Beer And Blog – The Secrets Session: An Event Review

Beer and Blog – The Secrets Session

When: Friday, July 18, 2008, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. As with a typical Beer and Blog session, the conversation lasted for at least two hours after the formal presentation was finished.

Where: Green Dragon Bistro and Brewpub.

What It’s About: Beer and Blog, along with events like Lunch 2.0 and Legion of Tech Happy Hour (formerly BarCamp meetups), is, in my opinion, the best way to meet the players behind Portland technology community and put faces to familiar Twitter avatars.

Bonus: if you choose to come, I will gladly introduce you to (almost) every participant and buy you a beer (if I happen to be in the right mood.)

This Beer and Blog session featured tips from Justin Kistner, Amber Case and Troy Harlan.

Justin’s presentation is summarized below:


(NOTE: names have been altered at presenter’s request.)

If you’re a Community Manager for a company, your job is to collect opinions and things that people said about them. I’m going to give you an example on how I do it.

I make intelligence feeds for every one of my client. You would use an intelligence feed to find out what’s going on in the industry, and, more specifically, what’s going on about your company? What are comments that people made about you? Who are your influencers, and what do they have to say?

I pull up my intelligence feed using an online feedreader [Netvibes is displayed on the screen. It has 3 columns] I have one specific topic/interest in each column.

On top of each is the most popular. This is the stuff that are the most popular. You want to put it on the top, so you don’t miss them.

Now, you ask, what kinds of thing should I track?

First of all, you should absolutely track your reputation, which should include the names of your:

  • Company/Brand
  • Product, and
  • Top employees

Every one of these information is a Yahoo!Pipe RSS. I just happened to subscribe to it in Netvibes.

But how do I determine what rises to the top columns? Well, I take these feeds and run them through AideRSS. AideRSS will track how many times a specific post got DUGG, Sumbled, etc.—essentially measuring it’s “ROI.”

Remember, the stuff of the top columns are the stuff that youcabsolutely need to do and look at.

Other categories that I recommend you to track, other than reputation:

  • Industry. How is the category doing?
  • Competition. How are your competitors doing?
  • Influencers. Who are the key people in your space that’s the most influential, and what do they say?

Then run these through AideRSS, so you can see the most popular ones.

This not only creates a river of news that I can pick through to pick out conversations that I need to participate, it also provides ideas for blog post. This is how I do it:

  • I open up tabs for every post in the feed that interests me.
  • I pick and choose one that gets me saying, Oh, this is totally what I’m looking for!
  • I press a link on my bookmark bar [it is essentially a “Press It” WordPress bookmarklet] that will log me in to my company’s internal blog.
  • This will start a Write New Post window for me, with the link already in there.
  • I then use Categories to assign this link to someone (let’s say I’ll publish it to a guy named “Ron Mexico.”)
  • Ron, then, can subscribe either to an RSS of the “Ron Mexico” category, or tags that he’s interested in.

As a sidenote, I’m still looking for plugin that will track this. For example, if Eugene they write a blog post and include this link, what happened to it? Did it got DIGGed or Stumbled?

Let’s talk about Yahoo!Pipes. Dawn Foster made some killer ones that I used. You can use these with Netvibes, Pageflakes, iGoogle or MyYahoo! You can even use a feed reader application if you want. You can do a daily or weekly roundup. You can use Yahoo!Pipes by itself as a subscription service, or it can send you a text or email. It’s really flexible.

Remember, there are three elements to an Intelligence feed:

  • The feeds themselves—ran through Yahoo!Pipes and filtered through AideRSS.
  • Some sort of a feed reader to gather all the informations.
  • And a WordPress blog, with a “Press This” bookmarklet.

My point is, if your job entails helping a group of people to coordinate a group of activity, then the ability to find, delegate and supervise opportunities around the web is very big. Having feed as a source of inspiration makes the job so much easier.


Technicality: ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝
Translation: Basic RSS knowledge necessary. Basic agility in the ins and outs of RSS readers (online or offline) and Yahoo!Pipes would be nice to have.

Interestingness: ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝
Translation: These techniques don’t just apply to companies or products, but also to the brand You.

What I Learned From The Event In Six Words:
I can has Beer & Blog coasters?


6 thoughts on “Beer And Blog – The Secrets Session: An Event Review

  1. dougcoleman says:

    I missed Beer & Blog this week, but I can always count on you, Bram. There are some great tips here. Thanks for your review.

  2. Hi Bram — Thanks for posting the ins and outs of your use case. It’s always interesting to see how publishers are using our stuff, but I find the business uses extra interesting, both in terms of what pain is getting solved and what innovations people use.

    Have you tried out any comparative company/client ranking with the Thematic PostRank functionality in the Google Reader extension?

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  4. mediaChick and dougcoleman,

    It’s my pleasure! I’m glad that you guys can benefit from my notes. Do attribute any success to Justin and Dawn’s brilliance, and any failure to my general tendency to skip over things in my recap 😉

  5. Melanie,

    This Friday’s session was actually my first foray into acquiring intelligence feeds by using a power trio of RSS clients + AideRSS + Yahoo!Pipes.

    I have not tried the PostRank functionality yet, but your way of tracking engagement is very interesting, and is worthy of further investigation and adoption.

    I will definitely check it out. Thanks for commenting!

Comments are closed.