Road to BlogWorld NY: I’m speaking about humanizing your brand!

I’ve been trying to get this blog post out for over a month now, and here we are one week before BlogWorld New York. Needless to say, I’m gearing up for an exciting couple of days at the Jacob Javits Convention Center where I’ll be surrounded with thousands of amazing bloggers, marketers, and other new media professionals. This is my fourth BlogWorld, and this time I’ll be speaking!

Here I am talking to bloggers at the Livefyre Booth at BWELA 2011. We won’t have a booth this year, but keep your eye out for me in a Livefyre t-shirt.

What can you expect to learn from my presentation? I’ll be sharing my experiences and advice on how to get out from behind that corporate logo to humanize your brand, find your key performance indicator and build community with lots of products like shirts up to vehicles like simple and effective e-scooters or just plain old cars. More specifically, here’s what you’ll get from my presentation:

Community building is much more than posting regular updates to a Twitter account and Facebook fan page. Brands that are successful with social media thanks to and community understand that real people need to be interacting with their audiences in an authentic, helpful manner. Through case studies, personal experience, and stories from other bloggers, you’ll see how others have created a human voice for their companies that sets them apart from the competition. From company culture to customer service to offline events, you will learn how to build community from the ground up and create brand advocates to share your message.

If you’re going to BlogWorld, you already know a thing or two about the importance of community and relationship building. If don’t have your ticket yet and want to learn more – sign up now!

Building community is an obvious passion of mine, and I’m excited to share personal experiences and examples from some of my favorite brands that understand the “human” side of business like Apple, Virgin America, Zappos, and more. Throughout the next week I’ll be writing about these in prep for my presentation on Tuesday, June 5th, at 10:15am (now you know when and where, you have no excuse not to come!)

Instead of me just spewing off my favorite examples of great customer service and personal touches (expect some Livefyre stories too, thanks DJ!), I want to hear from you: What brands do you recognize as human? Do you have a specific memory of connecting with a company because of your personal experience, not just the product or service? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, along with any other questions about my presentation. And if you’ll be at BWENY, make sure to post your Twitter handle so we can meet in person!

Twitter Hacked by Iranian Cyber Army – Where is the real-time conversation?

All social media sites are covering this breaking story:

(maybe it was only a DNS attack, but no one is sure at this point. Most headlines are reading “HACKED”)

By whom? A group who calls themselves the “Iranian Cyber Army” (evidently you can e-mail them at [email protected] (gmail, really?)

(screenshot of, another hacked site that supports freedom and human rights in Iran)

Twitter is going mad with people talking about it. “Iranian Cyber Army” is the most popular search on Google right now.

I am following over 500 people, mostly located in California and Sydney, Australia. NO ONE is tweeting about this breaking news. Most of the west coast is probably asleep by now (maybe not on a Friday night). But Australians are still tweeting! Maybe it is timing. Again, it is Friday night (just past happy hour here). Most people have left their social media maven tweets at work and are enjoying the social aspect of the technology. But I think this is BIG NEWS.

Twitter’s reliability is again being questioned. Mashable asked how it could compete with Facebook with security issues like this. I see a bigger problem. Most of us don’t use Facebook and Twitter for the same reasons. That being said, will we continue to use Twitter to share breaking news, or will we find another more secure platform? Is this switch possible? Will Twitter encounter a backlash for yet another site failure? There are many questions people will attempt to answer in the next view days. (Does this mean less talk about the Google Phone?)

While most articles are focusing on the Twitter fail, I am more interested in the effect this will have on politics. Who is the Iranian Cyber Army? What message are they trying to send to the US? I am sure it has to do with #iranelection and using Twitter to share information with the rest of the world. How will the US Government respond to this attack? How will the Iranian Government respond? This story is bigger than some twitterers not being able to update their status for an hour.

But…what if… it is all some stupid prank? After tweeting about it, I got a reply from @IranianCybrArmy who seems to be making light of the whole event. Funny? Not really.

Maybe I am taking this too seriously. Oh no, Twitter is down, it’s the end of the world! I’m not one of those people. But I am interested in the role social media plays in politics. If this was a legitimate attack, social media as we know it is about to change.

As I write this blog, the story continues to break. I’m obviously ready and excited for the real-time web. But is everyone else? As soon as I heard about this attack I searched Google for more information. I came across articles from the regular sites (Mashable, TechCrunch, Gizmodo, CNN, and more). Next I checked the trending twitter topics, and “Iranian Cyber Army” was among the top. The tweets are still flowing at high volumes – too high to find any quality information! Real-time curation is definitely needed. How can we find the gems when they don’t make it on Google’s front page and they are lost among thousands of tweets? I am looking for information on who the Iranian Cyber Army is, but I might wait until the experts report on their research in the morning.

Here is the real-time challenge: can we have a conversation while the story is unfolding? I started a “fyre” on LiveFyre, a place for real-time conversations on articles, blogs, multimedia, and other content. The site launched less than 2 weeks ago, so my discussion isn’t going anywhere at the moment (also because it’s the middle of the night for most users). LiveFyre is a great way to discuss topics in real-time. What I find so great about it is that it allows you to write 300 character comments, making it much easier to get important points across than with Twitter. You still have the ability to send updates to Twitter and Facebook, but it doesn’t require you to bombard your stream with the conversation as other live chats do. Another great feature is “breakout” streams, allowing users to continue a discussing a related topic. There are many things to discuss about the Twitter attack, we just need to get it started!

Come join the conversation on LiveFyre. Let’s utlise this real-time technology to discuss meaningful topics that are unfolding as we type.