How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
In many ways, online community and social media are a natural evolution of what I’ve been advocating for years — using online tools to communicate when face-to-face conversation just isn’t practical or efficient (I was in BBS chat rooms in the mid-90s and using IM to connect to prospective students for our study abroad program in my first professional job a few years after that). But my true “light bulb moment” with what we now call social media really occurred in the spring of 2005, when I discovered podcasting. Geek News Central with Todd Cochrane and For Immediate Release with Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson were two of my early favorites (I still listen to FIR every Monday and Thursday). The shows offered rich, niche content that was relevant to me, that I could listen to on a portable device whenever I pleased (hello, mp3 player!), and that came right into my podcatcher when a new episode was published (hello, RSS!). Plus, the hosts of both shows were so welcoming and quickly built up a community of like-minded listeners. That’s the essence of social media, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Not that they necessarily need the money, but I’d invest the $10 million in the Boston Red Sox, the baseball team to which I’ve pledged my lifetime allegiance. The club and Major League Baseball are already doing some good “social” projects online — fan communities, connecting on Twitter, etc. — but I have a few more ideas kicking around in my brain that I’d be happy to tell them about.
John Wood. His book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, is an inspiration. Since 2000, John’s Room to Read organization has built more than 7,000 libraries for children in developing countries around the globe. He’s this century’s Andrew Carnegie!
Not a chance; I can’t think of anything less compelling than a community based entirely around a commodity consumer product. But … what if a toothpaste maker hosted or sponsored an community around raising healthy kids? Now that might be interesting.
For marketers: When a company — either yours or one you’re reaching out to — is slow to adopt social media, don’t become overly criticial. Have patience with that reluctant executive. Consider it a golden opportunity to continue to share best practices and success stories from other organizations. Change will come.