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Tiger Woods: Why We Care (and what we can learn)

Tiger the Golfer

Tiger the Golfer

Just about every crisis PR person on the planet says that Tiger Woods is handling his current PR problem in the wrong way. A quick recap: admit your problem, come out with it fast, don't let someone else break your news.

OK, with that aside let me point out why we care: Tiger Woods isn't just a person, he isn't just a golfer, he's a brand. For many companies he is their face and their reputation. Like many sports celebrities, his golfing is just a means to an end, it's a way for him to keep a public persona so he can keep the ad dollars flowing.

How much? In September Forbes noted that Tiger became the world's first $1 Billion athlete. ESPN predicted that Woods could be the $6 Billion man. In that article Rick Burton, director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon called Tiger "the perfect earner."

And we, as consumers, continue to buy what Tiger tries to sell us. If we didn't his promotional scheme wouldn't work. So when callers on radio talk shows say things like "we should leave the guy alone," they're wrong.

Tiger the Famiy Man

Tiger the Famiy Man

We never left him alone, and it's made him a wealthy man. But it's also made him a public man.

Tiger the Brand

Tiger the Brand

That being said, we can learn a lot from this since we are now our own personal brands. Yes, you have a brand, you use it every time you Tweet, every time you put something on Facebook and every time you add to Google's ever growing library that tells the story of you.

But worse, that brand can be threatened if you end up on the wrong end of a police investigation, or just have someone start badmouthing you on a blog. So listen to the advice of the crisis PR folks and file it away.

Just in case you find yourself in a car accident at 2:15am.

"Tiger Woods is the perfect earner," says Rick Burton, director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon.
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The Social Media Culture

I've been pondering a lot recently about the cultural changes that need to be put in place inside organizations to effectively implement Web 2.0 and social media across the enterprise. This recent research from SNCR 's Don Bulmer and Vanessa DiMauro shows the reach beyond marketing very clearly. I highly recommend you read this.

The research shows that social media is having a tremendous impact beyond the realm of just marketing: it's impacting professional decision making. Here are the highlights of the research (directly from Don's post):

1.  Professional decision-making is becoming more social - enter the era of Social Media Peer Groups (SMPG)

  • Traditional influence cycles are being disrupted by Social Media as decision makers utilize social networks to inform and validate decisions
  • Professionals want to be collaborative in the decision-cycle but not be marketed or sold to online; however online marketing is a preferred activity by companies.

2.  The big three have emerged as leading professional networks: LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter

  • The average professional belongs to 3-5 online networks for business use, and LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are among the top used.
  • The convergence of Internet, mobile, and social media has taken significant shape as professionals rely on anywhere access to information, relationships and networks

3.  Professional networks are emerging as decision-support tools

  • Decision-makers are broadening reach to gather information especially among active users

4.  Professionals trust online information almost as much as information gotten from in-person

  • Information obtained from offline networks still have highest levels of trust with slight advantage over online (offline: 92% - combined strongly/somewhat trust; online: 83% combined strongly/somewhat trust)

5.  Reliance on web-based professional networks and online communities has increased significantly over the past 3 years

  • Three quarters of respondents rely on professional networks to support business decisions
  • Reliance has increased for essentially all respondents over the past three years

6.  Social Media use patterns are not pre-determined by age or organizational affiliation

  • Younger (20-35) and older professionals (55+) are more active users of social tools than middle aged professionals.
  • There are more people collaborating outside their company wall than within their organizational intranet
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Why I'm Growing My Mo'

Me Before The Mo

Me Before The Mo

Two years ago in December, I lost my cousin to cancer. Not even two years later, I want the world to know I haven’t forgotten my cousin. That's why I grew my mustache and goatee last year, and that's why I shaved them and started over again this year.

(You may not have noticed because it takes so darn long for me to grow any facial hair. Therefore, here are a few pics for your enjoyment.)

And that's why I'm asking for your help. Please contribute to me and my "Movember" team that is trying to help raise awareness and fight cancer.

Not My Real Mo

NOT My Real Mo

Here’s more on Brad Van Hoosear's story...

In Loving Memory of Brad Van Hoosear (1970-2007)
Photo Copyright (c) Kay Phelan, uploaded by tvanhoosear

Brad Van Hoosear died in December 2007 of pancreatic cancer at the young age of 37. Here are some facts about pancreatic cancer, many from Brad’s mother, who was at Brad’s side throughout his terrible ordeal.

In 2007, The National Cancer Institute estimates 37,170 new cases of pancreatic cancer and 33,370 deaths in USA. Most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will have passed away by the end of the first year. Americans are twice as likely to be affected by pancreatic cancer that Europeans, for reasons unknown.

What My Mo REALLY Looks Like

What My Mo REALLY Looks Like

The symptoms of pancreatic cancer, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancreatic_cancer, but verified elsewhere) include pain in the upper abdomen that typically radiates to the back and is relieved by leaning forward, loss of appetite, significant weight loss and jaundice. By the time you feel the pain from pancreatic cancer, however, it’s likely already beyond most typical cancer treatments currently available.

Furthermore, there are currently no non-intrusive, conclusive tests for pancreatic cancer beyond magnetic and sonic imaging that can pick up cancer masses, but which typically are only authorized after symptoms appear, when it’s already too late.

There are some known risk factors for the disease (the Wikipedia article lists several), and a few preventative measures, including quitting smoking, taking vitamin D, and eating foods rich in vitamins B12, B6 and folate.

A Young Life Lost to Cancer

The incidence of pancreatic cancer increases with age; most people are between 60 and 80 when they receive the diagnosis. Brad was 37. He was so young that, even though his symptoms were exactly those of the cancer, he was misdiagnosed because of his age. The doctor even said “If you were 60, I’d say you had pancreatic cancer.” Well, he did. But even if he had been diagnosed, it would’ve been too late.

There are people actively looking into ways to new treatment options. One such person is Michelle Calabretta, Ph.D., who blogs about her research at http://drmiggy.wordpress.com/ (she’s also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/drmiggy), but there are many others—you can read her blog for lots of good information and links to all kinds of cancer research, not just pancreatic.

In the U.S., pancreatic cancer is 9th or 10th most commonly diagnosed cancer (depending on gender), but the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women. The median survival period from the time of diagnosis until demise is arguably the worst of any of the cancers. The median survival for untreated advanced cancer of the pancreas is about 3 1/2 months; with good treatment this increases to about six months. Brad fought the disease for a year and a half—his youth and strength of spirit carried him.

I knew very little about this disease when Brad was first diagnosed. Quickly, however, I learned that a coworker’s cousin had died of it. When I tweeted about it yesterday (http://twitter.com/vanhoosear), more cases came out of the woodwork. In my network of 300+ Twitter followers, six wrote back saying they had lost a friend, acquaintance or family member to this disease! (Dozens more shared sympathy and support, for which I am very thankful, as is Brad’s direct family, with whom I shared this groundswell of support.)

A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is a death sentence. There is no cure, few treatment options, and the 5 year survival rate is less than 5%. Despite this high mortality rate, the federal government spends woefully little money on pancreatic cancer research. It’s a very painful way to die, few treatments exist, and no cures.

The National Cancer Institute’s cancer research budget was $4.824 billion in 2004, an estimated $52.7 million of which was devoted to pancreatic cancer (1% of the budget for the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women). Research spending per pancreatic cancer patient is $1,145, the lowest of any leading cancer.

There are things you can do to help change this!

First, learn more about the disease. Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancreatic_cancer and http://tinyurl.com/24p83b.

Next, tell your friends and family about the disease, especially if they match a lot of the predisposing factors outlined in Wikipedia.

Remember that November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Buy a purple ribbon pin to show your support: http://tinyurl.com/2964gg.

If cancer has affected you personally, tell people about it. I’ve found the experience very fulfilling and comforting.

Finally, consider supporting awareness and research into treating this terrible disease. There are many causes out there. These are just a few:

My dear cousin left behind a very rich life, despite its shortness, wonderful memories for his friends and family (including myself), and one final, incredible gift. Brad’s final legacy was to donate his cancerous tissue to Dr. Iacobuzio-Donahue’s research department at Johns Hopkins University in the effort to help find a cure for this dreaded disease.

If you knew Brad, or have been moved by this particular case, please consider making a memorial donation directly to the work of Dr. Iacobuzio-Donahue in Brad’s honor:

“GI Medical Donation Program”
c/o Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, MD, PhD
Dept of Pathology Johns Hopkins University
1550 Orleans Street, CRB II, Room 343
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 955-9132

Please include your name and address, and note that your donation is being made in memory of Bradley Van Hoosear.

Brad, thank you. You’ve inspired friends, family, and now hundreds of people online to think about pancreatic cancer, moving us one important step closer to treating, preventing and someday curing this terrible cancer.

You will be missed!

This post originally appeared on my old personal blog “Michigander in Mass,” and later on "More Than Marketing."

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The Chief Social Revenue Officer

Or, "Who Owns Social Media (Take 3)"

I continue to ponder the cultural implications of social media and Web 2.0. Last week I declared that the CEO owns social media, and I stand by that assertion. But this week I was prompted to ponder this further by a post from Amy Kenly on the Innovation Experts Network in LinkedIn. She asked (bold is LinkedIn's):

How are manufacturers taking advantage of social computing & Web 2.0 technologies to raise the bar on product development performance? Where is the intersection of social computing, PLM & innovation?

She went on to share some insight into the question from PLM (that's product lifecycle management for you non-manufacturing types) analyst Jim Brown from his article on "social product development". Here's an excerpt from that (bold is his):

The implications [of social product development on manufacturers] break down into two categories. The first implications are about the applicability and importance of social computing in product development. You have probably heard me talk about this before, and this report helps confirm and expand my thoughts on the subject. There is clearly something of value happening with the intersection of this exciting and popular new way of communicating and the business of developing profitable products.

The second set of implications fall into the category of practical advice and lessons learned to take advantage of this new opportunity. The opportunities are available, but the most important thing is that manufacturers don’t discount the applicability of social computing concepts based on their personal experience with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, or any other social networking sites. Manufacturers have to see through the use of these communication techniques for “fun” and see the significant business potential.

This potential will likely never come from the public social networking sites, but instead by incorporating these “Web 2.0? concepts into existing infrastructure and product development solutions. This is the most practical method to both achieve the value, but also ensure that product data and intellectual property (IP) is protected and that the solutions are used in the right context – to improve products and projects that drive corporate profitability.

This got me thinking about revisiting marketing titles and roles. My response to her:

Social product development is an excellent way to frame one facet of the impact of social on the enterprise -- the other obvious area being social marketing.

Most companies have started with social marketing. Here's the catch: if your business isn't equipped to deal with what Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li call the Groundswell, you could find yourself in hot water when something goes really right or really wrong.

Social marketing is dangerous if the only public face is a lowly marketing intern, agency rep or other marketing person with no input into other aspects of the organization. If that person, however high up in the org s/he may be, cannot bring the engineering team, product management, HR, customer service or any other relevant team to bear to respond to issues raised in the public domain, they will get called out for it and put to task.

The "who owns social media" question has resurfaced recently, and my answer was the CEO. Now that may not be realistic in many organizations. Perhaps its time we created the role of the chief social officer, who can ensure that it all runs smoothly, and that the proper feedback loops are in place between marketing, engineering, customer service, management and the "crowd" or "tribe".

Since I posted that Wednesday evening, I thought more about the implications of social across the organization. I've argued for quite a while that a big component of social media is cultural -- and that implementing it across the organization requires some serious change management chops.

I also agree with Inc. Magazine that "title creep" is filling up the C-suite, so maybe a chief social officer is an unnecessary addition. Inc. calls out a still-growing recognition of the role of "chief revenue officer:"

The storied C Suite is getting a little more crowded, as CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, and CTOs make room for CROs, or chief revenue officers. Such executives typically are marketing officers on steroids--overseeing functions like sales, new product development, and pricing.

This revenue generating focus was called out in a post by Scott Gillum (again, bold is his):

So…the marketers that will be in the highest demand coming out of the recession will be the ones who have been aligned or have had direct responsibility for growing revenue. Marketers that can speak the language of sales. Unfortunately, it will be a slow process for folks with a Brand PR and Corp Comm or the Ex-Agency/Media guys.

Marketers with backgrounds in Product Management/Marketing who have owned a P&L, folks with sales backgrounds and/or marketers who can show that they can drive revenue/growth will be in demand first. The challenge for the other groups is that of supply. It’s not to say that good Brand and Agency folks won't find positions it’s that it’s going to be hard. Expect that you will be [competing] with many other qualified candidates and it may be difficult to differentiate yourself.

While I will continue to argue that social media is owned by the CEO, I think all of this research shows that there's a growing need for restructuring organizations to incorporate "social" across all functions -- from finance to HR to engineering to customer support and, of course, to marketing. Perhaps the chief social officer is the conduit for that change, but maybe we ought to call him or her the chief social revenue officer. I'd love your thoughts on this role.

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AOL PR Fail

Yesterday, AOL previewed its new identity to fairly mixed reviews. There's plenty of conversation about the new logotype, which you can find simply by typing "AOL" in your favorite search engine. What I'm most curious is their resistance to adopting social media technology in their communications.

AOL's News Release

A Link-Free Press Release

As a member of the IABC working committee on the subject, I've been my own worst critic when it comes to the social media news release. It took an impassioned, patient conversation with Shel Holtz (that's @shel for the record) to finally win me over. So I minght be the last guys you expect to criticize anyone for not adopting it. But the announcement of a new logo seems a perfect opportunity to try out a few extra bells and whistles with your news release, something AOL failed to do. If you have a look at the press release announcing the new design, the one thing obviously missing is the actual design, or even a link to the design. In fact, there are no graphics or even links to the new graphics in the press release at all.  In fact, there are no hyperlinks in the release at all, unless you count the automatically hyperlinked email addresses. I guess we're just supposed to close our eyes and imagine what the new logo looks like.

Mind you, I've seen the design, and so has the entire tech community -- no thanks to the news release, however. This indicates one of two things: either the press release is dead and AOL simply doesn't care about them anymore, or AOL just doesn't get it.

Digging (hah, get it?) even deeper, the press release as it's shared on their corporate home page also includes no social bookmarking features, which even the staunchest social media haters have (however grudgingly) agreed to incorporate under pressure from the twenty-somethings in their communications department.

Something tells me AOL doesn't get it. Perhaps freeing themselves from Time Warner will free up their thinking a little bit when it comes to embracing the new media. Dear AOL: I've done a little work for one of your subsidiaries in my past, and Chuck and I would love to help you "take the company into the next decade" as you shed the cobwebs of outdated technologies and twentieth century modes of thinking. Call me!

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Hollywood Discovers PR and Finds the Past

The New York Times has a rather odd piece from Sunday discussing how the film industry is cutting back marketing budgets and focusing on public  relations instead. I'm sure there is more to this story, but I'm not interested in debating the merits of paid versus placed media.

I zeroed in on this paragraph:

Disney recently went so far as to develop a computer program to help it determine how much monetary value was coming from such publicity efforts. It can quickly plug in data — “Access Hollywood” had a 30-second interview with a star of “The Middle,” a new ABC comedy — and the program spits out what that same 30 seconds would cost to buy.

Seriously Disney? The minds that come up with some amazing and creative stoytelling looked deep into the marketing analytics and came up with ad equivalency?

Oh KD Paine, please save them.

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Define Yourself, LinkedIN

While in New York earlier this week Todd and I attended LinkedIN's Connect09, which was essentially a sales pitch on their advertising products. Though, I must say, it was one of the most useful sales pitches I'd been to in a while.

Also, the eggs at the Le Parker Meridien were among the best I've had at a business breakfast (apparently I'm not alone in that opinion).

Besides the new features they were showing off around LinkedIN Groups as well as some of the advertising opportunities, what struck me most was who Steve Patrizi, vice president of advertising sales and operations, identified as LinkedIN's competition.

He focused on BusinessWeek, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, pointing out how the LinkedIN audience is younger, wealthier and more engaged than audiences at any of the publications mentioned. It should be noted that Patrizi himself joined LinkedIN from the Wall Street Journal.

In fact, Facebook garnered barely a mention by the main presenters other than an amusing reference to LinkedIN interactions not being as fun as "Mafia Wars" but certainly more interesting. The only reference to the f-word by name came later during a panel on community management when one of the panelists joked that he just didn't understand Facebook but was a LinkedIN "fanatic."

This becomes even more fascinating when you consider that BusinessWeek let go some wonderful reporters yesterday. While journalism organizations have only their content to sell,

Bill Gates LinkedIN Profile Picutre

Bill Gates' LinkedIN Profile Picutre

LinkedIN has people. Or, as Director of Operations David Hahn joked, while showing a picture of Bill Gates, "We have a lot of rich people on LinkedIN and we're bigger than Twitter. Our sales reps are around the room."

From a PR perspective there is a lot to consider here. Afterall, we go where the people are, and if the people aren't reading the main publications then we need to move on too.

But I also wonder if there is an opportunity for a LinkedIN (or any of its smaller business-focused competitors) to pick up the journalism mantle. While publications struggle to find ways to make money on journalism, wouldn't it be interesting for LinkedIN to hire, say, Stephen Baker or Steve Wildstrom to do some original business reporting, only to add to the site's appeal?

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Todd's 2009 Predictions & Recap

It's predictions season again. As I mentioned on Friday, the Society for New Communications Fellows got their heads together a couple weeks ago on this very subject. I won't spoil the fun by sharing all of our trends and predictions, but I will look back at my own predictions from last year and some of the big trends we saw. In my next post, I'll look forward even more and make some predictions for 2010.

The Birth of Web 3.0
Despite the continued prevalence of "2.0" everywhere we turn, last year I issued a few trends/predictions on my own blog, focusing on the semantic web, or "Web 3.0" as it's sometimes being called. Here's exactly what I said late last year -- I gave a two-year timeline, so hold my feet to the fire next year on these:

  • Trust. Trust is one of two remaining economic scarcities in the Internet Economy—there’s just not much of it out there. Chris Brogan put it nicely: “Though a company like Microsoft spent millions and millions of advertising and marketing dollars trying to improve our perception of the brand, none of us gave a sh!t until Robert Scoble came along and put a human shape around their online and event presence for us.” The trust barrier will be solved by understanding how human “trust agents” (as Chris puts it) work, and by allowing us to layer “trustworthiness” over all of our online interactions (not just in search, but social networking, bookmarking, blogging, etc.)
  • Attention. Attention is the other economic scarcity remaining. There are only 24 hours in the day, and we have to sleep for a good chunk of them. The competition for the rest of them is fierce. Applications that are smartest at competing for our attention—or at helping us understand what we should be paying attention to—will have a distinct advantage in the web 3.0 world.
  • Agents. Chris Brogan talks of human trust agents, but digital agents will finally come back into the public’s view as well. I’m not talking about the old school “tickler” agent (”Hey, don’t forget you’ve got to pick the girls up from soccer practice tonight”), nor am I talking about Google Alerts (”You asked me to keep an eye out for blog posts mentioning ‘Web 3.0?, so here you go…”). It’s closer to the kind of capability you see in good contextual advertising (my favorite example of which is all the “Bacon Salt” ads I get on Facebook after I signed up as a fan of the bacon page), but it’s both cross-platform and cross functional. As just one small example, you tell it that you want to be kept abreast of upcoming social media events, and it checks Upcoming.org, Facebook, Evite, Meetup, etc. and shares with you the events it finds, allowing you to sign up for them through its own interface.
  • RSS. I can’t tell you how wrong-headed so many interpretations of Forrester’s recent report are (Paul gets it right in this link). RSS is not dead. It’s simply buried so deep that most people don’t even know it’s there. But that doesn’t mean they’re not using it. Content syndication will be at the heart of web 3.0. It empowers almost everything I’ve been talking about in this post to some extent. Don’t sell it short. Look for ways to use it and build applications around it.
  • Semantic Web. I’m sorry. I hate to use this term. It has such negativity surrounding it. But let’s put all that bias aside for a second, and ask ourselves a question: What if there was a way, for instance, that my blogging software could understand that what I was writing about—in plain English—was an event I was trying to promote, and could translate that information so that it could automatically be shared with Upcoming, Evite, Eventbrite, Facebook, etc.? Tell me that wouldn’t be cool. The AI behind something like that isn’t too far away—hell, the Turing Test is pretty close to being passed.
  • OpenID! A conversation between myself, @RodBegbie, @al3x and @sbtodd on Twitter made me realize how important something like this will be to Web 3.0. If you assume that trust and interoperability will be at the heart of Web 3.0—go ahead, try to argue otherwise—then an idea like OpenID becomes critical. It provides a common identity platform for interoperability. YES, to quote Alex Payne, “It’s confusing for users and developers, it doesn’t bake security in, and it doesn’t solve a problem that non-geek users care about.” But it’s just confusing because nobody’s been able to explain it well. Security can presumably be fixed. And Like I said on Twitter, it might not solve a problem most non-geeks care about*, but down the road they might!

    * THIS geek certainly cares about it. I am LIVID every time some sites password security mechanism forces me to create YET ANOTHER password that I will ultimately forget. And what about interoperability? To make that happen, you’ve got to give away some security. For instance, for a lot of the cool (not to mention necessary) Twitter apps, I need to share with them my Twitter username and password. Having a security layer on top that ultimately ensured that Twhirl doesn’t have to know my password, or that I didn’t forget the super-strict password that I had to create especially for one service, could ultimately make my life easier.

Trends in 2009
The SNCR fellows called out some interesting emerging trends in 2009. Here are some highlights:

  • The line between journalism and blogging has blurred to the point that U.S. government is starting to pay attention (e.g., recent FTC rules)
  • Business schools have gotten on the social media bandwagon (finally)
  • It's easier to measure more aspects of your PR, advertising, marketing and social media programs; and big companies are rethinking how they pay for services based on this
  • Speaking of measurement, ROI was on everybody's minds and lips (but we're still not quite sure what to measure)
  • Government 2.0 is slowly, sporadically becoming reality, but (here's a surprise) very slowly
  • Privacy continues to be renegotiated
  • Customer service is now social
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The Future of…

Social Media Club BostonLast night the Social Media Club Boston met to discuss "The Future of..." a number of subjects: from video to music to money and a couple other topics in-between. The presentations were fascinating, touching on everything from Marxism to augmented reality, trust, underwear and several other sequiturs and non-sequiturs. But the one thing that wasn't touched on by any speakers -- until, prompted by one Twitter comment in particular, I forced all of the speakers back up on stage at the end to speak to it -- was what the heck social media had to do with any of their predictions and explanations.

"So Why and How, Social Media?"One of the best answers I got was that social media has both nothing and everything to do with their passion, both now and in the future. I was reminded by one of the speakers that not too far in the near future, we might as well call the "Social Media Club" the "What I Do Every Day All The Time For Work And For Fun Club" -- it's going to be that ubiquitous in the future.

Last week, the Society for New Communications Research Fellows met and made their own list of trends and predictions for 2009/2010, while I'll share with you next week. Not all of them have to do with social media directly, but social media touches on almost all of them. It is becoming ubiquitous. Time to find a new name for the Social Media Club.

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5 Things I Love About Twitter

So now that you know what I hate about Twitter, let me share what makes me swoon. Yes, I love Twitter. I love how it nestles into my pocket on my iPhone, how it winks at me from my desktop and how it offers me a place to share my most recent thought with the world  before I’ve even thought it through.

  1. Feed me! – I’m an information junkie. Don’t spoon-feed me information, pour it on; fill my brain with facts, figures, links and ideas. Maybe this is how I’m wired or maybe it comes from years working on a TV newsroom, where TVs are always blaring, keyboards constantly clicking and producers yell curses at the top of their lungs. Whatever the reason Twitter satisfies my craving. Wake up in the middle of the night and need a quick fix? Twitter is there. Want to know what people are talking about at any given moment? Check out the trends. Need some suggested reading? A new link is just a moment away. It’s like having the whole Internet pumped directly into my brain.
  2. Give Me a Great Big Glass of Google Juice – We all bow down before Google. The great and powerful one sends us people who want to buy what we’re selling. Twitter, with its real time updates and every present “buzz,” not to mention its search deals, provides both Google and it’s smaller but powerful friend Bing, with updates that help power your SEO rankings. In many cases companies report that Twitter now drives more traffic directly than Google searches. So as a traffic driving strategy, Twitter is da’bomb.
  3. Reach out and touch someone – You remember that old AT&T refrain, right? "Reach out and just say 'hi.'” I’ve always felt that you can reach just about anyone on the planet by dialing the right digits into the phone. But Twitter makes that process so much easier. In fact, you can find out interesting things about people you didn’t even know where that interesting. I follow Jay Feely, as he’s a kicker for the Jets (I follow most of the players on Twitter). Yesterday he landed himself into a fascinating discussion about religion and I learned about his political and religious leanings. Not that it changes my thoughts about him or the Jets, but it gives me a much richer, more nuanced and personal view of someone who I watch on TV each week. It’s not just that I can touch celebrities, but I can also meet people like Jeff Cutler and Joselin Mane, first online and then in person. These are people with whom I share something in common and who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Taken one step further, Twitter lets me put out a Tweet about my location and have an instant party. Then there are the tradeshows I can’t travel for, but can attend vicariously by searching on the hashtag.
  4. Get that stuff out fast! – Twitter Lists are great, aren’t they? A way to organize the people you follow into groups of like-types and make your full list of followers into something more manageable. Then you can share those with others, like a list of attendees at a show or a list of clients. Because the folks at Twitter get stuff out before they’re fully baked (see yesterday) they can get that stuff into the hands of the users and see what happens. The crowd tells Twitter what it wants, and Twitter delivers. Since they don’t need to worry so much about the business model for every little thing, there aren’t delays while board members discuss “monetization strategies.” Plus, as users, we’re not nickel-and-dimed to death in order to get the features we really want.
  5. Retweets – Oh yes, retweets. I know what you’re saying, “Chuck, you hated those yesterday,” and part of me does. But then there is the echo effect. Putting a link or thought on Twitter is kind of like sending off a message in a bottle. The currents are going to take it, people are going to retweet it and send it off to their readers, then maybe those readers will send it to their readers and it’ll land on the shore of some distant land where you’ll receive the most insightful comment you’ve ever heard.
  6. BONUS! Tweet Chats – The idea of an online chat has been around since the earliest days of the Internet. I remember talking with my friends on my school’s Unix systems via the talk function or using IRC. Back in the days of CompuServ we called it the “CB.” But Twitter takes this to a new level because people already have the tool. What’s more, you can just search on a hashtag like #journchat or #solopr and see the whole chat at a later time.

So what do you love about Twitter? Come on, don’t be shy. Show how you HEART Twitter.

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