Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Autism Twitter Day

Autism Twitter Day

More details here

Fantastic Kansas City Star article on Autism Society of the Heartland organizing Santa photos for ASD kids: http://is.gd/c0Oe

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deets on Pre-SNCR Boston Tweetup

Shel Holtz and John Wall organized the Pre-SNCR (Society of New Communication Research) Symposium tweetup.

7 pm, Thursday, November 13
Vox Populi
755 Boylston
Map | Directions

More info on Shel's blog.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Warren Sukernek's Twittermaven post yesterday was plum full of good stuff:

  • Ev Williams, Twitter CEO interviewed by Bloomberg. He says that Twitter will implement its revenue plan early next year, using some sort of advertising.

  • Twitter vote report: Rocketboom interview with the developers of the Twitter vote report.

  • And my favorite, from Julia Roy, a new series that she calls Tweet week, where she talks about news on Twitter for the past week. Julia describes some new Twitter programs like Magpie, recommends Twitter related blog articles all done in her energetic, humorous and captivating style.

  • Warren, Twittermaven, Nov 2008

Read the rest of Warren's post and let him know your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty is B.A.D.

You are seeing it everywhere today, references to #bad08 - Blog Action Day 08. From YouTube to Digg to the Red Cross website to Twitter to yet more YouTube...today all the chatter is about talking up how you are helping end poverty. For ideas see my post from yesterday.

I am thrilled to say CFCA hightlighted my family's poverty story on their blog today.

There's so many blogs covering poverty today for the second annual Blog Action Day, I thought I'd highlight one in particular that really got the message through to me:

Beth Kanter's Blog: Blog Action Day: Can One Person Make A Difference? Challenging Poverty With Social Media

And check out Twemes.com to see all the amazing conversations going on about Blog Action Day via Twitter.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blog Action Day 08: Poverty

Tomorrow is the second annual Blog Action Day.

A little background...
"On October 15th 2007, more than 20,000 bloggers united for the first annual Blog Action Day. With an estimated combined audience of over 15 million viewers, we discussed ideas, empowered audiences and debated on the wide ranging issues of the Environment. In 2008, the world’s bloggers will again unite, to discuss an issue of the most pressing import and widespread distress - Poverty." - Change.org

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Here's a few things you can do to help share:
1) If you have a blog, dedicate your Wednesday, 10/15 post to Poverty. Share your own story...Do you help with your local food bank? Sponsor a family or child? or Work through your community or religious organization to combat poverty? Register your blog with Blog Action Day 08 and share your story.

2) On Twitter, spread the word about Poverty and use the hashtag #bad08 (Need help with details, here's a list of poverty information resources.)

3) On Facebook, join the Blog Action Day group.

4) Listen to and spread the word about BlogTalkRadio's 12-hour live talkathon.

5) Here's a whole list of how to follow Blog Action Day's events online.

6) Sponsor someone, through CFCA, who lives in poverty.

7) Join the call to end poverty by watching global videos, gather information and make a video of your experience at the YouTube in my name in my name channel. This is the best channel I've seen on YouTube, bar none!

Tomorrow I'll share my own story, hope you will too!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Augmented Reality

I was at a business function earlier this week and Second Life came up in our conversation.  We all were shaking our heads and questioning in our time-starved lives, do we really have time to live multiple lives? 

A co-worker changed the direction of the dialogue quickly by bringing up how virtual reality can actually save time.  She was talking about augmented reality.  And, Mark Logan has an excellent post highlighting it's relevance and giving a few examples to boot:

Simply put, Augmented Reality is the blending of computer data or images with real, physical spaces. Think of the heads-up display in a military jet, where computer data is projected onto a view of real-world images in real time.Mark Logan, Mostly Marketing, Sep 2008

You should read the whole article.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Mom was my Twitter hook

Mom turned 71 today. Happy Birthday, Mom!

It's a miracle she is with us. Last year my mom was having brain surgery on her birthday to remove a cancerous tumor which had mastitized from her stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer that she battled 6 years prior.

My mom is the reason I got hooked on Twitter. So Mom had a huge brain tumor that was growing quickly. My siblings, father, aunt and uncle huddled around my mom for over a week at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. We needed to get the constantly changing news out to all our family, friends and co-workers on our mom's hourly, daily status change.

I asked everyone that knew Mom and could get on the web to follow me on Twitter. In 140 characters or less, I kept everyone in the know about what the doctors were saying, tests that were being ran and next steps. It was simple, instantaneous and a hell of a lot easier and far less stressful than a phone tree!

And here's the interesting thing with Twitter and my "mom-cancer-status" tweets, strangers started following me. People that had worked on drugs my mom was taking, doctors, nurses, techs - cancer survivors, brain cancer survivors even - and lots of well wishers. It was profound. We were blown away! All the followers brought us unexpected emotional lift and became a much needed sounding board for us during this endeavor.

So, thank you, Mom, for really showing me the power of twitter. And wow, I have no words for how wonderful it is to see you and Dad dancing on your birthday! Thanks for the video, seeing you two waltzing about just like you did last year in your hospital room before you went into surgery - ah, I'm getting teary just typing about it - how blessed we are to have you in our lives, Mom! You are an amazing woman and I'm so proud to call you my mom!

And thank you, Twitter friends for helping us through our time of need.

Sorry, I can't share Mom's vid or a pic with everyone...Mom likes her privacy.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Professional Networking Sites

I asked the following question to my connections on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter:

What's your favorite professional networking site/app and why?

Here's a smattering of responses:

"Personally, it's LinkedIn. Easy to use and very robust. Next would be Facebook, due to it's extensive reach."Jay Waddell, via LinkedIn

"LinkedIn seems to be the most useful site from a professional standpoint. I like it because (so far) it doesn't have many distractions from establishing a real-life network. Then again, I think I've met more people in my field via Twitter lately than I ever met via other social media apps. Twitter does a great job of helping you expand your network and it facilitates face-to-face meetings better than any other medium." Celeste Lindell, via Facebook

"I see Twitter as my social/conversational platform, and keep Facebook exclusively for business." Rick Murray, via Twitter

"I prefer Twitter because through micro conversation I find that it is a terrific relationship building tool. And, after all, what is networking if it is not relationship building." Kim Dushinski, via LinkedIn

"My favorite professional app is LinkedIn. I have connected with those who are in the industry I want to be someday: social media" Mark V via Twitter

"Although it's intended purpose is not professional networking, Twitter has been, by far, my favorite and most effective site. Twitter is one of the only social networking site that I use professionally, or in any capacity for that matter, that consistently drives online relationships to offline ones and elevates those professional relationships I already have..."
Ben Grossman, via LinkedIn

"...However, I think I might give another perspective here, my blog is my favorite professional networking site. Although the blog is my personal business blog, and is not connected through a social networking system. Though I do have mybloglog. I think my blog has built and maintained more professional relationships than any other networking site. The biggest reason is that I put more effort into my blog than most of the other networking sites I'm a member of. So I'd suggest that the best networking sites for people are often those where you spend the most time and effort." John Cass, via LinkedIn

"i use only linkedin; more of a least disliked than a favorite..." Pete Thomas via Twitter

"I use Plaxo and LinkedIn and I've also signed up for Naymz. LinkedIn is still my favorite because more people seem to use it. I like thinking about this in terms of Metcalf's law - a value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users on the system. Professional networking sites have utility because they enable you to connect with others and thus far, more people get in touch with me via linkedin than any other professional network I use..." Simon Kuo, via LinkedIn

"I'd say linkedin is my fav @zenaweist. I've both made contacts and reconnected with a lot of long lost ones." Jon Hand, via Twitter

"My favourite professional networking site is the Ask Liz Ryan Group, an online networking group with 25,000+ members, run by HR guru Liz Ryan. The group, is an amazing resource that provides a forum for both personal and professional support. No matter what the question -- health issues, career development, travel advice, negotiation skills -- the Ask Liz Ryan community is there to respond." Amrita Chandra, via LinkedIn

"LinkedIn for professional relationships; facebook for combination of fun, friends and some business; twitter real time interactn" Bill Miller, via Twitter

"Personally, I use all three (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook). Twitter is great for establishing and growing relationships, is fast, and extremely easy to use yet is somewhat limited by its 140 characters. LinkedIn provides depth and background information, and Facebook acts as a great rolodex since it contains contact info and other "CRM" type data. Roll them all together and you have a great system." Warren Sukernek, LinkedIn

See all answers that came in through LinkedIn, here.

Here's a few articles/posts that provide basic tips on social and professional networks:

Write Your LinkedIn Profile For Your Future, Chris Brogan
The Social Network as a Career Safety Net, New York Times
Top Professional Network Comparison, Be Networked
Why You Should Join, CIO
Tips on Using Networking Sites, Washington Post
Top Ten Ways To Use LinkedIn, Guy Kawasaki

Thanks to everyone for responding so quickly! Please keep the discussion going via comments through twitter, linkedin or facebook.

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Ambient Awareness

I found this fascinating quote on Twittermaven today:

As you'd expect, the world of Twitter has been abuzz.  For the last two days, the conversation about the article has been robust as it seemed that everyone had something to say about ambient awareness. And of course, there were some great pieces written about the article.  Alan Wolk wrote an amazing piece, Social Media's Defining Moment, identifying the importance of the article "because it's outside the usual geekosphere bubble and has the imprimatur of social science. The placement in the Times means that it should be getting a lot of traction since it's the first place many non-tech journos will go for insight into "that whole Twitter thing."Warren, Twittermaven, Sep 2008

You should read the whole post.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Using Twitter in your Social Media Outreach

Update: "Janet" brand jacked Exxon on Twitter, see Jeremiah's update post for details.

At @BarbaraKB's prompting, I responded to Jeremiah Owyang's post on Exxon Mobil's plunge into using Twitter in their social media outreach plan. I'm going to broaden up my original comment here:

In any form of communication, there's a difference between an individual responding as an individual and an individual responding as a company's representative. In social media, the socnet nuances are there and the community will help you course correct. For your benefit, please go in eyes wide open with a baseline understanding. There are several blogs that give great advice on social media outreach.

And here's my thoughts on Twitter, please add your thoughts as well:

First and foremost, if you are going extend your Social Media Outreach to Twitter please remember it's a medium for conversation. No shouting or you will only hear your own echo or if you truly mess up, lots of flogging. It's a conversation that needs commmitment, forethought and a long term game plan. And most importantly, it's a conversation that can not begin until you listen. Listen for awhile before you start talking.

I know I know, that goes for all social media conversations, as does my next point:

People want to talk with a person on Twitter. We really don’t have any interest in getting into a shouting match with “the man.” Well, at least most of us don’t have any interest. Anyway, I suggest following the Zappos or Dell “response through individual conversation” model:

1) Twitter handle = companyname_yourname or yourname@companyname. For instance, @LionelatDell or @Zappos_Hope, ExxonMobilCorp screams corporate speak, yelling out, “I am the Eggman”, watching your every post kinda handle. I think it's the "Corp" more than anything.

2) Nada corp speak, keep it personal and helpful.

3) Acknowledge the person’s POV that you’re responding to, we all want to be part of the conversation not talked down to, preached to, or lectured to.

4) Before you follow people, as a company representative @ tweeters first, to let them know why you are following them so you don’t shoot yourself in the foot with the “big brother” issue. There are exceptions here, like if they have followed you first. If you don't understand the "creepy" factor on this one, roam around Twitter for awhile and pick up the vibe.

5) Consider responding with your email address in your @s or DMs to take the conversation offline and show tweeters you are an individual wanting to help.

So if there's one thing to take from this post, it's listen first, tweet later. You are probably wondering how you can listen first if you aren't actually following people. You can always sign up for a personal account with Twitter first to get your own sea legs. I would suggest that you just be yourself with your personal handle, not your company's customer service team. You can also start with Twitter's search enginesummize.com. Search for people that are already identified influencers in your market or just track your company's name, your product interest, etc. to get the rhythm of the conversation.

Also, follow other companies that are out there chatting it up every day on Twitter such as: @RichardatDell, @Zappos_tid, @JetBlue, @HRBlock, SouthWestAir, and @evernote.

Looking forward to hearing what suggestions you have as well. Barbara, thanks for giving me the nudge!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Social Media Roadmap

As you're building out your company's social media roadmap, I recommend considering a few, if not all, of the following social media strategies:

1) EDUCATE: To create breadth and depth in employee base to give them the tools and opportunity to actively engage in social and emerging media.

2) SEEK & CULTIVATE: New employee talent and corporate resources to better position your company as a “thought-leader” in this emerging space while tapping appropriate external influencers.

3) INTEGRATE: Create conversations that are media agnostic and evergreen; ensure all marketing and communication strategies are interwoven to create consistent messaging.

4) RESEARCH & MONITOR: Invest in socnet-specific research to identify emerging trends, shifting your company from followers to leaders; monitor brand perceptions to identify positive lifts and capitalize on them.

5) MEASURE: Use media appropriate metrics to evaluate performance against best-in-class examples.

6) INNOVATE & EXPERIENTAL: Utilize the socnet opportunity to evolve your company into one that is dynamic, interactive and relevant; leverage practical opportunities via networks and conversations to position your company for future growth.

I'll write more about each of these strategies in my upcoming posts.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

@garyvee's 101 Wines

I've just finished reading 101 Wines Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight, and Bring Thunder to Your World, by Gary Vaynerchuck, star of WineLibraryTV.com. I am definitely inspired and delighted, and once I purchase and give one of the several wines I've highlighted as "must definitely buy" a go, I'm sure I'll feel the thunder and my world will be rocked because well, I adore wine.

I do have a HUGE confession to make and it's a bit embarrassing...I don't really know, know Gary. I have never watched WineLibraryTV.com. Until very recently, I didn't know Gary's a "wine guy" by trade. I thought he was an "Internet tech start up" guy. See, I heard about Gary on Twitter, he was organizing Good People Day.

When I saw his video, I thought to myself this is a guy after my own heart. He is passionate about people, he truly loves helping people - making them feel good, sharing the love, paying it forward...all that good juju stuff that makes me tick - he's all about that.

I started following him on Twitter and I refer to him as "garyvee" which is his Twitter handle. In my mind, when I say it I'm visualizing @garyvee, which is the way (@ in front of someone's twitter handle) you send a message (tweet) to someone's specific attention on Twitter.

So, I found out about his book via Twitter and was intrigued as I love big, bold red blends. Full disclosure here - Gary was sending books out to bloggers to review. My blog has maybe 20 readers on occasion, so I doubted I would receive a book. I'm delighted Gary sent me one. So, yes I got it for free, but now that I've read it, I have 3 copies on hold at Border's that I'm gifting tomorrow. Yep, it's that good.

Anyway, I started his book over the weekend and just finished it tonight. I decided not to check out WineLibraryTV.com until after I wrote this post because this review is about the book.

For some reason I actually read the introduction to Gary's book, typically I don't. For me, intros seem like afterthoughts in most non-fiction's with little real value.

Well, this intro truly sets the stage for what 101 Wines is and specifically what it's not. Gary is a "no-bs-cut-to-the-chase-this-is-how-it-is-baby" type of a writer. His style drew me in.

I strongly suggest reading the book from front to back, first read through. Don't skip around. Gary expands thoughts from one wine story to the next. He weaves in wine education, humor, amazing descriptions of tastes ranging from leather to chalky cellar-dust to lilacs to rare game topped with a spread of jam...my mouth was actually watering with several of his pictorials.

Gary freed me from some preconceived notions I had on blends. I love them and have since I was introduced to the Cain Five 1998 blend in 2000. I just thought for some reason I should only be drinking pure 1 grape wines - Cabs, Pinors, Merlots. A lot of the wines, Gary has chosen for his 101 are blends.

I have highlighted wines in this book that are right up my preferred palate and have found others that I'm eager to try that are way out of my comfort zone and I love, love, love that I've gotten a push to do so.

This post could go on and on, because obviously this book has struck a cord with me. Here's the deal though, I really don't know a lot about wines as you can tell, I just know what I like - the tastes. With this book, I now have better parameters when I'm telling the wait staff, Joe at my local liquor store or a wine sommelier what I'm looking for - usually I say I want a peppery blend with a nice finish. Now I will say, I'm an Old World, Eastern Spice, Dark Vader - Dark, full-bodied, OS terrior blend lover.

My favorite element of this book though, is the continuous "people" theme Gary has throughout. It validates what originally drew me to Gary, his caring nature. I'm looking forward to getting to know Gary and wines even better through WineLibraryTV.com.

Monday, June 2, 2008

KC tweetup

(photo courtesy of @riebschlager)

Kansas City twitterers got together for our maiden happy hour (in Twitterspeak "tweetup") last Friday night. Having conversed over Twitter for months, Friday evening's tweetup was the first time for most of us to meet each other IRL.

It all started with the following tweet from @QueenofSpain:

After a few more tweets looking for a sponsor, Barkley came through. And a week later, we were enjoying each other's company at the first KC tweetup! Mark Logan (@mlogan) and Celeste Lindell (@average_jane) hosted the primordial event at Barkley's Mile High Club and Rooftop Deck. Thank you, Barkley! Celeste, a special mia cuppa to you for your efforts on pulling off a fun evening with such short notice!

About 50 Kansas City locales along with our special guest, power blogger Erin Kotecki (@queenofspain), discussed interactive trends, swapped shop talk and enjoyed putting real faces with twitter ids.

Mingling with other social media passionates was the highlight of the evening for me. It's great to see the interactive pulse is beating strong in the heartland. Youngest and most adorable KC twitterer attending goes to @tatertini hands down.

Here's a partial list of attendees from the RSVP tweets received (I'll add to, as ids come my way):

If you are interested in attending the next KC tweetup (looking for a sponsor as well), please let me know.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Saying Thank You - The Gratitude Campaign

The Gratitude Campaign, is Scott's quick way to show thanks to any service person you come across:

Pass on The Gratitude Campaign to your friends and family!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SNCR's NewComm Forum

I'm starting this post out with a little background so the theme of it has some teeth to it. I've been in online marketing for 14 years (gulp, yep, ONE FOUR...no lie.)

I know that dates me, but I wanted to illustrate my years (along with blood, sweat, tears and bounced paychecks) invested in this industry, to let you know that I've had the time to attend several Internet, Web Marketing, and Tech conferences from Internet World to iMedia Summit to ad:tech to ITEC, etc.

And ya know, a conference, is a conference, is a conference with an exhibit hall and parties and some interesting keynotes. Lots of business cards exchanged, some information is relevant, some not - a good excuse to get out of the office and network. Overall for me, I haven't come across a must attend conference. They all kinda blend together.

At the beginning of this year, I spoke with an industry friend, Rick Murray, about my social-media-conference-with-a-slightly-different-lens search: more research based and a focus on conversation not marketing per se. He suggested I check out "snicker," explaining it's an acronym S N C R for a New Comm organization.

And that's how I ended up at last week's Society of New Communications Research's (SNCR) (again, pronounced Snicker) NewComm Forum. Given I'm in brand marketing, I thought this conference might be slanted toward PR or Corp Comm so I had my doubts going in, but Rick knows his stuff and I did asked for different. I definitely got different, but good different in the form of a social media conversational marketing recharge.

There were many tracks to choose from including separate ones for PR and Brand. I jumped around and was impressed with the depth of preparation, the timely case studies and the research findings shared at the sessions.

The keynotes were a mix of presentation, interview-style, and conversation. It was very "un-conferencey" and I know that's a term that's being thrown around quite a bit, but truly for a conference that is focused on research, it was very casual, adaptive and conversational.

The SNCR team lead by Jen McClure worked their booties off orchestrating the entire event flawlessly down to the minute details of introducing new attendees to speakers and tracking down extra drink tickets for the afterhours event.

And saving the best for last, SNCR was my first tweetup! I've heard so many twitterers talk about how amazing and surreal their first time meeting other twitters IRL is. And wow, words can't explain it...it's an overwhelming experience to connect with so many twitter buds at once in person.

I have a few more personal takes on SNCR that I'll save for another post. Bottom line, SNCR's NewComm is definitely my must attend conference.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Twitter Commands - Basic How-tos

Found this Twitter Command post on Get Satisfaction from Crystal - thank you!

Device Basics: turning Twitter off and on

* ON: turns ALL device notifications on. (device = your phone or IM)
* OFF: turns ALL device notifications off.
* STOP, QUIT: stops all messages to your device immediately

* ON username: turns on notifications for a specific person on your device. For example, ON alissa.
* OFF username: turns off notifications for a specific person on your device. For example, OFF blaine.

* FOLLOW username: this command allows you to start receiving notifications for a specific person on your device. Example: follow jeremy
* LEAVE username: this command allows you to stop receiving notifications for a specific person on your device. Example: leave benfu

Other Fun Commands: there's more to Twitter than OFF and ON!

* @username + message
directs a twitter at another person, and causes your twitter to save in their "replies" tab.
Example: @meangrape I love that song too!

* D username + message
sends a person a private message that goes to their device, and saves in their web archive.
Example: d krissy want to pick a Jamba Juice for me while you're there?

* WHOIS username
retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter.
Example: whois jack

* GET username
retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person.
Example: get goldman

* NUDGE username
reminds a friend to update by asking what they're doing on your behalf.
Example: nudge biz

* FAV username
marks a person's last twitter as a favorite. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you're receiving it in real time)
Example: fav al3x

this command returns your number of followers, how many people you're following, and which words you're tracking.

* INVITE phone number
will send an SMS invite to a friend's mobile phone.
Example: Invite 415 555 1212

Twitter Tracking Commands

Track a word on Twitter and get all updates containing your chosen word on your device! Note: track is the only command that is device-only. (In other words, you can only track from phone or IM, you cannot track via web or API.)

* track word: starts tracking a word
* untrack word: stops tracking a word
* untrack all: stops tracking all words
* track off: stops tracking all words
* tracks or tracking: returns a list of words you're tracking

Hint: track your user name to get an update when someone sends you an @reply!

Also, Jason took Crystal's list and created a quick reference amply named Tweet Sheet

Super Mario's shot

Watch and listen to the fans at Allen Field House before, during and after Mario's 3 pointer to tie Memphis and send the National Championship game into OT. Thanks to 1pioneer for posting this video to YouTube. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Free Hugs, Free Products, Freeconomics

Michelle Miller wrote an excellent post offering up a commercial angel on the Free Hugs YouTube video.

If you are unfamiliar with the premise of Free Hugs, Juan Mann holds a sign up with the words "Free Hugs" as he stands on a corner of a busy intersection in Sydney. What was he after? Direct from his site in his own words, Juan's "sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their live," passing good vibes onward.

As the story unfolds, you see people passing by without looking, a few hugs here and there, then someone breaks the ice and hugs Juan, others join in, some passerbys laughing and joining in with hugging strangers, police ban Juan and his Free Hugs sign, Juan collects 10,000 signatures on his petition and the ban is overruled, and on the video goes with more hugs.

Juan's Free Hug campaign started in 2004 and he's been in Sydney at that same corner every Thursday since giving away hugs. In and of itself the Free Hugs campaign is an excellent story of people's positive interactions with each other, letting your guard down and being rewarded for that measure. It's "feel good" at its authentic finest.

Michelle offers up a commercial approach to the Free Hug campaign. The idea of giving away your product for free. She parallels the Free Hug Video by stating, "If you believe strongly enough in your product or service, give it away for free. In the beginning, no one will believe you. Stick with it long enough, experience breakthrough, and you'll have more business than you know what to do with. And you'll have a band of merry men (and women) who will be your brand evangelists."

With Chris Anderson's recent WIRED article, his book titled FREE and the term freeconomics, free is touted as a major ingredient of a technology company's success. Also, with the two way interaction companies can partake in with their customers online using the robust (free) social media applications we all have at our finger tips, free is a consumer expectation. If you want me to be a brand zealot, what are you going to give me to make it worth my investment, my time, my affinity?

For more details on the Free Hugs Campaign, see wikipedia.
For more information on Michelle, check out her blog.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Good People Day - April 3

Gary Vaynerchuk, to me @garyvee, is requesting we all get together and chat up the good people in our lives. Watch Gary's video for details.

Pay homage to those that have helped you, the truly good peeps. Take time to reflect on Thursday, April 3rd and say thanks publicly to the good folks in your life via your blog, twitter, facebook profile, pounce, emails, or even IRL (novel idea)... however you want - just communicate out there so the good vibe keeps rolling...think about it, wow what a ripple effect YOU could cause.

The idea of everyone online (even those in the media) talking about good people that do amazing things just because they truly want to help people, instead of sensationalizing, bitching, gossiping, and spreading rumors - even if that could last 1 hour...it would be a wonderous, refreshing moment my friends. Let's take part!

Out with the bad juju and in with appreciation and goodwill!

GPD08 on!

United Nations World Autism Awareness Day - April 2

The United Nations has declared today, April 2, World Autism Awareness Day.

Wikipedia's definition of autism is:
a brain development disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and repetitive behavior, all starting before a child is three years old.

Our 9 year old son was diagnosed with high functioning autism when he was 2 1/2 years old. We detected it early. We were lucky to have a wonderful Parents As Teachers advocate helping us track our son's decline in verbal and social skills.

Early detection helps minimize the impact of autism on your child's future. If you are a parent of a baby or toddler, please read Learn the Signs, Act Early.

In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, CNN is reporting on global impacts of autism throughout the day. On the CNN website, there's a good overview and some helpful links for parents dealing with an autism diagnosis. And for extensive information see Autism Speaks or The National Autism Association.

This is a near and dear day for my family. Please take a moment to help Autism research out (for free) by watching any of the videos posted by families with an autistic child on The Five for Fighting website whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com . Details on how this works are here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sprint's Wireless Revolution - What Do You Think?

Asking for your gut feel on Sprint's latest commercial:

Disclosures: I worked at Sprint over ten years ago. Also, Dan Hesse used to be my current company's CEO.

That said, I don't have a hidden agenda with my question. I'm just curious as to what others think about this ad.

I do think this commercial is authentic Hesse style, literally walking the walk. My quick take away: Here's what makes sense, 1 price for all you do (voice/data agnostic) on your wireless phone.

Nice finish with Hesse's email on the endframe. Transparent. Simple. Relevant. Now. Definitely a departure from Sprint's previous futuristic, light commercials.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Twitter 101

My friends, you've been asking for a simple explanation on the ins and outs of Twitter. Here it is. Lee Lefever's quick and easy viddie walks you through the Twitter basics:

Before you hop on Twitter and take it for a spin, check out this great how-to: Newbie's guide to Twitter.

Follow Lee on twitter: @leelefever
Follow me on twitter: @zenaweist

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Twitterers: How old are you?

3/5 UPDATE: The average Twitter age is 37 with 150 responders.

I've been asking twitterers, people that microblog on Twitter.com, to tell me their age. The Twitterverse has been very patient as I've been asking "how old are you?" over and over on Twitter for the last 24 hours.

Why am I asking? Why are twitterers retweeting, aka reposting, the question to their Twitter followers/friends? It started yesterday afternoon.

I was in a qualitative research readout meeting. I, of course, can't give any research specifics as it's a closed project. Thanks for understanding.

We were discussing questions regarding online communications. I voiced my surprise that Twitter wasn't mentioned by any of the participants. The reply was something along the lines of "Twitter is for the young that it takes someone young to get it."

Having turned 40 this year and being an avid twitterer, I was a little taken aback by the youth comment, but heck, I didn't have any Twitter demographic stats. I posted a tweet about my surprise and my friend @kimdushinski responded:

So I posed the question, asked people to retweet it, kept posing it. And the ages rolled in.

Currently, the average Twitter age is 37 with 120 responders.

The youngest age reported so far is 14 and the oldest is 68.

Of course this is just an informal poll, with mostly my followers/friends responding. I know it's not scientific and it's self-reported, but my gut is telling me twitter's average age is in the mid-30s. Several twitterers that direct messaged me agree. Would love your thoughts @ev on twitter's average age.

And the unexpected benefit of asking a question to the twitterverse - new followers. What a wonderful surprise! Thanks to all my new friends for sharing your age with me and helping me out without knowing me. I'm looking forward to staying connected.

Thanks so much to all my Twitter friends that spread the word. A few that are top of mind are @warrenss, @chrisbrogan, @rickmurray, @jeffisageek, @conniereece, @creativesage, @pistachio and @linuxchic - I know I'm leaving out so many - Merci, merci, merci!

I'm going to continue to update the stat as more people send me their age. I'm not going to close the poll, there's no reason to, though I promise not to ask the question again :).

I'm keep you all posted through Twitter. I think we all are microblogging more than blogging these days anyway. More to come - thanks again!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Community sourcing taking crowd sourcing up a notch

I hear the term crowd sourcing quite a bit when people are talking about social networking experiences. I picture a cattle call when I think of the term crowd sourcing. In my mind, it's an open call out to the masses hoping to get some expert thought on an issue. A shotgun approach. Though it has it's place and can be valuable, to me, it's a sterile, faceless term.

When thinking about the discussions that occur in social networks, when topics are thrown up for discussion on a blog or microblog, crowd sourcing just doesn't give justice to the expertise, kinship, and heart that is woven into the conversation. I have experienced several crowd sourcing events in the online socnet space that are taken up a notch to community sourcing.

I picture a table of friends discussing a topic of interest when I think of community sourcing. Warren Sukernek, @warrennss, helped me with the following community sourcing defintion:

Community sourcing is taking crowd sourcing to the next level: Outsourcing a task to a connected group of people for the benefit of that group.


Monday, February 11, 2008


Along with 97 million other people, I watched the Super Bowl last Sunday evening. Along with over 200 other people, I tweeted during the Super Bowl about the game and of course the ads.

On the Friday before the Super Bowl, Robert Rosenthal invited all members of the facebook group, What I Saw at the Direct Marketing Revolution,
to join him on Twitter to comment about the game.

Our family had opted out of Super Bowl parties this year, so Rosenthal's invite was a great way for my family to be part of a virtual party and still squeeze in toddler baths, homework and make little one's bedtimes.

So a little before kick-off, I logged into Twitter and saw this tweet from Jeremiah Owyang:

Jeremiah created an easy ad critic rating system and dubbed his experiment “the twitterbowl”.

So my family and I found ourselves evaluating ads on a 1-5 scale. Our kids took turns sitting in my lap or near me watching the Super Bowl conversation unfold on twitter.com. Our 4 yr old asked me to change my twitter profile picture from “a cartoon” (an avatar) to “real” (a photograph.) I’d read them comments and we’d debate other people’s ratings.

I was truly surprised with how engaged I stayed with the twitterbowl. I didn’t venture off, multi-task online (do bills, catch up on email, etc.) as I thought I would. I was glued to the twitterbowl and occasionally looking up at the TV to check out the game and watch the ads. Occasionally, I’d venture to the URL posted with the ad, such as Tide’s mytalkingstain.com (Loved it!), but everything I did online during the game was about the game. For someone with adult ADD, this is a feat.

As posts came in literally seconds apart, I was amazed at the variance in ranking. Commercials I loved, others absolutely hated. Also, during halftime as I was doing laundry, helping kiddos with baths, etc, I carried my mobile phone with me to keep tabs on the twitterati pulse via m.twitter.com on the half time entertainment and ads.

The reason I titled this iSuperBowl is because, this was the most interactive Super Bowl I’ve experienced. Where the pulse was immediate, compelling and twitterati controlled. Of course, I went to the Super Bowl spot’s microsites when there was a call-to-action (did I say how much I loved Tide's ;>); however the true online buzz, from my perspective, was pure community commentary – again another example of
community sourcing, twitterati-style.

To view the results of Jeremiah’s experiment, please see his recap post.

Follow me on Twitter, twitter.com/zenaweist.

Monday, January 28, 2008

why blog? and twitter pack = community sourcing

Why blog?

For me, it was simple. If I was going to really submerge myself in social media tools then I felt like I needed to start writing about my social media experiences. There's a lot going on and it's overwhelming!

I figured if I started a blog, I could look back at where I began with social media. I could see the steps I was making. Progress would be charted in my words. Maybe I would find my blogging voice along the way (still searching for that:)

And so here it is - Nothin' but socNET. I'm 6 months into authoring my own blog. It's really a journal for me, to keep tabs on what's going on in this crazy, ever-changing environment.

And I'm asking my first question to anyone and everyone that comes across this post.

I need your help with a definition.

Today, I came across Chris Brogan's latest endeavor via his tweet:

The Twitter Pack Project.

and I'm watching the pulse build on this project. It's interesting to see the wiki take shape, the community molding it, the passion unfolding, the voices of many providing their input, the discussions on twitter and Brogan's blog.

Brogan's Twitter Pack Project is a fantastic example of - not crowd sourcing - no, this is well beyond, crowd sourcing - this is community sourcing at its finest.

Define community sourcing with me...help me expand on this post and live the definition along the way. Once we have a definition that we are comfortable with as a good enough starter, we'll post community sourcing on wikipedia.

UPDATE - 1/30
Adding Warren's suggestion from his comments below:
Wikipedia defines crowd sourcing as:
Outsourcing a task to an undefined, generally large group of people.

Community sourcing is taking crowd sourcing to the next level:
Outsourcing a task to a connected group/community for the benefit of that community.

Warren has captured the social networking connection element in his definition that is lacking in crowd sourcing. I picture a cattle call when I think of crowd sourcing. I picture a table of friends discussing a topic of interest when I think of community sourcing.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Monologue blogging - yawn

Here's a few examples of monologuing:

1) Blogging without allowing comments. I'm really surprised at how often I come across a blog where comments aren't accepted. Not just corporate blogs but individuals.

2) Blogging, allowing comments, then not responding. So you don't join the conversation, you don't close the loop. You're dissin' your prospects, consumers, prosumers, colleagues, friends - your audience. This blatant sign of disrespect reminds me of the person behind the counter at a retail store that keeps answering the phone instead of waiting on the line of people wanting to actually buy something.

3) Microblogging - say twitter, for example - with lots of followers but following no one. So you are shouting out from your palpit - news your followers couldn't live without - but you aren't joining in on the conversation, you aren't experiencing the vibe to follow where the conversation is. You are interrupting. You are cutting into the fluid conversation and believe me, it's noticed and frowned upon.

4) Microblogging with lots of followers but only follow a few elite industry peers. You are again snubbing your customers. You can't engage if you don't know the pulse.

5) You have a profile on a Social Network Site but the only time you do anything with it is to accept a friend request or check the SNS email. Why are you wasting your time on it? Unless you are actively engaged you aren't going to experience the social aspects of the medium.

There's bloggers like me, we appear to be monologuing because, heck there's not that many comments on our blog. I don't take it personally - some of my posts are only relevant to me. Also, I know it's hard to move from a lurker to a commenter. It took my over 3 years to post my first blog comment, even after I had been a newsgroup junky in the '90s. Sigh, I think I'm just a lurker by nature.

I do know people are reading this blog. My proof? Well, I have Google Analytics so there's some traffic viewing posts. There are a few comments on the blog. Others reach out to me on twitter, facebook or email me directly. I'm very ok with that. I'm looking forward to more comments so the conversation on each topic continues. I guess my point is, I'm not trying to only monologue :).

I've talked with other novice bloggers and we're figuring it out the dialogue recipe as we go. The fact of the matter is we are all branching out. We are all actively engaged in microblogs and commenting on other's blogs. We are hooked in and enjoying being part of the conversation.

A microblogging friend asked me why I started my own blog. And given that laundry and school lunches call, that will be the topic of my next post.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Scoble's profile off Facebook - well, for about a day

Scoble's explanation of his PLAXO test.

Update: Facebook has turned Scoble's profile back on. PLAXO's POV from Jeremiah's post.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Social networking for social good

I admit it. I'm a feel good person. I truly believe that when I'm doing good for others, it comes back 100 fold to me. Maybe that's why I'm so enamored with social networking and all the helping voices, hands and hearts I've come across.

I feel extremely lucky to have come into contact with social media mavens that are rocking the social networking scene for social good. There's Beth Dunn, @santaclaus - aka the Provident Partner Elves, Michael Ben-Nes, Chris Brogan, Nate Ritter, Beth Kanter, and Michele Martin - just to name a powerful few.

Chris Brogan is providing 100 useful blog tips - 1 topic a day. There's actually several pointers with each post.

Beth Kanter's blog provides tips for non-profit neophytes to experts on using social media.

Today, I added the Sharing Foundation widget to my blog's sidebar. Beth Kanter and Michele Martin have teamed up to raise funds for the Sharing Foundation in the America's Giving Challenge.

As Michele explains, "The top 8 individuals with the most unique donors for their cause will win $50,000 EACH, while 100 charities will be awarded $1,000 based on the number of donations they receive through the Challenge. The minimum donation of $10 can buy a young Cambodian student a school uniform (so he/she can go to school) and a month's worth of English lessons in the Sharing Foundation's ESL program."

Consider donating $10 to the Sharing Foundation, if you can't donate - please consider passing this message on to others.