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General Rants

My Top 5 Social Media Pet Peeves

First let me clarify before I start my rant that I think social media is great. I love how it is changing the landscape of business, by putting the focus on the consumer and giving the consumer a larger voice. Heck I am President of Social Media Club Seattle I like it so much. But there is a problem. People are taking it way too seriously. So much so that it has almost become a religion to some. That’s why I’ve decided to take a look at the lighter side. With that in mind here are my top 5 social media pet peeves.

1. Social Media Expert Avoidance

Thinking that there are no social media experts is just downright delusional. Yet, I hear it all the time that no one can be a social media expert. They say social media is changing too fast, there is no way to be an expert in something based on consumer behavior, and the list goes on.

But the truth is, in the social media biz, you are an expert if you have a proven track record of repeatedly achieving great results using social media as a communication channel for several different business types. In fact, according to the dictionary an expert is “a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field.” And while I’m not there yet, a lot of people in the industry have the track record to call themselves experts…. that said, I don’t recommending calling yourself an expert unless you want my #2 pet peeve to be all over your ass. Feel free to call others experts however, if nothing else it’s fun to watch them squirm when you do.

2. The Social Media Police

You’ve know them and might even be one. These are the people who monitor all social channels for improper use of social media according to the Cluetrain Manifesto’s rules of social media love and hugs. These are the people who yell anytime a company tries to sell something online. Or the people that freak out that you didn’t consult them first before you made a decision to post something online. Even better yet these are the people that freak out that you haven’t updated your status in a few days and don’t know by memory every tweet they’ve made in the past two weeks.

People should use social media however they want to. If they want to push sales messages out, or talk 100% about their cat named Marshmallow, they should be allowed to without you threatening to take them to social media jail (ie MySpace). The great thing about social media, if you don’t want to listen to someone you don’t have to! Unfollow, un-like, or just mark them as spam, I really don’t care – just stop complaining. (Crap!, I think I just became internal affairs for the social media police.)

3. The Fear of Outsourced Social Media

All the time I hear people say that outsourced social media is horrible and just doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is not ideal, and you lose out on a lot of the benefits social media by outsourcing it, but most of the time it’s better then nothing. Look, a lot of companies have a third party run their Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. They write content, reply to your random questions, and even God forbid, pretend like they work for the company they are writing for. And as much as you may disagree with it I know of many situations where this works. Actually I know of a few cases where people have said ‘such and such” company does a great job with their Twitter account, and I know first had that the account is being handled by a social media engagement company. (I’d mention names here, but am scared the social media police might attack) Get over it people. If a good social media company has been given the power to do engagement for a company, please don’t ban them to the nether regions of the social media universe. Help businesses use this new tool to slowly grow their social media presence and change their vision from outside in.

4. Devotion

I understand people like to put a number on the value of things. Klout helps convince people you are important, and it helps show the boss that the social media program is working. With all of this considered however, do we really need another number? First it was the number of followers, now it is this? Truthfully Klout is the closest we get to an actual ranking of influence, but do we need to focus on this? (Social media police can you help me out?) Go look at the Klout numbers of some of your friends, and you will see how dramatically they go up and down. Plus with just a little work they can be more easily gamed than Google with SEO.

Let’s look at the metrics behind Klout, such as RT’s, active audience, etc. and focus less on the actual number. (I’ll expand upon this later with a separate blog post.)

5. Social Media Celebrity Fascination

Truthfully I am tired of the social media celebrity fascination. Come to grips people. We all love @ChrisBrogan, and respect his Klout score of 85 and his 155k+ followers on Twitter, but ask your neighbor if they know him, and I am pretty sure you will get a “who?” in return. Stop freaking out that so and so replied to you, or that they RT’d a blog post, and just do what you think is right. These social media celebrities are great people 98% (stay far away from the other 2%) of the time, but if you think about it they are less famous than your local TV news anchor. And much like when your local TV anchor goes to another city, no one knows these social media celebrity outside the social media echo chamber.

Sure this post is full of contradictions and irregularities, but who said pet peeves need to be rational?  Plus I don't have time to explain it more, I now need to go check my Klout and try to get this post RT'd by some social media celebrities.

(Special thanks must go out to @JasonFalls for getting this rant started when he visited the great city of Seattle and we shared some @MakersMark )

(Just realized that I didn't follow blog post 101 and ask for your thoughts after this post. Thanks @shih_wei for the reminder. What are your top 5 social media pet peeves?)

My Customer Service/Social Media Diatribe

[The other day a client asked me an open ended question about business and where I saw it going, and I responded with a long diatribe about customer service. Considering I already spent the time writing it all out, I thought I would post it as a blog post with a few changes. None of these ideas are new, but I may describe them a little different than most. It's provides good insight on why I think social media is important, and even more important than that, trusting your customers.

And so the rant that started in me when I first read the Cluetrain Manifesto begins….]

Today people want honesty and transparency from companies they do business with. They want to connect with people not organizations.

No longer can companies do one thing and say another. No longer can we, (and maybe we never could) change consumers perceptions of brands through marketing or advertising, if the product doesn’t deliver.

Marketing and advertising is instead a vehicle to highlight better products and increase word of mouth, not a perception changer. Branding has much more to do with business practices than marketing. This is nothing new, DDB put out this great ad in the 60’s saying the same thing called. “Do this or Die”

Here is how I look at it...

Three things have changed in the last few years that change the way business is done.

1) People want to connect with “real” people
2) People have realized that they are more powerful than any business, organization, or government
3) People want and expect transparency from everyone, including businesses

People want to connect with “real” people -

The way to earn respect has changed. Just because someone dresses a certain way, or talks a proffesionally, doesn’t make them an expert. People don’t want to talk with someone that presents in a way that suggests they are better than the other person.

You can see this push toward “real” personal connections all around us. One example is in the recent preliminary voting. Incumbents were voted out of office as “people” not an organization or party, rejected the establishment and turned to the more common man they can relate to.

This isn't because of social media. You could see it starting a long time ago, and really start flourishing when people started flocking to reality TV and online videos and escaped the canned imagery the major media system gives us. People are suddenly much more interested in Heidi Montag then they are in the latest TV star. (I was going to put a name in here of a famous TV actress right now, but couldn’t think of one. There are no TV shows like Friends anymore)

One of the great things about people wanting to deal with “real’ people is that they also understand people and businesses make mistakes. This does not mean the mistakes are ok. Instead people just want to know that companies and the people behind those companies are doing everything they can to make 100% of their customers happy.

People are smart, and they want to be dealt with that way, and excuses don’t do that. Instead they want to see how the company reacts, how it let’s them get involved, and mainly if anyone is listening and cares

The individual has realized they have power -

Through the use of the internet they can connect and make changes in society that they never thought they could do before.

If they have a problem with a company, they realize they can become very powerful through the use of a online negative review, or by using social media to connect with others that feel the same way. The statement that “one person can make a difference” is more true then it ever has been before.

People are showing their power all around us. The obvious things are people going after companies on Twitter or other social media platforms, or the less obvious are organizations like the Tea Party. Suddenly a group of people very loosely organized have realized they have more power then a political party.

The scary thing is that businesses are in the same place as the political parties. People feel like they are being treated wrong and are not being listened to by organizations and are now willing to do something about it. They don’t except good enough anymore, they expect the best, or will use their power until they get it.

The key is for companies to look at this new rise in power of the individual as an opportunity and not something to hide from. They should not make excuses; instead businesses need to find solutions to the problems.

These solutions do not mean giving into people online just to make them happy. Instead companies need to be focused on using these complaints as opportunities to improve the process. Find out what went wrong, and how to fix it next time. People expect to be treated like a partner, but it doesn’t mean you have to give into them all the time. Partnerships don’t work that way. (Ok, some marriages work that way.)

Sure sometimes the complaints are going to be unwarranted, but a lot of the time you will see consistent themes running through the complaints. No matter how much it pains a company, or goes against their business practices, those issues need to be addressed. Companies can no longer say, we won’t or can’t change. Everything needs to be flexible and options for improvement encouraged.

When looked at in this way, each complaint will slowly make the company better and the complaints will slowly subside.  When this happens consumers realize that they do have a partnership, and once that happens a lot more good things will be said online instead of bad. Through the proactive care of customers, companies will develop partners online that will defend them against attackers.

People want and expect transparency from everyone, including businesses

The last phase that I see is that people expect transparency from the people they do business with. If they are truly a partner and are giving companies money they expect to see what is done with their money.

Right now you see a big backlash against the banks and CEO’s because of this. People are asking, “Why are they getting paid so much?”, “What are they doing with my money?”. I’d contend that most of this is happening because of a lack of transparency on the businesses part. People have no idea how much the CEO works, let alone who he is and what his background is. They don’t understand why the banks are making so much money, because they don’t understand how banks work, and the banks want to keep it that way.

With that in mind, if a company is going to take someone’s money, what can they do to show them it is being put to good use? What can the company show them that will make them comfortable with the decision? And if someone complains, how can a company follow up publicly to show them how they are improving?

Since people want a connection and partnership with the brands they visit, they also want to be part of the ride and thanked for taking part. How would you feel if you were one of the first customers of a new business and they wrote you to tell you that they have been growing like mad thanks to great customers like you? Would you feel part of the team? Would you be more willing to recommend people to that business? Would you have a vested interest in seeing them succeed?

Companies should be asking how can we make our customers a key part of our business, not how can we get more customers for our business.

The book that first recognized this shift is The Cluetrain Manifesto. It was written in 1999, but saw all this coming and is worth a read. But the underling foundation of that book is that “markets are conversations”, and I like the next step of that which is “markets are relationships”.

What kind of relationship do you have with your customers?

I'm a Douchebag

I think I missed one of the key SXSWi groups, "How Not To be a Douchebag" (Great re-cap by @EdRabbit), because if I've learned anything these past few months is that I have a tendency to be one. Douchebag Tendency #1 - Not Remembering People

One thing that is great about starting SMC Seattle is that I have had a chance to meet many great people. The flip side of that is that my memory sucks and I keep forgetting people.

I used to think that I had a great visual memory and would never forget a face, unfortunately because of old age, or too much Makers, that has recently been proved wrong.

At SXSWi I met a lot of people from Seattle who I had talked with before, but completely forgot who they were. I'm sure it happens to everyone, but it sure makes me feel like crap. I hate when someone comes up to me and says, "Hi, Kevin", and I have no recollection of talking with them, and definitely do not remember their name.

It makes me feel like a jerk, and if I pretend I remember whom they are, it makes me feel like a douchebag.

I have no idea what to do about it. Truth is, my memory sucks, it always has. Memorizing has always been my weakness.

Heck I had to take Spanish 3 twice in college because I sucked at remembering all those verbs. I've tried all the tricks but have had no luck.

I've seen others try to fake there way around not remembering someone. They just pretend they remember them and go with it, but I think that is even more of a douchebag move. If I do that, I could end up missing some real cool info about the person.

Do you have any ideas or recommendations?

Below are some possible options I have come up with.

1) Try to be sly, and ask questions to get more details until something jolts my memory. (Not guaranteed to work) 2) Pretend I remember them after I ask a few questions. 3) Tell them the truth, that my memory sucks, and go from there. Douchebag Tendency #2 - Short conversations.

The next douchebag tendency I have is that I have a tendency to have really short conversations with people. Especially at SMC Seattle events. I feel like I need to run around and meet as many people as possible to be a "good host".

This leads to shallow conversations that do not benefit anyone.

There is no excuse for this, and I don't like it. From this point on I am going to spend time with people, and enjoy the conversation.

I do this at other events, why should it be any different at SMC Seattle events?

Obviously before SMC Seatle events kicks off, I have a tendency to run around making sure everything is set and need to cut some people off. There is no reason I can't carry those conversations on later in the event however.

At any rate, whether it is forgetting people, or simply not taking time with them, I am going to work on it, and look for your advice as well.

I really don't want to be a douchebage, and want to learn from as many people in the community as I can.

All the good stuff always happens after you know someone's name, and get past the small talk!


"DO THIS OR DIE." Why is this still relavant?

You would think that after over 40 years from when the below was first published by DDB, that it would not be necessary anymore. Yet these below statements are the very thing social media enthusiast continue to preach. Maybe social media will give consumers the leverage to make sure companies follow the below recommendations.

How BBS’s, Nascar, and my Pastor got me into Social Media

I’m no social media expert, people have been doing this social media thing way before I ever started, and have more experience than I do, but I thought it would be good to tell my story. It’s something a recent interview by Another Passion, got me thinking about, and I believe it's good to know someone’s story, to understand how they think. The timeline is a little blurry, but you’ll get the idea. Each of these paragraphs could be it’s own blog post, but I’ll try to keep it to the basics.

BBS DashboardI’ve always been interested in technology and online communication. Back when I was in 6th grade (1989) I remember staying up all night and dialing BBS’s and talking with others, playing text games, not to mention downloading a fair share of games (there wasn’t copyrights back then correct?)

The little Hayes 12,000 BPS modem was terribly slow, and to download a simple game or image would take hours if not all night, but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the people I met online, and even became friends with them offline. Some even happened to attend the same school as me, but we needed BBS’s to connect us for some reason.

Then came Prodigy in Junior High (1990-1991) boy was that a life changer. Suddenly useful/educational information was at my finger tips. Sure it was slow, and the WWW was not connected yet, but I still tons of information at my finger tips, and it was liberating.

The idea of encyclopedia type information like that on your computer was so knew that for one Jr. High Science class I “used” it to do a one page report on a specific topic. Ok, I didn’t “use” it, I simply printed out what the Prodigy encyclopedia had to say on the topic and turned it in. I’m guessing cheating in such a manner was not something the teacher knew about, so he never thought twice, and I got a A- on the project. (ok, maybe I was not on the greatest path here with downloading games, and cheating on homework.)

Well next came my high school and college years and I stayed up on technology. Used the internet to “help” me with my homework, but still very few of my real world friends were using it actively.

When I went to college in the fall of 1996, my friends and I were not even given an email address when we showed up. Actually very few of my friends even had email addresses, and the library was the only place to connect to the internet, other than my rooms 56k modem. I remember a $300 phone bill my first month in College because I accidently used a long distant dialup number.

In college I started out as a Graphic Design major, but once I realized I had no actual design talent, I moved into business with a marketing emphasis, and I was off into the business marketing world.

Not until about 3 or 4 years ago when I read “The Cluetrain Manifesto” and then followed by “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide” did it all start to come together. With these online social tools I had been using since elementary school, you could connect with others, and also help brands not only market themselves but serve their customers better.

It all came together in my head, but I had no outlet, no where to put it. So I simply stored it knowing someday my love for tech and marketing would be combined.

That is where a weird rabbit hole that started in 2005 with the Dakar Rally, led to Nascars’ Robby Gordon and then to Jason Falls in 2007, got me following Jason’s blog and other social media” blogs using RSS feeds.

Robby Gordon Dakar HummerThen sometime in 2008 my Pastor at the time Scott Harris convinced me to get active on Twitter.  At this point I already had an account for some time but never used  it. I ridiculed Scott at first for using it, but after that I jumped on and started to using Twitter actively. I remember struggling to find people to connect with that I knew, (not knowing that was the wrong way to do it) and almost gave up. With Scott’s assistance and Jesse Andersons (another friend active on Twitter) support I kept at it however.

Through this I connected with a lot of people and was learning some great things through Twitter. Something was still missing however, I wanted to learn more and connect with people face to face. One thing Jason Falls talked about occasionally was Social Media Club in Louisville and about how he had meet great people through it and exchanged some great though provoking ideas.

This was exactly what I was looking to do, so I reached out to Social Media Club to see if they had a club in Seattle. Kristie Wells, the founder of Social Media club told me the club they had in Seattle had dissolved, so I asked if they wanted to help to start one.

Not knowing nearly any of the “Go To” social media people at the time, and having very little experience using social media, I was excited that Kristie said she would love me to help them start a club in Seattle.

Considering Jason’s club in Louisville seemed like it had around 40 people meeting in a bar talking social media at the time, I thought it would be easy to start and run a club. (little did I know)

A month later in December of 2008 I conducted the first Social Media Club (SMC) Seattle organizational meeting. I put an all call on Twitter for people who were interested in helping to come to the meeting.

Lucky for me 12 great people showed up. Blake Cahill was one of the first to reach out and offer his support and guidance, but others showed up as well such as Veronica Shoper, Rachel Bergtedt, Cass Nevada, Barry Hurd, Amy Mcdougall, Barb Jacobucci, Gina Spadoni, Tamara Weikel and many others. (If I missed you please let me know)

At our first event when we had close to 200 people show up. This is when I knew I had stumbled onto something way bigger than I had ever planed. Now, over a year later, the amazing board members and others have helped turn SMC Seattle into an amazing community with events of 300+ people and every event being sold out. My favorite part is all the great people I have become friends with, and the fact that I have learned more from this group of people than I ever did in college.

It’s amazing how it has all worked out. Years ago I dreamed about finding ways to combine my love of tech and online communication with my passion for marketing, and doing it in a way where both the businesses and consumers benefit. Through this amazing journey I have found ways to do that, and made many great friends along the way.

I’d say I found the path God has created for me, or merely God put this path in front of me whether I liked it or not. You may say it’s fate, but no matter, I found it and I’m not looking back now.

What’s your story?

Kevin Urie

Denny's did you think about an ROI?

From Arbyreed's photostream Everyone is all a buzz about the Denny's Super Bowl Grand Slam Giveaway.  Adweek calls it a “Hit” in this article. But if it was such a hit, why doesn't everyone simply give away their product in promotions?

Heck, anyone could giveaway stuff for free to millions of people, the key is doing it and making money. The main question Denny's and anyone that does a giveaway needs to be asking is, “am I creating new customers by doing this”, or “does it get my current customers to increase their spend”?

Is Denny's ever going to get a positive return on the $5 million they spent (according to Adweek) on this promotion? For the sake of easy math, let's look at some easy numbers and calculate their break even point.

At best Denny's makes $5 on each Grand Slam they sell (according to Adweek).  That means they need to sell an additional one million of them, to make this promotion break even. (They could sell higher margin product etc. but is it really gonna make that big of a difference? They're not a steakhouse)

Does anyone believe the people receiving these free Denny's meals were so happy with them, that they are going to come back for more? Let alone one million of them? Was the experience so gratifying or outside their expectations they had for Denny's that they said, “dang I need to go to Denny's more often”?

I don't think that many people were convinced of that, nor do I think Denny's believes it.  That is why they gave away coupons to try to get these new customers to come back.  So again they result to discounting their product to get rid of it.

The only way a company is going to make a giveaway like Denny's work, is to exceed the customers expectations in some way. Everyone knows what a Grad Slam taste like, why didn't Denny's introduce a new product and give that away? At least that way customers might find a new product they love, and it would give them a reason to come back.

Or better yet, why not use this giveaway to introduce a lower price for the Grand Slam meal? Use the economy angle to promote it. Obviously they feel their product is not worth the $5.99 they charge, because they are giving  it away for free and couponing it. Why not start charging $3.99 everyday for a Grand Slam and say they are celebrating by giving them away for free for the first half of Feb 2nd?

It's gonna take longer to get a return, but at least some people might actually come back. And by doing this it benefits everyone, not just the few who took advantage of the free breakfast.  At the very least some people might remember that Denny's has a complete breakfast for only $3.99, right now all they remember now is that Denny's gave away some free food.

What can I edit in a Twitter Re-Tweet?

Did, he get in jail for bad Twitter RT Etiquette?  

What's the deal with the Twitter Re-Tweet (RT)? Talking about getting more RT's seems to be all the rage lately, but what rules are their around the RT? 

What room do we have to edit a RT?  Can I merely RT the link with credit and then post my own comments around that?  Or do I need to keep the original tweet as close to the original as possible and then try to add my comments at the end if possible? Switching as many of the you's to U, and two's to 2, etc.

Shouldn't we as Twitters be able to simply RT the link and post our own comments? If we can, how would we show this? Take the below example of something I RT'd the other night.

"RT @mitchjoel: By the looks of this, Social Media is just getting started. Where do u think it's going? Add ur side here:"

Can I change this to,..

"RT @mitchjoel ;(The changing demo of social media and what's gonna happen next?)"

Or am I not giving the originator of the Tweet his proper credit? Or maybe, because I added new content to the tweet do I even need to give credit to the original tweeter at all for the link?

What if I read the post by Mitch, but then saw his tweet afterwards?  Do I need to RT him, or can I simply do my own Tweet?  Same question can be asked for other content on Twitter as well.  Before I post a link should I scan everyone I subscribe to in order to see if they have already Tweeted the link?

Please free me from this Twitter RT jail, and let me know what you think.

How to be an Expert in Everything

My goal is to be an expert at my job, but in today's ever changing marketing world it's impossible. That's why having a strong network of marketing connections is more important than ever. How is someone supposed to be an expert in all the aspects of just the online marketing world, let alone traditional media? Staying on top of all the changes in SEO, Paid Search, Display and Social Media is impossible. Just staying on top of one area like SEO or Social Media is extremely hard and time consuming.

Then add on top of that, traditional marketing such as TV, Radio, Print, and Outdoor, and how they all work together with online advertising, and you have a lost cause. That is unless you find a way to add more hours to the day. (if you do let me know)

So what are you to do, because aren't we supposed to offer our clients or company the best marketing advice around?

The only way to do that is to surround yourself with the best people. Have a great network around you of brilliant people in each industry that you can lean on when needed.

Sometimes the best thing to know, is to know when to bring someone else in for help.  That's the difference between knowing enough to be dangourous, and knowing enough to helpful.

What Blogging Will do for You

I went into blogging with certain goals in mind, but after 6 months I have gotten more from it then I would have ever imagined, and so can you. When I started my blog, there were three reasons behind it. 1. To improve my writing skills 2. Get my opinionated ideas on paper, in an effort to free up my co-workers time. 3. So I could have two-way conversations with people about marketing ideas (Twitter does this now)

Here is a link to the first post that explains it a little more.

What I did not plan on getting out of blogging was the ability to refine my thoughts and communicate them more clearly, not only in writing but also in conversation. I don't know why I did not expect this to happen, but it has been the biggest benefit I received from blogging, and I think you would as well.

We all have thousands of ideas storming around our heads all day (and sometimes night) long. We like to think we can recall them when needed, but we can't always do that.

If we can recall those ideas they are not always well fleshed out or thought through. Certainly nothing you could use in a meeting with a client, unless you put a lot more time into developing them. By writing your ideas down, it helps you develop them materialize them and put them in a part of cognitive memory you can actually use.

Of course this is nothing new.  People have been saying to journal thoughts for thousands of years.  What's great about a blog however, is that you have other people reading those thoughts, and improving upon them.  You also have somewhat of an accountability network to keep you going.

So if you don't blog, give it a try for a few days.  Just go to or and set one up.  Or if you already blog, do it more often.  (trying to take my own advice)

You will be amazed how when in meetings, or in talking with friends, you will all of a sudden start quoting your blog post.  It's like having a support group of ideas ready to help you when needed.  Best of all they're your ideas!

Traditional Media don't be Scared!

Why is it that traditional media and new media just can't get along? Why is it that I go to countless presentations by TV and Radio stations and all they ever try to do is justify their existence? It's always about reach! They say “you can't get reach like this anywhere else” (who are they kidding?). Or they try to sell their personal connection with their audience. I love when they say their website, has more dedicated followers that trust them and is more valuable than a typical website.

Seriously? When was the last time you felt a personal connection to a traditional media's website more than say a social website?

Traditional media is not dead by any stretch of the imagination, nor will it be anytime soon, but with this type of talk they are sure digging their grave rather fast. Why aren't they figuring out ways to develop deeper relationships and connections with their audience?

It's because they are scared of loosing audience to other sites and using other formats they do not control. Sure they have all added blogs, but why won't they reach out to their audience and connect in a more meaningful way? Why not have Facebook groups, Twitter profiles etc.?

No one wants to read a blog that talks about the same things they do on the air. They read a blog to find out what their DJ or news Anchorman is really like. Or at the very least to get a behind the scenes look at what is going on at the station.

I listen to the Hot AC radio station here in Seattle, (only in the morning mind you, it wakes me up) with an ideal Facebook demo, and they do not even have a Facebook Group that I can find. Their morning Jocks have Facebook profiles but they are private. (I would try to friend them, but don't want that showing up on my profile!)

TV is the same way. I have a friend who is a Weatherman, and I have been trying to convince him to join Twitter. He could be the Weatherman for Twitter, and connect with his audience on a deeper way, but as of yet he has not done it.

Why do these traditional media formats avoid these social platforms? It's all about controlling the audience. They still think they have control like they did 20 years ago, and sadly refuse to wake-up to the idea that they are now just a small part of people lives.

Only by embracing other media formats, and loosing control will they truly develop a deep relationship with their audiences. Once that relationship is established they will then have something more valuable then reach, they will have insight and a connection on a personal level.

In traditional media?  Let me know what you think.

Kevin Urie

Social Media Burnout? Will we see social media Karo-jisatsu?

Are you almost burned out becuase of Social Media? How long until a big time social media enthusiast burns out and leaves the medium all together?  Or ever worse, how long until someone that is on Twitter 7 days a week 18 hrs a day, finally has enough and either goes insane, or does the unthinkable because of the over work?

Getting online everyday, blogging, checking your Tweets, replying to Facebook invites etc. can be overwhelming.  I even find that simply Tweets or Facebook updates can just be a little too much for me on certain days.

You can love the space all you want, but at some point people need breaks.  We need to breakup our lives in order to give us balance.  Otherwise I see too many of us in the social media space becoming much like Japan's Karo-jisatsu workers.

I am sure these Karo-jisatsu loved there job as well, and were trying to simply provide for their families and help others, but we must make sure everything is in balance.

All too often I find myself with my laptop in the family room as my wife and kids are doing something else.  Of course I justify it by saying I need to work harder, and stay on top of this stuff especially during these down economic times, but is it worth it? Probably not.

Finding that balance is different for everyone, but we all must try and be understating with others as they find their balance.  So next time you see 3 blog post, and 30 tweets on a Saturday or Sunday from your favorite social media guru, make sure to throw up a prayer to help the guy out.

At the very least be understanding if he does not get back to your ping immediately.

Are You Learning from Others to Imitate or to Innovate?

Downturns in the economy bring great innovations, and is when many successful companies get their start.  Whether it be during the Great Depression when HP was founded, or during 1975 recession when Microsoft started. American's are resilient and entrepreneurial, and when things get tough, we start innovating! (to read more on this see this link)

What are you doing to prosper during this economic slowdown?  Are you trying to innovate and think outside the box, or are you simply copying ideas from others?

Don't get me wrong, I love to learn.  I subscribe to around a hundred RSS feeds (ok I need to cut the list down. I have 1,200 feeds to read today),  have too many Twitter friends than I can follow, and love a good book and a lively debate.  Learning from others is not the problem that holds us back from innovating, the problem is if we let others do the thinking for us.

When you are in learning from others, do you find yourself taking what they say and finding ways to apply it to your own life, or do you think about what they have to say and how it will impact the future?

If we do not think about current application and future implications, we are missing out on one of the best parts of learning.  We must apply, but we also must spend time thinking about innovation.  We should always be asking ourselves, of everything I have learned today, and everything I know, what's next?  What is missing?  What is it that everyone else is talking about, but may have overlooked?

From this week on, I am challenging myself to spend time each day trying to innovate.  During this time I will use what I have learned to think outside the box and innovate.  This could simply be a new way to do some little task, or it could be developing new ideas on where marketing is headed.

Great companies do this.  3M allows time for their employees to think of new ideas, so does Google.  We need to take this time as well.

We spend countless hours reading and learning from others about their innovations.  Now it is our turn to  innovate!

Empty Your Cup of Knowledge

I am a fan of old Pacific Lutheran football coach Frosty Westering and a saying he uses before he speaks “empty your cup”. (Being Frosty, he actually demonstrates the illustration, water goes everywhere etc.) The essence of the saying is that if we go into anything thinking our cup of knowledge is full, we will not have any room to learn anything knew.

We must first empty our cup, and then look for ways to fill it with the knowledge of others.

This is something that I struggle with, and am trying to work on. I am an internet geek, I know a little about a lot, but true knowledge comes from relationships not the internet.

I struggle with this at my job as well. As an Ad Exec, I have a tendency to always want to come off as the marketing “expert” to my clients. I have the education, experience, support groups, etc. and my client does not, so I should understand marketing more than most of my clients who spend most of the day running their businesses.

But that is not always the case. As much as I try to understand my clients business, they still know it better than I do. Sometimes I make a mistake or overlook something, and the client can add some good insight. Other times my clients wealth of knowledge might be different than mine, and they may offer a great idea that I have never thought of.

Bottom line, no matter how much of an expert you think you are in any particular area, always listen to others as if they are an expert. It's amazing what you learn with an open mind.

Are you hiding behind social media?

Something I deal with every time I write on this blog or even tweet, is my tendency to hide.   Am I truly being me, or am I pretending to be the person I want the online community to think I am?

I am currently reading the book “The Silence of Adam”.  It is a Christian book that talks about how men should really act.  I came across the quote below, and it made me think about social media, how I learn, and my fears.

“Men are easily threatened. And whenever a man is threatened, when he becomes uncomfortable in places within himself that he does not understand, he naturally retreats into an arena of comfort or competence, or he dominates someone or something in order to feel powerful.  Men refuse to feel the paralyzing and humbling horror of uncertainty, a horror that could drive them to trust, a horror that could release in them the power to deeply give themselves in relationships. As a results most men feel close to no one........”

What is holding you back?  Are your fears or uncertainties holding you back form achieving your potential?  Are they holding you back from truly taking a place in social media and joining the conversation, and giving people insight on who you are?

Social media can seem like a vulnerable place.  Putting yourself out there for many to see, and possibly disagree with you.  Yet only once you do that, do you truly find your place, and do you start to develop real relationships.

"Dear Traditional Marketer: A Goodbye Note from Your Word of Mouth Friend "

Great post from BuzzCanuck.  I don't agree with it 100%, but things are changing.

Dear Traditional Marketer: A Goodbye Note from Your Word of Mouth Friend

Daearmarketer Dear Traditional Marketer,

I don't blame you for thinking the way you do. You're a product of your upbringing. How were you supposed to adapt to a world that changed do quickly.

I recognize, we were once very close, I believed in the same virtues as you, but now we've grown distant, I can't relate to you anymore.

As much as I have tried to convince you to lay off the campaigns, you continue to be hooked on them.  Despite the enormous toll and financial burden they encumber, you are still addicted to these 30 second flights of fancy. I have tried interventions, I have tried rational arguments, I have threatened to leave. Can't you realize that your type can't live on reach alone? Well, this time, for my own health and welfare I must leave you.

I need to find a healthier life with those in forward-thinking PR roles, in your intuitively smart executive, in your digital world, in your progressive agencies, with your research visionaries, perhaps even those who think different than you in your very own department...people without the same vices that are killing you and your credibility each day.

See, these new friends realize that your campaigns are a drug, sure they may be exciting and provide you some level of self-esteem with the CEO or your family who watch them, but for how long and for what size of a hangover are your prepared to deal with afterward? Snort a line of successful ad copy and you'll be chasing that same wheel the rest of your career.

Sure Mad Men is a very interesting show....but let's be honest, that show is set in 1963 - we're a hell of a lot more cynical and attention-starved now. Don't you understand there is a world of people out there who want to love you, if only you let them. Their names are: customers, fans, influencers, evangelists, prosumers, mavens...please if not for me, do it for your own health and let them into your life. Talk to them, get to know them, they're good people.

I've already spent too much time in this message and I must be moving on. If I knew you were listening, i'd continue to roll that ball of the hill but I fear you are too far gone.

Enjoy your media budget largesse, post-rationalization theories for poor performance, self-perpetuating myths of controlling brand equity levers and anachronistic top-down management style...I fear these will become old and tired fast. Good luck,

Agent Wildfire,  Your Word of Mouth Friend

How do we make CEO's and CMO's understand a conversation is going on, and that they need to be part of it?  I work with retail businesses on a daily basis and most want instant gratification.  Anything that does not increase sales instantly is not considered a worthy investment.

The Future of Radio?

This it not revolutionary by any means, but just an extension or the next step of what everyone is already doing.  The future of radio will be online of course, but it will also include personalities you hear on today's radio stations.

This means everyone will be able to be their own program director and pick their own music, like with LastFM or Pandora, but in addition to music selection you will be able to pick your DJ or host.  So you will be able to listen to your custom station and then pick your favorite DJ or host, to mix in and give you a break from the music.

DJ's don't talk about the music anymore anyway, so this will be an easy switch.  The software or the listener will be able to choose how often they want someone to interrupt the music with talk, and they will also be able to be choose if they want to be interrupted with local weather, news, etc. as well.

These don't have to be typical DJ's either.  They could be podcast, or just a guy from his garage. I know of a few podcast that would work perfectly in this format.  Diggnation comes to mind (it's too long to take all at once anyway).

Ok you might be saying, but why?  Well because these breaks help keep the music from getting boring  and help you develop a connection with what you are listening to.  Essentially you are becoming your own program director.

So the marketing angle?  Well you will be able to insert geo-targeted audio ads, endorsements, and promotions are still an option.  Plus you will be able to choose the type of listeners you would like to go after based on format and subscription data.

Will radio stations as we know it go away?  Most of them will, but a few innovative ones that have good program directors will stay around programing music, but most of them will just managing talent.

Obviously this all depends on getting hi-speed wireless internet connections becoming main stream, but that is just a matter of time.  Look at what is happening with the Iphone 3g.

What do you think?