Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Know Your Meme: "Fail"

The game-related history of "FAIL!" Answers the question, when does a "Standard Fail" become an "Epic Fail?"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Social Media Rockstar Event in D.C.

Last night, my husband and I attended a really fun event held by the DC New Media Tech (Web / Video), which is run by its dedicated leader, Paul Worsham . Kady (I did not catch her last name!) organized this particular event. She did a great job and I plan to find out more about her work as a social media contractor for Booz.

Just some quick highlights from the presentations:

Justin Thorpe who is the Developer Community manager at Clearspring. He described his job: "as a Community Manager I get paid to make friends"

Jared Goralnick of Awayfind offered some pragmatic advice: be nice to people and make friends *before* you need them!

But the most memorable presentation was from Chris Melissinos, Chief Gaming Officer, at Sun Microsystems. His presentation was like a study of the cultural anthropology of gaming. I'll never forget some points he made, like: "for the first time in history, we have gamers raising gamers" and how today's youth are very "thumb oriented" (I can't do his presentation justice here, you have to hear him tell the tale!) Chris is a dynamic, engaging presenter -- If you ever see him on the agenda at an event, you have to go! He is a MUST SEE!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How Social Media swayed me to vote for Obama

I heard a word on TV last night that I don't think I have ever heard on TV before. "LAYAWAY." It's certainly not a new concept -- I've just never heard it on a TV ad. K-Mart is advertising to "start your holiday shopping early, put it on layaway and you'll have it in time for Christmas."

My husband's parents amassed a small fortune despite having a modest income and raising 9 children. Whenever I asked Dave how they did it, he said "they grew up during the Great Depression." For the first time in my life I actually understand this mentality. I am very fortunate I don't have to make any tough choices (yet) but I chat with the security guard at our office who had to stop taking his law school night classes because the cost of gas.

Younger Americans are going to be affected by the economy. The cost of college is skyrocketing, and recent Business School grads will find that there are no jobs available.

I was planning to vote for McCain until about a month ago. The choice of Sarah Palin as running mate was disappointing, but I am strongly opposed to big government because I have had experience working with unmotivated, uninspired Federal workers. They are not rewarded for taking risks, only punished when things go wrong. I worked for a Federal contractor and I saw how they stretch out a project -- the longer it takes, the more money they get. This is why I want my tax dollars to stay local; I am suspicious of "big government."

But I was swayed by the passion and enthusiasm I see in the user-generated content on YouTube -- GenY LOVES Obama. I also saw the fanatical support on my Facebook network (Gen X), and through the people I follow on Twitter. Several of my good friends (Fay Mark, Karen Henke and Mary-Dixie Carter) were rabid Obama supporters from the start. The social network "My.BarackObama.com" helped them reach out to people like me.

Times are tough, and we're probably only seeing the beginning. When people are losing their homes, their savings, and the promise of a prosperous future, the only thing that is going to keep them going is hope. This is why I voted for Obama. But I might not have really seen the passion people have for Obama if it weren't for my online social networks.

I got inspired to write this blog post when I read this article from Wired: Propelled by Internet, Barack Obama Wins Presidency

Friday, October 31, 2008

Help create believers in Social Media!

Help me show how effective social media can be as a recruiting tool! I've already spammed my networks on LinkedIn, but now I'm casting a wider net by posting this on my blog. I'd love to raise some eyebrows and impress my colleagues here at VeriSign with the effectiveness of online social networks.

Help me find qualified candidates for these jobs which are in Dulles, VA; Mountain View, CA and New York, NY. I figure that at this point all of us know *someone* who is looking for a job. And, as the self-crowned "social media queen" of VeriSign it behooves me to create a real-world case study for Twitter and Blogging. (full disclosure: I'll get a referral bonus if someone gets hired - but that's not what is motivating me here, ok? REALLY!)

Jobs in Mountain View, CA and New York City

Jobs in Dulles, VA

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Social Media Case Study from Radian6

Since June I've been bugging social media experts like Amy Paquette of Cisco, Gia Lyons of Jive Software, Steve Mann of SAP, Tac Anderson of HP, and Jeff Moriarty and Kelly Feller of Intel. I've been looking for the "Holy Grail of Social Media" - namely, case studies and ROI. So I'm pleased to tell you that VeriSign is now featured in a new case study from the brilliant Social Media Monitoring company, Radian6. Now I finally have something to give back to all of these folks who have been so generous with their time.

What Radian6 does is amazing. With all those "Google Alerts" and other info available, it can get tough to figure out what's worth paying attention to. Radian6 is a blogosphere monitoring tool that helps cut through the noise and understand:

-- Who is talking about your brand?
-- What's the level of engagement around any particular post?
-- What's the overall influence of the blogger?

The tool takes a little training, since it is a bit complex. You create your own customized "River of News" which is an apt analogy, because without this tool you're drowning in data. Radian6 (and Mike Manuel and Ryan Lack of Voce) have helped VeriSign stay on top of current trends, and much more...read the case study!

VeriSign and Voce Communications: A Radian6 Case Study

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dear Pepsi: Stop Anointing and Start Listening

I don't really give a rat's a** what your logo looks like, as long as you don't change the taste of Diet Pepsi (by the way, I preferred the way it tasted last year, when the cans were light blue. It tastes funny now.) However, I would appreciate it if I could get Diet Pepsi at every fast food joint, restaurant and Movie Theater. My preferred soda is notably absent at AMC Theaters and Chik Fil-A.

It's clear that you are not asking your customers what they want. If you had asked for MY feedback, instead of rebranding, I would have suggested you focus on improving your distribution.

Stop anointing people as "top 25" influencers. The other hundreds of top influencers are probably peeved that they weren't chosen in your top 25. Remember that they all got to be "influencers" because, much like entertainers, they seek the approval and attention of the outside world (no offense to anyone, I'm in that category too.) This reminds me of Intel's stunt with their "insiders" campaign. I'm sure those chosen ones are enjoying their new Macbook Airs. At least Intel used the pretense of asking social media experts for guidance. But YOUR lucky top 25 are getting packages full of old cans and bottles. Where's the fun in that? I'd rather be an "Intel Insider" than a Pepsi "top 25-er"

Here is my "Pepsi Challenge." If just ONE Pepsi employee responds to this post, I'll be thrilled and will tell MY huge following of 200+ Twitterati that Pepsi "gets it." If not, well then Pepsi will just join my list here on my blog of the companies that DON'T. But yeah, I'll still drink Diet Pepsi anyway.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Roswell Taught Me about Social media

As we walked through the Best Western in Roswell, I noticed that people sat in their rooms with their doors wide open. I thought, "Are they waiting for a pizza delivery? Why else would they just leave their doors open?" My husband, said "They are waiting for their friends to stop by." I have never seen people do that. It turned out that the reason for the crowds was the Eastern New Mexico State Fair. I begged my husband to take me to the fair. He did not understand the fascination, but he indulged me.

I saw pretty much everything you'd expect to see at a state fair, but since I'd never been to one, the whole experience was pretty exciting for me.I saw a bunch of shorn sheep who were mournfully saying "baaaa." I got to pet a cow, who tried to eat my belt. I was thinking I could put this image on some Moo cards...

I saw a New Mexican delicacy called "Frito Pie."

Every time I visit this small town , I am struck by the friendliness and openness of the people. You sense it everywhere you go, just listening to conversations. People spend more time actually talking to each other. My father-in-law was an extraordinary man, and it seemed like half the town came to his funeral. Most of us don't experience this type of strong family and community. Especially those of us who grew up in urban and suburban settings or come from fragmented families.

Human beings are social animals. We run in packs, like dogs (which is probably why we like them so much.) It's that craving for human contact that compels me to get sucked into Facebook for hours, just to find out what acquaintances ate for dinner last night, or to dwell on random twitter posts and blogs. But I don't consider social media a substitute for a "real" social life, probably because most of my friends are not "users." They are starting to catch on, though, and when they do, the applications will become even more relevant to my life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Steal This Social Media Plan!

I recently put together a Social Media Program plan for 2009. My hope was to expand our existing blog program into a larger entity that would coordinate and oversee the social media efforts of our disparate business units. There is a need for proper processes and policies, and especially for education around the "dos and dont's" of social media. I caught wind of some rogue marketers who plan to spam the blogosphere with their messages. I quickly pinged Amy Paquette of Cisco, who has been a great source of knowledge and advice. She advised that training and education should be a primary focus of any social media program. Well, here is my proposed plan. I'm not sure how well it has served my purposes, so I encourage everyone else to see if there is any value in it for them. Then at least I won't feel like I have wasted my time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Social Network Analysis: The Power of Informal Networks

I attended the "Network Roundtable" conference here in Virginia.

Social Network Analysis ("SNA"), also known as Organizational Analysis "ONA" is an established field with many professionals who make their living doing this (who knew?) It was not a large conference but people came from across the country and around the globe to attend. This was an introduction to the concepts for me but I found it very interesting, as sort of the "real-world basis" for online Social Media. It provides the foundation and background I have been seeking for why Social Media is so compelling...because it's based in basic human interactions.

Rob Cross is a professor of management at UVA. He is an excellent presenter with a great sense of humor and great energy. Everyone laughed when he described how the more scientific approach to Organizational Network Analysis can (and should) replace the "kumbaya off-sites with executives falling into each other's arms."

The conference offered a very academic approach. The goal is to diagnose issues within an organization, and the tactics are through surveys and interviews. What you usually see is a diagram that looks like a constellation, identifying the connections and relationships between individuals. You can see which individuals are highly connected or integrated, as well as those that are on the periphery.

SNA can be useful for onboarding new employees, as well as helping existing employees with their transitions. It can be used to identify "bottlenecks" such as an executive who does not have the time to approve all the requests that come their way. It helps with Operational efficiency. For me, the most compelling use of it is to find out who in your organization is most connected, and is adding value by acting as a "bridge" between disparate groups. Once these valuable people are identified, they can be rewarded / motivated to stay with the company. It is fairly scientific in that it is based on data gathering and I saw a lot of these types of "constellation" charts.

There were a lot of case studies presented, including Microsoft, 3M, IBM and Raytheon. But I'm still somehow at a loss for how this methodology might be applied to my own company. Maybe that is because I'm still new to the concepts, and I have no background in Organizational Development or HR. One strong message that was communicated is "forget about the tools." That's funny because I ended up at the conference because I was brought into an evaluation of Internal Collaboration Software because of my expertise in Social Media. I became involved in the issue of building internal community.

One favorite presentation was Larry Prusak, who drew upon historical and economic principles to make his point about the importance of knowledge and networks. He insists that online social networks can never replace those in the "real world." I think that the next generation of Internet users will prove him wrong!

Personally I really appreciated Ted Smith, a marketing guy who pointed out that marketing and PR pros tend to focus only on those individuals who are "Most connected" (e.g., the uber bloggers / influencers) while in fact, there are more individuals who are PRETTY well connected, and they appreciate the same messages as the "ultra connected" folks. I asked him to send me some more concrete examples.

I also really enjoyed the presentation by Margaret Schweer, who referenced a lot of the Web 2.0 technologies, and explained what ONA is REALLY good for. She provided a good summary of how HR might be able to use these techniques.

On the first day of the conference, Peter Gloor left everyone buzzing when he showed us how analysis of online info (blogs and online forums) can predict the real world interactions, including stock prices!

Grady Bryant has given me a copy of Rob Cross' book: "The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding how Work Really Gets Done in Organizations" so now I'll be able to brush up on some of the ideas that are new to me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tac Anderson: Measuring ROI, B-to-B Marketing, and the Role of the Strategist

(Second of a two-part article).

Tac Anderson is a the Web 2.0 Strategic lead for HP's Imaging and Printing group. We met through some Gia Lyons Twitter matchmaking.

We discussed a wide variety of topics, including the types of campaigns that HP has run. One successful campaign sponsored by HP was Project Direct, a contest on YouTube for aspiring directors to upload their movies. The subtle HP branding points users to HP Creative Studio, which allows users to create their own stickers and posters, in keeping with the "self expression" theme. I did not ask Tac what kind of metrics they used to measure the success of that campaign, but he did share some of his guidelines for measuring the ROI of a campaign.

Measuring the ROI of a Campaign
"Let's face it: there are not many best practices for Social Media and very few benchmarks. We all need to be open to learning as we go."
-- Tac Anderson
Tac likes to experiment, interact with people and see where it goes. So far he has been pleasantly surprised by the response rates. One successful tactic he mentioned was to sponsor a prominent blog, by working with Federated Media. Here are Tac's guiding principles for measuring the ROI of a campaign:
Determine the GOAL of the initiative. Tac repeatedly said how important it is to agree VERY early on on the purpose of the campaign, and to get buy-off on the stated goals. (He spoke with the conviction of someone who has been burned by this before.)

Once you've settled on your goal, stick with it and don't waiver. For example, if a campaign's stated and agreed-upon goal is to raise awareness, don't allow it to be judged later on by its ability to generate leads.

Once you've agreed on the purpose of the campaign, and the desired outcome, you can figure out what you want to measure. For example, let's say the goal of your campaign is to raise awareness.
"How do we measure awareness? Are we going to measure online share of voice? Count hits? How about the level of engagement? What does 'engagement' mean to you? Comments? Links? Mentions? Pick a metric to use and then stick with it"
Tips for B-to-B Marketers
Tac said it's important to remind people that marketing (whether it's "b-to-b" or "b-to-c") is driven by consumer examples.

1. Figure out what you are trying to say and then figure out what your target audience cares about Ask yourself honestly "Does this makes sense?" Do your homework. Don't get distracted by the latest "shiny object," which may not be the right medium for your message. A basic blog might serve your needs fine.

2. Do research on your audience: how do they like to get their information. Is it e-mail? Do they read blogs? Use Facebook? Watch video on YouTube? Feed them the information in their preferred format.

3. Conduct Yourself Appropriately, whether you host the community or join someone else's:
"You can choose to host your own party -- even be exclusive with your invite list. But if you decide to join someone ELSE'S party, be polite. Don't get drunk and out of line.

4. Don't think like a big Corporation. Even if you have a big budget, don't be afraid to leverage the free social media tools like Yahoo Pipes and Feedburner.

And of course we talked about our own jobs. This is a topic that I also discussed with Kelly Feller and Jeff Moriarty of Intel:

The Role of the Social Media Strategist:

-- Education: For many of your colleagues, you may be their only resource into the world of social meda. Post questions and case studies internally -- and translate that information into actionable intelligence for project managers and product managers.

-- Internal consulting: serve as a resource for people so they can come and ask specific questions.

-- Be the Periscope: Feed ideas to people, and keep them informed on what is happening in the world of Social Media. (e.g., "Company 'x' did this, here is what happened and how they responded.)

Thanks again to Tac for all of your time. You are one cool dude. I hope we get a chance to chat again soon!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Company Culture at HP creates an Integrated Social Media Program

Part one of an "interview" with HP's Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson is a the Web 2.0 Strategic lead for HP's Imaging and Printing group. HP is one of the brands that I benchmarked for blogging best practices in 2005, so I was curious to find out what they are doing today with social media. Tac has been a student of social media since back in the 90s when we used to call this stuff "Community." He truly loves his work, saying:

If I wasn't getting paid to do this, I'd be getting in trouble for doing it too much at work.
- Tac Anderson

Does HP have the Three "Success Indicators" For Social Media?
As I have previously blogged, there are three factors that are present in Enterprise Companies that are successful in the use of social media:
1. A top-down driven approach
2. A robust internal community
3. A company culture that encourages openness and trust.

At HP the hierarchy is flat, with small, empowered work teams and managers who control their own budget. There are 3 business units, Tac works in Imaging and Printing (IPG). Tac's BU is advanced in their use use of social media, mostly because their executive Vice President was a key driver of Web 2.0 technologies inside HP. So, just like we saw at Cisco, Intel and SAP, there was a top-down driven approach at HP

Tac described a strong internal community at HP, with hundreds of blogs, and an Internal Wiki called "Pligg" (like "Digg.) There are many more social media tools used internally than externally.

The motivated, empowered workforce at HP creates a culture that is conducive to embracing social media. The business units are independent of each other; there is no Corporate Social Media Team. There is a lot of social-media-related activity at HP, but it's more about integrating Social Media into existing Corporate Communications or product launches.

A Comparison to Dell's Unified Corporate Approach
It's critical to understand this company culture if you want to understand HP's approach to Social Media. It's different than -- for example -- Dell, which has a unified approach to marketing and social media. (All the Tweeters use "@Dell" as part of their name.) But let's remember that at Dell, someone wrote a blank check to get the company out of "Dell Hell." And Comcast, now the darling of every Social Media presentation, had to do something to erase the memory of the technician sleeping on the couch, didn't they? Does it really take a major Brand Disaster to get Enterprise companies on the Social Media bandwagon?

How Did Social Media at HP Evolve?
HP's social media program was originally driven out of marketing, and began with a handful of corporate blogs. HP Communities
Seems to be the "official" HP Community, complete with employee-contributed video that you can vote on, podcasts, a link to the idea lab and to the "Wet Paint" wiki, which is a community for members to show off their creativity. And 50 "official" corporate blogs.

Then there are 60 HP "Employee Business Blogs" that are hosted on HP Platform, written by various business groups. A few executives even have their personal blogs. The number of blogs is growing weekly, recently they launched their first foreign language blog.

But the real jaw dropper is that there are links off to the employee's PERSONAL blogs. I love this! My legal team would keel over if we tried to do this. But HP's Legal team was apparently satisfied with the following disclaimer.

How Does HP Mitigate the Risks of Blogging?
1. The HP Blogging Code of Conduct is posted front and center on the Community site.
2. HP has an organization called the "Core Community Council" that reviews blog applications and approves them. But they don't follow up or monitor the bloggers in any way.
3. Legal advises bloggers on how to protect themselves from risk, but unless it's an obvious violation, they don't interfere.

So, in other words, employees are trusted to not act like idiots. As Tac puts it:

"We hire the right people and we let them do their job"
-- Tac Anderson

Nicely done, HP. Your unique company culture seems to work pretty well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Thou Shalt Blog and Tweet and Google Thyself

And the Lord of Social Media said "Go forth and blog and tweet and link to others, and ye shall rise from certain obscurity." And I did. And it was good.

I've been googling myself for eight years with very little satisfaction. I never ranked above the fourth or fifth page in Google. In fact, if any old friends tried to Google me, they probably thought that I ended up as a motivational speaker.

I don't run marathons or do anything newsworthy. The other Karen Snyders have outshone me in every way: I get their email, I'm given their prescription glasses, my address is never the first one listed at the pharmacy and the local health club.


"What has changed?" you might ask. Well, I started this blog a couple of months ago. That bumped me up a bit (maybe page three?) But then, my Twitter friend Jeff Moriarty from Intel linked to my blog from his.

And lo, and behold, when you search on "Karen Snyder" it is I who appear on the first page of Google Results. If I wasn't a believer before in the power of social media, I am now.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cardio or Weight Training? Social Media is a Lot of Hard Work...

After meeting with other Social Media professionals at Cisco, Intel and SAP, I have noticed three distinct characteristics that appear to contribute to the success of Social Media programs:

1. Social Media Initiatives came from "the Top:"
At Cisco, John Chambers' blog post about the iPhone lawsuit set off an avalanche of external blogging. At SAP, the CMO requested a social media strategy.

2. Internal Community Helps: Both Cisco and Intel have a robust internal community that allows potential bloggers to try out the medium and find their voice.

3. Company Culture:
Cisco and Intel (especially Intel) both have an internal environment that is receptive to social media. Here is what I wrote about their cultures: "Social Media at Intel" and "The Evolution of Social Media at Cisco.

I just spent a week at our corporate headquarters where I met with execs who are supportive of social media initiatives for our company. As I think about how we should move forward, I am working with a PR agency that specializes in Social Media. They have lots of good ideas for me. But I still have a lot of work to do on my own...

As I vividly recollect how hard it was to drag my butt in to the gym this morning, this analogy of Social Media to personal training by Jim Durbin reminds me that we still have a lot of "heavy lifting" to do internally -- and the agency can't do these things for us:
Paying Sven to do your workout for you isn't going to help you, it's only going to enrich Sven. And for far too many of us, purchasing a 3 year membership at the 24 Hour Fitness of Social Media hotspot is a subsitute for actually exercising.

So, while our agency (a.k.a "Sven") can help with some efforts (like monitoring the blogosphere), we have to continue to lay the groundwork of a social media program. I still need to persuade legal to open up the blog program, and update our policies so that employees won't feel scared to start a blog. And finally, there are our marketing folks, whose favorite phrase is "viral video." : - )

Monday, July 14, 2008

Social Media at Intel: Humor Included

Thanks to some Gia Lyons matchmaking, I spoke with Jeff Moriarty, Social Media Community Manager at at Intel. We discussed their social media program, along with a variety of other things, including social media job titles and Intel's new Intel Insider Program. Jeff has created some new titles for us (e.g., "Social Media Ninja" and "Social Media Sherpa.") He's posting on that soon.

The culture at Intel is open to social media, and the higher ups have a sense of humor (Jeff's well-received parody "Lord of the Re-Org" featured the CEO and other execs in starring roles.) There is a robust internal community, and internal bloggers who discuss all kinds of topics, not necessarily work related. They even have "internal blog ambassadors" to monitor them and keep an eye out for posts around politics and religion -- flame wars have already been waged over those topics. Jeff teaches his co-workers by helping them start an internal blog so they can play with it first hand. Or he'll brainstorm with a group that might want to experiment with social media, but may be better served by a forum or wiki.

But, similar to Cisco, social media at Intel didn't just blossom overnight. Jeff told me how "Intelpedia" was started on an employee's desktop, and it grew organically until IT had to support it.

And apparently, I am not the only soul to suffer from marketing folks who salivate at the idea of creating viral videos. Jeff keenly observed:
Saying "let's make a viral video" is like saying "Hey guys, let's plan to be spontaneous next Tuesday at 2 pm.

Finally, we decided it would be awesome to have a community of all the Social Media types from Enterprise Companies where they can share best practices. Jeremiah Owyang's List of Social Media folks at Large Corporations is a good place to get started. In the meantime, I'll keep sharing my conversations with the Enterprise Social Media peeps I meet. So far I have also chatted with friends from Cisco and SAP, and I try to organize a little "Social Media Roundtable" with friends from the New York Times, AAA, Logitech and Disney.

Conversations with Steve Mann from SAP (social media strategist extraordinaire) merit their own post. Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Where the Hell is Matt?"

This is a cute idea. I wonder how long it took him to create this? The dancing is so well choreographed.

"What the F**K is Social Media?"

This slideshow contains the Social Media messages that many of us have heard over and over (and agree with).

If it takes the "F" bomb to get this the attention it deserves, then so be it. 'Cuz I am getting tired of explaining it : - )

So, see it for yourself, first hand.

And btw,I think Marta Kagan really is a genius (and she does too.)

Evolution of Social Media at Cisco (Part 2 of a Series)

I had another fun conversation today with Amy Paquette of Cisco. Our first chat was in June: see my post on "The ROI of Cisco's Social Media Program." Amy and I plan to chat at least once a month "until it doesn't make sense for us to chat anymore" (but that will hopefully never happen because she is so much fun!) Their social media program is so evolved that they already have people who specialize in things like "virtual communications" on Second Life. Something to aspire to : - )

It is interesting how the Social Media Program at Cisco evolved -- it certainly did not happen overnight. One thing that fueled the fire: as the external communications team was putting together their social media program, the internal comms team was simultaneously building a robust internal community. They had several hundred internal blogs before the external program took off. Amy said:

Having internal blogs is a great way for [potential external bloggers] to find their voice, and learn how to communicate with their blog. People feel more free to ask questions.

Probably the biggest differentiator at Cisco is the culture. Social media has support at the highest level of the company -- John Chambers regularly reads the external blog posts: Cisco has 12 Corporate Blogs with more than 80 bloggers. And let's face it, even the staunchest "blog haters" might waiver when the boss reads 'em.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Using Social Tools to Reduce E-mail within the Enterprise

The scoop from Twitter this Morning:

gialyons Retweeting @jenrobinson: @elsua's article is TOP TEN most popular on NYTimes.com! "I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip"

Luis Suarez (Social Software Evangelist at IBM) describes how he has significantly cut back on time spent in e-mail, while simultaneously increasing productivity and shared knowledge.

We've been trying to describe a Utopia of shared knowledge inside the enterprise, but it's much better to actually have a real-world example of how these tools can be used.

Read the NYT Article: "I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Have Labrador, Will Travel

Today my craz(ier) Lab, Xena, plunked herself down in the open carry-on suitcase that was in my office. The suitcase is small, and it fit her perfectly.

I figure she was trying to accomplish one of these things:

1. She is looking to relocate.
2. She wants me to share her scent with whatever other Labradors I might meet on my travels.
3. She thought it looked like a good place to nap.
4. She wanted to check for drugs. Especially Excedrin, which she likes to eat.

What do you think?

Microsoft spends Millions to "Go Social"

I found this new story "Microsoft Goes Social to Push E-Mail, IM" from Twitter. GeorgeDearing writes: "always get a little scared when I see a headline referring to a company "going social" -- It's implicit, STOP" http://snurl.com/2p0ja

The point of "being social" (as Maggie Fox explained at BlogPotomac) is that you begin and maintain conversations with your customers, and build a relationship. It is not about spending millions of dollars on a campaign and then ending it when the money runs out.

Hats off to the ad agency McCann-Erickson for leveraging their success from the Liberty Fillmore Campaign they did for VeriSign. It was groundbreaking for VeriSign launch a campaign like that, and it probably raised a lot of awareness for our EV SSL certificates. We know it got millions of views on YouTube. But the clear winner here is the ad agency that landed the Microsoft account.

If you're going to spend this kind of cash on your Social Media efforts (Microsoft is dropping at least 5 million on promotions), at least be sure to measure it correctly so you know whether or not you've acheived the success you hoped for. Check out Katie Paine (the metrics goddess) or call Mike Manuel at Voce for expert asistance. Otherwise, the only people who profit from all this buzz and money spent are the agencies.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

The "I'm Talkathon" (imtalkathon.com) features Parker Whittle, a man in his 20s, born into a well-to-do family and now having doubts about whether he's done enough to help others. So he's holding a "talkathon" to see how many people he can get to send messages via Windows Live Hotmail and Messenger over 30 days to raise money. Microsoft agency McCann Erickson created the character based on feedback from those who have participated in the program.

An account director on the Microsoft account at McCann says "It's very important we not come across as fake."

With all this cash flying around at the shiny new objects, how will I ever convince our marketers to listen and join conversations rather than launch our next "Viral Marketing Campaign"? Everyone is looking for ROI, immediate results, and quick wins. Nobody sees any problem with launching a "viral campaign," complete with a press release.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The new "Intel Insider Program"

The Intel Insider Program sounds awesome. At first. But look a little deeper...

-- The group contains no actual Intel Employees (as one would infer from the term "insiders"). I saw a comment from an employee begging to be included in the fun.
-- They have gathered together a "group of social media activists." Yeah, that means some cool folks who posts tons of pics, videos and generally document every detail of their lives. *Especially* getting invited to Intel and getting a free MacBook Air.

The Intel Insider program seeks to discover some of the best practices in corporate social/new media and in doing so, the results can be shared broadly. There is no restriction on the Intel Insiders sharing the results of the program with others.

Our idea was to reach out to a diverse group of social media activists with three goals in mind:

-- occasionally feature their work or opinions as part of our What’s Inside effort
-- see whether any are interested in writing about Intel’s products or are following Intel’s social media efforts on their own (note: this is not a requirement)
-- seek feedback on our social media efforts, upcoming product plans, roadmaps…

And, as a PR friend pointed out, there are no laws against bribing bloggers (as there are with journalists.) Enjoy those new MacBook Air Laptops, you lucky Intel Insiders!

I commend Intel for putting together a very clever marketing campaign for new Intel products disguised as a groundbreaking thought leadership program. Hey, at least someone is giving the online influencers the respect they deserve! I have no problem with that : - )

Planning a Social Media Program: Gia Lyons gives advice

Gia Lyons took some time out of her busy day just to give me some advice and help me navigate the stormy waters of the social media landscape. She said:
"2007 was the year of Web 2.0 -- and now everyone has figured out what that is. This year is about how to use Web 2.0 tools to make or save money."

Obviously there is lots of buzz around social media and Web 2.0. The hard part is putting together a business plan and finding case studies with ROI. Gia gave me some names of folks who are in similar roles as mine at other large corporations. It sounds like they are doing some cool stuff, I'll report back on any great pearls of wisdom that they cast my way : )

She also showed me this great blog post about those who are less-than-enthusiastic around Social Media tools. My first reaction was "oh, nobody at my company is like that." But then I realized, they might be thinking some of these things and just not saying them!

“Norman Naysayer,” the Enterise Octopus arch nemesis

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tweeter blocks Twitter

I just got my new eee pc. We made a special trip into my office just to pick it up. I am off until Wednesday but i decided i could not wait that long for my new toy. So it follows that i defiitely could not wait until August for the new Dell.

I am a little concerned that it could not seem to handle a streaming YouTube video. We're going to try again now.

The funny thing is that we came to Panera to try out the wireless network. There is a Tweeter Store nearby, and I was on their wireless network. The first site I tried to go to was Twitter. I got this message:

Oh and BTW i did this whole post on my new EEE!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm ready for that Star Trek Transporter Thing

Travel has gone from bad to worse. I think that the problem is that now that people have to pay to check a bag, they carry everything on, which causes delays at security. It's no surprise that millions of Americans refuse to fly. At least I'm stuck here with a good friend who is making the time fly (even though we're not!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Power of Commenting on Other People's Blogs

I found this post as I discovered "ProBlogger. When you find an interesting blog, it really affirms their influence when you see that 7,000 other people follow them on Twitter. I click "follow" so I don't have to subscribe to their RSS feed because I never check Google Reader.

ProBlogger created this video about "The Power of Commenting on Other Blogs" that I want all our Corporate bloggers to see : )

How did I find ProBlogger, anyway? With all the various ways to find someone online, it's getting quite difficult to remember how you find things. I found ProBLogger this morning through Tweetburner. Tweetburner is a "short URL" service that not only lets you shorten an URL and create a redirect, it:
1. Lets you post directly to Twitter within its interface (even if they do need some usability tweaks)
2. Lets you login to your account (which is tied to your Twitter account, so it's the same login) to track your traffic.
3. Shows you how many people clicked on each link you posted (over all time, does not seem to break it out by past day, month, etc.) But with Twitter, if people don't see it in the first hour, they'll probably never see it anyway.

I was checking Tweetburner out of vanity to see how many clicks I got on a few links I posted last night, and ProBlogger had gotten 37 clicks in the past hour on his post about the birth of his new son.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

ROI of Blogging: Cisco's Social Media Program

Figuring out the ROI of bloggging has become my quest for the Holy Grail as I try to educate my company. But the best part about working in social media is how open and helpful everyone is. We’re all on the same boat, being tossed violently in a perfect storm. But everyone is willing to share their lifeboat (in this metaphor, information = lifeboat.) The New Media team at Cisco is no exception in this generosity.

Cisco’s New Media program started out as a grass-roots effort in late 2005 with two people working part time on it: Amy Paquette and Jeanette Gibson. When I first did research on blog programs in October 2005, Cisco had nothing. zippo. nada. And then A year and half later, their director of New Media (Jeannette) is presenting at Web 2.0 in April 2007. Through various modes of online stalking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) I managed to connect with Jeannette. I even modeled my own title after hers ("New Media").

Here is a great story from Cisco that illustrates the value of blogging:

In Jan 2007 Cisco engaged in a lawsuit with Apple on the iPhone. Cisco owned that trademark. The lawsuit was public and there were a lot of questions around the specifics. Mark Chandler, Cisco's SVP and General Counsel posted JUST THE FACTS around the lawsuit (he was probably tired of all those phone calls.) It was not conversational in tone, just factual. They “just wanted to get it out there.”

In one day his post got 77,000 hits and got 344 comments.

Out of 344 comments, the sentiment was a 60 / 40 split between Apple and Cisco. (Which is surprising, considering Apple’s rabid fan base.) People expressed their support of Cisco protecting their trademark. Now, I want you to take a minute and think about the corparate legal folks you know. How many of them would take this kind of risk and post the facts of a lawsuit on a blog? Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, ya gotta hand it to Mark Chandler for putting it out there.

(This reminds me of another great "controversial" post on Yahoo’s corporate blog: the day Yahoo turned down the Microsoft Deal. But that's a whole 'nother post.)

Chandler's post around the iPhone proved to Cisco that a blog can be a great way to disseminate information. This was the first time that a blog had actually helped with Cisco’s PR efforts. It is not surprising that after this event, Cisco’s blog program really took off in 2007.

The icing on the cake is this great commentary on around Chandler’s blog post:

From Jan. 10 2007

“It'll be interesting to see how this all turns out given the transparency Cisco is approaching this situation with, and Apple's notorious secretive nature.”

-- Scott McNulty (“The unofficial Apple Weblog”)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Great end of week: Social Media Conference and Presentations

Today the inimitable Katie Paine (communications measurement guru) is honoring our offices with a visit. The meeting started out small, but there are so many people across the company who are interested in social media. They are excited to be able to measure the results of their campaigns, whether they are on YouTube or other social media. (Now that I think of it, they're mostly on YouTube.) I'll be recording her presentation and then hopefully I will figure out a way to edit it in iMovie.

Tomorrow I am attending BlogPotomac, a bloggers conference that is right here in Virginia! Yeehaw!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meeting "THE Gia Lyons" ...

Yesterday we had another presentation from Jive on their Clearspace app. Definitely a promising tool for our company, something we would like to leverage both internally AND externally.

But the best part of this week (so far) was meeting Jive's Social Software evangelist, Gia Lyons. Here is how she was introduced in the meeting maker:

"Introduction of THE Gia Lyons:
Gia is a collaboration guru and industry pundit. She was with IBM for the last 10 years working directly with their largest clients on social productivity software initiatives. She's well versed in industry and technical knowledge and can lead an interesting discussion on how Jive's products map to your requirements."

Listening to her talk was like music to my ears...and the best part is she has agreed to chat with me about Social Media Evangelism. I can use some encouragement right about now.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The first meeting of the new Social Media Roundtable

Last month I attended the New Communications Forum which was really eye opening. But probably the best part about it was the chance to meet other people who are in the same boat as I am. Being the "Social Media Expert" is fun, but it's even better when you're in a conversation with others who are doing similar things.

So I took the opportunity to gather together a few friends from the conference. Not everyone could attend, so I wrote this quick summary of what we discussed.
On our first "round table" call, Kate (from a consumer tech company) had some good suggestions for how to get more buy-in or enthusiasm around your blog:
  1. create an editorial calendar to give some visibility around the blog topics. Let people know what you're planning to post, for example, whether it is a video or text, and share the calendar on a wiki or Google documents.
  2. We discussed the fact that other internal people are creating videos and posting to YouTube. She is in Corporate Marketing, and has asked people to work with her directly. I am taking a more "hands off" approach, and I created a channel for other people's YouTube videos. I am trying to get the word out to centralize our videos.
  3. Kate told us about a presentation given by Marilyn Waters about how Disney Parks & Resorts is leveraging online communities and user-generated content. They put out a request for 10 moms who would be interested in participating in a "Walt Disney World Moms blog" answering questions about trips to Disney parks (“best attractions for a 6-year old,” “best place to change a diaper,” etc.). They got 10,000 applicants, so they created an “affinity group” for the other 9,990 applicants! We should all be so lucky as to have such an enthusiastic following of our brands!
The success of the Disney site just underscores the fact that we are all at different stages of buy-in and implementation of our social media programs. For example, Janie (From a large non-profit agency) told us that her board of directors approved the social media budget, but she is still in the planning stages of launching her blogs. I think that Janie has a great opportunity to leverage consumer generated content...and Janie has also gotten quite active on Twitter. I suggested she try using survey monkey to gather info, since from my experience Twitter is not usually a two-way street for information. (You ask a question and don't usually get answers.)

Another topic we discussed was how to help change peoples' behavior -- Marketers always have a message to send, and a story to tell. We want them to first listen to what is being said in the blogosphere. In his opening Key Note at the New Comms Forum, Joe Jaffe said “The storytellers are the bullies.” Richard@Dell also gave a great keynote on the benefits of using social media and listening to customers. But I think we all agreed that changing attitudes and behaviors is the toughest (and most frustrating) part of this "fun" job.

A new item of my list of things to try...

Yet another example of how Twitter is helpful : )
Scoble tweeted about his visit to Dogster. So of course I had to see it. On this site qik.com you can post video from your phone.

And then I noticed a familiar face on Scoble's qik.com page. My friend Stacy who I met at the New Comms Forum! She gave Scoble a tour of the NYT board room. Small world!!


What Should I name My Blog?

I was trying to decide what to name the Corporate Blog I plan to write for my company. (Which has not launched yet and so I'm kind of practicing on my own here.) So I decided to survey my friends and they came back with some pretty funny suggestions for titles.

  • Snyder’s Snippets
  • Enterprise Social Media: Life in the trenches
  • Yeah, yeah, blog this... OMG...Social Media...LIC (from my boss)
  • Free Donuts!
  • Sourdough Rolls (from a jetlagged VP)
  • Karen's Wheelhouse The Snyd Truth
  • Nothing but the Poop! or the Poop Scoop!
  • Social Media Maven: See Me Naked click here.
  • Kareniki: Adventures in Social Media
  • Karenlicious
  • Karenpedia
  • karen.tv: Stories from the social media front line
  • Snyder Social Media Marvels & Tales

And then I asked our SEO Guru how I should figure out what keywords to focus on for my blog and he gave me some very sage advice:

"...just begin writing the content then see how it should be best grouped. For blogs the categorization is one of the most important parts of the SEO. You can always go back to past posts and retag or add tags as you begin to see themes emerge from your writing."
-- Rob Meusel, SEO Guru

So, maybe I'll actually succeed in writing a blog, with a little help from my friends!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The ROI of Internal Social Media

We are on a mission to "sell" social media internally.

I recently created a presentation about "The ROI of Internal Social Media" The information is based on a case study from Radford University entitled:

"The Relationship Between Social Capital, Transaction Costs, and Organizational Outcomes"

The reason I did the presentation was to help convince upper management of the value of a robust social network for internal use.

It's embarrassing how crappy the presentation looks. I keep meaning to learn how to do NICE presentations on our iMac, but the interface is so different than what I am used to. I haven't had the time to play with it.