For many years now, Mitch Joel, president of marketing agency Twist Image, has been manning the lookout post for the rest of us. His blog, Six Pixels of Separation, is a constant in my RSS feed and his podcast is a regular on my phone. Mitch dedicates each podcast to a conversation with someone interesting from marketing, media or another connected world. If you speak at conferences, you’ll like his recent shows with Nick Morgan and Nancy Duarte.

Mitch was a keynote speaker at the recent digitalNow conference in Nashville. In his keynote, as in his book, Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It, he described five massive movements that have changed how we interact with organizations. Unfortunately, many organizations, including associations, haven’t done much to change how they interact with us.

The power of direct relationships

The battle for direct relationships with your members involves everyone else who offers value to them, including your vendor members, media, consumer brands, thought-leaders and others on their screens. Mitch introduced us to someone who might change how we think about connecting with members. Bethany Mota is a teenage video star who shares her shopping “hauls” with 2-3 million fans every day. She’s successful because she knows her community and gives them what they want. Traditional media can’t even compete.

Do you have a Bethany Mota? Partner with people who know how to connect and communicate with your audience — people who can create direct relationships with them and give them what they want. These people may be on your staff or in your membership, but most likely they’re not. You’ll have to create new relationships (and new budget lines) to get them on your team. But you want them on your team.

disruptions facing associations

Mitch Joel at digitalNow 2014 in Nashville
(photo by Bill Sheridan)

Sex with data

Don’t be standoffish. Get cozy and intimate with your data. You can now capture two types of data:

  • Linear data – transactions, searches, email open rates and clicks.
  • Circular data – the social data we willingly put online that paints a picture of our behavior, interests and needs.

The magic begins when you put both types of data together for a deeper understanding of your members and a more personalized experience for them.

Amazon is the personalization king with their website recommendations and their PriceCheck app which tells you how much the product you’re looking at in a store will cost on Amazon. In the process, they’re learning more about you – your location, interests and shopping habits. In return for your data, they provide a better shopping experience. Check out what the Project Management Institute is doing for their members and website visitors. You don’t need an Amazon budget to do that.

Utility or death

Mitch said today’s prime real estate is the smartphone screen. “What are you doing that makes you valuable enough to be on your member’s home screen?” Members don’t really care about you and your promotions, but the old “what’s in it for me” is one marketing cliché that remains relevant today.

Successful for-profit online communities like Doximity for doctors and ResearchGate for scientists focus first on creating utility – tools and services that help their members do their jobs more effectively. That’s why these hugely successful communities have attracted millions in venture capital and millions of members.

Passive vs. active

Know when to make the distinction between passive and active media, and when a member is passive or active online. Press releases don’t belong on Facebook. Members don’t want to be hounded to like or +1 everything they read on your website.

But members do want the opportunity to be active when they’re online in a way that provides value to them. Give them regular opportunities to provide feedback, share an opinion or idea, help make a decision, or participate in a discussion.

One-screen world

No wonder we’re all distracted. Think about how many screens we have going at times: our phone, tablet, laptop and TV. And the Internet of things may bring even more. Yet, we can only watch one thing at a time. The screen in front of us is the only screen that matters. And soon perhaps all these screens will integrate into one screen.

He closed his keynote with a hopeful message: associations are pioneers who will decide how the future of associations will look. Will your association have a cozy relationship with your member in the one-screen world? Come on out of purgatory and into the light where you’ll find plenty of opportunity for those who can keep up and move onward.

disruptions to associations - fade away or become a pioneer

Emigrants Crossing the Plains (or The Oregon Trail), Albert Bierstadt, 1869, courtesy of the Butler Institute of American Art

 

 

Curated life

One of my favorite curated posts is published on Friday afternoons: Nieman Journalism Lab’s Week in Review. Last week it covered online and offline verification in Boston’s wake, an underdog’s Pulitzer win, Medium and Matter, journalism education and more.

Digital life

A GigaOm conference about digital media, paidContent Live (#pclive), took place last week in New York. Here’s the cool thing, they’ve put the session transcripts and videos on their website. Ernie Smith from Associations Now believes the association and news industries could learn a lot from each other. I agree. He attended the conference and says it “shone an important light on personalization, risk, innovation, and diversity—things your association should know a thing or two about.”

“The most interesting discussion of the day took place between two of the leading minds behind the personalized news movement.” Ernie’s talking about the founders of Prismatic and Zite. The video and summary of that session, The Impact of Personalization and Algorithms on the Attention Economy, is on the paidContent site. Another session that caught my eye was a panel of five startup founders who are “changing the way the news business delivers content.”

After seeing online comments about who should or shouldn’t be tweeting during a breaking news story, Geoff Livingston writes about the devolving online civility situation, social media vigilantes and respect. Geoff says, “The general state of online conversation continues to devolve into a snarky, nasty tar pit, in turn impacting the outside world by destroying real relationships.” And there’s data to prove it. I admit I’ve slipped into vigilante mode in the past when I saw people using the #assnchat hashtag for tweets that had no value to the association community. It’s a strange territorial, I-know-better-than-you kneejerk reaction, I’m guessing.

Financial life

Between 1990 and 2010, builders met the Boomer demand for big, large-lot single-family homes. Later this decade, the “great senior sell-off” will begin as Boomers downsize. But will there be enough market demand for these over-sized homes? Nope, says Arthur C. Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah. He told Emily Badger at The Atlantic Cities, that the next housing crisis will be in 2020. So sell that monster house while you still can!

Spiritual life

I love going into artist cooperatives, like the one I recently visited in Manitou Springs, Colorado, Commonwheel Artists Co-op. I haven’t bought any art in the last few years, but that will change soon. Felix Salmon reminded me of that visit in his article about artists who are moving away from the gallery-driven narrative of art-as-investment, and instead “are selling art to consumers who enjoy it, without making a big deal about how unique it is or how much it might rise in value.” Seriously, how many of us buy art for its investment value? We buy it because we want to live with it.

Have you ever walked into a museum or cathedral and seen such a work of great beauty and power that the experience felt religious? One of those hair-on-your-arms-rising or eyes-watering moments? Thanks to Kaya Oakes, I had that moment listening to Andreas Scholl sing Bach’s Agnus Dei. Click on the link she provides while reading her beautiful article, Searching for Bach.

Good-to-know quickies

  • A new app, Lively, is an activity-sharing platform that keep tabs on your independently living and aging relatives. (Michael Seo, TechCrunch)
  • When presenting data, get to the point fast with better visuals. (Nancy Duarte, Harvard Business Review)
  • How to embed part of a YouTube video. (Amit Agarwal, Digital Inspiration)
  • Make your trade show swag more useful and it will spark conversation. (WordofMouth.org)

I fell asleep last night with this song in my head – and it will soon be in your head – thanks to retweets from Jess Commins and Andrew Norcross of an advertisement spotted by Edward Mayes. Mama mia, that’s good.

Happy Friday!

best copy of the week

Brilliance

 

 

Friday, already?!

Time to get it done and get to the weekend. I’ve got your leisure time reading selections all ready for you.

Curated Post of the Week

No surprise, I love curated posts. The Verge publishes The Best Writing of the Week on Sundays. It usually introduces me to well-written posts that I might have missed during the week, usually about the intersection of life and technology.

Reads of the Week

While we’re on the topic of content curation, over at Top Rank, Brian Larson recommends using content curation to grow your company (or association) beyond being a me-me-me brand. Why? He points to the results of a study conducted by Jay Baer: “Brands that posted curated content linking to 3rd party sites experienced a 33% increase in clicks vs. those with original content linking back to their own site.” Follow his steps to diagnose and cure your me-me-me syndrome.

Gina Dietrich has business owner’s disease. You know it. You help clients with their problems and challenges, while neglecting the same issues with your own business. She says, “I’m calling baloney on myself.” Take a look at her website checklist. I bet a lot of these items could use fixing on your website. And mine. But first, I really should graduate from this baby blog to a big girl blog, but not until I get to the “Later” section of my to-do list.

“As we move towards a quantified society, one shaped by data, we start to dismiss things that are unquantified. Empathy, emotion and storytelling — these are as much a part of business as they are of life.” Om Malik says companies aren’t using their data in the most powerful way – to shape the user’s or customer’s experience. I’m glad I clicked on this. Normally, a post about data wouldn’t appeal to me, but there’s a lot to think about in this one.

Sarah Lacy, the founder of Pando Daily, takes a look at the media landscape now that the last major newspaper hold-outs are going over to the paywall side and the big digital players say the only way to survive is to produce “shit quality” content. She says, “I refuse to accept a reality where users can’t expect and demand quality.” She’s hopeful about the future, as am I. People are too creative and innovative to not make it work.

Someone who’s making it work in his own unique way is Shane Smith, publisher of Vice. Yes, the same Vice that sent Dennis Rodman to North Korea. “I wanted to build the next CNN, the next ESPN. And I also realized that, given the digital revolution, that is not only within my grasp, but I am a frontrunner to get there.” Tim Adams at The Observer has the scoop on this growing media brand that Rupert Murdoch described on Twitter as: “Wild, interesting effort to interest millennials who don’t read or watch established media. Global success.”

Speaking of millennials, another publication that’s getting their attention is Mental Floss. One of Mental Floss’ co-founders, William Pearson, spoke recently at a publishing summit about the brand’s growth. Saya Weissman of Digiday was there to capture four reasons Mental Floss attracts and retains a millennial audience. If you publish content, these four take-aways are for you.

Must investors be on Twitter?” asks Felix Salmon at Reuters. You could ask that same question about a lot of professions. He says, “If you’re an investor who wants to avoid being blindsided by something huge you were utterly unaware of, Twitter is a great tool for minimizing that risk.” It’s a fascinating read about the impact social media is making on an information-dependent industry.

Lightning Round

  • NBC News correspondent, Richard Engel, writes about his kidnapping. (Vanity Fair)

Happy Friday!

best read this week about the French and wine

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski (CC license)

 

 

Google Reader is where I go first thing in the morning for my professional reads about associations, marketing, digital media, technology, etc., and at the end of the day for my personal reads about food, culture, etc. I have hundreds of RSS subscriptions in dozens of Reader folders. Yes, I find a lot to read on Twitter, but its randomness, although appreciated, is no substitute for Reader. I rely on Reader to catch up on anything I missed from my favorite blogs and sites.

When I heard the news yesterday about Reader’s demise – is “murder” too strong a word? – I tweeted this:

“I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for Google Reader. Dramatic but true. Reading changes lives.”

My fellow Reader addicts, we have a few months to find a replacement. So far, Feedly is in the lead for me. What’s looking good for you? Ernie Smith at Associations Now plans to write about post-Reader life on Tuesday. In the meantime, you can start your hunt for a Reader replacement with these posts:

Wednesday night, I returned from ASAE’s Great Ideas conference and hiking in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. I hope to have time this weekend to review the tweetstream of my favorite hashtag of the week, no surprise, #ideas13.

The SXSW tweetstream is too vast to explore, so here’s an alternative: the official audio recordings.

Katie Bascuas at Associations Now writes about the four friends every content marketer needs. When I first read this, I thought, what about me!? But, no worries. In his comment, my friend Scott Oser suggested adding a fifth type: writer/subject matter expert.

If you don’t have the budget to hire a market research consultant, Katya Andresen provides advice on how to do a little research on your own. Just be sure not to rely solely on anecdotes – data is your friend. Also, although it’s tempting to talk to your board or other volunteer leaders about their needs, remember, they may not represent the views of many of your members or constituents.

Association folks, are you reading Jeffrey Cufaude’s Cultivating Engagement series? Here’s yesterday’s post: Let’s Talk About Connections. I’ve lost track of the number of good ideas he’s suggested in this series. Each post would make an interesting and productive topic for a brown bag lunch.

If your company or organization is just getting started with a blog, or even if you’ve had one for a while, check out this eight-point blog analysis by Daniel Burstein at Marketing Sherpa. You’re bound to find something you can improve.

In his New York Times Bit column, Nick Bilton writes about the development of a new digital etiquette as we adopt new tools and adapt to information overload. He says, “Many social norms just don’t make sense to people drowning in digital communication.” Careful, it’s a fine line between trying not to waste someone’s time and appearing rude or ungrateful.

It’s getting harder and harder to turn off the laptop or iPad at night. Google recently announced the launch of Art Talks: “a series of talks, hosted on Google Hangout, with museum directors, curators, historians, and educators. It’s an online series that aims to educate art lovers on famous masterpieces and share the insights of some of the art world’s greatest minds.” Even though I love this news, I’m still mad at Google.

Use your social media powers for good! Find out if a local charity needs social media ambassadors to help share their stories and news. I’ve been helping my local food bank in this way. It’s an easy way to contribute without getting off the couch.  

Happy Friday!

Photo by Striatic (Flickr)

Hmm, is she relaxing or volunteering?
Photo by Striatic (Flickr CC license)

I’m not the only one who likes being a content curator. Elizabeth Engel is always an excellent source for interesting reads. Check out her weekly What I’m Reading series.

If your job involves engaging members, customers, constituents, donors or volunteers, you must read this post by Jeffery Cufaude, Cultivating Engagement: What was the Catalyst? He says, “If we want to cultivate relationships that invest people in our community, cause, or organization, we must remain curious about them: how might what I’m learning about you now alter my next interaction with you?” Grab your team, make them read this, and figure out how you’re going to start doing this next week.

Andy Freed captures why I like reading all kinds of things and making odd connections. He was heading to TEDActive (the live Palm Springs simulcast) where he anticipated learning about association management from a dolphin researcher. And why not?

When’s the last time you picked up a phone and called a member you don’t know? I know. I never did it either, except when we were desperately promoting our trade show in the midst of the housing implosion. Eric Lanke has some ideas about the real reasons we don’t pick up the phone.

Barry Feldman wants you to take a hard look at your website after reading his post, 11 Reasons Why Prospects Don’t Convert Into Customers. He gives you the eleven reasons, good advice and a quick checklist at the Convince & Convert blog.

I just LOVE this post about a dying restaurant by Ken Mueller. I can feel for them because for eight years I was the general manager of an independently-owned (and very successful) restaurant, long before the days of social media. But we’ve all seen this story – lots of attention, but a little too late. Let’s all pledge to honor Ken’s words:

“I will continue to support small, independently owned family businesses whenever I can. I will also go out of my way to let them know I appreciate and support them. I will reward them for their humanity by spending my money with them, in hopes that they will be sustainable and profitable.”

Are you texting and using LOL like an old fart? Luckily for me I got tired of LOL long ago. And it’s a good thing because it no longer means what you think it does, if you’re of a certain age. Not my age. And if you’re one to lament the decline of the English language because of texting, fear not. “Anyone who says that text language is chaotic isn’t paying enough attention to the system of rules that users have developed to move real-time conversation into written form,” says Anne Curzan in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

At ProBlogger, Thomas Ford explains what you need to know about using free images from the web. His post will help you understand copyright rules, rights and different types of Creative Commons licenses.

Here’s one to bookmark and hope you never have to use. Tia Fisher at Social Media Today shows you what to do if your Twitter account has been hacked.

Steal this idea from Association Media & Publishing: sponsored small group dinner discussions.

Steal this idea too for your next trade show:

vendor twitter game tweet

The only infographic I looked at this week, thanks to Stowe Boyd.

This is conference week for me. I spent Sunday through Tuesday at the Avectra Users & Developers Conference where I wrote a few blog posts:

I got back Wednesday afternoon and today I’m heading to Colorado Springs for the ASAE Great Ideas Conference. Be sure to check out the hashtag #ideas13 if you want to follow along.

Pretty soon we’ll all be Dr. Doolittles. Vince Cerf “envisions an interspecies Internet” where we’ll communicate with animals and aliens.

Happy Friday!

“…talk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals”Photo by Curt Smith (Flickr)

“…talk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals”
Photo by Curt Smith (Flickr)

 

On Monday, it looked like all the smarty pants in DC were tweeting from the xPotomac conference. Search for the #xpotomac13 hashtag to get a taste of the brain candy, or check out Jay Daughtry’s notes and links to other xPotomac posts.

Hopefully, if your job requires you to develop relationships with the media, you use Twitter to do that. If not, start by creating Twitter media lists. Lauren Bubser at NPtalk explains how.

As you can tell from my baby blog, I’m pretty basic when it comes to websites. When I do graduate to a big girl blog, I know I’ll have to brush up on Google Analytics which is why I’ve bookmarked this Guide to Getting Started with Analytics from Dave Davies at Search Engine Watch.

Have you heard about the Copyright Alert System that was launched this week? Those darn kids and their Napster, look what they’ve done! Mario Aguilar at Gizmodo explains how it works.

One of my favorite posts this week is by Kivi Leroux Miller, a nonprofit communications consultant, author and trainer, who also happens to be a North Carolina gal. She writes: 

“As I have been interviewing nonprofits for my new book on content marketing, it’s become crystal clear to me that the organizations that are most successful at using content to engage their communities consider the combination of a good CRM (customer relationship management software), CMS (website content management system), email, and e-commerce technology to be just as important to their success as having thoughtful and creative staff members who can write well.”

Kivi goes on to say, “If your choice is between more staff and this kind of technology, seriously think about the technology over the additional staff.” I agree. By wisely leveraging technology, your organization can go so much further than you can imagine. Read her post to find out how.

You may think you know, but do you really know how technology is transforming associations? We’ll all know once Digital Now’s Technology Leadership Survey is released. Today’s the last day to participate in the survey if you want a chance to win free registration to next year’s Digital Now conference. The survey takes five to ten minutes. I’m so excited that I’m going for the first time to this year’s Digital Now conference in April. Are you?

Long ago, when I first started reading blogs, I found one about a guy’s experience studying for his Certified Association Executive (CAE) exam. I was years away from considering the CAE exam, but his blog, and those of a few other early association bloggers, reignited my interest in my profession. Good news, fellow association geeks: Ben Martin, CAE is blogging again!

Ben’s a master of online community management and is now sharing his wisdom on his Online Community Results blog. This week he answers the question: what kind of content strategy drives community engagement?

Since I’m heading to Avectra’s User & Developers Conference this weekend and then, after a day and a half at home, to ASAE’s Great Ideas, I’m sure to see a Speaker with Jazzy Socks and The Guy who Tweets Everything. Heck, these people are my friends! I think you’ll enjoy seeing the other conference types that Kristin Kovacich at Digiday identified.

I read far too much good stuff this week, so here’s a quick list of other useful and interesting reads:

  • Microsoft, damn them, is limiting Office 2013 installations to one per computer, meaning, if your computer crashes or you have to reformat, you’re SOL. (Digital Trends)
  • I love Waze. It’s my go-to app for navigation while driving. It talks to me about traffic jams and other hazards. And it keeps getting better. (Wired)
  • Is there anything more annoying than auto-play video? You end up clicking on all your tabs trying to find the obnoxious page. Soon Google Chrome will let you know which page is the offender. (The Next Web)
  • This is the most accurate (and scathing) review of the irrelevant Oscars that I’ve read. And just so you know, I love Seth McFarlane. Yeah, he’s sophomoric and offensive, but Family Guy has genius moments. Lighten up, people! (Lefsetz Letter)
  • One of my favorite movies of all time, “a modest masterpiece,” is Local Hero. I love it because it’s about community. And it’s set in Scotland. Rent it. Bonus: Mark Knopfler does the score. (The Economist)
  • I once spent a night in Portugal riveted to the TV because the bull fights were on. I couldn’t believe the bravery (craziness) of the pega guys. Watch the video that accompanies Andrew Sullivan’s post and you’ll see what I mean. Don’t worry, they respect the bull in Portugal; they don’t kill him. He retires to a satisfying life with a harem of cows. (The Dish)

That’s all, folks, happy Friday!

Photo by Alex Brown (Flickr)

Photo by Alex Brown (Flickr)

Do you have a person in mind when you write marketing or social media copy? Geoff Drake, senior web writer for the Monterey Bay Aquarium (what a cool job!), writes for his imaginary friend Sue. “Get personal with your persona,” he says. “We have a kind of pact, Sue and I. She needs a vicarious experience, and I want to foster a connection with the Aquarium, and our oceans. A day never passes when I don’t try to uphold my end of our little bargain.”

Something else that’s cool about Geoff – he’s a former editor of VeloNews and Bicycling magazines, plus he wrote the book, literally, on Team 7-Eleven, one of our earliest professional cycling teams in the U.S. And that’s my segue into a great post about organizational culture by cycling fan, and my pal, Mary Nations on the Undiscussables blog: Cycles of Silence.

Mary gives her take on Lance Armstrong, the reign of omerta in the professional cycling world and how it all relates to our organizations.

“When a scandal breaks, the news often exposes evidence that undiscussable elephants have been stomping around, leaving squashed, altered bits of reality and stinky piles of consequences that are difficult to clean up. The mess existed all the while, but new publicity puts it on amplified display, under harsh lights, perhaps to a wider audience that is finally drawn to look.”

She asks, “What does this saga mean for you? Are there places where you suspect elephants are creating a mess? If so, are you ready and willing to help generate positive change in the future?” It’s a fascinating read that might make you think differently about cycling and your organization.

For a different perspective on content marketing, check out Giselle Abramovich’s article at Digiday about Patagonia’s Content Machine. “Many brands feel like they are faced with a dilemma: They can either make great content or try to sell products. (Bill) Boland (Patagonia’s digital creative director) doesn’t see it that way. He sees great content and conversations around products as something that naturally occurs, without the need for marketers to be so heavy-handed.”

Well, it happened again, another week, another mention of TMG Media’s Engage blog. I swear there aren’t any kickbacks going on here! We’re obviously sympatico in our interests. This time, Brittany Siminitz shares examples of 20 brands that “don’t typically incite thoughts of colorful, pin-able things,” for example, insurance and financial planning services, and banks. Yet, their creative Pinterest boards prove “that you don’t have to be frilly to make it on Pinterest.”

In The Facebook Flea Market, Tom Webster calls out Facebook ads for what they are: “a junk shop.” He says they’re “a seemingly random miscellany of hastily constructed, poorly targeted and (sometimes) vaguely seedy-looking pitches for things I couldn’t even conceive of clicking on, let alone purchasing.” And he has some advice for the advertisers that should know better and for Facebook – although do they ever listen?

Only Shelly Alcorn would watch Dave Grohl’s new documentary Sound City and come out thinking about membership. Ok, maybe there are other association geeks who might do the same thing. Ok, maybe me. But Shelly is the one who wrote this great post about the beauty and power of the tribe: Membership IS the Value of Membership!

“Yes, associations are changing. Yes, technology is changing. Yes, communications are changing. Yes, we can talk all day long about dues models, governance models, etc., etc., etc. To me, what is not up for debate is the fundamental concept of belonging – the group, the community, the tribe. Maybe it’s free. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s narrowly defined, maybe it’s broadly defined. Maybe we call them associations and maybe we don’t. There is a lot of room in the middle about HOW it manifests, and what role we can or can’t play in facilitating those connections – but the question about WHETHER it manifests or not is just not debatable.”

Sing it, sister!

Do you know Kate? She’s just an ordinary girl with an ordinary family. She might even live in your community. But there’s something you don’t know about her. Share this one with your kids.

Heads up, New Yorkers and others in the tri-state area: The Who and Elvis Costello are playing a benefit concert on February 28 at the Madison Square Garden. It’s your opportunity to see a once-in-a-lifetime show and support a great (and underfunded) cause: Teen Cancer America, Roger Daltrey’s foundation. I’ve seen The Who more than any other band and absolutely LOVED their Quadrophenia show in November. Number two on my most-seen list is, you guessed it, Elvis, a performer and entertainer like no other.

Long live rock! And Happy Friday, everyone!

Roger Daltrey says teens with cancer need a different kind of hospital environment, one where they're not surrounded by kids or older adults.

Roger Daltrey says teens with cancer need a different kind of hospital environment, one where they’re not surrounded by kids or older adults.

 

Steven Rosenbaum says, “Stop knocking curation.” I agree. There’s a big difference between aggregation and curation. I can do without the daily paper.li aggregations. I rarely read them, even if one of my tweets is featured as a “top story.” Too many of them don’t have the human (or curator’s) touch. However, as Rosenbaum says, “Information overload drives content consumers to look for human-filtered, journalist-vetted, intellectually-related material. This hunger for coherence isn’t unreasonable; it’s essential.” He’s talking about curation, like this post. My Reads of the Week posts take some time to put together, but I love doing it, and I appreciate when others do the same. Long live curation!

Are you making marketing’s biggest mistake? It’s an easy mistake to make. Jay Baer warns us about making assumptions based on our own experience — a dangerous thing to do as a marketer. He says that Marketers from Mars, a new report from ExactTarget, “found big differences between how marketers (that’s you and me) use social media, compared to how real people (your customers) use social media.” Watch his two-minute video and check out the data in the infographic. A good wake up call.

I make my living providing content that helps businesses educate clients and prospects, so I’m obviously a big advocate of content marketing. Fact: it works. Andrew Hanelly at TMG is in the same camp. He says, “What was once a secret weapon to savvy brands is now a marketing staple. And if it isn’t yet for your organization, it probably should be.” He provides a list of reasons to embrace content in your marketing mix and backs them up with data and charts.

Geoff Livingston’s interview with Andrew Keen is a must read. They discuss a bunch of meaty topics, including the downside of transparency for individuals, the importance of “dark spaces” and invisibility for creatives, the rise of influencers, narcissism fueled by new media, and the danger of the echo chamber. Lots to chew on here, but I loved this less meaty remark: “I loathe MSNBC equally as Fox because neither of them actually reports the news.” So damn true although their fan bases would argue differently.

I love seeing associations experimenting with new ideas, so kudos to the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Michelle Bruno just returned from their Convening Leaders conference and says, “More than any specific program feature or technological innovation, it was PCMA’s attitude toward digital disruption that was so obvious at the event. They must have trepidation about keeping pace with technology and the future of meetings—their members surely do—but they didn’t let that paranoia stop them. If the level of experimentation at the meeting was any indication, PCMA is always in beta, trying new form factors and delivery systems.” Let’s hear more stories like this – they inspire all of us in the association community.

When I started reading Nilofer Merchant’s post, Having a Point of View, I thought it was about writing, but it’s about much more. She’s talking about leadership: “To have a point of view is to know why you’re there, to be able to signal your purpose or organizing principle so clearly that the “reader knows”, even before he or she dives into the details. It attracts talent, it creates allies, and it focuses the work. When you have point of view about what matters to you and why, your chances of “changing the world” rise exponentially.”

Here’s a helpful post from one of my favorite writers about digital life, Alexandra Samuel. She shares three tricks for monitoring Twitter mentions and trackbacks. These “tricks” have been part of my digital schedule for a while. They will help you be a better social citizen. Alexandra says, “The whole point of seeing all these links is to engage with them, ideally by replying to any questions or substantive comments, and perhaps by thanking some or all of the folks who have tweeted about your work.”

My community service for the week: take the advice in this Lifehacker article and plug up your computer’s (and network’s) security holes. Adding this to my to-do list.

Happy Friday!

Protectin' Ur Intertubez (photo by Dennis Hamilton/Flickr)

Protectin’ Ur Intertubez (photo by Dennis Hamilton/Flickr)

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