Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lisa Stone on Press:Here

When it rains, it pours. So here is Lisa on local tech news show, Press: Here. This show follows Meet the Press on NBC on Sunday mornings. I started a season pass ot the show once we landed Lisa the spot on it, and I think it's a season pass I'll keep. Host Scott McGrew shares the interviewing with different panels of local tech and business journalists, and interviews local business folks including, now Lisa, representing BlogHer. I hope the show sticks around, it's really targeted and relevant for me.

And now, here's Lisa:

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Lisa Stone on "Success with Moira Forbes"

Check her out...she says a lot in just 3 minutes:

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

They have a name: Outboarders!

Hat tip to Maria Niles, who pointed me to this NY Times article about the conference phenomenon: Outboarders.

Companies that don't sponsor an event, but instead try to book space near the event and lure people to their space.

"Outboarders" is kind, since I've also heard them called "leeches" or "ambushers".

As BlogHer Conferences have grown this has become an actual issue for us, one I never would have anticipated. I guess because I was never an event planner before, eh?

In a way, it's comforting to know it's a known and apparently increasingly common problem.

In a way, that doesn't make it better at all.

But at least, now, they have a name!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Who actually says this anymore?: "Social media doesn't need ROI"

When this article in BrandWeek showed up on my Google alert, I was pleased to see one more mention of the Trop 50 campaign BlogHer did with Pepsi in their pages. BrandWeek has consistently pointed to that campaign as an innovative example of social media engagement in action.

But the opening two paragraphs gave me pause, including this statement:
Is all this Tweeting, blogging and Facebooking paying off? For some proponents, the question is irrelevant. They agree with the view encapsulated in the social media bible The Cluetrain Manifesto -- markets are conversations. Companies have to participate in the conversations where they're happening, ROI be damned. Their dismissal of metrics is summed up in an oft-repeated question, "What's the ROI of putting on your pants on in the morning?"

And a further description of the "social media faithful at conferences and on blogs" to whom the above statement about ROI and pants would be "music to the ears" of.

But here's the thing: Really? Who says that anymore? I go to a lot of social media conferences. I see a lot of social media "gurus" in action on blogs and Twitter. BlogHer talks to or works with a lot of social media-focused industry organizations.

And it seems to me that social media ROI is the hottest topic out there. Now, the article is spot on that there isn't one set of industry-accepted success proof points out there, let alone one set of industry-accepted measures for each of those potential proof points. But I think now, years after the publication of the Cluetrain Manifesto, the concept of ROI in the social media space is taken seriously by any serious practitioner.

This casting of fear, uncertainty and doubt reminded me of the very dramatic article from BusinessWeek last December, Beware Social Media Snake Oil...which at least found someone specific to quote to support the notion that social media evangelists think ROI doesn't matter or can't be measured.

It's just not my experience that such evangelists reflect the majority mindset anymore. Actually, they haven't for a long time.

BlogHer launched its Business-focused conference back in early 2007. Case studies have been a part of it from the get-go, and we have a couple of requirements for the case studies presented:

  • We want a 360 degree view of the campaign: Someone from the brand to talk about what they wanted and needed. Someone from an agency or consultancy firm (if applicable) who helped the brand execute. Someone who participated in the campaign as a user...a blogger, online community member etc., who could talk about what worked or didn't work from their perspective. We actually won't present a case study featuring only the paid vendor talking about the great work they were paid to do...that's a sales pitch.

  • We also want quantifiable results. Not just feel-good stories. The brands have to be there, and they have to be willing to share. That is, I admit, the tough part sometimes. Brands usually know exactly what went right and wrong...they just don't always want to show & tell.

  • Nonetheless, as far back as 2007, and each year since, we've found plenty of such case studies to spotlight.

    Sometimes the brands measure success in reach (and what's wrong with that, after all)? Sometimes in revenue. Sometimes they take the traditional tools of pre- and post-campaign surveys or focus groups to measure things like brand awareness and affinity.

    My point is that I see a sea of measurement-focused fiends out there, trying to transition this industry from one that gets "experimental" budgets, to one that gets marketing dollars in proportion to the attention it gets from consumers.

    Am I missing the army of ROI-doesn't-matter "gurus" out there still plying their trade?

    Am I going to all the wrong (or, I might call them right) conferences?

    And mostly: Am I naive for thinking that the "accepted measures of ROI" for some other kinds of marketing campaigns...say Super Bowl ads or sponsoring a sporting event or a full-page ad in the New York Times...are accepted, but as likely to be no more meaningful to the bottom line than some of our nascent measure of ROI in the social media space?

    You tell me.

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    Saturday, February 06, 2010

    What He Said: David Carr on Twitter plus a few extra thoughts of my own

    I've been meaning to link to this great column by the NYT's David Carr for quite some time: Why Twitter Will Endure.

    He expresses a lot of what I try to explain to people about the appeal of Twitter. He also expresses my response to the most common doubts and complaints I hear expressed about Twitter.

    1. David Carr recognizes that your experience with Twitter, and the value you see in it depends entirely on who you follow
    I often tell people: "If you don't care what someone is tweeting, don't follow them. Surely, the web is the most customizable media experience you can have. You choose who to friend, who to follow, who to subscribe to. You choose how to consume their output...via apps, RSS readers, by visiting sites or not visiting sites. If someone or something bugs" There, that simple. No, really. I know you don't believe me. I know you think you are being assaulted by what-I-ate tweets, or ads, or too many promotional messages, or an over-reliance on flash graphics. You are not. Take control of your online experience, you'll be glad you did.

    2. Even if he's following only smart, savvy people, David Carr doesn't try to absorb everything those people say all the time.
    In fact, Carr uses a metaphor very close to the one I use all the time.

    He says, "At first, Twitter can be overwhelming, but think of it as a river of data rushing past that I dip a cup into every once in a while."

    I say: "I don't stand in the flood of information and ideas...I dip my toe in when I can and get a sense of what's rushing by and what I should pay attention to."

    3. David Carr finds the tool endlessly interesting and eminently practical and useful
    Ask a question, get it answered. It's kind of that simple. From people you know. Or people who know the people you know. When I go to Yahoo! Answers on another such answer engine on the web I find myself wondering how to filter and sift through the various answers much research do I need to do to confirm the research? On Twitter, most of the time, I get something quick and useful and usually accurate.

    Has Twitter ever led me astray? On one or two occasions, definitely. I wouldn't recommend retweeting without even clicking on a link. But generally speaking I follow people I trust, and I trust them because they've established they are on the ball.

    Now, Carr doesn't capture everything I love about Twitter. Although I signed up in 2006, even before the infamous Twitter explosion at SXSW '07, I wasn't a real convert until much later. But I soon saw the value of Twitter, and it's not just in information and advice and referrals to interesting links.

    If social media is all about the social...if the reason we use social media is to connect to other humans, to create a different kind of relationship with our community than can be created using any other form of media channel, then what could do more to forge those human connections than something where people express not only smart, well-formed, substantive thoughts (like those I try to blog) but also the most ephemeral, the most fleeting, the most impromptu thoughts and feelings that don't seem worth a blog post, but express something in my unique voice, nonetheless.

    The tweets I publish that get the most replies? Tweets about music, food, things that strike my heart, not just my brain. These may not be the tweets that get *retweeted* the, that's the informational and educational and promotional stuff. But I get the most response, and forge relationships, based on being a real-live human who loves to hear "Bizarre Love Triangle" on the way to work, or is excited when a restaurant offers vegan dessert, or has a chance encounter with a sobbing woman in an airport.

    Twitter is where the Internet is most like my family...having heated debates around the dinner table one minute, sharing my day the next, and laughing over something stupid only we understand the next after that.

    Why do you love, hate, or have a love-hate relationship with Twitter?

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