Archive for October, 2010


An open letter to France

Dear Country of France,

I’ve crawled around your country about a dozen times over the years and each visit has been filled with beauty, culture, history and fine food.

But I have to ask … How did you become such a great nation with such lousy bacon?

Indeed, I believe the foundation of  American’s strength — not to mention its girth — is fortified by its wonderful bacon.  As an act of selfless diplomacy, I’d like to suggest that I can help you out in this area.

Bacon provides important nutrients from the five basic food groups: salt, sugar, fat, cholesterol and pork.  Hence, it is Nature’s Most Perfect Food.  In fact, I think the only food that rivals bacon in nutritional value is Beer Nuts. You can probably skip those, however.

With the global financial crisis and political controversies you’re facing, I believe a good slab of bacon would effectively distract your foes and delight French citizens. Who would not be much happier with a nice plate of thick-cut, maple-smoked bacon?

Now I know you have a lot of national pride and are probably thinking you can establish your own bastion of bacon. Forget about it.  Our technology is far too advanced.  Let us help you get over the learning curve and ship you a couple of truck loads.  Don’t worry, we have plenty to go around.

I await your call.

Your friend,

Mark

P.S.   If you are a new reader or otherwise confused, this is meant to be humorous.  At least to me.

Illustration: zazzle.co.uk  I can’t believe I found this picture. Damn the Internet is great.

A place where bloggers are royalty (video)


During my recent trip to France I had a chance to catch up with {grow} community regular and video blogger extraordinaire Michelle Chmielewski, who is now working in Paris.

Our friendship started through an innocent tweet (“Go Steelers!”), and has become one of my favorite stories of connecting through the social web.  This short video documents our first face-to-face meeting, highlights an international “blogger party,” and also addresses the very interesting blogging culture in France.  The top bloggers are treated like media royalty over there.  Hey America, what gives?  : )

Any way, I think you’ll find this little interview fun and interesting. And be sure to check out Michelle’s blog. One of my favorites!

A World Without Flaws – The Social Media Stepford Wives

An email with a subject  line of “You Made Me Cry” gets my attention!

And that is exactly what Jamie Lee Wallace wrote to me last week after reading the post “Social Media and the Big Conversation Fail.”

I guess it hit upon some profound feelings as she thought about the importance of the social web as a lifeline for a single mom trying to make it with her own business. With Jamie’s permission, I have taken excerpts from her message to me to share with the community …

As a single mom who works from home, I don’t have a lot of time or opportunity to develop and nurture the kinds of deep, relationships I’d like to have.  I know it sounds like a cop out, but – at least for right now – my life is moving at such a pace and scheduled so tightly that one glass of spilled milk can throw the whole day off.

So, I have the Internet – Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. It’s a godsend, really. My mom has told me how she wished she’d had access to a virtual community when she was young. My dad was stationed in Texas with the military and mom spent long, solitary days at home in their apartment with me and my younger sister. She had no car and no prospect for friendship within walking distance. I can hardly imagine the loneliness.

… except that, sometimes, I can. Even though I’m wired up to my eyeballs, even though I’m active on all these virtual platforms and engage in dozens of conversations each day, I sometimes feel so lonely. As one of the {grow} community members explained, I’m longing for “life beyond 140.”  I love my “virtual” friends, and many (if not all ) of them know more about me than my Real Life acquaintances, but there’s something about a real, human connection that gives more.

And, of course, that’s missing from the Web. There’s also a sense, for most of us, of keeping up a certain appearance. Even when we’re being personal and honest, we’re still able to control what people see. It’s not the way your true friends get to see you – the bad parts, the snits, the tears, the flaws.

And that’s what is missing from the social Web – flaws.

I know people share them, but even the confessions are “managed.”  Sometimes it seems we’re an online community of Stepford Wives.

Our flaws and human failings are a big part of what bring us closer to each other. A “real” relationship is one in which both people are not only aware of each other’s flaws, but experience them on a daily basis … and love each other anyway.  A real relationship is one that has value of its own, without having to exist in the context of some larger community.

I don’t want this to come across as being anti-social Web, it isn’t meant to be. I love the connections, opportunities, and magic that happens.  I guess your post just reminded me that there’s another world of relationships right outside my door which, despite or maybe because of their flaws, deserve as much attention as my virtual relationships.”

I like the way Jamie brings her heart to her writing and calls out the fact that we often try to be super-human on the web.

Ironically, I’ve found that in the few instances where people are “human,” something special ignites. Sharing honestly seems to connect much better than a cold topic like “the Five Biggest Mistakes on Twitter.”

What are your thoughts? Are you a Stepford Wife on the social web? Or something more?

Study shows Twitter users are powerful consumers

A new study finds consumers active on Twitter are three times more likely to impact a brand’s online reputation through syndicated Tweets, blog posts, articles and product reviews than the average consumer.

The ExactTarget survey of more than 1,500 consumers concludes that Twitter has become the gathering place for content creators whose influence spills over into every other corner of the internet.

Key findings of the research include:

– Twitter users are the most influential online consumers — 72 percent publish blog posts at least monthly, 70 percent comment on blogs, 61 percent write at least one product review monthly and 61 percent comment on news sites.

– Daily Twitter users are 6 times more likely to publish articles, five times more likely to post blogs, seven times more likely to post to Wikis and three times more likely to post product reviews at least monthly compared to non-Twitter users.

– 23 percent of online consumers read Twitter updates at least monthly.

– 11 percent of online consumers read Twitter updates, but do not have a Twitter account themselves.

– 20 percent of consumers indicate they have followed a brand in order to interact with the company — more than become email subscribers or Facebook fans for the sake of interaction.

– Men are more than twice as likely as women to follow brands on Twitter to interact with the company (29 percent compared to 13 percent).

– Nine out of the 10 most common motivations for consumers to follow a brand on Twitter involve consumers seeking information from a company.

Intuitively, these finding make sense to me.  But here is an even more interesting fact to consider. I intentionally surround myself with an audience of professional marketing professionals, educators, writers and business executives. I don’t have too many from the Justin Bieber crowd in my Twitter stream. While these statistics are powerful, they may be even more powerful if the sample was taken from MY tribe … or yours.  Certainly something to think about isn’t it?

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