Social Media Experts

September 30, 2008

Alex Hillman sure stirred up a lot of emotion with his post over at Mashable about social media experts – How to Know if You Should Fire Your Social Media Consultant.

Go read the post for yourself, but all I needed to see to agree was Reason #1:

“If they recommend a Twitter campaign”

Like Alex, I am a twitter fan, (@tomob) and I agree with him, it is no place to start. Getting “social media” is a big deal. It is asking corporations to act like human beings and become an integral part of the community that exists around their products and brands.

Being an integral part of the community means:

  1. It is a relationship, not a campaign
  2. Community motivations get served first – not yours
  3. You have to contribute
  4. You have to be real – open, honest, direct, transparent

This is not something that can be outsourced. Outsourcing community involvement is like outsourcing friendship. It really can’t be done effectively.

With respect to “Social Media Consultants” the answer is the same as it always was. No, we’re not going to have licensing or standards. Those of us on the Vendor side (me @ MotiveQuest) have to be clear both about what we will and won’t do. Anyone who says they do it all is just lying. Those of you on the buyer side have to ramp up the due diligence. Ask for and call references. Do some research. Sort the wheat from the chaff.

Finally, this transformation is not going to be easy. Establishing relationships with your customers and communities (is that “Social Media?) is hard work. It cuts across the silos. It will require getting Marketing, PR, Customer Service, Engineering/Product, Legal and Exec all on board. It will require real people making real efforts to connect every day.

Good Luck!



Chinese Milk Scandal

September 26, 2008

Most of you don’t know this, but early on in my career I was a milk man. Yes, I graduated from Purdue University with a BS degree in Food Science. My first job was working for Dean Foods Company as a supervisor in dairy plant – a milk man. (Here is my microbiology professor – Dr. Maribeth Cousin)

This may sound strange to you, but there is something special about a dairy plant. Milk is a fragile, important, ubiquitous and sensitive food. Taking special care of milk is what we did every day in that plant.

We took special care because we understood that everyone, but especially children depend on milk and if we didn’t do our jobs right, people could get sick. In fact there was a sad incident here in Chicago where there was a salmonella outbreak traced back to a Jewel dairy plant was wasn’t getting cleaned properly. Thousands were sickened and several died. The plant never re-opened.

So this milk scandal from China where they were putting poisonous industrial chemicals (melamine) in milk makes me sad and mad. What kind of person does this? How do they rationalize it to themselves? How do they sleep at night?

I have a pretty libertarian bent, but the USDA here in the USA and most if not all of the food manufacturers do a really good job of ensuring that we have the safest food supply in the world.


133 MM Blogs Indeed

September 23, 2008

Interesting “state of the blogosphere” report from Technorati on 9/22.

All you have to do is look at this chart to understand the essence of what’s happening. Far from being the massive phenomenon that has been shopped around for years, it is obvious that there are a very small number of influential blogs.

I mention this because it is common for companies in the social media analytics space to brag about monitoring over 100 MM blogs as part of their service. How hard could it really be when >94% of the blogs out there have not been updated in the last 120 days?

Blogs are not so much a CGM phenomena as they are a new publishing channel. If you have something interesting and compelling to say you have a chance to get a real audience. Only 0.057% will ever crack the Technorati Authority of 50+.

Not saying blogs aren’t important, but let’s not kid ourselves about there being 133 MM real blogs out there.