He targets the ghastly misuse of language—not by the public, but by journalists. I was particularly delighted that he spent an entire paragraph bemoaning the increasing use of the sanctimonious phrase “to reach out to” (in place of “to call” or “to get hold of”); it’s a phrase that evokes my gag reflex every time I hear it.
The Definitive Twitter Guide is a must-have for contemporary marketers. Author Shannon Evans provides a substantive, thoughtful description of how the market has evolved to a place in which 140-word messages, carefully crafted and frequently sent, can establish, communicate, and reinforce a company’s reputation.
The Definitive Twitter Guide: Making Tweets Work for Your Business: 30 Twitter Success Stories From Real Businesses and Non-Profits by Shannon Evans (CreateSpace, 2010). 244 pages.
The only way to succeed in social media is to jump in, start swimming, and keep paddling, every day. There’s no alternative. Yet I watch businesses assign their receptionists to “do something with Twitter” and decide after a month that Twitter can’t do anything for them. (Would they have assigned the receptionists to design their TV ad campaigns? I seriously doubt it.)
If a company is avoiding Twitter, Facebook, and a robust, interactive web presence, chances are they are watching with growing frustration as their competitors the social media tools gain and serve customers.
“Twitter? Facebook? It just doesn’t make any sense,” one business owner I know, firmly “old school,” frets. Because she doesn’t understand why it works, much less how it works, she’s not going to do it—even though she can see it’s helping her competition.
Evans provides a substantive, thoughtful description of how the market has evolved to a place in which 140-word messages, carefully crafted and frequently sent, can establish, communicate, and reinforce a company’s reputation. Evans writes:
“As a marketing tool, social media presents a shift in thinking from the days of direct marketing and one-way communication. Instead, social media creates a different opportunity to interact with potential clients and to build rapport with a savvier customer base.”
With 30 studies of businesses and non-profits that have put Twitter to work to for them, Evans builds a convincing case for the advantages social media have over traditional forms of PR and marketing. These include:
Speed of production (you can get your message out in minutes, or even seconds)
Timeliness (you can play a role in discussions and reporting when current events involve your area of business)
Relatively low cost
Ability to target a specific audience (i.e., people interested in what you sell or do)
Ability to create and focus a conversation on a topic (using # hashtags)
Evans does an outstanding job of stepping outside the often self-congratulatory world of social media and approaching Twitter from the viewpoint of an established business professional. This is a great help to anyone who needs to assess the value of Twitter and social media work in relation to the value of their other PR and marketing activities.
The book includes illustrated step-by-step instructions to setting up a Twitter account for your business and using it, complete with examples of good and bad accounts and Tweets. (I loved her tip about reigning in your Tweets at 120 characters so you leave plenty of room for other people to retweet them.)
The book’s later chapters have deeply researched and sophisticated information on creating national and local Twitter campaigns, using multiple accounts, and developing audiences. In Chapter 12, Evans evaluates Twitter’s role in the context of business marketing (using as an example the experiences of my friend and client Joe Hage, director of Marketing Communications at Cardiac Science.)
In short, The Definitive Twitter Guide is a must-have for contemporary marketers and business owners—even if all they want to do is figure out what their competition is up to. You’ll find it on Amazon ($19.99) and also in ebook form.
It’s “website.” The 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style has caught up with the digital age.
Not a Web site, or a Website. It’s a website. The new, online, edition of The Chicago Manual of Style has spoken.
The 16th edition of the copy editors’ bible has caught up with the digital age. And who better to welcome it in than Jesse Vernon, the copy editor at the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger. If you read right to the end, you’ll find out about the paper’s in-house list of spellings for words they use that are, for some reason, not found in the dictionary.
“Sometimes, Chicago outright tells writers to make shit up,” Vernon explains.
Do you think the eff-word is obscene? Well, is it?
I just returned from a discussion with a local company that is considering doing an advertising campaign that uses a version of the eff-word.
The under-20s on their staff think it’s terribly clever. The over-40s suspect it’s a PR mistake. The 30-somethings are torn between fear of looking uncool by putting a lid on it and fear of looking stupid if the campaign blows up.
They wanted my opinion, and my opinion was: The public isn’t ready for the eff-word. Not yet.
This discussion comes just as Cee Lo Green’s snappy little pop song with the eff-word, imperative, in the title has been banned from radio but has a video that’s racking up 4 million views on YouTube. This made me realize that we’re at a watershed in the evolution of the American vernacular.
Until recently, we’ve framed the argument about the eff-word in terms of a choice about how to handle obscene words. It’s been people who think obscene words should be censored vs. people who think obscene words should be spoken in the name of free speech.
That argument hasn’t changed. What has changed is public opinion about whether the eff-word is an obscene word.
Do you think the eff-word is obscene? Well, is it?
For most people under age 30, living in urban areas, I think the answer to that question has become an emphatic “No.” Or perhaps an emphatic “Huh?” — spoken in a tone of mild incredulity.
Or simply, “Eff, no!”
“Eff” is a word that had an obscene connotation in the 1960s. But by the 1980s it was a form of punctuation in Wall Street conference rooms and by the 1990s it had become a quasi-obligatory rhythm track for rappers.
There’s a trend here.
I expect that 10 or 20 years, we’ll hear as much “eff” and “effing” as we now hear “damn” and “bitching” — and have about the same reaction. And I imagine I’ll live long enough to hear someone refer to the eff-word as “quaint” and “dated.”
Seth Godin has created an inexpensive project management tool called ShipIt, available now through Amazon.
Trust? If you read this blog, you’ll know that I trust marketing guru Seth Godin.
Seth has just created an inexpensive project management tool called ShipIt, available now through Amazon.
I’ve bought a set of five ShipIt workbooks (the price per book is less than a quality spiral-bound notebook at Staples) because I’m about to start a short but difficult project and I want to see if ShipIt can help. Look for my report here at the end of September.