Showing posts with label satire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label satire. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 1

How To Automate PR So Even A Monkey Can Do It

You have probably heard some variation of the infinite monkey theorem, a clever little probability gem that suggests a universe of monkeys randomly striking keys on a typewriter will eventually deliver Shakespeare's Hamlet in entity, right? Well, as crazy as it seems, there is some truth to it.

Jesse Anderson used Amazon's cloud computing resource to create an army of virtual monkeys who randomly assembled some of Shakespeare's works. What's more, it takes significantly fewer monkeys to bang out a basic press release. A dozen or so can do it, maybe less with the right automated tools.

8 tools that that will change the way you don't think about public relations. 

1. Start with a premise. Don't worry about coming up with news content again. Mash up existing headlines or enter a new subject for your premise and then plug in the name of your organization in place of the more popular names that come up. You'll have juicy ideas for news in no time.

2. Write a release. All you have to do is fill in the blanks to turn out reams of press-ready news releases, suitable for email and/or stationery. The automated program will even generate a properly formatted HTML code, complete with a beautiful array of background colors.

3. Make media contacts. Some public relations professionals are quick to tout their lists, but there are plenty of places to go, scrape, and call them your own. You'll have hundreds of emails in a matter of minutes, news hungry journalists who are waiting for something to drop right in their laps.

4. Submit to all. Too lazy to build a list? No problem. There are hundreds of submission software programs, wire services, and online distribution sites to ensure your news release goes anywhere and everywhere. Submit everything you do as often as possible.

5. Change it up. If you cherry pick three nouns from your news release and plug them into the right algorithm, it will immediately transform your news story into compelling content marketing. Make it a blog post headline or a white paper. It doesn't matter as long as you get clicks.

6. Make your own meme. Nothing says relevant like a meme. Transform your news and content into eyeball attracting memes for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Simply copy your headline into the caption and you are good to go.

7. Make another pitch. Follow up your press release with a well-timed post pitch, preferably one that has the sizzle journalists really seem to need nowadays. Plug in your topic one more time and get it all.

8. Take the call. Have the intern answer or, better yet, don't take the call. The industry is only a few years out from automated answering services that can be pre-programmed to answer any question a reporter might ask (or not answer any question by claiming you'll get back to them). Genius.

9.* Clip for success. Most people already know that Google captures all the news worth collecting, but few people know that you don't even need to make the news to be the headline. If the proof is in the clipping, skip all the other steps and make your own news! *Bonus tool.

See how easy it is? Public relations can be as easy or hard as you make it. And nowadays, you can make it all automated with a little less than a dozen monkeys running the show for big time results.

Links are not an implied endorsement. Results may vary. Good luck and happy April 1! For more April Fool's fun and communication satire, stick around and enjoy the archives from previous years.

Tuesday, April 1

Pay It Forward With A Social Media Endowment Today!

Most of us understand that social media is not a fad. It's the biggest social shift the world has seen since the Industrial Revolution. About 96 percent of Millennials have already joined a social network.

They aren't alone. About 73 percent of every generation is active on social networks. One out of every three couples who married last year met via social media (and are less likely to split up). One out of every six higher education students are enrolled in an online curriculum. Eight in ten companies use LinkedIn as a resource tool to find employees (and 98 percent use some social media).

Social media has become so important and so dominant in our culture and around the world, that an ever-increasing number of social scoring sites quantify, measure, and rate how we perform online. These scores are so important that you cannot leave social media to chance and still come out on top.

Everyone needs professional online help but they often learn it too late.

There is only one problem. By the time someone really needs to boost their social media presence, it's already too late. So they don't get hired. They don't make the grade. They don't even stay married.

It's time to face facts. There isn't anything anybody can do help you improve your social media status.  You are not a celebrity. You are not a marketer. You have no social skills. And even if you did, you would probably blow it anyway. But even if you are a total loser, we have some pretty happy news.

Even if you are a loser at social media, your kids don't have to be losers too.

You can make sure your children aren't subjected to the same social shame you have to live with today by investing in a social media endowment policy for tomorrow. It is the very first cradle-to-grave service ever offered and we're proud to be on the cutting edge of this exciting new program.

What is a social media endowment? A social media endowment works like any other financial endowment, except the money you invest is earmarked to be invested in the social media development of your children from cradle to grave (and, technically, even longer than that). Most social media planning starts from conception and carries forward to the next generation with a post-mortem plan.

Why an endowment instead of a typical service retainer? Service retainers are great, but they can also deplete disposable income and we don't want to do that. An endowment works better because the investment holds its principal in perpetuity, paying out only a small portion for the services that are needed. When the program is complete (at death), some money can be paid out to a benefactor too.

How are allocations slated over the life of the endowment? While every social media endowment is different, we generally plan to allocate $100 per month times the age of the child, allowing it to cumulate when they need it most — applying for colleges and finding post-graduate employment. All other interest is reinvested until the principal reaches a peak operating balance. At that time, the service is capped at 50 percent of the monthly interest with allowance for events, circumstances and contingencies.

What special events do you plan for as part of the program? Obviously, there are times in everyone's life that deserve special attention— birth, first birthday, first day of school, etc. To ensure these magical moments receive fresh attention, we draw down additional funds to ensure their birth announcement (for example) trends on Pinterest or that the optional live birth video is a hit on YouTube, making your child an instant celebrity that people know they should be watching!

Can highlighting their biggest life moments really matter? Perhaps the best explanation is an example. As reported by CNN, some people already offer this service for weddings. But this concept is so much bigger because we will be in your child's corner from day one to make their dreams come true and trend at the same time. Best of all, as an endowment, it's already paid in full. As long as the endowment meets the minimum requirements, everything is covered. So, in sum, heck yeah it does!

How does a social media endowment really help? The only difference between your child and the kid who got his picture on the front page of the news for a science project is exposure. By sharing select posts, pictures, and videos early on, they create a legacy of achievement whether they were any good at something or not. The simple truth is that winning people over before your child is good at something will lead to an amateur following that will swear the child is good at it.

Are there money making opportunities for my child? As your child grows his or her social scores and fan base, the sky is the limit in terms of endorsement deals, sponsorships and spokesperson opportunities. Many children who are enrolled in the social media endowment program are already on track to become famous, giving their socially challenged parents a second chance at fame by becoming their child's manager. The perks alone will blow your mind!

The time to act is now! Imagine how great their lives will be if everything they do trends on the most popular social networks! Facebook. Streamed. Twitter. Chirped. Pinterest. Pinned. Google+. Added. The point is that as experts, we will migrate your child's success onto whatever social network is popular in the future. It's easily guaranteed because the program operating capital is guaranteed.

The bottom line. With a social media endowment, your child will be entitled to the best of everything online — from a trending birth announcement to the highest influencer scores in whatever interests they might have — long before their peers even have permission to open an account. They will be first, firmly entrenched, and positioned to make their dreams come true while receiving endorsements from companies that know exposure is everything just like the social stars you envy today.

For endowment options, please inquire after reading the disclaimer.* Based on historical averages, a $1 million endowment made today will cover $500,000 worth of social media exposure while growing the principal to $1.8 million in 10 years. Initial endowments of $50,000 or more are also manageable to reach your goals!

*For more great social media tips in the tradition of April Fools! please see The Mushup StrategyBronx Zoo InfluencerSME: 14.0Clout Bellies, How To Write A Social Media Book, or almost anything labeled satire. Have a great day! And a special thanks to Benson Hendrix for inspiration!

Sunday, April 1

Writing: How To Write A Social Media Book

Every now and again someone asks me why I don't write a social media book. I've been asked so often, in fact, that I don't have an answer that doesn't feel redundant. So maybe it's time I did it!

After all, the world needs more social media books. There are only 138,243 listed on Amazon and all of them are brilliant. Ninety percent of them have 4-star ratings or better. Some of them, usually those with the word "strategy" in the title, always earn five stars, especially when they are accompanied by at least one reviewer who says "this will be the last social media guide you will ever need."

Never mind that it is always the same guy who says that. The important thing to remember is to find the right untapped title, even if the book is virtually the same thing. So that's how I spent most of yesterday — looking for a title that would drive my content.

It didn't go well. Everything feels taken. Social Media Zen ... taken. How To Be Likeable ... liked.  Social Media Bible ... anointed. Social Media Playbook ... executed. New Rules, Revised ... third edition. Stardom in 30 Days ... out of print. Stardom In 28 Days ... the reason why. Then it happened ...

S.M.U.T. — Social Media for You Too. 
How To Write A Social Media Book.

That's right. Instead of writing a social media book, I've decided that what I really needed to write is a book about how to write a social media book. Not just any social media book — but the kind of social media book that everybody reviews and nobody actually reads!

So, what's inside my new book? Everything that you will ever need to know about social media, book writing, and life in general. I dedicate a good amount of time to writing about life in general because everyone knows the "M" in "SM" really stands for "Memoir."

It's how every social media book starts and ends. You can't be social unless you are transparent. And I'm going to be transparent right now. I haven't written anything. But you'll want to buy it anyway.

You're Only 10 Chapters Away From A Social Media Book!

Chapter 1: Foreword. The first 30 pages will be written by a real social media rock star. A social media rock star is anybody who has already written a book but the book hasn't sold more than five copies. As long as you promise to include their name on the cover "Foreword by the dude (or dudette) who wrote the last social media book nobody read," you are golden. Just remember to pay it forward.

Chapter 2: Talk About You. Who you are and what you did before social media is gold. If you can write about how you were down and out, depressed, going through personal hardship ... all the better. The point is that you have to prove you used a be a schmuck just like they are now, buying all sorts of these books.

Chapter 3: Establish Your Roots. You know the drill. Talk about how you were one of the first people to favorite "Will It Blend" on YouTube. Tell them how you hang out at Starbucks. Chuckle about the Dell Hell campaign. And mention that some Zappos employee once followed you on Twitter. You were there and being there is the same as being an expert.

Chapter 4: Have An Epiphany. Write an entire chapter on how in this weird and wonderful world online, you met some great and interesting people. Make sure to include as many names as possible because these people will be the first to review your book, even if they never see the cover.

Chapter 5: Point Out The Evil. Make a list of all the companies that aren't using social media and give them the face of evil. If evil is too strong a word for you, ignorant or old fashioned works. It doesn't really matter as long as you make the case that it's the little guys against the big guys.

Chapter 6: Talk More About You. Talk about how you started a blog, joined Twitter, jumped on Facebook, etc. This is an especially important chapter because it establishes you as an expert. It doesn't matter how many friends, fans, or followers you have. The formula for an expert is exactly how many friends, fans, or followers you have, minus 10 percent.

Chapter 7: Talk About Everybody Else. Invest a good amount of time distinguishing yourself from other social media gurus, ninjas, and rock stars. Talk about how they game the system and you do not. This establishes immediate credibility, separating you from your fellow snake oil salespeople.

Chapter 8: Make Good On Your Promise. This is where the heavy lifting really comes in to play. You have to make some stuff up that people can do right now to feel like they are making progress.

• Blog Strategy. Leave butt kiss comments on the top ranked blogs and write about them.

• Strategy. Post a whole bunch of junk in other people's topical communities.

• Digg Strategy. Write headlines that people want, linked to the articles people don't want.

• Empire Avenue. Buy shares in people who are active and ignore everybody who isn't playing.

• Facebook Strategy. Bribe people to like you with contests and then blast them with content.

• Google+ Strategy. Post about what you do. People will love you and search engines juice+ you.

• Klout Strategy. Beg for people to give you +K and then brag about your score.

• Pinterest Strategy. Pin pics all day, every day, and repin the pins of people who like them.

• Twitter Strategy. Follow everyone on Thursday and then unfollow them all on Saturday.

• Quora Strategy. Ask your friends to write questions you want to answer and answer them.

Chapter 9: Motivate People. Rehash everything you just told them, except throw in some motivational self-help tips and quotes from famous people. Einstein is always a good one. "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds," he said. You rock star!

Chapter 10: Wrap It Up. Write about how social media changed your life and how you know it is going to change their lives too (and maybe their companies). Make sure you include all the places they can connect to you and how you now consider them kin — part of your special club and inner circle because you like people like you and they like you too.

See? I told you so. This is the perfect social media book about writing social media books! All you have to do is write 10-20 pages to fill each chapter (with the foreword being 30 pages long) and you can be the next person to have a gold mine of popularity and influence. All the cool kids know it and now you do too! A social media book is, after all, the best business card you will ever have.

April Fools! Hope you enjoy. For past lessons in social media, please see The Mushup Strategy, Bronx Zoo Influencer, SME: 14.0Clout Bellies, or almost anything labeled satire. Have a great day!

Friday, December 16

Teaching Social Media: The Real World Test

While I was walking down the long narrow hallway toward the computer lab where I was scheduled to teach a social media class, I had a revelation. I was marketing myself all wrong offline.

What I really needed to do is use "proven online social media strategies" offline. You know, all those proven strategies, not by the people who know something about communication and marketing but by the people that we know all about. Right, you know who they are. I don't even have to tell you. That's the point. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.

Social Media In The Real World.

I. Increase Followers. 

As I said, I was walking down the narrow hallway, and I started to think about how important the number of followers is in social media. Apparently, it's important. The more people, the better. 

I stopped dead in my tracks. I needed to know how many students were in the class.

I looked rather clumsy, standing there, juggling two water bottles in my left hand, the satchel slipping off my shoulder, and handouts spilling out as I tugged at the flap with my right hand. But I didn't care. Numbers are too important.

It took a little more fumbling, but I found it: The student roster. One ... two ... three ... I stopped, mouth agape. I counted them again. Eight. And then I counted again. Still eight.

Eight isn't so good. The class usually pulls in 20. In truth, I wasn't surprised. The former program director had scheduled the class the weekend between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. Right. I was a prime time network show being moved to Friday in the hope we could win a weak night. It never works.

So I retraced my steps and started peeking inside the other classrooms to see how many students they had. Six ... five ... seven ... twelve ... hmmm ... now that was more like it. I walked in, and put my satchel on the desk in the front of the room. The other professor looked at me, crinkling her brow. 

II. Troll Management. 

"Can I help you," she said, hands on hips, looking like a sad sack. 

"No, you can go now," I said, feeling better because I had increased my followers from eight to 12. 

She stood there for a minute, obviously shaken, and then made some sort of spitting noise. I was going to ignore her, but she was making the students in the class uncomfortable. So I gave her something to do.

"You know, you can report me to the office if you like," I said. "And while you're there, can you tell them to make me more handouts? I need more. A lot more."

III. Crowd-sourcing. 

I pulled down the overhead screen in front of the white board. It took a few tries, but eventually it stuck. I turned to face the class, and smiled. 

"Today, we're going to talk about social media." 

"Um, this is supposed to be an accounting class," one of the students said. 

"Um, no, this used to be an accounting class," I said, raising my hands to encourage them to show a preference. "Today, it's student choice. Facebook and Twitter or assets and liabilities."

I counted the hands. Five for accounting. Six for social media. One abstained. 

"No hand raised doesn't count," I scolded. "Engagement matters. What do you want to talk about?"


The class groaned. Accounting was now social media. 

IV. Sharing. 

After establishing that this was now social media, I shared a little bit of my background and then looked  out over the class blankly. And they looked back at me, blankly. So I tried to prod them along. 


"You haven't told us anything yet," muttered the Twilight kid. 

"Social media doesn't work that way, Mr. Cullen," I countered, almost glib in my excitement to show I was a real guru. "You can only share information at a rate of one to eight. That means eight of you have to say something first or one of you can say something eight times. I don't care, either way."

"He doesn't care, either way," beamed one of the students. 

"He doesn't care, either way," said another. 

"He doesn't care, either way," added a third.

There's always one or three in every crowd. I squinted my eyes at them. 

"I'd appreciate it if you would wait for us to cover retweets before doing that," I said. "Moving on ..."

V. Quantity. 

Before I could continue, the troll I booted out earlier had come back. She brought some gangling looking office assistant who stood at least a foot taller then me. That's pretty tall. I'm 6 foot.

"Oh good, did you bring the handouts?"

"Handouts?" he said, as if it that was the first he'd ever heard of it. 

"Yes, I specifically asked her to make copies," I said, motioning my hand up like a conductor to the class.

"He did ask for handouts," said one of the students. 

"Yes, she was going to get handouts," said another, grinning, chin in both palms. 

Good, I thought. I was making real progress here. 

"Yes, I need lots of handouts," I said, a few of the students casting the office assistant glances. "It doesn't matter what you bring. Just bring them, lots of them."

Handouts are important. It's what sets most content creators apart from conversationalists. The general concept is simple enough. If you barrage everyone with enough content, they'll be too dazed to notice that you haven't given them anything useful. 

VI. Mob Rules.

The office assistant's phone buzzed. It was his girlfriend. She confirmed it. I needed handouts. 

"And take Debbie downer with you," I said. "I'm trying to teach here."

Two of the students stood up, acting as if they were ready to usher them out. I was impressed. We hadn't covered mob rules, but these kids took to it like coke heads with Pixie Stix. 

"It's cool," he stammered. "I mean, yes sir."

And off they went.

Since I didn't really have anything to hand out yet, I suggested a break. Who knows? The students might even have enough time to come up with the rest of the class content if I waited long enough. But in retrospect, I wish I hadn't told them to take a break. I didn't really need a break. I was on a roll.

VII. Adding Value.

I decided to maximize my time instead. I revisited all the classrooms I passed by earlier and poked my head in to listen in. Eventually, the other professors would sense my presence and invite me into their conversations. It was easy, like playing Farmville on Facebook.

"No, no," I would shake my head. "Except, you know, that one point you made..."


"It's all very wrong," I would pounce, and then launch into a counter argument.

It didn't even matter so much what I was saying. All that mattered is that I offered some semblance of initiative understanding. That was enough. And, of course, it helped when one of the students who was following me everywhere would chime in.

"He's right, you know."

"I'm teaching social media instead of history or whatever this guy is teaching," I concluded. "You're welcome to join me. I'll even cover whatever this subject is when we get to Wikipedia."

VIII. Perks. 

I'm not going to lie and say it worked every time, but it worked well enough. I'd capture or two or sometimes half of their students before pied piper-ring away to the next room. It took 15 minutes.

The results were breathtaking. Even I was surprised when I did a post-break head count. I had 32 students in my class. It wasn't a record by any stretch, but 32 is better than 12 and a million times better than eight, which was the class size I would have had if I was playing by established rules.

"I think I have enough students now to tell you something important," I said.

They all leaned in closer to hear.

"There is a special at Starbucks today," I said. "Right after class. You can join me or go on your own, it doesn't really matter to me as long as you use this code."

I wrote it down on the white board, amused by how low tech teaching can be. Schools need QR codes for this stuff.

"What does that have to do with social media?"

"What does that have to do with social media?" I asked back, but didn't wait for an answer before continuing. "It has everything to do with it. If even ten of you use the code, I get a free T-shirt."

"Free T-shirt," half them chanted, circling the newbie who asked the question like tribes people. It looked like a scene from Lord Of The Flies.


How do I know it was a newbie? It's always the newbie who asks a stupid question like that. What do people think social media experts do, work for free? No. We don't pay for coffee either.

In fact, I was just planning to cover this advanced subject matter when the gangly office assistant showed up again. He had the troll with him and some new guy.

"Did you bring the handouts?" I asked.

"Mr. Clark wanted to speak to you first," he said.

"Yes, I told Burt to hold off until we had a chance to chat," said Mr. Clark.

"Okay," I said, reaching down to my side to feel for a pistol. It sounded like a showdown, and it wasn't even a western.

"Well, if you take the registration of the original either students in your class, minus the cost of all these handouts for 32 students, then you're providing the university a negative return on investment," he said. "What's worse is you never even showed up at the computer lab, so we'll have to issue those students a refund. And all these students will probably want refunds for the classes they left too."

At first, I thought it was because he was standing next to Burt, but Clark was a very little man.

"You're talking about ROI," I said.

"Yes, yes I am," he said.

At first I was going to dazzle him with outcomes, like how many times the class parroted me, but no one said a word. It was quiet. Too quiet. So I let him have it.

"You silly little man," I chuckled. "There's no ROI in social media for you, but there is for them. And me too. Because I ... well, I'm getting that T-shirt today and there is nothing you can do about it."

As the room burst into applause and students chanted "you silly little man" over and over again, I uploaded the entire confrontation on YouTube. I could already feel it in my bones. The book deal was clinched.

Of course there is an ROI, I mused silently. The only real question is: Who gets it?


Social media can be an extremely powerful component of a communication plan, assuming it remains grounded in communication. And the easiest way for anyone to test a social media program is to imagine how all those tactics, strategies, and secret formulas might look if someone applied them to offline communication. If you do and it sounds silly, it probably is silly. Have a nice weekend.

Monday, November 28

Scoring Social: The Rise And Fall Of Klout

You all know the story, because it's all very true — there are plenty of marketers who dream of the day that they can give us all scores. It would make their lives easy, terribly easy you see: if they could base who gets what for which price or what fee.

If we only had scores to sort out their big mess. Never mind names or merits or interests or lives, just a list of our scores and a button to click. That would be enough, it's painfully clear. One score to determine who gets what prizes and perks, what service and more.

The Crazy Story Of Blogs And Social Media.

Then one day it happened, some will remember, when Clout-Belly bloggers were sometimes called stars. Everyone else, those without content on thars, were called Plain-Belly people, their reach not so far.

Now, being an online blogger wasn't always so special. Compared to actors and inventors or directors and authors, it was really quite small. In fact, you would think such a thing wouldn't matter at all.

But it did. Because they were stars, all the Clout-Belly bloggers would brag, "We're the best of all people on social media beaches." And with their snoots in the air, some would sniff and they'd snort. "We'll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort."

When Clout-Belly children went out to play ball, could Plain-Belly kids get in the game ... ? Not at all. You could only play if your parents stayed up and blogged through the night. And those Plain-Belly kids had parents without any online might.

So when the Clout-Belly bloggers received their frankfurter perks, or picnics or parties or free root beer floats, marketers never invited the Plain-Belly people. They left them out in the cold, behind the red ropes. They kept them away, dashing their hopes. And that's how things went, year after year.

And then one day, it seems ... while the Plain-Belly people were tweeting and talking, sharing and squawking, some of them daydreaming of the day they might start a blog to earn more clout, a stranger zipped up with this new thing called Klout.

The Brief And Sordid History Of Klout.

"My friends," he announced in a voice clear and keen,"My name is Joe Fernandez. And I've heard you're unhappy, but I can fix that. When my mouth was wired shut, I became the Fix-It-Up Chappie. And I've come here to help you, I have what you need. My price is quite low and I work with great speed. Better than that, my idea is one hundred percent guaranteed."

Then, very quickly, Fernandez did shout. He put up his algorithm and started to tout. "You want to be stars like the Clout-Belly bloggers ...? My friends, you can have them for a price pretty cheap. Just give me access to your data, feeds, and friends when you tweet."

"Just open your accounts and hop right aboad!' So they clamored inside and signed on the line. And the algorithm bonked. And it jerked. And it burped. And then it bopped them about. They didn't mind, because the thing really worked! When the Plain-Belly people popped out they had Klout scores. They actually did. They had Klout upon thars.

And then they yelled at the ones who had clout at the start. "We're exactly like you! You can't tell us apart. We're all just the same, now, you snooty old smarties. We don't even have to write a stitch, you crazy old coots. We just share and type nonsense, and we get all the perks, like new shoes or new boots!"

"Good grief!" said the ones who had worked right from the start. "We're still social medial gurus and they're still just the masses. But, now, how in the world do we know it? If this kind is what kind or that kind is this kind and this kind is what kind then I think we need glasses!"

Just then, up came Fernandez with a very sly wink and he said, "Things are not quite as bad as you think. So you don't know who's who? That is perfectly true. But come with me, friends. Do you know what I'll do? I'll make you, again, the best kinds of tweeps with real social media reach. All I have to do is change my secret formula."

"Clout-Belly bloggers are no longer in style," said Fernandez with a smile. "What you need is a trip through my Clout-to-Klout dumb-it-down kettle. This wondrous contraption will change clout to Klout, and we'll score you the same, but with a nod to your mettle."

And that's what he did, lickity-split. They signed up for Klout with the same conditions and poof. Their once Kloutless accounts suddenly earned scores through the roof!

"Ha ha," they declared, with yell of great triumph. "We know who is who now, and there will be no doubt. The best kind of online gurus are those with high Klout!"

Then, of course, those who had just gotten scores were frightfully mad. To have a lower score was now frightfully bad. But in like a flash, Fernandez was there. He invited them in for a transparency fair. He told them all they needed to know about scoring, or so he said. Keep busy online, today 'til you're dead.

"That's right. It's all very easy," he said with a grin. "I'll change the influence scoring here and there on a whim. You just keep typing and sharing and shouting. I've got the contracts to put you in marketing."

And then, from then on, as you can probably guess, things turned into a terrible mess. All the rest of the day and on through the night, the Fix-It-Up-Chappie played them like a kite. Tweet this, post that, plus this, and add that. And through the networks they charged, opening them all to get better scores. They kept tweeting perks, posting plugs, and adding plus ones; no time for friends or thinking or fun.

And soon, the whole thing was confusion, their heads spun up on a spool: which one was this one or was this one really that one. Or which one was what one ... and what one was who. But none of that mattered. Because all through the night and all through the day, Fernandez was raking it in on the backs of those people who stopped talking to friends. And he laughed and he laughed, from his perch of free perks, "you can teach them new tricks, but you can't teach them about worth."

Now, I would like to say that it all ended that day. That people became just a little bit smarter. But unfortunately for us, humans aren't like Sneetches who learned something new. That the size of your worth is based on the friendships you make, and not your score, status, or hue.

Related Reading From Around The Web. 

Why I Quit Klout by Schmutzie

Why I Quit Klout by Matt LaCasse

Why I quit Klout by David Kaufer

Why I Quit Klout by Ben Loeb

Why I Quit Klout by Botgirl Questi

How To Get Your Profile And Data Completely Disconnected From Klout by Danny Brown

Feel free to add a link to your own "Why I Quit Klout" post in the comments. We'll approve them. Special thanks to Dr. Seuss, whose original story "The Sneetches" inspired this satire about online influence. The Klout story is amazingly just like it, maybe exactly like it if people let the concept get carried away rather than focusing in on what's more important in life.

Then again, a few people won't have it. After quitting Klout, some have even suggested banning marketers who participate. If that ever happens, then Klout will learn about scoreless influence.

Wednesday, November 23

Thanksgiving: How Social Media Is Like A Turkey

Sometimes social media is real time communication, which means the timing of the message is just as important as the message itself. I was reminded of that yesterday as I was finishing up a 1,200-word column that I was going to title Occupy Thanksgiving.

The piece is decent, and perhaps more personal than I usually post on this blog. The topic was just a little reminder that keeping your focus on scarcity can be detrimental whereas being grateful for the little things in life can help you wake up happy every day, even in the face of tragedy. I know. Despite many tragedies and near tragedies, I have a lot to be grateful for. And I hope you do too.

I still think it's an important topic, but the timing isn't right. Nobody needs too much food for thought before a long weekend. So I shelved the column for another day and set to work on something light — a slow burn satire of sorts for all those claims that social media is like one thing or another.

So, in honor of Thanksgiving in America, why not make social media like a turkey? It's not all that different when you really think about it. And in some ways, it's even better because I can chuckle at the absurdity of it and you won't leave feeling bloated.

How Social Media Is Like A Turkey. 

• Decide On A Recipe. There are hundreds of different recipes to make a successful turkey, ranging from maple roast with gravy to honey-brined smoked. It doesn't really matter which one you decide to make, but it's always a good idea to know what else you plan to serve and if your guests have any preferences. Right. Your turkey is part of a bigger plan.

• Defrost Before Cooking. Even if you know what kind of turkey you want to cook, part of your plan requires a defrost period. If you start too cold, your turkey will never be fit for consumption. Slow down, put the bird in the refrigerator, and let it thaw, about 24 hours for every five pounds. For social media, this phase is listening.

• Stuff With Contents. Start combining some of the ingredients you plan to stuff your turkey with, whatever it might be. Maybe you like onions, mushrooms, celery, green pepper, and bread crumbs. Some people like vegetable stuffing, other people like cornbread stuffing. The important part is to pick the contents that complement your turkey.

• Roast Your Turkey. Roasting a turkey takes time. You cannot expect a 20-pound turkey to cook in half an hour, not even if you try to rush it. It takes time and constant care, basting so that neither the turkey nor the contents dry out or, worse, are served undercooked. It's true. Undercooked turkey makes people sick.

• Prep The Meal. It used to be easy because all anyone had to do was take care of the turkey. But nowadays, people want a little bit more. You have to cook the rest of the meal. When the turkey is roasting and just starting to attract attention it is the best time to add corn, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and dinner rolls. You don't have to serve everything. Focus on what other social sides they really enjoy (e.g., if nobody eats cranberry sauce, don't serve it).

• Serve It Hot. Serve everything at precisely the right temperature, usually warm and steamy. In cold weather climates, people will look forward to the meal all the more. Just don't expect everyone to come to the table at the same time. Even though everyone will eat the turkey, it really is the least important part of Thanksgiving. Family members are busy catching up and many people enjoy watching the game.

• Say Grace. When many people hear the word "grace," they immediately think it implies faith. For many people, it does. For other people, not so much. You make the call as appropriate to you and your guests, but the general idea is still valid. If you are lucky enough to have people interested in your turkey dinner (as opposed to all those other turkey dinners out there), be grateful not expectant.

• Enjoy The Company. The bigger the party, the more distractions. There are bound to be tiffs, spills, splatters, and complaints at some Thanksgiving dinners. Take it all in stride. For the moment, these are your people — your family, friends, and acquaintances — and they deserve your respect. Despite the way some experts feel, it's not polite to have people show up for dinner but exclude them from pie.

• Reward The Heroes. While every host takes the time to treat every guest as equals, there are always those times when there just isn't enough of something to go around. Do the best you can. One drumstick might go to grandpa because it's the only part he eats, but giving one to someone under ten can make an impression for life. There are lots of these moments, right down to breaking the wishbone.

• Cleanup And Feedback. Ask your guests how they liked the meal and take notes for next time while cleaning up the mess and pushing a few leftovers out the door. Thanksgiving is just like that. There are always some links to be fixed, comments to approve, and people to thank. You have to love every minute of it because you invited them, remember?

Oh, and one more thing. Measure success based on how well you served everyone who attended and not by the number of footprints you have to vacuum off the carpet. Social media is about quality more than quantity, and some days it's hard enough to just keep up with everyone.

But more important than measurement, smile and be thankful. If you can't remember that, then sooner or later, you're likely to be the only turkey left. Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the long weekend. We'll have something up on Monday.

Wednesday, July 20

Making G+uru: Get Certified Now!

Google+ CertificationYou know it and so do I. Google+ represents a windfall for social media unlike any other social network before it. But even better than a windfall for social media, it could be a windfall for you too, my dear friend, because it's all happening right now!

Facebook? Forgetaboutit. Twitter? Grounded. MySpace? Neverheardofit. Quora? Flashinthepan. Google+ represents the promised land whereas all other social networks before it were merely practice lands.

How To Become A Social Network Expert, Overnight.

Just imagine if you could lock in all the juicy blog headlines about Google+ before Brian Clark. Or maybe host the first, er, second online training session before Chris Brogan. Or maybe you could find the holy grail of marketing (a true influence measure) before Brian Solis. Or maybe that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Somebody is going to become an expert. And the only question you need to be asking right now is ... is it going to be you? Can you write the most SEO threaded posts about G+? Can you deliver more technobabble about your feelings regarding the G+ network? Can you draw beautiful graphics that convince people you've learned to read minds using G+? What about a book? A specialized G+ blog? A dedicated presence on a different social network that only talks about G+?

The ideas we will give you are limitless. All you need to do is strike fast, strike first, and strike fancy. Did you get that? Those are three very powerful words.

Fast. First. Fancy.

Write them down. I'll wait while you do and then you can read why our Google+ program will change your life.

How Google+ Could Change Your Life, Forever.

Imagine what would have happened if you purchased land when the New World was discovered. You would own Manhattan — all of it! Imagine what might have happened if you were smart enough to stop in Nevada on your way to California in the 1800s. You would have discovered the Comstock Lode — all of it! Imagine if you were on the ground floor of development with Steve Jobs. You would be Bill Gates — all of it, er, him! Or just imagine what would have happened if you started a blog three months earlier than anyone else. You would be a social media guru!

It's true. Google+ represents the biggest, baddest, and most significant discovery since ... forever. And right now, every social media pro on the planet is jockeying for the lead position. Whomever gets there first — first workshops, first classes, first books, first anything — wins!

They know it. I know it. And now you know it too.

G+uruBut what they don't know is that we've developed an entire program that will be the biggest spoiler in social media history. Sure, with their imported networks, weak links, and seemingly endless amounts of time, they have the upper hand. But it's all for naught.

They might be very good at what they do, but one thing they don't have — and will never have — is an authentic Google+ certification. That's right. You can earn a Google+ certification in a few short days or perhaps hours if you are an overachiever.

Why is that important? Because all the other other guys that top lists and get the good rankings might be able to claim that they are social media gurus, but this certification will make you a social media G+uru. See the difference? It sends chills down my spine.

We're Absolutely Crazy To Offer You A G+uru Certification, Nuts.

This is your one and only chance to lay the groundwork to become a world-class resource to your customers, colleagues, and company. And, you really, really, really have to do it right now. Our program will catapult you ahead of the curve to be the expert that you deserve to be.

• Learn everything there is to know about Google+.
• Listen to oodles of speculation about what's next.
• Get the skinny on influence algorithms with G+.
• Understand the difference between circles and huddles.
• Frame your certificate to show your ultimate achievement.
• And much, much, much, much more.

In fact, there is so much more — some of it propriety intellectual property (patent pending) — that you will learn 2,397.5 things about Google+ in less than a week ... maybe a few days ... just a couple hours if you are a real go-getter.

That's 2,397.5 things about Google+ that we have learned in the first 250 hours of its launch, along with 158 bonus things that haven't even been introduced yet (but they will, probably, sooner or later). Tempted to enroll? Good! Because my HP Photosmart 8750 is already bustling with activity as we print 10,000 G+uru certificates and the only thing missing is YOUR NAME!

How Much Does It Cost? Much Less Than Its Value, Absolutely.

We are so convinced that the G+uru certification will be so invaluable that we won't even post the price for fear of breaking the Internet as this news gets out. I'm serious. This offer isn't going to go viral — it's going pandemic!

So how much do you think it would be worth if you were on the ground floor as a senior certified G+uru instructor now? Exactly. It's absolutely priceless.

G+uruIt's so priceless that in lieu of a certification enrollment fee, we're going to offer the first 500 people the opportunity of a lifetime. We will waive the enrollment fee in exchange for just two or three percent of your lifetime income after you become a G+uru.

Right. This program is so hot that we're willing to gamble on you. Do any of the other guys do that? No. Do they put their money where their mouths are? No. Do they throw in a free T-shirt? Only sometimes.

That's right. It's always the same song and dance with them. Pay once, pay first, and regret it all later. This dance is better. Pay later, pay forever, and never look back.

So what say you? Are you in to take over the Web? Good, because before I even published this post, three people signed up. It's not a revolution, it's an insurg+ence.

This post is satire, with nothing ill-tempered meant to any good sports mentioned. However, I do hope this rings as a true cautionary tale for some. Google+ is a tool. It seems like a very good tool too, just don't forget to use the one you were born with before reaching for your wallet.

Friday, April 1

Interviewing Influencers: Bronx Zoo's Cobra

Nobody saw it coming, but the Bronx Zoo's cobra has become an overnight sensation on Twitter. The cobra had quickly slithered up the influencer rankings, beating out best-selling authors, politicians, and social media experts in just a few hours. The cobra has attracted 150,000 followers after 50 tweets.

Currently with a Klout score of 73 and climbing, the snake is credited by the influencer measurement algorithm as "knowing what's trending and earning respect from your network." The cobra has even had conversations with celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and city officials like Mayor Mike Bloomberg. The Huffington Post reports that the snake is already earning endorsement deals. SKYY Vodka offered the snake a $10,000 appearance fee.

How did the snake do it? Social media experts want to know! So we met with the snake earlier in the week to find the magic.

Ten Questions With A Social Media Snake.

Q: How does it feel to be an overnight sensation and social media influencer?
A: Listen, let me tell you about influence. I've been an influencer much longer than I've been online. Who was Aesop fixated on when he wrote fables? Me. Who did the ancient Aztecs worship as the master of life? Me. Who convinced Adam and Eve to eat the apple? Me again. I've always been an influencer. I didn't need Twitter to make me one. If it wasn't for me, all you humans would still be running around in fig leaves and ignorant bliss.

Q: Are you going to take the SKYY Vodka endorsement deal?
A: I'm holding out for the big money. Maxim writer Justin Halpern held out after launching $#*! My Dad Says on Twitter and look what happened: Someone published his crappy book and CBS bought the television rights. None of it was funny. Call the show $#*! My Snake Says and I'd rule CBS.

Q: If you did get a television deal, who would play you?
A: Wow. That would be a real toss up. Mom always liked William H. Macy but I'm thinking Gary Busey. Busey is off the hook! But hey, I'm not picky. Brian Solis works. He knows the terms and is short enough to fit in a pocket.

Q: Are there any social media experts you wouldn't want on the show?
A: Chris Brogan would never ever get on the show. What's up with all that Human Business crap? I'm a snake, baby. In your face! And Jason Falls? What's wrong with snake oil? And those clowns at Twitter who almost suspended me? I stick my tongue out at you.

Q: They almost suspended you? How did that make you feel?
A: How do you think I would feel? I'm an invertebrate. It's bad enough that Twitter hasn't approved my verified account, but they bent over backwards to give one to Charlie Sheen. We all know why too. He's not going places, but I am. So what if texting requires thumbs? I'll overcome. I haven't had a break like this since St. Patrick kicked me out of Ireland. He can kiss my asp.

KloutQ: Do you think the influence algorithm programmers are worried about your rise?
A: Does a snake charmer play a pungi? Of course they are. Joe Fernandez probably panicked when I hit a Klout score of 73, beating almost all of those social media influencers who pimp his site. Brands don't mind. They are already sending me perks. Seriously. Starbucks went nuts when I told people not to talk to me until I had my morning coffee.

Q: Do you have any long-term aspirations?
A: I'm still taking it all in. The way I see it, I have two options. I could be a mega celebrity or I could shoot for even something bigger. 2012 isn't all that far away and the campaign banners look great. America could use a president from the Bronx. I'd represent New York. Just don't believe those rumors that I was born in Egypt. I was born in Hawaii. Duh.

Q: Do you have any advice for young social media pros?
A: Yeah, um, right. Be authentic and retweet other influencers. So what if it's a contradiction. Most social media tips are just made up. Boo, hiss. Seriously, has anybody even heard of any of those people? No. Does everybody know the cobra? Yes.

Q: What has been the worst thing someone has said about you so far?
A: Zoo Director Jim Breheny said I was pencil thin. To that I say he should stop making it about him. This is about me, Jim, and nobody is pencil thin on this side of the glass. All the same, after TIME talked to him they asked for my side of the story. I kept telling them ... there is no "side." I AM the story!

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?
A: Yeah, I'm not really Justin Bieber. I was pulling TIME's leg when I said that. I don't get to pull legs a whole lot. Oh, but I have a message for Ford. You still owe me a royalty check. Fix me up before I tell the guys at Hyundai to let the Elantra Cobra roll.

Happy April Fool's Day. And thanks to all those mentioned for being good sports, especially the Bronx Zoo's cobra that was never interviewed. Special thanks to Geoff Livingston and Ike Pigott for introducing the cobra. For other April Fool's advice, see Revealing Secrets: The "Mushup Strategy," Preparing For Stardom: How To Slam Dunk Social Media, and Releasing SME 14.0, Beta: Copywrite, Ink..

Friday, March 25

Getting Noticed: Top Five Ways To Get Media Attention

Everyone seems anxious for publicity these days. So much so that Patrick Garmore published 109 ways to make your business irresistible to media on Copyblogger. Some of those ideas might work, but Garmore curiously left off the top five.

What's more, none of the top five really require social media (but social media will give you an attention-getting boost). So much so, there is a good chance you will be booked on talk shows for weeks, even if you have never developed any relationship with the media before. So can you handle the truth?

The truth is that all of these proven publicity tactics are so effective that most public relations professionals will never present any them. Why not? Because they just don't know they exist. And, because it demonstrates just how easy it is to drive hits on YouTube and land national news coverage any time you want.

Top Five Ways To Get Media Attention And They Never Grow Old.

1. The Streak. There is nothing more effective than streaking at a sporting event. It's guaranteed to make the evening news and generally draw more than one million hits when it lands on YouTube. Just remember to wear a hat, especially one that can be easily identified with your business.

Planning for a streak session requires just enough exercise to outrun security and the price of admission to a sporting event. Add two or more people to the streaking session for maximum impact. Risks associated with this stunt include angry players, fans, and the possibility of arrest.

2. The Shoe Toss. Originally made famous at the expense of President Bush, the shoe toss remains one of the best ways to gain not only media attention locally but also around the world. It all just depends on the prominence of the person you toss the shoe at or how prominent you might be. The original shoe tosser was thisclose to sparking an international incident. Wow!

Planning for a shoe toss requires a balanced hand at picking the right shoe. The shoe needs to be soft enough not to cause any real damage, but aerodynamic enough to hit the target. It also helps to pick someone not as athletic as President Bush, given it made his assailant look so amateurish with two big misses. Risks associated with this stunt include criminal arrest, deportation, disappearing, and possibly being shot.

3. The Squirrel. Although some stunts have become cliche, waterskiing squirrels or other pet tricks still command attention. In some cases, pets don't even have to have talent if they are cute. But the waterskiing squirrels still rock on both counts, making them the leader of the pet trick pack.

Planning for a waterskiing squirrel or other pet trick is a serious commitment. It could take months or years before it pays dividends. On the plus side, as long as you are kind to your animals and they don't get hurt, there is no downside. They draw crowds when they are at live events and are good for one to three videos.

4. The Rant. While it helps if you are somebody, near incoherent rants from anybody are worth their weight In gold. And if you think the video rant can only be employed by the likes of Charlie Sheen, then you must have forgotten that the reigning rant champ (37 million views) was none other than Chris Rocker.

Planning for the perfect rant is not as easy as it looks. While it can be scripted, rants only work if they appear spontaneous. They also require one seamless take so prepare for several attempts before you get it right. The downside to the perfect rant is that the better the rant is, the harder it will be to top it. Sheen was smart to play his rants down just enough to give himself wiggle room for future toppers. Rocker, on the other hand, quickly lost the momentum.

5. The Flub. While it takes more effort to find the right venue, blowing an answer on live television or anything that looks remotely like a spontaneous man-on-the-street interview is big business. Case in point: While blowing an easy question is still preferred, Kellie Pickler makes her blown answer into a masterpiece as she throws out half a dozen unrelated answers that are also wrong.

Planning to toss out a series of stumbles and still maintain face can be difficult. This is why we picked Pickler as the best example. She has always managed to be graceful in never allowing what she doesn't know to outshine her talent. Prior to Pickler, Miss South Carolina had the crown (but she had more difficultly overcoming the moment).

So there you have it. Making yourself irresistible to the media has never been easier. In fact, we have a list of about two dozen more tactics that have proven effective time and time again. And, much like the top five above, none of them require any hard work like those offered up by Copyblogger. All it takes is the guts to seize your moment, assuming you really want it.

However, there is one primary caution to employing any of these proven publicity techniques: Never mix and match any of them. A rant followed by a shoe toss, for example, will make you look overly aggressive. Answering questions with dumb answers after streaking devalues the original scheme. And any of these actions around animals — such as poodle tossing or appearing naked with animals — will permanently damage your credibility. That said, have fun and get ready for your close up!

Copywrite, Ink. does not endorse any of these tactics per se. They should only be done by trained professionals who are cognitive of the risks, especially any of those that could result in serious harm or fatal embarrassment.

Thursday, April 1

Preparing For Stardom: How To Slam Dunk Social Media

If you clicked on the title to learn more, I already know what you're thinking. You want to be a social media super star, but you're afraid it's too late.

Everybody who was nobody has already become somebody. All the top spots are taken and the good ideas are gone. And all the lucky breaks have been filled by people who have never known anything about marketing before social media came around.

But what if I told you it's not too late?

What if I told you that your lucky break is right around the corner? That you can still rise to the top of social media sophistry and Internet rhetoric. And that you, more than anybody else, could be the nobody you always dreamed about becoming.

Don't laugh. This is powerful stuff.

By following my slam dunk social media program developed by observing the tactics and behaviors of a few super successful social media giants over two decades, you too can become a super social media rock star success story. You won't have to work hard to achieve your goal. All you have to do is follow six simple steps.

Sure, it sounds unbelievable. But it's also very, very true.

To prove it, I'm going to give you the first five steps free, with no strings attached. That's right. Absolutely free. Are you ready? I hope so. In fact, if you're not already sitting down, you might want to right now.

Six Steps To Slam Dunk Social Media.

1. Proclaim blogs dead and start on social networks. It worked three years ago and it works today too. All the real action is happening on Twitter and Facebook.

Start with Twitter because it's especially easy. With a commitment of only 140 characters or less, you can tweet about virtually nothing. And the more nothing you tweet about the better. What is important is the number of tweets. You need at least 2,500 tweets to be taken seriously about the nothing you write about.

Don't have any ideas? No problem. Retweeting what other people tweet about counts. It's called generosity. Better yet, the more you retweet other people, the more people will retweet you, even if all you do is retweet other people. As your reciprocal retweets grow, so does your following.

2. Build that following. No experience needed. This is when the heavy lifting kicks into overdrive. Search for people who autofollow and set your account to autofollow. You don't even have to have anything in common. Sheer mass is a measure that people pay attention to. More followers equals more followers.

This tactic will get you the followers you want, whether you deserve them or not. Companies are especially good about this. Their social media experts have to demonstrate more followers each and every week. So, they are willing to follow just about anyone who follows them. But you can look for lists too.

You don't have to like the company. You don't have to buy from them. You don't even have to read their tweets as long as you have Tweetdeck to filter them out of the very few people you will actually talk to.

Once you reach a good number of followers, target people within a range of 500 followers less than you or more than you. Why? Those 500 under you will be grateful you noticed. And those with 500 or more than you are looking for followers too. (Bonus: this works for bloggers too.)

But that's not all there is to it. When you reach about 5,000 followers, turn on Auto DMs to direct them to your Facebook page where they can find the same content you post on Twitter. It's the easiest most effective way to inflate your following there too.

3. Start a blog and write about other people. It doesn't matter if you proclaimed blogs dead on social networks a few months ago. Nobody reads old tweets anyway. You simply need to say that your followers compelled you to start a blog. And what kind of creep would you be if you didn't listen?

I know. Starting a blog seems like such hard work, but it doesn't have to be. Just rehash old topics covered by other bloggers with a new twist. Most of them won't even notice. And those who do will probably write about you writing about them. Memes work too.

Sure, your teachers used to call this collusion or even plagiarism. But online, things are different. Social media experts call it reciprocity. Or in other words, the less original content at this stage the better for you to become a guru. Make it about them and they will lift you to the stars.

Feeling lightheaded yet? There's more. When you have enough traffic on your blog, start writing posts about how you were one of the very first bloggers. It doesn't matter when you actually started. Just pick a date when you can say you started something like a blog. Maybe it was a junior high school diary. Or, it could have been letters to your grandma. Or, if provided your parents did it more than once, there is nothing wrong with calling your ultrasounds your introduction to life streaming.

4. Lift the ladder and start to cash in. When you have about 10,000 to 40,000 followers, it's time to lift the ladder. You don't have to make your blog about them anymore. And you don't have to read their blogs. It's all about you or who you want to be.

You can even write a sappy blog post about how everyone still matters to you, but you just can't keep up any longer. This is also the right time to turn off your autofollow, chastise people who use autofollow, and dump at least 75 percent of your following. Just don't forget to tell them how very, very sorry you are to have no choice but to unfollow them.

The good news is that your influence will suddenly shoot through the roof! And that is much more important than a few broken hearts. Besides, if they want you to pay attention to them, they now need to earn it. Tell them to join your new Facebook fan page, blog group, or super secret newsletter about nothing.

The cool thing about the newsletters is that you can sell their names to junk mail houses and telemarketers. It is the first stage of cashing in on social media. Woo hoo! Sound too good to true? We haven't even scratched the surface yet. By now, you will be in the prime position to receive blogola (freebies for favorable reviews), paid posts (but never on your primary blog), and maybe even sponsorship ads anywhere and everywhere possible. Foreheads are especially lucrative. Just ask Seth Godin.

5. Surprise everyone with a pay wall. When you finally start to hit the big time and you are the nobody you always dreamed to be, it's time to give up on free content about nothing. People need to pay for the nothing you offer. Not only is it good money, but making people pay for it reminds them that you, and not they, are the expert.

If you do this really well, you can even convince people to volunteer their time to help you create content that they will then pay to read. How cool is that? Just remember to include a disclaimer that any idea, comment, or conversation they post on any of your social media assets is owned by you, forever and ever.

Even better, you can also start charging companies hundreds and thousands of dollars in consultation fees even if you have never had a client before. You don't have to show a portfolio, case study, or degree in anything. Your super fantastic online presence is proof enough. And if they don't like it, tell your followers to write bad things about them.

6. The super secret sixth slam dunk step.

There is only one more thing to do in order to achieve a level of success that rivals Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, and John Chow. Do you want to know what it is? Do you really?

I would be happy to tell you for the very modest price of $499.95. That's under $500.

Now, I know it seems like an awful lot of money. And normally, I would just give it away for free. However, I am afraid if I just gave away this secret without charging a nominal amount, you just wouldn't value it. Studies show that people value things that they have to pay for much more than anything they received for free. I am sure you understand.

If you would like to order the sixth step today, send me an e-mail in the next 14 days because this super secret step will only be offered for a limited time before I close the book on it forever. So don't delay. Just make sure you read the last line before sending in your payment that will guarantee you will become nobody twice as fast as you ever thought possible.

Happy April Fool's Day. All my best. And thanks to all those mentioned for being good sports.

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Wednesday, April 1

Releasing SME 14.0, Beta: Copywrite, Ink.

For the last several months, Copywrite, Ink. has been working with a former Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE) developer on a side project to take social media to the next level. We call it SME 14.0.

That's right. Rather than plod along from Social Media Expert 1.0 to 2.0 then to 3.0, we've leapfrogged right over all those cool and catchy numerals to Social Media Expert 14.0. And, for today only, you too can become a Social Media Expert 14.0 (SME 14.0) beta tester. (If you like Hunch, you'll love SME 14.0!)

Social Media Breakthrough: SME 14.0 Highlights

Virtual Followers. Everybody knows that social media is all about numbers. The more popular your blog, profile page, or social network account becomes, well, the more popular it becomes. With virtual followers, you can forget the early social media stages and jump right to "Mr. or Mrs. Popularity" because they come built in with every blog or page you create! Just pick a number — 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 followers — and real people will automatically want to follow you.

Even better, with virtual followers, you have even more reason to ignore those pesky critics. After all, who cares what real people think when you have hundreds or thousands or millions of virtual followers praising your every move!

Automatic Retweets. Inspired by Mack Collier. For anyone worried about their Twitter strategy, worry no more. Automatically set your Twitter account to Retweet everything specific people say and gain popularity, influence, and authority. That's right. Never miss an opportunity to Retweet select real people so they Retweet you!

When combined with the power of virtual followers, your message could be Retweeted 10, 20, 20,000 or 20,000,000 times as quickly (or throughout the day) as you want. With 10,000 Retweets per tweet, nobody will ever question your authority again.

Predetermined Crowd Sourcing. You know and I know it too. As Josh Catone said back in 2007 "a million idiots are better than one Einstein." The only problem is that crowd sourcing and clients don't always mix, until now!

We've fixed the paradigm with SME 14.0. By planting thoughts in the crowd with Jedi mind trick technologies so each and every crowd will be predisposed to agree with whatever you or your client thinks. You can forget manipulation because SME 14.0 sticks whatever outcome you want right inside their mushy little cerebellums.

Don't believe it? Just ask us for our short list of alpha testers and see for yourself. One of these early adopters even convinced you to invest what might amount to $75-$125 billion in failing companies!

Automated SEO Posts. No time to blog, but you want SEO like only Mr. Web Guru can do? Problem solved. With automated SEO posts, you can pick a subject and have it mashed up with all of the hottest search terms today. Here is one real life headline example...

"Jennifer Garner and Paris Hilton Tickle Obama On Google For Taskbar News and SME 14.0!"

Not only is it vetted as powerful a SEO headline, but it's proven to please your virtual followers after predetermined crowd source testing! Organic disruption of the Web has never felt so good.

Total Transparency. Sure, I know what you're thinking (seriously). Doesn't SME 14.0 game the system? Is it really authentic? How about transparent? Well, it absolutely is all those things and more!

You see, last December, we took Geoff Livingston's post about Pew/Internet research to heart. It said “The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.”

Total Transparency solves the first part of the Pew/Internet challenge. With Total Transparency features, what you "think" is precisely what is posted across all your social network platforms. That's right. No more sugar coating. You think it, say "post with SEO," and SME 14.0 automatically transmits from your brain to the board.*

*Warning: SME 14.0 is not responsible for outcomes thought in a water closet, on a nude beach, or other potentially distracting environments.

Ethics Checker 1.0. SME 14.0 also solves the second part of the Pew/Internet research statement with Ethics Check 1.0. Just prior to posting your thoughts direct, Ethics Checker 1.0 springs into action.

Want to give away a K-mart gift card or provide people the inside scoop on a duck without the push back? Now you can!

Ethics Checker 1.0 rates your "thought post" just prior to letting it zoom across the Web. This built in bonus program rates your post for potential ethical impacts on a scale of one (nice halo, baby) to ten (red tomato moment).

If you think that is impressive, next year SME 14.1 will come pre-installed with Ethics Checker 2.0, which includes a little man who looks a lot like Malcolm McDowell. Any time you have a "thought post" rating higher than a five, the little man will slap your face, eventually curbing you of unethical behavior once and for all.

Ultimate Fan 32.5 Add On Enroll as a beta tester for the SME 14.0 right now, and you'll also get UF 32.5. UF 32.5 was designed for all those people who have no original thoughts whatsoever! No thoughts? Never fear, UF 32.5 is here!

Now you can follow your SME 14.0 favorites in style. UF 32.5 automatically RTs, comments, writes praise posts on everything they say and do. Pick from plenty of options "Your best post ever!" to "I'm a mindless follower of >Blank< and you ought to be too!" Amazingly accurate and loads of fun, UF 32.5 is the ultimate tool to kiss some serious SME butt. In fact, over time, the UF 32.5 even helps you think, dress, talk, and post like all of your favs and peeps do!

Here's an actual testimonial from an UF 32.5 alpha tester...

"I used to talk about Jeff Jarvis all the time until my friends got sick of me. But now, thanks to UF 32.5, I am Jeff Jarvis and everybody loves me! The tag line says it all 'Who cares what Google would do when you can be a Jarvis too!'" — Jeff Jarvis, formerly Daniel Sheehan, and soon to be Robert Scoble.

SME 14.0 and the bonus program, UF 32.5 is not for everyone. It's only intended for people who use the Internet. Some restrictions apply. Not currently available in France. Beta testers also receive new program announcements more frequent than Ragan updates. Advanced training sessions coming soon: "The Lazy Person's Guide To Linkbait," "How To Fake Read A Post And Still Comment Like You Care," and "How To Post On SlideShare When You Don't Know What FAQ Means."

Important Disclaimer: Using these products will in no way assimilate you, to the best of our knowledge. Any similarities between the Borg and SME 14.0 packaging are purely coincidental and meant for entertainment purposes. It is also a healthy nod to the upcoming Star Trek film, despite no appearances of the Borg in this upcoming film.

Tuesday, March 10

Understanding Adoption: The Case Against Telephones

"Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."

And so were the first words uttered by Alexander Graham Bell on March 10, 1876, on his first successful experiment with the telephone. While most people take the innovation for granted today, the initial adoption was relatively slow and plodding.

Why wouldn't it be? According to America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940 by Claude S. Fischer, even the telephone companies didn't really understand how to sell the service, primarily because adoption meant so many different things to different people.

Some people wanted a telephone for job-related reasons. Some people wanted it for social reasons. And most people, simply wanted it for emergencies, even if that was rare. Of course, that assumes they even wanted it. Most people didn't.

In fact, even as late as 1926, The Knights of Columbus Adult Education Committee conducted a study to determine whether the telephone weakened character, made people lazy, broke up home life, and reduced visiting among friends. And, by the Great Depression, many people dropped the service all together, either for financial reasons or simply because they considered it a bad habit. Do you see any similarities?

"Mr. Watson -- whatever you do -- don't call back."

As hard as it might be to believe, the same case being made against online communication is the same case that was being made against telephones almost 100 years ago.

Granted, Mike Trap, who authored a post at Scalable Intimacy, was only conveying the argument against social marketing as he was told by others. He's right in that social media advocates might listen to the complaints, concerns, and cynicism. However, it still makes for an amusing assessment if we apply these arguments as they might have been applied in the 1920s.

1. Telephones don’t make sense for 'our' business.

If your business is intensely regulated, requires personal presence, or targets a defined niche, then telephones aren't really for you.

After all, a regulated company requires only a select few who actually speak for the company; a personal service provider like a tailor obviously cannot serve customers over a telephone; and a proximity-based businesses (those serving people within a five-mile radius), clearly do not need a telephone when customers merely have to walk a few blocks to have their questions answered.

Furthermore, telephones are especially ridiculous because it allows someone to call and learn more about a company whenever they want. It's a distraction at best.

2. Telephone calls are “hard to measure,” meaning there’s no proof it works.

A savvy detractor could quickly dismiss the notion of having telephones, citing that not every call results in a sale. Besides, if people buy a product in a store, what else is there to talk about after the sale? Or, even more perplexing, why call the manufacturer when they can ask questions in the store with the product right in front of them.

While they may be interesting, the telephone presents no compelling logic to alter the status quo. Oh sure, there are anecdotes, but they always revolve around those few companies that already have telephones. Baloney.

3. Telephones lack reach to move numbers we care about.

Telephones are generally one-to-one communication. So how many people would you have to call in order to convince them to run out to your store for a sales bump?

That's so not scalable and it's almost silly. Obviously, having a telephone is a nice-to-have, not a must-have.

4. It's labor intensive, and excess capacity is hard to come by these days.

Let's put this in perspective. To use a telephone, you have it physically installed, join a service, hang around for awhile, give people an idea of what they might have to say, ANSWER the darn thing when customers call, talk to them, answer their questions, etc. Add it up and you'll quickly see that nobody will get any work done doing all that.

Next thing you know, you might even have to hire a receptionist to answer the phone or outsource part of the service to someone else. What a joke.

5. Brand development requires consistency of voice, not cacophony of “participation.”

Imagine the disaster that could be the result allowing just anyone who isn't the brand manager to answer the phone? One rogue employee having a bad day could destroy an entire customer experience. Bam, they are gone, just like that.

Nope, it's much better to have select people visit customers in person. It's much more controlled to interrupt them with a sale item in hand then it is to let them learn about our company whenever they want.

"Mr. Watson -- stay there -- and I'll put up a post for you."

You know, I'm fairly certain that given the comparatively slow adoption rate, many companies resisted buying a telephone for all the same reasons that some companies refuse to adopt social media on any level today. So rather than ask what holds them back, it might be more worthwhile to ask them where all those companies without telephones are today?

Perhaps we can hazard a guess. Those companies might be in the same place that 10 percent of all companies went when they told their customers to either visit in person or send telegrams. They became part of history.

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