Posts categorized "Social Media"

The Mobile Messaging Wars Continue - Facebook Forces Separate Messenger App On Mobile Users

In the ongoing war for mobile messaging dominance and "what will replace SMS", Facebook has decided to annoy a serious part of their user base and force all mobile users to move to Facebook's separate Messenger app. In a short period of time, you will be forced to install the Messenger app if you want to send messages to Facebook friends while using your iOS or Android mobile phone.

Here's the thing... I already tried Messenger on my iPhone a while ago... AND I *UNINSTALLED* IT!

I don't want a separate messaging app. I already have a ton of those. When I am in Facebook I want to do all my Facebook activities and messaging within the one app. I tried Messenger and found the switching between the apps to be painful enough that I wanted nothing to do with it.

Now... in fairness, being someone who tends toward the "early adopter" stage, it was a while ago that I tried Messenger and before their "big update", so presumably they've made improvements. As Facebook so helpfully tells me, 190 of my friends use Messenger already. Knowing some of the people whose images I see on that ad Facebook show me, I can't imagine them tolerating a poor user experience... so yes, perhaps I should try it again.

But it's annoying to be forced to do so. Basically what it says to me is "we (FB) have tried every incentive possible to get people to move, but they aren't, so now we're going to make them move." Facebook already forced most of their European users to make the switch - but now they are making everyone switch.

There has been a great amount of media attention to this move today, and I received the email directly this morning:

Facebook messenger

The text itself says:

We wanted to let you know that messages are moving out of the Facebook app to our Messenger app, a free app that's faster and more reliable for everyday messaging. Messenger also includes: new ways to send photos and videos, voice calls, stickers, group conversations and more.

Soon, we'll start guiding you to get started with Messenger. After a few days, you'll also see a reminder notice in the Facebook app, where you'd normally see your messages. At that point, we'll ask you to install Messenger or go to the Facebook website to view and send messages. You'll still see new message notifications in the Facebook app, and it'll be easy to switch between Facebook and Messenger.

We appreciate your taking the time to install Messenger and know it will take a little while to adjust to using a second app. We look forward to sharing this fast, fun and reliable way of messaging with you. You can learn more here.

Where the "Soon, we'll start guiding you..." is really just marketing-speak for "Soon, you'll have no choice if you want to continue using Facebook messaging on your mobile phone."

The Bigger Picture

I understand why Facebook is doing this. They want a separate, lean "messaging" app that integrates tightly with your mobile phone operating system (iOS or Android). They want it so integrated that eventually you use it only and stop using the messaging app that is part of your o/s.

On my iPhone Apple has done a brilliant job with the "Messages" app integrating Apple's iMessage service in with regular SMS text messages. By default Apple tries to send your message via their OTT messaging service (iMessage) and then falls back to SMS when the recipient isn't registered with iMessage.

Facebook wants you to use their Messenger app as your default messenging app. They would like me to replace Apple's "Messages" with their "Messenger" app as my place to go do send a message. So they need a lean and focused messenging app to do this.

The OTT War For Mobile Messaging Dominance

And this IS the end-game. The war now is for which of the many "Over-The Top" (OTT) apps will be the replacement for the dying world of SMS messaging. People aren't sending as many actual SMS messages and are instead using:

  • iMessage from Apple
  • Facebook Messaging
  • WhatsApp (also now from Facebook)
  • Line from NHN
  • WeChat from Tencent
  • Hangouts from Google (as part of Google+ or separate)
  • Skype from Microsoft
  • Viber
  • Twitter
  • Blackberry Messenger (BBM - see update note below)

and probably another hundred smaller ones.

[UPDATE: A Canadian friend noted that I missed Blackberry Messenger (BBM) in the list and while I admittedly don't think about BBM that much these days, he's right that there is still a population that uses it on their smartphones.]

And yes, these are all separate "walled gardens" of propriety messaging (as I wrote about back in 2007, although the names have changed substantially). You can't message someone on a different system. You both have to be part of the same system - or potentially the system may fall back to sending a SMS message as iMessage does.

The attempts to lock Internet users into closed, proprietary walled gardens continues.

Make your app easy and simple to use... and get the most people using your app so that they won't want to switch to some other app.

The Broader OTT War For Mobile Communications

Notice, too, that Facebook mentions using Messenger for "voice calls". With this on iOS they are clearly aiming to take on Apple's "Facetime Audio" that Apple now presents as an option each time you make a call. And they can take on Microsoft's Skype and Google's Hangouts.

Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

All trying to be THE app/service that you use for communication on your mobile device. (And you can probably expect folks like Amazon to enter the game at some point, too.)

Giants on the playground.

And who is missing are the past giants of telecom. The "telcos"... the "carriers"... the "service providers". They are well on their way to being commoditized down to "big, fat, dumb pipes" of data... and they don't like that.

Hence you see them trying to coming out with their own apps and services (as Telefonica has done) or trying to come out with a rival offering such as Joyn (which Dean Bubley rips apart while pointing out the fallacy of talking of the "messaging market")... or using their control of the underlying data network to slow or block services... or using their powerful lobbying capabilities to attempt to get governments to regulate or intervene.

THIS is why so many of the upcoming ITU events matter. THIS is why the discussions on "network neutrality" matter.

The war for the future of mobile communications is well underway... and Facebook's move this week is just part of that much larger battle.

Even if that move will severely annoy Facebook users like me... most of whom will, of course, suck it up and install Messenger... because whether we like it or not we do want to communicate with Facebook users while mobile.

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Further Thoughts on the Google Voice / Google+ Hangouts Integration

Google hangoutsMy post this week about Google Voice ringing into Google+ Hangouts generated a good bit of commentary, not only on the original post but also out on Hacker News, Reddit, Google+ and other areas. Given the range of responses, I thought I'd reply to a couple of points and also expand on some further related topics. So here goes...

"DUH! This is nothing new/disruptive. You could do it forever with GTalk/Gmail!"

A common response was to point out to me that Google Voice had been integrated with GoogleTalk / GMail for quite some time and so this integration was really nothing new.

Okay, fair enough. Point taken.

I'll admit that I never keep GMail open in a web window and so while I do recall that this integration was there in the past, I never personally used it.

Similarly, in Google+, I've taken to logging out of the GoogleTalk/chat sidebar because I found it was sucking up CPU cycles on my Mac. For whatever reason, the new Hangouts sidebar doesn't seem to consume as much CPU cycles and so I've left it running there.

So yes, the integration may have been there in the past and now it is there in Hangouts - and people like me are actually now noticing it. :-)

Ringing G+ Hangouts BEFORE Ringing Other Devices

There were a couple of comments that it seemed like calls to a Google Voice number rang the Google+ Hangouts first and then rang the other devices connected to the GV number. In my own testing there does seem to be about a 3-second delay between when the call starts ringing in Google+ Hangouts and when it starts ringing on my cell phone and Skype. Now, this may be a fact of Google giving priority to their own application - or it may just be an architectural fact that when they fork the call out to the different numbers it is faster to connect to their own service while the calls to my cell and my Skype numbers have to go through various PSTN gateways. Either way, there does seem to be a degree of delay before all devices ring.

Delay In Answering

A couple of people noted that there was a delay from the time you hit "Answer" to when the call was actually established. I've noticed this, too, although not consistently. I think part of it may be with starting up the Hangouts component inside of your browser - particularly with getting the video going, since that seems to be required for the Hangouts component. It may also be just the paths through whatever systems Google is using. It's certainly something to monitor.

Google Voice Call Does Not Ring The Hangouts App on iOS

In my own testing, I found a curious omission. When I call in on my Google Voice number, it does not ring on my Hangouts app running on my iPad. It rings Hangouts on my web browser... but nothing happens in the mobile app. Now, my iPhone rings - but that is because it is also connected to the Google Voice account. I didn't try removing that number from Google Voice and then seeing if the Hangouts app on the iPhone would ring. At least for the iPad, nothing happens. It would be great if this did work so that I could receive the calls on that mobile device.


Multiple people pointed out that my final remark about maybe some day getting SIP support was probably unrealistic given Google "dropping" XMPP support. I was admittedly away on vacation and at a conference last week and so I missed this point in all the announcement about Hangouts coming out of Google I/O. I wrote about this yesterday, though: Did Google REALLY Kill Off All XMPP/Jabber Support In Google+ Hangouts? It Still Seems To Partially Work

Although, as pointed out in a comment on Google+, this "partial" XMPP support may just be a factor of the continued GoogleTalk support - and may fade away when Google finally pulls the plug on that.

This is definitely an area where it would be helpful if Google could provide a few clarifications.

That's all I have right now for a quite update and response to points. Thanks for all the great comments and I do look forward to seeing where Google is going with all of this.

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Join the Google+ "IP Communications & VoIP" Community

Googleplus ipcomms voipWant to connect with others interested in the bleeding edge of IP communications and VoIP? Want to exchange links or engage in discussions with people interested in these topics? If you are a Google+ user (as I am), there is now the new "Communities" feature and Randy Resnick of VUC fame has set up a new Google+ community on "IP Communications & VoIP" at:

Given that Randy is very active on Google+, this community is also very active, both through Randy's posts as well as the comments and posts of others. I've already learned a good bit from a couple of the discussions that have occurred there.

There are other Google+ communities that you might find interesting, too, such as those related to DNSSEC and IPv6, but Randy's is a great one for VoIP / IP communications / UC topics. Check it out and join in the conversations....

Plus, if you haven't checked out the VUC calls that occur each Friday at noon US Eastern, they, too, are definitely worth listening to and participating in.

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Skype Releases Photo-Sharing for iPhone/iPad - Trying to Disrupt MMS? iMessage?

Today Skype launched an attack on sending photos via Apple's iMessage, via email or via traditional SMS/MMS with the release of photo sharing for the iPhone and iPad versions of Skype. The key point of the blog post to me is this:

There's no limit on the size of the file you can send, so you can send photos without reaching email size limits or paying expensive MMS charges.

This is yet another example of Skype seeking to disrupt the traditional telecom industry as an "over-the-top (OTT)" app - and make the user experience that much easier. (And yes, I am fully aware that Skype for Android has had file sharing since December 2011.)

Skype's blog post doesn't directly mention Apple's iMessage, but that's the reality of what else will be disrupted. Think about it... here is what you have for options inside the built-in "Photos" capability of an iPhone:

Iphone photos

You can either email the photo or use the "Message" which goes either through the traditional SMS/MMS route - or via iMessage. This Skype functionality replaces both of those capabilities... although you need to be in the Skype application to use the sharing. Note that for a reason I'll explain later, Skype's photo sharing does NOT replace what you can share with Twitter.

Using Photo Sharing on an iPhone

I'll admit that I didn't find the sharing of the photo immediately intuitive on the iPhone, largely because Skype overloaded the "phone" icon in the upper right corner to do more than just initiate a call. In the new version, after you enter a chat with someone and tap the phone icon, you get a menu where you can share the photo:

Iphone send photo 1

After choosing to send a photo, you then can choose to take a new photo or share an existing photo:

Iphone send photo 2

The recipient then needs to accept the photo transfer, after which you see an indicator bar showing the progress - and then the fact that the photo was transferred:

Iphone send photo 3 1 Iphone send photo 4 2

From a recipient point of view, receiving the photo is simply a matter of watching the blue progress bar and then seeing the photo displayed:

Iphone send photo 5 Iphone send photo 6

I'll note that it displays nicely in a landscape view as well, although the photo is actually displayed larger in the portrait view:

Iphone send photo 7

All in all a fairly straightforward experience and I thank my friend Dean Elwood for helping me test this out. The re-use of the "phone" icon is a bit strange - and non-intuitive - but once you get used to that it's okay.

Using Photo Sharing on an iPad

Photo sharing on the iPad was very similar, with the added benefit that the icon in the upper right was the much more intuitive "+" symbol. Again, when in a chat with someone you just touch the "+" and choose "Send Photo":

Ipad send photo 1

You again have the choice to take a photo or use an existing photo:

Ipad send photo 2

After which the photo nicely appears within the Skype client:

Ipad send photo 3

Again, a rather straightforward and easy user experience.

The Desktop Disconnect

While this works great for sending photos between iOS devices (and I will assume to Android devices), the user of the traditional Skype desktop app does not have such a seamless experience. Here is what happened when I accepted a photo from Dean in the latest Skype for Mac version:

Send photo desktop

I then had to double-click the icon to open the image in the separate "Preview" application on my Mac. It would be great if in some future version of the desktop version of Skype the images would be displayed inline as they are on the mobile versions.

The Android Difference

It's also interesting to note that Skype for Android lets you share any kind of files, beyond just photos. As noted in the Skype for Android FAQ:

You can send and receive any type of file over Skype for Android and can view any file you receive as long as you have the necessary software or application installed. There are no limits on the size of the file you can send. As long as the person you’re sending the file to has enough memory on their phone, they can store the file.

Several mobile developer friends have indicated that this is due to the difference in the mobile operating systems and the fact that Android gives developers access to more file capabilities than does iOS. Still, it's just an interesting difference between the platforms.

Not Displacing Facebook / Instagram / Google+ / Twitter / etc.

My initial thought on seeing Skype's blog post was that Skype was going to try to take on photo sharing services like Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or even Twitter. It became rapidly clear that this photo sharing service is NOT attempting to do that (yet, anyway). A couple of reasons:

1. It only works with 1-to-1 chats. You can only get that "Send Photo" button when you are in a direct, 1-to-1 chat with another Skype user. When you are in a group chat, there is no way to share a photo. If there was, you could start using groups as a way to share photos... but that capability isn't there.

2. There is no web access for photos. When you share a photo there is no URL you could give someone else to see the photo. The photo does not appear to be stored on any server anywhere. Rather it is simply transferred from one local Skype client to another local Skype client.

3. Both Skype clients must be online. The sender and recipient both have to be online for the photo to be transferred. This is true of all Skype file transfers and photos are no different.

For the moment this seems all about sharing a photo with someone else with whom you are conversing.

So Who Will Use This Photo Sharing in Skype?

But will people actually use this new feature? After all, Skype's blog post today refers to this as "a frequently requested feature." (Although without any details about by whom it was requested.)

I'm going to guess that Skype's proverbial use case is that you were out during the day, took some photos, and then some time later are in a voice or video call with someone and want to share the photos of what you did earlier. It's the old "Look, Grandma, here are some great photos of us at the amusement park!"

Or maybe you came back from a trip and want to share some photos with someone you call... or maybe you are in the midst of a trip and want to call home and share the photos. ("Hey, Dan, just calling you from our hotel in Rome. Look at all the cool cathedrals we saw over the last few days!")

I could see that usage... subject to my caveat below.

The Battery Problem

Skype's blog post shows the case of a young woman sending a photo to a friend of some new shoes she found. As compelling as this might be...

... I would never use Skype this way!

Or at least... I haven't yet.

Why not?

Skype for iOS drains the battery rather quickly!

For that reason I never leave Skype running on either my iPad or iPhone. I do use Skype while traveling, but it's a case of firing up Skype, making the call and then killing off Skype on the iOS device so that the batteries will last longer.

Instead for sharing photos I would simply send off the photo via Apple's iMessage... or email the photo to someone.

Now, in Skype's post today, they indicate that this new release for iOS includes performance improvements that will help with battery life:

We've also improved the overall performance of Skype's mobile apps. We've made them less battery hungry when running in the background, so you'll now be able to answer Skype calls throughout the day when they come in. And, as you'll be able to keep Skype open, you can respond to or send IMs to friends and colleagues all day long.

That, to me, will be the key for the usage and adoption of this photo sharing. I need to be comfortable leaving Skype running on my iOS devices - and so do my recipients. If we all get to the point where Skype is just "always on" on our iOS (and Android) devices... then yes, we might start using this as a way to share photos.

Undoubtedly that is how Skype / Microsoft would like the scenario to play out... we'll have to see how indeed that does work out.

What do you think? Will you use this photo sharing within Skype for the iPhone or iPad? Or will you use one of the other ways to share photos within iOS?

UPDATE, 22 Aug 2012 - Jim Courtney published a piece with his views: Skype Photo Sharing: A Conversation Feature – Not an App

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Free Webinar June 15th - Preparing Your Contact Center for the Rise of Social Media

Contactual voxeoHow can contact centers adjust to the rise in social media? What does the research actually show around the changes in consumer preferences? What solutions are out there?

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, at 2pm US Eastern time, I will be representing Voxeo and joining with Wendell Black from Contactual to discuss these changes and solutions in a free webinar:

Preparing Your Contact Center for the Rise of Social Media

Registration is free and open to anyone to attend.

Here's the abstract from the site:

Social Media’s impacts to traditional methods of providing customer service cannot be ignored. More and more individuals are turning to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and similar forums to connect with businesses and organizations and this trend shows no signs of abating. In this session you will learn how to navigate the new world of the connected and sophisticated customer. What Attendees Will Learn:
  • Important trends in multichannel and social media customer interaction methods
  • How social media is impacting customer experience optimization efforts
  • How organizations are leveraging multichannel interaction to better service their customers
  • Benefits of an integrated approach to managing the proliferation of customer interaction touch points
  • Important steps organizations can take now to prepare for these new communication mediums
  • A glimpse into the future of customer contact as social media gains mainstream prominence

I'm looking forward to giving the session... and it's a neat chance to learn about Contactual if you aren't aware of them. They are doing some very cool things in the hosted contact center space. (And as you might guess, are a partner of Voxeo and we have some joint activity with them.)

Again, it's free to join the session and there will be time for questions at the end. We'd love to have you join us!

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Free Webinar tomorrow - Unified Self-Service: one app for voice, SMS, IM, web and Twitter

unifiedselfservice-200.jpgAre you interested in how you can service customer requests across all the different communication channels they might use? Do you want to give your customers a choice in the way they interact with you? Rather than requiring them to call in to a customer service phone number, do you want to let them send you a text message? Or an IM? Or use Twitter?

If so, you may be interested in a free webinar I am giving tomorrow, Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 11:00 am US Eastern time titled "Unified Self-Service: Creating multi-channel communications apps using Voxeo tools". You can register for free.

I'll be talking about this concept we call "Unified Self-Service" where you can create a single application that interacts with customers across multiple communication channel (but not necessarily using the exact same user interface). It's a topic I blog about on Voxeo's site and mention in our various presentations.

Perhaps obviously to long-time readers, I have an interest in the "social" side of the communication, particularly as we talk about "Social CRM" and engaging with customers through social channels. You can naturally expect to hear me talk about that tomorrow as well.

Registration is free... and if you can't attend, the session will be archived for later viewing from our Developer Jam Session page (and if you register, we'll let you know when the archive is posted).

It's a fun topic... and I'm looking forward to the conversation we'll have tomorrow.

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What if you could have a single application that communicated with your customers not just through voice but also through SMS, IM/chat and even Twitter?

tropologo2010.jpgThat's exactly what we announced at Voxeo today with our new release. Tropo is our "cloud communications platform" operated out of our Voxeo Labs team that is focused on reaching out to web developers using today's programming languages and APIs. We launched it back at eComm in March 2009 and have been steadily adding more capability to it over the last year. Today the "beta" label was officially peeled off of Tropo, new international phone numbers were added, international speech recognition (ASR) and text-to-speech (TTS) were added in 7 languages, and a host of other features were added, too.

Naturally, though, my interest was drawn to the fact that one of the channels you can now communicate to customers with is....


I demonstrated this in a post on the Tropo blog, "How to Add Twitter Support to a App - Step by Step", where I hooked up the Twitter account @danweathertest to an existing Tropo sample app I had that retrieved weather info from Yahoo!Weather when given a US ZIP code. I tweaked the app a bit and wrote about the tweaking in "An Example of How to Make a Tropo App Respond Differently to Different Channels (including Twitter)".

The cool part is that when it was all done, that single application is reachable via any of these communication channels:

+1 (407) 374-3994
Skype: +99000936 9991438833
SIP: sip:[email protected]
INum: +883510001814088
SMS: (407) 374-3994
Jabber IM: [email protected]
Twitter: danweathertest

You can try it out by calling any of those numbers or using SMS, IM or Twitter. To use Twitter, just send a @ message to the Twitter ID "danweathertest" like this:

@danweathertest 32801

In a few moments you'll get back a summary of current weather conditions in whatever ZIP code you send it. Now the app isn't perfect... it doesn't do much in the way of error-checking and as I mention in the second blog post, I need to work on it a bit more to get rid of the initial prompt if you send it a ZIP code. I don't honestly know what it will do if you send it a bogus ZIP code. It's just a simple demo app designed to get people thinking about what you can do with apps that plug in to Twitter.

Want to try out building some apps yourself? Just head over to and sign up for a free developer account. You can look at the many sample apps or, if you know python, you're welcome to play with the code to my sample weather app. (And if you don't know python you're of course welcome to play with the code, too... ) Have fun with it... I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with. (And I'll be writing more about Twitter apps soon...)

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Out at VoiceCon next week in SF - Presence, Web 2.0, Voice Mashups

voiceconsf2009.jpgIf any of you will be out at VoiceCon or Enterprise 2.0 next week in San Francisco, I'll be out there speaking at both conferences. I have the full schedule in a post on the Voxeo Talks blog, but for VoiceCon it looks like:
Monday, Nov 2 3:15 – 4:15 pm – Presence – Current Progress and Future Trends Wednesday, Nov 4 3:15 – 4:15 pm – Developing Voice Apps Using Mashups and SOA Thursday, Nov 5 8:00 – 9:45 am – Web 2.0 and Enterprise Communications – Fad or the Future?

The full descriptions can be found on a page on our Voxeo Events page. I'm very much looking forward to all three sessions out there. The first is a "reactor panel" where we have a discussion around the issue of getting richer presence info between systems - and moderator Don Van Doren specifically asked me to be there to react to what the larger vendors will be saying. The second panel is just two of us (myself and a gent from IBM) talking about creating mashups and then the last is a "Deep Dive" that Irwin Lazar and I will be doing into what is the state of "Web 2.0 in Enterprise Communications".

Should all be fun.... if you are out there at either conference, let me know. See some of you out there...

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Speaking at the Enterprise 2.0 conference this week in Boston

enterprise20-2009-boston-1.jpgThis week, I (Dan York) am at the Enterprise 2.0 conference today through Thursday at the Westin Boston Waterfront in downtown Boston. The keynote panel I'm on, The Future of Social Messaging in the Enterprise, doesn't happen until Wednesday morning at 9:15am... but I came down early as a good number of the sessions are of interest.

If you are at the show and would like to say hello, please do email me. I expect to also be posting updates to Twitter on both danyork and voxeo.

You can also follow along with the conference "backchannel" on Twitter by following the hashtag "#e2conf". Here's an easy search URL:

I expect to have a very cool Voxeo announcement out on Wednesday, too... but more on that then... ;-)

P.S. And why do I do the silly "I (Dan York)" construction at the beginning of this post? Because I see my content being scraped and so "I" alone doesn't make sense in other places the content winds up :-)

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My new role at Voxeo: Director of Conversations

voxeologo.gifTwo weeks ago, I took on a new role within Voxeo, but rather ironically I've just been too straight out to write about the role change with the launch, our activities at eComm and, well, the new role itself. I've given some teasers in my Twitter stream, told a number of folks out at eComm and outright gave it away in my weekly report into FIR #426, but I haven't written about it. Some of you may laugh, but I also, quite frankly, find it a bit odd to write about, well, me. I prefer to tell the story, rather than to be the subject.

When I joined Voxeo back in October 2007, I wrote about the move and said that a part of my role in the Office of the CTO was this: Basically I get to help tell Voxeo's story. And for the past 1.5 years I've been doing that through blog posts and podcasts over on, through my external blogging, through my many presentations at all sorts of conferences, through Twitter and Facebook and probably a hundred other venues and services.

Now, though, telling Voxeo's story is no longer a part of my role... it is my role.

After four years in "strategic technology" roles where "social media" was a part of my role, I'm now shifting to head up Voxeo's marketing/communications/PR/AR/events/etc. - not just the "social media" but all of the traditional media and channels as well.

Those of you who know me may not view this as a big shift - I've always had one foot in technology and one foot in communications/marketing/PR. Even in my online writing. Just look at Disruptive Telephony and Blue Box on one side - and Disruptive Conversations and my weekly reports into For Immediate Release on the other. My job roles over the years have oscillated between those poles, sometimes heavily into tech, sometimes heavily into communications... very often a strong combination of both.

With this new position, obviously, communications/marketing/PR is front and center, but of course in 2009 in the Era of Search, SEO, social media and information self-service - technology plays a strong role.

I'm looking forward to it. Voxeo has some great stories to be told. There are some great conversations out there to engage in. Communities to help foster. I have an awesome staff to work with (who, like me, are distributed all around geographically). I report directly to a CEO who twitters, uses Facebook and is heavily into SEO. I am surrounded by some truly amazing people doing incredible work. It will be fun and frustrating and joyous and overwhelming and all the other polarities that come with intense jobs.

As to the job title, Director of Conversations, it's really a recognition that in the Age of Google and Facebook and reviews (in iTunes, Amazon, etc.) and Twitter and everything else, what we think of as "marketing" is increasingly all about joining into all the various conversations that are happening out there. Ten years later, many of the theses of Cluetrain are more true than ever. The conversations are happening. Our challenge is to find the most appropriate ways to join in.

That's the news... with that out now I can thankfully get back to the regular storytelling of this blog...

P.S. One amusing aspect of this new role is that it is now a zillion times easier to explain what I do. The title may be "different", but saying you "head up marketing/communications/PR" is more understandable to most people than saying you "explore and analyze how both the ways in which we communicate and the tools we use are changing and then write/speak/talk about those changes both publicly and to the company and customers" (my previous OCTO role). :-)

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