Archive for “January, 2007”

Social Media Presentation

This is just a quick post to thank everyone who attended this mornings’ Social Media breakfast at the Ontario Club – I hope you enjoyed my portion of the morning and found it informative and useful!

Further to that, I’ve posted a summary of my PowerPoint presentation – if you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line…

Click here to download the .ppt file.

Kudos to Deloitte – and here's why:

In this post, I slammed Deloitte for spamming me after I left a comment on their new corporate blog earlier this week.

At 3:44 EST, I got the following comment from Greg Shea at Deloitte:


Thanks for the catch. Our intent wasn’t to spam those who submit comments. Before we set up an RSS feed we used the email address/checkbox combination to enable blog subscriptions. When we implemented the feed we neglected to remove the checkbox. We’re working on that now, and thanks for the constructive feedback.

Please note the complete absence of hostility and the gentlemanly tone. Here’s why all of this is so incredibly fantastic:

1. Participation. Deloitte is monitoring the blogosphere and actively participating in the conversation about their blog (“You have to be a part of the conversation in order to influence it…”)

2. Action. Deloitte is smart enough to know the kinds of informal communications that are expected in this space, jumping in shortly after they realised there was a misunderstanding. Greg was nice and not snarky at all – mollifying me greatly and therefore greatly reducing any risk of “brand damage” originating with me as a result of the inadvertant spamming.

3. Intelligence. Deloitte received invaluable intelligence from the marketplace. It sounds like they had no idea they were spamming people, and are moving quickly to correct that since it’s obviously annoying.

Well done, folks. Your handling of this situation was picture-perfect!

Deloitte's new WIN blog spams commenters

Does anyone see the irony in a blog that’s intended to help people balance their work-life obligations crossing the line into my personal space by forcing me to opt out of unsolicited emails? If I happen to notice the tiny little box? Which I did not?

This is a bad idea – here’s the spam I got last night from Deloitte after commenting on their work-life balance blog:


And here’s the submit a comment page, on which, looking at it twice (once to comment, once in prep for this post) I did not notice the “Would you like to be notified when new blog entries are posted?” box, already pre-checked (which in itself is generally regarded as bad form):


If you’re engaged in permission-based marketing in the social media space, i.e. a corporate blog, it behoves you to let your readers be in control – that is, this isn’t a regular old website. I’m reading your blog because I’m interested. If you’re using “opt out” tactics to get my email address and then send me spam, I’m not going to like you very much – and I might not return, feeling that you have taken advantage of me.

So Deloitte? Do yourselves a favour: make the text more visible and uncheck that box. Anything else shows me that you don’t get my desire for work-life balance and you’re more interested in collecting data for future use than you are in connecting with me as an individual.

But that’s just my take – what’s yours, Dear Readers?

Please be sure to read the latest update on this issue here

Thursday Social Media Roundup

I apologize for this massive post – you may want to take a day or two to digest it. Here’s everything that’s fit to blog from the last few weeks and beyond…

1. The fancy new Social Media Collective site has gone live – please stop by for a visit!

1. Nortel has launched it’s first corporate blog. It’s written by John Roese, Chief Technology Officer.

2. There were discussions about CEOs contributing to the official blog at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which prompted reminders that leaping in with a CEO blog may not be the best way to start. All that aside, I think it’s a validation of the seismic shifts that are taking place in society. The organizers of the forum must agree; this year’s theme was “The Shifting Power Equation”.

3. There’s a new thing called MySpam, and if you do it (like this guy did) MySpace will sue you.

4. A very cool new thing was released called the push me/pull me widget which actually pulls the necessary code from social bookmarking sites to your blog, rather than redirecting users to the individual sites. I must investigate! (can you still track the outclicks, I wonder?)

1. IBM has released Lotus Connections, which bundles the ability to create profiles, communities, activities, bookmarks and blogs into one tidy package for the enterprise.

2. Anheuser-Busch is getting social. According to this story, they’ve partnered with MingleNow, a “social media site” created by Blue Lithium, an ad network

Dedicated to challenging the legacy ways of doing business to help marketers achieve extraordinary results.

Do you think the members of MingleNow know that they’re really just fodder for the latest Bud campaign? Am I alone in thinking that there’s something a little off about this?

Last Friday
1. Everyone’s up in arms about the social media press release. Seems Stowe Boyd feels that many of us out here are getting social media all wrong, that we shouldn’t use terms like “audience” (sorry Stowe, not with you on that one) and that, instead of SMPR, PR agencies should simply use blogs instead (they have all the same bells and whistles). So then there were calls to kill the SMPR altogether.

Naturally, Social Media Club co-founder Chris Heuer (popularizer of the SMPR – Shift Communications actually came up with the idea in May 2006) was not pleased, and spent a tremendous amount of time explaining and defending the group’s notion of what the SMPR was supposed to be. The discussion even spilled over into the Social Media Collective discussion group.

In the end? I say, “Who cares”. If the SMPR is of use, it will be adopted. If not, oh well. And social media will continue to evolve. I don’t think anyone has the right or ability to define it or tell us what language we’re allowed to use when discussing it. It’s mine, too, remember? You can listen to a podcast of the panel discussion that started the whole thing here.

2. Jennifer Jones of the Marketing Voices podcast has compiled her list of the Top 10 Marketing Podcasts.

3. Lots of talk about social media measurement after a webinar given by Charlene Li. I expect a lot more of it this year, but also think it’s important to remember that, in many cases, it’s as simple as “use=ROI” (if use=engagement).

Last Wednesday:
1. Hollywood looooves social media. According to this article in AdWeek, Universal has added a raft of complimentary social media events (I want to say “channels”, I think it still works as a descriptor) to promote the film Smokin’ Aces, including a Second Life game (you could win L$1,000,000 – now that’s clever) a Director’s blog and a nice viral widget-y thing that lets you add the trailer to your “website”. The campaign has also has featured some of the most confusing trailers I have ever seen. It opens Friday.

Last Tuesday:
1. Edelman PR released their third annual New Frontiers in Employee Communications study showing some new numbers on the social media adoption frontier in the U.S.:

  • 32 percent of organizations author, support or host a blog
  • 35 percent use podcasts
  • 11 percent operate a wiki
  • Which is all well and good – but I’m a little curious about their sample and exactly what the numbers are supposed to indicate. Here’s another quote:

    [the study authors] surveyed senior corporate communicators at 75 Fortune 500 companies and dozens of global organizations

    Because, of course, the numbers don’t dovetail with those contained in any other research I’ve ever seen, the most recent being that UMASSD study of the Inc. 500.


    1. Unrestricted corporate blogging by employees can be very, very good for the enterprise – according to this story about a recent study conducted by Microsoft (though, of course, would they have told us if it had been any other way?)

    One particular finding of the study was that the public weblogs of employees often led to unexpected discoveries, both among other employees, as well as from outside the organisation.

    In addition, the researchers concluded that too many restrictions would potentially nullify the benefits – trust in your employees is key to success. (h/t to Justin Patten at e-consultancy)

    2. MySpace completely dominates the social networking universe at the moment, but it will not always be this way. Anticipating future (and current) need for services targetted to different groups, there are a number of new bilingual sites popping up targetting Latinos in particular. The latest, LatinosConnected, was founded by Veronica Alvarez, a former product manager at Yahoo!. Press release may be digested here.

    Have a great rest of the week!

    "Proxy Blogging" is NOT OKAY

    Until earlier today, sitting in my hotel room (I am on the road with a client) I had never heard the term “proxy blogging”. I was listening to a podcast that will remain nameless because I don’t want to unfairly single out anyone (since clearly only someone totally inexperienced in the blogosphere – especially with all the recent examples of the brand damage that can occur when you’re not honest – would even dream of suggesting such a thing). The writer being interviewed began talking about the notion of “proxy blogging” and made it sound as if she was engaged to craft “proxy blogs” (plogs?) on a regular basis for CEOs that were “too busy” to do so themselves.

    Please tell me, Dear Readers, that there isn’t some secret society of hapless web writers creating “proxy blogs” (let’s be honest, they’re actually called flogs) for otherwise well-intentioned (but similarly clueless) Canadian companies! Do I need to remind you of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s code of ethics? Look what you made me do:

    The essence of the WOMMA Ethics Code comes down to the Honesty ROI:

  • Honesty of Relationship: You say who you’re speaking for
  • Honesty of Opinion: You say what you believe
  • Honesty of Identity: You never obscure your identity
  • Sound like a “proxy blog” to you? I didn’t think so.

    (Oh, and while I was writing this post I had an idea for a new wikipedia browser widget: a tool that allows you to highlight a phrase, like, for example, “proxy blogging”, and search it against all wikipedia entries. This would be very handy.)

    A proud sister moment

    My younger brother (very younger – he was born in 1981) works as a junior web designer at Organic. He’s been there full time (not contract!) for just under a year. Anyway, my dear brother, whom we lovingly refer to as “Uncle Tater”, recently won a company-wide competition to design the header graphic for the Organic Corporate Blog. Here’s a screen grab of the design that won (it’s live right now):


    And here’s the graphic that Tater hoped would win:


    Congrats, Tyler – beautiful, clean and simple design, well done. (Though I do think the fellas at Organic made the right decision, eyeballs are gross).

    Social Media Podcast with Jeff Parks

    On April 16th 13th, I will be in Ottawa to speak to members of the Capital Region chapter of the Computer-Human Interaction group. In advance, Jeff Parks of IA Consultants and I chatted about all sorts of things social media-related, including the notion of communities of interest, some issues around culture and approach for businesses interested in blogging specifically, how business can use blogs and wikis internally, the end of “hard” retirement and how wikis can facilitate knowledge management in the aging workforce, and a number of other things. The podcast is published by Carleton University’s Human Oriented Technology Lab, sponsors of the capCHI workshop.

    It was a great discussion (thanks, Jeff!) and you can listen to the entire podcast here.

    Deloitte reaches out to workforce with new blog

    This has been a recurring theme this week – engaging prospective employees in the ways they want to be engaged. With the biggest mass retirement in history just a few short years away, it’s incredibly important for companies to get on the bandwagon.

    First, it was Shel and Neville at FIR, reviewing some news items that talked about the “attitude” of the new generation, and how they’ll work really hard for you, but on their terms, and that social networking strategies inside the enterprise are likely to be a key part of engaging them.

    Over to the Social Media Collective, and Jevon MacDonald’s gob-smacked reaction to this incredibly out-of-touch article about social media on CIO Insights:

    Wow, how to you ignore the fact that several generations are now growing up on these platforms? They are literally addicted to being connected in a way that even I still have to get used to.

    Then, this morning I had the pleasure of being interviewed for the IA Podcast by Jeff Parks, in advance of the CapCHI workshop, which I’m speaking at in April. Our conversation wandered over to… the largest mass retirement in history, and how do companies both engage their new workforce and attempt to retain some of the knowledge leaving the organization? (I suggested wikis and an end to “hard retirement” – letting experienced workers share their knowledge and experience through social media technologies and platforms while wearing their pajamas at home).

    And finally? Today’s news that Deloitte [full disclosure: I have done a lot of work for] had launched:

    the first corporate blog to explore the issues and personal experiences women and men face in pursuit of career advancement and work/life balance… the blog provides a forum for candid discussions that aim to help professionals enhance their careers and find ways to make flexibility and choice a staple of the workplace.

    (And, in my experience, if ever there was a place where employees needed help achieving a work-life balance, it’s Deloitte).

    Another interesting note: the blog was internal for 18 months (though selected stories from those archives are now available to the public) and they have a wonderfully clear set of guidelines for commenters, something I’d actually like a few of my clients to read if they happen by:

    We invite you to submit comments to any of the posts you find on this blog—current or archive—by using the form below. Along with our Blog Etiquette, here’s some important information you should know:

  • Submissions will be read within a day or so by the blog moderators. Comments in line with the etiquette will be posted with first names and locations as identifiers. (Sorry but that’s the way it’s gotta be done in corporate America.)
  • Your contact information will be protected as outlined in our Privacy Policy. If you do not wish to be identified, you are invited to put “anonymous” in the name category.
  • If you happen to include an individual’s name or the name of a company in your comments, it may be replaced with a generic descriptor (“large financial services firm,” for example).
  • My only initial complaints are that their software requires that you remember the name of the post that you’re commenting on (why is that??) which, of course, no one ever will without having to click back and forth a bunch of times, and once your comment is submitted, there’s no clear link back to the blog post you were reading.

    Anyway, overall, well done – it looks like Deloitte is a company that really “gets” social media – and they’re also “getting” the fact that recruitment and retention are soon going to be “business as unusual”*

    *A tagline I pitched for some promotional material in support of a business award program Deloitte had in Canada. They didn’t go for it, but I thought it was terribly clever.

    Bill Marriott joins the blogosphere

    This article in today’s Washington Post tipped me off to the newest member of the business blogosphere: Bill Marriott, Chairman and CEO of Marriott International has started the Marriott on the Move blog in part because his communications folks told him how important blogs are in the travel biz,

    Now I know this is where the action is if you want to talk to your customers directly — and hear back from them…Blogging will allow me to do what I’ve been doing for years – on a global scale. Talking to the customer comes easily to me.

    I’m sure this decision has as much to do with going where the customers are (smart) as it does having the credibility to counteract criticism in the blogosphere (smarter). Bill’s even vowed to talk about current events – he’s big on immigration reform.

    I submitted a comment at 7:28 a.m. EST – let’s see how long their moderation queue is.

    Update: 9:40 a.m. EST, still no comments approved.