Archive for June, 2009

People on the Move in the Social Media Industry: June 15, 2009



Despite there being many layoffs in the startup space. I’ve started this post series (see archives) to recognize and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:

  • John Yamasaki @jyamasaki on Twitter joned the Seesmic team as a Community Evangelist. Congratz Yama!
  • Stepahnie Agresta joins Porter Novelli as the EVP and Global Director of Digital Strategy and Social Media. Big congrats, and glad she made her blog post about the topic ‘human‘. I’ve known her for a few years now, and am happy to congratulate such a warm, intelligent, and fantastic professional to such a key role. Wishing her the best.
  • This one is a shocker, Steve Bendt who lead some of the innovative social media efforts at retailer Best Buy has decided to join Microsoft, (Catholic guilt and all) his new title will be Social Media Marketing Manager on the Windows team. He’ll be starting in Redmond in early July and I’m sure they’re glad to have such an innovative professional.
  • The Super Rewards team is happy to announce that Julie Craft, has recently joined the team as the Vice President of Marketing and Publisher Relations.
  • I can’t say enough good things about Adam Singer, who is a talented electronica muscian (I’m a fan of his) has decided to TopRank as an Account Manager to serve clients. Congrats on Top Rank who hired a very creative professional that will take them to the next level. Adam be sure to keep up the music!
  • Ripple 6 makes two key hires with Paul DePinto assumes the position of Vice President of Sales East.and Mike Tracy was promoted to Vice President of Sales West.
  • Anthony Cerreta is the Lead Interactive Producer for matrixx. Their recent projects include campaigns for Johnsonville, Schlotzsky’s, and Dippin’ Dots Facebook Fan Page, find him on Twitter, and his blog.
  • InfoGroup hired Bryan Jennewein is now Director of Social Media, find him on LinkedIn too.
  • Jonathan Georger joined the PR Agency, Backbone Media, as Online Brand Manager. congrats
  • Gavin Baker has been appointed to Social Media Manager at Ruby Tuesday, Inc, he’s also on Twitter and says his role splits straight down the characteristics between strategist and community manager. (Sorry Gavin, I forgot to include in first update)
  • Did you submit but it’s not showing here? That’s because I need a URL to link to as final confirmation.

  • How to connect with others (or get a job):
    Several people have been hired because of this blog post series, here’s how:

    Submit an announcement
    If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, leave a comment below, or if you’re feeling shy (it’s cool to self-nominate) send me an email. Please include a link to your announcement, and ensure you’re really living and breathing in the social media world –this is not a small aspect of your role.

    Seeking Social Media Professionals?
    If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources

    List of Enterprise Social Media Professionals
    This list, which started with just 8 names continues to grow as folks submit to it. List of Social Computing Strategists and Community Managers for Enterprise Corporations 2008 –Social Media Professionals.

  • See Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic (Post a job there and be seen by these blog readers, these affiliate fees pay for my hosting)
  • Learn from those that were recently hired, read these survey results
  • Read Write Web also has job announcements in Jobwire, although at a broader scope than my announcements
  • Connect with others in the community manager group in Facebook
  • Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
  • Chris Heuer’s Social Media Jobs
  • SimplyHired aggregates job listings, as does Indeed
  • ForumOne Jobs for Social Media and Community
  • Teresa has a few jobs, some around community
  • New Media hire has an extensive job database
  • Social Media Headhunter
  • Social media jobs
  • Jobs in social media
  • Altimeter Group’s list of social media consultants and agencies
  • Hiring? Leave a comment
    If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, or I’ll delete it)

    I’m seeking folks that are related to full time hands on social media strategy and community managers, to be on this list, so let me know if you see these folks, and please submit them –try to include links to announcements on blogs or on the wire. Also, I probably will not include executive management changes on this list at social media companies, as the list would go on and on, but you can feel free to express yourself in the comments!

    Looking Behind the Curtains on the Social Media Stage: Humans Don’t Scale


    I’ve been watching this space for a few years now, and I’ve started to notice that the people (often those that we think of that are at the upper echelons) are not able to scale, as a result here’s what they’re doing to compensate:

    Many social media bloggers don’t even manage their own accounts, they often hire virtual assistants to do their Facebook and Twitter follows and replies.

    Quite of few of those top social media bloggers don’t even answer their own emails, they have a virtual assistant that reviews them, sorts them, and sometimes responds on their behalf.

    Many of the top social media news blogs are on a race to see who can publish the fastest, why? whoever gets the earliest time stamp often gets the credit and links from other blogs, and will risest fastest on the techmeme tower or google news gauge. As a result, many of these blogs will publish the headline, then adjust, edit, format, punctuate, and add links to the post in real time.

    A few authors that have published one of the thousands of social media books outsource their content to ghost writers who create the majority of the content. Although it’s the headlining author’s name that drives book sales, in many cases they don’t actually write the content.

    Many of the top celebrities or top social media names don’t even write their own blog posts and tweets, they may outsource it to others.

    So what does this mean? It means the social media space is starting to look like just about every other industry that starts to get mainstream. Social media is often the premise built on 1:1 relationships, and even with technology, that clearly doesn’t scale, and I can relate.

    What about me? I’m asked every few days “How do you do it all” my answer is “I don’t, the wheels are falling off” Well you’ve probably noticed I’ve not been blogging much, nor tweeting lately, I’ve been under heavy travel and projects (that I’m behind on). Every blog post and tweet that you see is me, including all the errors and typos that come along with them. I will admit that sometimes, I even updated blog posts after they publish, to polish it up. I skim all my emails, read many, but if I answer, I promise you that’s always me. I may not be good at scaling my social efforts, but I assure you, I’m authentic, warts and all.

    I can relate to those who don’t scale well. If you’ve ever met me at an event this last year, you may have noticed dark circles under my eyes, and somewhat of a flustered appearance. I recently had a long talk with a good friend yesterday, when I’m tired from traveling nearly every week, you may notice that I actually draw my strength from within or being online, not always from others. So if I’ve ever came across as a bit messy and sapped, I certainly don’t intend to, I’m just stretched to the limit at times. 

    So what happened to transparency and authenticity?  Maybe it’s the econony, with less resources, and more pressure, we’re all being stretched to the limits.  Or maybe, this is the evoluation of every industry, music, art, and film started out simple and pure, then became institutionalized. Or maybe, I just never bothered to look  close enough.

    Update: Chris Saad, who inspired me to write this, has responsed from his own blog. Paid content highlights the challenges. This post has generated a lot of discussion from my friends as I meet them in person, interesting.

    Book Review: Ignore Everybody


    Ignore Everybody I get a lot of books across my desk. Very few I get the chance to read, and very few I think are wonderful.  

    I was smiling ear to ear on a recent plane trip when reading a book written by cartoonish Hugh MacLeod, someone I’ve met several times and enjoyed reading his sometimes odd –yet insightful blog for many years.  

    You see, his book Ignore Everybody, really isn’t a book.  

    Instead, you should think of it as as that friend in high school who never followed the rules, but achieved his goals took you out for a beer 20 years later and shakes your shoulders and wakes you up.

    Hugh’s book is about creativity and inspiration, how you should draw this energy from within –not from group think, or cubicles, or existing standards.    Like those having a beer –or two– with an inspirational old friend, his book is easy to read on a short flight, and contains his irreverant cartoons.

    If you’re reading my blog, you’re likely pushing the limits of creativity of the digital space within your career (just as I like to do too) and this should be a book to grab and keep close to the heart.  I give Ignore Everybody 4.5 stars out of 5 stars, which matches it’s soaring amazon ranke of #38 in just three days.

    Or, in the spirit of the book, “F-that”, don’t listen to me, go buy it and tell me what you think, and write your own review.

    Hotels: Don’t Charge Us For Internet Use


    I stayed at the Hilton hotel in San Diego this weekend, and overall a great experience. However there was a 10 dollar charge for internet for 24 hours usage at the property, and since I wasn’t on business, I wouldn’t be able to expense it.     

    Charging guests for internet access is like charging for water or the lights, and hotels that charge are missing a few business opportunities.   Like what? Here’s a few suggestions, and then I’ll open it up to commenters to share their ideas:

    1. Providing free WiFi (like coffee shops have figured out) means I’m more likely to stay on property and spend more time and money on your hotel. It means I’m more likely to have business meetings in your restaurant or lounge and invite others to come and do business.  We have expense reports and are likely to buy food and drink.  We’ll access our web enabled devices at the pool, in the lounge, keeping our kids busy, and keeping us connected.
    2. Savvy hotels will create or foster location based social networks, that will encourage guests to rate and rank which restaurants, attractions, and self-support each other.  As we rate and rank nearby attractions in the context of being a guest at your hotel, that centralizes our experiences with your brand –we’ll tell our network about the great we had our experience in and around as guests at your property.
    3. Develop a virtual concierge that will be a helpful guide to your guests, consider using twitter like the four seasons does, they even do this for their Palo Alto hotel, near my house.  You can provide us a better experience if we’re connected to each other –and to you.
    4. Maybe we’ll spend more times learning from your leadership teams, like Bill Marriot’s blog.  Hotels put a lot of marketing and service products in our hotel rooms like menus, spa treatments and concierge treatments, allow us to see these things online, not just in paper, giving us more opportunity to buy more.  

    I’m not picking on Hilton alone,  as I’m told it varies on property per property basis, and there are many other hotels that charge for internet, but as a general rule of thumb, provide a better experience to guests so you can connect with other –and you.   When I travel on personal trips, I’m going to consider free internet access as a major factor to my decision on where to stay.

    Update: Here’s a handy guide of which hotels charge who have internet access and how much they charge.  About 22 of the 44 hotel chains charge for internet, and some don’t even offer it (motel 6).  Many of you expressed agreement with my post (and a ton more in Twitter) so I hope this helps in your decision making.

    Seeking Case Studies of How Brands Reach Gen X Using Social Media


    I’m wrapping up my report on “How companies should organize for social media” in a few weeks, and collaborating on a report with Zach Hofer-Shall (a digital device aficionado) on a “Comprehensive community checklist” and am going to start work on a research report exploring the social behaviors of Generation X, and how brands are reaching them using social media. (see my body of research)

    I’m probably the youngest of the Gen X generation (people define the age groups differently, but the behavioral traits and beliefs are perhaps the most telling) and we’ve a unique way of growing up with Transformers, GIJoe, My Little Pony, Reading Rainbow, Regan’s Just Say No, and of course Michael Jackson (when he was black). We also grew up with technology: Nintendo games and “↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A”, boomboxes, Sony Walkmen and of course MTV and VH1 –or, at least that’s all that comes to my mind during my growing up experience.

    Fast forward to 2009, we’re establishing ourselves in the workplace, becoming the successful professionals as we enter the early or mid-career phase of our lives. Yet with maturity comes the big “R” of responsibility: family, kids, the access to disposable income. As this generation, my generation, moves into the prime light, brands are also recognizing the importance to reach us, so I’m seeking your help to submit information.

    Seeking Case Studies of How Brands Reach Gen X Using Social Media
    I’m seeking examples from brands or agencies that have case studies of how brands have reached Generation X (my Generation) by using social media. This doesn’t have to be a formal PDF, but it’s most helpful if you include URLs or screenshots, a problem definition, a goal, and then measurable quantitative results. I’m seeking these within the next two weeks so by June 15th will be the last day to email me at jowyang at

    For Discussion: How Would Gen X Behave If We Grew Up With Social Media
    Oh, and to kick off a conversation, how would Gen Xers behave if we had the internet when we grew up, rather than in just the last decade and half? From turntables, cable tv, to compact discs, we mainly grew up as consumers of technology and media –not creators. We grew up with technology as consumer products, yet in many cases, these devices were not connected, not networked, and not tied together through the internet or wireless technology (we were often ‘nodes’ not networked). Do you think Gen Xers would use it differently than Gen Y? Would we be as willing to share all parts of our personal and social lives as some of our younger counterparts? You can learn more about how different generations around the globe access social technologies using our social technographics profile tool, love to hear your thoughts.

    Breakdown: Digg Allows Community To Choose Advertisements


    Left: This screenshot, provided by Digg shows how an EA Sims ad is embedded in main body editorial as sponsored, as well as in upper right bug.

    Digg Launches Community Voted Advertising: “Digg Ads”
    Digg, who was formerly partnered with Microsoft for advertising, announced that they will be launching a new type of advertising unit that allows Digg members to vote up (digg) or down (bury) ads that appear in the editorial stream. As a result, the ads that are voted up will cost less to the advertiser.  Nodding to the power of the community isn’t new for Digg, in the past the Digg community actually has more control than the management team, so turning over the advertising power to them strategically makes sense.   After engaging in a discussion on Twitter last night about this, I gave it a good night’s think, here’s my take:

    Social Ads Not New:

    Requirements for Success:

    • Homogeneous : Community ranked ads will likely work better in homogeneous communities where there’s a common interest or demographic, rather than a large broad community where consensus won’t be found.  In the case of Digg, I’d make a guess from watching the community that it’s a lot of Gen X and Y males that are technology optimistic, and liberal.  Having spent time at the live Diggnation event (the super fanboys, photo by Brian Solis) it could be a representative sample.
    • Engaged: Community ranked ads make sense for the Digg community as they are already highly engaged in voting for stories, as well as the very active comment (over 100 comments is norm per article on front page).  
    • Transparency: Dislcosing in the editorial stream that the ad is sponsored.


    • Gaming: Expect gaming of the site, not from marketers, but from fan boys, perhaps those that love Apple products will bury Microsoft ads.  Since you must have a registered ID to vote on items in Digg, the chances of the advertiser influencing the ad price will be limited.
    • Unusual engagement: Expect that most users are more likely to bury ads, not engage with them and promote them.  However, if a user buries an ad they don’t like, this cost per action is still an engagement, which is higher than not paying attention to them at all.

    Forward Thinking:

    • If this works, Digg or it’s partners could replicate this product and extend to other sites.   Interactive advertisers like Federated Media would do well to open discussions with Pluck and Kickapps, who have a strong media focus.
    • For brands and advertisers this is a great way to find out why an ad may not work for a particular community, rather than make guesses based on CTR performance.  Advertisers that analyze or even engage in the dialog may benefit their next generation effort.
    • In the most ideal sense, community preferred ads become information and content –not invasive content.

    Takeaway: If Anyone Can Pull This Off, It Will Be The Digg Community 
    Digg is a very unique case study, and if these ads work here, it will be hard to replicate on other communities, a unique mix of a very engaged community that is somewhat homogeneous will be required to make this work.  Let’s see how it unfold.