Tech News Roundup: Going offbeat

Tech News Roundup: Going offbeat

News is abuzz about the South By Southwest conference set to start tomorrow—like my post yesterday on the top content marketing trends sure to dominate discussions on interactive media. Be sure to check that out to stay in the know of the event dubbed a must-attend for marketers. It’s this reputation and a history of nailing the pulse of the next big thing that’s bringing tens of thousands of people to Austin, a storied city known for its embrace of the offbeat.

In that spirit, today’s weekly news roundup forgoes the standard search and social happenings in favor of delighting for a moment on the stranger side of tech.

The shortest SEO guide ever: How’s this for SEO advice? “Create something that people will link to. Repeat.” That’s the entirety of one developer’s practical guide to search engine optimization. While he acknowledges that SEO requires a complex, multi-factor process of on-page and off-page optimization techniques, the author says the discussion of SEO too frequently addresses the low-hanging—and in his opinion, minimally effective—tactics. Far better, he claims, to focus on one strategy alone: earning inbound links through great content. Is he oversimplifying to the detriment of unsuspecting readers? Or is he spot on? Please speak up in the comments below.

Facebook can’t keep it’s slutty paws off everything, and it’s dragging down the Internet: The social network this week announced it would begin testing digital movie rentals on the site, starting with Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight. Neat idea, in concept. Potential Netflix killer, says Goldman Sachs. Just the latest step in the implosion of an overreaching service, says Gizmodo. Comparing Facebook’s zealous attempts to be everything to everyone to AOL’s ultimately doomed strategy of mastering all platforms, the author makes a good point. IM, e-mail, photos, apps, status updates, check-ins—the Swiss Army knife of the web is Jack of all trades, master of none, and now spreading itself thinner than Charlie Sheen’s grasp on reality.

Who do you think you really are online?: Here’s another theory of how Facebook is ruining the online experience. Facebook has already wiped out the old rules of privacy, we know that. But are you ready to lose your authenticity? If Facebook can successfully achieve its vision of being the one user login for commenting and interacting across the web, then your identity will be reduced to your Facebook persona. The author argues the demerits of such a reality, saying we’re all too complex to be put in a little blue box. Just as we exhibit nuanced personality shifts when flowing between communities in real life, so too do we online. I’m inclined to agree, but what do I know. If it’s any indicator Facebook’s on to something, Google’s trying to do the same thing by mapping users into “one true person.”

Twitter ads draw critics and ailing actor: This week’s update to the Twitter iPhone app introduced users to the Quick Bar, a slice of screen real estate poised for ads. Trends on the site are currently displayed in the Quick Bar, which sits atop the tweet stream, though it’s a given that the space is eager to welcome “your ad here” as Promoted Trends, one of Twitter’s two ad formats, has made a showing. Another new addition to Twitter, Charlie Sheen, is testing the site’s ad waters. The actor tweeted his first sponsored tweet this week in service of

Don’t look now, but the future of online marketing looks bright: Are you feeing lucky? Or maybe just optimistic. The year’s forecasted digital and social ad spend should bring a smile to your face. The volume of digital marketing projects is going up in 2011, say 80 percent of marketers of their plans for the year, according to an AnswerLab survey. Digital infrastructure, social and apps and online branding are the top areas of investment. Similarly, a survey of CMOs by the American Marketing Association suggest that social media spend will climb to almost 10 percent of marketing budgets this year, up from 5.6 percent. Hope you’re ready to get busy.

The best ads according to TED (and those geeks know what they’re talking about): For your final dose of fun as only marketers can have, check out the 10 finalists of the TED advertising contest. In December, organizers of TED put out a call for ads so good people would eagerly share them. What you’ll find are 10 short videos that pull at the heartstrings and tap on the funny bone to bring storytelling advertising to soaring new heights.