The Power of Small: How Little Gestures can Make Your Brands Social Community a Hit

April 23, 2009

As more and  more brands take the leap into Social Media we continue to hear  horror stories.  Some brands think that they should jump on the Social Media Bandwagon, create a community  – set it, and forget it.  BIG mistake. 2945559128_53078d246b2

While attending the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco  I sat in on a session regarding something that I didn’t even know existed before  – Community Managers. The title of the session was What would the Community Manager Do?  Micki Krimmel @mickipedia presented ideas that are worth restating there, and are certainly appropriate consider all of the brands jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon.

The 4 Tenants of the Community Manager:

  1. Creators
  2. Empathizers
  3. Pattern recognizers
  4. Meaning makers

Community Advocate – Listening to what the community wants – solving customer needs

Brand Evangelist – PR Events and Panels, participate, vision and personality – admit mistakes

Flexible – Can’t just be a megaphone for the PR company

Communication – Shape editorial, new media tools, responsive, 2 way street

Gathers Input – Actively seek input, build relationships, ask questions, report feedback

How do you hire a community manager?

The person you hire for this role MUST reflect your brands core values.  Micki shared a job offer she received from Tesla car company. She knew instinctively that this was not the appropriate role for her because she isn’t passionate about cars.  If you’re a brand looking for a community manager you must hire your biggest fan.

How do you fit this role into your company?  The community manager must be offered 4 “luxuries” in order to be successful for your brand.

  1. Autonomy
  2. Authority
  3. Agency
  4. Accountability

Your Brand can’t have a “build it and they will come” attitude. Your brand must focus on the little gestures. The conversations, interaction and nuances of your community. Hire the appropriate person in this role, and gain commitment from the whole company/brand to be advocates.

images-3Case Study:
Zappos –

A woman purchased a wallet via Zappos.  She didn’t like the wallet purchase so she returned the wallet and mistakenly left $150 in the wallet. The person that recieved the returned item sent back the $150 to the woman.

You’re successful when EVERYONE is a community manager

Effective Twitter for Communication & Product Integration

April 1, 2009

I attended a great session hosted by Sarah Milstein this morning at the Web 2.0 conference in San Fran regarding how businesses can utilize Twitter as a powerful tool to communicate online. Milstein is a Web 2.0 strategist and co-founder of, a site for lively, work-related workshops. During her presentation she also announced that she has co-authored a book with Tim O’Reilly called The Twitter Book (reserve a copy here)


This session had so much great/relevant content. Here are some highlights:

When you want to categorize messages on Twitter use the # Hash tag – so for example, if I tweet about the Web 2.0 Conference I can say: “having a great time in San Fran” and than put #w2e at the end of the message that’s relevant to the expo.

When speaking to someone start with the “@” symbol – so a message to me on Twitter would start @cdessi “#####”


Interact with your community and show the human side of your company.  The Chicago Bulls were cited as a great example following the game as their followers do- communicating similar interests and passion for the Bulls.  Allowing your Twitter followers to connect with the people in the company was a driving theme.  Don’t push out to the users, engage them and share. Someone posted a question to Jetblue regarding places to visit in DC. Jetblue ReTweeted to the community and they helped the person.


Leverage the tools to find out who’s talking about your company, or who has similar interests and may be a new customer. Most interesting tools cited:

Advanced Search on for Words, People, Places, Dates, Attitudes, and other to search to see if there are people that are happy, unhappy or sharing links.  Recommended to grab the RSS feed of yous saved search, or get the results emailed to you via Sarah shared a story in which the Crowdvine CEO did a search and found a user that wasn’t happy with the product. It turned out to be a bug that was resolved. A CEO of a competitor had reached out to the same person – lesson? You HAVE to engage the user on Twitter or your competition will.

Some additional resources:


The first point that Sarah made is that you don’t need a million followers. What you need are a small number of passionate engaged followers.  She offered some tips:

1. Start with content.

2. Post great stuff and people will listen.

3. Make them want to follow you.

4. Start a conversation by using @ replies.

Some tools:


Allowing the user to integrate the Twitter account into the service you offer.  Example: Wesabe – users can direct message their expenses to them. has recently integrated Twitter which will launch this Summer.  You can respond to your users leveraging tools.  She feels that this really adds legitimacy for Twitter.  Companies are finding that people complain on Twitter before they call customer service. So they can predict issues by being engaged in this community.

Quote of the session from this dynamic young woman Twitter is the  “Canary in the Coal Mine” for brands.

A question from the audience and answer from Sarah during the session:

Web 2.0 Conference Review #1 Real Branding, “Building a Social Media Strategy Using SocialMap”

March 31, 2009


February 19, 2009

NEW YORK – February 19, 2009. MIVA Direct, Inc., the toolbar, homepage and content division of digital media and advertising company, MIVA, Inc. (NASDAQ:MIVA), today announced the roll out of live community features across its ALOT Toolbar and Homepage products following the signing of a new agreement with Meebo, one of the Web’s fastest growing social media companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, MIVA Direct is using Meebo’s technology to facilitate real-time social interactions between users via chat rooms that are promoted across ALOT Toolbar and ALOT Home. Meebo is serving social ads into the technology and MIVA Direct will earn a share of the revenue generated from these ad units.

In addition to the expected revenue it will generate, the functionality is also designed to extend ALOT’s mission of ‘Making the Internet Easy’ by delivering further value to the brand’s existing vertical audiences. Chris Dessi, MIVA Direct’s VP of Sales and Business Development, explains:

“Since launching ALOT we’ve been building up users across a broad range of different verticals – our ALOT Toolbar for Recipes, for example, currently has over 335,000 live users[1]. We believe there are significant potential benefits in offering vertically focused chat rooms that enable these like-minded users to communicate directly with each other, and believe that Meebo is a great application to help us kick-start this process.”

Added Stephanie Quay, Meebo’s Director of Business Development: “The scale and vertical focus of ALOT’s customer base makes them a great fit for Meebo. We look forward to working with them to roll out and monetize our solution.”


About MIVA®, Inc.

MIVA, Inc. (NASDAQ:MIVA) is a global digital media company with a mission to deliver valuable digital audiences to advertisers. MIVA has two focuses to its business: owning and operating toolbar, homepage and desktop products, through its MIVA Direct division; and running a third-party contextual Pay-Per-Click ad network through its MIVA Media division. MIVA, Inc. operates across North America and Europe.

About Meebo, Inc.

With over 40 million people sharing over 5 billion messages and 75 million links every month, Meebo is one of the Web’s fastest growing social media companies. Founded in September 2005, Meebo enables real-time social interactions with instant messaging and group chat at and on partner sites across the Web. Meebo is headquartered in Mountain View, CA. Visit to connect with friends live on the Web.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that are based upon current expectations and involve certain risks and uncertainties within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words or expressions such as “anticipate” , “plan,” “will,” “intend,” “believe” or “expect'” or variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors, some of which are beyond our control and difficult to predict and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements, including (1) our ability to successfully execute upon our corporate strategies, (2) our ability to develop and successfully market new products and services, and (3) the potential acceptance of new products in the market. Additional key risks are described in MIVA’s reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Form 10-K for fiscal 2007 and our most recently filed Form 10-Q.

®Registered trademark

MIVA Contact:

Alex Vlasto

(212) 736-9151

[1] Source: Internal statistics: 2/8/09

Look Up Interactive

November 13, 2008

Yesterday I finalized my logo for Look Up Interactive.  


For the past few months I’ve been trying to come up with a name for a consulting business that I’d love to start regarding online advertising.  So many people have come to me asking questions/advice I thought I’d try my hand at consulting.  I’m not certain if I’ll be able to get this up and running while starting a new job – but I thought I’d share the logo.  I used a great service called Elance. I described the project, look and feel that I was going for.  I received about 15 bids for the work. I reviewed each of the proposals – taking a look at their sites, previous work  , and reviews by individuals that had hired them in the past.  I ended up hiring WebDesignsGURU – I highly recommend their work.  They also designed a logo for my wife’s pilates business.  logo-_72I think both logos came out really great.  The service at Elance was really easy, and for someone with limited knowledge of logo design it’s a great resource to reach out experts that get it, and are highly accessible.

My wife Laura is my hero – she’s has been a 5th grade school teacher for the past 10 years.  She’s been home since the birth of our daughter Talia.  Before the baby came she also started her certification in Pilates.  After the baby was born she went back and completed her mat certification.  I think it’s going to be great for her to start building a client base here in Chappaqua.  I’m going to set her up with a URL, and Blog.  

Finally, I need to give credit to Gary Vaynerchuk for the tag line of my consulting business/logo “Legacy is Greater than Currency”.  This is something that Gary talked about during the Web2.0 Expo speech in New York.  This statement resounded with me so greatly that I thought it would be a great tag line for my business.  I think it’s a powerful statement in a world where it seems like everyone is focused solely on money.  I know that money is great to have and it’s certainly a necessity. I suppose since the birth of my daughter Talia I’ve started to look at the world a bit differently.

Media and Wedia

November 10, 2008

Last week I ran into my daughter’s room and excitedly told my wife that I thought I may have coined a term (this heady little insight is on my list of things to “do before I die”)….I was thrilled.  I’ve been immersing myself in everything Web 2.0, ever since attending the Web 2.0 Expo.  I was thinking about MIVA,, and how interactive Media is being effected by the wave of Social Media.  I was feeling relatively pleased with myself after having labeled my Miva project (We)iva – so that I can track my first 100 days at the company  – and it hit me…this isn’t MEdia, it’s WEdia!  


I did it! I coined a term…the euphoria was short lived, after I did a quick Google Search and realized the term has been around for a while now.  


I’m not discouraged – I’m sure some day I’ll coin a term – either way – Wedia is a term I’m diggin’ right now.

Header Image

November 6, 2008

I’ve been receiving a lot of email from folks asking about my new header image.  The image is actually of me (well sort of). During the Web2.0 Expo in New York there was a really cool “machine” I suppose we’ll call it that would capture your image, and then replicate an image of you – only out of hundreds of smaller images.  It was really phenomenal to see, and a perfect novelty for the crowd at the show.  It was perfectly Web 2.0. The images sweep across the screen to finally hone in on your image.  It was very “ – ish”.

Here’s the full image of Myself (you can make out my faceless image holding my camera phone up to take the shot.  Very cool stuff.


Web 2.0 Expo New York City

October 1, 2008

Here’s a list of some recurring sentiments regarding web 2.0 that I think we can all apply to our businesses:

1. Trust People
2. Listen
3. Inverse relationship between control and trust


1. Make mistakes well
2. Life is a beta
3. Be honest
4. Be transparent
5. Collaboration


Don’t be Evil