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"Man with Awesome Dance Moves"

Your feet are sickled!!!

/ Abby Lee Miller... anyone, anyone?

1 year, 5 months ago on Gin and Topics: Sad Clown and Wicked Dance Moves


For what it's worth, I thought about this thread a 2nd time on my way into work this morning. Why couldn't I get "Lean In" out of my head?

Then I remembered, I'd nearly used it as the subject line of a recent "Sales Idea" post to my distributors a few months ago. I'd written a piece to my field force about old habits dying hard, about trying to shake off the "comfortable" inflation riders they'd been selling which were unnecessarily high-priced and instead trying to learn the modern-- albeit unconventional-- affordable options.

To hook them into reading my post, I needed a cogent subject line which conveyed the direction of my article. At first I tried: "Inflation Protection: Lean In". But it didn't sit right with me-- although I instinctively felt like Sheryl's title was a push toward something progressive and revolutionary, the fact was: I hadn't read the book, and worried that I didn't really like using it out of context.

So-- at the great risk of mixing politics and business-- I settled on: "Inflation Protection: Lean Forward"!

/ I'm sure it arched an eyebrow or two, but no one gave me any grief ; )

1 year, 8 months ago on Lean In: Inspiring, Empowering, and Why You Should Read It


Hi @ginidietrich, it didn't appear that any prior commenters brought up this angle, so I'll address it (seeing as I'm the resident insurance guy around these parts).

In your article you raise this point, "A divorce, a spouse dies, a spouse is injured and can no longer work" as 3 reasons why Opt-Out Women need to be prepared to burnish their resumes and jump back into the workforce, sometimes at a big disadvantage.

While I can't offer a direct solution for divorce, let's not forget that Life Insurance and Disability Insurance (DI) are protection products designed to cushion life's unexpected curveballs such as these and given widows, widowers, or families of the disabled the cash cushion they need to get back on their feet. Protection products like these are magnified when you're not a 1%'er like Sheryl Sandberg.

Off my teeny soapbox... truth is, I don't even sell this kind of insurance. I just play an agent on TV.

1 year, 8 months ago on What the Opt-Out Generation Means Longer-Term


@ginidietrich @katierosenberg I think the empirical evidence for that comes from the link you posted to "Lean In" on Amazon. It's got a 4.4 out of 5.0 rating from 1,241 reviewers.

"Critics" who had read the book would have-- logically-- voted with their ratings and knocked the book down to 3 or 2 or 1 stars. But they didn't, which is either evidence that they hadn't read the book, criticized without voting, or were in such a complete minority as to be negligible. Take your pick.

1 year, 8 months ago on Lean In: Inspiring, Empowering, and Why You Should Read It


 @ginidietrich Thanks for your advice! I'm afraid my partners fear that replacing that logo up there with a face makes us look "smaller". What would Coca Cola do? What would John Hancock do?


Behave in the way you want to be perceived. (Or is that there are different conventions for social media than old media...)

2 years, 2 months ago on One Compelling Video Idea for You to Steal


I've left this window open on my desktop for 3 days straight until I had time to watch it, and now that I have-- Happy Belated Birthday!!!


On a more serious note (what was the group's opinion on "silly", are we okay with that?), I think this idea is "off the chain", and I'm gonna send it to my 2 partners ASAP. But finally, a question that's 100% related to the topic of your video itself:


Our company (LTCA) has just the one Twitter account, which I (co-owner and SVP) operate. My question for you is: should the avatar show my face or our logo? For the longest time I argued that my face was more relatable (people engage with people), but was finally won over my my partners (okay, my brothers) that the logo made better branding sense (it was hard to defend my big fat face as anything other than an ego-boost).


What do YOU think?

2 years, 2 months ago on One Compelling Video Idea for You to Steal


 @sacevero @ginidietrich  I respect your opinion and your response. Having said that, would you allow me to shake things up just a little bit more before we leave this topic for good?


You wrote, "It's the marketers, PR pros and businesses that have their butt on the line when trying to create trust and rapport with their audiences on social, hence my post. I believe in authentic social experiences."


You're describing a tension between an illusion that goes only skin-deep, and something authentic and real. You are arguing for the latter, am I right?


So here's a thought-experiment: would you be willing spend the rest of 2013 going w/o make-up? Would you be willing to take a simple photo of yourself (first thing in the morning, no make-up) and change all of your on-screen avatars to that?


Do you understand where I'm going with this thought-experiment? (I'm not trying to provoke you or get under your skin-- honest!) I'm trying to make you think about a real-world analogy about how we perceive others, and whether a "means to and end" can lead to real, authentic results.


/ just give it some thought...

2 years, 2 months ago on The Top 10 Guest Blog Posts of 2012 (July – December)


 @AmyMccTobin  What was the tone of my email to FedEx?




(I literally laughed when I got to that part of your email, Amy. As soon as I hit "Post" on my comment up above, I thought, "That came off a little hot, didn't it?")


But it's not just that one comment: you're right, I always think we tend to be 110% of our personalities online (warts and all). I think I described myself to one of my editors recently, "Nice guy offline, kind of a prick online." Don't know how that evolved but I definitely need to work on it if it's becoming *that* noticeable. Yikes!


If you care to read the original FedEx post, I found it here, and you can be the judge (jury, and executioner):


/ not ordained

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


Re #7 "Fakers & Cheaters", it's time to turn your swords into plowshares and realize this is how the world works. The author (Stacey Acevero) says she's worked as a model on national tv such as E!, VH1 and MTV, and you know what? When those entertainment stations report on Lady Gaga's and President Obama's Twitter followers, they report the gross number that Twitter displays next to their avatars, NOT the net number you get from Fakers.StatusPeople.


There may be some validity to her (your) point, but only Don Quixote would continue to repeat this old rant.


(You're up against the Time Warners & Comcasts, etc.: all the big entertainment conglomerates will report the biggest numbers since it's in their interest to do so: they own the stations, the magazines, and the stars. Who in their right mind would voluntarily downgrade Rihanna's follower count from 27M to 10M? Oprah's following from 15M to 3.6M? Or CNN's from 6.5M to 1.8M? None of the newspapers, magazines and gossip shows, so it ain't gonna happen.)

2 years, 2 months ago on The Top 10 Guest Blog Posts of 2012 (July – December)


 @RebeccaTodd  @ginidietrich  @jenzings In that case, we can all move on. Where shall we go next? "I'm thinking _________."


I have to say though... I laughed when you pointed out (in re to my point about FB being a closed loop) that WE are discussing the Applebee's story on SpinSucks for the 3rd day, my goodness HOW did I walk right into that (!)

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


 @jenzings  I like your Rules, they're solid. I *suspect* that the story leaped from the web to the "real" world of CNN (and probably others) only because cable & primetime news now get their oddball stories from the pages of FARK, Gawker, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Wired, you named it... (Drew Curtis has written about this phenomenon).


I won't keep beating this dead horse, but I can't help thinking Applebee's is a culprit in keeping the story alive long enough for it to make that very leap.

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


 @AmyMccTobin @ginidietrich Wow, I'm glad you linked me to that story of Gini's about Fedex, cause I wasn't aware of it, and I hadn't intended to bring LTCA's own example of Fedex into this thread... but you just gave me a segue too precious to ignore.


In Gini's post, she writes, "They did NOT ignore the video. They did NOT ignore the crisis. They did NOT stick their heads in the sand and pretend the video (that now has nine million views) doesn’t exist."


Let's return to LTCA's example. We (like hundreds of over small businesses across America-- between 1 - 99 employees) applied for a Fedex Small Business Grant, ranging up to $50k for the Grand Prize Winner).


As soon as I realized their Offical Rules contained 2 clauses in *direct* contradiction to one another (in the all-important judging criteria) I posted this on their Facebook Page (where you are directed).


All kinds of customers come there with their complaints, which are typically resolved within hours by "FedexBecky" or "FedexJohn". When I politely brought this very serious matter to their attention over an issue affecting approx. $100,000 in grants, how did they respond?


They "hid" my post and never replied.


Several weeks later I tried again, and received a one-liner type form reply referring me back to the Rules Page (obviously the person hadn't read my email).


I wrote back with a "walk away" type letter. I don't have time for this. We'd already decided we were going to donate any and all prize money to the Alzheimer's Association, so "winning" per se didn't matter for us. We were "playing for someone else". I simply told Fedex that they needed to fix their rules for next year's contest, but I didn't want sound like sour grapes for any of my colleagues who I'm sure would be deserving winners.


We've run dozens of promotions and incentives for our producers over the years, and I'm typically the guy who writes the legalese. Whoever Fedex's Compliance Dept was, botched this one, and the company ducked it.


As I wrote in our essay, we were fans of FedEx (we literally pioneered a new way of transacting insurance by using their products), but now I view them as a cowardly company, and an example of how NOT to use social media to solve problems.

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


 @RebeccaTodd  @ginidietrich Good morning Rebecca: I like where you're going with this post-- I like your thought process. It's a fair rebuttal. I do concede your point about total numbers : ) /bows down




Is this a story outside the United States? Not sure, hard to tell. I'll grant that Applebee's does have international locations, but if we grant that this story is primarily a US phenom, then it's more apropos to use US Facebook users, of which there are not 1B, but 167M (source:


Of those, let's remember that not 100% are active, but slightly just over 50% (source:


Of these remaining 84M, let's recall that approx. 1 out of 10 are fake (by FB's own admission, source: ).


Finally, of the remaining 76M active US users, let's remember that 90% of FB's traffic is insular and comes from, and circulates, within Facebook. Only 10% of all Facebook traffic comes from outside Facebook. It's a closed loop. (source:


Is there some overlap between this group who would be compelled to comment on the Applebee's story and those who actually eat there? And is it enough to move the dial? We shall see...

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


For what it's worth, StatusPeople (the site referenced in this article), is what I would call "Not Ready for Prime Time". It does not deliver consistent, accurate results, and considering the Salem Witch Trials which ensue from using its product, arguably should be tabled until they can produce a verifiable output.


I have notified the company repeatedly about specific issues (after several weeks, they informed me that their "customer feedback form" went straight into "junk mail"), before finally contacting them via Facebook. Although they are now aware of the problem, they have never remedied it, nor published any statement to their customers to my knowledge (even though presented proof that they were delivering inaccurate results).


The only solution they proposed was to offer me a one-month refund.


To the rest of you, I would not rely on the results you receive from a StatusPeople search. Sorry, wish I had better news to report. I love the concept, I really do. Maybe another company will spring up and duplicate the app, with better success.

2 years, 2 months ago on Faking it on Social Media: What are the Costs?


 @AmyMccTobin  Re: "Apologizing repeatedly"


In trying in vain to find the original blog about the company who waited for their whole crisis to blow over (still haven't found it), I stumbled upon "8 Steps to Manage a Social Media Crisis", which I rather liked []


Although "Be Sorry" is listed among his advice, I found something more memorable:


"Remember the rule of 3. Never send a third reply. A third reply is an argument, not an answer."


2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


 @Danny Brown Well-said, Danny.


As an aside, my wife and I have a rule when editing each other's work: we (jokingly) never give one another an A+, since "you always need something to strive for."

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


 @RebeccaTodd  @ginidietrich 


Total print circulation of the Top 25 US Newspapers (as of 9/12): a little over 9.2M


Total daily viewers of Primtetime Cable news (FNC, MSNBC, CNN, and HLN taken 2/5/13): just shy of 1.9M


I forget what the psychological effect is called (sorry!) but I think it's in play here, where because *we* are on social media, and play here a good part of the day, we tend to assume the world now rotates around this axis as well.


The fact that 36,000 people have commented on a Facebook page, or that you saw a few hundred posts, or that 33 individuals are following this thread, just doesn't compare to the 12,000,000 who might've seen the Applebee's story break on Old Media.


The story grow disproportionately large because of the gasoline Applebee's poured. Does anyone disagree with *that* statement? Likewise, until I see @ginidietrich sales numbers, I expect a full corporate recovery. Patrons have already returned and are now tipping 28% ("I don't pay God, so here's 18%, plus an extra 10")

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


 @Danny Brown According to the Applebee's PR man, their response was 2-fold:


1) To provide the public with the facts

2) To listen to and respond to as many guests as possible: “The over-arching piece in this is we want to hear from people"


In terms of those 2 criteria, would you say Mission Accomplished? Does Applebee's get an A?

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


 @ginidietrich  @RebeccaTodd You can have it both ways by redacting names (see @ltcassociates's comment below.)


Our site features testimonials, and even in that case, to maintain the privacy of our clients (whose permission we always obtain, and have on file), we protect their identities (eg "Jane H., Seattle"). As I wrote, I'm not at all convinced the effect the waitress's friend sought to achieve would have been lessened by taking this approach. I still don't know who the pastor is-- nor do I care-- but I know what the furor is about. She made her point, whether I know the man's identity or not.


As well, do we know how this has played out in "Old Media"? (see @ltcassociates comment below.) To me, it wasn't a question of HOW Applebee's handled the criticism, but WHEN. Had they waited 24 - 48 hours, no response may have even been necessary. The world very well may have moved on. Reddit certainly would have...

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis



All right Steve, I'll see your comment about Old Media vs. New Media, and raise you the following:


1) HIPAA was enacted in 1997: it's been the law of the land for some 15-years now. Although pertaining primarily to Protected *Health* Information (PHI), our culture has by now become permeated with the knowledge that you don't share the private information of others w/o consent.


Having said that, I'm curious what @ginidietrich would say if the notorious receipt had been posted with the name of the pastor redacted? (Frankly, I think 80% of the point could've been made, and conversation engendered, with none of the ill will toward a single individual.)


2) In light of the-- what was it at last count?-- 33,000 posts on Facebook mostly ranting about Applebee's (does this include or exclude the "side of drama" served up by their own staff?), I'm forced to ask *yet again*: what are businesses even doing on Facebook? If our takeaway from this thread is that the site is occupied by teens and drunks in the middle of the night, then why would you send your multi-million dollar enterprise into that morass?


For those who think the cost-benefit analysis makes sense, let me re-phrase the question: how might this PR event have played out if Applebee's had NOT had a Facebook account?


3) For nothing other than lack of time, let's assume a Judeo-Christian God for the time-being: if we acknowledge that "he" is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, then I think we ought to ask ourselves the following. If we are generally pleased with the level of service he's provided, is not a 20% tip more appropriate than 10? ; )

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


It's difficult to find the precise blog I read recently (since "social media crisis" now brings up 833,000,000 hits-- which is telling, don't you think?) but the advice given was to first gather your team, and watch overnight to see if the story popped in the next day's papers. Real papers.


I think in their case, they imagined first page, above-the-fold disaster-- and they prepared for it accordingly. What they got was a page 26, buried paragraph, followed by... silence.


Had they executed on their plan-- pro-active statement, press release, facebook post, etc., it would have only served to boomerang a low-profile story. That may be a take-away in Applebee's case: social media is by its nature ephemeral and transient. Even if posted to a high-profile site like Reddit, that receipt would have swiftly been forgotten by a skateboarding squirrel. Sometimes you gotta let it go...

2 years, 2 months ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis


Hello John, nice to meet you! I just saw Gini's tweet to swing by and say hello-- guess it had the intended effect.


(Not for nothing, I read in your intro above that you specialize in international markets; may I just say without completely hijacking the thread or pimping myself out, that my most recent article at LifeHealthPro consisted of a survey of LTC delivery and funding in Western Europe-- specifically England, France, and The Netherlands.)




2 years, 2 months ago on #FollowFriday: John Trader


 @ginidietrich Hi Gini,


All right, let's think about a Twitter or a Facebook for a moment... I feel like you're getting my mind charged up, and I like it : ) If I think of your comment as a Customer Feedback Form, here's what I've just learned:


1) My reticence to bombard you with ads and instead to keep them unobtrusive may backfire as a strategy. Why? Because the easier they are for you to tune out, the less likely you are to ever pay (Twitter or Facebook or whomever) to make them disappear.


2) My customer would pay for business tools which help her grow and expand... and I can create and develop these, but as soon as one of my competitors drops the price to FREE, I'm screwed.


(This phenomenon occurred in the music industry, and was followed by publishing, and decimated the ability of most artists to make a living wage.)


In other words, although you're willing to pay for valuable Hootsuite-like tools, it is also true that many similar tools exist for FREE which depress the ability of the market to invest R&D, then charge enough to recoup and profit. It takes just one to lower the cost to FREE to undermine the entire endeavor (after all, there's a not-insignificant minority online who don't believe in paying for anything...)


What were we talking about...? Ah yes, in my case, I would pay for Twitter, because I'm that kind of guy (I reward companies I use and like whenever there's a "pay as you wish" option), but given the choice, I'd leave Facebook in a heartbeat, since the Catfish comes for all of us in the end.

2 years, 2 months ago on Facebook Promoted Posts Remove the Level Playing Field


 @ginidietrich  Hi Gini,


You'd already won me over with your Facebook math-- it just doesn't add up.


Back to Google: you make a sound case that by this point, the entirety of what they offer amounts to a "suite" with which we've become quite fond of, reliant upon, or plain used-to.  Other competitors may offer *better* products, but we'd have to acquire them scattershot, a la carte. That's a competitive advantage right there.


However, allow me to throw one more thought-experiment your way, just for kicks. Pandora and Spotify have both faced uphill battles in the "freemium" world getting free (ad-supported) customers to buy-up to the paid, subscription model where those companies can actually turn a profit. So let's ask of Google: would *they* be able to transition their users from the free (ad-supported) model to an ad-free, subscription model?


Would you pay to use an ad-free version of Google?


I suppose the answer is "no" for two reasons 1) we actually derive value from those ads and expect to find some of our search results in them, and 2) unlike Pandora and Spotify, Google is actually making a bloody mint on ad revenue (cause it doesn't have to pay royalties).


Well, that's how thought-experiments go.


But what about Twitter or Facebook? Would you pay to use an ad-free version of those properties?

2 years, 2 months ago on Facebook Promoted Posts Remove the Level Playing Field


Hi Gini,


You'll get no argument from me over the "promoted post", but I might quibble over a couple other items from your otherwise excellent article.


First, I don't think it's accurate to say, "Google's been successful because they keep introducing free features." Why not? Let's do a quick thought experiment: if Google charged users directly (say $0.99/month) while Bing and Yahoo remained free (ie ad-supported), how long do you think folks would stick around? Fact is, it's competition that keeps Google free (ie ad-supported), they have no other choice. (If you want to know why they've become a world-dominator, look to copyright-violation and a look-the-other-way attitude toward piracy... but that's a story for another blog).


Second, in your example of the business with 63,000 "likes" who chose not to use "promoted posts", I suspect (although you may know better) that one of their reasons for eschewing the paid posts was inside knowledge that many of those inflated likes were gamed (ie fakes). Why pay to reach fake customers? Unless that's a major, national brand, that's an awful lot of likes...("likes", we've learned, are indicative of almost nothing.)


I'm not surprised Facebook has turned to "promoted posts" as a way of raising revenue-- its targeted ads have been under assault almost since the beginning. Ever since its Instagram purchase I've argued that the site is basically nothing more than a photo-sharing and music-oriented site for teens-- NOT a serious place to conduct business. That's why I continue to remain skeptical about investing our resources there.




2 years, 2 months ago on Facebook Promoted Posts Remove the Level Playing Field