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On Nestle

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Everyone who blogs about marketing and media should write about the Nestle issue. There can not be enough written about this. (Some good things here, here and here .)

Why?

Because its get to the root of social media and big business. The very value of social media. Nestle is getting hammered and guess what? They deserve it. Ya wanna know what else? They’ll be the better for the lickin’ they are taking.

Still one has to wonder how it is that a billion dollar conglomerate who sells fructose as baby formula figures its a good idea to go out into social media without hiring help. Cheese on a Ritz fellas, who walks out on stage in a stadium without practicing?

So there it is– we all owe a huge smattering of thanks to the corp comm geniuses at Nestle for doing the social media thing and showing everyone how not to do it.

Here’s what I learned:

If you are a gigantic food processing or agro-business –STFU. Seriously. You’re only asking for trouble. You want to defend high fructose corn syrup in moderation or the benefits of genetically modified grain? Go buy a congressman like the rest of your buds.

If you’re still not convinced that you are better staying out of the conversation, or somehow still feel the need to leverage this great new form of media, try fixing your Wikipedia page. See, not so easy is it? Once you master that community, you’re ready for twitter and a solid monitoring program. Got that box checked? Well then, by all means, go ahead and jump in people’s facebook streams. I love getting updates about sustainable palm oil refining next to updates from my sister-in-law. That’s sarcasm. Go slow and consider the community you are entering. Some places are best left unattended until you are ready.

I suspect Nestle would like to step away from Facebook, but of course, now its too late. Leaving would make them look weak and guilty. So now they must endure the slings and arrows of the great unwashed. Certainly Nestle has come to realize that no one can talk over an angry mob. Maybe now Nestle will listen.

Because that’s the thing: I’m not sure social media is so much about about letting go of your brand or even transparency. To me, it’s more about listening. Yes, listening effectively is often more expensive than running your yap. This is the trap of social media for so many businesses. They are so used to talking, and since that’s easier and less expensive than listening, “how hard can it be?” they ask themselves. Then they wind up blog fodder like Nestle.

Listening correctly, a business the size of Nestle can save millions of dollars in market research. By listening respectfully they could uncover the weaknesses in their oppositions’ arguments. If they listen deeply they might find a way to do well by doing good. It’s a myth that people hate big business. People hate dumb big businesses. Being dumb in social media is way more expensive than just being quiet.

In related news Ryan Seacrest learned the hard way about spoiler alerts on twitter


Future of Twitter?

Friday, May 1st, 2009


Flutter–When Twitter Takes Too Much Time

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Very funny satire


Weapons Grade Narcissism

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Roughly 40 people you should be following–and why being followed isn’t quite as important as your ego may suggest. (Thanks to @PRsarahevans for the title)

It’s follow friday on twitter.  If you are new to twitter this is an important day because it is one of the best times to add people to your follow list without getting chumped into following a bunch of MLM gurus.

This follow friday I intend to unfollow as well.  This is always risky. I watched one of my favorite twitter iconoclasts, @sdreinhart1975 clean house.  I was impressed  The truth is I won’t unfollow many people but I need a smaller fire hose to drink from and honestly some people are just not delivering value.  Twitter is an excellent tool for people reporting on the minutia of their lives and many are interested.  I need to learn stuff so –as popular as she is– I’m cropping iJustine.  Sorry, nothing personal, You’re very attractive, (I love your picture), but I need to move on.  It’s not you– It’s me.  I know you won’t miss me– your are loved by thousands (probably more).

I am not loved by thousands.  Nor will I ever be.  I’m ok with that.  Twitter is a smart RSS reader that can be made smarter and I intend to get smarter from it.  If you want to validate yourself through twitter, save your self a bunch of time:
(1) just follow a bunch of people.  Screw follow friday –follow everyone– more than 90% will follow you back because its the right thing to do.

(2) If you want lots of followers focus on those with fewer than 3000 followers and who follow more people than they are followed by, your chances of them following you are even greater.

You should have no problem amassing tens of thousands of followers following those two simple rules.  Best of luck–you’ll be burned out in no time.

I’ll follow you back too –unless your time line is filled with pitches for MLM, too many self-congratulations, unsolicited offers to grow my follower count, or offer me a free Mac Air.  The only other reason I won’t follow you is because you are an ideologue.  I’m easily bored by dogma both on the left and on the right.

I’m genuinely trying to add value to your time on Twitter.  I am guilty of over retweeting because I like to follow people who are smarter than me and share with people who may have broader interests than me.  I think I’m a good mediator/filter  I like sifting through and finding the good stuff.  That said, anyone can follow the people I name below and skip me all together.

There are people who are better at twitter than I am.  They are bigshots–the A-listers:
@Scobleizer More followers than L. Ron Hubbard.  How he monitors all this stuff is truly amazing.  He really finds great stuff, despite the enormous flow of information he is managing
@jowyang Analyst for Forrester, he’s the master of social media in general.  I follow for stats because he is so generous with them.
@SteffanAntonas Where does he find this stuff?  maybe the best link-finder on twitter.  Never disappoints
@palafo Hard-core journalist.  Gives you hope for the future of journalism in general.
@avinashkaushik Bleeding edge technologist
@mike_elgan Tech journalist with a remarkable sense of the future
@Armano One of the shining lights of PR on social media.  Has real results to show for his efforts
@Kitson Smart, funny and aware–particuarly of issues regarding CRM and technology.  Awesome links
@danzarrella Social media Scientist (I love that–and he really is).  He is living in the future for real.
@zaibatsu Friend to the world.  Tons of followers–everyone loves him. Hardest working twitterer in twitterdom
@stejules good links.  I personally like the way stejules experiments with twitter as a ad channel.  Wonder if he’s making any dough.
@rww Read Write Web is without question one of the most impotant blogs on the web.  They make themselves more approachable with Twitter.
@timoreilly Wanna learn how the web will change society? follow Tim.
@mashable Much like @rww @mashable makes the mashable brand more approachable. It also keeps me more aware of new content on a terrific blog

Honestly, if you just want to watch, follow those 15 tweeps and you will get 85% of all that is cool in social media.  From there, follow people who are into what you are into, and you’re good to go.  For example, I follow @webby2001, mramsey1, MarkEdwards and @martindave because we’re into the same stuff (legacy media and how it adapts to new technology) and they are really good social netizens. They are as important to me as anyone on the aforementioned a list.  I follow artists and celebs I admire like Tony Hawk, Penn Jillette and Beck too,  but honestly I’ve been mostly disappointed.  P.Diddy (@iamdiddy) needs some serious social network coaching (Bitchassness? Let’s go!!!!!!) Bottom line: Don’t worry about who is following you.  That’s not where the value is. You are not your followers– you are who you are following.

I often think of retweeting as voting.  I know I could do that in digg or delicious but I like to weight my vote with something rational. Plus the social bookmarking services are kinda rigged.  Twitter isn’t rigged yet (as far as i know anyway).

I follow Ars Technica Michael Arrington (@TechCrunch) and ReadWriteWeb (@RWW) because they are three of the best blogs on the web.

You will have others– hopefully you will share them. Sometimes it’s awful hard to understand why twitter is so compelling, but a big part of it is collecting ideas from some of the brightest minds alive.  follow me if you’d like yours filtered a bit–but if you prefer it straight–  drop me and pick a top 20.

If I’ve quit you and you aren’t a zealot, a troll, a barnacle, or an MLM– just @me and I’ll follow again.

Others you will get a great deal of value from include:
@tommytrc
@sbeckham
@AndreaMeyer
@LtGenPanda
@frostfire
@marketingwizdom
@Hamlet
@DragonI
@kasthomas
@styletime
@littlebrownpen
@AdInfinitum
@RickM
@adamostrow
@gleonhard
@lisahickey
@stef
@Dana_Willhoit
@techpr
@sarahintampa
@lisamurphyTO
@BradMays
@mparent77772

Of course endorsing all these people may make you wonder: what about Guy Kawasaki, Dave Winer and the other A-listers?  Well, I figure you know about them. That isn’t what follow friday is for. They don’t need my endorsement–and everyone retweets them anyway.

Who do you follow?


Twitter Explained Pt. 2

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

As with most fads the backlash continues.  While social networking is no fad this video does a great job of satirizing the reality of “I publish therefore I am“.  Watch out for that fail whale.


Twitter Goes Mainstream

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

In case you were wondering–

I guess this means it’s not so cool anymore. For the record, I’m trying to get my mom to get on Twitter. Sorry for the crappy player–Youtube had to take it down. Viacom doesn’t like being too popular.