Uttercast: More Emphasis Needed on Listening


A notion about business approaches to social media struck me yesterday during a webinar hosted by a client, Powered (www.powered.com). Chris Barger of General Motors (www.twitter.com/cbarger) said, in effect, that social media is above all a listening platform.

With all the preaching about interaction- speaking with your audience- it was refreshing and even a little startling to hear Chris make that statement.

Most "Social Media 101" missives do put listening up there, but I now think that perhaps we do not give it enough emphasis over talking (messaging).

It does make sense. Even in the go-go "pitch-pitch-pitch" world of PR, the more listening (and reading) we do before reaching out, the more successful we are.

Do we need to put more more emphasis on listening, even if it means talking less?

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Social Media Top 5: Twestival, Can Twitter be Digg, and Pulver Pokes

Twestival: I had been hearing quite a bit about Charity:Water over the last few months, from a semi-mysterious mailed invitation to a New York fundraiser party in December (I got thrown off by the lack of social media context) to my good friend Laura Fitton’s fundraising via TipJoy and Twitter. OK, I get it- a comparatively small amount of money helps get clean water for villages in places where that is indeed a difficult thing. You can’t knock that for a good cause.

Well, Charity:Water and all of its various volunteer friends have really kicked it up a notch with the Twestival idea. Starting in London, but blooming to s global scale, with at least 175 cities participating- simultaneously, on February 12. I plan to attend the Boston event that evening; not just for the charity- it’s easy to give $25 if you have it- but for the meatspace socialization. what a fantastic idea; I am looking forward to the aftermath.

I’ll let social media video star iJustine explain Charity:Water because she’s prettier than I am

The Obama “Hope” Poster; Intellectual Property Theft? Super media-blogger Dan Kennedy brought to my attention lawsuit brought by the Associated Press against artist Shepard Fairey because he used an AP photo to produce the poster. Kennedy thinks the suit will not go anywhere because the poster should qualify as a “transformative” work (read the post for a better explanation). I would like to agree, but frankly I don’t know the law well enough. Regardless, I do see this as another lost opportunity, a la the FedEx box furniture and other “takedown notice” public relations gaffes. The AP could embrace this– even coopt it (“steal it back,” if you must) and share in some of the reflected good feelings behind the poster. Instead, they’re succumbing to
the typically aggressive intellectual property lawyers’ advice. Understandable, but still….

..maybe I can get sued for this:

The Twitter Effect: a New Digg? Stephen Shankland writes in CNET about the “Twitter Effect,” where “Re-Tweets” – repeated sharing of a single link – can bring lots of traffic to a blog post or Web site. When Twitter is truly mainstream, I see the possibility; I sure get most of my traffic from Twitter, and when someone like Chris Brogan Tweets a blog post (and he has), the traffic surge is noticeable. Of course, I write a lot about social media, and lots of like-minded people hang out on Twitter, so of course it works for me. We will have to see if the Twitter Effect goes mainstream.

One thing I do like in this over Digg, is the relevance- Twitter (and StumbleUpon, by the way) is much more social than Digg has become, meaning that links are more heartfelt recommendations, rather than a relatively small cabal voting things up an down. So, does relevant count in these games?

Facebook Pokes- Not Completely Evil, If Jeff Pulver Says So I really have no time or patience for Pokes and Super pokes on Facebook, or any of the other meaningless (but, ok, fun) applications on the social network, but Jeff Pulver reminds us that the plain old “poke” is a way to find presence– are you there? Jeff plays that game, maybe I will a little, now. No Zombie bites though.

Idiots Threaten Social Networks ZDNet Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan just blows off some steam at the the idiots that often crop up on the public Internet. My take? It’s not annoyance, it’s entertainment! Dumb moments on the social web are the “crotch shots” or pie in the face, and we hope we are never victims.

Uttercast: Hope for a Social Media Presidency?


After reading a piece about President Obama and th Web in the latest Wired (print!), I thought more about the idea of a "social media presidency." I still don’t think we’ll see a true two-way administration, but I do see some of that thinking in the staff and had a couple of thoughts:

1) Patience- A piece of my own advice I need to take. As one of Obama’s aides says in the story, "Day 1 will not look like Day 100." More interactive presidential communications could arrive; maybe not full-throated social media, but perhaps some old red tape can get cut away.

2. A legislative wiki. Perhaps this is more the domain of Congress, but what about letting the general public go to a wiki and suggest legislation, then harvest only the best ideas to roll into bills? It’s an intriguing twist on "call your Congressman." Maybe it’s a lot of work, but perhaps a workable version could appear.

What is your idea of a social media initiative the federal government (feasibly) could do?

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Pan-Mass Challenge Update February 2

A mere six months to go until this year’s Pan-Mass Challenge, and I though I would share a few updates on my preparations:

– First off, please consider donating to sponsor me in the ride. Click here to join the ranks of my generous sponsors. All proceeds (every dime!) go to the Dana-Farber for research onto cures and treatment for cancer. I have a bit more on fundraising updates below.

– Jackie Herskovitz of Teak Media and her crew conducting PR for the PMC were kind enough to supply me with the nifty new “30th Ride” logo, shown here and in the margin of the blog.

– Speaking of the 30th Ride, the official PMC blog is publishing a “30 Rides in 30 Weeks” series– they are up to 1983 at this writing (that’s the fourth PMC). It’s worth a look to see how the ride has developed from 36 riders raising $10,000 in 1980 to the 5,000-plus riders who raised $35 million for cancer research last year.

– Training update. This past weekend, my friend Stephen finally talked me into taking a spinning class. Though I trained and rode the PMC last year, I managed to avoid spinning classes somehow. There is no comparison between a spinning class and indoor training on your own. I still don’t know what hurt more, though- the class, or getting up at 7 am on a Saturday. I guess I’ll be even better prepared for the big ride this year.

– Fundraising update. I thought I would compare this year to last. For one thing, I committed to raise $3,400 last year and made my goal – thanks to many of you- the day before the ride. This year, I am committed to raise at least $4,200, and while this economy may make things challenging, I think enough people believe in this cause that I will be successful again.

Last year, I had raised more money by the end of January- $355 to $270 this year, but this year I already have nine sponsors (thank you!) to last year’s three. What’s more encouraging is that I only have two repeat sponsors so far, and seven new ones.

A big difference this year seems to be that there are a lot of new, different people on Facebook, from parts of my life (High School, former jobs, college) that are not represented on Twitter, where most of my donors came from last year.

From a social media experiment angle, I am very interested to see how things go. Again, please consider joining me by being a sponsor– those of you can’t or already have, please cheer me along, and i will try to give interesting updates as I go.

To sample last year’s updates, have a look at this link.