Practical Social Media-Interview with DL Byron, Principal, TEXTURA design

Greetings WOW members and Web professionals everywhere. Bill Cullifer here with the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) and the WOW Technology Minute.

Today?’s podcast is a continuation of the media coverage of Web Builder, Las Vegas. I had the pleasure to sit down with and to interview with DL Byron, Principal, TEXTURA design a Web design and consulting firm based in Seattle, WA.

Byron summarizes his two sessions: A Blog-Oriented Architecture and his Mini-Workshop: Practical Social Media.

Everyone knows blogging is mainstream. But did you know it’s also gaining traction inside the firewall? Byron?’s an experienced blogger and his efforts at Textura Design’s has helped Boeing, Intel, and other Fortune 100 companies. Organizations of all sizes are using internal blogging as a conversation tool, and his session covered how standards and technologies have made intranet user experiences richer.

Check out the three minute interview on today’s WOW Technology Minute website.

Today’s podcast is sponsored by the Webmaster Survival Guide. Check out all of the great resources and links on the Webmaster Survival Guide website.

Transcript of Practical Social Media

BILL CULLIFER: Bill Cullifer here with the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) and the WOW Technology Minute here at Web Builder, Las Vegas. I have the pleasure to be sitting down with DL Byron. He?’s the Principal at TEXTURA, an author, a noted speaker and a Web 2.0 specialist dealing with a variety of topics. Good morning Byron and thanks for agreeing to this interview.

DL BYRON: Good morning.

BILL: I have a question, you?’ve been around this base for 15 years, you?’ve been a designer, a blogger, you?’ve written a couple of books, can you summarize the session that you participated in here today? Can you specifically hone in on some of those walk-aways, those business tips that Web designers can think about.

BYRON: Sure. The main take-away, what we?’re talking about now is practical social media where we?’re getting down to the business of social media, which is separating it from the hype that you hear about it, the “What does Twitter mean? How to use Flickr. What possible ROI would I get off of Facebook?” What we really try to do is just talk about how businesses can use these tools to their advantage, to help sell their products, help increase their brand awareness and help their marketing. That?’s really what it?’s about. Because there?’s a difference between what a social network can do for your friends, keeping in touch with your friends, than your business. That?’s really what we talked about.

BILL: What were some of the best practices? If I?’m a designer and I?’m sitting out in the Web world watching or listening to this podcast and I want to know, “Listen, that sounds great but I need to start making some money at this right away.” What would you recommend?

BYRON: Well I think at a minimum for a designer, for a business, I think, because the uptake is still not as much as you think. As much as you hear about blogging and as much as businesses are blogging, there?’s still a lot of hesitancy to do that. I think what we always recommend is at a minimum turn on blogging technologies that can help your audience. Give them the data they want, podcasting, enable RSS or Atom technologies, turn on features that can help your consumers or your customers get the data. And also start rethinking about how your site looks and what you?’re doing and how you?’re producing sites for clients because blogging has changed design in the sense of making stuff much easier to get to, making stuff much faster and most of that is driven from Google because people are now looking for information, they?’re drilling down into your site and they want to get what they want right away. They don?’t care about your mission statements, they don?’t care about your ‘about page,?’ they don?’t care about your flashy, wiz-bang homepage, they want to find out what are your operating hours, “I want to give you a request for a proposal.” Boom, they want the information and they want it now. Bubble that all up to the top is the main thing. And that comes directly from blogging, which is being able to find stuff quickly on Google.

BILL: Excellent. Now you?’ve got a book out, or a couple of them. Can you–

BYRON: Yes we do. “Publish and Prosper: Blogging for your Business” is the book. It actually came out a couple of years ago. Two years on, the same thing we were talking about two years ago, which was practical business blogging, now we?’re talking about practical social media, which means there are a lot of new tools out there. I have a difficult time following all the tools and I do this for a living, but those tools, some of them can help you, some of them you have no reason to need or talk about or use, but it?’s looking at these and saying, “OK, I can use Twitter to talk about events that I?’m doing. I can use Twitter at sales meetings. I can use Flickr to put out product photos, people love that. I can use blogging technologies to do this.” Facebook, probably not a lot for you to do on there. YouTube, absolutely. Stuff like that.

BILL: Fair enough. Well I certainly appreciate the time and all that you do for the Web profession.

BYRON: Absolutely. Thank you very much.

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