Nov 16

So how does Social Media (and the web) affect business on a typical day? Find out below as I document a relatively normal Saturday.

1:00 pm. I drop my daughter off at a birthday party somewhere in Simpsonville, SC. I have two hours to kill and I don’t know where I am, so I pull up Google Maps Mobile on my cell phone to find a Starbucks.

1:10 pm. I’m heading in the direction of the Starbucks and I’m thinking about what I’ll work on while I’m there. I have my laptop with me and will need Wi-fi. I then realize that I don’t think Starbucks has free Wi-Fi. Sitting at a stop light, I pull up the browser on my phone and search for “Wi-fi free Starbucks.” I find out it’s free for AT&T DSL customers. That’s not me. I look up from my phone and see a Panera Bread across the intersection. Bingo, they have free Wi-fi.

1:17pm. Coffee in hand, I fire off a tweet to Twitter: “[adamlandrum] is at Panera Bread because I don’t know if Starbuck’s wi-fi is free or not. Not offering free wi-fi these days is a bad business move.” (Social Media score: Panera +1, Starbucks -1).

1:19pm. I get these responses from Twitter almost immediately:

“sellphone @adamLandrum Starbucks is NOT free wi-fi, but Liquid Highway certainly is!”
(Social Media Score: Liquid Highway +1, Starbucks -2).

“prattlingon @adamlandrum Why should anyone pay for wifi when free wifi is so readily available. Read @ their wacky pricing plan here:
(Social Media Score: Starbucks -5).

“squeaky starbucks is free for iPhone users, just on the iPhone though”
(Social Media Score: iPhone +1, Starbucks still -5).

5:30pm. My wife and I prepare to head downtown for the Sypmphony with PULSE in the Arts. We haven’t decided where to eat, and on the way downtown I pull up Google Maps Mobile again and simply search for “Restaurants.” American Grocery pulls up with 5 reviews and an average of a 4.9 stars. I click the phone number on my Blackberry and call to make sure we can get in.

(Social Media Score: Google’s Review + Google Maps + Integrated Phone Number = +5 for American Grocery)

6:37pm. I take a picture of my wife at American Grocery and send it as a tweet using TwitPic. 50 people view the photo from American Grocery within the hour.

7:30pm. We’re off to the symphony. I tweet about it, and get funny responses like “be sure to duck when you hear the gong” from Facebook.

9:15 pm. Intermission at the symphony. We slip out and head to Restaurant O. My tweet letting folks know our intentions, gets broadcasted to Twitter and Facebook using TwitterMail.

9:38pm. The wife of the manager of Restaurant O see’s my status on Facebook and know that we’re at his restaurant.

Claudia via Facebook: “You could send me a twit pic of hubby at O”

Never meeting Bruce, I locate the manager and show him the email from his wife on my phone via Facebook. It’s a little awkward, but I ask if I can take his picture. 51 views later…

(Social Media Score: Restaurant O +7)

10:14pm. My brother from Evergreen, CO comments on my status in Facebook:
“Facebook updates while on a date? Lame.” Todd Landrum at 10:14pm November 15

I respond: “Todd, welcome to social media. Business or Personal? This happened to be a business event turned into a date…so fb updates permissible :).”

Recap: Is Social Media personal or business? For the most part, I was simply chronicling a “personal” day/evening (we were going to a networking event PULSE in the Arts, so it was part business). However, these companies were affected, good or bad, by me simply recording my experiences: Panera, Starbucks, Liquid Highway, Apple, The Greenville Symphony, American Grocery and Restaurant O.

Bottom line:Through the convergence of mobile technology and social media, your company is going to be discussed, promoted, slammed, etc. (in real time). Are you ready for the groundswell?

Nov 11

Social Media is allowing us to tell the world who we really are. It’s been fun to watch people I know from high school post pictures of their kids, to see business colleagues [personal] status updates and see another side of an employee I wouldn’t have gotten to know.

Social Media is for the passionate. What I see is those who using social media are passionate about their careers. Social medialites are accused of being selfish little people who just want to talk about themselves. Instead, I say they’re passionate about what they do and therefore are almost always engaged in the conversation.

Social Media perhaps has caused personal and business lines to blur, or rather, perhaps Social Media has enabled the passionate to be, well, passionate. People say, “How’s your work life, your personal life or your spiritual life?” They’re all one life, you can’t separate them. Have a bad day at work, try not bringing it home. Have a bad day at home, good luck not bringing it to work. The truth is these major buckets of life create one life. The web and social media are letting us see a whole person instead of just the business person.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just shout to the world and tell everyone who you really are and what you really love, regardless if it’s a business associate, your dad or a fellow church member? Be passionate. Use Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter to tell the world who you really are and join the passion converstation.

Picture Credit:

Nov 07

There are generally two ways to approach a web development process:

(1) Informal, or
(2) Formal

An informal style wants little if any planning. At the end of the project, the informal style wants a web site. They say, “I don’t know what I like, but I know what I don’t like.” The informal wants a pretty web site, but they don’t expect it to do much. “We just need an online presence, you know, a brochure,” is commonly heard. The informal doesn’t want to pay much for a web site. And why should they? “It’s not that hard. I mean, my nephew could do it.”

I will be the first to say, the informal web site process has its place. Pretty, brochure web sites that create an online awareness are valid. These sites should be done quickly and inexpensively for web firms who want to serve that market.

Merge, on the other hand, focuses on the formal process. The formal process strategically plans a web site before designing anything. The formal wants to know what we’re trying to accomplish, why we’re trying to accomplish that and how. A formally planned web site could and usually will incur more hours in planning then it takes the informal to complete the entire project. The formal focuses on ROI. A development process is key to the formal in order to make sure all stake holders are on the same page throughout the project. The formal knows that the web site is a means to an end, and not the end objective of the project itself.

Are you an informal or formal? Again, either is fine, but it does define what type of firm you should work with.

Bottom line: If you seek results and want a strategic approach to the web, look for a firm that specializes in the formal process. If you “just” want a web site, an informal process will better suit you.