Social media prepares for Hurricane Gustav

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on August 31, 2020 at 9:06 am

The Web 2.0 world right now is doing what it does best; sharing information, passing links and exchanging ideas as we prepare for Hurricane Gustav to hit the US Gulf Coast.

A sample of some pertinent social media activity (please add other good ones in the comments below:)

  • Tweets from NOLA.com, the online arm of the New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Tweets from the Red Cross
  • ….from Lafayette, LA
  • Some Chicago Tribune reporters now on the ground in NOLA, tweeting & covering Gustav 
  • Mark Mayhew, in NOLA
  • Twitter stream from the Beaumont (TX) Enterprise-Journal
  • Millsaps College in Jackson MS just started a Twitter stream since they’re in the path of the storm
  • For more Twitter-based info, see the search results for hurricane + gustav on Twitter Search
  • The social media site Mahalo has a Gustav page
  • Andy Carvin, social media director for NPR (@acarvin on Twitter) formed a Ning group:  Gustav Information Center
  • A Wikipedia page is up: Hurricane Gustav
  • The World Wide Help blog now has a resources post on Gustav.
  • A gustavwiki page is up, devoted to hurricane coverage
  • The ComputerWorld magazine blog now has a Gustav resources page.

At Every Dot Connects, our thoughts and prayers are with those who are facing this storm. If you are in a position to help, online or off, please do so.

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Category: Social Media, In the News, Twitter

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Get Ready for a Blogging Blitz

Posted by Connie Reece on August 28, 2020 at 2:20 am

The Every Dot Connects team has another Austin workshop scheduled on September 17, and this time it’s all about blogging. Many clients have told us that they are ready to jump into blogging and increase their visibility online, but are unsure of the best way to start or how to build a successful blog that draws traffic.

This learner-driven workshop will answer those questions.

We’ll teach you basic blogging tools and techniques, including:

  1. Setting up a blog on one’s own domain name or Wordpress.com, plus some basic HTML.
  2. Adding photos and videos to your blog, including using Creative Commons alternative copyright.
  3. Building blog traffic and using blogs to enhance your brand and your business.
  4. Tips on writing for the Web.
  5. Sustaining vision and momentum as a blogger.

Bring your blogging questions that aren’t included in the above list, and we’ll get the answers for you!

Click the orange button below to find out all the details and register online.

Look for another Web 2.0 Tools workshop in October. If you’d like to be on our workshop and seminar mailing list, add your email address by clicking here:

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Category: Events, Blogging

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Is your business ready for social media technology?

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on August 26, 2020 at 3:17 pm

One-time-use video cameras from CVS (courtesy mobipic on Flickr CC)When I spoke at the Chicago BlogHer conference in 2007, I vividly remember BlogHer co-founder Lisa Stone making a series of announcements from the stage that included, “You need to make the assumption that everything here is ‘on the record’ unless you indicate otherwise, and everyone here is a journalist.”

In a room full of keyboard-pecking / podcasting / videoblogging enthusiasts, that was not exactly a bombshell, but some of the business world has yet to come to grips with the idea that everyone (including customers without any particular axe to grind) can be expected to record and report information.

A company’s bungled reaction to this can quickly turn even a happy or neutral customer into someone mad as a hornet.

The latest example of this is one of the airlines, JetBlue.

Passenger Marilyn Parver filmed an altercation between two passengers on a recent flight. One of the passengers was the mother of a child who had been acting up on the flight, and the other passenger was not happy about the child’s behavior.

“Suddenly, I heard loud shouts and removed my headset,” she added. “I realized that the man seated next to the loud child had finally lost it.”

At that point, the child’s mother and the passenger were yelling at each other, Parver added.

“On instinct, I turned my video camera towards the altercation,” Parver said.

Having just left from a visit with her grandchild in Boston, Parver said she thought the video would be a good example to show her daughter how children’s behavior affects other people. Parver said she did not leave her seat or even stand up in it.

“I was not interested in who was involved, I just wanted the words being said,” Parver added, “so I did not adjust the exposure and kept everyone in full shadow.”

In the less than two-minute video, an off-screen man can be heard yelling at a woman to control her child and the mother responding also in anger.

“A JetBlue employee settles the dispute very appropriately,” Parver said. “There was no violence or extreme behavior.”

The problem arose when JetBlue discovered that Marilyn had filmed the incident, and they demanded that she erase the video, primarily because they were concerned that it would be uploaded to YouTube.

When she refused to delete her video, Marilyn was arrested.

“I’m a rational, non-threatening 56-year-old grandmother who was complying with every request the flight crew made, other than delete two minutes of video,” Parver said. “I knew I had done nothing wrong and that the flight crew was out of line to demand I delete a video.”

JetBlue told Ms. Parver that if she didn’t do as she was told, she would be blackballed from ever flying JetBlue again. She was informed that her name would be circulated to other airlines in a report and she would have a hard time flying with them as well.

She still refused and is taking formal action against the airline.

This is a perfect example of a social media tempest in a teapot; JetBlue overreacted to their fear of video uploads to YouTube, even though there was nothing negative about their company in the video.

As travel expert Chris Elliott points out in his blog post about the incident,

“I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t find any rules that would prohibit a paying passenger from filming the interior of a JetBlue aircraft or of any commercial plane. Parver said she phoned JetBlue later, and that a representative told her she could tape whatever she wanted….This case underscores the travel industry’s sensitivity to the growing influence of social media, and particularly to viral videos.”

There is more about it in the Wall Street Journal and Consumerist and Gadling, and it’s also up on Digg. Way to keep the issue under wraps, eh, JetBlue?The Nokia N95 cell phone shoots streaming video (courtesy mediaeater at Flickr CC)

While I certainly understand that companies are concerned about bad publicity, I do not understand this sort of heavy-handed reaction, particularly when all it does is make a company look thuggish and silly.

Is that what JetBlue wants for its brand reputation?

The reality is that these days, anyone can carry and use a small video recorder like the Flip camera. Most digital still cameras can also shoot video and anyone can stream live video from their cell phone.

Social media technology is evolving and spreading, and smart companies right now should do two things:

  1. Make sure that they are up to speed on those technologies (how many who work in the average B2C company even know that you can stream live video from a cell phone? To keep up with Web 2.0 technology and how to use it, start with Robert Scoble on FriendFeed) and….
  2. Think through the implications of that technology, and discuss how you want employees to interact with customers who might use it in conjunction with your business. Not interact as in, “Let’s hunker down and call our lawyers,” but interact as in, “How can we use these tools to better serve our customers, and how can we train our employees to better understand these tools?”

A company that strives to do the right thing and make good decisions has little to fear from video cameras.

Yes, that’s an “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” sort of sentiment, but it’s still accurate, for people and for businesses.

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Category: Social Media, In the News, Video

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Hunger Awareness and Tyson Foods

Posted by Connie Reece on August 25, 2020 at 1:39 pm

The other day I promised to update on the company that has offered to fill up a truck with protein products if enough comments were made to a post on the subject. Well, its already up, already has over 270 comments, and it’s being done by Tyson Foods.

Here is the quote from the post…

Here’s something you can do today: For every comment this post receives indicating it has been read, Tyson Foods will donate 100 pounds of food (up to a 35K pound truckload) to the HAM-up (Tweetup), sponsored by the Food Bank, Social Media Club Austin and 501 Tech Club Austin. Help us fill the truck. Comment here (even one-word comments acceptable-BTW, since our comments are moderated, it might take a bit to get them up, but I WILL get them up).

Here’s the link to go comment…

Tyson Foods

You might have already read about it on twitter. If not, I’m glad you checked in here. Remember, each comment is worth 100 pounds of food.

~Mike Chapman

UPDATE - In an amazing display of community, enough comments were made to completely fill a truck with protein products. Everyone involved is great. We’re just getting started with Hunger Awareness Month and the lead up to the tweetup called a HAM-up. Stay tuned.

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Category: Social Media

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Hunger Is Unacceptable: Let’s do something about it!

Posted by Connie Reece on August 23, 2020 at 9:45 am

david_neff.jpg
Meet David Neff of the American Cancer Society, Austin Social Media Club, 501 Tech Club of Austin, and social media true believer. This is David Neff demonstrating how social media and social networking are becoming increasingly effective in actually accomplishing social goodness in a busy and fast paced world.

The picture you see of David is his current avatar, his online image, on twitter (he’s @daveiam), Facebook, LinkedIn, and wherever else he can be found online. The message is clear. Send him a message and David will tell you how you can help do something about hunger. Hunger Bytes is the creation of the Capital Area Food Bank in Austin, Texas, and links the high tech crowd to the very critical issue of hunger. According to the folks who work at the Food Bank we’re in a time of critical need because of the state of the economy.

Following our successful tweetup blood drive last month, some of us have rallied around increasing awareness of the work Lisa Goddard (@lisa_goddard) and others are doing at the Food Bank. We’re having a tweetup in conjunction with Hunger Awareness Month and calling it a HAM-up. We don’t care if it sounds silly or even if we look silly, the cause is worth it. Judging by the success of the blood drive we think our approach just might work. September 13th is the HAM-up date.

Already we’ve had a major food manufacturing company step up to the plate after hearing about it online. They are going to write a blog post about the HAM-up and then donate 100 pounds of protein products for every comment, up to 360, they receive on their post. That adds up to a truckload of protein for the Food Bank, which happens to be something they desperately need. This is such a great contribution that I plan to do a separate post on just them in a few days.

Message David if you can help. Message Lisa. Message @MichelleGreer. Message me, @MikeChapman, @ConnieReece or @SheilaS. Create your own avatar like David did and spread the word. Add a comment below. Then be ready to help on September 13th in person if you can. The net effect of all of our activities can exponentially expand our impact. It works. Let’s see just how well we can make it work by working on it together.

~Mike Chapman

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Category: Social Media, Social Media Club, Social Networking, Twitter

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Is Your PR Firm Social Media Savvy?

Posted by Connie Reece on August 14, 2020 at 4:35 am

Note: The following article originally appeared in the May issue of the Marketing Watchdog Journal. A recent post by Mike Volpe of Hubspot on the role of PR firms reminded me I had not published it here.

While most business executives have never heard the term social media, PR and advertising agencies are adopting it as their latest buzzword, along with terms like conversation and community. These are powerful concepts that deserve attention at the C-suite level, so it is disheartening to see those with minimal understanding of the concepts attempt to cut-and-paste them into their marketing materials.

When used in relation to media or networking, the word social simply refers to people rather than computers. Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Bebo, Ning and other social networks connect people via an unseen maze of hubs and nodes, much like a LAN connects a business’s computers. Through technologies and tools such as blogs, YouTube videos or iTunes podcasts, social media allows people to interact with content creators, and it allows the employees, customers and stakeholders of a business to co-create content and engage in discussions that can reshape a company’s product or service offerings.

PR professionals, whether internal teams or outside agencies, are being swept up in the maelstrom created by the collision of top-down messaging and bottom-up innovation—and there have been casualties.

Recently, Gina Trapani, author of the top-ranked Lifehacker blog, published a blacklist of PR agencies who had spammed her personal e-mail address with poorly targeted press releases. She wasn’t the first. Last year Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail, did the same thing. Gina’s blacklist, however, went further: It included instructions on how to permanently block any e-mail address from a company’s domain name.

It’s important for companies to get coverage by top bloggers and online media outlets, but the practice of blogger relations is like navigating a minefield: You have to know where to step or you can trigger an explosion that will maim your campaign. It requires detailed knowledge of new and emerging media as well as old-school relationship-building skills.

Yet when it comes to PR and marketing campaigns, most of the executives responsible for decision-making have no personal familiarity with social media tools or technologies, let alone the culture or ethos of the blogosphere.

How can you tell if your PR team is social-media savvy? Ask these questions of the top people responsible for your public relations efforts—not the digital natives who are junior associates, but the digital immigrants who occupy the head chair at the conference table.

  • Which blogs do you read regularly?
  • Are you familiar with the popular feed readers? Which one do you recommend?
  • Have you ever created a blog or written a post for one?
  • How often do you comment on blogs?
  • Have you ever uploaded a video to YouTube?
  • Have you ever uploaded digital photos to a site like Flickr?
  • What social networks do you belong to? Do you use them for personal or professional reasons?
  • How do you use your cell phone besides making calls?
  • Do you have accounts on any microblogging sites such as Twitter, Jaiku or Pownce?
  • Have you ever had an audio conversation on Utterz or a video chat on ooVoo?

I’ll stop there because I’m sure you get my point: The people making the decisions usually have a total disconnect with social media and Web 2.0 technologies. They may be familiar with the buzzwords, but they have no hands-on experience.

Now, it’s not necessary for C-suite executives to be able to answer all these questions. The important thing is that they be willing to work with—and take advice from—those who know the answers. To bring them in at the inception of a campaign, not call them as an afterthought.

Some people are digital translators—those who can bridge the knowledge and experience gap between digital natives and digital immigrants in the workforce—and these are the folks you want on your PR team. They are old enough to have solid experience in traditional methods but have immersed themselves in Internet culture and practice enough to be adept at new technologies and open to innovative methods.

Like all translators, they are articulate communicators with finely-tuned people skills. At this stage they are not easy to find, but they do exist. Search out these people and nurture relationships with them if you want your PR efforts to remain relevant in the age of Google.

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Category: Public Relations, Social Media, Bloggers

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2009 SXSW Panel Proposals: Please Vote

Posted by Connie Reece on August 13, 2020 at 8:10 am

I’m honored to be included in two panel proposals selected for public voting for 2009 SXSW Interactive. Please take a look at the descriptions below and consider voting for these panels.

1404 - Breaking Through the Digital Ceiling

Level: Intermediate

Category: Business / Entrepreneurial

Presenter: Allyson Kapin, Women Who Tech and Rad Campaign

Are you a woman (or a man) who loves to tech out but is tired of sexism, ageism, and the lack of diversity? Women in tech and social media experts identify strategies for breaking through the digital ceiling. The panel will discuss topics such as getting heard by upper management, how to effectively advocate for your work and expertise, what men can do to help promote women in technology as well as how to break through the barriers of being too young or too old in the tech sector.

Panel members: Connie Reece, Susan Mernit, Lynne Johnson, Charlene Li

Vote here for this panel.

1454 - Beyond Social Media: Introducing Social Communications

Level: Advanced

Category: Advertising / Marketing

Presenter: Jackie Peters, Heavybag Media

Who really “owns” social media? Is it PR, Marketing, Branding? This panel will demonstrate that it’s all of the above and more. Thus the new category “Social Communications,” which we can think of as a hybrid of PR, marketing, branding, WOM, customer service, product development and more.

Panel members: Kristie Wells, Connie Reece, Chuck Hester, Todd Van Hoosear

Vote here for this panel.

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Category: Social Media, Events

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The Grand Opening of our Facebook Storefront

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on August 8, 2020 at 10:21 pm

We’re open for business at our Facebook storefront (courtesy Symlinked at Flickr CC)We’ve been doing some interesting work here lately at Every Dot Connects, including some entry-level “Web 2.0 Tools” workshops that introduce both solo entrepreneurs and businesses to social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging, Facebook, etc.

(Our next workshop is an all-day Blogging Blitz scheduled for September 17 in Austin - the info/registration page on Eventbrite is coming soon right here if you’d like to know more!)

We wanted a central place to not only spotlight those well-received workshops, but also to highlight any and all social media activities with our EDC team.  This blog talks a lot about social media marketing (this week we hit the AdAge Power 150 Top Media and Marketing Blogs list) but we wanted something like a storefront for our consulting, teaching and networking.

No, of course we didn’t go for a brick-and-mortar shop  — we built ourselves a Facebook page.  No parking hassles for our customers!

We’d love to have you drop by the Every Dot Connects Facebook business page, become a Fan of our work, and even upload Fan photos and videos or write on our Wall.  All of us are standing by to answer your social media/Web 2.0 questions in the Discussion Board, and we’d like to hear your feedback about our services under Reviews.

What better way for a social media consortium to hang out an updated services shingle than by using a Web 2.0 site?

Now, what about another storefront in Second Life….

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Category: Public Relations, Social Media, Social Networking, Marketing

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New events from Every Dot Connects:
Jan. 29 Up to Speed with Sheila
Feb. 17 Consulting with Connie
Feb. 19 High Tech, High Touch with Jennifer