It’s all about the STRATEGY

True “experts” like Robert Scoble and Chris Brogan have argued that the term “social media expert” is, for most people, a moot title– a point I agree with. In an industry that’s constantly changing, it’s impossible to be an expert in a field that has no predefined boundaries. (Perhaps the only exceptions are Scoble and Brogan, who have proven themselves champions in multiple battles, though the war has hardly been fought). 

With that being said, it comes as no surprise that an article published on cnet today discusses just that: the title, and role, of the social media “expert.” The article, which covers the high ticket price many social media-ites demand(ed) points out many of the flaws many companies are seeing in their current social media “strategy.”

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Word Cloud Resume

I was perusing Oliver Blanchard’s “The Brand Builder” blog a little bit ago and came across a post that showed his blog as a word cloud. I’ve seen this done in the past, but what caught my eye was Oliver’s mention of David Bernardo’s Resume as a word cloud. I clicked. Yep, it was awesome, and expressed a resume in a truly unique way. 

So naturally, I felt obligated to enter mine and share it here. I was pleased to see that “community” ended up at the core of my word cloud.

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To create your own, visit Wordle and give it a shot.

The Emerging Role: Community Manager

I previously worked for a start-up called, Passenger, where I was as a Community Manager for brands like Nike, JcPenney, and ABC. While at Passenger  I posted to the company blog about the role of a Community Manager. Though the post remains mostly relevant, it does read much like an advertisement (ironic since at the time I clearly remember trying to ensure that it didn’t feel like an ad, but instead embraced the voice of the company, just as any Community Manager would do.) 

I’ve included my post below, and have amended it slightly to reflect my current views, noted in purple

Please note, that this was written while working for Passenger, not Yahoo!, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the company at this time. 

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Practice what you preach

When I attended Graduate school at USC I started to go through the steps of having my thesis published, mostly because I thought it would bring me fame, fortune, and a great job. (Clearly I had no concept of how many people actually read a thesis. For those of you in Graduate school, it’s about as many people as you have fingers on your hands. Advisor, parent(s), significant other, editor, and maybe a roommate). 

Midway through the submission process I stopped because I realized I was losing my mind, and publishing my thesis on paper didn’t really embrace what I had written. My thesis was on User-Generated Content and Viral Media, and it’s Impact on Broadcast and Marketing. I was committed to the fact that the topic was changing, so the medium should be changing. (In retrospect, that’s oh so McLuhan of me).

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Pottery Barn: Where’s your Community?

Back in July I bought my first place– a purchase that has completely changed the way I shop. Now, instead of only perusing stores and websites for jeans, tops, and accessories, I find myself checking out the home section too. I’m excited by looking at paint swatches and watching HGTV’s “My First Place” and seeing how others “pull it all together.” And right now, I’m also quietly obsessed with Pottery Barn. 

Pottery Barn‘s website is pretty robust– they have a “Style House” section that features videos, design tips “for every room,” design tools, and heck, they even have a “furniture facts” section– where you can learn about your new sectional. But what their site lacks is a community element– something that surprised me. Read more »

Review: Ogilvy’s “The Daily Influence”

Move over, Radian6, there’s a new Social Media tracking tool on the block, and it’s from Ogilvy Public Relations.

TDIAnnounced today, “The Daily Influence” (TDI) has a similar look and feel to Radian6’s tool, but has one major difference: for the moment, it’s free. Yep, you read that right. Though Radian6 still scours more of the internet to find all of your brand’s mentions, and provides actual metrics, the Oglivy tool is a great resource for smaller companies looking to consolidate their efforts.

In the customizable “Listening Post,” users can edit fields to represent their product, brand, or service and TDI provides an aggregated look at all mentions of that product, service, or feature on the internet. I updated my view (in the screenshot below) to reflect a common search I used to make: Yahoo messenger. The site quickly pulled up combined mentions of Yahoo messenger. Currently, the tool utilizes Twitter searches, image searches (Flickr, Google, Pixsy, Zoomr), video searches (YouTube, Metacafe, MySpace, Blip.tv), Delicious, blog searches (Technorati, Google, Blogged, Sphere), and more. Read more »

You have died of Dysentery

dysenteryThe Oregon Trail was right. If I lived back in the days of the “Wild West” (or, pre-internet, for this argument) I definitely would have died of Dysentery. I use the internet for EVERYTHING– including, determining the shelf life of my food.

Case in point? Tonight, I was trying to decide if this package of chicken-apple sausage I had in my fridge was still good, and didn’t know how long sausage “kept for” in the fridge. Rather than calling my mom and bugging her with the mundane question, I hopped online and entered my exact question in Google. (Yes, there was a date printed on the side, but the package was frozen at one point and I wanted to know how long I had from when it was thawed and opened… you get the point. I’m a germaphob, and totally wouldn’t have made it out in “the wild”).

The results were fantastic. First result? A sausage making site. Second result? USDA. Third result? Wiki Answers (look! someone had the EXACT SAME question!) For most online users, performing mundane online searches is something that we do day in and day out. For, me, I “Google” things so frequently, I honestly couldn’t begin to quantify the number of searches I do in one day. I have to know everything. But what impressed me was how advanced and socially oriented search tools are becoming. Read more »

33 accounts hacked on Twitter

After a weekend filled with phishing direct messages Twitter users might want to seriously consider changing their passwords (if they haven’t done so already) after hearing about the latest escapade. 33 high profile Twitter accounts were hacked and random (albeit somewhat funny) tweets were sent out from the accounts.

Among the targeted were President elect Barack Obama, Rick Sanchez, Facebook, and Britney Spears. (For screenshots of some of the hacked messages/accounts, visit TechCrunch)

sancheztwitterFor most users, the security breach brought forth more suspicion about Twitter’s privacy and security policy, and sigh of relief as only the “media elite” seemed to be targeted. (However, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch was not targeted and feels “kind of left out”).

Arrington commentThe recent hack, which seems to be the efforts of a prankster, illuminates Twitter’s need for increased security for its users. As Twitter’s population continues to grow, their safety and security efforts should be scalable.

On a brighter note, amidst all of the “panic” Twitter announced in their post today (aptly named “Monday Morning Madness”) that they  “plan to release a closed beta of the open authentication protocol, OAuth this month” which is good news for developers and users alike. Though Twitter is quick to note that OAuth wouldn’t have saved their hides in a phishing scam or hacking attempt, it “is something we can provide so that folks who use third party applications built on the Twitter API can access to their data while protecting their account credentials.”

Obama: change online

Back in November I posted about the Obama campaign hiring a Community Manager to drive their online strategy post-presidential campaign. Since then, the Obama team has launched Change.gov, which the Washington Post describes as:

a transition Web site launched two days after Obama won, a constant stream of information is doled out. You can watch YouTube videos of transition staffers. You can track meetings between the transition team and outside groups, which provide searchable documents online (and allow visitors to leave comments for the team). You can post questions in the “Open for Questions” feature, where submitted questions are voted to the top by other users. In its first week, the feature got 978,868 votes on 10,302 questions from 20,468 people.

The site does a great job of tapping into the hype and political interest surrounding Obama, and makes it easy for users to get information. Americans can sign up for targeted email updates by entering their email address and zip code, can submit questions, search for information, and of course, share their own personal testimonial.

obamaquestionsHowever, the site runs into a potential problem when it comes to tone: unlike the Obama campaign itself, the Change.gov site remains incredibly formal in its tone. The Washington Post notes that one of the responses found on the site, written by Obama’s team is stiff: “President-elect Obama is a strong supporter of Federal funding for responsible stem cell research and he has pledged to reverse President Bush’s restrictions.”

The site also lacks the ability for users to connect directly to one another– a grassroots initiative that could prove to be incredibly lucrative for both the economy and for the Obama camp. Developing meaningful bonds through shared interests enables people to connect on a different level, and also provides a stronger, deeper connection with the connectee– in this case, the Obama camp.

All in all, I’m so pleased to see that Obama has taken his online popularity seriously, and is finding new and unique ways of embracing policy and politics. I only hope that as the year progresses we’ll see even more ways of communicating with the new President (his Twitter stream has been quiet since his victory) and new ways of shaping policy.

Alexander Hamilton once said “the masses are asses”– and for a long time, I agreed. But right now, I’m optimistic that with the right tools, we can all learn and create a brighter future and prove one of our founding father’s wrong.

Beware: Twitter and Facebook Phishing scam

The internet is all a twitter with talks about the latest phishing scam to hit popular sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

Twitter’s Get Satisfaction forum (their help pages) are quickly being filled with users pleading for help, saying they were recently phished. 

GetsatisfactionTwitter has quickly jumped on the alert bandwagon, posting a message above Twitter feeds on the actual site Twitter.com reading:

TwitterwarningHowever, their main blog, as of 5:50pm  PT on January 3rd remained free of any additional information, but their status blog did have a brief update. In addition to this, users who don’t access Twitter through Twitter.com and instead use popular third party sites like tweetdeck or through their iphone might not see the message and instead, must rely on their friends to retweet the warning.

CNET reports that the phishing scam mimics the recent Facebook Koobface virus:

 Direct messages (DMs) are showing up in Twitter accounts with appealing come-ons to visit a site on blogspot.com. The text is, “hey! check out this funny blog about you…” The URL in the message then redirects to a page that looks like the Twitter login page, but is actually not on Twitter–it’s a site, twitter.access-logins.com, that masquerades as Twitter to steal your login credentials instead.

Recent reports also note that Facebook is also being spoofed in a similar login manner, so user’s best bet is to check their URL for authenticity before clicking on any links in DMs. If it isn’t a pure Twitter.com URL, don’t provide your login credentials.

As far as the “Tweet alert system” goes, I’d say this would make a great case for Twitter to strong-arm their users and pull a MySpace– compelling users to receive messages or Tweets from “Tom” — aka Evan Williams in Twitter’s case, anytime there’s a potential security threat. This would surely assuage many users who are “frantic” with the sheer thought of identity theft.