Social Media Top 5: Yelp If I’m Bothering You Peeple


Image Credit: redhope on Flickr

Yelp if I’m Bothering You

I am trying to be positive and find a reason this new app “Peeple” should exist. After all, I’m hardly the only person writing about this and it’s hardly original to simply trash it. Their messaging is infused with a relentless positivity, but the immediate assumption across the Internet was that an app used to rate people (rather than services or companies) would be used for negativity, bullying and all sorts of harassment. Why would anyone think that?

The real terrifying thing might be that a headline calling this app “terrifying” actually passed muster in The Washington Post. A new era, indeed. I’m silently judging everything involved in this story.

Oh, and there’s already an app named “Peeple.” I’m beginning to think this is actually an Onion story. It’s almost too good.

Meanwhile, Slate thinks the real problem won’t be the negativity, but “empty positivity,” in a nice attempt at- empty positivity(?). Ok, I’ll stop trying to defend it.

And if I complain about negative comments on Peeple, will there be a Streisand effect? I now have a headache.

But wait a minute – Snopes is casting doubt on the actual launch of the app, based on the lack of any real information.

UPDATE: Since I took my sweet-flippin’ time writing and pressing publish on this post, the below Tweet from one of the (new)Peeple founders  seems to have happened. Deleting negative comments about an app that is designed to host negative (and positive) comments about real people? I am more than ever convinced that this is performance art and not an actual app intended for release. I’m sure there will be more, and better chronicled elsewhere. I’m getting some popcorn.

Facebook Privacy/Facebook Premium/ Facebook Underwear

I can’t even, as the kids say. First, we need to be mad at people for being naive about the reappearance of the ineffective Facebook “I declare my privacy to be sacrosanct” hoax, then we’re supposed to roll our eyes at people posting rants about the people telling off everyone who posts complaints about their naive friends. Then we’re supposed to laugh at parody versions, like the one that says Facebook will steal your underwear or something- I guess I should like the parodies; one friend even was amazed I didn’t write one. I can’t, the whole thing makes me want to take a nap, mostly because the hoax passed with much less fanfare many months ago.

No. Dear God, No

Facebook is starting to let users make video profile photos. I’m not prone to seizures, but this sounds like something I cannot get into. I’ll be happy to see any creative uses, but I’ll be just as happy to see the fun police who shut down Twitter’s animated gif profiles in 2012 to get back to work.

Check Your Ego at the Draft:

I’m not going to link to a post and call anyone out, as I’m not interested in shaming anyone (who won’t care anyway) nor in feeding egos. It’s no news that social media posts are very self reverential–oops, I mean referential–and often that’s necessary to bring a personal point of view, but I have seen a spate of posts recently that give great points, but could use some editing. I think  perhaps a great editorial job for bloggers could be an “ego eraser.” Would that pay? I’m going to keep it passive-aggressive here because sometimes that’s how it should be.

Now I need to re-read my own writing to see how awful I am on this count.

Twitter removing share counts from sharing buttons? 

Many marketers, publishers and egotists love seeing share counts for posts. Heck, I have them on my sharing buttons. I like to know what kind of reaction my posts are getting. So what should we make of the news that Twitter is looking to remove access to counts from its API? How inconvenient is this (a lot, to a few)?

What else does it mean? Control, most likely. Twitter has a recent history of restricting and regulating what third-party apps does with its content and data (see search result below), so this is not out of character. It would be a shame if this means losing Twitter counts to sit alongside numbers of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus shares, but I am also curious to know what they are doing if they are going to withhold this particular piece of information.

twitter shuts third party apps Google Search


Man, that was more negative than positive this week. I’m going out to enjoy the sunshine.

Social Media Top 5: Check Out My Peanutize


Here we go: another popular TV show or movie, another chance to change your social media profile pictures in the style of the characters. The latest is to promote the upcoming “Peanuts” movie, so now you can “Peanutize” yourself.

First of all, kudos for not calling it “Peanutsize” (say “I’m posting  my Peanutsize on Facebook” out loud and tell me that’s not hilarious).

Also, mine didn’t go so well.


Long-Form Content Experiment

BuzzSumo did an extensive study of content types to see which kinds get more links and shares. As someone involved in SEO, I appreciate the distinction, and definitely pay attention. One finding, that long-form content (longer than 1,000 words) tends to get more links AND shares, caught my eye. It syncs with things I have been hearing the last year or so, that long-form content is more engaging and that people will share it because it’s substantive. Perhaps you can also assume that the people who do share it have done so more thoughtfully than they would in sharing or linking to, say, a cat photo.

That said, I wondered; if I put some fake long content, would people share it without reading it?  I published the verbal equivalent of two $100 bills wrapped around plain paper, thanks to a handy lorem ipsum generator. The results? As I write this, the post got about 5-6 times the normal share rate of one of my blog posts; it’s not a definitive finding, as I’m sure several people simply got the joke and passed it along, but I do wonder how many people share longer-form content without actually reading it.

Shocker: Another Hashtag Fail

This is obvious and inevitable, but I just wanted to mark it here so I remember it for reference. Yes, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had a hashtag to ask him questions, and yes people trolled it. At this point, I’m not sure anymore that these things are such a terrible idea. Someone like Trump will have hecklers anywhere he goes, so trolls are pretty easy to ignore in this setting, and as easy to embrace. Is it any different from any other campaign event, whether he is an active or passive participant? Probably not. It’s time for any brand looking at hashtag campaigns to decide if they are worth it based on the potential return, rather than the predictable risk. One generally outweighs the other.

Universal New Yorker Cartoon Caption

Apparently, there are “universal New Yorker cartoon captions.” Apparently, there’s a new suggestion that you can apply to any New Yorker cartoon, because that’s a thing.

OK, fine, but these might be better.


On the other hand, we might as well just make fetch happen.

Groupon Layoffs

I saw this coming when I got a Groupon for Groupons. It usually is true for restaurants, so maybe that would have been as good a method as any to announce layoffs.

Social Media Top 5: DisLike-sia and Other Facebook Stuff


Image Credit: Rebecca on Flickr


Is Facebook finally implementing the long-discussed Dislike Button? Of course not. It’s a silly idea that makes no sense, not to mention that Facebook has long said it wouldn’t do that.

That did not prevent people from breathlessly reporting that Facebook was doing just that after some comments by founder Mark Zuckerberg last week. Of course, it was bunk; Facebook is looking at ways for people to express empathy or sympathy when acknowledging someone’s bad news on Facebook- times when a “like” feels awkward or inappropriate). Apparently, simply commenting isn’t enough, which I suppose I can understand (or empathize with).

The real story here isn’t the button, but that people rush off to publish in this age of the continuous news cycle without considering to absorb the actual facts. There was some backlash straightening out the facts, but the damage continued through the weekend, for example the incorrect original reporting being the basis for a quiz question on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

Reading is easy. Comprehension is hard.

So for now (and forever), haters will have to dislike Facebook content the way they know best – by trolling, bullying and creative hostility.


Signal for Facebook

Meanwhile, in news about products Facebook is actually introducing, the curation (my word) app Signal is being rolled out for media partners. Signal allows media partners to embed Facebook content in stories. I see it as some version of Storify, albeit limited to Facebook, but likely with some better tools for finding and collecting content.

The real news to me is that this product presents the possibility that Facebook is improving its search. If that is true and becomes available as improved search for all users, that would be a huge improvement; and Facebook will have to improve search if they want to become the de facto Web for people.

Strangers in my Facebook Feed

Small bother, but I had recently noticed more unfamiliar names in my Facebook feed. I wouldn’t think too much of it but a few other friends who are power Facebook users definitely noticed the same thing. I haven’t found any confirmation that Facebook has done some tweaks to the main feed to show more friends of friends or something like that, but I’m curious, if anyone knows more than I do.

Crystal- Meh? 

Not a Facebook item, but saw a recommendation for a service called Crystal that analyzes a person’s online social media and recommends how to interact with that person. Not sure of the algorithm or the accuracy, but here’s how you can talk to me, for what that’s worth:


One Last Time – I Repeat: Facebook is Not Introducing a Dislike Button

Please make it stop.

Social Media Top 5 – Slacktivism is Awesome & So Might Be Facebook Mention


Photo Credit: Rauter25 on Flickr

Avatars-For-a-Cause, Now with Extra Lazy Added

In general, I am not a fan of monkeying with profile pics on social networks. Your avatar is the way people recognize you, especially as messages flash by in news streams or list columns. I try to change mine rarely, though have occasionally succumbed to temporary fits of slacktivism, adding rainbows to my photo to mark gay rights progress in the US Supreme Court, or being bullied to use a holiday avatar because it’s “fun” (spoiler: it’s not fun, it’s a pain but I did use a Christmas avatar once or twice to shut up my friends).

In general, my attitude is “don’t mess with my avatar,” an attitude I also extend to lunch and naps. That said, many people like to do it to show solidarity for causes, and I won’t judge them (much). It was interesting to note that one of the smaller pains in the temporary-avatar process has been removed, as Facebook now allows you to set temporary avatars that revert to the original after a predetermined time, so you don’t have to remember to change it back. Armchair activism has now evolved into La-Z-Boy activism, and I approve.

Facebook Mention

Facebook has been rolling out a new livestreaming app called Facebook Mention. My friend Amy Vernon got early access (she is far more important than I am) and posted about her initial experience here. Here is what is NOT important:

  • Celebrities, Internet Famous, and verified accounts got access before you did. Deal with it, you loser/nobody. The hype fodder goes to the hypers.
  • The features aren’t fully fleshed out or functioning. Here is where you get to insult the Celebrities, Internet Famous, and verified accounts by referring to them as “beta users.” HA! GUINEA PIGS, ENJOY YOUR INFERIOR NOT-READY PRODUCT! Amy details a few of the features in her article, and I am sure most will be addressed

Here is what IS important:

  • Owning livestreaming is one piece of owning your life on the Internet. If Facebook can get this right, imagine the time we will spend on their platform consuming media, holding events,  and having discussions. We have already seen the hunger for a good “live chat” app, as people have run headlong to try Blab in apparent dissatisfaction with Google Hangouts. If it works- and more importantly, if they get people to use it- Facebook may have a win here.

Techmeme is Ten

Techmeme chief Gabe Rivera posted about the anniversary – on LinkedIn, natch – and I am reminded at how durable such a simple curation site can be if it simply does its job without being fancy, while still adapting to new times, new sources and new topics. As per Rivera’s article, Techmeme does not rely on clickbait- not that there’s anything wrong with that, but more info/fewer distractions is quite alright as well.

Conference Season Can Be Silly

I’m just wondering who thought it was a great idea to schedule Content Marketing World (a conference I would like to attend some day) and Inbound (which I have attended multiple times but regrettably missed this year) during the same week. I’m sure this isn’t the only case of two events targeting (at least to some extent) similar audiences occurring simultaneously, but maybe these folks should talk before next year. They could each double their take from freelance consultants and professional conference attendees.

I Still Get My News From Twitter

“Twitter is Dead” all you want, but when I am looking for information on what is happening now (as I write this, I was trying to figure out when the rain-delayed US Open Men’s final would start), that’s where I go. Not Facebook, not Google, not even the broadcast. Best search function wins.

Social Media Top 5: Eat Whopper and Die!


A bit of variety in this week’s Social Media Top 5, starting with the Burger Wars, even if it’s not strictly a social media story:


Image Credit: Surian Soosay on Flickr

McDonald’s to Burger King: Eat Whopper and Die!

This past week, Burger King, in a bid for attention, offered a truce to McDonald’s; for Peace Day, they said, why not do a joint burger and donate proceeds to charity? McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook didn’t take the bait, and replied in rather withering fashion, declining the offer.

The reaction? Some people seemed to thing McDonald’s blew it, or at least missed an opportunity. My reaction? McDonald’s is #1, and they have no obligation to participate in #2 Burger King’s cry for attention, however cynically wrapped in a good cause. Perhaps Easterbrook’s reply was a bit rude in tone, but on the other hand “Eat Whopper* and Die” (my words but he is welcome to them) is not an out-of-bounds response. Go give Wendy’s a shot, Burger King. No? I thought so.

I present Tom Brady doing his Burger King impression:


*I actually like Whoppers, not that it matters.

Social Media is DEAD!!!!!

OK, not really (and I hate the “X is dead” tropes), but I read with interest Josh Bernoff’s reaction to Augie Ray’s post on social media’s house being on fire and it needs to be rebuilt, or something. My first impression is that Bernoff is saying “Burn, baby burn,” while Ray sees some new unicorn farm springing up in its place (or something). What I do take away from this, on Bernoff’s side, are two things:

  • That most brands are not worth talking about and should not use social media for that purpose (not a new notion but worth repeating) – by the way, I’m not so sure that Apple is still one of those companies that meets that criterion; and
  • Compelling content is another good use of social media. Based on my work with Stone Temple Consulting, I wouldn’t limit that notion to social media, though I would love to see social have more of an impact on search results.

Social media dead? Should it be taken out of marketers’ hands? We know that most marketers are far too lazy to kill a vampire properly, with all that garlic and wooden stakes and probably some sort of prayer mumbo-jumbo. That’s a lot of work- so we’re stuck with vam- er, social media and the marketers who work in it. That’s not as bad a thing as the “dead” crowd would like to believe.

If anything, this content is fun for tech PR people who get to watch ex-Forrester analysts do battle with each other via blog. Keep it coming.

Instagram lets you post not-square images. Hurrah?

I have always considered Instagram to be the Internet’s answer to crappy photography – hence the neo-Polaroid trappings, the unnecessary-yet-necessary filters, and the emphasis on mobile over desktop ease-of-use. So, is Instagram’s recent announcement that it will tolerate non-square image formats a love note to photographers? Nah, it’s more likely a sop to movie studios and other commercial entities whose content is more Panavision than Ektachrome.

Not that that’s a bad thing…

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on

Rules are Terrible Unless They’re Not

Speaking of Instagram: Hayley Bloomingdale has decided that she is the arbiter of what is right in Instagram etiquette.  I don’t much care for people setting rules that others must live by in social media- we all can do what we want. Besides, nobody can replace Kim Kardashian as my queen of vacuous debutantes who actually give decent social media advice.

That said, most of Bloomingdale’s rules are not bad ones, but the last one- no cats? I don’t think so.


Thus guy ate a whole can of food, then caught a bird and ate it. Waiting for him to turn back into Bruce Banner

A photo posted by Doug Haslam (@doughaslam) on

#5: One Last Thought

Whether you do PR, marketing or some other form of communications, measurement is key. If some “measurement guru” shoves advice in your face (or your browser), ask yourself one question: is this a bunch of basic math, or are there some practical takeaways I can use to improve my programs? The answer makes the difference between snake oil and delivering results. That is all.

Social Media Top 5: I Get Positive About Brands Online

Image Credit: Anne Worner on Flickr

As the New Social Media Top 5 gathers momentum, this week I noticed a number of stories about brands online and how they handled a situation well or did something I liked. That’s right, I’m toning down the snark (sort of) to show what a nice guy I can be. Many of these stories are well-picked-over like a yard sale at noon, but I’ll try to find one question or nugget in each that has been less-discussed:

Image Credit: Anne Worner on Flickr

Image Credit: Anne Worner on Flickr


  • What we all know – When a brand makes a controversial decision, the tendency is to stand behind the decision without spending time (and reputation capital) feeding the trolls who disagree with it online. Target recently decided to stop separating toy aisles into “girls” and “boys,” and predictably the mouth-breathing keyboard-peckers decided that was un-American or something and took to the Internet with their fair and balanced opinions. A prankster by the name of Even Melgaard took Target’s decision to ignore the haters out of their hands by setting up a fake account and textually abusing them, using Target’s logo to give the appearance of an “official” customer care channel. Most brands’ first reaction would be to go after the imposter with a cease-and-desist order to protect their trademark; however, the most talked-about reaction was Target’s humorous posting of a sale on troll dolls. Well played, we all applauded.
  • What most of us didn’t talk about – Target’s lawyers are most definitely involved as far as this being a likely trademark violation. As funny as this guy is, I’d be shocked if they don’t ask (if they haven’t already) for Melgaard to stop using the logo. One of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s favorite sports is to force applicants to fiercely protect marks if they want to keep it, much the way the Caesars forced gladiators to fight to the death in Roman times. Expect “Ask ForHelp” to stop using the logo at some point once Target’s lawyers get back from the Hamptons.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

  • What we all know – Kentucky Fried Chicken recently revived the “beloved” Colonel Sanders character. Darrell Hammond, well known as a mimic from “Saturday Night Live,” stepped right in and did a swell job. Apparently some people thought it was creepy (and others thought maybe bringing back a Southern white gentleman dressed like a plantation owner as a spokesperson was a little odd in the same year South Carolina finally decided to remove the Confederate Battle Flag) but to see what KFC did next, I guess the reasons were not that it was like bringing a dead guy back to life on TV like some kind of ad-zombie (who can forget Orville Reddenbocker’s chilling return from the dead?). Instead, they introduced ads featuring fellow SNL alumnus Norm MacDonald, best known for doing cannily inaccurate impressions of Burt Reynolds and making OJ Simpson jokes, to take over the impression. Did KFC listen to its customers and give them what they wanted? Well, they’re definitely listening.
  • What I think – We are all being trolled, and I hope I’m right in thinking that. Norm MacDonald comes off as Norm MacDonald in a Colonel Sanders suit, and if they did that on purpose they are brilliant. Perhaps they will follow with other SNL alums taking their turns doing a poor impression. I’d watch that, if only to see if they’d cast Garrett Morris.


  • What we know – Probably not much: “Cooties” is a flick coming out in September about kids who turn into zombie-like beasts, and we know it will be good not only because Elijah Wood is in it (some of his role choices make me think of Wood as a Crispin Glover, except if people liked him), but because the film is a blender creation from people behind the “Saw” movies and “Glee” (which could have used a few more gory deaths in my opinion).
  • What you don’t care about but I do – On seeing the trailer online, I blew it up on the TV screen for my family and promptly announced that seeing this movie once it comes out will be a family outing- something I posted on Twitter as well:

  • That the writer (and one of the stars) of the movie as well as the director favorited, Retweeted me and followed me tickled me in a way Twitter used to in the old days. This is less the case of a big brand deigning to favor its Twitter followers with responses, but I felt it more a fan acknowledgment by some folks who are working hard to get this movie noticed. I hope Cooties gets some screens in Boston. Who wants to go?

Three is enough; this is getting long



Social Media Top 5: The Triumphant Revival


I’ve laid off the blog so long – not to mention the “Social Media Top 5” semi-feature – that one might think it was “dead.” I dislike when people in marketing declare things dead just to get attention (almost as much as when marketers declare the latest unproven, not-widely-available tool “the next big thing”), so time for a revival and five things that, like this blog, are most definitely not “dead.”


Photo Credit: Maureen Barlin on Flickr

1. “LOL” – According to Facebook, people are not using “LOL” as much to express laughter. Apparently, “haha” is more popular. I understand the emergence of emoji’s as more and more of these nasty critters are a click or so away from making you look hip in front of your friends. I have a hard time understanding why four characters trumps three in this age of brevity and autocorrect; why not the simple “heh?” – perhaps too understated. Also, the Facebook was based on a week’s worth of posts, so simmer down, people. 

2. “Real-Time Marketing” – This one’s not dead because the “real-time marketing” ghost that people have been chasing ever since Oreo’s heavily-planned moment of serendipity happened was never really alive. You either have a marketing or PR team in place that can act quickly to news events, or you don’t. That notion didn’t suddenly become evident at the 2013 Super Bowl (unless you were an attention-seeking social media blogger, then it was the Greatest Thing Ever That Never Happened Before). If you want to give up on “newsjacking” because it’s too hard because you can’t keep up with millions of Tweets, you’re thinking about it incorrectly anyway- find your niche and show up to your audience- not the world. Take advantage of news or don’t, no in-between. Nothing died, nothing to see here. Meanwhile, I will continue to walk out of any conference speech or panel that lazily brings up “Oreo at the Superbowl.”

3. Google Plus – This one is harder for me, as I have long been a skeptic of those who would put Google Plus  alongside Facebook as a viable competitor in social networking. I was never a G+ hater so much as an eyebrow-wagger at those who declared it the Greatest Thing Ever, even touting tutorials on G+ business pages before such things actually existed. So long as Facebook had everyone on the planet, that was never a worthy or realistic goal, or a realistic way to consider it. Google’s habit of pulling the plug on services that a small number of fierce fans love, in the interest of re-allocating resources and focus, has also been a factor in the frustrations many have over G+. Anger over the recent a changes to Google Plus was fed by those recollections, I suspect. But saying Google Plus is dead because they are re-focusing the product (I tend to agree with my colleague Mark Traphagen’s assessment) is not close to true. You may not use G+, you may not like what it was or what it might be, but it is still here and it is what it is.

Bonus plug: my employer, Stone Temple Consulting, recently released a study on what gets engagement on Google Plus– I’m biased, but I think it is good fodder for those who don’t mind the fact that G+ is “dead.”)


Image Credit: Tom Simpson on Flickr

4, Music – Well, maybe music is actually dead. Sinead O’Connor said so. Perhaps she’s upset she never managed to kill it herself, though I suspect music will live past a mass-media entity like Rolling Stone featuring the not-as-dumb-as-we-want-her-to-be Kim Kardashian on the cover.

5. One More – If you want to declare something dead,  I recommend a safer, unassailable bet. Of course, saying that nearly guarantees that Columbia House will return in some form.

Final Word: On the futility of anger: A self-proclaimed optimist says that the next time he sees one of those pessimists, he’s going to take his half-full glass and pour it over his head. His friend replies, “But then your glass would be empty.”  My glass is empty, and the fridge is full of beer. Drink up, folks.

Bonus: I’m not using an image from the Monty Python and the Holy Grail “Not Dead Yet” sketch to illustrate this post. You’re welcome.

Social Media Top 5: The Problem with Absolutes

20100212 - Batman & Robin on absolute truths - generatorFor this Social Media Top 5 (now an occasional feature of this blog, apparently), I noticed some articles (the first three on this last) that seemingly posed some absolutes. Of course, once you read any blog post in the marketing workd, extremism is rarely the truth, and that goes here.

Curation vs Original Content: Not Black & White

David Meerman Scott blogged about how curation is far less valuable to a brand than original content. Many bloggers (corporate bloggers in this context) aggregate “links of the week” or similar features to fill out their content calendars. That is true, but only to a point. original content represents original thought, and thus one would think readers (customers) would reward that more handsomely with their hard-earned cash and hard-won patronage.

However, let’s not rule out curation, done correctly. In early social media days, I noticed many folks I know putting up blog posts (automated by as it turned out) that simply put up links– that was it. I found that useless and a troubling trend, and in fact this “Social Media Top 5 was originally a satirical response to those posts.

Is that curation, though? I don’t think so. Good curation provides context to the links- so not only should a blogger be pointing to other sources of content that readers might find valuable, but also providing opinions, additional facts, and value that makes the curation a post in itself (I hope that’s what I’m doing here). David agrees, which is of no surprise to me.

Scale vs Creating Value

Rachel Happe of the Community Roundtable chastises the popular social media platforms for focusing on scale rather than value creation. My response? I thinks scale is necessary to larger organizations online. They must find a way to speak to and reach larger numbers of people- it’s an occupational hazard- while still creating that value. Sure, there are tradeoffs, and perhaps value comes first, I understand that. Also, is it the fault of the platforms to encourage massive numbers and scale? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the rest want to make money somehow, and one way is to sell access to as large (and valuable, sure) a group of people as possible. It’s not the responsibility of the platform then, so it must  be that of the content creator. Some of these platforms will be rigged to serve scale better, but valuable content will drive quality and results– but again, for most, not without scale.

Email vs Social Content Stop Sharing Your Email Newsletter in Social?

Another smart local marketer, Christopher Penn, wrote about how sharing email newsletter content vial social devalues the content. Chris writes from the perspective of a professional email marketer, so it’s understandable. One of the advantages of email is that you control the platform better than, say, Facebook. You can track opens, and encourage other actions that are also trackable. The problem with looking at his as an absolute is that this way of thinking depends on your purpose for the email. You may be better off getting better reach through freeing the content over social channels and getting more inbound hits (which may be harder to track). You also might score points by breaking the email newsletter into pieces and doling those out as shorter posts on public channels that tease the complete content on your proprietary channel. That method Chris endorses, if I understand him correctly

Source: Hot Butter Studio

I have posted here frequently on what I think of as the scourge of bad infographics: tiny text, images that don’t fit on a screen, and other tactics that render infographics useless in the name either of being clever or of cramming all the information into one place (stop that!).  I was relieved to see Beth Kanter’s primer on infographics, which featured examples that are much clearer, to the point, and digestible- what infographics should be. I’m not going to like anything 100%, but this post seems to promote more common sense than we normally see out there, so listen to Beth.

Grey Poupon- Is This Campaign Good Enough?

Just a thought on a Facebook campaign that people were raving bout this past week. Grey Poupon set its Facebook page up as if “Liking” it gave you admission to an exclusive club. What drives me nuts is people praising the creative, which of course was good, but it was not clear what the end goal was. As with the Old Spice video campaign of a year or two back, let’s wait and see if there were some results from this– and what are the goals of this program, exactly? I’m not saying there isn’t- I just don’t know, and want to reserve judgment either way.

By the way- I have not bought any mustard as a result, but who knows, maybe I was exposed to enough warm fuzzies to predispose me to the brand in the future. Curiously, my 14 year-old son prefers Old Spice these days; though he hasn’t reference their campaigns, it seems their overall integrated campaign to appeal to youth has succeeded- in my house, at least.

Social Media Top 5: Guy Loves Google+, Scouts Can Gays, and Naming Apps

Google Plus splatThe Case for Google Plus Still Missing the Most Important Thing (People)

Well-known tech evangelist Guy Kawasaki recently published an article in MarketingProfs called “Why I Love Google+” (interesting that the URL generated by the post title cannot include the “+” – I wonder if that affects the article’s SEO? I know, that’s more amusing than important). He makes his usual compelling case for how Google+ works – for him. There are great points about Google+’s superior functionality and how Google owns a lot of the important spaces in the Internet to help it succeed (namely search). He also concludes that Google+ is the place  to share passions with others. In the same breath, he sort-of dismisses Facebook (via a republished cartoon) as being merely about “people.” But if there are no people to care about your passion… well, you can guess what I think the problem is.

I don’t necessarily think “Passion” as the defining feature of a social network will get me to use it. It’s too vague, therefore meaningless. Also, it makes me think it’s populated with zealots. I just want to share stuff. With people. I use Google+ (and like it) but only to talk to the small percentage of people I know who are there. My marketing colleagues (many  but not all, I should add) are there, not all using it regularly. Where are the people from the rest of my life? So far, I count one family friend as a regular user,. That is it.

Google+ is a very good product. The user interface is easy and intuitive, the features are many yet not overwhelming. Great. Guy reminds us of that, but we don’t need reminding. I can also say the same thing about the Zune; what happened to that? I can also say the same thing about Windows Phone, which I have just had the opportunity to fool around with, but have no intention to use regularly except when forced to (my loaner global phone for an imminent Paris vacation uses the Windows OS).

Yes, I know about Google owning search and being on Plus for the SEO benefits. There may be some longer term benefit to that, but only if the product thrives through usage; otherwise it just lives in the background like many other Google products.

It will take more than the continued pleadings of evangelists like Guy Kawasaki to put Google Plus over the top. It will take the presence of my high school classmates, just as it did with Facebook. Where will you get those, Google? How will you convince them to go over there? Is that what you want or are we all chasing the wrong end game?

Boy Scouts Can Gay Response

I have posted in the past about my  issues with the Boy Scouts of America’s narrow moral view of the world, and how I have to reconcile the great things I have learned and taught as an Eagle Scout with the unacceptable (to me) world view of the national US organization.

The BSA’s firm ban of homosexuals came up again when a group (centered on a gay Eagle Scout) presented a resolution to the BSA national organization asking them to rescind the ban. News organizations jumped on the story saying the BSA was actually considering changing the policy. The BSA quickly and firmly corrected this by Tweeting to every major news organization, linking to a statement explaining they were only accepting the resolution as a matter of course, but in no way seriously considering addressing, let alone changing, the policy.

Personally, I find that repugnant, but only because I hate the policy. As a PR move, you can admire them for staying on message, but I wouldn’t exactly call their use of social media “social.” The organization came off as a gate-keeping robot rather than one willing to discuss its stance. Opportunity lost –  but it also brings up the idea that even organizations with views I oppose can create dialogue online that can help people understand what and why they do,. In this case, I would argue that it’s important. Instead, it was a channel for broadcasting a rigid statement. Maybe next time.

Naming Apps – Little Things Count

I fly Delta enough to finally decide to download their mobile app. For the simple functionality I want from it (checking itinerary, making changes, booking flights) it seems to work well so far. What did bother me was a small yet important thing: they named their app “Fly Delta.”

Why is this important? When I tried to find the app, I couldn’t find it under “D” for “Delta.” It was under “F” for “Fly.” A small thing, but even the smallest annoyances that greet new users may be enough to turn them off. There is no good reason to introduce such minor irritants into the process. In the end, a good useful app will win people over, but why risk annoying them at the outset?

A friend pointed out a similar issue with Amazon Kindle. I’m not sure it’s a problem for me. Would you look for that app under “A” or “K?” It’s about branding – and what your customers see as your branding.

Photo Credit: Google Plus Splat by Leon Nicholls on Flickr

Social Media Top 5: PR Egos, Brand-Blogger Relationships & Die! Animated GIFs

JerkPR People –  YOU Are Not the Story

I already pushed this link by Danny Brown out on my various social networks, but it is a topic that hits home for any PR practitioner. While I’m sure Danny is thinking in part about PR folks who get big britches from blogging and Tweeting and suddenly have a public voice, this is a more basic message. If you are a PR person, especially on the agency side, your job is to make your clients famous. If you are interjecting, putting your name in quotes and press releases, or generally putting yourself out there rather than clients, you are not serving your clients. I understand if you work in-house you may be the spokesperson, but if you are not, then the same applies.

When I got into PR, the idea – so I thought – was to be behind the scenes and make other people famous. I actually got – still get – a kick out of that. The principle is the same with social media – the client owns the content, it’s their voice, their names, their faces – not mine, not yours. I guess Danny thought it had to be said (I wonder what happened – heh).

I mentioned blogging– yes, many of us have public voices now thanks to social media, but creating a personal (or agency) body of work, promoting our services and good thinking is different than doing so on the client’s dime. Do PR (and social media) people really have a problem subverting their ego to boost the client’s profile? I guess some do.

I Love This Infographic Even More, For All The Right Reasons

My recent post praising an infographic that was actually pretty wrong-headed (but would have made a great parody) has a sequel. Rather than try to prove how complicated social media is by jamming as many logos for social media services into a slide that one can, the folks at Awareness Networks put the same concept to work – tossing out this graphic for making a salad. If you know what you want, it’s easier to avoid getting distracted by tools (or overdress the salad – don’t do that).


Brand and Blogger Relationships

The question rises once again: do brands want relationships with bloggers? Or are they after quick campaign hits? It’s an interesting question in PR and marketing, with a lot of different facets. My high-level thinking on program or long-term thinking vs campaigns (short-term) is that program must always form the bedrock under which campaigns can fly, but always anchored to a larger goal.

That’s way too high level. There was a good discussion over on Facebook that reflects my fractured thinking on the topic here.

Also, being the wag that I am, my first thought was to ask “Why on earth would a blogger want to have a relationship with a brand? Do you need to be exclusive? Sign a contract? Restrict what you say? Hmm. Of course, I wasn’t the first to think of that question, as Dennis Van Staalduinen was happy to point out. Thanks Dennis.

Things That Must Die: Animated GIF Tumblr Blogs.

People in my industry who should know better are chuckling over ugly, migraine-inducing sites like featuring animated gifs, the evil hell-spawn of the dancing hamster. If animated GIF avatars are terrible (they are), why heap praise on this dreck? It’s not even funny, even if you think they are PR “truths.” You want The Truth? Watch the Celtics.

Okay, that’s four, not five. Sue me. 

*Photo credit: gr8matt on Flickr