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What Does Social Media Mean To You? With Connie Reece, Luc Debaisieux, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan

04/26/2008

What Does Social Media Mean To You? is a continuing video series of Little Sound Bites of thoughts and  insights. Perhaps you'll be on the little Flip video next time we meet!

Today's tapa-bits are complements of four people, from Texas, Belgium, Australia and Iowa, who came together to celebrate a global community of friendships with 80+ others at Blogger Social.

Connie Reece Every Dot Connects and Twitter Diva is the Principal at Reece & Company.

Sound Bite Social Media is ...
The media is the tools and technology that allows everyone to be a publisher.
The social part is it's all about the relationships.

Luc Debaisieux, Mind Blob, is Head of TV for JWT Group Belgium.
Luc's finger puppet metaphor explanation of social media is a must see.
Sorry for the lighting.

Sound Bite Social Media is ..
Listening to each other where ever we are and connecting to each other.
Just humans talking to each other.

Gavin Heaton, Servant of Chaos, came from down under, Australia, to see "the friends I never met." Gavin is the Education Business Development Manager at SAP America Inc.

Sound Bite Social Media is ..


Social media is all about people. I have a lot of friends who I never met. When we come together face-to-face we don't need to worry about if we're going to get along, we know we are and it's beautiful.

Captain Drew McLellan, Drew's Marketing Minute, is the Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group.

 

Sound Bite Social Media is ..
To really engage and get to know people on an individual level.
Social media is a tool for all of us to connect.

 

Friday Fun: Flip To Blogger Social 2008

04/25/2008

Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

CK said I had to go. But it would be taking time and $ from the budget. Marianne said I had to go. But I might have a project due. Drew said I had to go. CB and Ann and Lori said so too. But what about if .. if.. if..

When I heard that Susan Bird Tim Brunelle Katie Chatfield Matt Dickman Luc Debaisieux Gianandrea Facchini Mark Goren Gavin Heaton Sean Howard CK Valeria Maltoni Drew McLellan Doug Meacham Marilyn Pratt Steve Roesler Greg Verdino CB Whittemore Steve Woodruff Paul McEnany Ann Handley David Reich Tangerine Toad Kristin Gorski Mack Collier David Armano Ryan Barrett Lori Magno Tim McHale Gene DeWitt Mario Vellandi Arun Rajagopal Joseph Jaffe Rohit Bhargava Anna Farmery Marianne Richmond Thomas Clifford Lewis Green Geoff Livingston Kris Hoet Connie Reece CeCe Lee Toby Bloomberg Seni Thomas Darryl Ohrt Joe Kutchera Paul Dunay Marshall Sponder Chris Kieff Tara Anderson Jason Falls Paul Soldera Roberta Rosenberg Saul Colt Todd Andrlik Nathan Snell Ryan Karpeles Mike Sansone Jennifer Laycock Neil Vineberg Cam Beck Mike Arauz Matthew Bailey Heather Gorringe John Rosen Cathleen Rittereiser Tamar Weinberg Rita Perea Linda Sherman Matthew McDonald Kaitlyn Wilkins Terry Starbucker Jennifer Berk Jane Quigley John Wall Scott Monty Kevin Horne Virginia Miracle Amanda Gravel Susan Reynolds David Polinchock Shashi Bellamkonda David Berkowitz and Vahe Habeshian were going to be there I "let" CK talk me into going to New York City last month to attend Blogger Social 2008 ...to meet "old friends."

It was the most amazing, magical weekend with conversations starting in the middle of paragraphs, as you would expect would happen with "old friends." Take a look at the fun ..

Valeria Maltoni in a NYC Taxi (volume is low .. sorry)

Until Blogger Social 2009 CK blows kisses ..

Thank you CK and Drew for a weekend of memories that will last until we meet again.

wowOwow! with CEO Joni Evans

04/24/2008

Wowowow_logo It's always a delight, and sometimes a surprise, where blogging can take you and who you might meet along the way.

This week's adventures in social media led me to interviewing (The Real Women of WowOWow Tell Their Stories) four amazing women - Mugsy Peabody, Iris Odonata, Suzanne de Cornelia and Suzanne Conti - who reached out to me about a post (Girlfriends Just Want To Have Fun .. Social Media Style!) I wrote about several new communities targeting women. By the way the comments are worth a click.

I felt the vintage vixens' feedback was valuable, in-depth, research for wowOwow and I wanted to help these women reach the founders. So .. I dropped an email, via the site's contact us form, with hope that it would make its way and wowOwow might benefit from their community members' insights. Joni_evans

Joni Evans, CEO of wowOwow, responded to me. Athough she declined an interview for Diva Marketing she graciously agreed to let me post our email volley where she tells a bit about her vision of for wowOwow and how she is listening to the convo. Thanks Joni .. next step is to encourage your peeps to really engage with the wow women. Btw .. still don't get why they don't oh well ..

Sidebar: Click to expand the graphics

Wowowow_joni_evans_4



Joni_evans_6

Read more in the NYT interview with Joni Evans, Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl and Whoopi Goldberg conducted by Joan Juliet Buck who is a contributor of wowOwow.

It's Not Easy Being Clean .. Opps .. Green

04/22/2008

Earth_day Earth Day was once a quaint little holiday. Almost four decades later April 22nd has become a day that combines education with celebration. From the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' week long Party for the Planet, complete with marketing sponsorship opportunities to a benefit Shred-a-Thon for the Farmington River Watershed Association in Connecticut to hundreds of events in almost every city, town and school Earth Day sometimes has the feel of a Hallmark Holiday. From a marketer's view point that type of exposure certainly creates grass root awareness. Earth Day 2008 Event Calendar

As my friend Mary Clare Hunt preaches it will be Wall Street, not government, that will turn the tides when it comes to impacting "eco friendly" behavior. Business, including venture capital firms, are beginning to put a lot of green lettuce, and we're not talking salad stuff, in support of environmental initiatives. WSJ reports that VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is devoting about one-third of its $700 million investment portfolio to green technology e.g., alternative fuels, fuel-efficient devices.

Mike Italiano, MTS CEO, in a detailed post on MTS' Smart Solutions For Sustainable Business blog, tells us that Green Building Investment Underwriting Standards are expected to add an estimated $1 trillion/year to the global economy after five years.

Mike's post includes a comprehensive list of companies that are involved in the Capital Markets Partnership program. Major cities such as Chicago, New York and Dallas are working along side of high profiled financial institutions JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase CitiGroup Smith Barney. Bloggy disclaimer: I've worked with MTS on the blog.

In the direct to consumer side, grocery stores like Publix and Whole Foods Market are getting into the act with extensive green initiatives. Dell's regeneration goes a step further and incorporates social media involving customers by giving them a platform to express their vision and ideas of how to "clean it up." These type of programs can't help but influence purchase behavior.

Social media is making an impact too. According to research from Nielsen Online protecting the environment has become increasingly important to consumers, with online buzz around sustainability growing 50 percent in 2007. "...consumers are becoming increasingly vocal online about the  issue of sustainability... Blogger attention to... issues like pollution, toxins and sustainable agriculture reveal an important intersection between personal health and environmental wellness." Jessica Hogue, research director, Nielsen Online.

As we're seeing "Green" has morphed into a cool marketing strategy. However, Nielsen's research cautions businesses to be careful how products/ are positioned and promoted. Nielsen_sustainability_2_2 "Consumers expect consistency in action and authentic and transparent messaging."

That's not to say that if your organization is doing good why not let your customers know and reap a few atta girl sales. It's not easy being clean .. opps .. green. Thank you to the companies that are working to keep our earth green and our skies blue.


Read More

WSJ Special Report - Environmental Capital
Earthday.gov
Smart Solutions For Sustainable Business
Big Green Purse 
Diva Marketing Talks About Green Marketing With Mary Clare Hunt and Ginny Dyson

Wecai_trust_cover_2_2WE Earth Day Issue - Congrats! to Mary Clare Hunt for being the lead story and the Diva cover girl! Toss of a pink boa .. or should it be green .. to publisher Heidi Richards WE.


Friday Fun: The "Real" Women of WowOWow Tell Their Stories

04/18/2008

Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Wowowow_logo Today's Friday Fun is being turned over to Mugsy, Iris, Suzanne and Suzanne, a few of the women who are the heart of the the WowOWow - Women on the Web site. However, Girlfriend, they are not the founders (media celebrities: Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans). Nor are they are paid employees. Nor are they are formal volunteers. In fact, they have had little to no interaction with the women who launched WowOWow. And that was what mystified and intrigued me.

A little background .. early this week I wrote a post about three social networking communities, Dove, Shine by Yaoo! and WowOWow - Women on the Web, that are targeting women .. and not only "mommy bloggers." A couple of the WowOWow women reached out to me to tell me their reasons for being involved and committed to a community where the founders/contributors seldom engage with their peeps.

I had several reasons for this post. I wanted to share these four amazing women with the Diva Marketing community; and in doing so, give them a platform to tell their stories about their WowOWow experiences. The learnings about how to build social networking community is evolving and we continue to learn from each other.

At first I thought the post might find its way to the ladies who lunch, the founders, and perhaps help them understand/encourage them to be more "social" within their own community. However, as the emails flew back and forth among the vintage vixens (Iris' term .. love it!) and myself I began to understand these smart, savvy women had created their own community. They didn't need, nor were they really interested in, extensive interaction with the founders (altho I'm sure it would be nice).

Organically they have assumed the role of community managers. As anyone who has been involved in online community knows influence grows with interaction. The vintage vixens want to be involved in the development of what they consider to be "their community." It would be wise of WowOWow to listen and engage directly with these women.

It with pleasure that I turn Diva Marketing over to Mugsy Peabody, Iris Odonata, Suzanne de Cornelia and Suzanne Conti

Mugsy_peabody_2 Mugsy Peabody

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Mugsy Peabody:

When else in history have women over 40 been actively asked to express their opinions about anything in public? 

I mean, since Seneca Falls, which was when?  1848?  I have always been interested in what women say when they are in a space to speak safely and honestly about their lives. Reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen on the farm, when the men were off somewhere, and the women were cooking together, telling the truth about their lives because they knew they would be heard.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site? 
Mugsy Peabody: What I found lots of women like me out there. It helps with the cosmic loneliness of having Mensa IQ without an interest in hanging out with a bunch of snobbish winos who smoke too much.

I really am amazed that the wowowow people didn't realize we'd want to get in touch with each other and build community.

But most of them don't just make friends with folks; they get handed "suitable" people by others to evaluate, so they probably wouldn't know what the rest of us do to hook up. Like George Sr. not knowing what a grocery scanner is.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Mugsy Peabody: Good conversation is one of the great rewards for dressing up our eternal souls in this human suit and lugging this corporal body about the planet for whatever alloted years we have.  It's a skill I learned early on, growing up in a family not unlike J.D. Salinger's Glass family.  Three brothers (one actually a rocket scientist) and parents whose brains were incandescent, and an adopted sister who glowed with smart genes.  My sister-in-law is a big shot techie at NASA, e.g.  All sorts of people used to gather at our house just for such conversation. 

So I get some of that juice from the wowowow site -- not necessarily from the contributors or the owners (two separate sets of people) but from the posts of these amazing women who are sharp enough to have found the wowowow site in its beta state.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos?
Mugsy Peabody: For starts, the authors aren't necessarily the most interesting women on www.wowowow.com. (And I think that really surprised them!) So we're not really talking with them alone.  Certainly if they want to join in, fine. Second, I'm honing my "voice" for my own web efforts, retrieving my humor writing skills.  I must say, I've been really touched and gratified by the reception I've received in this community. And, third, who knows?  The WowOWow women might just learn something from the rest of us.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Mugsy Peabody: Make it really interesting for us.  For example, we loved Joan Julia Buck's piece on Ms. Streep.  And Jane Wagner's Care-Toons on the earth were so fabulous.  Women over the age of 40 are some of the most experienced, inciteful, "smart" folks on the planet.  Even though retired "soccer  moms" are routinely ignored as being an interesting demographic, that is a serious error, a blind spot on the radar, because those women are the best organizers we have, and they determine where the household dollars get spent.

I know Ms. Tomlin can get down with "just folks," but I seriously wonder how many of these people are democrats with a small 'd'. And, P.S., for godzakes, don't try to BS us, because we have BS radar for days.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Mugsy Peabody: Hire me to help them get on track. Just one example: Whoopi Goldberg is the only women of color on the masthead, and she hasn't bothered to fill in her profile. Of course, that gets "read" as them saying, at the last minute, "Oh, we'd better get Whoopi, cause we'll drop a big piece of the audience if we're all white." (Well, guess what, ladies?  The whole dern rest of the country is actually serious about pluralism!  [Ms. Tomlin's support of Richard Prior earns her a lifetime street cred on this issue.]) 

And of course, they've already dropped the Asian demo -- and trust me, that's where their lack of inclusion will hurt them, cause my Asian-American friends drop more cash at Tiffany's and on designer bling bling than anyone else I know.  As to today's blunder of talking about how they "confuse" their "hired help" with "friends," oh, well, where do you even start with that? Hire me. I'm worth my weight in gold.

A little about Mugsy Peabody

I'm 61 years old, and live in Oakland, California. I've lived in the Bay Area since I came here with flowers in my hair, 38 years ago, and used to play pass tag on the Golden Gate Bridge with Janis Joplin.  While I may walk a little slow, I still have god's own rock and roll in my soul. I don't disclose much personal information on the net, since what I have to offer here is my written stuff, and you've already got that. My beta blog site, Mugsy Peabody Online, first posting.
Sidebar: Mugsy's writing is absolutely as refreshing, funny and as smart as you would expect!

Iris_odonata Iris Odonata

Greetings Miss Toby:

Where to start, where to start. Saw Mary, Leslie, Liz and Joni interviewed by Diane Sawyer on GMA at very beginning of site launch. Decided to visit and see what was up. Had only posted infrequently on a couple of other sites. Got drawn in by the idea of us vintage vixens having a forum for our voices. I have been awaiting this source of energy finally finding it's spark ...

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis? 

Iris Odonata: You have and you must admit there are some of the most erudite contributors. Smart, funny, irreverent, brilliant, giving, educational and generous. Paying it forward and helping each other evolve. I am not speaking just of the Masthead Mavens.  I am speaking of us just regular folks.  This is Upstairs/Downstairs, Gosford Park stuff. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?   
Iris Odonata: Same reason I read on continuous basis. Plus, if I can get to half of Suzanne de or Mugsy or The Old Crone's brain power.  These women are mentors in a way I could never have dreamed possible.  I always knew I would be late bloomer.  These AMAZING! woman are a gift. 

This is accelerated, cut-the-crap, no nonsense practical and pragmatic information on just about any subject you could possibly want. Suzanne de may just single-handedly jump start activism again. That woman is one force to be reckoned with. Plus, there is "culture" being discussed. Gaudi/Gehry. Feadships? Learned something new on that one. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Iris Odonata:  Learning, teaching, being. Nice to be asked to the table. We've discussed the disappearing bees.  Me thinks they are in our bonnets.  This site is thought provoking and endearing, humbling and hubris busting.  X marks the spot.  X chromosome that is and this site will not only earn gadzillions, it'll let the boys in power know (who might be trying to learn their opponents weaknesses) swarm behavior is unpredictable.  Swarm goes where the queen goes and each of us is a queen.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos?
Iris Odonata: Yes that is a big question.  Do they care? Don't they?  Set the cat among the pigeons, eh?  I think they'll end up with the precise focus group they want as us "first posters" start make off-line contact. We may become more watchdoggish ourselves. 

The Ladies who started this aren't really in control of it. They just own it and it's going to go where it goes.

I e-mailed Mugsy this a.m. and said this site is deliciously layered, just like Baklava. There are many many threads in this web. The convo twixt the foursome yesterday, will be read much differently "those" of their "echelon."  Made me think of the famous Cavafy poem, "Barbarians At The Gate."

I don't want anyone dying to get a peep like me active in convo. This site has taught me that 54 years on the planet now comes with a users fee.  So yeah, make it worth my while.  Either compensate me financially or engage me emotionally. If it ain't got heart, I ain't interested.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Iris Odonata: Get this thing more organized ASAP.  We need a venue just for continual/ongoing conversation, seperate from the content exploration of daily question or brand promo.  I think they get that they are not dealing with dummies, irregardless of our educational/geographical backgrounds. They also need to be upfront as to why they want our input. You yourself are probably receiving scads of useful information here so you can advise your clients as how to best capture their market share.

A little about Iris Odonata's

Iris Odonata's bio....I am writing her memoirs now. I let you know when they are ready for publication. Sidebar: Yes, Iris please let me know when your memoirs are ready for blogging! Love your phrase vintage vixens also!

Suzanne_de_cornelia Suzanne de Cornelia:

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Suzanne de Cornelia: I admire the founders' highly successful media careers, and that now in their 50s-80s they are undertaking an entrepreneurial venture. I wanted to be at the party.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?
Suzanne de Cornelia: As a former designer I find the clean architectural look and white/black/red scheme appealing and snazzy. The content is well organized and runs the gamut of glitzy fun to topical and serious. It forces you to reexamine your beliefs.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why the active, very consistent participation in not only adding comments but engaging other women in conversation?
Suzanne de Cornelia: Three reasons really. 1) I'm very sporty and techy and just shattered my foot and am confined to bed-rest. So the chatty site is a godsend. 2) I've been an activist and involved in major projects my
entire life, and like to help grow things and to support and also challenge other women. 3) Because my novel "French Heart" will be out the end of the year and I'm also relocating to France I want to develop an online network. The women who've thus far emailed me from the site are Francophiles like me, including a writer who lives in Provence where I'm headed.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos.
Suzanne de Cornelia: Theoretically, I'm partly using the site as a focus group for my book, and building word-of-mouth. In practice I wind up shooting myself in the foot by feeling obligated to respond to factually false responses on things like unregulated derivatives trading and how it propelled the foreclosure crisis,
then wind up pulling freight for free. The founders need to either become more involved in the conversations, or hire a moderator. When Mary Wells said on Charlie Rose that they are spending all their time on this, I thought, "Hello?!" I know nothing compels me to do it besides some feeling of responsibility in me when I see something posted that demands an affirmation, acknowledgement, or correction.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Suzanne de Cornelia: Match the site to a passionate market. The political, celebrity, society gossip, wine blogs, and other specialty sites from cats to Joan of Arc garner that kind of readership. Look at the Top 100 Blogs on Technorati and the Yahoo Groups for clues. Mainly I think it is something that you need a real passion for yourself otherwise you'll burn out.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Suzanne de Cornelia: The most popular class at Harvard today states the recipe for happiness is finding activity that is pleasurable and purposeful. From what I gather, WoW will be making some technical adjustment
to make maneuvering through the site more pleasurable, and will be developing the Change the World section in a manner that will make visitors feel more purposeful. Those two things will really add to the site. However, there's a certain dissonance the founders need to clarify: They write about their lives tooling around glitzy locales, attending First Nights with celebs, sponsors are high-end, and the weekly financial column is a summation of trends that would benefit those with hefty well-portfolios. But when hundreds of readers responded to an economy-related question they clearly wanted pragmatic advice.

There's a dichotomy between the demographic they want to attract, and the one that is showing up and demanding they be more diverse and inclusive.

Sidebar: The Change the World section launched on Thursday. It's my understanding this was one of the first times when the vintage vixens were asked their opinions about how a feature should be developed. The energy and excitement of helping to create the site comes through loud and clear in comments.

A little about Suzanne de Cornelia: I managed $1 billion in major design and construction for Fortune 100 firms and top universities. Then an accident cost me $700K and my 20-year career. I retrained in the UCLA writing
program, wrote my novel, and live in San Francisco where I belong to two Web 2.0 groups.
Sidebar: Suzanne authors a delightful site My French Heart.

Suzanne_conti Suzanne Conti

Toby/Diva Marketing: What attracted you to read WoWoWow on a continuous basis?
Suzanne Conti: The caliber of the women contributing their comments - they were well informed, witty and I felt similar enough in views and characteristics to mine that we could have a real discussion of kindred souls. I enjoyed the amount of differences and new aspects in thoughts presented that stimulated serious consideration on my part on the issues. There was enough common ground to relate to each other, but not so much as to be clones.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you like best about the site?
Suzanne Conti: That this site brought me together and allowed me to meet and have dialog with these fascinating accomplished blogging women who have and continue to make an impact on the world. I am not a “lunch” lady - I have been too busy working at a demanding career. But I do want to join with other women to make a difference.

The whole sexism issue coming back to light with Hillary’s campaign has raised my hopes that the activism of my generation of women would be reignited. Since I started my lawsuit against my employer in 2004 for glass ceiling, unequal pay I have been deeply disappointed (not surprised though)  in women’s lack of willingness to do anything about their oppression – other than whine. I have also witnessed women’s unwillingness to support other women, to unite for progress. I was hoping this Wow site would be a mechanism to unite women willing to finish the women’s liberation we started decades ago.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The big question .. why do it when the WowOWow authors seem not to be paying attention to the convos.
Suzanne Conti
:

I am not a celebrity chaser and really could care less if they join in the conversations. I am there to talk with other women of substance who log on. These women have renewed my faith in humanity. I had no idea such thinking witty women were out there since I have spent most of my life in a male world of work as well as at home – brothers, husbands, sons.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give people building communities who would die for peeps like you who organically take an active role in the conversation?
Suzanne Conti: It is all about the quality of the conversation, I am too busy to invest time reading and blogging back to small minded people and have no interest in just chatting – I am a doer- that is how I have achieved all that I have in my life I am not an idle chatter. 

My husband is highly accomplished and my sons – one got a full ride scholarship to University of Michigan’s medical school and the other got a major scholarship to an art college on the east coast and was honored at Carnegie Hall for winning art awards, he also won an award that sent him to France for 3 weeks to study art there. I do not want to discuss what I sleep in and how many people I have slept with - Career women concerned about their professional reputation do not discuss such crap.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What one piece of advice would you give to the founders?
Suzanne Conti: Reduce to a minimum - the gossip Cosmo type trivial articles or come out and tell the bloggers what your vision and mission statement is so we know if we are in line with your goals. Recently, I am beginning to feel WowOWow is an oxymoron – wanting intelligent, accomplished, women of substance to log in and then they present such trivial, gossip, superficial topics. In all honesty I had my concerns when I saw Liz Smith was one of the founders, but had no idea she was going to be the dominant celebrity contributor – and apparently nobody crosses Liz Smith!

A little about Suzanne Conti: At a time when women were traditionally in administrative positions Suzanne  spent the majority of her career in a management positions in the male dominated auto industry. True to her husband's assessment of her as triple A type personality Suzanne was even the youngest buyer at a major Big 3 company .

Pink_boa In this world of social media we continue to learn together. Toss of a pink boa to Mugsy, Iris, Suzanne and Suzanne!

Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans .. here's the secret .. you may have jump started the convos but you are not the heart of your own community.

My advise .. hire these amazing women to continue doing what they have been doing  .. building community. Let the vintage vixens know that you are listening and involve the community in the creation process. It might be nice if you reached out in the digital world and in the offline world. However, a bit sadly, that's not really necessary.

Girlfriends Just Want To Have Fun .. Social Media Style!

04/15/2008

Question: What does Dove soap, Yahoo!, a comedian - Whoopi Goldberg, a TV journalist - Lesley Stahl, and a gossip columnist - Liz Smith have in common?

Answer: They are tapping the hottest demographic trend in social media networking .. YOU. Me. Us. Girlfriend! 

Blogherlogo Recently BlogHer and Compass Partners co-sponsored a primary research study that provides some much needed insights about women who blog and women who read blogs. The findings were presented at BlogHer Business earlier this month. A few interesting stats from the survey. Among the respondents who participated (blah blah blah):

  • 36.2 million women write and read blogs every week
  • Approximately half consider blogs a “highly reliable” or “very reliable” source of information and advice about everything from products to presidential candidates.
  • 24 percent of women surveyed say they now watch less television because they are blogging instead.
  • 55% would give up alcohol
  • 50% would give up their PDAs
  • 42% would give up their i-Pod
  • 43% would give up reading the newspaper or magazines
  • BUT, some things are sacred … only 20% would give up chocolate!

Sidebar: PowerPoint of the study is posted at BlogHer. The link is at the end of the post.

Small wonder that w
ithin the last few weeks several social media networking sites, targeted to women, were launched by Dove, Yahoo! and a group of women celebrities. Take a sip of your skinny latte, I prefer my vanilla, and let's explore what these new sites have to offer US.

Dove

Dove_community After it's successful Campaign For Real Beauty Dove (Unilver) became the darling of the marketing/advertising/pr world. The no-make-up-beauty-is-in-the-heart campaign also resonated with  its target audience. Working with Ogilvy North America Dove is partnering with MSN to create dove.msn.com/

  • Our goal is to become a global leader and a true digital media force by completely redefining the digital experience for women worldwide. We can do this by leveraging the Dove "real beauty" credentials -- our philosophy, compelling content and product offerings. Kathy O'Brien, marketing director Dove North America Money Central

The site is heavily branded including free product samples.  Blogs, columns, discussions seem to blur together. Didn't see much participation or comments but it's early in the game. There is def lots to do on the site including games for tweens and social media profiling, ask the experts columns and product info. Demo target seems run from young girls to moms to women in general. A frustration for me was the content is "locked" ..  can not be copied and pasted. Not very 'social.' 

Big Question: Can Dove leverage the Campaign for Real Beauty concept and goodwill to create a community where women will feel comfortable and want to participate? Can you be all things to all peeps .. from young teens/tweens to 20-something, 30-something, ?-something?

Shine Shine - Yahoo!

My first impression of Shine was .. a slick publication. There are nine categories including fashion, beauty, parenting, health, love and sex, food.  Shine editors are responsible for content development. In addition blogs and articles are pulled from Yahoo!'s other lifestyles publishers (including male writers). Community members can add their comments and digg, del.icio.us, stumble, technorait and buzz up the post.

Shine is targeting the 25-54 audience - .. a highly sought-after demographic for advertisers. From a Yahoo! news article a new buzz word for this demo - Chief Household Officer. Wonder what Susan or Marianne or Jeneane would think of their new title (wink!)?

  • We didn’t want to be a site just for moms or just for single women or working women, or any specific demo- or psychographic. We wanted to create a smart, dynamic place for women to gather, get info and to connect with each other and the world around them. Shine About Us Page

Big Questions: Can Yahoo! turn the "slick shine" down a notch or two? Can you be all things to all peeps .. from  20-somethings to 50-somethings?

Sidebar: Toss of a pink boa to Yahoo!for reaching out to women around the U.S., bloggers and not, asking for feedback about Shine. I was looking forward to attending the session in Atlanta, alas! my hot water heater had other plans for me. I won't go into details except to say walking on squishy carpet is not a fun thing. Back in Skinny Jeans attended in CA and has a great post about her experience.

Wowowow_logo WowOWow - The Women On The Web

Here's the deal - you're smart, you're successful, you're rich, you're 40+ and you "know everybody." You want to make money, be an entrepreneur, get involved with something new on the web. Your journalist friend is complaining she is getting cut from 5-days a week to 3-days. Another chum wants to write more than about politics.

Over lunch an idea is born. Together you'll create a site where you can talk to your friends and invite other accomplished 40+ women to the conversation. It doesn't hurt that you and your girlfriends can each invest $200k or a total of a cool $1 million. You knock on your friend Tiffany's and Sony's doors for a few ads and launch a "ladies who lunch site."

Snippets from Charlie Rose's Interview with the founders: Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Mary Wells and Joni Evans

Charlie Rose - When you say geared to women over 40 what does that mean?
Joni Evans – It means women who have had experience, women who have had education, women
Wowowow_lesley_stahlwho have had careers, women who have lived.

Leslie Stahl – Virtually every woman who is a contributor is a known person. And they are commenting and writing on something you wouldn’t expect that person to write about. Candice Bergen on politics. Leslie Stahl on her new mattress.

I wanted to love WowOWow. Really I did. Accomplished, smart women reaching out to a demo who had been neglected. I wanted to love WowOWow. Really I did. I love Liz Smith's wit, and Candice Bergen's savvy and Mary Wells forged paths in advertising for women and Lesley Stahl is from Swampscott, MA where my college roommate lived. I wanted to love WowOWow really I did. Behind the scenes with the cool celebs who seemed to want to include me in their world. I wanted to love WowOWow really I did. But it falls flat for me.

Maybe they don't really want to talk to us. Trust me when I tell you I have spent significant time wandering around the site. I call it a site because it's way far not a social networking community. It's rather like being invited to join the "in group" in high school and then being ignored. In the Charlie Rose interview (he asked great questions but the women danced around giving straight responses) the founders made a big deal about the "conversation." However, few join in on their own conversations to talk to the peeps.

Sidebar: There are several women who actively comment and encourage conversation on many, many, many of the posts. Suzanne de Cornelia, Mugsy Peabody and Suzanne Conti. WowOWow has hired five employees and call me cynic but I can't help but wonder if these are them.

Maybe they don't really like us. In chat about privacy Julia Reed commented: I read somewhere that like 10 times the amount of people now Google themselves as did five years ago. I mean, you know, just … not people like Candice, who have reasons to be written about. What does that mean?  

My ah ha moment is .. I don't think the founders of WowOWow get what social media or building a social media networking community is about. In the Charlie Rose interview when asked what blogs they read, Drudge and news sites a la the Huffington Post (not a big surprise) were mentioned. Women of the Web do you know there are vibrant communities of women bloggers who are your target audience?

However, barely a few weeks old the site is doing quite nicely thank you kindly. My favorite bit in the Charlie Rose interview was when Joni Evans stopped herself because she wasn't "allowed to talk about" the site stats. Liz tossed off, “Go ahead. You have 100 books on the best seller list you can talk about any damn thing you please.” So she did. Average length on the site about 8.5 minutes - as of April 8th. Not an earth shattering piece of information. If the number of comments = success than out of the virtual box WowOWow is a huge success. Some posts are pulling in 20, 30, 50 comments and some have hundreds.

For me the lesson learned is that women want to express their opinions to women who they admire and might be paying attention even if there is no feedback. What does that mean? Is that part of the culture of the 40+ women .. that an outlet for expression is enough even if there is no conversation or response from the author? Is that what the political blogs have taught us? That it's enough to state your opinion but don't expect a response from the candidate? Or is it just as the SNL character Linda Richmond said, "Talk among yourselves."

Big Questions: Is this is a play toy for the founders or can they sustain the writing into year two and beyond? Will WowOWow turn into a female version of the Huffington Post (no shame in that)? Is it all about the celebrity?

Update: Suzanne de Cornelia and Mugsy Peabody DMed me. Neither they nor Suzanne Conti are part of the paid staff. To be continued ..

Etiquette For A Social Media World

04/08/2008

Etiquette Last week I had the honor of participating in BlogHer Biz '08. Part of my gig was to lead a round table discussion. Our talk turned to etiquette in social media. What is proper and polite in the digital world of social networking?

The Divas round the table kindly agreed to share their thoughts ..  What does social media etiquette mean to you?

  • Lori Magno, Digital Hive Modadi Magno: Be Nice. Is it really that hard? disagree with me, tell me why - I'll respond. Can you phrase it in the form of a question? Are you "you" or are you hiding behind "anonymous?" Be. real. You will be rewarded.
  • Yvonne DiVita, Lip-Sticking: Be open & honest. Respect the fact that its not all about 'you.' It's about the whole community - that's a group of people, not just one person. By the way be sure to check out the stylish new header on Lip-sticking.
  • Sarah Levy, Mini-et-Moi : Respect and responsibility. Be respectful of the writer and the community and behave as though you are part of a long-term relationship. (If you're angry or want to rant and rave, wait a bit before you hit "send.") Take responsibility for what you say - even if you want to do so anonymously.
  • Kristin Livermore: Respect the relationship you're developing and respect the community. Understand and learn about who you're talking to so you can have a real conversation.
  • Amy Pagiutte Cisco: Be open to sharing and responding to information and contacts in a way that is always respectful, honest, transparent. Understand who you are communication with so that your commentary can be absorbed appropriately. Don't rant -> always be respectful.
  • Jenna Woodul, Live World: Social media implies and requires civility.
  • Jeanette Gibson Cisco: If you wouldn't say it to someone in person, don't say it online. Be respectful and transparent.
  • CB Whittemore, Flooring The Consumer: Rules For Behavior Extended Into Social Media. Courtesy matters. More specifically:
  • Being polite and relevant
  • Apologize for interruptions
  • Adding value throughout interaction
  • Active listening
  • Not bullying

Not too different from how you would expect your children to behave. So with technology that would mean silencing cell phones during meetings, and not distracting side conversations (or tweets).

  • Toby, Diva Marketing: Remember what your mama taught you: Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't bully. Play nicely together.

Girlfriend, not only did I also have the pleasure of  interviewing the lovely Goodwill of Greater Washington Fashionista Diva blogger, but I played Runway moderator describing the Fashionista's vintage Goodwill outfit. Check out the Goodwill eBay store for the Goodwill_fashionista_shoes_2 jazzy shoes she wore. Nice recap of the session on  what's your story