Archive for the ‘dumb ideas’ Category

Thinking about replacing your website with a Facebook page? Think harder.

March 7, 2012

If you are thinking about replacing your website with a Facebook page, perhaps you should think a little bit harder.

See, some companies have scrapped their websites and replaced them with Facebook pages.  This is not a good idea.

Why?  Because using a Facebook page as your website is like changing your car’s oil with a hammer.  Or using Excel as your calendar.  Or have a rabbit herd your sheep.  (Never mind that last one.)  Websites contain, or at least should contain, content about your organization. Social media sites like Facebook enable conversations with your stakeholders.  Why would you want to use good tools for the wrong reason?

Granted, it might be a good idea to make your website socially enabled — that is, to install a social component.  But it is generally a bad idea to replace the site with a Facebook page.  I’d suggest you keep your website and use social media to connect with your audience.


Don’t Do This on Twitter, Part Duh

February 1, 2012

(Note: I was going to call this Part Deux, but this one takes The Duh cake.  Mmmmm, cake.)

So my significant other and I went to a local bar/restaurant to watch the 49ers game, she being a San Francisco native.  In the middle of the game they switched bartenders.

Unbelievably, this new fellow ignored us:  he did not ask us if we wanted anything, never refilled our water glasses (!!!) and completely disregarded us for over an hour.   We had never seen, or heard, of anything like this. Rightfully furious, the Sig Oth Tweeted her disappointment, saying:

Bar X then favorited that Tweet.

Yup, you read that right:  this bar decided that her criticism, broadcast to over 100 million active Tweeters, is one of their favorite things.

Wow.  It is not every day that I find myself with a loss of words.  This is one of those days.

What can you do if you get criticized on any social media site?  For starters, here is what you should not do:


(2) DO NOT DELETE THE COMMENT. (Some tools, like Yelp, do not allow you to delete criticism anyway.)  If you can delete the comment and do so, you are sending the message that you do not care. And you are missing an opportunity to improve your brand.

(3) DO NOT IGNORE THE PERSON WHO IS CRITICIZING YOU.  Ignoring the comment implicitly validates the criticism.

What should you do?

Engage that person in a conversation!  For instance, you can reply with, “I am sorry you feel we did not provide 100% customer service.  What can we do to make things right?”  and/or “Please call us so we can talk about this.”

Remember: social media is not really marketing.  Rather, it is a conversation:  a place to listen, manage your reputation, connect with people worldwide about myriad topics and turn criticism into an opportunity to improve your business and enhance your brand.

So if you are facing a social media challenge, don’t ignore it.  While you’re at it, don’t brag about it either.

Don’t do this on Twitter

January 22, 2012

Here’s a great example of how not to use Twitter.

In an effort to further engage in the conversation on Twitter, I followed a whole bunch more people.  Sadly, one of them was this fellow, who thought it would be totally awesome to post at least 30 Tweets in a row.  I tried to zoom out as much as possible but I still couldn’t capture every Tweet he sent in a burst. I quickly unfollowed him.

Don't do this on Twitter

So yeah, if you are looking to use Twitter, or any social media tool, it is important to engage in the conversation, not just talk about yourself. Especially 30+times in a row.

Here We Go Again — More Hype From Apple

November 15, 2010

Today I discovered that  tomorrow will be a day I will never forget.  Like, ever.  How could I possibly know that I will never forget tomorrow when tomorrow isn’t even today yet?  Because Steve Jobs told me so!

Clearly, Apple has not learned anything about overhyping their stuff:  the iPad was mockingly compared to the Ten Commandments (no, seriously), the iPhone4 turned into an iFail before it was discovered to have problems, er, making phone calls, and so forth.

I can’t believe I have to tell this to an adult, but here it goes.

Dearest Steve Jobs: have you ever read The Boy Who Cried Wolf?  Yes?  Well, re-read it on your iPad or whatever.  You are that boy, and I don’t care about your wolves.   Your announcements do not resonate with me forever, other than in mockery or contempt.  Additionally, I don’t like being told about things I’m supposed to remember by anybody, much less some corporate brand.

I’ve had many experiences which I will never forget.  There was the time I was nearly run over by a giant pig.  (No, seriously.)  I remember the first time I set foot on African soil.  And there are far more personal memories which I will not share on this blog.  Of all my memories, both good and bad, none of them involved Apple or any kind of corporate announcement. Like, ever.

So ease off the rhetoric a little, yeah?  You’re starting to give me a rash.

Fail Davison

September 10, 2010

Yesterday I wrote about Phil Davison, Republican candidate for Stark County, OH Treasurer.  In spite of his passionately delivered speech, the Ohio Republicans did not give him the nod to run for County Treasurer.  That’s not terribly surprising; screaming like a recalcitrant 12-year old does not exactly establish credibility, much less mental stability.

What can we learn from Mr. Davison?

  1. Passion is good.
  2. Too much passion is bad.
  3. Waaaay too much passion scares the bejeebus out of most ordinary folks and kills your credibility.
  4. Screaming and ranting does not convey passion, but poor judgment and even worse leadership skills.
  5. Toastmasters is a great place to practice speechcraft and get honest feedback on speeches.  (After learning his speech had gone viral, he commented, “It was strange.  Feedback would have been nice. I really don’t know how it was received [Emphasis mine].”  Ya think?)

PS:  This may be the first time a video went viral where the subject of the video had never used Youtube.

Someone needs Toastmasters, badly

September 9, 2010

This is not a partisan blog, but rather a communications blog.  Although I am a proud Democrat, I bash Democrats and Republicans equally for their communication blunders.

Having said that, I present to you Phil Davison who is running for Treasurer of the Stark County GOP in Ohio.  As President of my local Toastmasters Club (which happens to also be the first Toastmasters club in the world) I would like to offer some feedback on Mr. Davison’s speech.

On the plus side, he is passionate.  He looks like he is ready to take on this job and will do what it takes to secure the position.  And he has the credentials and experience to get the job done.  Sometimes it takes anger and passion to do something right.

But he definitely goes over the top here.  According to him, he has a Masters in CommUnication!  I didn’t add that exclamation point or the italicized U by accident.  That’s how he says it, with increasing fury as he rattles off each degree he’s earned:  “… and a Masters Degree in CommUnication!”  Really?

His shoulders are tense and he paces back and forth, as if he’s ready to pop a blood vessel.  And he scowls throughout the speech, as if the audience made him eat rotten lemons and wash it down with spoiled milk.  These attributes will not endear him to many people.

Sadly, at about 1:25 into the speech, things really take off.  Now I understand he is upset with the Stark County Treasury, but screaming at the top of his lungs with a cracking voice is not an appropriate way to express such outrage.  For instance, watch the video at 2:10, where he says the office “is in dire need of structure>squeak< and guidance.”  And, he keeps referring to his notes for everything; he really should have rehearsed his speech better.

In sum, I’d recommend he – and all of you, by the way – join Toastmasters, which is a safe environment to practice leadership and communication skills.  I’ve been a Toastmaster for over a year, and even though I also have a Masters in Communication, I have significantly improved my communication and leadership skills since joining.

Perhaps Toastmasters could help Mr. Davison communicate better as well.  If not, maybe someone could recommend a good doctor who could prescribe Xanax.

UPDATE — I incorrectly spelled Phil’s last name Davidson and changed it to the correct spelling, Davison.  Sorry for the blunder.

Morrissey is a Stupid Racist

September 6, 2010

Sometimes I don’t get people.

Morrissey, the front-man from The Smiths, called all Chinese people a “subspecies” because of how some Chinese people treat animals.  This is colossally stupid on several levels.  Let’s break these down, shall we?

  • From a logical standpoint, his statement makes no sense:  by calling Chinese people a subspecies, he is actually being cruel to them, thus undercutting his whole, er, logic.
  • From a human perspective, he has just called attention to the fact that he’s a racist pig.
  • From a nationalistic standpoint, China is not the only country that is cruel to animals.  Do Spanish bullfights make Spaniards a subspecies too?
  • From a business point of view, it’s probably not a great idea to insult 1/6th of the world’s population — and the world’s second largest economy — in one swoop.  This cannot be good for sales.
  • From a communication standpoint, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and one sentence to undo all that work, especially in this day and age.  Great job doing that.

Granted, I have a special affection for the Chinese people, having studied Mandarin in Shanghai.  In my experience, certainly some people in China are cruel to animals.  But there are just as many, if not more, Chinese people who deplore animal cruelty. (Ahem.)  Also, in my experience, there are plenty of racist and stupid Westerners, such as Morrissey; but that does not mean all Westerners are stupid racists.  See how that works?

So here’s some free, unsolicited advice for Morrissey:  think about what you are saying before you say it.  By smearing an entire nationality, you are making a huge mistake on multiple levels.  Then again, racists have never been known for their intellect, now have they?

More Communication Dissonance from Democrats

August 20, 2010

Oh Howard Dean, where would we be without you and your mighty scream?

The good former Vermont Governor recently weighed in on the lower-Manhattan community center nontroversy by stating his desire to see the location moved.  This, combined with Harry Reid’s announcement the other day, serves only to create further communication discord within the party. Once again, Dems are giving the (correct) impression that they are not on the same page.  This does not settle well with voters, because they want to know what each political party stands for, and if Dems speak for ten different things, why should anyone want to vote for them?

Contrast the Democrats’ messaging vs. the GOP’s.  The Republicans clearly stated the Ground Zero Mosque (it’s not true, but it sure is catchy) should not be there, period.  Dems are all over the map on the issue and are, once again, harming their own credibility by not communicating consistently.

Once again:  Please Dems, try communicating consistently.  You don’t have to agree with every issue every time, but like it or not, this has captured the world’s headlines and is therefore a major issue.  Please oh please, just once, try to stay on the same page, at least with the big items like this one?  Please?

BP Literally Sides with Terrorists

July 14, 2010

The headline is not an exaggeration, and it is not hyperbole:  BP actively promoted the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in order to finalize plans for a major drilling project in Libya.

I don’t think I need to comment on this, or make any righteous rants about good communications vs. good decisions.  It just stands on its own, doesn’t it?

Friendly Advice for the GOP — Trashing Thurgood Marshall Will Only Hurt Your Brand

July 2, 2010

I’m not a Republican, and I do not play one on TV.  However, I would like to offer some advice to my GOP friends (yes, I am a Democrat who has GOP friends) regarding Supreme Court nominations and how they reflect on your party’s brand.

Never ever trash Thurgood Marshall no matter how right you think you are.

Look, I understand your frustrations.  No really, I do.  You feel as if the country is being taken away from you, and you need to do whatever it takes to bring it back to the way things were, or at least how they oughta be.  And you’re afraid that adding Elena Kagan to the court will add yet another activist judge on the bench that will harm the country even more.

But strictly from a standpoint of good vs. bad communications, don’t smear the legacy of Thurgood Marshall to achieve your goals.  In case you didn’t know, Marshall was rejected from admission from the University of Maryland School of Law because of his race (which, incidentally, has since named their law library after him), won in the landmark Civil Rights case Brown vs. the Board of Education and later became a Supreme Court justice.

Sure trashing him (and Kagan) as an activist judge may go over well with some in your party, but that is no way to build, or rebuild, your brand.  So I’d strongly suggest you stop before you hurt your bramd even further.