Web Works

McCombs Web Stuff

Archives for Wisdom

David J. Neff on Social Media

Below is a recap of key points from Neff’s recent presentation at UT on social media for nonprofits by Amber Walkowiak.

David J. Neff gave a speech on new media in the nonprofit sphere this morning. He spent a little bit of time explaining new media and then went on to give advice on how to use it.

Old and new media
-Old media had all communication pointing outward toward the audience
-New media has communication pointing both ways and we’re expected to not only listen to comm. coming in from the audience but also to respond to it

Facebook ate many of the old media sites (Xanga, Live Journal, Friendster) and is now the giant of the industry.

Social networks are walled gardens
-You have to have an account to use it
-Further, users must give you permission to interact with them and see their profiles

The first thing you need to do in social networks as a nonprofit is LISTEN.
-Run searches on your brand
-Don’t start broadcasting until you’ve searched yourself and engaged in a few conversations with users.
-Even so, keep the broadcasting to a minimum

Find the key masters.
-These are the people who can open doors to new connections or new ideas.
-They can be anyone. Think about who you’re targeting and who might be able to help you reach them.

Video is sticky and social
-48% of people watch video online (2007 study)
-15% of people use video sharing sites (2007 study)
-Most people share links with friends or watch videos with friends because it’s a social topic

YouTube and Facebook OWN your stuff.
-They hold copyright to everything you upload to their sites.

– Created by American Cancer Society as a multimedia sharing site to tell your cancer story
– More positive atmosphere than on YouTube (YouTube’s comments usually skew very negative)

Facebook Advertising
-Incredible because it’s so targeted

Statesman sells first twitter ad
-Robert Quigley (online editor) for Statesman sold @statesman tweets to MansionofTerror for $150 a pop
-Statesman requires ads to be actionable (coupons, etc.) – MoT was buy 1 get 1 free
-Ad was retweeted 29 times and gained national media coverage
-However, no one showed up to MoT to use the coupon

Brainstorm on why it didn’t work
-Too early in the season for people to care yet
-Maybe Twitter was the wrong medium
-Statesman reaches an older audience than was desired
-Many people forgot to or were uncomfortable mentioning the ad
-Could have had a landing page to buy tickets with a special twitter code for money off

Key Concepts
-Be honest (if you tweet an ad, admit that it’s an ad)
-Listen first and be responsive
-Spot trends and make trends
-Speak up/have a voice (don’t be a robot)


Amber Walkowiak
Communications Intern, McCombs School of Business
The University of Texas at Austin
(512) 232-6779


We (Dave Wenger for the Communications team) brought ‘evil genius’ Whurley in to speak with us at our weekly staff meeting today. Whurley -William Hurley- does, what he calls, risk management for largescale community building based on his own system theory (that allows him to know what NOT to do). Confused? You know, crowd sourcing, flash mobs…after almost two hours, we didn’t know exactly what he does either except for have lots of great energetic ideas and projects revolving around how to make community driven projects work on both the strategic and technology levels.

Here are my notes of what he said.

  • people buy the shovel, but they want the hole
  • technology acquisitions are almost never about technology
  • with community and open source, it has to be premeditated
  • community is the product. success depends on participation.
  • first problem: community builders don’t realize the difference btwn control and influence
  • if the game is to build the McCombs brand, you don’t want the publish model. you want to be aggregators. managers of managers. publishers of publishers.
  • your job is to make everyone a celebrity in the McCombs community
  • Autopoiesis – self-monitoring, self-governing systems
  • your community needs to be self-selecting. you don’t need 5k people. you need the right 5.
  • focus on giving people a voice
  • fail fast and big
  • for McCombs: start social enterprise projects
  • for McCombs: do a gap analysis of where we’ve come in 50 years. then where we’ll go in the next 50.
  • to let the community lead, the goal is to not have a goal but to collect ideas.
  • define: who is the real competition that takes our money and talent?
  • sites, stuff to check out:

Chapman on Boomers, Millennials and Technology

At our last Marketing Council meeting we were honored to have LBJ Professor Gary Chapman deliver a presentation called “Boomers, Millennials and Technology.” He talks about the unique phenomena of having four generations in the workplace.

The baby boomers have been the most populace generation until the millennials, setting up an interesting dynamic between these two culturally influential groups.

Millennials are our first ‘digital natives,’ having grown up with the Web, making the convergence of generations around technology a particularly illuminating lens through which to understand how we interact.

You’ll need to log in with your UTEID to watch the video.

What Would Google Do?

Rob, knowing I am Googly-eyed, handed me the latest version of Fast Company with “15 Reasons Why Google Is Number 1” on the cover. McCombs is a big place in a bigger beaurocracy. It can be difficult to start innovating because of the mindset and culture alone. I found a few quotes that really spoke to the paralysis I sometimes feel:

Tim Armstrong, President of Advertising and Commerce in North America 

“I tell new employees, ‘At Google, there are rocks and a stream. You either become a rock, and the stream goes around you, or you get in the stream and move things along and start adding value.’ People here don’t start with conclusions. They start with questions. If you’re open-platform, respectful of others, and really driven to execute, you’ll be successful.”

David Glazer, Engineering Director 

We set an operational tempo: When in doubt, do something. If you have two paths and you’re not sure which is right, take the fastest path. What’s true in physics about objects in motion is true when you’re creating a product. It’s easier to keep moving and change course than when you’re sitting and thinking and thinking.”

Marisa Mayer, VP of search products and user experience

The hardest part about indoctrinating people into our culture is when engineers show me a prototype and I’m like, ‘Great, let’s go!’ They’ll say, ‘Oh, no, it’s not ready.’ I tell them, ‘The Googly thing is to launch it early on Google Labs and then to iterate, learning what the market wants–and making it great.’

Some companies think of design as an art. We think of design as a science. It doesn’t matter who is the favorite or how much you like this aesthetic versus that aesthetic. It all comes down to data.”

So now when I ask myself, “What would Google do?” I know the answer: ask questions, do something, launch, learn, improve, repeat. Time to take my own medicine.