Entries Tagged as 'internet'

voice 2010 – don’t be shy, say hello

Voice Over Talent Peter K. O'Connell

I’m not sure if it’s cause I look old and decrepit or what, but when I go to professional events, people who know of me but who I don’t really know yet (except maybe sort of on line) often say “Hello Mr. O’Connell, my name is Ken and I’ve (read your blog / seen your videos / listened to your demos / got a warrant here for your arrest etc.)”

Mr. O’Connell?

It’s a sign of respect that I’ve offered to people as well and it’s certainly appreciated…but with me, it’s also unnecessary.

I noticed it a bit at the Voice Talent Production mixer and some other professional events…I’m not any type of hot shot but people know of me and that I’ve been doing VO for a while (a long, arduous while) and so they wonder if it’s OK to say hi to me.

It’s more than OK, it’s encouraged! I’m looking forward to meeting YOU!

And I cannot think of anyone at this week’s conference who should be considered unapproachable.

So as we approach VOICE 2010 and you see me in a conference room or in the hall way or on the corner selling pencils, don’t be shy, say hi.

But say your name slowly, clearly and repeat it because I’m old and decrepit. 😉

hate speak gets a bigger platform

With the internet, the ability to deride, insult and be hateful became global and super simple. You could and can say anything you want about a product, service or even a person – especially anonymously- on a bulletin board, in a blog post or comment and leave it there for anyone to see. It took the public airing of snark and snide comments to a whole new level of acceptance.

We probably have all been guilty of at least one such anonymous incident. I’ve always believed (sometimes at my own peril) if one has the courage of their convictions, they sign their name to a post.

Sometimes, airing frustrations on the internet can lead to good…some companies monitor conversations about their brands and address problematic issues as they come up. When I’ve had major customer service problems I have, on the rare occasion, shared them here. Some bloggers don’t like to do that – but my house, my rules.

Now, reading Todd Defren’s blog post about the new web site called Unvarnished has made me sad beyond words. According to Todd, the site “will allow people to post anonymous and irrevocable opinions about y-o-u online.” That is the site’s main and focused purpose…not discussion, not interaction…just opinions about specific people.

The site itself says: “To help reviewers be honest and candid in their reviews, Unvarnished obscures the identity of review authors. This lets reviewers share their true, nuanced opinions without fear of repercussions.”

And yet what about the repercussions for those listed on the site who may be not-guilty of a charge anonymously leveled against them. The only answer I can determine so far is: don’t list yourself on that site in the first place.

In our world, when there is an enormous disaster, we love to help, send money, hold a telethon, have a bake sale…lend a hand.

But on a day to day basis, we each too easily criticize and judge each other needlessly and hurtfully almost as a matter of course. I do it and you do it; we don’t like to think about it but we need to.

This type of web site feeds that hatefulness and our vindictiveness to a degree we shouldn’t want to experience. It gives people who start the day as small-minded a better playground, a bigger pool in which to spread their poison. Even those who think it harmless fun might play in this new forum…not appreciating the real and long-term harm they are doing.

Freedom of speech is a right we all hold dear and that should not change. But I hope and pray that such a right, properly merged with common sense and good will, will lead to the demise of any site containing words filled with hurt and hate as its primary by-product.

Thanks for letting me vent, I’ll try not to do it too often. If you have an opinion on any of this, I hope you’ll share it here.

it may intimidate you a little at first but you need to begin to learn about google wave


When it comes to technology, I am not an early adopter like, say Dave Courvoisier. This is especially true for me with internet technology.

I was late to Firefox as a browser and I only kind of embrace things like Gotomeeting.com as just two examples.

As a business owner though, I know that I need to at least have a passing understanding of the purpose of some this technology because many of my voice over clients have it or will begin using it.

While we all don’t need to necessarily be internet technology experts in the eyes of our clients, we shouldn’t appear technologically inferior either.

So you may have seen on the web talk of something called Google Wave, you may have even gotten an invitation to participate in it (yeah, it’s currently an “invite” thing but its not that crazy exclusive).

I don’t understand Google Wave very much…maybe because I haven’t used it. But because it’s Google it has a better than average chance of being universally adopted by people I work with. So I need to try and understand it…and you should probably try to learn about it to.

So far, the best explanation of Google Wave that I have found so far was written by Gina Trapani over at Life Hacker. It’s a kind of an FAQ that helped me understand the business applications of Google Wave a bit more and I hope it will help you too.

Look, if it was easy, anybody could do it. Open your brain a bit and let some stuff in this post seep in. It may help.

a little web clean-up


I am well aware that this may be of interest to no one but me or it may encourage you to take a well-times critical eye to your own web site; it was time to clean up audioconnell.com

Let it be said up front that the clean up was on account of (bad english alert) stuff that I put on the site in the first place. Was I wrong then? Probably not…the web is an evolving place and our job as business owners is to stay on top of the changes for our site. What made sense then may not make sense now. Plus, refreshing a brand or at least tweaking it on occasion (note that) is not a bad thing.

My point is with the growth of the International Voice Talents, Voice Over Workshop and even the female voices, the site can revert back to its original platform – promoting my voice over business. The plan I developed when I started those businesses was to build on my web equity and that would mean sacrificing a little of my own voice over business to do that. Well, I got ‘er done enough for those two as they are up and running on their own; it was time to update the web site and I did…and will….forever.

I realize that my graphic abilities are not the best so the representation above may not look as beautiful as the site does on your browser but this is for demonstration purposes only. So here’s a rundown of the cleaning and polishing (maybe they will offer you some helpful ideas as well):

A. This is the first part of the changes involving the navigation of the site. It used to say male voice demos – which were all mine. Now it has my name on there which is clearer for the visitors (over 1,400 of you unique folks last month and I thank you). The other part was clarifying how to book/hire me…sort of asking for the order, if you will. This involved looking at some of the content on the site already and reordering it within the navigation.

B. This part involved cutting out some navigation stuff that was old or unnecessary. Just as a couple of quick examples: I dropped the client login button (I email an FTP address to clients which is easier and simpler) and dropped the voice over workshop link (people use www.voworkshop.com now). Much cleaner.

C. This is a bit of the pizazz and razzle dazzle . First, this spot used to have a variety of old mic pictures which were nice but used up important web real estate…bye bye mics. Hello audio’connell’s secondary logo (the “ao” logo as opposed to the full “audio’connell word mark logo with the microphone which is on the left of the site). Most social media pals are very familiar with this icon as is anyone who remembers the story of my favicon. BUT also I added some client logos up there on a rotating basis just to gently let people know some of the folks I’ve worked with. The cool fade process is done by adding pixie dust (and that stuff’s expensive!)

D. A break with lower case tradition, in just this one instance. We’ll see how that goes.

E. Pulled out about three demos here having everything to do with money. Thank you God it’s been an OK year for business and I’ve been making money in my core areas of commercial and narration. But message on hold sounds the same everywhere and podcasting is not an area where many folks focus on quality or expenditure…of any kind. So buh bye.

F. As mentioned earlier, a little branding paint has been applied to the site and this text area was a key place to convey this message. Plus it’s not a bad thing to freshen up the text for the bots occasionally.

G. A key part of my marketing effort is to get out a press release every month and yet I fall behind. Not because I don’t have stuff to write about but rather I don’t make the time to get the writing done. So there are two fresh press releases on the home page.

Just so we’re clear, this post isn’t meant as an ode to me but rather as a pot stirrer for you and your web site. Certainly if things are going exceedingly well, I am not encouraging you to screw with your formula. But a reflective and maybe even critical eye could help you see things on your site that need a little improvement. And there was no heavy lifting involved in this process.

Your thoughts?

your assistance, please…


In doing a little Google Analytics review (which I haven’t done in a while) I noticed that my frequently asked questions page is one of the more popular pages on my web site. Who knew?! (Google analytics, evidently).

This could be for a couple of reasons:

A. Clients are learning about how I can help them and what my business terms are (which is why I have the page)


B. Other voice talents are reading the page trying to learn about how to present themselves to their clients on their web sites

For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll hope for the former and ignore the latter.

So here’s what I would like from you: please look at my FAQ page and give me YOUR ideas for what OTHER questions I could answer for clients about my business that they might find helpful. You can also advise if you think some questions/answers should be changed or omitted.

Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated because as I get older, I know just how much I don’t know.


is there too much noise?


The reason I ask this question is that I just enjoyed a nice three day weekend, pretty much away from the computer. This AM, opening up my Google reader, I see over 900 blog posts and over fifty of them are in the voiceover category.

What is it we think we all have to say? And I include me in there too.

It’s a vicious circle, mind you. You should have a blog to be an active participant in social media (and SEO/SEM) and everybody has the right to share whatever they like. Equally true, we can all subscribe and unsubscribe to any blog at any time (except this blog, you can check in anytime you like, but you can never leave).

With all this content, what are we all contributing to? And how many people are not just reading (Feedburner +) but understanding? Are we communicating or are we just spewing? Because more important to social media than the tool (a blog) is the content…saying something of relevance.

A blog writer has to assume that their posts resonate with someone if they have even one subscriber (and by the way, not for nothing, I mean it when I say thank you for subscribing). But when I think about 900 posts over three days multiplied times content on radio, television, newspaper, Facebook et al multiplied times international content….my head literally spins a bit.

Today I will hit “mark all as read” on my Google Reader very often and likely erase some quality content that I cannot make room for. I must move on.

Am I simply oversubscribed or overwhelmed? Have these thoughts ever occurred to you? How do you deal with all this communication, all this noise? Do you tune in more or totally tune out? Any tricks you care to share?