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Interview with Anaiis Flox of OMG. OMG! OMFG!  BlogHer and Southern California Blogger


Tell me about your blog?

The internet has given us much to do and even more to ponder. My blog OMG. OMG! OMFG! deals with the web—the people in it, the things we’re doing, the customs we’re adopting, and the things we’re leaving behind as we venture forth into this uncharted territory of trial-and-error, where more and more, the digital is colliding with the analog.

What was your first blog?
My first blog is now offline. I started some nine years ago and largely dealt with my personal life.

What is the biggest tip you would give to a newbie blogger?
The biggest tip I could give to a newbie blogger is: interact. Whether yours is a personal blog or a professional one, identify your target audience and interact with them. Read their blogs, comment, join discussions and start your own. Connect, connect, connect. The idea is to foster a sense of community, where you give back as much as you put out there.

What do advertisers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
Generalizations will never fail to kill a marketing campaign. The most recent example is Dell’s woman-focused section called Della (http://content.dell.com/us/en/home/lifestyle.aspx), which they launched last week. Dell’s message was that netbooks were a perfect fit for the modern woman. Everything from the pictures of women wearing outfits that matched their netbooks to the suggestion of using your computer for dieting was found grossly offensive by many women because of how much it seemed to imply that women do not understand technology or know how to make use of it for any purpose higher than searching for recipes online or accessorizing their ensembles. It was an epic fail that drew an epic backlash.

What I like about advertisers is that more and more, they’re receptive to consumer feedback. In the case of Dell, they made modifications to Della, adding a note that said, “You spoke, we listened.”

What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
There is a lot of cruelty on the web. It’s as though people online are somehow not entirely human and subject to the rules of civility and decency that people in our physical lives deserve. I know few people that would run up to a stranger in the meatspace and scream, “you suck!” But this sort of attack is a common thing online. There are entire blogs devoted to the abuse of people, many of them not even celebrities.

In mid-March, a prospective employee to Cisco tweeted about weighing a good paycheck with the commute and displeasure of the job she would be performing for the company. Within hours there were hundreds of blog posts decrying her naivete (in much harsher terms) as well as a video on YouTube featuring her as Hitler (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d8vQBA_sJ8) and a whole website (http://ciscofatty.com/) mocking her and sharing her personal information. While commenting about a job opportunity in a public forum is not brilliant, the response was extreme in its cruelty.

Where do you see growth in the blogging field?
I see a lot more companies embracing the web as a place for conversation about their products, as opposed to a single information destination, as was often the case in web 1.0.

What new ideas are advertisers coming up with to take advantage of new trends?
A lot of advertisers are embracing the power of word-of-mouth by teaming up with bloggers and other influencers to spread the word about their products. It’s still highly experimental, and not without its share of controversy. In my post The Balance Between Money and Credibility (http://omgomgomfg.com/2008/12/16/the-balance-between-money-and-credibility/), I talk a little about the issues involved with blogger endorsement when it comes to credibility and transparency.

My friend Brian Solis, author of Putting The Public Back In Public Relations, has an amazing post about sponsored conversations and the Federal Trade Commission’s guide concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising that gets into more detail about the topic: http://www.briansolis.com/2009/05/this-is-not-sponsored-post-what-you.html

What do you do to improve the world?
I have a column on BlogHer about relationships (http://www.blogher.com/blog/avflox). Sharing my stories and those of the people in my life leads many to open up to me about things they don’t often share. I read their messages and respond as I would to a friend. Being able to offer someone a place of refuge to share and feel less alone is an enormous thing. I feel blessed to be considered as someone they would go to, whether I know them personally or not.

What do you do that is green?
I keep orchids.

What is one thing about you that not many people know?
I think science is sexy.

What’s your favorite book?
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev.

What is on your iPod?
Jazz, classical music, emo, and pop–in English, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, French, German, and Japanese.

What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums, etc)?
You can e-mail me through my contact form on my blog: http://omgomgomfg.com/contact/
I keep my Facebook account limited to people I’ve met, but you can add my page on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/AV-Flox/58683782965

What events do you go to?
I attend a variety of events in tech in Los Angeles, including Girls In Tech LA, Social Media Club LA, Digital LA, among others. You can find these and other events in Southern California by visiting lalawag (http://lalawag.com), a Los Angeles-based entertainment and events blog to which I contribute.

How do you prefer to communicate?
One-on-one, in person and over coffee. Chat is my second favorite. Texting is third. I hate talking on the phone.

Who would you recommend, and why?
Atherton Bartelby, who unabashedly mixes his love of his career in design with personal anecdotes ranging from the hilarious to the deeply moving: http://athertonbartelby.wordpress.com/

Marie Lyn Bernard, a fearless and prolific blogger who explores her life with passion and wonder: http://marielynbernard.blogspot.com/

Mark Drapeau, who blogs about technology and social media from a government perspective (to which he is privy as an Associate Research Fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.). He doesn’t mince words when it comes to satire, either: http://www.markdrapeau.com/

David Armano, who blends design with the art of online interaction, offering an invaluable source of insight into how we convey ourselves digitally: http://darmano.typepad.com/

Adele McAlear, who combines her techno-geekiness with her marketing savvy: http://www.adelemcalear.com/

Chris Brogan, who writes about community and social media, http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

Brian Solis, who blogs about how social media is changing everything about public relations, http://www.briansolis.com/

Damien Basile, whose blog about branding is always cutting edge, very often featuring prominent thinkers in the field of marketing strategy in a web 2.0 world: http://thecauseisthehabit.com/

Valeria Maltoni, who blogs about the power of the web in consumer-company relationships and offers essential tips to making your way online, whether you’re a business or promoting your personal brand: http://conversationagent.com/

Laura Fitton, whose blog at Pistachio Consulting deals with the issues and intricacies of communicating using Twitter: http://pistachioconsulting.com/touchbase-blog/

What is one thing people can do for you?

Thanks to Anaiis Flox of OMG. OMG! OMFG!  BlogHer and Southern California Blogger

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