Archive for the 'community' Category

Coca Cola’s House Rules for Blogging

Yesterday I tweeted about Coca Cola’s new corporate blog Coca Cola Conversations. I was deeply impressed by the notion of a company like Coke having a blog open to the public. Then I discovered the House Rules, which went like this:

We want you to leave comments and ask us questions on this blog. However, we will review all comments before they go live, and will not post any that are inappropriate or offensive. We will only post comments that relate to the subjects covered by this blog, and may need to edit some of the comments from time to time. Please understand that comments posted to this site do not represent the opinions of the Company.

After reading my tweet, Luis Vieira over at Think Lola sent me an email, which went like this:

I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with moderating comments – sure in an ideal world you wouldn’t and I strongly believe that online
communities once they reach a certain size and critical mass can quite
 effectively police themselves.
When a blog is starting out, especially one as visible as this one, it will attract its fair share of cranks right out of the gate before the more
thoughtful and sober amongst us (the majority) start to make their presence
felt.

Leaving the comments unmoderated would likely open them up to unforeseen liabilities and almost act as a challenge to unscrupulous individuals. Just because it’s a big bad brand ie: Coke, Nike, McDonalds it seems
everyone taunts them to get all new-agey web 2.0.

People forget that these
are business that contribute significantly to the economies they touch, they
 employee large swaths of the population, sponsor cultural events, and donate huge amounts of money to what most people would consider good causes. Of
course there’s always the flip side of this – after all slagging the Big Bad Brands has been in vogue since oh…. at least 1998


My take on Coke’s House Rules is very simple: it’s like communism.

When I visited Budapest during the iron curtain days, friends and family told me what “it” was like. “It” meant pretty much everything that centred around the censorship that comes with communism. “You can’t say this… can’t say that. You could to jail if someone heard you.”

What you read in the newspapers or saw on the state run TV (there were 2 channels to choose from) wasn’t necessarily the truth: it’s what they wanted you to hear.

This is still happening in many countries unfortunately.

I lived in Budapest for 3 years after the curtain came down. “It” was still engrained in most of the people I met; the fear of someone over hearing what you really wanted to say. I remember going to underground (literally) pubs where the young aristocrats, many of them in advertising, would gather to speak their minds. At times it was like being in the Factory with Andy Warhol et al, but it was always a place where censorship did not exist. People spoke freely and listened freely. It was totally open. No rules.

Perhaps I’m being too literal here, but for a blog to have House Rules goes against the whole reason of listening and conversing.

It shows that a company/brand is not confident in what they are doing, which leads me to ask “Why did they even bother creating a blog?” To play the part? “Look at me… I’m all web 2.0. Ain’t I great?”

They’re doing it on their terms to benefit themselves. No one else.

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Twittering from the Capital C offsite

The other day, as we sat in the Guvernment on those extremely uncomfortable chairs, little did anyone know that the rest of world was listening in. OK, not the entire world. But anyone who cared about what I had to say on Twitter got highlights of that amazing day.

As I sat in my chair, feeling the numbness creep into my behind, I began Twittering from my cellphone; I felt so empowered. Like a reporter from CNN.

My first post (a.k.a. “Tweet”) was about Doug and the purpose of the day’s event. See the bottom of the list in the image below:

Twitter/joeszabo.com

Later on, I Tweeted about Geoff Craig, asking Twitterland: “What’s On Your Highlight Reel?”

There were a few responses from people that follow me or my “Followers”, which you can see I have 28 of. Some of them are fellow Cap C’ers. Others are friends, family and industry experts.

Regardless of who’s following me, the idea is my followers get my Tweets. Some on cellphones; others on a desktop widget like Twitterific. Or on the site www.twitter.com. Some get them on all 3. It depends.

To put this into context, think about our colleagues that could not make it to the offsite that day. Had they been following joeszabo on Twitter, they would have received the updates throughout the day. Heck, some of them could have Tweeted back, egging Tony on about his GO TEAM sign.

On a more serious note, the Los Angeles Fire Department is using Twitter to send updates as fire ravages through Southern California. Even people who have lost their internet connection as a result of losing their home or damage to the city’s infrastructure, they can still be kept up to date: they just have to follow LAFD on Twitter.

Truly amazing times.

Twittering (a.k.a. Micro Blogging) is beginning to take a stronghold. Google recently acquired Twitter’s competition, so if Google is keen (their stock went over the $700 USD mark today) then pretty much the rest of the world will be.

Just give it time.

Toronto loves Facebook

The world’s biggest free standing structure and the world’s biggest underground tunnel network isn’t enough for my hometown of Toronto.  Now the city can boast the world’s biggest Facebook network.  Given its relatively smaller population (among the world’s biggest cities that is), this distinction probably won’t last forever.  The following numbers come from blogger Ryan Feely

City Metro Population Facebook Members
Toronto, Canada 5,113,149 +500,000
London, UK 7,554,236 338,188
New York City 18,818,536 206,228
Chicago 9,505,748 195,410
Vancouver 2,116,581 159,947
Los Angeles 12,950,129 102,130
Calgary 1,079,310 90,859
Philadelphia 5,826,742 90,091
Montreal 3,635,571 82,922
Houston 5,539,949 69,682
San Francisco 4,180,027 48,496

We can only be so social

In pre-internet times, one could say the main currency for advertisers was attention. In today’s web 2.0 world, where you can find virtual communities whose characteristics and interests already align with your brand, the main currency is engagement or how much time are they willing to spend with you. Social networking sites demand a lot of a person’s time; so how many social networks can one take? According to compete.com most people are willing to belong to 3-4 social networks maximum.

Social Network Graph

Building Community

FISKATEERS

A key idea behind web 2.0 is that it’s the community of users that provide the value. And that’s increasingly true for brands. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. A great example can be seen at Fiskateers. They call it Crafting Ambassadors. Nike does an incredible job of tapping into emotion by showcasing the people who lend street “cred” to the brand as well as the people behind the designs at Air Force One.


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