Chris Brogan Coaches Dallas’ Social Media Farm Team

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Chris Brogan

I saw Chris Brogan (@ChrisBrogan) speak last Thursday night at the Angelika—a real coup for the Dallas Social Media Club (#smcdallas). Chris Brogan is an eleven-year veteran of using social media, web technologies, and mobile applications to build digital relationships for businesses, organizations, and individuals. He consistently ranks near the top of official blogger lists. Very impressive. I have been a fan of his no-nonsense blog and prodigious tweet stream for a while.

He was certainly convivial—quite clever and coy; however, I gotta admit it. I did not really receive much meat for the price of admission (and I’m not talking about the decimated appetizer bar). I’m talking figurative meat—those insider ah-ha moments and golden nuggets, those epiphanies that come from being submerged and steeped in the social media soup 24/7 and still thirsting for more.

He confessed that he wrote the talk on the plane, and I do think I saw him referring to a cocktail napkin a time or two. I will say that I loved his rapier wit, teddy-bear approachability, and keen sense of comic timing—kind of the Robin Williams of social media. Yet, there were many non sequiturs and streams of consciousness which seemed to flow off course at times. To be fair, I suspect he is used to speaking to the social-media uninitiated, so he focuses on the brass tacks (as opposed to the trackbacks). He seemed constantly surprised that we actually got his jokes. But then again, maybe social media is really just that simple:

• Be nice to people.
• Every person is in the company is in sales and customer service.
• Social media is about authentic relationship building.
• Be there before the sale – social media is about listening, helping, responding, and interacting.
• Reciprocity is what makes social media work.
• Highlight customers.
• Ask questions.
• Understand how to network effectively, and don’t stick to “just your vertical.”

I really liked this concept: “What if marketing were 2 parts helpline, 2 parts connection, and only 1 part selling?” And I liked his concept of farming and tending the garden (Hmmm . . . glad to know my blog of Aug. 23, 2009, was on the right track.) Just don’t want to confuse farming with Farmville. He encouraged us to think about planting seeds, tending, watering, and nurturing growth.

Still, I can’t help asking: Is this a ‘medium is the message’ lesson? (Chris did reference McLuhan several times . . . and Ogilvy) I’m just wondering if the 140-character, truncated messaging of tweets, texts, and pithy comments is defining the way we send and receive content—even in person? Is it impacting spoken language — reformatting and reframing our fundamental speech patterns and synapses? Maybe that’s it. Maybe we are all learning to expect and talk “tweet.”

Guess that means I’d better start brushing up on my Gowalla . . .

What would you like to ask Chris?

4 thoughts on “Chris Brogan Coaches Dallas’ Social Media Farm Team

  1. That’s just it. I think it *is* that simple. The meat, the little tiny details, just aren’t as sexy/useful in person. I save most of that for blogging and books.

    You do have the details of what I find valuable in here. By the way, I really like your writing style. I subscribed to your blog because of your style alone (after reading this post).

    Hmm, what other meat would I give you?

    So, let’s say that you took just the “ask questions” part above. To me, the trick is, WHICH questions, asked how, and then what do you do with the answers? We worked with a company and showed them the simplest of things: their forms were very information-heavy for marketing, but not very useful for gaining customer insight. So, we removed about 30 questions and asked 4 new ones. Results? Immediate.

    So, I dunno. Maybe sometimes we’re looking for a recipe book when what I’m giving is the smell and ambiance.

    Should you have a sense of what other meat you want, you let me know. I’m always happy to share.

    Oh! Not a cocktail napkin. Instead of slide decks, I keep a Moleskine notebook with me, and I write my speeches. The reason I did it on the plane is that I spend more time on planes than on the ground. The reason I wrote it the night before is that you can watch all my other speeches (scroll down a bit) already. That was brand new for you, after thinking about SMC Dallas and what might be useful.

    Now, the veering off track? Some of it is planned veering. Other times, I really do get caught up in the moment. It’s part of it.

    As for not being worth the cash, for that I apologize. I’ll endeavor to add more value next time through.

    Thanks for your time. : )

    1. WOW! Thanks for the thoughtful, thorough, helpful, and *flattering* response. Your social savvy is very captivating, indeed. I just thought with all that talk of bacon, I would mention the meat. I really do think our human, in-person communication styles are morphing along with the wired ones. As Clay Shirky points out, it’s not about the technology but about the behavior it enables. “Tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.” — Shirky (Love that quote.)

      Chris,at the end of the day,(on the ground or up in the air)you truly personify your customer service mantra — walking that social media talk. In a word, your bacon’s got sizzle, sir. This conversation was definitely worth the cash. . .and then time. Thanks for making my day. 🙂

      1. I agree with Chris on your writing style. I don’t know half the words your using, but I still like it.

        My reaction was similar, but it dawned on me almost instantly that the real key is the approach, and actually doing something with this knowledge we have. The farming part, if you will.

        We humans want a formula for everything. To Chris’ point, maybe there isn’t a set formula for succeeding with social media. Maybe it starts with the person, and then the person uses social media just to get themselves more connected. And because others like the person, the social media tactics just work.

        As for how we now interact in person, I think you’re on to something. Of course, it only paves the way for those who can really connect in person to stand out even more.


      2. Brett – Thank you for your kudos.You are very kind. Writing this blog is one of my favorite forms recreation, so you make feel like I’m “in the zone.” And I loved your comments. It’s difficult to impose a formula on the nuances of personality–the social part is just so mysterious and seductive. But I’m totally with you on feeling the weight of “doing something” with our knowledge. My daily focus . . .indeed. Thanks for responding.

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