Monday, December 7, 2009

DARPA balloon challenge - how social networks perform under pressure

MIT won last Saturday’s DARPA balloon challenge. The Defense Department’s research agency paid a $40,000 prize to the first party to correctly identify the exact location (longitude, latitude) of ten red 8-foot weather balloons anchored in public places around the U.S. It was an experiment to test the response and behavior of social networks toward a large-scale, time-specific task.

I learned about it Friday night from my college daughter back east. I quickly attempted to mobilize the geekiest members of my personal network. (yes, if you got a message from me on Saturday, I consider you a geek.) Taxing my RAM, my computer screen flickered e-mail, Facebook, Twitter accounts and other websites all day.  I called a friend who’s an over-the-road trucker, thinking his chances of seeing a balloon were greater. What I needed was LEGIONS of truckers. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the brains at MIT won before sundown. But how?

CNN reported Sunday that MIT incentivized their extensive network and helped it grow by passing on the prize in tiers: $2000 went to anyone who found a balloon and reported its location (let’s call her Alice), $1000 went to the person that referred the finder (B for “Bob”). $500 went to the person that referred that person (“Charlie”), and $250 to the person who referred “Charlie.” MIT’s invitation page:

TIP: grow your network by aggressively rewarding the people who promote your operation. Referrals are golden!

The day before the challenge (Friday 12/4/09) MIT also reported the story to CNN’s citizen reporter page, called “iReport.”  These citizen networks are how news media outlets aim to keep up with social networks in getting the scoop on the news.

QUESTION: how are you regularly surveying your clients and/or involving them in your product/service development?

Yes, this is a glorified story of “word-of-mouth,” still and always the world’s most effective form of advertising. DARPA (and presumably MIT) will report more details on their findings later. See a map of the locations at the DARPA balloon challenge home page.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Big Money Twitter 12

Slate’s financial page The Big Money rated the top 12 corporate Twitter accounts. They all have more than 1 million followers. They all post several times a day. They are useful to their customers by getting right to the deal, or by connecting with a very human, personal tone. Twitter is becoming essential in a cyber-fast marketing environment.

Small shops, non-profits and celebrities will find that building a following requires a facility with one’s smart phone. Ideas come at all hours of the day, and you will sometimes want to pull the car over and compose and send a good message.

There are hundreds, thousands of great ways to use Twitter. But please, edit thyself. Be interesting. No more dinner plans or bedtime announcements, unless you are inviting the rest of us to join you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tiger Woods - what damage control looks like

(This just in: Tiger Woods has handled the tabloids and his critics with today’s written apology posted to his website.  By acknowledging his “personal sins,” most people believe that Tiger is confessing to adultery, which is still considered a serious breach of integrity. Integrity is a sibling of credibility, and credibility means everything in the product endorsement world.)

Tiger Woods’ domestic issues aside, what are the marketing implications of his weekend “incident?” It depends.

First, remember that most endorsement contracts have a “morals” clause. If you get caught chasing children with lollipops, or torturing animals, don’t expect you will still be able to endorse anything. (Denver area radio talk show host Peter Boyles asked his audience if Tiger should rise above such tawdry business because “golf is a gentlemen’s game.” Have you ever heard the language on a PGA golf course? Never mind that professional athletes on the road are assaulted with all manner of temptation.)

Second, Americans are extremely forgiving of its sports heroes. For goodness sake, it took years for people to finally tire of Bobby Bonds’ steroid use and turn a disapproving eye, and that was after he eclipsed Hank Aaron’s home run record. There persists a campaign to get admitted gambler Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame. We’ll even put up with colossally bad judgment from Kobe Bryant or Alex Rodriguez, if they play for our team.

All that to say, in a few months, no matter what happens to his marriage, or for what reason, people will watch Tiger whenever and wherever he plays. If he keeps winning, his fan base will endure. (Winning is everything.)

If he patches things up at home, and if he goes on Oprah or 60 Minutes with a sufficient amount of mea culpa, he will be entirely forgiven, and he can hold on to most of his commercial largesse. (CNBC’s Darren Rovel grades Tiger’s major endorsement deals with Accenture, American Express, AT & T, Buick, Electronic Arts, Gillette, Nike, and Tag Heuer.)  Besides, the target audience for Tiger’s products are mostly adults and mostly men, and every guy in the room TOTALLY understands the issues in play.

Crisis communications is about speed (getting out in front of the story) and accountability. Here is what a full apology includes (not the “I’m sorry if anyone was offended”). The offender must:

• acknowledge that he has not met the public’s reasonable expectations (don’t run in to fire hydrants in the middle of the night),
• explain why he crossed the line (anger issues, substance abuse, temporary insanity, etc.), and
• what he will do to not repeat the offense (rehab, restitution, accountable relationships, good friends and strong family).

This public display requires looking into at the interviewer, eye-to-eye, and expressing both regret (which looks like sorrow) and responsibility (manning up, owning the issue, not flinching or deflecting or excusing). Don’t blame the tabloids.  Don't go on TV to plea for privacy.  Your job in this interivew is humility and contrition, and maybe some talk about golf. The lawsuit is for later.  The privacy debate is for later.

The speed factor: I would retreat with the family to get through the holidays and try to book an appearance early in 2010, far enough ahead of his first tournament so that the two events to not look connected.

A word on Mrs. Woods: yes, inquiring minds want to know (about everything), but really, she is legitimately off limits. I hope our society gets over its attitude that it is entitled to all the details of anyone’s life. Someone must say no to TMZ, no to the National Enquirer, no to the Daily Tattler and the Weekly World News. The Woods family might be the ones to do it. Mrs. Woods should NOT appear on any interview show anywhere, at any time. Do NOT open that door. (I’m counting on the Woods family for one huge lawsuit against the tabloids. The Enquirer’s story now appears faulty, but it flushed out another woman’s story in US Weekly. More women will get paid by the tabloids to tell their story.)

Yes, Chavis Crew Communications handles crisis communications. I hope you never need my services, but if you ever do…

By the way, do you ever wonder why celebrity endorsements sway our buying patterns in the first place?

Friday, August 7, 2009

10 suggestions for 10 banned PR words

Thanks, Mary Lou, for prompting a constructive reply to Robin Wauters' critique of hackneyed PR phrases. Humbly, I submit…

Instead of LEADING / LEADER, how about a provable, specific, quantitative term or unique identifier (“New York Times best selling,” “#1 synthetic motor oil,” etc.)?

Regarding the use of BEST / MOST / FASTEST / LARGEST / BIGGEST / etc., take Robin’s hint. Be able to prove it (source it!), and don’t super-niche it.

Instead of INNOVATIVE / INNOVATION, a simple “new design” might work, and you will spend at least a paragraph to describe exactly how it is new (as in never been done before).

Instead of REVOLUTIONARY, you might want to dial it down a notch and go with “ground-breaking,” which suggests you’re building something new, right?

Most of my “AWARD-WINNING” releases are posted to the respective organization’s website, for the record. Industry-specific outlets usually pick up such announcements, which are less than news, but more than information.

Unless you actually cause an outage (usually not a good thing), the use of DISRUPTIVE / DISRUPTION should be avoided. Robin’s right. If your product/service really shakes things up, you’ll be too busy answering the phone and e-mails to take time for press releases.

OK, I will try to avoid using CUTTING / BLEEDING EDGE in any of my writing or seminars. I will try.

Instead of NEXT-GENERATION, Robin prefers “updated version.” That works for me. Also, be careful of the term “2.0.” It’s swiftly reaching “overuse” status.

Is there another kind of PARTNERSHIP that is not STRATEGIC? Save nine letters and drop the word. (Hmmm… I’m going to have to look at my slogan for Chavis Crew Communications, “strategic content for websites and media relations.”

Seriously, SYNERGY is one of the great business-speak terms of the Information Age. It sounds scientific, organic, like some previously mysterious force is at work forming a great new discovery. Mergers are usually just that. And you’ll need a paragraph to explain why the deal makes sense. If it takes more than a few sentences, it might be too complicated to succeed, and reporters have a nose for that sort of thing.

As always, the above rules can be broken if necessary. If you’ve the goods, tell the story, and tell it well. Contact Chavis Crew Communications for truly innovative, synergistic copy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ban these words from your PR...

I found this blog post from Robin Wauters irresistible: “10 words I would love to see banned from press releases.”

You can probably guess what they are. A change in the public relations industry is upon us. Over-saturated writers and editors are busting every hyperbole they spot, so anyone seriously interested in coverage had better deliver the goods.

Journalists, editors, producers and bloggers insist, so publicists must show them.

As a committed subscriber to The Cluetrain Manifesto , I continually remind myself that the world is crying out for authentic conversation, human-to-human interaction, truth (or in the absence of truth, at the very least, honest discussion).

There is no substitute.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

10 things I just learned about social media

Here’s how social media moves from on line to "real world": a techie friend told me about, a monthly gathering around new technologies. A new Denver company put on a free panel on “Social Media,” and promoted it through a MeetUp post. I RSVPed, and spent the morning in downtown Denver getting schooled on several aspects of social media. Every client asks me about it, and the phenomenon has changed radically in the last year. Innovations are coming down the pike at a breathless pace. Thanks!

It behooves us all to keep up and stay sharp, so here are “10 things I just learned about social media.”

1. Effective social media is trusted communications between people who know each other. (Ari Newman,
2. “Twintern” – a new trend of hiring college students to manage Twitter posts, which makes one wonder, who’s speaking for your organization? (Jamie Dicken,
3. Match your unique social approaches to your unique audience. (Crosby Noricks,
4. The same way e-mail changed the interoffice memo of the 80s, social media is changing e-mail. (Newman)
5. Keeping score is more than just tracking numbers of fans. You have to capture the value of individual conversations. (Noricks)
6. Two days is too long to wait to get back to someone with a question on your social media space. (Noricks)
7. Re-Tweeting is the new e-mail forward. (Newman)
8. You can’t afford not to do social media. (Adrian Glasenapp,
9. The link-shortening services are popular, not just to save you characters (in the Twitter 140-character space), but because they offer metrics to measure clicks. (Newman)
10. There is a cultural shift around social media. Companies are spreading knowledge, insights, responsibility and ownership of social media across departments. (Dirk Shaw,

There was so much more, but by the time we talk, things will have changed again. Which of the above “strikes” you?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

U2, Prince camp on late night TV

Prince just finished a three-night engagement on NBC’s Tonight Show. U2 just did five straight nights on the CBS Late Show a couple of weeks ago. Record companies are pulling out all the stops to get eyes and ears on their product. It’s a battle for dollars in an age of file sharing and online music sales-one-track-at-a-time.

It’s a smart move for the TV networks too. They’re offering a unique platform for top music acts, and it lends to their credibility as well. Think the networks are all washed up? Not so fast.

Here’s what the rest of us can get out of these high profile engagements.
1) Partnerships work. Fighting over domain is the most fruitless kind of fearful, desperate act – the dying grasp of someone who has run out of ideas. Find partners. Create partnerships. (I’m trying really hard here to avoid the word “synergy.”) The fact is that collaborations with people that bring different but complimentary assets to the table are essential in this tough economy.

Plus, your customers win by gaining product from two great creators, not just one.

2) New technologies are not always the answer. What’s more simple than a four-piece combo (albeit the “greatest rock band in the world”)? What’s new about an 80-90s disco icon recycling old funk beats in strange make-up? Everything, because artists like Prince constant hit the “refresh” button on their styles.

Do what you do best, keep it fresh, and find new outlets that get your best work in front of customers in a fresh way.

3) New technologies are also part of the solution. I missed the third night of the Prince/JayLeno event live, but I found it on YouTube (of course). And Prince’s new album, while available in Target stores on Sunday, was available on line days earlier. Just because the top musicians are on TV, it doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned the brave new world of the Internet. That’s were most of their customers hang out. Apple passed Wal-Mart in music sales a year ago (April 2008) according to online tech mag In the not-too-distant future, music sales will “tip” to on line.

How can you engage your customers where they hang out? I want to help you figure it out. Give me a ring.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

TV preview bait and switch

I have just experienced Television Preview first hand. It is as bad, or worse than the bloggers suggest. Their classic bait and switch event should go down in the annals of corporate malfeasance.

From their invitation letter: “You have been selected to participate in a survey whose findings will directly influence what you see on television in the future.” Who could resist the chance to “evaluate not-yet released television material that is being considered for nationwide broadcast.” Guess what? The only “material” being considered that night was product satisfaction. Hundreds and hundreds of products.

Television Preview is not about TV shows. It is entirely, 100% about PRODUCTS. Twice we scanned 20 pages of consumer products and picked our favorites. They say they will give away six crates of stuff (worth $250.00!), to be delivered later.

Page after page of survey questions probed our favorite breakfast cereal, adhesive bandage, deodorant, toilet tissue, paper towel, ink pen, pickle, oatmeal, … and a curious new personal hygiene product called the “wet wipe.” It went on forever.

The TV pilot episodes we thought we were reviewing included commercials, and they showed a spot for Hyundai’s new “Assurance” program (recession-timed, Hyundai will buy your car back if you get laid off). We commented on our impressions of the commercial and the product. The two best commercials of the night were the got milk?/Pillsbury Russian family commercial, and the Holiday Inn Express “rapper.” LOL! (But they didn’t even ask about those commercials.)

About the previews we came to see, they were both produced in 1997, and were doomed to failure. “Soul Mates” starring Kim Raver (the awesome Audrey Raines of “24-Day 6”) was a reincarnation love/crime story that played like a bad mini-series too bad even for the Lifetime channel. There’s no evidence it ever aired.

Also on the double bill, a sitcom called “Dads” starring Rue McClanahan and C. Thomas Howell (also in “24-Day 5”). Wisecracking child actors, goofy, inept dads, a lust interest, plus the ever-present laugh track. I wrote on my survey “Thumbs up, I guess” in hopes of more dad-positive TV. This show never aired.

On one hand, I wish I had done more research before blowing the evening for my wife and 20-something son. On the other hand, I’m glad I didn’t know any better and walked in like a na├»ve member of the consuming public. Yup, that’s me!

I wanted to make it a family event and take my 15-year old, but the cutoff age was 16 so we left him at home with a new Spongebob video. Lucky fellow! As my grousing over three wasted hours got worse, he said, “It’s not that bad. At least you didn’t lose any money. It’s like watching two hours of bad YouTube videos and the button doesn’t work.”

Kansas City’s entertainment weekly Pitch caught on five years ago, summing up the experience: “Most attendees have figured out by now that there's a catch, and if this is it, they can live with it.”

A few other endorsements:
“Misleading, stupid” – OneEyedMan, June 25, 2007

“Awful! … so sad.” – swaite, Nov. 22, 2008

“I hope they go out of business.” – Jeffrey, Dec. 5, 2008

Here are our choices: shut down this operation by exposing their lies (what are the chances?), or persuade them to convert into becoming a legitimate research firm.

Invest two hours of your own to attend Television Preview and skew the stats. Rave over the pilots and let’s resurrect them from the obscurity of focus group hell. There is a movement to get clips of these pilots on to YouTube.

I have little hope in the latter option. A short open later to the “director” follows.

Dear G.B. Edwards (director of Television Preview):

Thank you for the invitation to your TV show screening. I was so honored, and so foolish. From the invitation letter: “… if the material you evaluate is later telecast, you can rightly conclude that your opinion was considered before that decision was made.” That was an outright lie and the worst kind of bait and switch!

I urge you to stop the deception. Instead, go whole hog toward commercials. Show the latest, the best, the worst, the funniest. Preview upcoming campaigns. Hire a local comedian to host the show. A Vaudeville act or Catskillian type comic would surely entertain the mostly senior crowd. Give away goodie bags to the entire audience on the way out. Promote American products!

You can convert your endless, dreadful night of opinion-mining into something that approaches fun. Such an event would still interest people willing to share their opinions.

A sucker is born every minute, so it’s doubtful you will convert at my suggestion. I pray you repent for your sins.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Will Conan win America?

Wednesday night I'm up late watching Conan during his final week in the late, late slot. He's been removing something from his set each night, giving it away to someone in the audience. A strange, funny, sentimental move that is very watchable.

I couldn't turn away as he attacked one of the formerly permanent music stands. He chose the sledge hammer and pounded it, then rocked it back and forth, and pulled it off its mooring on the stage, music sheet, mic, wires and all. He returned the music sheet to the trombone player. (Trombone player looks at Conan as if to say, "what do you want me to do with that?" As if the music sheet was itself damaged - and when they went to music, he had to share mic and music stand with the sax player.)

Then he grabbed an axe and chopped the mic cables right on the stage. I'm shocked at this point, knowing that he's leaving permanent damage on the NBC stage. He finally hefts the battered fixture up the steps and lays it across two audience members at the top of the seats.

Huffing and puffing, he returns to his mark on the stage, throws back his shock of red hair and says, "Wow. That was totally not planned. Ooh. That can't be good. (shot of the permanent damage on the floor) Look. The producer is not happy. OK, we'll be right back with (guest)." (go to music. shot again of damaged floor, instant replay of Conan removing bandstand).

Brilliant. Insane. Great TV. Too bad for the NBC carpenter who has to fix this mess.

Slate columnist Ben Mathis-Lilley says Conan will make the transition and hold the late night slot against Letterman and ABC's Nightline.

I'm just talking about entertainment. If there's any value in it at all, we must get a handle on the "inspiration of the moment."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Big 3 automakers - Isolated at Fawlty Towers

I love private air travel. Nothing speeds my day along like being driven to the airfield, boarding my own jet, and taking off, only to be whisked away to my meeting or dinner upon arrival. First class commercial travel is the next best thing, but it doesn’t really come close – all that wasted time in security and the unwashed masses and whatnot.

Driving cross-country is an entirely different experience. One gas tank at a time, I get to see cities, ‘burbs, hamlets and countryside speed by outside my climate controlled window. Pull over at a rest stop. Slip the card in the slot, wrench off the cap, slam in the nozzle, squeeze off another 20 gallons, hit the head and I’m off for another 400 miles.

America’s Big 3 auto executives had no such decision to make. It never even occurred to them that they might want to drive to beg Congress/the American taxpayers for a few billion dollars to hold them over. Instead, eack CEO took his own corporate jet to the hearings at the U.S. Capitol.
Auto executives, banking executives, Wall Street magnates, and other corner office holders are so isolated from what we call “normal life,” that they are missing in whole or in large part the way the rest of us see things. I can imagine these executives’ shock as the media descended upon the news that private planes were S-O-P. These unusual times prompted no review, no second thought. The outgoing Congress of 2008 set the tone, and every high-leverage, high-risk operator in the Dow-Jones Industrials is bellying up to the taxpayers’ bar.
To blame: the chief communications officers of GM, Ford and Chrysler, and the institutional “let them eat cake” culture that has infected American capitalism. As they were planning for these Congressional hearings, someone, anyone should have bravely strode into the executive wing and said, “You know, those other two guys are probably going to fly their jet to DC. We should drive our hybrid.”

That would have been the PR coup of the year. Instead, we all enjoyed watching them stumble into the PR gaffe of the year.

Should you care to re-cap the embarrassing mess from mid-November 2008:

A month later, the auto execs returned to Congress, having done their homework and with their tail between their legs. And guess what, they drove! Ford’s Alan Mulally rode from Dearborn to Washington, D.C. in a Ford Escape hybrid. GM’s Rick Wagoner (and entourage) are said to have driven a Chevy Malibu and Cobalt (both hybrids) and an alt-fuel Buick Lucerne. Chrysler’s Robert Nardelli cruised down in an Aspen SUV hybrid.

Heidi N. Moore’s blog in the WSJ’s Deal Journal of Dec. 2, 2008 makes the point smartly: “…while these supplicants may have learned their lessons about how to put on a great show of acting penitent, it isn’t clear that real penitence–or real change–is yet the order of the day.”
Yes, this story is months old, but I needed to post what I’ve been saying, for your perusal. Why this story still matters: on one hand America is coming to grips with hard-earned (?) bonuses on Wall Street, on the other hand a $500k salary cap for corporations on the government dole. Banks and financial firms can no longer hold corporate meetings under the lights of the Vegas Strip. The fallout has not yet settled.

I don’t need to tell you that things have changed. But somebody needs to tell our captains of industry. They need solid, ethically based PR counsel. Chavis Crew Communications is for hire.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Telling your story to men in the 21st century

Notes from Dangerous Man Day 2009: Tell Your Story - Communicating To Men In The 21st Century

Class description: Remember UHF, rotary phones, the radio dial, and the postage stamp? Learn to tell your story in the brave new world of social networks, blogs, e-blasts, and more with communications maven Steve Chavis.

PREMISE: experience in traditional forms of mass media do not matter as much as facility and flexibility with new forms of media, including social networks. Some basic discipline, however, still apply.

the 5 W’s: Who, what, where, when, why

A verse from King David: “…promotion comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.” Psalm 75:6,7


1. ISOLATION. (distance = safety).
2. BOTTOM LINE – men communicate via questions.
3. DESIRE TO WIN, men are goal or “challenge” oriented.
4. COMPARTMENTALIZE - men focus on either logic or emotions
5. ORDER - rules over relationships.
6. ANGER – men need safe place to express emotions.

Know your mission – honed to a “matchstick” version or 20-second elevator speech

Keep it LOCAL and UNIQUE (specific to your calling or niche)

Practice message discipline -- In any communications, avoid too many images, too many messages.
“We succeed only as we identify in life, or in war, or in anything else, a single overriding objective, and make all other considerations bend to that one objective.” President Dwight Eisenhower, April 2, 1957

Call for action: give your audience easy, specific ways to get involved, do something.

Readers are looking for more personal revelations

Shorter messages and more often

Human language (Cluetrain Manifesto – Thesis #4, see HANDOUT, inside)
-Jargon is out, “insider” language is out, Christian-ese is out
-Dilbert / corporate speak is out, PR doublespeak is out
-Respect your audience – find the feeling is mutual

Note the transition from quality (excellence) to authenticity (transparency, humanness).

For a free copy of the E-book Communications Attitude – a study of Proverbs 15, e-mail

NEW AVENUES (Looking for immediate ROI?)
The future is now! Adaptation is key. The pace of technological and societal change has accelerated. Commit a portion of your time to study where things are going.

Today, the watchword is VIRALITY.
From technology guru Tim O’Reilly ( Note the way shifted the online media game by offering embed codes that allow anyone to post the videos at their own sites, and not require all visitors to come to (and their advertisers). It was a clear choice, and it has made YouTube far more prevalent in cyberspace.

(from Steve) Also note the way Adobe introduced their reader. The reading software (and other products) are free to everyone, and we love access to all those documents and articles on line as PDF files. But if you want to create PDF files (and other types of media files), you have to buy the creator software.

These new technology corporations understand virality. Project your product and make it easy to use. Content producers will always pay the price to reach large audiences. Are you willing to give away half of what you do, in order to see the other half go global? (Why is it that business is so much better at giving things away than the Body of Christ?)

Think about your audience. Understand your men. Observe. Survey. Ask. That will help shape which strategies you pursue with greatest return.

-Internet users between the ages of 35-54 now account for 40.6% of the MySpace visitor base, an 8.2% increase during 2006.
-Peaked in June 2007 with 7% of all Internet visits
-“Struggling societies” (lower income)
-4% more women visitors than Facebook
-More affluent “affluent suburbia”
-Growing to 1% of all Internet visits
-1.2 million visitors per month
-A weekday event, with weekend use dropping to half its weekday rate
-10% more likely to be male than the average internet user
-25-44 year old segments have found more value in Twitter and started to ramp up usage.

How many people can you reasonably be expected to keep up with?
Dunbar’s Number - the theory of anthropologist Robin Dunbar popularlized in Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point (Back Bay Books, 2002.
-Theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom you can maintain stable social relationships – 150 as an upper limit.
-The larger the group, the more rules, limits, parameters.
-Drawn from size of the human neocortex, village size and migration, and behavior of non-human primates
-A different theory called the Bernard – Killworth number is 230.
-A guy in NY has 693 MySpace friends, but is creating strict rules about who he will accept, and promises to write 12 friends a day and eventually rotate through all of them.

- for e-blogger / Google
- – Wes Roberts, Rick Kingham
-Keep it short – keep it current (unlike this blog)

-Obama's amazing success built on the work of John Edwards in 2004,
-raised gobs of $$,
-sent messages aimed at their region, one message for states that border Mexico, a different message for Michigan – “Houdini Project” real time reporting on election, crossing off names within 30 mins. of their vote, to cull the call lists.
-Announce the VP pick via text message
-3.5 million Facebook friends

News, photos, - KEEP IT CURRENT
Use natural, intuitive flow to your pages

RSS – Longmont FYI
By e-mail address


From the “95 Theses” in The Cluetrain Manifesto
Levine, Rick, Locke, C., Searls, D., Weinberger, D. The Cluetrain Manifesto. Cambridge, MA. Perseus Books, 2000. (
1. Markets are conversations.

4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.

18. Companies that don’t realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity.

21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.

22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.

38. Human communities are based on discourse – on human speech about human concerns.

50. Today, the org chart is hyperlinked, not hierarchical. Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority.

62. Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall.

78. You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention.

91. Our allegiance is to ourselves – our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our sparring partners. Companies that have no part in this world, also have no future.

Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point. Boston. Back Bay Books, 2002. (

Levine, Rick, Locke, C., Searls, D., Weinberger, D. The Cluetrain Manifesto. Cambridge, MA. Perseus Books, 2000. (

Tancer, Bill, “MySpace v. Facebook: Competing Addictions.” 2007, New York.,8599,1675244,00.html

Moskalyuk, Alex, “Age Demographics of MySpace visitors.” 2006

Freiert, Max, “Twitter Traffic Explosion: Who’s behind it all?” 2008.

SOURCES AND RESOURCES (the technology place for non-profits) TopRank’s internet marketing blog on the intersection of digital PR, social and search engine marketing. (Steve’s business communications blog) (Steve’s personal blog commentary)

MEN’S MINISTRY WEBSITES (from my bookmarks)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Friending, tweeting, and other new behaviors

My first blog post of 2009 is on the matter of social media. One month not long ago MySpace captured an amazing 7-8% of all Internet visits. Facebook is coming on strong, jumping to a full 1% of all Internet visits. Twitter is coming on strong too, and marketers are paying attention to the little 140-character personal updates.

Why do people care so much about mundane personal matters and “shout outs”?

These social networks are a way to interact personally in an increasingly impersonal computer age. A “high touch” reaction to a high tech world. A book from nearly a decade ago, The Cluetrain Manifesto, highlights the importance of a “human voice” in corporate communications. Enough with the jargon and corporate-speak!

Back in December 19, 2008, new media guru Tim O’Reilly was a guest on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation – Science Friday.” It’s worth 23 minutes to get a better handle on the future of social media.

Coming next, notes from my workshop at Dangerous Man Day on communicating to men in the 21st century.