Haiti Assist!

As any regular reader of this blog knows, or anyone who’s paid attention to our events, I’m a big supporter of 12for12K and the work they do (ok, I may have slacked a bit towards the end of 2009, but they still do great work).  The proceeds from Masquertweet went towards 12for12K as did a few ‘bounty’ donations for attendees, comments, followers, etc.

If you’re unfamiliar w/ 12for12K be sure to click the link above to find out more.  In their inaugural year they raised an amazing sum for various charities and are already back at it in 2010 helping Hope For Haiti raise funds for earthquake relief.

If you’re so inclined and able to donate use head on over to the 12for12K site‘s post for this cause and send in what you can.  It’ll make you feel good about yourself now.

And I’ll make you feel good about it later – any donor of over USD$50 gets a round on me at the next Masquertweet / PRBC meetup where we’re both in attendance.  Just drop me a note letting me know you gave through the Chipin widget at the 12for12K site, I’ll confirm with Mr. @DannyBrown and the first round is on me at the next get together.  (For legal purposes I’ll limit this for the time being to the first 20 donors and will update this number here as you fine folks step up, reach in (your pockets), and pull out (your cash).


A response (an @, not a ‘d’)

A day and a half ago I’m sitting at my work PC, working on some client nonsense or such when I received a direct message which read, “OMFG we are being so rude according to shankman – we @ reply each other WAY too much.” [This was during Tuesday’s HARO call with @skydiver and@chrisbrogan — BTW, if you’re not following them, follow them – what’s wrong w/ you? They give great info and are certainly worth the follow].
Anyone who follows me knows this is at least partially true — I tweet (and @ reply) a lot. Tons — I’ve been on twitter for about a year and as of this writing have 14K tweets. My last thousand tweets averaged out to nearly 150 tweets per day (not bragging, just making sure everyone saw the unit of time). I tweet about everything – client/journalist pet peeves; what I’m listening to; reading; blogs I’m commenting on; and yes even occasionally what I’m eating.

Of course my initial response was, “You and I got called out specifically on a HARO call?” I was a bit impressed. Of course this wasn’t the case. Before commenting I waited to get the mp3 and listened…it wasn’t as inflammatory as I had originally thought, the full conversation (which followed a discussion of follower loyalty vs. number of followers) was this (Peter speaking in this quote):

[some sentence fragments removed for readability]

“…they [someone commenting on twitter I believe] disagree, it’s about answering, talking and answering your followers and having conversations on twitter. And Chris you might argue with me on this. I don’t believe that you should respond to every single person who responds to you in the public using an @ reply. I tend to direct message anyone who sends me an @ reply unless it’s something of value to the bigger audience. In my opinion, if you send me a question and I reply to you and it’s a personal question or it’s not of interest to everyone I’m being rude to 50,000 of my followers who might not care so I’m very very big on the dm not so big on the @ reply in a public forum. There are other people who disagree with that, there are companies who will @ reply every single person with the most trivial facts, if that works for them great – I just don’t believe once you hit a critical mass on twitter that that’s worth it…Chris what do you think about that?” [Chris’s Skype connection conked out. When he returned he agreed with Peter and the conversation tangented to a quick discussion of multiple accounts.]

I’m one of those who disagree.

First, a few notes:

a) I appreciate that Peter notes it might work for some people,
b) I’m not Peter and don’t have anywhere (and likely never will have anywhere) near his following.
c) I certainly don’t know what the critical mass is, but it’s presumably somewhere between my 1,800 followers and his 49,000.

Here’s what I do know:
a) off ALL of my off topic, sometimes nonsensical, double entendre laden tweets never have I been told I’m tweeting too much. Have I been unfollowed — sure. Do I know why — of course not.
b) some of the best conversations I’ve had with people would not have happened if I wasn’t tweeting nearly everything publicly.

More re: b) — when you do follow a decent number of people, individual tweets become blurred. If you only tweet once about a subject it’s very likely to get caught in the larger stream of those watching and very potentially never seen. If you’re having a good, interactive conversation you’ve got a better chance of being heard and others joining the conversation.

IMHO this leads back to the greatest question of the twitter-age — Why are you using twitter? I, personally use it as my own water cooler not soap box. A place to have conversations with others on the topics of the day and our lives.

When asked about twitter by Luddites I compare it to a cocktail party — you walk in, may know a few people there and can join or initiate any conversation without it being rude or intrusive. At the same time you can pull someone to the side and have a private conversation with them. But if we begin conversations and immediately pull the person we’re speaking with aside and talk only to them about it we’re losing the possibility that someone else in the group may have something of value to contribute to the conversation.

Simply put, IMHO (and compared to these two giants in the industry it is my own humble opinion) — until you ask, or allow for the possibility, there is no way to know what will and what won’t interest any number of your followers and to block that from happening by moving to directs immediately isn’t what twitter’s about (for me at least).

Of course asking everyone about their interests, keeping a record of it, and then somehow involving them in certain conversations is impractical if not impossible (remember, no multi-directs) on twitter. That leaves allowing for it to happen naturally — i.e responding publicly, the way the question was asked and see who pipes up. You never know what hidden gems you’ve got in your following until you let them know what you’re talking about and who else may be able to participate.

Proof of this came to me a few weeks back at Masquertweet, and I fully expect it to happen again at #MNH

I had a few, personally great moments at the event. The first of course being able to help 12for12K raise money for their July charity Eye Care for Kids.

The other joy, mostly unnoticed by others thanks to my mask, was seeing people I had been talking to for months and had introduced to each other online finally meet each other in person, and have real conversations about work, play and everything in between — without me doing any sort of weird twitter-matchmaker handholding. Some of them even making individual plans to get together and continue their conversations following the event. These were connections that may not have happened but for my introduction and I have no doubt that I was able to make those introductions because I chat up everyone publicly and allow the possibility that my followers will find each other interesting separate and apart from me.

This even took place NOT at an event — by leaving the door open for the possibility of a natural friendship to develop between two agencies I knew individually and had introduced to each other a new, hopefully life-long bond, has been forged. A connection (among many others) which fills me with joy each time I see any of them @, RT or #FF the other.

I’m not a big believer in #Followfriday, but each time I’m included in a #FF grouping and every other name I see is one I know, and I recognize introductions I’ve made, I glow a little bit. If these two (or more) random people have connected and like each other enough to now pay attention to each other (and become friends), and I was in some small way a part of that process it’s makes my Friday and my twitter life just that bit better.
Just my own $0.02.

Social Media: The great communicator?

Rambling a bit on this one…not enough coffee…

In a recent WSJ article from our own Julia Angwin she notes that digital small talk really doesn’t replace a 1-on-1 interaction for finding out what’s going on with old friends (BTW – in this case ‘our own’ refers to the twitter community).

Julia’s (terriffic piece) is spot on regarding known friends – friends who we may hesitate to open a vein to because they were that much a part of the building of our own self-image through high school, college and our early careers that we have to keep that persona up with them. That is unless of course we’ve made a 180 in our lives and don’t give a darn anymore.
The segment that goes unaddressed in Julia’s piece are those who would not have met without Twitter and other social networks (Nota Bene: I don’t include FB and LI in this segment. For my proper personae I only use those for people I actually know or have worked with. Twitter on the other hand is an orgy. I do know a number of others who will connect with anyone on either – that’s simply not my style.)
Referencing my last post and making a bit of an exception to it (I promise I’m not bipolar but rather just see many shades of gray) – there are those I’ve met initially on twitter, followed by a long ‘acquaintance curve’ that once I actually do meet them in person or have a phone call with them, may actually be more aware of where they are now in their lives than a ‘long lost’ friend may be even with the assistance of status updates given my lack of prejudice from having known them for years.
For anyone tracking it, I’ve had the unadulterated pleasure of meeting a handful of you. With each coffee/drink meeting we were able to talk immediately, comfortably, completely passing over the awkward small talk of old acquaintances or the false notion of complete familiarity FB updates may bring. Each conversation would likely have gone on for many more hours (and some in fact did go on for hours).
The topic of twitter as the great icebreaker actually came up in May (sorry I can’t find the entire thread).
Of course the proof is in the pudding – it’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out next week at Masquertweet and we all get to play with a hundred-ish of our favorite people we’ve never met.
(PS — Julia, you are, of course, invited Masquertweet. I’m sure there’s more than one of us that would love to talk SM with you).

Masquertweet Update

Yes – Plans for #Masquertweet are proceeding. Everything is shaping up quite nicely and we expect to have a venue announcement in the next few days.

But, even more exciting, I’m pleased (ok, thrilled really) to announce that all proceeds from Masquertweet will go to 12for12K (or more specifcally their selected July charity).

So, how do I look in blue?

What’s 12for12K you ask – well if you’ve been under a twitter rock (twock?) for the last few months…go here for the best possible explanation.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the sheer joy of tweeting, talking and even meeting with some of the lovely 12for12K people – @rachelakay, @ginalaguardia, @arikhanson and of course the 12for12K ringleader @dannybrown (there’s too many to name here, but it’s a start). This should go without saying, but just in case – follow them ….I’ll wait.

Anyway, while working on plans for #Masquertweet @prdude, @aerocles and I realized that in addition to having piles of fun at the event there was room to do some good. Knowing the fine 12for12K people we reached out and things progressed from there.

So know, in addition to having a blast, you can do some good for the world at this July’s first-ever Masquertweet.

For full details on the event – http://Masquertweet.com, RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/rsvp09. Some details are still up in the air, but we’re always looking for additional sponsors, tie-ins, giveaways or other fundraising ideas. If you or your clients may be interested in playing in the sandbox with us, please do not hesitate to be in touch – prcog1 [at] gmail.com

More details to be posted here as they become available, so keep an eye out and RSVP (even as a maybe) and we’ll be in touch.