Monthly Archives: March 2010

The 10 Plagues of Social Media

Here’s a clever take on the traditional 10 Plagues of Ancient Egypt (as adapted to our modern world). Just in time for Passover.

Courtesy of David Berkowitz and Media Post’s SOCIAL MEDIA INSIDER.

In honor of the season, where some celebrate the ancient story of slaves’ exodus from Egypt, it’s time for a new telling of the ten plagues: the Ten Plagues of Social Media. All are paired with a counterpart from the ancient rendition.

Note that some debates remain as to the ancient plagues’ literal meanings. When in doubt, I deferred to biblical scholar Robert Alter’s translation of “The Five Books of Moses.”

1) Blood: Lack of transparency

Whenever marketers aren’t fully transparent as to who they are and what they’re promoting when reaching out to consumers and online influencers, they cloud consumers’ trust just like blood clouded the Nile. The demands of transparency also fall on the content producers whenever their contributions can be considered influenced by other parties.

2) Frogs: Oversharing

Imagine trying to get a good night’s sleep with millions of frogs croaking up a storm. Now try staying on top of what’s happening with your social graph when so many of their updates are dedicated to what errands they’re running or how much they had to drink last night. Oversharing can wind up hurting relationships, and rightfully makes some question how much value social media adds to their lives.

3) Lice: Campaign-based thinking

It’s hard to get lice out of your head, and there’s no easy cure for shaking off campaign-based thinking, either. Campaign-to-campaign and quarter-to-quarter thinking prevents marketers from reaping the long-term benefits of social marketing.

4) Flies: Autoposting

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, and other sites are not all the same, but the way some marketers unleash hoards of content, you might think the sites were interchangeable. Posting the same content in the same way across every social site is efficient for the producer, but diminishes the experience for the recipients. Marketers need to think twice about nearly any kind of automated messaging. There’s a place for it; headline and deal feeds are some that can work as syndicated feeds while managing consumer expectations. The first instinct should be to avoid this, though.

5) Pestilence / livestock disease: Lack of internal communication

I don’t want to refer to your colleagues (or mine) as livestock, but you depend on your colleagues for your livelihood and putting food on the table, just as our ancient forbears relied on livestock. When marketers and their agency partners aren’t in close communication, and when there isn’t communication internally with any of those parties, it amounts to a plague on their livelihood.

6) Boils: Lack of Integration

In this case, the plague fits the crime. Social marketing campaigns should be planned just as tightly in conjunction with other marketing programs as boils are connected to victims’ skin. Perhaps it’s not the most pleasant analogy, but these are the ten plagues, not the ten happiest things to ever happen.

7) Hail: Talking at consumers

Sometimes, reading marketers’ updates in social channels feels like walking through a hailstorm. You get pelted by a self-aggrandizing update here and a limited-time offer there, and you can’t wait to run for cover. Conversing and asking questions can soften the blows and make it more like a day at the beach.

8) Locusts: Bright shiny object syndrome

If you’ve ever seen a swarm of locusts on National Geographic Channel or Discovery, you’ll appreciate why this was the first plague association to come to mind. Look at all the locusts move from field to field — blogs to MySpace to Second Life to widgets to Twitter to Facebook to augmented reality to Foursquare — sucking the life out of them and then looking for their next meal. Marketers can shed their locust exoskeletons by figuring out what works and sticking with it, even while exploring new opportunities.

9) Darkness: Lack of vision

When you see marketers fumble royally in social media, you’re usually witnessing a marketer that didn’t plan ahead. These fumbles can often arise when a marketer is dealing with a crisis, but they can also come up when marketers are more successful than they anticipated, such as when too many consumers take them up on a deal. Plan for the best and the worst, and be prepared to act when either arises to prevent darkness from descending on your social programs.

10) Death of the firstborn: Death of marketing as we know it

The death of the firstborn plague is the most permanent. There has been a similar plague on marketing and media: rising consumer expectations of some form of two-way communication. For consumers like myself who grew up writing letters to brands that pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised me, this is deliciously empowering. This plague will kill off some marketers who can’t adapt.

Egypt wasn’t undone by the exodus, or any version of it that has been passed down to us. It remained a capital of the ancient world for over a thousand years more and has been a pivotal part of many great civilizations and cultures since. Plagues may afflict us and they may kill off the weak, but the springtime exodus saga tells the greater story of rebirth and renaissance. If there’s not a promised land for marketers per se, may we at least heal from these plagues to uphold brands’ promises to consumers.

TIME Recognizes “The Fast Growing World of Internet Radio”

In their special investigation into “post industrial Detroit”, TIME magazine wrote about “a fairly new group of young Detroit women who are looking to leave the freshest broadcast imprint” in “the fast-growing world of Internet radio” (their words, not mine!)

The show is called ALL GIRL TALK RADIO and features lively discussions with four “Detroit-raised businesswomen, wives and moms” who have (according to TIME) “steadily gathered steam in recent months as their hot topics and smart, sassy on-air personalities have reeled in thousands of listeners a week, some as nearby as W. 7 Mile Road and some as far away as the United Kingdom”.

I mention it here for two reasons:

1. I’m an ex-Detroiter who always likes to hear ANY good news from back home and

2. As an even prouder INTERNET RADIO PIONEER who is thrilled to hear words like “the fast-growing world of Internet radio” and “the growing world of online radio” included in ANY mainstream magazine article. Could they be catching on to the most powerful social medium ever imagined?

You can read more at TIME’s year long investigaton project called (what else?) THE DETROIT BLOG.

Hyper-Local Blogging

If the Internet is truly aboutdiscovering and mining overlooked niches in the marketplace, then here’s a trend worth watching: hyper-local blogging.Ā  It’s all about using the incredible power of the Internet not to reach the whole world but just one small part of it (just like our idea of “hosting an Internet Radio show for your local community”).

Found this great article by Drew Hubbard that discusses it more:

“If you are involved with your community, and you have some free time, a hyper-local blog can provide a much-needed, dynamic source of information for your fellow residents. In short, hyper-local blogging is awesome. The concept can be appealing to potential bloggers trying to find a niche. If you don’t know much about it, check out Matt McGee’s great site about hyper-local blogging at

Another excellent venue for reading up on hyper-local blogging is the Outside.In Blog which covers all things hyper-local. My favorite feature of the site is called Blogiology, in which the staff examines cities and their best hyper-local resources. So far, they have covered Miami, Richmond, Dallas, Phoenix, Durham, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Portland, Philadelphia, Buffalo, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Boston.

Stay informed. For more insights into local advertising, visit the exhibit hall at ad:tech San Francisco, April 19-21. Learn more.

But even more important than individual bloggers, brands (yes, even big ones) can and should be exploring the benefits of hyper-local blogging. Being able to connect with existing and potential clients and consumers on the neighborhood level can build a trust-based relationship that is virtually unattainable elsewhere in traditional and even digital advertising.”

To read the full article, visit his blog on IMedia Connection.

And don’t forget to check out our own take on “hyper local” thru “hosting your own Internet Radio show on