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losing a social media guru before social media had a name – goodbye Michael O’Connor Clarke

October 14th, 2012 No comments

I’ve been thinking about you all day, Michael all day.

I even went to mass because I felt, well, if it could add in any tiny way to the comfort being sent to Leona from all parts of the globe, then I should do it.

Michael, I went for you too. You see, you would be one of the few who could get me in the doors. Can you see me? Standing outside, wondering, having never been to this church, hardly to any church in recent memory, would the side doors lead me awkwardly into the midst of communion lines? Then what would I do? Stick out my hand and say “Amen”? Michael sent me?

It took me a minute to make my way in. Would I remember the responses? Did you know some of them have CHANGED? Yes, for real. They don’t say “It is right to give Him thanks and praise” anymore – at least not at this church; they say something else, I think, “It is right and just”?

Today I didn’t feel like it was right or just. I felt like nothing made sense.

But in that not-making-sense-ness, I felt you poking my shoulder, poke poke, as I stood in the back. You  tried to get me to laugh. I couldn’t help it. I did smile.

I didn’t make it to the end, but I did stay through the part where all 200 of us prayed for those family and friends who had died. And so I prayed for you. And I stayed for the “peace be with you” part, and shook some people’s hands for you and Leona.

If only you would have stopped nudging me so I could have stopped giggling.

me and my blog brother:

remembering michael o’connor clarke

some of my favs from michael…

I hope that Michael’s  blogs are preserved – so many great ideas, so much he contributed.




Categories: grieving, PR, The thing about writing Tags:

3 things old-school Blogging can teach new-school Social Media

September 7th, 2012 5 comments

Back in 2003, my blog had a Google page rank of 9. I burst into the Technorati Top 1000 on a couple of occasions. Considering there were about 1000 of us blogging at that time, this accomplishment was not as “whoa!” as it sounds.

Before I started blogging in 2001, a Google search on my name delivered just 3 search results. Four years after, that number would climb to 300,000 and more. That was before businesses barged in, before smartphones and BYOD meant everyone really was “always on,” before becoming a ‘social media’ expert was a lucrative career option.

The act of blogging was quite different then. But the idea that there was value in talking to each other across the web has stood the test of time

There are things that early “social media” did right — practices that have been lost amid the growing cacophony of participants. The following are some old school blogging tactics that can be revamped to make conversations more meaningful today

THEN:
We had “blogrolls,” which we took great care to maintain, groom, and grow. These were sidebar lists of people we read, lists and links to friends, enemies, whoever we thought our friends should be reading. These were our pre-app apps for finding and sharing. We didn’t do SEO. We did I LOVE YOU.

NOW:
Blogrolls have fallen out of favor. Most of us find what we read by following links tweeted by our Twitter folowees, or Facebook links to what family and friends are reading. Blogs tend to link more to mainstream articles today, hoping to glean credibility and SEO juice in return. The problem with that is, Google’s analytics are smarter than any of us. And Google did, does, and always will reward authentic conversation. That is what has kept its search results useful over these many years. So don’t try to out-SEO Google. Try instead to read, care, and talk about what matters to you, then tell other people why you care about it, and why they should care.

THEN:
Most of us were blogging to get AWAY from our jobs, not as part of our jobs. Some of us were getting fired for blogging, and some others of us even made blogging careers out of getting fired for blogging.

NOW:
Blogging pays. Whether you are blogging about your personal hobby or about your professional passion, everyone loves a blogger. You are more likely to get laid off for not blogging than for blogging. In the process, however, bloggers have lost their authenticity of voice. How excited can you be about PR, really? Or technology? Or social media? It’s great that so many pundits have emerged from the ranks of blogging, and that so many have made careers out of it. But we really liked you best when you threw in the personal stuff, the parts about your kid’s visit to the principal, you dad’s final days in the hospital, the breakup with your longtime love. Don’t forget that stuff. It’s what makes this space special, me to you, the closest we get to flesh in pixels.

THEN:
Good conversations were the ones you couldn’t even trace the genesis of. So many people had blogged and linked to so many others, that the discussion became a web, a mini network of intellect or fart jokes within the larger network of nodes.We read other bloggers voraciously. We would seldom post without reading what other bloggers were saying. Links within a post were the only context we had. Links were organic to discussion. Links were a social grace. Links were etiquette. Linking to someone drew them into a discussion by virtue of the fact that you thought they were important enough to be there. That the conversation needed them. As readers we were concerned with the wattage of conversations, not the volume.

NOW:
The blogopshere is oversaturated with pundits and underserved by conversation. Bloggers think they deserve to be read. Instead of starting a discussion, they stake a claim. Just because you have a thought, however, doesn’t mean you’re a thought leader. Every idea doesn’t have to be yours. Everything you write doesn’t have to stand on its own. There are others in the blogosphere. You should invite them into your conversation by linking to something they’ve said about that same topic. Use links for context, talk with others, not at them.

The Jazz of Social Media

June 7th, 2009 1 comment
Coltrane Blows

Coltrane Speaks

I came across a good article in AdWeek about how and why social media differs from the broadcast mindset. In the article, Paul Gunning explains that while companies are rushing ahead into social media as the next-best-shiny-new-way-to-build-their-brand strategy, they haven’t yet crossed the reality chasm. Gunning describes this headlong blind rush into social media as “techno-ecstasy” — which I define as the love of being in love with social media.

The phenomenon is musical, really.

The problem is that while traditional marketers and MBAs and HR folk understand what it feels like to “broadcast their message,” they don’t know what it feels like to “jam,” to play with micromarkets in an already-in-progress composition, an evolving melody, on the market’s own stage, in the customer’s own house.

You see, Marketing 1.0 had charts.

Social Media is improvisational.

It really comes down to that.

It’s a struggle for classical marketers to feel comfortable playing social media jazz, because engaging with your market can feel REALLY uncomfortable. You can get dirty. It doesn’t always sound right. You have to Let Go. You can be misinterpreted. You don’t always look good. You can’t control the flow.

On the social web, clams are a given. How you respond, what you make of those mistakes and conflicts, and how you RECOVER determines how you build loyalty, a following, and long-term trust.

You can hear things you don’t want to hear when you decide to join this unending song of conversation.

You can be asked to change things you can’t change. You can be upstaged by the competition, who is allowed to walk right in with their snazzy new thingamajig and tell the same people you’ve been talking to why their thingamajig is better. And they may be wrong, or they may be right, but you may be having a conversation that you CERTAINLY wouldn’t have paid $4,000 to see spread across a full page ad for all the world to see. You might in fact pay double that, if you could, for them NOT to see it.

But you’re having that conversation because you showed up.

According to Gunning, there are some surefire questions you can ask to find out if you’ve been afflicted with techno-ecstasy:

1. Am I focused on using the social realm to listen to and learn more about my consumers, or am I more focused on executing a fan page?

2. How much participation is required to make a difference on my brand? Does adding 4,600 “friends” have any impact on this goal? Is this scalable to the level I need?

3. Has my company trained CSR, legal, HR and sales on our social-media strategy, or has only the marcom department received a social-media 101 session?

I’d add a thing or two here, related to whether a company is ready to play in the social media arena, or whether they should stick to classical marketing in rehearsal rooms a little while longer. Ask yourself:

1. Have I been shedding long enough to understand my sound, my self, my capabilities, what I bring to the scene — or am I trying to pose so that I don’t miss out?

2. Have I really studied the early and fundamental material of this era of change – Have I read Cluetrain, looked back at blog archives from the turn of the century, so that I understand the foundation of this art form before I step up to the mic myself?

3. Am I committed to finishing what I start, to staying in this relationship – group – collaboration – with my customers and colleagues and competitors over the long haul? Can I agree from the start not to pack up and go home early?

Like the business of music, Social Media is not glamorous, except for the fortunate few.

Sure, you have your viral video successes.  You have your “OH i WISH that would have been MY company” campaigns. And you have “OH i’m GLAD that wasn’t MY company” disasters.

But if and when you decide it’s time to add to the collective knowledge and shared fun, to the stunning composition of what’s possible, there is one thing for certain: you will be changed.

the WB and mommy blogging and also Detroit

May 31st, 2009 No comments

also posted over at allied

————

Kelly at Kdidddy has a great recap of her recent trip to the (former) motor city, the glory, the tragedy, the vinyl, the husband, the house music, the to be continued, and the pictures.

OH and the writing. I’ve been reading way more ‘mommybloggers/parenting bloggers’ than usual recently because of a project I’m working on, and I’ve made an amazing discovery: lots of these people are writing their asses off. Writing WELL, I mean. Great story tellers. I can’t avert my eyes kind of story tellers.

What did I expect? I mean, I WAS an early mommyblogger before mommyblogging had a name, although the name itself isn’t one I would have self-selected because the term is a market segment, and I frequently avoid being segmented. I’ve spent so much in therapy dollars trying to integrate, after all.

So Kelly is one of these Really Good Writers Who Also Happens to Be A Mom (that’s my new proposed term for mommy bloggers by the way: RGWWAHTBAM. Deal with it.). However, she mentions not being able to write so much on her blog these days, a malady with which I’ve become (believe me I’ve read your emails) all too familiar.

That’s why it was great to read her Detroit post, which inspired me to post here YET AGAIN (nearing a record for the year).

As for the post itself, I cry when I think of Detroit. Really. Of all it was, is, and represents. It makes me think of the middle class genocide remark made by the ‘markets’ expert guy a couple of posts down. wtf. no really.

We have adam lamberts and chris whats his faces and legions of others who eat fresh meat of the love-art-industry of American music built in a city that has been desimated.

Accidental? Maybe not.

ADAM! ADAM! ADAM! really. white people. don’t get me started.

ANYWHOO this post was supposed to be about the writer’s block that Kelly is currently toying with deciding she has.

I know. I do know. I’ve been calling it menopause, but have also been waiting on hormone test results which will probably show I have years left of fertility and in fact actually have Mad Cow Disease.

But something is amiss – it’s not easy to write – it’s not as cathartic – it doesn’t seem necessary. SO many words and pixels flood the net. Lots of times I feel like I’m doing a disservice to add more.

NONETHELESS I just added some more, and thanks, Kelly, for the inspiration.