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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

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why I unfollowed a couple people this weekend

They weren't posting much that I was interested in. So I didn't feel like following them on twitter anymore.

That is all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My interview about unfriending and unfollowing

I was interviewed earlier today over at about unfriending, unfollowing, and managing your social network contacts. Please check out the video here.

Thanks for having me on the show, Giles!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Superbowl half-time shows suck

The music acts are so uncontroversial now that nobody cares enough to be able to hate them, which means nobody loves them.

You only watch it because it's on.

I was reading Stuart's blog yesterday about the personal/professional separation and he said that you have to put yourself into your work. You have to have enough personality that people can actually like you, which means that some people are going to hate you.

Most of us get that in our day-to-day lives, but how many businesses will see it the same way? If you want people to love your company you have to accept that some people are going to hate it. If nobody hates you then you're probably boring. And you're giving people nothing worth loving.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Conversation is the real king -- a continuation

Last week Marc on twitter said that "conversation is the equivalent of a processes/transforms content but with out the wood the saw is not needed."

I really can't agree. It feels to me like a underestimation of what conversation is and how it relates to marketing especially. The content is the wood, the conversation is the building it makes. The building materials aren't king, the building itself is.

I'd posted a quote from Cory Doctorow stating that content isn't king, conversation is. I suggested that this applied to marketing because content should be created with a view to inspiring and participating in conversation, making the conversation the king.

This was met with some strong disagreement. Some very spirited, uh, conversation.

The content I created was only a couple paragraphs long, but the conversation it sparked continued for days, and in fact is still a subject of some discussion here at the office.

Such little content, such a huge conversation. The conversation has taken on a life of its own, has become so much more important than the content ever was.

To suggest that the content is the "king" here, the important bit, is to totally misunderstand the power and expansiveness of conversation. Carman reminded me yesterday that my little bit of content was my contribution into a much larger conversation about content (Cory had already written about it, and people talk about content being king all the time), and it sparked even more conversation on the subject.

The content itself served only to encourage more conversation. The conversation was the point, it was the goal, and the content was written merely to help it along. It served a larger beast. It wasn't king at all.

So how does this apply to marketing? Well, let's take the swine flu, shall we? Marc suggested that the difficulty in getting people to stop calling it that (and refer to it instead as H1N1) is due to the power of that "content."

But the content is a mere two words. The conversation surrounding how we talk about pigs, the conversations we have at work reinforcing the naming, the jokes we make about how weird the name sounds, etc etc, hold the real power. To change that is to change massive conversation, to reverse the effects of millions of discussions.

The content started it, but it holds no power. The conversation changes minds.

But not all content is created to spark conversation, right? It's just meant to teach, or change minds, or inform. Well, you might have written it for that purpose, but what you've done is created content that's by definition unremarkable. If nobody wants to talk about your content it isn't very good. So sure, you might make content like that, but why would you? If you're creating content to teach or inform and nobody uses that content to teach someone else, or contribute to a conversation about it, or use it in future discussions, you've created useless content.

But the content came first and it sparked the whole discussion, so it's king, right? It's the important bit? That's like saying that because the plane got you to the Caribbean and it started the whole thing that it's "king", it matters most. Of course that's not true. The plane isn't the point, it's not the goal, it just gets you on the right track. It serves a higher power -- a vacation. And the value in vacations is, oh right, the conversation.

Tell me in the comments why I'm wrong and I'll write another post.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Content isn't king

Cory Doctorow once wrote, "Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about."

This applies so strongly to your marketing strategy. Is your ad just content, just a message telling people to buy what you're selling? That assumes that convincing people that your product is best is enough. But it's not.

Content isn't king, it's not the point. It's the conversation that surrounds your content that's important.

"But nobody's talking about my content," you say.

Well, that's bad. You should probably do something about it.