Social Media: It Might Just Save You From Careening Down a Cliff

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous early fall days where you want to be close to the outdoors. I had focused on social media and blogging work enough for the day. Since my parents were visiting and the trees were beginning their change early, we drove into the mountains. We chose a shelf road a.k.a. the "Oh My God Road." The vistas are amazing, the 1,000 foot drops scary. The curviest parts of the road have no guard rail and only one single turn has a well-worn wooden guardrail that as my dad puts it, "Wouldn't hold a chickadee." This was not the time for my brakes to have serious problems.

{insert scary Jaws music}

So of course, the brakes decided this was exactly the time to begin making a screeching metal sound that pretty much ripped the lining from my ear drums.

Luckily the sound was just a warning shot rather than a cannonball.

My fragile brakes held out. Safely on relatively flatter ground we parked to ponder what to do next. My engineer father quickly jumped out, leaping underneath the car to feel the rotors to see if there was much damage. Being far less technical and far more prone to being social, I jumped on my phone sending out a quick tweet about needing a good auto mechanic. Within minutes I had 4 suggestions and within 10 minutes I had an appointment for this morning.

Though social media has become a major communication, marketing and business device in the past few years the stigma of being only good for sharing "what you had for breakfast" still remains.

Still Clinging to 2009?                                                                                                                                  Climb in your time machine and get into 2012. Here are a few facts to help you.

Social Media Saves Lives {Full Contact}

Social Media Facts for Business {Time Magazine}

Find an Lost but Pricey Ticket to the Olympics

You can rationalize your fears, lack of time, say that "face time" is the only way to build a business or any other excuse as a reason why social media doesn't matter but...

You'd be wrong.

Let me tell ya. Social media is a critical communication vehicle in your marketing plan and it's here to stay.  Engage. Capture. Measure. Convert.

Get on it now. If you don't, pretty soon you won't have any money to buy the breakfast you're not sharing on Twitter.

How to Kick Ass at Customer Service

As you get older even if you've had perfect vision, glasses become a necessity. Think about the market for glasses. Just about everyone will need them at some point. But while we need them we still want to look good right? As for me...I'm finally at that point where after a long day (14 hours some days) on the computer means my eyesight is a bit blurry without reading glasses. So, I went to startup Warby Parker

Why I Selected Warby Parker
- Buzz.
They were the talk of the town at SXSW so I figured it would be good to learn more.
- Charity. When you buy a pair they donate a pair of glasses to a needy person.
- Great pricing model. Each pair costs only $95!

What I learned as I ordered my pair was that they're fantastic marketers. The best part of their marketing is that it feels so natural and organic to who they are as a brand. They strike just the right balance between being cool and being too earnest. Of course they have a product that is just ripe for kick ass customer service and yet...they still knock it out of the park.

The Evidence

Video. When I mentioned how excited I was that my very first Warby Parker glasses were coming soon I got this message in reply.

High Touch. They have high-levels of engagement on their facebook page. People consistently post their Home Try-ons with multiple people giving feedback. Warby Parker weighs in on every. single. post.



Sense of Humor. Their April Fool's Day joke was just brilliant, well done and super fun. Take a look yourself.

Yes, this post has far more dogs than it really should. I know, I'm shameless like that. But c'mon. A dog--wearing a monocle? How could I resist?

Community Building Tip #394

While community building has been around as long as our cave dwelling ancestors it's undergone a revival in recent years with the rise of social media. In a more connected world it's both easier--and much harder to build a strong community. People often ask me how I built a strong network--in Boulder within a few months from basically zero and how my Twitter following grew 1000% in less than a year. Let me start with one of the biggest tips.

Don't game the system.

In the Twitter world this looks like following hundreds of people in an attempt to get them to follow you. Once they do--poof! you unfollow them. This is usually done in an attempt to gain followers as well as boost your ratio between followers and following. This is bad, bad, bad. Don't do this. You may build a following in the short term but once people figure out your game you'll lose followers--and credibility. Don't be that guy.

In the professional world this often shows up as  a one-way relationship where you receive or only focus on getting your needs met. You know these people. It's all about me, me, me. And when it's finally your turn it's as if a black hole swallowed them whole and they're off to their next "meeting." Don't do this.  It doesn't engender trust, pisses people off and takes you farther away from your goal. And? When you encounter a professional dark alley like needing a job or new clients--people are much less likely to help you.

So you want to build a strong community?


Take time to understand how the "system" works


complete the cycle of giving and receiving.


P.S. Don't worry. You didn't miss 393 other tips on building community. Since Letterman has already perfected the Top 10 list I thought I'd be just myself and create something different. a community building tip for another day.


Does the Negative Really Work Better?

I woke the other morning to battle lines being erected on Twitter. It was this infographic that caused it all. In a nutshell--it's supposed to help you figure out which type of female tech influencer you are. I'm not sure if the intent was to be humorous, sarcastic, entertaining or what. Whatever the intention there were people strongly on either side of it. Some hated it while some thought it was fun and tweeted which "type" they were. As for me, I thought it was a bit reductionist, not extremely telling, fun and certainly nothing to take seriously. There are way to many other things to think and talk about. It did make me think though about attention and ways to get it. This controversial (or fun depending on your perspective) infographic made lots of waves garnering oodles of attention for the author. We all know the old adage about kids trying to get attention in any way they can be it positive--or negative. And often times negative attention gets more play according to anecdotal and research-based evidence. What do you think?

Is negative attention really better than none at all?

Have you ever been "guilty" of taking the negative approach yourself?