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Is Your Human Showing?

"I was dumbstruck. There, in a few pages, I read a startlingly concise summary of everything I’d seen in twenty-one years as a reporter, editor, bureau chief, and columnist for my newspaper. The idea that business, at bottom, is fundamentally human. That natural, human conversation is the true language of commerce. That corporations work best when the people on the inside have the fullest contact possible with the people on the outside." | The Cluetrain Manifesto

Like most of us, I have friends who simply don’t understand social media. When the topic comes up, their default response is typically something along the lines of: “I love you, Amy, but I don’t need to know if you’re standing in line at Starbucks. And frankly, I don’t care what you had for breakfast.”

A recent study conducted at Elizabethtown College, however, suggests that may not be entirely true.

In order to examine the role of self-disclosure in perceived credibility, 120 students between the ages of 18 and 23 were split into three groups. Each group followed the tweeting of a supposed professor. One group saw only scholarly tweets, one group saw only social tweets and the last group saw a mix of the two. Each "professor" included the same number of tweets and hyperlinks. Students were asked to rate the credibility of the professor they followed based on the tweets they observed.

The highest ratings were given by students who saw only personal tweets. Mixing in scholarly tweets had no effect on the score.

So what does that mean for marketers? Is it time to start urging our clients to abandon all industry talk in order to start spilling the beans about the aftermath of one too many tequila shots last weekend? Not so much. But it is time to start encouraging them to be real.

Scary? Maybe. Necessary? Definitely.

Welcome to a brave new world. The days of talking at people are over. It’s time to start talking with people. In order to do that, we have to take down our walls, step out from behind the desk and podium and (in the wise words of an MTV series) “start getting real.”

It’s time to show our humanness.

Originally posted on the Brains on Fire Blog

Just a Love Machine

Today I’d like to talk about Todd.

A TODD Talk, if you will.

Meet Todd. We know his name because it isembroidered on a patch sewn to the unassuming beige jumpsuit he wears Monday through Friday. Todd drives a truck full of soda. Day in and day out he stops at various locations around the city, quietly letting himself in and out ofoffice buildings, schools, churches, malls and lobbies. After refilling theemptied racks inside glowing red machines, Todd returns to his truck and heads down the road to the next destination on his list.

Sounds kind of unremarkable, doesn’t it?

Here is what you may not know: Todd is a silent super hero. A secret agent of surprise and smiles. A wielder of happiness. Todd comes and goes - usually without being noticed - but what he leaves behind is felt and shared by many.


When I first saw the video, a quote from the Brains on Fire Book immediately came to mind: Be famous for the people who love you and for the way you love them.

With just a few modifications (and a little help from Todd), Coca Cola turned a soda machine into a happiness machine. Not only did they transform the unremarkable act of buying a beverage into a love-love experience between the brand and their fans, they created an infectious love-love-share experience their fans wanted to celebrate together.


Take a little time to reflect today. When was the last time your brand really loved the people who love you? And more importantly, what kind of love will you be famous for?


Originally posted on the Brains on Fire Blog