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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?

"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.

Social Media Customer Service Doesn’t Scale

Social media customer service is just part of a cycle, enjoy it why you have it. I'm sure the first companies that started to use the phone for customer service did a bang up job with it. Now look at it! Right now many companies are dipping their toes into social media, and most are starting by using it to deal with customer service complaints.

With social media all you need to do is reach out and complain on Twitter, and if the company is using social media you more than likely get an all-star like Frank Eliason from Comcast to help you out.

Social Media Customer Service

With social media you no longer need to wait on the phone for 30 minutes to get a customer service rep, and then after all that time probably never even get the issue completely resolved to your licking.

Because of great people like Frank on the other end of those social media conversations, social media customer service is a great experience. This may be coming to an end however. Part of the reason companies can afford to have great people like Frank help us out, is that very low percentage of their customers are actually using social media to get customer support.

What happens when everyone is using social media to connect with businesses online? Does it scale any better than a customer service phone room?

Say tomorrow all the phone lines went dead, and the only way to handle customer service was through the use of social media? Would companies be able to lay anyone off, or would they simply have to retrain all the phone reps on how to use social media to interact? My bet is that they would not be able to reduce their customer service staff at all, they would merely re-allocate them.

Once use of social media for customer service reaches critical mass, cost for online customer service goes way up. Then some CFO gets the bright idea to outsource social media customer service to some company in another country. “Heck if we outsource it to a third party, we could have 24hr customer support, customers will love it!”

Sure some companies will continue to give us great customer service in social media, but more than likely it will be the same companies that currently give us great phone support as well.

There’s much more to social media than customer service!

Kevin Urie

Human Language is not just a Social Media Thing

Talking like a humanI don’t know how I slipped into it, why I started thinking this way, but I lost one of the key principles of social media, speaking in a human voice. Somehow I started thinking and telling clients that the human voice thing can be left for the blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc, the rest of your website and marketing material can be marketing crap. (Ok, I didn’t use the word crap) As part of the Destination Marketing book club I'm leading everyone in the office through the “Cluetrain Manifesto” and while reading it for the first time in years,  I realized I went off track somewhere. It especially hit me in reading chapter three “Talk is Cheap” by Rick Levine. The below excerpt is what made it painfully clear.

Hart Scientific, Inc. ( posted a convenient comparison of conversational versus traditional writing on their Web site. They have two versions of their Y2K compliance page. You can tell them apart:

Noncompliance issues could arise if Hart Scientific manufactured products are combined with other manufacturer’s products. Hart cannot test all possible system configurations in which Hart manufactured products could be incorporated. Our products currently test as being compliant and will continue to operate correctly after January 1, 2000. However, customers must test integrated systems to see if components work with Hart Scientific manufactured products. Hart makes no representation or warranty concerning non-Hart manufactured products.


If you’re using our equipment with someone else’s gear, who the hell knows what’s going to happen. We sure don’t, so how can we promise you something specific, or even vague for that matter? We can’t, so we won’t. However, we love our customers and like always we’ll do whatever is reasonable to solve whatever problems come up, if there are any.

Which one would you rather read? Which one connects you to the brand, and gives you a sense of working with people, instead of a corporation?

I used to preach this and then lost it, and I think social media is to blame partly. It’s easy to put social media in a silo. For some reason in all the talk about Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, etc. I forgot that the principles that work with those social tools, work with all forms of media.

Heck I even warned against thinking social media are tools in a blog post  “Social Media, Philosophy, Tools, or Both?” Maybe I should take my own advice!

Well people get off track. I was there, but now I’m back. It’s not going to be an easy battle, but that has never stopped me before.

I encourage you to join me (if you aren’t there already) and to not relegate human voices to a blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Lets push companies and ourselves in talking with a natural voice in all mediums of communication.

Who  wants to read, listen, or even do business with a bunch of marketing crap anyway?

Is Twitter the New Library?

Is Twitter a Library?I have a tendency to explain things using metaphors and analogies. (I probably rely on it a little too much.) In keeping with that pattern, recently I have been telling some business owners that Twitter is similar to a library, and every account is a different book on the shelf. So if they want to have an effective Twitter account they need to be the book that has the best information, and the one people keep pulling off the shelf to use. This is an over simplification of Twitter, but it seems help them in understand the unique aspects of Twitter. Especially businesses that think Twitter is only about telling people what you are doing.

Twitter started out as that, but has developed into a place to share and receive information, and through that information exchange, relationships and trust are developed.

This is similar to how non-fiction books gain popularity. Typically the books that are engaging and have great information are the ones people come to respect. This leads to the author being seen as an authority.

So how does a business become the best “book” in the Twitter library? Well for one you don't talk about yourself, or the great offers you have this weekend. (Remember I said book not Newspaper insert!) Instead you give back to the Twitter community by providing information they can't get elsewhere. You give insights on your brand and category that establishes you as the leader in your category.

Some of it should even be customer service information exchanged with people that need help. These are the real FAQ questions people want to see on your website, and provide great insight people can’t find elsewhere.

The nice thing about Twitter is that all this information doesn’t need to originate with you. You can aggregate information from other people including competitors and share that information if you think it will benefit your “readers” as long as you reference the original source.

The best part is that Twitter is not just one way form of communication like a traditional book. Instead it is two way which leads to a deeper relationship with your audience than a book author could ever have with a few book signings.

Ok, so Twitter is like a library, provide great information and develop trust with your audience and you will become an authority on a topic. That’s the easy part, the hard part is finding a topic to "write" about that people are going to pay attention to.

There are many great books out there that people don’t read because the topics just aren’t that interesting.

Problem with Mass Communication?

Problem with Mass Communication(Hate to jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon with my first “real” post back, but oh well.)

Something hit me yesterday while watching my Twitter stream from the Super Bowl. Normally my Twitter friends all tend to agree. Sure slight variances of opinion happen on things such as the iPad and politics, but I'd never seen such wide rage of opinions from hate to love as I did about the Super Bowl ads.
The most popular ad seemed to be the Dorritos dog collar ad, but even in a group of like minded people like I have on Twitter, some of my friends hated it.
In marketing class you are always told to target, and go after a specific audience, but I think everyone in marketing holds out for that utopia ad that everyone likes. It makes me think about how I go about marketing.
Of course everything I do goes after a particular demo, but to some extent I want to make everyone that sees it happy. In doing that, am I  diminishing the effectiveness of  the ad to my target audience?
By appeasing everyone am I losing some of the connection I could make by exclusively focusing on the demo? Probably.
Or  is it even possible to make everyone in one target group respond the same way? I believe even if you target certain demo's and audiences, that group no matter how tightly defined is still going to have different sets of emotional triggers that make them respond differently.
It's one of the main problems with mass communication. When you go after the masses you are either going to turn someone off, or make something so blah no one cares.
Maybe that is what appeals to me about social media. It's a lot easier to make people happy when you listen and respond, as opposed to when you broadcast.
What do you think?

Social Media, Philosophy, Tools, or Both?

Social Media Tools or Philosophy? When I talk with people about social media, I talk about it more as a philosophy than a tool.  So what is it?

Is social media anything that uses social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.? Or is it a company or personal philosophy about having and valuing two way conversations with people? Or is it both?

My contention is that social media is a set of tools that should be used to implement a communications philosophy. The problem is that if your communication philosophy or strategy is flawed, the tools will not help you and may harm you.

As I sit here and watch Top Gear, it makes me think of an analogy. Implementing social media without the right philosophy is like driving and F1 car without the proper training. You have the best tools in the world, but without the proper strategy and training, you're either gonna sit their trying to figure out how to start it, or you won't be able to control the power and you may kill yourself.

So instead of talking about tools, lets talk about the philosophy. Let's figure out ways to show companies the value of two way communications with both customers and employees. Make them crave and desire those conversations. Once that is accomplished they will seek out the tools on their own.

Social media tools will come and go. If we concentrate on teaching how to use Facebook and Twitter, and those go the way of Friendster what are we accomplishing in the long term? Plus can you really get someone to use these tools correctly, if they don't buy into the premise behind them in the first place?

Goal number one needs to be to get the philosophy understood and bought into. Goal number two should be to teach them how to use the tools to implement their communication strategy.

I've seen enough social media implementations, these tools are better than that.

Communication 2.0 needs to come before Web 2.0.


Should We Launch Online Campaigns via Traditional Media?

Does Jack in the Box have the right formula?

Ever since Jack in The Box “Hang in there Jack” launched, I've wondered if launching an online social network, or viral campaign via TV is efficient. (Ok, truthfully I missed the spot all together when watching the Super Bowl, but that doesn't help prove my point.)

I know several successful online “viral” campaigns have launched via TV, but it's time to move on to a different strategy. BMW was very successful with their BMW films campaign, but it's a much different time now, and I don't know if that was “viral” in the first place. (I hate how viral is used in reference to online campaigns, so I feel better when I put it in quotes.  Don't ask me why.)

Why not launch the campaign online first, and use social media to promote it? This is not only cheaper, but increases the chances influencers online will adopt the campaign as their own and help promote it. Using mass media to promote something online is almost shunned by this group, and it will be hard to get their acceptance once you do.

Another benefit to launching online is that the company or agency behind the program can test the campaign and see if it works before spending millions of dollars promoting it with traditional media. You could even refine the campaign to see what works before launching it on a larger scale.

Best case scenario would be if the campaign went “viral” without mass media at all. You could reach millions of people for a fraction of the cost of a Super Bowl ad, and you would get a sense of ownership from those participating, that you don't get using mass media.

One of the reasons something goes “viral” is that it seems special to the viewer. So special or unique that those who see it want to share it with their friends.

If a campaign launches during the Super Bowl, how special is it? Do you think, “wow I bet my friends have not seen this and would enjoy it”? Probably not.

Maybe I'm wrong. By the looks of the numbers to the site, the Twitter account, Facebook group etc. Jack in the Box seems to be getting a lot of participation. I think that has more to do with the fact that they are one of the first to have a truly integrated social media campaign, not because of a brilliant execution strategy.

What do you think?

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.

Why Social Media?

The Power of Connections Ever since I started relaunching Social Media Club Seattle, my friends and co-workers keep asking me, why social media?  Ok, so sometimes that question comes after the what is social media question?  But at any rate, not everyone gets why I would want to be involved in a group about social media.

They see social media as a way to connect to friends, but what else could it do, and why would an advertising guy be interested?

Well, I am interested, (ok a little obsessed) with social media, because I have seen the power it has. I have seen social media transform the reputation of brands, raise thousands of dollars for a good cause, and change the marketing direction of large companies in a matter of days.

Comcast, a brand with a horrible reputation among tech geeks needed to improve their customer service reputation.  What did they do?  They turned to social media, and it's well documented in this NY Times Article

So by monitoring online conversations, and participating in online networks such as Twitter with @comcastcares, Comcast has started to change their brands image.  They have turned a community of people who were actively disparaging the brand online 2 years ago, into brand fanatics that actively promote Comcast.  I follow around 300 people on Twitter, and I can barely go a week without one of them raving about @comcastcares. That kind of word of mouth outreach does a lot to help a reputation of a company. This is something traditional advertising could not accomplish, especially not this fast, or so inexpensively.

The main reason @comcastcares was a success was people view their online connections positively. We are looking to learn and share with those we are connected with online, so we are less skeptical about what they are telling us. That can not be said about what we see on TV, hear on the radio, or see in a banner ad.

Zappos CEO gets it.  He buys into social media and blogs and tweets. This has led to a culture at Zappos that is focused around the customer.  What other CEO of a company with over $1 billion in sales would respond to random bloggers on Twitter, or respond to others blog post? Here are two great articles about Zappos, one from Adweek, and one from ReadWriteWeb.

Do a search for Zappos and you’ll see the results. It seems almost every blogger has interviewed Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.  What amazing PR, and a way to make a one to one connection with their customers. These aren’t just any customers promoting Zappos either, they are influencers that will then communicate this message to many others online and off.

You may be saying sure social media can increase brand awareness and perception, but how do we place a value on it? The best example I have of the potential is a recent plea for help from David Armano. His plea for $5,000 for a family in need was taken to heart by his followers. Within 12 hours of his original post he already had raised over double what he was hoping. A truly amazing and heart warming story of the power of a network and relationships.

There are many questions we can ask about this example, and things that must be quantified, but I have two that come to mind first as a marketer. How was David able to “influence” his online following to give? Or more importantly, what has David given his followers that they feel the need to give back?

I could go on with stories like this, both positive and negative. I could talk about the influence of a small Twitter group over a huge brand like J&J, in the Motrin Mom fiasco. Or talk about how H&R Block used social media and a fake persona to connect with consumers.

It seems everyday there is another case study or example of the power of social media. That alone is exciting, but the reason I am involved is the unknown of social media. How do we quantify why some social media marketing campaings work, and some don't? What are the best practices of social media, or the best implementation for a given brand? That is why I have connected both online and offline to others exploring these same questions.

Social media is growing and changing faster than anyone can keep up. We are at the infancy of something will change not only the way companies interact with consumers, but also the way they do business internally.

I have encouraged many of my friends to start participating in the social media space, and its great to see their excitement once the light switches on and they see the potential. It's hard to quantify what that potential is in a blog post like this, but trust me, spend a month participating in the conversation online and you'll see it too.

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!

Who should control Social Media? PR, Marketing, Customer Service?

For some reason the question of where to place of social media on a company org chart is a thing of much debate. I have read post about how it should be in PR and I have also read people blog that it should be in customer service. I haven't seen any post about it going under marketing, but then again, using social media for marketing is something that is done, but no one likes to talk about.

Let's step back and reevaluate this for a moment however, why are we trying to fit the square peg that is social media, into a round whole that is PR, marketing, and customer service? Sure social media can be used to accomplish all three, but aren't we constraining the benefits if we put aPR, marketing, or customer service in charge of it?

Or even worse, some larger companies put all three departments in charge of it. I was at a panel discussion the other week, and heard about how Microsoft does this. They have social media people in all three groups. They have enough money to start a separate social media department. Why don't they?

How do companies benefit from having one person/department monitor and interact with people in a customer service realm, and then a different person/department on the PR side? How are meaningful relationships going to be made when the people doing these interactions only have them when discussing certain topics?

Sure some companies don't have the funds to develop their own social media department with a C level exec etc., but they do need to give control to someone.

This person may report to a Marketing or PR Exec, but this social media guru must have control and knowledge of all three areas online. If not relationships will not be made, and certain areas of opportunities in social media will be missed.

Only by seeing all the opportunities in social media, and taking part in all of them, will social media then benefit companies in the way they are hoping.