New Links and Big Changes for 2008

I’ve been doing some blog juggling recently. I am slowly moving everything off of the WordPress.com platform and onto my own server. I am still using WordPress software, but I am free to tinker with extras and plugins, and design if I wish.

I have also decided to separate some of the things that I do, instead of aggregate. JasonTheodor.com will be my place for online rambling, thoughts, experiments, announcements, and information about me.

The work on my book, my workshops, lectures, and the like will eventually be moved to ThereIsNoBox.ca.

The LifeFocus™ System will come to life on it’s own website sometime in the new year.

1percent.wordpress.com, my communal link blog, has been moved to 1over100.com (1/100).

Just thought you should know.

AT&T Lets Their Brand Burn

AT&T DeathstarMany companies have call centres that are incapable of improvisation. They have absolutely no leeway for sympathy or compassion. No flexible imagination. The short term view is that caring costs money. If they keep the calls short, force everyone to pay what is due without exceptions, there will be a better bottom line.

At the moment AT&T has a few negative branding issues. It is embroiled in a class-action lawsuit for participating in illegal wiretapping with the NSA. They are accused of censoring politically sensitive broadcasts, like the ‘mistake’ made during a Pearl Jam concert when the sound was cut as Eddie Vedder sang, “George Bush, leave this world alone.” Even their own privacy policy (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) states, “AT&T — not customers [emphasis added] — owns customers’ confidential info and can use it ‘to protect its legitimate business interests…” The only shine on the ‘Deathstar’ (as it is sometimes referred to) is that they are the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States. And look how eager programmers are to make sure each update to the iPhone is cracked and open as soon as possible to bypass the need for AT&T’s services. (see Wikipedia article for more context)

Now witness AT&T’s treatment of Matt and Danelle Azola, a couple from Ramona San Diego who return from their honeymoon to see their California house burn down in the 2007 wildfires. They call AT&T to cancel their services (since they don’t have a house, never mind a television, computer, or phone), and are asked if they managed to rescue the satellite receiver. When Danelle tells them it was destroyed in the fire with all her other worldly possessions, AT&T informs her she will be sent a $300 bill for its replacement. She pleads to a supervisor, but there was no leniency and AT&T policy is strictly enforced. The mail carrier will just have to place that AT&T bill on a smoking pile of ash where the front door used to be.


[UPDATE: One of the many drawbacks of youtube is not only the horrible quality, but of course, you can never control the reliability of the link. Sorry.]

AT&T, and let’s be honest— MOST cable/phone/internet providers— take a short-term view of their customers. There is so much churn, and so many choices, that they go for the bottom line. They outsource, they create confusing plans (and groups of bundles of plans), and they treat people like robots. It is dangerous to act this way because without loyal customers, a company is vulnerable.

AT&T had an opportunity to do something extraordinary. They had an opportunity to create some goodwill, to give these customers, who are in extenuating circumstances, an exceptional experience. Imagine if they had offered to give this couple free cellular service for a few months until they were back on their feet, as well as wave any new installation or set-up fees that might be incurred at their new location. How much would that have cost this communications giant? And would that cost not be offset by a completely reversed TV news item, where a couple extolled AT&T as the one bright light in their storm?

Instead AT&T makes sure to kick them when they are down. And that creates negative equity, bad word of mouth, and Brand Decay sets in. The Azola’s didn’t even make this video. It was created by yet another disenfranchised customer who wanted to broadcast his or her unhappiness with the brand. AT&T isn’t seeing a lot of love these days. Without treating their own paying customers with respect, without creative solutions to unique problems, it will become increasingly difficult for them to keep and acquire customers. They need to start thinking more about the long term.

Jason Theodor Talks on Social Media Today #26 – Toyota WoW, Dove Onslaught, and Radiohead In Rainbows

I have the esteemed honour of being interviewed in Social Media Today #26.

Social Media TodayI discovered the Social Media Today podcast in May of 2007 while researching the term “Social Media Optimization”, a label coined by Rohit Bhargava from Ogilvy Public Relations. He gave a good interview about the topic, and I was hooked. At the time Maggie Fox was at the helm as interviewer, but she recently passed the torch to Douglas Walker, a marketing blogger and entrepreneur among many many other things.

Last Sunday Doug interviewed me via Skype. We talked about some new viral marketing ventures, and label-less online music distribution. Here’s the SMT#26 outline:

1:04 Introduction of Jason Theodor

2:10 Discuss Dove Onslaught

10:08 Discuss Toyota World of Warcraft Viral Video

16:16 Discuss Radiohead’s Pay what you want strategy for new Album In Rainbows

21:38 So Long and Jason plugs his stuff

Doug promised to cut out all the ums and ahs and make me sound smart. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, so let me know what you think in the comments.

Listen or download SMT#26 now!

Bacn Bits

UPDATE: Join the Bacn vs Spam facebook group and bring home your thoughts on bacn.

Bacn vs Spam

Bacn (pronounced bacon) is the term given to electronic messages which have been subscribed to and are therefore not unsolicited but are often unread by the recipient for a long period of time. Bacn is email you want but not right now. They differ from Spam (electronic) messages, in that they are not unsolicited and are not necessarily sent in bulk. Bacn messages can be thought of being more useful than spam messages.

No it’s not a typo, but it is a four-letter word. I wasn’t going to post about this, but a few things have changed my mind.

First: I found this great old picture of Pork Cuts at Gutenberg.org and just couldn’t resist modifying it.

Second: I’ve noticed a massive increase in the amount of mail I receive from all the social communities I’ve joined: Pownce, Twitter, Jaiku, Mashable, GetSatisfaction, Flickr, Facebook, even MySpace sometimes. It’s mail I want to read, just not right now. Arguably, it deserves its own term. I usually end up archiving this mail, then going to the ‘offending yet not-offending’ site and blazing through a bunch of notices and requests, then returning to whatever I was doing. Now I’m going to create a new tag/folder called bacn and flow all of these extraneous message into it.

Third: I’m always interested in the latest memes. Even meme’s I can’t stand. I tried to resist the word awesome in the 80s when all my friends started using it, but eventually caved on that one too. Still, it’s fun to see how fast and far these catchwords spread. In just a few days (6 as of this post) bacn has gone from a mention at PodCamp Pittsurgh on August 18th, 2007 to being featured by major news organizations. It is out of control in my feed-reading circles: wikipedia (being considered for deletion, so I’m not the only one questioning this term), boingboing, wired, the uk telegraph, the washington post, metafilter, and buzzfeed.

Bacn has it’s own bacn: official site, official shirt, twitter feed, and official video. Thanks to me it now has it’s own useless Facebook group as well (Bacn vs Spam)

TiNB (there is no box) marketing would suggest that coining the right new word can generate a LOT of attention, especially if it describes something geeks can identify with. Why geeks? Because they are prone to mass distribution: blogs, microblogs, social networks, and mobile messages. Which terms have you coined lately?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.