Silran's Playground

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Effective Way to Get One's Attention

So this weekend was Gay Pride 2010 weekend and here in Salt Lake City we celebrated despite the looming presence of the conservatives.
On a whim, since they had an AIDS testing tent at the Festival, I decided to have myself checked out.
It had been awhile since I had done it and it's always good practice I think to make sure one is OK in that department (one never knows right?) no matter how safe you are.
I did the prescribed mouth swabbing, got my card with my time to come back in an hour and went off to enjoy the rest of the festival with my friend Angel and her son and my goddaughter.
An hour later I return to the tent happily content in my inherent safety of not having AIDS.
Smiling, I give the lady there my card and she pulls my file. Glancing inside, the woman tells me to wait a moment because she needs to get a counselor.
My heart dropped.
All sorts of things raced through my mind, who was I not safe with, I thought I knew my partners well enough to not have contracted anything, etc.
Immediately, a gentleman introduces himself as a counselor and asks me to follow him to where we can stand under a tree and discuss things privately.
This isn't getting any better for me, and I'm totally in pre-shock mode.
We round the corner behind the tent and I see about 10-13 people all talking with counselors, I begin to feel slightly better (I mean they can't all have AIDS right?) and mentally try to calm myself down.
The counselor precedes to explain to me methods of transmission, (by the way visit here if you want to know more about AIDS or just have questions: asks me if I've been safe, etc. My responses are filled with wide eyed, no's and yes' with an overall feeling of "Hey I've been as safe as I can possibly be, what could have gone wrong?"
Eventually, the counselor tells me that I am fine and have nothing to worry about, the test came back negative.
What a relief.
I thank the gentleman for the information, and walk back to my friends secure in my own safety.
But that wasn't the case 10 minutes ago, and honestly would I have stayed the ten minutes if I had know I was fine, to hear the counselor's spiel of being safe in this day and age with AIDS. Maybe...maybe not.
While the means was perhaps over the top and shocking, it is effective in the end. Because for that brief moment, I got a taste of what it must feel like to know you may have a life threatening disease...of any type. Not just AIDS, but cancer and such.
I was transfixed, because in the end I just wanted to know.
I'm not saying this is an effective way that works all the time, but it's always effective to put yourself in the other person's shoes and can create empathy. Empathy, makes it easier to LISTEN. To be more inclined to not put up your blinders, and even if you get mad or are shocked by what just happened (I was kind of in shock right after that, post I'm OK shock). Eventually you're going to think about what happened, and consider making changes to your life, consider making changes to your business, consider making changes overall, depending on the message delivered.
It changed my view on things, I'm safe...but I can always improve that.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shame on You Dough Boy

I throw my support with @365daygirl. For those who don't know, Pillsbury is going after a local Salt Lake Business called My Dough Girl: the full story can be found here: It's just not as simple as saying don't use that name, people do corporate ID searches just so things like this don't happen, to have a company as big as Pillsbury come at My Dough Girl simply on the basis that they think it is similar is ludicrous, they're not the same thing. Doughboy vs. My Dough Girl, both different imagery, both different products both NOT the same. Shame on Pillsbury for going after the "little" Dough Girl in the name of some corporate agenda. What is the point of these share the recipe posts then, is there some hidden small print that says they will own your recipes once they get posted on their website? Leave small businesses alone and get back to making your millions (Lord knows you have enough).

Monday, May 10, 2010

What If it All Went Away?

So this bug on twitter should serve as a lesson, no matter how much we rely on technology, one simple wipe of an electronic hand, and we shall all sit alone by the fire in the back of the cave.

Let's not lose ourselves to much that we forget about flesh and blood.

I value my twitter friends very much, how weird it would be if suddenly we ALL lost contact? What then, what if this extended to Facebook, MySpace...EMAIL.

What if phones were affected?

What backup plans do we have in place for what would be (for some) a global jarring event?

Just something to think about.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Clash of the Persona's

The inspiration for this was due to a someone I know both in real life and in the SM world.

This person is working on building their brand, trying to drum up business and such for her projects and ventures. There have been stumbles here and there.

I met said person in real life and was snubbed, which was to bad as I was trying to introduce the person to another fellow tweeter and friend from out of town. It brought up the question about how we treat people on Twitter vs. how we interact with them in real life.

On the one hand, you use SM to develop relationships with people for friendship, networking, to exchange knowledge, get information, etc. You give as much as you take, or at least that's how I see it.

Shouldn't that be the case in real life? Should your online relationship end

After all, the next logical step would be meeting someone in real life, that you have had wonderful exchange with online, and continue the dialogue.

But let's say that because of shyness, or worse because you snub that person, you ruin that personal moment. Your golden opportunity is ruined or tainted because you are to busy with your "real" friends who, whether wrong or right, you perceive to have more value than your online contact.

Again, not saying this is wrong or right, or that you should dump your long time friends for someone you only know online. But then again, couldn't you spare 10 minutes just shoring up that relationship in real life, make it a goal to meet again in person at a better place in time?

How does ignoring or snubbing your online contact affect how they perceive you? They follow you on twitter because you caught their attention. Now in real life you don't care?

@adamsconsulting puts it nicely in her blog

"When it’s all said and done, since it is not practical to change our avatar everyday to change with our look and our mood, I suppose we will all just have two different persona's. Maybe that is where the world is headed with social media. We will always present ourselves to the world in two different ways, one online persona and one offline persona."

But, while we will may two persona's, when it comes to the meat of it, "the handshake opportunity", do we blow it? Yes our real life persona comes across differently, but the core of who we are should be the same as our online core. If it isn't then you're just lying.

When that happens you may find your persona's clashing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Divorcing on Twitter

This will be a bit short. But hopefully worth it.
What genius.
On April 6th 2010 Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy end their 5 year relationship on Twitter:

Jim Carrey posted on Tuesday, "Jenny and I have just ended our 5yr relationship. I'm grateful 4 the many blessings we've shared and I wish her the very best! S'okay! ?;^>"

And a few minutes later from Jenny came, "Im so grateful for the years Jim and I had together. I will stay committed to Jane and will always keep Jim as a leading man in my heart."


Whatever happens now, whatever anybody may say about them or why or whatever for the breakup, these tweets will reduce their significance. Any tabloid type articles trying to get the real scoop will have to do battle against two individuals who have publicly stated their divorce and more importantly that they did it amicably. They own their own story, they beat the news hounds, it is their tale to tell and all who come after will seem false, will seem like attacks.

Simply Genius.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Observations of "Personal Branding" In the Past Weeks

There have been a number of local events here in Salt Lake and out of it that have emphasized what @365daygirl, @decanblue and myself have been nailing down in terms of the Social Media realm "personal branding".
It is always interesting to watch how people feel they should used tools like Facebook without realizing that it can be used as a tool, a very powerful tool, one that can harm as well as hurt.
The local scene of Gothic/industrial has seemingly been split between two venues, that is not the subject of this blog, but it is how things have been handled that make up some of the subject for this blog.
One of the things that people don't realize when running a business and playing it's life out in a social forum is that that it is public and it is visible.
Things that can be done right? Quickly announce staff changes and accept the consequences of your decision, no matter what flak may come from it, but understand that once you go down that road you're prepared for how your brand will respond to it. Personally, I think it's always best to be upfront. If questions arise or defamation occurs, you and your company has fired off the first volley, you have first control of the information as you perceive it. You must also own up to the information given out and choose to ignore or respond, but choose and stand by your choice, make it a part of your PR on Facebook or Myspace or Twitter but choose your brands stand on the matter.
Remember that the person let go has their own following of people (it's why you hired them right?) and they have their own brand to protect and that their brand could carry a loss versus yours if the time for separation should ever happen. Prepare for it.
Secondly, develop a plan for how staff will use Social Media to work for you and definitely determine how it could work against you. Understand who those hotheads and mavericks might be and decide if their independence should be allowed (which is always a tough choice because it's about free speech, but there is such a thing as self governing oneself when one represents a brand). Be prepared when staff members may embarrass your brand simply on the basis of being representatives of your brand. What do you have in place to deal with such events? Do you ignore it and hope it goes away (could possibly work but you're hoping against something that once out in the social channels becomes permanent and my never go away). Do you delete said information so that the offensive material is no longer visible (this is "transparency" and while people may disagree, deleting is one of the worst mistakes you could make as far as I am concerned). If you delete, you make a she said he said scenario, but only their word is out there for people to judge your brand on, you just deleted anything that could allow people to decide on their own. In addition, any positive comments made to counter inflammatory statements supporting your brand and distancing the comments from your brand have just been flushed down the drain.
It is my belief that deleting comments and statements goes against your company in so much that you come across as hiding the truth, hiding the events, and dare I say, can stink of a "cover-up", perhaps too harsh a term but really if people don't have access to the information they will create their own speculations (those speculations could be worse than what was actually written). Instead, why not leave the remark there and let people make up their own minds, own up to the material as a responsible business and respond with a statement of your own stating why and wherefore your brand does not agree with it. Decide on what your going to do publicly to the person damaging your brand or not, but decide first and state next. Know what your going to say and how your going to respond to any flak coming your way. Plan it, execute it and wait for it. This is accountability, and in the realm of Social Media it your life blood, because everybody and I mean everybody will see you and judge you by your online actions. Do nothing and you will be judged, do something and likewise your will be judged, but best to do something and let the chips fall than allow the vagaries of chance to cut your brand out from under you at the knees or as @decanblue called it "brand death".
@Innovapor was almost un-followed by me due to what I considered spamming tactics by the company, I did not discount them automatically because two of my good friends are involved with the company and in the spirit of that friendship I felt it best to talk to them about it first. Innovapor was very appreciative for my input, they had not considered that their approach could have been looked upon in that way and immediately ceased their current tactics to a new more personal approach, moreover, Innovapor apologized to their followers on Twitter, accepting that perhaps their approach could have been alienating followers and taking responsibility for it, publicly they seem on the road to re-ignite their brand and get it back on track.
Another topic that came up was that of fledgling branding, trying to strike out on your own and make a name for yourself in the vast landscape of the Social Media playground. I'm still in that boat and I am working hard at starting relationships, offering value, offering dialogue, offering interest and consistency (a point made very difficult for me with this new job, it is requiring a period of adjustment). To wit, I have tried to learn from those with more experience and been fortunate to catch their attention and not annoy them (I thank you all for your patience), this isn't to take advantage of or for political reasons, but to gain a network of valuable and fun people to interact with and learn something from. The worse thing a fledgling like myself could do is publicly "dis" on someone who may or may not have more connections than myself, now I'm not saying you cannot but I am saying should you? Obviously, if it is a direct attack your choice is to defend or ignore, but remember that people are watching you, people who are your friends or followers (For Facebook or Twitter respectively) and they might have more friends/followers and they MIGHT NOT WANT TO FOLLOW based on your behavior. Imagine if Conan O'Brien had decided to follow Sarah Killen, on Twitter and she had decided to not only NOT believe it was actually Conan O'Brien but to insult him publicly for it (believing it was really not him) what would that have done for her? The women currently has a following of over 28000 people as @LovelyButton on Twitter and because of Conan deciding to follow her she has been able to push awareness for the important causes she supports, would that or could that have happened if she had dismissed Mr. O'Brien? In your quest to get your "brand" off the ground don't be so quick to dismiss who follows you and be generous to those that do and offer friendship to them, remember this isn't some void your putting yourself out on, people are watching all the time, and if you offer nothing then they will just move on to those who will give them something, whether that be valuable info, fun anecdotes, clever observations or industry tidbits they will find it, but not from you especially if you ignore people. In addition please be gracious to your followers (something I learned from @bkmacdaddy).
Finally, we come to my testing of the US Census' Twitter page, it offers plenty of information, a lot of it very interesting and very helpful, but very little interaction with their followers that I can see, which given the current consternation over question #8 and #9 in the Census form is a mistake. I personally have posted two questions to @censuscount on twitter with no response, now it is the US Census and they are busy, but if they can find the time to post valuable information, shouldn't they have the time to respond to their 879 followers (Twitter)? Especially, when it comes to how question #8 was worded? I personally believe my question to be valid, and I would like to give the Census a chance to respond to me, I mean other company Twitter pages do it, in fact it's become a new way of handling customer questions for many a company (Dell for example). Here is an opportunity for the Census to handle customer questions (let's face it, my filling out the questionnaire makes me a customer), yes they have their own help line (Hell, I work on that help line) but why ignore this avenue? One could argue or assume that the Census started their Twitter and Facebook page to add a friendly face to their endeavors but one also has to wonder if they had a strategy in place on how to handle questions from their "fans" or "followers" in their respective pages. I see questions on there, but I see no responses from an official Census representative. In the end I think this will hurt them, it ends up making their "brand" a cold entity that silently disgorges information with no real mettle to respond to their detractors, those that give them praise and those who simply have a question. Here is a "branding" strategy to put a possible "human" face to an otherwise faceless entity and I see it failing. Like many other companies the are doing it without understanding what they are supposed to be doing or should be doing. It seems there isn't a plan set in place. I personally have to assume there isn't a plan set in place because the Census remains silent to the people asking questions, silent except for the information that occasionally comes out of it.
In the end we are each and everybody responsible to our own brand if we create one, whether it be personal or business, we are perceived by the actions of our ourselves or our peers that associate with us or our business. WE represent our company or our self. Our friends or employees say a lot about who are company is or who we are as a person. In this age of Social Media awareness, nobody escapes the microscope once you put yourself on the grid, you can try but you are out there in one way or another even if you don't touch a computer, because someone will mention your name, someone will take a picture of you, someone will write about you and your digital footprint will then be there for all to see, and if you're worried about your personal brand you better take the reigns and develop a strategy on how your going to control the information about your brand.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Most of my friends will tell you I tweet a lot, incessantly even, so how does one strike a balance in terms of real life and the "social media" life?
I have my physical flesh and blood relations which I value and then I have my online "twitter" relations which I value as well.
I've separated my twitter account from my Facebook account as a first step and I work hard at making sure some content goes to either or or, or both if it makes sense, but it brings to mind something @decanblue said, "Maybe we do think about it to much." Do I?
I admit I can be obsessive, and I admit I can get caught up in "fads" but this (gestures at Social Media) is not a "fad" nor is it "fluffy" nor is it something to be taken lightly once one goes down the path of being "serious" about it.
There are consequences on both end, balancing your life, which is always important, not ignoring your friends, and trying not to be annoying to your friends (any of them).
Case in point, one friend has pointed out that she wants to get more into Twitter and blogging to make money, get her voice across on weight loss (both worthy goals). I, in my enthusiasm and happiness for this person, went perhaps a little to far into talking about it to her, pointing out etiquette (something another friend did as well), but it seemed...not welcomed.
It counterpoints the same thing that happened with me with @decanblue and how I fully embraced it, and how through suggestions to @365daygirl, she grew to love using Twitter. I have other individuals who "get" what I am trying to say about the potential for this vehicle to get you across, whether that is personal branding or your company's.
The danger lies in not being that crazy guy who stares at you with shiny eyes of madness when he is telling you that Social Media is the greatest creation since the invention of the wheel.
As much as I say, don't be the annoying company or person that says, "me, me, me" or "sale, sale, sale" because I'm just a corporate pencil monkey, I need to watch that in myself.
Walking around saying, "You on Twitter? You tweet? How is it working for you?" Sounds like I'm selling a car (I don't do that by the way, but that can come across).
But I was talking about it enough to annoy some people, but some people once I explained it in more detail began to listen. Why? I was enthusiastic, I was excited, I was infectious, I saw the potential and could get that potential across, I was borderline crazy shiny eyes guy. Never once did I say you're doing it wrong, your way sucks, instead it was listen, take notes, and then make suggestions on how certain avenues might improve a person's communication with their target audience.
Don't assume they will come to you because you have a Facebook account or a Twitter account (if you don't engage nobody will come to you) you have to work at it, be their friend, explore avenues of communication, and provide a reason for them to keep coming back to you.
This blarrrgh of information is what gets people going, but not all people.
You have to LISTEN, if you don't LISTEN then you fail to notice the person who isn't interested because they don't care, they don't need it, they are experienced or they just want to do it themselves. I need too assume that people want to learn something of value, but I don't need to assume that beating them with the stick of obsessive crazy is the way to do it.
I'm going to continue to tweet, and Facebook and sit there on my phone typing and reading, and I'm going to continue to learn what I can and pass on what I know about Social Media and it's place in one Magical Mexican's personal branding, but I will try to keep my obsession from ruining your day as well my friends.
At the end of the day, we all need our friends and scaring them away is tantamount to suicide or worse being the naked guy playing WOW after losing his job for not coming in for a week.
Not me man, not me. I stick to the pajamas and a few hours a day thank you.