Posts tagged ‘monique trottier’

Online Voice – Part 3 – Why do people care about your blog?

(Note: This is the 3rd part of a series I’m writing in preparation for my  Northern Voice talk on “Finding Your Online Voice“.  (1rst & 2nd)

On the survey I sent to bloggers, I also asked:

Why Do People Care About Your Blog?

What do you think (or have you heard as feedback) that makes people read your blog?

There are many, many blogs around. The fact that a blogs has any audience at all beyond the blogger’s immediate family is often a testament to a blogger’s persistence (sticking around, continuing to blog, and allowing their voice and audience to develop).  Oh, and there’s also that ever important content thing.

The feedback I get is mostly with respect to my Your Dose of Lunacy blog.  People tend to read it because they think it’s funny.  I also hear: because “you find the weirdest things” (some people can walk tightrope, noticing the freaky appears to be my gift).  Another popular response is that they have the same raunchy sense of humour, or taste in inappropriate, but (for obvious reasons) feel they should resist making that aspect of themselves public. So my blog appeals to them.  And is an outlet.

Basically, people read that blog because it’s funny.  If it ceased to be, I would lose my audience.  They go there for amusement.  That’s fine with me because it gels with why I write the blog – fittingly, it’s to amuse.

Here are a few reason the bloggers provided for why people read their blog:

Miranda Lievers

Blue Olive Photography

As a business blog we are read by all sorts of clients – past, present, and future along with people in our industry from other photographers to wedding planners and the like. We’re also often surprised to hear that we have a lot of readers who fall into neither category – girls who don’t even have a boyfriend following along with our wedding work because the images themselves resonate with them.

Our blog allows people to get to know us as people more than our work on its own ever could, and I love that!

Classifies her blog as:

Erica Lam

The Style Spy
  • People can relate to our tone of voice, they know there are real girls behind the site, it’s like talking to your girlfriend in person.
  • We cover everyday brands – it’s affordable fashion – most fashion outlets are high-fashion, unattainable. People can relate to us.
  • The inside scoop. People want to read stuff they can’t find elsewhere. So we have many built relationships with brands to ensure we get the best information to share w/our readers.
Classifies her blog as:

Monique Trottier

So Misguided

The feedback and comments are usually from people who want to thank me for sharing a particular book or insight. They care because they’re interested in the same sorts of books, or they want to share what they find interesting. It’s nice.
Classifies her blog as:

Book blog, with a bit of technology, marketing, tap dancing and party tricks


Eagranie Yuh

The Well-Tempered Chocolatier

I write about chocolate.I was going to leave it at that, because that’s probably one major reason people read it. Other reasons include the curation factor: that I’m sourcing chocolate and talking about issues so that other people don’t have to look for that information themselves. And also that I present an expert opinion – my background in science and chocolate makes me a credible source.And, the voice thing. People like my voice. I like to think that I make an esoteric topic (artisan chocolate, science) accessible and fun.
Classifies her blog as:

Food (specifically chocolate, often science, sometimes pastries/sweets/candy)
<a href=”; title=”I care about you. by _mandrew_, on Flickr”><img src=”; width=”333″ height=”500″ alt=”I care about you.” /></a>

May 6, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

Experts Weigh-in with Social Media Lessons

At a recent meeting I attended, someone mentioned posting a video online and another person said: “And then we’ll just use social media to make it go viral”.

I’ve been reflecting lately about what I’ve learned about social media in the past few years.  One is: social media doesn’t quite work that way. You don’t post a video and everyone flocks to see it because it’s on the interweb.  Even significant promotion doesn’t mean it will take off like a rocket.

Your video/product has to be good. And, if that’s the case, then you have to have real connections, people you engage with, give to and who are receptive (to you or the product). And you have to have a promotion plan beyond just uploading/putting it out there.  (Certainly there are exceptions.)

I asked a few extraordinary people to impart their social media “lesson” (for instance, something they discovered through their experience or how they’ve learned to explain it to their clients).

Here’s what they said:

Darren Barefoot

Capulet Communications
Writer, marketer and technologist. Co-author of “Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook
The mistake that most organizations make is starting with the tools.  They say “the competition has a Twitter account, so we need one too!”  The tools should come last, not first.  They should think through where their audience is online, what their objectives are, what strategies they should apply and then, finally, which tools or platforms to use (or whether they should create new ones).
Also, when marketing on the web, there are no magic beans.

Ari Herzog

Ari Herzog & Associates
Online media strategist and elected city councilor.
Social media is not new.  It was born long before Tim O’Reilly coined the Web 2.0 term and long before computers were born.  I frequently attribute Canadian marketer Kneale Mann who once wrote about prehistoric cave paintings as one of the earliest indicators of social media.  The hunter-gatherer tribes painted on the walls and orally told stories about the hunt, people asked questions, and conversations were sparked.  The wall paintings and the stories were media and the people asking questions were being social.  Has anything truly changed?  The lesson for organizations in 2010, thus, is to not view social media as a vanguard concept but as a tested, tried, and true means of sharing.  The key is in sharing.  If you’re not sharing, you’re not being social.

Kate Trgovac

LintBucket Media
Social media and digital marketer
When I’m working with clients, I have to remind myself that while social media may be my business, it isn’t theirs. They aren’t going to engage in social media all day.  And they don’t need to know every last little detail about it.  They want tools that will help them build their business. And if they are going to invest time and money in social media, it darn well better have a business return.  And so every time I suggest a tactic, I’m keenly aware that they will be giving up time they spend on traditional marketing channels.  I make sure we talk through the potential risks and rewards of social media programs and set realistic expectations – and determine if social media is actually the most appropriate channel for accomplishing their marketing objectives.  Because believe it or not, sometimes social media marketing ISN’T the answer.

Jordan Behan

Director of Marketing at Strutta and Bootup Labs
Videophile and technology advocate
You have to understand the value and purpose behind a social media marketing strategy before you start.  Too many times, people try to recreate the “magic” they’ve witnessed elsewhere, and completely miss the point.  There is no magic, no voodoo, no perfect formula.  “Social media” as the kids call it, is nothing more than an ever-changing set of software tools that help you have conversations with more people than you can in person.  The value is in the connections you make and the things you learn.

Monique Trottier
BoxCar Marketing

Technologist, Online Marketer, Strategist.
Talking to clients about social media is always an exercise in metaphors for me: Social networking is a digital cocktail party.  LinkedIn is a business conference.  Twitter is your individual headline news ticker.  YouTube is your private tv station. In many ways the metaphors are silly and don’t fully explain the platform, but the point is that social media is nothing new.  Social media is simply a set of tools that let us do things that are harder to do in real life, such as keeping up to date on what all of our colleagues, friends and family members are doing, exchanging business contacts and making friend-of-a-friend introductions.
The skeptical comments I often hear from clients are, “why do people spend time on this?” and “how can I benefit?”  Any active social media user knows that these are the wrong questions.  The answer is that people spend time on this stuff because it improves their ability to network offline, to gather information quickly and to establish relationships and to stay in touch.
The basis of a good social strategy is answering the questions, “what are my clients doing online,” “what makes their chosen social networks attractive to them,” “what social failure or real life challenge does this network solve,” and “how can I participate here in a way that adds value, that establishes a closer relationship to my customers, that let’s me stay in touch with their needs, and that, ultimately, is a reciprocal relationship?”
Jacob Share

Share Select Media
Job Search Expert and Professional Blogging Consultant

One of my favorite lessons from using social media is that giving freely is a terrific way to meet someone, whether to just get their attention or even to become friends with them.  For example, I became friends with someone very cool because he dugg a JobMob article and I made the effort to thank him, which he didn’t expect but appreciated.

Elena Yunusov

Communications Specialist

This time around, HoHoTO was to me the manifestation of the good in people, the generosity and the potential of social media to break down barriers and let people be part of social change in such fun and joyfully informal way.  I can’t imagine 15 random near-strangers would ever come together offline (you know, in ‘real’ life) to organize an event like HoHoTO within days, if not for social media.  We hardly knew each other pre-HoHoTO! And even if we did, I doubt we could get the word out and hundreds of people on board – virtually with no cost other than our time – the way we did.  I was managing tens of volunteers for this HoHoTO, and we kept in touch and coordinated schedules via twitter, email and google docs.  When we met, I felt like we skipped a great many layers of ‘introduction’ and ‘getting to know each other’ – we were like old friends, on fire, and ready to rock it: for HoHoTO, for the Daily Bread.  For humanity.  Social media is a whole new way of connecting, and I love it.


I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your experience with social media.  Please comment below or feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to contribute your insightful tip to a future post on the topic.

For more tips, you might want to take a look at the 3 Case Studies on my presentation: “Facebook, YouTube, Twitter: Oh My!”  (See slides 58 to 83.)

And a final note: Reading Mark Dykeman‘s post “How to start 2010 by doing better work” inspired me to put together this one.

Experts Weigh-in With Social Media Lessons” by Monica Hamburg

Post url: experts-weigh-in-with-social-media-lessons

Jordan Behan, Director of Marketing at Strutta and Bootup Labs
Videophile and technology advocate.

You have to understand the value and purpose behind a social media marketing strategy before you start. Too many times, people try to recreate the “magic” they’ve witnessed elsewhere, and completely miss the point. There is no magic, no voodoo, no perfect formula. “Social media” as the kids call it, is nothing more than an ever-changing set of software tools that help you have conversations with more people than you can in person. The value is in the connections you make and the things you learn.


January 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm 12 comments

Living Games – ARGs and Our Need for Fun

(or The Value of Games in our High-Pressure Lives)

Note: I have bookmarked relevant items mentioned here on

I like to play. Here’s an example of a recent conversation I had.
(Note: I have these types of conversations often.)

She: So, what do you do for fun.
Me: … Well, I celebrated my 31st birthday at the PNE amusement park, if that tells you anything. …I love bumper cars.
She: So does my son.
Me: I’m sure. How old is he? (Optimistically,) 12?
She: 6

Yeah, that sounds about right. See, I work hard, but I also love to have fun. My work now often involves both which is fan-tastic.

I tend to paint things with a broad brush in these posts, and so why change things now? As a society, we’ve lost our sense of fun.

While, I’m no advocate of men in their 20’s + spending days online pretending to be warlocks, I also think there needs to be more of a balance – one that doesn’t involve giving up a strong game/fun factor.

This is where I think ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) and similar concepts come into play.

Games are making a comeback – and in our high-pressure, time-starved lifestyles there is a desire (and perhaps a new compulsion) to make fun a part of our lives.

The CBC recently explored ARG’s in several articles, describing them as follows:

A typical ARG is structured like a mystery. Game designers invent a conspiratorial narrative and the players have to put together the pieces of the mystery. …Although they’re mostly virtual, some games take to the streets. They get players to look for clues in real, physical locations and involve such old-fashioned fun as playing a game of ‘chase’ to track down people playing the role of characters in the game.

And some involved in ARGs are encouraging participants to be part of life, not escape from it.

…take everything we’ve learned about making games successful and inviting and do that in the real world so we don’t need to escape from it as much and it boils down to quality of life. …we’re very lucky in comparison to the people who use the systems we design, the games we make, their lives are not as exciting, engaging, they don’t make them as happy as the games do. I look at it as a moral and ethical responsibility to take everything I’ve learned to help those people have that kind of adventure. What if I felt if I was as good at life as I am at games. A lot of people are playing with that notion.

Jane McGonigal

Think this is a stupid, immature – at best a ridiculous outlet? How much better is it to get piss drunk after a long-work week, so wound-up that getting plastered is the only option/outlet? Or, going bungie jumping for thrills? Yeah, I rest my case.

New life-games blur the line between fact and fiction, work and play. I meant to write this post when I originally read Frank Rose’s piece about Immersive Games in Wired (“And Now a Word From Our Sponsors”/”Secret Websites, Coded Messages: The New World of Immersive Games”), but today I came across some related concepts, and was compelled (or perhaps possessed) to finally post about the topic.

The Wired piece wrote in great detail about 42 Entertainment, a company which deals uniquely with this type of marketing. There are many truly electrifying elements in this article, but here are my favorites:

“…a new kind of interactive fiction. These narratives unfold in fragments, in all sorts of media, from Web sites to phone calls to live events, and the audience pieces together the story from shards of information. The task is too complicated for any one person, but the Web enables a collective intelligence to emerge to assemble the pieces, solve the mysteries, and in the process, tell and retell the story online. The narrative is shaped — and ultimately owned — by the audience in ways that other forms of storytelling cannot match. No longer passive consumers, the players live out the story.”

The ARG for the Nine Inch Nails “Year Zero” album, which is described in detail culminated with an event sequence:

“… The players were told to report to a parking lot, where they were loaded onto a ram-shackle bus with blacked-out windows.

The bus delivered them at twilight to what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse near some railroad tracks. Armed men patrolled the roof. The 50-odd players were led up a ramp and into a large, dark room where the leader of Open Source Resistance (actually an actor) gave a speech about the importance of making themselves heard…

With the sudden crack of a drumbeat, Nine Inch Nails materialized onstage and broke into “The Beginning of the End,” a song they had never before played in the US. “This is the beginning,” Reznor intoned, as guitar chords strafed the room. He got out one, two, three, four more songs before the SWAT team arrived. Then, as flashing lights and flash bombs filled the room, men in riot gear stormed the stage. “Run for the bus!” someone yelled, and the players started sprinting.

Simply put: uh, wow

Talk about incorporating excitement and fun….

Of course, incorporating play can fall into many categories. While it can involve a form marketing (and, as in the Nine Inch Nails example, much ARG does), it doesn’t have to.

a small group of students, community activists and artists launched TorGame: Waking City. This grassroots alternate reality game was designed to get players to connect socially and explore the hidden pleasures of a big, anonymous city while uncovering a mystery buried in a series of puzzles.

However, marketing that uses fun and our desire for fun (rather than the empty promise of enjoyment) can be very successful, especially when targeted the right group.

When teenagers buy the new young-adult mystery novel Cathy’s Book, the words between the covers will tell only part of the story. The rest of the book’s mystery unfolds in an elaborate series of clues readers have to dig up — clues left not on the page, but in the digital environment around them.

In other words, the ‘story’ is a package that includes both the linear tale in the book and a fictional world that exists alongside the cellphone culture and social networking sites of your average real-world teen. It’s a distinctly literary twist on the booming world of alternate reality games and it may point the way to a new form of storytelling.

At the recent Bridging Media [LINK] conference Monique Trottier of Boxcar Marketing mentioned (and I’m paraphrasing here) that she advises publishers not to think of the book as a final point, but to consider it a starting point from which to other media flow and connect to…

It’s About Adventure

Recently, I saw people participating in the Mitsubishi City Chase, a city-wide scavenger hunt. Players were excitedly chasing the buses (note the word “excitedly” to differentiate from what we all do, especially in Vancouver, on a daily basis) in order to get to their next destination.

Hey, a treasure hunt as an adult! I’m all about that! (It reminded me that the only reality show I ever found enthralling was The Amazing Race. So freaking cool.)

Oh how I long to play capture the flag again…

But I digress, once again.

In Jeff Howe’s latest excerpt of his Crowdsourcing book piece he discusses the MATLAB contests and makes the following astute observation:

Programming contests have occupied a time-honoured position in geek culture since the earliest days of the computing, for just this reason: they make the development of skills feel like a game.

Wouldn’t all most people’s jobs be more fun if they incorporated some aspect of games and basic enjoyment (and not the “hot chocolate day” or forced company picnic time (those things tend to be more painful than sitting through a romantic comedy or a Michael Bay film).

The need to thrill is within us, desperately being held back by our need to be “adults” to balance the insane pitch and tempo of our lives.

This month’s issue of Psychology Today has a piece about Jane McGonigal, who recently spoke at SXSW. I missed SXSW, which is my bad, since the topic, slides and summary all tell me this is a speech I would have greatly enjoyed. It speaks to me.

I’m all for happiness, and feel that it, along with the concept of fun has been abandoned along the way. Just as people are seeking workplaces where they feel more value (in their workplace, and at their job) they are similarly looking for this elusive happiness thing – which isn’t so elusive if you at least acknowledge one aspect – for many of us, that we are what we do.

When I hear the comment “It’s just a job” or “It’s not the most exciting thing but it pays the bills” I can’t help but wonder, is that really OK with the speaker (and if so, fantastic, power to them). But for many, it isn’t OK to toil away at a job that doesn’t fulfill their lives, because in many of our cases, even if we are lucky enough to have a great partner, friends and so forth, we are hopeless devotees to our jobs – and often to get ahead, we need to be. So, if all those hours are spent there, shouldn’t we at the very least be enjoying them…? (Longer rant on this to come at a later date, meanwhile awesome inspiration in Po Bronson’s book.)

But I’ll end here, with Jane McGonigal’s inspiring Slideshow, which decrees that Happiness and the Happiness Business is what we are propelling towards – and what we should be aiming for.

I’m game.

May 14, 2008 at 2:57 pm 5 comments

Monica Hamburg – Who Am I?

Good question (I wonder this all the time).
Linkedin profile is: here.
Find out more here.

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