Are You Social Media Director Worthy?

Earlier today, I read a week-old post from Olivier Blanchard on what companies should look for in hiring a social media director (not quite sure how I missed it originally).  In a word, the post is simply fantastic.


The Brand Builder

If you’ve been handed your company’s social media reigns, charged with hiring this person for your company, or hoping someday soon to be that person that gets hired to spearhead social media for a given company, this post contains most everything you should know or at least start working on in the meantime.

I challenge you to read the entire post (it’s a little long but hang in there) and NOT imagine which of the three “types” you are.  It’s an exercise I think you’ll find quite valuable.  I know I did.   And be sure to peruse the comments too (93 at this writing).  There are some great conversations happening here.

While you’re at it, if you’re on Twitter, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re following Olivier.

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Twitter Client Seesmic Releases Updates

For several weeks now, I’ve been using the third-party Twitter client Seesmic Desktop to manage my Twitter engagement.  I actually migrated from TweetDeck, a platform I never thought I’d leave.  But just as I was wondering if I’d made the right decision, Seesmic released a few key updates yesterday that address specific areas I think were sorely lacking just a few days ago.  If you’re unfamiliar with Seesmic (or third-party apps in general), watch this video to get up to speed before reading on.

The most glaring shortcoming in the Seesmic Preview version I was previously running was the inability to push out tweets to multiple Twitter accounts at the same time.  Also missing was the option to send updates to your Twitter and Facebook accounts simultaneously.  I didn’t consider the latter a big deal in that there are so many other ways to successfully tie in Twitter updates to your Facebook status if you choose.

I do, however, have the need to sometimes push the same tweet to both my personal account and my company account.  One of the best options I’d found was SplitweetSplitweet works wonderfully and does a great job of allowing you to monitor your multiple Twitter accounts alongside your Brand’s mentions all on the same page.  The main drawback, at least for me, is it’s Twitter only.

Third-party clients like TweetDeck and Seesmic combine the ability to monitor not only multiple Twitter accounts but your Facebook stream as well.  Again, though, the major shortcoming was not being able to update multiple accounts at the same time.  That has now changed.

Yesterday,  Seesmic  e-mailed this update to TeamSeesmic Friends:

I’m happy to let you know that we are releasing a new version of Seesmic Desktop, Version 0.3 RC or 0.3 Release Candidate. This version is being released to our TeamSeesmic members for the next few days to review a couple of big features and get your feedback.

Some of my favorite features included in this new version (from the Seesmic e-mail):

Multi-Account Posting with Smart Account Enabling:

We’ve upgraded the user interface to select which accounts to send posts to, saving you the time and effort it takes to post to each account separately. We’ve also added an option for Smart Account Enabling. With this feature turned on, this will allow Seesmic Desktop to change accounts when messaging your friends based on whom you are replying or direct messaging to. Seesmic will not change the accounts if you do not enable Smart Account.

Continued UI modifications, enhancements and fixes:

We’ve made continued modifications to the Seesmic Desktop user interface saving time when using Seesmic Desktop and space when reading your stream.


Some of the enhancements include:

-Minimizing the message panel until you start entering messages to send
-Enabling replies in your Facebook friends’ avatar to quickly add comments
-Inline reminders of what account you are posting from
-An added “Cancel” button to erase your messages in the message panel
-Updated scrolling arrows for enhanced browsing
-Ensuring all replies appear in your integrated timeline
-And many other additional fixes

If I could add two things to the updates that I still miss (and love about TweetDeck), it would be the auto complete feature and the ability to search within a specific Twitter stream.

Type in a user’s Twitter handle, and TweetDeck will fill in the name for you if it’s someone you follow (much like some e-mail programs will do when typing someone’s name in the “To:” field).  TweetDeck also allows you to search by username or search term within a specific Twitter account or Group you’ve set up.  Very cool.  Hopefully Seesmic will be able to add these features someday.

Finally, this video from Seesmic includes a complete overview of yesterday’s updates:

Is Twitter a Waste of Time?

If you’ve recently visited Twitter.com to see what all the fuss was about, chances are you left a little underwhelmed.  Or maybe, amid all the peer pressure, you signed up for an account, gave it a shot and never experienced that “ah ha” moment every Twitter advocate in your circle said you would.  You may have even come to the conclusion that you’re just not narcissistic enough.

What Are You Doing

If any of these scenarios describes you, you’re certainly not alone.  For the reasons why, one need look no further than the question asked of all new Twitter users (“What are you doing?”)

The assumption by the uninitiated is that Twitter is indeed a narcissistic endeavor.  Check out this video for what I’m driving at. It’s been circulating the web for a while.  I first saw it a couple of months ago.  I suspect you’ll laugh watching it, but it’s not even close to resembling how the majority of us use, and find value in, Twitter.

Okay, I too laughed at the video. After all, I don’t mind being the butt of anyone’s joke.  But I will say it’s too bad people insist on making fun of something they obviously don’t understand.

But the blame lies with Twitter.  The question the founders (@ev and @biz on Twitter) ask of all new users, and the fact they’ve not bothered to update it to reflect how Twitter is used by most today, is short-sided at best.  They again participated in diminishing the experience, in my view, when they did this.  I won’t even go into the day-to-day Twitter patterns of the entire Twitter crew.

Don’t let that deter you though.  If you’ve given up on Twitter, or never gave it a shot in the first place, I encourage you to do so for the reasons I’m about to state:

I would argue I’ve learned more and discovered more since joining Twitter than anytime in my life before that, and that includes having earned a business degree from one of the top 20 business schools in the country and the 22 years I’ve spent in broadcasting (and I’ve been on Twitter less than 10 months).

I’ve conversed with CEOs and many others I never otherwise would’ve been able to reach.  I’ve picked the brains of authors, business people, social media gurus, successful non-profit consultants and others from all over the world who have greatly enhanced my life.  And my experience is anything but unique.

In fact, if I were forced to funnel my entire web experience through Twitter and nothing else, I wouldn’t blink.  I’ll go so far as to say my surfing would not be diminished in the slightest.  My Twitter home page (essentially my own customized news feed) is filled with interesting links, unique insights and often valuable life lessons, as are the home pages of so many others on Twitter.

Ignore Twitter if you wish, but realize you do so at your own peril.  When it comes to your next job interview, you may find yourself competing against a graduate of “Twitter University.”  My money will be on them.

Seesmic, TweetDeck or PeopleBrowsr: Which One’s Right for You?

My travel plans (visiting family in Indianapolis) have eaten into my blogging schedule as of late.  I’d hoped by now to offer a post comparing Seesmic, TweetDeck and PeopleBrowsr.

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The great thing though about the net is there’s bound to be someone else to pick up your slack.  Enter Michael Hyatt and John Haydon.

Michael recently published a post comparing all three.  I have to say that in my recent use of these tools I’ve come to the same conclusions.  I never thought I’d find a UI I’d like better than TweetDeck, but after using Seesmic these past few weeks, I’m having no desire to go back to TweetDeck.

Like Michael, I am simply overwhelmed by PeopleBrowsr.  I created an account several months ago and never jumped in all the way.  They’ve made some decent changes since then, but after playing with it some more, I find it’s just too much for me.  Seesmic, though, seems to be the best of both worlds.

If you’d like a simple, straight-forward compasion of all three, just visit Michael’s post, “How to Better Manage Your Twitter Followers.”  And, if you’re new to Seesmic and want to learn more (especially if you’re a visual learner like me), then check out John’s Viddler page.  He spent the weekend working on three new, simple to understand, Seesmic vids.  You can also view all three below if you prefer.

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I’m About to Kick Twitter In The Nads (I Want My Collateral Replies Back)

First off, I must acknowledge @thebrandbuilder who is responsible for the title of this post.  He (Olivier) made that very comment in a tweet he wrote earlier tonight.  For whatever reason, he was slow to understand exactly what the Twitter crew had managed to mess with regarding our Twitter experience, but once he got it he was pissed.

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And so was everyone else.  From @KrisColivin to @ConversationAge, all of Twitter is abuzz with what looks, on the surface, to be a monumentally DUMB decision on the part of Twitter.

Previously, under the “Notices” section of the Twitter.com interface, you could choose whether or not you wanted to see every @reply sent by someone you followed (regardless of whether or not you followed the recipient) or just @replies sent to others you also followed.

Apparently, in his May 12th Twitter blog post ol’ Biz believes a lot of us were confused by these options.  He even goes so far as to say, “receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable.”

Says who?  I say it’s one of the best ways of discovering new and interesting people to follow on Twitter, Biz?  How often do you actually use your own service?  And what about #followfriday when so many of us share with our followers new twitterers they might consider?  If my #followfriday tweets begin with @someonemyfollowersdontknow, they’ll NEVER SEE THE FREAKIN’ TWEET!

@ConversationAge said it best:

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And then she followed it with this gem:

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Since I started this post, ol’ Biz has added an addendum to his blog post:

Discovery Still Possible

Spotting new folks in tweets is an interesting way to check out new profiles and find new people to follow. Despite this update, you’ll still see mentions or references linking to people you don’t follow. For example, you’ll continue to see, “Ev meeting with @biz about work stuff” even if you don’t follow @biz. We’ll be introducing better ways to discover and follow interesting accounts as we release more features in this space.

While this example may be true, and is an obvious attempt to quell the uproar, it still doesn’t solve the problem of not being able to see the tweet by someone I follow that BEGINS with @soandso when I don’t follow @soandso.  Maybe I find these “one-sided fragments” interesting enough to click the “in reply to” link within the tweet.  I discover more tweets from @soandso and decide to follow.  That opportunity for discovery has been taken away.

My hope is the uproar is loud enough that Biz comes to his senses and puts the option back in.

Amazing Grace: How Tweet the Sound?

It was with much interest Sunday that I read an article from Time Magazine regarding the rise in the use of Twitter during church services.  In many instances, it’s even being pioneered by the pastors themselves.

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I immediately sent a link of the Time article to my pastor (@petetackett) via Facebook to get his thoughts:

I think Twitter and Facebook plus other social networking tools will be useful to the church.  I think you have to balance both the newness of it with the traditionalists in the church as well as the need for contemplative silence with the temptation to always be twittering.  For us, the next step is figuring out how to make this possible without being distracting.

For years now, students have used their phones and pdas to communicate during church.  Why not let them use them to communicate with the church instead of telling them to put them away?  Hmm.

Pete

I think he’s dead-on.  In essence, it’s coming whether the “church” likes it or not.  The key will be to get in front of it and excercise some control over how it’s rolled out rather than waiting until it’s too late.  Pastor Jon Swanson is a great example of this in action.

For churches that aren’t doing it already, I see many adding new positions in the coming months and years centered around nurturing relationships and growing their congregations via social media-related ministry.  Present staff not trained and not already immersed in all aspects of social media will be ill-equipped to handle it otherwise.

Help Me Help You

I’m wondering if you can help me with a decision I’ve been struggling with for several months now.  I should start off by saying if you’re not a Twitter user, you’ll probably be indifferent to my dilemma.

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Late last year, 88.7 WAY-FM in Nashville, the station for which I serve as operations director, began utilizing Twitter as an additional way to deliver traffic and weather information to listeners (@wayfm_nashville).  Through Twitter’s ability to deliver tweets via SMS, listeners can receive this information right on their cell phones.

While I’ve not yet collected measurable feedback from listeners on the usefulness of this feature (though I did ask for feedback on Twitter while writing this post), a number of people within broadcasting and other closely-related industries have called it “brilliant” and “really well done.”  Maybe they say that because we seem to be ahead of most other stations in this regard.  Though sometimes I wonder if stations that aren’t utilizing Twitter just feel it’s a passing fad.  Will they be proven right?  Too early to tell.

At any rate, my struggle lies in effectively connecting with listeners via @wayfm_nashville who aren’t interested for whatever reason in receiving traffic and weather this way, if at all.  I’m worried that some who follow us will be put off by these 3 to 5 tweets sent every weekday morning.

My first thought is to separate traffic and weather tweets from normal, every day WAY-FM tweets with the creation of a new, traffic and weather-only Twitter username.  This would free up the other username for general information, conversation and contesting.

With this in mind, I grabbed @WAYtoWorkUpdate, which is how we refer to the updates on the air during the morning show.  Next would come the somewhat difficult task of communicating the change on the air, not to mention the added burden of keeping up with an additional username (not only for us, but potentially for those following us).

So, where to go from here?  I would love to get your thoughts and opinions on this in the comments.  Thank you in advance for your time.  By the way, if you’re not in the Nashville market, you can sample WAY-FM online at wayfm.com.  I’d be curious to get your general thoughts on the station as well.

Photo credit, Lee Nachtigal