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Obviously, that agent (and probably a lot of other folks in the customer service business) didn't realize that (A) in the era of social media and smart phones she is now in the PR (i.e., PUBLIC relations) business and (B) now that she is in that business, she can't expect or demand privacy. 

When you're working with the public, what you do is publicly observable. Even if the customer she was dealing with didn't mention something publicly, someone standing nearby might. That's life.

Can you imagine if every waiter mentioned on Yelp complained about that? Every retail clerk? Every hotel concierge? That's the nature of the job now. I realize most people started their careers before that was the case, but now that it is the case, some should obviously re-think what they do for a living.

Was the dad a jerk? Yeah, possibly. But I think his expectation that his MINOR children could board with him is entirely reasonable. Airlines regularly bend the rules for minors and that's actually a WAY better idea than having a kid get lost or delayed or separated from her family at an airport. Would other passengers have complained about it? Highly unlikely. 

So, I don't really think there are two sides to this story. Even if the guy was a raging jerk, as long as he wasn't making threats that would impact the safety of the passengers or crew (and it doesn't appear he did), SWA should have just dealt with his demands with a smile. Anything less than that is a failure. 

8 months, 3 weeks ago on Social Listening Gone Wrong: Southwest Polices Tweets


This is one of the best posts I've read in a very long time about how PR works. I've worked in PR for 20+ years and it seems that most startups (and many larger companies) think PR is something you just "turn on" about a week before a product launch. I'll be sharing this far and wide. 

1 year, 1 month ago on Understanding The Media Cycle for Your Industry


Jay, I forgot to mention I'm glad to hear you've been critical of Timeline. I thought I was the only social media geek who hadn't gotten drunk on the Facebook Kool-Aid. I think it's an abysmal, cluttered design that doesn't reflect how brands actually do marketing, but that viewpoint is definitely in the minority.

3 years ago on New Research: Americans Hate Social Media Promotions


I agree that nobody like interruptive marketing: not on TV, radio, print or social media. That said, we've all gotten used to it with "old media" because that's how media survives, particulalry in absence of subscription costs. So, while people may not like ads or promotions in social media, I think they'll get equally used to that. Right now it's still new and it wasn't what the average user initialy thought social media was about. But most grown-ups understand the value exchange, particularly if they're getting a service for free. 


As for email being preferable, I think eventually that will change as well. Likewise, while I love reading the ExactTarget reports (I've probably downloaded them all), it's good to remember that every vendor engaged in content marketing obviously wants to support their products and email is at the heart of ExactTarget, even though the company has added a lot of social goodies to its platform (I was an early user and fan of Co-Tweet). I'm not surprised ExactTarget would have a report stating email is the preferred methodology for promotions. Indeed, I would expect nothing less. :-)


As a marketer I definitely recognize the value of email and always tell clients to aim to capture an email address, regardless of what platform they're on. That's the only way to create a lasting connection with prospect. But as a consumer, I'd much rather be exposed to social media marketing than email marketing. The volume of email I get is crushing and mostly goes un-read, whereas I'm likely to click on an ad with a fun visual that catches my attention.



3 years ago on New Research: Americans Hate Social Media Promotions


Edward, I'm glad you've started this discussion. The same discussion has been happening elsewhere, which is somewhat encouraging. If you didn't see Sarah Milstein's blog post about it for O'Reilly, you should definitely check it out:

While that discussion was more about tech conferences than advertising/creative events, I think the situation is essentially the same. In fact, I'd encourage you to learn more about why women rarely make it into the C-suite of tech companies by reading the comprehensive research report by the National Center for Women in Information Technology at:

This is serious research, not conjecture, but it basically boils down to one thing: lots of women start careers in technology. They just don't get promoted because the boys at the top want to promote people who are like themselves. No surprise there. It would be awesome for an industry group (4As???) or university to undertake the same type of study within advertising and marketing, but I'll bet it would yield the same results.

So, back to the problem of conferences. I think speakers generally reflect who is at the top of any given profession, so it's a systemic problem that is far wider than the speaker selection process. That said, I think the business model of not paying conference speakers (except for keynote speakers who have books to peddle) is also somewhat at fault. As another commenter pointed out here (and I pointed out on the O'Reilly blog), women make less money and often have more demands for their time (at least those that have families). Spending $1k-$3k to attend an event to work for free (not including the opportunity cost of creating a presentation and missing work) might not be that attractive to a lot of women. Or they simply can't justify it.

I've spoken at many conferences, but not so much anymore unless I can get some expenses covered. It's fun, but not always a productive way to spend what could otherwise be billable time.

BTW, I think all of these conversations apply equally (if not more so) to minorities.

One final point (that likely won’t go over too well with at least half of your readers), I honestly think a major reason that so many men are speakers (executives, managers, and a lot of other things) is because they don’t have enough self-awareness to realize that what they have to say or offer isn’t all that interesting or groundbreaking. Men are MUCH more likely to think they are fascinating (when they aren't) and have expertise in a topic when they actually don’t. Women, on the other hand, generally don’t put themselves out there as “experts” unless they REALLY know their stuff. Women aren’t brought up to have the same entitlement attitudes and braggadocio tendencies that men have. That’s just my personal observation, but I’m sure we’ve all seen this time and again in the workforce. Think about it.


3 years, 11 months ago on Where are the women?