Third Tuesday a huge hit; raises interesting question

Last night was quite the experience. More communicators than you could shake a stick at gathered in the Pour House to listen to the very erudite, and very funny, Shel Israel and his straight man for the night, Mark Evans.

Mark Evans; Shel Israel

Both of our hosts did a great job of tuning out the very loud i-bankers who had positioned themselves in the section behind us and were determined to out shout the sound system that the Thornley Fallis crew had installed.

Joe Thornley did a great job of a) getting the talent into the venue on time and b) live blogging the event here. Incidentally, there’s a great story about the last time Shel made it up to Canada.

JT live blogging

Third Tuesday was set to first promote, and then cement, PR’s leadership role in bringing social media to the corporations we serve but, as Mark noted last night, we’re not doing a great job so far and Canadian corporations are lagging behind their US counterparts in terms of their adoption of social media. But events like this will, hopefully, serve to bring the evangelists together with the non-believers and even the people living in blissful ignorance. Which can only be a good thing.

One question that I wanted to ask last night, but couldn’t find the words to during the Q&A was this.

Is the rate of adoption, by the general population, a barrier to entry for the corporation? Customers are now so used to shouting, as opposed to talking, that companies can justify ignoring them as zealots or trolls.

People look at Jeff “Dell Hell” Jarvis or Neville “post on every customer service interaction” Hobson and think that if they stir up some trouble they can get the sort of readership that Jeff and Neville have built up. It’s in their, perceived, best interests to shout and scream at a company for every perceived slight.

How should companies deal with this? I think we all believe that they should join the conversation but I bet SVPs of marketing across the Fortune 500 feel as if they’re about to be thrown to a braying pack of lions whenever their PR agency suggests an external blog.

Sidebar – Do lions bray? The simile wouldn’t be quite as effective if it were donkeys…

If this is correct, what onus does this put on the agency? How can we make the process of joining the conversation as easy, as pleasant and as rewarding as we’ve all found it? We recommend a social media strategy and the client points to Dell’s blog and the reaction that it got.

At the moment, our (the agency’s) best way to sell a new way of thinking is to say ‘why don’t you take on this expensive and time consuming commitment? It’ll be very rewarding and it will create a better bond with your customer base but you will get absolutely hammered for a few weeks by people whose best interests are served by being as malicious towards you as possible.” Who couldn’t sign off on that line item?

I guess we need to start small, do great work for the clients who see the value in it and then go from there. Start monitoring and reporting what’s being said about our clients as a value add and then get them to start talking, offline, with their new audience. When the time’s right our clients will see the only thing holding them back is our combined imagination.

The Author with Micheal Seaton (below).

Ed Lee; Michael Seaton
Joe Thornley; Shel Israel


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2 Responses to Third Tuesday a huge hit; raises interesting question

  1. Once again, looks like another great event in Toronto! I was supposed to meet during his recent trip to Boston, but the blogger dinner that had been arranged for him was cancelled at the last minute.
    I love the fact that the initial “Third Tuesday” event was held on the fourth Tuesday!
    Regarding Neville, I actually find his blog entries helpful. I don’t perceive his customer service posts as shouting and screaming at all — in fact he always strikes me as very level-headed and measured in his posts.
    If he can get someone to take notice and actually do something about his request/complaint because he blogs about it, then I think this shows the power of social media at work.

    —————
    Good point, Neville is more reserved than a raging Jarvis/Ochman but I think the point still stands. Consumers are shouting too much to be heard. I used Neville as an example because I read something of his this morning and it was fresh in my mind.

    As always, thanks for stopping by!

    Ed

  2. […] Yesterday marked the second time in a span of 7 days that a Shel has been in Toronto. Not that I’m complaining mind you, it’s been a wonderful week of social media connections and conversations. Last night Shel Israel was in town to speak with 50 of us social media types at the inaugural Third Tuesday hosted by Joseph Thornley & crew of Thornley Fallis Communications. As comments and posts can attest to, the night was a resounding success and an amazing example of how conversations (okay, Naked Conversations) are changing the world. Shel is exactly what his business card says – a Nice Guy. And a fantastic, bright, engaging speaker. Dave Forde & Joe have uploaded photos from the evening to Flickr so far, but I saw a lot of flashes going off last night so I hope to see more pics soon! The conversation is happening, you can either embrace it or get buried by it. […]

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