I know what you are saying,  “Mike – you only post updates when you change your job….which seems to be a lot btw.”

I know, and I feel bad. I had a good thing going when I 1st started this blog, and since then it has gone downhill. Little by little I get distracted by everyday life. Between the kids and their sporting schedules, the yard work, vacationing, looking for a new job, landing a new job, starting a new job……..I think that you get the picture .

I was pretty bummed when Zynga shut down the Boston studio, but am not missing the commute by any means. After a short stint at OUYA, managing their Social channels through their retail release, I made the decision to try something new and local. It was just my luck that Autodesk was looking for a Community Engagement manager in their local office (15 minutes away). It was the perfect opportunity, with the perfect company, at the perfect time. After 3 weeks in the office I am still jazzed at the opportunity that is in front of me and am very excited to what the future may bring.

I just wanted to say hi again, and let you all know that I will try to post more often than 2x every 3 years – sorry for the long term vacation fro mteh blog, but I am back, and back for good! Thanks for the follow.

Let hope that this is the last employment update that you will see!

Mike

I cannot believe that it has been over a year since I made my last blog post. I apologize to those who have followed me because I “had” some cool things to say. I will try to keep those types of posts coming, now that I have some more time on my hand.
For those of you who may know me, or follow Zynga, they closed their Boston office a few weeks back. While I had a feeling that something was coming, I actually thought that I would be ok, since I was assisting the Baltimore studio with a new game launch. Unfortunately that was not the case, and I was released of my duties.

Over the past 3 weeks I have really begun to think about my next move. While I have been involved in Social Media and Online Community Management and Sales for the past 14 years, is this something that will last? Something that has longevity?

Then I really got to thinking…..and said HELL YES!

As everyone in the field knows, it encompasses all aspects of Job titles & responsibilities. From Marketing, to Project Management to Customer Service and Public Relations, Social Media and Online Community professionals are being successful with all types of job responsibilities.

It is really time to harness our uniqueness and leverage that for our benefit. While my next position may not be a “Social Media Strategist” or “Online Community Manager”, you can bet that I will be leveraging my learnings over the past 14 years to excel at it.

* Thanks to http://markitors.com/ for the “Unique” image

Well another chapter is about to begin. Next week I officially start my new job at Zynga, working as the Sr. Community Manager for their Boston studio. I will be managing all of the Social aspects of the games which come out of that studio. It is a very exciting move for me.

Over the last couple of years I have learned a lot here at Ektron, but when all is said and done, I really wanted to get back into the Management aspect of online communities, leveraging my experience on the strategic side of things to  implement, build & develop an online community.

On a side note, I 1st began online community management for Fogdog Sports. I also worked at Mzinga. Now I work for Zynga, who has a dog as their logo. Coincidence…I don’t think so ;)

When you look at the horizon and see the sun setting, and say, “Wow, that is beautiful”, how do you measure that beauty?

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around, does it make a sound?

I think that we can all agree that it does, right, seems like it is common sense. 

Over the past year or so I have read many blogs and reports stating how important it is for a business to be involved in Social Media and how measurement is the most important aspect of any initiative. I do agree that having the ability to measure the ROI of a campaign is a key component, but some things you can just not measure.

Well the truth of the matter is that not everything can be measured. 

I did want to relate the way that you measure your initiative to the way that a certain credit card company runs their advertising campaign

Just think of Mastercard’s funny marketing campaigns:

Having time on your side…..priceless

Another more powerful display over what I am trying to point out is this great scene from the movie “Goodwill Hunting”:

Ok, I understand that many may find faults in my way of thinking and will quote reports which may go against what my thoughts are here. When it comes down to it, yes, it is about measurement and making $ for the business, but there are also things that happen that can not be measured based on your campaign.

When it comes down to it, some things (sometimes the most important things) can not be measured, and some things also fall into a “Common sense” category as well.

* Many thanks to Aaron Strout for assistance on this blog post

I know that for a lot of my Social Media & Community Manager friends that I have, this is not “Breaking News”, but I did want to point out 2 most recent events that are very cool examples of how these outlets are changing the way that we communicate and interact, both online and offline:

  1. The announcement by the FBI of their capture of Whitey Bulger. Can you imagine, a little past midnight, they send out a Tweet to let their followers know of the event. Can you imagine how quickly the word spread. Now I know that twitter does not have the mass-adoption of other outlets, but still it is pretty cool that they did this.
  2. During the NHL awards last night, Jay Mohr hosted the event and pronounced Steve Yzerman’s last name incorrectly. 5 minutes go by and an award was presented. They go to commercial and when they come back from commercial, Jay asks the “Twitterverse” to relax, letting them know that he made a mistake, and that “it is live TV, mistakes happen…….

I could not find the clip, but if you watch the replay’s, you will see what I am talking about.

I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty cool the way that Social Media channels are being brought into the off-line world. What are some other examples that you can think of?

1st off let me say that this is not a sour grape post, as Miami beat the Celtics in pretty much every aspect that they could. From their inside game to their hustle, they were definitely the better team in this series

The other day I tweet’d, “Act like you have been there before”. The post came about after I was watching game 4 of the Celtics/Miami series. Chris Bosh made a nice dunk in the game, towards the end of it and raised his hands like he was preaching, freaking out and shaking his head. Did he not remember game 3 where he did not play that well? Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for celebrating, but there is a time and place, as well as a timeframe to celebrate within. After say 10 seconds of celebrating, which is a pretty good amount of time, it is then time to get back into the game, and move on to the next play.

Fast forward to last night. Miami is on a huge run 16-0 run in the 4th quarter to end the game. Within that run, LeBron hits his 2nd huge three point field goal. Great shot, nice celebration at first. In watching LeBron and the close up that the TV had of him, he takes a good 4-5 deep breathe’s, staring at the crowd, does not move from his position – and don’t forget, the C’s are inbounding the ball, pushing the ball up the court with him standing there. Yes that was the dagger, but celebrate like you usually do and jog down the court. Don’t forget, this is the same guy who refused to shake hands with Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals. Hmmm, makes you wonder about his character, especially after what he pulled with Cleveland (media or not).

Notice that you did not see Dwayne Wade pull any of these stunts, he just played his game, which is F-I-L-T-H-Y! – in a good way

Again, it is just a matter of  “Acting like you have been there before” – but I guess that when it comes down to it, you need to have been there before in order to understand how to act. That is what separates “the Men from the boys.”

Ok, let’s have a change of pace here. In an effort to learn more about the different types and kinds of beer out there, I would like to ask you what your favorite beer is and why? I have a couple that truly span the spectrum of types.

Fat Tire Sunshine Wheat

In the Summer I really like Fat Tire’s Sunshine Wheat, with a slice of lemon. While I can not get this on the East coast at the moment, I remember days in California and Arizona where I would pop the top of one of those and really enjoy the flavor. Very refreshing and light. As their website outlines, the beer offers a crisp, refreshing alternative to heavier-bodied heffe-weizens.

Not granted I do truly love the Amber Ale as well, as that is another favorite of mine. but in the heart of the summer, this really hits the spot.

To my disappointment, for whatever reason there is, The New Belgium Brewery does not distribute this far East. I have had it in Wisconsin and in some southern atlantic states, but not this far north. Please, and I beg of you, please begin distributing to the North East!

Sierra Nevada Big Foot

Now when it comes to heavier, stronger beers, you do have to come hard, or stay home, which is why I choose this Seasonal Favorite from Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada brews a very tasty Big Foot Barley Wine. This is a very flavorful concoction that will drop you to your knee’s after 2 or 3. Definitely not for the casual beer drinker, this beer is for individuals who are looking to sit down and enjoy.

With it’s dark, reddish hue, and deep rich flavor, it is definitely not overpowering when you have just 1. I love it up her in NH when we get a storm and I have to snow-blow my driveway, I always crack one of these and put it in the snowbank and have a sip with every pass. It really helps the time go by, as well as serves as a nice way to resolve the back pain.

What are your favorite 1-2-3 beers and why? Please share your thoughts as well as this post with others.

As always, thanks for reading.

 I am pretty excited to be running a session at this years SXSW  Conference with Jim Storer, Mark Wallace and Heather Strout. The session is titled “Lurkers: Your most important Community Members”. This session is going to be very valuable for many different reasons:

  1. The panel members have significant experience in managing, moderating, strategizing and marketing of online communities
  2. The topic is one that is not heavily discussed, but it one of importance within any online community
  3. We will be discussing everything from measurement, engagement and strategies in how to accomplish your community goals

That is by no means an all-inclusive list of topics and points that we will cover, as with the experience that we have on the panel, you never know where the discussion may lead.

Please join us on Saturday at 5pm at SXSW this year for our panel. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in advance, and we will do our best to address them during the session.

Mark has already written a blog post concerning lurkers on his blog – http://commonground.edrnet.com/posts/0490906d9a so please check him out as well. I look forward to the discussion and meeting you all at SXSW this year.

Let me 1st start out by saying that I am not a runner. I had never run a race before and had not planned to before about 1 minute to race time, on New Years Eve day, in Londonderry NH (Millennium Mile Race). Yup, that is right, I waited for the last possible minute. Crazy, yes – did I pay for it, absolutely. So I figured, “1 mile, it can not be that bad” when my oldest daughter made the decision to run the entire way. I was planning to stick back with my youngest daughter, and run for a little while, walk for a little while, and really just take it easy. About a minute before the start of the race my wife decides that she is going to stay back with my youngest daughter, and says “why don’t you just run?” Now I am not one to back down from a challenge, or about to tell my daughter that I can’t run beside her because I am not “dressed” or prepared for it, so I say “Sure!” and try to get mentally prepared for the race – 45 seconds to go.

As we get closer to the starting line, I begin to jog and think to myself, “this is not going to be that bad.” The first quarter mile goes by rather quick, and I am keeping pace with my daughter, trying to push her a little bit. We cruise by the ½ mile banner and I am still good, and am surprised that my daughter is doing so well. Around the ¾ mark my daughter starts to fade a little bit, so I drop back and continue to coach her in breathing and kicking her legs, to be light on her feet.

As we finish, I grab her hand and tell her that we need to continue to walk for a little while to keep our muscles from tightening. I feel fine for the rest of the day, now granted my thighs are hurting, but feel good. Ok, phew, I survived. My daughter is faring much better than I.

Then I wake up on January 2nd. My thighs are no longer hurting, they are on fire. I feel like I ran a 10 mile race (or can only imagine this is what it feels like). My daughter has minimal complaints and looks to be fairly normal.

On to day 3. Day 3 starts off as Day 2 started off, thighs are still hurting, but now I have the same pain right above my feet, within my shins. As the day a progresses, the pain seems to subside a little bit, but the pain still lingers.

So now what does stretching have to do with strategy you ask??

Well if I were able to plan in advance for this, know what I was in for and prepare for what was ahead of me, I would have been able to limit the after-effects of my efforts. Eating a solid meal the night before (and not running it on New Years Eve day!!!) drinking a lot of fluids in advance as well as stretching and ensuring that my muscles were ready for the undertaking ahead of me.

This goes the same for Social Media Strategy. If you are not ready to get involved, don’t. Do the appropriate research, ask the appropriate questions and prepare for your undertaking. Do not just get involved because someone says that you should. And if they do, make sure that you have enough time to prepare.

(sorry that I don’t have any graphics in this post)

Last week Comcast proactively called me to let me know that they were “Enhancing” the cable boxes, and to let me know that my scheduled recording may be lost, and to write them down just incase. They asked that I check my cable box on Friday to see if the recordings were in fact lost, and to re-input them so that I did not miss anything.

Saturday I woke up and checked my cable box, and was very excited that I did not have to re-input my scheduled shows, and was very thankful that Comcast had reached out to me, proactively.

Now in the past, I have blogged about how I had thought that Comcast had come a long way in their customer service . And I do think that is the case, but this situation really got to me, and here is why……

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, who, for most sports fans, is Football Sunday. Living just north of Boston, we always get the Patriots games, and on last Sunday, the game was a late game, since it was in San Diego. For the 1 o’clock game, Fox and CBS had their respective games, so I sat down and threw the Fox game on, and then clicked on my “picture in picture” (PIP) button to put the Fox game on – Nothing happened. I figured that it was a glitch, so I did not bother calling Comcast – yet.

Later on that evening, I forget what I was watching, I decided to try PIP again, and of course, it did not work. I now decided to call Comcast.

To my surprise, the “Enhancements” (websters – enhance: to raise to a higher degree; intensify; magnify) included the removal of the PIP functionality on my DVR. I of course was very snide in my reply and had asked what else was “taken away” from me with these enhancements, and was told from the support rep that nothing else was taken away. I also left the call with “Add a note on to my account that I will be going to DirectTV within the next month.

I was surprised that a business decided to proactively communicate me concerning the great enhancements that were coming, but had forgotten (purposely) of the things that were taken away from me. Not to mention now my guide is full of advertisements where every 5th down the channel lineup forces me to be put on an ad banner. REALLY? Are you serious? Yea, nice enhancements that make you more $$$$$.

Now do I consider these enhancements as such, maybe some of them, but when you also take things away, and remove functionality, then they are not enhancements, they are changes or modifications, or plug in whatever you wish. 

Also, as a sidenote, I made a tweet on Tuesday about my situation and definitely threw #Comcast and #DirecTV on the tweet. To my surprise, a local rep emailed me, describing the changes to me and said that they were unable to support the PIP functionality feature in the new guide. I honestly do not know what the guide and PIP functionality have to do with one another, but would like to thank @ComcastMarc_NE for communicating with me, as it was much appreciated. Since then I also found out that your DVR box has to be on while you are taping, which was not the case in the past, so now I also have to waste electricity when I am taping a recording late at night (don’t go there please).

Now I have not contacted Direct TV directly, but I have reviewed their pricing and terms online, and they do look like a viable option.

Am I just being to critical here?

Employment

I am currently employed at Autodesk as a Senior Manager of Online Community and Social Engagement. My team is responsible for the Customer Support initiatives across all of our Social channels.

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