What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby onocoffee on Fri May 09, 2008 9:23 pm

onocoffee wrote:This paranoia worries me. Maybe it's time to separate yourself from the SCAA and refocus on yourself, your family and your business.


I've had a few hours to reconsider this response and recognize that this is a comment that should be said between friends and not here in a public setting.

My apologies, Nick.

We'll continue a discussion elsewhere.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Matt Riddle on Sat May 10, 2008 2:23 pm

onocoffee wrote:Are you asking this because this topic is so sensitive that it needs to be kept secret?
No. I was asking because if, as you say, it was a simple question with a simple answer then it would have been just as easy to contact the source of the issue directly instead of lobbing up something for the peanut gallery to spin their wheels on.

If the answer you got from the source was deemed worthy of scandal, then fine, bring Dateline, Geraldo, or E! and expose it.

You should also remember that this was an SCAA sponsored endeavor, so why would it be an issue if a board member chose not to have someone on their team that was so critical of their efforts in the past? They foot the bill, they get to call the shots.


Perhaps my original responses were just me forcing some sort of negative tone on your comments that were not intended to be there. It's the int0rwebs, so that tends to happen. If that's the case...Sorry about that.
Last edited by Matt Riddle on Sat May 10, 2008 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby malachi on Sat May 10, 2008 4:44 pm

Robert Goble wrote: When you write on this board - start writing as yourself. You can start by including more details about who you are and what you do for a living (like everybody else here) so we can better hold you accountable for the things you say in this forum.


You mean as Ben Szobody (see his sig)?

Anyway...

1 - I see no problem at all with the SCAA saying they want to determine who is going to write for "their" blog. Nor do I see any problem with them excluding people who could be critical of them.
2 - But... This is called "marketing" or "PR" and no-one should confuse it with journalism.
3 - Ben posts as himself and a lot of us know who he is and what he does for a living. It's not like it's a secret (just following the links in his sig for a whole lot more information on him than most people who post here).
4 - I do, honestly, feel that the SCAA would benefit from external (independent) voices. This probably doesn't come as a shock to those who have, in the past, heard me describe that insular, secretive and borderline corrupt organization as "Kremlin-esque".
5 - The SCAA blog was actually great fun (and great marketing). I think it absolutely should continue to be run at major events. I think the folks working on it did a great job.
6 - I wish there had been more "snarky-ness" and more gossip and dirt -- but you're not going to get that from marketing (and this ties into point 4 above as well).
7 - At the end of the day, the chat was more fun than the blog.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby nick on Sat May 10, 2008 10:23 pm

Thanks to all for the positive feedback. The blog was the highlight of Conference for me this year, and it's a great "feel-good" endeavor that feels even better in light of the great response that we've gotten. As Ric wrote, this is the sort of stuff that the SCAA should be doing more of, and all signs show that more will indeed come. The best part was the team itself. We shared more than one meal together, and everyone on the team is a superstar in their own right.

(we've arranged for the WBC to have a live feed, FYI)

To clarify, and as I wrote before, I talked to Ben about being on the team. In the end, we decided that it would be wise to put together the team as we did. Many weeks before the blog-team was assembled, Ben shared with me many links to his "day-job" work, including a GREAT interview with one Barry Obama. We've shared some good I.M. conversations, and I have lots of respect for Ben and his talents. He wasn't "cut," he wasn't "excluded." I get what Riddle was trying to express, but it wasn't the Ben "was so critical of [SCAA] efforts in the past." As I said, it was unfortunate that Ben wasn't included in the final iteration.

That said, for next year, I'd expect to see a more diverse blog-team, more pre-planning (for a wider swath of coverage), and more coordination with the folks planning the events. Oh... and less "warbly" audio on the live feeds. :P

Thanks again, and I hope that people are able to see that the SCAA is absolutely committed to reaching out in new and innovative ways. How so? Because the SCAA is me, the SCAA is the blog team, and the SCAA is every member... and our members have great things to contribute. (shill over :D)


Update: Be sure to check out the "unofficial" Barista Confessionals that Zachary did, in addition to James and Meister's blogs.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby onocoffee on Sat May 10, 2008 11:10 pm

Matt Riddle wrote: I was asking because if, as you say, it was a simple question with a simple answer then it would have been just as easy to contact the source of the issue directly instead of lobbing up something for the peanut gallery to spin their wheels on.

If the answer you got from the source was deemed worthy of scandal, then fine, bring Dateline, Geraldo, or E! and expose it.


I don't know if it's worthy of a "scandal."

But it's obviously raised a bit of something since so many seem to be so intent on making it seem as though I'm trying to raise a scandal.


Matt Riddle wrote:You should also remember that this was an SCAA sponsored endeavor, so why would it be an issue if a board member chose not to have someone on their team that was so critical of their efforts in the past? They foot the bill, they get to call the shots.


Is it an "issue"?


Matt Riddle wrote:Perhaps my original responses were just me forcing some sort of negative tone on your comments that were not intended to be there. It's the int0rwebs, so that tends to happen. If that's the case...Sorry about that.


No worries.

I'm just disappointed that we're not able to read the online chats that seem to have been the real benefit of the coverage.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby nick on Sun May 11, 2008 5:58 am

onocoffee wrote:I'm just disappointed that we're not able to read the online chats that seem to have been the real benefit of the coverage.

You're too quick to be disappointed--assume nothing.

But "real benefit?" :?
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Rich Westerfield on Sun May 11, 2008 9:05 am

This is a sidebar convo, but if it's possible at future venues, free wireless (sponsored or not) within the hall and competition area (and perhaps parties) would be really useful for getting more folks involved in blogging sessions, events and exhibits, whether part of the "official" crew or not. That'll give plenty of "outsiders" an opportunity to cover what they find interesting. This could be bolstered by the wiki (actively promoted beforehand) where those interested in covering certain sessions/events can raise their hands and self-organize.

There are plenty of people here who "get it" and many of them were on the SCAA blog team. But there are more out there that could be utilized. I'd like to reiterate that when I talk to conference producers on social network applications at their events, the most impactful part of the presentation is when I show them examples of consumer generated video of tradeshows vs. the packaged stale crap they invest in from their PR and marketing departments - or even their own attempts at "consumer(like)-generated video".

Point is, I think if SCAA encouraged more video/blog/twitter/etc. participation from everyone in attendance we all might be surprised at what comes from it. I imagine Nick and team already know this, but I get a sense, rightly or wrongly, that there's still a lot of top-down thinking on the subject instead of embracing the entire community. That's quite common with pretty much all associations with few exceptions (ASAE being a notable innovator) and SCAA certainly deserves credit for taking this first step. Maybe it's not in the interest of SCAA to be as open as, say, Gnomedex, but on the other hand, why not?

It doesn't matter whether Ben, or anyone else, is part of the official team. If we get to a point where everyone is encouraged to participate and publish, it then becomes a matter of not who's on what team, but what channel we want to turn to.

Yeah, I know wireless is a revenue stream for the facilities. And so what.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby bz on Sun May 11, 2008 11:22 am

nick: your first response was more accurate, from my perspective.

tacy: we've never chatted, and i often wonder where you're coming from. but you nicely parse the issues here. i never begrudged the scaa the ability to call their own shots. i DO wonder, more broadly speaking, what kind of coverage people really want. obviously, some of the more recent posts in this thread offer some specifics on that front.

rich: now that's what i'm talking about. excellent ideas. the wireless capability really is the enabler here. one reason i, for one, haven't done more intensive coverage of recent competitions/events is that a shocking number of the venues still aren't wireless capable. if you're interested in engaging the public (which is in the mission statement for barista comps), then communication, i.e. wireless should be an obvious part of it.

twittering: an awesome possibility, particularly if you could aggregate the twitters in one place.

both rich and tacy essentially get at what most concerns me -- that regardless of who's on the official team, all points of view are valued by those whose visions and actions shape this movement. as evidence by comments here, there's an appetite for straight-laced, even stenographic, all-positive promotion, and an appetite for snark, gossip and irreverence. the preference for one or the other actually seems to be a generational thing (no surprise there). i'd hate to see any approaches muscled out.

even if organizers don't intend to, the scarcity of media credentials, for example, has this effect. should there be credentials for bloggers/enthusiasts? it's an idea that dates back several years. these aren't attendees with lots of buying power for exhibitors, but they do offer exponentially more exposure for the event. you could make a real value argument there.

even more powerful could be an aggregation service -- a place where the disparate coverage is bundled for people, even categorized or linked in a way that newbies, family members, insiders and junkies could all gravitate toward what appeals to them. this could be as simple as an aggregation blog (someone whose job it is to link to everything) or a custom, automatic search engine results page.

gotta say: with the wbc in atlanta next year, i'm already brainstorming the possibilities.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby James Hoffmann on Sun May 11, 2008 12:00 pm

Talking tech for a minute - I'd be interested in how people want to read about these sort of events. Were people using feedreaders, were they reading on the scaa page or the wordpress page. It is possible to have it all in one place - blog, feed, chat etc?

Blogging the show this year was a great experience but I think we were all aware that this hadn't been done before and we were kind of making it up as we went along. FInding tone, finding a way to cover as much as possible and being surprised at the lack of initial interaction. I was quite surprised at how few people were commenting or offering suggestions considering the visitor count compared to our own blogs and the number of comments we get there.

Next year's will be much, much better - more focused and more responsive to the audience and perhaps will take greater advantage of technologies to cover things more efficiently.

And all hail the Cho-cam!
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby bz on Sun May 11, 2008 4:38 pm

it's definitely possible to have it all in one place. to me, it would be irresistibly dynamic to run a group twitter feed alongside, with perhaps dozens of people filing cell phone dispatches to give a spice of the show/competition floor. from the most mundane to breaking news.

combine that with an original content blogger, an aggregator of outside content and live streaming with chat and you've got multimedia community. you could do it all on one page, but even two "places" would be cool. one for the official coverage, say, and the other community generated.

this doesn't mean that everyone contributes to one central site, but that whatever goes on at individual blogs/twitter sites would be bundled by someone who's "tuned in." that way the scaa capitalizes on the online dynamism about its show, and indie bloggers still get their page views.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Peter G on Sun May 11, 2008 4:52 pm

This has turned into an interesting discussion about media....

I strongly agree with the perspective that information from a diversity of sources is the way to go. Over the years, we've seen coffee media multiply like crazy- in the old days it used to be just Tea and Coffee Journal. Now, there are a multitude of print journals, a seemingly infinite amount of blogs, a variety of magazines, podcasts, discussion boards, specialized websites....wow.

We have all sorts of folks reporting on the annual SCAA event. We have the PR from the organization itself. We have the trade pubs. We have had (for a number of years) Mark Prince's informative and interesting daily reports from the SCAA show. We have bloggers. We have positive voices. We have critical voices. And these are proliferating every year. It's great, and it all enhances the effect of the conference, sending waves of coffee information and interaction out through the tubes of the internet onto the glowing screens of coffeephiles all over the planet. Many of the blogger community are very focused on the Barista comps and barista culture (zacharyzachary, twitchy, jimseven, etc. etc.) however coffeegeek has always done a great job covering the show floor and classes, and this year we even had some action from the sustainability-blog community (coffee and conservation, coffee politics)....

On "insider vs. outsider"- I consider this whole concept to be flawed. One person's "insider" is another person's "outsider". Who decides who is inside and who is outside? Many here seem to be using "outsider" as a synonym for "critical" or even "hypercritical", and "insider" as "anyone who has any connection with the SCAA, and is therefore presumably putting positive spin on everything". A strange kind of prejudice, one which seems to me to be untrue on its face.

Ben, however, makes a different, interesting distinction. His concept of a naive, completely green journalist without any specific connection to our industry, who is tasked with introducing our industry to the uninitiated public is interesting and compelling. He says it would be "hard" to do, and I agree, but it is nonetheless interesting. Over the years, the consumer-oriented SCAA reports that have surfaced on the internet have been interesting and enlightening to me.

I believe that the next few years will be a time of amazing proliferation of information about the coffee industry in general, including the SCAA. I hope we create an environment that encourages the diversity of voices. This is the responsibility of the SCAA, and it is the responsibility of each of us to be open to information sharing and transparency. I agree that universal wireless access is key to this kind of new media explosion, and I will do my best to make that happen in the two upcoming SCAA shows, which I am involved in planning (I am a big universal-access advocate anyways). Blogger press passes are an obviously good idea, except for the fact that almost EVERYONE has a blog these days. That's not to say it can't be done...

I won't let the opportunity pass to address Ben's point that I seem to prefer less "skewering and snark" in my media. That's true. I think the world is an uglier, stupider place since the advent of talk-radio-cable-news-everyone's-a-pundit-TMZ-gotcha-journalism which has taken over the mediawaves in the last couple of decades. I agree that people's appetite for such stuff is strong, but because people love it doesn't make it good. I strongly believe in critical journalism, hard journalism, smart journalism. Irreverence is a different thing, of course; satire is great and can be even more important than straight reportage. I agree with Ben, however, no approaches should be "muscled out", ever. I don't think there has ever been any movement or desire for that.

Putting my SCAA hat on here for a second: besides the wireless access and the desire for a single portal or aggregator or somesuch, are there any specific other suggestions that would help create fertile ground for diverse coverage in Atlanta and Anaheim? I know Cho is fired up to bring this to the next level, and I'd love to help if I could.

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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Mark Prince on Sun May 11, 2008 5:14 pm

Wireless access, or at the very least, wifi access site wide for press and bloggers, would be very much welcomed, Peter.

Let me give you two examples of where the lack of this created problems and expenses.

a) WBC 2005 Bern - for those who attended, one of the more shocking things was the cost of wifi in Switzerland in general, and at the convention in particular. I'm talking 10, 20 euro for only a few HOURS coverage. Even my hotel was 20 euro per day. I was hoping to live-report from the event a lot more than I did, but the prohibitive cost of doing so prevented it. Even so, by the time I was done with that European trip (Bern + Milan + Florence), and worked out the post-budget, I had spent over 250 euro on connectivity. It made my jaw drop.

b) SCAA Minneapolis. I had actually emailed Rick H. at the SCAA a few months before the show asking what the connectivity / wifi situation would be. I was told that there'd be wifi in the press room for sure, and around the convention in "hot spots". I asked if it was free, and was told "it should be". Once I got to the show, no free wifi (I found the SCAA 2008 spot near the barista comp on Sunday (!!)); there were several costly services though (priority net, the convention wifi service, also city wifi via USI), and in the press room - none, though RJ45 cables were available.

Regarding the press room. I'd highly recommend the SCAA buy a $99 Apple Airport Extreme and use it at functions like this in press rooms, etc. In fact, the SCAA could (I know, it's a few bux) buy 5, 10 Airport Extremes and put them strategically around conventions wherever you have your own RJ-connection. But at least one for the press room. It makes setting up a wifi network pretty painless. I brought my own AEX and used it in my hotel room. I was sorely tempted to bring it to the press room each day.

In the end, I'd bought multiple wifi connectivity; one for me, one for Beata, one on Friday for Liz, plus others for my multiple devices on Monday and Sunday (ie, if I wanted to twitter stuff from the cell phone, it wouldn't work unless I had two accounts because my notebook was "tied" to the account I paid for). I spent about $150 on connectivity for my team at this show, not including my hotel room.

It's been a long standing issue, and the reason why I didn't do probably 3x the updates I wanted to do at this and previous SCAA shows. We've tackled the methods to update CG instantly on this end (we can even email in blog entries) and the twitter feed was something I was hoping to have 20, 30 posts a day to; instead it was more like 3 or 4.

I'm hoping the SCAA does something to improve this next year. It'd be extremely helpful for those who want to cover the show. I spent too much time this show just looking for a signal. ;)

Again, some suggestions:

a) the SCAA buy one or more Airport Extremes from Apple. $99 each. Very versatile, and can also be used by staff and board members to create a wifi connection in their hotel rooms when not at conference (but I hope they don't get coopted for that purpose during conference!) Can also be very useful at the fall meetings, etc.

b) set up the wifi with passwords that only the press and bloggers (and staff) can have access to, so it's not wide open

c) be more clear with the press if there are public spots set up. Rick H. had no clue about the free hotspot near the USBC entrance, as an eg.

d) If at all possible, create localized wifi spots in parts of the convention hall that people covering the show are told about - even if it's only at a few locations (ie, wherever you have a lot of meeting tables), that would be a serious boon, and very welcome.

e) provide wifi access to those who are covering / promoting / reporting from the show. Make sure Rick H. knows about it :D

f) don't bury the press office in the bowels of the next convention hall ;)

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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby nick on Sun May 11, 2008 6:09 pm

Mark, but you mean "Airport Express," not "Extreme." (I have more than one of each, and the Extremes are $179) However, even as an Apple-guy, I don't see why $99 AX's need to be used when $30 Linksys or Belkin routers would suffice.

The connectivity issue is an interesting one. On the one hand, I see the value in helping those covering the Conference. On the other hand, I don't know if giving away wireless (I mean it isn't free... someone has to pay for it) is the best thing to do either.

A consolidated SCAA Blog project? Hrm. That's a tricky one. There's time for open/open-source, and there's time for well-managed and "closed." (i.e., you have Linux, you have Mac OSX). Both have their plusses, both have their minuses, and you may or may not be able to have it both ways. Hrm.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Marshall on Sun May 11, 2008 7:11 pm

As a lawyer and presenter I may spend more time than most Coffeeders with mom and pop entrepreneurs who are in serious need of better information. I hope the rush to provide barista coverage (and God knows we need it), doesn't leave out the very non-inside retailers who can't afford the trip, but really need access, both to the programming and the exhibits. They don't know a twitter from a tweeter, and they need our help.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Rich Westerfield on Sun May 11, 2008 7:44 pm

Peter G wrote:Putting my SCAA hat on here for a second: besides the wireless access and the desire for a single portal or aggregator or somesuch, are there any specific other suggestions that would help create fertile ground for diverse coverage in Atlanta and Anaheim? I know Cho is fired up to bring this to the next level, and I'd love to help if I could.


I'm of the opinion that the more info that's out there, the better for everyone - a taste of the convention this year could/should result in more registrations next year. On a macro level, the more accessible we can make useful information, the more we can improve coffee quality among member shops (and hopefully non-members who may/may not convert to members).

The coverage of the competition was excellent. The answer for "what else?" could be as simple as figuring out how to deliver that same level of excellence to sessions and the show floor for the next show and just giving it a try. In the case of the show floor especially, this could be a self-amortizing or even profitable venture (pay for exposure or sell ads in some type of daily wrap-up show). Of course any paid model would need to be supported by metrics. Conference can be trickier to figure out what meets the SCAA goals - at the end of the day, the education has value and should be paid for in some way, so free models might not be appropriate for many sessions as long as Conference registrations remain a key revenue source for the association. But offering some education on a free trial basis is a proven model to drive memberships/registrations.

Marshall wrote:I hope the rush to provide barista coverage (and God knows we need it), doesn't leave out the very non-inside retailers who can't afford the trip, but really need access, both to the programming and the exhibits. They don't know a twitter from a tweeter, and they need our help.


My experience with local coffee shop owners is that they either wish to be wired or they don't. With the ones that choose to be wired, it's often simply a question of compelling content - if it's out there they'll find it, although steps could be made to organize the content better.

For those that choose the Luddite path, I've tried to show a number of folks relatively simple things like using their MyYahoo! to page to capture feeds or how to download and play a podcast. Few wish to be bothered. Sad to say, I'm not all that convinced they'd even use a CD if a free one were offered. The folks that need our help have to be willing to meet us part way.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby bz on Sun May 11, 2008 8:13 pm

i agree with peter on many points, and am glad to see an embrace of diversity in media. a couple exceptions:

Ben, however, makes a different, interesting distinction. His concept of a naive, completely green journalist without any specific connection to our industry, who is tasked with introducing our industry to the uninitiated public is interesting and compelling.


this isn't exactly what i was talking about. a good journalist could do this job, cold turkey, but i was thinking more of the handful of pro journalists around who have a foot in both worlds. they DO understand this coffee community, to some degree, but aren't vested in it on a professional level. they "get it," but could also be uniquely positioned to present it to the world without being conflicted. and no, i'm not talking about myself here.

Many here seem to be using "outsider" as a synonym for "critical" or even "hypercritical", and "insider" as "anyone who has any connection with the SCAA, and is therefore presumably putting positive spin on everything".


that's not remotely what i was talking about. i see "insiders" as being a very fractious, diverse lot in themselves -- many of them critical. simply put, they're in the biz, they're in the rumor mill, they go to all the same parties and events, they have financial ties. an outsider would be some one with a passion for coffee, but who, frankly, is largely unawares of the politics, the inner workings and the frequent inward focus of it all.

I won't let the opportunity pass to address Ben's point that I seem to prefer less "skewering and snark" in my media. That's true. I think the world is an uglier, stupider place since the advent of talk-radio-cable-news-everyone's-a-pundit-TMZ-gotcha-journalism which has taken over the mediawaves in the last couple of decades. I agree that people's appetite for such stuff is strong, but because people love it doesn't make it good. I strongly believe in critical journalism, hard journalism, smart journalism.


you referred to me with the TMZ tag earlier, and i called it "fair," because i thought, "i know what he means." but now i'm not so sure. as a career mainstream journalist with a background in business and politics, i wholeheartedly agree with the deplorable effect of gotcha journalism, insta-punditry and manufactured sensations on the culture and important issues. it's not something i ever intend to be a part of, anywhere -- even on a site meant to be an off-hours, off-the-cuff riff on the third wave. you're the only person i've heard come close to making such an allegation, and i take it seriously. but in the interest of making sure that this thread doesn't (heaven forbid) pivot back toward my personal blogging style, i'll perhaps further this part of the discussion offline.

more fertile ground for diverse coverage: i'd think seriously about pre-promotion of the event's coverage. in other words, prime people for this stuff. allow time for word to spread. from what i can tell, the live feed for the usbc wasn't really promoted anywhere, and yet the reaction was hundreds of people tuning in by the finals. with some added front-end muscle behind all the coverage options (even early info for bloggers and others to start linking to), a much wider audience could be reached by all involved. heck, teach people how to twitter.
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby onocoffee on Sun May 11, 2008 8:18 pm

Marshall wrote:As a lawyer and presenter I may spend more time than most Coffeeders with mom and pop entrepreneurs who are in serious need of better information. I hope the rush to provide barista coverage (and God knows we need it), doesn't leave out the very non-inside retailers who can't afford the trip, but really need access, both to the programming and the exhibits. They don't know a twitter from a tweeter, and they need our help.


I think there's great opportunity for the SCAA to use the Internet and generate additional revenue.

Many retailers are in serious need of basic business and management information. So many of them are just making it up as they go along. Perhaps a business/retail track of seminars that are captured on video and offered for paid distribution via the Internet.
Jay Caragay

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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby nick on Sun May 11, 2008 9:19 pm

Two quick thoughts before hitting the sack:

1) Rich, at the risk of sounding condescending, that last post of yours is the best thing I've ever read from you on Coffeed. Great post. I'm with you 100%.

2) I hate Twitter. :evil:
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Peter G on Sun May 11, 2008 9:32 pm

Hey Ben-

I think I am understanding you.

On the criticisms of "gotcha" journalism, I wasn't lumping you (bz, CI) in that camp. I was responding to the "Peter doesn't like skewering and snark" thing. I was (and am) trying to respect your desire to leave you out of this discussion. I regrettably used the TMZ comparison both times. In the first case, (when I was comparing CI) I was referring to style. The second time, I was talking about content. I don't blame you for thinking I was referring obliquely to you, but I wasn't. I was taking the opportunity to soapbox about the dastardly effects of insane media (talk radio, FOX news, etc.) on our culture, which I compulsively do since being torn apart on this very discussion board a few years ago. I blame Bill O'Reilly, and I haven't let it go yet. Anyway, I wasn't thinking of CI or you in my rant. I get CI, and have come to love it. Maybe we can talk about it on another thread?!?

Anyway, you have an interesting point about the potential for a relatively disconnected journalist to do some good research and writing. Trouble is, we keep inviting every journalist who shows up to the parties!! I mean, look what happened to Michaele Weissman!

On the comments by others, I'm not sure if everyone is aware that the entire contents of the conference is available for $299. Marshall, does that help with the folks you were talking about? I agree that we need focus on the show floor and conference. Nick and the bloggers made a valiant effort at documenting at least some of the show floor and educational sessions, but it must have been tough: those aren't the easiest things to cover- not much action. Not so sexy. Watching Nick interview the UCC woman was priceless, though. (aside: did anyone else notice that Nick seemed to choose the most challenging interviewees on the show floor?)
Jay, I am with you that young retailers need business coaching more than anything. It's a constant topic....

This is very valuable discussion for me folks, thanks.

Peter
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Mark Prince on Sun May 11, 2008 9:56 pm

nick wrote:2) I hate Twitter. :evil:


Ahhh you only hate twitter cuz you haven't embraced it yet ;)

But seriously, I don't like most twitters out there too because they're full of really useless, boring info... "I just got out of the shower"... "I'm late for work, grrr"... "oh look, there's a duck crossing the street".

However, Twitter can be both a powerful marketing tool, and a good communication tool when used right.

One eg of how the SCAA could use Twitter next year: blast out tweets about upcoming seminars (as in the ones happening in the next 30 mins); I know I'd subscribe just for that - subscribe to say a consumer "track" twitter feed and stay on top of all the educationals; sometimes we need reminding just before. Or we'll be in one seminar, and find it boring, and check our twitter feed for what else is playing *right now*.

There's lots of other possibilities. instant comm, the option for those receiving your tweets to have them received via sms as well as web, etc etc.

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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Mark Prince on Sun May 11, 2008 10:00 pm

nick wrote:Mark, but you mean "Airport Express," not "Extreme." (I have more than one of each, and the Extremes are $179) However, even as an Apple-guy, I don't see why $99 AX's need to be used when $30 Linksys or Belkin routers would suffice.


Sorry, not down on my Mac vernacular yet ;)

I did mention the Airport EXPRESS though because it's one of the easier ones to daisychain / create Wide Area Networks with; also, it's self contained, no extra cords, power bricks or attennas, and it's small.

But Belkin also has a pretty simple "expand network option" too, you just have to dig for it through the on-board html. Apple's Airport wifi utility is pretty sweet and simple.

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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Marshall on Sun May 11, 2008 10:41 pm

Peter G wrote:On the comments by others, I'm not sure if everyone is aware that the entire contents of the conference is available for $299. Marshall, does that help with the folks you were talking about?

Of course, it helps, Peter. But, I think we all recognize that airfare, hotels, meals out, taxis and time away from the shop are big obstacles for many members. I'm not sure what Rich meant by "wired," but, I'll assume most members are wired enough to have DSL and know how to use IE.

I am not for a minute suggesting they are mutually exclusive, but, I'm pretty sure that most SCAA members would be even more grateful for webinar access to the educational programs than for the other coverage suggested in this thread. What do SCAA's member surveys say?
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Peter G on Mon May 12, 2008 1:02 am

Marshall-

The audio recordings of all the SCAA educational sessions are available on CD-ROM for $299. No hotel rooms necessary. They can order it and have it sent to their house. Not quite a webinar, but next best I suppose.

PG
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby bz on Mon May 12, 2008 8:26 am

you don't have to like twitter for it to be a really useful thing. twitter offers a nice little widget that can be embedded in the rail of a blog or site, where you can see the latest dispatches without surfing to any other page. you could conceivably combine dozens of twitter feeds in such a scrolling box, for an at-a-glance show floor snapshot without surfing anywhere or wading through sometimes inane feeds. it could be unobtrusive, live and useful.

thanks, peter, for the clarifying remarks. i appreciate your willingness to engage on some substantive media issues here.

the co-opting of outside journalists in third wave parties ... funny, and actually an interesting point. the barriers of entry are still so low in this "wave," and the appeals and personalities so numerous, that it's incredibly hard not to just become a hanger-on, or a de facto insider. not that there's anything wrong with that, i guess. it's just an interesting gravitational pull ...
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Re: What's Missing from the SCAA Blog?

Postby Aldo1 on Mon May 12, 2008 9:15 am

I am resisting the temptation to note that Pittsburgh offers visitors free wireless in the convention center area.
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