Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Excellent Twitterville Talk by @Shelisrael

I started blogging from the talk on "Twitterville--Using Global Neighborhoods to thrive in tough times" by Shel Isreal at the IT/Software development Execs Meetup Group in mountain view.

Listening to Shel sharing his wonderful stories all evening!

Tatyana Kanzaveli organized the event and did an awesome job. Her Flickr stream of the event is here I even got good selection of veggie food :)

Started with his Crowdsourced book building story:

He started by comparing his last book "Naked Conversations" which he co-authored with Robert Scoble vs the new upcoming book "twitterville". Here's a quick summary of what I grasped from this talk:

  • First phase of social media was about reducing marketing excesses where advertisements create lot of noise while blogs filter to create conversations.
  • Now, twitter was about optimizing the conversations.
  • Shel was genuine and his focus was on keeping transparency and the joy of having real honest conversations.

Twitter Story:

Next he shared Twitter's story of how the founders came with it, and how it got traction from SWSX 07.

Twitter for Business:

We got to this part very later and Shel has wealth of stories. He shared the Dell story of how they got started from SWSX07 and made $1million, motrin how they managed the pr fiasco to curb it within a week by coming out and being honest on twitter, Ford story, GM Volt story that broke a news on twitter about a plant closing just as GM was going in front of congress. Best of all was @Comcastcares. Nice mix of pr, communicating with customers for brand management and a customer support example.

Sorry, at this stage, I had to stop and listen so my video doesn't do justice to the evening. I have some zoomed out video from my flip atleast you can hear Shel's own voice. (ok I'll update back once my videos are uploaded.)

Hope you enjoy the initial part of his talk!

This was the best part of the evening. Shel engaged with the audience with the same passion and honesty to hear their stories. I noticed something today! He cares about learning new twitterville stories with a genuine passion and does not pretend to be the expert. Yet he has perceptive answers for audience questions. Here are couple questions I captured:

Question by @cathybrowne What do you think about twitter as a news feed eg Mumbai story.
Shel: "We in social media are feet in the street in every corner of the world. We have information that can be braided into traditional media. point where Mumbai made the key point was when a 19 yr old kid took pictures and posted on flickr, where associated press, bbc , reuters didn't have feet in the street there and used the kids story.
@cathybrowne shared her own twitter story story about a plane stranded passengers that the world didn't know that cathy tweeted about and got media in to change the situation. Looks this Shel got another story for his book.

Q: How can we trust the accuracy of information on twitter?
Shel: Every reporter has to validate the truth of any story within their means. Twitter validates it better by real people respond, retweeting and spreading it around for validation.

Q: When people are tweeting about your company and you are the marketer when is the good time to get involved?
Anytime is good, just be transparent. He addd 'talk to me, have a conversation, don't make it all about your message and do all talking to me". You can use tweets and Direct message (DM) and continue your conversation with the same customer.
Q: Another discussion was about using twitter for specific educational ngo goals.
Spurred good discussion about the community aspect of twitter and tapping into it. For anyone getting started important is to build reputation.

Two overall takeaways from the evening are:
  • Twitter is about the real-time response from the market, its fast
  • The real purpose of marketing is to build relationship and somewhere along the way we forgot it as we made ads. Twitter brings it back to the basics of having real conversations with customers.
My personal interest in this topic:

I am a facebook fan, and use twitter a fairly decent amount. I have been wondering about the overlap of our private vs public social graphs. How do you see it merging or moving away for you as a user? How do you see it impacting your social media mix as a business? let me know!


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