Olympic Spoiler??? This blog post comes to you right on time!

Ok…so the image above was captured at 2:48pm Tuesdayand this article was written at 1:32pm Tuesday afternoon, EDT. Yes…

“The U.S. women’s team has won the gold medal in the gymnastics team final with a superlative performance and an overall score of 183.596. Russia scored a 178.530 to take the silver and Romania won the bronze with a score of 176.414.”

Ok…who cares other than the fact that this is the first time since 1996.

“Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman delivered impressive floor routines to clinch the first team gold for the U.S. since the ‘Magnificent Seven’ won in 1996.”

It is a big day for the US…well, kind of?

Of course, since the Olympics are broadcasted on NBC via tape delay…most Americans will not be able to see this victory until Thursday evening. Well, most Americans…I guess?

Since Huffington Post and most news outlets posted this huge announcement via social media…the Twitter-verse has been exploding with excitement and people complaining about it spoiling the fun Thursday evening.

Tweets from around 3:08 Tuesday afternoon…people still talking spoilers. And even have moved on from talking about the Women’s Gymnastics spoiler.

So here is my question…will you be interested to see the viewership statistics for the television broadcasts and compare them to the NBC/YouTube live streaming viewership? People have the option to watch it live during the day online or watch later on their television.

This world phenomenon is going to have to solidify the distinction between television viewership and online consumption. Also…how much social media has played into the reporting of the Olympics in real time via Twitter, Facebook, and other social outlets?

I am looking forward to Nielsen to release the viewership comparison between online and television and relevant  the impact from the social outlets. NBC Television scored big numbers for the opening ceremonies “with 40.7 million people tuning in for the opening ceremony, making it the most-watched opening ceremony for a summer or winter Olympics ever.” But what about days like today when something big happened in the middle of the day. It will be interesting to see the comparison!

Or will the social space sharing the results in real time turn into a tremendous marketing opportunity for NBC to capture viewership in the evening. People will want to see it with their own eyes.

You think it is a spoiler when Huffington Post and other media outlets posted immediately on their websites that the Women’s Gymnastics Team won?

Spolier alert…maybe people are moving to online viewing and social consumption for real time information. And maybe the networks and media giants have figured out how to leverage the social/digital space to attract audiences to watch on television? I am looking forward to seeing if people enjoyed the real time results via online versus waiting to watch the old tele.

***Image credit…HuffingtonPost.com 

Are we too social online or are we bi-polar? What is our real story?

On thing I have learned over the past 4-5 years working with groups in the social media/digital space: social technologies has provided one heck of a platform for individuals and brands to become overt, expository, and exclamatory in an expedient fashion. Especially when it comes to taking a “stand” or “position” on a topic.

Reed Smith posed this question yesterday on Facebook: “Is it Possible To Be Too Social?”

Now his context for this question was based on frequency…but with the recent barrage of social advocates overloading our walls from politics, healthcare, and even the recent Chick-Fil-A situation; this has me thinking through a different lens.

I am amazed each day what I read on my news feed, on Twitter, the memes that are posted, and how we de-contextualize information to meet our needs. We live in a cut-and-paste, digital recycle world where we take information and reuse to fit our messaging needs.

I often wonder, would the same conversations that happen online happen offline? Would we be more open to conversation offline or would we use the same “hunt and kill” mentality, hiding behind the keyboard, and sharing our inner thoughts like we do online?

There are so many people and individuals that I meet that are nothing like the personalities they portray in the online space. This bi-polar online/offline life we lead  leads me to wonder…who am I talking to in person.

Admit it, you have fallen victim to his moment of “rage,” getting caught in the moment wanting to one-up a person online, getting caught in a feud that leads to a Facebook thread three screen shots deep. Before you know it…you wonder who was that person behind that avatar that wrote those rebuttal statements…is that me?

So here is the question, what does it mean to be too social? Is it frequency? Frequency has a lot to do with it…and I do not mean the number of times you communicate a marketing message. I mean the frequency of hours we spend online…developing an online brand that does not coincide with our offline personality.

And we as marketers that manage brand’s appearance online…we end-up having multiple personality disorder. We are typing on our Facebook page, then posting for our brand…hoping that we do not send out that party picture to the wrong social account. Admit it…you have done it before. You just have to know how to delete it REAL FAST.

Are we too “Social”? Well, if it means online…the retail brands hope so, they want your attention and want you to advocate for their cause. I would be willing to bet that Chick-Fil-A is happy with the image above…the 811 comments posted (which leads to shares). But would you say that same thing in person to someone you know that does not agree? With that same expository tone? That same shout with conviction? Would you be proud of that commet after your family members, peers, or even work relationships see that exclamation? Or would wait to get online talk about them later?

What is your ethic and where do you stand online and offline…and are they the same voice? Are we telling the same story? I think we (including myself) need to check ourselves at the door from time to time.

Creative Inspiration Just Strikes…

You never know when it is going to happen. You never know when that creative inspiration will hit us like a ton of bricks. We spend so much time crafting a story, but we must feel it with our bare skin…our breathe…our inner creative being.

Crafting a story is like the best type of “dance” with the audience…we must see the story through their eyes in-order to communicate the final prose.

So many times I find myself looking for the final way to put a piece together. I spend so much creative time thinking about the storyline…especially as it is developing. I craft initial storylines, what I think the interview will say, how the story will evolve…but we always must be prepared for those moments in time that provide us the epiphany.

We can have the best cameras, the best edit suites, the best lighting, the most innovative approaches to capture the story…but it all comes down to execution. Can you pull all the elements together in a way that gives the audience something, that one thing, that when they walk away…they see it through your eyes. They get goose bumps at the right moments!

Then you wonder…do they (the audience) see those tiny moments exposed.

The craft of storytelling is more than a craft…it is a calling.

We may not like Cathryn Sloan’s tone…but we cannot escape her reality.

I have been reading lots and lots of reaction to Cathryn Sloan’s article “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25” featured on NextGenJounral.com. I have to say that I applaud her voice and her premise, whether or not if we like her tone.

I read all the negative and hateful reaction in the comments section below her article, most of which came from seasoned marketing professionals. Here is the funny thing about her article and premise she provided…all the negative comments reinforced the fact the her generation is pushing the traditional marketing glass ceiling upward so high…it is shattering.

Also…I have lost lots of respect for many of those seasoned professionals that thought it was fun to add their jabs in the commenting section of this article. Especially the ones that called her generation arrogant. Your negativity reinforced her argument and I am saddened that you felt it was fun to join in and take a swing at the punching bag. Especially a generation we need to embrace.

As a regular lecturer working with both undergraduates and graduate students, I am amazed each day how the social space is a second language to not only Generation Y…but also Generation C.

There is a shift happening in the workplace and Generation Y will soon be replacing the Baby Boomers in the workplace…76 million of them. So what about Generation X…they are the current VP’s of Communications and Marketing working for the Baby Boomers…hoping to land those next positions. They do not want to get jumped.

So let’s look at Cathryn and Generation Y.

Generation Y is the fastest growing segment of the workforce, growing from 14% to 21% over the past four years. Most Baby Boomers will phase out of the workforce in the next 10 to 20 years and Generation Y will rapidly assume the place of the Baby Boomers.

The Gen Y experience is centered around a growing, technologically connected society who are not only learning the common discourse of the web…BUT creating their own discourse in the social space. These discourse communities are the ones driving the advertising market space and they are taking a commanding front seat to not only becoming the lead in purchasing power but social influence.

Gen X is stuck in transitioning from device to device because we were the greatest usability test for this technological era. Gen Y is commanding how these devices are created. Actually…some groups like Neilsen consider the 18-34 age range Generation C.

“The latest Census reports that Americans 18-34 make up 23 percent of the U.S. population, yet they represent an outsized portion of consumers watching online video (27%), visiting social networking/blog sites (27%), owning tablets (33%) and using a smartphone (39%). Their ownership and use of connected devices makes them incredibly unique consumers, representing both a challenge and opportunity for marketers and content providers alike. Generation C is engaging in new ways and there are more touch points for marketers to reach them.”

If you want to look at the infographic from this study…here it is and it is quite intriguing.

Gen C uses technology as their oxygen where networking online is critical with the need for instant gratification. They are and will be multi-focused in work-life. Technology is completely embedded into their daily life and their physical space and technology are well integrated.

So what does all this mean and what does all this have to do with Cathryn’s premise. Let me tell a story. I taught a Business Writing Class last semester and the final project was to work with a large organization to create and social media strategy for an event promotion. The class was split into groups and competed to create the best strategy.

This large organization had been pitched numerous ideas by from well-respected marketing firms, yet they were still looking for something innovative, fun, and engaging for the community. In one month, these 25 college students created six strategies that not only met the needs of the organization, but provided some amazing insight and innovation. They basically blew the socks off this organization, exceeding expectations of the organization that had already been pitched by well-respected marketing firms. Why? Because they live and breathe the social space…they just had to learn how integrate audience analysis and execution.

The social space is not going anywhere. It is here to stay and the next leaders of this space will be the Cathryns of the world. They are confident in their abilities and have an eagerness to show what they have. They also have something much different…they have the entrepreneurial spirit.

Generation C scares the hell out of us not only because of how smart they are, and how connected they’ve become, and how easily they integrate themselves into this social space… but also how expendable Generation X is in this exponentially evolving American economy.

We need to quit fussing and complaining about Cathryn because we might be answering to her one day… sooner rather than later. I already am. One of my former students is now my client in a large hospital system. I have a pretty good time doing business with her.

It is up to us seasoned professionals to help shaped this generation and learn to leverage their knowledge. We may not like the tone of her article, but we cannot escape her reality.

Always fun working with Immedion!

It is always fun to work with a new client. Immedion just launched their new website, created by Cyberwoven in Columbia. Natalia Muska (Director of Marketing) worked with me as we crafted customer stories that showcase Immedion’s commitment to “Always On” mantra.

We created two initial customer stories based on two companies Vigilix and Sturgis Web Services. You should watch both videos…interesting companies one of which located right in downtown Greenville. Both companies depend on Immedion’s infrastructure to meet the needs of their customer base.

Both stories come from the customers’ voice, allowing each person to tell their story. We chose this direction so that the audience can hear their story instead of the perspective where we “put words into their mouth.” Lots of fun especially with a little fast pace editing to spice it up a bit.

Here are the two videos for you to enjoy…or you can go Immedion’s website to learn more! A screen shot of their homepage is above!


Sturgis Web Services

Are we truly a divided America or has the digital chasm has been crossed?

I ask you…are we truly a divided America? Have we thrown up the ideological lines in the sand? Or do we just have better access to media and technologies that provide an outlet for our voice?

The digital chasm has been crossed with more American’s gaining access to connected technologies. Internet access used to be this “elite” luxury where the only access was in metropolitan areas, large businesses, and large educational institutions. Now, more and more areas have become connected from rural America to other socioeconomic demographics; more Americans can go online to read and react.

So has access to knowledge and information created a divided nation? Has access to social websites and mobile platforms provided a place for too many people to voice their opinions.

I say we are the vocal melting pot with a diverse cultural impact. We come from so many different backgrounds, experiences, cultures, knowledge bases that now we can share in places we once had limited access. The smart phone has transformed the way we communicate where we can share our thoughts in real time. A Google search provides real time results to peoples thoughts, pictures, videos, and all the relevant information that provides context to our culture..

The social search is alive and well and it is this technological breakthrough that provides those with an opinion a platform to share. Whether we agree, disagree, or react; we are not a part of a division…we are a sum of all parts. Social media is now the platform that crosses all socioeconomic backgrounds, a platform for our voice to be heard.

We now have a place to share our story.

Happy Birthday to a nation that provides the liberty and the knowledge that allows us to share the one thing that makes us whole…our voice.

***Image from ThomasPMBarnett.com