When it comes to building an online personality we can all learn from the success of Amanda Congdon. This 'badass white girl' has her own daily 3-minute web-based newscast with an audience of more than 300K visitors per day (that's more viewers than some cable TV shows)!
How does she do it? I think the secret is a little bit of humor, a willingness to be edgy but most importantly, a candor that is more Daily Show than 20/20. This takes me back to the bible of social marketing where you can find validation here, “learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about 'listening to customers.' They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf."
This is where the younger generation trumps the older - they haven't been brainwashed with corporate talk and forced to go through an 'approval' process before anything leaves the corporate walls. Up until now we have all been trained to keep a zipped lip when it comes to any flaw or inaccuracy in our messaging but in a transparent world that simply doesn't work. The truth is coming out whether we want it to or not – better to be in that conversation than outside of it.
Adjusting to this new culture won't happen overnight but it will is happening. Denise Caruso, author of Intervention and speaker at Supernova says it best - 'social media is risky but it's riskier not to try.'
Who let the engineers out?
Going back to the Sun / Java FX example shared at Supernova where the product wasn't all that it was promised to be in the eyes of the developer community, Sun handled it right by letting the engineers join these conversations. They were able to admit that they agreed the product wasn't where it needed to be and were able to also share their roadmap and explain positioning. It soon went from a conversation between angry customers and a shifty vendor to a conversation between two people and miraculously the conversation became civil again - wow this stuff really works.
Do you think the rest of the corporate world can learn from that example and let loose like Sun did? I am still hopeful...