From Battledecks to measuring ROI – PodCamp Boston (#PCB4) was a huge success!

Podcamp Boston 4Recently I attended my first Podcamp in Boston, the birthplace of the original Podcamp, founded by Christopher Penn and Chris Brogan, back in 2006. From the show of hands to find out who else was new to the “UnConference,” I realized that I wasn’t the only newbie – there were actually too many of us to count. If you are unaware of what Podcamp is all about, according to the official Podcamp site, “A PodCamp is a BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media enthusiasts and professionals including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers, and anyone curious about new media.”

I was amazed at the size of the crowd, especially during a weekend conference on one of the nicest days of the summer. It was a wonderfully diverse audience but despite this diversity, the common theme joining us together was our passion to learn – from the sessions and, of course, from one another.

If you weren’t able to attend, don’t fret. CC_Chapman put together this awesome slideshow that includes some great shots from the entire weekend. See anyone you know?

Aside from the hilarious Battledecks and Pecha Kucha session led by Gradon Tripp – where he shares with us the 24 reasons why Twitter sucks – I wanted to highlight the “False Metrics and ROI” session led by Leslie Poston.

During one part of her session, Leslie stressed the importance of first listening to your customers because they are talking about you. If you don’t currently have a social media strategy in place to listen to what your customers and the industry are saying about your business, then you could potentially be dealing with a big PR nightmare like the one that happened with Domino’s Pizza, where a few employees decided it would be fun to post a video on YouTube as they “tampered” with the food. After only two days, that little video was viewed more than 550,000 times, potentially damaging the 50-year-old brand that Domino’s has worked so hard to build. Luckily, Domino’s was watching and listening, and they were able to take action immediately.

But not all companies are as social media savvy….at least not yet.

For example, we can’t discuss listening and not bring up the United Airlines situation where they mistreated musician David Carroll’s equipment while he watched helplessly from his seat on the plane. After trying to resolve the issue privately, which proved ineffective, David decided to create his own music video about what happened and posted it to YouTube. That video went on to receive almost five million views and tons of online buzz. Finally, after more than a year of disputes, United finally admitted they were in the wrong and decided to compensate David for his damaged equipment – A little too late in my opinion.

Listening to online conversations doesn’t have to be difficult. As Leslie pointed out, there are several online tools (both paid and free) available to help any organization do a better job of listening to online chatter. These tools are designed to make social media participation easier and more streamlined, as well as help companies do a better job in monitoring and managing their online presence. Some of the tools she highlighted include:

  • Radian6 (paid)
  • BlvdStatus.com (free, offers campaigns)
  • Google Alerts (free, keyword based, boolean search terms to help you narrow)
  • Google Analytics (free, fully customizable)
  • DNA13 (Paid, encompasses print and web)
  • HaveAMint (free, fully programmable in php)

If you aren’t currently using some of these tools above, you may be doing more work than you should. Don’t miss out on valuable discussions – both positive, which you’ll want to elevate – and, as in the cases outlined above – some negative, which you’ll want to address as soon as possible

If you are interested in seeing Leslie’s Podcamp session for yourself, you can view it in two parts below:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Overall, PodCamp Boston was an amazing experience and it will definitely not be my last. In fact, there are plans in the works to bring the first PodCamp to New Hampshire and I am proud and very excited to be on the planning committee for that event. If you haven’t been, be sure to find one in your area and go. I guarantee a quick ROI on your very small investment!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Thomsen

From Mashable To Uptown Uncorked, Leslie Poston is Definitely Lost in Technology

As we introduced last month, we continue our “Journalists Are People Too” series with a Q&A from Leslie Poston. This girl is one busy writer!

PPR: What is Uptown Uncorked?

LP: Uptown Uncorked is a business development and social marketing consultancy I started here in Boston. We focus on helping people and businesses learn to navigate the waters of social media tools to build their business, promote their brand, engage the customer, and build lasting social leverage that we then help turn into real world, off line successes and sales. We work with several SMBs but our specialty is in the industries of restaurants, bars, wineries, distilleries, distributors, sports clubs and trainers, musicians, artists, photographers, actors and others like them. As part of Uptown Uncorked, I also do presentations, classes and speaking engagements (I recently led a discussion called ‘ROI is Not Money’ at Jeff Pulver’s Social Media Jungle 08, for example).


Leslie Poston at Social Media Jungle

I run Uptown Uncorked with help from my partner, Triston. We find that with a Gen X and a Gen Y running the show, each with different specialties, more of our clients’ potential issues and markets are covered.

PPR:  You also write for Mashable, yes? What is your focus there?

Mashable is one of the blogs that I write for regularly as a Guest Author. I also helped them with some more regular social media news coverage while they were between permanent staff last month. I write collections of posts such as my Real World Change 2.0 series for them, submitting my ideas only if they seem to fit with Mashable’s audience.

I have also guest posted on Technosailor, Media Bulls Eye, and Louis Gray’s blog.  I have had a permanent position for about two years or so as a senior writer for the Blorge family of blogs and have a new gig as an author for Lost in Technology as well as maintaining my own blogs for my company and on politics, Apple computers, and other pet topics. Before Blorge I wrote for other technology blogs, including Profy.  I got my start in journalism as a reporter, then Managing Editor, for an offline financial weekly newsletter and yearly sourcebook.

PPR: Your Twitter handle is @geechee_girl – where did that name come from?

My Twitter handle was an accident! In fact, my own Twitter handle (which is now my handle on most other social networks for brand consistency) is the inspiration for a talk I give on the importance of choosing your brand wisely, even if you don’t think you’ll take to social media or use it for long. When I first found Twitter I thought it was a bit silly. Since I am from South Carolina originally and had just explained the concept of “geechee girls” to someone on GTalk, I decided to have a little fun with my name and chose geechee_girl as a joke – poking fun at myself in a tongue in cheek manner.  Well, my Twitter experience took off rapidly and I soon found myself “geechee_girl” forever. I don’t mind, I have a healthy sense of humor, especially about myself, but I definitely would have gone with my real name if I’d known how much time I’d spend on Twitter!

PPR:  You’ve been on Twitter for how long? How have you seen it evolve? How do you use it?

I was in the second wave of early adopters of Twitter. I didn’t jump on the band wagon right away when it appeared at SXSW in March 2006, but a few months later I finally tried it, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I use Twitter to connect with people, and to connect people.  It is both my playground and a resource, and I find both sides appealing. I have found lasting friends on Twitter, people to collaborate with on business, inspiration, a way to help social causes do good in the real world, a social calendar of events, an event planning service that can’t be beat, a research tool, a place to promote not only my writing but the writing of others, a place to discover wine, art and music, a place to discover people who share my interests and people who can teach me about theirs, to connect with people and companies, and so much more. Twitter isn’t for everyone, but it has become a vital part of my day.

PPR: What is your favorite time of day and why?

Night time. If you follow me on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn or other networks then you already may have noticed that I talk the most and work the best late at night and into the morning. Being a night owl runs in my family – it is not uncommon for my sisters, my mother and I to have phone calls or instant message sessions at 2 AM to catch up with each other.

PPR: What’s the most memorable moment of your life?

I have led an adventurous life. I’ve done so much, and experienced so much, both good and bad, that I don’t think I can pick one moment. Every second has shaped who I am and is shaping who I will become in the future. I believe everyone should live their life with no regrets, as if every minute counted.

PPR:  Do you have pets?

Yes! I have an “antique” dog, a 13 year old Rottweiler named Harley. He is 150 pounds of pure couch potato

PPR:  What do you do when you aren’t working?

I love to do a wide variety of things, though some of them I haven’t had time for in a while.  I love to downhill ski, water ski, play hockey (goalie), watch sports (hockey, UFC, MMA, football, baseball, etc), hike (in the past I went on a two week trek into the Trinity Alps, that was fun), read, write fiction, sing and play piano (both of which I am mediocre at), play at being an amateur gourmet chef, bake, taste wines and whiskeys, dance and so much more.

PPR:  If you could have any other career and money wasn’t an issue, what would it be?

I love what I do, but I’ve always wanted to be a singer-songwriter. I’ll content myself with appalling the neighbors with my stunning shower rendition of tunes from Les Miserablés and keep my day job, however.