Sunday Round Up – June 1, 2014

Respect usually refers to equal treatment. Treating others as one wishes to be treated, as the Golden Rule states. It seems that some individuals, like Elliot Rodger, create stories driven by a warped sense of respect.

Luckily those stories can create positive change. In this case, Twitter and the Internet at large exploded with stories of violence against women, almost all using the #YesAllWomen hashtag. Two articles caught my eye.

14 #YesAllWomen Tweets Everyone Needs To See

140 characters are enough to explain hell. 14 different hells, in fact.

Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

My parents did an excellent job of instilling the fact that movies, television, and video games do not depict reality. Though many of them come close to it, the scripts we see in modern media are meant to entertain, not explain how one is to live.

This article grabbed my attention because it calls out some of the scripts that are fed nerds and geeks like me. It reinforces what my parents taught me so many years ago: consider everything I choose to consume and every action that I wish to take. After all, I do not exist in a vacuum devoid of other human beings.

Tomorrow and Beyond

Gender or sex or religion or any other “dividing line” are fine to make note of, but are no excuse for abuse, violence, and rape. Human beings deserve to be treated as human beings – respected as equal partners in the success of our species.

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Sunday (Monday?) Round Up – May 19, 2014

Words, or just a single word, will make the difference between shared knowledge and confusion. From spelling and choosing words correctly, to answering the right questions and explaining a gargantuan undertaking, it’s all about precision.

30 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Horrible

Nothing stands out like a mistake. Knowing how to say what one wants to say is vital to precise communication.

Three Questions Every Brand’s Story Must Answer

What would your world be like? What will make it happen? How are you trying to get there right now? That’s a basic plot of any mission, so can your organization answer those questions? Communicating you or your organization’s mission requires precise, exact communication.

Here’s What You Missed at Social Media Camp

A precise message can be derived from a complicated event. Social Media Camp 2014 was a gigantic venture – three speakers presenting at the same time and over 750 attendees. Nonetheless, Laurel Lindsay distilled it into short, exact sentences that loses no important details despite having a low word count.

Over to You…

How do you practice precision? Do you agree that routine and creativity can mix? How important to you is a precise story?

IPO – What Could It Mean?

A private company is free to act however its owners choose, within confines of the law, of course. Until recently, Twitter was privately held. By initiating an initial public offering, the company is now publicly traded. Twitter is now responsible to a beast other than its customers, employees, and owners: shareholders.

Inviting New Guests

Shareholders generally buy for one reason: profit and the earnings they can gain from it. Twitter is bringing in money thanks to promoted tweetsaccountstrends, and its foray into TV-linked advertising, but it has never earned a positive bottom line. Pressure is mounting for the company to move its ledgers out of the red.

I have no doubt the company’s public offering is related to that fact. No income means dwindling reserves of cash, which is not a sustainable business model – neither is relying on a public offering for money meant to cover operational costs.

That implies that the public offering has a purpose other than the need for cash: new minds working on a difficult problem. Buy outs of “undervalued” companies were a common practice in years past – investors with big ideas buying a majority share of a company and attempting to increase its market value for the benefit of shareholders (and themselves). It seems almost as if Twitter’s c-suite was hoping for something similar.

The Future

No income and an IPO do not mix unless there is hope for something new. Exactly what that something new will be is unclear. The leveraged buy outs I mentioned earlier were not guaranteed successes and sometimes deliberately exploited the company for personal gain, and Twitter’s vast reserves of information are exploitable.

It is widely known that Twitter played an extensive role in the Arab Spring thanks in part to its stance on the privacy of information. It is likely the decision to hold back personal information is no accident and comes from the top of the company.

Shareholders complicate that matter. The question becomes “what will change for the sake of being profitable”? Facebook is well known for using the vast amount of information it collects about individual users to earn a profit – targeting advertisements on the social network is something many companies are willing to pay for. That use of the information is not dangerous in itself, but selling the information to the spy agency of a citizen-scrutinizing-and-critic-censoring country (Iran, China, Russia, sometimes the U.S., etc) would be.

I am fine with Twitter earning a profit (we all need to eat), but not at the expense of its customers personal security. With my knowledge of shareholder function and stock markets, I cannot say for certain what will happen, I just hope Tweeps do not get used and abused by an over-enterprising shareholder or two.

Over To You

So what do you think will happen? How will its IPO change Twitter? Are you a shareholder of the company? Start the discussion in the comments below!

Beer, Tweens, Cereal, and Space

Happy (late) Canada day!

Here’s my quick run-down of must-see articles in marketing last week:

How appropriate that this Molson Canadian campaign came up last week.  It’s adorable in a nostalgic-with-beer kinda way.  Not my favourite commercial of the year, but it’s fun reboot of a classic traditional media campaign, so I like it.

Next, here’s some interesting data about Tweens, as compiled and made pretty by these guys.  Or thing.  I’m not 100% certain which monriker is more appropriate.

Great information to have if you are thinking about marketing to Generation Y.  The pie chart about instant gratification made me laugh; it seems that most tweens don’t like delayed satisfaction.

Next up, I present some social media lessons!

General Mills Gets a Firm that Gets Social Media 

Spredfast being the firm in question.  Read the quote below (found here):

“…Aaron Miller, social media and marketing specialist for the CPG firm [states] “One is to set in place brand foundations that enable success in social media. We’ve established that each brand needs a purpose—reasons for being that go beyond selling Cheerios.

-Heine, C, for AdWeek

“…needs a purpose…”

Baseline social media strategy, ladies and gentlemen.  Lay down why your brand/company/not-for-profit/self/dog is on social media.

Think of it this way: “why would a customer want to meet with and engage me on social media?”  Once you have a “why” (and a “where your clients are”), then the “what” becomes easier.

The Take Away

Have a “why” in your social strategy.  Tie it into your overall brand.  Know your audience, and give them what they like.

Social NASA

Oh NASA.  You guys are so good at what you do.  And some of what you do happens to be social media.

I hope everyone remembers @cmdr_hadfield‘s 5-month journey into space.  He posted a bunch of pictures.  Go find ’em if you haven’t already had a look.  Earth is beautiful.

Back to the main point: Real live astronauts and scientists on the social web!  I can remember wishing I had a direct line into NASA and CSA in elementary school, and now you’re telling me it’s possible AND I can see it on my cellphone?!

Excellent.

The Take Away

Most (not all) accounts on social networks are connected to a real person in some way, so those real people want to see things written and posted by real people.  I guarantee that if a scientist at NASA is excited about completing an experiment (and they’re allowed to share it), who better than the real, excited scientist?  I can’t imagine trying to be the PR person trying to fake a “EUREKA!” on Twitter.

4 Twitter management tips

I like Twitter. I’ve already said this once. Nonetheless, it can turn into a gargantuan stream of Tweets that you will ignore like a bad book.

That’s why I decided to create this guide on a few simple tools to organize your Twitter feed.

Hashtags

Yup.  The hashtag.  Twitter’s ubiquitous symbol.

So what the hell is a hashtag, anyway?  Twitter itself defines the operator as this:

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

I use them to refine who and what I want to follow, read, and talk about.  Some of my personal examples include #guitars, #marketing, and #music.  However, my actual use of hashtags is more refined than that.

The best part about hashtags is that they work like search terms, so it is easy to refine what you want by using multiple tags.  A more refined hashtag search (such as using #rock and #music instead of just using #music) will usually get more relevant results.

Saved Searches

Once you know what you want to watch and follow, you can use saved searches to find specific new content.  For example, you could save a search for #bacon or #driving or #shoes, or #drivingshoes or any combination of search terms (including those without hashtags).

Search terms can include users; however, I think that the following method is better for organizing Twitter users you follow.

Lists

Twitter lists are one of my favourite ways to find what I like and share what I like.  It’s easy to set them up while browsing Twitter and following users, but I find it’s easier to use Hootsuite or TweetDeck to display my lists (the next section will cover these platforms).

By using lists, I organize the users I follow into something like a text-based television channel.  For example, I created a list of the Twitter accounts associated to the CBC Radio shows that I listen to.  Other users can also create lists, and those lists can be followed.  I follow Alan Cross’ Music News-Biz list and Brian Thompson’s Music News list.

Publishing Platforms

If you find content online like I do over the course of the day and want to share it without posting 20 linked articles in the space of half an hour (or if you are using social media for your business), then platforms other than Twitter itself may be what you need.  Hootsuite and TweetDeck are well known and widely used for a reason.

Social publishing platforms like Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow for feeds of searched terms, lists, individual users, sent tweets, and every other action associated with the Twitter account.  They can also schedule posts for a later point in the day, week, month, or year.

I have used Hootsuite to manage all my social media accounts.  If all you need is a more organized Twitter feed, this is one place to start, though it does include functions that you may not find useful, such as link shortening and analytics.

I am still testing TweetDeck.  The interface is more straightforward than Hootsuite as it only covers one social network (Twitter).  It has more advanced functions like link tracking using bit.ly.  I will be testing TweetDeck over the next couple weeks and will report back with my findings. 

Does that cover everything you need to organize your Twitter feed?  Send me a tweet or use the comment box below if you would like help organizing your twitter account.  Happy Tweeting!