WordPress.com Increases Free Storage 6,000 Percent

As TechCrunch notes, my free blogging platform of choice, WordPress.com, has increased the amount of free storage it provides its users from 50 Mb to 3 Gb. Here’s what I see when I upload graphics or other documents to my blog:

wordpress.com free storage

Note that a few days ago that 3GB figure in the lower left was only 50 MB. I formerly used Flickr as a storage space for my photos and other graphics (since it offered 100 MB a month vs. 50 MB a year with WordPress.com) and just pulled the graphics from Flickr into my blog posts, but now it seems I should be able to upload graphics indiscriminately without even coming close to exceeding my WordPress limits. Especially if I’m uploading mostly 72 dpi screen captures.

As Erick Schonfeld says, this is a huge advance that puts significant pressure on competing platforms. WordPress.com has had the advantage of Akismet protection against comment spam (which has saved me over 34,000 spam comments.) By offering triple the free storage of Blogger, WordPress.com takes another big leap.

When I started this blog, I made it my goal to never spend a penny on any of the services. My purpose was  more than miserliness; I wanted to encourage others (particularly those in the PR field) that they can have blogs without spending  any money and without support from their IT department. As I say in my “It’s All Free” section, if you see something on my blog that you like, you can rest assured that it was completely free.

Why is free such a big deal? Because it helps to drive home the ridiculousness of spending several hundred to a few thousand dollars to attend a communications conference in which you learn about social media if you fail to take the next step and actually get hands-on experience. And it’s why I developed my 12-step Social Media Program.

Barriers to entry in blogging and other social media aren’t just low. They are non-existent.  Zero. Get started with your WordPress.com blog today. When you do, please leave a comment below to let me know how it’s working for you. You also can subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog, which will provide you with regular updates and pointers on issues you may find interesting and helpful. (If you don’t know what RSS is, see steps 4 and 5 in my 12-step program.)

You really should check out Facebook, too. It’s also free. Friend me if you’d like to stay in touch and learn more about social media.

If your work involves any communications, or marketing, or sales, or management responsibilities you owe it to yourself to begin to understand social media. And if you paid anything for college, or attend any career enrichment seminars for which you or your company pay admission fees, you’re seriously missing out on a great educational value if you don’t take advantage of the free hands-on education you can get through WordPress.com, Facebook, Twitter (you can follow me here), Flickr, YouTube and related services.

What’s holding you back?

The Frost & Sullivan Blogging Panel

Through a room mix-up (my fault) I was about 10 minutes late to this session, so I’m jumping in without a lot of set-up. I’ll plan to put it in context later.

Chris Heuer – The blog is the platform to create media. All companies are media companies. In developing the editorial calendar, look at the SEO plan and the keywords you want to own, and cover content. Understand the power of access; you have the ability to provide the “official” voice.

Bill from Intel – says a really big company can perhaps wait and monitor blogs instead of diving in, but for a second-tier competitor it’s a huge opportunity to have a voice much bigger than they would “deserve” from their relative place in the market.

Q: What are the top three reasons to blog? What are company objectives?

A: Cost of not doing it, and not having a voice in the conversation. Efficiency of marketing communications. Brand value. Connecting with people who care. The brand with the best storytellers wins. It’s also great for SEO. The market intelligence you get is the most raw, unfiltered information about yourself and your competitors.

Blogs provide brand advocates a way to speak out about how they feel about the product, not what the company is telling them to say. We’re not “using” customers, we’re empowering them. Not “leveraging.” The language is important because it can reveal a mindset that is antithetical to the social media world.

Companies don’t have to be in a glamorous line of business to benefit from social media. Fiskars scissors has “Fiskateers” for its word-of-mouth program. Intel has identified 50-100 bloggers who are most passionate about its products. BlendTec has the Will it Blend series. If those can become interesting, any product can…with some creativity.

Cara from H-P suggested linking to blogs that talk about your subject of interest.  The more you help bloggers’ voice to be heard, the more likely they are to write favorably about you.

You don’t necessarily need to have a blog to engage in the blogosphere. Commenting as an employee (always being transparent about your identity) in posts that are about your company.

Companies could consider having a directory of employee blogs that is linked to from the company blog. H-P has online, self-paced mandatory training for its corporate bloggers. Refresher on standards of business conduct. H-P is seeing more of its leaders set the example by starting their own blogs and encouraging other employees to do likewise.

Intel has bought video cameras for all of its PR offices, telling people to take the cameras to press conferences and events. Intel created a contest on who could get the most views on their videos. One employee got 85,000 views for his video and won bragging rights over a colleague who got only 500.

It’s important to look at social media tools for what they can do, and how you can adapt to your business goals. For instance, Dell uses Twitter for its Dell Outlet to sell refurbished units. They immediately sell out. Twitter’s 140-character limit also can be used to help focus your message. It’s a good way to impose discipline.

We closed by asking participants to list their favorite blogs. Here they are:

In honor of the presidential primary season, here are some political blogs (two from each side):

I know I missed a lot, so will appreciate any additional comments people may have. What points did you think were most important?

Frost & Sullivan User-Generated Content

Douglas White of MindComet invited me to be part of the un-panel for this session that he’s moderating. I’m with Kevin Hoffberg, Rick Short and Chris Curtin from Disney, VP of Global New Media.

This was a highly participative session, which is only appropriate given the topic. Having a session on UGC without having substantial discussion would be odd.

The project from Mayo Clinic that I highlighted is Care Pages, a service we provide to our patients to enable them to provide updates to family and friends.

When Kevin was writing a book about customer experience, and ran into Yours is a Very Bad Hotel he started to see the potential. And because the most powerful customer experience can be fixing a bad experience, tapping into complaints and fixing them can be a great win for your company.

Chris and Disney are mostly reacting to UGC vs. creating it. It’s really happening without their involvement. People already go to Disney theme parks and upload pictures to Flickr, Facebook or MySpace. He mentioned how Procter & Gamble has a contest open to engineers throughout the world to help design or improve P & G products. Disney is planning to find ways

Disney has a Moms panel/forum that lets expert Moms answer questions in real time on their web site.

Earthlink had to pull back from hosting UGC because they found out there aren’t a lot of enthusiastic users about internet connections. The only people commenting were those who had a gripe, because Internet connection is viewed as a utility. It’s only news when it doesn’t work.

That caused Rick to bring up the video showing the Comcast service guy sleeping on his couch because he was on hold so long.


Rick’s team at Indium has a Public Discourse policy as opposed to a blogging policy. They started by having service techs who help customers by phone every day go on the Internet and type their communications instead. It was a no-brainer.

For me, the “aha” moment was when we saw that we already had more than 1,000 Mayo Clinic employees and students in Facebook.

Kevin says the data for involvement in social media are overwhelming, but for most people an anecdotal story makes the difference.

The Economist has a story this week on the music industry. A record company had a focus group with kids, offered a “take as many as you want” pile of CDs, and nobody took any! Talk about an AHA moment!

About half of the participants in our session have Facebook profiles. More are on LinkedIn. Fewer are on MySpace. I said for people in PR, or Sales or Marketing, it should be a basic level of knowledge.

Here’s the group I created for the Frost & Sullivan conference, where today’s conversation can continue. I hope lots of the participants from today will join.

Kevin mentioned Flock as a way to incorporate all of your social networking presence.

Action point: Join Facebook now and friend me.