Be VERY Careful Using Social Media

After being the recipient of tweets, email, comments under blog posts, and other online communications that miss-the-mark, I’m constantly struck by how often I take things the wrong way and end up calling someone to ensure I didn’t misconstrue what they were intending to say and to gain a better understanding of the point they were trying to get across.

This sort of miscommunication is becoming more problematic…not less…especially as real-time communications occur with services like Twitter. Add to that a limit in the number of characters these services allow us to use and you can see how challenging it is to convey any kind of deep meaning using real-time communications.

My son had an assignment for English class that had the following thought provoking table showing how easy it is to make a statement and have it come across COMPLETELY WRONG depending upon the emphasis of one specific word within that statement. You’ve probably seen this sort of stuff before, but it never hurts to be reminded how ONE WORD can completely change the context of your communication.

Think about this the next time you’re ready to click “send” on that tweet.

I didn’t say she stole my moneySomeone else said it
I didn’t say she stole my moneyI didn’t say it
I didn’t say she stole my moneyI only implied it
I didn’t say she stole my moneyI said someone did, not necessarily her
I didn’t say she stole my money
I considered it borrowed, even though she didn’t ask
I didn’t say she stole my moneyOnly that she stole money
I didn’t say she stole my moneyShe stole stuff which cost me money to replace

The Happiest Slaughterhouse!

From the company that brings you Spam®, Hormel, comes this 1965 video showing meat processing in all it’s glory (save for the killing of the animals, blood, and e-coli). Makes you want a little bacon after watching it (not really).

Watching this video, I was a bit taken aback at how happy everything seemed but with a lack of joy on the faces of Hormel workers, cutting apart pigs and knowing that today, most of these workers are Hispanic and not the 40-something white males of European descent depicted in this happiest of slaughterhouses in southern Minnesota.

Bonus feature: see Spam being made but alas, no factory worker falls in to the hot dog grinder nor are any social media people shown at a breakfast pleased that bacon has arrived:

Get Those Kids in to the Sunshine!

Studies have shown that 6 million of our kids are Vitamin D deficient, primarily due to the lack of being outdoors in the sunshine and soaking up this needed vitamin naturally. Fortified milk and foods — along with supplements if they’re given to kids — can help alleviate that problem, but unfortunately there are more compelling reasons to stay indoors and play videogames, use the computer, and be virtually connected to friends vs. being with them outside playing.

A couple of summers ago my wife and I came back from our nightly hour walk around the lake and I stopped dead in my tracks about a block from home. It was a perfect evening, not a cloud in the sky and 75 degrees, and there were no kids outside playing! This in a neighborhood which, at the time, had dozens of kids between the ages of 4 and 15 years of age.

When my bride and I were growing up TV was the main electronic distraction but Mom & Dad usually had it tuned to their favorite station until later on when we both became multi-TV households. Even then, it seemed like there were so many other things to do that TV took a back seat to playing with friends. After dinner, we couldn’t wait to get outside and play with friends and in my neighborhood kick the can was the game of choice which we played for hours every day in the spring, summer and fall.

This is not a Luddite-type post since I’m a huge fan of technology, social media and virtual connections. Still, the overweight population continues to grow and we need to find the balance. Reading this blog, you’re probably someone who “gets” the power and usefulness of the accelerating change going on with the internet and web, but it’s an imperative that our kids continue to get their butts outside, drink in the sunshine and fresh air (and store up that Vitamin D!), connect with the earth and play.

Personal & Professional Hubs for Your Digital Life

1.002The Minneapolis/St. Paul Social Media Breakfast is a surprisingly strong group of creatives, PR, marketing and interactive media enthusiasts, so much so that it’s possible that the Twin Cities could be the social media capital of the world! Thinking back on my days at Apple — and knowing that the base of creative talent in Minnesota made it one of the strongest markets for the company — it probably shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise.

On June 26, 2009 I was privileged to give a talk to, what turned out to be, the largest SMBMSP yet at 300+ participants. Several people emailed me about adding a voiceover to the PDF of the presentation I’d provided and did so. I’ve created it’s own page for the video here so you can view it in HD resolution.

Let me know what you think!

“God hit the reset button!”

god-reset-button“God hit the reset button!” a brand manager friend of mine exclaimed loudly as we talked last week about the economy, about how social media was disrupting “damn near” everything he knows how to do and is doing with brand marketing, and he’s struggling mightily with what to do next.

Fortunately for him, a guy that works for the Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 1000 company, he has access to big thinkers and thought leaders (and highly paid consultants along with attending key conferences that cost big bucks) but they’re still struggling with how to add value in a day when that is shifting, customer expectations have already shifted, and almost every former way of doing business needs to be freshened up a bit (or a lot!).

I immediately emailed him a link to this article at Strategy+Business, a magazine and website published by the global commercial consulting firm Booz & Company, called “The Trouble With Brands: Most consumer brands are not creating value. The exceptions share a set of “energized” attributes that companies can identify and exploit.

It starts off with this: “Many companies that produce goods and services for consumers face a serious dilemma — quite apart from the effects of the current global economic downturn. For at least the past five years, the tried-and-true formulas to boost the sales and market shares of brands have been becoming increasingly irrelevant and have been losing traction with consumers. Globally, the aggregate value of brands to consumers has been falling steadily, and this decline began well before the recent slump in stock prices.

Why is this happening? For the exact reasons that made my friend realize that someone hit the reset button and that we’ve all got to review, refresh and innovate around how we deliver value to those people we call customers.  Read More