Friday, August 21, 2009

The power of Social media and a NYC storm

This week a devastating storm hit New York City.  Unfortunately for me, it was right outside my front door and to see my place of refuge and emotional attachment changed in a matter of 10 minutes,well, it's very sad. 

But besides dealing with the emotion of the huge loss, I put on my social media hat and jumped into action and started taking load of photos.  I was at the "ground-zero" of the storm and this type of response to an event, is what makes social media so powerful. You don't have to wait a day or a week. Amazingly we report in real time, even before the reporters got there. As a matter of fact, I had already posted a photo of the damage an hour after it happened and not one reporter was to be found. They must of picked up my photo in my twitpic post or someone else's, and decided to show up when the next shift began, at 6am. 

And thinking about how powerful our collective presence is, I can't help but to think of helicopter/plane crash over the Hudson that happened August 8th. Although there is a backlash on youtube about the gory video posting, it provided necessary details to the press and NTSB.  

Social media is an incredibly powerful tool. Yes, there are misleading and false stories that can do damage. There will always be the few that ruin it for the many. But in the hands of honest folks, we, as a collective community,  are changing the way in which almost all information is obtained, viewed and disseminated.  And that's pretty powerful.

An appropriate little plug. Central Park could really use your help.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The summer of social media for social causes

My volunteer vacation in Costa Rica is just 2 weeks away and besides dreaming of the beautiful, tiny Pacific coastal village that consists of 200 hundred people and a bunch of turtles and eggs that need to be saved, I'm actually rather excited to be hands-on and involved in really making a difference. It feels good to do something. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as living in an isolated corner of Costa Rica, you can do so much good right from your little laptop.

To get you started, I got some great links that will help you make a change in someone else's life:

Start with Beth's Blog. She is the guru for nonprofits in social media.

Join in the on the twestival which hopes to be the biggest fundraising event in history.

Want to change something, raise awareness, take action? Go to

Gotta cause? Get it up on Facebook. They really make it so easy and provide great resources for fundraising.

Nothing like video to communicate a compelling story. Youtube has video volunteers and a nonprofit program that will help you get your message out to the world's largest online video community.

And just because I love this terrific charity, Kiva, I'm giving it a plug hear. Hey, that's another simple way of doing good. Give your favorite charity a mention and a link on your blog.

It doesn't take much to change the world. I'll be doing it one turtle egg at a time in just a short while. In the meantime, I'd love to hear about your favorite ways of using social media for a social cause.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Desperate for business, should creative work be free?

About a week and a half ago, I made a presentation to a small agency about social media. By the end of the presentation, they felt that social media could greatly benefit their client. They felt confident enough in my abilities to request that I work up strategy, do some brainstorming with them and finally present a social media campaign to their client. I estimated about 40-60 hours of work. Sounds great, right? Wrong. The agency proposed all this work would be done for free and if the client chose to integrate social media into their existing campaign, then of course,  I would be awarded the work. For sure, my 20 years plus in advertising working up tactical plans, creating programs, concepting campaigns, managing teams, building brands, and all that other stuff certainly had a strong track record and was well worth something. As I am relatively new in the social media genre (clearly the reason for "free" offer),  and clearly knowing my years of experience would be valuable, I counter offered a compromise, a reduced rate.  I never heard back nor did I not accept the work for free offer. 

I bring up this story as it seems this is the way advertising is going these days. Somehow, in all our desperation to win business, agencies are giving away our most precious product, creativity. Last week Adweek published an article about the much talked about Zappos pitch where the RFP was posted to Adweek. Basically, what it boils down to, was that over 80 agencies responded and over 20 were selected to present creative to Zappo's. Imagine those lousy odds of winning and still, 80 agencies were willing to give it all away for free. If I was a betting girl, I'd say, that's a real long shot. And hey, it wasn't even for that big of a purse. More interesting was Michael Wolfson's blog post commenting on his agency's Zappos submission, the RFP process as a whole and the heated debate that has erupted on Adweek and his blog in response to his stance.  I say, kudos to him and his agency, Ignited, for not being afraid to take a stand in hopes of swinging the pendulum to a more respectful and trustful way of doing business.

No other professional business gives their work away for free. (see well worth it, could go viral video) We are to blame. Only by working together and establishing new rules, and a "just say no" attitude, will we ever be able to regain the respect of our client and be a true partner to them. Hell, I did. Now who has the courage to join me?

Friday, June 26, 2009

BRUNO: Best case study in social media vorld

Bruno's outrageous MTV stunt, that seemed to have become viral within a hour, prompted me to start following him via his social media network. I did this for my own amusement but professionally I was curious in how this branding comic genius was going to role out his product, BRUNO, the documentary. In between watching hilarious posting on my Facebook about his little black baby OJ being a fabulous accessory and watching vorld premieres on you tube, I was scouring the web looking for great case studies in social media for a client presentation.

The more I looked, the more I realized, following in Obama's footsteps Bruno was one of top case studies in rolling out a brand via social media. Each premiere opening was carefully choreographed to be fresh, new and outrageous, feeding his followers with comic content that was well worth sharing.  His consistent postings on facebook and "tvitter" have never broken character and actually provided great content you'd like to share with your friends. (He just posted an iphone app I'm downloading now!). His great offline co-branding with GQ was another great stroke of marketing genius. Do a search in google and you'll get well over 30 sites and blogs posting the article and photos. And talking about photos, the publicity shot with OJ, is just too funny. Top it all off  with a little PR, 10 reason's why you should see Bruno, by Bruno, on Dave Letterman. The next time your looking for a great case study in social media marketing, put Bruno on that list. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The twitter revolution

Last night I was up till 1 am watching the #iranelection twitter feed. Tonight, the same. I dig down for old feeds and then scroll up to new feeds as they come in by the second. Look, this just in:  RT Report: Basij Going Inside Hospitals & Beating Injured Protesters & Taking Them To Prison (Confirmed) #IranElection

I respond to tweets. I change my setting to participate in social justice and to aid those fighting for democracy. I'm in disbelief yet I feel fulfilled  that I was actually having an impact so many miles away. And yes, I was. The collective voices of America, right now, are aiding the fight for democracy in Iran. How historic is that? It's a social revolution. Twitter has clearly demonstrated it's ability to aid in global collaboration.  Those silly 140 characters have transformed into an emotional cry for help. This reality based medium has changed the world, forever. Clay Shirky articulates the situation far better than I ever could on his blog.

As a native New Yorker who was in NYC on 9/11 I can't help imagining, if we had this resource on that day, would more lives have been saved?