Alex Bogusky may be the last last name in the advertising agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, but he's certainly very well-known within [and increasingly beyond] the advertising world.
For those who don't know, CP+B is the celebrated [and occasionally maligned, and more often than not, polarizing] agency behind the Whopper Freakout, the Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld's Microsoft Ads [which I happen to love] and so many more creative [and at times, controversial] efforts. Read Creativity's 2008 Agency of the Year article for a good overview.
So it's no surprise that the Twitter universe [I just can't bring myself to using words like "Twitterverse"] was abuzz when Bogusky, aka @Bogusky, first appeared in mid-December and quickly amassed a large and active following.
It was perhaps with the same amount of buzz that he abruptly announced a few days ago:
Why would he walk away from Twitter? Was he just being provocative?
Rather than speculate I asked Bogusky [we've never met, but did exchange a few tweets] if he would answer five email questions about his Twitter experience. He graciously obliged.
In the true spirit of online community, I quasi-crowdsourced two of the five questions [as noted below] from folks I respect in the social media space. Here we go ...
Question 1: When you first joined Twitter there was an amusing amount of chatter questioning the identity of @Bogusky. In fact, there is a @BogusBogusky. Why would someone want to pretend to be you, and more importantly what does the community's initial suspicion about your identity say about the state of things in social media?
Alex Bogusky: Yeah, I’m pretty sure @BogusBogusky works here too. I don’t know who it is but you can tell they’re on the inside. The suspicion comes from the fact that there is no requirement to be who you are online. I think this is something that might change going forward. There will be communities that are more diligent about ID and it will be a good thing. People are much more positive and responsible when they have to represent themselves and are unable to hide behind anonymity.
There’s a place for both kinds of community but I look forward to people representing themselves. Twitter actually has more of this than many communities. And I liked that. I had decided I would only follow people who had posted a picture or even an illustration of themselves. You don’t really know if it’s them I guess but it seemed a good indicator of sincerity.
Question 2: What's the significance, if any, that you are doing this interview with me - rather than say, AdWeek? Does it say anything about the future of journalism and the role of "traditional" media? If so, what?
AB: The significance is you asked me. And you didn’t seem to be looking to stir up controversy. I saw a headline somewhere that I had “…broken up with Twitter.” I don’t think that’s an accurate way to put it. Breakup is a very emotionally charged word and it’s a lot more exciting than the truth. I was getting to know it. Enjoyed the hell out of it. Brought some clients into it and was learning a ton. But in the end it wasn’t something I was going to weave into my everyday so rather than just not posting I thought my last posts should instruct anybody that came to the page that I wasn’t there. I don’t want people replying and sending questions or thoughts into a black hole. The web and social media is like ice cream. It’s all so fucking good. But we all find our favorite flavors. So it’s not that I don’t love butter pecan, it’s that I love mint chocolate chip even more so when it comes time to get ice cream I get that.
Question 3: My guess is that CP+B has plenty of social-media savvy folks amongst the ranks who have been advising clients on how to explore communities like Twitter. But as CP+B's head honcho, what is it about your own Twitter experience that you will you bring back to your teams, and your clients?
AB: That’s exactly right. The goal is to use and understand a lot of what is out there. I hope what I bring back is ideas. The ideas come from the medium meeting the marketing problem. So we’re just beginning to put those together.
Question 4: Len Kendall (@LenKendall) of Critical Mass wants to know: Did Twitter not inspire any creative thinking for you? Thoughts layered on other intelligent thoughts? If Twitter did inspire creative thinking, can you give an example?
AB: I couldn’t say it inspired creative thinking for me. In general it was difficult not to get overloaded with links and articles. I’ve always been more of a blank page, white walls sort of person. For me twitter would probably hamper my creativity. I prefer the learning that comes from doing. It’s more dynamic and usually pushes you beyond the discussion.
Question 5: Ian Schafer (@ischafer), CEO of Deep Focus asks: Was there a singular moment that caused you to say 'this isn't for me'?
AB: No. And I will drop in from time to time. I of course reserve the right to reverse course. Wishy washy is how I like to roll. I do think there needs to be some way to lock a retweet. I would see my tweets retweeted but changed slightly. I think that should be fixed. If it has RT in it, it should lock somehow.
Bonus Question: @TheMime would like you to comment on the following: . . .
AB: : 0
That's all for now. If you have additional questions, leave them as a comment. Maybe Alex [or a fake version of him] will answer them.