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Archive for October, 2010

copyright 2009 - Olivier Blanchard

I know: I have been uncharacteristically silent these last few days, but don’t worry, everything is fine. Angry social media rock stars didn’t break into my house in the middle of the night to beat me up. (Some  may have been too busy tearing up the Blog World Expo in Vegas anyway.) Truth is that I am completely swamped, trying to finish up the super top secret book project before my otherwise wonderful editor develops an ulcer or sends a couple of goons to “help things along.”

Here’s where things stand: You know how some musicians lock themselves up in a studio for weeks to work on an album? For the last week, I have spent the better part of 16 hours per day chained to my desk, in quasi-darkness, fueled by cans of Java Monster, sardines, granola and stinky French cheese, slaving to edit a hefty portion of the chapters I have already submitted to my publisher. Needless to say: Not a rock star. You know how I know this?

1. In spite of the electric and acoustic guitars lining one of my walls, my office is not technically a recording studio.

2. Chico is not a certified sound engineer.

3. I see no band, groupies, whiskey or cigarettes of any kind.

4. I am not actually… you know… making music.

But let me say this: Writing and editing might not seem like a lot of work, but my brain’s coolant has to be replaced every six hours. That’s how hard my little neurons are having to work. Balancing chapter continuity in my head while I jump from one to another in random order and struggle to unstitch every sentence before reattaching it just right is a lot like playing ten simultaneous chess games while debating the superiority of French football with an Italian without ever raising your voice, I kid you not. Oh, and my beard is growing so fast because of all this nonsense that I look a lot like this (minus the cool blue-blockers, the designer hoodie, and that brightness thing the rest of you know as ‘sunlight’):

All of this to say that I may not have time to write a lot of elaborate blog posts this week. So if seem a little absent, don’t worry, I’m here, just not here.

Also on the schedule this week though: Emerging from the batcave to unleash some fierce knowledge at  Kennesaw State University’s Social Media Integration conference in Atlanta, GA (Oct 22 and 23). Also presenting: Pepsi’s Shiv Singh, Hubspot’s Rick Burns, Whole Foods Market’s Marla Erwin, and more. I will be conducting a boot-camp on Friday and an R.O.I. tutorial on Saturday, perhaps even in full beard. I haven’t decided yet. (I can’t remember if the Unabomber was ever caught by Georgia State Police, so I may not opt to take my chances walking around looking like that.)

I hope to see some of you there.

Cheers for now.

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Nice presentation by SMI (Social Media Influence) listing some of Social Media’s most notable screwups. Notice how many times Greenpeace is mentioned in these slides. Online crisis management, anyone? (What’s your plan?)

This presentation also reminds me of something Peter Shankman talked about at #BrandCampU in Detroit last week: DBS. (The Don’t Be Stupid plan.) Think, guys. Think. Before you green-light a campaign, a page design, an update or a tweet, just think.

(Nose-deep in edits and rewrites today. No time to chat. Have a good’n.)

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From Mark Smiciklas and Intersection Consulting, here is my new house. Well… It is more of a bubble, really. But a bubble can be a house, right? Yes it can. Especially when you own some unicorns and pixie dust, as I do.

Those shadow people with black clouds over their heads and dark thoughts about getting results and “selling” stuff, I used to think like them. I used to try and align Social Media integration with their objectives, and warn them about people who only pretended to know how. That was before my favorite Social Media rock stars told me I was too snarky. That I should focus on writing positive stuff, not pointing out snake oil and bad practices and whatnot. All that negative stuff. Now, thanks to my new bubble, I feel engaged! I can’t wait to have conversations with people! I don’t worry about right and wrong anymore. No such thing when you’re in the bubble.

To think I used to explain how to do that stuff, and point out when people tried to sell the space on bogus R.O.I. calculators, and pass off BS campaign results. I can’t believe I used to be so negative! Who needs unnecessary debate in this space, after all? People like me, sticking their noses where they don’t belong, pointing out best practices and really bad ones.What was I thinking? This is much better! Don’t you think so?

#stepfordTBB

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I was originally going to write a post outlining the difference between strategy and tactics, but it came to my attention that not everyone likes the fact that I a) call out bullpoopy, b) argue about semantics and c) tweet around acting like I am smarter than everyone else. Evidently, trying to “correct” people in this and other areas only serves to position me as a know-it-all, and others as know-nothings, which isn’t exactly the friendly thing to do in the big Social Media 24/7 party bubble where I should be… a voice of wisdom, not a voice of negativity.

Over the last year, I have inadvertently turned into that guy at the party who corrects people for their improper use of English, and questions the validity of their tall tales. (Who am I to question how big that fish actually was?!) Nobody wants to be that guy. So… I have decided to stop being that guy.

Yep, that’s right. Starting yesterday, I have decided to stop being so… negative. I am turning a whole new leaf.

Before I can really become the super-duper nice Olivier, the one who agrees with everyone and plays nice no matter what, I need to make amends. I don’t know much about 12-step programs, but I seem to recall that taking inventory of your flaws and asking for forgiveness is part of the process. So here we go:

1. I was wrong to butt into the R.O.I. discussion. Not sure what I was thinking with that one. I should have considered everyone’s feelings. Instead of trying to be right, I should have considered that EVERYONE has a right to be right. So… I was wrong to say that R.O.I. was a business measurement. In fact, it was kind of negative of me to imply that R.O.I. can’t be whatever you want it to be. R.O.I. can be anything you want it to be. You can measure it in followers, hugs, retweets, puppies, mentions… and whatever you want. R.O.I. can be anyoutcome you want it to be, and you can measure it however you want to. It was inconsiderate of me to suggest that anyone had it wrong. Hopefully, business schools will begin adopting new definitions of the term, and accepting that Social Media gurus are just as smart as MBA professors.

2. Social Media certifications are always legitimate, no matter who issues them. The legitimacy of the organization responsible for offering and delivering certifications in the Social Media space is not mine to question anyway, not that it needs to be. See item #3 to find out why.

3. Everyone who claims to be a Social Media expert actually is. How I got away with ever questioning that is beyond me. Thanks for being so patient with someone as obviously negative as I was. (It gives me chills to think about how negative and mean I have been to suggest otherwise!) Overnight expertise on the interwebs isn’t just possible, it is obviously common. Google something enough times and you too can be an expert. Thousands of people did it that way, and you can too.

4. There is no snake oil in Social Media (or in marketing, for that matter.) I made it all up. Everyone is 100% legit. Those R.O.E. equations, those calculators, those content strategy experts, they’re all solid. I was just jealous because they were better at math than I am. Trust everyone. Even when the math is wrong and the facts don’t add up, don’t be like me and expect the worst. Take the stance that… well, the guys selling you this stuff are the experts and you’re not. In the end, it isn’t your (or my) job to question, only to pay their invoices and let them do their expert strategist thing.

5. Nomenclature is completely unimportant. I was wrong to attach so much importance to silly things like what words really mean or don’t mean. Who cares if no one knows the difference between strategy and tactics, after all? It isn’t the end of the world. If people want to call themselves strategists, why should I care? (I shouldn’t.) Likewise, when a major brand’s Social Media Director confuses foot traffic and fouresquare check-ins, what does it matter? (I doesn’t.) The sun still rises the next day, doesn’t it? People still buy burgers, don’t they? Does anyone really care that 719 check-ins were made to sound like over 7,000,000 customers flocked to their 13,000+ locations? Of course not. These sorts of things are INSIGNIFICANT details. I was an a-hole to point it out, and to do so in a less than positive, encouraging way. I see the error of my ways now: Using the right words doesn’t matter. Everyone should be allowed to make up words and terminology whenever they want. That’s the beauty of the internet after all: The freedom to be, do and say whatever you want. To suggest that expert nomenclature comes with expertise was so pretentious of me! Sorry I have been such a party pooper.


So yep, I am turning a new leaf. Starting today, no more posts or tweets about things people do to harm companies or the public. (Since self-serving charlatans don’t actually exist.) No more shining a light on “shady” practices. (There is no such thing.) All I will write about will be positive and supportive, of everyone, without exception. You want less Jerry Springer and more Bono? You got it. David Armano, Jay Baer, Amber Naslund, Jason Falls, Liz Strauss, Chris Brogan and all of you who suggested – for months now – that I focus on the positive rather than the negative, your wish has just come true. I am finally listening to your collective advice. I am going to be the biggest Social Media cheerleader the world has ever known, starting now.

My content strategy is now this: Whatever I write, I will never offend anyone ever again. Most important of all, my content strategy will be to provoke exactly zero pesky arguments and debates about silly things like… terminology, measurement, ethics or whatever else used to make me such an insufferable, holier-than-thou know-it-all.

What the internet needs more of, after all, is love. Love, I can give. Encouragement and support, even. If you want to build Social Media and Content Strategy consulting businesses out of thin air and cracker-jack boxes, I will support you 100% of the way. You creative equation designers out there, those of you who have reinvented R.O.I. for the Social Web, you are the internet’s true heroes and I will not stop singing your praises until both Mashable and the Wall Street Journal mention you as examples of excellence in measurement innovation. We need more of that, and I have plenty of it to give.

Uncomfortable questions though, not so much. (All they do is make people feel bad about the choices they’ve made, and nobody wants that.) I have learned my lesson: When ethics, values and standards make some people uncomfortable, the proper thing to do is to back off and let them exercise their freedom to do whatever they want. I don’t want to be an obstructionist.

What I really want to be a Social Media cheerleader. It was wrong of me to ever want to be anything else. I let pride and ego stand in the way of being everyone’s best friend.

So my pledge to you from now on is this: Nothing but love, support, and acceptance, no matter what. I can’t wait to help you sell your new words, concepts and ideas for digital and marketing services! Certification programs? Send them my way! ROI calculators? Toss those babies over to me. It’s all good. I will never question anyone’s work again, no matter how um… complex it is.

This is going to be SO much better. I can’t wait!

#StepfordTBB

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