Archive for the ‘ social media ’ Category

whole foods + whole lot of social-media mess

what a week it must have been for whole foods ceo john mackay and his crisis-pr team!    just a week after a major scientific report that there is really no material health difference between organic and non-organic produce. 

1.  john mckay writes a wall street journal oped on the united states healthcare debate

2. his customers, he picks the ‘wrong side’ of the debate … with a conservative-piece despite serving a largely liberal-customer base

3.  blogosphere and twittersphere explodes in rage .. with some stating that they will not shop at whole foods because of the ‘social darwinism and elitism’ reflected in john mackay’s piece

4.  traditional media picks up the story

5. is formed

6.  welcome to traditional media meeting social media in the age of the empowered customer with a keyboard @ hand …

3 obvious ideas:

a. personal ceo opinion”, really?: ironically there is no such thing as a ‘personal opinion’ for public cxo’s in an age where social media promises to enable personal expression! et tu, social media?

b. understand your customer before you communicate … because social media is the voice of many, not just marketing: you dont need to have a ph.d. in anthropology to know your customer-base, its major likes and dislikes.  if you are in a fishbowl (as they say about ceo’s), communication is hard to begin with.  your every move is being followed, interpreted and amplified.  social media just made it harder.  most companies and ‘social media experts’ belabor about why it is important for companies to market themselves through social media… conveniently forgetting that the power of social media is tilted towards the voice of many … i.e., the customers and quick-to-convert ‘former customers’!

c. b2c brands can become fragile faster than you can say “oh tweet!”:  b2c brands are built on perception.  brands take time and money to build.  like humpty-dumpty that sat on a wall and took a great fall, brands can fall quickly with the nudge of social-media ire.  and despite all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, it might not be possible to put humpty-dumpty together again.  just ask any 2 year old.  

sai at obviousideas dot com


social networking … will the pendulum swing back?

in a world where everybody seems to have something to say in the hope that everyone else is following … we are beginning to see some curbs come into play.

the pentagon reviewed social networking on computers and we see that the marines have banned social networking sites.  that is pretty reasonable given the security risks involved in publishing any-to-any information over open networks.

one person has even gone far enough to suggest that social networking is outright dangerous!

the transient nature of instant-contact and combined with the permanence of communication-records, makes for an interesting environment where folks tend to share things that they might never otherwise consider sharing.  add to that the relative comfort afforded by keyboards that seem to ‘de-personalize emotions’, you’ve got a flood of expression out on in public domain that might otherwise not escape the privacy of ones cranial confines.

makes me wonder whether the pendulum which has swung to the extreme of total openness will begin to swing back … after all, just how much of our time pie can be continue to give up to the social networking slice?  what do you think?

3 obvious ideas:

a. why: consider why you are connecting and communicating through social networking sites.  if its ‘because its the cool thing to do’, you are probably sending the wrong kinds of messages.  it helps to have a pretty solid reason to be out there.  while this might appear to go against the very grain of social networking, let us not forget that social networking on the internet is still about human-to-human contact and you dont want to be out there blabbering from a soapbox like the guys you find at trafalgar square declaring that the ‘end of the world is here’.  (i guess you could say they know ‘why’ they are there)

b. what: consider what the core essence of your message is.  whether you are posting pictures of your weekend party or random musings from the beach, dont lose sight of what the core message is.  communicating for the sake of communicating just adds more noise to the channel and makes for an overall sub-optimal experience … over the long term.

c. whom: its pretty obvious to consider whom you are trying to reach out to.  deeply divisive and polarising topics tend to attract undue interest and intense online debate.  dont forget that the ‘whom’ in this case can be pretty much anyone out there.  so dont get into an online debate or argument with a total stranger … regardless of how passionate you are about the topic.  its just not worth it.

dont blog to me … talk to me

feels like the rush of the “.com” days.  suddenly everyone wants to blog … or talk about blogging.  i find it curiously ironic that as we jump on the blog and twitter bandwagon, we seemed to have moved away from conversation … yes, true real world conversations.  like the ones we used to have.

at most major conferences, you see droves of folks twittering away on their mobile devices, scarcely paying attention to the event unfolding around them.  i fear that the lure for digital glory will make us all monotonous being communicating to ourselves, about ourselves, for ourselves.  what a perverse abstraction of the definition of democracy … for / of / by the people.

3 obviousideas:

a. let us not forget the art of connection + conversation.  it starts with the human element. p2p anyone?

b. digital media is an enabler, let us not get disabled by shrt msgs abt 2day … and lose sight of our vision … where do we want to do?

c. what will come next?  we have emailed / chatted / blogged / twittered / sms’d / … what will we do next?  will we go back to little digital villages cohabitated by like-minded folks and thus lose the rich diversity that a community of the commons offers.

would love to hear your thoughts!

make every employee a network node … to message + market

what a quarter at kellogg!  prof. brian uzzi wrapped up his course on leadership & organizations with a fantastic simulation game that showed the power of establishing a tipping point when it comes to selling ideas and seeking support using a network.  the finals was thought-provoking.  the cribsheet for the final synthesized the core take-aways from a fascinating class. 

which prompted me to think about the chasm between the promise of tapping into social networks and the reality of hitting up against organization structures.  establishing and refining organization structures can tend to make people speak more fluently with each other within corporate walls … but what about the whole wide world? 

3 obviousideas

a. lets start connecting + communicating across corporate functions by focusing on common organization goals.

b. lets continue finding ways to make every employee in an organization a de-facto marketing force … that can connect his/her company with his/her network

c. lets get more creative in terms of how we enable each and every employee in an organization message + market the organization. 

imagine the multiple tipping points possible when organizations are able to tap into global networks and mini-networks … sharing their message and listening to the world-at-large.  we would blur the lines between the organization and the individual, making for richer and more direct dialog.

the world is speaking, in bits and bytes, are we ready to listen? + social media

by any yardstick, and are examples of powerfuly pithy communication with targeted messages … combining text, video, charts, polls and interactive graphs.  but reports today indicate that the whitehouse staff are frustrated with the inability to incorporate more cutting edge features.

the the current sites are rich and informative. for a less web-savvy team they might even merit a much deserved a+. 

i am curious to see how the obama tech team will continue to innovate online … i dare say, we are on the cusp of another major technology revolution … this time in the area of e-government.

any guesses on where we might be headed?

sai at obviousideas dot com

blogging … finding the balance between yin and yang

i was cabpooling with 3 other classmates from Kellogg last night and we had an interesting conversation about social network sites.  seems that the notion of individual privacy has been completely sacrificed at the altar of e-fame and e-connection.  “how much is too much information?”, we pondered.  why should the whole world know what you are trip-it’ing?  and what keeps ‘contacts’ connected?

one vowed to take off his trip-it information.  another said she would check out twitter.  while the third said helped him connect with all his friends and family in real time, almost like he was with them.  talk about the power of multi-presence.  interesting.

they saw former illinois gov blagojevich at o’hare signing autographed mugshots.  oh, ok, photographs of himself. i saw him after the deed, thankfully.  guess what? one of ’em blogged about it on his iPhone and started getting comments right away.

you noticed i didnt name my classmates from kellogg.   they happen to be very nice people that waited close to an hour for my flight to land… so we could cab pool together.  looks like i’ve unveiled the cloak of privacy a li’lle bit and told you about our connections and what we were doing … but sans their names etc..

did i just find the balance between yin and yang?

sai at obviousideas dot com

virtual connections … in a physical space

it just struck me!  that we live in a physical space.  seriously.  regardless of the number of new or innovative opportunities to connect in the digital world, we live in a physical space.  most of what we end up writing, posting, publishing, editing, commenting, debating, discussing, dissing or ignoring online… is connected to events, activities, emotions, outcomes, results, failures and feelings from the *physical space* that we live in.  

sure, we could yammer or twitter amongst colleagues and friends; across corporate walls or countries. but what % of all that digital voice is de-linked from a physical-world?  “reading a book”, “TripIt to Chicago”, “watching the Steelers win”… etc… or, providing feedback regarding physical products/services…

so, the point being?  we are at a point where the cohesive-quality of online interaction needs to overtake the numeric quantity of interfaces.  what’s the point on being a member of 22 different social network sites if you cannot sustain a quality interaction across all of those interfaces?   given ‘n’ nodes in a network, the number of communication channels is the mathematical outcome of ((n)*(n-1))/2.  surely, surely your voice is bound to get lost in all this noise.

hopefully when corporates get around to social networking within and outside corporate walls, they will find a way to solve the noise problem by bringing some structure.  the physical world that companies live in are governed by constructs unlike those that the individual lives in. 

how about we start proving the right incentives?  incentives to reduce noise and bring in quality into the quantity… corporates and organizations can do that.  why not?

in this time of economic uncertainty organization b2x orgs should look at engaging customers and increasing stickiness by providing interaction opportunities that literally pay-back to the customer.  we live in a physical space, so the notion of real money for real feedback / engagement would reduce the randomness and increase the quality of interaction.  now, how do we know which ones deserve a payout?  leave that to the masses to decide… darwinism will rule and organizations will be able to hear the voice of the few selected through the validation of many … how is that for a win-win?

sai at obviousideas dot com