July 31, 2009

Social Media: What Are Ya?

What does Twitter do?
nothing, it's a website.

Social Media may only be about 15 years old but social networking or human networking is as old as creatures have lived on earth.

Tweet Bark Meow Tweet

This is not just a human thing, the animal kingdom is socially networked too. And with the advent of places like Barn Mice and ASN, animal lovers have their own dedicated social media sites as well.

More Friends = More Money?
there's no correlation.

Twitter has grown 1400% in the last 18 months, LinkedIn is exploding and there seems no end in sight, MySpace has over 250 million user pages, Facebook gets over 800,000 picture uploads a month and the list of other places people congregate online is virtually endless.

Technorati measures the performance of over 180 million blogs and monitoring companies offer you a chance to harness the conversation around your brand on the web. And to a growing number of people, online social networking is quickly becoming a preferred form of communication over even traditional email.

Who Has All The Answers?
no one, not even self-proclaimed "experts".

There are readers and feeds and analytics and optimization - all bells and whistles that can confuse you if you are still wondering "what is social media".

Companies that not only embrace but commit to the Internet are seeing its power first-hand. The key component is commitment. You can’t tweet once a week or read a couple of blogs and grasp the vast potential social media can bring to your life and career.

Social media = Online billboard?
absolutely not.

One thing is for sure, there is not one correct way to navigate all this stuff. You just have to find your own, whatever way works for you.

If you think you may be out of uniform or not connected as well as you should be, just pick one, any one and connect to that.

Grab your miner’s helmet, some patience, an open mind and start diggin'. You'll find your voice.

What says you?


image credit: ceoworld.biz | imdb.com

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July 28, 2009

How Can I Help You?

A man walks into a clothing store to purchase a pair of pants. The moment he crosses the threshold, he hears that annoying phrase “How can I help you today?” He immediately says “Just looking, thanks.”

He does need help with tailoring and advice on a shirt to go with his new slacks, but the salesperson invaded his space too quickly and took over the exchange.

Are we doing that to each other all day long?

With the explosion of the social web, we are taught early on to stop selling and start sharing – I love that. Be curious and helpful, have conversations and don’t pitch each other. That is awesome.

Are We Saying 'No Thanks' Too Quickly?

The purpose of connecting is not solely to share website links and dinner recipes – there is commerce going on, new business relationships being formed and more intimate connections to customers are being realized.

If someone asks you how they can help…

• Do you wait and have a conversation?
• Do you get leery of their possible motives?
• Is it possible they really just want to help?
• Are you worried they may steal something?
• Do you think they have a hidden agenda?

So I ask again, how can I help you?

knealemann at gmail dot com

Let’s create experiences, not campaigns.

image credits: perthcomputerplus.com | forbes.com

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July 27, 2009

The List of Silly Questions

Have you eaten everything off the Denny’s menu?

During my 20+ year radio career, I had the absolute privilege of conducting over five hundred artist interviews. The biggest were the most nerve wracking but for the most part the easiest to chat with once you got rolling. They had done this before.

Do you double down on 16?

They knew you knew they knew you knew who they were. It was the snotty arrogant half-song no names that were the crap shoot.

Then there were the bands and artists that were boring – or at least to me.

I had done this enough times that it became apparent that I needed to make the process more interesting to me and hopefully to the audience.

What was the first album you bought?

Think of the conversations you have with the people you just meet. Your drinks haven’t arrived and you have to say something. Work chat is easy but is that all you got?

How many shirts do you own?

So in my interview days, I developed the list of silly questions. Silly may have been a harsh word because there were some serious ones in there and this was a place to put the topics unrelated to the artists’ work.

Did your father own a train set?

The list of silly questions where those gems that brought real life in to the interview. Rock stars do live in the real world; they have families and drive cars and have dreams and all that was represented on the list.

Can you name your grade three teacher?

So, necessity invented the list of silly questions. Over its lifetime, it grew with topics that spanned as wide as the human mind and beyond. Everyone participated and the answers were priceless.

What is your favorite day of the week? Why?

At the end, there were hundreds of questions. Some of the most fun came from those brief moments at the end of each interview.

As the chatter increases around social media, something you may want to pay close attention to is your ability to navigate social situations. Once past the blogs and tweets, we eventually have to operate real human interaction.

Can you take the conversation past shop talk?
Do you know the circumference of the earth?

knealemann at gmail dot com

Let’s create experiences, not campaigns.

image credits: 3dissue.com | vosibilities.com

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July 23, 2009

A Bunch Of Caramels

Skylar: "Maybe we could go out for
coffee sometime?"

Will: "Great, or maybe we could go
somewhere and just eat a bunch of caramels."

Skylar: "What?"

Will: "When you think about it,
it's just as arbitrary as drinking coffee."

Skylar: [laughs] "Okay, sounds good."

Good Will Hunting (1997)

I was at a meeting where the topic of social media came up as it so often does.

We all agreed that without it, none of us would have met and the conversation we were having would not have happened.

Online Then Off Line

I piped up and said that the crucial part of forming these new relationships is that you need to “take them off-line”. My buddy Chris jumped all over me and said “You mean, actually meet people in person?”

Yeah, I’m a geek! That’s right, actually pick up the phone and ask to meet.

Going Past The Profile

We have tools and ways to reach each other that past generations did not but if we don’t harness them to the betterment of those newly found relationships, then all we’re doing is writing on each other’s wall.

Pick up the phone. Invite someone for coffee. Magic can happen. And you may even get a bunch of caramels out of the deal.

How do you meet new people?

knealemann at gmail dot com

Let’s create experiences, not campaigns.

image credit: thekitchn.com

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July 22, 2009

Now That's Customer Service!

No Running on the Pool Deck

A couple of weeks ago, I came home to a delightful little lake in my dark hardwood floored kitchen. Fun times. After spending about 10 seconds in disbelief, I immediately turned off the water valve. Two hours and many towels later, I dried the surface water off the floor.

Did Somebody Call a Plumber?

The next day I bought a new facet and had it installed by a professional plumber who searched the house for more culprits. This plumber was recommended by a friend and was at my house within 12 hours.

I thought the problem was solved.
The slight warping would dry out, right?


A week later, I called my insurance broker to report the claim. An hour after our call, a local agent called to arrange things. Two hours – yes, hours – after my original call, a local restoration company was in my kitchen assessing the damage. It’s been three days of noisy fans and plastic mats but they are on the case.

Free Cable and Internet

If this doesn’t work – and most have their doubts – the entire first floor of the house will be repaired, sanded and refinished. This will require what resembles a full move. Everything must be moved out, the floor takes at least a week to repair and redo and it might mean hotel livin’ for a while. Like I haven’t seen enough of those things! But they are all over it.

Surprise 'em All!

It’s not done yet and I know this post is premature but from the broker to the insurance company to the restoration guys – it’s been an amazing string of excellent customer service.

USP: Step One

If you want a unique selling proposition – treat your customers well. You are not at their beck and call, you are there to solve a problem, fix the pain, better their lives, enhance their experiences. Be all over that.

The cynic in me is alive and well and will only rest when this is all over. Something else you should keep in mind when dealing with clients. If you don't think they know, you're sunk.

Are you all over it with your customers?

knealemann at gmail dot com

Let’s create experiences, not campaigns.

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July 20, 2009

Do You Have Time For Ideas?

Monday 8:14am
The boss storms in to the sales meeting, stands by the door and yells...

"More calls!
More meetings!
Get out there!"

Then he slams the door.

Monday 8:17am
John slips the presentation back in to his brief case. It’s something he worked on all weekend after gaining the courage to make some suggestions on how the entire organization could increase revenue. Perhaps this is not a good time.

Tuesday 2:46pm
Sally asks Ron if he has 10 minutes tomorrow for a quick meeting. Without lifting his face from his PDA, Ron says he's booked solid for the rest of the week.

Tuesday 2:47pm
Sally returns to her desk demoralized for the last time. Her ideas will find a home elsewhere.

Wednesday 10:14am
Brian wonders if the client lunch could be out of the office for a change, maybe in a more relaxed setting.

Wednesday 10:15am
Brian is told that “we don’t do it that way here.”

Friday 5:18pm
While the boss is off to his cottage for the weekend, Nancy meets with a new company that wants to hear her ideas.

Do you make time for creative ideas?
Do you encourage more?

knealemann at gmail dot com

Let’s create experiences, not campaigns.

image credit: farm4.static.flickr.com

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July 17, 2009

Connections, Followers and Other Humans

If you have spent some time in the social media space, you might have discovered that it’s no different than real life. There are spammers, scammers and scrammers. There are fantastically talented people. There is a multitude who you would never had met otherwise – or as my friend Lisa Hickey calls it – accelerated serendipity.

Clarifying the Definition

Media is simply the plural of the word 'medium'. And social is another word for human connection.

The medium is irrelevant, the connection is everything.

Human networking has been in existence for as long as we have but the tools and sites, profiles and walls, tweets and connections have shrunk the world to the size of our computer screen.

It's available in 17 designer colors.

But if all we do is gather friends like dust collecting trinkets on the mantle, we will never activate the immense power of the lives we are touching.

Here’s something you can try, actually stop and engage someone, ask to speak with them or go for coffee, share ideas, let them get to know you and whatever you do – put the sales pitch away!

What do you think of me?

What is your reaction to someone who comes up to you in person and starts barking their deal at you and shoving their card in your face? Yeah, me too. So why would you do it online?

In order for someone to add you on a social media profile, they need to take a second of their lives to decide to say ‘yes’. There are millions of these occurrences happening right now. You may do several - or several hundred - today.

The question remains: Then what?


Let’s create experiences, not campaigns.

image credit: officecafe.com

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July 13, 2009

Admiring Your Shot

F O R E !

There’s a saying in golf that refers to those precious few seconds after you strike the ball and it’s called “admiring your shot”. This happens for two main reasons: to enjoy the fact you nailed it or to insure you know whether it went into the sand trap or the woods.

Mine is usually the latter.

Do we ever have a chance to admire our shot or enjoy the victory?

The answer is usually akin to the amount of time it takes to make a cup of coffee or tie one’s shoes. There is rarely time to stop and assess whether a new idea will work, has worked or can be slightly revised. The result is a c.y.a. atmosphere where new ideas are shelved along with opinions and the dream of co-creative teamwork.

Head down. Arm straight. Clear your mind.

There are about twenty things you need to do correctly in order to perfect the golf swing. Any one of them could be the reason you’re taking another penalty shot.

Like with everything we do, the difference is all in our minds.

But somehow in business we are expected to deliver the most cost-effective, bottom line growing, revenue generating, guaranteed winning, competition killing idea - every time.

No room for error.

Save or make money, the rest is irrelevant. But in golf, if your concentration is solely on making the putt you will miss it every time.

What is the worst that could happen?

Exploration, experimentation and the openness for new ideas is a cornerstone of business. Do you have that type of atmosphere at work? If you own your own business, do you employ that attitude with all that you do?

Or do you lay up because it would be too dangerous to shoot for the green this time?

knealemann at gmail dot com

Let’s create experiences, not campaigns.

photo credits:
victorialodging.com | media.photobucket.com | macleans.com

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July 7, 2009

Thoughts about Martin Streek

March 1985

I was at CFNY for a job interview and in came this loud powerful presence with long thick curly hair. He walked right up to me, inches from my face and said “So, you wanna work here?” I choked down a breath and said “I do want to work here”. He said “let’s see if you know your stuff. What label is Killing Joke on?” I had hit the jackpot because I had bought their latest album that week and I knew the answer. That my first encounter with Martin Streek.

Martin wasn’t doing the interview, he just felt a great responsibility toward the station and wanted to insure I would pass his high standard.

Twenty-Four Years and A Lot Of Memories

That began my relationship with Martin Streek which lasted more than two decades. Over the years, we shared the microphone and the tour van on the way to CFNY Video Roadshows and various EdgeFest and other festivals.

What I loved most about Streek was his sense of humor – he was hilarious! He had such quick wit - tears in the eyes, gut splitting, funny guy.

Martin was the consummate host.

Anytime you were at his place you didn’t go hungry and there was always fresh ice in your glass. He loved to entertain and he did that for a living as well.

I last saw Martin a few years ago and we had a day to ourselves. We drove around, talked candidly about life and the radio industry, played some new music in my car, went for a great lunch and that day will always make me smile. Martin was in fine form and we truly enjoyed the time to catch up.

Martin Streek died yesterday.

That was tough to write and tougher to read.

The outpouring of love began on all of the networks moments after the news hit. As I write this, the shock hasn’t hit and perhaps never will.

As the world looks to a much more public memorial today, my thoughts will be with the Streek family and if you include all of his friends and colleagues – it's a big one.

To the man who called me knealeman, cheers MCS!

I will crank some NiN and Ministry in your honor, sir.


photo credit: flickr.com/photos/mbake

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July 6, 2009

Are You Open or Closed?

PCs Need Not Apply

Until the introduction of the iPhone, in order to get inside the walls of Apple Inc., you had to work at Apple Inc. and pass a vigorous series of tests. Body fluids were drawn, brain and fingerprint scans were performed. Even your mother was called for a reference.

There were unconfirmed reports of weeping and crying and …okay, they didn’t call your mother but the wall to climb over was rather high. That was intentional. Okay, and the claim about body fluids and scans was a bit of a stretch too. But not by much.

Feel Free To Promote

No one was allowed in, unless they were invited. Those on the outside were free to promote the great things happening within the kingdom du Jobs but opinions were neither requested nor accepted.

Apple decided while the rest of the world was building open platforms, Mac et al were to be closed. Closed. CLOSED.

Laugh and Point

Many of us PC's drool from afar. Few days go by when I don't hear the snicker in the voice of a colleague when I shamefully tell them my laptop is not an Apple. I know, it's pretty bad.

What often follows is something like: "Dude, you don't have a Mac?!"

What About You?

Is your offering so kick ass that people wait patiently for the drawbridge to lower for the privilege to walk across the mote into your kingdom? Some claim they "own" the social media space or marketing world, others say they have created a community of influence.

Even Apple had to lower the wall eventually.

Can you and I afford to create closed platforms?

knealemann at gmail dot com

Helping clients better utilize all media.
Building experiences, not campaigns.

photo credit: herstmonceux-castle.com

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July 4, 2009

The Story of Yank and Canuck

Candles in Red
Candles in White

Canuck celebrated birthday number 142 on Wednesday. It was a grand celebration, the whole family was there. At the end of the night, fireworks could be seen from far and wide. Bright red and white hats and outfits littered the streets and bars. Canuck enjoyed the day very much.

Red, White and Blue Candles Too

It's Yank’s turn to celebrate 233 fruitful years. There will be hot dogs and cotton candy, parades and song, all will be right with the world as Yank’s independent spirit will be celebrated by an extended family that reaches for as far as the eye can see.

Sisters and Brothers from Other Mothers

Yank and Canuck are buddies from different families. Yank is the older of the two but has realized that Canuck does have some good ideas. They try and support each other through good times and bad. They don’t infringe on each other’s lifestyle, that’s the point of a great friendship.

Let’s raise a glass to buddies for life.

knealemann at gmail dot com

Helping clients better utilize all media.
Building experiences, not campaigns.

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July 2, 2009

Inspiration Moves Mountains

Think about someone you have met who left such a positive impression you had to tell someone else about them. Why was that? What made them remarkable?

Do you enjoy meeting inspiring people? Does it help you grow to be around people who share their positive energy? Do you strive to do the same with others?

Do you think if you surround yourself with inspirational people who want to help each other, tell the truth and work in the same direction, you have the makings of a successful venture?

Hmmm, I wonder why more people don't do that?

Your thoughts are always welcome!

knealemann at gmail dot com

Helping you better utilize all media.
How to make it, use it and profit from it.

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photo credit: intercivil.net

July 1, 2009

Canada: Happy One Four Two

I am proud to be Canadian. We are a kind and gentle nation of almost 34 million people living in the word’s second largest country by land mass – 6,195,692 square miles.

This is a country rich with natural resources and a lot of bright and talented minds. Our best exports have been our people who have done amazing things worldwide.

Nice Place to Visit. Nice Place to Live.

For as long as they have been doing those surveys, Canada remains one of the most desirable places on earth to live.

Canada is the 9th largest economy in the world and 8th biggest trader. It's also the 19th largest beer guzzling nation per capita on earth. If you're interested, the Czech Repulic is #1, Germany is #3 and the U.S. is #13.

The standard of living in Canada is one of the best and despite our penchant to be overly modest – this place frickin’ rocks!

Myths and Memes

We do like maple syrup like many people from many nations but it is not a daily beverage. Sure we say “eh” but we don’t have the market cornered on that harmless little questioning word. Do we, eh?

It is not winter 8 months a year, 99.9% of the population does not live in an igloo and despite it being our second official language we don’t all speak French.

There Will Be A Test

I have done a lot of business with colleagues in the States so I have had numerous conversations about Canada with them over the years. It’s always fun to test them on Canadian facts and history – they fail miserably – I laugh and point.

Back To School

It is OUR nation's birthday. Time to pay tribute to a few Canadians who have changed the world.

Sir Frederick Banting and partner Charles Best discovered Insulin which has saved the lives of millions of people living with Diabetes.

Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope in 1980 after having one leg amputated because of bone cancer. He lost his battled a year later but to date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $400 Million for research.

James Naismith has been credited as the inventor of basketball. Naismith was born in Ramsay Township; now known as Almonte, Ontario – about an hour outside of Ottawa, which is the nation's capital.

Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the first practical telephone. Unconfirmed rumors persist that service charges were introduced soon after that.

The baseball glove was invented in 1883 by Arthur “Foxy” Irwin who was born in Toronto in 1858. One hundred and thirty-four years later, The Toronto Blue Jays won their first of two World Series.

Canadian legends from a very long list include: Norman Jewison, Leonard Cohen, John Candy, Michael J Fox, David Cronenberg, Pierre Burton, Celine Dion, Paul Shaffer, Mary Pickford, Leslie Neilson, Arthur Kent, Matthew Perry, Gilles Villeneuve, Frank Gehry, Gordon Pinsent, Dan Ackroyd, Jack Warner, Norman Bethune, Monty Hall, Jack Kent Cooke, Mike Myers, Ali Velshi, Margaret Atwood, Morley Safer, Stephen Leacock, Wayne Gretzky, Donald Sutherland, Doug Henning, Russell Peters, Ivan Reitman, Alanis Morissette, Sir Sandford Fleming, Howie Mandel, David Suzuki, Rick Hansen, Phil Hartman, Sandra Oh, Keanu Reeves, Peter Jennings, Neil Young, Steve Fonyo, Martin Short, Mario Lemieux, John Roberts, Jim Carrey, Alex Trebek, Brendan Frasier, Bryan Adams and thousands more.

To my fellow Canucks: Happy Canada Day :-)

And to my colleagues and friends elsewhere; yes there is a big difference between “table syrup" and "maple syrup" and it is deelish.

Where's my parka, eh?

knealemann at gmail dot com

Helping you better utilize all media.
How to make it, use it and profit from it.

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