On some Fridays, my SocialVoice blog will feature posts that are decidedly more personal, and less business focused. --
In my hometown of Boston and throughout the New England region, the month of October means three things: the crispness of early autumn, stunning foliage, and the unbeatable drama that accompanies watching the Boston Red Sox, our beloved Old Towne Team, battle it out for a World Series championship.
It’s my favorite time of year.
And although I’ve recently relocated to Austin, Texas and will have to settle for watching this year’s postseason action from afar, I’m no less excited about the start of “Soxtober.”
It certainly helps that the Red Sox have as good a chance as anyone to capture the 2008 title, which would be their third in the last five years.
Barring a Red Sox three-game sweep of the Yankees and three straight losses for the AL East-leading Rays this weekend, Boston will enter the playoffs as the American League’s wild card entry and face the Anaheim Angels in a best-of-five series beginning next Wednesday or Thursday.
It’s worth noting that the Red Sox have been a dramatically better team at home (55-23) than on the road (39-42) and have been manhandled by the Angels in head-to-head competition this season (Anaheim won 8 of the 9 meetings between the two clubs), but most of the time, regular-season performance means very little come playoff time.
The Red Sox have a core group of veterans with postseason experience and have showed in posteasons past (see also: 2004, 2007) that they can win big games away from Fenway in October – including against the Angels four years ago. I’m optimistic that recent history is about to repeat itself.
Boston’s 2008 squad features October stud Josh Beckett as the probable Game 1 starter, followed by Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka, if not necessarily in that order, in Games 2 and 3. It’s an impressive trio that should hold a scrappy, but not overpowering, Anaheim offense at bay.
Boston’s own lineup isn’t as potent if J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell aren’t healthy, but guys like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youikilis, and David “Big Papi” Ortiz should all produce.
In short, Boston certainly has the talent and poise to repeat as World Series champs. How the games actually play out, of course, is sometimes another matter. It’s all part of the reason I’ll be glued to the action throughout October.
Red Sox fans and social media There is a community component here, of course.
With a little boost from social media, I’ve made connections to dozens of fellow Red Sox fans that only serves to ratchet up my passion for the team by several notches.
Take Twitter, for example. In my own very unscientific research over the past two seasons, I’ve found that Red Sox fans are the most vocal baseball fan group on Twitter. There was even a feature about our in-game Twittering on NPR back in April.
Check out the #RedSox hashtag action during a playoff game, and you’ll see our zeal: dozens of 140-character missives and barbs commenting on the action.
I’ll also be contributing to a newly launched Big Papelpon Red Sox Talk Radio podcast with Aaron Strout and friends over the next few weeks, checking in before and after games and giving my take on the playoff proceedings.
So it really doesn’t matter that I’m 1,800 miles from Boston this fall. Thanks to Red Sox community on the Web – and Time Warner cable – I’ll be just as much as part of the October action as ever.
On some Fridays, my SocialVoice blog will feature posts that are decidedly more personal, and less business focused. --- My son, Amani, turned 2 on Wednesday, and there wasn't a prouder dad around.
I'll love Amani no matter what he does, of course, but I was especially impressed with him on the night of his birthday. You see, he was pigging out on mac & cheese (two-plus helpings)! And for Amani, a full meal of any kind is most unusual.
Since he's been six months old, Amani been an extraordinarily picky eater. He'll gulp down milk, water, and juice like there's no tomorrow, but solid foods? That's another story entirely. Some days, he'll eat little more than a slice or two of bread and a few cheerios -- and only after he's thrown a tantrum over having to do so.
So really, my wife and I are hoping that the forthcoming 12 months will be the Terrific Twos for Amani -- and that he's turning over a new dietary leaf.
And one other thing? There's something about a cute photo or video of a 2-year-old that even provokes my parents to leave a comment.
That's a social media success story worth putting into one of my upcoming presentations, don't you think?
* David says Twitter is a good barometer of how invested a marketer is in social media. * David talks about the "transformation" of marketing toward social media. * David explains the importance of "reactionary marketing." * David discusses the value of content marketing.
Steve Broback is president and founder of the Parnassus Group. In this video interview, Steve talks about the Brand Monitoring in a Web 2.0 World breakout session that he led at the 2008 Marketing & Online Communities Conference.
* Steve says there's "no magic bullet" to brand monitoring.
* Steve talks about the value whitelists.
* Bryan asks Steve whether brand montoring should be outsourced or done internally.
* Steve promotes his favorite free tools for RSS and brand monitoring.
* Steve offers his top takeaway from the conference.
In two weeks, on Thursday, December 11, I'll be on the "hot seat" in Ottawa (or maybe I should call it the "cold seat" since it'll be Ottawa in December; brrr!) at that city's Social Media Breakfast 5.
Brands looking to embrace the content produced by their supporters should consider the example of The Kindle Chronicles, a weekly podcast "all about the Kindle" hosted and produced by Denver resident Len Edgerly.
Len is friend that I first met in my former hometown of Boston a couple of years ago (Len spends a few months of the year in Beantown), and he's the epitome of an early adopter. Not surprisingly, Len got his hands on a Kindle not long after the product was first launched by Amazon in late 2007; he's been an unabashed advocate ever since.
In a wide-ranging video conversation I had with Len earlier today, we discuss how the Kindle has changed the way he consumes the news and how he's building a community around his Kindle Chronicles podcast.
(Technical note: The audio and video are slightly out of sync; I'm still learning on the video-production side!)
Finance and healthcare institutions have often been slow to embrace social media because of strict regulations that govern their industries.
Not so at the Mayo Clinic, where social media efforts have taken off under the direction of Lee Aase.
So just what did it take to convince legal counsel at Mayo that social media could work?
"We're really blessed to have a legal team that looks at risk management as also reward management," Lee told me in a video conversation recorded at Mayo Clinic's headquarters in Rochester, MN last week. "It isn't all about preventing bad things from happening; [instead], it's looking at, 'What is the realistic possibility or probability of bad things happening, but also, what's the upside? What are the benefits?'"
Rather than using HIPAA [The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] and other privacy regulations as a crutch, Mayo has simply learned to work within the law.
The approach has proven fruitful. Mayo's social media portfolio includes some eight corporate blogs, several Twitter feeds, and a YouTube channel that feature stories from patients and research from physicians.
Lee is a also a regular on the speaking circuit (check out his full slate of SlideShare presentations), sharing the Mayo Clinic's challenges and successes in hopes of inspiring other organizations to move forward with social media.
----- Lee's day-job title for Mayo is manager of syndication and social media. But he runs an extra-cool project in his personal time, too, serving as chancellor of Social Media University, Global, or SMUG.
The tuition-free online "university" has a noble mission: providing "practical, hands-on training in social media to lifelong learners."
So if you're looking to learn about blogging, podcasting, microblogging, or how to use Facebook or Twitter, Lee has a course for you!
Whether on a brand's "home turf" (corporate website, destination community) or across external social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, conversations about companies big and small are happening everywhere online.
In such an environment, just where should brands, marketers, and community spend their time, focus, and business dollars?
We're thrilled to have Altimeter Group partner Jeremiah Owyang headlining our webinar. And in this video that I recorded at last week's BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas, Jeremiah talks about the evolving social web and the new challenges for marketers:
Your comments: Where's the social web headed?
Jeremiah will be joined in the webinar by Jennifer Gordon, director of global advertising at Campbell Soup (LiveWorld client) and LiveWorld CEO Peter Friedman, and we're looking to gather up questions for all three starting today (I'll be moderation the discussion).
Here are a few questions to think about; we'd love your feedback in the comments section below, or on Twitter using the #Social2010 hashtag.
Does a centralized web presence for brands still matter?
What key questions should marketers be asking when considering which external social networks to participate in?
Should brands be concerned about the recent release of Google Sidewiki? How can they effectively monitor and join those related conversations
In his remarks, Tac explained that social media has evolved to the point where brands now have more of an opportunity than ever before to not waste their marketing dollars. Brands can understand exactly what customers are saying about their products and services by listening in on--and responding back to--online discussions.
So as 2010 arrives, what changes do brands need to make to meet the needs of their prospects and customers? Tac recommends the following:
1) Brands must improve their internal structure and processes so that online engagement can happen quickly. "Taking three days to craft a response to a tweet" won't cut it; real-time engagement is needed.
2) "Authenticity" trumps "quality" when creating and distributing content using social media.
3) "Driving people to your website will become a nostalgic [concept] very soon." Instead, brands should operate under hub-and-spoke model, creating and sharing content across the social media landscape.
Video: Capitalize on all that content
Here is an excerpt from Tac's talk, where he explains how social media helps brands validate their marketing efforts.