Social Media in '10 (Most Definitely NOT Predictions)

I'm not big on predictions (namely because there are rarely consequences for being wrong).  These are just five things I personally look forward to in 2010 ...

  1. A kinder, gentler, more thoughtful tone.  Less finger wagging at brands who just don't get it; more willingness to help brands understand and implement best practices.  I've met some of the people I think are at the forefront of this new benevolence ... have you? 
  2. An end to the shoot first - ask questions later approach so many top-tier bloggers take to reporting news.  Reputations, livelihoods and [drama alert] lives are at stake.  Getting the story right, even if it means getting it 2nd.  Fact checking.  Protecting sources.  Basics of solid journalism.  All to often ignored.  But I expect that to change as more readers migrate from print to online and demand a baseline of integrity.
  3. Watching luxury brands get deeper into social media (e.g. Generation Benz, Art of the Trench).  I know I'm not alone in thinking there is tremendous upside here.  My colleague, Rohit Bhargava, wrote about it recently.
  4. A shift from "we need a [fill in popular social network here] strategy" to "what are our business objectives, and how can social media help achieve them?" approach.  A no-brainer, but I still see the former employed much more than the latter.
  5. Social media penetrating the C-suite in a meaningful way.  I'm not expecting CEOs at every Fortune 100 company to go wild on Tweetdeck or start a Posterous blog, but I do hope at the very least they become familiar with the basics and understand how their stakeholders (employees, customers, etc.) are using the medium.

Any comments on my list?  What are you looking forward to next year?

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Ambient Awareness & Class Reunions

Just a quick thought ...

Ever since Clive Thompson published his New York Times article, I'm So Totally, Digitally Close to You, the term 'ambient awareness' has been tossed around liberally in social media circles.  And for good reason ... it's a nice way of describing the connections enabled by communities like Twitter and Facebook.  As the article describes it ...

It [ambient awareness] is,they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye.

Later in the article ...

Each little update — each individual bit of social information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting. This was never before possible, because in the real world, no friend would bother to call you up and detail the sandwiches she was eating. The ambient information becomes like “a type of E.S.P.,”

It's that last bit, about E.S.P., that particularly hits home after spending this past weekend celebrating a milestone high school reunion.  As my eyes floated around a room filled with people I hadn't seen or spoken to in many years, I felt totally in-the-know ...

Teddy?  San Francisco, two kids.  John?  Chiropractor, stays in touch with Gregg.  Dina?  Can't believe her twins started 5th grade.  Micah?  Wonder how he likes living in the suburbs?

No big takeaway here ... just that after using the term 'ambient awareness' so often in the last year, it all finally makes sense; and I now have a good example to use when describing the term.

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All About Foursquare

This was originally posted on Ogilvy's Travel and Tourism blog.  I realize most of the people who read this blog already know about Foursquare.  But for my father ...


Foursquareis an interesting, fun and [at times] useful service that’s gotten some solid buzz in the last few months.  It’s the brainchild of the folks who brought us the one-time Internet service darling, Dodgeball.  I found this article from the New York Future Initiative which does a nice job of explaining the service, and the creators’ vision for what it might become.

With the ever-growing buzz, I thought you might appreciate the skinny …

What it is

Foursquare describes itself as 50% friend-finder, 30% social cityguide, 20% nightlife game, though my personal bias is that [at least for the time being] it’s more game.

How it works

A player checks in with Foursquare when they are out and about at a restaurant, bar, museum, movie theater, etc.  Checking in earns you points.  Points earn status [e.g, I was for a fleeting moment the Mayor of the Bowery Hotel Bar].  You can also earn badges for doing interesting things, like checking in at odd times or out-of-the-way places.

For now points/badges only get you bragging rights, though clearly that will change at some point [e.g., Ian checked in 5 times at Old Town Social, earning him a free cocktail].

How you "play"

Players check in via a slick iPhone app [uses GPS to find your location and things around you], mobile site and text message.  You can have Foursquare ping Twitter when you check in.

Where it works

At the time of this post, Foursquare is  available in: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

My recommendation

If you’ve got an iPhone, I recommend giving it a whirl - nothing to lose.  If you’re a marketer, you should take a peak under the hood so you understand the possibilities when Foursquare [inevitably] opens for [paid] business.  If you’re a business in one of the cities above [particularly in a hipster neighborhood] maybe play around with rewarding patrons for checking in from your store/bar/restaurant.

It’s not there yet, and may never be.  But I continue to hear the buzz …

Back on the Soapbox [Subject: Email]


I've been on a soapbox lately about email [I can tell my wife has just about had it with me].  Three recent events have me thinking about this ...

1. On the day of the denial of service attack on Twitter I happened to be in a meeting with David Armano who was giving a talk on Social Business Design.  David discussed [among other things] more dynamic ways to communicate other than email, and how when Twitter [and Facebook] went down that morning, his email inbox was unusually flooded [since people couldn't communicate with him through preferred channels].  While the inbox flood sounds like hell, the fact that he and his friends are using alternative communication channels is very encouraging.

2. I had dinner with a friend last week, and we got into a discussion on the red ! on emails. He is a lawyer [which makes no difference to this story] and claims to have never [not once, ever!] sent an email with a !.  He thinks it's the ultimate form of hubris that a ! - which takes no effort to make appear other than clicking a button - will somehow elevate your email to the top of his inbox.  He was passionate about this.  I was inspired.  I went back and scrolled through my sent folder over the last few weeks for all my emails marked ! ... sure enough very few [if any] of them deserved the !.  I decided at that moment that I will never send another email marked ! unless it somehow involves the physical well-being of me or my family.

3. A few days ago I read "A Manifesto for Slow Communications" by John Freeman in the Wall Street Journal.  It's the right thinking at the right time.  Read it.  Slowly. 

Email is great for memorializing thoughts, CYA and even distributing a message to a discreet group.  And I'm not naive ... I know [for now] this is currently how a lot of business gets done.

But if everything I need to share resides in the cloud [which to me is a simple way of saying my photos are on Flickr, docs on a server somewhere, thoughts on my blog, etc.] then what's the utility/relevancy of email? 

Sending email is inefficient when compared to other media ... have they changed addresses lately?; better make the subject line catchy to stand out in their inbox; check my grammar, it is a letter after all; etc.  Why bother when I can just Tweet [or Yammer, or update the Wiki, etc.] a link in seconds - without all the other noise that goes along with email.  Isn't that more efficient?

In 1996 I was mesmerized by email.  Every new message was exciting.  In 2009 email is more about inbox management than it is information exchange.  It's a labor.

I don't have the answers, but I'm certain a lot of clever people are working on it.  Thoughts?  Am I overly hysterical about this?

Do A Vocal Few Consumers Exert Too Much Influence?

[Update: I've changed the title of this post to more accurately reflect the subject matter]

Heresy, I know, to even ask that question in 2009. 

I'm not sure where I'm going here, but let's see where I land ...

Before I go on, a question: Do you do your own taxes?  More on that later. 

Legendarymarketers of yore [both fake and real] – the Don Drapers and Berry Gordys of the world – must be shocked at the power shift in the consumer-brand dynamic. 

Don Gordy

Draper eschewed market research for his own instinct – that’s what he was paid for.  And do you think Gordy – the genius behind Motown – would have considered even for a second consulting Twitter as he was developing The Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson or The SupremesWhat Gordy might ask, do everyday people know about picking a single?  Next thing you know they'll want to name the album and decide what Diana wears on stage.

But something’s changed on Madison Avenue.  A prolonged recession combined with the rise of social media seems to have put the destiny and direction of brands in the hands of a vocal few.

Let me make one thing clear:  I have embraced social media – both personally and professionally – as much as anyone .  Suffice it to say, I agree with those who see it as one of the biggest sea changes of our time.  What’s more, I think it is absolutely incredible how social media has facilitated a dialog between brands/fans, and between fans/fans. 

At the same time, I love brands – big, sexy, authoritative brands that command my attention.  Nike, Apple, Levi's, U2 to name just a few.  And what’s more, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many talented, smart and dedicated brand gatekeepers (i.e. brand managers) – a good brand manager is a true asset to any organization.  And the brand manager of the future - folks like Dave Knox - will drive marketing innovation for years to come.

So we’re all clear … Ian loves social media and brands, and certainly their intersection.  This is not an indictment on either.  But I am somewhat conflicted about the direction in which things are moving.

Here’s the rub … brands [and actually, not the ones listed above] seem, well, scared of their customers these days.  And the resulting action of that fear is not always positive.  Some examples that immediately come to mind:

  • A few idiots puts a booger on a pizza and the CEO of Dominos has to respond with a video begging for forgiveness [and then he gets criticized for being slow to react; and not coming off as authentic enough in his video].
  • A few people take umbrage with a Motrin ad and the company is forced to take it down immediately and issue an apology.  Turns out there was a big group of moms who totally agreed with Motrin's message.
  • A few dozen loud detractors don't like how Best Buy writes a help-wanted listing - requiring a new recruit for a digital position to have more than 250 Twitter followers - and the company is forced to change it.  What's more, Best Buy decides to "crowdsource" a revised job listing [and apparently, that effort falls pretty flat].
  • A guy with a grudge, Flipcam and the ability to write a jingle can bring a corporation to its social media knees - United Airlines knows what I'm talking about.  Turns out there's more to the story than first reported, and that UA wasn't the big bad airline everyone made them out to be [at least not in this case].
  • YouTube is littered with consumer-generated-content solicited by brands.  But here's the thing - the everyday consumer isn't skilled at making TV commercials [in fact, there are professionals who are really good at doing so].  Nor are they good at naming products or designing packaging.  And I'm pretty certain they don't know the first thing about the logistics of customer service.

So here’s my conflict:  I love the new dialog.  I love the new accountability.  I love the new consumer empowerment.  But what I don’t love:

  • Bad products based on the demands of a few
  • Bad advertising based on consumer-generated-content
  • Knee-jerk reactions based on fear [too precedent setting]
  • Companies who are active participants in social media getting too much credit for engaging in social media, while their products/services remain well below par

So what's the solution?  Heck, I'm not even sure I've articulated the problem.  But I go back to my question: Do you do your own taxes?  I don’t.  I understand the theory, and I’m sure I could power my way through a 1040.  Yet I choose to pay an accountant to do them for me.  Why?  Because an accountant has developed muscles that make them more adept than the average person at effectively preparing a tax return. 

Brands posses a unique skill in bringing a product to market – I would love to see them start flexing that muscle again.  Maybe I'm a romantic - maybe the era of great brands is coming to an end.  Or maybe, as Noah Brier might say [and I don't want to put words in his mouth] a brand is no longer what it says it is, but rather what we perceive it to be.  If that's the case, maybe brands are right to bow to every complaint, every outcry, every Twitter storm ... if that's what it takes to manage perceptions.

Thoughts?  Comments? 

Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand

[I originally posted this on the Ogilvy PR blog]

This past Tuesday I spoke on a panel in Chicago sponsored by New York Festivals.   The panel - Social Media: How to Profit from It & Get Clients to Buy Into It – featured a great group including:

John Geletka, Director at Ratchet; Len Kendall, Media Strategist, Constructive Grumpiness; Rob Saker, Business Partner, Marketing Technology at Miller Coors; Vinny Warren, CEO, Escape Pod.  Alan Wolk hosted.

The topics were what you might expect … who owns social media within an organization (everyone and no one); what role should legal departments play in policing social media activity (bring them in early, rather than during a crisis); how do you help overcome clients’ fear of opening themselves up to attacks in social media (people will talk about you either way, better to get involved than bury your head in the sand); can agencies run a client’s Twitter feed or blog (not recommended in most cases, but either way total transparency a must).

And while the conversation was spirited, what really got me jazzed was the depth-of-bond formed by physically being in the same room.

Alan Wolk is someone I “met” over Twitter and had developed a great rapport with.  But upon actually meeting him – hearing his voice, shaking his hand – I instantly knew him in an entirely different way.

Len Kendall and I have exchanged messages over Twitter for months – but it turns out he is more soft-spoken (in a refreshing way, compared to many in social media who are at the other end of the volume spectrum) than I imagined, which will undoubtedly factor into my future conversations with him.

John Geletka, Rob Sakar and Vinny Warren … had someone introduced me to them via email or Twitter, I’m sure I would have found them interesting, but they would likely have gotten lumped in with a lot of other people I e-meet every day.  Now, you’re darn sure I’ll pay closer attention to what they say moving forward.

We (meaning those of us reading this blog) lead an increasingly digital existence.  But once in a while we need to remind ourselves that nothing takes the place of some old-fashioned face time.  Since it’s Friday (and I’m in a Friday kind of mood), I’ll leave you with this classic … way ahead of its time.

What Would I Do to Fix Yahoo!

I love Yahoo!  Just as much as the guys below.


I've had a MyYahoo page for as long as I can remember, and it's still my home page at work and home.  I was a big Terry Semel fan.  I've had Yahoo! email addresses for years, and have no plans to switch to Gmail.  Yahoo! is where I first learned about RSS.  I've partnered with Yahoo! at previous jobs.  I've bought and sold YHOO a few times over, and while I don't own it now, think it's available at a great price.

So I was terribly excited to see AdAge's headline, What Would You Do to Fix Yahoo, a story asking industry experts and readers for their suggestions on how to fix Yahoo! 

I'm not going to judge their suggestions, but let's just say I wasn't terribly inspired by most of the ideas, which included: owning fun, changing corporate colors from purple to red, changing the name of MyYahoo to YaYou and others.

If you've read this blog for long enough you'll know that I'm not going to sit here and claim to have the answers.  Heck, I just read the article about five minutes ago and haven't really thought about it. 

But here's what I do know ... the fact that not one branding or marketing expert mentioned Flickr or Delicious in the AdAge article is a huge problem.  Even worse, that consumers have no idea that Yahoo! owns two of the most trafficked, important and just plain awesome online communities.

Whatever Yahoo's! fix is, I promise you it involves integrating its core search and email functionality with the best-in-class Flickr and the highly utilitarian Delicious. 

Would love to hear your suggestions.  And if anyone from Yahoo! reads this, I am happy to serve as a beta tester!

Puddles and Pools - All Good

There are two kinds of people [how's that for a sweeping generalization] ... those who appreciate the whimsy of splashing in puddles and those who figure that if they're going to get their feet wet, they might as well dive in the deep end of a pool.

In some ways I've always wanted to be the former, but have accepted I'm the latter. 

Why do I envy the puddle-splashers?  I suppose it's something about their joie de vivre.  An almost childlike ability to explore and move on, without dwelling on the minutiae.  A short memory.  They live moment-to-moment ... and enjoy the moment they're in. 

Again, I tend to be a more deep-end kind of person.  I see something interesting.  I want to explore.  I want to understand.  I can't ignore the nagging questions.  I can't put the thoughts out of my head when I go to sleep.  It's no better or worse than the puddle splashers ... just different.

This is why I can't follow too many people on Twitter.  This is why I recently trimmed my RSS feeds from 100+ to 50.  This is why I don't automatically accept every friend request on Facebook.  This is why I haven't yet tried FourSquare, and have done nothing more than register for FriendFeed.  This is why I never - literally never - don't read an email addressed directly to me.  Because at the end of the day, I need to feel like I've consumed everything I can from a particular "friend" ... browsed their status updates, seen all their photos, read all their Tweets, thought about all their blog posts and responded to all their emails.

My closest circle is made up of both types, and we appreciate each other for who we are.  Sure, it can sometimes be frustrating to deal with someone who is the opposite of you.  But I've also found it's a great way to discover lots of new things [if you're hanging with a puddle-splasher]; or a thoughtful detail that could only come from a deep-ender.

I wonder if you recognize these two groups in your circles.  What are you?  And what do you see as the pros/cons of each?

Or is this nonsense?

Interbrand's Top 20 on Twitter

For no reason other than curiosity I decided to look up the Twitter feeds for the corporate names of the top 20 brands on Interbrand's Best Global Brands list.

As you can see, a combination of squatters, locked accounts, actual people who happen to share a name with a brand, and the occasional brand actually using their Twitter name (Intel and Google).

Clearly not scientific.  I'm sure many of these brands have accounts under different names (e.g. a brand name within their portfolio) or use a shortened version of their corporate name (e.g. Coke v Coca Cola). But it is uncanny to look at them all in one place.

Not sure what to make of this, but I am struck by the lack of activity. 

Thoughts? Opportunities? Observations? Warnings?  Anyone from these brands care to comment - I'm sure readers would be interested to hear (1) if you own your own name and (2) if you have any plans for it.

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More Digital Holograms [Verizon + Nokia + Star Trek]

My previous posts on digital holograms proved pretty popular [here, here, here].  So when I stumbled on this from Verizon Wireless + Nokia + Star Trek I figured it was worth a shout out.  I can't claim to understand what Verizon or Nokia have to do with the new Star Trek film, but that's another post for another blogger.

Go to the Star Trek promotional site - the instructions are very simple.

TIP: Rather than print the .PDF take a picture of it on your cell phone.  I used the rather substandard iPhone camera, which worked fine.

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None Said "Intent to Purchase" - Really?

Found this chart on eMarketer today and it jumped out at me that marketing professionals don't see driving the top-line as one objective of social media marketing [Dell anyone?].  Then I looked at the fine print - survey was issued in 2007 and published in February 2008.

Given all that's changed in the last year don't you think this chart is an anachronism?  Seems odd to include the chart in an article in March 2009.

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My MacBook Turns 2

I stumbled on this post from April 4, 2007 about my [then] new MacBook.  2 years later I feel the same, if not stronger, about it.  One of my favorite all-time purchases and still a great example of how WOM drives revenue.

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P&G's Tide Loads of Hope T-Shirt

You'll recall a couple of weeks ago the folks at P&G conducted a social media experiment, while raising money for charity.  My recap here

My shirt arrived the other day, and David Armano asked people to submit photos in exchange for some link love.  P&G digital brand manager, Dave Knox, promised me the T-shirt would be of good quality - and it is.  Pretty cool design, and not the typical stiff/ill-fitting corporate apparel. 

Using the Photo Lolz Polaroid emulator ...


If Twitter Were My Only Source Of Information


Thinking this afternoon about the Twitter echo chamber, and personally, what I'm getting out of it. 

For one, it's entertaining.  Very entertaining.  It's also quite useful for connecting with people in my industry.  And without a doubt, I have stumbled on some great content [related to previous points].  Finally, it's allowed me to keep in touch with some people from my past who might have otherwise fallen off my radar.

But as a simple exercise I thought about this question:  What would I think of the world if Twitter were my only source of information.  Here are few off-the-top-of-my-head thoughts - presented as "Myth" and "Reality." 

Of course my views are totally informed by who I follow.  So I'm wondering what YOU would think of the world if Twitter were YOUR only source of information?  Leave a comment.  Or Tweet me @iansohn.

Myth 1:
Austin, TX is where all important global decisions are made. [Reality: For some it is, but for my money I'll take New York]

Myth 2:
Brands, like Skittles, that don't get their first foray into social media right are failures [Reality:  I was always more of an M&Ms guy, but applaud Skittles for their exploration into the unknown. Furthermore, I dare anyone to claim they've never taken a step backward to take two forward]

Myth 3: FaceBook is horribly designed and the evil empire looking to steal all our intellectual capital [Reality: FaceBook remains a massive force in social media, and is quite useful for what it is.  Furthermore, their TOCs are really no different than anyone else - are they?  Finally, it's not THAT horrible of a design.]

Myth 4: President Obama enjoys a 100% approval rating [Reality: I do love the man, but don't forget there are a whole bunch of people out there who voted McCain-Palin.  This NASCAR blindness (I can't use that term enough, thank you @awolk for coining it) will get the Dems in trouble come 2012.]

Myth 5: Shaquille O'Neal is a poet [Reality: Shaquille O'Neal is a poet; and is having an epic comeback season]

Saturday Links [Design Edition]

I'm often asked why I started writing a blog in the first place.  Very simply, I wanted a place to store stuff I found online - hence, Flagged For Follow Up.  [Delicious does the job, but I like seeing the visuals as well].  Here are three things that caught my eye this week ...

The cityscapes from Spanish artists, Borja Bonaque are incredible.  I particularly like the one below.

Borja Bonaque

This Polaroid photo emulator could be fun at a party.  Here's me pretending to read The Economist.


I love all things Flickr [among several posts ... Flickr Color Search and Obama election night gallery].  Getty Images has partnered with Flickr to create a database of photos for commercial licensing [both rights managed and royalty free].  I like what PSFK had to say about it ... Stock photography is quickly transforming from a collection of professionals to the wider public who with homeschooled photographic knowledge and high-quality cameras.

Here's what happens when you search for "coffee"

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P&G's Social Media Experiment [Tide Loads of Hope]

[UPDATE:  Read David Armano's inside account; AdAge's report]

A funny thing happened last night.  P&G - as part of a private digital night in Cincinnati - turned to some of the most well-known names in social media to accomplish a few things [all but #1 are speculation only]:

  1. Raise money for their charity, Tide Loads of Hope [clean clothes to families in need of support after natural disasters]

  2. Demonstrate the power of social media to senior executives
  3. Self-promotion
  4. Ingratiate themselves with the social media who's-who [a proactive insurance policy]

What did they do?
For a few hours, several teams - led by different cewebrities hunkered down at P&G headquarters - bombarded Digg, blogs, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and more with links to Tide's web site where you could buy vintage looking Tide t-shirts.  Twitter was particularly insane, with #pgdigital appearing non-stop.

How did they do?

  1. According to one participant, $50K in four hours, with P&G matching $50K.  I don't care how deep P&G's coffers are, they should be commended for the match.  Bravo!

  2. I'm sure this experiment went a long way towards changing some old school minds within the organization.
  3. Tide's name was all over the Internet last night, and I'm sure it will be written about a lot today.  The thing to watch for today is backlash, which you saw starting last night and I'm sure Tide knew was inevitable. 
  4. All the usual social media suspects were virtually tripping over themselves to help promote this.  But come on, who doesn't want to be in P&G's good graces [and help raise money]?


Did you participate [disclosure: I purchased a shirt]?  Either way, what do you think of the excercise?

Did you think the external agency participants at P&G last night went far enough to disclose their relationship with the company?  I saw a video from Ian Schafer of Deep Focus (@ischafer) who was very clear to state his agency did not work for P&G.  But I didn't see that same transparency from others.  Maybe I missed it in the frenzy?

Do you think, as Brian Morrissey, Digital Editor at Adweek seems to based on his tweets below, that we were all played?

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My Interview With Alex Bogusky @ His Twitter Experience

Alex Bogusky 2Alex 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:

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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.

Final Update [Promise]: GE Plug Into The Smart Grid: Digital Hologram

Given the huge spike in traffic to this blog since I first posted about the GE Plug Into The Smart Grid hologram [well, relatively huge compared to normal] I feel compelled to pass along this final hologram nugget, courtesy of PSFK.

Basically, same premise as two previous posts, only this time it's your Twitter status that appears via 3D hologram.  I am still blown away by all this. 

PaperTweet3d: Augmented Reality T-shirts from squidder on Vimeo.