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Inspiring New Thoughts

Posted on : 29-03-2010 | By : Frank Eliason | In : In the News, Inspirational, Personal, Social Media


I have not been posting as much as I like. This usually happens when I am in deep thought regarding some things, and I do not feel it is best to share publicly. I have always found this to be tough because I try to be as transparent as I can be, but it is necessary. I always feel bad when that happens, because I do not want to let people down. I also feel that I am missing out on really good advice that I can receive from my friends in social media. Ultimately I always strive to do what is best for myself, my friends and most importantly my family.

So recently I was at my first SxSW (for those not used to the abbreviation, it is South By Southwest, an Interactive, Film and Music event in Austin, TX). It was an experience. I was excited at the opportunity to see some friends I have developed over the past few years, but I did not realize how overwhelming the events would be. I saw so many people, but it is funny, at the same time I feel I saw no one at all. Everyone was rushing from one event to another. There was not much time to slow down. When I finally returned home, I think I needed sleep for a week (I am still not sure I have my energy back). I did return to work the day after coming home, so that may explain the lack of energy. Anyway it was still a lot of fun and I loved seeing some old friends and many new friends.

While I was in Austin, I spoke on 2 different panels and at an event for Dachis Group. One of the panels was for the book launch for Brian Solis’ new book Engage. It was fun to be a part of that. The other was a panel for support in a 140 character world with Jeremiah Owyang, Caroline McCarthy, Lois Townsend and Toby Richards. It is always a pleasure to speak with so many knowledgeable people. My favorite moment at SxSW was not in a panel, or other presentation. It was not at a party, or at a dinner (all though many were fun, especially going to Salt Lick), it was the unlikely private time with just a few people. On my final night in Austin I was heading to a dinner I was invited to. When I arrived I ran into Brian Solis (Follow these links to connect with him on Twitter and his Blog) outside the restaurant. We started chatting, ran into a few others, and shared some champagne (for those that know Brian, that is not shocking). We then realized the dinner we were supposed to be attending was happening without us, so we stopped by. We did not stay too long due to other commitments Brian had. We then strolled through the streets of Austin on our way to his other event. After that appearance we connected again, this time strolling through the now rainy streets looking for a nice quiet place for dinner. Brian was his usual inspiring self. We were chatting about life paths, and selections we all make along the way. Brian was filled with stories from his own life, as well as people like Chris Brogan. At the time I thought my plans were set, but I walked away rethinking my thoughts and the inspiration in my heart. This is really what social media is about, connecting with people who can change our lives. We do it each day but it is moments like that where it is so truly defined. Thanks Brian.

So in my absence I have had so many different things I wanted to chat about. First and foremost was how I have been rethinking CRM (for those that do not know, this is Customer Relationship Management). This is a way of using technology to understand your Customer and bring the Customer into every aspect of the business. This led to my post today on The Social Customer website. If you have the chance, check it out. The post is the beginning of a conversation on redefining the tools necessary and the culture required for Customer Service, now and in the future.  It is time for us to stop looking at past concepts and build new ones based on the reality of today.

During my absence from posts there was an interesting social media case study developing regarding Nestlé and GreenPeace.  I am not going to rehash all the details, but if you want, read about it on Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategist blog.  It was also in today’s Wall Street Journal in an article titled “Nestlé Takes a Beating on Social-Media Sites.”  As I read the article this morning, I was caught by the end where Jermiah did not support removing it, while Ian Schafer did support it.  I can see both sides, although I think removing it might cause Nestle to even prolong it more (I am taking my ball and going home).  But it also caused me to rethink how companies should utilize Facebook.  So many are rushing to create fan pages, often because others told them they had to, or success they have seen for other companies.  Experts will tell you, as Jeremiah points out in his blog post, you must have an action plan to deal with brand attacks that may occur.  It is the reason to think these things through thoroughly.  But as I have read through the Nestlé experience, I wonder if there was a better way in the first place.  I know those not connected to social media may not realize, but there have been other events in the past for this company that also played out in social media.  My favorite story regarding Facebook fan pages is how the Coca Cola fan page started.  It was not started by the company, but instead by fans.  I am not convinced it is the best interest for companies to say how much they are loved by creating their own fan page.  It seems so much more genuine when it is created by fans.  I then think about the Nestlé experience, and wonder how would it have changed if the fans were the ones that started the page?  Would Greenpeace have still attacked the page?

Everyday we are filled with ideas that change our direction, or inspire us to do more.  I hope to always be inspired each day and continually challenge the status quo.