About the Author:

With a career that has spanned advertising, production, technical services, and project management, Michael is able to articulate the wide range skills and professions that make the Internet work. This eclectic understanding and his desire to shine the light on those hiding behind techno babble has brought success to a wide range of projects.

Twitter @bissell

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Past Postings:

Using Dissent To Enhance Your Social Influence Online

Industry Profile - Author

Industry Profiles Ė Full Time Employees - Professional Writer

Some Thoughts On Freelancing

Building Your Online Brand

Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce

LinkedIn for Professional Writers

Fake Republican Twitter Accounts

"Did you mean?" -- Google's chiding nanny of search results

Branded Technology

Sharingspree.com -- Stealing more than GroupOn's Idea

The Internet Isn't Entertaining Enough

It's not your bank... It's Apple's and Amazon's

Violated by Madison Avenue

Google+ Scares Me

"We need to..." Internet Marketing Myths

Facebook's deal with the Devil

My cool new phone is a little too cool.

You are never alone

Promotion vs. Distribution... You'd think they'd know that one...

Publishing Industry Watch

Content for Social Media

Social Media Slot Machine

Anonymous vs Me

News from the Twitter Follow Campaign Trail

The art of Indiscriminate Twitter Following

The Cloudy Meaning of The Cloud

The Demand For The Loss of Creativity

Alien Technology and Government Conspiracies

Time for a New Reality

The Death of Email

Protecting Free Speech... Anonymously (and geekily)

Amazon Shouldn't Have Shut Down WikiLeaks

The Superpowers of the Hive Mind

Time for New Ideas

Comcast, Netflix and the Mystery of the Modem

The Great Technical Disconnect

New for the Sake of New

A Retail Store Built Like the Web

Disposable Personas

When did Google Start Policing the Internet?

Getting back to HTML basics, thanks to Apple

Inspecting my Navel Base

A shoebox vs. an online backup

Is Your "Resume" Website Recruiter-friendly?

iBooks -- Creative Epicenter or Gatekeeper?

The Failure of Success

The Economy is Going to Get Worse, but that's okay

Time lost on Twitter

Client Vendor Relationships

Twitter's back alleys and dark places

Social Media is NOT Advertising

Microsoft Courier

Form (designers) versus Function (geeks)

PDXBOOM -- The power of social media and the portland pipe bomb

China and Apple -- Different organizations, same management

The volume of screens


Google Adds Biking Directions to Maps


That magical little tablet

How your website can be in two places at once

Masterpieces created by sheer volume

Suing over lack of originality

A Primer on Internet Fame -- dancing babies, hamsters, numa numa, and more...

Checking my messages

Rules are made to be broken -- in a reasoned, systematic way

So many accounts, so few passwords

Who really uses Twitter? 60% of Twitter's traffic isn't on Twitter

The Web is a Jerry Rigged Kludge

Twitter: Asleep at the Mouse Wheel

Where regulation is good: Google Voice and Vonage

How Facebook is (unintentionally) forcing programmers to piss off users

The Twit Cleaner

Perfect Secretary's pitch for @Adbroad (and the Youtube API)

The Emotions of Text

The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam

Google Analytics, the cloud and missing numbers #fail

Helen Klein Ross & Michael Bissell Interview at Adweek's Social Media Strategies Conference

The Internet is the New 60's

Cougars from New Zealand (and I don't mean big cats)

Adding facts together, or why you can't charge your cell phone from wifi

Social Media and the Destruction of the World

Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga

How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)

You can't buy social media

A book unopened is but a block of paper

Building the LOST: The Final Season Sweepstakes

Holiday SPAM (or the lack thereof)

Archiving Twitter

Too Many Toolbars

Random Censorship with Google Adwords

Accessibility and Shopping Online

Twisted path to customer service

Flash: Shiny objects blinding your audience

Twollow and other gold rush scripts

GPS in a Laptop computer

Thinking outside the box... There was a box?

Twitter was designed for Text Messaging

It's not the corporations, damnit

Entrepreneur or Dreamer?

Adweek Social Media Twitter for Brands Presentation

Socializing is more than Social Media

Generational Marketing is a Myth (or Who's your Daddy?)

Social Media is Just the Way We Use the Internet

Twitter Followers Don't Matter (ask the porn sites)

The Internet is Gooder than Books

Sometimes you don't want your campaign to go viral

Best Twitter Branding Campaign

Like flies to crap, Spammy Twitter Followers don't really go away

iPhone SMS Security Hole

How Flipmytweet works

Cell Phones as Microscopes

Digg is not the Hijacker -- You Are

Steve Ballmer -- the walking dead?

Twitter as an open mic poetry reading

Automatic Social [un]Awareness

New York, New York

First splash for United Against Malaria

New Media/Old Media and the CLIO Awards

Interview at SXSW: Mad Men Twitter And Tracking

We've got an App for that -- it's called the Web

Understanding Google To Get Your Resume Noticed

Made it to SXSW in Austin

The trouble with Wordpress and other templates

Wayward Words with Baggage

Speaking at SXSW March 17th

The fleeting Memory of the Internet

It's okay to say 'I don't know'

Good Morning America, now Go Fight Traffic

More surreality in Portland

Nike Takes Over Conquent

Facebook owns this title

Excuses, excuses

A little on Social Media

Feeding on Content

Attack of the Bots

Irish Music in Oregon City

Landing on an Aircraft Carrier

Got Curry? And some bizarre art?

Web 1.0

Random Music and Random Life in Portland

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump

Flight Simulator

Cold night, hot fire, happy cat

Net Neutrality

Walking to work in the snow

A window into Moreland of the Past

Getting clever with data feeds

Big and Little Beirut

The Other Credit Crisis

The Broadband Inauguration

T-Mobile owns Magenta and Other Patent Stories

The Risk-takers, Doers and Makers of Things

The noise of 20,000+ Twitter Followers

Reflections on my DC Trip

Born Again American

30,000 feet, 500 MPH Suburban Strip Mall

Cellphones, toilets and the Inauguration

The wall of pissing

National Treasure/National Archives

My trip to DC so far

Everyone is insane

Getting ready for DC

The End of Days (of song): Microsoft Songsmith Example

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Browser Bigotry

The Death of your Soul: Microsoft Songsmith

Creative Development or Developing Creatively?

Race to Witch Mountain

The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)

Online/Offline Sales -- is it really that bad?

Is PayPal Tacky?

Old School Web Design Still Works

Domain Squatting

Christmas Fire

Green Chri$tma$

QA 101

Portland Snow

Get some return on that web traffic

I think they have a backup...

I'd love to have that problem

The [un]importance of statistics

Don't be a tool of viral marketing

CAT Scan!

Follow up to the shoulder injury

Emails, discussions, blogs, wiki and web content

Ironic Injury

On the Santa Monica Pier

You Designed for Print First

You let someone else register your domain name

You figured .biz, .info, .us would work fine

What's after the Integrated Circuit?

Intelligent life is out there (but it's bugger all down here on earth)

Subject Matter Experts Talking Other Subject Matter

The Totalitarian Regime of Apple

Oversimplifying how people work


Creative Services for the New World

Reverse Anthropomorphism

The End of Time

Oil prices and birdsong

Watching Starship Troopers AGAIN!

Better Living Through Twitter

Lessons Learned From Apple

It's the Brand, Baby

Business Architecture vs. Web Construction

On Truth

You can't build life

Accidentally Drunk in Portland

Al Gore the Winner

Intelligent life is out there (but itís bugger all down here on earth)

Aussie Rules Football

Trip to Nostalgia Land

I am such an idiot

Long day of travel

Miami -- as far from Portland as you can go in the US

Inverse Peter Principle

Random Knowledge

I'm fascinated with modern plumbing

Leaving Seattle (or why you should keep your ticket close)

On the Rails

The Hive

RSS for this blog
The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-27 07:52:07

In the quest for winning the not-really-so-coveted "Shorty Award", our favorite fictional ad man, @FrankAdMan, found himself losing to a T-Shirt. No big deal, after all, Frank, himself, is fictional, so why shouldn't he be beaten by a T-Shirt?

But then he came across a 16 year old who's entire Twitter stream seemed to consist of "@twittername Do you want to be the best person ever? Vote for@iwearyourshirt to win a shorty http://bit.ly/Shortaaay" and Frank found himself thinking about fish and Denmark...

My first impression was that someone wrote a script that worked the way Twitter whores spam people (see my blog "Twitter Followers Don't Matter, ask the porn sites"). But I was a little curious why all the postings came from "Echofone" which is a legitimate Twitter client. I figured he could have spoofed the name to make it look more legit, but why not do "from web" at the point?

Then I got a message from the spammy account. @jonacoca describes himself as "I'm a fun, Energetic, and intelligent sixteen year old who loves Social Media, sports, and the business world!" and he assures me he is not a bot.

I did some quick research and he posted very similar messages about 125 times. Not as much as a bot would probably do, but way more than a 40 year old man would do. The behavior of 16 year old boys often seems unlikely to their older and slower counterparts, but my guess is that he's copying and pasting and soliciting strangers -- which isn't much different than sending a 16 year old down to the mall to hand out fliers (which I did when I was 16-ish).

Except this is the Social Media frontier and while it's still the unruly frontier with sex, profanity, and a sense of "whatever I can get away with is okay," there are some things we consider improper. One of which is soliciting strangers without their permission, consent or warning.

I don't know what the Shorty's are going to do with this situation -- a little forensics could probably toss out all the votes that were solicited this way, but part of the problem is that this IS the frontier. The fact that there aren't any hard cast rules of engagement makes it harder to separate aggressive campaigning from improper, ne, disqualifying tactics.

But I gotta love the silliness of it all in the midst of the moral quandary...

Clarification on January 28
My intent with this blog posting was to cover the issue of what constitutes spam, but the discussion below has evolved into a discussion about what makes a good Shorty submission. Now, the Shorty Awards has a fairly complex set of rules, and they did their initial audit of the votes to see how they comply with these rules.

Lee Semel (@semel) a co-founder of the Shorty Awards, posted this today:
@rafael_jornal can explain further over info[at]shortyawards.com email, but 'because...' votes, repeats and retweets weighted less

Which might help to explain how FrankAdMan with 346 votes is currently in first place while iwearyourshirt is in 6th with 361 votes. I'm pretty sure that iwearyourshirt wasn't docked heavily by jonacoca's enthusiasm, as the number of votes that iwearyourshirt got from the campaign was (at his estimate) very limited.

Food for thought, though...

Alex Gatscher: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-27 17:38:44

First Rule in Advertising: You have to get their attention.

@FrankAdMan does it daily and real people that know, know.

His because... anwsers are genuinely heart felt by those that follow him.

Cheers to the kid too!

Don't throw away the dog cuz he has some tho..long live shortys.

Someone ought to mentor him...mmmm I wonder who...

A shorty mentor scholarship could be made available by F. with 2 hands tied behind his back.

I except great things from both.

Like I told Frank..(whoever he is,he is a devilish darling, and I actually look at him as Zig, learning from him everyday) If He were stock, I would invest in him.

Alexa Gatscher

Helen Klein Ross: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-27 19:41:17

Agree this is kind of a twempest in a teapot, but...here's my .02. I think it's highly unlikely this account belongs to a 16 yr old. Teens generally aren't on twitter, b/c none of their friends are. And what self-respecting 16 yr old would be caught dead describing himself as "I'm a fun, Energetic, and intelligent sixteen year old who loves Social Media, sports, and the business world!" Cmon. If I was creative director on this copy, I'd send it back for a rewrite. Sounds totally inconsistent w/ character. Not to say that a kid couldn't be produced to claim ownership. Oh, the twitterverse, where fictional characters abound. For betty or worse ;)

Shirt's tactics may be objectionable but not technically illegal. At least, not according to my read of the rules. http://shortyawards.com/rules However, if Shorty simply assigns awards to contenders with the most active bots (human or otherwise), of what value is a Shorty to an actual person?


Scott Hale: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-27 22:09:19

You've got a good point here...but @jonacoca is exactly who he says he is. I don't think it's spam either. If he is starting his tweets w/ a username, most of his followers will never see the tweet. And anybody can deal with ONE tweet with a request. After all, his followers are his community and they are welcome to unfollow if they don't like him soliciting favors.

Let's move the focus elsewhere - See the opportunity here? Kids have a different lifestyle than adults. They have more time and less concern about what people like us think. Jason (@iwearyourshirt) didn't ask @jonacoca to ask his followers to vote, but Jason did build a community of people that WANT to do this for him. Teens will do this of their own accord when they are included and validated as friends. They act upon trust.

Take this situation as an example of targeted marketing and community building for younger generations. Use it to your advantage rather than complain about it.

Nice post, thanks.

- Scott

Michael Grosheim: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-27 23:44:00

I would like to start off by saying that Alexa's comment gave me a headache. Inconstant and all over the place. Didn't make much sense. Moving on to Helen, no disrespect, but "Shirt" has not pitched anyone forcing them to vote. If we are going to react to a blog post, it should be factual. That said, what are we considering spam? Yes, while sending out random @ messages to people across the globe borders on a question of morality and character, it is far from unethical. However, sending those @ messages to followers is far from spammy; after all, his followers have the ability to unfollow and block.

Now, as far as tweeting the same message 125 times, does using an auto-tweet application make every marketing professional (or marketing wanna-be) a bot; let's not forget the hundreds of thousands of people who use Twitter to pitch products and ideas. And, let's not forget auto DM's that reply the same message to every new follower.

Maybe, @FrankAdMan is losing to a "shirt" becuase the "shirt" is a far more creative marketing idea. Just maybe.

Larry-bob: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-28 00:39:34

Fugitive Philipino cult leader @BroEliSoriano has been made the leader in the #education category by a flood of spam. I suggest the following nomination:

I nominate @BroEliSoriano for a Shorty Award in #spam because his followers have made him shorty leader in Education.

NTChaddius: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-28 00:55:22

Regardless of whether or not the account is Spam, I'd side with Jason (@IWearYourShirt) in this argument. I do like the point of the community that Jason has created, and if he generated enough support for someone to create that account for him well then more power to him. The same could have been done for @FrankAdMan. The Internet is its own world, and this is it's version of "Survival of the Fittest". That's what's so scary and awesome about it.

In looking at both accounts, I can't even see why @FrankAdman should be considered in the category. The account is a mess of replies and off the wall comments. But, even sorting through to what I'm assuming are the tangible/informative messages (and basing my opnion solely on them)... they lead to inane babble. For @IWearYourShirt, there are quick advertisements for the specific product of the day leading me to YouTube, Flickr, and everywhere else in the SM Universe.

I'm not sure how someone who is pretending to be a fictional ad-man from the 60's should even be considered in the category. Seems more of a method for self gratification and ego-boosting when more followers are obtained rather than being there as an advertiser. Jason, on the other hand, dedicates his time to the product, not himself. Sure he has some fun in between, and I'm not saying conversation with followers is a bad thing (that's the whole point of social media right?). But, even in those moments of fun, the product is still being represented. Regardless of the method by which he reached #1, I think the right advertiser came out on top.

Carri Bugbee: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-28 01:00:46

I donít see anything wrong with what @jonacoca is doing, which is what I told @FrankAdman yesterday. Anybody is entitled to shill for anyone else. Frankly, I find it less egregious than those who shill incessantly for themselves. Anyone who understands PR knows itís always better to have someone else do the talking for you.

Itís no different than a brand reaching out to tell me about their products when I tweet a relevant keyword. Kodak recently reached out to me when I tweeted about shopping for a new printer. Iíve been targeted by Comcast, GoDaddy, MyMediaInfo, AlaskaAir and many other service providers or vendors this way. Those of us who tweet for brands know this is de rigueur Ė and tweeters who are targeted this way rarely complain if the message is on target with their interests. Have you seen complaints from the people that @jonacoca has targeted?

I agree with Scott on this one. @iwearyourshirt has obviously developed a much more ENGAGED group of followers than anyone else vying for the advertising award. A snapshot of data via Twitalyzer indicates the clout and influence of @iwearyourshirt is FAR ABOVE its category competitors. Iíve posted snapshots of analytics data of the top five competitors here: http://tweetphoto.com/user/CarriBugbee

Given that, itís not a stretch to think that a fan might want to help @iwearshourshirt just for the hell of it. This is EXACTLY what every brand using social media hopes and plans for. Last year, at least two followers of @PeggyOlson voted for her multiple times during the first round of Shorty voting (this wasnít allowed during round two). I didnít know them personally and they had no idea who I was since I was anonymous. They just really liked @PeggyOlson.

Even if @jonacoca is being ďcompensatedĒ in some way to tweet on behalf of @iwearyourshirt, I donít think thatís against the rules, is it? Canít a brand pay their PR team to campaign or take out an ad if they want to? I'm sure they can pay their Web team to post something on their own Web site.

Finally, as Scott pointed out, itís unlikely that anyone following @jonacoca is feeling spammed by his messages. They probably just see the one tweet.

I got targeted in this way on a music-related account I tweet for. The ENTIRE substance of that other accountís tweetstream was reaching out to music tweeters to alert them to a new music app. Hundreds of tweets that said the same thing, just targeted to different people. I didnít look at it as spam since the information was legitimate and well targeted. Others may have considered it spam. I don't know.

The point is, it's only spam if it's unwanted. And I doubt you can speak on behalf of the people @jonacoca is reaching out to.

Social Profiles: http://www.CarriBugbee.com

Michael T. Kramer: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-28 04:50:07

Probably the only people who really care about this issue are the ones who are losing to "I wear your shirt."

I'm more offended by people who self-promote ad nauseam by constantly posting those self-populating links to vote for them in the Shorty's. I will block one of those Tweeters in a New York Minute.

Frank Adman: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-28 15:54:17

If I'm not mistaken there are categories for Marketing, Innovation, and Spam. Let's not confuse them with Advertising. I've nominated @adbroad & @leeclowsbeard in #Advertising because I follow and enjoy them on Twitter

The Shorty Awards are intended to celebrate all that is Twitter. Give your #Advertising nomination for the Shorty Award to someone who, like great advertising, engages, entertains and charms within the constraints of Twitter. Cheers. F

NTChaddius: Re: The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam
2010-01-28 23:22:39

Frank's statement illustrates exactly my problem with those whom, I feel, misunderstand the point of Twitter.

His belief is that the Shorty Awards are intended to recognize those that stay "within the constraints" of Twitter. Through our recent tweeting, I get the impression that he feels his major competitor, @iwearyourshirt, has an unfair advantage due to his incorporation of various social media outlets. Yet, his links to random music bytes and images are no cause for his own discredit? The point of me trying to find a tweet of his that makes a relevant advertising point being harder than trying to screw a mormon girl on prom night aside, if he's right and this is what the Shorty Awards are about then it's just a pointless exercise in furthering self gratification and completely goes against the point of what Twitter has become.

The message on Twitter's homepage reads:

"Share and discover whatís happening right now, anywhere in the world."

This, along with this debated decision to change it's default question from "What are you doing?" to "What's happening?" shows how Twitter has truly become an information tool. With that, the Shorty Awards should celebrate those who are able to find a creative way to share relevant information with their followers. Sure @iwearyourshirt links to youtube, flickr, etc. but lets also not forget his constant in between conversations and games with the community of followers he's created. But, those tweets that do share links are clearly doing something right, because followers are clicking through. Tweets read like headlines in the mess that is most users' twitter streams. If they generate enough interest to grab the reader's attention among the clutter and get them to click the link, then they have done so "within the constraints" of Twitter.

On a side note, I'm not saying the @FrankAdman account hasn't achieved the community aspect, clearly he has. I just fail to see what's getting advertised.

Short of someone who actually created the Shorty Awards giving their opinion, I think we leave it to their statement that the awards are left to "the community to decide". Although, the last minute auditing processes and the addition of a judges vote for this years finalists seem to be hinder that motive.

Let's also be aware that, in the grand scheme of things, all of this bantering and the eventual winners of the Shorty Awards really mean nothing. It will never gain as much worldwide attention as a baby kitten being tickled...

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