Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SNCR's NewComm Forum

I'm starting this post out with a little background so the theme of it has some teeth to it. I've been in online marketing for 14 years (gulp, yep, ONE lie.)

I know that dates me, but I wanted to illustrate my years (along with blood, sweat, tears and bounced paychecks) invested in this industry, to let you know that I've had the time to attend several Internet, Web Marketing, and Tech conferences from Internet World to iMedia Summit to ad:tech to ITEC, etc.

And ya know, a conference, is a conference, is a conference with an exhibit hall and parties and some interesting keynotes. Lots of business cards exchanged, some information is relevant, some not - a good excuse to get out of the office and network. Overall for me, I haven't come across a must attend conference. They all kinda blend together.

At the beginning of this year, I spoke with an industry friend, Rick Murray, about my social-media-conference-with-a-slightly-different-lens search: more research based and a focus on conversation not marketing per se. He suggested I check out "snicker," explaining it's an acronym S N C R for a New Comm organization.

And that's how I ended up at last week's Society of New Communications Research's (SNCR) (again, pronounced Snicker) NewComm Forum. Given I'm in brand marketing, I thought this conference might be slanted toward PR or Corp Comm so I had my doubts going in, but Rick knows his stuff and I did asked for different. I definitely got different, but good different in the form of a social media conversational marketing recharge.

There were many tracks to choose from including separate ones for PR and Brand. I jumped around and was impressed with the depth of preparation, the timely case studies and the research findings shared at the sessions.

The keynotes were a mix of presentation, interview-style, and conversation. It was very "un-conferencey" and I know that's a term that's being thrown around quite a bit, but truly for a conference that is focused on research, it was very casual, adaptive and conversational.

The SNCR team lead by Jen McClure worked their booties off orchestrating the entire event flawlessly down to the minute details of introducing new attendees to speakers and tracking down extra drink tickets for the afterhours event.

And saving the best for last, SNCR was my first tweetup! I've heard so many twitterers talk about how amazing and surreal their first time meeting other twitters IRL is. And wow, words can't explain's an overwhelming experience to connect with so many twitter buds at once in person.

I have a few more personal takes on SNCR that I'll save for another post. Bottom line, SNCR's NewComm is definitely my must attend conference.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Twitter Commands - Basic How-tos

Found this Twitter Command post on Get Satisfaction from Crystal - thank you!

Device Basics: turning Twitter off and on

* ON: turns ALL device notifications on. (device = your phone or IM)
* OFF: turns ALL device notifications off.
* STOP, QUIT: stops all messages to your device immediately

* ON username: turns on notifications for a specific person on your device. For example, ON alissa.
* OFF username: turns off notifications for a specific person on your device. For example, OFF blaine.

* FOLLOW username: this command allows you to start receiving notifications for a specific person on your device. Example: follow jeremy
* LEAVE username: this command allows you to stop receiving notifications for a specific person on your device. Example: leave benfu

Other Fun Commands: there's more to Twitter than OFF and ON!

* @username + message
directs a twitter at another person, and causes your twitter to save in their "replies" tab.
Example: @meangrape I love that song too!

* D username + message
sends a person a private message that goes to their device, and saves in their web archive.
Example: d krissy want to pick a Jamba Juice for me while you're there?

* WHOIS username
retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter.
Example: whois jack

* GET username
retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person.
Example: get goldman

* NUDGE username
reminds a friend to update by asking what they're doing on your behalf.
Example: nudge biz

* FAV username
marks a person's last twitter as a favorite. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you're receiving it in real time)
Example: fav al3x

this command returns your number of followers, how many people you're following, and which words you're tracking.

* INVITE phone number
will send an SMS invite to a friend's mobile phone.
Example: Invite 415 555 1212

Twitter Tracking Commands

Track a word on Twitter and get all updates containing your chosen word on your device! Note: track is the only command that is device-only. (In other words, you can only track from phone or IM, you cannot track via web or API.)

* track word: starts tracking a word
* untrack word: stops tracking a word
* untrack all: stops tracking all words
* track off: stops tracking all words
* tracks or tracking: returns a list of words you're tracking

Hint: track your user name to get an update when someone sends you an @reply!

Also, Jason took Crystal's list and created a quick reference amply named Tweet Sheet

Super Mario's shot

Watch and listen to the fans at Allen Field House before, during and after Mario's 3 pointer to tie Memphis and send the National Championship game into OT. Thanks to 1pioneer for posting this video to YouTube. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Free Hugs, Free Products, Freeconomics

Michelle Miller wrote an excellent post offering up a commercial angel on the Free Hugs YouTube video.

If you are unfamiliar with the premise of Free Hugs, Juan Mann holds a sign up with the words "Free Hugs" as he stands on a corner of a busy intersection in Sydney. What was he after? Direct from his site in his own words, Juan's "sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their live," passing good vibes onward.

As the story unfolds, you see people passing by without looking, a few hugs here and there, then someone breaks the ice and hugs Juan, others join in, some passerbys laughing and joining in with hugging strangers, police ban Juan and his Free Hugs sign, Juan collects 10,000 signatures on his petition and the ban is overruled, and on the video goes with more hugs.

Juan's Free Hug campaign started in 2004 and he's been in Sydney at that same corner every Thursday since giving away hugs. In and of itself the Free Hugs campaign is an excellent story of people's positive interactions with each other, letting your guard down and being rewarded for that measure. It's "feel good" at its authentic finest.

Michelle offers up a commercial approach to the Free Hug campaign. The idea of giving away your product for free. She parallels the Free Hug Video by stating, "If you believe strongly enough in your product or service, give it away for free. In the beginning, no one will believe you. Stick with it long enough, experience breakthrough, and you'll have more business than you know what to do with. And you'll have a band of merry men (and women) who will be your brand evangelists."

With Chris Anderson's recent WIRED article, his book titled FREE and the term freeconomics, free is touted as a major ingredient of a technology company's success. Also, with the two way interaction companies can partake in with their customers online using the robust (free) social media applications we all have at our finger tips, free is a consumer expectation. If you want me to be a brand zealot, what are you going to give me to make it worth my investment, my time, my affinity?

For more details on the Free Hugs Campaign, see wikipedia.
For more information on Michelle, check out her blog.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Good People Day - April 3

Gary Vaynerchuk, to me @garyvee, is requesting we all get together and chat up the good people in our lives. Watch Gary's video for details.

Pay homage to those that have helped you, the truly good peeps. Take time to reflect on Thursday, April 3rd and say thanks publicly to the good folks in your life via your blog, twitter, facebook profile, pounce, emails, or even IRL (novel idea)... however you want - just communicate out there so the good vibe keeps rolling...think about it, wow what a ripple effect YOU could cause.

The idea of everyone online (even those in the media) talking about good people that do amazing things just because they truly want to help people, instead of sensationalizing, bitching, gossiping, and spreading rumors - even if that could last 1 would be a wonderous, refreshing moment my friends. Let's take part!

Out with the bad juju and in with appreciation and goodwill!

GPD08 on!

United Nations World Autism Awareness Day - April 2

The United Nations has declared today, April 2, World Autism Awareness Day.

Wikipedia's definition of autism is:
a brain development disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and repetitive behavior, all starting before a child is three years old.

Our 9 year old son was diagnosed with high functioning autism when he was 2 1/2 years old. We detected it early. We were lucky to have a wonderful Parents As Teachers advocate helping us track our son's decline in verbal and social skills.

Early detection helps minimize the impact of autism on your child's future. If you are a parent of a baby or toddler, please read Learn the Signs, Act Early.

In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, CNN is reporting on global impacts of autism throughout the day. On the CNN website, there's a good overview and some helpful links for parents dealing with an autism diagnosis. And for extensive information see Autism Speaks or The National Autism Association.

This is a near and dear day for my family. Please take a moment to help Autism research out (for free) by watching any of the videos posted by families with an autistic child on The Five for Fighting website . Details on how this works are here.