Thursday, February 28, 2013

United Breaks Guitars

It was the song heard around the world.

When I learned about this brilliant response to customer service hell on +CNN, I immediately jumped on +YouTube and watched the whole video.

This interview was apparently on day three after +Dave Carroll uploaded Song One of a three-song set in response to United Airlines giving him the runaround for breaking his Taylor guitar. He was hoping to receive a million hits for all three songs. Instead, he received a million hits before the end of that week. Now the video is reaching beyond 13 million hits.

So what made this song so popular?

It spoke everyone's language. Who hasn't had bad customer service at an airline? Who hasn't been given the runaround when service goes bad? This song represented the voice of all of North America. Plus the tune is kind of catchy.

My own behavior got me wondering if anyone else had done the same thing. After viewing the song, I went through Dave's other songs and perused the +Sons of Maxwell YouTube channel. Then I bought a CD.

But selling CDs isn't the best part of the story.

Viewers began sending Dave accounts of their own customer service hell, and he saw an opportunity to give people a voice. So he started the Gripevine.

Then came a book: United Breaks Guitars The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media.

Next: you can see Dave join us on +Social Chats when my cohosts +Cynthia K Seymour+Tonya Scholz, and +Susy Rosado interview him for the hour. Tune in live on Friday, March 1 at 1PM EST.

You will find the link to the live and recorded show here:

Song 2:

Song 3:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ben Affleck Finally Gets Some Respect

It's nice to see the target get up from the ground, dust himself off, and chase the bullies out of the yard.

That's what it seemed like when Ben Affleck accepted his Oscar for best picture at the 2013 Academy Awards.

Spinning gold from everything they touch is something very few people experience, which is why Ben's story is so inspiring. Although headlines like this prove how some still like to pile on and kick someone for their past.

But I remember an earlier movie he did was a huge hit. You know, the one he co-wrote the screenplay for, the one that launched the career of his friend Matt Damon. The one that won him his first Academy Award for best screenplay (Good Will Hunting).

He received a Screen Actors Guild Award for his role in Shakespeare In Love.

He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award as executive producer of Project Greenlight.

Other than that, yes, until Argo, he's been a part of a few dogs. But it's the failure people tend to hang onto.

How one views Ben Affleck is a good test. Do you let your failures define you? Or do you strive for the magical one that has the potential to speak for hidden voices and give others hope?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sustaining International Giving Through Digital Media

+Devin Hauer captured it best when describing how non-profit organizations still tend to stick to the old school way of marketing and fundraising. There is a whole new economy and way of reaching people now, and if people don't learn how to use it effectively, it will impact their future ability to be seen and heard.

One of the biggest problems with working digital platforms is that many discount the time it actually takes to build credibility. Face it. It's not easy, it's time-consuming, and most "social media experts" and agencies are showing companies how to do it wrong. 

Non-profit organizations are losing ground right out of the gate when their own board members are not engaged as online advocates. 

This Social Chats Hangout, also with +Cynthia K Seymour+Tonya Scholz, +Ted Caplow, is filled with great nuggets to help others improve what they are doing.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One-On-One With the Zen of YouTube

+Cliff Baldridge is the guy you want to follow if you want tips on how to use +YouTube to manage your business. He's a YouTube partner and his channel has received over 100 million views.

We (my SocialChats cohosts +Susy Rosado+Cynthia K Seymour, and +Tonya Scholz) were very excited to have him on our show. See for yourself how awesome he is. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Storytelling Fail

"I'm so crap at storytelling."

That was a tweet I saw from someone, and I admit, as a writer, content marketer, and publisher, it hit home with me.

Finding other people's stories--not a problem. It's my own storytelling I could improve on.

Practice makes perfect.

+Alexander Sokolov posted a cool moving photo on Google Plus:

The image made me laugh and think about my horse Nahanni.

When a horse makes up its mind to go somewhere, no human(s) are going to stop it with a rope. I know this first-hand, and the lesson cost me $75.

Nahanni and I were attending a riding clinic and waiting our turn to go into the arena. I was caught up in watching the other group executing the drills, and by chance, glanced over at my horse with someone else's halter half down her throat. She was bored and decided to eat it. I grabbed it and yanked it away, then foolishly slapped her (more like a light tap) on the nose. Well, any point of contact with her in the way of a slap (or hitting her with reins), no matter how hard, and she'd go into Stubborn 101 mode. When I realized what I had done, it was too late. She started backing up from the fence she was tied to--with two measly pieces of leather. I pleaded with her to stop and tried to pull her back as I desperately worked to untie the reins--which was impossible as she had pulled them so tight, then snap! But of course, once she broke free, she just stood there. She got her point across. I had to borrow a set of reins to finish the day, then stopped in at a saddlery store on the way home to pick up a new set of reins. They were bloody well woven rope and an elephant wouldn't break them. She'd have to break the bridle before those reins broke. The ironic part is those reins had leather straps at the end of them, which I had to take great care to make sure they didn't slap her by accident.

The moral of the story is find a story to tell and maybe keep a spare set of reins.

Friday, February 8, 2013

You Never Know Where A Digital Connection Will Lead

One new LinkedIn connection with someone I didn't know -- and a year later a successful webcast featuring interviews with some of the biggest heavy hitters in digital media.

It's a serious show about social and technology, but we do have some fun, too. 

This show marks the show's rebirth. Just recently moved from Spreecast to Google Hangouts, it will soon be rebranded into a long-term venture with some exciting new guests. Look for Dave Carroll on the show on March 1 (United Breaks Guitars, Sons of Maxwell) and Huffington Post's Tim McDonald the following week, just to name two.

Here is today's show.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Teamwork Wins Championships--In Everything

Because it is game day for the Super Bowl, to start this piece using sports as an analogy for success seemed like the right thing to do. 

That said, as I watched the credits roll for a movie earlier this morning, it made me think about the recent Screen Actors Guild  Awards and People's Choice Awards. It takes more than good acting to make a movie. You could have the most talented producer or director in the business, but if the acting isn't just right, if the editing is done a certain way, if the music score is out of sync...the product will soon be forgotten. It takes a village and a leader to orchestrate all of the elements for a product to sing off the screen or page.

In publishing, the most talented author to ever bless this planet can pen the greatest book of all time but if it just sits in his computer, nobody will know about it. If nobody knows who this writer is, it will take great packaging to get the public's attention. Packaging isn't singular, it takes teamwork. The work needs editing...not just a once-over read and using Spell Check. You need a skilled graphic designer to create bug-free electronic files. You need someone who knows what they are doing to convert the files to an ebook format. You need to know how to tell people about the book without turning them off.

It is all an orchestrated dance to create a winning product, a winning business plan, a winning team. 

With all the elements in place, you may still miss out on the trophy, but if all the elements are there, and you keep doing all the things right, your chances of getting noticed and perhaps nominated are greater than if you use the "that's good enough" scenario.

Whatever the outcome of the Super Bowl, the losing team used the same amount of effort to get there. Things had to click in the right way. The same for the actors and directors who were nominated but not chosen for the awards. Being there meant they did something remarkable. 

Being remarkable may begin with showing up and assembling a team, but so much more goes into it.