Don’t hide behind the brand

In part deux of my series on social media best practices for Ari Herzog’s blog Ariwriter, I had planned on talking about elaborating on the need to “experiment with effort” or “experiment with engagement”. By that I mean don’t just sign up or register on a lot of different social sites and expect the relationships to bubble up from there. Put forth some effort.

But in lieu of expounding on that I give you the second part in the series which covers hiding behind the brand. See what you think and let me know your thoughts.

As a follow up. I want to add that from the conversation that I did have with “the brand”, a dialogue did evolve, and a relationship with the person behind that brand was created. And you know what? That person turned out to be very engaging, enlightening, and earnest. And that would not have happened prior to our discussion about “People versus Brands”.

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Social Media best practices. Part 1.

Awhile back, Ari Herzog who writes a wonderful blog over at AriWriter.com  asked me to do a guest post on his blog for a series he’s doing on social media best practices. Rather than give him the usual written 500 words on the 7 things, 5 tips, or 4 factors that you absolutely must do in social media, I decided to mail it in and do a 3 part V-log instead. I hope he doesn’t mind! I’d also be curious as to what you might think of my 2 assertions here as well.

Mardi Gras and Social Media

mardi-gras-parade

Today is Mardi Gras and given that I’m here in Naples and I’m from New Orleans, I need to do the next best thing. I’m going to compile a list for you. The list is of people that I would want to buy food and drinks for and a short reason why. You see with drinks and food readily available, we could have some killer conversations.   Hell we already do, and there ain’t no food and drinks!!!! 

And isn’t what this all about? Social Media, Mardi Gras, being together sharing, talking, laughing, drinking, eating…So,  laizzes bon temps roulez

Say Hi to…

Mack Collier– great conversation, good person, here’s some beers for you Mack, followed by  a shrimp po-boy…:)

shrimp-po-boy

Arik Hanson Loves a good hoppy microbrew, so pull up a chair and crack one open.

Amber Naslund, she can bring it. Between myself, Arik and Amber the beer scene will be covered. I’d have beers with Amber anytime.

I gotta have someone who can bring the crawfish. Ahh Paul Chaney is in Lafayette, he can do it. Plus he’s a great guy. I’d split 15-20 pounds of crawfish with Paul!

crawfish1

This party needs some flavor and maybe I can show David Alston that his Canadian beer is not up to snuff. Molson? ick…:)

I can’t forget some Austin Flavor right? How about Peter Kim, Jack Leblond and Dave Gonzalez? I need to buy all three of these guys beers for their ability to share so much with me, for that, they can drink for free!

beers

What party wouldn’t be complete without some wicked people from the Boston area? Rachel Happe between sips of her Sam Adams, would be a welcome addition. As long as she kept the Red Sox talk to a minimum!

I’d buy a beer for good friend Jason Breed anytime, as long as it was a 2 for 1 special!

Speaking of Jasons why not have Jason Falls? He has an “in” over at Makers Mark! Plus, he’d be a welcome addition to any party.

I better invite George “Loki” WIlliams since he lives in New Orleans
and does write a blog called Social Gumbo!

I’d buy a few beers for David Armano provided he hooked us up with some Chicago dogs.. waddya say Dave? Plus he’s a good dude too. As big a heart as someone can have.

It goes without saying that 3 of my favorite gals would all be getting beers AND shots from me. Beth Harte, Liz Strauss and Toby Bloomberg. If They didn’t want that, then we’ll settle for splittin a Muffeletta from Central Grocery– Trust me you won’ be disappointed. These sandwiches are ridiculous!

muffuletta

I’d also like to have beers with the following: Sonny Gill, Daria Steigman, Ari Herzog, Nathan Taylor, Lisa Trosien and Shannon Paul, Todd Defren, Brian Solis and of course the Yat Pundit! Because they all are great conversationalists and thinkers and even more importantly, better people!

One more rule, You can bring 2 friends. Mardi Gras is all about blowin it out..so bring a friend or 2. Who ya bringin? and Where Yat?

Oh we need someone to do the music, any suggestions?

The Virtual Street Cred of Twitter

twitter_logo

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about virtual credibility. I guess because a lot of the people that follow me on Twitter have some interesting bios. Some that would have you thinking or believing, “wow this person is impressive.” They say they  do this and they have x amount of followers etc. etc.

Simply put, at some point your bio, your connections and the number of followers you have are going to mean nothing unless you can back it up with true hands on experience and knowledge. I will venture to say though, that you can learn a lot about someone via 140 characters  or less. Consider that the ice breaker or the get to know someone phase if you will. And you know what? It can become pretty obvious after awhile, when actually talking to someone whether they have the “chops” or not.  That’s the difference between virtual credibility and “virtual street cred.”

“Virtual Street Cred”

I could refer you to the urban dictionary for the loosely defined version of “street cred” but attaching the word “virtual” to it simply means that it’s one thing to talk it in the virtual space that is the blogosphere or Twitter, but it’s a whole nuther’  thing to walk it.

So yesterday I tweeted that I was thinking about virtual credibility, when Rachel Happe, whose views and opinion I respect very much, asked the following question:

Is “virtual credibility” like virtual currency…it’s not really money but it looks like it on the internet? 🙂

Bingo!  So, over the past few months, I’ve been having actual conversations with people I’ve gotten to know from Twitter. This is significant on a number of levels. Not the least of which is the virtual relationship has become something other than “tweeting” back and forth. Another significant aspect, is that before Twitter, I might have still been able to talk to people in the marketing, social media, PR and decision maker space but…It would have taken perhaps a cold call or semi-warm one at best to engage them. And many more to get to some type of comfort level.

Twitter has allowed us ways to create amazing relationships and opportunities at a rapid rate. Prior to Twitter we would have had to work twice as hard to get to know each other.  As Brian Solis puts it in his most recent post:

As Twitter gains in relevance and prominence, its conversation platform will ring the alarms of any business that monetizes relationships, connections, and information exchange

From Twitter I’ve received opportunities to work on projects. I’ve also, on a daily basis been privy to a massive stable of talent that I can refer to for help, perspective, resources, advice, knowledge, expertisepartnerships and wisdom and most of all friendship. I have gotten to know people from so many diverse backgrounds that would have never happened otherwise. The majority of these people are a mere DM away.  That is an amazing aspect that is not overlooked by me.  Some of these people now have, in my eyes attained.

“Virtual Street Cred”

In the comments section of a post by Radian 6’s Amber Naslund, Marketer Beth Harte says the following.

I used to think Twitter was silly (hated it really), but now, it’s invaluable. All those tweets really build a character of the people you interact with. And then when you meet them in person, it’s like you already know them well and you can move past the ‘getting to know you’ phase into a deeper relationship. Imagine that from a business perspective…wow!

I feel that way too.

How about you? What has happened to you since you’ve embarked on Twitter? Good, bad, or indifferent?

The top 10 blogs to read in 2009

award-certificate

Yep add my blog post as one of those end of year “lists’. But as I’ve stated, I’m going to scale back what I read. I’m going to hone in on quality. With that being said here is my list with reasons why. They also are in no particular order either.

  1. Paul Chaney’s Conversational Media Marketing blog always has an interesting post or content. It’s light, it’s a good read and it’s insightful.
  2. Shannon Paul’s Very Official Blog is always in the sweet spot. Her stuff is short, generally, always to the point, and it resonates on many levels.
  3. Lee Odden’s Online Marketing Blog is a no brainer. It’s updated daily and it’s chock full of content that makes you better at what you do. Even if you don’t do “it”, it’s worth reading.
  4. Chris Brogan is our Grand Poobah”. Now I know he’s taken hits lately but look, Chris gives away 10 times more than he takes, and thus he should be a blog that you check in on from time to time. He’s a content creating fool.
  5. Valeria Maltoni true to her tag line, “connects her ideas with people”, and will make you think. When I read her stuff, that’s what happens. Her blog is another that I dip into every once in a while for perspective. She’s current, always on point and she’s eloquent.
  6. I like the Ignite Social Media Blog but it might be because it’s very vertical for me. I’m entitled to one or two of these, and this is one of them.
  7. Ok, so something about Joseph Jaffe makes me want to read his stuff. It’s funny usually, and underneath it all, there’s generally some sort of marketing theme or message.
  8. Beth Harte is one smart cookie. She says it in a straight shootin way. She’s respected, she’s connected and she knows all things marketing.  You will love her perspective.
  9. Brian Solis is a good read, he churns out content, it’s not over your head, it’s current and it’s useful. Boom.
  10. Mashable is the source or the site you would go to if you needed information, if you need updates and if you could only go to one site. This is it. Check it out.

Honorable Mentions

Here are 10 more that I read because  they are prolific in cranking out content that is in tune with the issues of marketing, PR,  social media, and life. You didn’t think I could just read 10 blogs a day did you? Well neither will you, not with this much quality out there!

  1. Ari Herzog
  2. Liz Strauss
  3. David Armano
  4. Peter Kim
  5. Jeremiah Owyang
  6. Mack Collier
  7. Amber Naslund
  8. Adam Cohen
  9. Gavin Heaton
  10. Ken Burbary

Like I said, it’s quality over quantity, though all of these people churn out some pretty good quantities of content. I could only hope to do the same.  I look forward to continued learning from all of them.

You have no idea how much you know

I was on the phone yesterday with a student from Columbia U who is doing her Masters thesis on a certain aspect of social media. We were on the phone because we exchanged a bunch of emails and she felt that maybe a call was in order. After 45 minutes of talking about all aspects of social media we were done. I hung up and I thought to myself; “Wow, did all of that just come out of me?”

Let me sum up what I chatted about.

  • I told her people like Scoble and Chris Brogan had devotional followings yet were different in nature and focus.
  • I mentioned that people like Brian Solis offer an interesting take on the landscape that is the ever-evolving moving target of social media.
  • I mentioned that she should check out Naked Conversations as a primer on what the blogging scene is all about and where it came from and where it’s going.
  • We talked about how Twitter is a great way to connect with Rock Stars, A-listers and thought leaders, but can still pull people into your circle that you have no reason why they are there.
  • I told her she should check out Danah Boyd and some of her work on Social media, teens and class divisions
  • We talked about why people do not contribute right away in social networks, though they have joined a community; and that it could be they’re just not completely comfortable yet.
  • As well, different demographics have different comfort levels in embracing new media.
  • We talked about communities and how individuals and brands operate within those communities.
  • I abused the words authentic, transparent, and “real”.
  • I’m pretty sure I did not take a breath.
  • I stressed that Chris Brogan is walking the line that separates saturation and Scoble like status.
  • I told her that Seesmic would be a good way to connect with people in regards to some of her social network questions
  • I’m pretty sure I mentioned David Armano
  • We talked about the goal of brand participators in communites and the challenges they face in trying to connect with their users and customers
  • I forgot to tell her which of my favorite blogs would help her in her research, so here’s the shortlist.

———————–

  • Brian Solis– Brian is very giving with his thoughts and observations on social media and PR,
  • Valeria Maltoni– If you want deep, thought provoking takes on all things social and beyond, I highly suggest you add her blog to your list 
  • Adam Cohen-Adam is a new add to my list but I enjoy his take and the variety of his posts
  • Ari Herzog-good writer, good take and his posts are timely.
  • Peter Kim-I’ve been probably been giving Peter too many props lately but man his stuff is so insightful.

So after all that, I sat there and started thinking. My first thought was that earlier in the day, I was explaining social media to a bunch of people in a doctors office. The first question out of their mouth was to ask if it was like an online dating site. Ouch.

Having my little chuckle to myself, my next thought was about what I just verbally spewed out to the grad student from Columbia, who by the way, didn’t know as much as I expected. This gave me pause to ponder what do I know? Was it alot? A little? 

Well, maybe I do know a little about some things but… I do know this. The people that I deal with, and talk with, and share with, and laugh with, everyday in my communities, know a lot. ALOT.  And everyone else outside of these circles or spheres that I float in, just might not. And that’s pretty cool. So I wanna thank you for letting me be a part of that.

Seize this moment to make a difference.

I wrote something down 2 weeks ago. Gary Vaynerchuck gave a keynote at web 2.0 expo in NYC and mentioned it and it’s still resonating with me. Ari Herzog, whos blog posts I’m enjoying more and more, blogged about it last week. And today, on September 29th 2008 it makes as much sense to me now than anything I’ve heard over the last few days let alone weeks and months. What is it? it’s this:

Legacy is greater than currency.”

I wish I could have thought of that. I know some of you are saying this right now-“Dude, do you have any idea of the financial straits I’m in?” Trust me, there are very few people right now who are not hurting, I get that. But the point of me letting you in on Gary’s point is this.

Times like these, lend themselves to people who can help others. Times like these allow people to really share their knowledge with those who can benefit the most from it.  For example, If you’re on the tech, or marketing side of the house, do you have any idea how much or how valuable the things you do or can do, are needed right now? The things, the actions, that you leave behind in your life will be greater than the money you made and the money you’ve accumulated. Your legacy, your footprint is more important.

Your legacy right now can be defined by what you do in the next 12-24 months. If you start today to define it. You can either complain or bemoan the current state of affairs or you can try and do something that can make a difference in your life which can inherently make a difference in others. It’s up to you. Are you going to take? Or are you going to give? It doesn’t have to be a lot. But reach out to someone and help them out. They really need it right now.

Maybe we need a national, “Reach out and affect someone’s life day?”