Dear Foursquare: You just don't understand my feelings anymore


When we met, it felt like you really cared about me and my feelings. You used to help me stay better connected to people. Now you only connect me to places in a mindless game.

What was once an interesting and useful relationship has become an irrelevant distraction. I’m taking you off my iPhone’s shortcuts dock for now, but I hope this note might help you change in ways that make you relevant in my life again. I’m going to take a break from our friendship for a while rather than unfriending other people… Continue reading

Skittles goes all in on Twitter

Skittles Vodka (with instructions on Flickr)

Skittles Vodka (with instructions on Flickr)

In a brilliant publicity move, tonight Skittles made its website home page primarily a Twitter search on “Skittles.” (They overlay a menu that lets you get to other Skittles content, including Facebook, Flickr and Wikipedia.)

Even if they take it down quickly, everyone will be talking about it for some time to come.

Like any good publicity stunt, this required rare courage.

I’ve already read several folks putting obscenities together with Skittles (some more creatively than others), or folks just adding the word to any tweet. The conversation will be as much backlash and criticism as anything else. But the point is exactly that people are talking about what Skittles did. And any publicity is good publicity, right? You just can’t buy the kind of media this will generate.

As well, we’ll all learn something in the conversations and fallout. That alone is worth the experiment. Bravo, Skittles.

Update (9:21am Monday):
Skittles is generating so much traffic to to Twitter that users are complaining of timeouts on loading pages (and TweetSuite isn’t yet updating with all the folks who’ve been kind enough to tweet a link to this blog). I’m looking forward to hearing from @abdur, Twitter’s Chief Scientist and creator of, what he thinks of all this (and whether Skittles gave him a heads up).

@dalelarson on

@dalelarson on

Update 2 (Monday afternoon):
I liked this post, inspired me to think a bit deeper and comment:
Skittles Goes Modernista! With A Distributed Experience.

So far the only comments I’ve seen out of Twitter about Skittles are:
I am neither… there are both pro and con points” (thanks for getting back to me, Abudur!),
Netik’s quick response to @LaughingSquid: “I don’t know what they’re thinking.
Though one might take this status blog entry to mean that Skittles blew a fuse at Twitter’s datacenter: “We experienced a brief data center power failure this morning affecting a small number of servers. Site performance was degraded for 5 minutes.

A hint about good presentations, Politics as an example of transparency? and OMMA Social

The best speakers bring authenticity through personal stories.

It was easy to focus on Rich Ullman‘s lunchtime talk during OMMA Social today as he creatively wove in stories and slides from his experience over the last 48 hours. (Sorry about that olive, Rich.)

He made a point about transparency making newly appointed U.S. Senator Gillibrand an example. With the news around her appointment, he’d just learned that as a congresswoman, her Sunlight Report broke ground making her the first to list her official schedule daily (who she is meeting with) and among the first to disclose all her earmark requests and post her financial disclosure reports.


Take it one step further:
I’d love it if every member of congress had a Twitter feed updated as they went through their daily meetings and proposed, amended, or voted on budgets or legislation. Following those I vote for would be manageable and give me a much deeper awareness and sense of engagement.

[Rich was kind enough to upload his slides to Slideshare within an hour of my request. Thanks!]
[You might also be interested in live blog posts about each presentation at OMMA Social by @dberkowitz]

One Best Business Strategy for Facebook, Twitter, Digg or LinkedIn

In Twitter isn’t the point, Holly Ross of NTEN comments on a study showing that influence and word of mouth are becoming more important than ever to consumer behavior, and more of it is happening online. She goes on:

I think we’re missing the mark, though.  It’s not really about Twitter.  It’s not about Facebook.  It’s not about whatever the next buzzword is.

It’s about friends.

It’s about building real relationships that inspire people to act on your behalf.  That’s the skill we should focus on building. Whether it’s Twitter or Digg or Facebook or LinkedIn, it’s about those relationships.

We have to teach ourselves to operate that way again.

We commonly use phrases like “Facebook Strategy” or “Mobile Strategy,” but we’d never talking about building a house in terms of “Hammer Strategy.”   The technologies are just tools and our language is tricking us.

When we’re wowed by case-studies showing off the power and effectiveness of these tools, we’re really being impressed the underlying strategy, a powerful one that we can all take advantage of.

It’s easy to forget that it has always been one of the best business and marketing strategies to make friends. We do that by focusing on others, on listening to them and meeting their needs. How will your business be making friends and thriving in 2009?

WSJ: Respond strategically to Web 2.0 or be left behind

If you haven’t already, read what the Wall Street Journal has to say about: The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World.

It’s short, well-written, and says again what we need to keep hearing about how companies need respond strategically to Web 2.0. It’s not just implementing promotional marketing programs there as if it were a new media channel to add to the mix.

Remember how companies were left behind in the nineties. It wasn’t because they didn’t develop a web site or an email list quickly enough, it was because they didn’t have a good response to the changing environment and competition. They needed to add offerings and/or change positioning to carve out a new niche in the new world. Mobile and social media are causing even bigger shifts.

Consumers are flocking to blogs, social-networking sites and virtual worlds. And they are leaving a lot of marketers behind.

  • A New Approach: Marketing these days is more about building a two-way relationship with consumers. Web 2.0 tools are a powerful way to do that.
  • The Pioneers: A growing number of companies are learning how to collaborate with consumers online on product development, service enhancement and promotion.
  • The Lessons: From these early efforts, a set of marketing principles have emerged. Among them: get consumers involved in all aspects of marketing, listen to and join the online conversation about your products outside your site, and give the consumers you work with plenty of leeway to express their opinions.

Six Alternatives to the Same Old Holiday Cards

What to do? Paper Christmas cards seem eco-unfriendly. Ecards just seem unfriendly. Thoughts/alternatives?

What to do? Paper Christmas cards seem eco-unfriendly. Ecards just seem unfriendly. Thoughts/alternatives?

Looking for the best way to connect during the holidays? Me too.

At one time, I mailed cards each December as part of maintaining important relationships personal and professional. But I’d fallen out of the habit.

Wanting to restart or create a new habit in line with my values, I turned to the collective wisdom of Twitter (and Facebook) to ask “What to do? Paper Christmas cards seem eco-unfriendly. Ecards just seem unfriendly. Thoughts/alternatives?”

I was surprised by the instant response with so many wonderful ideas to share! Read on for the best so far, and add your ideas to the comments. Continue reading

Could Twitter's transcendent clarity trump Facebook?

Like email, IM, and text messaging before it, Twitter is destined to become a common communication tool familiar to all. What might be less clear is the long term fate of particular social networks like Facebook and Linkedin.

How could this make sense? Facebook and Linkedin already have considerable revenues. Twitter has zero. They also have far more users than Twitter. And so on. Some have even said Twitter is not a business.

Yet Twitter has a kind of transcendent clarity.

It’s not that Twitter now tops the list of fastest growing social networks or that Facebook offered to buy Twitter for $500 million.

Continue reading

Geek Corps for Congress

This morning Jerimiah Owyang tallied social networking stats for the candidates showing a huge advantage to Obama. Now Gene Koo writes that Congress, not Obama, needs a Geek Corps.

What a wonderful idea. I’d love to help “rework the interface between legislators and their constituencies: to rebuild trust and honest, genuine relationships between lawmakers and We the People.”

Certainly, social media could play a role in this. For it to do so meaningfully, lessons beyond those learned in the Obama campaign are needed. The campaign succeeded more in using social media to help spread messages than it did in giving voices to the people.

What’s needed to change congress has more to do with changing the listening habits of legislators. Continue reading

Give more to sell more: Better blogging and online marketing

[I sent this as email to several friends and clients this morning. I guess this is the commercial version of what I’d said for non-profits last week when I suggested that the best way to raise money is not to ask. Contrarian advice for the best sales and marketing in an economic downturn, it applies in good times and in bad.]

I sent each of you this because we’ve talked recently about marketing yourself or your business. Most of you are thinking about blogging, or have a blog and other online marketing that you could get better results from. Continue reading

How to pull together a Social Media Telethon in 24 hours or less

My friend Adam Jackson found out Friday he’d lost touch with his best friend a couple of weeks ago because she’d been hospitalized in another city. She’s now in touch with friends and family, but still in the hospital, and facing another crisis that has to be resolved immediately. Mashable explains the urgency with which she needs financial help.

Right now, Sunday morning, I’m watching a live video telethon with hundreds of other viewers. Adam pulled this together yesterday in an emergency to not only help his friend but to make a larger contribution to the community. He’s been “on air” overnight.

Adam has been running a live video telethon all weekend on as well as reaching out through other bloggers, on Twitter and elsewhere to get the word out.

They’re asking everyone who can to find ways to spread the word in hopes that this will go viral. It’s all still unfolding as the word spreads and people find more creative ways to help.

The chat room in Ustream is active with viewers who started contributing by building a wiki to act as a hub for all the information and efforts, a widget for contributions, offering non-cash donations of services, discounts and goods to be offered as premiums or auctioned on EBay, and more. Continue reading