Category Archives: Social Media

In a previous blog post, I said that Obama and Romney have failed at replying to Twitter followers – as noted by the ‘no replies’ that can be found on their Twitter profiles. They or their campaign have never replied to any of their followers. I said this was an utter failure because they could at least devote a campaign worker to this task, and occasionally have the candidate send a reply to someone.

It’s not rocket science. It’s like texting a friend. After all, a text and a tweet are both limited to 140 characters. It’s like when someone says something to you, you don’t, then, regurgitate your next talking point, you respond to them and acknowledge them. I know, this sounds like a high standard – but it shouldn’t be looked at this way.  We’ve just set the bar really low.

Others agree

So after coming to this conclusion on my own, I saw this great article, that was shared by a professor I had in college. In one part of the article, they bring up the same point. They said:

Neither campaign made much use of the social aspect of social media. Rarely did either candidate reply to, comment on, or “retweet” something from a citizen-or anyone else outside the campaign. On Twitter, 3% of the 404 Obama campaign tweets studied during the June period were retweets of citizen posts. Romney’s campaign produced just a single retweet during these two weeks-repeating something from his son Josh.

And by ‘Rarely did either candidate reply to…’ they mean that they NEVER replied to anyone.

It’s the right strategy

If the candidates truly want to get around traditional media (or lamestream media, as Sarah Palin would say) and talk directly to voters, they need to listen and respond. Otherwise, what’s the difference between saying your latest talking point on Cable TV and tweeting it (besides maybe the audience)? The difference is that on Twitter, you can be ‘social’ with your followers. That’s why they call it social media. It’s a dialogue not a monologue. Twitter is not a real-time digital billboard to push out your BS to anyone who will listen (although, that’s what it’s becoming), it is a real-time conversation with your followers where you talk, listen and respond.

Let’s get practical

  • The candidates could tweet a question and then monitor the response and reply to select people.
  • The candidates could monitor for a keyword. Let’s say the economy is a hot topic this week; the candidates could monitor tweets relating to the economy and reply with a great news article on the candidates’ website or news website that sets the record straight or just gives more information on what the person is asking. Or, they could simply reply to agree with or acknowledge someone.

In conclusion

With the election only 70 days away, will the candidates actually use social media the way it should be used? Socially? By following this strategy of interacting with followers, there isn’t an easy way to measure the return on investment. But that’s not really the point. Sometimes you should do the right thing without caring about ‘ROI’.

Before it was cool

I’ve been on Twitter since 2006 and have tweeted 9,651 times (at the time of this writing). I was on Twitter years before it was cool. I’ve watched Twitter ‘grow up’ in a sense.

It’s a small world

In the last few years, I’ve really started to notice how celebrities have embraced Twitter to interact with their fans. Twitter has provided that ‘small world’ feel in the palm of your hand. A celebrity might actually reply to you, answer your question, or otherwise acknowledge you. For the celebrity, this is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, they literally have their whole fan-base in their pocket – via the Twitter mobile app. They can talk to their fans at any moment and have real interaction. That couldn’t happen before Twitter (at least to this extent).


Not to brag…

Here are a few folks that have interacted with me on Twitter. They are great examples of people who use Twitter to have a dialogue rather than a monologue (digital billboard):

  • Don Lemon (CNN News Anchor) – retweeted and replied to me about Romney VP pick
  • Stefan Bucher (designer/illustrator) – conversation about his book
  • Andrew Garcia (American Idol finalist) – conversation about DSLR cameras
  • Candace Cameron-Bure (DJ Tanner from Full House) – answered a question about John Piper
  • office of the president called me when I tweeted about them (in 2006)

I can’t send you a Twitter reply, but give me your money

I don’t believe Obama or Romney have ever replied to a fan/follower on Twitter (as noted by the ‘no replies’ text on their twitter profiles). Are you kidding me?!?!? You want us to give you money, ‘get out the vote’ and actually go and vote for you come November and you can’t reply to some of your followers by answering questions, etc? Could you not spend 5-10 minutes of your day to read a few twitter questions/concerns and personally reply? Heck – make a campaign minion do it… that would be a start.

It’s gotta be an enjoyable habit

To sum up, the reason celebrities interact with fans by replying and retweeting them is because using Twitter and interacting has become a habit for them. They enjoy it and do it regularly. They also understand the importance of interaction with fans. Conversely, I think you can figure out why some only use Twitter as their digital billboard – never to interact with anyone…. because they don’t understand Twitter and it’s not a habit for them. They haven’t seen the value and don’t realize how enjoyable it can be. Twitter can’t be a forced task, it has to be part of your life, habits and what you enjoy. You can’t just ‘learn’ Twitter, you have to learn to enjoy it.


I’m playing with the idea of offering quick thoughts via video here and there. Here’s the first thought: What is social media?

To hear the long version of this quick thought, check out my full presentation on social media and brands.

Just yesterday, I spoke to Lambda Pi Eta, the communication department’s honor society at Truman State University. I was connected to them by fellow Mountain Dew and Twitter addict, Don Krause (@santee). I was über nervous about speaking, as I always am, but I think I overcame that fear.

I talked about my experience with social media as the owner/designer of Creative Improv and why brands need to care about social media.

A few quick notes, I had tweeted to UPS and FedEx 3 times in the last few days (once during my presentation) and hadn’t received a response from them until just now. @FedExRobin responded – you can see her tweet here.

Check out my presentation below. I recorded it a day after I gave the presentation to the folks at Truman.

Just a quick thought here –

Does anyone find it very interesting that Sarah Palin has taken her voice to Facebook and Twitter almost exclusively? She is calling the shots and making the mainstream media report on what she just wrote on these social sites. It is unprecedented that a politician could so overtly avoid any tough questions or interviews and still get the coverage that she gets.

Is this responsible journalism? Is this responsible politicking? (did I just use responsible and politics in the same sentence?)

Your thoughts?


I just read this interesting article on CNN about why America is growing tired of Palin. I ‘bolded’ the part that seems to echo what I was pinpointing above.

The hope for some Republicans is that Palin will literally tweet her way out of our hearts. The books, the reality TV, the family psycho-dramas, the never-ending internet “thought bubbles” could just be enough to drive even those who like her over the edge. And, sure, we in the press are part of this uber-coverage, behaving as if every 140-character thought is worth some conversation. It isn’t. As Erick Erickson, the editor of the conservative and a CNN contributor, told me, it’s not really about what Palin has achieved. “By 2012,” he says, “people are going to be so tired of her they’re going to want to avoid eye contact. It’s not fair, but it’s reality.”

While traditional media was about putting your brand out there full force with no real interaction, social media is about a human conversation with your friends, fans and customers. Here is the perfect example of Andrew Garcia, the American Idol star connecting with his fans in a real way. The fans talk and he listens and interacts. This has happened on Twitter for me with multiple people like Candace Cameron, Don Lemon (CNN anchor), etc. Social media has the power to bring us all closer together – especially when it comes to celebrities and big brands.

Has anything like this happened you? You mention a brand and they respond to you on twitter or facebook? Let me know! I may use your story in my upcoming talk about social media

Recently I tweeted about Ruby Tuesday and expressed my dissatisfaction for the service I received. For a company this large not to have a presence on twitter is a missed opportunity. Companies large and small should be using to crawl twitter for mentions about their business. When someone is dissatisfied about their product or service and tweets about it, they should respond via twitter reply or direct message.

Let’s see how easy it is find dissatisfaction with Ruby Tuesday on Twitter – I searched ‘Ruby Tuesday service’ at and found a few tweets – here and here. Why can’t Ruby Tuesday be on twitter and reply to them about what they can do to make amends?

This isn’t too difficult to do. does it. does it.

Starbucks does it.

Today I presented to a group of teachers at Truman State University about using social networking tools and blogging to grow support for gecko mathematics – a unique math curriculum that was translated into English from Korean. Last year Creative Improv, the design firm I run built a website, blog and social network profiles for gecko math – we called it ‘Publish the Gecko‘, because it is a campaign to get publishers interested in gecko mathematics. This Summer, a grad-level course was put together to show elementary level teachers how to use this curriculum. I was asked to speak about the marketing of the curriculum through social networks and blogging and show the teachers how they might share things about the curriculum with their educator friends.

I will have a video of my talk very soon, but for now here is just a bit of what I shared:

  • TV, newspapers and radio used to be the global platform – today that global platform is the Internet – a world wide web filled with social networks, websites and blogs.
  • This new global platform allows ANYONE who has good content, products or services to gain support for free. This is HUGE.
  • Blogs – a successful blog is one that encourages interaction among the community of people with the same interest
  • Facebook – a way for businesses or organizations to reach their target audience on a personal level. It puts a face on an otherwise faceless corporation. If you have a business, you should have a facebook fan page and talk to your fans often and encourage feedback
  • Twitter – basically the SMS of the Internet – a quick way to share short messages. Retweeting or forwarding messages has huge endorsement power, because you are saying this person or business is worth paying attention to.
  • Retweeting has the power to make something go ‘viral’
  • All these online tools are a way to interact with a community of people online that have the same interests as you – whether it is someone else who shares your love for the Smurfs or someone who might be interested in your business, product or service. Dude, smurf it up!
  • Today, blogs, social networks and websites have provided the opportunity for anyone to pursue what you love – for more on this idea watch the following video (try to ignore the language)

It’s no iPhone, but it’s still pretty awesome. Of course, my last phone was a flip phone with absolutely no internet access.

This is the first phone US Cellular is selling that has Google’s new Android OS. Being from Google, it integrates really well with any of your google accounts – gmail, youtube, voice, talk, etc.

The sheer awesomeness of the various apps is keeping me pretty intrigued! A few of my favorite apps –

  • The obvious – facebook, twidroid (twitter), email, youtube
  • Voice Search – simply say a search term and it searches google for what you said.
  • Your Navigator Deluxe – get directions, maps, traffic updates. You can say the city you are traveling to and it gets directions
  • CityID – find out where that unknown caller is calling from.
  • Air Horn – plays various loud air horns – perfect for when your coworker comes in to your office and farts (as happens to me daily)
  • Google Goggles – take a picture of anything and it searches google for it.
  • Google Sky Map – aim phone at the sky to identify, search and find various planets, constellations and stars!
  • Pandora – stream music as you can on
  • WordPress – post to your blog
  • gStrings – tune any musical instrument
  • Solo lite – find guitar chords, and play an interactive guitar from your phone
  • Barcode Scanner – aim at any barcode and google search that item – whether it is to learn more about it or to compare prices online
  • Of course the phone also takes photos and video with a 3.2 MP camera. I can even post pictures/videos straight to this blog or facebook/twitter/etc

And now for a few photos:

Left: one of three home screens. Right: full list of all apps, available from the bottom slider arrow (seen on the left photo)

Has a full QUERTY keyboard along with a 3.2 inch screen

Left: Solo lite app that allows you to find guitar chords and play them on the interactive guitar

As a business, using social media is ‘…about having a direct dialog’ with your audience.