How a videoblogger from NYC outsmarted a so-called “Social Media Expert”

I’ve read Naked Conversations, the book by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel that talks about the power of blogging for individuals, businesses, and communities. I’ve even used their examples with clients – a few of which are mentioned in their book.

I walked away from the book thinking that both of these guys totally “got” the blogging and social media thing. My online experiences with both of them on and off over the years confirmed this – at least until I began watching Global Neighborhoods, Shel’s new show on Scoble’s new gig at Fastcompany.tv.

The Videos

First, when deciding to embark on something new – like launching a new video show on FastCompany perhaps – it’s critical that you understand the workflow and equipment that you’re going to be using. Watching Shel try to interview someone while operating his equipment – and then the entertainment involved in watching him use the boom shotgun mike as a handheld mike nearly caused me to spit up my morning coffee.

I remember vividly when I planned to launch the Blog Herald Podcast. I had sent around a teaser podcast to several folks and received some very candid feedback from Duncan Riley, which amounted to something along the lines of “This is bloody awful. The sound is horrible and the music sucks.” I set about to learn more about “doing it right” and assembled a podcasting rig that could do the job.

The lesson here: Learn to do it right.

Boring

While Robert’s videos are pretty interesting in terms of what who he’s talking to – although his videos are far too long – Shel’s videos are just flat out unwatchable. The interviews do not flow well and Shel’s camera & audio work makes the video nearly unwatchable. And I’m still trying to figure out the role of the Owl in one of Shel’s videos.

In short, I can’t watch your videos because their boring – but I watch all of Loren Feldman’s because they’re entertaining. More on Loren down below.

The lesson here: Don’t be boring.

Enter Loren Feldman

Now here’s where my respect and admiration for Shel go away.

Loren Feldman of 1938 Media posted a review of the Shel Israel show along with a brief follow-up a bit later. In short: Loren hated the show and found it unwatchable – an opinion that I happen to share.

What happened next got pretty interesting.

Loren began filming parodies of Shel’s interviews using a puppet. And his videos, unlike Shel’s, are hilarious, entertaining, and highly watchable. For example, here’s an interview of the Shel Israel puppet talking about being ready to interview anyone in the Valley that’s willing to talk about social media:

Loren also discovered that Shel had never registered the domain name shelisrael.com and promptly registered it. He’s since begun using the site as a place to put his Fake Shel Israel puppets.

Shel reacts

Shel, instead of engaging in “Naked Conversations” with Loren, has launched an offensive – mostly via twitter, it seems. He’s even talked about engaging a private investigator.

Here are some highlights:

@tomraftery, so if I stole your identity and tried to make a joke of it, would you chuckle, guffaw or giggle like a banshee?

@mackcollier Thanks. But because he links my web content to that site, people are thinking that I am the schmuck with the puppets.

From a friend: Difference #3 I interview CEO and change makers. Loren plays with rooster puppets.

Any volunteer lawyers out there? I’d like to discuss Loren with you…

@hci I am not going to hire a private dick. Just $50 bucks for the online check & counting on the kindness of twitterville.

He’s also engaged in attempting to have Loren’s provider take down shelisrael.com.

My Thoughts

First, I just can’t understand how someone who touts himself as a consultant and social media expert would not have registered his own name as a domain a long time ago. Loren was able to register and use it without a problem. By the way, Robert Scoble doesn’t own his name as a domain either.

Seriously – you’re an expert consultant in this area and you never even registered your name?

Second, if Shel feels so strongly about having open and transparent conversations, one would think that the first step would be to pickup the phone and call Loren to discuss this. Instead, his own actions of talking about background checks and investigating Feldman reads like some Gestapo approach to resolving the problem.

Third, if you really want to solve the problem, then improve your videos and stop giving Loren ammunition through your hamhanded attempts to deal with this in public.

Disappointed, I really am. I thought you guys were better than this.

Updated: Shel responds over at his blog

Comments

  1. says

    This is an absolutely spot-on assessment. Israel has come out of this looking very petty and none too smart, which was just what Feldman was trying to suggest.

  2. says

    Thanks Mike.

    I’ll write a comment later over at redcouch in responds to Shel’s post – which I thought was well done and classy on his part.

    Matt

  3. says

    To be fair, the strategic theory and the tactical practice in any arena are different animals.

    Love the puppets though – who needs digital avatars ;)

  4. says

    Priceless! Absolutely priceless.

    I cannot agree more: while I am interesting in many of the people and topics that Scoble and Shel videoblog or podcast, I cannot really watch their shows. Boring, or bad quality, or both.

  5. James says

    Ha. Go to RobertScoble.com and it’s a baiter site for Hillary Duff. Maybe he did it himself to up his own relational cred on things like the new (and horribly named) Cluuz search engine.

  6. a person says

    I don’t know who any of these people are, but those puppet videos are hilarious. I watched them and enjoyed them without knowing anything about anyone.

    The guy Shel should hire the puppet man to make his shows and do them all that way–as a puppet.

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