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Is pay to play the new way? We might be headed in that direction. 2013 will be the year of locked feeds, pay as you go distributed content, and more “subcompact” publishing than you can shake a stick at. Pretty exciting times. I for one am watching Pheed. It seems like it could be the most “bite sized” of the entrants.


It's not what you SAY. It's what you DO that counts


It's not what you SAY. It's what you DO that counts

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Otherwise titled:

If you’re going to a Cage Match, bring a Wrestler.

Otherwise titled:

King Kong Bundy + Social Media Week = #smwSMACKDOWN.

You may have heard a thing or to about The Social Media Week Cage Match I was involved in yesterday. In it, two teams of Social Strategy Experts (whatever that means) were asked to square off and compete on a panel by bringing strategic recommendations to 4 real-world brand-related Social PR problems in need of a good strategy and timeline for remediation..  (I’ll post a link to the case studies later today, sorry!).

Easy enough. But was baffling me was the amount of Buzz Word Bingo and Rhetoric flying around rather than practical, substantive, innovative thinking. If you follow my stream, you probably know by now I have little patience for this kind of—ahem—addouchery. It gets in the way of solving real problems, and frankly makes you sound pretty silly. So I asked my friend King Kong Bundy to come along to said Social Media Cage Match and put the #smwSMACKDOWN on anyone who got out of line. 

Dear brands, nerds, social strategy experts, agency types and people of the diginet:

Your next magical social strategy has little to do with what you execute IN social media, but rather what you do OUTSIDE of it (online or otherwise)!

The web is a mirror. A mirror that celebrates what you DO. Not what you SAY.

It imitates what people are doing and saying because it’s made up of, well, PEOPLE. Do something interesting and relevant to your target and social channels instantly becomes the place people congregate discuss, promote, applaud, and despise what you ve done.

“Twitter solutions”, “Facebook ideas” and “Influencer Strategies” Oh my! 

Blech. Social media is all too often viewed and talked about with only hyper-focus on the tools we use within it. Yes you need a “social media plan” full of “influencer programs” and “tactics that engage your target” but for the love of God, those words are no better than the Buzzword Junkie you sound like if they’re not part of an integrated approach. Execute a “Twitter Strategy” in a vacuum and you’re likely to be sitting there staring at over zealous fellow Tweeters (not your target)—or worse—an empty stream.

You want to get social? Then you better bring a gun to a gunfight…err…Wrestler to a Wrestling match. And it might not hurt if you put a tshirt on him with #smwSMACKDOWN either.

Do something relevant for your target worth talking about. That is all.


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why I unfollowed you on twitter (and how to unfollow everyone too)

Welp. Evenyone has their limits and I’ve reached mine.

My wonderfully nerdy partner in crime Iain visited NY recently and over many glasses of wine and pasta we had a debate about the reason Twitter exists. A debate about Twitter’s purity of communication. A debate about how, why and even when people should use Twitter.  Iain thinks Twitter is a conversation tool solely. One where you should listen AND be listened to. He’s right. And until today, I wasn’t really “listening”. 

Until this very moment, I was following more than 1500 “friends” as Twitter. It was a lot of work getting up there and for a moment I was proud. Not anymore. I was caught up in a Twitter Frenzy I’m not sure I still believe in. Twitter has become a spammy medium and I’m falling out of love..sorta.

No I’m not leaving Twitter. It’s an amazing tool. It helps me connect with my team, I learned a lot from many of the people I followed. Many of you I will follow back. It’s just going to take me some time. (Want to give me a boost?) Shoot me an email.

Top three reasons why I declared follower bankruptcy:

reason 1

I’m getting inundated with autoresponders. (Robots that send thank you direct messages when I followed you. My thoughts on them: 1. They are impersonal (mostly). 2. Many people fill them with spammy advertisements, using it as automated marketing tool to “buy their product now!” etc. As such, my direct messages timeline has become a total nightmare and not usable anymore. I had to do something and I decided to remove all my followers in order to thwart the robot attack.

reason 2

The Twitter API is slow enough already. With so many follows, the best (free) tools our there (including Tweetie, etc) do not work properly. I want to use these tools to keep learning (and pass that learning on you YOU.

reason 3

I’ve been insanely curious recently just how many actual “friends” I have on Twitter anyway. Meaning - just how many of you are only following me because I’m following you. And worse yet, might be using a tool like TweetLater to automatically unfollow me the second I unfollow you. I guess we’ll see. :)

So that’s it. These things IMHO were F-ing with my ability to enjoy and get value out of Twitter. Today marks my battle back to Twitter fun. :)

where to from here?

Welp, I wait for this handy dandy script that chuck wrote to finish unfollowing everyone, and then I start adding back people that will make my Twitter expereince what I need it to be - interesting, informative and engaging. Are you interesting, informative or engaging? Hit me up, yo.

Rock on.

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two (more) awesome uses of Twitter

I’ve been speaking a lot recently about the evolution of Twitter and all the amazing ways it is getting used across media, advertising, politics and family life. I’m going to try to create on an ongoing list building on this previous post. If you know of any I’m missing, please add ‘em in!

We all know Twitter as the place millions of people from around the world talk about what they are doing. But when you have that many people using a freeform communications tool they are going to bend it to their own voice: like mouthing off about this fatiguing 2008 Presidential Election process we’re in. This election has driven unprecedented content since it began (but that’s another post) and all of that chatter makes a great spectacle if you can get it all in one place. Enter

First, and most importantly, it is open. Meaning, you don’t have to be a twitter member or user to use For many people, it has become a way to check in on (and do their own “chatter” reasearch on who is favoring who (and why). If you are a twitter user, you can join the conversation by posting directly from and your update will go to everyone who follows you and into the election timeline.

My wife and I love to use it while we’re watching the debates…it has become our own Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) where we get to heckle and watch people heckle from the front of the room. Awesome.

2.Rick Sanchez

The stunt-blundering CNN correspondent cum anchor who did things like get himself tased, stand out in hurricanes, and simulate how to escape from a car underwater. Love him or hate him, Rick is once again shaking things up by trying to lead “the man’s” ongoing effort to pioneer in social media, Rick (and CNN) might be on to something with this one.

Rick Sanchez has been using Twitter on-the-air during his Saturday and Sunday evening shows on CNN and according to the above tweet, might be branching the show out futher. Similar to the way I use the example, Ricks hows the Twitter on the screen and talks back to and about the tweets as they pass his screen. Talk about interactive mash-ups. This model isn’t going away folks and more people will experiment with it. We know many anchors try to comb through emails while on air - this is an evolution of that concoept (and probably a more valuable one). Sanchez has accumulated quite a few followers already. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Is it working? It’s probably too early to tell, but check this out: Steve Garfield (One of the Internet’s first video bloggers) has a flickr account that is getting hammered because he posted a shot of Rick Sanchez pointing at his tweet on air.

See the photo below.

There is some controversy on this photo as Rick removed a URL from the tweet (cleansing) for his use.

At the time I posted this 25,456 people are following Rick on just less than 700 updates. Follow this one closely, folks. More discussion of CNN’s use of Twitter can be found here and here.



trip it!

Hey there. I discovered this neat little single-server today: Trip It!

what is it?

Trip It is an instant travel planner. Book your hotel. Book your back massage. Book your air fare (just not on Delta, apparently) and sent it to and Trip It will organized your itinerary and send it to you. Awesome. Would have been a Rich Idea if ANY of your favorite Airline or Hotel brands thought of it first. But they didn’t. So now one will have to acquire them. :P



fabrication, fashion, and futurecraft: the new "sweat"

Hokay soh, I’m not much of a fan of virtual worlds though I’ve dabbled here and there. You prolly already know this. But  recently discovered Stephanie Rothenberg’s latest project doublehappinessjeans, a Second Life sweatshop that produces designer denim by the underpaid labor of virtual avatars; producing the goods in both physical and digital form. Wait.  What?  Yeah.  Watch:

Unfuckingbeliveably mindblowing opportunities for discussion around Personal Fabrication (the ideas that one day manufacturing of complex products will be conducted digitally, through digital fabrication machines, while only bits (design information) would be transferred around the world.) Basically designs would still be centrally distributed while manufacturing will become clean and compact enough to happen anywhere. Doublehappinessjeans suggests that the sweatshop endures regardless of the sophistication of design or manufacturing.  Through the virtual world, low-cost labor continues to be exploited, whether to design or fabricate real or virtual goods, either through ‘gold farming‘ or simply because design itself creates interesting / easy / creative opportunities for the “workers” to produce monetizeable stuff. I need to stop thinking about this before I explode.  Incedentially, tweet my business partner @neonarcade for more on gold farming.  He’s well more versed in its ins and outs than I.  Rock on.

From the site:

Invisible Threads is a mixed reality performance installation created by Eyebeam artists Jeff Crouse and Stephanie Rothenberg. The project explores the growing intersection between labor, emerging virtual economies and real life commodities through the creation of a designer jeans sweatshop in the metaverse Second Life. Simulating a real life manufacturing facility that includes hiring Second Life “workers” to produce real world jeans sold for profit, the project provides an insider’s view into current modes of global, telematic production.



exploring social surplus and the digital native

A client asked me recently, “Why do people want to engage with my brand?” We had a long conversation about brands and how great ones now seem to play out like “games” rather than “movies.” We went on an on about the importance of journey mapping for the consumer - creating a brand “bread crumb trail” that just keeps on paying off The Promise and engaging people further. We talked about Value Exchange and the truths of only trying to engage people if you have some form of intrinsic value to offer them for having given you their precious attention. We covered all the bases.

But with a look of almost dejected innocence he said again, “I agree with you Tom, but why are they (people) even there in the first place.” “What do they want from us?” “Don’t they have something else to do with their time?”

good question.

I went on for a bit about psychographics of the digital native (you know, people) wanting to be connected to each other and the things they are passionate about - and sure - most of this is true. But what’s even more true is I’m not sure I REALLY had an answer better than: People just do…

Thinking back, it was a bullshit, terrible response. I could just see the scoff welling up inside him. After all, aren’t we just a bunch of dorks playing in our basements? Are we? Clearly WE know that’s not the case - but really - what is it that makes us buy from FreshDirect, comment on Yelp, download all our movies, use Facebook on our iPhone (full disclosure: I own an n95, not an iPhone) and rely on Google and Wikipedia for truth? Are we programmed this way? Are the countless hours of Super Mario Brothers, Pong or You Don’t Know Jack and Metriod engraved in our psyche? Are we just hopeless sheep looking for a journey? Maybe. The smart marketers at Apple, JetBlue, Starbucks seem to think so.

But there’s another answer. One that has to do with SURPLUS. You know, SURPLUS. Idle time. The time you USED to spend watching Falcon Crest, Dallas, Saved by the Bell or Small Wonder. The time you used to spend watching Gilligan Fuck up the same rescue attempt week over week on the same island with the same cast, over, and over, and over again. It’s not your fault. You didn’t have a choice. Now you do. Now entertainment feels more like building a hobby, learning, interacting, communicating, connecting and reconnecting, playing and yes, even watching. Just all by our own rules. Our playing knows no boundaries - brands included.

These days there’s even more SURPLUS. You see - more technology creates more opportunity and curiosity. I think this is why we fill our time with all of these engaging forms for entertainment. We are occupying the SURPLUS.

This new time - “my time” - what are you doing with it for yourself? Marketers, what are you doing to fill it for your consumer? Product developers, how about you?

If you’re like most brands, not much.