Social Media Top 5: March Madness- Twitter Not Relevant? Social Media Productive? I’m Using Buzz?

Twitter less relevant?

Justin Kownacki pointed me to this post by Jeff Pulver noting that the increasing use of geo-location social tools like Foursquare and Gowalla have made Twitter instantly a little less relevant. While I see the point tht the “I’m here now” Twitter messages by the heavy-user social media crowd have largely moved to Foursquare, at least in my experience Twitter (and Facebook for that matter) are linked to those services and carry those messages as well. Much- actually, all– the discussion of my Foursquare check-ins take place on Twitter (and, again, Facebook).

Twitter is still the hub of my online universe- largely because it is ridiculously simple (“too stupid to die”), and it links to everything. How about you?

Social Media Productive for Work? Of Course- Say Social Media Users

A hat tip to Ted Weisman at Lois Paul & Partners’ blog for pointing me to this information from Forrester Research about how social media users seeing social media usage as great for innovation, revenues, profitability, customer service and productivity, among other things. All things I can get on board with– and who would know better than those who use social media. So…where is the study saying what corporate management thinks? If they get similar results, now that would be something.

When reading survey results, it is important to note whom is being surveyed, lest as a reader you misinterpret the results and assign them more importance than they deserve (I’m not saying Ted did this here).

I noticed a similar principle at work…

…in a recent post by my friend Scott Monty showing that email and social media have a great near-future in integrated programs. Again, this time, the survey sample was purely email marketers. I would love to see what other marketers- a more general sample- thinks about using email with social media. That would help everybody.

Using Google Buzz– Yes, Using Buzz

There has been a lot of hand-wringing about Google Buzz since its introduction. While heavy social media users like me don;t welcome yet another noisy channel, I do recognize an important potential value- if it somehow becomes evident that it ties together all th other Google products we use as a single information channel– mail, search, reader, maps, etc etc– I could see it holding value. Time will tell.

A small step I am taking in that direction is changing how I bookmark. I have been using Delicious to bookmark interesting web pages, but am now trying to  use Buzz to see if I like that better- and if I get some social interaction in the process as I mark these atories up, all the better. I’ll report back after using it a bit more.

Are you using Buzz? How? Any verdicts?

Media Bullseye Radio Roundtable

Last, just a note that I have recorded my second co-hosted (with Jennifer Zingsheim) episode of Media Bullseye Radio Roundtable since last month’s reboot. Our guest was Arik Hanson, one of the people behind Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO). WE covered netwrking, skills being learned by tomorrow’s communications leaders, and corporate monitoring of employees’ social media activities. Please have a listen and let us all know what you think.

(Direct link to Mp3 download)

Social Media Top 5: Bloggers Don’t Care if You’re PR, Accent-u-ate the Negative, & the Need for Community Managers

Do Bloggers Understand the Differences Between PR and Advertising? Should They (Will They) Care?

Jason Falls brings up in a post the notion that bloggers don’t understand the difference between PR and advertising, highlighted by the fact that some bloggers, when pitched by PR, ask for, in essence, a “pay for play” arrangement. Right or wrong, I think we will see more, not less, of this type of understanding. Do bloggers owe it to PR people to care about the difference? I don’t see why they should. It would be convenient for PR people, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

ReTweeting Negative Comments– Really

It is common to advise clients to engage with negative commenters online- perhaps to sway their opinion, but at least to be part of the conversation and have their side heard by all observers. What burrito chain BoLoco does is a bit more interesting- according to a post by Zach Braiker, they repeat (“ReTweet”) negative posts on Twitter. That’s risky, because Twitter offers little room for context. But it does show a good sense of sport, and a willingness not only to face critics head on by acknowledging them, but to egg on their fans to come to their defense.

Will it work? Here is some isolated evidence:

Surprise! Facebook Fan Page Admins Get Weekly Stats Emails

Are you a Facebook Fan Page administrator? Then you probably got an email last week with page stats. Considering that existing Fan Page stats were thin at best, and slow to update, these numbers, slim as they are as well, are welcome.


I would have been nice if Facebook had done the courtesy of asking permission to send these emails, true we probably opted in somewhere down the line in signing up, but still. This disregard for the the protocols of Internet privacy and etiquette could be applied to more serious matters– to date, Facebook doesn’t have the greatest track record in this regard.

The Need For Community Managers: a Good Reason

In this post by Jeffrey Cohen, Aaron Strout (disclosure: a good friend and former client) of Powered, Inc.  talks about the need for community managers. That need is nothing new in my circles, but Aaron articulates a great point: community managers breed content creation. Creating content is the hardest thing for any company, especially when content is not their core business. Rather than the limited content output of one person, a community manager can harness the creativity of a company’s “fans,” thereby creating much more content. How many content creators does one community manager equal? Ten? More?

(Link contains a video interview with Aaron).

Do You Need to Incentivize Colleagues to Use The Intranet? Then Your Intranet Sucks (or You Don’t Need It).

After reading this article in by Lindsey Miller, I noted a lot of interesting and clever, likely effective ways to entice employees to use a company intranet (or other internal communications tool, for that matter). In my experience, nobody will use these tools effectively if they don’t find them valuable– no matter how many cookies you give them. Forget the gimmicks– just make it work.

Pan-Mass Challenge Update: So What’s New?

It has been a while since I posted here about my efforts as a participant in the Pan-Mass Challenge, an annual two-day ride to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. These pre-spring weeks can be tough, in that it is not yet warm enough or light enough for me to get outside on the bike for training, and we are still almost five months away from the event–it seems so far away! Yet there are some interesting bits going on:

  • Fundraising is on pace with last year, which always amazes me. A huge thank you to those who have sponsored already. We are at $845 out of our initial goal of $4,200, and it would be wonderful to reach $1,500 by the end of March. Can we do it? Can you please help? To sponsor me, please go to my PMC page at
  • I really like the look of this year’s logo. It’s great that the PMC goes for a different visual style each year

  • Training – I am not one of those hardy souls that bikes in the cold and dark of winter mornings; staying in cycling shape in New England takes a concerted effort. Last year, friends got me into spin classes, and that made a different. I have kept them up this winter, and feel ready to go. Of course, this being March, I am itching to get out on the road- soon.
  • Another aspect of training that made a big difference last year was riding regularly in a group. I rode more, and we pushed each other.  I’m looking forward to the start of the “5:37 Club” rides.

PMC 2009 - Doug Haslam's Ride

Social Media Top 5: Verdict on SXSW, Twitter Influencers Tell All, 5 Reasons to Stop Blocking

SXSW: Geek Spring Break or Great Business Opportunity?

I debated whether or not writing something about SXSW Interactive was even relevant for me, but then realized a lot of the people that read this blog are at the conference as I write this. The most-asked question about SXSWi is, is it “Geek Spring Break,” or as Christopher S. Penn puts it, the “single best opportunity to ruin your personal brand,” or is it a valuable business prospecting and networking opportunity? Too many good friends insist on the latter, while the people who make it the former are probably wasting their (or their employers’, or clients’) money and time. The best representation is probably this snide column from Paul Carr of TechCrunch, who looks down on SXSW and its attendees while also panning to lead a session there.

As I see it, the choice is yours, Mr/Ms Attendee. What do you think?

How to Find Out How the Pros Use Twitter

Ask them. Leave it to an original thinker like Justin Kownacki to come up with a new method for discovering information. I might try that more often. What is most interesting from the answers to the questions Justin asked to a number of Twitter power users (myself included, which is why I’m trying not to use the word “influencers” he does) is that it gives a little insight s to why having a lot of Twitter followers is (mostly) a good thing. We see so many schemes advertised to build up a Twitter following, but not enough about how to use it. As for me, it’s great to have a greater potential of touchpoints thanks to an expanded Twitter network, and the meaningful relationships that come out of this network, while a very small percentage, come in greater number as a result.

Blogs Over Twitter for Content? You Don’t Say?

Actually, venture capitalist David Hornik says it. I agree that one of Twitter’s best primary uses is as a way to point out more substantive content, not merely as content itself. And while blogs may be better search engine fodder than Tweets, as Hornik points out, I wouldn’t go so far to dismiss Twitter as search engine bait. I speak as someone whose Twitter page ranks sixth on Google for a very common word (as of this writing), and has been as high as second. As we have seen, Twitter has only been showing up more as search engines add more “real-time features, making prolific Tweeting a very important part of an overall search dominance plan.

Will There be a Concerted Move to Get Companies to Stop Blocking Social Networks?

I don’t know, but B.L. Ochman has another in her fine series of social media lists, “Five Reasons Why Companies Should Not Block Employee Access to Social Networks. Read the whole post here, but the five reasons listed briefly are:

  1. Resistance is futile.
  2. Don’t assume people won’t find other ways to waste time.
  3. Social networks actually can make workers more productive.
  4. You’ll miss great ideas.
  5. Employees are much more trustworthy than companies think.

The fears that B.L. tries to push back on here are actually understandable, but the last point is key: trust. A little trust brings back goo returns- or may be a better way to flush out rotten employees who abuse the privilege of access (let’s be real, it’s not really a right, is it?), who might be otherwise skating by on less visible poor work and behaviors.

Worth mentioning here is the effort is the site, a longer-range effort to outlined the case for remove barriers to social media use in the workplace, spearheaded by Shel Holtz.

For Immediate Release, Here I Come

Speaking of Shel Holtz, I will be co-hosting the communications/PR/social media/etc. podcast “For Immediate Release” with Shel, taking over for an absent Neville Hobson, on Thursday, March 18. This is the granddaddy of all PR podcasts, one that has inspired so many others (including “PRobecast” during my Topaz Partners days).  To say I am looking forward to this is an understatement.

Neville Hobson and Doug Haslam

Me with Neville Hobson in 2008, plotting ways to usurp his share of the FIR throne

A Rock in the Pond (You’re Gonna Get Ripples)

While putting together some points regarding corporate use of social media, the phrase “giving a s***” entered my head, rather than the social media bromides so many of us throw into documents. As I often do, I threw out my unusable phrase in case I entertained anyone, and it turns out several wanted to jump in with suggestions. The results, while some were tongue in cheek, were interesting. I didn’t intend to get answers, but sometimes you just do; or, you throw a rock in the pond, you’re gonna get ripples. (this Twitter search result reads newest result down to oldest):

Social Media Top 5: Redefining Nice Guys, Facebook URL Fad, and the Social Media Playlist

facebook URL ad

Flickr Photo by davidking

Facebook URLs in Ads- The “New Way” or Fad?

Edelman’s Steve Rubel points out the emerging trend of companies adding Facebook fan page URLS to their advertising, and raises the question, are the  on-domain URLS dying in terms of advertising. Steve seems to doubt it, and I definitely do. Facebook remains hot and may be for a long time to come, but the hunger for more control– moving campaigns, even those extending to Facebook, back to the main Web domain, will likely re-emerge fairly quickly.

It will be interesting to see how these Facebook URL ad campaigns work out though.

Marketers Don’t Want to Hear Buzzwords (“Social Media”), but They Do Want to Invest in Them.

Courtesy of Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim, I saw that a poll by the Marketing Executives’ Network showed more than half of marketers are sick of buzzwords like “Social Media,” “Twitter”a nd “Social Networking,” but nearly 75% intend to invest more in it. While that makes for a fun, possibly ironic juxtaposition (in fact, Andy’s punchline is that the thing these buzzword-hating marketers want most out of social media is — ROI!), I see it more as people straining (in a good way) to see the business value as they seek to make these investments, rather than making knee-jerk responses to popular new-marketing-speak. Am I a killjoy in thinking this? Does that make sense to you? Feel free to comment and take this further.

Reconsidering your “Social Media Playlist”

When I look for material to comment on and make me think, I wonder if I am just spinning tires by reading the “usual suspects” of social media blogging. Amy Mengel has wrestled with a similar question, and decided to redesign her reading around a smaller number of “big picture” and “trend” resources. I don’t think I’ll go the same way, but it does make me think there is a solution to “social media blog burnout.”

My approach may point in a different direction– I find more diverse reading material in the Shared Items (in Google Reader) of my friends, many of whom are these so-called social media bloggers. Yes, use the hard work these people do in their own reading to lessen my dependence on their own blogs. Brilliant. Keep sharing, folks.

What Really Makes Us Stupider? Google? Hmm?

This opinion piece in my local paper on Google and stupidity, and however you want to frame it, illustrates two things for me.

First, that headline writers need to be eliminated or reeducated somehow. In this case, “Google is Making Us More Stupider” led me to think it would be a tirade against how those interwebs are making us dumb, but it was instead a tongue-in0cheek (but too subtle) jab at the people who conclude such things. How many great stories for PR clients have been ruined by a “clever” headline that subverts the story?

Second, it shows that people perhaps are not being fooled by the idiocy that posits that the Internet is making us dumb. Stupid is stupid. We don’t need Google’s help.

Nice Guys Finish Last… Because They Stop to EAT YOUR LUNCH- YEEEAAAHHH!

Peter Shankman makes a great case for “nice guys.” The idea that you have to be a jerk to be strong pervades a a lot of industries and companies, and it is good to see people come out on the other side.

In a dozen years in public relations, I have seen too many people fall sucker to the belief that being loud and obnoxious (I guess you can still be “nice” in that case) is the only way to succeed. Of course, if you are obnoxious AND good, I’ll take it (to a point).

Now, about that phrase “Nice guys finish last.” Let’s replace that last word, shall we?

Nice guys finish:

  • what a**holes started
  • what others can’t
  • with the help of the friends they made
  • _________ (your idea here)