Tag Archive | "listening"

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The A to Z of New Media


Authentic: “corporate speak” will doom you to failure

Be yourself: make sure there’s a real person behind your efforts

Connect: meld the organization with old and new stakeholders

Direct contact: with stakeholders and the public

Evangelists: they spread word to their loyal followers

Frontier: unless you play on the edge you don’t know what’s new

Glocal:  it’s local but still global, and global but still local

Honest: and it’s okay to say no as well

Immediacy: enables real time communication

Jump in: don’t be afraid to try; others are

Keep at it: don’t give up, there’s a learning curve

Listening: hear what your stakeholders say

Mobile: take your Web 2.0 to go

Nimble: no manual – be ready to shift approaches

Old media: traditional routes increasing online presence

Personal: more meaningful one to one relationships

Quickly respond: or the perception is that you don’t care

Reputation: perception of the organization

Systemic: put content on multiple channels

Take risks: and enjoy the larger rewards

Useful: make the information pertinent

Viral: spreading information rapidly

Where have you been?: communities expect your participation

Xchange: stakeholder ideas lead to improvements

Youth: but don’t neglect others; 35+ fastest growing demographic

Zeitgeist: social media

Adapted from a Marriott handout at a Washington, D.C. event called “New & Social Media: Leading the Way”

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (3)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Twitter is a PR Platform That Screens Your Calls


Nearly every day I get asked a version of the question: “Why do you like Twitter so much”?

The answer is complicated, and I have written about this in a number of different ways. But I’ve been trying to think of a great soundbite to sum up why I love Twitter.

Here it is: Twitter is a PR platform that screens your incoming calls.

What do I mean by that? Twitter is a versatile, powerful way to publicize things of interest to you. But it’s not just a push – it’s bidirectional. Just like a traditional press release will have a contact person and a phone number or email address at the bottom, a person on Twitter has a handle or nickname – and that is how people can get in touch with you and ask you questions.

Here’s the difference. When someone calls you, it’s immediate – you either answer within 10 seconds or you do not; and you probably have no information about the person on the other end. Email’s slightly better because incoming email goes into a holding bin – your inbox – but you still may know very little about the sender.

When someone tweets you, not only does the tweet effectively go into a holding bin, but their entire usage of Twitter is also public. You can quickly see their mini-biography, a link to their homepage, how many times they’ve tweeted, who they follow, and even mine the topic matter or other information about their tweets. You can know a lot about the persons you will deal with, before you actually have to deal with them.

So the very nature of Twitter makes it a de facto ‘call screener’ – you can monitor the conversation about your topic, scope out incoming traffic, and selectively join conversations on your terms. That’s a really powerful approach to public relations, and it has ramifications not just for individuals, but also for businesses and the government.

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Media Is Not Customer Service


Lots of people enjoy following parts of my life using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. But from time to time, I hear complaints about how I don’t have enough conversations, or I tweet too much, how I prefer my Twitter feed to my Facebook wall, and so forth.

I don’t care what you think. The reason for this is because these social media tools are ways in which I can express myself, for free. You’re not paying me for the Mark Drapeau Advice Service, you are not my clients, no one has an exclusive right to my content or time.

True, I do favor talking to some people more than others – they’re often people I know ‘IRL’ – in real life. And I do use Twitter more than my Facebook wall, which I use more than LinkedIn, which I use more than MySpace, etc. I do what suits me.

Social media isn’t Customer Service 2.0 for people who are interested in me. Not yet, anyway. If I start selling access to my information and advice, and you’re a customer of mine, then you can start asking for a callback, a tweet response, or a shoutout. Until then, while I’m really happy that people are interested in what I have to say, please stop taking social media so seriously.

There are many good reasons to use social media tools – to listen to conversations, to expand your social network, to publicize events or groups you’re involved with, and more. And everyone will do what they want.

When people sometimes ask me why I don’t follow them on Twitter or read their blog, I often say that they’re “not on my radar” – so rather than ask why someone isn’t paying attention to you, why don’t you spend your effort doing something so important that they feel compelled to follow you?

It’s not business, it’s just personal.

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why I’m Writing for True/Slant


Yesterday, the alpha version of an exciting new journalism site called True/Slant became public. This is something I have been working on behind closed doors since January. True/Slant, a privately held company funded by Forbes Media and Velocity Interactive Group, is based in New York and has recruited about 60 writers, or ‘knowledge experts’ to write columns about things we’re interested in, along the lines of our motto: “News is More Than What Happens”. You can see my column, named Cheeky Geeky, here.

As the Wall Street Journal personal technology columnist Walter Mossberg points out in the premiere review of True/Slant this morning, the site is truly trying a new model of web journalism. When I had some initial discussions with the True/Slant team, particularly the Executive Director Coates Bateman (who will no doubt be challenged with ‘managing’ me), I was very excited to hear how social media tools would be mixed with original long form writing. And they were excited to hear about my knowledge of social networks and new marketing that’s come from experimenting with the tools for some time now.

Another quasi-news site based on blogging and funded by advertising, you say. What’s really different about True/Slant? Actually, a LOT.

For one, each contributor has their own platform under the True/Slant umbrella. That means that you can subscribe to just my articles from True/Slant, and not every author’s articles. That also means that advertisers can place ads about, say, technology on my column, and ads about food on my friend Robin Dorian’s ‘foodie’ column called Weird and Delicious. Hence, writers have a vested interest in exploring their niches and making their pages the best possible, worrying somewhat less about the overall True/Slant site.

True/Slant also wants you to know what it’s columnists are reading. Don’t you sometimes ask yourself where your favorite authors get their food for thought? At True/Slant, we tell you. We rip headlines of stories we’re reading and post links on our pages. And on the homepage, editors curate these headlines so you can see a mix of what everyone’s reading, and perhaps get a peek inside our minds as we work throughout the day.

Another thing that is different about True/Slant is a sense of community. As columnists we are strongly encouraged to follow other writers’ columns and post comments on their blog posts. This is already starting to build cohesion among the writers and throughout the site. Readers will learn more about our personalities and understand us more as people, and not just anonymous writers that put up a column once a week. I think this is not unlike the ‘ambient intimacy‘ that people feel when following someone on Twitter for a while.

Yet another unique feature of True/Slant is the plan for advertisers to have columns. Clearly marked as advertising, and perhaps similar to glossy special advertising sections of magazines, this is another potential revenue source that at the same time does not involve columnists in, say, getting paid to write about their views of brands – a highly controversial topic.

Finally, we want True/Slant to be a social network. The readers get involved too – when you comment on our posts, we can “call you out” for a great comment. Readers that get called out a lot will get recognition, as will readers that comment frequently. So, this is a multidirectional conversation – columnists are readers and commenters, and readers are commenters that join our social network. Even management is commenting on our columns – which is pretty cool if you ask me.

I truly believe that True/Slant is a step forward in combining the best of journalism and opinion writing with the best of social networking. It’s something I haven’t yet seen in sites like the Huffington Post, Slate, The Daily Beast, or Salon. Even great sites like Mashable and TechCrunch that cover the Web 2.0 sphere of news, for all their RSS subscribers and Twitter followers, do not empower their columnists nor engender a sense of community. So I think we are pushing the envelope. As I once heard Pete Cashmore, the CEO of Mashable, say – Return on Engagement is the new Return on Investment. True/Slant is poised to make a large ROE by creating a platform for the community that may evolve into loyal readers, in order to then generate a more traditional ROI.

And this is just the start. Looking towards a beta version in May 2009, in the near future True/Slant will have more WordPress plug-ins, integration with Facebook walls and Twitter posts, and other new features that should make the columnist and reader experiences even better. Remember, what you see now is just the early alpha site!

Every week, I plan to publish exclusive opinion pieces on Tuesdays, satires on Thursdays, and a feature called “The Best, The Worst, and The Weird” on Sundays, the latter of which will highlight the best, worst, and weird thing I read in the past week – so send me your ideas!

As Mossberg says in his review of True/Slant, there’s no guarantee that this will all work. But I think that the management of True/Slant is pushing the envelope with regard to the interface of old and new media, and so at the very least it is very exciting to be a part of a great experiment at its most nacent.

For now, check out my column, and start interacting with some of the other great writers on the site. They also author stories for Rolling Stone, Time, Financial Times, and other great outlets, and write about everything from politics to restaurants to neuroscience. Comment on the columns, and tell me about what you do and do not like about the site! From the CEO and Founder, Lewis Dvorkin on down, they are truly listening to what you have to say – and writing columns themselves!

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (3)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Take Twitter Personally?


Ocassionally, I get notes from people I know only from Twitter. They’re along the lines of: Why are you following me now after so long? Why did you stop following me? Why don’t you follow everyone? And so on.

But my question for them is: Why do you take Twitter so personally?

People can do whatever they please with Twitter. Some people like to follow everyone to form a ‘Twitter mutuality’ and use the system as a multiplex instant message platform. Others like to follow only a few people that really influence them, regardless of how many followers they themselves have. Still others conduct experiments with Twitter, following new people in batches, seeing who may be interesting over the course of a week, and then unfollowing the rest.

Some people are also trying to balance their work and personal lives with their Twitter accounts, whether you know it or not. There may be constraints on who they can follow, or how often they can tweet. Who are you to judge? It’s as silly as looking at someone else’s cell phone minutes.

You can’t possibly keep track of what everyone on Twitter is doing! So don’t try. Focus on yourself and what you want to get out of it. Spending too much time thinking about why someone unfollowed you distracts from what should be much more important – saying interesting things.

Moreover, even if someone isn’t following you on Twitter, direct messaging isn’t your only option. People can be found on LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo, by email, and at real events. And if you can’t get ahold of them at any of those places, they probably don’t want to be found!

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (9)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

SXSW? Forget About It


You’re more forgetful than you might think.

Almost every bit of data you encounter daily is forgotten. You forget the exact number of dishes you left in your sink, you forget the number of paces you walked from your bed to your bathroom, you forget the car licence plates you see as you drive to work, you forget most of the words you read at work, and you forget precisely what everyone ordered at the office happy hour.

It turns out that this is true of most any animal. For example, since the early 1970s, fruit fly researchers have been using sophisticated behavioral, genetic, molecular, and neurobiological methods to dissect the brain’s mechanisms of the acquisition, storage, retrieval, decay, and yes, extinction of memories.

But why does our brain kill memories? Because, simply, if you remembered everything you’d quickly have information overload.

At the popular South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas this week, information overload is happening not only in real life but also online. As journalist Daniel Terdiman points out at CNET News, while Twitter has been useful for finding friends and event sessions and parties at SXSW in the past, the growth of both SXSW and Twitter has resulted in so many people using it at SXSW 2009 that it is hard to keep up with all the…information.

More information doesn’t mean better knowledge. Thus, as Clay Shirky famously quipped, “It’s not information overload, it’s filter failure.”

We’re surrounded by information and filters. Colleges are filters for knowledge. Libraries are filters for books. Supermarkets are filters for food. Movie theatres are filters for films. NBC Nightly News is a filter for the mainstream headlines. RSS feeds are a filter for blogs.

Twitter is experiencing huge growth that shows no sign of abating soon. And as far back as two years ago there were international Twitter ‘clones’ – now there are many more. Yet, filter technology is lagging far behind microsharing technology.

Perhaps even more important is that while attending events people tend to filter on-the-go using mobile devices like Apple’s relatively powerful iPhone. But no one can keep up with over 1,000 tweets per hour while consciously attending an event in real life. So, when developing filter technologies, both the power user measuring public sentiment on an office computer and the mobile enthusiast on the road are important clients to keep in mind.

You can safely forget most of what happened at SXSW 2009. But how do you find the things worth remembering?

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (4)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Citizens Are Conversations


Post-inauguration Washington, D.C. has been very interesting from the standpoint of the technology community.  From the top down, all indications are that within their limitations, leadership in the new administration is moving forward on a platform of more transparent and collaborative government.  And from the bottom up, a group of people dubbed the “Goverati” are using their knowledge of government and social technologies to influence the overall Government 2.0 movement.

Social technologies like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter used to be collectively termed “new media” – but that adjective isn’t accurate any longer.  Rapid, online, multimedia information flow about conflicts in Mumbai and Gaza, a dramatic plane crash in the Hudson river, the presidential inauguration and more have made it clear that new media is now more aptly called “now media,” as I remarked on January 20th.

But it would be misleading to suggest that social technologies are simple merely because they are prevalent – they’re anything but.  Social media is a rapidly evolving ecosystem.  The experts debate constantly at conferences and in the blogosphere.  There’s no rule book.  Social media is a giant, chaotic experiment.

So, for a newcomer to using these tools, everything can seem overwhelming.  Many people ask me how to use social software to communicate what their office or agency is doing.  There is no one, simple answer, but perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that social media is social – it is about the conversation that people are having now, about you or your interests, whether or not you’re a part of it.

Here, I want to advance the notion that citizens are not mere receiving vessels for press releases and whatever you put on your government website.  They’re not a captive audience.  They are groups of individuals having conversations with their families, at the proverbial water cooler, and on popular social media sites like the blog ReadWriteWeb, the microsharing site Twitter, and the video conversation platform Seesmic.  Social networks people form online are becoming an increasingly important and powerful force in their lives and one need only look to the election of President Obama to see the effects that they can have.

Once you acknowledge that citizens are conversations, what do you do next?  Generally, you want to find people talking about your topic of interest, listen to what they’re saying, participate in the conversation, and then start new topics of conversation.  Tip-toe into the chaos in the order outlined above.  As a DC-based communications consultant once wrote: blog last.  Below, I briefly outline some other tips to guide you into the world of citizen social media.

It’s good to be a RAT: Unless you’re a computer programmer, social media isn’t really about technology.  It’s about people talking to people. Social interactions have a lot to do with personality and trust.  As wine entrepreneur and social media maven Gary Vaynerchuk suggests, try as much as possible to be a social RAT: real, authentic, and transparent.

Street smarts count more than book smarts: A lot of social media is learned by doing, and more importantly through trial-and-error experimentation.  Speaking in a transparent manner with a human voice can’t be taught easily in a book or at a conference.  The same is true for building and maintaining trusted relationships with people.  Useful metaphors can be found in organizations as diverse as old-school journalists and the mafia or other crime organizations.

Citizens are talking about your brand: Traditional public relations unidirectional, and has been called things like “outbox only” and “fire and forget.”  Government entities need to pay more attention to their brands, and who is talking about them.  Organizations should talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships, because word of mouth is still the most powerful force for spreading trusted information.  If you don’t know who’s out there talking about your brand, how to you know who to influence when the time comes?

Deploy ambassadors on a lethal generosity mission: Organizations should belong to a community and allow some employees to be individually empowerful.  By being the most generous member of a community, they may become the most trusted. Ambassadors should have knowledge but also great personalities, exhibiting openness, transparency, accuracy, honesty, and respect.  They can build valuable new relationships, cheaply.

Engage minds with indirect, intimate influence: Return-on-investment (ROI) is quickly becoming return-on-engagement, or ROE, because personal engagements with people and their word-of-mouth are the new “reach” of messages.  Use indirect, intimate influence to get that ROE.  Influence people through being a valuable member of their community.

Seek out government role models: Colleen Graffy from the State Department successfully used Twitter to connect with overseas journalists as part of her public diplomacy mission.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uses a public blog called Evolution of Security to listen to travelers and their complaints – and overtly discuss policies and problems with them.   Representative John Culberson from Texas uses live-video service Qik to better communicate with his constituents.  What these three people, and others, have in common is that each one of them is a RAT (in a good way) and that they have learned, through trial and error and experimentation, the lessons above.

As top-down decisions trickle throughout government and grassroots efforts propagate upward, are you prepared to join the conversation?  It’s happening with or without you.

This article originally appeared in the VIP Contributors section of FedScoop.

Posted in Mark's BlogComments (8)

  • Popular
  • Latest
  • Comments
  • Tags
  • Subscribe

Search this website

Post Archive