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Tidbits of things that captivate my attention

What keeps me moving forward

A new beginning…

As part of the francophonie summit #SommetMada16, I just came back from an interview with RFI.fr’s radio talkshow “atelier des médias” and just realized that although I haven’t been blogging that much for the last couple of years, my fellow bloggers friend still consider me as a blogger (man, the last post on this one blog goes back to may 2009, even with a delorean, it’s hard to go down memory lane)

So during the first season of this blog (ante 2009), I mainly talked about combining web2.0 and travel (see, “social media” wasn’t as popular back then), this season, I’m going to talk about…about what? Frankly I’m not quite sure yet. 

The very few who read me know that I like showcasing positive things happening in Madagascar. Few years down the lane, I now manage a company called Nelli Studio (www.nelli-studio.com), we’re trying to put Madagascar on the international map when it comes to anime movies, video games while trying to get some piece of the cake when it comes to augmented reality and virtual reality. As the saying goes “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”
So here’s the deal:

– get back to blogging again (checked once I hit the publish button)

– rant about topics that matter to me (as of today, I’m attracted by entrepreneurship, startup and all the related topics, it may change later on)

– nevermind about being consistent on the topics (as of today, blogging just help me get my ideas clear sometimes… While I once used blogging for personal branding before)

For those of you who were patient enough to read up to here, feel free to challenge me on the stands (or questioning) I put here…

Tubemogul: an efficient way to upload, distribute and track your videos

 Upload your videos to all major video sharing sites in one shot!
Upload your videos to all major video sharing sites in one shot!

So you’ve made it to a point where you’re happy with video editing and want the world to be aware of how cool your place is, how awesome your last travel was, or how warm was the atmosphere during your last dinner, or just want to drop a video on the net about how crazy time you spent during your last party … Hmmm, I personally left my computer online all-night long to upload a e  hour video that I already encoded to FLV format into a blip.tv account … and I’m not blaming blip.tv (or youtube.com if you want a more familiar brand) since it’s mainly due to the bandwidth that Madagascar has.

But since you want your video to be pushed to all the video communities that you are part of (does the following sounds familiar to you: youtube.com, dailymotion.com, blip.tv, …): up to now, the only solution I am aware of is to upload to each of those sites, but, hey, uploading one is already a pain so why would you bother uploading to multiple accounts? But there is a solution that you may want to consider: tubemogul.com that defines itself as:


TubeMogul is a free service that provides a single point for deploying uploads to the top video sharing sites, and powerful analytics on who, what, and how videos are being viewed. TubeMogul tracks rich, standardized analytics far beyond “views,” including per-second audience dropoff, audience geography and much more.


Yes, uploading a video from Madagascar is painful. But, hey, video is a buzz-generator and should be considered, especially if you are working in the travel-field.Moreover, you may have a different set of friends and communities at youtube and dailymotion, … and the tracking feature is awesome as you know which channel works most for your campaign.

Sounds nice? Do you consider using this service? Have you used this service? If so, I’d be happy to hear about your experience

Finding interesting travel-related people to follow on twitter

(cc) mfilej
twitter (cc) mfilej

You may have heard it, or you’ll soon hear about it: Twitter is going mainstream and is one of THE online place to be for discussing and easily exchange with other people.
For us travel-oriented people, this is also a good place to get in the loop as well as showcase our posts, discoveries.

If you want to have “listening-people” notice what you’re doing, be aware that Tuesday is the day to raise your hand and speak on twitter land by using the #traveltuesday hashtag. A kind of advice though: don’t abuse the system.

Here are my few tips to get the most out of this #traveltuesday hashtag:
– first, tweet on tuesday. Obvious but be careful with timezones. You’d want to tweet while people are active on line. One way to verify the frequency of posts is to search for “#traveltuesday” on http://search.twitter.com
– recommend or retweet some other tweets you found useful. Remember you’re in the social media arena: it’s not always about you- be ready to share or retweet about others
– use URL shortners (bit.ly, tinyurl.com,…) to gain some “additional” characters. This is one of the features that I personally love with tweetdeck (a twitter application- that works great on almost any platform BTW- am using it on an ubuntu box)

Searching for the “#traveltuesday” hashtag is also a good way to discover interesting tweeterers to follow and exchange with.

So, are you ready to join the twitter ride?Share some twitter accounts worth following that you’ve found on the comment section

I finally jumped into it …www.madafan.com where I (and hopefully others) will share the Madagascar experience

 

two screens
two screens

While saveoursmile.wordpress.com spent almost a year trying to help Madagascar-based tourism operators to get the most of internet, and specifically Web 2.0 and derivatives, apart from some friendly followers (thanks guys, it’s not over yet …) what I advocated for hasn’t been applied …  I can understand it, but this experience also helped me share my views whil practicing. So I’d better apply what I preach for…

 

Hence, a new baby is born: www.madafan.com In case you’re wondering, I will still maintain the two blogs (at least I’ll do my best). While both blogs will deal about tourism, madagascar and internet, there is a huge difference:

– saveoursmile.wordpress.com is geared toward techniques to use online for promoting a destination. Those techniques includes how-to, online tools and brand/identity management

http://www.madafan.com will deal with actual “tourist” experience: places worth discovering, off-the-beaten track tours, culture, people, conservation and biodiversity

You are almost welcome to exchange/contact with madafan, or if you are a facebook addict, become a fan of Madafan on facebook. Finally, you can follow me on twitter. Stumbleupon users, Madafan is here

How to easily, I really mean easily, create a mobile version of your blog

(cc)
(cc) William Hook on flickr

In a previous post [fr], I advised to put in a terms of reference for designing a website the following criteria: setup a mobile version of the website. Another post also tried to digg further into mobile marketing. With all those mobile devices (iPhone, nokia, blackberry and other Java or windows-mobile enabled devices), travellers are becoming more addicted to their mobiles. I think it’s more than accurate to provide some tips on how to setup a mobile version of your website.

A little background for those who don’t have any clue why should we pay a particular attention to mobile devices: unless the mobile device owner uses a “better” browser like opera mini mobile devices browser, chances are that mobile browser user will see unarranged/unpleasant and very simple version of your website. In order to have a better idea of the mobile user experience, I invite you to test your website with a mobile browser emulator like

Looks ugly, non user-friendly?. And with the plethora of mobile devices around, you don’t want to spend too much time trying to fogure out how your website will look with a nokia NSeries, then try with a iPhone, then with blackberry, and so on … You’d better delegate it to a specialized service, and better yet if it’s free

In order not to scare you, yes it’s almost as easy as creating a web-based e-mail account.

Different solutions exists but I will only refer to the one I am using which is mofuse.com

The interesting part is that mofuse delivers “standard” and iphone optimized version of your site. The bad thing is that it is mainly designed for blogs as it “mobilizes” your RSS feeds. It’s not meant for mobilizing a standard website without feeds.

Once you have played around with the design of your mobile version, you can even setup your own subdomain (example: m.yourdomain.com) that will redirect to your mobile site version.

What’s your view on the mobile access to your blog?

How to search for “free” madagascar photos to reuse

(cc) by bit ramone on flickr
(cc) by bit ramone on flickr

So far, the most popular post on this blog is the one about finding photos about Madagascar[fr]. In another project, I’ve searched for  ways to tap into those incredible photos already published on the internet and that can be re-used without infringing any licensing terms- and, yes, solutions exists.

In case you are not yet familiar with the “Creative Commons” licensing scheme, I strongly advise you to consider it as this is the key element for distributing electronic materials on the internet.The motto for Creative Commons is “Share, remix, reuse-legally”.

Another key element when talking about photo sharing on the internet is flickr. Although there’s a huge amount of photos related to Madagascar on flickr, finding the right ones that you can republish can sometimes be tough without the right tools. You can always directly contact the photo owner and ask for permission to reuse their photos, but sometimes this solution doesn’t fit.

Back to the point of this posts, here are options you can consider for easing your search:

1- flickr advanced search feature

This is the built-in search feature for flickr. Don’t forget to check the “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content ” tick box at the bottom of the page. You even have the choice for searching photos that can be used commercially for your brochures for example.

2- flickrCC

The good thing with flickrCC is that your search results are nicely arranged in thumbnail mode, giving you a nice overview before selecting- though you don’t have to scroll pages before finding what you’re looking for.An interesting feature is to insert the author/image sources into the image (although I find the texts generated a bit non-aesthetic, but anyway, this is a great tool)

3- for wordpress bloggers: photodropper

If you are a wordpress blogger with your own installation (not on wordpress.com), then you definitely need to have this photodropper plugin that lets you, from inside editing a post, search for creative commons photos to illustrate your posts. I definitely love this feature as you’re only left with finding the right keyword to search for while composing it. Other flickr plugins are available but this is not the topic of this post.

Whatever solution you opt for, be careful to double-check the licensing of the photos you are using as most of the times authors will ask you to quote them as the author.

Any other photo stock images  that you know of where users can search for creative commons photos?

tracking madagascar-related keyword through google in times of success/crisis

Those last months, madagascar  has seen an increased interest through the results of internet search engines if we consider the following result from Google trend on the keyword “madagascar”

madagascar google trend
madagascar google trend

We can note a huge rise of the  interest beginning november 2008, mainly because of the cartoon “Madagascar 2 -escape to africa“. However, we can see from this picture that this interest has drastically  fallen in january 2009 as the movie’s effect also dropped.

Unfortunately, Madagascar (the country) is facing now a huge political crisis since the end of january 2009- and we can see from the graph here that a relatively small (compared to the cartoon effect) interest has risen on the internet mainly due to the crisis that is happening now in the country.

Although the national DMO  will continue to promote madagascar destination, and will keep on participating on international trade shows [fr] in order to reassure tourists we expect tough times for madagascar for the tourism industry for these next months.

I’ll be interested to have readers’s view/input on how to use social media in order to overcome crisis.Feel free to share your experiences/findings …

How to have an online presence without a huge internet budget?

I often have some small Madagascar-based tour operators asking for advice on how to “have their own website” without having to pay between 2 millions to 10 millions MGA

Well, I usually answer that you don’ t necessarily have to setup your own website if your goal is only to publish some institutional informations (your contacts, eventually an online version of the content of your brochure…)

I know, this doesn’ t answer the question raised by the head title of this post.So here we go.

Option 1: you insist on having your own website

You can go for a local provider who is leveraging Joomla’s open source content management system. They will design and setup the features you want for “free” but you’ ll pay an yearly fee of aroung 500 000 MGA for hosting purposes (domain name and web space)- this is still a fair deal compared to the 2 to 10 millions offer that some web agencies will charge you for almost the same features- in order not to be perceived as giving free (or sponsored) publicity to the provider, I’ d invite you to drop a note in the comments sections if you are interested to get in touch with this provider..

Option 2: you want to connect with potential customers

I’ d recommend you engage into well-established social networks/forums where your customers go for asking questions/recommendations. Tripadvisor has an active forum for exchanging about Madagascar. Best of all, creating an account and actively using it will only cost you your internet connection fee.

Option 3: you want to be recognized as an expert in your field, or you want to update

The more you show/talk about your field of expertise (for example: trekking in Madagascar), the more interested your targeted partners/customers will be. My recommendation will then be to open a blog on wordpress.com (remember how Google-friendly tags on wordpress.com are? Use this blog for posting news /photos/videos as well as generate interaction with your readers

Option 4: you want to attract some abroad-based partner that will direct customers to you

Consider connecting and spreading your network on LinkedIn.com. Have your former customers recommend you through the LinkedIn network- this will give more credibility to what you’ ll say in your profile. Creating an account on LinkedIn.com is free, however some premium accounts can be obtained via some charges. Once you have a good profile, go and network with other peers.

Madagascar: New York Times 38th recommended place to go in 2009

The well-known New York times has ranked Madagascar as their 38th recommended place to visit in 2009 (out of 44 places in the world). This may go against the previsions I’ ve made stating that 2009 will see less US tourist for Madagascar . This is a well-done job for any entity promoting Madagascar destination.

new york times ranking
new york times ranking

This is an opportunity for me to invite you to “recommend” Madagascar destination to your contacts

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