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What's funny is I know at least 4 or 5 people in my personal network who went out and bought Oreos after being reminded of them by the little exchanges Oreo was having. They hadn't bought Oreos in years, but now they're reminded and in possession of some. Is that a common experience? Hard to say. But it's something. Most of my friends who work in social media for brands would have been delighted by the response if it happened to them. And social media is certainly not the only wrench in the Oreo marketing toolbox.So I don't think the question is, "Is Oreo really the brilliant marketers everyone thinks they are?" but rather, "Is the social media marketing community continuously guilty of spazzing out every time a brand does something smart and turning it into a 'best practice'... and then flexing backward to bash it?" Yep.Oreo doesn't deserve to be picked apart because Mashable and Media Bistro and their ilk decided to act like Oreo had brokered peace in the Middle East. WE need to be picked apart for continuing to have the predictable "OMG GENIUS.... HEY, THEY SUCK!" back and forth with one another.
1 month, 1 week ago on Is Oreo really the brilliant marketers everyone thinks they are?
I don't get writer's block for client work. I just do it, because it has to get done, and if what comes out isn't very good and I need to noodle on it for a long time, they probably shouldn't have hired me. I think people pay us to keep to time, keep to budget, and maintain quality, and if one of those is a struggle -- other than because of shifting goals, shifting editors, shifting content, etc. on the client side, which is a wild card factor -- I need to kick my own ass. I don't have the hours in a day to do shaky first drafts. One of my editors once said, "If it's not 90% there when you hand it to me, you have no business handing it to me." BAM!If I'm writing for myself personally, I'll meander or procrastinate more about putting my fingers on the keys, but I don't beat myself up about it because I'll do it when it works for me, and it'll be better and quicker -- which should further tell you I'm not a "just write a bunch of stuff even when you don't feel like it, to keep the juices flowing" kind of gal.
My husband will tell you that when I do blog, it's a twenty minute shakedown that I go back and edit for five minutes, and then post and walk away. From another editor of mine: "You can write for clients and you can write for you, but you better be making money off of one of them, and the other one better be fun."
3 months, 1 week ago on Just Write It
I'm one of those that only shares things they've read in their entirety (unless I say otherwise), and I don't use any automation tools to schedule or post content. I know plenty of people and brands who do, mind you, and for the most part, I'm a live-and-let-live gal as far as most of this goes. If sharing content is an important element of your plan to market yourself as a writer / consultant, it makes sense to figure out a way to do it efficiently. That's not a part of my promotion of myself as a writer, so I haven't had to work out any efficiencies (but you never know in future -- word of mouth won't be kind forever! Eeeek!) I have a couple of observations/concerns, however, about the process of automating content and the impact it has on our feeds and streams (Field and Stream?), as well as the disruptive quality of automated content in the middle of a news event.I've noticed that many of the sharing tools remove any sort of ability to contextualize the content before it's sent out, which means that the links become some variation on "title, link, attribution/author/via". That's fine, of course, except for the days when my stream becomes a long string of these types of links (often the same links, within a network of people who tend to share alike content) without any sort of variation or context to help me pick what to look at. This often is most obvious in the early morning, midday, and evening, when people are off doing things other than tweeting. When I see a wall of links like this, I wonder who exactly benefits from the strategy. If everyone is doing the same thing, where is the differentiation or personalization? Yes, people have different streams taking in their content, but still... it's a question that occurs to me. I also wonder at the value of sharing more than 20-30 links a day, and who has time to thoughtfully consume all that content in order to recommend it -- or even to ensure all the links work! I love context around content, from "I love everything this person says" to "I have no idea what the heck is going on here, but it sounds good" to "This is a great piece on this thing I've been thinking about". Even "Wow, I feel smarter just having learned this" works. I hesitate to share things without that kind of context because I don't want the things I recommend to get lost in the "noise" (that's a characterization for the most link-crowded days, but not always) of rampant linking. The question of automated content in the midst of a major disaster or news event is another though. You've seen, I'm sure, people saying in the midst of a terrible situation, "Turn off your scheduled tweets!" to those who may be using those services (brands and individuals.) Unfortunately, it's not always possible to know something terrible is happening, because the scheduler is off doing something else (hence the scheduling.) I think it can be detrimental in moments like that to be stuck in "business as usual" mode, but I don't know how schedulers can avoid it, if they're not actively monitoring their accounts.Anyway, I've kind of stuck by the "being on social networks when I'm actually on social networks" thing and the "I won't link it unless I've read it" thing. But that's my two cents! (maybe 1.5)
4 months ago on The Dynamics of Social Sharing
It's interesting that for all the closing ranks they've done, they never hired this guy to be a CSR. Why is that? They couldn't offer enough money / he couldn't move, or... they didn't want to officially sanction him as a Reddit staff member? Being a mod, sure -- but not in the office, with the rest of the staff, as part of the public face of the company? It's interesting they've stood up for him in ways that haven't cost them anything -- banning Gawker links vs. vocally defending his honor (and refusing to delete the subreddits.) They're scared to alienate their core / first audience by disassociating themselves, but they also don't want to halt the mainstreaming of their content (as with the celebrity AMAs), since it attracts a wider group of contributors -- which is, of course, on one hand a good thing (revenue) and on the other hand, a bad thing (changing the character of their content.)I think they've been coasting a bit on having "two Reddits" -- one for the faithful and long-term Redditors who defend any kind of content and believe that the community vote should be the lone standard for quality, and the one that has Obama answering questions over lunch hour, and probably won't shrug off "picsofdeadjailbat" as wink-wink provocation. And maybe that could continue to be possible, if the "underbelly" stayed, well... under, but it never does. To use an example from outside of Reddit, there are three options: 1. you make the community police / protect itself, much like a group circling around a funeral to keep Westboro Baptist protestors at bay; 2. you let Westboro do whatever the hell they want in the name of free speech; or 3. you decide that Westboro Baptist isn't welcome in your town, and take legal measures to make that happen.
7 months ago on The Curious Case of Reddit’s Media Kerfluffle
ZOMG all my formatting left the building. Sorry.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on The Chick-fil-A PR Crisis
The primary argument against gay marriage seems to be that marriage is a religious act, and if your deity of choice does not dig homosexuality, it's not going to be cool with gay people getting married, and so it shouldn't happen. Marriage by that definition would appear to be a partnership between a man and a woman for the purposes of joining households and procreating and doing all the other traditional combined-lives stuff.
But, if there is a) separation of church and state, and b) freedom of religious expression, then there is no faith perspective to take into account in government policy AND there isn't a single faith perspective to take into account, regardless. Not every religion that performs marriage ceremonies believes marriage is limited to a man and a woman, so are we saying that true marriage is solely Judeo-Christian? Or maybe just Judeo-Christian and whoever else believes marriage is only between a man and a woman? If that were the case, and the only marriages that exist were performed by Judeo-Christian clergy and all Judeo-Christian clergy believed homosexuals should not marry, then marriage wouldn't be a political issue, it would be a Judeo-Christian one. But I applied for a marriage license in city hall (nothing religious there), and was married by a JP (nothing religious there), so apparently this is a government thing now. And people are married in Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. ceremonies, so the institution of marriage is not solely Judeo Christian.Which would mean anyone could have whatever view they wanted based on their religious perspective, and live their lives the way they wanted to live them, and not have a say in what anyone else did. (And by the way, if we're all going to be sticklers about the whole Judeo-Christian thing, that would also mean people shouldn't get married unless they're intending to have families, and that would knock out a LOT of Christians I know. But no one's trying to stop them from ruining marriage! If we were doing that, I'd barely get in under the wire by marrying someone who already had a kid, and even then, oops, he'd been divorced. Is THAT okay?) Regardless, what the heck does what anyone believes religiously speaking have to do with what a government does? You can be against whatever you want, but the government is not subject to your religious views other than the way you use your vote to reflect them -- that's a major tenet of American government. But YOU can be. You don't have to marry a gay person or to see two gay people get married or perform a marriage for gay people if you don't want. The pro-life conversation centers around the origin of life question, but again, the government is not subject to any religion's view of the origin of life. YOU are subject to your religion's view of the origin of life, which means you don't have to get an abortion. If there is a vote on abortion, you can vote according to your perspective.But the fact that we're voting about these things at all points to an already existing bias in government, and a bias that seems to be limited to very specific areas of law and life. And now that those things are slowly being legalized, I can see why people are freaking out that the bias is shifting away from their religious tradition. Isn't that closer to the constitutional definition of gov't, though?And if we're getting to vote on everything other people do according to our faith beliefs, why am I not getting to vote on whether or not assholes get to have children? .There's plenty of stuff in the bible about how to treat kids, and I am not getting to vote on whether or not we hold parents to that.Regardless, you can shout how you feel about either issue to the skies, but if we live in a country with a separation of church and state, the government is not subject to your religious perspective outside of your vote. Which Chick Fil-A dude is exercising, and he can exercise it. But the only person he can or should be able to legally prevent being married to a gay person is himself. If we never forced any religions to perform any marriages they didn't wish to perform and we didn't force the government to limit marriages according to what any particular religions chose to do--as again, NO ONE RELIGION DEFINES MARRIAGE--I think we'd hit the balance. Because the one should not control what the other does. (And by the way, I AM a Christian, and the daughter and granddaughter of ministers. Whatever my personal views might be on any of these issues, I believe that government should be separate from religion.)
I'm another writer floating about on the socialnets, and it's interesting for me to hear how other writers approach the notion of promotion and engaging with potential clients.
I have a lame page on my (not-so-frequently updated, and highly unfocused, subject-wise) blog that mentions my services, and I do "identify" as a writer in various places, but who knows if that means anything... everyone claims to be a writer these days!My tweeting / FBing isn't terribly calculated or planned in any direction, either, though I've taken part in some chats, and expressed my random opinions about content and editorial writing-related things from time to time. But even with an utter lack of strategy or organization in how I do this, something is clicking enough to drive inquiries and new business at a rate I can handle (given that I'm also working full time.) I think people contact me because they like my voice and they can see their own voice meshing with the way I express things, or because they share a view I express, and feel some sort of connection that compels them to consider a collaboration -- but they've had to wade through a lot of nonsense to get there. Once they get in touch, I have to perform to confirm whatever good feeling they had about me, but I don't have anything to live up to except that.I got asked by a young writer a while ago what they should do to get more work, and I had scads of content and marketing ideas because that's part of what I do for others. But it wasn't long before they noted, somewhere in the midst of that email exchange, that I wasn't *doing* any of the things I mentioned on my site or anywhere else. So what WAS I doing?Being 100% myself, being polite and responsive when approached, listening to the client's needs carefully, and then writing the hell out of any work sent my way. Done!I think those are honestly the only things potential clients or my social cohorts can reasonably expect of me. And their "right" to expect the first one is kinda iffy -- as are the rest, unless I'm getting paid. :)
11 months ago on Understanding The Social Contract of Social Media
I think it's feasible to pursue follow-up if the subscriber is a frequent or sometime customer, and according to my analytics, had usually opened my emails, and even took action on a few of them. An unsub would make me concerned that they'd had a negative service experience, or we weren't meeting their needs in terms of our stock, etc. If they were a subscriber and had looked at 1 out of 10 emails, and had never clicked through, and we had no order information attached to the address, I'd let it be.
If I did follow up, I'd go with something a bit more casual, and totally custom: "I hope you don't mind me sending a quick note, but I was just in the midst of cleaning up our lists, and noticed you in the unsubscribe pile. Just wanted to check in and make sure you hadn't had any difficulties with the site, or with an order, or with the content of our emails. We want to make sure we're providing value, and it's our regular customers that often hold the key to realizing mistakes, and solving problems. Please get in touch if you need anything, and thank you again for being part of the WL family!"
You have to do what works for your customer base, and for each of your customers as individuals -- impossible to be one size fits all with email or any other marketing tool.
11 months, 4 weeks ago on Sending a Post-Unsubscribe Email
@jasonkonopinski AND FORMATTING
11 months, 4 weeks ago on The Things I Love
@jasonkonopinski but here's a quickie:Iced lattesFrecklesGruyere croissantsThe new A/C unit we're picking up tonightGetting cupcakes for a friend's birthday at work, and having one for everyoneLaughingMani-pedisCookingSixPoint Bengali TigerFresh salsaAntihistaminesNew magazinesMy husband & my boys
http://www.megfowler.com/?s=%22love+list%22&submit=Search I like the idea so much I've been doing it for five years. :)
I think it comes from a few different places -- some offline data ownership (which is still worth something, demographically), some way of controlling the output of the system (the postcard needs to go to an address, which most people don't have dozens of, as opposed to email addresses), as it's far more easy to exploit electronic sending vs. mail sending. In addition -- though this is kind of a negative spin -- people will lose / forget coupons in paper form much more than they will electronic ones, because most of us have our phones in hand all the time. While that's not great news for the customer, that's a savings for Starbucks in the long run. As far as other benefits go, they don't lose much by not emailing you the free drink, or adding it to your app. They can still glean data from your use of the postcard -- when the barista uses it to ring in your order, they know what you got, how long it took you to use it, what else you bought on that purchase, etc. They can also continue to email you deals / cross-sells, based on what your spending habits tend to be, and your location information, via the app. Anything they can do via email, they can do there.
1 year ago on The Starbucks Free Drink Postcard
I didn't think much more about it after I did a search, and it was mostly y'all :) But my filter is a little more informed than most in that regard. :) https://twitter.com/#!/search/pinpal
1 year, 1 month ago on The Why and How of the PinPal Story
I tend to think that stuff like this exacerbates behaviors / tendencies that are already in place. The folks I know who tend to be easily distracted (by anything, not just their phones) also tend to spend a lot of time staring at their phones because their attention is hard to hold. Folks I know who tend to be shy have a new (somewhat) socially acceptable way to avoid eye contact. And because of the "tweetup" culture that accompanies active social media use, you're also seeing people who normally wouldn't have come across so many new faces having to deal with a lot of social pressure -- and conversely, people who are quite socially adept are having to deal with awkward people who come to events, but aren't sure what to do once they're there... which can drive you to your tiny screen.Any time you cram a bunch of people in a place, they're going to do things to establish boundaries and comfort zones, and smartphones can be helpful in that regard. When I was growing up in a church, people would look at magazines or pamphlets or focus on stirring sugar into their coffee to avoid eye contact. There's always something. :)All that said,, it can be a little weird to watch a group of people talk about how much fun they're having online, and forget to interact face to face with the group they're having fun with. But when I check in to Foursquare or snap an Instagram or send out an OH tweet, it's as a little record of the moment -- which is what I love my social accounts to be: a selection of moments and thoughts that, taken all together, tell a bit of a story about my life. I love doing that; it's second nature to me as a writer. But doing it at a conference or meetup is different from doing it when you're with family or close friends -- plenty of people I know who are glued to their screens at social media events don't even touch them when they're out with buddies (except to snap a picture or two because they're having a blast and want to share) or their families (same with pictures as above.) Balance is the key, I guess, as with all things. But there's something more valuable to me in learning balance and discipline with this stuff, instead of cutting it all out of our lives as though we'd have no hope of controlling it. It seems like it should be a decisive move, but feels a bit more like cutting off my arm because I have a habit of cracking my knuckles. Work on the knuckles thing, but keep the limb around, because you're bound to use it for something else. :)
1 year, 2 months ago on Sharing vs. Living in the Moment
I've long been of the opinion that the people who are the best at something -- the people who do something brilliantly, and properly, and for the right reasons -- are not always the people best known for doing that thing, or best at promoting their capacity to do that thing. Book contracts aren't always given to the best writers, the best lawyers are not the most famous ones, the most bankable actors aren't the most interesting ones to watch, etc. Sometimes they are, mind you -- there are plenty of brilliant books and lawyers and actors that get plenty of attention. But fame / notoriety isn't the gauge. The value of the stuff they do is the gauge.
Unfortunately, in a field where "buzz" and "viral" and "likes" are the (popular and remarkably un-useful) measures of success, the people who are best at promoting themselves and their ideas are going to rise to the top -- less like cream than like a dead goldfish. That doesn't mean everyone with a significant following is a hack -- it means that a significant following isn't enough to make you NOT a hack.
I've seen the different platforms come and go, and the different strategies, and the different memes... and here's what I think is true: every business has asshats. Asshats you can't get rid of. Doesn't matter what you do... there they are. I think the only recourse of the honorable is to continue to be so, and to give people our best in a world where that's simply not common.
It's kind of exciting, actually -- feels almost subversive. :)
1 year, 2 months ago on For the love of the shame
This is cooking for me -- from setting the menu, to choosing and buying ingredients, right though to the chopping and stirring and plating. I love how things evolve and change as you tweak recipes, and how the results can be remarkably different, even with the same ingredients. Cooking is one of the few truly solitary things I do every day, and it's my little brain escape. My husband is remarkably patient with my need for this time, and generally loves the results, but he also knows that cooking time keeps me sane, so that's good for him in the end, too. :)And if I say I'm making risotto, THAT'S when he knows I'm really stressed. The constant attention of it gives me something to focus on, other than whatever is bugging me.
1 year, 2 months ago on Writing, Ritual & A Straight Razor
oops, my bullets didn't bullet. :)
1 year, 3 months ago on The Pinterest Debate Between Two Friends
It's funny -- as marketers we tend to react to things based on our gut reaction when we first try them out, and how useful they seem to us... before we stop and think about whether or not we're actually in the right audience for the platform, or whether the current use of the platform will define it in the long term.
I've seen a ton of people say they have no clue why anyone enjoys Pinterest and how purposeless it seems, and on a personal level, that's understandable -- I'm not one to think everyone needs to be on every platform, and you shouldn't spend valuable time on things or in places you don't enjoy. I don't extend much past a handful of channels, myself. But how you feel bout something personally doesn't denigrate the marketing value it might possess, or the sincere value someone else might find in it by taking a different approach or by considering all the possibilities. And because you've tuned it out in disinterest, you might not have your eyes open to any of that. And off the top of my head:*engagement: with folks who pin things from your commerce site: offer them a "post-pin" code for a discount, or feature their styleboard as "fashionista of the day" at your site (thus encouraging them to share the link with friends, and drive traffic to you), or create a board where you subtly repin folks who seem like they might enjoy your wares, so they click through to see what you're up to. You could even invite loyal customers to be a part of your "community moodboard", where they share images and ideas they think fit into the ethos of what you produce. *market research. What can't people get enough of? What colors are they wishing things came in? What trends have they jumped on, and which ones are they ignoring? What items of yours are getting pinned, and which ones never see the light of Pinterest? What are your competitors seeing pop up again and again?*product launches: when a new line or collection comes out, pin items to your "latest!" board so it shows up in the feed of your most Pinteresty customers. They're more bound to click through to check things out when they're in a style headspace than they might be when they're clicking through to-dos in their email, etc.*customer reviews: if you feel like you can handle it, encourage customers to pin up items you produce with their reviews on a special board. And if they have trouble, you can interact with them there and try and turn around a bad shopping experience. You'll also see other customers suggesting solutions, "I always go a size down in that" or "it looks great with such and such, try that"Anyway, most social networks drive me batty. But I don't measure their value for my customers according to how much they appeal to me. ;)
Tinu David Denby is 68, so maybe you're actually weeping for the past. :) But I would argue that these kinds of dustups are nothing new, and have been happening since papers and magazines were being printed -- someone is always scooping or scamming or pushing or exaggerating or creating havoc. That's part of why the industry is such a fascinating one to watch, even as it makes us cringe at times.I think journalistic integrity is alive and well with many reporters and editors, just as it always has been -- but there are also rats in the works, as there always have been. However, the world a theatre critic lived in 100 years ago is very different than the one Denby and Rudin live in now. We're more likely to "read all about it" now when something happened back then. There are also a lot more ways to mess up now. :)I'm not one to harken back to the old days of much, though -- I'd be talking to you from my spot barefoot in a kitchen back in the old days (although that sounds appealing right now....:)
1 year, 5 months ago on The New Yorker Breaks Embargo and Violates Ethics
The point for me is less about the embargo -- because yes, you should honor your word -- and more about the why. Denby isn't stupid or impractical or known for dishonesty, and Scott Rudin is known for being a petulant punisher of a man. So why would Denby push that button? That's why I think there's more to it. Yes, we can call out Denby for circumventing, but that won't be the end of the story. belllindsay ginidietrich