Archive for September, 2008

The dark side of communities

Much has been written about the positive aspect of communities and what they can do to enrich and enliven customer experiences. Jeremiah Owyang has written extensively about the good and the bad in communities. Specifically, using “the bozo feature” in trying to limit bad apples in communities.  Elsewhere,  Jake Mckee blogs about and knows a little about communites and what it takes for them to run smoothly.

But what happens sometimes is that the inmates can run the asylum. I actually read a comment on Jeremiah’s post that said that communities can be self policing. Branded communites or corporate communites CAN NOT police themselves. They have to have moderators and managers. Why you ask? Well let me share with you an open letter I had received a while back from one of my more popular members who I had to ban because of amongst other things, he was scarring people.

To Marc:

I never threatened anyone on the site, I merely told that person that I would hand deliver ALL of their posts to their home!  THIS IS MY PAGE!  You DO NOT come here and malign me… had better wake up and look around.  I am not a person you want to make mad. Maybe your bosses need to see some of the posts you have written to me??? You don’t own this site. We do. I do.

Maybe they need to know just how you ban people from a site for specific reasons, but continue to let two people CONTINUE to break the rules?? Maybe you should look at (Name Withheld) ADVERTISING on the site—clearly against the rules!!  Maybe you should see someone about “PULLING YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!!!!!!!

And for anyone else who reads this, Marc  works for (supplies company name, adrdess, and phone number) They make a good product, they just have lousy employees!!!!!!!

Also, if you would like to contact Marc with suggestions on just HOW to recover his head from his ass, then, by all means, try these…………..(supplies ALL of my contact information, including home address)         

I am sure that he would LOVE to hear from you———ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!  Delete that, Marc and kiss my ass! You don’t want to mess with me. You have been warned.

So this letter, which he posted on his blog and in the forum came after I had essentially told him that he could no longer be a member of the community.  He was able to post under another name and thus everyone would have read this had I allowed for it, or had I not been moderating the site. As it was, it stayed up on his blog for quite awhile.


So what would you have done? Would you have been scarred or felt threatened? The good in communities certainly outweighs the bad, but I feel for all the community managers out there who have to deal with this type of personality a lot more than you might think. People need to understand that  online communities, just like in real life, have good people and bad people. The more that users realize that it’s not the wild wild west in these settings, the better off we will all be.

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Is the Forrester Groundswell biased?

I’ve been looking at the finalists submissions for the Forrester Groundswell Awards and I’m wondering if choosing the winning entries based on proof of business value might be looking at the value proposition the wrong way. I’ve blogged about and complained about how social media sites and networks need to have a better way to monetize what they’re doing, and lets face it we all want to make money.

But, what if I’m completely seeing this the wrong way? What if the value of a social network isn’t in the amount of money it’s generating, but it’s instead about the quality of the community and the value it brings to each and every member of that community? And THAT is the true essence?

I know this completely smacks in the face of why we go to work everyday. And it also reeks of the “if you build it they will come” mindset or is that blindset? but…. Should Forrester be focusing on a bigger “world view” of social media and social networks instead of proof of business value?

I also see that Forrester has segmented out the finalists  entries into a few distinct categories. Are these too broad? Or too narrow? Or too generalized?







Social Impact

What would you add to this list that might make it more complete? Forrester says that they got over 150 submissions, 151 to be exact, and they have whittled it down to 128What made the other 22 unworthy? I know, I know, lack of proof of business value. I just need to look at what justifies a win in social media and social networks. It may go back to my what’s more important question: ROI or Engagement. So what is it?

*Note Forrester has since called me to clarify that no one has been eliminated or whittled down, and that ALL entries will be judged on their proof of business value. Apparently there was an issue with one of the pages. I stand corrected.

TechCrunch50, Forrester and 8 other sites that require your attention

You know, it’s amazing how life just throws you softballs, curveballs, fastballs, whiffleballs and screwballs. It’s all in how you take the pitch. Do you hit it? Or wait for your pitch?  With that being said, lets look at some sites and posts that might require your attention over the weekend.

The TechCrunch50 just concluded and there were a couple of entries that really stood out to me. I thought that Steve Spalding brought up some good points in his Techcrunch50 recap in regards to why some of the entries may or may not make it and I have to agree with him on icharts Icharts has a crappy tagline but a great premise. Make better charts, make them seo friendly and searchable and interactive. Things that I would love to do for some of the lame charts I create. Maybe they’d kick me a free trial so I can review it?

I’d highly recommend fitbit too. since we’re all obsessed with losing weight, gaining muscle etc etc. Fitbit is a device and website that makes you aware of how active you are and what you eat. Go figure, a site and product with a way to make actual money!

My other favorite was Goodguide, it has a great idea and is so dead on right now. I think it’s only hurdle might be widespread adoption.  Goodguide provides free and easy access to the world’s largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental and social impacts of products and companies.

Of course be sure to check out this years winner Yammer, which is essentially enterprise level Twitter. Yammer had a ton of action as soon as it was released publicly. They too have a business model as well, but it can be used freely.

Be sure to read Carter Lusher’s post When hype can go overboard and hurt credibility  he mentions some Analyst ‘hype-alert’ verbiage  to be on the look out for.

Joseph Jaffe adds more than just his 2 cents on his blog post about Why the term “Agency of the Future” is an oxymoron (you can choose if you’re the ox or moron) Its a definite keeper.

When you get a chance, test drive this site SpinVox and tell me what you think.

I’ve been participating remotely to events all week and have to say that the access to all them has been awsome they are: IzeafestThe Techcrunch50,  and the T3PR confeerence to a certain degree. I think it’s important that though you may not be able to be there physically, you can still interact via, Twitter, Summize and the live web casts. I’d highly suggest you check your calendars.

Lastly,  Forrester, has pushed out it’s submissions for Groundswell awards, check out some of the companies up for awards, it might help you hone in on your OWN social media strategy. Imitation is the best form of flattery!

Does social media force us to be interesting?

First off, I have to tell you about a very funny post about The 10 commandments of Facebook that you should read.

Next I was reading another great post on Social Media Today by John Bell about whether Twitter was breeding a lack of authenticity and it pushed me to think about how authentic people are now, or rather how social media has allowed us to be more visible and “out there” and god forbid but I’m going to use a very tired word…”authentic”.

But has the explosion of social networking tools, resources, and outlets, forced some people to try and be interesting? Or forced them to think they have to be more interesting? When they otherwise might not be? Or has it, or does it force us to inflate an average persona into something entirely not us? I think so. I think some people think they have to “be” in order to “be”.

Or… how often is someone forced to be the voice of a corporate brand and asked to be more interesting for the sake of their corporate or personal brand? When in fact…. They otherwise might not be? Or otherwise would choose not to be?

Hey I applaud you for jumping in, but don’t blog or talk, or brag, or bash, or be snarky for the sake of trying to be interesting. We like the real you. We appreciate real people.  It’s why the social net has evolved the way it has. It’s allowed us to learn and share with more people than ever.

 Which begs the next blog post.

Is social media raising the bar of expectation?

Are you ready to become a social media “doer”?

I was reading Joseph Jaffe’s latest post on the Agency of the future in which one of his points was that brand marketers are wanting someone or a company with more experience and knowledge in regards to the digital space.

It struck me that the majority of brand marketers are currently searching for someone who gets it. Or at least for someone who get’s it, until they get it.  Which makes me wonder how many of us out there right now, could take a company where they want to go? Sure we all have an idea, or maybe a clue, at least I hope you do, but how many of you could map out a plan, that works? I’m guessing not as many, which leads me to my main question of how many of you are willing to take the lead instead of languishing in the echo chamber?

 With that being said, here are 5 questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Are you a social media “me too” person?
  • Could you sit down today and map out a social media plan that could garner results either for yourself or a company?
  • What are you doing to become a social media doer or leader?
  • How long are you going to sit on the sidelines?
  • Have you really tried?

Once you answer these questions, see where you’re coming up short and do something about it. You can only read and write about it so much. A great resource for “how to’s” if you need it, is Chris Brogan   But most of all, practice what you preach! Get out of the fishbowl and go do it dammit!

Are we slaves to the rhythm of social media?

I’ve been thinking alot lately how all of us are starting to meld social media into the daily fabric of our lives. For some of us, our daily routine consists of checking in or logging on to various social nets to see if we have anyone who has posted, commented, uploaded, friended or mailed anything directly to us. 

We check our email, and that’s a given. We use our cell phone to surf the net and check mail and that’s a given too. But then in short succession we could log onto Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendfeed, WordPress, Ning, Bebo, Orkut, Hi5, Twitter, Plurk, Typepad, Google Reader, Feedburner, and dozens of others to check for new friends, uploads, downloads, new pics, new scoop, new mail, new comments and new widgets.  We then could log onto and read more than our share of random or relevant blogs,  and we even might comment on a couple as well.

Not only might we do this once, but we might do this more than a few times a day depending on the nature of our work. And even more when we get home at night. Which leads to a few questions:

  • Are we slaves to social media?
  • Does social media own us?
  • Are our lives more or less complicated by using social media?
  • Do we get more done thanks to social media?
  • Are we more or less social?

What do you think? What is acceptable? Frankly I try to limit my time into blocks built around the work day and even at home. But I can see where one could spend endless amounts of time building and maintaining social media personas from here to BFE and back. The question is. What is your ultimate plan or goal with social media? As a layperson and as a professional, do you have an end game result in mind? Do you have a plan?

You can’t “do” blogs half fast!

I was reading Paul Chaney’s blog post on Social Media Today this morning in which he thinks that there is a serious reduction on the number of comments flowing into blogs and he’s right. the quality is going down as well as the quantity. Part of the reason is that we now have more ways to access the writers of blog posts. Namely through Twitter, Plurk, Pownce et al.  I basically told Paul “thats great that we can do that, but now our conversations are somewhat muted and shorter”.

Does that mean that blogging is dead or dying? That we need a lesson in blogger ethics? No.

But as I thought about this more and looked at some of my posts and my comments on other blogs. I make a concerted effort to engage others. I’m not sure what the requisite amount of replies or back and forths are required between writer and reader, but I personally think that there is an expected return on the comment expected. Maybe. A requisite expectation if you will. But what I’m starting to see is smuggness and a “I started it, contributed some, and thats sufficient, attitude” starting to permeate some really good blogs. I’m also seeing really nice blogs, with some decent content, and some history, tailing off with posts, and an otherwise obvious downtick in effort.

What this tells me is that, perhaps that blog strategy or the author, have gone in another direction. What this tells me is that you can’t finish what you started. It tells me you are not practicing what you preach. It tells me that if you are a PR or a marketing person, no way in hell am i going to work with you. You started the race and you can’t finish it. You built the frame but you can’t put up the walls, the roof and anything else. You’ve done a half fast job and it shows.

Or maybe just maybe, Twitter is now cutting into our desire to comment?

Or… You’ve written a good blog post but you can’t comment or respond to the people who have made the effort and done the same to your post. I know you can comment via email, or Twitter, and maybe you have, but if we’re to extend the conversations beyond a micro-blogging platform and bring them back to blogs, we need to see that you have a vested interest in your blog post and you’re not posting just for attention or link juice, or extending the conversation privately.

The bottom line is you started it, now finish it with transparency and efficacy. We’re still watching we’re still reading.

10 quick hits of September levity

What can you do today that can empower your customer using social media?

“What can you do today that can empower your customer using social media”?

I was asked this by someone who works for an Amazon owned company. Their customers in this scenario are B to B but they also have B to C. The question essentially was. How can we get more ROI from our customers utilizing todays social media without going down the path of ” A blog”? What makes the best sense?

You see, their thinking is that everyone is doing the blog thing and in their industry, there is no way it will have legs, so what else is there that we can do? What will work in our space, knowing that we have to have some type of social media element? One of my points was that the B to B consumer might be slower right now to embracing the tools that social media might provide. Whereas, the B to C consumer might be more apt to utilize them. The thinking being that the B to B person is still in education mode and is going to stick to what’s tried and true in regards to traditional forms of marketing.

They seemed to think the same thing. And maybe I’m wrong, given the larger context that social media is being bandied about currently. But what does make sense for each group? Can you roll out a social media campaign for both groups that makes the best sense for both? And is it wrong to think that a blog just won’t work?

What should be the entry point? Krishna De wrote a post back in January on a similar topic, but the problem is, it was written in January. Does it still apply? Social media advances are moving at such a rapid rate that sometimes what made sense 6 months ago, might not be the case now. Jared Goralnick has some thoughts on this too but it’s more of a jumping off point for the person, not the organization who is trying to leverage social media to increase ROI.

Here’s a guest post on the My Creative Team blog site that makes a little bit more sense titled the roi of social media but the whole point is this. As a marketer you can sit across from me and educate me, but then at the end of the day, what are you going to do?  With that being said Mashable has a nice post on 5 things you can do to develop a social media plan for your business.  The list includes

  1. Listen
  2. Prepare
  3. Engage
  4. Go Offline
  5. Measure Success


In conclusion: To all the social media marketers out there, this is essentially what you are going to hear from your clients and customers to be when going down the path of social media:

TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO! and then tell me how it will impact me and how long will it take. See the below chart from Marketing Charts

Signal Patterns

Here is my Signal Patterns personality survey result; I’d say it was pretty accurate. BTW, you can link this with your Facebook page and then compare them with your friends to see how accurate it is or how screwed up your friends are. Later, I am going to take the music survey which should be pretty interesting.

The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.


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