October 5, 2022

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

The First “Twebinar”

The First “Twebinar”

Yesterday, I had the fascinating experience of participating my
first-ever a “Twebinar,” created and
by CrossTechMedia and Radian6, during which host Chris Brogan “…interview[ed]
over 30 top names in social media and Internet marketing and get their best
thoughts on how tools like blogs, social networks, wikis, and podcasts are
changing the way companies do business.”

Chris and Radian6’s David Alston did a great job pulling the event together, and Chris was an excellent host, interviewing some thought leaders in the social media space at a prior
social media event as well as communicating with the viewers between

This being my first “Twebinar,” I learned that it is a
mixture of live video from the moderator (Chris), video clips from contributors
(I have listed some below), a running series of tweets (many of which
unfortunately dealt with technical issues), and a chat box.   All told, this event had a lot of moving parts.

Bottom line is that I came away knowing more than I did when
I logged on, which is always a bonus.  But like any worthwhile endeavor, it took
some doing to get me into the meeting. 
My impression was that the sponsors were overwhelmed by the responses
and got caught off guard (a good and a bad thing).

A Rough Start

To participate in the call, I first had to install WebEx
software, which, for those of you without highly restrictive IT departments, is
not a big deal.  For those of you who do,
like me, it was a real hassle.  Once I
had fought my way through the IT bureaucracy, I was pretty dismayed to get a
message that read:

We’ve moved the show.  Due to
overwhelming interest, we’ve moved to a platform that can handle it.”

But enough kvetching.

I did not get to listen to everyone who participated, but
clearly the theme was case studies on how social media had indeed been a “game
changing experience” for business.  There were other
sub-themes within the conversation as well, and I have noted these below. 

The Gurus Speak

As the theme of the Twebinar was how social media induces
“game changing moves,” I’ll simply relay some of the thinking expressed in
it.  And for those of you who
participated, please note that I have paraphrased your quotes since I am a
lousy typist.

  1. Chris Brogan noted that you can buy a book at a brick and mortar Barnes
    and Noble vs. Amazon.  Amazon.com
    has “changed the game” by continuing to innovate with:
    • side
      by side book recommendations;
    • the
      “people who bought this also bought that” feature; and
    • Wikis
      that accompany the book reviews on which you can comment, or in the case
      of something like history books, even suggest s revision.
  2. Sally
    Falkow of Expansion Plus, in a
    very simple and elegant statement, said that the “why” of social media is
    already happening.  You are either
    there or you are not – and your customers are already talking about
    you.  Amen.

  3. Richard Binhammer at Dell
    noted that by talking with their customers, Dell has seen a reduction in
    negative comments by 30 percent!  He
    noted that political candidates would love to see a number like this
    (agreed, but it ain’t happening). 
    By listening to customers, “you learn a lot about what makes them
    happy and what makes them mad.  That
    will result in better products or services.”  Well said.

  4. Paul Gillin of Gillin Communications
    brought up a great example:  the
    Transportation Safety Authority blog. TSA
    launched a blog
    trying to explain to people why they need that
    horrendous, annoying plastic bag in airports.  He said that the TSA used the blog to
    invite criticisms from travelers and TSA employees to “turn the
    conversation around.” Having a conversation with stakeholders can help
    even government agencies “loosen up” and “create empathy with people who
    have hated you before.”  They most
    aggravating thing is when organizations do not listen to you.  Listening melts resistance.
  5. Kami Watson Huyse brought up
    a great point that, as a consultant, don’t try to convince clients to be
    in social media.  If there is
    something within their company mission that they need to do like
    relationship building, then she suggests social media.  If not, fuggetaboutit. She also brought
    up a wonderful case study of connecting Sea World San Antonio with the
    VERY vibrant the roller coaster community. 
    Rather than just pitching roller coaster enthusiasts, she noted
    that she “started talking to them and giving them the assets that they
    wanted: statistics, video, photos, whatever they needed to tell the story.”  Great point in a time of “blogger spam”

  6. Shel Israel – GNTV – Shel gave a
    terrific example of how HR Block, realizing that each year, their
    customers are getting older, understood the need to have younger
    users.  They are very active now in
    Twitter, Second Life, blogging, are planning “additional social media

 Twebinar technology glitches?  Yeah.

 Interesting content? 
You bet.

 Mark Story is a
part-time, adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a full-time
communications professional at a government agency in Washington, D.C. Prior to
the government, Mark worked for 11 years in some of the largest online public
relations shops in the world.  Tweet him
at mstory123.

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  1. david@radian6.com'
    David Alston

    Thanks again for covering the twebinar yesterday. Great summary of the ideas covered. Yes, sorry we had to switch platforms last minute – a result of such a large swell of interest forced some quick thinking. CrossTech Media dug in and pulled it off so everyone had a chance to participate.
    Hope you can join us for the next two twebinars this summer as well. Tweet you then.

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