The Latest Facebook Tweak – A Marketing Reality Check

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image via Birger King

So is the party on Facebook over? That is the question.

If you’re not a communications professional and are therefore wondering what the question is about, here’s the short version: All those various businesses and stores and brands you’ve “liked” on Facebook over the years? You’re going to be seeing less of them in your feed. In fact, you already miss a lot. Which you probably haven’t noticed because good heavens is that feed cluttered to begin with already! And that’s the point.

You think you’re getting more information than you really are because who ever looks at their facebook page and thinks, “huh, I haven’t seen anything from XYZ company lately.” You either do see an update and read it, or you don’t and never notice it. And it’s probably just a matter of time before Facebook all but disappears your “liked” pages’ updates if they can’t pay to advertise.

I see both sides of the issue. [Read more…]

Facebook Launches Donate Button For Non-Profits

Facebook just rolled out a new donate feature for non-profits. It’s not a small thing when the social media behemoth finally makes it possible for your donor to have fewer distractions between call-to-action that all important click-to-pay. And there was much rejoicing in the non-profit social media land…sort of.

One of Facebook's Mottos!

Yeah, not with the hard earned trust and dollars of donors though. (image via Mari Smith)

[Read more…]

Chipotle’s Fake Twitter Hack

Image by Mashable

Image by Mashable

So, Chipotle hacked their own twitter account. Really? Really.

And why would they do such a thing? For attention. Apparently they wanted people to talk about them, and in that, they succeeded.   [Read more…]

Google Reader, Which I Never Did Use

Good Reader’s going away, to much sadness on the interwebs.

I’m going to out myself here….I never used Google reader, or any reader for that matter. I’m sure it says tons about me that I never could figure out the whole deal. I tried very hard with the whole RSS thing in the early years. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, but I just always felt like the doof in the room, the one who was going to be gently taken aside after the Friday morning staff meeting and be informed that the acceptance letter went out by mistake, you know?

RSS feed example

This is what my earliest RSS explorations would produce on the screen. And I was supposed to do …. what next?

Looking back, I think it failed the whole “can I do this in one quick 30-second step” test that later seemed to win my loyalty to feedburner – direct to my email! Maybe Google Reader didn’t exist then, or maybe I started out with a bad reader experience, because if there’s one thing Google does do really well, it’s to keep things simple for the end user. But all it took was one baffling foray, and I was done. [Read more…]

Of Cookies and Kings

Two great stories that I think every communications professional needs to read this week:

The Superbowl Orea Insta-Ad

oreo-superbowl-blackout-adYou didn’t have to be in the US or a sportsfan to see and smile at this one. But for anyone who thinks it was effortless or even right-place-right-time, think again. There’s a good write up by the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi on how it came about. But this is the really important part:  [Read more…]

Why I Hate The Automate

This post from Aaron Lee pretty much drives home something I’ve come to believe – automation is to be used very carefully, if at all – especially if you’re a smallish company that can still manage all its social media without major outsourcing.

I not only don’t believe “personal” seeming tweets from a major company – because I assume it came from a machine. (Highly vetted and very professionally planned, no doubt, but it’s long since lost any real connection with a human at origin point.) I also live in fear of automating a tweet that:

Tick Tock Tick Tock ... Real Life Optional

a) gets mugged by real life events – a happy tweet that looks horribly tone-deaf and out of place because something truly tragic happened in real life, making you and your product look not only trivial but completely oblivious.

b) repeats the same message over and over with no regard for context – a sure way to annoy your core followers who may subscribed to all your communication channels

I realize this very hands-on approach doesn’t scale up for a major company like Acura. I have no idea what one does at that level – although, if you have the budget, doesn’t that also assume you have the people to stay on top of things so that your message doesn’t look like spam on the other end? But if you’re a small to medium-sized business? Take the extra time, customize your information, and convince your customers that a real person’s on the other end. It’s what’ll keep them coming back to you rather than going to the competitor. And I say that not as a communications professional, but a customer on the receiving end of pitches from people like me. 24/7.


You Klouchebag!

You gotta love it! And I found it somewhat amusing that note of Klouchebag – a parody of Klout – showed up scant seconds after my last post, where I beat up on it.

What is Klouchebag? Why, it is the standard for asshattery! And apparently my score says that I’m a bit of a prat.

Sohini's Klouchebag score

My Klouchebag Score

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m okay with the assessment because both “asshattery” and “prat” are favorite words. The former quite commonly used when I am around people with whom I am comfortable sharing invective but not quite comfortable dropping the f-bomb.

Digital Profiling : We Are More Than The Sum Of An Algorithm

Just read this thought-provoking, somewhat queasy-feeling-making but required piece of reading from Jerry Owyang.

For those of you have no idea who the man is, Owyang is a highly regarded digital strategy and online media thinker.* And now that you do, don’t zone out, even if all you want from your social media is to connect with friends or check out the latest awesome grandkid pics. Because….

The gist of Owyang’s piece is that digital profiling is coming to an interaction near you, whether you’re ready or not. Now, this is hardly earth shattering news – pretty much everyone is now aware that you need to be aware of what your online social presence says about you, particularly if you’re job hunting. All those tweets and Facebook (not so public but easily shared/liked/viral) statuses where you were hungover, nasty about a public figure, or displayed bigotry. Yeah, all that forms a first impression of you, and informs your desirability as a candidate. Good luck if you were kidding and now sit in front of a search committee that doesn’t see the humor or share your politics.

Klout Logo

Influential people in my networks score "low." Probably because they've kept some social media profiles unlinked. Hm.

But back to the queasies….Owyang’s point is that the profiling is now going to happen in ways even more intrusive, annoying, sobering (in how unimportant you are), and possibly outright insulting (“no, you’re not important, you don’t get this offer, ever!”) than we are currently, sometimes grudgingly, used to. And one of the examples that really struck me was the article on a marketing guy who lost out on a job because he had a low Klout score. Although, I’m thinking that perhaps the problem wasn’t low Klout score so much as the fact that he didn’t know what Klout was – even though he was in marketing.

Still, I don’t relish the idea of being told I don’t qualify because I score really low on an algorithm that may or may not fully tell the picture of who I am and what I can do. Especially if it’s all based on what I’ve chosen to share, or not. I think reducing people to a score, when not reductive and insulting, is simply unwise – regardless of industry. We’re people and one size does not fit all, and some things are not well measured in numbers and ratios, no matter how much very very smart people sweat the details of the algorithm. And no, I don’t think that because I think we’re so precious and special that we can’t be mathematized. We probably can – if you can account for every single unpredictability of the human race. That’s a tall order even for the staunchest machines, which ultimately go by math a person invented and implement somewhere down the line.

None of which means I shouldn’t know what a Klout is on the series of pneumatic tubes that is the Interwebs, or how influential it is whether or not I’m on it. Which goes to a larger point about the digital profiling: You can opt out of the digital world, you can pooh pooh it, find it annoying, trivial, and despise it all you want. But know that it’s increasingly part of the puzzle people use to figure us out at first blush. And if you’re not gonna play the game, have your talking points ready. Don’t be the guy who faltered because he didn’t know what the Klout score was. Be the guy who doesn’t care if he has a low score or doesn’t show up on a Google search, because you did your interview prep and you are more than what the web says you are.

* I flatly refuse to use the term “thought leader” on my own blog. 

My Posts On Razoo

Field of Dreams

"If you build it, he will come." If you don't recognize that line, you need to watch Field of Dreams. NOW.

I’m flattered and delighted to tell you that I’ve been published – twice! – on Razoo’s blog. Here are the links to the posts in which I work in references to Nora Roberts and Field of Dreams.

Please feel free to comment there, and enjoy!

If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Preparing For What I Do Today

How do you prepare for a job in social media? That was the question I got from a high school senior. I’ve yet to meet Noelle Royer, who emailed me the following:

careers in social media

Image from Splash Media University

I love your job. I’ve always loved writing and, as I’m entering my senior year of high school, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I should major in and where I plan on going with it. So let’s say, hypothetically, that I aspire to do what you do. I’m looking for direction. What I want to know is this: if you could do your college years over, knowing what it is you do now, how would you best use the time to prepare?

Here is what I wrote back …

I happened into this field entirely by accident [Read more…]