He Tweets, She Tweets, Bill Tweets, I Tweet

Posted in Business, Marketing and Advertising, MCDM, social media, Technology on 2010/05/27 by emilyseong

Originally this was written for my company blog. It has been re-posted here.

I had the inspiration to write this blog post the other day when trying to explain Twitter to my non-tweeting friends. To many who’ve spent time using the medium what I write here will be nothing new. To those who believe all us Twitterers do is tweet about–what we eat, what we drink, and where we are–this may help clear up your confusion.

Last week Bill Gates joined Twitter. Immediately, he had thousands of followers and by the end of the first day over 200,000 people expressed interest in monitoring what Bill had to say. Sure, as it turned out his (re)appearance on the social networking scene via Facebook and Twitter was carefully timed to coincide with the launch of his new blog style site. The Gates Notes, but that’s neither here nor there. I’ll only say bully to you Bill–way to use communications technologies to communicate. Excellent work.

Moving on, what I really want to talk about is the difference between Bill and you.

Besides the really obvious differences like: Bill has more money than…someone really, really, really rich and you, well, don’t; Bill has a lasting impact on the world of modern business and, again, you probably don’t…Anyway, the list goes on, but I diverge.

Anyway, my point here is that Bill and you are different. And just one of the many ways that you’re different is that if you joined Twitter tomorrow it is highly unlikely that you would have 200,000 followers in a day. Heck the average user has only 126 followers a far cry from Bill’s current following of 363,530.

To recap the differences between you and Bill are as follows:

  • Difference #1 Bill has a widely established identity known by many around the world.
  • Difference #2 Bill has lots more relationships than you.
  • Difference #2 Bill has a vehicle to extend that identity and those relationships in the form of a Foundation.

How does this relate to Twitter you ask? I’ll tell you, but first let’s summarize your version of the 3 Bill qualities I listed above:

You probably have an identity, but not that many people know about it. You have some relationships, but not as many as Bill. You have a smaller vehicle to extend that identity and those relationships in the form of school, work, clubs, sports teams, or other shared interest groups.

Now For the Part About Twitter:

Think of this as Twitter 101.

Twitter will allow you to build your identity, let more people know about your identity, and find and access the groups of relationships that will allow you to extend that identity.

Twitter builds your Identity through:

  • What you tweet. Is the content relevant to a particular audience or interest?
  • Who you follow. What are you interested in? How do the people you follow reflect your opinions?
  • Who follows you. Who finds you interesting? What are they interested in? AND what does this say about you?
  • Where you are listed. What topics do people associate with your Tweets? How do others (often strangers) classify your Twitter ‘voice’?

How exactly does the preceding list work for you?

By having a clear Twitter voice you begin establishing YOUR identity.

By finding people interested in similar conversations you lay the foundation to build more relationships.

By engaging those people that you found relevantly, accurately, and consistently you reaffirm the identity you are building.

By creating two way relationships you amplify your voice through the voices of your connections and your identity grows.

See you Twitter skeptics it really is much more than a way to catalog the daily eating, drinking, and traveling aspects of our lives. And its easy. And it follows basically the same social behavior you engage in everyday. And now you have no excuses not to go Twitter. Everyone else is doing it. Even Bill.

My Own Personal Brand of Charm

Posted in Free Write, Ramblings on 2010/03/21 by emilyseong

I was thinking about the people that I know. I realized that of all the people I know pretty much everyone falls in to one of 2 camps: those that find me charming and those that find me incredibly annoying, arrogant, abrasive (and other adjectives beginning with “a”).

I’m pretty much on a 24/7 kick to better myself with the results being mixed as might be statistically predictable. In an effort to stay true to my perpetual journey towards self improvement I decided to spend a bit of time hashing over what separates the first group of people in my life from the second.

My conclusion is that I possess my own personal brand of charm, and just as some people are dogmatically committed to Coke while others will run in front of a bus to lay their hands on a Pepsi, my particular brand of charm just isn’t for everyone.

So to all those who tell me that I’m funny, smart, and other nice things–thank you for being born with a particular set of tastes that has led you to me.

To those of you that think I’m just not your particular brand of person that’s ok. Please know that I do not hold this against you, but also please know that I’m just me and I tend to be a bit (insert all “a” adjectives from earlier) at times. It is never personal. I do not knowingly try to be (again the list of “a” adjectives).  Thank you for putting up with it.

Written because I miss writing and am trying out 5 minutes of uninterrupted writing a day. If it turns out funny, mildly entertaining, insightful, or otherwise worth reading I will post it here. I will not waste your time with 5 minutes on how my cat looks, the food I wish I were eating, or the imaginary vacation I’m planning in my head.

-Emily at Home

How to Send Your Reputation Up in Flames

Posted in Privacy, Ramblings, social media on 2010/03/21 by emilyseong

This is going to be short. Its just a few words I wanted to add to @tacanderson’s blog post Think Before You Tweet: The Do Not Tweet List.

Specifically, I wanted to expand on the first item in “The Do Not Tweet List.”

  1. Don’t complain about your customers on Twitter. They are listening.
  2. DM is not IM. It’s not a secure communication channel.
  3. Disclose conflicts of interest: Clients, Competitors, Partners.
  4. Don’t get defensive about negative criticism of your company or products.
  5. Don’t publicize private issues or jeopardize the company’s working relationships.
  6. Unless soliciting community feedback is part of your product development, don’t  tweet about products under development.
  7. Don’t post about company financials before an earnings call. This can get you and your company in trouble with the SEC.
  8. If you have a gripe about a coworker or your boss talk to them about it. Tweeting about it is passive aggressive and makes you and the company look bad.
  9. Don’t spam your personal account with irrelevant work promotions. Promoting work is fine if it’s relevant to your followers.
  10. Don’t think having an anonymous account makes any of this okay.

Any thinking person can tell you that how you talk about your existing customers and clients is crucial to keeping them. However, many people forget that your existing customers aren’t the only ones listening/reading. No, indeed you have another kind of customer that I see forgotten time and time again: your FUTURE customer.

When I write this it may seem intuitively obvious, but my observations tell me that in fact it is not. I’ve seen some very smart, very successful, very business savvy people do so many thoughtless at best, stupid at worst, things on Twitter, FB and other public forums.

The long an short of it is that the internet is public. Information you share can be shared and viewed with our without your knowledge. If you flame a brand through any of these channels make sure that 1) its warranted and 2) that brand doesn’t have important implications within your networks 3) they are likely never going to be a prospective customer to you.

Now I know there are some folks out there who will read this and immediately get their backs up because the internet is supposed to be transparent, open, and uncensored. Alright. I hear you and I’m not disagreeing…necessarily. Rather I’m saying that part of the power of the internet is that nothing stays online. Many things may start online, but the best things inevitably make their way out into the rest of the world. I’m all for transparency, openness and a candid approach to internet life; however, understanding that what you say online can get you fired (or possibly worse never hired) in the real world is essential to making informed decisions about how you contact yourself while in front of your keyboard and monitor.

And Now For Something A Little Different

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , , , on 2010/02/12 by emilyseong

Usually I write about school, tech, social media, politics, ie “head stuff”. Rarely do I write about heart stuff. Seeing as Valentine’s Day is on Sunday this typically Seattle overcast Friday seems like a perfectly good day to break from my normal routine and write about something a little different: Love. Ok, that was unnecessarily dramatic. I’m not going to write about love I’m actually going to write about Twilight. Yep. Twilight as in the book about vampires and Forks.

Betcha’ didn’t see that one coming.

Last week I was convinced by a co-worker to give Twilight a try. I hadn’t read any of the books or seen any of the movies, but never one to turn down a book I haven’t read it took little convincing for me to give Twilight a chance. I figured if I hated it no harm done and if I didn’t then I reaped the benefits of a good read.

I read Twilight in about 2 hours. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I liked it, but more importantly I understand why other people like it. It’s a love story, and its a love story that appeals to the cultural context myself and my peers come from. Metaphorically, Twilight tells the ultimate love story because in it love truly can conquer all–even death.

Those who know me wonder how I could read a book that features a woman as weak as Bella Swan. Yes, I agree she’s weak, but it doesn’t really bother me. I suppose it seems that part of this new fangled feminist idea should be that women get to choose, but not that they HAVE to choose. Woman should be able to go to work or stay home. They should be able to be fierce or be meek. It’s the same for men. Go to work or stay home. I don’t really care as long as you work it out with anyone in your life affected by your choices I don’t see as its any of my business. I fancy myself a fairly strong woman, but I’ll tell you having a door opened for me puts a lift in my day. So as for Bella Swan’s weakness. I think it doesn’t matter. It’s her choice and as an empowered modern day woman its her right to choose.

So in conclusion I guess what I’m trying to say is I think I can be a fierce, fabulous, modern day woman and still have room in my heart for a little old-fashioned chivalry in the form of a glitter skinned vampire.

What’s in a Name? Why Name it the iPad and What That Says About Apple

Posted in Business, Technology with tags , on 2010/01/28 by emilyseong

What’s in a name? Lots.

This will be short. I haven’t had time to do the kind of research I might have liked, so basically this is word vomit. That disclaimer in mind here we go.

Yesterday the world waited with bated breath to see what Apple would unveil. Fantastical things were imagined, practical things were imagined, and skeptics foresaw a giant iPhone. For now it seems those skeptics were correct; however, after seeing the iPad’s features both those present and those seemingly omitted I would guess that the iPad is only the first page of Apple’s tablet story.

In this moment Apple made a business decision, a beautiful decision but one that is not entirely innovative. Rather they are capitalizing on their existing fan base to sell a product that is simply made to compete with the Kindle. They learned with the iPod how important being in the game early can be, so in order to grab a toehold in the emerging market they released the iPad.

Now to the name. Yesterday on Twitter iPad and iTampon jokes ran rampant. In fact at one point iTampon mentions mocking the iPad name actually overtook the mentions of iPad itself. Why does this matter? I mean matter more than the seemingly obvious “ick” association of the name? It matters because it tells you that this isn’t a great name indicating knowledge that it isn’t a great product either.

I heard many women ask wasn’t there a woman in the meeting where they named this thing? Then there’s the news coverage of Apple’s missing iPad copyright and domain ownership. What do all these things say to me? They say that this isn’t it. There will be a future with an Apple Tablet, and perhaps Apple is reserving the power names like iSlate for their true competitor to tablet PCs.

I have no doubt that Apple probably has a secret lab in a secret country somewhere that’s developing a tablet just as fantastical as those that people imagined the iPad might be, and I’m sure that’s why the stepping stone piece of technology the iPad got stuck with the feminine hygiene product version of the iPod’s name. Apple’s simply saving the great names for great products.

Google.cn Just Good Business

Posted in Business, Technology with tags , , , , on 2010/01/18 by emilyseong

I first posted this on my company’s blog as Google vs. China The Costs and Longterm Benefits.

Yesterday Google announced that actions do not go unpunished. In this case a large scale cyber attack on Google’s (among others) infrastructure prompted their refusal to continue censorship of Google.cn search results, and to threaten that they may pull out of China’s search market completely. It appears that the attack was motivated by efforts to obtain Chinese human rights activists’ information.

At first glance Google’s standoff with the Chinese government over this breach of its security evokes two reactions. The first, motivated by business logic, questions the seeming craziness of leaving the fastest growing and largest market (measured by population) in the world. The second applauds an iconic corporation for standing up against censorship laws and the spurious politics of a major government power.

Both these initial views of Google’s actions are overly simplistic. It is unlikely that Google’s motivations are purely altruistic. I say this because of Google’s track record. Historically they have tended to abide by all laws in a country of operations regardless of the politics. Just last week the Wall Street Journal ran a story about Google’s compliance with Indian censorship laws a perfect example of how Google’s business relies on playing by the rules so to speak. Therefore, in understanding Google’s threat to pull out of China I turned instead to a set of business motivations. Based on this lens here is my analysis of why Google can afford to and may choose to pull out of the Chinese market (atleast for a while)

1. If Google pulled out of China there would be little short term impact. They would stand to lose a potential $600 million (according to JP Morgan) a number representing just over 2% of their estimated revenue of $26billion.

2. Google is built on trust from its user base. A cyber attack that compromises the faith of users in Google’s security is simply bad business.

3. The nature of the emerging networked information economy in which Google functions amplifies the effects of a breach in security and can lead to widespread mistrust thus affecting many more markets than just that in China.

4. By pulling out of China a market in which is currently dominated by Baidu search Google may have achieved the ultimate marketing coup: Marketing through absenteeism. Twitter conversation indicates that many in China will feel a strong sense of loyalty to Google and a new sense of loss if Google decides to leave. Tweets such as –“@qhgy RT @Lyooooo: If Google leaves I won’t use Baidu or let my children or grandchildren use it (If I have them) #GoogleCN” indicate that perhaps Google’s absence will only serve to grow their brand, so that upon a return they will enjoy a much higher usage than prior to their departure.

These four factors contribute to my belief that Google’s motivations are far more rooted in classic business than in forward thinking corporate activism. When push comes to shove Google may very well bow out of the Chinese market, at least for the short term; however, I doubt that decision will stick forever, and we’re bound to see Google return perhaps once they’re more confident in their security, Baidu loses footing in the Chinese market, or the Chinese market becomes too important (in Google’s worldview) to ignore.

Even if “No One Wants Online Privacy Anymore”

Posted in Article Links, Marketing and Advertising, Privacy with tags , , , , on 2010/01/11 by emilyseong

Below is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote for my company’s blog. Read the full post here. I was reminded off this post this morning after reading Mark Zuckerberg’s comments about online privacy, a view that is summed up as “Face It, No One Wants Online Privacy Anymore”. Be this true or false (I would guess that for many its false) the following are some thoughts on how to live a private life in an increasingly public world.

So what should the savvy social media user do in the face of this rapidly changing landscape?

There are a variety of options ranging from the extreme (social media suicide via tools such as this “web 2.0 suicide machine”) to the painstaking approach of carefully controlling the privacy of all social media interaction (manipulating the privacy settings on each wall post for instance). But for those that are not ready to abandon the world of social media, and who do not have the time to make their participation a full time job this rule of thumb should help you navigate the slippery slope of social media and privacy: Control the conversation.

How do you control the conversation?

  • It’s actually not that hard.
  • Make the things you’re proud of easy to find.
  • Be smart about what you post, and don’t worry too much about the little things that are outside of your control. Sure they may be some embarrassing picture living in a friend’s photo album, but if there are 50 great pictures then it’s likely that one picture will have a limited impact.
  • Overwhelm any potentially negative content with positive content. Do not allow yourself to be up for interpretation.
  • Put yourself out there the way you want to be known.

In short, create a personal brand and then sell it, and remember the occasional unflattering photo, or ditzy status update won’t necessarily be your undoing, and may actually increase your authenticity a very important trait in and increasingly socially networked world.

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