Social Media Branding and Bringing Your Best Self


Eric Melin

Featuring: Eric Melin

Recorded on: April 07, 2015


Links for Eric Melin:

Scene Stealers Twitter LinkedIn

Show Description

Eric Melin, the Senior Social Media Community Manager at Callahan Creek, joins the show for one of my favorite conversations so far.  With Eric, you pretty much just need to say, “Eric, could you please start talking?” and a great conversation will begin.  The show gets going when we learn about his origins as a musician, then a film critic, and moving into marketing while always staying true to who he is.  All of these characteristics are present when you talk to Eric.  This is why I believe he is the best spokesman to cover finding your voice and personal/corporate branding.  We cover some great topics on developing your brand and how to ensure you are bringing your best self forward.  As a bonus throughout the show, Eric mentions some great social media tools.  Tools like TweetDeck and Buffer, along with his workflow and practices, help you get a feel for the level of effort a successful social media marketer goes through on a daily basis.  I know you will enjoy this show as much as I did recording it.

(Rating: PG-13 due to brief strong language)

The Threes

I asked Eric how our listeners could find their voice in social media and in the communities they live in based on a recent presentation and blog post he created.  He suggests you do the following:

  • Find your Values
  • Find your Strengths
  • Find your Why

Influencers


Show Transcript

Jeff Julian
Hi. Welcome back to the Midwest Marketing Show. I know that we've had a little break in-between our last show. Today, I'm excited to bring our guest, Eric Melin, from Callahan Creek. Eric, why don't you give us a little introduction about yourself and how you got started into marketing?
Eric Melin
Well, let's see. I've been doing it now for, I guess, about seven or eight years, which isn't very long. What happened is ... Boy, this is a long story.
Jeff Julian
That's good!
Eric Melin
I'll try to make it as short as possible.
Jeff Julian
That's what's awesome about audio. You can trim or you can let it roll.
Eric Melin
I dropped out of college after two years, joined a band, went on tour, got a record deal, and then got dropped. Then, joined another band, got a record deal, went on tour, and got dropped. After five or six records with two different bands, I went back to KU to finish a degree. I decided to get a film degree because my passion is film and music, as well. I was not knowing what I was going to do but I launched a blog immediately. I went into film criticism because I told myself, going to back what you and I were talking about before we started, which has nothing to do now because no one's heard it. I started being a voice. This goes back to what we're going to talk about today. Trying to figure out where I fit in in the world of film criticism as I'm going to film school. By the time I graduated, I was writing movie reviews for the Kansas City Star and the Lawrence Journal World freelance.
Eric Melin
Doing stuff like that. That got me to this website that I was working on called, "Scene-stealers.com," which is in its tenth year now. There was a software company called "Spiral 16" that had a couple guys that were running these media websites. They basically launched scene-stealers with me. At one point, employed me to try to build out a Rotten Tomatoes version of way back then, before Rotten Tomatoes existed. Let's just say that you know what happened. There's Rotten Tomatoes and scene-stealers does not look like that. I ended up writing. I was doing journalism for ... God, I knew this wasn't going to be short. I worked for Penton Media in Overland Park, which had a couple film-related magazines. I was writing articles for them and being an editor. Spiral hired me to write their software manual, do all the technical writing and be their copywriter and proofer. Then, the marketing person quit.
Jeff Julian
Oh, yeah!
Eric Melin
The nice thing is, Twitter was in its infancy. South by Southwest had just happened. They just launched and I was there. I got in on the ground floor of blogging and video blogging and things like that with YouTube. I was right there at that moment. It was very easy for me to pivot and be, "Well, I'm already doing all this new tech stuff. I guess I'm a social media marketer."
Jeff Julian
That's amazing how all paths lead to content marketing. While you're doing South by Southwest and the film stuff, I'm on the other side of the software developer building content management systems running in the content marketing, having a very similar path. I was pissed off. I wanted a voice. I started a blog community and wanted to be the next big thing. Of course, it wasn't. It was big, but it wasn't Facebook or anything.
Eric Melin
That's funny because I've been to South by Southwest before in both of my bands. Then, I went for the film. Now, I've been to interactive a couple of times. It's like I keep going back to Austin. It just depends on what year it is, the reason that I'm there. It's fun. In fact, the last time I was there was two years ago. Ultimate Fakebook, one of my old two bands, had a reunion show at South by Southwest.
Jeff Julian
That's pretty cool.
Eric Melin
They paid for us to come there and play. I was, "All right. Cool. I guess I'm going back for music this time."
Jeff Julian
This is a big week for you in Kansas City then.
Eric Melin
Middle of the Map Fest. Yeah. Unfortunately, my latest band, The Dead Girls, which was going for ten years, broke up in December. Cameron, our singer, is currently teaching English in China.
Jeff Julian
Oh, wow!
Eric Melin
This is the first year we're not participating in Middle of the Map Fest for a while.
Jeff Julian
That's unfortunate, but maybe next year, right?
Eric Melin
Yeah. They're doing the Film Festival this week, which I'm really excited about.
Jeff Julian
Yeah. Let's go back to where you're at now because that's a diverse upbringing. Now, you are senior social media community manager, which is a title and a half ...
Eric Melin
Yes.
Jeff Julian
... at Callahan. What does the day-to-day look like of your work?
Eric Melin
Basically, the day never stops, so to speak. Basically, I get up in the morning and I check my phone. Anything that's happening on any of the communities that I'm in charge of, has to be responded to. I usually do that in the morning. I'll take a shower. I'll go to work. I'll check them all again once I get to work. Then, it's just a matter of knowing at what point the content that you need to put up for each community is going to go. There's a lot of analytics, depending on what day of the week it is. On Monday, I have to run a bunch of reports and put things together for the clients. In addition to doing client work, I also run Callahan Creek's social media as well. That's me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Jeff Julian
Oh, wow!
Eric Melin
On Twitter, I have eight Twitter accounts.
Jeff Julian
Wow! I hate to see what your Hootsuite looks like.
Eric Melin
I use TweetDeck.
Jeff Julian
Yeah.
Eric Melin
It looks like gibberish to everybody else but to me it is the sweetest thing ever. I log in and everything I need is right there.
Jeff Julian
You have a dedicated monitor. It's like your stock exchange over here.
Eric Melin
Yeah. It's amazing. This is one of the things ... One of the presentations that I've given recently is trying to help people understand that if you make Twitter work for you, that it is the best content resource around, still.
Jeff Julian
Absolutely.
Eric Melin
If you put together lists, if you use Twitter lists, which I think is the most criminally under-used tool that Twitter has, you will have all of the information that you need for each of your personalities. I call them my multiple personalities at your fingertips. That's a huge part. I will spend, usually the morning on TweetDeck. I will go through all of my lists. Everything is parted out into its own subject matter. I have all of my film experts right here. I have all of my content marketing experts. I have people for different verticals that I can't talk about in there. I'm always seeing the notifications. I'm responding to people. I'm ... Depending on the personality and the engagement rules of each account. It's second nature now. I go through and do that. I schedule the stuff out using a tool called "Buffer." Do you use Buffer?
Jeff Julian
Yeah.
Eric Melin
Buffer is amazing. I only discovered ... I knew it existed but I only had a reason to pay for it a year ago. Since I've been into it, it's expanded. I'm using it in more than half of the accounts that I'm doing now. I just opened up ... Started using it on LinkedIn last week. I'm really impressed because I prefer to have control over what I post completely. I want to know exactly what's going to be where and I want to know what that image is going to look like.
Jeff Julian
Yeah, exactly.
Eric Melin
How big it's going to display because it's so key to getting the engagement numbers that I need. I've found that LinkedIn man, it works just as well to put it in through Buffer. It actually shows you a preview that looks really close to what it's going to look like. If you started to do it enough, you can get a really good feel for it. It really helps me on days like this when by coming here early in the morning, my morning is completely filled up. I've got two hours and I'm not in front of TweekDeck right now. I'm not in front of Buffer. I need to have things going in the background. I left work yesterday. I made sure that I was good for content through this morning and probably through lunch. You keep checking in. Keep refilling the coffers.
Jeff Julian
Last week, I was teaching a workshop. I told the class that the entire marketing department of AJi is on vacation today, teaching this class.
Eric Melin
Nice!
Jeff Julian
Everything else has to keep going. You have to take that time and say, "I'm putting this stuff in a place in tools like Buffer." I wished TweetDeck did a better job at scheduling, especially of images.
Eric Melin
That was the thing. When I discovered Buffer, it was a big revelatory thing. You still can schedule images in TweekDeck, which is great. Once you start scheduling in TweetDeck, it puts it all into one column.
Jeff Julian
Yeah.
Eric Melin
I've got eight Twitter accounts, I can't have all these different columns showing what's scheduling. It doesn't make any sense to me.
Jeff Julian
All under one feed.
Eric Melin
Yeah. The other nice thing about Buffer is that you can drag-and-drop a photo in there.
Jeff Julian
Oh, wow!
Eric Melin
I don't have to click something and then search for it. It's a couple of extra steps I can avoid.
Jeff Julian
Yeah, exactly.
Eric Melin
It's really, really nice. That said, there's only one Twitter account I have that runs by itself. I fill it up. For a client, I fill it up once a month. They're spending the tiniest amount of money on it. It's something that goes in the background. In my own spare time, not even on the clock for the client, I'll do some best practices things like Favorite and respond every now and then. It's like, we don't really bill for that. I probably shouldn't say that!
Jeff Julian
It's all right. I'm one of those eager over loaders that looks at all the billable hours and goes, "Why aren't you voicing this?" I totally understand. There's times that salespeople go to talk to clients and people who are doing the work should give a little bit of extra value to make it set apart.
Eric Melin
Honestly, I think, for me, it's a matter of personal pride. It's like, I know that you're only spending this much money on this account, but I'm still going to give you the bottom line best practices because I'm so used to checking my phone 1,000 times a day. If somebody says something and I realize that it's an opportunity for a great response, then I'll go ahead and do it.
Jeff Julian
Yeah.
Eric Melin
You know what I mean? It's what I do.
Jeff Julian
I can't wait until the agency world gets so far away from the law firm world where we've got to bill for faxes and everything like that. It's, "Come on. Just do good work for our clients. They'll come back. They'll continue to love us." It's all audience building. It's all experience. It doesn't have to be free here until you cross this threshold. Then, it's billable. When you're gone, it goes free again until you come back.
Eric Melin
It's all happening. It's heading in that direction. The great thing that's happening at Callahan right now that I love, is that we're expanding what we do for clients. We get a client. We do a good job for them. They go, "Oh, wow! That was unexpected. What else can you do?"
Jeff Julian
Exactly.
Eric Melin
We're like, "We can do this."
Jeff Julian
We've got a whole lot of stuff we can do.
Eric Melin
That's part of the reason that I'm there now. We only have a two man social media team. It's Ben Smith and myself. When he got hired there, I knew that they were going to make it a priority because Ben is such a force of nature in this social media world. When I found out he was there, I was, "Well, I want to be there too."
Jeff Julian
That sounds like fun. I love getting to work with like-minded people that have energy.
Eric Melin
Absolutely. Yeah.
Jeff Julian
Recently, you had a blog post on one of those Callahan blogs where you talked about melding your personal and your professional brand, your corporate brand. That's what I want to focus on, on the show. Why do you feel this topic is important? What did you hope your audience would take away from the presentation you did on the same topic and then the post?
Eric Melin
Wow. Let's see. The presentation itself is about 72 slides. Obviously, I have too much to say about the subject. I think, to narrow down the entire thing to one sentence, which you often have to do. What I wrote was, "Bring your best self." It's interesting, because going back to my history, in my 20s, when I was touring in the band, eating Taco Bell every day and playing at crappy clubs. That was awesome and that was the life. It was amazing. Ultimate Fakebook, the band that I was in, we were ... How shall I say? Not good marketers. We always thought, "Well, we have fans that genuinely like our music. When we go play in these places, people have our records. They're excited to meet us and to see us play. The music will take care of itself." That was the dumbest thing ever. I think about it. As the internet was just getting going and forums and things like that were being developed, we were already doing what I do now. We weren't sealing the deal in the online world. We were meeting people at shows. We were creating communities. All these kids who went to our shows wanted to hang out and talk to each other. The only place they could do was this Ultimate Fakebook website that wasn't up to snuff because it wasn't the social media world yet. We didn't understand how to build communities. I look back at that. I'm, "Man! If it was ten years later ... I would be kicking ass on that right now. We'd be able ..."
Jeff Julian
So many bands during that era left it up to their fan club. You hoped that you had enough influences that they would form a fan club. Then, they would build an online forum and that would just take off. I was part of the Everclear fan club.
Eric Melin
There you go! Nice!
Jeff Julian
We would follow Everclear around. We'd have them sign shirts. I got into Jimmie's Chicken Shack and some of these other small, obscure bands. My friend saw Jimmie's Chicken Shack the other day. It was some tiny little club, but the guy was out working the crowd, using Facebook and building an audience. It's like, "Wow! That is cool. That's how you do this digital thing. You build audiences."
Eric Melin
Essentially, if you look at that bottom line of "Bring your best self." It's taking what I was already doing and doing it in a professional way now. Still keeping the personality and the things that make you unique, because you don't want to be some corporate shill or some guy who's talking about his company or his job all the time. That's one of the things that I think is really important is people ... They ask me. "I've got two different Twitter accounts.", they say. "I've got one that I keep on private, that I use for my friends. We talk about sports. We talk about pop culture and all this stuff over here. On the other side, I have my business one." I'm, "That's exhausting, isn't it?" They're, "Yeah. It is."
Jeff Julian
Twitter mullet.
Eric Melin
I'm, "Why don't you put them together? I guarantee you that the stuff you're saying about sports and pop culture is going to differentiate you from all the other people who are talking about their business, their job, or marketing or whatever it is that they do." Bring your best self means it doesn't mean you have to necessarily censor yourself. It means you have to act like a grownup. I think, at one point, this thing went off in my head when I was first starting out at Spiral 16 and doing social media marketing. It was, "I can be myself." The air guitar stuff was happening at the same time. It's, "How does this weird air guitar person exist in the same world as this social media marketing guy?" I'm, "Well, it is me. It's my job now to figure out how that all works together." If you follow Jason Falls, who is the author of this book, "No Bullshit Social Media Marketing." He doesn't just talk about social media. He's also a huge bourbon fan. This is the example. Going farther than your questions have gotten to this point, but he's one of my influencers on social media. He talks about bourbon all the time. Now, because he's such an influential social media person, people give him free bourbon.
Jeff Julian
That's awesome!
Eric Melin
He's considered an influencer on two subjects that he's really passionate about. What can be better than that? Having people come to you and your business through social media and then also give you free bourbon? It's because of his personality. His book's called, "No Bullshit," and that's how he is. He's not the kind of person who says what you think he's going to say about social media. You go to him for these unfiltered opinions. That's the reason he's been able to build this following.
Jeff Julian
That's awesome. I had a crisis of our company. We were, over the past ten years, originally we were IT-focused completely. We were a dev, building awesome systems. Sometimes marketing people used the systems, but we didn't give a rap about them. They didn't know anything. They were going to put words in. It really lived over here in the dev site. As that shift occurred, as marketing started to take over the budget, I had to become a personality over here. I was one of eight in the world who worked with a Microsoft team on XAML and a co-author of a share point point. In a five year span, I'm now presenting in front of AMA events and talking to marketers. I'm writing a book on Agility in Marketing. Part of that behind-the-scenes persona for me is being anal about getting work done and organizing yourself, bridging the gap, taking Agile out of my dev world and applying it to the marketing world has been one of the easiest ways for me to be able to start living in this space where the gender rules have changed. You have two girls in the room, in the IT world. Now, you have two boys in the room in the marketing world. Right? That's difficult when you're up on stage and you look out in the audience. There's 100 women looking back to you. Where, before, it was 100 guys looking back to you. That's a mind shift. Building that personality but still leaning back on who you are and what you go into and finding those analogies that you know work in your life of fitness. I'm a runner, so I incorporate running. If I'm into music, I incorporate music. It works. People love that stuff. It's that storytelling aspect. You can't tell stories unless you really experience what you're talking about.
Eric Melin
Coming from working at a software start-up, I totally understand that mentality. There was this weird separation for a while where it's the guys who lived downstairs in the basement. They do this. It's, if the people upstairs wanted this change to the software because a user said it would make this easier, they'd be like, "Whoa! That's not easier. It's worse because of this. In our world, this is some crutch or blah, blah, blah. They don't need that. They can do this." It's, "Well, it's kind of ..." You've got to think about that kind of stuff. It's an interesting path to get me here. It was all leading up to that because you can see that mentality and how that happened. That was ... To use your thing earlier. That was an analogy to what I was doing in the band. You can only be inside yourself for so long before you have to look outside of it. I hate to say it, and going back to what we're talking about, about personal and professional branding, you have to stand outside yourself. You have to look at how people are viewing you. If you don't take control of the way that people are viewing you, they will get the wrong idea. Or, an idea that you don't want them to have. The biggest analogy for that is Google. If you Google yourself right now, that's what people think of you. Before they meet you, that's what they've got. They might find you on Twitter. They might find you on LinkedIn. If you have a Facebook group or a public profile, they might find you there. For the most part, people are going to Google you and whatever articles come up, whatever pictures come up, whatever ... Those are the ways that people judge you.
Jeff Julian
Exactly.
Eric Melin
In this presentation that I did, I have this guy who ... I don't know how far you got into this, but did you see the other Eric Melin?
Jeff Julian
Yeah.
Eric Melin
He's like my nemesis. I've never met the man.
Jeff Julian
I had a PGA golfer that died of Lou Gehrig's disease. His name was Jeff Julian. I felt bad. I'm always competing with this guy who has charities and all these things named after him. I needed that page rank. I needed to be above him. I've found my nemesis too.
Eric Melin
That's funny. For me, it's really weird because my name is so unique. There's not a lot of Melins out there. I don't know if they're pronounced "Melin" or "Melon" or whatever. This particular guy, he happened to be about a year ahead of me on everything. He hasn't done anything since then. It's frustrating because he still has Ericmelin.com but it looks like it did in 2008. It hasn't really been updated. He's doing all these wrong things. His Twitter account, he updated it during the State of the Union address to say that he was watching it on YouTube. That's been dead for over two years. He has at philanthropists on Twitter. How early would you have had to do that? Nothing's happening with that either. Anyway, I don't want to badmouth him but it's frustrating because he was there before I was. What choice do you have? At that point, you have to take over. If you start putting yourself out there. You start writing articles. You start being on podcasts like this and doing interviews and things like that, just becoming somebody that is a go-to resource for people in your field, you can overcome something like that. In my presentation, I have this screen shot of ... If you Google Eric Melin. If you're going to do this for yourself, you have to log out of Google. You have to clear your cookies and everything. Make sure that you're getting a representation of what somebody else would ... If you Google yourself and you are yourself, it's not going to look the same.
Jeff Julian
No. Little personal results.
Eric Melin
You're going to be, "Wow! I'm great."
Jeff Julian
Exactly. That's the last picture I put up there yesterday. How'd that make its way up the charts?
Eric Melin
Yeah. That worked really well. The funny thing is, when I do log in now, there's one photo of him in the little image thing. The rest of the four or five are me. The funny thing is, they're my profile photos over the last five or six years from social media, which is really, really important. That's another thing. It's so basic. People think, "Oh, I can put up this picture of Captain America's face." Or, "The Furious Seven movie just came out. I love Vin Diesel. I'll put up his face. The logo of my company." Or, "A photo of me vacationing. Look at the Mt. Everest behind me." You know what I mean? No. I'm on TweetDeck. I can't see you at all. I can only see Mt. Everest. I see this little stick figure here. It seems so basic and even took me a while to figure it out. You want to look like you look now.
Jeff Julian
Absolutely.
Eric Melin
The real reason this is important is because if you are out there and you're going to functions. You're meeting people and you're speaking. Or, even you're going to conferences and things like that and you're not speaking, you can strike up a real relationship and have a conversation with somebody. They will remember you later on social media. When I go see Michael Gritto speak, later on, I talk to him three or four months later on Twitter, he remembers, "Oh, that's the air guitar guy."
Jeff Julian
The air guitar with long hair and a beard.
Eric Melin
It doesn't hurt to have something really weird and unique but not everybody has that.
Jeff Julian
I'm sitting here with brown long hair and a beard.
Eric Melin
There you go. I think, again, taking control of that personal branding and thinking. Here's the other thing. I have this other slide in there about being a narcissistic. You can't get away from it. You're going to get those kinds of criticisms where everything's all about you and all about you. Certainly, if you're thinking about that, you can craft your persona. It doesn't have to be all about you. The other side of this is that if you are generous, you share other people's stuff that you think is good, they'll do the same for you. It won't happen right away, especially when you start. You're probably going to be following a lot of people who you want to support and you think are great. You've got 100 followers and they don't care who you are. There are ways around that. Once you keep popping up in their news feed or that you keep popping up in their Twitter account, people start to recognize that profile picture. They go, "Oh, it's Jeff Julian again. That guy's ... He's really cool. He's re-tweeted my last six things." Or, whatever. At that point, a re-tweet is one thing but at a certain point, you have to make an actual real effort to engage with somebody and to have a conversation. I do a lot of re-tweets. I try to also do a lot of personal responses as well. Sometimes, when I get really busy, my feed ... It's the one feed that I will neglect. Not the ones for the clients but sometimes my own. Yesterday, I got really busy and I saw four re-tweets in a row. It was because I'm going through and I'm doing work. I see something. I'm like, "Oh! That's something I believe in." Or, "That's something I'm interested in." Or, "That's somebody I want to help our." I go re-tweet and I move on. For the most part, I think you have to make an effort to slow things down and take a half hour every now and then, really respond to people, read their stuff, and engage with their material because they're going to be there to help you, in the long run. That's how it works. Social media is social. It's such a dumb cliché but going back to meeting kids after shows and stuff. We still do that on social media. I have an Ultimate Fakebook account.
Jeff Julian
Nice!
Eric Melin
It's just me. I have a search running for Ultimate Fakebook. Anytime anybody ever mentions the band, which is about two or three times a week, somebody will say something. "Man, I wish that band was still together." Or, "Remember this band? They were really cool." I hit them back with UFBRocks or Twitter account. I hit them back and I say something funny. They're, "Whoa! You're still here! You're out there." Regrettably, it often comes down to, "Why don't you guys go on tour?" I'm, "Well, that's not going to happen." That's not going to happen but if somebody puts the show together for us and pays us to fly out there, we'll do it. Bill lives in L.A. We could have one show and then have everybody come to us. That would be a great show. If we went on tour, it would be ...
Jeff Julian
We're all grown up now.
Eric Melin
Exactly.
Jeff Julian
I want to talk to you a little bit about ... We've talked about those who are outgoing. Those who are willing to participate and some of the issues that you have when you start to have so many different personas but they don't match or they don't meld well together. What about the guy who doesn't have a Facebook profile or doesn't have a LinkedIn profile or has a LinkedIn profile but with no image? It's three jobs back. What do you think that minimum criteria we need as professionals to be out in these places so when people do search, they find us?
Eric Melin
I would say LinkedIn is exploding right now. It's a really, really great social network to get involved in, especially if you want to manage your career and you want to move forward and get great jobs. But, I think that said, if you want to be updated and do a good job at your job and not focus on building your professional network, at least have your LinkedIn profile updated. Keep it to the point where it's a placeholder that says who you are and what you do. At least, up to the job that you have. That shouldn't take long. Maybe an hour, maybe 90 minutes, at the most. You can use information from your cover letter and your last resume to fill it out.
Jeff Julian
Exactly.
Eric Melin
Make sure that the things that you put on there reflect who you are now. I think LinkedIn, it's perfectly fine to that that be a placeholder, if that's what you need. Whether you're going to interact with people on Facebook or Twitter, is really up to the specific goals that you're trying to figure out for yourself. I think most people are scared of Facebook in terms of being a professional. On Callahan Creek, we've shifted twice or three times even, since last year, what we do on Facebook. Now, what we try to do is project our culture and not so much all these tips and tricks of, "Oh, did you read this new marketing thing?" We still do that a little bit but, for the most part, we're focused on our people because Facebook is a place for friends as they describe it, "Friends and Family." Keeping our profile updated so that it shows the friends and family that we work with. The cool things that our employees do and how they're out in the world. What they're learning and the fun stuff that happens within the walls of Callahan Creek. That's really the focus of that. I don't think there's a lot of professional networking going on on Facebook. Maybe, with the exception of Facebook groups, which I think have really exploded since Facebook has been micro ... Not micromanaging but focusing business pages as much as they have been. Now, business pages are more like a place to build community but also a place where you can put an ad ... Not an ad, a promoted post together and target it to people using all of the amazing, crazy, big brother things that Facebook knows about us right now. Twitter. Twitter's really up to the user. I think ... What exactly was your question? You were, "What was the minimum?"
Jeff Julian
Yeah. Minimum profile for, not necessarily saying, "I want to be a thought leader." Saying, "I want to live in a space and be able to have people find me and be able to have a corporate and a personal brand."
Eric Melin
Don't do Twitter if you're not going to do Twitter. That's what I would say. There's nothing worse than a Twitter account that's been abandoned. I think that's okay for LinkedIn. Like I said earlier, if you're going to put something together like an "About.Me" page, that has all of the places that you're at, I think it might be okay to let Twitter go to pasture a little bit. Anything after a month, you're really not using it, so why bother? I don't think Twitter is a place where you can do the bare minimum. I think you have to make a conscious decision about whether you're going to interact or not. This is what I always tell people is, "When Twitter becomes valuable for you personally, that's when it will become valuable for you professionally." In other words, I don't ... The Journal World's not going to like this. I still write for them. I don't read the newspaper but I check my Twitter account all the time. It's because I've got real time news feeds and communities, sectioned off, into my interests that are constantly updating me faster than the news can. If I want to know anything, I go to Twitter. That's why I'm so active on Twitter because I need to be on Twitter anyway because that's where my information comes from. It leads to all the other places that people go. Sometimes, it'll lead to CNN or The Guardian or whatever for my mainstream news. Other times, it'll lead me to some obscure comic book movie website or something like that. I think that once that clicks with people and they look forward to logging into Twitter to see what's going on in the world, then it's also easier to have that moment where you go, "Oh! Well, if I'm I interested in this, somebody else probably is."
Jeff Julian
Exactly. I tell people to look at the evolution of Twitter. Twitter, around 2006, 2007, was a micro-blogging community. People would take their big blog voice and have conversations in those small characters and they had really no value at that point. It's a communication stream. Then, they started to add the ads. They they started to add the hashtags. The minute you say Google Reader as the consuming voice for people. I subscribed to 1,000 blogs and I have to review every single one to see the ones I want. Once that world shifted to Twitter, people started linking and hashtagging, Google Reader goes away and Feedly is scrapping by, trying to continue. That's the pinnacle point for, I think, Twitter and the way we use and absorb content as I ... If you're going to put your mouth to the water hose and control it, then Twitter is the tool for you. If you're not there and you're not participating in the conversation, you can read Twitter all you want to, but you don't have to actually insert yourself into that conversation.
Eric Melin
I think anybody that does, and I know people that do this, where they just use Twitter for their information feeds, and they don't actually interact. Maybe it's just because of my personality or whatever, but it seems like such a waste. If you're there, man, and you've got this stuff. It's coming to you and you're interested in it, why not shoot it out to other people and tell them what you think about it or whatever. Going to the question that you haven't asked yet about how to ... It's on this sheet of paper.
Jeff Julian
Let's get there. I'll ask the question. Let's talk about the three topics that you address in your presentation of values, strengths, and finding your Y.
Eric Melin
You can do strengths for me and values are very similar. A value is more like a philosophy, a personal philosophy. What's important to you? A strength is obviously what you do good. Finding your Y, I think, really comes from figuring out, at least on Twitter, figuring it out what it is that you're interested in and what you have to say about it. Everybody has an opinion about something. Even though my opinions on film don't always agree with everybody else's, people want to hear what I have to say now. Remember, I'm just a kid who graduated from film school in KU, but because I started writing about it and I've been doing that for ten years, people are, "We've got to hear what he has to say about this." Similarly, because I've been in the social medial world for so long, I'm keeping up on that kind of stuff. People want to hear what I have to say about that. I lost my train of thought ...
Jeff Julian
On finding your Why.
Eric Melin
I guess the idea is that if you already have these interests, and you already have these opinions about it, the important thing is to figure out how to make your opinions. It's not palatable. What's the word I'm looking for? Some people have a really snarky attitude on Twitter, which is okay to have. In fact, if it's part of your Twitter personality or part of your personality that you're building, your professional and personal brand, even better, like Jason.
Jeff Julian
Yeah.
Eric Melin
Right? If it's too snarky ...
Jeff Julian
Is it because the room is closed and you can actually voice your opinion but in reality, you would never say such a thing?
Eric Melin
That's a great way to put it.
Jeff Julian
Then, don't say it.
Eric Melin
Exactly. Exactly. In the same way that I approach film reviews, which is that a group of artists, a team of filmmakers, actors, and writers have made this film. They've all worked really hard on it. If it offends me in some personal way and I think it's a piece of trash, I'll say that but I won't just say that. If it's a film that I think doesn't work for some reason, I'll be honest. Always honest about how I feel about it but knowing that people put a lot of hard work into it, I'm not going to trash it for some dumb reason because ... I'm not going to make fun of the new Tom Cruise movie and then make some joke about him jumping on the couch. I mean, that's ten years' old right now. I don't even read celebrity gossip because it doesn't inform my opinion at all. The movie in front of me is it. Knowing that, take that to a wider perspective. I'm not going to trash somebody because ... Mercilessly trash them and do personal attacks like the Church of Scientology. Funny enough! That we're talking about Tom Cruise. Just to do that. It's going to be me followers and because people are going to think I'm really witty and clever. I'm always considering when I say something like that, that person's going to see it.
Jeff Julian
Yeah.
Eric Melin
Did I voice my opinion in a responsible way? Because that's who I am. Believe or not, I actually measure it. When Cameron Crowe first showed up on Twitter, the filmmaker, Cameron Crowe. Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies of all time. He's on. I see that he's on Twitter. The very first day he's on, I saw it go by. I followed him. I said, "Love @ Cameron Crowe." I added him. I said, "Love Cameron Crowe, but ..." This is when this new Pearl Jam documentary that he was doing was coming out on HBO or something like that. Not too sure about this Pearl Jam doc. He responded. This is his first day on Twitter. He wrote, "We'll get through this, Eric." I was like, "That is the perfect response." I'm literally to one of my heroes, voicing a little bit of regret that he's doing it because I'm not a Pearl Jam fan. I think their music is horrible. Eddie Vedder is responsible for 90% of the bad singing out there today. The growling kind of stuff. God Bless Him. Taking on TicketMaster and things like that, I respect him for everything but their music. I thought the documentary was really bland. It was lip service. He didn't do them any favors because he's so friendly with them, it was really one-sided and really lame. I said that in less than 140 characters. He said something friendly back. I don't know why I brought that up. It's an example of if you're going to put your opinions out there ... I don't know. I guess for me, it's be a little responsible about them.
Jeff Julian
You can look at pop culture and look at American Idol, for instance. It was cool, at first, Simon up there destroying these little kids' hearts. After a while, you get to the point ... They do the shuffle of personalities. They all try to be the same thing. They all try to be blunt. How can it be that the same show comes out on NBC with stars, called, "The Voice," and now they can run two seasons in one year, and everybody still watches it. We watched it as a family last night. DVR'ed it and played it through and watched every minute it was on. How is that possible? Because they're positive with all their feedback. They understand these kids are trying their hearts out. They always say, "Here's the good things you did. Here's the bad things you did. You still did a good job. Am
Erica will vote and allow for that to come through. I don't have to be a jackass."
Eric Melin
Interesting.
Jeff Julian
I think that's much easier to say, "I don't want to keep this snarkiness up. I don't want to be Simon all the time just because I did it one time and people liked it."
Eric Melin
That said, if, and this is another thing in my presentation, "If that is your brand, than that's your brand."
Jeff Julian
Exactly.
Eric Melin
Even somebody like Patton Oswalt, who's snarky all the time, he went on that Twitter rant last week where he was defending the guy from the ... The new host of The Daily Show for having some bad jokes on Twitter. It's like, "Of course we have bad jokes on Twitter." He went on-and-on-and-on forever. It was like 53 tweets in a row. It was very pointed commentary. It was really intelligent. If you've built your brand ... There's a woman called ... I can't remember her real name but her blog name and Twitter name is "The Bloggess." She's an author. She wrote a book. It's hilarious. It's because she was allowed to or she felt comfortable bringing the bad parts of her personality, like a Larry David, or something like that, curb your enthusiasm, taking the bad parts, amplifying those, and showing how selfish and how hilarious people can be if they're thinking, "That's great. That's awesome if it can work for you." Now, that said, you have to really smart and really funny and really good at it. Nobody likes a contrarian who's just a contrarian for contrarian's sake, because it gets old, like you said. It gets old real fast. I don't think Simon Cowell, I don't watch Am
Erican Idol, but it sounds like he didn't have much to offer outside of that. People got bored of it and they're done.
Jeff Julian
Exactly. As we start to wrap this up, are there ... 43 minutes later. Are there any other influencers? I'm sure this can go 20 minutes too, that you've found in your career that really help bring some enlightenment or education or whatever it is, particularly in the Midwest or outside?
Eric Melin
Yeah. Absolutely. For me, I was an early member of the Social Media Club in Kansas City. All of the people who started that, Jeff and ... Boy, there's so many people.
Jeff Julian
There are so many people who were involved with that.
Eric Melin
Here's what I'll say. In addition to ... Well, Ben Smith at Callahan Creek, who is also social IRL and if you've been to any social media conference in Kansas City in the last five or six years, Ben probably put it on. He's currently doing the Resilient Summit, which is where Jeremiah Owyang comes from San Francisco and talks to everybody about the collaborative economy. We get a whole forum together and everything.
Jeff Julian
Oh, nice!
Eric Melin
Knowing what happened with Uber and Lift last week, how short-sighted Kansas City was in that whole experience, I think that we need another Resilient Summit soon. I look forward to that coming back in the fall. He's Ben A. Smith on Twitter. He was just at the FAET Facebook Conference a couple of weeks ago. He was at South by Southwest and CES before that. Obviously, everyone should be following him on Twitter. I follow hashtags. The two hashtags I follow in Kansas City the most are "SMCKC" and "AAFKC." I'm currently the guy behind the "AAFKC" Twitter account but the great thing about following the hashtag is that everybody from the ad world posts stuff using that hashtag now. If you follow it, you can see the best content from the greatest minds in Kansas City in the marketing world. They're always posting stuff, talking about events, speakers, great advice and who's seeing this. The same thing for "SMCKC." For me, I watch those two hashtags nonstop and look for great content.
Jeff Julian
I love how communities form based off of the tools that are available.
Eric Melin
Yeah.
Jeff Julian
Hashtag, if that can form a community, great. Being a software guy, I always want to solve it with my hammer. Let's build a forum. Let's build a membership list. Let's have blog community, some images, all this stuff and pull it altogether. We'll build a community. Hashtags work great. Let's use that. Everybody can participate.
Eric Melin
If people aren't using ... If you're not following hashtags, if you're active on Twitter right now and you use TweetDeck or you use Hootsuite or something like that and you're not following a hashtag, you really are missing out on some great stuff. Another hashtag that I follow, because I live in Lawrence, is "LFK," which stands for "Lawrence Fucking Kansas." The great thing is that is started in the same way that maybe something like, "Keep Austin Weird," started in the 80s, where it's this counter culture thing. Now, Lawrence is the people who use it, are maybe from that alternative or counter culture band scene and art community. Other people have embraced it as well. I use it for Callahan Creek posts when it's appropriate.
Jeff Julian
Nice. Yeah. Absolutely.
Eric Melin
LFK is a really cool place for a discussion about stuff that's happening in and around Lawrence in the arts community that many people, who follow the politics of Kansas might now know even exists.
Jeff Julian
Yeah.
Eric Melin
If they're looking at us from the outside and they're seeing Brownback cutting education and all this kind of stuff, how backwards the political scene is, they wouldn't know that LFK existed. That's another one that I follow.
Jeff Julian
That's awesome. Thanks for your time and for traveling all the way from Lawrence.
Eric Melin
Yeah. Absolutely.
Jeff Julian
It's been a great show.
Eric Melin
Yeah. Sorry I talk so much!
Jeff Julian
No. It's been great. I love it. All right, man. Thanks for coming out.
Eric Melin
Cheers.