Thanks for the follow…

Free twitter badge

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a shout-out to the people that have started following me on twitter.  Thanks.  And even though I don’t know any of you personally, I look forward to learning more about you and what you want to share with the Twitterverse.  Well, maybe not for all of you.  Let me explain before you stop reading.

Last week I saw a re-tweet that mentioned an article titled “The 40 Most Approachable Social Media A-listers on Twitter.”  Of course, the list was not created after a poll of all Tweeters, but instead was a list created by the author (Brian Rice) showing his own opinion.  But he said that following and interacting with these individuals is a MUST!  I read the list and saw that of the 40 names, I was already following six or seven on Twitter.  I was even following a couple on Facebook too.

I decided to follow every single person on that list.  My reason?  Mainly because I am the social media marketer at the company I work for and I am always looking for people that know what they are doing in this arena and what they can share to help me.

Another reason I started following all of those people is because I have read so many articles about things that can be done to gain a following for your blog, and one of the suggestions was to be interacting with A-listers that have a large following.  Now, I know I am not interacting yet as was suggested, but I am starting.

After following all forty people on the list, I posted a Tweet saying that I was following them all in hopes of going viral.  Two things happened as a result over the last few days that I think is interesting.  First of all, I received a message back from Marjorie Clayman (@margieclayman) with some profound truth.  She said in essence that doing things because I want to go viral will not help my postings go viral in the way that I want them to.  This comment directly relates to the second occurrence that I found interesting.

In the last few days since posting that tweet, the number of followers that I have on Twitter has doubled.  No, that is not viral.  In fact, many of those new followers are members of that list of forty names that I started following, and they are following me back.  Others that started to follow me are people that also follow those forty names.  All of us seem to have some common interests when it comes to social media.  It is to all of you that I say “thank you” for following me and I hope to enjoy more interacting through comments and direct messages.

But along with these new followers, I acquired another twenty followers that don’t tweet.  They follow dozens, if not 100-200 people, and are even followed by a few dozen others, but they don’t tweet.  Who are these people?  Why do they want to follow me?  Do we share any common interests?  I didn’t know the answer to these questions so I decided to click on their profiles to learn more about them.  Marjorie was right… I don’t necessarily want to go viral in this way.

All of these unknown, non-tweeting followers are women.  Most of them work in the porn industry… at least that is an easy assumption based on some of their profile pictures and website links on their profile.  But I could be assuming erroneously.  It is all a judgment based on outward appearance.

It is interesting that I suddenly had these people following me.  I don’t blame it on the fact that I started to follow those forty social media A-listers.  Timing could have played a huge role in the whole thing.  But regardless, it is still interesting to me.  I don’t think that I share anything in common with these people.  I don’t think they share much in common with any of the people I follow (I could be wrong… I don’t know their personal lives one bit).  Maybe they are just using social media to help market their own business, whatever that may be.  And they are trying to become viral, just as I would like to see happen with my own blog postings.

So in the end, I have actually learned a lesson… or two, or maybe more.  The first lesson I learned is that when I tweet using sarcasm, I need to make it clear that I am being sarcastic.  I had no intention of following those people so that I could become a viral blogger; I just said it out of jest.  When Marjorie responded, I decided I better not lead anyone else into misunderstanding so I deleted that tweet.

The second lesson came from Marjorie’s response.  Although, it wasn’t necessarily the response itself that taught the lesson, but also the resulting follows that reinforced what she was saying to me.

The third lesson was actually something that I had already learned, but was reinforced learning.  It is that if I want to become approachable like those 40 A-listers, I need to interact more.  If I have a question, I need to ask it.  If I have something to share, I need to share it.  If I want to comment on someone else’s tweet, I need to say it… especially if it contributes to the conversation.

I can’t just write my views and expect that the posting will get 10,000 views in the first three days.  Heck, I have written 50 blogs postings and I haven’t even gotten 10,000 views combined since I started.  But that is not the objective.  My interaction will hopefully return interaction, which in turn will help me as I develop my writing, which is the reason I started my blog in the first place.

Summed up, if I am social, people will be social back.  If I have the objective of quick popularity, I may get it… but who will I be popular with?  Probably not the ones that will help me accomplish my goals.  So hopefully I have learned what I need to know and will be able to follow through as I follow all of you.  And if you have learned from my own experience, than I am glad that I could help.  The view has definitely expanded.

Just another view from a Palmtree.

Reflections on Directions 2011

The company I work for has a user conference each year.  It is called Directions.  The conference for 2011 took place last week in beautiful Park City, Utah, at the Canyons Resort.  If you haven’t been to Park City, you need to visit some time.  It is great.  In fact, it is so great, the Sundance Film Festival is held there.

So were a lot of the 2002 Olympic events.

The Canyons Resort is a great place.  Nestled on the hillside, the views are great.  The staff members at the hotel assigned to work with us for this 2 ½ day event were awesome.  If something was needed, all we had to do was ask.  Problems?  Taken care of as quickly as possible (or at least it seemed that way).  It hasn’t always been that way, but the last couple of years have been.

For the opening general session, we hired Chad Hymas to be our keynote speaker.  All I can say about his presentation is “WOW”.  (By the way, if you are in charge of scheduling keynote speakers for a business or community function, you need to consider getting this guy.)  Chad shared a message that was inspiring to “those who get it, and if you don’t get it, it is because you choose not to” (as Chad put it).  The theme of the conference was “Get Real” and his message sure showed us how to get real in our own lives and remember that it isn’t about “us” but that there are people we can serve and we shouldn’t have to be asked.  Many people told me that he was the best keynote speaker we have ever had (or at least at the Directions conferences that they had attended).

This year at Directions we had 24 breakout sessions for instruction on the software applications that we provide our clients.  We also had 10 lab sessions that provided one-on-one instruction, specific to the clients most pressing needs.  From what I have heard so far, each session was a success.

Keynote speaker number two spoke to us on the second day of conference.  Her name is Erin Handel and she is the CEO of Bankerstuff.com.  She spoke to us about social media outlets and their place in business settings.  She also spoke about the hazards and concerns about using them in business and how they can create more problems for your company than they will profits.

One of the highlights of the conference was the traditional banquet.  The menu was awesome as we indulged (and even some engorged… that would be me) on a good old barbecue dinner.  Warning, offering more than one type of meat only means I will take some of each.  This only leads me to ask the server for a second plate just for the salad and sides.

The entertainment this year for the banquet was a comedian.  In years past we have had musical bands, vocal bands, comedy troupes, and even Polynesian dancers.  We even had a speaker who was a cross between comedian and inspirational speaker.  You may have heard of him… Andy Andrews?  Well, this year we decided on a comedian named Frank King.  Frank was great.  If you are ever in one of his shows, just be cautious in raising your hand if he asks if anyone in the audience is from the south.  Or a deer hunter.  Or someone who likes to go on cruises… which is where you are most likely to see him as he works on a lot of Carnival and Holland America cruise line ships.  He won’t offend you, just make fun of you.

One of the other highlights, which actually kicked off the conference and introduced the theme, was our annual video.  This is pure comedy at it’s not so finest.  But the attempt is great.  Basically, my department is in charge of the whole event, so as we plan the theme we look at possibilities for a story line in our video. 

This year with the theme being “Get Real”, our script-writer came up with a great idea spoofing reality television shows.  The whole movie is done on a budget of almost nothing.  I know that some Hollywood filmmakers will say that their movie was done on a small budget but that budget ends up being in the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Our budget consists of whatever it costs to get some cinnamon bears, cookies, bottled water and other snacks for the actors, as well as any other props that we can’t come up with on our own.  I doubt we spent more than $100 on this year’s movie.

This year I didn’t get to be an actor.  I didn’t even get to be a grip, sound guy or location scouter.  I did provide a water jug during one of the scene shoots, but I never even participated in the shoots.  But even without my services, the movie this year was awesome.  It’s a must see and you can help it go viral on YouTube.  Just click here.

After 2 ½ long days of conference, plus the long days that went into getting it ready, I was glad to be done, but even gladder I had participated.  I got to renew acquaintances and friendships with clients that I haven’t seen since last year’s conference, if not longer.  I got inspired to be a better person and make other people more of a priority than myself.  But isn’t that one of the main reasons to attend such conferences?  If we aren’t attending in an effort to make ourselves better, why are we going?  Is it so we can be what we think the world wants us to be?  That is what I call a façade.  That wasn’t the purpose of our conference.  That is why the theme was “Get Real”.  And that is what we all need to do.

Just another view from a Palmtree.