Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things Media

Tag Archives: Michael Leis

Real Conversations Are Better Than Virtual Ones

You’ll hear people talk about the number of followers they have on twitter or the number “friends” they have on Facebook. As I’ve written before, I’m not in the Collection Business.  No, I’m not looking to just pump up my “stats.” The best thing about social networking is that it can lead to real connections. Michael Leis was the first person that become a real connection. I met him nearly a year ago and I’m grateful for having had a chance to have a real conversation with him.

Recently, I had the chance to meet Judy Abel and Kasey Skala.  Meeting these folks in person was an awesome experience. We met up at a local bar and talked shop for roughly 4 hours. It’s always great to get the perspectives of people from different walks of life. Not only do you get some well needed affirmation when they agree with you :) but you also get your brain stretched when they bring something to the table that you haven’t considered.  Later on today, I’m going to grab lunch and talk with Keith Privette.  He’s someone I met on twitter and have been trying to meet up with for some time.  Finally the stars aligned and we’re going to make it work.

If you haven’t started making real connections, you’re missing the point of social media. Get out there, organize a tweetup, setup a lunch or grab a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate if you’re me). Because, hiding behind a computer tweeting isn’t very social. But, sharing a beer most definitely is.

How I Use Twitter

A good friend of mine, who also happens to be a twitter newbie, asked me a really interesting question the other day: “How do you use twitter?” I never really thought about how I “use” twitter. I just do. But, this got my brain going and I started to really think about how I engaged with twitter.

I’ve seen some interesting posts from people on how they use twitter. Some of their opinions I agree with, while others…not so much. Jeremiah Owyang has one of the best write-ups on twitter usage.  I don’t agree with a lot of what he writes, but honestly that’s the beauty of sites like twitter. You get to decide how you interact with it; the site doesn’t dictate your usage. It’s open ended.

The more and more I thought about my own personal habits, it became amazingly clear that I use twitter for 4 reasons:

  1. Learn: Sites and services like iGoogle are great, but they rely on other sites to update information. As I’ve written before, I feel like people are blogging less and the quality of blog posts are decreasing. I can learn anywhere from 10 to 20X more in an hour on twitter than I via iGoogle. Twitter also brings into the equation multiple perspectives on an issue or topic. Frequently, I’ve had one take-away initially after reading a tweet, but then an alternate POV after seeing the real time discussion.
  2. Share: In general I like offering my thoughts on a topic and helping people out. I love being able to answer a question or offer up my POV to someone who’s asked it of the community. Sometimes they take it, other times they don’t, and often my perspective starts up nice dialogue. As I come across things I think people will find interesting I post them. What I post varies though. Everything from links to an article, a retweet of someone else, or simply what’s going through my mind are fair game.
  3. Connect: I’ve met new people, engaged with old friends/colleagues, and recruited through twitter. Some of the new people I’ve met have opened my eyes and expanded my brain to alternate ways of thinking. The real payoff has been when I’ve met these people in person. Michael Leis is a great example. I met him via twitter. Then I recruited him to speak at my company. He flew out to Minneapolis and we had a great discussion over dinner. The dinner conversation was just the tip of the iceberg though. Thoughts and theories from his presentation have stuck with me and I’ve used them still. Very cool.
  4. Research: This is the best part about twitter. I can ask a question and get near instant feedback. From car advice to city specific information (eg does downtown Pittsburgh still have free WiFi) I’ve been able to get people’s feedback. Often, not always, I’ve listened to the “crowd” and based my decision solely on their opinions. That’s only half of the research part. The search function in twitter lets me query keywords against all of the tweets that have been posted. I can see people’s opinions (even the ones I’m not following) on cameras, phones, movies, new CDs, and even Beyonce’s outfit at the Oscars. Yes, I could use Google for that type of research, but the information wouldn’t be as current as it is with twitter. Also, it would be hit or miss on my ability to ask the opinion maker for feedback. On twitter asking someone for more information about a tweet is commonplace.

So, there you have it. Those are the 4 ways I use twitter. My guess is you use twitter for at least one of the above reasons. I’d love to hear how else you use twitter. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing.  I’m also going to work on a list of ways I don’t use twitter.  This is fun.

Guest Post – Everything I Know About Portable Computing I Learned From Green Eggs and Ham

I’m out on vacation this week. The keys to TheKmiecs.com have been turned over to a few, select, awesome guest writers. The following has not been edited by me and is the work and effort of the original author. I appreciate the time and thinking that went into this post and hope you will too. Enjoy!

From now on, every time you consider the potential for an interactive initiative, you must ask what your audience will be asking:

What can I do with it?

Think back to the story of Green Eggs and Ham. You’re asking someone no try a new idea, and then use that information in a variety of online and offline settings that make the most sense to them.

Merely presenting information is no longer enough. Your audience needs a clear, convenient way to do something with it. Can they use it on a plane? On a train? In a house? With a mouse?

This isn’t over-simplifying: it’s clarity. Your content is best used someplace else. Rhyming makes it more fun. Where is your content best suited? What kinds of content are most used in that place? This will take some investigation, trial and error. The best part about this investigation process is the incredibly valuable surprises you learn along the way. Making your content clean and passable will create its own sidewalks to audiences you never knew existed.

The relationship between Sam and his nay-saying nemesis became stronger once they shared the meal. Green Eggs and Ham is the tie that binds them. There’s no difference between that experience and sharing new content with friends in Flixster, MySpace, or YouTube. It’s the power of discovery.

Helping people share makes their own relationships stronger. We call these social objects today. Regardless of what term we apply, people will continue to look for these opportunities to show something new to a friend or colleague and make a stronger relationship with that content.

Don’t be afraid to show people how to use your content. Give examples. Sam demonstrates every conceivable way to eat green eggs and ham. So should you. Demonstrate the ways that other similar people have used your content. Today we call this social proof. It helps a lot when you can see people like yourself taking specific actions.

FriendConnect and Facebook are both great tools to show your content in the context of friends: making the mental leap of doing something new feel a lot smaller. Letting people share what they find, and putting it in their own terms is the most powerful marketing you’ll never have to buy. Green Eggs and Ham is just one of the stories that have lasted for generations by demonstrating the most entertaining, memorable ways of doing just that.

Thanks to Steve “Doc” Baty (Meld Consulting) for his help on the post.

Michael Leis is a strategic consultant connecting brands, technology, and people. Find out more at http://blog.michaelleis.com or on Twitter @mleis

Four Critical Social Media Readiness Questions

Once again, great advice from Michael Leis. In this blog post for iMedia Connection, Michael riffs on the 4 key questions you need to ask before deciding if social media is a viable option for your brand/project. I don’t want to steal the thunder, so I’ll only give you the four questions and not the brilliant commentary.

  1. Do you have inventory? Is it valuable to your audience?
  2. What ways does your audience use technology?
  3. Are you ready for help to be its own reward?
  4. Are you willing to apply people to the solution?