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Social Warfare

In giving my SMB social media talks, the topic of deliberate bad behavior always comes up.

“What keeps me from going on Yelp and trashing my competitor down the street?” is a typical question. Or “What if my sister-in-law writes a really nice review for me?”

My response is that we’re kind of living in the wild, wild west and that until some social norms grow up and we get marshals to enforce them people need to be prepared.

I talk about Jeff Jarvis’ “Dell Hell” posts that triggered massive waves that hammered Dell…but I talk about Jeff as the pebble that unleashed the avalanche – not as a ‘community organizer’ mau-mauing the corporations.

I’ve talked with friends about “social DDoS” attacks, where a few thousand people could swarm a social site and in effect trash the community there –


Social Media And The Small Business – Yet Again

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – SMB that thoughtlessly adopt the big business strategies of personalization and outreach in social media may or may not be doing themselves a favor.

In today’s WSJ – ‘Entrepreneurs Question Value of Social Media.‘ (probably behind a paywall) It’s not that they’re Luddites…

Last year, social-media adoption by businesses with fewer than 100 employees doubled to 24% from 12%, says a survey released in January of 2,000 U.S. entrepreneurs from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business and Network Solutions LLC, a Web-services provider in Herndon, Va.

Meanwhile, a separate survey of 500 U.S. small-business owners from the same sponsors found that just 22% made a profit last year from promoting their firms on social media, while 53% said they broke even.


A Tale Of Two Media…And Their Revenue Models

So let’s be clear – all media companies are struggling as both the basic models they operate under (online and offline) are challenged, and as the economy means they no longer have the cushion of good times.

Let’s look at two responses to the problem.

The LA Times ran an ad that wrapped the front page for the film Alice In Wonderland; that was controversial, but what made it deeply controversial is that the ad was designed with copy and font to look like the Times’ front page…with an ad layered on top of it.


It’s eye-catching to be sure, and the Times supposedly got well over a half-million dollars for it.


Graffiti Bridge

(With apologies to the used-to-be and now-is-again artist Prince)

I was talking to a potential client last week, and was getting pushed back because their current social media efforts aren’t doing much for them. In fact, they are pretty negative. They have added comments to articles and whitepapers on their website, and to be generous the comments are horrible.

Not just horrible as in mean to the brand, but a snakepit of trolldom, angry ad hominem and content-free commentary.

“See!” they tell me. “We put the comment system up, and look what happened!”

Here is where I mentally bang my head against the conference table.

“Look,” I explain. “What’s the difference between an alley in Beverly Hills and an alley in Compton?”

Blank look.

“No tagging on the buildings in BH.


A Five-Minute Social Media Strategy Exercise

I’m one of those people who believe that things are almost always simpler than we think. Too often we make things less clear as we try and describe things – we make them hard to understand with a fog of language that hides a lack of conceptual rigor and clarity. We – all – get caught in this as we try and engage the language rather than the underlying concepts.

I had lunch with a prospective client last week; she has a company that offers a SaaS component that integrates two components in enterprise HR systems.

So we sit down and I ask her to explain what she wants to do; she gives me an explanation.

She has been – abstractly – interested in ‘socializing’ her apps, and recently she’s been hearing from customers that she needs to “make them social.”