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Twitter’s exponential, exhilarating growth, seems to have come to an end.  To social-media-marketing-analytics junkies, the “unstoppable” Twitter has lost its luster.  Perhaps to some it never really gained a real luster and instead only gained a lot of hype  – just a bunch of Every Day Joes hopping on to connect with (or more accurately voyeristically follow) their closest celebrity pals.

What these numbers, charts, and pontifications illustrate to me is that many users are missing the point.  The utility and incredible power of Twitter is the way in which you can connect with others.  A connection that knows few obstacles.  In both the social media and eco-conscious realms I have not only meet amazing thinkers but also built meaningful connections with people from all over the map.

The ability to quickly and succinctly find information in real time is an incredibly powerful tool.  Before I start overly singing the praises of Twitter, I believe its current form is only a stepping stone.  This particular format won’t stick around forever.  Instead it will evolve and with that evolution bring more into its fold.

For now, I will continue to meet incredible people, learn new things, and be apart of a fascinating community.  The flatline of new users may be fodder for the ‘I told you so’ers out there and strike fear into the hearts of social media marketers.  To me it’s just fine, there’s still lots of conversation to be had.

What do you think?  Is Twitter on its way out?  Is this just a blip on the radar?  Should be be looking at a totally different metric to gauge its effectiveness?


I suppose one of the good things about a blog is that it doesn’t literally collect dust.  That might be also one of its down falls.  For the cyber in-tune and RSS fueled the dust here might be more obvious than dust bunnies collecting under furniture.  For a long time I put off starting a blog, paralyzed with the fear that I would fall victim to of the day when it would go dormant.  Nothing is worse than a neglected blog… and then the unimaginable happened.  My very own musings fell silent.

I write this post as a public declaration of accountability to get the dust off and start musing once again.  As the new year approaches, I am excited to see sustainability becoming more common to our general vernacular and the continued evolution of social media.   I’m also excited to see how this blog grows and evolves, hopefully with your input.

Here’s to a year filled with new thoughts, new relationships formed through social media, old relationships growing stronger, and understanding our ever-changing world together.

Blessing to you and your family for a Merry Christmas and a bright New Year!

Like a light bulb above my head, marketing on twitter clicked.  Beyond the relationship building (which is uber important), a real and measurable and pretty cheap form of advertising is brewing.  Getting users to do the advertising for you.

Over the last month Squarespace and Moonfruit have been running promotions to win Apple gear.  It’s pretty interesting what twitter users will do to win something valuable.  At the risk of alienating and losing followers people are filling up their twitter stream with pleas for winning these prizes.  All the while keeping these companies at the tip of everyone’s digital tongue.

I really hope they will do some analytics and share it will the twitterverse.  Though the growth in their client list may not be explosive, their names are becoming a part of the digital vernacular like an iPod.  It’s advertising at it’s best – word of mouth.  Guaranteed, in someway, is a glimpse at the future of major advertising.

The news of (Twitter’s) death has be greatly exaggerated. – Mark Twain (with creative licence)

The early adopters and social media gurus have spoken.  Twitter isn’t dying, it’s dead and it’s time to move on to find the next social media juggernaut.   Now that mainstream media is reporting about it and the entire digital universe isn’t using it, its power is gone.

I agree Twitter isn’t the one and only (SPOILER ALERT: I love twitter and think its usefulness has barely been realized) for effective social media marketing.  For an effective digital presence a brand needs to be active and relevant on several platforms.  Let’s face it, as a user there is no way you could be active on EVERY platform and still, well, sleep.  You concentrate your energy on a few platforms. 

A portion of a brand’s fan-base will be hanging out and finding community in different pockets of the digital sphere.  Just like a brand wouldn’t put all of its advertising dollars in banner ads, it shouldn’t be focused on just one platform.  To have the greatest impact a brand has to reside on many platforms to make the most impact.

A clear, concise message is key.  It will carry from one platform to another easily. 

The notion of twitter being dead as the only social media marketing tool that anyone cares about is true.  It is merely one of many tools that will evolve and help create they way we communicate with each other and brands.

It’s getting pretty noisy out there in the twitterverse.  The twitter platform seems to have hit its stride for marketers – give something away and make your would-be winners tweet about it.  Every body is doing it.

I like to keep the number of people I follow small – those that I view as thought leaders in the social media or sustainability realms.  I don’t want to miss anything.  Now there seems to be a analog-TV-signal-white-fuzz over my twhirl app.  So many people are trying to win something and that, frankly, doesn’t benefit me.

Have I entered a few contest by tweeting a certain hashtag?  Yes.  But now I’m realizing that I’m tarnishing my personal brand, quickly.  I want those who take the time to pay attention to my tweets to get something meaningful.  Not be inundated with a lot of noise. 

Is that free iPhone loosing  followers?  Maybe.  But that’s for you to decide.  For me consistency of image is the key.  I’ve already forged connections through my personal brand that never would have happened if I allowed @mjnesta to be a stream of consciousness.  Those connections will have far greater returns than a shiny new iPhone. 

A little self control has already gone a long way.  I can’t loose focus now…

I just read a really insightful post on the implications of social media in the PR world and it got me thinking about the larger migration of the way we communicate with each other and “the man” (brands, corporations, and even the government).  In case you missed it, even the White House is tweeting and posting videos!

“OK, great,” you say.  “I’m on twitter, can’t get enough of Hulu and have my visage all over Flickr.  I get it.”  You understand the functionality of the tools and the platforms.  That’s only a small part of the equation.  The proof is in how you use it, how you craft and communicate your message.  The substance of the evolution to social media is the nessecity for authenticity. 


Perhaps there was a time where you could hide behind a well crafted image.  You had time for meetings and pontification for the perfect response to whatever came up.  The evolution of communication has narrowed that window.  You have no choice to be authentic and available, almost immediately.  From the nightmare of a stupid employee to the ability to raise money and awareness for charity, the most successful users are relevant and quick to show up at the dance.

The evolution is 1 part platform and 10 parts message.  To grow and thrive in this new frontier, which will soon be the only frontier, you have to be there.  Really there.  For authentic conversation.

I feel like I have just sold out.  I used my personal brand to try and win an iPhone.  In a moment of weakness and the glimmer of the hipness I would garner with an iPhone in my hand I buckled. 

I would love to know how many followers this agency gained through this promotion.  I have to believe it ripped like a digital tsunami through twitter and several other platforms.  Want more followers?  Give away an iPhone.  You’ll have a guaranteed captive audience, for at least as long as your promotion runs.

So what about us?  Everyday Joe and Sue who just want more exposure, more of an audience to present our awesome message?  And by the way, who don’t have a giveaway budget (and no, giving away that couch of yours that’s followed you around since junior year of college doesn’t count as an attractive offer).  You do have some options.


Don’t just shout.  Just pushing out information you think is interesting and relevant is shouting.  Engage.  Start and actual dialog with the people who follow you.   A personal interaction will allow for you to know whose following you, why, what they want to hear, and who of their friends might want to hear want you have to say too.

Use the tools

Use hashtags, industry jargon, and retweet what you find interesting.  There are people out there that are looking for you, give them a reason to find you.  I’ve seen so many tweets that would spread a personal brand like wildfire if only a few extra tools were employed.

Use your own metrics

Think metrics are only for the big brands?  Think again.  Use a url shortener that allows you to track the number of clicks.  Take an inventory of how many followers you have over time.  Take note of when you gain more followers at a particular time and what kind of followers you are attracting.  Are they like minded to the message you are communicating or is it just a bunch of spammers.

Treating your personal brand like a big brand will keep you focused and garner you the followers that you long for.

I fancy myself a bit of  purist.  When it comes to food, I don’t like a lot of condiments.  I will stick to one beverage during the course of an evening.  When I find a website on a particular topic that I like I stay there.

What’s interesting is I don’t have a taste du jour in social media.  I’m everywhere*.  LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter… but in each arena there’s a different aspect of me.  I believe each area presents a different aspect of who I am. 

It begs the question – if you want to be fully engaged in the digital community are you compelled to maintain a full digital persona and be involved in each of these arenas (and perhaps many others)? 

Here’s one better – as a marketer, should you be focused on one platform?  I argue no.  Your message should be simple and consistent and have the ability to be clearly and effectively communicated no matter the social platform.  That will produce effective marketing that immediately has the ability to become viral.  Let your top brand fans do the leg work for you and spread a powerful message about you.

*OK, for true social media junkies, this list is hardly everywhere.  But stick with me.

You did it!  You created a Twitter account.  You can’t wait to get start and get the crazy results that everyone is else is getting.  People are going to find your company and love it… eventually.

If you tweet it they will come

Hold back on shouting your catchy twitter username from the digital rooftop until you have tweeted a little bit.  Get your sea legs.  If you don’t know the message you want to communicate you are going to get few followers.  A potential follower wants to get a sense of what they can expect from you.  Seeing your past tweets can do that.

A bunch of followers doesn’t mean much

OK, it means a lot once your are established.  Chances are when you first start off you will get few of the followers you really want – the ones that are relevant to the message you are trying to communicate.   Getting 25 followers that are trying to sell you something doesn’t mean that much.  25 followers who want to hear what you have to say will take time.  Your first focus should be content.  It will be worth the wait when your followers are retweeting what you have to say and your message trickles through the twittersphere.

Shout now!

You’ve been a twitter for a little while now.  You’ve followed some people and seen their style.  You have some content which helped you establish your style and will help your followers know who you are quickly.  NOW go to your email book, LinkedIn network, Facebook friends, and let them know you have arrived.

 Social media is a cultural revolution, not a social revolution. – Toby Daniels  

Social media is changing everything related to how we communicate.  Perhaps as revolutionary as the telephone or email, the way in which we interact with each other and brands is rapidly changing.   

According to one industry expert, Steve Rubel, we are in the midst of a “deforestation” of traditional media.  Newspapers are collapsing and those that are able to stay afloat are forced to run advertising on the front page.  Consumers believe that marketers owe them something and that they control the relationship – don’t worry, we’ll find you.  

A traditional marketer clamors for the hard, metrics-showing value of social media marketing.  Turns out the value is in what you can’t measure.  The value is being a part of a trusted relationship. Being there to right an out-of-left-field, inflammatory message that spreads across the world in a matter of days.

Intrusive doesn’t work. – Chris Cunningham, Appssavvy  

You are at a cocktail party, chatting with an old friend.  All of the sudden another friend comes up to you, dressed as a cow and pokes you in the arm.  If that’s not enough, they ask you to return the favor and poke them back.  What would your reaction be?  Probably some combination of complete embarrassment and promptly telling them to go away.   

I just described the digital cocktail party some of us like to call Facebook.  The evolving social media network user isn’t interested in the goofy distractions.  They are interested in calling the shots in how they use the platform.  They look for their friends, chat, and then look for more to do in applications. 

This is where the new frontier is developing for a marketer.  Getting involved in applications where they can determine, reward, and understand a consumer’s behavior.  As a brand it’s becoming your role to come alongside the consumer and offer him something.  Establishing this relationship establishes not only brand loyalty but a voice in the digital world that is ready to come to your defense when an incorrect message spreads.  

Consumerism and gouging on media is dying. – Steve Rubel, Edelman Digital  

Digital bankruptcy (i.e. emptying your inbox of all the unread message, relying on the notion “if it’s important, someone will find me”), scanning 20 percent of a Web page and spending usually no more than 56 seconds on the page is evidence that we are media-tired.  The average American visits only 111 domains per month and goes to 2,554 Web sites.    (Wish I could claim these as ideas as soley mine… thanks to Steve Rubel’s insights and numbers.)

As a marketer, doing that quick math probably leaves you uneasy.  How do I make a meaningful impact with my message when the consumer isn’t making in a meaningful effort to consume information?  The answer is simple: conversation.  Be there.  And you better be authentic.  

So now what?   

452 – number of times you have seen “So now what?” in a post about social media.  I kid about that, but most of the posts I have read about social media boil down to this: we don’t know what it means yet but we do know you should do it.  So do it.  Helpful right?  Not exactly.   

Here’s what I contend:

  1. Be committed: If your brand is in an app, or a blog, or tweeting customer service, you are now committed to join this social media wild ride.  Your digital foot print will be out there for a long time to come and should be grown intentionally.
  2. Measure: This is the biggest sticking point I come across.  The suits want metrics.  And they should get them, just not necessarily the way they expect.  You have the freedom to define the metrics.  Choose a vectors: reach, engagement, reputation, and direct response.  Or come up with the ones that make the most sense.  If you are trying to get the most followers on twitter, are you doing it?
  3. Let your users do the heavy lifting: Empower and equip your brand all-stars to spread the word about how great you are.  Their word-of-mouth brand push is more valuable than any banner ad.  And they will be there to defend you the minute something inflammatory is posted on YouTube.

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