Tag Archives: Twitter

Slaying dragons in social media fantasyland

Takeaways from #RaganDisney

Mickey slayin'

The social media industry can be a lot like New Fantasyland at Disney World: there’s a ton of information, flashing lights, advice, experts and characters out there. And like Mickey, we social media managers need to be able to blast through the nightmares and hype, to slay the dragons (e.g. social media pitfalls, haters, crises, stale content) and find our own way to the top of the mountain.

The best route is to set a strategy, jump in the fire and grow from there. After over three years of corporate social media management, I’m always looking for new ideas, fresh perspectives and ways to elevate my craft.

With that goal in mind, I attended the Ragan’s 6th Annual Social Media for PR and Corporate Communications Conference at Walt Disney World to get inspired, network with other social media pros and come up with some new ideas to try out at work.

Here are the key lessons I took away from the conference and I hope they help you slay whatever social media dragons you’re battling.

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Five pillars of a quality meeting (and Twitter chat)

Meeting in the Office

Working as the social media guy for a pretty big company, I spend a good chunk of my day on Twitter, responding to customers, promoting programs, spreading the good corporate word; and also personally for professional development, networking and information gathering (among others).

I see lots of good stuff in my feeds, and some tweets that aren’t so good.

Since meetings (and PowerPoints) are often staples of the business process, I also see a fair share of conference rooms, appointment notifications and recurring gatherings.

And just like tweets, some meetings are useful, and some meetings are – well, you get the idea.

This week I participated in the #pr20chat – a weekly Twitter discussion about PR and social media organized by Justin Goldsborough and Heather Whaling – and found a lot of value from the professional discussion, social media analysis and varied perspectives.

In jotting down my notes from the Twitter chat, the similarities crystallized between a quality Twitter chat and an effective meeting.

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Notes on Google+

I’m trying not to get too excited about Google+.

I remember when Google Buzz launched about a year ago. I was all jacked up, and within a few weeks I felt pretty silly for contributing to the over-hype of what has turned out to be a dud thus far.

And as genuine as my efforts for objectivity are, I can’t deny that I’m a Google fanboy and am cheering for them to succeed in the social space.

So, yes, I am excited about Google+ and here are some of my notes on the new platform.

I hope they help your exploration of Google+ in one way or another. At the very least it’ll be fun to look back on this in a year and measure the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of my assessments and predictions.

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Social media breakdown: 3 sentences on the channels I use and their value

Bejeweled spider webs: Bristol is so frosty this morning.

I’ve seen others break down their methodology on various social channels and thought it would be interesting to evaluate what I’m using, how I’m using it and the value therein.

I hope this gives you some ideas for new ways to use these networks, and I encourage you to share your own breakdown in the comments.

Also, I plan to do a post like this every year to see how the industry, and my participation, is progressing.

And to keep me from getting too long-winded or granular in my evaluations, I restricted myself to three sentences on each topic (inspired by a great creative writing blog called Six Sentences that you should subscribe to).

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8 social media FAQ, answered in haiku

Last week at work, I showed some nonprofit organizations a few best practices and tips for social media.

Most of the discussion focused on how an organization would best operate Twitter or a Facebook page, but some of the takeaways can be applied to personal use as well.

For this blog post, instead of hammering out a long-winded explanation of the social media tips that were imparted at the workshop, I responded in haiku to some of the most frequently asked questions from the workshop and other recent, related conversations.

Granted, I could say a lot more than 17 syllables in responding to these questions, but my goal with the haiku format is to cut the fat and give you a quick, easy and cadenced look at the most important tips. Here they are:

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Why is Twitter on trial for Mendenhall #OBL tweets?

We’ll all remember where we were the night of May 1, 2011, when President Barrack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been captured and killed.

I was eating dinner at home with my girlfriend. We sat, glued to the TV, and talked about how that moment felt like one of those scenes in a movie where an entire nation, and many parts of the world, was united, hanging on every word of a news broadcast.

But the TV screen wasn’t the only source of news and commentary for us. That night, like so many other nights in the past few years, laptops and mobile phones were positioned on dining room tables so we could see the latest from our Facebook friends, refresh our Twitter searches and send text and instant messages as the events unfolded.

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Mommatorial: 5 Twitter Fears, Conquered

My mom asked me a while ago to show her how to use social media better. After I rolled my eyes and said something snobby and confusing like, “Well…what do you want from social media?” I realized that it’s a great question for her to be asking.

I sometimes forget that despite the massively over-publicized explosion of Facebook and Twitter users, there are a lot of people who are still unsure of how to get any value out of social media for themselves.

In my Mom’s case, she knows how to find her way around on Facebook, and she has a blog, but Twitter is still a scary, somewhat hairy animal. The more I thought about her question, the more it made me realize that I know a ton of people like her, who are still either afraid or completely unfamiliar with Twitter.

And it’s a shame because if they could all just get over a few initial hurdles, they’d have a much richer social media experience and easier access to information that they would probably find very interesting.

In hopes of getting my mom (and others like her) over these entry barriers and to shed some of the stigmas associated with Twitter for newcomers, here is my first Mommatorial: 5 Twitter Fears, Conquered.

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How Twitter and Foursquare ruined breakfast and saved Christmas

One check-in shows the best and worst sides of location-based social media.

My Saturday couldn’t have started any better. I woke up on my own accord feeling refreshed, with the sun and a beautiful blue sky seeping through the window. No alarm. No appointments. No noise. My girlfriend woke up smiling too and after a few lazy moments of staring at the ceiling and rolling around in the covers, we agreed that breakfast at a coffee shop would be perfect and decided to head out to Luci’s Healthy Marketplace.

It might have been the easiest dining decision we’ve made together…ever. Furthermore, we got out of the house quickly without harshing the mood by getting wrapped up in chores, laptops or TV before we left. I thought I was still dreaming.

It was mildly busy when we arrived at Luci’s, with a short line leading up to the counter and scattered one- and two-top tables throughout the store. While waiting to order, I checked-in to Luci’s on Foursquare.*

After checking-in to Luci’s and tweeting out my location, I stepped forward in line to pick up our coffee and pay for our order. As usual, I didn’t think much of the check-in or the resulting Tweet (pictured below), but little did I know, my check-in was already rippling through the social media universe.

No more than a minute later, one of the servers, a middle-aged woman, started canvassing the restaurant shouting something that sounded like, “Adam Fuller!? Is there an Adam Fuller here?”

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Where is the value in social media? Follow Gladwell.

Most people can’t go a day without hearing or reading about how vital social media is for a business or how channels like Facebook and Twitter are revolutionizing our relationships and the way we communicate. If you are absorbed by social media on a daily basis, both personally and professionally, it can be especially difficult, at times, to remind yourself or convince others that social media is not the answer to all of life’s problems.

I encourage you to read Malcolm Gladwell’s recent essay in The New Yorker for an excellent commentary on the value of social media: Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted.

He provides some interesting examples and clear arguments for why activism and revolution didn’t, don’t and won’t require social media to have an effect. As with most of his work, I enjoyed this piece and echo much of his sentiment. My takeaway from this article is that in most cases social media serves best as a means to provide added value: compliments to the core.

A solid business model is probably not going to fail due to the absence of an active Facebook page or thousands of Twitter followers. If you have a bad fight with your best friend or family member, you’re probably not going resolve it on his wall or via Direct Message. However, most successful businesses, and people for that matter, look for and find ways to provide and receive added value. And this is where social media shines.

One person may love tagging her friends in photos on Facebook while a company may use the same channel to gauge customer sentiment after a new initiative. A co-worker may post daily updates on Twitter about lunch plans while his boss may use it to vent about computer frustrations and catch up on sporting news.

Whatever way you use it, you, and millions of others across the world, find this added value in social media. But the key to keep in mind here is that this value has not taken the place of the most important values or people in your life (I hope). As phenomenal and ground-breaking as social media is, it is still not a substitute for a solid business model, a strong friendship or a passionate movement.

Chile Earthquake on Twitter and Facebook

This weekend was the first time I can remember feeling a gnawing void in communication and a vested burn to get informed about a crisis. Social media came through in the clutch.

I lived and worked in Santiago, Chile as a freelance journalist from June 2008 to August 2009. From Rolando at the corner store, to co-workers at The Santiago Times and Revolver, to my furry housemate Leo (who loved to rummage through the fridge and take craps in the living room), every person I met and relationship I had, contributed to my unforgettable Chilean experience.

You can imagine my distress when I woke up to a text message Saturday morning that read, “Awful news in Chile.”

A rush of faces, worry and possible explanations ran through my head as I jumped out of bed and raced down the stairs to see what was going on. I needed to know what the heck happened and that my friends were safe.

I didn’t turn on the TV. I didn’t turn on the radio. I didn’t call my aunt, who sent the text message.

Without thinking, I opened up my laptop and checked Facebook and Twitter.

Within thirty seconds, I saw that #terremotoenchile was a trending topic on Twitter and read this on Facebook from a friend: “8.5 Earthquake about 345 am. Lasted about 2 minutes. Incredibly shaken up, lots of broken stuff. We are okay. Thanks for all the emails. Will update when possible. Communication is still a hit or miss right now.”

And like that, I was informed.

I rushed to read more posts, check profiles, tweet updates and search for more information. Fortunately, I did not have to go far, and the panic gradually subsided.

  • “All fine over here! My friends and i got through the quake safely. I was dancing to the cure at a local club when it all happened!”
  • “Yo estoy bien Adam! Hablé con [name of friend] también y estamos ok” (Translation: I am ok Adam! I spoke with [name of friend] also and we are ok)
  • “Hi everyone, we are really lucky and no major damage was done to my apartment or my being. I came home last night around 4am…Things started shaking, and I didn’t think anything about it at first, but soon enough we were huddled under the bathroom sink!! Very scary! Thanks for worrying everyone, love you guys, let’s hope everyone else is OK!”
  • “etamos vivos hueooooon!!!!! gracias por la preocupacion!” (Translation: we’re alive dude!!!!! thanks for the worry!)
  • “If someone hears anything from my parents please send me a message.” Followed by this, less than an hour later: “Mom and dad are ok… the house, not too sure.”
  • “if anyone in Chile needs me to phone someone in the UK/mainland Europe, just let me know who and the number.”

After about half an hour of exhausting Facebook, Twitter and Gmail chat, I finally turned on the TV and checked Google news for additional information. (Google News and Google Reader are usually the first two places I go when I log on.)

Aside from a few statistics, it was mostly old news to me. The video and photos added some color to the tragic picture, the weather center offered tsunami predictions and the fluid injured/missing/dead tallies did not shed much light.

So, I kept the TV on for background noise, the Google News tab open in my browser, and went back to social media. CNN, The New York Times and The Guardian may have served well to inform the masses, but my Facebook and Twitter channels provided the instant information I needed from the sources I cared about and trusted.

No newscast, newswire or newspaper could have replaced the tweets, comments and status updates I read on Saturday morning. And that is one of the many reasons why social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are not going anywhere.

If you are trying to contact a person in Chile and haven’t been able to locate him/her, Google is providing this application that could help: http://chilepersonfinder.appspot.com/