Me Me Me Me Me Me & Me – A small tip how not to use Twitter

I’m no Twitter expert. Not even close. The biggest problem (not the least of which is my lack of social media prowess) is that I’m not on it often enough. I sign in probably once a week, and generally only if I’ve consumed all of the content from my 5 ‘go to’ bookmarked sites. So if you’re reading this, take this post with a big grain of salt. I don’t know a heck of a lot about Twitter, but I do know what I find annoying.

What drives me crazy? It’s how often I see people just blasting out stuff. Sometimes they fill up a whole page of tweets. I’m not kidding – I’m sure that’s pretty hard to do. They use Twitter as a one-way conduit. “Here’s what I have to say!” Their tweets seem to have the resonance (and arrogance) of a royal decree.

Have you ever gone to a dinner or cocktail party where one person dominates the whole conversation? And in the car ride home all you and your date can talk about is that guy who didn’t let anyone get a word in edge-wise? That’s what these Twitter-blatherers are to me.

Some twitter-blatherers in my timeline

Now I’m not talking to you, J-Lo or any other celebrity out there. Lord knows you’re only replying to your agent or the good people from Furla about the new handbag they just sent you for free. We know our relationship to you is non-existent. I’m talking to the everyday, average guy with a Twitter account and apparently loads of self esteem.

So to you, Twitter-blatherer, I have a tip for you. Try and do some listening to some of your followers. Re-tweet some of their stuff, and if you’re feeling especially charitable, try even replying to someone once in a while. You’ll be surprised at how people stop un-following you, and even more astoundingly, how many more followers you’ll gain in the process.

How to improve “Why this ad?”

I was reading an article today about Google’s efforts to put more transparency into their advertising, by offering a ‘Why this ad?’ link on text ads that appear in your search. I mean, I think we’ve all gotten weird, random ads from time to time, and thought ‘how the hell did this find its way onto my screen?’ So good for you, Google. But I have one suggestion – do more.

What do I mean by more? Glad you asked. Well, it seems to me that Google probably already knows enough about us through our search behavior and actions online, that it can offer more ‘Why’ services to us, to help us get through everyday things that require a bit more transparency.

For example, your boss sends you a curt email telling you to put everything aside and get those reports by 5 pm. Wouldn’t you love to have a ‘Why is he picking on me?’ link to help you out?

Or what about watching a movie online? Have you ever watched with your girlfriend who always asks annoying questions during the best parts? Wouldn’t you rather she had access to a ‘Why is he after the hero now?’ link to keep her quiet?

Or how about when you buy something online and in the shopping cart there are a few of those mysterious fees and taxes (I’m looking in your direction, rental car companies, airlines and Ticketmaster). I think a ‘Why are you charging me a facility fee’ link would come in pretty handy, too.

So keep up the good work, Google. But next time you offer this link, don’t think so small. Go big and start offering a ‘why’ link to everyone and everything online. Why, you ask? Because you’ll make my life a whole lot easier.

RT One reason why auto retweet is a fail

If you’re an avid tweeter, you’ve probably been invited to beta test Twitter’s new auto retweet function, which allows you to retweet anything to your followers just with the touch of a button. I like the initiative, but there’s no way it will work. Here’s why:

It doesn’t allow you to be… you.

Retweeting is great. It allows you to pass on a tweet to your followers that you find interesting, or that reflects positively on you. But the real benefit of a retweet, in my opinion, is that it allows you to add your thoughts to it, thereby giving you the ability to customize the tweet for your followers. You know, inject a little personality into it. The new auto retweet strips that from you. It automatically retweets without giving you that ability to change a thing. Where’s the fun in that?

I get that this new feature will allow some users to get their tweet total up very quickly, so there’s some appeal there (for narcissists), but the reason I follow people on Twitter is that they not only pass on good information, they also have an opinion on it. If they do nothing but blindly retweet information, then I’ll just follow the original source – because obviously they have nothing to say.

So here’s one person that’s going to continue to RT the old way. Because I’ve been accused of many things in my life, but not having an opinion has never been one of them.

9 signs you’re an Over-Tweeter

addictThis is a post for Mr. Over-Tweet. You know who you are, but you probably won’t have time to read this. After all, you’re too busy enthralling us, 140 characters at a time.

But in the event you do find time to read this post. I have just one thing to say to you:


I get that you want to embrace social media and that you probably have a loyal group of followers (i.e. the unemployed). But I think I speak for the majority of Twitter-ers out there when I say, “ease up on the throttle, big guy.” It’s not that we don’t find some of your tweets interesting. After all, we’re following you (for now). But inundating us with tweets doesn’t make you more compelling. In fact, it actually makes you less so.

Oh, and if you’re not sure you’re an Over-Tweeter, here are some telling signs to watch for:

1. You regularly fill the Twitter ‘home’ page with your tweets.
2. You’ve debated the merits of the URL shortener vs the URL shortener.
3. Your name is Guy Kawasaki.
4. You put hashtags on Post-It notes to emphasize points.
5. You’ve tweeted while driving / shaving / showering / jogging / dating / cooking or any other ‘ing’ that requires some measure of concentration.
6. You consider Tweeting to be your guilty pleasure instead of something actually guilt-inducing, like cock-fighting.
7. You’ve joked about naming your child/pet “@name”.
8. You’ve actually tweeted: “@mydamnwife at me for tweeting during dinner again” or
8.a @mydamnwife left you a while ago

And here’s the big one:

9. You tweet more than you read your followers’ tweets.

I don’t mean to belabor a point, Mr. Over-Tweet, but it’s called social media. Most people use it to create a dialogue between each other. When the conversation only goes one way, it kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? So unless you’re Shaquille O’Neal, Oprah or CNN, try something revolutionary the next time you log on to Twitter. Just read. Then, perhaps respond. You might find yourself in an actual conversation, and more importantly, more connected to society in general.

Until then, me and @mydamnwife will be watching.

Rush Limbaugh’s lessons on branding

rush_limbaughThis relatively short post is for all of you out there who think that brands are the sole responsibility of the marketing department.

Recently, it was reported that the St. Louis Rams were up for sale and that several groups were interested in bidding for the team, most notably, a group headed up by Dave Checketts (former CEO of Madison Square Garden) and controversial radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh.

Several NFL players have already stated that if Mr. Limbaugh’s bid is successful they will never play for the Rams. People in St. Louis have vowed to never again attend games, and at least one NFL owner (Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts) has said he will never vote to approve such a sale.

Why? Because you are who you associate with, and the Rams will have a distinctly different brand if Mr. Limbaugh is one of the owners. After all, Mr. Limbaugh is a brand unto himself – A brand that, through association with the Rams, will hurt ticket sales, free agency and, ultimately, the value of the franchise, merely because he is such a divisive personality.

So next time you think that brands are managed by your agency or marketing department only, think about Mr. Limbaugh and his potential effect on the St. Louis Rams.

A company is a living, breathing entity whose brand can be affected by everything – including customer service, sales, operations, product quality, and even its ownership group. And if you do something out of brand character, like bring a polarizing influence into your company, it can really hurt you in the end.

Think of it as ‘The Limbaugh Effect’.

Mega Dittos.

Update – Mark Cuban just wrote a good post on why the NFL can’t let Rush Limbaugh be an owner here.

Update #2 – Don Banks from is reporting that Limbaugh has been dropped from the group bidding to buy the Rams.

How do you say “bad marketing” in French?

Razor1I don’t claim to be the savviest marketer in the world, but as a consumer, I do know what annoys me – and generally it falls in the category of being mis-targeted. I can forgive traditional media for its transgressions by showing me commercials that aren’t meant for me (hey, we’ve all mistakenly watched a full year of Grey’s Anatomy before, right guys?). But when online ads are blowing it, I blow my lid.

With all of the information that I am giving away through my email account – where I received this electric razor ad (click here to read my article on Google reading your mail) – How is it, in this era of enhanced targeting and data capture that I could possibly receive a display ad in French? Is it because I’m Canadian?

For those who aren’t aware, Canada is bilingual, so French is on everything. I remember 25 years ago when growing up in Canada I had a McDonald’s t-shirt featuring the lovable, purple, milkshake-addicted Grimace. Only on my shirt, his name wasn’t Grimace, it was Le Grosse Douceur. Even my favorite cereal, Rice Krispies, had French on it. The boxes weren’t always adorned by Snap! Crackle! and Pop! Sometimes they were replaced by an exuberant trio of elves called Cric! Crac! and Croc! 25 years ago we were used to seeing French stuff on things.

But this isn’t 1984. This is 2009, and I don’t want to see French anymore. And the fact that I no longer live in Canada makes this online ad even worse. So if I were the good folks at Remmington or whoever created this display ad, I’d ask for an explanation from my media agency. Especially if they’re being charged by CPM. Because if I don’t understand it, I’m not going to buy it.

Obviously I’m not the only one who is put off by bad targeting. This is a funny post about Facebook’s Ad Fail.

Social Media = car. Brand = gas.

social-mediaOnline Spin just released an article about succeeding with Social Media and how the answer isn’t in advertising, Facebook pages or Twitter profiles. To this statement I only have one thing to say:


Online Spin has it right. But is this such a revelation? Why is it that so many social media ‘experts’ out there don’t understand the fundamentals of brand engagement? When people talk about your brand, or friend/fan your brand, or tweet about your brand, it’s because they have bonded with your brand, not because you simply exist. The principles of brand strategy and engagement have never been more essential today, yet these social media tacticians have many clients believing that they’ll reap financial rewards if they just set up a fan page on MySpace.

The only companies that do well in social media without clear brand support are the ones who innovate in social media. Companies like Naked Pizza who put up a Twitter billboard out front of their location to give followers special deals. The desired brand effect was a pizza for early adopters (go figure, the pizza is 100% organic).

If you’re living up to your brand promises at every touch point and creating advocacy with your customers, then your elevated presence in social media is assured. Not only will people flock to your social media sites, but they may even create their own fan sites as well. I recently flew Virgin America and loved it so much, I devoted a whole article to it. And I don’t even know if Virgin has a Twitter profile.

My advice is this: get your brand in order and build some loyalty. Until you do, your social media presence won’t do much for you. Think of it this way. Social media is the car and your brand engagement is the gas. Without people who love you, your social media ain’t goin’ no where.