Some Thoughts On Social Media …

Facebook Logo 2016 - Wikipedia Public Domain 

Yes, I have been “wasting time” on social media …

Just visited Facebook as part of my daily social media ritual, which includes wishing a happy birthday to people with whom I have connected over the years.  This simple gesture takes a few seconds for each one and I enjoy a brief reminder of how this person has affected my life.

Today was unusually plentiful in this regard, at least for me – here’s a quick run-down of who I was thinking about a little while ago:

One of my earliest friends from my childhood … and an early adolescent crush …

Three people who share social media work … but whom I have never met, since they live in two other states and one other country …

Two former co-workers from two different companies …

Three ministers or religious workers … one a former student at a college where I worked, another who guides an online call discernment group I participated in once upon a time, and the last who is an active leader around social justice issues through our shared denomination and current town …

So that was today’s larger than usual bu representative roundup, which still does not include every aspect of my life that my varied connections symbolize. Continue reading

Happy Social Media Day …

Social MEdia Day 2015Mashable started this event a few years ago to celebrate the positive aspects of social media in people’s lives.  It’s a day to pause and reflect on a medium that did not exist in the recent past and has come to dominate much of our public and professional lives.

A few reasons why I am happy to celebrate Social Media Day: Continue reading

It’s Not About Me, Either …

Gay MarriageMuch is being shared these days on all aspects of the recent SCOTUS decision regarding the ability of two Americans to legally commit to each other.  

I have commented elsewhere multiple times on my personal position on all this, but you can probably guess where I am from either the above description of what just happened or my post from yesterday.

As I continue to absorb what seems an unending flow of comments, I am finding that I gloss over both the erudite analysis of constitutional law and theological discussions.  

I tend to move quickly past contributions that display hatred for those who seem different to the writer or predict doom for our society, country, and world.  

I have little time for those who only make fun, especially humor which garners laughter from one corner at the cost of those in another.

However, I do tend to linger on those observations which attempt to convey an individual’s reactions and perceptions from their distinct and human vantage point … after all, that is how we all have to address such issues.

I believe that this post from my friend, Paula, deserve a wider audience.  It is deeply personal, compassionate, and underscores a truth about this discussion. Continue reading

The Problem With “ A World Gone Social” . . .


I have this really great problem … I cannot decide what I like most about A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive by Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt.

This book has so many helpful and well-written sections that I cannot decide which is the most important or useful to us.   Should I emphasize that …

… the authors “get” the impact of social on our society and on business in so many ways, large and small?

… the ongoing and detailed focus on real engagement (top down and personal)?

… the the wide variety of real-world examples of how we are living into a social world, whether we recognize the ongoing transformation or not?

… this is a well-researched and organized summation of how the business and social landscapes have changed over the past few decades and years?

… the inclusion of well-defined concepts, such as the rules for social engagement listed on page 60 and referenced throughout the book, provide extra value?

… the tools, such as rules for community engagement in the social era (pages 68-72) or the diagnostic question list for organization readiness to be Social (page 147), either of which would easily and quickly return value to the organization way beyond the price of the book?

… that they talk not just about the business applications of social for recruiting, customer service, and engagement, among other functions, but also talk about the strong potential for doing good in the world?

… that the authors eschew the terms “Social Media” and “Social Networking” by using the more widely applicable term “Social” to describe this world change?

… that they include some of my favorite horror stories about customer service nightmares, such as the United (Airlines) Breaks Guitars on YouTube  fiasco and Target’s Very Black Friday (actually the Thanksgiving Thursday they “asked” employees to work) to illustrate the power of online communication for customers and employees who feel mistreated?

… that they are even-handed enough to point out the dangers of Social, including an excellent dissection of “trolls” and an emphasis on the need to verify online information (think critical thinking skills)?


share_13No, my favorite thing about A World Gone Social is that I could continue to list important points raised in this book until the cows come home … 


If you already feel the change and understand the reality of our increasingly social world, you will find your head nodding often in agreement with what Ted and Mark have to say. 

If you are not yet convinced of the impact that technology is having in the areas of recruiting, marketing, selling, customer service, and engagement, you will find ample information that will help you understand better. 

Bottom Line:  Wherever you are in the knowledge curve around the impact of social on business, this book will better equip you to roll on down the road to our future.

For a little more, here’s a short video about A World Gone Social:

In the meanwhile, I plan to kick back and finish reading this book … I sense more learning lurking in its pages.

Enjoying a book that is making converts while it preaches to this choir in the Heartland ….




Ted Coiné is co-founder of Switch and Shift, a leadership community that believes organizations – in order to thrive in the Social Age – must build trust-based relationships, lead with purpose, and enable employees to do work that matters.

A noted blogger and speaker, Ted was recently named a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer.

Ted lives with his wife and two daughters in Naples, Florida.



Mark Babbitt is CEO and Founder of YouTern, a social community for college students, recent graduates and young professionals that Mashable calls a Top 5 Online Community for Starting Your Career.

A prolific blogger and speaker, he is also President of Switch and Shift and a co-founder of

Mark is the father of five and a grandfather; he and his wife call Seattle home.


Disclaimer:  Yet another book received to review as part of a book launch.  I continue to do a little happy dance every time I receive another title and this one is no exception.  The value of this title and its reinforcement of what I deeply believe as the future of business and leadership make me smile.  I was under no obligation to make positive comments or even like the darned thing … but I do.


Guest Post: “Can Social Help You Out-Zappos Zappos?” by Mark Babbitt

In honor of the launch of A World Gone Social by Ted Coines and Mark Babbitt this week, here are some thoughtful observations about the power of social by Mark.

share_15Can Social Help You Out-Zappos Zappos?

Author: Mark Babbitt

Think your small organization can’t compete with big guys? Think size is a disadvantage, as it was throughout the Industrial Age?

Let us introduce you to an eight-person company that beat the pants off of some of the largest, most iconic companies out there: Nike, New Balance, Adidas/Reebok, and even online retailer Zappos.

Yes, They Out-Zapposed Zappos

It all started simply enough when Ted Coine, my co-author of A World Gone Social and impulse buyer par excellence, woke up and decided he needed new running shoes, stat! So he called one of his most revered companies, the online retailer Zappos, to get some advice and place an order.

We have admired Zappos for years. The CEO, Tony Hsieh (pronounced “shay”), intentionally created a quirky, customer-obsessed culture with an intentionally relentless focus on culture. So as you read, please keep in mind that we strongly believe Zappos is a remarkable company – and we’re certain the company was having an off day when this story took place. We’re also absolutely certain that, in the Social Age, too many bad days can ruin your company—yes, even Zappos.

As we were saying, Ted woke up with running on his mind. So he called Zappos—at five o’clock in the morning Las Vegas (where Zappos is headquartered) time. His only expectation, given the reputation of Zappos and despite the early hour, was quick counsel from a human knowledgeable in all things footwear.

Within just a few moments, it was clear that Ted’s expectation would not be met.

The clerk at the other end of the line was not exactly well informed on product and was far less trained and much less focused on finding Ted a solution to his un- fortunate shoe issues. Frustrated, Ted said a polite good-bye—and ended the call without placing an order.

But Ted Coiné, the author of Spoil ’em Rotten!: Five-Star Customer Delight in Action, didn’t let it go.

Knowing Zappos is famous not just for its extraordinary service but also for the active presence its employees maintain on Twitter, he decided to throw them a meatball—a pitch so slow and right down the middle of the plate that even the newest Zapponian could easily hit a home run.

He sent a tweet to @Zappos, asking for someone to call him.

No answer. Nothing.

Disappointing—but also intriguing! Had Ted found a chink in the armor of the mighty Zappos? Ted decided to turn this should-be-easy sale into a mini-research project—one that went on for a couple of hours that morning. Ted tweeted again, asking the Zappos social media team to have a sales associate call him, informing them that he wanted to buy a pair of shoes. No one called.

Meanwhile, Ted expanded his reach. He first tweeted to Nike, the brand he already owned, and Reebok, a brand he also admired, then went directly to the running Twitter account for New Balance, another brand he liked, and the customer service handle for Zappos:

Let’s see who calls me first to sell me some running shoes (if anyone). The race is on! @newbalance @NBRunning @Zappos_Service cc @zappos

Again, nothing. Eventually, Zappos did reach out to Ted on Twitter. For some reason, however, the company refused to call him, even after he sent a private tweet (known as a DM, or “direct message”) with his phone number. Instead, the Twitter-empowered Zapponian provided Ted with the same customer service and product order phone number he had already dialed several hours earlier, when he spoke to that less-than-helpful clerk. Ted wasn’t even offered the direct extension of a knowledgeable veteran employee who would be happy to assist.

Meanwhile, in the Social Age

In what has become standard practice on social media, another company—a smaller, hungrier company than the one from the land of Zapponia, a company that generates sales by closely monitoring social media channels—was hard at work. It knew that many of its potential customers buy shoes online. It knew that many of them loved Zappos. And it knew that many who loved running would order Nikes online from Zappos.

@tedcoine We’d love to sell you some shoes! Check out our Men’s at . . . and give us a call (617) 431–3800

It turns out this socially enabled, shoe-selling start-up—specifically, an intern at the start-up—was using a low-cost monitoring tool called Sprout Social. On the Sprout dashboard (which can be closely watched from any desktop, laptop, iPad/ tablet, or smartphone), that intern was most likely monitoring a combination of keywords. In this case, perhaps those keywords included “shoes,” “running,” and “purchase.” The intern might have even been monitoring “sell me some running shoes” or maybe even “Hey, @Zappos . . . call me!”

This intern was Alex Stoyle, who followed the basic rules of social media monitoring and selling:

  • Rule No. 1: Actively listen.
  • Rule No. 2: Respond quickly.
  • Rule No. 3: Meet customers where they are now.

Alex saw Ted’s tweets (he listened). He reached out to Ted (he responded quickly). He asked Ted, via DM, for his phone number (he met the customer where he was then). Alex called Ted.

Alex Made the Sale

Alex’s employer, Topo Athletics, had just opened a few months before, with a unique design that set them apart. Ted was reluctant to try this new shoe out, so Alex walked him through the technology and the benefits. When the well of Alex’s product knowledge ran dry, he put a coworker, whose specialty was product design, on the line with Ted to answer more questions. Satisfied with the science behind the shoes, and now really rooting for the little guy, Ted placed his order.

And Ted told 300,000 of his closest friends:

I’m placing my order now with Alex at @topoathletic. This #intern grabbed my business from 4 multinational corps!! #bravo !!!!

It should be noted that, as of this writing, Ted has never heard from New Balance, Reebok, or Nike. He never heard from Zappos.

And while all these well-established, well-respected companies—which most likely have entire social media command centers backed by the best enterprise-level software available—were ignoring a potential sale, an intern at a tiny eight-person company won the day, and Ted’s business.

Alex showed them all how it’s done… in the Social Age.



Please include with your post:


promo_02Mark Babbitt is the CEO and Founder of YouTern, a talent community that enables college students, recent graduates and young careerists to become highly employable by connecting them to high-impact internships, mentors and contemporary career advice. Mark has been featured as a keynote speaker and workshop director by the Tiger Woods Foundation, Smithsonian Institute and National Association of Colleges and Employers. He is an in-demand speaker at colleges and fraternities, including UCLA, the California State University system, New York University, Delta Sigma Pi and Alpha Kappa Psi.


promo_03Together with Ted Coiné they will be releasing their book A World Gone Social on September 22, 2014.