Virtual Mess

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Last week, I sat in on a very worthwhile virtual conference offered by the folks at Vocus called “Social Media: So What?” Each presenter rocked out. That is, until David Brody from North Social basically pressed play on a recorded presentation named “Without a Strong Brand, You Ain’t Got Jack S…ocial!” Creative title, solid content, awesome slides, but the delivery sounded more like a book on tape than an engaging, authentic presentation. The live Twitter stream (“backchannel”) blew up immediately, calling him out for not practicing what he preached throughout his slides. He wasn’t present on Twitter either – even after the presentation – as not one critical tweet was responded to. I breathed a sigh of relief when he finally came on live for some Q&A – I felt so privileged he could spend 15 minutes with us.

OK, OK. Here I go again with some hardass criticism. I admit, there’s a lot I’m assuming here. Maybe Mr. Brody gives these presentations daily. Or perhaps he felt his offering matched ours (we paid nothing). While I know with 99% certainty he was either reading the presentation or it was a recording, that leaves a 1% chance that it could have actually been a live version of him…with a robotic voice. I guess something terrible could have happened, too – which would make me immediately regret writing this post. I could go on with the assumptions, but I’ll be stubborn and instead use this example as a teaching moment. There were simple things he could have done to prevent and make up for some of the backlash…

Even if the presentation is online, people can sniff these things out – you can’t always hide behind the technology. Heck, even if he was hiding, at least be present on Twitter to respond to feedback – negative AND positive. He may have been able to duck by suggesting or, better yet, prefacing that his presentations sound rehearsed. I may have believed him. But, I didn’t believe the guy they paid to read the script that day, nor the guy who pressed play – the terrible sound masked any of the impressive visuals. The tweets speak for themselves…

David Brody made an honest mistake that many of us could have made – in this case, he was probably asked to give a 45 minute presentation, followed by some live Q&A. Without knowing what his fellow speakers were covering – which may or may not be his fault – how could he know what the audience had been groomed for (he was the last speaker in the lineup)? Either way, the difference was dramatic enough that not once in any other presentation did a listener feel there wasn’t a real human on the other end.

Days have passed and still no word from North Social or David Brody. What a perfect opportunity to reach out and admit the mistake – be human, don’t be Chrysler. Now, like never before, we have streaming commentary at our fingertips that doesn’t go away. David, seek it out and get yourself back into the conversation. Talk with us, not at us (like you ironically said in your presentation).

Listen for yourself (my first attempt at a screen capture movie)…

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of my employer nor any other organization I am affiliated with. Also, please see the “About” page in case you are offended or even mildly irritated. Thanks!


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