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Posts Tagged 'the conversation'

The 21st century Proust Questionnaire. Updated.

 Given our current state, yesterday I threw out the Proust Questionnaire to the blogosphere. It seemed like an interesting study in the human condition, especially now. But some of the questions, though applicable to Proust’s times, were not as timely or current to todays times. So I updated them. Here are the questions. Anyone for authenticity?

Would you prefer to rent or own a home?

What  electronic device makes you happy?

What can’t you live without?

Who’s your favorite movie character?

Who’s your hero?

What moment in your lifetime stands out the most?

Name a woman you most admire.

Can you name a famous painter? If so, who?

Who is your favorite band or singer?

What qualities should a man possess?

What about a woman? what qualities should she possess?

What do you like about yourself?

What job would you love to have?

If you could be anything, what would you be?

What makes you different from others?

What common trait do all of your friends have?

What do you need to improve about yourself?

What is your biggest regret?

What pisses you off the most?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What’s your favorite food?

What’s your favorite website?

What is always in your fridge?

What’s the best book you ever read?

What magazine could you read anytime?

What famous woman in history most sticks out for you?

Who’s your favorite actor?

Who’s your favorite actress?

Do you hate anyone?

What skill would you like to have?

What is your fondest memory?

How would you like to die?

What is your current state of mind?

Self-discovery has never been in more need. I think today, our transparent self needs to get in touch with the people who are having a hard time being “real”. Not only does this extend beyond social media, but I see it permeating everything these days. It’s about disclosure and what we are articulating or trying to say. It’s about having conversations. You should send this to the people that are in dire need of having or participating in conversations. Lets talk, lets exchange, lets share. and then lets compare answers.

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Happiness, Heroes and Relationships: 3 Lessons

Interesting day unfolding before me today. I’m going to provide you 3 lessons in relationship marketing. One of the first blog posts I read this morning was written over at Jason Falls’s social media explorerer. The post was about how social media can open the door for happiness marketing. I’m down with that, since scare tactics seem to be de rigueur these days. My take away points from this are as follows:

Social media offers a way to build your business by making people happier, rather than the other way ‘round.

People who feel like they’ve been heard are happier than people who don’t.

If you refer to yesterdays blog post, you will see that one of my deadly “sins” for a social media marketer are the pissing off of a customer. Any time we can make a customer happy, shouldn’t you take it? When you help someone or make them happy, are you not happy as well? Isn’t that, or can’t that have a viral effect? Come on people start thinking of the power that you posess to make people happy and use it.  The quality of a good relationship will make YOU happy. Lesson #1.

So after reading this article, I happen across Peter Kims’s blog post titled How to create successful hero marketing and my take away from this was to beware of gods with clay feet and to thine own self be true. Essentially Peter is saying that you either worship your heroes in social media, you want your heroes to notice you or you want to create your own hero persona.  Please read his whole post, it really raises some questions on just  what exactly is it that we want to achieve? Below is part of my response to his post.

The hero marketed to his followers and they did as they were told because their egos told them that perhaps it would open doors and allow them to get closer to the marketing guru…But once they got in, I think some might have realized that it was just another NING network.

But it serves up two good points that you have mentioned. Seth leveraged his hero worship status to drive sales via WOMM and the viral aspect of invite only status: and his followers/readers and their egos fell for the ego trap and bit.

 

The relationships that you cultivate all have a motivation. The ones that have the most impact on you and your life will be the ones that make you happy. They also will be the ones that to a certain degree are mutually satisfying. That isn’t saying that they might not involve some ego, but relationships are as much the driving force social media as any other component. i.e. the conversation  and the realtionship that springs from it,is not a monologue. Lesson #2.

Relationships. it’s what drives everything we do. Relationships are our universe. You might not agree but I will tell you that in the immortal words of John Donne, “no man is an island” especially in social media. Our relationships define us as much as any metric in social media. For example: Number of visits, Number of subscribers, number of readers, number of followers, number I’m following, blogs I’m reading, people I recommend- ALL Relationship driven.

But in some cases the relationship is not perfect. It has it’s “warts and all”. And we’re taught that we should tuff it out and eventually things will get better. Well you know what? In some cases that just isn’t true. And people end up bitter and angry and saying things they don’t mean because they stayed in the relationship entirely too long. Which leads me to Maggie fox and Geoff Livingston. They decided to not go through with their planned “merger”. They called it off a little over a month after they had announced they were teaming up. Rather than fight through it, they both had the foresight to realize that maybe it wasn’t going to work out. So the end result? A relationship intact. Some disappointment but in the end, no damage done.

In the end,  it’s all about the quality of ALL of the relationships you cultivate, and what you do with them in all of there various forms and stages. Lesson #3, Can you say Micro Interactions anyone?

 

You don’t know who your customer might be!

I was with a group of people today. We played golf. No big deal. I found out what one of the people did for a living. I did work for one of his competitors. He was a nice guy and I was thinking of maybe seeing if he might need help with his business.  He seemed nice enough that maybe I could help him too!

Then he said something funny, but I was the butt of the joke. He did not take the time to think about what I might think. Guess what? He had the potential to earn the business of someone that could have helped him out but he did not take the time to learn more about the person he was with. In the end, a client, or a customer, take your pick mis-read the situation and blew it. How well do you know the potential relationship?

Sorry Bob, you just Effed up!

Social Media Visualization Part III:10 Wordles of your peers, do they fit?

In deference to Hermann Rorschach, I give you 10 Wordles from some of the more popular or notable people in the social media, marketing, and internet space that we swim in.  Interestingly enough, what makes them unique, is what makes them different, yet similar. Lets check them out and come up with a few words that might describe each of their blogs.

For the uninitiated, Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

Our first Wordle belongs to Jeremiah Owyang, the notable Forrester analyst:

What sticks out? Content, brands, social, personal, chanel, community and Youtube. All of which, in one way or the other, speak to what he writes about on a day to day basis. The one that is the real head scratcher is Ronald. Jeremiah?

 

Next up is Toby Bloomberg’s wonderful blog, Diva marketing Blog

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Toby is all about blogging, blogger relations, business strategy, marketing and social media. Your thoughts?  How did I do?

Next up is Todd Defren’s  Why is the McCain reference so prominent?  Todd’s wordle appears to look like it’s been tagged by some of Boston’s best graffiti artists. But PR does jump out of the mix, thank goodness.

Well, lets bring in Chris Brogan, the very prolific, as of late, Chris Brogan

Actually Chris’s wordle is very much like him as of late, all over the place. Lots of words. I mean lots. but Speech and Post certainly reveal what Chris is all about-in a good way of course. But so does email?

With that being said, Lets look at the wordle of Brian Solis

As you can see, the word information was cut off, but was essentially alone at the bottom. I find that odd for someone  with this type of blogsite. As if there is some sort of disconnect between PR and the conversation and information? The wordle does reveal the things that Brian blogs about, are dead on with his passion. PR and social media.

Did someone mention Hugh Macleod?

Given the nature and style of Hugh’s blog, its interesting and appropriate to see the word prominence falling on…of all things, people!  But companies and organizations fall in behind the term along with thought and know.

The next few people are certainly people we all know about, so lets see how their wordles compare. The first being David Armano’s Check out how prominent Twitter is, and like people, as well as media, talking, social and brand.

 

Next is Shel Israel’s  Whic speaks to everything that Shel is about. Very representative.

Speaking of representative, check out Scoble’s.

And lastly here is mine: Social, media, conversation, value and people all figure prominently.

Are we all too predictable? Or do we all just stick to what we know?

Searching for social media experts

I just read an article in Adweek about Ford hiring Scott Monty in its quest to grapple with and implement the monolith that is… trumpets please… social media. While reading the piece I couldn’t help but wonder outloud just how social media experts became social media experts in  a space so relatively fresh in our collective marketing, media and PR consciousness. Not that Scott is not one, but this thought came to me after reading that Ford ran 50 candidates through the gauntlet before choosing Scott. 

Which begs my first of many questions: Though they chose a good person, who made the final decision, and what was it based upon? Who were the other 50 and why were they not chosen? I know that there is always a bit of subjectiveness to this process but I think, given the “newness” of the space, that it had to be absolutely fascinating to see how the whole thing went down. I do have to give some credit to Ford for stepping up, now more than ever, and especially given the state of the economy and the auto industry in particular. Somebody, somewhere, within that organization had the foresight to get to a decision maker and say, “we need to grab onto the beanstalk that is social media.

Some other questions I had and I’m sure other likeminded organizations are probabaly grappling with are:

Do we, they become expert like from writing it so much that we begin to understand how it works? Do experts, or are experts people who have implemented  a or some social media campaigns of any scale, successfully or unsuccessfully? What is the criteria? Are they IT people? marketing experts?  PR experts? What determines the experts title as the “expert”. Who determines it? Their peers? The  nascent industry itself?

I do think that longevity in the space that is and has been marketing, PR and even IT/internet/marketing, certainly is a determining factor. Why? Well think about it, when we all got into the business of what we do, what we did then is certainly not what we do now. Our jobs, titles and positions have all evolved. They have morphed into what the public and our bosses have demanded, expected and required us to learn, on the fly. And currently for some of us, that is all things social media related.

With that being said, when I write about the top 30 social media evangelists, I write from a position of referring to these people time and time again about social media topics that are hot. I mention them because they have their fingers on the collective pulse of their clients, their usage of bleeding edge technology to leverage brands, and their willingness to share their experiences. I call them experts, because their names and their blogs come up in conversations, they are constantly pushing out valuable information, and they are essentially practicing what they are preaching. And I find myself going back to “them” because clients and what I do and we do on a day to day basis, requires that I learn fast and implement faster.

Funny thing though, even the experts are wondering who the real experts are!

And if you really want to know the truth. Social media has to be a “practice what you preach model”. Why? You can’t be successfull in the space by being quiet and stealthy. it’s all about the sharing and exchanging of information without pretense. That’s right, the conversation. 

But to be successfull in the space, it is eventually going to boil down to those who do and those who did and not those who have heard and those who say.

All I do know is that the expert does not or should not call himself the expert. I can’t place the quote but:

Anyone who has to tell you that they are “the man”, ain’t “the man…”

Listening and social media: 5 videos that drive the point home

Humility is the defining characteristic of an unpretentious and modest person, someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others.

We talk so much about the art of the conversation and how this new age has spurred countless conversations where we are able to share with each other and grow and nourish ideas that could one day create endless possibilities for everyone. But what happens if the conversations are one sided? How many of the conversations out there are taking place between one willing participant and someone who is in it, to win it, so to speak, no pun intended? Are you listening? Or is conversation a dying art?

Here’s an example: Forrester Research Vice President Josh Bernoff highlights one of the five primary objectives companies successfully pursue in the Groundswell: Listening. In this example, a group of twenty-one dedicated cancer centers formed the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) to better listen to patient needs. October 11, 2007 in Chicago.

 

WHY DO WE TWEET

How many conversations take place today or are originated for the purpose of self-aggrandizement? I think more than we will ever know?  Do you think some of our finest web 2.0 thinkers are twittering for the sake of engaging in worthwhile conversations? Are they tweeting for branding purposes? How many of you comment on people’s blog or tweet, but yet bring nothing of intrinsic value to the actual conversation? How many of you don’t care if someone responds or not? Don’t all stand up at once either. Here is twitter explained for all you common folk out there, thanks Common Craft

 

I think we have an inate desire to be heard as well as to be seen and this truly does speak to this generation that I’m calling Generation U for “Generation User” as in generated content. But see, we want to be seen and heard, but rarely do we want to listen, when in actuality, that’s truly where the conversation begins and possibilities are created. Do you spend most of your time listening and reading, or do you create lots of content and vomit the information of whoever and whomever? Do you listen with the intent to understand?


 

So if that truly is the case, do we, or some of our more active purveyours of user generated content, even care about what others might think? Do they even ask what we think? If they did, I would expect the conversations to consist of them choosing to hear what they wanted to hear. God forbid it’s constructive criticism.

Ironically, Chris Brogan has written a post called 100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Media in which the first thing he leads off with is… Listening That’s right listening. And not a year prior he wrote solely on the subject of…Listening

I’m sure if you were to ask some of the top social media experts, and I know of about 30 or so, I would imagine that they would collectively say it is more important to listen than it is to talk. How many would understand the importance of listening with humility though? To listen, to truly listen? The disconnect happens when two parties get together and both have these agendas, which they seem to be paying more attention to then the actual conversation itself.

I want the age of conversation to be about what we can do collectively instead of what’s in it for me. The hyper link that preceded that statement, those guys get it. And most do, but I want you, all of you, to start listening, instead of hearing, what someone has to say.

THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE MORE YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

So if you think about, look around and look at what everyone is talking about, it’s the conversation, it’s the word of mouth marketing buzz. We talk about it from the one side but not the other, the listening aspect. The art of listening.

We have more tools than we have ever had that help us with the conversation but we need to really start listening with humility, with a deep understanding of what the person or person’s across from us, is saying. All of these social media tools allow us more access than we have ever had in our lives, to conversations. A way for us to listen and to understand. Lastly, Look what Todd Defren has to say, it’s a quick blurb, so make sure you listen!. By the way, I told Todd I would add him to my new updated list of social media experts coming out soon.

 

So what sayeth you? I’m listening. Do people hear what you are talking about? Are you talking over their heads? Or vice versa? How can you improve the dialogue?

 

 

 


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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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