The Power of Micro-Blogging

I use Twitter daily (look for me under “Epic Living”).  One of the people who follows me asked my thoughts on micro-blogging in the corporate arena.  I wanted give my thoughts around that and why you should embrace it as well.

First, micro-blogging is a cool way of giving your “fans” and idea of what you’re doing on a micro level-no pun intended:-).  On Twitter you have 140 words or less to do that.  You can click here to learn what I wrote there this morning.

So what about corporations/businesses using a tool like Twitter?  I think it would be a tremendous tool to communicate and to connect.  Imagine your company provides a piece of hardware for the iPhone.  Your CEO just got back from a conference where he met with Steve Jobs.  Steve told your CEO how pleased Apple was with your company’s service levels.  As an employee would you like to see a micro-post like the following?

    “Everyone, just had a conversation with Steve Jobs.  He’s amped about our service levels.  More to come.”

That kind of communication not only encourages and engages, but gives real-time information.  It’s better than email and IM, because in places like Twitter, you are in a community that has a look and feel of community.  And if you haven’t already noticed, people crave community.

You might say why not just send an email?  But at the same time someone could have said to Google, why not just stick to search.  Great tools are created when you go into paths not yet worn.  I guess that’s why they call it innovation.

Here are some thoughts on how micro-blogging could help an organization:

  • Community would/could be built and cemented-with customers and employees.
  • Organizations would see engagement rise-significantly.
  • Organizations would become more fluid and less rigid.
  • Courage would be found, because you’d have to take on HR and Legal.
  • Customers would have a compelling story to follow.
  • Customers would become more loyal.
  • Money follows those who do something engaging.

To Blog or Not to Blog

When I spoke to the OWL group last week, there was some conversation around corporate blogging.  The substance of those conversations were mainly around the lack of understanding about blogging-specific to organizations taking the leap . 

In my speech I referenced a study from Forrester Research that I found on Lois Kelley’s blog.  You can look at her post here.  The study brought to light what’s wrong with corporate blogs.  Namely, they’re bad.

Here’s what I think is wrong with many corporate blogs, and how to make them better:

  1. The sites are too institutionalized.  It’s as if risk is the black plague.  If HR (for an internal blog), Communications, and Legal are hovering at every turn, you probably are just writing press releases.  Which, as we know, kills conversation.  My recommendationis to embrace risk and change the world.  Stop playing it safe.  And by the way, your organization will make more money too.
  2. Many corporations are afraid of community.  A consistent refrain in my conversations last week with the OWL folks revealed organizations being fearful of negative comments from employees or customers.  My recommendation is to remember that your organization is already being talked about, so why not be in front of the conversation vs. behind it?  Employees and customers might be inspired by an action like this.
  3. Organizations just want to be hip.  Someone at a conference told the CEO to get into social media, and an edict was formed.  It made for good talking points, but lacked commitment and desire.  My recommendationis to not start something you don’t really want to do.  Stakeholders get real suspicious of fashion.
  4. The wrong person is doing the writing.  Without guidance on the why and how, a blog can be a very stale affair.  My recommendation is to consult with us and take a look at this post from Nina Simosko on communication.  She gives a wonderful example of effective writing in a blog.
  5. No passion.  I’ve been asked by more than a few people about where I find things to write about.  It’s an easy answer to give; I’m very passionate about what I write about.  Therefore, it runs through me like a raging river.  Shouldn’t every organization have a similar state of mind and heart?  My recommendation is to check the pulse, go back (if needed) to where you started, and then reignite the passion.  

Interview on Total Picture Radio

I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Peter Clayton over at Total Picture Radio some weeks ago.  Peter is a great talent in many forms of media and I’m pleased that I could be a part of his program. 

If you feel so inclined, both Peter and I would appreciate you spreading the word through Digg,!, Reddit! or Technorati!.  You”ll find those links at the bottom of the Total Picture page that corresponds with the interview.

You can listen to the interview here

A Cool Tool to Present Your Brand

I'm a believer in "Brand You."  I even dedicated a chapter of my book to it. 

Now comes a cool tool called VisualCV.  It gives you the opportunity to present your brand in a unique way. 

The rest of the herd might not get tools like this, but why not be a trailblazer.  Who knows, you might make a habit of it.

Let me know your thoughts on this product.

The Traditional Book Publishing Quandary

Traditional book publishers are in a quandary.  I won't bore you with my thoughts on what I've learned since the release of my book Waking Up in Corporate America.  But one thing is clear, executives at traditional book publishers should consult their counterparts in the music business.  Their story is very similar.

I wrote late last year on the approach/expectations for my book.  You can read that post here.

Now comes a piece from Dave Balter (thanks, Guy for pointing out onTwitter) entitled How the Book Publishing Industry Should Reinvent Itself.  Dave's thoughts are informed and point to a different, if not better future, for authors and publishers.

The downside is change is never easy, and publishers are holding on tight to the old model.  Harper Collins seems to be bucking this trend, as evidenced by this article in the NY Times from earlier this year.

As an author, I'm encouraged by the trends.