CommuniKate: Social Media Musings – CommuniKATE: Social Media & Other Musings


Co-Creating Value with Customers Through Social Media


As marketers using new media, we are constantly told that social listening is of utmost importance.  We track the conversation, monitor tweets and gather comments from Facebook fan pages, but how many brands truly use these priceless tools for crowd-sourcing?  Utilizing the data collected from people who are conversing about your brand online is fantastic, but that is just the first step.  Being a brand innovator in the social space means stepping out of your comfort zone, being vulnerable and giving customers a little bit of control.  For so long, marketing messages have been blasted to the customer and as two-way conversation has become the primary way to interact with brands, we must realize that if we want campaigns and ideas to work, we must first find out what it is customers want - straight from the horse's mouth.

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One Clever & Honest Campaign: Honest Tea

Today, the organic tea brand Honest Tea has ramped up what is one of the most clever and relevant experiential campaigns of 2011.  The innovative campaign is utilizing real-time activity to question the morality of city pedestrians and feed the results into the social sphere for all to witness.

Pop-up stores have been setup with hidden cameras in 12 cities where passerbyers can choose to put a dollar in a box to pay for a bottle of tea or steal one and walk off.  The cities include NYC, Boston, Philly, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Social Media is the Key to Customer Retention

After reading Bill James' article entitled Why Brands Can Ignore ROI in Online & Social Media for Now, I felt compelled to blog about it.  This is the first social media article that really resonated with me in quite some time.  Having been involved in this new media industry since it began, I've attended conferences and been involved in discussions with people as they were trying to figure out what the meaning behind this new technology was and how it would change business as a whole.  As the article mentions, so much of the discussion behind its use began to lean towards the meaning of engagement between consumer and brand, as well as authentic and transparent conversation by the brands themselves.  While that is important, the seemingly incessant conversation around that topic has grown a bit old as the two-way conversation is now expected.  

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When Community Management Gets Personal….

Proper Community Management on Facebook pages is vital as Facebook continues to grow and the platform serves as the most powerful platform to engage and broadcast content. Now what if a page has been created on Facebook that cannot technically be "owned"? (i.e. town pages, generic hobby pages etc.) Should the same community management guidelines and best practices be applied? Despite the creators of these pages being enthusiastic and passionate fans of the topic for which they began a fan page of, users still expect these pages to not be abused. While a small obscure page created by a 15 year old boy may not gain traction, there are others such as Salem, MA that have gained over 28,000 fans. It is clear that the creator of the page is passionate about the city and broadcasting content that relates to it, but also passionate about his own personal voice and issues being broadcasted.

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Value-Adding People to Follow in 2011

I created a list of fantastic, quality people to follow on Twitter in 2010  and figured it was time again to share a new list (with a few great repeats) of people I admire and learn from online. This list consists of people from all over, who have a variety of different interests and qualities that make them stand out as true thought-leaders in their respective niches.  Twitter is still one of the most accessible and best ways to learn and share online and it is all in who you choose to interact with.  The below people are well-worth the follow & are sure to teach you a thing or two (and give you some entertainment!).


@eric_andersen - Eric Andersen
Technology consultant/architect at IBM in Cambridge MA, enterprise search, social computing; piano, a cappella, cyclist, origami, iPhone; my tweets are my own!

@Leslie - Leslie Poston
Speaker, Emerging Media, Business Dev, Growth, Trust, ENTP, Author,  ♫ ♬ books movies hockey @smbnh @pcnh @dummies @ppmtv, USPS >

@JeffEspo - Jeff Esposito
PR manager @Vistaprint. Fan of NJ Devils, BoSox, Ravens, social media, craft beer, home brewing, good wines/scotch/cigars and having a good ole time.

@MichelleHeath - Michelle A. Heath
Marketer. Blogger. Networker. Fashionista. Hip hopper. Runner. People watcher. Foodie. Life ♥ lover. @Currensee | @thestylisheye

@JanetAronica - Janet Aronica
Community Manager @oneforty. Health nut with a weakness for wine. Bit by the startup bug.

@Britopian - Michael Brito
VP of Social Media @ Edelman Digital. I believe that marketing is good; and if you love your customers they'll love you back and tell others .

@ACowBoysWife - Lori Falcon
Self-Taught Problogger, Social Media Influencer, Tech Nerd. CEO/Founder of - | |

@AdriaRichards - Adria Richards
Organic Technology Consultant. Business Development @Zendesk. Technology trainer @freshworkshops. Free hugs, WordPress, Empowerment + Tech. Conference addict .

@LeeOdden - Lee Odden
CEO @TopRank Marketing. I share online marketing topics flavored with SEO, Content, Social Media & PR topics. Proud dad, consultant, techie, foodie & traveler.

@JoeHall - Joe Hall
I am a web head, code poet, geek, marketer, writer, and artist. I run @WhosTalkin and @22Media.

@Kristy - Kristy Bolsinger
Social Business Consultant with Ant's Eye View. Previously RealNetworks. Need more coffee. I heart ponies, DMB and ninja monkeys. Also tweet for @SMBSeattle Member of Twitter since 2008.

@AmandaGravel - Amanda Gravel
i'm from massachusetts, i live in new york, i'm engaged to @gregverdino, and i work in marketing. just so we're clear: my life is amazing.

@EconWriter5 - Gwynne Monahan
Equal Opportunity Retweeter (EORT).

@Kim - Kim Sherrell
Producer/Director, Tech Personality, Founder of @ArtwalkTV. Interests: New Media, Film, Technology, Art, Design, Comedy, Music, Culture
List Creator...

KateDickman - Follow the list creator: Kate Dickman (@KateDickman)
I'm a people lover, sushi addict, Former Panasonic Comm. Manager + now Lindt Chocolate's (USA) Digital Media Manager. *These opinions separate from theirs*
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Filed under: Twitter 1 Comment

20 Semi-Productive Activities I Do Online

Sometimes we all need a break from the real world. This especially rings true for those who work from home with no real social interaction (I began this list when I did exactly that). Inspired by a great blog I read with the same topic, I decided to write out a list of my online activities. Perhaps one needs to distract themselves with value-adding distractions in order to truly be successful. That discussion is one for another day. In the meantime, here are a list of 20 things I do online when I'm bored, distracted or just plain wanting to:

1. Check Google Reader for the professional and just plain interesting blogs I've subscribed to. (If you don't know the benefit of an RSS reader, find out here.)

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Filed under: Internet Continue reading

Accidental New Blog

I am pretty savvy when it comes to most technical things but admittedly, I’m absolutely clueless when it comes to the backend of websites; servers, hosting etc. With that being said, I enthusiastically decided to switch my blog over to an actual server instead of the default WordPress-hosted one. I did not quite know what I was in for and before I knew it, I was sitting there for days as my blog was down looking things up, scratching my head and needing help.

My hosting-inept self did not know that I would be needing an entirely new WordPress account and basically start over with everything. Finally I received the help I needed and now I sit here with the content imported but a generic WordPress theme and absolutely no time to customize it.

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Old Spice Shirtless Virality!

Old Spice has found the recipe to viral success in their latest video campaign and I must say, "Damn, they're good."  The attractive Isaiah Mustafa - Old Spice's shirtless new phenomenon has been tweeting videos all day long to various people.

Kevin Rose of Digg has received not one video but two.  The second discusses "men-babies" and made me laugh hard at my desk:

He has been quickly producing videos to bloggers, YouTubers and random folks who have asked questions and this immediate, personalized and interactive approach has people loving and sharing which is a recipe for success.

Looking forward to seeing more of his videos.  Will other brands mimic this approach in the future?  Seems like quite an original idea that can be useful if not abused and overdone.

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Facebook Privacy Loophole – You Have No Control Over This One

Every week there is a new article discussing Facebook's lack of respect for privacy. I personally have always known how to use the privacy settings to my benefit and how to truly control what was being seen and who was seeing it. That is... until now. The privacy settings are so complicated that even someone who has been on Facebook for 5 years (myself), cannot figure out what's what at times. I see a problem in that the average user would have even a harder time than I would.

My biggest gripe right now is the following:

I have 2 friends. Say one is Susie and the other is Jessica. Susie and Jessica have no idea who each other are and both of their profiles are private. Susie updates her status on an item that may be considered little inappropriately funny. I too, joke around on her page thinking the conversation is remaining on her page alone. Jessica signs onto Facebook and upon signing in, sees on her mini-feed Susie's entire status update, along with the thread of comments - including my own.

The question is: Why is this happening? How? And to what benefit does Facebook get from impeding on people's privacy this way?

Susie and Jessica do not know each other and as far as I knew, my conversation on her content was left on her page alone. When doing a video comment on a friend's wall one day, another friend of mine from overseas was able to comment on the video and the comment ended up on my other friend's page. This made her feel pretty uncomfortable considering comments from complete strangers on your wall is never a good sign in terms of privacy. I posted a question asking how many people have been able to see my comments on complete strangers' status updates and the amount of people who said they had seen it both baffled and angered me.

With that being said, if you are unaware of a certain setting or two, your updates, photos and more can be broadcasted for complete strangers to see. Additionally, even if you have already changed the setting on your end, you have to be concerned about whose pictures and updates you comment on. If the person posting the update/photo/video doesn't have their own settings changed, your comments will show up on your friends' mini-feeds as well. Something like this will likely prevent people from commenting on different items simply because they're not sure about whose mini-feed it'll show up in, thus defeating the interactive point of Facebook.

It is frustrating that the personalization options of our privacy has decreased week by week on Facebook. I used to prevent certain people (young family members in particular) from being able to see my status updates but wanted them to be able to see everything else. Now Facebook has made it so that if you do not want them seeing your status updates by default, they can never write on your wall in general or see anything you post. Grouping the settings together really gives you the Facebook user less control and ultimately, a less enjoyable experience.

(Here is an example of a photo I commented on of a friend's and how my brother was able to not only view the photo and its comment, but post a comment himself)

I present myself quite well on Facebook most of the time but of course when you think your comments are limited to your friends' profile and they haven't been, one can never feel good about that.   Even with the newest privacy control provisions, the "Everyone" feature is selected by default for profiles when it comes to the visibility of your content and the posts you put on your page.  For Facebook to do this, is shameful.   It is more or less an "opt-out" experience as opposed to the  "opt-in" experience Facebook once was. Now if only there was a true alternative to Facebook... many would probably flee happily. However, Mark Zuckerberg and the gang are aware that so many of us have made it a part of our every-day lives in terms of keeping in contact people from around the world, that we'd rather deal with the privacy issues than give it up altogether.

Now I know there are several rebuttals to all of this and I understand if you want things completely private you could just delete the site, email them personally and so on. However, when the site encourages engagement via status comments, video comments and thensome, you'd simply expect to be able to do exactly that without the world seeing every word you post. Each person has a different relationship and way of speaking to various people in their lives. You wouldn't talk the same way to your grandmother as you would your best friend but having to put a generic facade to appease each group of people in your life while personally interacting with everyone is just ridiculous. You shouldn't have to jump through hoops just to have a similar positive experience that you had on the site years ago.

To do a quick audit of your Facebook privacy settings, visit

Also to join a good Facebook page that discusses these issues, visit here.

To avoid having your status updates show up on strangers' mini-feeds, do the following: ACCOUNT -> PRIVACY SETTINGS, choose the Top setting and set POSTS BY ME to ONLY FRIENDS.

[polldaddy poll=3216562]

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My Time As Community Manager for Panasonic’s

My time as Community Manager for Panasonic's has sadly come to an end. We are parting ways but I will still be an active participant of the community! Being able to get my hands dirty in Community Management about a year and a half ago when this kind of job wasn't necessarily recognized as a needed role by many, was quite the learning experience. I was able to truly learn the ins and outs of serving as a liaison between a brand and its consumers - both potential and current. Putting your name, image and voice out there on the front lines can be difficult for many but was easy for me as I always remained passionate about the brand and its offerings.

While serving as community manager, things became very personal for me. Many of the members I developed authentic friendships with; ones that will continue indefinitely. In saying this, I believe that having someone who can truly connect with your customers as well as humanize the brand is vital. As a community manager, one receives messages of kindness, anger and even personal messages. There can be a gray area when dealing with members but it is up to the individual who has been entrusted with such responsibility to find that middle ground without crossing any lines; a ground that will best represent the brand while maintaining a good reputation and overall online rapport. I was able to meet such dynamic individuals and make connections that will last me a lifetime. Additionally, I got to work with one of the best companies that exists. Thankfully, crayon (now known as Powered) had enough faith in me to bring me on board to begin with and for that, I thank them endlessly. Being chosen to represent a worldwide brand and their new effort was a surprising honor for me. I served many hats during the process and was able to not only partake in the community side of things but also other efforts that included marketing, outreach and more.

I can genuinely say that I love Panasonic and its customers. I truly do. I may not be the Community Manager anymore but I certainly will always be an avid fan.

Thank you to everyone whom I've had the honor of meeting during this fantastic experience!

(Below is my official goodbye video:)

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