Tag Archives: Twitter

Your Privacy Rights on the Internet: Read before you write.

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

I have had several discussions with people who have a fear of the Internet and Social Media tools. The common issue that arises is regarding privacy, which to me is an interesting concern. Being concerned that you’re giving up your privacy if you use the Internet is, to me, a Homer Simpson moment.

I’m not sure where anyone got the idea that writing something and sending it out over a public system of servers, visible to almost anyone, and recorded for all time would be private, but for those of you who have that impression, let me read you your rights:

Your Right to Privacy on the Internet

  • You have a right to stay silent.
  • You have a right to not participate in Internet/online activities.
  • You have a right to consult an attorney before you participate in any Internet/online activities.
  • You have the right to stay in your house, block up the windows and never go out into public.
  • If you choose to participate in any Internet/online activities, anything you say can and will:
    • be considered a reflection of your public image
    • be available for anyone in the world to access
    • be recorded for the remainder history of the civilized world
    • be used against you now, or in the future
  • If you choose to NOT participate that will NOT prevent:
    • People from talking about you on the Internet
    • People using your image for almost any purpose
The Internet, and Social Media tools like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn allow people to communicate in a way we’ve never been able to communicate before. It is not intended for private discussions, but it is an open forum. That makes some people uncomfortable, and while I understand that, I also have to wonder why people have a need to say something they are not willing to say publicly?

There is still a time and place for a personal, one-to-one conversation to discuss matters between the two people, but isn’t that better to be done in person? Privacy is not what one should expect when using the Internet, but it is the place for ideas and concepts to be discussed in an open environment that values the input of all. Yes, sometimes the stupid people have louder voices and win the day, but at some point people will look back and learn who was behaving stupidly and who was really correct.

Here are four things I try to keep in mind when participating in online activities:

  1. Sometimes I’m going to say something stupid. I’m human and I will have to buck up and take responsibility for it.
  2. Sometimes people are going to ridicule what I have to say. That doesn’t mean they are correct and it may be a reflection of their poor judgement, not mine.
  3. By participating I will learn more than I could if I did not participate. Sometimes the lesson will be difficult, but that will usually mean I will learn more.
  4. Social Media is not the alpha and omega of life, but it is one of the most powerful communication tools ever conceived.
Now you have been read your rights… you can take it from here.

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Social Media 3Q 2010 Update: Who Uses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, & MySpace:

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

The third quarter 2010 demographics of Social Media users according to Google’s Adplanner services has a few surprises. Facebook actually dropped from 550 to 540 million users in the third quarter, and Facebook users over age 54 dropped from 16% to 10% in the last six months. Based on the data from the 2nd and 3rd quarters there is a significant slowing in the growth of the major Social Media tools.

Among the numbers are the interesting age group distributions of each of the networking sites. The data gives important clues of what each site is being used for in addition to who is using it.

Facebook’s Fire Cools
No one can dispute Facebook’s impact on the world. It is BIG, and with millions of posts and interactions each day, the influence of its users is the envy of every marketing professional. Traditional media professional and other old people will be tempted to look at the 3rd quarter data and declare that the Social Media ‘fad’ is over and on the decline. That would be a statement of ignorance.

Facebook 3rdQ 2010 DAILY visits

Facebook’s growth could not continue indefinitely and its amazing growth in users from 2008 to the start of 2010 was being fueled by a viral exploration of a new media that allowed people to connect in a way they never had before. Now that exploration has calmed and I believe we are seeing the coming of age of Social Media.

The drop of 10 million users during the third quarter is only significant in that it shows a leveling off of the growth. The average time on the site is over 23 minutes, which is much longer than the other three major U.S. Social Media tools (MySpace 14:40 mins., Twitter 13:10 mins., LinkedIn 9:50 mins.) That is important as more time spent means more interaction and more influence by users and advertisers.

Facebook reaches almost 57% of the people in the United States (35% worldwide) which is a staggering statistic. If USA Today could reach 57% of Americans (without giving the newspaper away to every hotel guest) and know that the readers were spending over 23 minutes looking at their paper they would probably be the only newspaper in the United States… and mega rich. As of March 2010, USA Today has a circulation of only 1.8 million compared to Facebook’s over 65 million visitors (based on cookies.)

3rdQ Facebook Users by Age

1stQ Facebook Users by Age

One statistic that keeps bouncing around in the Social Media world is that “women over 55 is the fastest growing group of Facebook users.” That it is old data. While the over 55 group had climbed to 16% at the end of March 2010, it is now the fastest shrinking age group and Facebook users under 18 years old have been the fastest growing group during the last six months.

Finally, 57% of the Facebook users are women, which is about the same as six months ago. That seems to confirm that Facebook is about ‘social’ networking and making personal connections. Facebook continues to be the place where buying decisions are influenced through small group interactions. Business and Marketing people will find that if they try to manipulate these discussions it will eventually backfire on them. Facebook is where business should LISTEN, not talk.

Twitter 3rdQ 2010 DAILY visits

Twitter Continues to Pause
The biggest surprise in the 3rd Quarter with Twitter was that it did not break the 100 million user mark. At the end of the 2nd Quarter it was at 96 million users, which was up by 16 million from the 1st Quarter. However, Twitter only grew by 2 million and now stands at 98 million users.

Twitter’s daily visits have leveled off for the last six months, and some might see this as an ominous sign for the hyper-fast post Social Media tool; however, this is deceiving as many Twitter users, (like myself,) don’t go to the Twitter site to use the tool, but rather use an application, like TweetDeck, to interact on the site. Thus the visit count would not be recorded as a site visit.

Twitter’s lack of significant growth in the number of users may be do to a continued lack of understanding of the value of the Tweet world and a period of constant ‘Fail Whales’ in the 2nd Quarter and early 3rd Quarter. The service has seemed to address the major problems in system overloads, but lately has had a return of a few service interruptions in the past few weeks. Obviously, if Twitter continues to have problems it won’t be able to survive in an environment where reliability is oxygen to users.

As for the lack of understanding of the value of Twitter, the service will struggle to grow until people can learn that the impact of Twitter is not in the posts, but the conversations and the URL links to other blogs and webpages. Twitter is like Headline News for new ideas and concepts. Often posts reveal a new approach or cutting-edge information that won’t be in the traditional public arena for months. That is why I still see Twitter growing if they can rid themselves of service interruptions.

3rdQ 2010 Twitter users by Age

1stQ 2010 Twitter users by Age

One interesting development in the latest data is the shift in the age demographics. Twitter seems to have made a shift to younger adults. The 18-34 age group is up by 16%, while the 35-64 age group is down by 9% from six months ago. Also, teenagers (under 18) have dropped by 6% since the 1st quarter and now make up only 4% of all Twitter users. The apparent dislike for Twitter among teenagers is a clear age defining characteristic. I have had two separate teenagers say to me “You’re not on Twitter, are you!?”

Apparently Twitter gives you cooties. Who knew?

MySpace Back From the Brink?
I have predicted the end of MySpace for sometime, but in the 3rd quarter it did something bizarre … it gained users. It had dropped 14 million users from the 1st to the 2nd quarter and then it gained one million users back in the 3rd quarter. MySpace now stands at 67 million users. Not earth-shaking, but certainly noteworthy. LinkedIn would sacrifice several interns to have that many users. MySpace also has more women. Female users consist of 64% of the MySpace population.

MySpace 3rdQ 2010 DAILY visits

The reason? Well, no other major Social Media tool lets you search by gender … and age … and height … and race … and body type … and sexual orientation … are you getting the picture? MySpace is a social dating site as much as anything else and lonely people make up a lot of our world’s population. So maybe MySpace has found its niche as a romance network and that will stop the freefall of the past two quarters.

3Q 2010 MySpace users by Age

3rdQ 2010 MySpace users by Age

Yes, there are more teenagers on this site than most (14%), but 63% of the users are between 18 and 44 years old. One caveat. MySpace has limited the ‘find-a-friend’ search function to give the results of people age 18 and over. That is a smart move to protect minors; however, some teenagers have simply listed themselves as an age of 18 or older to circumvent the limitation. I caught a few teenagers that list themselves as 19, but on their main page description they indicate their real age. This is likely why the number of ‘under 18′ users have dropped from 34% to 14% in six months.

LinkedIn Drifting in Niche
The 3rd quarter statistics show that despite millions of people looking work, the business person to business person website of LinkedIn is not growing. It is at 41 million,
which is actually higher than the end of 2nd quarter, but the same as the end of the 1st quarter.

LinkedIn 3rdQ DAILY visits

Like MySpace, LinkedIn has found its niche. Essentially, LinkedIn is a business-oriented website that provides a job exchange service. Most users are using the networking website as their digital résumé in order to attract job offers. In the Tom Peters ‘Re-Imagine’ business world where branding is a key element of survival, LinkedIn is Mecca for self-promotion.

Unfortunately, LinkedIn is not as successful as Facebook and Twitter in two-way interaction. Both of those Social Media tools do not have as much as of an ‘agenda’ by individual users as LinkedIn. Users of the business-oriented network seem to spend more time professing what they know and don’t spend as much time listening to others. This is the traditional media model of one-way communication, which is the style of communication that Social Media has displaced. For some, the self-promotion run amuck style of some LinkedIn users is a turn off that may hurt the site in the long run.

3Q 2010 LinkedIn user by Age

1stQ 2010 LinkedIn users by Age

It will be interesting to see how LinkedIn will fare as the business-caused Recession of 2007-09 eases and people are employed again. LinkedIn could be a key to a sudden labor shortage in 2012 as those companies with the best opportunities will be able to target and recruit candidates through LinkedIn, leaving other employers to either compete or settle for what’s left over.

Age and gender on LinkedIn reinforce the business-world orientation as more males (57%) are users and the distribution of the age groups reflects the working world. Interestingly, while LinkedIn still has more users over 54 years old (15%), this is 7% drop from the 1st quarter. That is offset by an 8% jump of the 24-34 year old users in the last six months.

4th Quarter Predictions?
I believe we are seeing a refinement of each of the big four Social Media tools. Facebook has become the social sharing network, Twitter is the thought-provoking, learning network, MySpace is the social relationship network, and LinkedIn the branding and résumé network. The demographics are settling in to reinforce the existing nature of each of the networks. Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn will likely end 2010 about where they are now unless something viral either cause a rush of new users, or sends people running away. Twitter still has potential significant growth, but I don’t see that happening in the 4th quarter.

The volatility of the Social Media networks have made it difficult to understand what they will eventually represent in our world; however, now that there seems to be a calming of the major networks, the value and purpose is becoming clearer. That will allow the big four to lock in their market; however, it will also open the door for other networks to identify areas of opportunities and weakness. My prediction is that 2011 will be the entrenchment of the Social Media, followed by more competition by other networks seeking to improve or offer alternatives to the established services.

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Dear Business Person: It is 2010. Please update your brain.

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

Recently I listened to a presentation on how to network to increase referrals of potential customers. The speaker made her living by teaching people how to do this, so there is no doubt she knew her subject. Personally, I agree that face-to-face networking skills are critical if you are going to be in business, especially if you have direct customer contact.

However, she quoted statistics from a 2002 study done by the Chamber of Commerce on referral effectiveness based on the method of contact. 2002. That is where she lost me.

How far back is 2002? In 2002, the Department of Justice announced it was going to investigate Enron, the UN Security Council froze the assets of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, the Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, Utah, The US Secretary of Energy declared Yucca Mountain, Nevada to be a suitable nuclear waste depository, the Space Shuttle Columbia completed a mission to update the Hubble Space Telescope…it’s last before it would be destroyed on re-entry from it’s next mission in 2003, the United States led coalition invaded Afghanistan, A Beautiful Mind won Best Picture, United Airlines and WorldCom filed for bankruptcy, Congress approved a resolution to go to war with Iraq, and President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security.

Columbia Space Shuttle Breakup in 2003

To some, it may seem like 2002 was yesterday, but when discussing a topic on how business referrals are made in 2010, quoting data from a single, eight year-old study makes me question the relevancy of any of the information provided. Note that the Internet was only eleven years old in 2002. The first Social Media site, Friendster was started in 2002. It wasn’t until 2003, that the more known sites of LinkedIn (May) and MySpace (August) were introduced. Facebook didn’t come on-line until February 2004, YouTube began a year later, and Twitter didn’t start until July 15, 2006.

The world of communication and business have changed dramatically in the past 36 months, let alone the changes over the past eight years. To discuss ‘networking’ from a perspective of the world in 2002 is to be in Denial* of the world of 2010. While ‘more experienced’ business people scoff at “these young people” and their Social Media, the reality is that referrals are being replaced by customer recommendations read off of blogs and other Internet sources. ‘Experienced’ business people can be angry, condescending, and ignorant all they want about the impact of Social Media on business…but it won’t change what has happened. Many people blame government regulation for business failures, but more businesses fail because of outdated business minds and practices than anything other cause and we are neck-deep in 2002 business thinking.

(*See Rotary@105: Grieving Change)

Face-to-face networking is important, but compare the number of face-to-face interactions/connections that a person can make in a day with the number of interactions/connections that can be made through blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter in an hour, and it becomes apparent that dismissing the power of Social Media makes a business person appear uninformed and outdated…sort of like a man who wears shorts, sandals…and black socks. That analogy may not make sense to some people, but then again, those people probably aren’t reading this blog…or any others.

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Rotary@105: Grieving Change

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

On October 16th, our Rotary District (5190) will hold the second annual Public Relations (PR) seminar. It is a difficult topic because PR is a vital component to all aspects of Club operations, especially Membership recruitment and retention; however, for very ‘human’ reasons many members/clubs may not ready to listen to many of the key concepts because they are not ready to face the reality of the current situation.

To understand the resistance to the topic I need to refer to the 1969 book by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying and her model of the grieving process. Her book became a major work in the fields of psychology and counseling for decades and while many experts now reject the idea of ‘stages’ of grieving, her model serves to remind us that people are influenced by their emotional state and some information will not be easily accepted when change intersects with tradition.

On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

In the book, Kübler-Ross proposes that the grieving process involves five stages that help us recover from personal crisis back to a more balanced life where the incident or loss does not rule our lives and influence our decision-making. The stages are: 1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, and finally, 5) Acceptance.

So what is happening in Rotary that would cause a member or a club to be in crisis? Two issues come to mind.

Membership in Crisis
First, Rotary has been battling a significant membership issue for almost 15 years. For example, in 2005, Rotary Zone 23 (now re-zoned as Zone 25) had 568 clubs consisting of 33,921 members and five years later (2009) Zone 23 consisted of 33,304 members in 588 clubs.  While the number of clubs had increased by 20, total membership had decreased by over 600 people. This is only about a two percent loss over five years; however, the problem is that, 1) this has been a consistent trend for most of the last 15 years, and 2) every Rotary International President for the last nine years has pushed for increased membership as part of the key programs for his year.

The facts are simple: Rotary is bleeding membership and clubs are getting smaller (in Zone 23, an average of 3 members smaller over five years.) In seven years Rotary has brought in 1.2 million members…and lost 1.2 million members. Membership in North America, and many other western countries is on the decline. If current trends continue, over the next 15 to 20 years many community Rotary clubs will shrink until they are no longer relevant and then disband. Many small clubs are already facing this problem today and have less than five years to solve their membership crisis.

A New Business World
The second issue is external to the Rotary club. Business and communication is undergoing a rapid change and all the rules are changing. The Internet and, in particular, Social Media have challenged how business operates in a world where one person can be heard by millions, and if that person is talking about your product or service you have to be plugged in and listening or be lost in ignorance of what your customers and potential customers know about you. This new world demands personal involvement, yet many people (especially older business people) don’t want to be forced to participate in Social Media tools that put them and their company up for public scrutiny. There is a growing division between older professionals that tend to reject Social Media tools and younger professionals that tend to accept them. Guess in which category most Rotarians fit?

Action Obstructed by Grieving
Public Relations offers potential solutions to both issues. By becoming aware of the Club’s public image (how non-members perceive Rotary) the members can adapt their PR plan to maximize the value of the club projects and programs to help non-members understand the purpose and scope of Rotary. Members can also be aware of behaviors and information that reinforce negative stereotypes that non-members may have about Rotary, then avoid situations that might damage the reputation of the club. P
R can also help members understand and adapt to the Social Media tools and use them to the best advantage for the club…and their business.

The problem is that discussion of these solutions is premature when someone is grieving. It is akin to telling the man who just lost his wife that, “there are plenty of fish in the ocean.” The combination of scrambling to understand a new business environment while facing a slow bleed of Rotary club members has many Rotarians in the one of the stages of grieving.

For some it is the first stage: Denial:

Stages of Coping with Loss

“There is no membership crisis. The world is the same today as it always has been. Our club is fine, we’ve been around for decades and we will continue to be here for decades to come.”

For others it is Anger:

“This is our club! We don’t need to change, if someone wants to belong to our club they need to change to our way of doing things! Don’t tell me what to do, I’ve been around a lot longer than you! Most of our members aren’t even on Facebook!”

For some it is Bargaining:

“We need QUALITY members, not more members. What help are we going to get to make these changes? How do you know this will work? How do I know this is not just a waste of time?”

And for some it is Depression:

“….”

Of all of the stages, a club should fear depression the most. Apathy and membership are never good combinations; however, for some members who are overwhelmed by change, the depression over the issues will open the door for them to quietly leave Rotary. In some cases, a member who is entrenched in tradition may not be able to accept change and leaving Rotary is the only option, but hopefully we can be aware that grieving change is part of the process and present the message in a way that will help members to the final stage of grieving, Acceptance.

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Communication: Repetition of message does not increase awareness

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

“….Welcome to Flight 2333 to Norfolk….”

August was a busy month of travel for me. On four round trips in one month I spent over 40 hours on sixteen Southwest Airline planes and heard the pre-flight safety briefing 19 times. That would theoretically make me one of the most knowledgeable passengers on flight safety. One would think that I could repeat the flight attendant patter verbatim by now. But I can’t. I travel enough that the safety briefing is merely spam to me.

“…We would like to point out a few of the safety features on this Boeing 737. To fasten your seat belt slide the metal tab in the buckle. To release the belt pull up on the tab on the top of the buckle…..”

Attention will be paid to that which is unique

I know that this briefing is intended to provide a safe traveling environment and maybe there is someone who is allowed out in public who doesn’t know how to buckle a seatbelt, but really, does mindless repetition make us safer? The answer is ‘no’. Repetition can be useful in helping the brain hardwire complex information, but when the information is perceived to be too basic most people stop listening.

The failure of the passenger pre-flight briefing to inform serves as a good lesson for business people. A lot of smart people should know this, but I still find business men and women who live by the erroneous assumption that the more they get their message out, the more successful will be their endeavor. I have one group that sends at least one email to me everyday, and sometimes more than one email. I support the purpose of this organization, but I am considering blocking their emails because they have become spam to me.  When I open their email I read a few words and I file it away.

A ‘Hoser’ is what I call people who flood a Social Media tool with posts. On Twitter, I never read Tweets from someone who has multiple posts in quick succession. Sometimes people use applications that allow the Tweets to be posted on a schedule, which I think is a mistake.  When I see the same face on five consecutive posts I consider ‘unfollowing’ them over reading what they have to say. The same is true on Facebook and LinkedIn.

More about using Social Media in Aristotle’s Rules of Social Media

To be successful Public Relations and Marketing professionals must accept that a message must be more than a pre-flight briefing. If the message is just about repetition then not only will the audience not get the information, they will be annoyed by it. This is a hard lesson for traditional media ‘experts’ because they lived through a time when the audience had to get spam to get the entertainment (commercials embedded in television shows or ads embedded in magazine/newspaper articles.) Traditional media was designed to force the audience to accept the spam, but the Social Media is oriented to the audience, not the advertiser, and this means the reader has the power of the ‘off’ switch. To be heard, and understood PR/Marketing professionals must reject the old annoying ways of the past and use style, not repetition to get the message out.

As for the airlines, the pre-flight briefing will never go away even though it is completely ineffective. The briefing has little to do with informing people and everything to do with asserting the authority of the flight attendants. By standing up and lecturing the passengers on what passengers can and can’t do, they are identifying themselves as the people in charge, which is important in the unlikely event of a crisis on the plane.

However, the problem is that when your message is largely being ignored because it lacks content, the risk is that passengers won’t listen to other announcements. That’s another important lesson for PR professionals.

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How Rotary can…must…will plug into Social Media

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Social Media (sO-shul  mE-dE-ah) – 1) any Internet function that allows user comment or input, 2) interconnected Internet tools that promote participation in the sharing of ideas, concepts, and information between users or members, 3) a type of interactive communication on the Internet that bypasses the non-interactive, one-way, broadcast-type communication of traditional media (e.g.; newspaper, magazine, radio, television, books, etc.) 4) an evil plot devised by mostly young people who seek to destroy traditional media, end all privacy, and rule the world by talking to each other.

Paul Kiser

Rotary is not an organization that reacts quickly to change. The parent organization meets only once every three years to discuss and propose major policy changes and even then the meeting consists of senior representatives (Past District Governors) from each Rotary District. Rotary clubs themselves often consist of members that disproportionately represents males over 50, (of which I am one,) and that group is not normally known for its adaptation skills in changing environments. In many ways, Rotary is the poster child for rigidity, rules, and tradition.

The problem is that we don’t live in a world that rewards the slow or unadaptive. We have moved into a period of rapid change that is similar to the Crusades ‘convert or die’ philosophy and nowhere is this more obvious than in the world of Social Media. Never before have we seen a key function of our world, namely communication, advance in such a short time period. We now live in the Peter Drucker and Tom Peters world of Ready, Fire, Aim!

Consider the revolution of computers. From the introduction of personal computers from 1975 to 1985, the personal computer at home and in the office was a novelty. It was an interesting device, but limited in its usefulness. By 1985, the personal computer was starting to become a staple in business and by 1995, the computer was firmly entrenched into our everyday lives. It took approximately 20 years for computers to go from ‘a toy’ to staple of life.

Compare the computer revolution to the Social Media revolution. Just over six years ago Facebook didn’t exist. Just over four years ago Twitter didn’t exist. In the past three years the way we communicate has so drastically changed that email is considered on par with snail mail by most people under 30 years old.

Social Media Revolution

(What’s changed? See the Social Media Revolution Video)

So what does this mean for a world-wide service organization like Rotary? Change. Change like our organization has never experienced in its 105 years. But it will be good change…for most of us.

Open Discussion of Issues
The Social Media revolution is characterized by open discussion of ideas and concepts. Over the next 18 months we should expect to see more members who are passionate about Rotary writing personal blogs. These individual blogs will not be sanitized messages approved by Rotary International, but personal viewpoints (like this one) discussing current issues at the Club, District, and RI levels. Sometimes the ideas and opinions expressed will be uplifting, sometimes awkward and/or uncomfortable, and sometimes they will just be wrong. The point is that there will be discussion of Rotary…good…bad…or both, and we should expect it.

The leadership of Rotary, from Club Presidents to the RI President, can either pretend it is not happening and hope it will go away, or they can decide to participate. My vote is participation. A District Governor may serve her or his District for a year and speak once at every club, but a blog is forever and is accessible to everyone in the world. Wise input from knowledgeable leaders can help promote positive discussions, and discourage inappropriate discussions. The worst thing to do is to allow a single Rotarian to create misguided impressions of Rotary by not correcting or responding to incorrect statements.

This must be done with care, as we are all aware that in the 1980′s Rotary International (RI) took a stand against a California club that allowed women to join, thus beginning a fight that ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court where RI ended up on the wrong end of the law.

Still, we do have key principles that must be protected as was the case in 2006-07. A California club began promoting a project to buy special ammo clips for U.S. soldiers at war in Iraq and Afghanistan and was pedaling this program to other clubs. Clearly, this was a violation of Rotary’s peaceful mission to serve and of RI’s Constitution. Such violations of our principles must be addressed and corrected by the leadership of Rotary.

Rotary leadership must take care in participating, but they should not only comment, they should write their own blogs. A more open discussion of Rotary related issues will serve to make our organization stronger and will help guide the leadership to address true member issues, not just what filters up through the Chain of Command.

Better Communications – Smaller Chunks, Targeted Audience
In the 1960′s a newsletter was vital information that couldn’t be accessed anywhere else. As copy machines in the 1970′s and 80′s got better the quality of the newsletters got better. The spread of color inkjet printers (HP made a killing on color ink) of the 1990′s brought newsletters to the height of their glory and anybody and everybody put out newsletters about anything. Today, a newsletter is only slightly higher on the value scale than junk mail. The problem is that few people have time to spend 15 minutes reading it and much of the information is not of interest to the reader. In addition, the quality of the editing and design of a weekly club newsletter goes from professional grade to…well, not so much. Often the editor is a volunteer who is passionate about the club, but may or may not agree with the current priorities of the club leadership.

Enter Facebook and Twitter. Most clubs I’ve been involved in regarding incorporating Facebook or Twitter into club communications have included this statement, “But most of our club members don’t use Facebook.” If there is a defining remark about the state of a club’s recruitment situation, that is it. Over 500 million people use Facebook and Rotary clubs don’t think it is relevant because their current members don’t use it. If your membership is not using the most current methods of communication, that should tell you why people in the real world see Rotary and your club as out-of-date and out of touch.

Facebook and Twitter provide information in small readable chunks. No one has to read all 10,000 words in the newsletter to get the information they need, they just read what is of interest to them and they read it in a format that gives it to them when they are ready to read it. Those that don’t use Facebook or Twitter will find that they know less and less about what is going on in the world around them and ignorance is not a Rotary value. The club that doesn’t have an active website and Facebook Fan Page within 12 months will most likely be the club that is consistently struggling to maintain membership. It that simple.

Fortunately, I know that Rotary clubs will adapt to the new Social Media whether anyone wants it or not. They will adapt because those clubs that don’t will waste away, while those that embrace Social Media will begin to see new, younger, smarter members fill in the ranks. It’s the way change works according to Darwin.

Paul Harris began Rotary to make connections with other people. Paul Harris would have loved Social Media.

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2Q 2010 Social Media Tools: Facebook/Twitter sail on, LinkedIn/MySpace don’t

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

Facebook Dragging Anchor?
Facebook hit 500 million users recently (Google Ad Planner puts them at 550 million as of June) and Twitter is hovering near 100 million. When you consider that Facebook doubled the number of users in about a year it seems like the growth of the giant will not stop, but something interesting has happened in the past three months. The growth in visitors (measured via cookies) has slowed; however, Facebook has gained 60 million users in the second quarter, so no one can reach a conclusion, yet.

Yes, everyone was going to quit Facebook on May 31, 2010, and that didn’t happen, but there may be a new temperamental wind blowing in the world of Social Media. It’s possible that Facebook’s bad press over privacy issues has had an impact on new users and/or it’s possible that Facebook has reached a point of saturation. Regardless, Facebook has hit a speed bump, which leads everyone to wonder if it is a temporary blip, or has the bubble burst?

Facebook Visitors 2Q 2010 (not users)

Twitter Whale of a Fail
Twitter has also seen a slight decrease in visitors over the last two months; however, Twitter gained 16 million users in the second quarter and it should easily exceed the 100 million user mark in the third quarter. Twitter may be experiencing fallout from the backlash at Facebook, but it is more likely that Twitters persistent ‘Fail Whale’ capacity issues are preventing the service from scoring big gains with new users. For several weeks in June, Twitter users experienced constant interruptions in service that were a major annoyance causing many to exacerbate the problem by Tweeting their complaints. The issues were similar to the days when AOL dial-up service lacked the capacity to handle the volume of users…and remind us of the risk an organization takes in failing to anticipate rapid growth.

Twitter Visitors 2Q 2010

From a position of potential demand by business-oriented users, Twitter is in the best position to grow into the Facebook of the business world, but it has to overcome the confusion by older users of the usefulness of the service; however, there is a ‘Tipping Point’ that once achieved could push Twitter into mega growth and a potential of becoming larger than Facebook in total users.

Twitter up-time seems to be getting better in the past two weeks, but continued reliability problems could have a significant impact on user happiness and that opens the door for another service to step up and prove that they offer more than twitchy connections.

LinkedIn Visitors 2Q 2010

LinkedIn Becalmed
The surprise in the 2nd Quarter was the loss of users for LinkedIn. Dropping from 41 million down to 38 million for the business networking website may indicate that it is in a market that is too narrow. LinkedIn encourages long discussions of business issues, and the formation of related groups, but the downside is that few care to read 257 posts of people’s opinions where the knowledgeable people are mixed in with the clueless. LinkedIn also discourages connecting to another user unless you already have a relationship with them, which means you’re talking to the same people you already know. Twitter’s advantage is a more rapid discussion that spins off to other blogs rather than an on-line list of opinions. Twitter also connects people in a way that allows the user to edit their followers, rather than depending on an existing relationship. This could be the signal of a trend and LinkedIn may come out on the short end of Darwin’s evolution theory.

MySpace Visitors 2Q 2010

MySpace: The Titanic of Social Media
MySpace is proof that failure is an option in the world of Social Media. Of course, they are a failure with 66 million followers at the end of the 2nd Quarter, but they had 80 million users at the end of the 1st Quarter. At this pace they will under 10 million users by next summer. MySpace is the Wicked Witch of the West and she is sitting under Niagara Falls …. ‘I’m meltinggggg.’

It is possible that by the end of the 3rd Quarter the field of Social Media tools could be clearly down to Facebook and Twitter. MySpace would need a massive public relations campaign and cool new tricks to stop its decline. It is the BP of the Social Media and it doesn’t have the finances to pull up before it noses into the corn field. LinkedIn is sitting on a house of cards. Being a ‘Business Networking’ service is not enough to keep it viable. If it drops under 30 million users by the end of 3rd Quarter I predict that it will be a race between LinkedIn and MySpace to be the first to dissolve in 2011. MySpace’s loss will be Facebook’s gain and LinkedIn’s loss will be Twitter’s gain. I still believe Twitter has more potential than Facebook, but they will have to overcome the misconceptions by older users of its purpose and value.

We wait for the 3rd Quarter…what will people do?

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Epic Fail: Media/PR ‘Experts’ don’t get Twitter

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

“I just don’t see a way to monetize it” – Local PR Company Owner

Paul Kiser

Some of my best friends are Media/Public Relations (PR)/Marketing Experts…okay, maybe not my best friends, but I do have several people I consider friends who have been/are major players in the PR industry in their market and almost all of them either reject Twitter or are mystified by it. The three questions/comments I hear most from my PR friends are as follows:

  • How do you have time to do it?
  • I don’t see how to monetize Twitter.
  • I just don’t get it

The first question requires that a person accept that Twitter can be something of value to their (or their client’s) business. Unfortunately, many ‘experienced’ business people have a misconception of what Twitter is (or is not,) so they are already under the presumption of guilt on the charge the Twitter is a waste of time. They have to be convinced that it has value, thus deserving it merits their ‘time’. But for many ‘seasoned’ PR types the only way they will accept Twitter as worth their time is if it has an immediate dollar return, which leads to the second comment.

The fact is that Twitter a communication tool leads the experienced Media/PR person to fall back to the concept that it can be used for advertising/spam purposes and when Social Media users respond by unfriending/unfollowing them, they decide that Twitter is a waste of time. All their training and experience tells them that Social Media is a billboard that if they can just find the right ‘trick’ then Twitter can be used to manipulate the public to buy whatever they (or their client) is selling. That is what they know and thus it leads to the third comment, that they just don’t get it.

Twitter is a new variety of the PR Cherry

Twitter is not a spam tool. The idea that you can make revenue directly from Social Media demonstrates a lack of understanding of the environment. It would be like trying to add spam to someone’s personal email. People would not accept their personal message being overshadowed by spam for Sam’s Plumbing and it would be annoying to the receiver. Spam/advertising (all advertising is spam) is an affront to people’s intelligence and when people can turn it off they do, and that means Twitter has no value to many ‘experienced’ Media/PR people.

The failing is in the concept of trying to ‘sell’. Any reputable business does not need to ‘sell’ their product or service. I’ll say that again. Any reputable business does NOT need to sell their product or service. What they need to do is educate the public on their product or service and why it will improve their life. Educating is not selling. Selling assumes that you can manipulate people to buy whatever you’re selling. Selling is a function of greed and greed is unethical.

The Social Media environment exposes selling and rejects it, but it loves educating. Social Media is a learning environment and the PR professional that doesn’t understand that will not understand Twitter. This opens the door for those who can reject the old ideas of PR and accept a new strategy of service/product management.

Meanwhile, we should create a new Social Media tool for those who love to sell. They can all join it and try to sell to each other. Maybe we can call in ‘Spinster’?

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King of Anything: Sara Bareilles song reflects Social Media vs Traditional Media attitudes

by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

It’s interesting to me how a song can make my day. Today I listened to a new song by Sara Bareilles called, ‘King of Anything‘ and it makes me smile every time I hear it. The song went on sale and the video was released late last month. I have downloaded the song (legally, on iTunes) and watched the video several times and I am enjoying both even though my song count is nearing an obsession.

(see the King of Anything video here)

Part of my attraction to the song is the music. It is an upbeat tune that sounds whimsical even though the lyrics are more serious. The chorus of the song is:

Sara Bareilles upcoming cd Kaleidoscope Heart

“Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me.
Who made you King of Anything?
So you dare tell me who to be,
who died and made you King of Anything?”

In Ms. Bareilles description of the song on Wikipedia, she says, “‘King of Anything’ is sort of a ‘f**k you’ song,” which it is, but I find a lot more in the song that relates to what Social Media has been saying to Traditional Media for over a decade.

Traditional Media (television, radio, books, magazines, etc.) have been ruled by editors and producers. They have sat on the throne of their own making deciding what we should see, hear, and read. Directors and editors have played the role of spoon-feeding the public the information they see fit and controlling the message. Usually their efforts have been an honorable attempt to provide information to the public, but more recently their have been efforts to intentionally influence the hearts and minds of the public with manipulated news through FOX news and via personalities like Rush Limbaugh.

Social Media has quietly become the force that has been giving each person the option to decide for themselves. We can talk, build groups of like-minded friends/followers, research, read first-hand reports, and explore the knowledge and experience of millions of other individuals. Social Media has challenged Traditional Media by asking, “Who made you King of anything?” The result has been a collapse of the house of cards that Traditional Media has built. Advertising and sales revenues have been dropping across the board as people now question the usefulness of media that is controlled by a few, and almost always behind the curve in information and trends.

Single released in May 2010

But back to the song. Sara Bareilles has a great line near the end where she says, “Let me hold your crown, babe.” While I fully understand the meaning (the middle finger is involved,) I’ll suggest that in Social Media we all hold the crown … and nobody needs to wear it to be heard. Traditional Media is dead. Long live the King!

(Sara Bareilles website)

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The shock of the McChrystal story: Story is over before the article is published

by Paul Kiser [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser - CEO 2020 Enterprise Technologies

Today is an amazing day! It may not seem that different to some people, but they just don’t realize what today signifies in the world of social and traditional media. Still, not clear? Think about this:

General Stanley McChrystal

  • Monday, June 21 – Reports surface that President Obama is angry about an article that would be appearing in Rolling Stones magazine. The article has several remarks by General Stanley McChrystal that were derogatory in nature about several people in the Administration. It is announced that McChrystal has been ordered to appear in person at the White House for Wednesday’s staff meeting, normally done via a secure video transmission.
  • Tuesday, June 22 – Thousands of articles, blogs, and news stories on television and radio discuss the article, the General and what should be done. All this happens while the General is in transit to Washington, D.C.
  • Wednesday, June 23 – General McChrystal reports to the White House, his resignation is accepted and it is announced that General David Petraeus will assume his command.
  • Thursday, June 24 – Continued discussion around the world about the article, the General, and President Obama’s solution to the issue. A Google search of the terms ‘McChrystal runaway general Obama’ nets 464,000 hits (many refer to another situation in October 2009) and the same terms appearing in blogs nets 92,000 hits.

So why does this make today an amazing day? The article that is the cause of bringing down the US Commander of the war in Afghanistan, the President making a swift, major change in his top military administrative staff, and has been the subject of discussion around the world for days…isn’t published in print until tomorrow.

But that isn’t even the best part! The best part is that no one is amazed by this bizarre situation. We have become so accustomed to the Internet trumping print media that no one sees the significance of the reaction to a news story superseding the news story actually being published.

What does it mean?
There is no better example of what has happened in the worlds of Social and Traditional Media than the events of this week. Print media used to ‘be’ the news but now print media is only a historical account of news. It is impossible for print media to have any impact on the world because it is too slow. Yes, television and radio were leaders in promoting the story; however, it was the Internet that provided the mechanism for so many ‘civilians’ to react to the story. The story was discussed in blogs, on Facebook, and on Twitter…all in real-time, not on a news cycle.

For the business person it is simple. If you think that Social Media is a waste of time and that it has no ROI (return on investment) for your company then know that your business could be dead before you even know why. If you are not plugged in and aware then you are flying blind in a world that quietly watches you and everything you do. The Google search will give your customer access to the good, the bad, and the ugly about you.

Think about this: a very powerful and successful military man was brought down by one reporter through some inappropriate remarks. In this situation he worked for a major publication, but it could have been a blogger with a video and the impact would have been the same. Social Media is not about how much time it will take out of your day, nor is it about the return on your investment. It is about your survival.

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