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(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?

After reading (and seeing) the story around Derek Jeter pretending to get hit by a pitch and taking 1st base, it got me to think of a quote:   “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough.”

That is simply something that I do not agree with, as is this one: “The customer is always right.”

I was trying to think of others, but instead of racking my brain anymore, figured that I would throw it out there to get your thoughts. What are some quotes that have you scratching your head? Please share them here! As always, thanks ahead of time.

Wow, Yelp, FourSquare, Gowalla and now Facebook gets involved in location-based services (lbs).

I don’t like it and do not think that I will use it (outside of my initial test). Why you ask? Well here goes.

I am a member of numerous Social Networks for a reason. Facebook for my friends and to keep in touch with others acquaintances, LinkedIn for my professional relationships, Twitter to keep up with industry information…the list goes on. Now there may be overlap between my friends, my co-workers and my business friends among these channels, but in general, there are distinct reasons why I keep them separate.

FourSquare is my tightest network, meaning that I do not friend people who I do not know, or have never met. I have only “friended” 57 people. While I have 600 “friends” on Facebook, some that I have not seen since grammar school/high school, I do not see the need to allow them to see my each and every move. I have ignored requests from people who I am connected with on Facebook and on LinkedIn when they request to be friends on FourSquare.

I really wonder what the adoption rate will be on Facebook. Now if I could put specific people within my Facebook Network into a group, and only share my “Place” with those people………What do you think, Will you use Facebook Places? Which way will you go?

Over the past weeks, months and years (12 actually) I have had the benefit of being involved in Social Media and online community building. I love my job and I love the potential that many businesses have recognized during that time – brand awareness, loyalty, relationships building, research & development, competitive analysis…..the list goes on and on. But there is one continued theme that I hear from people who I communicate with because of my daily observations about the companyies that I have and currently work(ed) for:

Thanks for the heads-up
Appreciate the follow-up
Thanks for letting me know
Great feedback, appreciate you sending this on

….and different versions of all of the above.

My question is what is this position worth to a business, and how long do you think that your business can continue with this position? 

Maybe it is just me, but I have seen so much confusion when people talk “Social Media” with others who are not too sure about it actually is, or even immediately pause and discredit Social Media as “online nonsense.”

 

* Image courtesy of www.webadvantage.net

If we were to position Community Managers as “Brand Visibility Managers” would that put things into a little more perspective? Would we then be able to get past the initial stereotypes (valid or not) that comes with the Social Media and Community Management positions? By interacting with your community and on behalf of the brand, you are increasing your brand’s visibility, and by consolidating feedback and forwarding that information to the right people, at the right time, you are also providing visibility internally that may not currently be happening.

What do you think?

Last night I attended the #NashuaTweetup and sat down with @SteveMurthey at the bar. We were talking about Social Media experts and how there seems to be so many “self-appointed” individuals out there, as this seems to be the latest and greatest employment opportunity for many. During our discussion, I came up with this comparison. It is like in the movie Aladdin. You had the Genie, who was obviously good at what he did. He knew the rules and was able to guide Aladdin into making some good decisions, and had “thousands” of years of experience in his back pocket.

* namecartoons.blogspot.com

But on the other hand you had Jaffar, and his snake staff. The staff was an incredible tool which mesmerized people and forced them to make decisions that they would not have if they had a better understanding of the situation and were guided properly. He also made promises that he could not keep, and there was always a “hidden agenda.”

 

* disneyvillains.net

Next time you sit down with some who is assisting you in anything, it does not have to be strictly a Social Media campaign or strategy session, make sure that you are not being promised things that seem unreachable, and make sure that you partner with someone who has proven their worth and has the experience to back it up. Don’t forget, you generally get what you pay for. What are your thoughts?

HTC-Droid-Incredible

HTC-Droid-Incredible

I have been waiting and waiting for the Verizon/Apple relationship to come together so that I could get an iPhone. Over the past few years I know many people who have one and love it. Unfortunately, AT&T’s coverage in “South-Central” New Hampshire is not great, as I get little to no coverage at my house.
So here is my new phone. Just received it last night. I am currently charging it up and am waiting to actually transfer my contacts over, but I am a little intimidated by it. As with something that it new comes a hesitation. I am so used to my Blackberry curve that I am intimidated by this new device. I know that it will support all of my needs, but how steep is the learning curve for this device? This evening I am planning to actually activate the device and put my Blackberry to rest. It will be a sad day, but one that is needed. If you have made it through this transition, please share your experiences here. Was it painful? Painless? What are some of your tips/tricks? Which apps do you find impossible to live without?   Please help me 🙂

Back in the day, you could run your business the way that you wanted to with little to no interruption from anything or anyone. Everyday you could get up, go to work, and status quo would rule your day. Or at least that seems to be the perception from what I have heard and observed from the “Walk-both-ways-uphill-in-driving-snow-to-school” generation.

As we all know, times have changed, and that way of running your business gets you into serious trouble. Customer’s now have the ability to voice their opinion in open forums where millions and millions of people can read their thoughts. The playing field has been leveled and businesses no longer have the control that they have held on to for many, many years. Those that have adopted new communication strategies and have engaged with their audience are surviving the current storm, while those who have rejected this communication change as a passing fad have come to pass.

Customers have the ability to really jump-start your business and get it back on track. If your employees seem to be struggling with what they should be doing, or where their next project to come from, they should look no further than what is happening online – both what is being said about your business as well as what is being said about your competition. There is so much information at your immediate disposal; so many great ideas that you can harness….it really is a great resource. I have also heard of some businesses offering their employees “free-time” during their work week in order to think of new ideas and ways to improve the current state of their company. What a great idea.

The Fountain of Success

Please drink up!

Ok, I had to share this. I tweeted a couple of times over the last week referring to this story, but wanted to go into more depth here.

Twitter is a great tool for people and businesses; I think that everyone will agree with that. It is also a great tool for local businesses, if used effectively, and I wanted to share this story with you.

Early last week I was traveling to Calgary, Canada from Boston via Dallas,( please don’t ask, it’s a long story). While in flight from Dallas to Calgary American Airlines offered Gogo in-flight wireless internet service so I decided to pay the $10 to have it for the 3+ hour flight. For those of you that have not traveled with internet access on your flight, I compare it to JetBlue and having TV at your seat, yes, it is that good and I don’t know how I could have ever lived without either, anyway…..

On my way North, while traveling over Yellowstone I sent the following tweets:

What was really cool was that within a half hour, the account @Morningglorycof replied to my tweet:

I replied with “ I wish that they delivered” with a smile and then that was that, or so I thought.

Or Friday, I ran across this tweet:

It was really nice of them to do this, as I have never met this person and we had only exchanged a handful of tweets. I also decided to follow them back just in case I was ever in Montana. But the story does not end there.

On Friday we had friends that were going to Canobie Lake Park  up here in Salem NH. It is basically 6 Flags (www.sixflags.com), but on a much smaller scale (maybe 10% of 6 Flags). Anyway, we let our kids go during the day with our friends and met then at 5:30. Upon arrival at Canobie, I checked in on FourSquare and posted it to my Twitter account. Within a few minutes I received this tweet:

Is that a small world or what? Talk about chance encounters. I am sure that they also had a flood of memories outside of the one that they posted.

So with this post I wanted to bring about your Twitter stories. What are the “chance encounters” that you have heard of or actually been a part of? Please share.

Follow me

This seems to be a pretty important step in making sure that you can weed through the noise in the space. Some people follow too many people too quickly and become overwhelmed, while others take it slow and easy their way into Twitter, which I highly recommend.

Let me tell you what I do, and see if it is also what you do.

I seem to pick up a couple of followers. I go into Twitter’s website, rather than use Tweetdeck for this, and see who has most recently followed me. There are a few things that I key on when I click on their profile to see who they are:

Where are they located?

While being able to located current and accurate information concerning my profession on Twitter, as well as with former colleagues, I also like to keep up with people who live in my area, so I tend to follow them as well

What does their Bio say?

No bio, no follow, it is pretty cut and dry. If you can’t give me additional information about yourself, then how and why do you expect me to follow you? Come on, seriously?

How many followers do they have?

I am not talking about focusing on the numbers. If someone follows me, I tend to take a look at who they are pretty quick, within 24 hours I would say, unless it is the weekend. I tend to look at the box of avatars. There are 36 avatars within that area. If I am located within that area, odds are that you are not a spammer and are not just trying to friend anyone and everyone.

Maybe the last one is just me, but I feel that if you are following 36 people within a 24 hour period then you are just trying to get friends and not really caring who they are?

Too harsh? Thoughts? What do you look at?

The more and more discussions that I have around Social Media and Online Community building and strategies the more the discussions are had around the concept of “Social” having a presence within each and every department. While I totally agree with this concept and think that every department should have individuals that understand Social, I don’t think that the concept of spreading Community positions within each department is the appropriate way to go and believe that Community and Social Media teams deserve their own department.

Seat at the Table

What are your thoughts here? Do we, as Social evangelists within our respective businesses, have the right to our own departments, with a “seat at the table”? Has the time come?

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.

Community Roundtable

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