It might be an embellished cliche, but it's true. There are many people and organizations that can't see the end of any forest because all they can see are trees. And as a result, they jump from one tree to the next, usually following people who appear to be up front, even if all they can see are trees too.
Did you ever read The Hobbit? There comes a point in the story when Bilbo Baggins, along with a band of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield, are traveling through a very dense forest called Mirkwood. They become lost. Thorin provides the most reasoned solution: "Somebody must climb a tree and have a look round. The only way is to choose the tallest tree that overhangs the path."
In the story, somebody means Bilbo. In real life, we found five people who have had the good sense to climb a tree. And what they see carries considerably more insight than those hopping from one tree to the next.
Best Fresh Content In Review, Week of April 19
• Are You Ready to Become a Media Company?
Valeria Maltoni shares the pros and costs of developing a sustainable social media platform, with the understanding that many companies are, in essence, betting their entire program on networks such as Facebook and Twitter (Ning is one example. Those who bet Ning would always be free, were wrong.) While smarter companies use these platforms, they understand the value of having their own. Maltoni helps lock down what that means on the front end, middle, and end.
• Dear Millennials: Your Parents Lied To You.
There is a lot to like about Millennials, but there is one belief that many could do without. They believe that effort earns as much rewards as results. And in Bill Sledzik's classes at Kent State, they quickly learn how mistaken they are as the class is designed to give them a clear dose of reality: not everyone is above average, effort does not earn a trophy, and "not good enough" is exactly what it sounds like. Frankly, Millennials need more teachers like that.
• Social Business Planning: Aligning Internal With External.
Not many social media experts talk about the impact of employee engagement and internal communication as it relates to social media. They don't because, frankly, they don't know anything about it. David Armano does. He maps out several models, including some from Altimeter Group, with an emphasis on developing company cultures that share information as freely internally as people share information externally across social networks.
• Dancing with the Devil: Cause Marketing for Nonprofits.
Is Komen a match with Kentucky Fried Chicken? Many people asked the question, blaming KFC for the mismatch. Geoff Livingston turns that thinking on its head, suggesting that nonprofits, as pure as they seem to be, could take more care in the partnerships they nurture. He also pinpoints the biggest problem: nonprofits tend to forget that their primary goal isn't fundraising as much as it is to effect change. And given that the nonprofit sector saw more executive raises last year than many others, one would have to close their eyes to not see that he is right.
• Altimeter Report: Social Marketing Analytics (Altimeter Group & Web Analytics Demystified).
While there is always a constant buzz that people are struggling to measure social media (despite several people such as myself, Katie Paine, Olivier Blanchard, and others offering solutions), Jeremiah Owyang helps pinpoint four primary objectives (besides sales) that organizations can adopt as measurable goals. They include: dialog, advocacy, support, and innovation.