On a hot summer day in 1999, I was driving to a meeting that my boss asked me to attend in his stead. Traffic was bad. I was late and frustrated that I would not be showing up on time. I’m speeding along the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia and someone cuts me off. Annoyed, I flipped her the bird.
The Tweet read, “If a girl is drunk, is it ok to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused.' It was deleted almost as quickly as it was posted, but the “ill-advised” question posed by Dr. Phil McGraw (or his team) drew understandable outrage. And the impact of this mind-blowing social media misstep lingered long enough to make it into this week’s edition of Time magazine.
When planning a conference, it’s always a challenge to decide whether to go for breadth or depth, especially when you only have one day. At the Mashable Media Summit last week, they went for breadth, which ultimately was a disappointment.
For several years now, many have been trumpeting the death of “traditional” media. But the Charlie Sheening of America and his record setting 1 million Twitter followers in 24 hours (now grown to more than 2 million) was created by the news media. Too bad it’s so tough to find real news like rising oil prices that threaten our economic recovery, political upheaval in Libya, Egypt and other countries, joblessness, a crumbling health care system, and the fact that we are still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ecclesiastes tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. Each generation thinks that it has discovered something for the first time. That is the perception of many about social media. But is social media really a new phenomenon?
A few days ago, I heard presentations by Brian Solis, Deidre Breackenridge, and Lee Oddenat a virtual conference that Vocus put together called Retweet: Engagement Means Business. I’ve always been energized by how much there is too learn, how much to know in the world but after listening to these presentations, it struck me as overwhelming.
Lately, there are some folks who make me feel like I’ve just finished a heavy Thanksgiving meal. These are the over tweeters: people who just gobble your attention and leave you feeling stuffed but unsatisfied. It’s too bad because a great deal of what they have to say, some of the time, is useful. They just don’t know when to stop.
Not too long ago, I was approached by a potential client looking for a PR firm to increase its visibility among target audiences. The first question they asked was “So Can you Tweet for me? We need to be on Twitter?” They might need to be but in my view that was the wrong question. What needs to be asked first are two basic questions: Who are you trying to reach and why?