Social Media Resources for Educators

There are many ways that social media can be used in education, and I’ve found myself fielding more and more questions about this particular space. As a result, I decided to write this post assembling some of the best resources for learning more (and participating!) in social media for academia:

Education Blogs

Henry Jenkins is one of the leading thinkers on digital education, and his vast network provides a constant stream of interesting insights, new discoveries and thoughtful commentary on the many ways social media is changing education and learning.

Howard Rheingold is an educator who claims credit for coining the phrase “virtual community.” He not only updates his content frequently, but will show you all of the different ways you can use a blog to communicate with your community effectively using video, audio, images and text.

Ethan Zuckerman is associated with the Berkman Center at Harvard, but it’s worth reading his blog to get a more global perspective on a wide range of topics, including digital natives and empowering people from around the world to connect using social media. He is the founder of Global Voices and one of the most engaging speakers I have ever heard.

Finally, I recommend reading the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Learning blog for news and updates on the impact of digital media on learning.*

Social Networks for Educators

This social networks in education wiki has an exhaustive list of resources around education and social media. This wiki offers a great overview as well as some explanations of the different ways social networks are used.

You can also start with the social media in I recommend PBS Teachers Connect as a good place to start. It breaks down conversations between teachers working with children at different age levels. TeachAde is another social network geared towards teachers that is sponsored by the NEA.

If you decide to build your own social network for educations, this Ning group is a great place to start. Ning is a social networking platform that allows you to build your own social network from the ground up using their tools and platform. As you can see, there are already a large number of Ning social networks around education in which you might be interested.

Technology Teacher has a great post listing ways that educators can use Twitter in the classroom. Here’s a post with 100 Twitter tools for teachers.

SlideShare Presentations on Social Media and Education

Here’s a great overview of social media in education from Paul Ayres in the UK. Paul provides an overview of some of the most common social media tools and couches them in terms of education. He explores blogs, social bookmarking sites, podcasts, YouTube and more:

And here’s one from Dean Groom who works at Macquarie University in Australia. Dean gives a fantastic overview of Web 2.0 as it relates to education and discusses how educators can build a strategy around social media :

Finally, I really like this one from Sarah “Intellagirl” Robbins that she presented at Educause08. The slides have enough text to narrate you through, but Sarah is a pioneer is the use of virtual worlds and other new media platforms. In this deck, she discusses how higher education is changing and some of the tools available to help navigate that change:

Conclusion

Remember that the appropriate type of engagement depends upon a number of factors:

What is your objective? Consider WHY you want to use social media. If your answer is because “everyone else is telling me to,” then perhaps it doesn’t make much sense yet. Spend some time reviewing the above articles and resources and make sure that your engagement platform is best suited for your objective.

Who is your audience? Depending on whether you are trying to facilitate communications between your students or to connect with other educators in your space, you will find different social networks already exist for these communities. It makes sense to conduct some research into how these audiences are already communicating before you embark upon setting up your own project.


*Disclosure: MacArthur Foundation is a former client | Photo credit: NMC SecondLife

Michael Jackson and the Formation of Online Communities

Like most of you, I was saddened by the news of Michael Jackson’s death yesterday. I was in the West Village and had trouble getting reception on my iPhone (as usual) when a guy walked passed talking on his phone. He said to the person on the other end,  ”Michael Jackson died today. How did you not hear? Aren’t you on Twitter?”

Walking home, I was more attuned than usual to the conversations taking place around me. I heard people sharing the news with friends on their phones, playing his music in their cars and congregating in Washington Square Park to mourn together.

This same process of information gathering and ultimately mourning took place online as well. It was amazing to watch how quickly the community organized itself to share updates as they became available and used their respective social networks to publicly participate in the unfolding drama.

Some interesting statistics:

As we continue to learn details about his untimely death, it really is amazing to watch how various online communities publicly mourn and pay tribute. These communities organized themselves within hours and will likely disband as time passes. But the ability for a group of people to find each other when they want to, exchange information and bond over a common theme is really something.

He will be missed.

Photo credit: lukas lehmann, Flickr

How Dell Generated $3 million in Sales Using Twitter

Dell Outlet on TwitterThere was an exciting announcement recently from the folks at Dell that the company has surpassed $3 million in sales as a result of promotions offered via the @DellOutlet Twitter account. While many will likely tout this as proof of “social media ROI,” there’s a lot more to the story.

Here’s what I think Dell did to generate that type of revenue. If your company can mimic this model, you’ll probably be able to make your first million using Twitter as well:

FAIL
Years before any other company had to consider the implications of ignoring customers online, Jeff Jarvis and an army of unsatisfied Dell users coined the term, “Dell Hell,” forcing the company to listen, even if they weren’t ready.

FAIL AGAIN
When Dell finally launched its first blog in July 2006, which was titled One2One, the company immediately changed its name to Direct2Dell due to the existence of a certain pornography site bearing the same name. A minor embarrassment, but one that was easily overlooked. Dell was at last talking with its customers.

FAIL BIGGER
When the Consumerist published a post from a former Dell sales associate, the company responded with a cease and desist letter from its legal department. This generated even more negative attention for their social media efforts. Only days later did the company respond by using its blog.

FAIL EVERYWHERE
Remember Second Life? It was the Twitter of 2007. Dell launched an island and tried selling PCs via the virtual world interface. While the island had some exciting features, it was often vacant and likely never became the revenue source some expected. However, the Island still exists and the Dell team (led by the amazing Laura Thomas) continues to actively participate in the community by hosting a variety of events for Second Life residents and Dell customers. The company learned how the Second Life community wanted to Dell to participate and the company adapted better than most.

I’m being dramatic by using the word ‘failure’ to describe some of its early forays into social media. Dell tried a lot of different tactics to find which ones resonated with their audience. Sometimes the results of the experiments with community building might not have yielded the expected results. But these lessons were valuable learning opportunities for the company (as well as for the rest of us) to better understand the model for two way conversations between companies and its constituencies.

From these lessons, Dell was able to better prepare for the social media engagement their customers demanded. Let’s look at some of the things they’ve done very well:

DEDICATE RESOURCES
Richard Binhammer, Lionel Menchaca and (formerly) Bob Pearson are probably the most public facing of Dell’s social media team, but the company has more than 30 employees dedicated to its online community customer service team. And it’s not just any people, it’s the right people. People empowered to respond on behalf of the company, people authorized to help.

CREATE A FORUM FOR CONVERSATIONS
Dell was the first large company to implement the SalesForce IdeaStorm offering that allowed customers to propose new ideas to the company that were then voted on by visitors to the site. The best ideas rose to the top and were shared with management. Starbucks followed suit with My Starbucks Idea and the two companies are often cited in social media circles for their willingness to open up direct lines of communications with their customers.

SEGMENT CUSTOMERS AND SPEAK WITH THEM
Gamers, women, small business owners. Dell listened to the conversations happening online and created customer experiences to meet their needs. Great examples of this include the Green community and the Gaming community.

CREATE A HEADQUARTERS WITH MANY BRANCHES
There are 33 corporate Twitter accounts (not to mention countless awesome employee accounts), three Flickr photostreams, 433 YouTube videos, 22 Facebook Groups, 12 Blogs, eight Forums, 18 public wikis, and of course, IdeaStorm. They have a community landing page featured prominently on the Dell site and accounts that are moderated by Dell employees on multiple social media platforms as well.

MEASURE SUCCESS
One of the lessons I’ve learned from Dell’s efforts is that revenue is the old model for a campaign’s success, and it really doesn’t translate well online. People don’t want to be sold to when they’re in a social environment. The best campaigns seem to support customer service, relationship building (between customers, not just between the customer and the brand) and knowledge exchange. Make sure that you’re looking at the appropriate metrics, especially when you’re starting out. These will change over time as you see what works.

CONCLUSION
The $3 million in Twitter revenue was not achieved just by setting up an account and “following” potential customers. It was part of a strategy rolled out over several years that continues to evolve with the tools and the needs of the company’s community. Relationships take time to build. Your brand will make mistakes. What’s important is that you keep trying to find the right fit, that you listen to your customers, and that you give your customers the experience and attention they deserve. In the end, it literally pays off.

Have you learned any lessons from Dell’s experiences? What’s an example of a change you made based on your participation in an online social community?

10 Social Media Tasks for Summer Interns

internIt’s that time of year when companies are looking to hire interns to do the menial tasks typically relegated to its entry level employees. When I visit many companies, the interns do little more than flip through magazines (“coverage searches”), cold call media (“pitching”) or conduct multiple Google searches for their clients (“research”).

But what if a communications team actually used its interns to learn more about this social media thing everyone’s talking about? Here are ten ways I might consider putting summer interns to work:

1. Social Media Overviews: Instruct each intern to create a 30 minute presentation on the social media platform of his/her choice that includes an overview, how its used and how your business might participate. There’s a good example here.

2. Competitive Analysis: Ask an intern to build a full social media profile analysis of a competitor or client. This might include what platforms they use, how they participate and some metrics do determine how they are successful. There’s a good example here.

3. Account creation/customization: If college students learn anything during their four to six years of higher learning, it’s how to create a social media profile that will attract attention. Allow them to create and populate some of your executive’s social media accounts. Then, set up some time for the intern to teach the executive about the platform. For example, if it’s a Twitter account, the intern could select a user name, fill in the bio, create a custom background and begin following relevant people in your company’s field. This post from TwitTip has some important considerations for building a business profile on Twitter.(NOTE: The intern should not participate on behalf of the executive, but set up the account and introduce the platform as appropriate).

4. (Social) Media Research: Which social media platforms are your main media contacts using? Are they blogging? Using Twitter? Do they want to be contacted through any of these by your company? This is a long term project, but might be really helpful to some of your colleagues who are apt to “pitch first and ask questions later.”

5. Template creation: If your intern knows Photoshop or another design program, it might be fun to have him/her create customized templates for your firm’s Twitter pages or a logo/avatar for your company’s employees. You can find Twitter background templates here and here are some awesome Twitter backgrounds for inspiration.

6. RSS building: I’ve said before that an RSS feed is one of the most important tools for any communications professional. If you’ve never taken the time to set up an RSS reader to monitor social media activity around your brand, your client or your industry, this is an awesome task for an intern. Once it’s set up, though, you have to use it! Here’s a good place to start.

7. Blog monitoring: There are hundreds of millions of blogs, and probably hundreds that reference your brand or industry. So how do you choose which ones to follow? I’ve written about this before, but perhaps your intern can conduct some research and report back about the most important blogs in your niche.

8. Blogging: As you may have heard, Pizza Hut is hiring a Vice President Twitter intern for the Summer. While I wouldn’t necessarily entrust an intern to develop my company’s social media strategy, I might like them to post about their experiences on my internal or external blog. Not only will it showcase another side to your company, namely that you’re empowering your interns, but it also provides your team with important feedback about the internship. It gives future interns insight into what they can expect as well, which could be good or bad depending on how you treat your interns!

9. Web Analysis: When it comes to e-commerce, usability and design, my guess is that most web savvy college age students have seen their fair share of websites. Invite your intern to provide an in-depth analysis of your corporate site. Is it easy to find your press room? Are their high resolution product shots easily available? How many clicks does it take to make a purchase? These are just some of the factors that consumers are interested in. A fresh set of eyes from your target demographic might be useful.

10. Video: The communications professional of the future will have a very different skill set than many of us have today. They will likely be well versed in most type of online media, have some ability to manipulate images in Photoshop or Illustrator and most likely know how to edit video. If these are skills your company values, then let them start by recording a couple of interviews with executives and editing them together. Even if they’re not perfect, the point of an internship is to learn, and these are already proven skills that will benefit both the intern and the company.

Finally, I’m going to add getting coffee to the list. Yeah, it kind of sucks. But if they’re already doing even one of the above tasks, is it really too much to ask for a good cup of coffee as well? It’s just part of paying your dues.

So what types of tasks do your summer interns perform? Would you trust them with your social media research or activity?

Photo credit: adpowers

ANALYSIS: The Skittles Social Media Experiment

Skittles

I like Skittles. When I’m at an airport or a gas station, Skittles is ALWAYS my second choice if I can’t find a pack of Starburst (another Mars Company product, apparently). So of course I was interested in the brouhaha that erupted after Skittles replaced their website with a little widget linking visitors to several social media platforms. If you want to learn more about how it works, you can read this post from Russ Adams .

HISTORY OF THE SKITTLES WEBSITE

The Skittles website over the last couple of years has not evolved much, so while this is a wild departure from its past efforts, it didn’t have much to lose.

The site primarily relied on Flash from almost the beginning, so it never had great Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As you can see, the site was geared towards a younger audience and it looks like the brand tried hard to not only look cool, but to appeal to a younger demographic.

The new site (or interactive engagement) is resonating right now with an older demographic more interested in the tech than the candy.

ADVANTAGES

It’s different. I like that Skittles (through their vendor Agency.com) took a huge chance entrusting the brand to the community.  The "community," in this case, is not just the people who  like the candy, but the people that are most active on these sites. Initially we’re going to see a lot of negative comments as people test whether Skittles will maintain this  model .

First Mover. Here’s the new case study you’re going to see at every social media related event in 2009. Consultants, brands and their agencies are going to watch this experiment closely to see how the community reacts. If it’s embraced, there will be many companies that try and replicate their success. Just look at brands that were among the first to establish a Second Life presence, build a Twitter presence or find success on YouTube. Skittles will get a lot of additional juice out of this simply by being the first to try it.

CHALLENGES

Modernista was the first company to experiment with using a social media platform to tell the brand story. But at the time, there were many that criticized them for using a social platform for brand advertising and marketing purposes. Many critics (and there were many) argued that the agency was hijacking a social space and using it for ways other than they were intended. I expect we’ll see the same arguments made for Skittles experiment.

As I said at the beginning, the only time I think about Skittles is when I’m at a gas station or the airport. I don’t think about them when I’m sitting in front of my computer or on my phone. Ultimately, this may prove to be their undoing.

PR and Marketing can get along. While the Skittles social media website is likely the work of the marketing team, the resulting conversation and response should be driven by the communications team. I haven’t found any Skittles reps commenting yet, but I hope they seize this opportunity to talk openly with a new community. If representatives only talk to the media, then Skittles doesn’t really understand what they’ve done.

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN

As a communicator or marketer, there are some lessons you should take away from this:

Learn as much as you can about social media platforms, then do something with them that’s radically different. The 40th company to join Twitter is not as memorable as the first, second or third. And the companies that are lauded have found unique ways to enhance their customer’s experiences on these sites.

There is a distinct difference between marketing on a social site and communicating on it. Understand that when you do anything with social media, there will be people that react strongly in favor and against your participation. Some people just don’t like the idea of brands trying to market or advertise to them on social platforms.

When your brand experiments with social media and the community reacts strongly, learn and adjust. Don’t recoil. Relationship building takes time.

CONCLUSION

This is only the Skittles website,  not the corporate website of its parent Mars&Co. Brands that wish to emulate the Skittles model should remember the distinction and understand why this won’t work for everyone.

This is version 1.0.  I think it will be interesting to watch what other consumer packaged goods companies like beverage companies do to "one-up" their competition. Currently most companies appealing to the same demographic leverage Facebook fan pages, quirky YouTube videos they hope will go viral and meat smelling perfumes. There’s a lot of room to disrupt this space. It’s going to be exciting for us to watch.

For more interesting conversations on the Skittles experiment, check out this post on Mashable and this one from Pistachio Consulting .

For a more contrarian view, read this one from B.L. Ochman and this one from Adrian Chan .

YOUR TURN

So what do you think? Do you like what Skittles did here or do you think it was a stunt that will ultimately fail?

The Three Phases of Robert Scoble

Robert Scoble
Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I’ve lately fallen out of love with Robert Scoble . If I were to meet him in person, I’d say, "It’s not me, it’s you." But since that opportunity is unlikely to present itself anytime soon, I’m going to share this post instead.

PHASE 1: THE MICROSOFT YEARS

When Scoble started broadcasting from within the depths of Microsoft’s corporate headquarters, he was a ray of light on an otherwise overcast Seattle day. He shared with the outside world that which Microsoft was unaware they possessed: a personality. We learned how companies could share their institutional knowledge and, as a result, gain the trust of their community and build new inroads to their brand. We connected with the employees in a way we never connected with the corporate entity.

Scoble showed companies that they should embrace their quirkiness, not hide it. And as a result, he rose to fame as the poster child for corporate transparency and gave rise to the notion of corporate social media. Many social media case studies used his career path as an example of how social media must grow from the inside out fueled by the passion of a company’s employees.

PHASE 2: PODTECH

With the notoriety that Scoble’s efforts received inside Microsoft came many opportunities. Speaking gigs, a huge following on his blog and of course, other job offers. Scoble moved to PodTech , where he went from evangelizing one company to evangelizing EVERY company. He transitioned from an important corporate social media voice to a new breed of infomercial creator.

For a small fee (and often for free), (UPDATED: Scoble did not charge companies for the videos he produced at PodTech) Scoble would come to your corporate headquarters and produce a prosumer-like video podcast that he would then publish to the PodTech network. Because so many people followed him from Microsoft to PodTech, this remained a large and coveted corporate audience.

A Scoble mention inevitably resulted in a spike for web traffic and attention to the companies he covered. The problem was, there seemed to be little editorial oversight. As long as their was budget and/or access, Scoble was in. And as long as a video was produced, most corporate communications or marketing teams felt comfortable checking social media off their "to do" list.

PHASE 3: FASTCOMPANY.TV

As the funding dried up, Scoble took his show to Fast Company, thus completing his transition from corporate poster child to certified media representative. He’s everywhere these days, tweeting, posting video and updating his FriendFeed status from the littlest start-ups in Silicon Valley to hanging out with titans of industry in Davos, Switzerland.

The problem is, there’s no editor. There’s no one telling Robert what is valuable. I get what’s in it for Robert, but I’m not sure what’s in it for me or for the rest of his audience.

In my opinion, Scoble is no longer the signal, but the noise. And as I find more and more corporate entities trying to build online communities, the lessons they share are much more worthy of my attention than the boastings of an online celebrity.

MY ANALYSIS

What I used to love about Robert was his passion. Early adopters were quick to find new tools and technologies just by following his blog, which he updates much less regularly than before. Conversations would take place there that were unlike any other blog community in which I participated.

That passion has become to voluminous for me to endure, and I’ve found that there’s little professional value for me in keeping up with his whereabouts these days. He no longer serves as a role model for how companies should behave in social spaces (instead I look to people like Tyson Foods’ Ed Nicholson , Richard AT DELL ) and his travels/interviews are less relevant to my interests.

I’m slowly unsubscribing from the various networks on which we’re connected. Robert won’t notice. After all, he has thousands of friends.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Am I wrong on this? Are you watching his FastCompany videos and following his Twitter stream? Are you learning new things from keeping up with his globetrotting? If so, please share your thoughts. I’m curious what Scoble means to communicators today.

(This is a conversation. Please refrain from using any derogatory language in your response. I will not tolerate any personal attacks against Robert. The dialogue should remain around the topics discussed in this post. Thanks!)

Blog Analysis: Safeway

safeway John Cass had a post informing readers about some new additions to the Fortune 500 corporate blogging wiki.

If you haven’t visited the corporate blogging wiki yet, it’s a good place to see which large companies are using blogs as a communications tool. (It’s also interesting to click on some of the links and see how long its been since many of these blogs were last updated.)

There are some valuable takeaways from each of these new blogs, and so I thought I would share some of my observations and invite you to do the same. I’m going to start with the Safeway blog .

BLOG OVERVIEW

According to the About section on the right side of the page, the blog is written by a Safeway employee named Kate and it’s about, "family, food, value and fun." Kate makes a special point to ask readers to "join the conversation."

STRENGTHS

Audience: Kate writes that she is a mom, and that a large part of her job is getting to hear from a lot of women out there about everything that’s important to them. She has a specific audience in mind (women) that she’s writing for, which sets up certain expectations about the content. Targeting this demographic makes the content more relevant, which is appealing.

One Author: Kate is the only contributing author that I saw. She writes in a conversational tone and I don’t feel like she’s trying to sell me anything. She is a passionate participant, and that goes a long way.

Frequent Updates: The blog is updated regularly, and I like the diversity of the topics, from greener cleaning products to new foods and recipes. And even though the subject of each post changes, it’s always in some way related to Safeway and its products.

Images: Most posts have an image with them, which makes the overall site much more appealing. It also helps me as a way to navigate through the posts, since I can see an image of, say, frozen peas, and choose to skim over it without reading.

Integration: The blog is well integrated into the larger Safeway site with a prominent placement on the navigation bar on the main Safeway homepage. So many companies bury this link.

CHALLENGES

Zero Post Links: Despite the number of posts, there’s not one link, external or otherwise, in any of the entries. This is by far the biggest weakness. Not only would links improve the site’s SEO , but it would help readers to take action as a result of reading the blog. For example, the post on e-coupons should include a link to a few of the company’s e-coupons.

One Author: I know, I also listed this as a strength. As the blogger for Safeway’s official blog, I want to know more about Kate. There’s no picture of her next to her profile, nor does she indicate where she works or her job function. These details help readers to feel as if there is a true human behind the blog. It also helps us to better communicate with her as readers. If she works the deli counter in Oregon, I’m probably not going to ask her about the company’s work on improving the technology infrastructure for its chain.

No Conversation: It was encouraging that the blog asks readers to join the conversation, but nobody at Safeway seems to be listening. Not every post has a comment, and that’s fine. I don’t think a blog’s success should be measured strictly by the number of comments it receives. However, the comments (and questions) that are posited should be addressed by Kate or someone else at the company, and they aren’t. If Kate wants Safeway customers to participate, then she needs to actually engage them when they do.

Access: To see the blog archives, I’m asked to register. While this may be a feature of the blogging platform Safeway chose, it’s no excuse. I don’t want to sign up for company emails just to read your archives. Open those suckers up!

UPDATE: SAFEWAY’S RESPONSE

Shortly after writing this post, I received the following email from Rohini Jatkar, Safeway’s Online Marketing Manager. With her permission, I’ve posted it here:

Hello Aaron,

We want to thank you for your recent review of the Safeway blog on Disruptology. We are very excited about this opportunity to have a dialogue with our consumers and being reviewed by someone like you. You provide valuable information and feedback that will help us improve the blog and community experience on our site.

We are looking into expanding this section of our website significantly and making it more interactive. To this end we are exploring the addition of Forums and we are definitely looking into bringing in guest bloggers who are subject matter experts on occasion.

Your suggestion of providing links back to relevant sections of the site in posts (for example a link back to eCoupons) is great and we will implement more of that going forward.

Regarding the identity of the blogger, it’s her personal wish and a company requirement that she remain anonymous. We are not prepared to provide an interview at this time, but will look into this.

Regarding access to blog archives, you can currently access posts from each week via quick links on the bottom right of the page. We did notice that ‘View Complete Archives’ link at the end takes you to a registration page. We agree that this should be "free for all" so we’re going to open that up immediately!

Thank you on behalf of Safeway.

Regards,
Rohini

YOUR TURN

What do you think? Go check out the blog and provide some constructive feedback. And Kate, if you happen to see this, I’d love to hear from you!
Photo credit: mattieb

CHALLENGE: 2009 Social Media Case Studies

dolphin and cow

If you attended any social media webinar, seminar, conference, panel or similar session in the last 12 months, the case studies referenced by the speakers to showcase the value of social media likely included Dell, Blend-Tec, Starbucks and/or Comcast.

And you probably heard them referenced multiple times by multiple people. The problem was that the social media professionals (call them consultants, gurus, experts, whatever) would take the microphone and share the same four or five stories to illustrate successful examples of  corporate social media work. It was the same redundant thing every time.

I’m just as guilty as everyone else. Those case studies were standards in my deck over the last year and honestly, they were fantastic for introducing the possibilities of social media to an audience largely unfamiliar with the platforms and skeptical of their relevance. I might still use them from time to time with people new to the subject. But really, it’s time to move on.

If you’re still unfamiliar with these case studies, there is ample reference material online that I’ll link to here:

GOOD NEWS

It worked! The hundreds of hours spent evangelizing the benefits of social media combined with the crappiness of the current economy transformed words to action. Many brands have launched blogs, signed up for Twitter and established Facebook Fan pages. Often these case studies helped them to do it.

BAD NEWS

Many still don’t get it. It’s not enough to just set up a social media account and check it off the list. There’s still a lack of strategy behind many of these engagements, and part of the blame falls on how it’s presented (while the other part is management bureaucracy, budgets and a whole lot of other factors beyond our control). As trusted advisors, it’s important we illustrate the benefits of a solid social media strategy by using examples from a diverse set of industries.

OUR JOB

If you are someone who is fortunate enough to have a speaking gig or two lined up in 2009 , I hope you’ll come armed with some new case studies. It would be very impressive if they were case studies from projects you actually worked on. At the very least, conduct a bit of original research so that your version of the case study has a nugget or two that we haven’t heard a thousand times before. We don’t want to hear only about companies that are doing a great job, but those that struggled out of the gate as well. We don’t want only big companies, but also small businesses and players in the B2B space.

You can start by checking out this wiki by Peter Kim that is updated with the latest and greatest examples of corporate social media.

Of course, I’m going to do the same. The gauntlet has been thrown. Bring it.

Photo credit: Tidewater_Muse

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UPCOMING EVENT: Social Media Breakfast NYC This Thursday

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Image via Wikipedia

As a follow-up to my post yesterday on some upcoming social media events in 2009 , there’s a free social media breakfast NYC on Thursday that I highly recommend attending.

I helped organize the first two such events here along with my buddy Paull Young from Converseon. The NYC social media community is pretty disparate compared to our compatriots in other cities. These breakfasts, while way too early , provide a great offline networking opportunity as well as interesting speakers that are using social media in a myriad of ways.

If you can swing by, I look forward to meeting you!

Register now, as seating is limited.

The Decisive 2009 Social Media Event Calendar

Add them to your calendar now and start looking for budget. Susan Mernit published her calendar of the most important social media events for 2009 . In addition, JD Lascia created a similar list of social media events with a quick blurb about each.

There are so many good opportunities to extend the relationships you’ve established online, and these are among the best. For communicators interested in bleeding edge social media conversations, I highly recommend Austin’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival in March and Maine’s Pop Tech conference in October. Bloggers shouldn’t miss the Web 2.0 Conference or Supernova in San Francisco, or BlogHer in Chicago/New York.

If you don’t have budget to travel, check for meetings of Social Media Club , Social Media Breakfast or PodCamp in your area.

Twitter Meme Monday: Favorite Holiday Gift Site

twittermememonday.jpg As part of my ongoing goal to help Twitter friends get to know a little more about one another, I am continuing the Twitter meme Monday posts.

A ‘meme’ is a type of internet conversation that is passed from one user to another. Here’s the Wikipedia definition .

Here in the US, this Friday is called ‘Black Friday,’ which kicks off the holiday shopping season. Most retailers will begin offering their best prices and deals to entice consumers to purchase often and early. In that spirt, this week’s topic is: "what is your favorite gift blog and why?"

To participate, share the link to your favorite gift blog and explain why you picked it in 140 characters in your Twitter stream (also called a tweet). If you prefer, you can share it in the comment section below as well.

I have more than 1,000 people following my updates on Twitter, but I don’t know a lot about their jobs, their passions and their lives outside of the Twitter community. These weekly topics not only help me learn more about the people in my community, but they help the larger Twitter community learn about its participants as well.

Make sure to include ‘#TMM’ at the end of your tweet to designate it as part of the Twitter meme!

Here’s mine.

You can follow everyone’s answers here .