social networks

Twitter How-To

As Mashable explains in "How Twitter's New Media Blog Aims To Teach By Example," Twitter is taking a pro-active role in teaching users how to make the most out of their service.

For all the folks out there — haters and otherwise — who continue to question the validity of Twitter as a communication medium, y'all need to pay attention. isn't just a blog. It's an important step forward in the evolution of technology-based communication.

MySpace started us off on the wrong foot by building a massive audience and not knowing quite what to do with it themselves. Let's assume they did their best to learn on the fly how to turn their website into a marketing platform, and as it goes with trial and error, success was very hit or miss (with lots of emphasis on "miss"). Most importantly, in typical old-media fashion, the assistance they provided was for serious advertisers only and it involved swarms of sales support teams and conference calls to help you figure out what to do to reach their crowd.

Then Facebook came along, with its brashness and anti-corporate attitude. Kind of like, "we don't care, you figure it out." It's taken years for them to come around, and even now most of their assistance is human-based. And it's mostly around advertising programs, rather than community building.

So now here's Twitter, putting it all out there on a blog for anyone to see. Their open style is the way of the future. They're giving us tips and case studies. It's almost like they want us to be successful using their service. What a crazy concept!

I'm not arrogant enough to predict where social media is heading, and I'm not here to say it's going to be all about Twitter. But I am certain that as things continue to get more complicated, the companies who take an active role in creating win-win relationships between marketers and their audiences will have a huge advantage.


So I sign up and give you my money, and then show you more support by following you on Twitter. You respond by sending a seemingly automated message to offer me a free trial, including a free audiobook. The message is very excited, with two exclamation points!

I click the link with anticipation, and am greeted by the following message:


I do believe I have reached this message in error. I believe it's a huge error for you to communicate with your audience in this way, setting false expectations and then failing to deliver on them. I'm not quitting you immediately, but this puts a serious crack in my faith in your brand. When a good alternative shows up, and history shows us that it definitely will, you're going to be in danger of losing my business and that of other people who care about how we're treated and valued by the brands we support.

Keep it real, Josh Levine

My Stand-up Act at UCLA

Last week I had the honor of presenting to a group of communications professionals from UCLA. It was great for me because I literally started my career there as an undergrad. A very LA story: My roommate had a friend who knew a guy who was looking for an intern at Motown Records. I didn't really know what a record label did, or what an internship entailed, but she said I would get free CDs, so I went for an interview. I probably impressed my interviewers because I wasn't at all impressed with the entree they were giving me to the music business, which is I guess why people wanted to intern there. Never even occurred to me.

Anyway, I started loving the music business, and UCLA gave me my second foot in the door in the form of an unpaid writing slot for the Daily Bruin. Not your average college paper, it was the third largest daily paper in the nation's second largest city, and they didn't have anyone there who knew anything about rap music (now called hip hop), so I got to be the guy, without any of that pesky journalism training.

I basically got to write as much as I wanted, which meant I could meet as many people as I wanted in the music industry: a big leap forward in the trajectory of my career that led me to where I am today.

Long story longer, I told the communications folks about what a great opportunity they have to unleash an grassroots movement the likes of which we've never seen. UCLA is a massive school and has a small nation's worth (at least a small state) of fans. I say put those people to work, and I told them how to get started.

You can see the presentation here:

Got any thoughts? I'd love to hear them. Post a comment. Or send me an email if you want me to come speak to your company or school. I can almost promise it won't be boring.

Help Wanted // Random Thoughts

helpwantedRebel has the inside track on a new gig. Our client, Mazda is hiring and we're trying to help them find the right person. The title is Social Media Marketing Manager, and the job, as you might guess, is to develop and implement marketing strategies that leverage the things Mazda has to offer into a variety of social media environments.

An important position, you'll notice the job description calls for 5 years of interactive marketing experience, with some automotive experience preferred. And you need to know more than just how to design a cool Twitter background. You'll need real knowledge of SEO / SEM, various analytics tools, apps, video editing, among other things.

See the full job description here.

You can apply directly to them or send me your resume.

Marketing Playlist for 10.19 // Reading for Rebels

Picture-41-300x189What we're reading right now (besides baby books)... When Silence Can Be Golden - Adweek Benjamin Palmer, co-founder and CEO of The Barbarian Group gives a great opinion piece on reminding us that brands should think about what social media really is and what it really provides, before just jumping in and setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts. "I can't help but feel that while we're in a phase where our industry is looking at social media as a new marketing platform, what we should be thinking is that it's just the newest place our audience goes to talk about us when we do something worth talking about."

The Concept of Free - Open Forum Check out Chris Anderson's (editor of Wired and author of Free) presentation on providing free content. "The key point is that what customers are willing to buy is far more important than what you’re willing to sell."

Content Curator - Influential Marketing Blog Loving this take on the future of online content and what it means for brands and content producers in terms of a staffing strategy. Start getting your HR dept ready to write a job description for a Content Curator. Understanding Users of Social Media - Harvard Business School Interesting article, almost a primer, on the history of social media - the who, what, where and why's of it, explained by a Harvard professor. Sometimes it's good to get back to basics.