Testing TypePad's new TypePad Micro.


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Posted by Debbie Weil on December 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Christmas Boat

Christmas Boat
Originally uploaded by Joanna Young.
Love this photo

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Posted by Debbie Weil on January 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

This Blog Has Moved! Lots of Changes: New House, New Site, New Thinking

Note: As of July 28, 2008 this blog has moved. Please go to www.debbieweil.com/blog for the latest updates.

My new integrated blog / site went live today at www.debbieweil.com. The first thing you'll notice over on the new site is the lack of clutter. The talented folks at Viget convinced me that less is more.

Blogclutter_2 So... no endless stack of widgets in the right-hand column. No "Digg this" or "Technorati" icons under each blog entry. We thought about this long and hard and I'm glad we did it this way. Note that there are icons for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and del.icio.us  in the footer of each page.

It's been a busy year. We moved to a much smaller house, decluttering and downsizing after 20 years. We love it! No regrets. Finally, I'm thinking about a new direction for my business. I'll continue to consult and speak in the meantime. Stay in touch!

If you see anything amiss on the new site, do let me know. We're still working out a few kinks. If you're curious, the new site is built on Expression Engine.

I'd love hear from you

Please leave your blog comments here.

Contact me here.


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Posted by Debbie Weil on July 29, 2008 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Fictional Interlude... Life on the Coast of Maine

Fog_maine I wake to dense fog pleasantly and quietly cocooning our little house. All is not quiet, however. I can hear a fog horn punctuating the distance. A gull caws. Someone is hammering. A car goes by.

Our cottage is not as remote as I'd like (it's on the edge of town) but it's ours, all ours. And a place to think and read and write.


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Posted by Debbie Weil on July 14, 2008 in Writing Tips | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

WOM-in-a-Day in the Windy City

Wom_andy_2 My friend Andy Sernovitz had the clever idea of offering a one-day "crash course" in WOM (aka word-of-mouth marketing) in his home town of Chicago. The first one is coming up July 30, 2008. More info and other dates here.

Andy is the author of Word of Mouth Marketing and was founder of WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association). He's a great speaker and I expect this will be a fun as well as substantive event. He calls it "an active, intense day of practical brainstorming (not boring theory)."

Discount for blog readers

If you use the code "welovewordbiz" when you register you'll get $250 off.

And what is "wordbiz," you ask? It's the name of my longtime e-newsletter, WordBiz Report, which, I regret to say, I have not been publishing regularly. However, there are a ton of back issues here. And you can still get my 7 Tips to Write an Effective Business Blog report when you sign up.


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Posted by Debbie Weil on July 7, 2008 in Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

My Summer Reading List: Business and Pleasure

Groundswell_cover Here's a list in no particular order of the new (or recent) business books I've got lined up on my shelf for summer reading. I won't read most of these cover to cover. I'll skim, look for useful tidbits, consult the index, etc. I bet you read most business books the same way.

Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (comprehensive and spot on: what corporations need to know to understand and make use of social media)

Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (provocative: the essential ingredients that make some ideas take hold)

Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink (fun: it's in Japanese manga or comic book style)

Tunedin Tuned In by Craig Stull, Phil Myers & David Meerman Scott (provocative: how to identify what your market wants and then create products that resonate with them)

Wikinomics by Don Tapscott  and Anthony D. Williams (updated: new intro admits that first edition was sooo 2006)

Beyond Booked Solid by Michael Port (convincing & genuine: part 2 of his manifesto on how to grow & manage your consulting business)

Backofthenapkin The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam (cool: how to think and convey ideas visually)

Personality Not Included by Rohit Bhargava (innovative approach: great case studies paired with tools and guides for how to execute)

Secrets of Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by "Problogger" Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett (don't I wish... but there's some useful stuff in here)

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds (must read: my new bible for preparing presentations)

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky of Cognitive Surplus fame (everyone's talking about this one... just ordered it)

For pleasure

Counselor I'm reading Ted Sorensen's new book, Counselor, after hearing him speak at Carol Joynt's live Q & A Café (links to Part 1 of 5-part YouTube interview). For a guy who just turned 80, he is sharp, funny, fascinating. Sorensen was JFK's top aide and confidante in addition to being his speechwriter. Here's the NYTimes book review.

Also in my summer bookstack are The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski and Cost by Roxana Robinson.

What's on your bookshelf?


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Posted by Debbie Weil on June 26, 2008 in Book reviews | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Million Dollar Consultant Alan Weiss Says Social Media Is a Waste of Time for Consultants

One of the most animated discussions about social media I've seen is going on over at Alan Weiss's Contrarian Consulting blog.

His blog post titled Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Chance has sparked, as of this writing, 60 comments, many of them refuting Weiss's contention that social media (including blogs and Twitter) are a waste of time for consultants promoting professional services to corporate clients.

He also contends that "Blogs are only effective if you already have a brand... a blog follows a brand, not the other way around." Hmmm... not according to Robert Scoble.

Weiss is best known as the author of Million Dollar Consulting* as well as a host of other books and is a consultant (according to his About page) to dozens of Fortune 500 companies. He has a distinctive - some might call it abrasive - personality that seems to go over well with his C-suite clients. His over-the-top style is amusing in person (I've heard him speak) but I find his derogatory tone on his blog - specifically, in response to comments - off-putting.

First up to refute Weiss's low opinion of the business value of social media is Seth Godin.

Seth's feedback is followed by push-back comments from Yvonne DiVita of Lipsticking.com (hey nice re-design, Yvonne!), Tim Walker of Hoover's Biz, Paula Thornton of FASTForward, Mack Collier of The Viral Garden and many others whose blogs I was previously not familiar with. (Some are supportive of Weiss's position, noting that one shouldn't spend too much time on blogging, etc.)

It may be that Weiss is deliberately stirring the pot with phrases like "the Web is a good place to do research... but it's a lousy place to find and meet clients" and "I have no idea who Hugh McLeod is or Robert Scoble." The latter is the perfect bait, of course, for those of us who congregate in the social media space. But a good reminder that we are, to a certain extent, in our own bubble.

As he wrote in a companion post responding directly to Seth: "I seem to have struck a nerve, which is why blogging with a brand behind you is really quite effective." 

What do you think?

Which comes first, generally speaking: a brand or a blog? And, the central question, is social media effective at reaching a corporate audience if that's who your intended clients are??

Both the original post and his follow-up, along with the dozens of comments, are worth a read. I left a comment here.

Aside: oh and I heard about Weiss's post through a Tweet from Yvonne DiVita. Love that viral thing...

*Update and full disclosure: While I may sound critical of Weiss in this entry, his Million Dollar Consulting is one of the most useful books I've read about how to sell your services as a consultant. Focus on the value you're delivering. Never count hours or charge by the hour. Make a business case for what you can deliver. Once you've got your client on board, present your "fee" as an afterthought. The client will almost always bite, he contends.


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Posted by Debbie Weil on June 25, 2008 in Corporate Blogging , Social media | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

From BlogPotomac: KD Paine's Speaking Notes and Frank Gruber's List of Bright Shiny Social Media Tools

There was no PowerPoint at BlogPotomac, the unconference held here in DC last week. But two of our speakers have posted their presentation notes.

Kdpaine Measurement queen KD Paine posted her outline of 6 basic steps to measure communications online. Be sure to read also her post on "a new un-standard for social media measurement." She's one of the best out there when it comes to explaining - in persuasive, business terms - how to measure social media.

Frankgruber AOL's "Somewhat Frank" Frank Gruber posted an annotated list of social media tools (aka "bright shiny objects") that he uses on a weekly basis. Frank is a product developer for AOL. As such, it's his job to play with cool stuff. Lucky guy.

What's interesting about his list is that he divides the tools or apps into a number of categories beyond "video" and "photos." These include Communications, Storage, Content Discovery & Sharing, Analytics, News & Information Management, Search & Alerts, Lifestream Aggregators, Travel, Finance and Project Management.

There are a number I was not familiar with or have heard about but never tried. Note: some are still in beta. Here are a few that caught my eye:


TripIt (also see demo)

Lifestream Aggregator


Remembermilk To Do List

Remember the Milk (I used this a while back; am going to try it again. Frank notes that you can pull the To Do lists into your gmail account or iPhone with a pro account.)


Tumblr (Frank's write-up about Tumblr)

Content Sharing

Shareaholic (Firefox browser extension; more details in Frank's write-up)


Lijit (blog search engine with search analytics; more details from Frank)

FiltrBox (better than Google News Alerts, says Frank; still in beta. Use Frank's invite a friend code to sign up: https://www.filtrbox.com/signup.php?code=somewhatfrank)

Read Frank's complete list of "bright shiny objects" here.


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Posted by Debbie Weil on June 20, 2008 in Events , Social media , Tools | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Engaged Attendees "Walked" the Social Media "Talk" at BlogPotomac

At one point on Friday June 13, 2008, I looked around the packed Stage Theater, venue of BlogPotomac, and realized that virtually everybody was video interviewing or photographing each other. (Photo at left by Li Evans.)

In other words, they were walking the talk, or promise, of social media. Namely, everyone is a participant and - in the case of an unconference - what goes on in the audience is just as important as what's said on stage.

In addition to co-chairing the event with Geoff Livingston, my role was pretty simple: I introduced some of our terrific speakers and ran around with a mike to amplify audience questions or comments.

I did a bit of Twittering, got interviewed myself by Chris Parandian of Mobile Diner and Li Evans of Search Marketing Gurus, but stupidly forgot to bring my digital Flip camera. It's primitive, but good for 30 - 60 second interviews which can be uploaded to YouTube. (Photo by Li Evans.)

It was wonderful to leave it to the 150-plus attendees to co-create the content of our day-long event. They didn't disappoint.

(Note: it was a typically mixed crowd of DC-ers, from local marketing & PR agencies, to associations and non-profits, to several government agencies, including the EPA and the Pentagon.)

Herewith is a roundup of the digital trail produced by BlogPotomac (links courtesy of Geoff):

Thanks to our speakers and sponsors

Sincere thanks again to our engaging and provocative speakers: Lionel Menchaca of Dell, Dan Beyers of The Washington Post, Maggie Fox of Social Media Group, Jeremy Pepper of Boingo, Frank Gruber of AOL, KD Paine of KD Paine & Partners and Kami Huyse, social media consultant.

For more about our speakers, see the Q & A series I did on BlogPotomac.com.

Thanks also to our great line-up of sponsors: Viget Labs, Conference Calls Unlimited, GiantSticker.com, Social Media Club, Social Times, Edelman, Compendium Blogware, Network Solutions, PRSA National Capital Chapter, Boingo and ooVoo.

Take the BlogPotomac survey

If you attended the event, be sure to take the survey to help us prepare for BlogPotomac 2009.


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Posted by Debbie Weil on June 17, 2008 in Events , Social media | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Tim Russert We Will Miss You

Life - and death - move so quickly in the Internet age. Consummate American political journalist Tim Russert , best known as host of Meet the Press, died suddenly several hours ago of a heart attack in the Washington DC offices of NBC News.

The news was instantly all over Twitter, the social networking / micro blogging platform.

If you had any doubt that "new media" possesses as much gravitas as established MSM, take a look at his Wikipedia page, already updated in the past tense. He will be sorely missed here in D.C. as well as around the world.


Useful Link

More on the magic of Twitter (as it relates to Tim Russert) by Steve Gillmor


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Posted by Debbie Weil on June 13, 2008 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)