Is there a more colorful person in the socialsphere than Connie Reece? I got to find out in person for the first time a few weeks ago at my first Social Media Club, Austin meeting where Connie and I were able to connect in person after following each other on Twitter for a while.
In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I teach companies how to communicate conversationally and how to use social technologies to leverage those conversational skills into relationship building with constituents–both internally and externally. I’m a naturally gifted teacher and lifelong learner who is passionate about using my knowledge to connect people, ideas and causes. (Okay, that was two sentences. Go ahead and count off, but I didn’t want to risk writing a run-on sentence and having the grammar police come after me.)
How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
I’m a “seasoned citizen,” not one of the so-called digital natives who grew up in the personal computer era. So before there was such a thing as the World Wide Web, I was using online tools for research as well as connecting with others. My old 300-baud dial-up modem should be in a museum somewhere, along with my Kaypro II suitcase computer (26 pounds) that I lugged self-importantly to clients’ offices to demonstrate my prowess with technology.
My experience as a professional writer and communicator, along with a background in direct marketing and direct mail fund-raising with a bit of PR thrown in, made it easy for me to transition into the world of social media and community building. My skill set is all about connections through communication. Emerging technologies have simply enabled those connections to be made much faster and to a greater scale.
If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
Twitter, or another microblogging/presence app I thought had the potential to knock Twitter out of its number one position. I was an early adopter (January 2007) and have watched as users tried out each new service that came along–Pownce, Jaiku, Plurk–and then came right back to Twitter because of its simplicity and because that’s where they have built their network.
Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
I won’t single one out, but I have a great respect for entrepreneurs. They work hard, take great risks to turn dreams into reality, and they create jobs that fuel the economy. Most of them are overtaxed and underappreciated.
Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
Yes, if it were a specialty toothpaste. I have Sjogren’s Syndrome, which causes extreme dryness. So I have done a lot of online research and even participated in forums where people discuss various products that help relieve dry eyes and dry mouth. I’ve used about every artificial tear product on the market, and even special toothpastes and chewing gums. So if a toothpaste company built a community that created value for me in terms of information, product sourcing, and cost savings, I’d join.
Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
If you guzzle the social media Kool-Aid rather than taking small sips, you’ll contract a bad case of Shiny Object Syndrome and become totally ineffective. Remember that it’s not about the technology, it’s about people. Develop your people skills first, then master the social media tools.