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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at joelkellyATgmail.com

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things I couldn't live without

My video podcasts. Even though I feel like I'm working 24/7 nowadays, I still make sure I make time to watch The Totally Rad Show, Diggnation, Webb Alert, and others.

And yet I don't feel that way at all about anything on TV. Even Lost, which I'd watched religiously, doesn't command that kind of ritual anymore. I haven't watched Battlestar Galactica, which is my favorite show on TV right now, for the last three weeks. I didn't even realize that The Office was back on.

I'm not sure whether that says something good about the future of new media, or something really, really bad about the state of television. Or maybe it can be both.

I wrote about my favorite video podcasts on YouMakeMedia.com a while ago:
Play Digital, Totally Rad Show, Webb Alert, Web Drifter, Vegan A Go-Go, Geek Brief TV, BoingBoing TV

Am I alone in this, or does the Internet really provide a better video entertainment experience now?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Unfriend Someone Today

How-To Unfriend Someone Now Available

What utility is a social network if you can't use it to be genuinely social, to actually experience it as a gathering of friends? If you are using social networks as a competition, taking the Pokemon-ish "Gotta catch 'em all" approach, at what point is it still useful to you?

Can you be honest with your status updates? Do you have to wonder whether the pictures you post might be incriminating? Is your profile wide open for the world to view and judge?

I'm not advocating being paranoid about what you do online. I'm suggesting that you arrange your online affairs in such a way that you don't have to be paranoid. "Friend" doesn't mean "acquaintance whose name you can barely recall." It means someone you care about, someone you care about knowing and dealing with on a regular basis. Someone you can count on and can count on you.

Social networks become a liability when you constantly have to maintain relationships out of obligation instead of interest.

If you had a personal crisis dealing with a sensitive personal issue and you needed to contact your all close friends right away, could you post it as your Facebook status? Or would you have to manually select which of your "Friends" are actually close enough to you to learn about it, and send them a Message instead?

Then how is Facebook any better than an email list?

Unfriend someone today. It's good for you.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ajax Expectations

If a user clicks on an image on your website, what does she expect to happen? You should know this, or at least give it some serious thought.

Because, likely, she doesn't expect her screen to be grayed out and have an ajax-loaded larger image slowly appear over top of the page. She doesn't expect to have to sit through a similar animation every time she selects a new picture.

Your site needs to manage your users' expectations. When your user clicks on an image in a gallery he expects to have it load promptly, in a manner that lets him quickly navigate away from it when he realizes it wasn't what he thought it was, and quickly select the image he was actually looking for.

Unless your website is your portfolio, it's not a presentation. So people expect an experience that they'll define, not one that includes a flashy use of javascript for its own sake.

If an animation or graphical element doesn't improve the experience for the user it necessarily detracts from it. Because they don't care about that it looks neat or that you couldn't do it without Flash before. Only you do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Get rid of your splash page

It's just a speed bump. It's an obstruction.

It's bad for the user.

It's a sign that says, "Turn back, because this is how the rest of your experience will be."

Just get rid of it, okay?

Oh, and if you have a splash page that says, "Loading," what are you doing? You're saying, "Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to come to my website. You didn't have to, you probably didn't even need to. You just wanted to. Now wait, dammit."

And if you need a more tangible business-related reason to get rid of it: It's bad for SEO, all right?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lessons My Facebook Taught Me

It's only been a few years since people en masse started using Facebook, and probably only about a year since everybody started using it.

For now, you can get away with your company website being Flash-only, being an entirely creator-defined experience. For now you can have splash pages and a navigation that doesn't allow for tabbing, and un-copyable images.

For now.

Eventually people who've had their internet experience defined by Facebook are going to expect this experience to come with them across the web. They'll expect interaction and control over their experience on your website, too.

People will expect websites to deliver what they want, what they're looking for, when they want it. They won't watch your intro, they won't send your link to their friends if they can only link to the first page. Don't expect them to.

Are you ready for that? Have you come to terms with that yet? Or are you still designing or commissioning websites with splash pages (speed bumps and warning signs that tell your users to turn back now), and single-page Flash-only sites that don't allow for direct linking to content?

How long do you think that can last?

Not long enough to justify still doing it.