TWIT Podcamp is in the can!
That's right - PCB3 came and went, and I'm just now publishing my observations and thoughts. In the spirit of focusing on the task at hand, I elected to refrain from live-blogging, photo-blogging, texting and Tweeting during the event (the horror!).
Instead, I'll just share a few highlights from the weekend here:
Stever Robbins got us thinking about how to make compelling content that keeps people coming back in his session: Grab, Hold, and Grow a Loyal Audience. The key is to include a human element (introduce stories) and interactivity (tools, resources) to hook people and keep them. Instead of one-way, monotone copy or audio, provide engaging, two-way conversations that have a personality. For example, use inflection in your audio tracks, ask rhetorical questions that solicit comments, provide related links and tools so that people can respond/react to what you've presented. Stever recommends learning some improv techniques and leveraging them in the business and/or social media setting (as does Izzy Gessell, who I had the pleasure of meeting at PCB3).
The Smart Social Media Marketing Panel - comprised of Greg Verdino, Doug Haslam, Adam Broitman, Philip Robertson - continued this thread by noting that social media is not just about adding a ShareThis button. It's about creating an immersive environment, one that provides value and is compelling enough to earn attention. Like the early days of soap operas, advertising must return to a value exchange. Equally important is the concept of listening first, and then jumping into social media where it's appropriate. Comcast has found a way to do this with its ComcastCares account on Twitter, where a real employee monitors the Twitterscape for references to Comcast and helps with diagnostics, troubleshooting, and general customer service.
(Zappos has made an impressive foray into Twitter as well).
Speaking of Twitter...Joe Cascio talked about distributed microblogging and the challenge of relying on a centralized system (like Twitter, which was down for maintenance on Saturday afternoon).
In this session, we talked about alternative services (like the open source identi.ca), the continued niching of the Web (e.g., SportsTwit), and the resulting clamor for a universal log-in system like OpenID (just adopted by MySpace). Oh - and the big question on everyone's mind: how can these systems be monetized?
Lastly, my friend CC Chapman led a rousing discussion on building your brand through passion & community. Among his tips: be human, be honest, and be sure to manage your digital footprint. Building and maintaining a brand - be it personal or corporate - is hard work; it takes patience and consistency to achieve organic growth (which is why, I think, so many of forays into social media by big brands are a flash in the pan: they treat it like a campaign and expect immediate results, rather than a living thing that needs ongoing care and feeding).
Overall, PCB3 was informative and fun. I ran into several past colleagues (Crystal, Anthony, John and Moli - who reminded me how cool MOO cards are). And I'm now committed to trying out Utterz, which let's you add audio tracks to your blog posts (among other things) and will make my mobile photo posts (like this) more interesting.
Photos from the event: