Tag Archives: Twitter

Don’t You Just Hate That? (Social Media Edition)

Don't you just hate that

In 2004, I picked up a funny little book called Don’t You Just Hate That by Scott Cohen. The book listed things that annoy many of us, such as “accidentally setting your alarm clock for p.m. instead of a.m.” or “finding an old to-do list, most of which remains undone.”

Below is a list of social media annoyances that I’ve experienced, inspired by Mr. Cohen’s book. Maybe you can relate to some or all.

  1. When someone with half the number of followers you have sends a tweet identical to the one you sent three days ago. And she gets 15 retweets while you just got 2.
  2. When you open Facebook to see a huge number of notifications and expect most to be responses to brilliant content you posted to your clients’ Facebook feeds. But they turn out to mostly be game invitations from tangential friends.
  3. When a person or organization whose Instagram posts are compelling unleashes 10 pics in a row. You don’t want to unfollow, but you also don’t want to get bombarded.
  4. When you miss a great play in a baseball, football, hockey, etc. game because you were tweeting about the previous play.
  5. When notification pings wake you from a sound sleep.
  6. When you post a tweet to the wrong account on your mobile Hootsuite.
  7. When you see a famous person listed as a trending topic on Twitter and you immediately presume the person died.
  8. When a foodie or a restaurant posts a pic to any social channel and, while the food looks good, you have no idea what it is.
  9. When a Tweet promises content you’re anxious to see and the link doesn’t work.
  10. When an Instagrammer posts a novel length description beneath his/her photo.
  11. When you see interesting tweets with a certain hashtag but, even after researching, can’t determine what the hashtag means.
  12. When your Facebook timeline is filled with political content. Does anyone truly believe that by posting her/his political likes and dislikes she/he will change someone’s mind? (Can’t wait till next year!)
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I Don’t Exactly Understand…


…why organizations that promote free speech often impose serious restrictions on who can speak and what they can say within their venues.

…why certain astute social media professionals who can talk for hours about the vast differences between various social platforms… often post the same exact content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

….why certain individuals strive to obtain a job that others would die to have, then fail to put in the effort needed to succeed in that coveted position.

…why certain users complain loudly about things they get free. (Apps, software, social media channels, etc.)

…why providers of mind-blowing technology often cannot handle the basics of human interaction with customers.

…why people who have seen few or none of the nominated films/performances care deeply about who wins at the Oscars.

…why people are not more skeptical of statistics that are freely shared and repeated but may or may not be legit.

…why, in terms of engagement, one Instagram follower is just as valuable as 22 Twitter followers. (Okay, that’s a bogus stat that I just made up. See previous line.)

…why people in a hurry in the morning will devote 10 minutes (or more) to waiting in a drive-thru lane for coffee, etc.

…why certain PR types still occasionally post articles stating that the press release is dead (or, at least, obsolete).

…why certain individuals detest the perceived biases of a respected media outlet but are quick to quote content when that outlet’s output jibes with their own beliefs.

…why I find broadcast weather reports compelling even though I already have most of that info on my phone and my laptop.

Ah, life’s mysteries.






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Always Learning

As one of the year’s biggest mileposts approaches, here are some of the things I’ve learned so far in 2014:

  • How to reset the DNS on my computer.
  • A phone call frequently delivers a better result than an email.
  • Instagram>Vine.
  • An organization’s level of customer service often depends more on the individual you’re dealing with than on organizational culture.
  • Facebook’s targeted ads often hit the wrong target, based on the misguided sponsored content I’ve seen in my personal feed.
  • Even the world’s best communicators can have typos.
  • Digital content (especially photos and videos) must be backed up.
  • A great thing about cats as pets is they don’t bark.
  • Even if the road less traveled gets you to your destination later, you’ll likely encounter fewer tractor-trailers.
  • Streaming music services present a more serious threat to AM and FM radio than satellite radio does.
  • The ability to tell a story in an entertaining way is one to be treasured.
  • If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
  • Sometimes the most useful key on my computer keyboard is “delete.”
  • You can’t trust everything you read on Wikipedia, but it can be an amazing resource.
  • The public gathering spots that don’t provide free Wi-Fi are missing the boat.
  • You can’t trust everything you read on Twitter, but it continues grow as a vital source of information.
  • Even bad days must be savored and appreciated. Life is precious.







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PR Quiz: Social Media Edition

The correct answers to these 9 PR/social media questions may be obvious. But not always.


A team member schedules posts around the clock on your client’s Twitter feed. The content is good. One night a breaking news item is dominating TV and the web, especially Twitter. What do you do?

  1. Let the scheduled tweets be sent, figuring that more people than usual are checking their feeds and will see this meaningful content.
  2. Hijack one of the hashtags being used in breaking news tweets to get client tweets before more eyeballs.
  3. Cancel the tweets for fear of being perceived as out of touch with what’s happening and/or insensitive to the situation.


Your new client who hired you to do social for her business continues to tweet in the first person singular on the organization’s account, even though in strategy sessions all parties agreed the Twitter voice should be first person plural. What do you do?

  1. Delete all her tweets that begin with “I”.
  2. Help her get more than 62 followers on her personal account (so she’ll be more likely to share her thoughts there).
  3. Don’t worry about it until the business account hits 2,000 followers.


A customer has posted an unfavorable comment about your client’s business on the organization’s Facebook page you manage. While the post is written in a calm, measured tone, it points out a problem that needs to be looked at by ownership. What do you do?

  1. Delete the post.
  2. Reply to the post with an apology and word that the issue will be addressed.
  3. Copy and send the comment to owners/managers in an email and ask them to respond.
  4. Do nothing.


A savvy manager for your client’s business has a great eye for compelling visual content and posts wonderful pics to the company’s Instagram account. However his descriptions are too long and always get cut off when are copied to the 140-character Twitter feed. What do you do?

  1. Insist that Instagram posts DO NOT get copied to Twitter.
  2. Teach him to write shorter.
  3. Don’t worry about it; lots of folks do it this way.


The owner of the restaurant you consult posts photos to the Facebook page but her photos are not good and the food items she posts are unappetizing. What do you do?

  1. Tell her to take the pics near a window to get better light.
  2. Ask her to get a phone with a better camera and stop using the flash.
  3. Ask her to hire a professional photog and stop taking food pics herself.
  4. Monitor the feed and delete those images that are off-putting.


A post you made on a client’s Facebook page gets a large number of likes, shares and comments. While you personally thought the post’s content was not extraordinary, you are aware it resonated with your target. What do you do?

  1. Try to create more posts just like that one
  2. Share it on your own personal page.
  3. Have the client cough up some bucks and promote the post to others in the chosen demo/area.


A client has a daughter who is obsessed with Pinterest. The client repeatedly insists that you begin sharing content for his business via Pinterest (a move you feel to be of minimal value for his particular business). What do you do?

  1. Do the Pinterest thing as requested, warning that it may turn out to be time and effort wasted. (After all, he is the client!)
  2. Continue to brush off the client’s wrongheaded guidance as long as you can, so you can focus on social platforms that have delivered results.
  3. Resign the account.


Your client emails you a blog post he saw suggesting that all Facebook posts ask a question to generate comments. You have found that questions asked on his company’s Facebook feed generally get very few comments, whereas other content gets good response. What do you do?

  1. Say thanks but ignore the blog recommendation.
  2. Ask questions on his Facebook feed on topics that are polarizing, though not controversial, to generate comments. (Even if questions do not directly relate to client’s business.)
  3. Point out to your client that the “ask a question” strategy works better for some than others.


A team member makes a Hootsuite mistake on a Friday night and accidentally retweets a friend’s party pic to your client’s Twitter feed. It receives no mentions from client’s 3,000+ followers, but is clearly inappropriate for his feed. It stays there all weekend until you delete it Monday morning. What do you do?

  1. Apologize via the feed to all the account’s followers.
  2. Chastise the team member for using Hootsuite while drinking.
  3. Let the client know what happened and mention steps being taken to prevent it happening again.
  4. Say nothing.


Here’s my hope that you do the right thing when faced with similar situations. Right for you. Right for you clients.















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A Miranda Warning for Everything in Your Life

After last year’s Edward Snowden revelations and the recent Donald Sterling incident, it’s time for a reminder: Anything you say can and may be held against you. Not just what you say to an arresting officer, but words uttered anywhere, anytime.

Sterling’s comments were certainly wrongheaded. But, like Mitt Romney in 2012, he was not aware that he was being recorded when he said those things. Have you ever said anything to a friend, a relative or a business associate that you would not want shared publicly? I’d guess that most of us have.

In 2014, when many mobile devices are equipped with video and audio recording apps, things you say and do at workplace meetings or private gatherings, even among people you trust, may be archived and shared via a variety of channels. With corporations concerned about keeping proprietary information secret, employee emails are subject to greater scrutiny by management than before.

What can a person do?

  • Don’t say ignorant things. Along with conversation, this applies to Twitter and Facebook comments as well as text messages and emails. Think before you post or hit “send.”
  • Don’t drink too much. Too many beverages can lead to stupid remarks or actions.
  • Don’t make “off the record” remarks. You may not be quoted, but info shared can find its way into print or the airwaves.
  • Share controversial opinions about hot-button topics only with close intimates.
  • Stay cool. Stressful situations can lead to embarrassing behaviors. YouTube has several “fit of anger” videos. You don’t want to be next.
  • If you realize later that something you said or did may have been misconstrued, step up and clarify your meaning.

Let me repeat: I am not defending Donald Sterling. But I am suggesting you act as if you are being monitored. Because in 2014, you never know who’s listening or watching.









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Short Attention Span Theater

We live in a world of truncated content. If you don’t have 3 hours to watch a ball game, you watch the highlights in a 40-second package on TV (or on your phone or tablet).

Don’t want to watch SNL on Saturday night? Catch a segment or two later via Hulu.

News and commentary come in short spurts on Twitter.

I skim. You skim. We all skim.

Though much of this shortened content comes via new tech, the idea of minimizing content is not new.

My grandparents’ favorite magazine was Reader’s Digest, which curated and condensed content from numerous print sources. What they liked most were the humor sections, consisting of brief snippets. My mother was a subscriber to Reader’s Digest condensed books, which delivered short versions of 4 or 5 books in one volume.

In my teens and 20’s, I read The Sporting News every week. The parts I enjoyed most were the “three dot” notes columns from Dick Young and other writers and the news nuggets, often collected under the heading “Caught on the Fly.”

Some of the biggest shows on early TV were comedy programs that featured “blackout” sketches, which could run from just a few seconds to a couple of minutes. (These bits were adapted from the live theater form called Vaudeville.)

When you choose not to click on a video because it runs 4 minutes and you only care to devote 2 minutes OR when you skip a blog post because it runs 9 paragraphs instead of 3, don’t feel bad. You’re not the first to be stingy with your time.

Think of all the students who didn’t actually read Moby Dick back in the day but flipped through the Classics Illustrated comic books or skimmed the CliffsNotes.

A Short Attention Span is not a new phenomenon. The volume of content and number of delivery channels, however, are greater than ever.

With a finite amount of time and seemingly endless content choices, it’s important that we all manage our time as efficiently as possible.

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Timing is… (wait for it)… Everything

Whether Governor Chris Christie was in on the Ft. Lee traffic jam plot or not, he did the right thing by getting in front of live mikes and cameras quickly, after hard evidence of dirty tricks was revealed. Staying in front of those mikes and cameras for 2 hours was probably not necessary, though some may take that as a sign of his being honest or brave. Timing.

As the story unfolds, the timing of Christie’s awareness of the stunt is being questioned. As with Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal, a key question is: “What did he know and when did he know it?” Timing.

Target stores appear to have shared word of their recent data breach in a more timely fashion than St. Louis grocery chain Schnucks did last year. Target has full page ads in today’s (1/13/14) St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Wall Street Journal (and other papers) offering apologies. New information about the hack has come to light in the last few days, but the Target story has been in the news since before Christmas. Timing.

Apologies are appropriate, but actions speak louder than apologies. LA Times columnist David Lazarus suggests retailers work harder to maintain customers’ private data. He also suggests that businesses might be motivated to do so if they faced the threat of fines. Lazarus learned that he himself was a hacking victim (again) on the same day he published a column about the problem! Timing.

The St. Louis area was hit with a big snow storm on Sunday, January 5. As the work week progressed, social media posts about lack of snow removal in St. Louis city intensified. The city’s response to those Twitter and Facebook rants demonstrates the immediacy of social media. Venting via talk radio and letters to the editor may still get city hall’s attention, but in 2014 social media work faster. Timing.

In case you missed them, you may want to read St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Joe Holleman’s thoughts on the city’s decision and Thomas Crone’s reply to Joe. Read them now while they are still fresh. Timing.

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