Author Archives: DeanShaw

13 Ways to Make Your 1-800 Customer Support Not Suck

Bad Customer ServiceLet’s face it, the purpose of 1-800 customer support lines are to do everything possible to prevent you from getting customer service.  Companies have come to the conclusion (erroneously I think) that somehow talking to customers is a bad thing.  They base this belief on the fact that every time they talk to you, it costs them money. That may have made some sense back in the olden days and I would argue that avoiding conversations with your customers is unwise and potentially risky.  Why do you want to talk to your customers?

  • Customer feedback, when aggregated, can give insight on common problems they face with your product, business, website, etc.  In a sense, each conversation becomes its own focus group study.  Who wouldn’t want feedback from the very people that are buying and using their products and services?  At the very least, it gives the company direction on what issues are most common, what they may need to correct, and in what priority.
  • Message Control: If companies won’t provide the customer an outlet to reach them, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, and the hundred other social networks most certainly will.  By having a simple and convenient way for me to contact you, I might just not tell my social networks how much I hate you. And inversely…
  • My boyish naiveté often gets me in trouble but I have this weird belief that your job as a company doesn’t end after the sale, it begins.  Fostering a positive relationship with your customers not only increases the chance of them doing more business with you, it creates an army of advocates of your company and brand that extend across those same networks they might have vented on.  And believe me advocates work cheap (note: adversaries also work cheap and often with more vigor and venom)

So in the spirit of pretending to give a crap about providing your customers with good (Note: I didn’t even say ‘great’) customer service, here are the Top 12 Pieces of Advice for Companies that use 1-800 Customer Support Lines:

  1. Make your phone tree a phone shrub.  If it takes me more than 30 seconds to get where I want to go, you’re doing it wrong.
  2. Don’t tell me that my call is important & then put me on hold for 17 minutes
  3. If the hold time is 17 minutes, don’t have a 1-800 line. Just send a guy over to punch me in the face, its less painful for me.
  4. If you insist on putting me on hold, tell me how long I’ll be on hold.
  5. When I am on hold, DON’’T hammer me with promotions or ads for your products. And for God’s sake don’t hammer me with Musak  Hammer me with some Metallica. . Hint: Make my wait as entertaining or painless as possible.
  6. If I ask the same question everyone else asks, fix that problem until we don’t ask the question anymore, ok Sparky?  Fix the most common problems and I guaran-effing-tee that we won’t call you as much.
  7. If your Operators name is Maruf and works in the Bangladesh Call Center, tell him not to say his name is “Bobby”. I’m good working with Maruf and your not fooling anyone.
  8. If my call gets dropped for any reason, call me back. Immediately. Sooner if possible.
  9. I should only have to give you my information once.
  10. I know I can find answers to your website, but right now I wanna talk to a person though. Make that simple to do.
  11. If you offer “Do It Yourself” products, make sure you have phone support on weekends.  I mean when do you think most “Do It Yourself” projects are done?????
  12. Don’t grade your operators on how quickly they can get me off the phone, Grade them on my delighted they make me. Trust me this works.
  13. Extend you customer support model beyond the phone. If don’t offer chat or social media support you’re behind the digital curve.  Email/Support Forms? C’mon, we all know that’s the black hole of customer service Hell and if you can’t get back to me with some kind of response within an hour don’t bother with it.

It’s really that easy. We aren’t asking for much. And if you do take care of us, we’ll take care of you.

25 Digital Predictions for 2014

Well it’s that time of year again when gurus, thought leaders, know-it-alls, and your Uncle Jerry all make their predictions for 2014.  Never mind the fact that they were completely wrong about their 2013 predictions, this is a new year and a brand new chance to be completely off-base.
Magic ball

So why should I be any different? And unlike Uncle Jerry, I can give you my stone-cold guarantee that my predictions are 100% accurate*:

  1. An area teenager will discover with bewilderment that his mobile device can be used to make phone calls.
  2. Some blogger will do a “Five Things Marketers
    can Learn from 2014 Predictions Lists” post.
  3. CDC scientists will be stumped when a YouTube video on ‘bacterial infection’ goes viral.
  4. Chaos will erupt on Facebook when someone posts the comment “Damn, that’s one ugly baby” to a newborn’s pic.
  5. Marketers will find a way to fuck up Instagram.
  6. Google will offer to buy a new social network for $87B. The 24 y/o founder will reel in disgust at the low-ball offer.
  7. Scooby & the gang will rip the mask off Eric Snowden to reveal its really Mark Zuckerberg in disguise.
  8. Your Internet Explorer browser will crash 47 times.
  9. “That Guy” will carry on a loud 4 hour phone conversation on the red eye flight because the FAA said he could.
  10. The History Channel will launch the reality show “Searching for Blackberry User”.
  11. Blackberry Timeline2014 will be the 13th Anniversary of “This is the Year of Mobile”.
  12. Your wife will erase all the episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’ from your DVR  to make room for the new season of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’.
  13. Based on their surveillance efforts, the NSA will publish a book called “The 100 Most Boring People in America”.  I will be #46.
  14. A Millennial will be in tears when she finds out her great performance review doesn’t come with a trophy.
  15. No worries, her helicopter Mom will buy her one.
  16. Some “Analyst” on CNBC, who’s never even started a lemonade stand, will opine on what Twitter needs to do next to stay relevant.
  17. Someone will actually fall for the ol’ Nigerian Prince email scam.
  18. Teens will flee Snapchat upon seeing their Dads posting selfies on the social network.
  19. Twitter will launch a new platform targeted to politicians that will have a 50,000 character limit.
  20. Someone will say something on Twitter that will offend somebody somewhere.  Society will wring their hands in disgust until 2 days later when someone else says something on Twitter that will offend somebody somewhere else.
  21. My Mom will still think a ‘blog’ is a monster from a 1950’s B-horror movie.
  22. “That douchebag” at the conference will hog all the outlets.
  23. A local Starbucks will face a social media crisis when ‘that weird guy who never buys anything’ complains about the slow Wi-Fi in the store to his 37 followers.
  24. Social Media gurus will blast Starbucks for their response to ‘that weird guy who never buys anything’ and explain how they would have handled it.
  25. The kids in waiting in line to catch the opening of The Hunger Games will mock the kids waiting in line to get the new iPhone.

So there you have it, my digital predictions for 2014.  I hope you all have a predictably prosperous new year!

* 60% of the time

Internet Summit 2013: The Definitive Summary

Internet Summit 2013This week I attended the Internet Summit in Raleigh, a nice little event here in the Triangle that gathers together some of the brightest digital marketing folks in the area…and few stupid ones. Say what you will about New York, Silicon Valley, and Austin, but this little cow-town has some serious stuff going on and this event continues to grow every year. This year’s edition of the Summit brought the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, Kevin Pollak, Ben Huh, and Coolio. I’m pretty confident you’ve heard of at least one of these people, but if you don’t, well, be assured that they haven’t heard of you either. The agenda was jam packed with keynotes, panel discussions, tech sessions, and rap music you haven’t heard in 20 years, and as the event was a virtual sellout, I know that many of my colleagues were unable to attend. The good news is that I have an awesome set of observations summarizing everything you need to know about this year’s conference. You’re welcome.

Here’s what you missed:

  • The most important thing on the planet that digital marketers need to know is “storytelling”. You can go home now.
  • Apple uses its market position to block innovation and uses “old technology” (note: a panel member who listed himself as a Blackberry consultant said this. Seriously.) RELATED: Is being a ‘Blackberry Consultant’ really something you want people to know about?
  • Gary Vaynerchuk swears a lot and the over/under on when he drops his first f-bomb in a keynote is currently 30 seconds.  Take the under.
  • Interesting subjects can be neutered by poor speakers.
  • Uninteresting subjects can be made to sound glorious by great speakers.
  • “Storytelling” is THE most important thing that digital marketers need to know.
  • Daft Punk + Duck Dynasty > Wearable Technology.
  • You need to understand Millennials. They want meaningful work, rapid advancement, flexible hours, and frequent accolades and rewards. Oddly enough, so do I, so they can just get the fuck in line behind me.
  • There is never enough coffee or power outlets at any conference. It;s the law of the Conference Gods. Get over it
  • It’s either going to be too hot or too cold. Bring a blanket and a tank top to cover your bases
  • Some companies still believe that tchotchkes are a business model. If the tchotchke flashes it indicates that it’s a high-tech business model.
  • All innovation is great until the Marketing Department gets a hold of it. Then it’s fucked.
  • Of all the things that digital marketers need to know “storytelling” is the most important of them all.
  • Coolio is still alive. Double check your Death Pool picks.

  • Whatever boundaries of technology Google Glass is eclipsing, the people who wear them look like attention-hungry douchebags.
  • Curiously, speakers who preach about the importance of building and cultivating relationships are usually bombarded with resume-wielding job-hunters immediately upon leaving the stage.
  • The preferred speaking attire these days is jeans, with an ill-fitting suit coat over a wrinkled button-down shirt that isn’t tucked in. Pros add a pair of shoes that look like they came from a hipster goodwill store.
  • “Storytelling” is very important.
  • The world desperately needs laws governing the use of PowerPoint slides and harsh penalties for those that offer slides that look like this:

Powerpoint slide

  • Social Media is huge!
  • Mobile is even huger!
  • Storytelling is the hugiest!
  • There’s a guy with a dozen bullet points on his slide telling you that you must be more visual.
  • You’re totally not going to get that booth babe’s number no matter how interested you pretend you are in the solution she knows nothing about.
  • It’s still in vogue for presenters to use tired examples of bad social media execution and tell the audience “what they would have done”.
  • The most popular person at the conference is the one who brought the power bar.
  • Once a rare siting, the person with the laptop, iPad and iPhone working concurrently is now sadly commonplace. Because you can never really be too connected.
  • Asking the audience to “Give it up” for the speaker should be illegal.
  • Asking the audience to raise their hands in response to your questions should be illegal.
  • Asking the audience the question, “How many of you are marketers?” followed by “Wrong! You are all marketers!” should be illegal and punishable by a swift kick in the nuts.
  • Box lunches suck, particularly the “sampler” pack of macaroni salad.


  • Sometimes the conversations on Twitter during a presentation are waaaaay more interesting than the presentation itself.
  • Once the conference ends everyone will enthusiastically go back to doing things exactly the way the presenters told them not to do it.
  • Oh. Almost forgot. Storytelling. Critical.

Well there you have it.  I betcha it feels like you sitting right there with me right?  I am sure one of the other attendees will claim that I missed a few things like, you know, key learnings, and new tools and techniques, and evolving digital trends, but I’m pretty damn sure I covered the most important parts. See you next year, when ‘storytelling’ will be soooo 2013 and gurus will laugh at the people who are still doing it.

Your Social Media Sucks…..and That Just Might Be Good Enough

Recently, Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel) & Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) talked about their disappointment and frustration on the state of social media marketing. In The Depressing State of Social Media Marketing”, Mitch said companies were missing the opportunity to create real relationships with their audiences in favor of adding to the noise that exists on social channels. In “The Bare Truth About Social Media Marketing”, a shirtless and rakishly handsome Chris Brogan, lamented that brands are just being too mechanical and “chirping out blather to elicit responses or likes, but with no follow-up, no next steps, no actual business intent. Just… faux interaction.”

The truth is that they are both right.

Corporate Friction

With that, I guess I’m surprised that Mitch and Chris are surprised at the state of social media marketing. While it’s easy to look from the outside and say “Why are they doing this?”, “How come they are not doing that?”, “They should be doing a better job about this”. “They don’t get it”. The fact is you’re dealing with organizations, and organization have “friction“, lots and lots of friction. Friction is the thing that prevents companies from achieving the idealistic nirvana that from the outside seems simple, obvious, and necessary.

Some examples of corporate friction?

  • How about Legal Departments that impose draconian limits on what you can say to customers and who can say it. These limitations are borne by real and potential lawsuits that can destroy a company. So processes are put in place to minimize that threat.
  • How about Corporate politics which dictate which silo in the organization “owns” the process. Mitch can say that ‘social media is the horizontal that runs across the organization’ but Corporations are vertical and vertical is how corporation keep track of stuff.
  • How about ingrained processes that limit new approaches because they rub up against the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset.
  • How about Wall Street, that in reality dictates much of how a public company operates. Miss your quarterly projections by a penny and forget about all those great opportunities to forge deep relationships on social networks….because the social media team just got laid off because they can’t prove an ROI.
  • How about the human element of a work force who doesn’t have the motivation/incentive/drive to promote or take on new initiatives. After all, that would be hard work and by the way, “it’s not my job” and “I got other responsibilities to worry about that can get me fired if I don’t tend to them”.
  • How about the fact that rather than trying to build stronger & more personal relationships with customers, companies are still tending to offshore those conversations to call centers in countries most of us can’t find on a map – and building in complicated phone trees to make even those conversations difficult to find. Alternatively, these responsibilities are handed over to agencies who know the mechanics of social interaction but are more interested in contract renewal than understanding the true DNA and culture of a company.
  • If staffed internally, social media marketing is generally being relegated to younger, less seasoned employees who don’t necessarily have the experience to understand where the value in social lies and how to foster AND measure it (NOTE: I know I’m making a broad generalization but there’s some truth in there somewhere).
  • Let’s also consider, that from a corporate perspective, social as a business tool has only really emerged in the past 5 years. By comparison, the commercial Internet has been around for ~15 years and the typical website experience still generally sucks. Hell, Ford has been making cars for 100 years and still can’t figure out how to make a water pump that doesn’t fail when you’re on a desolate road at 2 in the morning 😉 Things don’t work optimally out the gate. They do get better over time however and 5 years is not that much time – even in a digital sense.
  • Read the rest of this entry

    2013 @deanshaw Twitter Madness Championship – The Big Dance!

    Thanks to @1918 for image!

    I stole this image from @1918

    Unlike last year’s tournament where a Cinderella in the form of @1918 stormed the Final Four, this year’s event featured some true heavyweights of the Twitter-sphere. The question on everyone’s mind is who will join @spikejones and @jimsterne in the hallowed hall of the Twitter Madness infamy. Each of the Final Four contestants would be worthy champions but alas just won will receive the honor of saying “Twitter Madness Tourney? I have no clue what you’re talking about.” But before we get to the championship we must first determine the combatants. Let’s go to the Final Four Summary…

    @unmarketing v. @jowyang:

    The early favorite in this match had to be @jowyang given his experience in the Twitter Madness event. In fact it was just last year that Jeremiah battle tweet-to-tweet with eventual champion Jim Sterne in an epic match-up so surely his mettle is well tested in this arena.

    During his match-up @jowyang went with the “Travelogue Strategy” last seen in the 1972 Twitter Madness Tourney and we followed Jeremiahs travel to New York.  Some of the things we learned were:

    • He had a bunch of meetings
    • He either meditates or medicates depending on whether you believe him or his auto-correct
    • The World Trade Center looks magnificent – so eff you terrorists!
    • He had some more meetings
    • The AT&T building is designed to withstand a nuclear attack – and probably angry customers I assume
    • People in Colorado speak the most normal…or is it Ohio…whatever.
    • More meetings
    • Sushi chefs spend waaaaaaay too much time learning their craft
    • It takes 5,100 gallons of fuel to fly from NYC to SF just slightly more than what a Hummer uses going to the other side of town.

    In all a rather pedestrian performance by the Altimeter Man. Frankly I woulda cut my trip short so that I could focus on the Tourney but whatevs

    So what about @unmarketing ? Could he topple last year’s Tourney Runner up?  What did we learn from Scott during the match-up?

    • He’s a lawbreaker.  A nice lawbreaker but a lawbreaker nonetheless (FWIW, only would a Canadian compliment the cop that pulled him over)

    @unmarketing gets busted by the po po

    • He offered his insight on what happens when you unsubscribe from an email list

    Unsubscribed ? Bwahahaha

    • He shared a follower’s insight on QR Code strategy

    QR Code Strategey?

    • He provided an analysis of Microsoft’s Retail presence.


    • He finished off with a video of 5 Year-Old Jonah Rocking out on a System of a Down drum cover

    Yes Jonah, you rock! But you know who else rocks? @unmarketing, that’s who.

    Winner: @unmarketing


    @JustinKownacki v. @AndyBeal:

    A battle of two Twitter Madness Tourney veterans.  One “Armchair sociologist & perpetual contrarian”, the other CEO of @Trackur, founder of @MarketingPilgrm. Loves the ukulele, taekwo….what? Plays the ukulele?  Oh let’s check that out.  I suggest turning the speakers to 11 while reading the remainder of this post

    So @JustinKownacki of the Erie, Pennsylvania Kownackis is always a though provoking observer of his surroundings.  He almost didn’t even qualify for the tournament because I suspect his intellect is too high, but then I remembered he was from Erie, PA, the same town as my good pal @ToddAllen9 and he’s pretty much an idiot so I figured how smart could this Justin guy really be.  But back to the task at hand, Justin started as he normally does poking his followers with tweet like this:

    He does have a point

    And ya know he’s got a point…in fact I think I taking tomorrow off.

    He also wisely observed:

    Beware of Time Manangement

    I’ll throw in people with clean offices, whassup wit dat?

    But then he went all intellectual on us again:

    Dedeviled Eggs?

    I mean I love bedeviled eggs as much as the next guy but what does that have to do with electronics? But he eventually brought himself back with a well-timed burrito reference:

    I love me some burritos

    But then went right back to the intellectual stuff quoting, of course Nabokov, who is, of course, the back-up goaltender for the New York Islanders

    Nabokov, poet, goaltender


    So, in typical @JustinKownacki style he gave you  mixed bag ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, from the highbrow to the low brow…ok….I don’t even know what that means.

    Now what of @AndyBeal, he of the indiscernible accent, what was he up to during this critical match-up…

    Once again he was up to his old tricks, vacillating between over the top compliments to me, the Owner and Commissioner of the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney and downright jabs to my character.  His bait and switch strategy has worked in the past, but would that continue?

    He started by concurring with @FYeahAnalytics on the integrity of the Tourney itself..

    The Twitter Madness Tourney Rigged?

    Well, I never….

    Then he mixed in some stuff about Mobile Ads and LinkedIn…

    Then figuring he’d done enough for one day went to go see the Carolina Hurricanes get beat again with 108 of his closest friends.

    The Carolina Hurricanes are horrible

    The funny thing is that I really believe only 108 people showed up for the game cuz those Hurricanes are



    Then he jumped back to his compliments:

    Snark Off?

    @deanshaw snark-off Champion

    And then either insulted me or complimented me, I don’t have a clue <mental note: ask @JustinKownacki, he’ll know):

    An Ornithorhynchus what?

    And then he went back to some stuff like ‘reputation management’ and Digg.

    And then inexplicitly, without reason, @AndyBeal dropped the biggest bombshell in the 86 year history of the Twitter Madness Tourney:

    Real Housewives of Orange County

    Surely #RHOC doesn’t mean what I think it means, does it?

    Not Judging

    “Like, oh my Gawd, I gotta go, I just found out @AndyBeal watches our show”

    And with that, the Tournament was halted while Twitter Madness officials checked to see if @AndyBeal’s Twitter account had been hacked by a 49 year divorcee from Nebraska. When it was discovered that @AndyBeal had in fact authored that Tweet, the judges made the pronouncement that this tournament could not go on without @AndyBeal for fear that it would miss more stunning revelations. And so with that we had a winner.

    Winner: @AndyBeal

    To Justin and Jeremiah we bid a fond farewell. To Andy and Scott….LET”S GET IT ON!

    To check out the brackets go to @deanshaw Twitter Madness 2013 Brackets

    For more info on the tourney check out my 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney Page

    @deanshaw 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney: Elite 8 Recap

    Twitter Madness Elite 8There’s a tradition in Twitter Madness Tournament play to not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you. I’m sure going to the Sweet 16 is beyond your wildest dreams, so let’s just keep it right there.
    Forget about the 140 character limit, the size of their Klout score, their fancy avatars, and remember what got you here. Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again.
    And most important, don’t get caught up thinking about winning or losing this Tourney. If you put your effort and concentration into Tweeting to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners!
    But enough with plagiarizing motivation speeches from Hoosiers and on the Elite 8 Wrap-up

    Feature Match-up: @TheFakeESPN v. @unmarketing

    Let’s get this out of the way right now, if you are a sports fan with a little bit of cynicism then you have to follow @TheFakeESPN. If you’re just a sports fan, then you have to follow @TheFakeESPN. If your neither a sports fan nor cynical than why the Hell are you even reading this…go to wherever non-cynical non-sports fans go…probably @Oprah


    As usual @TheFakeESPN served up a bevy of great fake sports content which is awesome and all but there’s something missing…you know… that engagement stuff…

    Fake ESPN Followers

    I mean c’mon man, you have 410,080 followers but only follow 49 Twitter accounts?  According to the @deanshaw “WhatAreYouTooGoodForUs” index, @TheFakeESPN scores an embarrassing 8,389.

    As for @unmarketing, his “WhatAreYouTooGoodForUs” index is 4.1.  But what about content? Well let’s see what we learned about @unmarketing during this match-up:

    1. He thinks “We Care a Lot” by Faith No More is one of the greatest songs of his generation.  Now, if “his generation” is limited to that one Tuesday back in 1987 then I can probably agree with him.  Other than that, All I can say is ‘We Care a Lot” isn’t even the greatest song by Faith No More.  That honor goes to “Epic”…

    Faith No More

    1. He’s down with The Shawshank Redemption
    2. He’s a Blue Jays fan
    3. He understands the impact “The” Gretzky trade had to all of Canada
    4. He clearly understands the importance of the Twitter Madness Tourney

    @unmarketing Tweet

    Winner: @unmarketing


    A now for the rest of the Elite 8 Match-ups…


    @GinaMcCrae v. @jowyang:

    First there was “The Drive”

    The Drive

    Then there was “The Fumble”

    The Fumble

    And now there is another epic fail to add to Cleveland sports lore – The Twumble….or is it the The Twive…oh, I don’t know, but it’s epic!!!

    @GinaMcCrae acknowledged her opponent as she has done successfully throughout the Tourney…you know engaging them and all that stuff you’re supposed to do on social media.  But her words were prophetic, and a nod to the black cloud the permanently hangs over Cleveland’s sports landscape

    McCrae and the Black Cloud of Cleveland

    And so it was, she made the fatal mistake of looking back at her most recently dispatched opponent @frankreed with  a little Bing bashing.

    McCrae Looks back

    Sadly, I tried looking up “What are the chances of @GinaMcCrae winning this match by looking backward not forwards?” on Bing and I couldn’t find it in the results.

    While all this went on @jowyang was his normal workmanlike self, offering a summary of Google’s lame April Fool’s Day pranks and a spreadsheet showing how much time is spent sleeping and working, reminding me of how pathetic my life is. This time around it was enough to dispatch of his rookie rival.

    So we must say goodbye to this year’s Cinderella story and let her get back to Cleveland where, if my memory serves me well, probably has a depressing black cloud hanging over it.

    Winner: @jowyang


    @JustinKownacki v. @SocialMedia411:

    During the course of this year’s Twitter Madness Tourney, @SocialMedia has been the class of the field and seemingly this year’s anointed one.  Like Old Faithful , they offered an endless stream of “things that don’t suck”.  From Instagram and Facebook, to Twitter and Vine, if you’re looking for kiss-ass info on social media, this is the only Twitter handle you need to follow

    As for @JustinKownacki,  he had music on his mind with nods to Green Day, Notorious B.I.G, Ice Cube and George Clinton  all while questioning the diagnosis of ADHD and crappy PIXAR sequels.  Paraphrasing Forrest Gump – He’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.  But where he scored massive points was on this gem:

    pocket-sized bag of nuts

    No worries, @JustinKownacki because you will now also be tormented with “Ghost of Final Four Present”

    Winner: @JustinKownacki


    @kaimac v. @AndyBeal:

    In a re-match of last year’s Elite 8 match-up, @kaimac and @AndyBeal once again locked horns to see who would advance to the Final Four.  Last year’s match was a barn-burner and ultimately decided by a series of opportunistic tweets by @kaimac that covered “The Big Three”:  Beer, potatoes, and pie.  @AndyBeal was unable to recover from this brilliant onslaught and was left to utter a string of internet acronyms. It was SOL for @AndyBeal

    But that was then and this is now.

    Best I could tell @kaimac had two things on his mind: April Fool’s Day and his distrust of Internet reviews.  I don’t know no about the accuracy of all online reviews but I do know that the Select Inn in Minot, ND is the worst hotel on the planet.

    As for @AndyBeal, perhaps out of a sense of desperation he was unusually nice to me….and my Mom

    @AndyBeal is nice to my Mom

    But then got back to the sarcastic Andy I know and love…

    @AndyBeal is nice to me

    But then went back to “nice” Andy

    @AndyBeal is nice to me again

    It was all very confusing to me, but in the end, surprisingly effective.

    Winner: @AndyBeal


    So the Field of Four is set!  Let’s get it on!


    To check out the brackets go to @deanshaw Twitter Madness 2013 Brackets

    For more info on the tourney check out my 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney Page

    @deanshaw 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney: Sweet 16 Recap

    Sweet 16

    Things are really heating up in the 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney, and by “heating up” I mean no one really gives a shit, except for about half of the remaining contestants. The rest are all, like, “Twitter Madness what?” and “I don’t get it” and “Like I give a rat’s ass.”  So with enthusiasm at an all–time high let’s take a look at the Sweet 16 match-ups and who makes it through to the Elite 8

    Featured Match-Up: @adage v. @unmarketing*: 

    For the first time in Twitter Madness Tourney history a competitor has tweeted about bacon and lost their match.  The “Bacon Strategy” as it has become to be known, is widely used, often in desperation, but always successfully since the Twitter Madness Tournament started in 1954.  In this case however, @adage chose to bury the tweet amongst an unusual amount of Agency gobbledygook thus minimizing its “Wow!” appeal.


    And while @unmarketing was rather quiet during this crucial Sweet 16 match-up, he did take time to post a nifty xtranormal video about Social Media ROI Conversations.  ‘So what?’ you ask? Well I for one appreciate the time it takes to slap one of those together, having done a few myself.  Making it funny or interesting is an even bigger challenge but @unmarketing manages to do both.  Now, was his better than the ones I’ve done?  Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that….

    @unmarketing Masterpiece: The Social Media ROI Conversation

    @deanshaw Masterpiece: The Adventures of Social Media Guy 

    Whichever you prefer, the win goes to the guy who put the “un” into marketing.
    Winner: @unmarketing

    And now on to the rest of the Sweet 16 Action…

    @HubSpot v. @jowyang: So @HubSpot offered a plethora of amazing content that will make you a better online marketer.  @jowyang on the other hand Re-Tweeted one of my blog posts, and showed us he’s not the Super Human we thought he was by screwing up his math:

    Bad math

    That obvious and intentional display of mathematical miscalculation won my heart.
    Winner: @jowyang

    @GinaMcCrae v. @frankreed: I’ll have to admit, for a first time Twitter Madness Tourney participant, @GinaMcCrae certainly has swagger, look,for example, at this initial tweet in her match-up with Twitter Madness veteran @FrankReed –


    Of course, what @GinaMcCrae doesn’t know is that in the 42 year history of the Twitter Madness Tourney, no one with self-respect has ever won the championship.  That aside, it wasn’t the brashness or self-respect that won @GinaMcCrae this improbably victory, it was the fact that @frankreed only tweeted once.  Talk about no self-respect.
    Winner: @GinaMcCrae

    @JustinKownacki v. @leeodden: @leeodden tweeted a lot about conferences.  Among other things, @JustinKownacki shared stuff like this:

    Battle with Cancer

    Somehow conferences don’t seem all that important.
    Winner: @JustinKownacki

    @SocialMedia411 v. @MicheleJKiss: The Displaced Aussie in Boston/Partner, Web Analytics Demystified/Gadget nerd/Drinker of Apple Kool-Aid was awesome as always, and @SocialMedia411 continued to offer a consistent stream of great info. In the end they ended up in a statistical tie – only the second in the 72 year history of the tournament.  According to Rule 42, Section 8, Paragraph 3 of the Twitter Madness Tourney Rules, the tie goes to the one who has Carl from Caddyshack on their Twitter page. Gunga Galungda
    Winner: @SocialMedia411

    @jimsterne v. @kaimac: Highlights of @jimsterne during match-up:

    1. Bacon
    2. Two, yes two published articles

    3. And this guy:


    Highlights of @kaimac during match-up:


    Advantage: virtue
    Winner: @kaimac

    @FYeahAnalytics v. @AndyBeal: And in the Battle Royale of the Sweet Sixteen, @FYeahAnalytics and @AndyBeal traded Twitter Reply’s on subjects that included scary avatars, bacon, and 404 Error pages – a true battle between two Twitter Titans. It was a competition so close I called my Mom for guidance. She told me @AndyBeal was the son she wanted me to be and that other guy had a curse word in his name.
    Winner: @andybeal

    And now on to the Elite 8

    To check out the brackets go to @deanshaw Twitter Madness 2013 Brackets

    For more info on the tourney check out my 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney Page

    @deanshaw 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney: Round 2 Recap

    Round 2 Summary

    The competition heated up in round 2 of the 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney as the participants vied for a coveted spot in the Sweet Sixteen.  It was a round full of twist and turns and the first ever “double elimination”.  Yes two competitors were so equally horrible that I eliminated both of them.  To fill the void I made the Twitter Madness: Round 2unprecedented move to grant the much desired spot to a loser in another match-up. They don’t call it Twitter Madness for nothing. Let this be a lesson to the field

    of sixteen. If you commit Twitter atrocities during this tournament you not only disrespect me, but you disrespect your country, the Corps, and your Mama.

    For the winners, see you in the Sweet Sixteen.  For the Losers, grab your bags and go home!

    Featured Match-up: @mental_floss v. @jimsterne

    Let’s just get the record straight, you don’t become the Twitter Madness Champion by being some ham ‘n’ egger with a Twitter account. It takes all kind of social savvy and digital acumen to reach the Twitter Madness Tourney mountain top.  So it’s not surprising, that @jimsterne played his second round match-up like a fiddle, nay, a Stradivarius.  So what did he do right this time?

    1. He re-tweeted my wrap-up from Round 1 and acknowledge that in doing so he violated Tweet Type 3 in my List of 27 Tweet Types
    2. He mentioned “poop” in a tweet.
    3. He dropped some of his own content on us with “Analytics Misery Loves Company
    4. And if that wasn’t enough, he re-tweeted a linked to my presentation at the upcoming #eMetrics Conference. I hope I’ll see all of you there!

    Jim Sterne Tweets about #emetrics

    Winner: @jimsterne

    And now let’s take a look at the other exciting match-ups…

    @FastCompany v. @spikejones: FastCompany is most certainly a firehouse of great content that they tweet day and night, night and day.  It’s a virtually ongoing education on business, technology…and pandas apparently.  But you know that person you meet at a party that corners you and drones on and on, endlessly about a bunch of shit you just don’t care that much about and you just want to punch him in the face and tell him to shut the fuck up.  That person is FastCompany. They tweeted a total of 134 times in the 2 day match-up with @spikejones.  As for Spike, he tweeted a mere 8 times and said something about zombies and hating you.  Advantage: Spike Jones
    Winner: @spikejones

    @unmarketing v. @TheFakeESPN: If you’re a sports fan you should definitely be following the always funny @TheFakeESPN. As a bonus they have an picture of bacon on their Twitter page – and nothing scores points in the Twitter Madness Tourney quite like bacon.  On the other side is @unmarketing who is self-admittedly “kind of a big deal on a fairly irrelevant soc media site which inflates his self-importance.”  Bacon wins. Bacon always wins.
    Winner: @TheFakeESPN

    @adage v. @1918: Phil, why dost thou beseech me?  Last year’s Tournament Cinderella could only muster up a couple tweets in the 2nd round match-up against Ad Age. That was meager enough to hand the win to @adage
    Winner: @adage

    @ovrdrv v. @TheFakeCNN: I never thought it would be possible for both sides to lose but the performance of @ovrdrv AND @TheFakeESPN was so underwhelming it was impossible to determine a winner.  So, in an unprecedented move the Commissioner has ruled that both will be bounced from the tournament and @unmarketing who lost to a picture of  bacon will be granted a second chance.  The Commissioner also announced that “Raspberry-Frosted Pop-Tarts are friggin’ awesome.” Film at 11.
    Winner: @unmarketing

    @HubSpot v. @AudienceCreator:  Twitter madness Tourney Rookie tweeted something about “hidden bacteria lurking on your mobile device just as I was taking a big lick off my iPhone. Not cool @AudienceCreator. Not. Cool.
    Winner: @HubSpot

    @jowyang v. @webby2001: In my Twitter Madness Tourney Rules I forgot to mention one very important point: “not feeling an ounce of guilt for loving Ambrosia” disqualifies you from the competition. Sorry @webby2001, that’s just how much I feel.
    Winner: @jowyang

    @GinaMcCrae v. @chuckhemann: The brash rookie from Cleveland continued her aggressive play in round two even poking her nose into the @FYeahAnalytics v. @erictpeterson match-up.  But she made an almost fatal mistake late in the match-up when she actually tweeted the term “Mmm duhLISH” sensing she’d really fucked up she quickly followed that up with a tweet about “Pancakewiches” which acted as the antidote to her previous misstep.  As for @chuckhemann, he spent the first part of the match traveling and then pissed me of by tweeting about being at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and eating apple tarts.
    Winner: @GinaMcCrae

    @frankreed v. @DavidBThomas: Frank started strong out of the gate tweeting about cheese and doughnuts and then gave us the history of Internet Meme’s. As for @DavidBThomas he offered up only a couple tweets during the match-up, but to be honest, he’s at his most brilliant on Facebook, check him out there!
    Winner: @frankreed

    @JustinKownacki v. @cnmoody:  There are times I wished @JustinKownacki would just wear a GoPro video camera so I could follow him around all day. Granted he uses a lot of fancy words sometimes and is way smarter than me, but the tweets I do understand and his observations on everyday live are pure gold. Nothing wrong with you @cnmoody, you just ran up against a tough Twitter hombre this time  <mental note: ask @JustinKownacki what ‘hombre” means>.
    Winner: @JustinKownacki

    @SeinfeldToday v. @leeodden: Would 4 measly tweets from the always brilliant @SeinfeldToday be enough to topple the Online Marketing Master?  Not this time Jerry. What is the deal with that?
    Winner: @leeodden

    @avinash v. @SocialMedia411: @avinash is one of the most renowned practitioners in my field of analytics and I love him like a brother, but following @SocialMedia411 is like getting a free education in new media.
    Winner: @SocialMedia411

    @GinnySkal v. @MicheleJKiss: @GinnySkal (why do I always read that as SkinnyGal?) is a force of nature here in the Triangle but she has two passions I can’t get with, cats and Pat Sajak. Fortunately for @MicheleJKiss she only shares one of those passions…unless she would like to publicly declare her love for Mr. Sajak?????   Barring a last minute admission, the edge here goes to @MicheleJKiss
    Winner: @MicheleJKiss

    @iowahawkblog v. @kaimac: OK, I’ll be honest here. @kaimac wins because I’m tired of @iowahawkblog’s right wing crap and because Brooklyn Brutus is the wind beneath @kaimac’s wings
    Winner: @kaimac

    @FYeahAnalytics v. @erictpeterson: In a stunning development, @FYeahAnalytics wins by forfeit as @erictpeterson declares that “Twitter is not a game”
    Winner: @FYeahAnalytics

    @mitchjoel v. @AndyBeal: I just talked to my Mom on the phone. She said that @AndyBeal is the son she wanted me to be, so I guess he wins this round.  It helps that @mitchjoel only tweeted 3 times during the match-up 😉
    Winner: @AndyBeal

    So there you have it, the Sweet 16 of the 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney.  Good luck to all and to all a good night!

    The @deanshaw 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney Tips Off! Round 1 Coverage

    Ya know who should win the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney this year? Me, that’s who.  I mean this on-going monitoring and analysis of my brackets is a freakin’ pain in the ass.  But alas, I am barred from participating in the event because of my overwhelming advantage.

    Round 1So, the 1st round is in the books and as expected there we’re some stunning upsets.  That’s the beauty of this tournament you don’t have to be a “Rock Star” or “Ninja” or even a “Guru”. You can be just a regular old hack like @andybeal and still advance in Twitter Madness.  All you need is some interesting or clever tweets and you can have your own “One Shining Moment”  My GAWD that song is horrible.

    Let’s take a look at my in depth analysis that I just wasted 3 hours on and see who’s in and who’s out…

    FEATURE MATCH-UP: @chrisbrogan v. @GinaMcCrae 

    It always warms the cockles of my heart when I see a virtual unknown embrace the Twitter Madness Tourney and step up to the plate oblivious to the challenge that lay ahead.  Such was the case in the epic 1st Round match-up we saw in McCrae vs. Brogan. In a Titanic upset the wunderkind David from Cleveland upset the Goliath of all things Twitter.  The Tourney newbie seemed un-intimidated and play surprisingly well by mocking my tourney.  A ballsy move by the Twitter Tourney diaper dandy.

    Ain't Nobody Got Time Fo Dat

    @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney Gets Mocked

    Not to be openly mocked @deanshaw mocks the mocker:

    Willy Wonka Mocks the Mocker

    @deanshaw Mocks the Mocker

    McCrae brilliantly followed my mock of her mock with another mock, pulling off the first ever double-mock meme in the history of the tournament

    The Mocker mocks the Mock of the Mockee

    As for Chris, he ain’t got time fo dat.
    Winner: @GinaMcCrae

    And now a summary of the other exciting matchups…
    @FastCompany v. @mikewhitmore: Fast Company’s tweet barrage (almost 200 unique in total) was way too much for Former digital anthropologist, entrepreneur, husband, blogger, musician, professional speaker, networker & Nutella lover
    Winner @FastCompany

    @spikejones v. @jtobin: While Jim brought an interesting NCAA Bracket based on Twitter presence the wily Spike Jones let others do the talking for him while he spoke at some Word of Mouth thingy dingy. Talk about advocacy!
    Winner: @spikejones

    @unmarketing v. @jamieplesser: Like @spikejones, @unmarketing let his audience speak for him including quoting him on this gem “The difference between a person with 7 years retail experience and 1 year, is the person with 7 years hates people more.” Since I’ll probably shamelessly steal that I may as well give him entre to the next round.
    Winner: @unmarketing

    @TheFakeESPN v. @SmallsMeasures: Tough matchup for Smalls and @TheFakeESPN didn’t choke it away
    Winner: @The FakeESPN

    @adage v. @HelenASPopkin: Could Ad Age AND Helen Popkin both forgotten about their matchup?  A decidedly underwhelming performance by both goes to Ad Age for including Oreos and Kit Kats n the same tweet.
    Winner: @adage

    @unbounce v. @1918: In the best match-up of the day, last year’s tournament darling @1918 stood toe to toe with the Canadian un-bounce advocates. When the match ended in a statistical tie, I had to go to the rules books which clearly states in Rule 219, Article 3 that “in the event of a statistical tie, the win will be awarded to the person who tweets about BBQ the most.”
    Winner: @1918

    @JudahWorldChamp v. @ovrdrv: Both competitors played sloppy twittering but OverDrive was less bad than Judah.
    Winner: @ovrdrv

    @TheFakeCNN v. @CoreyCreed: The Fake CNN is just way too funny in thi matchup and beat out the Internet Marketing Guru
    Winner: @TheFakeCNN

    @HubSpot v. @SquareJawMedia:  SquareJaw can only muscle out 4 tweets and gets buried by an avalanche of HubSpot informational goodness
    Winner: @HubSpot

    @anjeanettec v. @AudienceCreator: Audience Creator won by default as the comedy of Anjeanette took an unfortunate hiatus during the matchup
    Winner: @AudienceCreator

    @jowyang v. @digitalalex: Wait, I wonder if Digital Alex was hanging with @anjeanettec the past few days as he was curiously absent from his matchup with @jowyang
    Winner: @jowyang

    @webby2001 v. @glenngabe: Another close battle, with Webby edging out Gabe because of some original content and I think he said something about brisket.
    Winner: @webby2001

    @chuckhemann v. @RudiShumpert: Are you effing kidding me Shumpert? I give you entre into the biggest Twitter Tournament on the planet and you tweet 4 times including a RT and one mentioning Klout? I can’t wait to see you at eMetrics so I can give you a piece of my mind…and a drink…I recall I owe you a drink.
    Winner: @chuckhemann

    @MarkRaganCEO v. @frankreed: Wait…what??? MarkRaganCEO didn’t even tweet during his matchup?  Are you kidding me? Are you getting your Tourney advice from @RudiShumprt or something???
    Winner: @FrankReed

    @DavidBThomas v. @Cole_Watts: Dave Thomas started off using the “I’ll just be the scribe for @ToddWheatland” tweet strategy which hasn’t been used in over 45 years, and just when I was about to vanquish him to the loser pile he said something about a coupon for ‘Critter Removal”
    Winner: @DavidBThomas

    @TheOnion v. @JustinKownacki: I knee jerk reaction was to just give this to @TheOnion, but Justin’s observations on everyday life were just to good…and always are.
    Winner: @JustinKownacki

    @cnmoody v. @stevehall: Moody plays small but comes up big.  Sometimes less is more.
    Winner: @cnmoody

    @SeinfeldToday v. @carlsonjill: I guess Jill didn’t want to come out to play. Seinfeld wins by default
    Winner: @SeinfeldToday

    @leeodden v. @JayDolan: Lee wasn’t at his best but he was good enough to slip by at Jay kid.
    Winner: @leeodden

    @avinash v. @awarenessinc: Two legendary competitors stumbled during their matchup but @Avinash said something about the snooze button…and I freaking LOVE the snooze button.
    Winner: @avinash

    @SocialMedia411 v. @mktgdouchebag: Despite passing along a great video with David Bowie and Sonic Youth  and a FREAKING great Social Media Strategy Generator , the Social Media 411 wins based on volume of great content
    Winner: @SocialMedia411

    @dmscott v. @GinnySkal: In another big upset, @GinnySkal squeaks out a victory over the heavily favored @dmscott despite picking Marquette to go all the way in the NCAA Tournament
    Winner: @GinnySkal

    @gemise v. @MicheleJKiss: @gemise violated Tweet Type 3 too many times and was disqualified
    Winner: @MicheleJKiss

    @mental_floss v. @coreyspencer: Apparently @coreyspencer is a Canadian living in Utah who LIKES movies, comic books, video games, digital marketing and analytics, but LOVES his sweet wife and 3 insane little boys but DOESN’T tweet during the Twitter Madness Tourney
    Winner: @mental_floss

    @jeffreylcohen v. @jimsterne: Last year’s Twitter Madness Tourney Champion wins because if he doesn’t he’ll throw another pox on my house and because I’m scared he’ll beat me up at next month’s eMetrics Conference.
    Winner: @jimsterne

    @iowahawkblog v. @zachward: Ya know how I said I follow some people cuz they piss me off? @iowahawkblog is one of those people and yet he advances to the next round. WTF is wrong with me?
    Winner: @iowahawkblog

    @badbanana v. @kaimac: @BadBanana picked the wrong time to be bad. @kaimac advances
    Winner: @kaimac

    @wwwbigbaldhead v. @FYeahAnalytics: I had high hopes for my favorite zombie killer but apparently slaying the dead doesn’t mean slaying the Twitter competition.
    Winner: @FYeahAnalytics

    @lruettimann v. @erictpeterson: Eric has blocked me from seeing his Tweets and has disavowed the Twitter Madness Tourney altogether.  A savvy show of reverse psychology if ever I saw one – and for that he advances to the next round.

    Eric Peterson is undecided

    Eric Peterson is undecided

    Eric Peterson is still undecided

    Eric Peterson is still undecided

    Winner: @erictpeterson

    @mitchjoel v. @OMLee: Despite a killer Hot Dog Baseball Salary calculator that @OMLee offered to the world, Mitch wins due to his Canadianess.
    Winner: @mitchjoel

    @AndyBeal v. @johnlovett: You’re in the Twitter Madness Tourney and you only tweet once??? John you have disrespected your country, the Corps, and your Momma.
    Winner: @AndyBeal

    Congrats to the winners, you’re on to the 2nd round and even tougher competition.  For the losers, go on home and cry to your Mammys.

    To check out the brackets go to:

    Survey of Super Bowl XLVII Interest

    A study commissioned by the @deanshaw Institute indicates that the majority up America couldn’t could less about the outcome of this year’s Super Bowl.  Based on a survey of one respondent the results clearly showed that from coast to coast there was very little interest in who the eventual winner would be. There were three outliers in the data clustered around Maryland and Northern California. There also appeared to be strong interest in Southern Nevada.

    In a related study, it was determined that 97% of people would rather pour buffalo wing sauce in their eyes than see Ray Lewis do that stupid dance again. The other 3% classified themselves as legally blind.


    Super Bowl XLVII Survey

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