Thursday, March 19, 2009

Having nothing to say is a detriment to blogging

I’m not fond of blogging about blogging, but I did get to do something interesting that bears some interesting blog fodder on the subject of social media.

I went to Las Vegas last week to attend a Ragan Conference on Social Media for Communicators. The goal was to pick up some tips and tricks to better webicize my office products. I got some ideas.

There were a lot of speakers there speaking on a lot of different topics. I attended two sessions given by Ron Ploof, founder of OC New Media. He runs a great blog on the hows, whats and whys of social media at Both of his sessions were video oriented – a media my office is trying to get more into. We’ve been producing a lot of video through our traditional channels, but want to make better use of You Tube and Troop Tube. The primary problem though is that we think “traditionally.” Effective social media video is rather non-traditional.

Nothing drove home the impact of social media video better than our luncheon keynote speaker, George Wright. Most people probably don’t know the name, but most You Tubers probably know his product: Will it Blend?. He gave a quick story about how the Will it Blend? videos came about and the outcome of the videos – a 700% increase in sales. Then he blended a rake.

Will it Blend? is a great example of something Ron Ploof told us in an after-lunch session. Successful social media videos do two things. They (1) provide spectacle and (2) touch two emotions. He was paraphrasing another internet video guru who produces French maid videos, but the sentiment is correct. Videos that go viral both excite us and reach out to us. The car video with the teen and the dad where the father sees the footprints on the windshield – there’s a lot going on there. Frog in a blender – perhaps the first internet viral product – provided us with the spectacle of interactive web animation and played on our emotions. Is it really wrong to blend a cartoon frog?

Perhaps the best speaker was CEO Tony Hsieh. Less about social media, Tony talked about the importance of corporate culture. Figuring out who you are as an organization and focusing on that first means that you can better communicate it in the future. Social media is just another way of getting your message out.

Through all of the sessions, the thing that really struck me is how much all of these new media methods are focused more on internal communications. Podcasts, Tweets and Facebook are seen less as ways to talk to an external audience than they are to tell employees about things within your organization. With traditional media becoming less effective, what’s the next step? I’ve yet to see a convincing answer to this question. Still, going to Vegas for a conference is always a good thing.

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