Previous month:
February 2010
Next month:
April 2010

March 2010

why people fear the social cookie

privacy Can we be real?  Few "real" people understand what a cookie is or what it does.  Most "real" people I have spoke with are terrified of behavioral targeting at first, but warm up to the idea when they learn about the strict anonymity measures.

So why does the web grab pitchforks and storm the castle every time Facebook tries to open up their privacy policies? 

Because the social cookie is more than a cookie.  It's me and you.  It's a real person.

Because Facebook knowsus.  Facebook knows our real name, real location, real social network, real friends, real conversations, real interests, real alliances and real relationships.  For the first time ever on the web, Facebook has us acting as "real" people en masse.  By opening up to Facebook, we have placed an unprecedented level of trust in a social network.  When Facebook talks about opening up that information to a third party, or to anyone we haven't self selected, people feel that this trust has been violated.

This isn't to say that Facebook doesn't have incredible opportunities by selectively and strategically opening up their pipes.  But it's all in how they do it.

We are scared.  There is no precedent.  Facebook needs to step very carefully.  Facebook needs to be uber-selective about how they anonymize data, and share this process with us.  It's not just about giving us control, it's about creating trust in their control.

Facebook has built a business on making us real on the web.  But in order to open up the pipes, they are going to need to convince us that they know how to anonymize.

~300 people talking at once, one page at a time #AOC3

Buy_button It's that time of the year again!  Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan have once again managed to pull in some very smart people for what promises to be a great third round of conversation in Age of Conversation III: It’s Time to Get Busy!.  This is AOC's third annual publication, with all content, design and other contributions coming from marketers in the social space.

All proceeds from the sale of AOC3 will go to the Make a Wish Foundation 

Featured topics include:

  • At the coalface
  • Conversational branding
  • Influence
  • Getting to work
  • Corporate conversations
  • Measurement
  • In the boardroom
  • Pitching social media
  • Innovation and execution
  • Identities, friends and trusted strangers

Please feel free to check out my contribution in the "In the boardroom" section.

Be sure to check out the AOC website and check back regularly to buy your copy here

 - - - - - - - - - - - -

Please check out some of my co-contributor's blogs and twitter streams!  There are some new faces, some I good friends.  Great to meet all of you!

Adam Joseph Priyanka Sachar Mark Earls
Cory Coley-Christakos Stefan Erschwendner Paul Hebert
Jeff De Cagna Thomas Clifford Phil Gerbyshak
Jon Burg Toby Bloomberg Shambhu Neil Vineberg
Joseph Jaffe Uwe Hook Steve Roesler
Michael E. Rubin anibal casso Steve Woodruff
Steve Sponder Becky Carroll Tim Tyler
Chris Wilson Beth Harte Tinu Abayomi-Paul
Dan Schawbel Carol Bodensteiner Trey Pennington
David Weinfeld Dan Sitter Vanessa DiMauro
Ed Brenegar David Zinger Brett T. T. Macfarlane
Efrain Mendicuti Deb Brown Brian Reich
Gaurav Mishra Dennis Deery C.B. Whittemore
Gordon Whitehead Heather Rast Cam Beck
Hajj E. Flemings Joan Endicott Cathryn Hrudicka
Jeroen Verkroost Karen D. Swim Christopher Morris
Joe Pulizzi Leah Otto Corentin Monot
Karalee Evans Leigh Durst David Berkowitz
Kevin Jessop Lesley Lambert Duane Brown
Peter Korchnak Mark Price Dustin Jacobsen
Piet Wulleman Mike Maddaloni Ernie Mosteller
Scott Townsend Nick Burcher Frank Stiefler
Steve Olenski Rich Nadworny John Rosen
Tim Jackson Suzanne Hull Len Kendall
Amber Naslund Wayne Buckhanan Mark McGuinness
Caroline Melberg Andy Drish Oleksandr Skorokhod
Claire Grinton Angela Maiers Paul Williams
Gary Cohen Armando Alves Sam Ismail
Gautam Ramdurai B.J. Smith Tamera Kremer
Eaon Pritchard Brendan Tripp Adelino de Almeida
Jacob Morgan Casey Hibbard Andy Hunter
Julian Cole Debra Helwig Anjali Ramachandran
Jye Smith Drew McLellan Craig Wilson
Karin Hermans Emily Reed David Petherick
Katie Harris Gavin Heaton Dennis Price
Mark Levy George Jenkins Doug Mitchell
Mark W. Schaefer Helge Tenno Douglas Hanna
Marshall Sponder James Stevens Ian Lurie
Ryan Hanser Jenny Meade Jeff Larche
Sacha Tueni and Katherine Maher David Svet Jessica Hagy
Simon Payn Joanne Austin-Olsen Mark Avnet
Stanley Johnson Marilyn Pratt Mark Hancock
Steve Kellogg Michelle Beckham-Corbin Michelle Chmielewski
Amy Mengel Veronique Rabuteau Peter Komendowski
Andrea Vascellari Timothy L Johnson Phil Osborne
Beth Wampler Amy Jussel Rick Liebling
Eric Brody Arun Rajagopal Dr Letitia Wright
Hugh de Winton David Koopmans Aki Spicer
Jeff Wallace Don Frederiksen Charles Sipe
Katie McIntyre James G Lindberg & Sandra Renshaw David Reich
Lynae Johnson Jasmin Tragas Deborah Chaddock Brown
Mike O'Toole Jeanne Dininni Iqbal Mohammed
Morriss M. Partee Katie Chatfield Jeff Cutler
Pete Jones Riku Vassinen Jeff Garrison
Kevin Dugan Tiphereth Gloria Mike Sansone
Lori Magno Valerie Simon Nettie Hartsock
Mark Goren   Peter Salvitti

"big" Thank You to all the "little" people

376591423_c0b3889fc6_b You know who you are.

You are the forces of change.  You are challenging your organization every day to do business better.  You are a relentlessly pushing to improve the customer experience.  You are pushing back on legal, branding, IT, agencies, clients, management and a host of other political challengers to do what you know is right.

When the public vents against the brand in social media, you take it to heart.  When you say "I'm so sorry to hear this, how can I help?" you really mean it.  And while the general public sees you primarily as a whipping post, you question your sanity.

You wish everyone would understand, but feel like you're fighting an uphill battle with every proposed step you take.  Not to mention that every once in awhile "management" comes down from an ivory tower to either tell you what you've done wrong, or ask you to execute a tactic, often with limited understand for what you do, or what will work.

You feel like you get limited respect and yet face endless mountains of challenges.  Every solution raises a whole new suite of obstacles. 

As someone in the space, I would like to say thank you.  As a consumer, thank you.  For every ten talking heads and social divas yelling about change, you are doing it, you are living it.  Thank you.

copycatting your way to "success"

I love being asked to demonstrate a case study from a truly groundbreaking concept.  If we're doing something that hasn't been done before, an exact parallel cannot honestly be drawn, right?

The good news with most social media and most innovation overall, is that once we get past the shiny technology, it all comes to down to behaviors we all know and love.  Talking, sharing, conversing, reading, watching, experiencing etc. And there are an unbundance of case studies and real world experience with real world behaviors.  To qoute a friend, the real world has always been geo-located.

Now what I REALLY love, is when brands seek to find success not by one-upping each other, or leap-frogging the competition, but my investing in copycat strategies or even worse, copycat tactics.  Competitor A is spending more on video, therefor we will increase our video budgets.  Competitor B is on Facebook building a game, therefor we must be on Facebook.  They did it, they built a modicum of success, and we will copy it 6-18 months later.

Let's face it.  Unless you have a far superior competitive advantage, you cannot "level the playing field" and your certainly cannot pass over your competitors by copycatting.  Launching a product or communication 6 months later with little to no advantages just makes you six months late to last year's party.  Copycatting only works when you outshine the original in a meaningful way.

Inspired by the videos below

Original Video (or the first I had seen)

New Video

Related Video (not sure if this came before the original I posted above)

dear college kids: so you want to work in social...

2631535001_71c6524315_o You're the go-getters.  You've taken the initiative and built a personal brand on Twitter and on your blog.  You've participated in industry events.  You may have an internship with an agency or consultancy under your belt.  You've done everything right to enter the social workforce.  So you should be all set to go, right?

Pretty much.  But first, it's important to level set and prepare yourself, your online profile and presentation for the professional world.

Making the transition into the professional world

  1. Let's be clear, you probably have very limited real-world brand experience.  Remember, until now you have by and large been an amateur.  This is the real world.
  2. You are not hired for your personal brand.  Your personal brand is great, but it's not why you will be hired.  You will be hired based on the promise you show to (a) be trained and part of a team, and ultimately (b) generate revenue for your employer by (c) participating in real-world marketing.  This is the real-world.
  3. You don't know everything.  And nobody expects you to.  The ability to think is important, but so is the ability to listen and work with a team.  Being a talking head on Twitter doesn't qualify you to build marketing strategies.  Leave the posturing at the door.  Only engage in future casting when asked.  And don't speak in absolutes (ex Twitter will be dead in 6 months) unless you're damned sure of it.
  4. Re-examine your posts and tweets, and rethink everything you post moving forward.  Brand bashing will likely not be tolerated, wherever you end up.  The world is a smaller place than you realize.  Don't burn bridges by venting on a brand that could one day be a potential client or employer.  And once you're hired, make sure you know exactly what your employer's social policies are.  Don't push them.
  5. Leave your personal brand ambitions at the door.  Up until the day you are hired, your goal was to build your personal brand.  Now you're goal is to drive business.  If you can make it coincide with your personal brand goals, great.  But from here forward, your primary goal in the office is to the drive the business of the office.
  6. Learn to listen.  We all love the wonderful visionaries in this space.  But you don't work for them.  You work for your boss.  Bring the visionaries' lessons learned, but think twice before pushing back on your new employers take on things.  You just may find that there is a good reason why some talking heads talk, and many of those who do haven't yet shared.
  7. Embrace process, embrace teamwork. Life is more complicated when there are other people to coordinate with.  This is how the sausage is made.
  8. Embrace criticism.  You are going to make mistakes.  There is a good likelihood that you may well know more than people far your senior.  You may step on toes.  You may remain silent when you should have spoken up.  This isn't about being right.  It's about furthering your career.  So ask for feedback, and make a real effort to embrace this feedback.
  9. Don't share.  It's counter-intuitive to much of the user social dynamic, but nobody makes money by giving away the farm.  Your client meetings, strategies, internal processes and brainstorming are all proprietary.  Don't share, and don't share your thoughts or feedback in public.
  10. Stay young.  Your enthusiasm will be infectious.  It will breath renewed life and vigor into the team.  Don't forget your idealistic dreams.  Just don't shove them down everyone's throats.

being a social dad

David after the dentist I love being a Dad.  I love my son expecting me to get him out of bed in the morning and then plop him down on top of my still sleeping wife.  I love my son running to me when he is scared and trying to win my affection by acting like a goofball.  I love our little rituals, like playing Billy Joel on the piano with my right hand on octave higher so he can sit on my lap.  And by the way, he is probably the only 2 year old that can sing Matisyahu's One Day.

There is a lot of love about being a Dad.

But to be honest, I'm never quite sure how much of this is appropriate to share with the world.  I want to give him his privacy and give him the right to choose, when he is old enough, how much of his life he wants to share with the world.  Sure, I have pictures of him in the office, but not on Facebook where I hardly know half of my "friends."  I rarely write too much about him in social in general.

Then again, I'm really not sure where to draw the line with family members.  My sister-in-law seems to have no problem sharing everything!  Almost every email picture we email to her goes straight onto her Facebook page.  She doesn't tag me in these pictures, but I feel like my son's privacy has been invaded.  The pictures are innocuous (for the most part), but why do I want the people she hardly knows (her "friends" on Facebok) to have a window into my life?

Am I crazy?  Where should we draw the line?  Am I wrong for thinking that this video (while hilarious) is not something I would want to share outside of friends and family?

I'll take "one" please

Mcds Guy drives up to a McDonalds drive-through and says, "I'll take one."  Then he pulls around to the other side, and is handed a coffee.  This happens night after night.  Eventually he decides that this is his last time going to Mickey Ds.  Every time he asks for a burger he gets a coffee!

As ridiculous as this sounds, this is more or less how many, many brands, consultants and agencies are approaching social.  Most social projects (RFPs etc) looks pretty similar.  Give me a Facebook/Twitter/Blog/Community strategy.  Give me a proposal for listening.  Get me 1,000,000 followers or 3,000,000 fans.  Because when we don't know what to ask for, we will rarely get what we want.

Social is a business strategy, Twitter and Facebook are tools.  If you use Twitter and Facebook well, they can become platforms.  But your goal is to drive business.  Your business is not the same as mine.  I make sprockets.  You sell insurance.  If our activation or proposals look the same, someone should be fired.

If your team can't answer 80% of the questions below, it's time to rethink who you are hiring.  If you can't answer 80% of the questions below, it's time to start thinking.

The "Social" Business Checklist

Setting Up

       What is my business objective?

  • Generating fans is not a business objective. Growing a CRM base is.

       What is the business already doing to meet this objective?

       What has the business tried in the past to meet this objective?  What worked?  What didn’t?  Why?

       What adjacent or otherwise related goals is the business already pursuing?  How? 

       Has this brand engaged in social in the past?  What worked?  What didn’t?  Why?

       How are employees, employee groups, affiliates and adjacent business units active in social media?  How can we set expectations for what is expected of them in this channel and related to this effort?

       How is the brand currently perceived in social media?

       What barriers will the team likely face in activating in social?  This includes internal, legal/regulatory, external and customer challenges to success.

       Is the brand already active in social?  If so, where?  How?  How is this organized?  Where does this effort fit across social?

       How will social work together with all other channels to support and grow the business?

       What are the implications of this activation on other related channels and communications?


Key Questions You Need Answers For

       How are these tools and platforms the most effective and efficient means to drive these objectives?

       How have other (related) businesses demonstrated the value with this type of execution in the past?

       What implications will this activation have on my business in the near term? 

       What adjacent teams within the organization will be impacted by this activation? What commitments will we expect from them? 

       What are the long term implications of this activation to my business?

       How will we measure our progress?

       How often will we issue reports?  In what format?  To whom?


Moving Forward

       If this works, where should the brand go from here?

       How will you communicate this success to key stakeholders?

       How will you communicate the positive, negative and adjacent feedback to the appropriate parties?