Today is my day – 45 Experts in 45 Days

On the Citizen Marketer 2.1 blog, Aaron Strout is interviewing 45 experts in 45 days. Today is my day:

Citizen Marketer 2.1: Experts in the Industry: Howard Greenstein (28 of 45)

My first meeting with Howard Greenstein, principal of the Harbooke Group & co-founder Social Media Club was under some unusual circumstances. For one, it was at the UN building in New York City. Second, Howard was moderating a panel on Web 2.0 meets ICT Entrpreneurs — not your usual SXSW or DMA kind of event.

I liked this interview format – go see what I answered, and then check some of the other experts and their answers, including Adam Cohen, Dennis HowlettJason Falls, and Laura Fitton. I’m honored to be in such good company.

The ROI of Having Employees on Social Networks

At the App Gap blog, Matthew Hodgson notes that “effective teams have both strong task-based behavior as well as good social cohesion.” This means they both work well and play well together, and individual performers also value the performance of the team.
When I think about some of the good corporate experiences I’ve had working with very focused, productive, sharing teams, this certainly rings true. However, he notes, many companies are struggling with the idea that employee social interaction has a business benefit. In many places, this relates not only to the team going out for beers on a Friday after work, but also the team’s ability to network with others, via social networks and services.

The ROI of being social at work | The AppGap

MIT research shows that 40% of creative teams productivity is directly explained by the amount of communication they have with others to discover, gather, and internalise information. In other MIT studies, research shows that employees with the most extensive digital networks are 7% more productive than their colleagues. Furthermore, those with the most cohesive face-to-face networks are 30% more productive.

This reinforces similar research…that highlights the importance of these networks because they “strongly influence information diffusion … and access to novel information”. Availability of these networks, their research shows, is a highly significant predictor of worker productivity.

Note the above quote – people with the most cohesive face-to-face networks are 30%! more productive.

Now, I’ve been writing about the way to leverage your live connections to find more virtual connections, to gain new, important live connections for at least a year now. We know that people who are agile in-person networkers, and who can use their online connections to have more in-person meetings can gain success. Now, we see there’s research backing that concept, and productivity gains that show a real ROI for that online networking.

When I spoke at a meeting of 15 Chief Communications Officers last year, most of them told me they blocked Facebook, Blogs, and many other social tools at the firewall. I questioned whether they were really blocking these tools – or if they were just forcing their employees to access them less efficiently – via their iPhones, Blackberries, and other devices. Less efficiently because the mobile connection would be slower, and the typing would be slower – meaning employees would spend more time to do their social interactions. The evidence above suggests that companies could gain productivity from some employees by letting this social interaction happen on their regular computers. 

I’m not saying “don’t monitor how this impacts your company” and “let people play on Facebook all day.” But it may be time to trust employees to be adults, let them access more sites on “work time,” weed out those who abuse the privilege and see if new, positive connections arise that help your company. Think of it as a test. Will your organization pass?

Project Management helped by MicroBlogging

I met Chris Hall at the Social Media Jungle event at CES last month. He’s a very thoughtful person who is combining the best of what is working in Social Media with his passion and penchant as a project manager. In this piece, he discusses how using Twitter can actually contribute to the artifacts created in a meeting. These can be follow ups or captured thoughts.

Project Management and Micro Blogging – LouisvillePM

Engaged notes – One of the limits of Twitter is that you can only post in 140 character chunks. I have talked to people who feel this makes it cumbersome for any type of real time updating. I look at it a different way and believe that it makes me actually listen to an entire thought before I start typing away on my iPhone. If I don’t fully understand, I can clarify in the meeting itself and others’ points of view can be jotted down as well (see above). In my mind, its extremely valuable to be able to turn a complex idea into a sentence that people can understand. Micro blogging meeting minutes reinforces that concept.

I also like his concept of looking at the tweets of several people to see which elements of a discussion most people captured – those may be the most relevant points.

As a speaker, it’s tough to look out into an audience and see many of them with their heads facing down, looking at their devices. However, maybe we need to get past that feeeling of awkwardness and assume people are taking copious notes.

Social Media for Personal Branding – Chicago 2/26

Please join me as keynote speaker for the EFactor’s kick off event in Chicago next week.

E.Factor : Building Your Business On Social Networks

Does the word Social Media and Web 2.0 make you nervous? It shouldn’t. Join E.Factor and our keynote Speakers Howard Greenstein, social media expert, Ted Greene, Blagica Bottigliero and Charles Fellingham, personal branding expert, for an exclusive members-only event and learn how your can tap into the online world without feeling overwhelmed.

* Which Ones Are Right For You?
* Is there such thing as having too many?
* How can you tap into your core audience?

I will post my slides on the E.Factor site and link to them here after the talk.

Don’t listen to Social Media Rules, and other rules to live by

Mack Collier wrote this in early January, and I only just stumbled across it, but it is a piece worth reading and remembering.

Do You Know the Social Media ‘Rules’? | Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog

And as people discover this space, they are looking for people to give them guidance… They start hearing about the ‘right’ way to blog, or the ‘correct’ way to use Twitter.

What they are really hearing is someone take the way that THEY use these tools, and offer them as being the ONLY way to use these tools.

Here’s my rule: Don’t listen to these people.

While Mack makes some good points – that you shouldn’t look for “rules” on how to use sites, there are guidelines – if you get on Twitter and start telling everyone to look at your spam-creating multi-level marketing website, you’re probably not going to have a lot of followers. If you blog about stuff no one wants to read, again, the audience will self-select. But if you can find a new way to use social technologies outside of the established ‘rules’ – that can generate interest, money and new business.

Colleges recruit using Social Media The Advocate – College students being recruited via social media

Colleges and universities are using social media to recruit and research prospective students, and it is becoming increasingly clear that online behavior can have important consequences for young people.
Also in the study:
• Colleges and universities are outpacing U.S. corporate adoption of social media tools and technologies (13% of the Fortune 500 and 39% of the Inc. 500 currently have a public blog, while 41% of college admissions departments have blogs).

A useful list of Twitter tools

A very useful list of Twitter Tools for those who are trying to track and make sense of the “Twitter-verse.”

Twenty Six Twitter Tools To Track Tweets | e-Strategy Internet Marketing Blog

I’ve been finding so many Twitter tools and passing them along that it’s hard to keep track of them all. The Twitter tools I want to keep track of are those that monitor, measure, and analyze Twitterers and their traffic. I figured I’d compile them here for your benefit.

The article is quite good, but misses a few new ones that I’ve discovered. TweetVisor seems designed as a browser-based control panel for hard-core twitter users. The UI could use some work. TweetDeck is not browser-based, but is an Adobe Air-based application that really lets you see a dashboard of Twitter users, followers, replies, and searches.

PeopleBrowsr like the Passover song, Dayanu, (updated to link to the lyrics) lets you have a browser console with not only Twitter users, followers, replies and searches, but includes columns from Facebook, LinkedIn,, FriendFeed and a host of others. PeopleBrowsr is in Alpha, so there are some rough edges, but it is quite useful if you want to get lost in your network’s status for hours at a time. And then, the closed-beta, but much talked about CoTweet lets multiple people manage a twitter account with a well-thought out interface. It is definitely designed for companies who are trying to listen to customers and make sure people get responses.  As it is closed, that’s all I can share, but watch out for these guys. (They did give me a beta account, and let me know a little more than I can say at this time.)

TweetLater is useful (for me) in helping me manage followers. Their “vet followers” feature lets me see everyone who’s added me recently and decide if I will add them back. If I don’t check in, TweetLater can automatically add them after a certain period of time. This is helping me a lot to follow back and keep up-to-date.

So, that’s a quick roundup of Twitter in my world. Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments below.

Presence is the new Dialtone

At today’s SocComm (Social Communications) event, I moderated the panel on “Presence as the new Dialtone.” (Thanks to Aswath Rao, Doug Levin, and Alon Cohen). What does this mean? Well, in one sense, Dialtone is a signal that you have the ability to communicate. Pick up a landline phone and you hear that reassuring tone that lets you know you may now make an attempt to get in touch with another person or group. (Cell phones don’t have that tone – but they have ‘strength indicators’ that give you odds on a call going through). Dialtone was almost always available – a consistent reminder of your ability to connect.

Dialtone was a 20th Century marvel, but in the last part of that Century, our ability to communicate online started to exceed the mere dialtone experience. Instant messaging programs such as ICQ, AOL IM, MSN and Yahoo messenger gave us the ability to see if friends were at their computers, and if they were available or busy.  Dial tone turned to ‘busy’ when a phone call couldn’t go through – but we has no idea if the line was busy due to error, a short call, or an extended conversation. When we do connect, as Aswath Rao noted “We often start our calls with ‘Am I disturbing you?’ or ‘Is this a good time to speak?’”
Eventually, IM programs let us share our status messages – a short line about what our free/busy/away data meant. Things like “Rushing to Finish a Project” gave context to our status. We knew more about the person on the other end of the computer – and the likelihood of conversation and connection in a particular timeframe. Continue reading