Children of the '80s: You Want Your MTV

OK, I am resisting the urge to publish a list of Hallowe'en online goodies here. For your Friday "goof-off" however, I am providing something else. Remember the thrill of getting cable TV in the '80s? And watching "All news. All the time" wasn't it. I have fond memories of remaining slumped on the couch, eating cookies and watching video after video on MTV.

Today's kids apparently think that MTV is "The Man." We know better and here is living proof: MTV Music. The site allows you to create a profile, view and list your favorite videos, build a friends list, etc. Some goodies are missing though. While album title, studio and genre are listed for each track, there is no release date noted. I am sure junkies will find even more stats missing. And why is Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up the second most viewed video? Also missing are the ability to create playlists, a help page and a blog keeping users informed as to the site's development. It's a good start though and enough to get people hooked.

Video Killed the Radio Star, Like a Virgin, Love Shack, Money for Nothing, and Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) are all there to take thirty and forty-somethings down memory lane. It was nearly impossible to stop creating this list! I have to add though that there seem to be some notable exceptions to the collection: the band Men at Work, Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and The Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian." Sigh.

It was tough to pick one video to post! I am going with Peter Gabriel.

Happy Hallowe'en

-I Can't Keep UP


word gets around: the math

In my last post, I talked about how to use social media in tight times. And, as luck would have it, someone helped spread my blog post through word of mouth online. In honor of the Society of Word of Mouth's conference today, SWOMfest, I am going to break it down for you by the numbers. (And, if you want to participate in the conference, you can watch it live on the SWOMfest website.)
What is Word of Mouth? (WOM) Storytelling- others passing on the stories of their direct or indirect interactions with a person, place or thing. Their stories can be flat, positive or negative- or a combination of the three. This morning's SWOMfest speakers Haley Rushing and Yaphet Smith talked about purpose, passion and how both drive your storytelling to create word of mouth. And, Haley pointed out - if you aren't out there telling your story, somebody else will be.

Today I am going to skip the content piece and just talk about how quickly word of mouth can travel online, by looking at the numbers. Keep in mind- content is important too, but we'll get to that later. This post is about showing how far something travels and how that happens.

My audience, including friends & followers on my blog, twitter, facebook, plurk, StumbleUpon, email subscriptions and online communities I belong to, is at 3,600+.

The key person who "Stumbled" my post, Te-ge Bramhall, has about 640 "subscribers" on StumbleUpon. She "stumbled" my post- which means she gave it a thumbs up and reviewed it on that website. When she did that all of her subscribers were notified that she stumbled it. A number of them and their friends- well over a thousand folks- visited my site. A few of them stumbled it too, but a lot of them signed up to be subscribers which is even better.

Then, after posting my gratitude to Teeg on Plurk, Mack Collier of The Viral Garden, also mentioned it on twitter. He has over 2,000 followers and about 100 of them checked out my site. One of his followers, @dayngr, "Re-Tweeted" his message and about 150 of her 2,000+ followers also visited my site.

So let's add this up. At a minimum, 8,240 people received word about my post. About 2,700 people visited my site 24 hours after I posted. I received almost 200 new email subscribers and about 200 new RSS subscribers. From a percentage standpoint that's pretty extraordinary. And most of it was because my friend Teeg thought it was a pretty good post and spread the word about it via online WOM. Thanks Teeg!

To check out the bios of Haley Rushing and Yaphet Smith, go to the SWOMfest website and click on their names. Also, @dayngr has a cool blog Honor, Duty, eMail in support of our troops! Check it out and send them some love via eMail.

One more thing. How do I know all this? I use Sitemeter to track all the traffic to my blog. One of the statistics it keeps is what website referred the visitor to your site. I was able to count all the visitors from each of these sites and any others that sent traffic to my blog- including Mack Collier's and @dayngr's referrals from their twitter pages. Pretty neat, huh?

Another spectacular day in Denver. How's yours?
-I Can't Keep Up


using social media in a tough economy

Don't let the economy rain on your parade. Even if your budget is tight, there are great ways to use social media that cost very little and help build your community at the same time. All the efforts I list below help build word of mouth recognition for you and your organization. Word of mouth in the social media world expands and enhances non-cyber-world communication.

Use LinkedIn to reach out
Update your contacts in LinkedIn and go through them- who haven't you talked to in a while and who has updated their profile? Have you updated your profile and your company's? Making sure your info is correct helps people find you when searching for services. And don't rely on people finding you- search LinkedIn for professionals that you may share common interests with, answer questions to increase your visibility, join groups and share information.

More importantly - make sure your employees are doing the same.

Build your team with facebook
Build/update your profile on facebook. I spoke with a friend the other day who told me her staff, located all over the country, are now using facebook to build their team relationships. What they realized in the process is that their clients and business partners are finding them on facebook as well. She's the kind of person who knows her staff, no matter what their capacity, are the best ambassadors for their company. To help promote the use of facebook, she paid for everyone to have fun headshots taken to use as their profile photo, created a company group- branded with their logo, of course, and made sure they felt comfortable with facebook time during the workday.

Maximize twitter
Are you using twitter? Now that major news organizations are incorporating twitter into their broadcasts, people are using it in place of text messaging and major corporations are using it for customer service, twitter is taking hold in the mainstream. Set up an account and learn how to use it. Once you get that down, start searching it to listen and see what folks are saying about your organization and industry. And, as above, help your staff do the same.

Word of mouth outreach can't be underestimated. Think about the last time you heard great things about a restaurant from a friend and then decided to check it out, or about the time someone complained about the bad service they got at a restaurant. Online, these kinds of word of mouth conversations travel a little faster and a little farther- get out front and maximize your opportunities now, so you are not just putting out fires, but building business!

Make sure your electronic contact info is everywhere it should be
Recently I received a membership mailing from a museum- there was no web address or email contact on the enclosed letter, membership card, envelope, or the large, obviously expensively produced, poster enclosed. What a missed opportunity? Your email and web address should be on your business cards, letterhead, collateral materials, promotional gifts and in the signature of your email. That seems like a no-brainer, but I would put it up there with forgetting business cards for a networking event and thinking, "People no where to find me, I will just email them when I get back." Well, not having the card misses an opportunity to remind them of you and ditto for not providing electronic contact info.

What are you doing with social media to be a world-beater?

Enjoy the autumn colors!
-I Can't Keep Up

Trends: Celebrities' Videos for Community Building

Last week I wanted to pass a hilarious, educational video on to a friend, but it was embedded into that organization's website with no way to pass it on. Guess what? My friends missed out on this great, funny skit because it wasn't sharable. And, that organization missed out on a chance to share their message with the 125 people on my video list. Ouch! What if they passed it on, and on, and on? Some celebs recognize that they can use their influence to build community and spread the love.

We are all getting used to celebrity vanity videos from folks like Paris. Other celebs are banking on their celebrity to help spread the word about a cause, or to provide a forum for laughter. As tempting as it might be to make a buck by charging for their work, these stars have put their videos in a format that is easily shared. They understand the power of making their videos sharable, helps spread their message and increase their influence. Old rule

Queen Rania of Jordan has set up her own YouTube Channel to foster cultural understanding through educating others about the Arab world. In a year she has developed almost 9500 fans, over 400,000 people have visited her channel and views of her videos range from tens of thousands to over a million. This summer she asked people to submit their stereotypes about the Arab world which she would respond to through video. This is her call to action.

Spreading the word through laughter 
Funny or Die, Will Ferrell's latest venture gives aspiring humorists and celebrities a shot at the cyber-meritocracy. Watch comedians throw their best at you and vote- funny or die. While most of the videos aren't cause oriented, Ron Howard, Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler take us back to get out the vote. I am sure it was painful for them to reprise their roles, but they do so without leaving a "jump-the-shark" taste in our mouths.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

How does your organization use video? Do your viewers get to share the love and pass them on?

Happy Monday!

-I Can't Keep Up