Commentary: Dear @Theatre or @Show: change your social media approach

Howard Sherman, 2AM Theatre blog, 9/21/11

You know I love you and so I'm sorry to do this impersonally. But we have to talk. When we started this relationship on Twitter, it was filled with the blush of first love. For the first time, you could talk to me and I could talk to you. Those were heady days back in 2009, made all the more exciting by the fact that we didn't have to be exclusive to each other; we were part of something bigger than ourselves, freed from the usual strictures that society and technology had placed upon us. But instead of growing together, I'm feeling let down by you. There's a group of you that's very shy. While that's enticing at first, I don't know why you're in this game if I never hear from you. On the other hand, more of you are unbelievably self-obsessed. I understood there would be inevitable narcissism, so I don't resent that. But now you just keep flaunting others at me. You retweet this stray person who liked your show and that nameless egg-head who liked your performance; every night between 10 and 11 pm, or first thing in the morning, it's the same thing. You're cool, you're mind-blowing, I've got to run and see what you're doing. It's boring. And let me let you in on a little secret: I know you're being selective and if I feel like it, I can find all of those negative tweets you never seem to mention. So I have to ask myself, should I keep following you if our relationship is so unrewarding? This thing we're in - it's called social media. It can't be one sided and you can't constantly remind me that all you really care about is filling your seats. That's awfully crude and while it may be good for you, it's unsatisfying to me. I want more of you, but all facets of you. Don't reduce what we have to a transaction-based thing, like I was someone to whom you merely want to advertise your wares. It makes me feel cheap. You say you can change? I'm willing to give you another chance. O.K. then, so we'll stay mutual followers. I really want this to work, for you, me and our thousands of partners. You're blushing. Now that's endearing. Come here and let me give you a digital hug. 


Commentary: Listening to social media fans requires organizational change

Damian Bazadona,, 9/14/11

Is it just me or is the whole discussion surrounding "social media marketing" getting more and more annoying? "The consumer is in control", "It's quality, not quantity", "Listening is everything" - it feels like one big broken record of lofty statements that don't truly advance the marketing discussion. When I first jumped into the business ten years ago, these were the same exact things being said then. I don't think there are many marketers on the planet that question the influence and impact that social media has on their customers. If these people do exist, they are either about to change their tune or be extinct as the data clearly highlights continued increases in social media usage among all age ranges. Can we please get past the theory and move the discussion to practice? Can we get rid of these goofy statements that are essentially hollow in substance? [Here are] three statementsI hope I never hear again.

"The consumer is now in control." Really? Sure, there are stories of consumers having a collective voice of power over brands but let's not kid ourselves - that is the minority. The fact remains that the consumer is [only] in control of smart brands that want to hear what customers have to say and have the organizational structure to evolve with their customers. This has been true long before Facebook opened its doors for business.

"It's the quality of your social connections, not the quantity." Really? What brand doesn't want a million followers? Quantity matters in the social media discussion (especially getting funding for it)! This is what really stinks about the current popular social networks - your popularity is clear, transparent and easily comparable. Boards, investors, management teams, donors - they will judge a book by its cover and how can you blame them? Nobody would disagree in theory that quality trumps quantity but the practice of boasting that is much more challenging than most realize.

"Listening is everything." Really? I am yet to meet a Marketing Director that covered their ears and said "I don't want to listen to my customers." Their greatest, rational fear continues to be "how do I act on what I'm learning?" Marketing Directors know that to listen and act may very well require the hardest thing in the world to implement within their organization - change.


NBC's 'Dateline' changes to play off its audience's social media participation

Brian Steinberg, Advertising Age, 9/21/11

NBC's venerable [TV series] "Dateline," now entering two decades on the air, sparks any number of associations among viewers. But these days, "Dateline" should conjure thoughts of a nice glass of wine and a Friday-night mystery -- at least according to the programs' top producers. For several months, "Dateline" personnel have studied the behavior and postings of the show's fans on Facebook and other social media, allowing them to create a campaign that speaks to the way viewers interact with the program, not its smiling personalities or lurid headlines. The campaign will urge viewers to participate, generating more material in the process. "You'll see promotions both online and on air, basically asking the question, 'How do you Dateline?' and then we expect to collect the responses we get and turn those, essentially, into a user-driven, user-created campaign," said David Corvo, senior executive producer of "Dateline." Viewers will be able to access an interactive Facebook application that will allow them to send video to "Dateline" producers about their routine around the program. Already they have seen posts about the type of wine people are drinking when they watch, or the company expected to come over for a round of "Dateline." Expect to see the Twitter hashtag "#howdoyoudateline" calling fans to arms, trying to harness their interest as often as possible, not only on broadcast night. "A program lives beyond its broadcast presentation, so people are responding to us before, during and after a program airs," Mr. Corvo said. "We're trying to acknowledge that and respond to that."


Commentary: Prepare yourselves: Facebook to be profoundly changed

Ben Parr,, 9/21/11

Facebook's goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives. [Today,] at its f8 conference in San Francisco, the world's largest social network will take a giant leap toward accomplishing that goal. I have seen what Facebook is launching on Thursday, and it's going to change the world of social media. And while I won't talk about the mind-boggling things Facebook will be launching, I will say this: The Facebook you know and (don't) love will be forever transformed. For Facebook, it all boils down to one problem: emotion. Facebook has hundreds of millions of users and spectacular levels of engagement, but it is a platform that has lost its emotional resonance over the years. More and more people visit Facebook out of necessity rather than desire. It's a platform people prefer to hate, but won't leave simply because all their friends are there. It's a relationship gone stale. After years of dating, the magic between Facebook and its users has dissipated. It's a natural evolution in any relationship, but now there is another suitor vying for Facebook's users. And a lot of people think this suitor is easy on the eyes. That's why Facebook launched three recent changes: revamped Friend Lists, a real-time news ticker, and the Subscribe button. But these changes are just the beginning. The changes Facebook will roll out on Thursday are designed to enhance the emotional connection its users have to each other through Facebook. 

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