5 Lessons We Can Learn from NASA’s Social Media Program

By Communications, Media, Public Relations, Social Media

Brad McCarty of The Next Web interviewed NASA’s Social Media Manager Stephanie Schierholz about NASA’s outreach and ongoing social strategy for a fascinating post.  I love watching a major presence evolve its use of social tools. It’s even better if, as NASA has, they share what they’ve learned from the experience. I’ve distilled the lessons from NASA down to these:

  1. Create a Connect page on your website so those interested can easily find where to follow you on various social platforms. Check out NASA’s here
  2. Think of the social element as a natural extension of what your brand is already doing.
  3. Watch and consider what the people in your community are doing/using. Is FourSquare useful to your brand? If your customers are using it, then find a way to connect it to your business.
  4. Again, watching what the community is doing, is your brand’s story a visual one? If so, video and photos may already be an important part of how your community shares information. Harness that.
  5. Take the online offline, and bring it into in-person contact. NASA has found dramatic success with Tweet-ups, connecting NASA enthusiasts with one another. How can this translate to your business?

It will be very interesting to see how NASA’s online presence evolves as its brand and mission changes. There’s much we can learn from the organization beyond what’s happened in space.




Clear the Mechanism: Sidestepping the BS of “Social Media Fatigue”

By Communications, Media, Public Relations, Social Media

Just about everyone I know has written about the new “yuppie flu” we’re calling “social media fatigue.” There are valid perspectives on the position that we (consumers, corporations) are inundated with and overwhelmed by the demand to be social. Communication overload is as old an affliction as, probably, speech itself. I’m pretty sure the third phrase that ever evolved was loosely translated to “would ya just shut up already?” (The first had to do with food, the second; sex. I’m sure of it.)

On the business side — I totally agree with my friend Rusty Speidel who wrote his opinion that not all businesses require a social solution. It may surprise you to know Idon’t think social platforms are the be-all, end-all to doing business and I certainly don’t think that social media represents a series of stand-alone tactics. I have a really hard time with a business that wants to plunge into social media engagement without even knowing where they’re going. The companies without consistent branding, messaging and media relations plans in place too often are getting ahead of themselves creating an online presence not remotely supported by content that is strategic or that has a recognizable purpose.

That’s the kind of stuff I, too, would like to see stop.

As a consumer, I don’t feel the need to engage socially 24/7. Even though I make part of my living providing social media counsel and education, I typically totally unplug on the weekends. I manage my engagement to a level of comfort, and freely unsubscribe, unfollow, remove and delete without compunction or guilt.

I will not (ever) “friend” a business and I have to really be interested in your content to actively follow you on Twitter, like your business page, or read your blog content. There is just FAR to much content, for even a hyper content consumer such as myself, to absorb. I value my time — all of it — and I’m not going to waste it on anyone offering me yet another solution I don’t need, a sale I’m not going to take advantage of or a loyalty program that has no pull on my purse strings.

Many people have reached a saturation point — so many that it’s been branded “social media fatigue.” I’m tired of hearing about it, frankly. (Sitting, drinking a beer between this guy and this guy as they argued about it pushed me to my breaking point.) Enough already.

Social strategy is part of communications strategy. Social media represents a fleet of tools we can use to help us communicate. For businesses, this must be applied carefully and not with the broad brush formerly used in media relations or direct marketing.

As consumers, it’s our individual personal responsibility to “clear the mechanism.” That quote comes from one of my favorite baseball movies, For Love of the Game, which I realize dates me and makes you realize that I’m older than you thought I was. In it, the pitcher played by Kevin Costner, uses the mantra “clear the mechanism” while on the pitcher’s mound to negate the sound of the crowd and to focus only on sending a perfect pitch over the plate. (*Editor’s note: I changed this post; originally I said the movie was Bull Durham, another baseball movie favorite but thanks to Jeff Uphoff, a baseball movie authority, realized my mistake. Thanks, Jeff!)

Consumers need to do this as well — clear the deck, shut down the programs, pare down the reading lists and above all, get rid of the crazy amounts of notifications you’re getting from all of these platforms. I’m stunned to learn how many of you get e-mail notifications daily from LinkedIn, from Facebook, from Twitter and/or Google+. For goodness’ sakes, no wonder you’re fatigued — get rid of that stuff. You don’t need it. Lord knows the last thing anyone needs is more e-mail.

If you’re a consumer feeling overwrought by communication, clear the mechanism.

If you’re a business feeling the pressure to use social media, question the process, the tools and the direction that strategy is headed. There may very well be steps you’re unwisely leapfrogging to get there.



“Jane, You Ignorant Slut,” No Longer an Insult? Will SlutWalks Change a Definition?

By Media, Public Relations

Back when Saturday Night Live was funny, Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain did a bit called Point, Counterpoint in which the pair argued and tossed barbs while delivering the news with anchorperson false cheer and seriousness. The line made famous by this sketch is “Jane, you ignorant slut,” shot off casually by the in-character Akroyd (see video below).

Megan Gibson writes for Time about a new movement that is trying to re-brand the word slut, using it as the focal point of a campaign for consent; an anti-assault, anti-rape movement with demonstrations called SlutWalks, designed to raise awareness and generate conversation. The word and its brand are gaining attention, and that’s the point, but is it effective?

Can a word with such a negative connotation really be altered to have a positive, empowered meaning? Will women ever want to be referred to as sluts? I don’t think so.

The campaign is relying on the shock factor of using an unexpected word to generate attention, but I think its use only muddles and detracts from the message. People will be so hung up on the word, the demonstration’s participants’ wearing of “slutty” attire, the controversy surrounding the shock factor itself that we’ll forget the point entirely.

What was it this demonstration was about, anyway?

Guest Post: Today on Inkling Media

By Communications, Media, Social Media

Hi! *waves* I’m not really writing over here today because I have a guest post over here and I want you to go read it. It’s actually pretty hilarious (IMHO) and informational, about the importance of video.

Wait. What are you still doing here? Go read my guest post!

I have used video to do some nutty stuff, in part because it helps get me warmed up and comfortable in front of the camera. It’s weird being alone with a webcam, prepping to talk to the millions of you who no doubt, want to hear me wax philosophical about PR, marketing and social media. So go learn why it’s important and leave a comment with your thoughts so Ken Mueller, my host for the guest post, will be happy.

Video and YouTube: Heck, Yeah it’s Important




WTF? Friday: Fictional Characters and their Blogs

By Media

Squarely in the WTF? category comes this bit: Woman’s Day magazine has hired the character Melanie Moretti, from the TV show Hot in Cleveland, played by Valerie Bertinelli, to author a column in the magazine.

Did you get that? The column is written by a fictional character. From television. And then printed in a magazine.


The column, which looks like a blog to me, appears on the Woman’s Day website.

Photo credit: TV Land

The stunt (which, come ON! It totally is!) has been referred to as a “partnership” and a “crossover promotion,” as the column is the character’s actual job on the show, and is referred to during episodes.

Got that?

I personally think this practice of fictional characters writing columns, features or blogs is hokey as all get out. I don’t like it — at all.

Is it fiction?

Is it a column?

What the heck is it?

And who really writes it? Bertinelli? Her writers? I’m so confused.

What do you think?