Facebook vs press conference?

I came across this via @TreeHugger (one of the top – and my fav – green blogs out there) on my Facebook status updates and was inspired to post. So Michael Pollan, of Omnivore’s Dilemma fame, is apparently helping publicize a new documentary that he appears in, Food, Inc. I recently caught a live interview with him on KQED (local public radio in SF)’s “It’s Your World” segment, which I tweeted about. But today his publicizing takes a social media twist: he’ll be live chatting on Facebook about food and food politics.

Michael Pollan (via @TakePart)

Michael Pollan (via @TakePart)

It’s getting a TON of buzz on Twitter already. (The TakePart site this is posted on, by the way, is really cool and seemingly has great presence on social media sites).

I think this is a really great idea. We actually came up with a similar idea in a brainstorm for a client project (that was later cut, unfortunately) and I still think it holds water for client work. Instead of flying all your execs out for a (boring) press conference, why not invite attendees to listen to a webcast broadcast via Facebook/Twitter/choose-your-own-platform, and allow attendees to chat/respond via these vehicles?

I think it’s an awesome idea. Have you proposed something similar? How did it go?

Mean time, I will be listening to Pollan’s latest take on the food revolution today at 3pm PDT!

Happy Fourth of July weekend, all!!

Hey Post-It: Why Haven’t You Posted This?

When a video surfaced on YouTube in April featuring Domino’s employees doing some rather disgusting things to customers’ orders, it made all of us not only cringe, but reflect on how we, as communicators, might respond to a similar situation.  Plenty of bright folks have already weighed in with great advice on the lessons learned from that catastrophe.

So how should we respond when a video surfaces on a channel like YouTube that doesn’t intend to damage our brand, but to celebrate it?

Such is the case in this recent video from Bang-yao Liu, a student at the Savannah College of Art who used 3M Post-It Notes and some rather clever stop motion animation techniques to create his senior art project, a stunning video shown here:

The video has racked up more than 3,600 Diggs, is spreading like wildfire on Twitter, and is posted all over the blogosphere.  So far, it seems like just about everyone who watches it feels compelled to somehow share this amazing piece of art.

Everyone, that is, except for 3M.

Sure, just the attention this video has already generated is no doubt a big success for the company and they should be thrilled.  But why not take it a step further by engaging with the video’s creator and the thousands of people who have responded so favorably to it? Why not:

  • Embed the videos somewhere on the Post-It home page?
  • Share the video with the group of 2,000+ Post-It advocates on Facebook?
  • Reach out to Liu and politely request an opportunity to create a behind-the-scenes mini-documentary that illustrates how he created the video? (My first reaction to the video was probably the same as yours: “How the heck did he do that, and how long did that take?!” I’d definitely watch a short documentary. Wouldn’t you?)
  • Launch a contest encouraging other artists to create similar videos? Perhaps the winning video is incorporated into an upcoming ad campaign?

From what I can tell, 3M hasn’t yet taken any of these steps.

I’ll turn it over to you. What am I missing? How else should 3M capitalize on this opportunity?

[Kudos to Zach_ManchesterUK for the photo above]

Twitter Search is Going 2.0

twittersearch3Twitter Search is one of the most critical tools in my research arsenal.  At times, it’s much more useful than the mighty Google, especially when it comes to checking the pulse of a developing story or trend.

But it’s often difficult to wade through the deluge of tweets generated by a Twitter Search and make sense of the chatter.

That could be changing soon.

CNET’s Rafe Needleman, among others, recently spoke to Twitter’s Santosh Jayaram, the new VP of operations, and reported yesterday on two pending Twitter Search features that could make the tool much more useful:

…Twitter Search, which currently searches only the text of Twitter posts, will soon begin to crawl the links included in tweets and begin to index the content of those pages.


Twitter Search will also get a “reputation” ranking system soon, Jayaram told me. When you do a search on a “trending” topic–a topic that is so big it gets its own link in the Twitter.com sidebar–Twitter will take into account the reputation of the person who wrote each tweet and rank the search results in part based on that.

No word on when these new features will go live. In the meantime, this begs a few questions:

  • When Twitter starts indexing URLs, how will Google respond?
  • How will Twitter Search determine the “reputation” of a user? By their number of followers or retweets? Needleman reports the decision is still in the works, but it’ll be interesting to see if users find ways to game the system.
  • Since Twitter plans to index links, will the new search also include a tool similar to Backtype Connect, which tracks the Twitter conversation around any given link? (A very useful tool for PR, by the way.)

What do you think? What will happen when Twitter Search goes 2.0?

End results of the Burrito campaign – PDX

Many of you heard me tell this story on a team call in December, but wanted to share the final results because there are quite a few lessons to be learned about social media and PR.

Quick background: my friend Aaron, worried about his mom’s bookstore in Portland with the troubled economy and projected all-time-low retail holiday spending season, posted on his blog that he would offer a burrito to anyone who spent $50 at her store. He set the date – Jan 16 – for a “burrito party,” as he’d be returning home to Portland for a visit that weekend, and he put the wheels in motion on his blog, encouraging people to “shop local” during the holidays. He linked to the blog post on Twitter and his Facebook profile – where the story seemed to quickly grow legs.

Within a day, he says he had about 400 more views than normal at the blog. In a few more days, he saw local news blogs pick up the story, calling it “heartwarming.” Then the local broadcast news station picked up the story, interviewing his mother in her store on the Portland evening news. The Portland Mercury (like SF Bay Guardian or SF Weekly – event listings) wrote an article and just last week, The Oregonian reported on the story, following the burrito collection party.

Image courtesy The Oregonian

Aaron, friends and owner of Cha Cha Cha in Portland, OR. Image courtesy The Oregonian

 Some lessons (in my mind) to be learned from this:

  1. Twitter is a rapid-fire way to engage response and action
  2. Journalists do read Twitter and blogs – even personal ones, it would seem – for news sources
  3. A personal/local story makes personal/local news

Oh – and smart PR pays off: Aaron was offered a job in the marketing department at Birkenstock, where he previously worked on customer support/analytics, by the CEO after he caught wind of the “campaign.” The exec also asked my friend for advice on social networking (I assume he’s caught wind of the Zappos guy’s success).

Not bad traction for a quick, pleading blog posting, eh? :)


Aaron’s other new media success since moving to SF:

Meets Guy Kawasaki randomly at airport AFTER having worked with him to create shoes.alltop.com, per a suggestion Aaron sent Guy on Twitter; Guy then mails him signed copy of his book.

Classic right place, right time – but also adding the right idea!