A Quick Preface:

For Those Of You Who Have Yet To Hear The Good News – Through Me Or The Grapevine That Is Twitter – I Have Left 5W Public Relations & Have Taken On The Role Of Social Media Manager at McCann Erickson New York. After Spending The Last Year Experimenting With, And Studying, Social Media, From The Boutique PR Perspective, I’m really looking forward toward seeing the same world through the lens of a Global, Corporate, Advertising Agency. And…As Always, I Plan on Sharing Everything I Learn With You, Or As Much I’m Legally Permitted 🙂 – I Hope It Proves Helpful!

The Job Transition Has Been The Primary Reason For My Lack Of New Content Here At The Legends Of Aerocles. Which Is Why, As I Get Settled In & Acclimate To My New Role & Environment, I’ll Be Putting Up A Number Of Guest Posts. If You’d Like To Submit A Post On Anything Social Media, PR, Advertising, Marketing, etc. – Just Email Me at David@Aerocles.com.

Without Further Ado…

A Guest Post By @rustyspeidel

Convene Not Control


So I love the TED Talks on iTunes…I learn something after every one. I just watched one from Clay Shirky entitled How social media can make history in which he told a couple of excellent social media stories about the China earthquake last year and MyBarackObama.com. The details are familiar to all of us, but one thing REALLY stuck out to me, and that was the difference between CONVENING your audience versus CONTROLLING your audience.

Social tools have enabled conversations between media consumers in such a way that the ability to control media has been greatly compromised. In China, for example, when disaster struck that remote province in China last year, news of the earthquake STARTED with local citizens, as opposed to the standard government news outlets. Something that in the past would have been suppressed and dealt with quietly (and in a sub-standard way, most likely) was quickly made public knowledge across multiple media channels, leaving the authorities no choice but to handle it with kid gloves, and very transparently.

In the mybarackobama.com example, the opposite happened. Rather than fret over the shifting control point from centralized media producers to the consumer, Obama’s team embraced that reality, setting up issue groups where dissent was not only encouraged but taken into account where votes on issues were concerned. This engendered goodwill and understanding, even if Obama might have voted counter to the wishes of his constituents on the issues presented.

As everyone scrambles to figure social media out, one thing is clear: those who are confident in their voice and values, like Obama, can convene large audiences without controlling them. Those less confident, like China, tightly control access to the internet or even shut down tools like Twitter altogether.

What kind of company is yours? At Rowdy, we try to be confident, and I think it works better.

Rusty Speidel is a long-time technology and media professional with over 20 years conceiving, creating, and managing user experiences. He has held various leadership roles in the interactive television, e-commerce, online gaming, and sports marketing industries. He is currently the VP of Social Media and User Experience for Rowdy.com, a NASCAR-oriented social network, where he is responsible for defining and implementing Rowdy’s social media strategy, motivating Rowdy’s online community, and managing the creative and technology teams that keep Rowdy.com running smoothly. He also edits Rowdy’s daily podcast from time to time and has been instrumental in the implementation of social media measurement and production techniques throughout the organization.

He is an occasional speaker on social media strategy and when he’s not networked to some device, he’s out riding his bike, playing guitar with his band, or watching his kids play lacrosse.

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