Despite the fact that Third Tuesday Ottawa was held on the first Monday of December, and despite the fact that 40cm of white fluffy pain fell on the city during the day, the night, which featured Richard Brinhammer of Direct2Dell fame, was definitely a successs.
To be honest, Richard was not what I expected from a living, breathing social media case study. Far from a utopian social media zealot, he’s a gruff, opinionated, and extremely intelligent communicator who is surprisingly pragmatic about the role of social media. That said, there’s no question that he’s a believer in what Dell is doing with Direct2Dell and Ideastorm.
A few things stood out at me in his recounting of his experience with Dell’s online reputation management. First, he mentioned that their methodology is still getting reports from Technorati and Google, and bringing them all together in an Excel sheet. Dell is mentioned over 4,000 times per day. What’s your excuse for not listening to what bloggers are saying about your company?
He also mentioned that when responding to bloggers, Technorati ranking is never considered. In his words, “we don’t know where the next perfect storm will come from.” Technorati scores are great for a lot of things, but it’s hardly a reflection of a blog’s true influence. If I have 100 readers, but they’re all named Scoble, Israel and Arrington, then I’ve got more influence than many bloggers with thousands of readers.
I think the comment that resonated with me the most was when Richard said that the main effect of blogging and interacting with the blogosphere was that Dell “started worrying less about transactional relationships and more about relationship relationships.” Given my recent post on the subject of transaction, it was nice to have my thinking validated.
It was nice to put a real face to the example we all pull out when clients ask us about blogging, because it reminded me of something that I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time – at the end of the day, social media is not about corporate strategy and ROI. It’s about people. From what I saw, Richard is good people.