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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

As a true conservative, I will disagree with Senator Brown on many of his votes, including this one. For the record, I think it was preposterous.

However, I remind readers that the 41st vote frenzy that swept him into office was related primarily to the health care bill, which he rejected, (as he promised he would during the campaign). I also fear that many people are forgetting that the alternative to Scott Brown was Martha Coakley, a certain Harry Reid “rubber stamp” on all legislative initiatives.

The lasting national benefit to Scott’s “Massachusetts Miracle” was that it inspired highly qualified conservatives across the country to stop whatever they were doing and run for office. It also proved that grassroots activism and online participation could make a real difference in electoral outcomes, even in liberal “safe havens”.

In Massachusetts, the Brown win on January 19th has provided previously elusive “viability” to dozens of GOP candidates across the state and has prompted many Democrats and Independents to think twice before buying in to the “I’m a D, vote for me” argument that has plagued the state for far too long. Money, momentum, muscle, message and media–the keys to any successful campaign–are now available to conservatives in Massachusetts. I have lived here for all of my 47 years and I can tell you that this is, as Joe Biden might say, a…er…major “WOW”!

So, while I’m disappointed, I have resigned myself to the unfortunate reality of Senator Brown’s willingness to periodically join forces with the likes of Harry Reid, John Kerry and other out of touch liberal ideologues. But on balance, his victory makes our divergence  temporarily tolerable because it has unleashed a local and national wave of patriotism and activism that will not be stopped in 2010 or 2012.

Despite any concerns you may have about Senator Brown’s political maneuvering, please think of the bigger picture and stay involved at all levels. It is critical that we preserve the momentum, remain focused on our favorite candidates and put an end to the far left agenda, once and for all.

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#41stVote

Shortly after the special election for US Senate in Massachusetts, I “came out” as the person responsible for creating, advocating and “driving” the #41stVote “hash tag” on Twitter.

I was part of the volunteer “Brown Brigade” and one of the many Scott Brown supporters who realized #41stVote was THE key national value proposition of the campaign. Why else would someone in PA (@AngelaRMLash) , Utah (@LadyLibertas93), Alabama (@Victoria_29) or California (friends of @ChuckDeVore) make calls from home, blog about the race, comment on news stories or click the “DONATE” button on a web site? After all, Scott Brown was a relatively obscure Republican State Senator in a presumed “safe haven” for Democrats. Clearly, and justifiably, people questioned the content, transparency and integrity of the health care bill. They saw that it was in their immediate interest–and the immediate national interest–to force Harry Reid “back to the drawing board” by ending his filibuster-proof “super majority” in the US Senate.

#41stVote organized, categorized and crystalized the message. It bonded individual bloggers, tweeters and patriots who wanted common sense conservatism and good government applied not just to health care and other “big bills”, but to all legislative initiatives. Together, these “regular people” became the media! Their clear, powerful and collective plea was: “Stop right there–we can do better!” The voters of Massachusetts agreed, and on 1/19/10, Scott Brown pulled off a political miracle by replacing liberal icon Ted Kennedy in the US Senate.

#Code41

I contend that Scott Brown’s unlikely and historic victory could be the beginning of what (the prominent and highly respected political analyst) Michael Barone once termed a “critical realignment” in American politics. Grassroots activism, (on and offline), did not simply disappear with Brown’s US Senate campaign. Energized by victories in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts, proponents of common sense conservatism want to know: What’s next? My hope is that their enthusiasm endures and political momentum accelerates across the nation–that is why I’ve created the #Code41 hashtag on Twitter.

#Code41 is a call to action. It is an urgent beckoning to those “regular people” who helped Scott Brown with #41stVote to “keep that truck rolling” across America. If you reject the dubious premises, policies and tactics of Obama, Reid and Pelosi, I urge you to support your favorite candidates, share great content, meet new friends and promote “online democracy” via the #Code41 hashtag.

#Code41 is not sponsored or formally endorsed by any specific candidate, Party, organization, PAC or special interest group. It is simply a #41stVote “spin-off” created to move the “good government” discussion forward at this critical time in our nation’s history.

#41stVote “went viral” and helped save our country from the ill-conceived, pork-laden and potentially disastrous monstrosity called the health care bill. Let’s do it again with #Code41 and restore transparency, integrity and common sense to the political process!


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For decades, companies have mailed “thank you cards” to their clients and colleagues. Expressing gratitude is both a nice thing to do and a sound business practice. In fact, I still recommend this traditional tactic in certain circumstances. However, many  “greener”, cheaper, less time consuming and more modern versions of the Hallmark approach are now available online.

Let’s look at Twitter as an example. Assuming you’ve joined the “great cocktail party” called social media and opened a free Twitter account, there are four basic “thank you” tools immediately at your disposal. (These tools also serve other purposes which I will address at another time.)

The “Retweet” (RT)

(e.g. RT @jslconsulting)

Nothing says “I hear you” quite like the retweet. When someone posts a comment or link that you like, sharing it with your followers is a compliment. The RT is a great way to say “I agree with you…and thanks for providing good content” to a fellow tweeter. I assure you that RTs are appreciated, remembered and often returned.

#FollowFriday (#FF)

(e.g. #FF @ConsultJohn)

Without question, my favorite day to tweet is Friday. The # symbol is called a “hashtag” and it is a method of categorizing Twitter content. When people mention your Twitter handle after typing #FF, they are proclaiming to the world that you are a good “tweet” to follow. They are thanking you for your content and engagement as well as recommending you to their “friends”. Many “real world” business relationships and friendships have developed because of #FF “shout outs”!

Direct Messages (DMs)

RTs and #FFs are viewable in the public “tweet stream”. For a private and more personal approach, you can send a quick note to individual tweeters. DMs are essentially Twitter’s email. Recognizing someone’s efforts is always a good thing, but I would caution you not to promote yourself in the process. (e.g. Don’t “pimp your blog” in the guise of gratitude.) I would also remind you that if someone has 30,000 followers, they may have a backlog of DMs to review. Still, when used properly, kind DMs are generally well received.

Lists

A relatively new tool provides users with the capacity to organize, and share with the public, categories of tweeters. The Twitter “list” feature allows your current and prospective followers to quickly scan areas of mutual interest and see who you recommend in any given niche. Listing individuals by category is most often considered a compliment and reason for continued engagement.

RTs, #FFs, DMs and Lists can be deployed together to bolster your brand and build a following. Use them, (at least in part), to show your gratitude, nurture relationships and spread “good karma” on Twitter.

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Hypothetically speaking…

If the real Jesus Christ were logged on to Twitter today, what would he “tweet” about?  Would you follow him? Would he follow back?  Would he engage or just “broadcast”? Clearly, nobody knows for sure, but it might be fun to speculate.

Heresy?

I know I’m on dangerous ground, so let me preface this by saying that there are no heretical intentions here. I am a believer who tries to live by “The Golden Rule”. My mind simply works in strange ways, and I just thought this particular twist might capture more interest than a piece on “Best Practices for using Twitter Hashtags”. I don’t speak for Jesus Christ and he did not approve this message. My goal here is to inspire creative thinking about social media and make a few people smile in the process. I may go straight to hell for many other reasons, but this post will not be one of them!

Any social media “gurus” interested in this job?

OK, with eternal damnation (temporarily) averted, let’s think together. Assume that Jesus Christ, or “@therealJC”, has decided to open a Twitter account (despite being all-knowing and therefore having no need to do so). What would his strategy be? Who would he target? What would he say? Would he use Tweetdeck to categorize his followers? How would he measure the ROI, or results of his campaign? Again, we can’t possibly know, but I challenge all the social media “gurus” out there to think about how they would help @therealJC grow a following and spread his positive message.

I don’t claim to be a “guru”, so I have no intention of creating a campaign in this post, but I do have some thoughts to share.

I BELIEVE that @therealJC would:

  • “get” the general concept of social media
  • see the benefit of  “going viral”
  • love the testimonials and retweets
  • use many “best practices” to grow his following
  • take the time to engage followers individually
  • inject some humor and personality into the conversation
  • retweet good quotes and links to positive articles and videos
  • follow people who offer “value” and are “real”
  • give lots of #FF “shout outs” to good people and non profits
  • share GREAT CONTENT!

I BELIEVE that @therealJC would NOT:

  • @spam
  • just preach or “broadcast”
  • only talk about Himself (or his Dad)
  • Link to the Bible on every “tweet”
  • pay to get 15,000 new followers
  • purchase teeth whitening products
  • keep following anyone who “auto-DMs” Him
  • tweet excessively
  • follow any politicians (none of them “get it” yet)
  • be negative (He might DM the spammers and false prophets though!)

So what might some of Jesus Christ’s tweets look like?

(forgive me Father, for I may be about to sin)

therealJC Just talked with @DAD. We’re cool now. I saw the big picture and got over the tough assignment. #forgiveness

therealJC @porngal272  FYI…you’re beautiful, but no need for you or anyone else to show me hot pix…nothing I haven’t seen or created before.

therealJC @susanboyle You go girl!

therealJC I still cry every time I watch “Brian’s Song”…how about you? Great movie!

therealJC Love you all, but @chrisbrogan is really a great tweeter! #socialmedia

therealJC #FF shout outs to every community group that helps kids at risk! You know where its @!

therealJC RT @DAD “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

therealJC @lazarus You’re welcome. Nice comeback! #gratitude

therealJC RT@Job “Patience is a virtue!”

therealJC @Judas @Pontius @orneryatheist All is forgiven.

therealJC Went to a party and they ran out of just about everything. Problem was solved…no harm done…good time had by all. Who needs a caterer? LOL!

therealJC Do you treat others as you would like to be treated? #goldenrule

therealJC @Job — recommend you connect with @CubsFan and share. #sympathy

therealJC Look past the teeth and $– @tonyrobbins makes some great points!

therealJC Want inspiration? Check out http//www.thebible.com (New Testament section is an easier read!)

therealJC Who is @ashtonkutcher and why is everyone following him?

therealJC about to experience a fantastic meal with the perfect wine pairing– “heavenly” –tweet you later! PEACE! #food #wine #happiness

Summary/Apology/Last chance for Redemption

So, having not yet been struck by lightning and not wanting to overtweet on behalf of @therealJC, I end with this. I don’t presume to know what Jesus Christ would tweet. I wanted to use an unconventional method to trigger some creative thinking. If anyone is offended, I apologize. But this blog post was more about #comedy #Twitter #Web2.0 and #socialmedia than #religion.

Sixteen years of Catholic school down the drain. I hope it was worth it. If you read this, feel free to comment…and pray for my soul!



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I’m officially old. Tonight proved it. But it also exposed something a little less obvious and a lot more significant.

I just noticed (via someone’s “tweet”) that the infamous wrestler/manager Lou Albano passed away at the age of 73. I have to admit that, while I don’t watch professional wrestling any more, when I was a kid growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, my Dad and I did a little bonding in front of the TV.  There weren’t many channels back then. There was no internet. “Exciting” video games like “Pong” and “Pacman” hadn’t quite hit the market. So, when bad weather kept me from playing ten continuous hours of baseball with my friends, television was the primary form of entertainment.

It must have rained quite a bit back before “global warming” kicked in. Dad and I would watch a comical assortment of  ethnically and morally categorized wrestlers bludgeon each other for hours at a time. (“Political correctness” obviously hadn’t been invented yet either.) Albano was one of the “bad guys”. He was loud, obnoxious, out of shape and dirty (literally and tactically). He was one of the people everyone loved to hate.  I had no great affinity for “Captain Lou” or any other stereotypical villains of the “squared circle”.

But, just on a whim and with questionable sincerity, I decided tonight to post “RIP Captain Lou Albano” on my Facebook profile. I also included this comment: “Let’s see how many of my ‘old’ friends remember this guy.” What happened next was absolutely astounding.

Within an hour of my original post, I had accumulated two pages of comments, some (sadly) from people I thought were “just kids”. They didn’t eulogize Albano however. No, much to my amazement, everyone started reminiscing and naming their favorite “old school” wrestlers, personalities and “catch phrases”. The list was extensive and it included names like George “The Animal” Steele, Chief Jay Strongbow, Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Ivan Putsky, Freddie Blassie, “The Grand Wizard of Wrestling”, Andre the Giant, Killer Kowalski, and of course, the “Pencil Necked Geek” a.k.a. scrawny young announcer, Vince McMahon. It really “took me back” and I caught myself chuckling and waiting anxiously for each new entry.

My roster of Facebook friends is probably typical of most in my demographic category. Mainly married or divorced professionals with kids of varying ages. Bankers, lawyers, IT folks, massage therapists, men, women, liberal, conservative, black, white and brown. Quite a mix of characters actually, and a fun group to boot.

What I found quite intriguing, aside from how willing everyone was to “date” themselves by commenting, was that the conversation bonded us all so quickly and seamlessly. Race, gender, profession and party affiliation became irrelevant. We all just took a break from the “rat race” and jumped on the nostalgia bandwagon. People who have never met in person started interacting with each other.  The business guru from Atlanta talked with the stay at home mom from New Jersey. A hardcore “techy” chatted with a Facebook “newbie” who can barely check his email. It was really interesting to watch.

So what do I take from this experience?

  1. My long term memory is working just fine, thank you. (Now, if only I could remember what I did with my pants!).
  2. My friends are not vain. They clearly don’t care who knows how old they are!
  3. Everyone needs a diversion now and then.
  4. Reminiscing about “the old days” bonds “old coots” like us together, regardless of backgrounds or current circumstances.
  5. A silly pop culture reference from 30+ years ago can trigger a powerful range of emotions and, in my case anyway, fond memories of family and friends.
  6. New media and technology can cause some serious “flashbacks”! (Remember, children of the 60’s and 70’s, it’s not the drugs. Go right ahead and blame Twitter and Facebook!)

So I guess I have to close by thanking Captain Lou Albano and all of his professional wrestling cronies for the years of entertainment which mysteriously yet compellingly resurfaced on my Facebook page. I don’t regret chanting: “Albano is a bum” in 1971, but I do now recognize the significance of the Captain’s contributions to a simpler society and unique TV genre.

RIP “Captain Lou” Albano–and thanks for the memories!

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For those who are seeking elective office these days, social media is all the rage.

Candidates are rushing to build Facebook and Twitter followings to facilitate fundraising and volunteer recruitment. Combined with personal calls, “Robocalls”, street signs, traditional media, networking events, e-newsletters, direct mail and old fashioned “shoe leather”, they see social media as another important communication tool at their disposal. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that very few politicians understand what makes social media effective, and I have yet to see a single campaign utilize Web 2.0 “best practices” to maximize results. I contend that those candidates who finally “get it”, and make the commitment to execute properly, will gain a huge competitive advantage over their opponents.

So, why would politicians not use a potentially winning resource to its fullest potential? Here are five reasons.

1. This is still relatively new.

I’ll start by cutting everyone some slack. There is clearly a learning curve that needs to sort itself out. I don’t expect politicians to “get” the nuance of social media right away. Social media can be counter-intuitive at times, and if you haven’t studied it, your traditional mind set will set up barriers to exploration and discovery.

2. Experienced Consultants

Most candidates consult with “experts” who have run successful campaigns before. This makes sense–go with what has worked in the past. Unfortunately, the internet was not around during the Eisenhower Administration, so that “seasoned” consultant may not even know how to check email, let alone plan and implement a social media strategy. This is not a knock on veteran campaigners–they are still critical–it’s just that non-traditional communications need to be approached in a way that is foreign to them. It’s a different strategic process.

3. Time Sensitivity

Many campaigns get off to a late start. A non-candidate often pull papers when he or she sees an opportunity. This adds to the urgency of building a volunteer “army” and raising money. Consequently, the goals of all communication efforts are focused on these necessities. When the goals are limited, the action plan is limited. Building, nurturing and engaging a following over time through commonly accepted Web 2.0 “best practices”– target audience research, personal interactions, great content, humor, etc.–becomes difficult at best. There is simply not enough time to do it right, so candidates invariably become broadcasters and salespeople rather than participants and value providers.

4. It’s all about “ME”!

Social media has been referred to as a giant cocktail party. People will follow you if they think you add value to the conversation and are “real”. Do you want to make friends with the guy at the cocktail party who introduces himself, hands out a business card and immediately asks you to buy his stuff? Of course not. But that’s exactly what politicians are doing on Twitter and Facebook right now. “Look at my photos…Donate to my campaign…Hold my signs…Make some calls for me…Tell all your friends…Join my followers…It’s all about  ME!” This is just as obnoxious as the guy at the party–and exclusively self-centered social media approaches will only alienate prospective voters in the long run.

5. Resources

Even though it’s free to start, effective social media takes time, commitment, strategy, creativity and expertise. Most politicians are understandably event focused and time constrained. They delegate or subcontract specific duties to volunteers and paid consultants. Budgets and staffs are often limited, but candidates want to get on board with this new marketing phenomenon somehow. Unfortunately, tasking interns to broadcast their every move on Facebook is a poor substitute for a fully integrated social media campaign.

Free advice to political candidates

Given “the nature of the beast”, some broadcasting will always be necessary. With that said, it’s clearly time for a mind set change. While traditional campaigning still works, social media efforts, planned and implemented properly, will yield tangible results–money, volunteers, “trust” and votes. So bite the bullet, even if it’s out of your own pocket and the election is right around the corner. Hire Web 2.0 experts. Work with them and try to understand the key strategic differences between old and new marketing.  If your message is compelling and you are perceived as a decent human being, the return on investment will be astronomical.

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Ah, the cry of the Twitter newbie! I’ve heard it several times now. At first, I just smiled and offered some basic tips; but when I thought about it for a while, I saw some deeper relevance.

Where are you going? That’s a really important question to ask yourself or your company before you start “tweeting”.

Are you on Twitter just to see how it works? Are you just scouting the competition? Are you hyping a new product or service? Are you running for office or conducting personal promotion? Do you want to focus on events only? Do you have a target audience in mind? Is your company special in any way? How do you want your “brand” to be perceived? Are you willing to “engage” or are you just planning to “broadcast”. (I don’t recommend the latter, by the way.) What “value” do you bring to the table?

In short, why are you doing this at all? You must be able to answer that question with some degree of specificity or you will waste precious time and resources on a long, winding road to nowhere.

Social media is revolutionizing the marketing business. I believe it’s one of the greatest tools currently available for both B2B and B2C communications. But without strategic planning and careful tactical implementation, “Web 2.0” is far from a panacea. In fact, you can do a lot of damage to your company or brand if you don’t use this powerful medium correctly.

So whether you’re thinking of using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or any of the others, take the time to first ask yourself what exactly you’re trying to accomplish and why it would benefit your target audience. Focusing on the “what?” and “why?” will help you choose the “how?”. It will limit the parameters of your social media policy, prevent costly mistakes and increase the overall effectiveness and efficiency of your campaign.

Like kids who always ask “why?”, Twitter newbies sometimes say the “darnedest” (and, however unwittingly, “profoundest”) things!

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