Lord Maitreya's Internet Marketing Adventures

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BitTorrent has a good side?

I just finished chapter 33 in The Social Media Bible, and I must say I was awestruck by the authors’ mention of BitTorrent as a positive force for media distribution.  I COULD use BitTorrent all the time to download games and software illegally, because Torrent files often contain CD-Key generators that allow me to bypass the security checks embedded in that copy of Spore I just downloaded (hypothetically).

According to Social Media Bible,

“NBC, MTV, FOX, Warner Bros., Comedy Central, and others have partnerships with BItTorrent for viewers to download programming.  Small businesses that lack bandwidth on their web sites can utilize BitTorrent’s DNA technology to unload stress upon their server and relay downloads to other servers.” – Social Media Bible, pg 577.

Earlier in that very same section, the book clearly states that BitTorrent is great because it allows you to upload you own music videos and user-generated content.  That sounds totally awesome!  People can make their own user-generated content and put it in BitTorrent for upload to spread their own indie computer games, movies, and music!  BitTorrent is the coolest thing ever!  What a wholesome and safe environment for everyone!  I’m going to direct some of my business partners onto  BitTorrent to download some cool files!

You're Awesome, BitTorrent!

(Image courtesy of media.funlol.com)

Not so fast, there.  It seems to me that the authors of this book have never actually used BitTorrent.  Type in the name of any movie or piece of software on a Google search, and when the suggested searches drop down, you’ll notice that the word “Torrent” is always there somewhere, because people create, post, and search torrent files all the time.  For every file that a business decides to make available on BitTorrent, there are thousands of illegal copies of the same file available on BitTorrent as well (and the illegal ones probably seed better and download faster).  BitTorrent isn’t a place where a lot of legitimate business happens.  It’s a way of getting your hands on things you either can’t afford, or simply don’t want to pay for.  A cursory look around the Internet shows not only that most of the content is illegal (some sources claim up to 99% of all Torrent files violate one or more laws), but that most of it isn’t useful to your business.

Pictured: a breakdown of a valuable tool for your business

(Image courtesy of static.arstechnica.com)

As I said earlier, software downloaded on BitTorrent is the same as the software you buy at the store, except that the real copy that you get in a box has a CD key that prevents you from activating the software if you didn’t pay for it.  Luckily for those who want to use the software for free, Key generators, or Keygens/Cracks, have been made that spit out a random CD key that the software will recognize as legitimate, even though it isn’t.

Never pay for software again!

(Image Courtesy of Jedisware.com)

If a person were so inclined, they could download an emulator that plays every Super Nintendo game ever made on BitTorrent for free.  Don’t stop there!  You can get a free copy of Modern Warfare off BitTorrent and be playing it tonight!  And let’s not forget that there is no shortage of illegal content on BitTorrent as well, from videos of illegal street racing to files on how to build weapons (like wrist-mounted flamethrowers).

Yes, this exists. On BitTorrent

(Image courtesy of Media.techeblog.com)

But wait, there’s so much more!  The infamous website, thepiratebay.org, almost exclusively plugs BitTorrent as the premier method of extracting pirated material from the Internet.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Pirate Bay, it is a website that tracks and catalogs pirated material, usually in the form of Torrent files.  You’re probably thinking that they monitor this material to stop users from downloading it, right?  Not at all.  They work tirelessly to make pirated information more available, and their website is a Torrent file search engine.

Given that a large portion of the data available on BitTorrent is either illegal or suspect, I was amazed to hear the download host being praised in the book as a legitimate tool for your business.  Keep in mind that Torrent files are often accidentally mislabeled or even intentionally mislabeled so that they can escape detection, or play off-color jokes (a common joke is to upload a file called “Jonas Brothers LIVE” that is actually a pornographic video).  Imagine if your business directed potential clients onto BitTorrent to download a file, only to find that someone had unintentionally downloaded something they could go to jail for watching (again, BitTorrent is FULL of illegal… VERY ILLEGAL… content).  Needless to say, you’d lose the sale. I don’t really think many businesses would want to even be associated with BitTorrent. 

Not only that, but opening your computer up to other users puts you in a precarious predicament.  A skilled user could likely monkey around in your computer.  Not only that, but there have been numerous reports of company employees using BitTorrent at work, allowing BitTorrent users to access company networks through the P2P client.  Pretty sneaky… While we’re talking about security, it bears mentioning that almost every major film, music, or video game release is available as a Torrent file weeks or even months before their official launch date. It is estimated that thousands of copies of Modern Warfare 2 were downloaded from BitTorrent and played using modified Xbox consoles weeks before the game ever hit shelves. Although the online servers for the game were not operational, prohibiting online play, some Xbox Live users had a status of “Currently playing MW2” (Xbox Live tracks games that are being played even when the user is not playing online), and this was weeks before the game was even released. Sources inside the developer likely posted the files. Employees at thousands of companies, especially those with software-based products, are posting cracked versions of their employers’ products.

In the end, I have to disagree with the authors on this one.  Any software, movies, or music that a company posts on BitTorrent has probably already been there for months.  And the argument in the book that BitTorrent is great because it allows you to upload user-generated content… we have youtube for that, and most user generated content winds up being something like this

January 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Enabling Conversation

The cornerstone of Social Media is conversation. Conversation happens in so many ways.For instance, my boss sends me pictures like this:

there are literally thousands of images like this

(Image courtesy of knowyourmeme.com)

And I send him ones like this:

yes... that IS an AK-47 made of bacon

(Image courtesy of holytaco.com)

We send these ridiculous things to each other because it entertains us.  Social media like YouTube and Facebook make this exchange effortless and streamlined.  That is social media.  YouTube videos have “embed codes” that allow you to post videos on your blog and website by simply copying and pasting some HTML code.  This very blogging host has an option to post images to a blog post by simply copying and pasting the URL into a little textbox. All this technology so my boss and I can send ridiculous (and usually inappropriate) content to each other.  While seemingly ingrained in our psyche today, these deceptively simple technologies didn’t exist ten years ago.

The internet is becoming a destination rather than a diversion.  It’s how people stay in touch, shop, watch movies and television, and pwn nOObz in Modern Warfare 2.

Pictured: nOOb getting pwnd

(Image courtesy of gamerscrib.net)

In the captivating and gripping story of our generation- The Social Media Bible- Lon Safko and David Brake point out the fundamental truths of social media as a vehicle for interaction and conversation.  This crazy internet thing everyone’s been talking about these days is starting to catch on.  Seriously, it’s bigger than 2 T-Pains.

Two of him

(Image courtesy of nymag.com)

Safko and Brake point out a four-pronged aspect of social media that I always understood, but never really knew (that makes sense.  I checked).   The primary goal of any individual social media entity is to engage your audience and get the conversation started.  Encoded in the digital DNA of a functional social media vehicle is the desire to engage.  A quote from my esteemed colleagues, Lon Safko and David Brake

“Before you start a conversation, and certainly to continue one, you have to engage your audience.  If you’re in business, the litmus test for a social media tool or application is simple: does it allow you to engage with customers, prospects, employees, and other stakeholders by facilitating one or more of the following: Communication, Collaboration, Education, Entertainment.”

-Social Media Bible, pg. 7

This is very true.  Let’s take a real-world example of social media on the internet: Facebook.  Facebook allows communication in a big way.  People can stalk each other; companies have access to all your demographic information so they can target little advertisements toward you; and, your employer can see all the pics of you having such a good time at that party (that was coincidentally on the same day you called in sick last week) that he’ll decide your job is obviously holding you back in life (and fire you).

You at the party

(Image courtesy of wackyarchives.com)

Facebook also allows collaboration on a great many levels.  Facebook now has a chat feature so you can message your friends back and forth.  You can also join groups, causes, and organizations (some of which the FBI is probably watching pretty closely).  People can debate topics and share information with each other in an environment that fosters a sense of belonging to a group.

Education was difficult for me to apply to Facebook until I realized that educational organizations are using social media to distribute educational material like YouTube videos.  By directing visitors to their Facebook page, the visitors will likely want to track the organization for events and the like (especially if it’s an organization you support).

Probably the most important of these four tenets is entertainment.  Most of my time spent online is looking at videos, pictures, and articles on Cracked, Chrudat, Holy Taco, AfroJacks, 2Leep, Oddee (I’m going to stop there to spare you the endless amount of time it would take to read the list of websites that I frequent… although the rest of the list is probably shorter than this little parenthetical comment).  Facebook is home to a seemingly endless array of posts, people, and even groups that love nothing more than to post goofy male anatomy references and giggle like we’re still in fifth grade (some of them probably ARE in fifth grade).  And don’t even get me started on Mafia Wars and Farm Ville.  I myself am a fan of Ownage Pranks and I’m pretty sure that I’m on Michael Swaim’s friend list (he’s my favorite Cracked.com writer, and creator of thosearentmuskets.com).

It would certainly appear that Facebook stacks up as a real-world example of effective social media, as it contains not just one, but all of the four integral parts outlined in chapter one of the book.  Knowing these four fundamental themes of social media will likely prove invaluable over the course of the semester.

Just the first chapter of the captivating Social Media Bible was filled with enough useful information to get a feel for what to expect online.  If I had my mom read this chapter, I bet she wouldn’t call me to figure out stuff like this…

Every Day

(Image courtesy of knowyourmeme.com)

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The name of this blog.

Some visitors might find the name of this blog to be a bit eccentric but it actually has a lot to do with what we breifly discussed in class on Jan. 25: marketing internet persona.

Enter my AcidPlanet account (copy and paste into your browser.  can’t hyperlink cuz i iz a nOOb kthxby lolz!!1!one)

http://www.acidplanet.com/artist.asp?AID=549210&T=6869

This account, which i have been actively maintaining since October of 2006, is the most important online presence I have.  I have been producing music for a long time, and I post my original tracks to AcidPlanet, a social networking site geared towards indie musicians from all genres, including hip hop, reggae, alternative rock, spoken word, and a smattering of others you never even knew existed.

Lord Maitreya (the name of the Buddha of the future) was just a name one of my teachers said during a lecture one day in my first year at community college, and I wrote it in my notes.  Since then, it’s pretty much been my username of choice on any website.

Anyways, that’s why it’s named what it is. Thanks for listening to my songs though 😛

And now The Grouch will play you out with a great new single: “Breath,” off his new album “Show You The World” from Legendary Music

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It has begun! MACHINE GUN KITTEH!

I want to start my blog with something unexpected and hilarious… hmmmmmmmmmmm… OH I KNOW!

MACHINE GUN CAT!

I think it’s going to be a good semester.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment