Social Media Thought # 17

Lets start 2010 with this thought. What do you think? Agree or Not?

The social value of your relationships


This has been on my mind lately. It was amplified yesterday by a tweet by David Armano who tweeted the following:

Have you ever bought something from someone you felt you had a relationship? That’s the ROI of social business…

At which point I responded back with:

@Armano Value..think about your offline relationships-the ones that mean the most, are the ones that carry substance.-same with buying habits

So here’s the deal. In your offline every day world, what relationships mean the most to you? They are the ones that are not superficial. Right? The relationships that have substance, meaning, and value.

Less chit and more chat

The ROI of social business. the ROI of your relationships, as hollow as that might be, are both the same- The ROI is the value that you have built up in that relationship. Both from a business and personal standpoint. If you have cultivated a relationship, then you place a high value on it and what it might return. The less that you have put into it, or what you have received, should be consistent with your expectations and effort.

The same applies to any “online” social network or offline. Though it may seem shallow at first to only say that you only put stock in the people that bring value to you and what you do-it’s actually the truth. It has nothing to do with the technology, the platform, the hardware or the software.

Whether we care to admit or not. We all look for value, we may not say it, but it’s true. Online and offline, value in the people that we connect with, drives our relationships.


Social Media is the Platform for Bad Relationships too…


There are people out there, that don’t like you. I know,  shocking isn’t it? For some of you, it might be. In social media we talk about,  and write even more about  how social media creates these magical relationships  of synergy, business alliances, and friendships. But what people rarely talk about, are the relationships that have originated from social networking-that have gone sour.

On the Today Show recently they did a segment about “friending” people on Facebook. And you don’t have to look too hard to find blog posts  about people who have written about breaking up via Facebook.

As you should know by now, relationships that are played out through social media channels take on another dynamic. There are many layers. The most prominent layer now being that all aspects of it, are out there for all to see. Warts and all. Sometimes I wonder if part of us wants everyone else to see whats going on. Of course we can  “choose” to make it or take it private, but a lot of us don’t. We want others, should things take a turn for the worse, to participate in the drama. We want people to choose sides.

What I’m talking about above  are truly personal relationships. But what of.. the business relationships that have occurred from social networking? Or the blossoming relationship? What are the business rules for that? What if your paths cross with many of the same people and your relationship with one of them has just turned sour? What do you do?

How are you going to play it?

Better start thinking about it.

I know I am, because it’s happening to me.

Good or Bad..7 things about me.

I have been tagged by my friend Beth Harte to share seven things about me that you might not know (or want to know). I would say this though, as much as we all are about transparency, choosing 7 things can be tough without challenging  The Communications Decency Act. But here goes.

1. In college I majored in Political Science and I hate politics. I just don’t have the passion for it like others, but there was nothing else that interested me or perhaps I didn’t try hard enough to find the right fit. Though I did minor in French…Why?

2. Because I was born and raised in New Orleans, and spoke french throughout my childhood; as it was taught in school and I had lots of cajun friends. My Family moved completely away a year before Katrina, but it still took a heavy toll on me personally. I lived nearby the fairgrounds which is home of the Jazz Fest which I would highly suggest attending if not for the food, then for the music of course. i could hear the music from my front porch.

The house in N.O. 5 minutes from the Jazzfest

The house in N.O. 5 minutes from the Jazzfest

3. Speaking of music, I have a tremendous passion for it. Perhaps because of my heritage and the fact that though I couldnt get into the bars on Bourbon St. until I was 16, I still would catch a bus and go down and listen to the music emenating from the bars for hours on end. With that being said, I have about 600 cassettes, 800 CD’s and roughly 2,000 songs on my ipod. It was this love for music that prompted me to…

4. Sell concert t-shirts for almost 5 years. After I graduated from college, I realized that my degree was pretty worthless, so I decided to go to Graduate school for a masters in sport management. While in school I met a guy that sold concert shirts, not just any kind, they were bootlegs. That’s right, the guys outside the arenas and stadiums, hustling. It was the perfect college job. I just didn’t know it would suck me in for 5 years. There is a book forthcoming of what I saw and experienced. BTW, I have gone to over 500 shows from Hawaii to NYC. But once I got done with my degree, was pretty much fried from all the travelling and realized that the business of sports paid nothing if you wern’t a “playa”, the internet had arrived. Thank god.

5. So I decided to create 2 websites, one devoted to concert t-shirts and the other devoted to music reviews. I learned as much as I could and built them from scratch. One tanked and one thrived. The review site thrived and I started receiving demos and samples and tons of music from the major labels and the  indies. I just couldn’t keep up. Though I loved doing it.  A shell of it’s former self is still up, but it is so neglected and I still don’t have time to manage it which is a pity. The original business plan was so before its time too…oh well. But that initial experience led to more tech related jobs, so I thank music for getting me started.

6. In between tech jobs I also was the Dir. of Mktg for a now defunct alt. music  radio station in Pittsburgh, PA. The gig lasted less than a year. Why? As stations are wont to do, they changed formats from alt. rock to smoooth jazz. Oh and they did it while I was on my honeymoon in Greece. I came back and my stuff was in a box with 2 weeks severance and the smooth sounds of Kenny G wafting through the hallways. Sweet. Oh did I mention I moved to Pittsburgh right after college? Guess not. Try melding a New Orleans/Pittsburghese life into some sort of twisted “Yat-Yinzer” accent. But I love Pittsburgh, which many might not know, but hey that’s what the point of this is right?

Lastly, 7) I have 2 kids who rock, a wife who I married because when I asked her what her favorite music was, she answered that it was the blues, when I pressed her to elaborate, she said, “Stevie Ray”. At that point, she had me. When we met, I had insanely long hair and I owned a motorcycle. I also have roughly 11 strategically placed tattoos as well, but you would never know.  One of the tats is an image from an Alexander Calder painting I own that I bought with my college student loan money that  was supposed to go towards a class…By the way my 8 year old son just asked me how to play the blues…:)

Now that that’s out of the way I’m going to tag the following people:

Valeria Maltoni

Paul Chaney

Ari Herzog

Liz Strauss

Ken Burberry

Kyle Flaherty

Adam Cohen

Here are the rules:

  • Link your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged

Lets Focus


When thinking of writing another blog post, it’s often about social media, or marketing, or web 2.0. All really big topics, and all with champions and thought leaders in each. But chances are if you come here to my blog, you’re looking for something. I want to give it to you. But today what I’m going to give you is some advice. It’s advice I need to heed but don’t from time to time.

It goes something like this.

How many blogs are in your feed reader? Mine? Somewhere between 150 and 200. I would love to read them every day but I don’t. Maybe I should focus on about 10 per day and rotate them from time to time? Want some suggestions?  Instead of the obvious, here are some with some variety in the content like Valeria Maltoni, Mark Story, Peter Kim, Toby Bloomberg, B.L. Ochman, Paul McEnany and Beth Harte

How many social networking sites or groups do you participate in? Me? At least a half a dozen, maybe more. How many can I actively participate in? That’s a good question. Maybe 3, maybe 6 and not much more. I’d rather be really active in 3 instead of marginal in 6-10. How bout just Linkedin, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and your blog? 2 of those are somewhat passive so you could manage them all fairly effectively.

How often do you read email? Me? Too often to really even narrow down. But it least 2-3 times per hour. I’m not sure what I’m hoping to get, but surely it can wait an hour or 2 before I respond. I believe Tim Ferris says read it twice a day?

How often do you use Twitter? What actions during your day revolve around the usage and participation of Twitter? Me? I have Tweetdeck running from the moment I step in my office. Not sure if that is wise. Does Mr. Tweet enhance or hinder this?

I think you see where I’m going, but let’s continue.

What amount of your day is spent reading about what is going on in our country right now? I admit that my day revolves around what is happening on a local level (Naples, Florida) a national level, an economic level, and globally. Does it consume me?  No, but It concerns me, so I read a lot. Should I reduce that amount like I should email?

What am I doing about IT? and what can I do about IT? What can you do about IT?

You see the challenge here is that we have a tremendous amount of tool sets and new web sites at hand right now, from social media tools to web 2.0 tools, and we can use them to improve what we do. We can also use aspects of them to improve our companies, our clients and our prospects, but we need to focus on which tools will work best for whom. We need to focus on doing what we do better. We need to refine it. Hone our skills, if you will. We need to better manage our time, our focus and our ability to cut through the clutter of filling up our day with a lot of social media bullshit apps and web 2.0  alpha and beta sites. Focus on what you know and do it better. I know I’m going to try. I need to. We need to. I don’t have a choice and neither do you.

The Proust Questionnaire-Do you know you?

You know, one of the cool things about social media is that it really does require us to be transparent. I don’t care how tired some might feel that term is being used, it’s the truth. But really, how transparent is one supposed to be? Or rather, how well do you know you? of course you want to know more about others so that you can develop that kindred trust. But just who is the person behind the green curtain?

Take for instance the Proust Questionnaire. In the back pages of Vanity Fair each month, readers can find The Proust Questionnaire, a closely related set of questions posed to famous subjects about their lives, thoughts, values and experience. I love reading this. It’s always one of my favorite things to read in VF. So I decided to take it myself. Rather than try to really sit down and “think” about each answer, which would be sorta cheating I think, I decided to just let the stream of consciousness fly. So now you’ll know even more about what makes me tick, though as you’ll see-I’m a simpleton.


Where would you like to live?  Initially I would have said Santorini (honeymoon), but I might opt for Positano(incredible food with a view) 

What is your idea of earthly happiness?  A beach, my family and no worries except what else can we do thats fun for tomorrow?

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?  Trusting my naivete

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction? Any character created by John Irving

Who are your favorite characters in history?  The people who have taken it upon themselves to shape the world for better, for good and for peace.

Who are your favorite heroines in real life? Does Jackie O count?

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?  Sorry,  I got nothing here.

Your favorite painter?  Oh Boy, to name a few- I love Chagal, Calder, Picasso, Peter Dean, Basquiat,  Van Gogh, Monet,  and Rauschenberg.

Your favorite musician?  There’s not enough room here-but will go with Ben Harper, Seal, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Martin Sexton, John Butler, and Erika Badhu.

The quality you most admire in a man?  Loyalty and Character

The quality you most admire in a woman? A sense of  beauty and self and a love for children

Your favorite virtue?  Nobility and humility

Your favorite occupation?  Music, and competing and learning 

Who would you have liked to be? I would have liked to have been a 1950’s pro baseball player or 1940’s jazz musician.

Your most marked characteristic? The ability to laugh and natural curiosity

What do you most value in your friends?  Their understanding and their loyalty

What is your principle defect?  Expecting too much from others and judging others too quickly

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? To not have produced 2 really cool kids and meeting my wife.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  My children dying before me.

What would you like to be?  A jazz pianist or a blues guitarist

What is your favorite color?  Olive green

What is your favorite flower?  Sunflower

What is your favorite bird? I dont really have one but maybe the bald eagle.

Who are your favorite prose writers?  Ummm geez-I’ve been reading too many business books lately.

Who are your favorite poets? I havent read poetry since college

Who are your heroes in real life? The brothers of the sacred heart for helping me to become the man I am, and anyone with a selfless heart.

Who are your favorite heroines of history? Mother Theresa

What are your favorite names?   Clive Throckmorton

What is it you most dislike?  Anyone that hurts a child in anyway.

What historical figures do you most despise?  Hitler, Stalin, and any leader that feels that war is the only answer.

What event in military history do you most admire? The forming of our country/Revolutionary War.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?  Intelligence

How would you like to die?  In my sleep

What is your present state of mind? Anxious, concerned, worried ,optimistic, hopeful, doubtful.

What is your motto? You never know, and lets see what happens tomorrow.


 So take the questionnaire and see how well you know yourself-who knows you might surprise yourself or others.

The social media echo is viral

David Parmet recently wrote a post that should be required reading for all of us in the social media space, for all of us on the outside looking in and for those of us who want to pretend that we are playing in the space. You see, David wants us to set our sights a bit higher.

He cites Shel Israel’s post about social media becoming a vast wasteland which I won’t go as far to say as being the case, but I can see why he said it. David also mentions Tim O’Reilly’s key note at Web 2.0 expo NYC which I attended, in which O’Reilly muses “And what are the best and the brightest working on?” displaying a slide of the Facebook app SuperPoke, which invites you to, “throw sheep” at your friends. Essentially asking, is this what we have been reduced to?

The point being it’s time for more, we need to stretch our collective muscles amongst the group. I have to agree with David that seeing another “How to with Twitter or another “6 steps to conquer your fear of Friendfeed”, or whatever, is not going to do us any good. Especially when we are essentially talking amongst ourselves. I mean that in the sense that the readers of our blogs, are in general, industry types.

Which essentially means that the social media echo comes right back at us. But then it is spread by other N00bs who want in on the game and thus spread the same thing that we already have heard and already have come to learn. And it comes back to us. We’re seeing a push of info that is the “same-ole, same-ole”. Nothing new, just a push, that is spread virally.


So let me ask you.

  • Do you want to repeat what someone else says?
  • Do you have any original thoughts?
  • If you hear someone else talking about the same thing, do you feel the urge to repeat it verbatim?
  • Isn’t it sometimes better to look at something in a completely different way?
  • Are you so boring that you don’t care about formulating your own opinions and thoughts?

Don’t be a me too person. There is way too much under the social media hood here. We need leaders not followers.