger + brains + guts. Get it done. The world is waiting.

hmm... thoughts Web/Tech

Zloop: Is this the next social network?

zloopLast night I had the chance to talk to Brent Myers, an evangelist for Zloop. Zloop is a new social network that is built around two general concepts:

  1. Security. Your “loops” are private to whom you invite.
  2. Mimics real life. You can control which loops see which side of you.

If you are looking for a more detailed description, here is Zloop’s description: About zloop
(pdf file)

Last night I got an invite and created a few loops. At this point, it’s clear that zloop is in a late Alpha, maybe early Beta testing mode. There are some cool features to this idea and some weaknesses. Here’s what I like/dislike so far.


  • General concept is cool. Kind of like a combo to Facebook/Linkedin. I like being able to manage different
  • File sharing ability. Yup, attachments are cool.
  • Privacy. Cool idea.
  • Loops. Like that I can keep relationships separate, as needed.


  • Missing some obvious components. Web 2.0 site with no RSS? No ability to search loops? No ability to find friends? Weird.
  • No rules. There is no TOS statement… can’t believe it! There’s nothing that stop hate groups or hate loops. Major problem here.
  • It is another profile to manage. Who needs that?

If this were something I could install on my servers, run it as my brand, and manage it within a terms of service… this would be an incredible tool for YMX. But it’s not. As cool as it is I really wonder if it will take off as the current version is not significantly better than Facebook. It has potential, it’s worth checking out, but right now… it’s got some “cool factor” to inject.

Don’t take my word for it, try it! Leave a comment and I’ll send you an invite.