I Want To Be Totally Transparent With You

Ok, so I get hurt…..a lot.  A few years ago the nurse at the local urgent care came in after taking an x-ray of my most recent boo-boo and asked me “Are you one of those X-Games people?”  I could only respond, “No Ma’am, I guess I’m  just one of those X-ray Games people”.

The benefit of getting hurt a lot is getting to take home a brand new x-ray to add to my collection.  Yes, I collect x-rays.  Aside from a nifty souvenir, its fascinating to look at what actually exists underneath all that skin.  So in the spirit of being totally transparent with you people, here is what I look like with no skin on.

Dean's X-Rays

I'm Just a Bag of Bones

Of course all these x-rays come with stories, some more interesting than others, but none interesting enough to share, well except maybe the one where I sliced my finger off, or the pacemaker thing, or the…..

How about you?  Got any good X-Rays?  Scars? And what are stories behind them?  C’mon, it’s your turn to be transparent with me.

UPDATE: A new one for the collection:

Degenerative Disc - Yea!

Degenerative Disc - Yea!

Rutgers, Mini-MBA, and the Death of the Real College Degree

I ran across this Certification Program…err….I mean “Mini-MBA” program offered by Rutgers and for some reason that escapes me it rubbed me the wrong way…oh wait I know why….because its bullshit.Motar Board  I don’t want to come off as some intellectual elitist or anything, but as someone who completed an MBA program (I guess Rutgers would call that a “Maxi-MBA”), I am just a tad put off at the “flavoring” they have added to the degree.

For anyone who has toiled through Grad School, they know the dedication, sacrifice, and grind that’s required to complete the program.  Especially for those coming to an MBA program from a non-business background, the rigors of tackling subjects like Finance, Accounting, and Marketing are not for the unmotivated.  My recollections bring back memories of grueling coursework, endless reading, arduous group work, all-night study sessions, nerve-racking presentations, and a course-ending thesis (Corporate Crisis Communication).

As someone who jumped off the 9-5 treadmill and re-entered College after 6 years of ‘real-life’ experience, the challenge was daunting but at the same time enormously gratifying and rewarding.  It made me realize just how much I didn’t learn as an undergrad.  In the end, I got my sheepskin and have ever since been proud of the blood, sweat, and tears that piece of paper represents.  I am an MBA dammit and have accomplished something only a small fraction of my peers could claim.  That ‘MBA’ means something.

So let’s get back to Rutgers.  They are now peddling a variety of these “Mini-MBAs” in subjects like “Business Essentials”, “Going Digital –  The New Rules of PR”, and “Pay Per Click (PPC)”.  Are you fucking kidding me?  Your going to subtly equate a session in “Conversion Optimization” with an MBA???

Note to Rutgers, what you have here are “Training Sessions” or “Certifications”, you know, the kind ofCongratulations! You're an Idiot things you do that get you a photocopied “Certificate of Achievement” that no one gives a shit about.  Hell, its not really of any more value than any of the 400 free webinars you can ingest daily if you aren’t busy actually doing something.   And its certainly nowhere near the education you get actually applying knowledge in real life as opposed to learning about how people apply things in real life.

As I said, I don’t know why this tweaked me so much… it’s just semantics right?  After all, I am a huge proponent of life-long learning as a means of professional survival.  But I guess where I start to seethe with rage is knowing how this will play out with some (I said ‘some’) of their students.  All of a sudden there will be a population of people professing their “mumblemumbleminimumble MBA” degree.  Trust me, I have seen enough fabricated resumes to know that the practice of outright fictional representation of one’s experience and achievements would make J.K. Rowling proud.  Throwing a faux MBA to these professional career hucksters  is almost begging them to “mistakenly” drop the “mini” part of their educational acumen.

At minimum, Rutgers is marginalizing what an MBA is and the work necessary to achieve it.  It’s academic malpractice and they should be embarrased to having added MBAs to the list of products like “Vitamin Enriched” Pop Tarts, “Low-Fat” Ice Cream, and “Anti-Aging” Wrinkle Cream that have been misrepresented by overzealous marketing people .

I’m sure I am blowing this way out of proportion, but go get yourself a “real” degree and tell me if it doesn’t feel cheapened by Rutgers “Mini-MBAers” Class of October 2011.

Google Analytics Premium Should Expect a High Bounce Rate

Google Analytics Premium
So after much speculation and anticipation in the web analytic community, Google finally announced the release of Google Analytics Premium. After years of offering Google Analytics for free and gaining hundreds of thousands of users – who doesn’t like free? – it seems appropriate for Google to start generating revenue form what is a very robust tool.

So the big question is can Google Analytics pivot from being a free tool, and convince users (and non-users) that it’s new premium version is worth $150K/year. To figure that out, let’s look at what features Google Premium is bringing to the web analytics party along with my razor sharp perspective:

Features:
Google Analytics Premium Features
1. Extra-Processing Power: Increased data collection, more custom variables and downloadable, un-sampled reports.

Dean Says: The big feature here is the un-sampled reports. If you are a larger organization with lots of data then you are very familiar with seeing sample data in your Google Analytic reports. And when I say sample data I mean really, really, ugly bad inaccurate ‘laughed out the meeting’ sample data.

This might be the most important feature in Google Analytics Premium, especially for enterprises. Then again, if you’re an enterprise and you are relying on Google Analytics for advanced web analytics then you really haven’t been taking your web analytics too seriously have you? If you are serious then you are relying of Omniture or CoreMetrics for your advanced web analytics driven decision making and use Google Analytics to “check your math”… or to give Sally in Marketing something to play with that will make her feel smart.

Final Assessment: These features (especially un-sampled data) were a “must-haves” for Google Analytics Premium to play in the paid space, but for the organizations that need it most it’s something they already have with Omniture. They are going to have to continue to bring on more feature and functionality to make real inroads.

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2. Advanced Analysis:

Attribution modeling tools that allow you to test different models for assigning credit to conversions.

Dean Says: This functionality is critical to understanding which tactics are contributing most effectively to your goals. Most often there are many touch points and assigning credit for a goal (sale) to the last interaction is short-sighted and ignores all the work that took place to complete that goal.

Once again, this is functionality that serious enterprise users already have. If they don’t have it, then they are probably not bought into the whole web analytics thing to begin with and are not going to be swayed by mere presence of Google Analytics Premium.

It should also be noted that the current Google Analytics offers Multi-Channel Funnels which also give visibility into attribution and thus somewhat neuters the value of Premium’s attribution model.

Final Assessment: Google Analytics Premium is bringing forth a feature that is necessary and not revolutionary. The target audience is either already doing attribution modeling or haven’t evolved to that level yet.

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3. Service and support:

Experts to guide customized installation, and dedicated account management on call – all backed by 24/7 support

Dean Says: Of course I am going to want account management and 24/7 support if I am going to shell out $150K a year. Then again having account management and support is a great thing but if you are already advanced in web analytics (and in particular Google Analytics) then you’re need for a lot of support is probably minimal. That’s the beauty of Google Analytics – its simplicity. Sure you run into challenges now and again but when you do, finding support is as easy as going to the Google Analytics Forum. And while it’s not necessarily as immediate, personable, or accurate, the vast majority of Google Analytics issues do not require a lot of support. Alternately, support packages from Google Analytic Partners are available at a very reasonable cost.

Final Assessment: Service and support is nice to have, but if it’s that important, then you probably have the wrong people doing your web analytics.

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4. Guarantees:

 Service level agreements for data collection, processing and reporting.

Dean Says:  Really? You’re gonna tout SLAs as one of your primary pitches? The current Google Analytics solution has proven to be highly reliable (aside from data sampling) so waving 99% uptime is impressive, I am probably already getting that level of service now.

Final Assessment:  Reliability is a given, not a selling point. It’s like a dealer telling me my brand new car will start when I put the key in the ignition.

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Price:

Google Analytics Premium Price
So the sticker price for Google Analytics Premium is $150K which puts at a little above Omniture SiteCatalyst. I anticipate that this price will be VERY, VERY flexible and that one little flinch would result in significant discounts. The pricing, as is, creates to significant barriers to adoption:

1. Enterprises with the wherewithal to invest six figures in a web analytics solution are probably already using Omniture SiteCatalyst or CoreMetrics. They are probably not likely to switch easily at any cost, let alone at a premium. In fact, they are also probably using Google Analytics alongside their paid solution and aren’t in any dire need of a new solution.

In any given sales scenario, the incumbent solution always has an enormous advantage when you consider the inconvenience of switching to a new solution. Someone would REALLY have to hate Omniture to willingly switch to Google Analytics Premium. I mean seriously, who wants that hassle?

2. For current Google Analytics users the price is probably science-fiction from an affordability standpoint. The vast majority of current Google Analytics users are not enterprises. I’ll guess that 90% or more are SMBs who are thankful to have such a simple, robust, and free tool in Google Analytics. The keyword being “free”. I can only imagine a sliver of those folks being able to justify the leap from $0 to $150K, especially given the relative marginal enhancement offered by the Premium solution that are really aimed at very large customers.

If they are ready to make the leap from free to paid analytics they would immediately have to weigh the pros and cons of Google Analytics vs. Omniture/CoreMetrics. It wouldn’t automatically be a slam dunk conversion for Google Analytics Premium although familiarity with Google Analytics would probably work in their favor.

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Market Impact:
Google Analytics Premium Market Impact
So what will happen to Google Analytics (or Urchin)? – Moving forward Google will have to aggressively add features and functionality to overcome some of the hurdles mentioned above. They will also need to further differentiate the Premium product from the free version – perceptually, by at least $150K.

This will inevitably mean that features and functionality once destined for Google Analytics will likely become exclusive Google Analytic Premium features. This will be especially true for the more robust and powerful features. Google will simply not be able to develop the standard Google Analytics solution as it has in the past. Much like Urchin, Google Analytics will need to take a backseat to the Premium solution.

Regular Google Analytics users will grumble I’m sure, but in the end have to realize that bitching about a free product has no merit and they’ll need to either put up or shut up.

What about the Web Analytics Market? – Well, Google Analytics Premium is great news for everyone, unless your name is Omniture or CoreMetrics. Google’s entry into the enterprise space will have two impacts:

1. Better Products :  As Google Analytics Premium continues to add features and functionality, existing players will need to respond and defend their turf. This will likely mean renewed focus on new and better solutions across the board. No one shakes the dust off a staid market like Google and web analytics will be no different.

2. Lower Prices:  I smell a good market share battle brewing and the easiest tool to use is always price. Expect vendors to get soft on pricing to maintain market share.

So there you have it. Everything you wanted to know about Google Analytics but didn’t really care enough about to ask.

Wanna learn more? Of course you do. Here’s Google’s fluffy introduction:

Here’s a little more meat from CardinalPath: “Getting to Know Google Analytics Premium

So what do you think? Have I got this wrong? Of course not. So just agree with me ok?

An Open Letter to Current and Future Groupon Vendors

Hi, it’s me.  I’m the person you’re trying to entice to your salon, restaurant, resort, Zumba class, and Groupon is the tool you’re using to accomplish that.  Makes sense, I mean it’s a win-win (win) right?  I get a great deal on whatever it is you do.  Groupon gets a cut for bringing us together.  And you?  Well, you get shafted.  At least that what it seems like to me.  If my math is correct you’re giving me your product orGroupon is bad service in exchange for 25 cents on the dollar in the hopes of gaining me as a repeat customer.  It’s the Wimpy Business Strategy – “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.  There’s just one problem.  I’m not coming back.  There I said it, I. Am. Not. Coming. Back.  Or, at the very least, I was already a customer and all you’ve done is given me a steep discount for something I had been paying full price for.  In short I am a retail predator, preying on merchants who are willing to undercut themselves.

Harsh, I know, but I am divulging this information to so that you’ll understand how most of your “customers” view the deals they purchase through Groupon.  In doing so I want you to reconsider your decision to buy into Groupon’s sales pitch or at least understand what you are getting into and devise a strategy to fully leverage your Groupon offer.  So here a few unsolicited tips from someone who loves taking advantage of you.

1.       Understand Your Business:  Do you provide a service used infrequently?  Are you a commodity business?  Have you got limited resources?  If so, then why are you even considering Groupon?  Let’s look at an example.  I recently purchased a Groupon to have my carpets steam-cleaned.  This was the first time in 5 years I had done that and yes it was prompted by a great Groupon offer.  By all accounts, the company that cleaned my carpets did a great job.  They showed up at the appointed time, were friendly and polite, and got my carpets as clean as they have ever been.

So who won here?  Certainly me, after all I paid only $49 for the service that might have cost me$100 otherwise.  Groupon did well also, taking their usual 25% cut.  How about the guy doing the work?  I spoke with him afterward about Groupon and what he said stunned me.  Because of the popularity of his offer, he was fully booked with Groupon redemptions though mid-June.  It was February 18th. So, for 4 months he would be unable to take on any full-price customers and was working below cost in the meantime.  But certainly, if he could struggle through then his business would flourish right?  Well, I suppose except for the fact that I have no recollection of what his company’s name is or even his contact information.  To me he was the “Carpet Cleaning Guy” just like a hundred other “Carpet Cleaning Guys” that exist in my area.  His business is generic enough and his service infrequent enough that in 5 years when my carpets need steam-cleaning again there’ll be another sucker establishment offering his services at a low-low Groupon price.

LESSON: If you offer a generic service that is used infrequently you have no business even considering a Groupon offer, because predators like me will bleed you dry.

2.       For God’s Sake Have a Strategy: Do you know that of all the “Daily Deal” offers I’ve redeemed I have never once been contacted after the redemption?  It’s stoopifying to me that after giving away your service, you aren’t going to encourage me to become a repeat customer or at least take my contact info and use it for future communication.

So what exactly was your master plan?  That I was going to beat a path to your door to pay full price?  That’s not gonna happen.  I got what I wanted.  It’s your turn to decide what you want out of the arrangement.  You’re at least going to have to follow-up with me (and probably dangle another offer in my face) if you want me to do business with you again.  Remember I am a predator.

 

LESSON: Before you undertake any Groupon offer, (or any promotion) have a strategy for how you are going to leverage that promotion for your own good.  At the very least, get my contact info AND for Crissakes pester me once in a while with some communication, offer, update, or newsletter.

3.       Treat Me Like Gold: I am all too familiar with the icy stares I get from merchants when I utter the words “I have a Groupon”.  Some merchants seem to have a disdain for those customers who dare take them up on their Groupon offers and reflect that in the service they provide.  I know, I know, I already told you I am not coming back so why shouldn’t I get 2nd class citizen treatment.  Well, there are a few reasons.  First and foremost, despite what I have paid, I AM YOUR CUSTOMER, and I expect to be treated like any other one that walks through the door.  It doesn’t matter to me what I paid and it shouldn’t matter to you.  Secondly, just because I may not come back (and maybe I will) doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend you to someone else. And guess what, they might even pay full price.  Finally, if you give an experience that is anything less than the one given full-priced customers, I will destroy you.  Be it online or offline I will eagerly tell my circle about my dissatisfaction and Shazam!  You’ve turned your Groupon campaign into a reputation crisis.

LESSON: You might see me as a low-margin, price sensitive, deal-monger.  You’re right I am.  But treat me like that and I’ll be a low-margin, price sensitive, deal-monger who’ll bad mouth you outta business.

4.       Do not alienate your regular customers: At the end of the day it’s not Groupon predators like me that will keep you in business.  It’s the customers you already have that keep coming back and pay retail for your products and service…because they genuinely like you.  Whatever you do, do not restrict your current customers from taking advantage of your Groupon offer.  Recently, a company offered a Groupon “for new customers only”.  The response from existing customer was swift and clear.  Existing customers felt unappreciated and taken for granted.  Rather than launching a Groupon offer, the company had inadvertently launched a delicious online debate amongst existing customers about how much the company sucked for not appreciate and rewarding their regular customers.  Ultimatley, the company relented and removed the Groupon restrictions, but not before creating ill-will with their “real” customers.

LESSON: Whatever you do, DO NOT fuck with your loyal customers.  They are worth a gazillion times more than any Groupon customer.  Embrace them, coddle them, make them feel so special they’ll spew goodwill about you wherever they go.

So there you go, a little insight about the painfully obvious.  And best of all you didn’t need a Groupon.

 

Regards,

Dean

The Adventures of Social Media Guy

Follow the life and times of everyone’s favorite douchebag, Social Media Guy.

Updated! The Complete List of 27 Tweet Types

[UPDATED: 2 brand new Tweet types were just discovered and amazingly overlooked in the initial analysis. They appear at #26 and #27]

So I was reading the @jaydolan post “Top 5 Tweets I Hate to See” and it made me realize that when it comes right down to it there are only a few types of tweets that get replicated a bazillion times a day (that number drops to a few million if you exclude @GuyKawasaki). So I went back to the lab and using over 27 years of tweeting history developed an insanely complicated algorithm that told me that there are, in fact, only 25 different types of tweets in the world each with its own Douchebag Ranking.

25 Types of Tweets

The 25 Types of Tweetsdifferent types of tweets in the world each with its own Douchebag Ranking.

1. The ‘Look How Important I Am’ Tweet: Usually defined by mentioning the exotic location you are at ‘The scenery in Bora Bora is breathtaking!’), it could also include important people you talked to, or the front row seats you have to the Yanni concert. This type of tweet peaks
during SXSW where the primary agenda is for attendees to tell the world how much fun they’re having.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

2. The ‘HumbleBrag’ Tweet: Just follow @humblebrag and you’ll get the point. If you engage in this type of tweeting, you will slowly become as popular as that friend of yours who joined Amway.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 10

3. The ‘RT of Any Tweet You’re Mentioned In’ Tweet: It’s not enough to be pleased that you were mentioned by someone else in a tweet, but now you have to share that with all your followers to show them just how great you are. It’s usually couched with a “Thanks” or “Blush” comment that feigns humility but really screams, “I got retweeted, people like me, they really like me!”

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

4. The ‘I Automate Tweets Every 3 Minutes’ Tweet: A close relative of the ‘I Tweet the Same Tweet Several Times a Day Because It’s Too Good to Miss’ Tweet: this person uses twitter as his own personal bullhorn and pollutes his followers’ twitterstream. Yes, I am looking at you @GuyKawasaki. From here to fore, I am instituting the global limit of 12 tweets per day. Exceed that and I’ll have Joe Pesci pay you a visit with a Louisville Slugger.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 9

5. The ‘Multi-Hashtag’ Tweet: From the same family as the ‘Insane Hashtag Tweet’ this tweet seeks to maximize visibility by including every hashtag that might be remotely related to the content of the tweet. This tweet also tends to stuff itself with high SEO qualities and link-bait messaging. This tweeter is trying way too hard to be popular and is the same high school guy that belonged to every club imaginable. My advice? Roll the dice with one hashtag, ok Sparky? #Idiot #TryingToHard #NobodyCares

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 5

6. The ‘Look What I Can Do That You Can’t’ Tweet: Wow! You just went for a 50 mile bike ride? Just finished that IronMan? Scaled Mt. Everest while balancing 2 Sherpas on your head? Ok, ok, I get it; you are waaaaaay better than me. Now go DM @ShutYourPieHole with your vast accomplishments, Superstar.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 9

7. The ‘Conversation’ Tweet: Rather than using the DM feature, this tweet seeks to share a conversation between two tweeters generally to prove to their followers that they are good buddies with someone that others wish they were.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 5

8. The ‘Wanna Be’ Tweet: This is a lame attempt to seek attention from someone who has a degree of fame in their non-tweet life. It usually looks something like this: Hey @ChrisBrogan you know any good restaurants in Boston? I am here for a social media conference, you going?” It’s a painfully obvious and pathetic attempt to gain favor with pseudo-celebrity which largely goes unreciprocated because frankly you are below them in the Twitter caste system

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

9. The ‘Suck-Up’ Tweet; Very similar to the ‘Wanna Be’ Tweet this is where a generally anonymous tweeter attempts to get on the radar of a prominent tweeter through disingenuous and pathetic compliments. Typically the tweet looks similar to “You know who gets it? @Ambercadabra does?” This also usually leads to a ‘RT of any tweet you’re mentioned in’ Tweet by the person being complimented and a subsequent RT of the RT. It’s a vortex of douchebaggery you don’t want to get sucked into.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

10. The ‘I am a social media guru but hasn’t done any real social media work so I am just going to spend my day re-tweeting Mashable links all day because I got nothing better to do other than to perpetuate the myth that I am an expert’ Tweet: This family of tweets seeks to deceive followers into thinking the Tweeter is an industry thought leader when, in fact, they just have an internet connection, RSS feed, and a shitload of time

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 4

11. The ‘Goodnight’ Tweet: Let’s face it, the Twittersphere is a much lonelier place without you and doesn’t shut down until you do. This Tweet tells its followers that it’s ok to get off Twitter and go do other things, you know, like having a life.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

12. The ‘Be Right Back’ Tweet: Let’s face it, even you need to take a break from the madness that is Twitter. Telling us that you’re just “jumping off for a bit” gives us comfort that you haven’t perished in a terrible industrial accident.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

13. The ‘Good Morning’ Tweet: Like its brethren the ‘Goodnight’ Tweet, this tweets tells the world that Twitter is open for business because you are there.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

14. The ‘Twitter is how I catalog everything I do’ Tweet: “I was going to go to the movies but I think I’ll just stay in a read a book.” Gee, thanks for telling us. I am impressed you are able to make the ‘tough decisions’ and still have the confidence to share that with a doubting and skeptical world.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

15. The ‘Foursquare Check-in’ Tweet: Hey! You ousted another idiot for Mayor of the local hardware store! 1. We don’t give a shit. 2. Unless you’re Mayoralship can get me out of my speeding ticket I don’t give a crap where you are and what you’re Mayor of. 3. We don’t give a shit. I also don’t care where you’re eating, what airport you’re at or which show you are watching.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

16. The ‘If I compliment them enough they’ll give me something free’ tweet: This particular tweet type was aggravated by Wheat Thins who turned the practice into an ad campaign. The typical tweet goes: “Aw shucks I am all out of @XYZProduct. Oh boy, do I loooove @XYZProduct. I don’t know how I am going to make it through the day without my @XYZProduct. If I could only get my hands on some more @XYZProduct.” By the way I’ve calculated the odds of winning favor with the product manufacturer and it is less than 0%. On the bright side, the chances of you looking like a desperate stooge who wants free crap is close to 100%

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

17. The ‘I’m too much of a coward to complain to someone face so I’ll do it over twitter’ tweet: I can’t believe the restaurant made me wait 4 minutes for my chardonnay, I am really gonna let them have it………on Twitter. Twitter has been enabling cowardice since 2005 and has turned people everywhere into over-demanding, spoiled, whining douchebags. Back in the day, if something really bothered you, you’d have to actually talk to someone who could make it right. Thankfully, Twitter has taken that uncomfortable encounter away and replaced it with one that encourages the crucifixion of companies that dare to perform at an impossible level to those who never ever make mistakes.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

18. The ‘Good Lord its hot/cold/wet/dry/humid/blustery) and I can prove it’ Tweet: A relatively new genre, this tweet has become hugely popular during this summer’s heat wave. This tweet seeks to remind people of weather conditions that are painfully obvious and familiar to people. This tweet has mutated recently to include photographic evidence of the weather condition, usually through a blurry photograph of the temperature reading on a car dashboard which as everyone knows is accurate to within 47 degrees.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

19. The ‘Color Commentary’ Tweet: This tweet lulls the overzealous tweeter into thinking that doing play by play of a sporting event makes any sense to their followers or that their followers even give a crap about in the first place. What? Dustin Pedroya just stretched a single into a double off of Jared Weaver? Can ya retweet that with sound and moving images? Oh wait that TV, which is what I would be watching this on if I gave a shit. This tweet has found its way to also include live commentary of shows.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

20. The ‘Cause’ Tweet: These come in a few varieties:

– The local variety is when the tweeter asks you support a cause near & dear to them. You know, like the 5K he’s running to raise money for some local arm of a national charity. It doesn’t matter that you’ve already donated to 4,000 charitable events this year already, because this is social media and you’re supposed to genuinely care about each of your followers.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 5

– The next variety is a Global event. Remember the Haitian Earthquake? Or the Japanese Tsunami, or Hurricane Katrina. In this version you are asked to donate money to a national organization only to find out later that the money you donated still hasn’t gotten to the victims but has gotten to the 450K salary the Charity’s CEO makes who by the way is on vacation in Turks & Caicos

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

– The final variety is the moral support cause. Remember when we all changed our avatars to green in support of Iranian demonstrators? Because nothing says “I want to show I care without really having to think about it too much” better than a meaningless and disingenuous avatar color.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

21. The ‘News Aggregation’ Tweet: I remember first seeing these becoming more popular several months ago and at first I was impressed at how the owners were able to maintain a clean looking site that brought together relatively focused industry stories. Then upon further investigation, I realized that they were generated by a site called paper.li that was easier to set-up than Brad Pitt at a sorority party. Knowing what I know now every time I see the parade of news aggregation sites tweeted I want to scream “you lazy sack of sh#t!”

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

22. The ‘Double Agent’ Tweet: This is a tricky one. Here, the tweeter RTs a message that is his alter twitter handle. To the unaware it attempts to add unbiased credibility and promotion to, well, themselves. They will usually look something like this:

@JoeSmith: I couldn’t agree more RT @JoesConsulting Consultants are indispensible to your business, especially if they’re expensive.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 7

23. The “Fake Outrage” Tweet: Remember when The Gap changed their logo and all Hell broke loose on the Twittersphere? Seriously America, we used to make steel in this country and now we get our noses bent out of shape by any subtle change to our daily existence. Go ahead, stop buying chinos from the Gap. Just shut the fuck up about it.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 8

24. The “Shower me With Sympathy” Tweet: Here the victim typically describes in tragic detail an ailment that has them on death’s door. Usually, no more than a mild cold, the tweeter will tweet in Shakespearian terms to elicit the maximum volume of sympathy from followers. It’s usually a desperate cry for attention. Ignore them or better yet, find them and punch them in the face and really give them something to cry about.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 6

25. The ‘Hot Chick’ Tweet: Listen, I’m a sucker for a pretty face just like every other guy but when you get a tweet from someone with the twitter handle @LabaRaE6zww8jh with nothing but a link don’t click on it. REPEAT: DO NOT CLICK ON IT. This is not a “Hot Chick” who finds your 140 character musings fascinating. It’s a 32 year-old Russian named Sergei and he will fuck you over.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 11

26. The “I’m so awesome I RT myself ” Tweet: It’s almost hard to fathom that this kind of tweet actually exists. It’s the sasquatch of tweets in that you’ve probably heard that its been done but never beleived it. Well my friends, I actually spotted this one last week. We reached a new shallowness and egomanaical point in Twitter evolution where some douchebags are so in love with themselves they actually RT their own tweets. I know, right? Like what self-absorb ignoramus does that?  This one is so agregious that it actually broke my Douchebag Ranking algorithm so I’m just gonna have to guess….

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 15

27. The “I Have No Sense of Humility but an Obvious and Severe Inferiority Complex” Tweet: A particularly nasty hybrid of the ‘HumbleBrag’ Tweet and the ‘Look What I Can Do That You Can’t’ Tweet and chronicled at TweetingTooHard.com. These tweets are a public display of the clinical definition of ‘egomaniac’.  The only cure for this behavior of course, is a good hard punch to the nose. If you aren’t close enough to do that, then all you can do is not do what they do.  Hey I think its great that when your Porsche is in the shop you have to drive your Mercedes, but either way it’s a douchebag behind the steering wheel.

Douchebag Scale Ranking: 14

 

So there you have it, THE complete collection of Tweet Classifications. Did I miss anything? Didn’t think so but if you invent a new one let me know.

The Championship of the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney

And so it was. What started 3 weeks ago with 64 fierce and determined Twitterers…er….Tweeters…umm..,people on Twitter was slowly whittled down to the best of the best: @SpikeJones and @adrants. They both proved their mettle by beating some big time competition along with some spirited upstarts. And in the end, this competition has been less about crowning a champion as it has been about making 63 enemies. So with other further adieu (I have no idea what adieu means but it makes me look cultured no?) here is a look at the Championship match in the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney

@SpikeJones v. @adrants

Pre-Game
In a stunning development that emerged on the eve of the championship match, the nameless, faceless brilliance behind @adrants was revealed to be @stevehall, writer, publisher, cool glasses wearer. With this shocking discovery, @adrants’ dominance through the field of 64 was all of a sudden making sense. This was no the side-project of some snot-nosed Junior Achievement brats, nor the musings of a DeVry University Philosophy Major living in his parent’s basement. This was the real deal. By contrast, @SpikeJones hid behind no alias. He of @BrainsOnFire fame and an accomplished something or other in his own right, including fancy dancy titles at Fleishman-Hilliard. In short, these were no ham n’ eggers, these were true titans at their craft. I also have a sneakin’ suspicion that they can be found at the local waterin’ on any given Friday downing wobbly pops. But enough about that, let’s get to the action.

Tale of the Tape

Twitter Madness: Tale of the Tape

* Because at the end of the day, it’s all about me

Color Commentary: @adrants
@adrants stuck with the formula that got him to the big dance with clever posts about off the radar news from the field of advertising. If you want RTs of RTs, then follow @chrisbrogan or @mashable or any sycophant that follows @chrisbrogan or @mashable. If you want interesting and amusing takes on interesting and amusing stories @adrants is who you need to follow. One curious strategy was @adrants not mentioning ‘boobs’ during the championship match. It was that savvy move that earned him a spot in the championship game so it showed big coconuts to forgo that proven strategy. He did however slip in a post about ‘Fingers’ and  ‘Hot Chick’ which brilliantly distracted me.  Also, among his tweets were ‘Food Porn’ and Wonderbra 2.0. In short, @adrants stuck with his game and put in a worthy and consistent performance. If you are not following him, you be crazy in the head yo.

Color Commentary: @SpikeJones
Like @adrants, @SpikeJones stuck with the girl that brung him. And that girl likes poking fun at social media enthusiasts and hipsters. Some of his stronger musings included “It’s a vortex, wrapped in a who gives a flying eff.” And “I still don’t care what you had for lunch.” I really think that if this Digital Marketing thingy dingy doesn’t work out he could make a good living writing bumper sticker slogans, or perhaps punch lines for Snooki. What @SpikeJones doesn’t do, which endears me to him (I don’t mean that in a romantical sense – I’m all man) is that he doesn’t RT the news of the day. I mean seriously, do people really think they were breaking a major headline when they tweeted “Wow, huge tsunami in Japan http://oldne.ws/TyiNgToLoOkSmaRT” 12 hours after it happened. I mean, thanks for the breaking news Brian Williams but I heard about it 154 RTs ago http://LAteToThePar.ty/DiPShiT. I would recommend that you follow @SpikeJones but even he would advise against that. So #unfollow @SpikeJones

Final Analysis:
I think one of my million, thousands, hundreds, ok one guy commented:

“I find myself clicking on more @Adrants links then all other twitter accounts combined… hmmm, I wonder why. Plus @Adrants represents on #SoCruise… And @SpikeJones insights on WOM is unbeatable and I enjoy how he pokes at us social media enthusiasts…plus he let me borrow a slide once for a presentation – – this will be a tough one – – but B00bs win!”

I agree 100% with 60% of what this guy say and I don’t envy me and the decision I need to make. If it weren’t for the fact that neither gives a rats a$$ and it’s meaningless accomplishment, I might do what any self-respecting NBA ref or State Senator would do and take a bribe, but alas this is going to have to come down to a gut call. And when I think about guts, I think about eating, and when I think about eating, I think about brisket, and when I think about brisket, I think about Texas, and when I think about Texas, I think about the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and when I think about the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, I think about football, and when I think about football, I think about touchdowns, and when I think about touchdowns, I think about spiked footballs, and when I think about spiked footballs I think about @SpikeJones.

Winner by the hair of my chinny chin chin: @SpikeJones

Congratulations @SpikeJones, you are the 2011 @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney Champion. That and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee (unless you’re going to Starbucks in which case you’ll need another buck 75).

Congratulation to the runner-up @adrants who will assume the crown should @spikejones be unable to fulfill the requirements of champion. I’m certain that will happen by next Tuesday.

Finally, congratulations to all tourney participants, who all bring value to my twitterstream everyday. I love you all for that, especially you @girlsinyogapants 😉

See you all again in 2012.

@deanshaw

To check out the brackets go to challonge/TwitterMadness
For more info on the tourney check out my Diversions page

The Big Dance – @deanshaw Twitter Madness Championship Set

And so here it is, the moment all Tweeters dream about when they are little boys, drawing tweets in the sand at recess, dreaming of one day making it the big dance. The Final Four of the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney. Ok , technically the Final Five. Each has circumnavigated the Twittersphere to emerge as the elite of absolute strangers I follow. Each represents all that is good and non-douchy about the medium. And while each brings their own unique style to the Twitter feed they all have something they share…oh screw it…let’s look at the results…

@SpikeJones v. @Justinkownacki / @mtkgdouchebag There’s a code in the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney. And that code is “don’t hunt elephants.” Fortunately, none of the participants in this match did that as far as I can tell. Now I am sure @SpikeJones has probably hit the odd Armadillo in his stagecoach in Austin, and I am certain @JustinKownacki probably has taken out some polar bears in Erie, PA with a snowball launcher. But this is a lot different than grabbing a high powered rifle, hiding in the bushes, taking down a majestic pachyderm in the dead of night, and then celebrating by making the event a branding opportunity. Now listen, I like elephant meat as much as the next guy but seriously @BobParsons, Not. Cool.

But on to the business at hand…@mktgdouchebag and @justinkownacki took their alliance into the final four hoping that they could rope-a-dope the wiley @SpikeJones with a combination of sarcasm, poignant observation, and web TV episodes (if you haven’t seen the @TheBaristasTV stop reading this now and check it out..err…I mean finish reading this and then go check it out). Perhaps distracted by you know things more important than Twitter @JustinKownacki was surprisingly disengaged during the match which left @mktgdouchebag left to lead the charge. While fighting gallantly for two days he made one critical error – apologizing to hipsters. There is only one time when it’s ok to apologize to hipsters, and that time is…never. I mean I never heard anyone apologize to me when I was sportin’ parachute pants and a Flock of Seagulls ‘do back in the…er…I mean…ummm…nevermind. @SpikeJones bravely (foolishly? Who knows, it’s such a fine line) faced the two-headed monster with defiance, refusing to let @mktgdouchebag back out of the handicap match when the offer was made. He stuck with his game plan – offer a little value as possible, and provoke the shit out of social media enthusiasts. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

For staring down the tag team champions and even dropping a ‘Frankie Goes to Hollywood’ reference…
Winner: @SpikeJones

@Adrants v. @SocialMedia411 In the battle of the faceless, nameless twitter accounts (I mean that’s what social media is all about right) two twitter behemoths squared off in the arena of 140 characters. For most of the tourney, @SocialMedia411 steamrolled over their competition and look unstoppable, leaving a wake of twitter destruction behind them. But the Twitter Madness Tourney is a fickle mistress, unforgiving of even the smallest miscalculation. As so it was, that while @SocialMedia411 seemed destined for Tourney greatness, they lost focus for a split second and tweeted this uncharacteristic gaffe:

“Thinking of taking next week off just to see if anybody notices @SocialMedia411 missing from their stream.”

This bizarre sense of self-importance resulted in a 4,000 point Douchebag deduction, as anyone who thinks that they would ever be missed on Twitter has either a ginormous ego or a twisted sense of reality. Let’s be clear, no one is ever missed on Twitter, not even you @SocialMedia411. As for @adrants, they tweeted about boobs…..twice. Advantage @adrants
Winner: @adrants

So there you have it. After 62 matches, it all comes down to this. The irresistible force vs. the immovable object. The city slicker vs. the lonesome cowboy. The ranter vs. ummmm…the ranter. C’mon boys, it’s game time! #BringIt

To check out the brackets go to challonge/TwitterMadness
For more info on the tourney check out my Diversions page

It’s Final Four Time in the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney

Well the action is heating up and we’ve reach the Final Four of the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney the excitement across America is palpable. I have no idea what palpable means but I heard Greg Gumbel say it during a Gonzaga game once so it must be relevant. And even as I tire of the ruse that this exhibition has become, I have been inspired by its contestants who have encouraged me with statements like, “Who are you again?” and “Seriously, quit tweeting me messages” or “You know I really don’t care”. And so it is, because of this overwhelming demand, that I persevere, and continue on dissecting the matchups, running the numbers through the ‘Twitter Madness algorithm’ (patent pending) and bring you the Final Four!

@SpikeJones v. @ShannonPaul Ya know how Theodore Roosevelt said it wasn’t wise poke Sasquatch with sharp stick? Ya, me neither, but trust me, he said it. And while both @SpikeJones and @ShannonPaul has less than stellar Twitter performances in this round they both found time to take jabs at me. @ShannonPaul reminded me that death’s door when she indicated that she was in Grade 2 while I was going to R.E.M. concerts in Detroit. @SpikeJones bragged about his Lady Bears were in the Elite 8 of the Women’s NCAA Tournament reminding me about how pathetic my Bowling Green Falcon have never won a sausage at anything. Well they won an NCAA hockey championship but I am pretty sure that counts as nothing. In the end being reminded that I’m inching closer to death proved to be much more damaging to me than knowing I went to a school with crap sports teams.
Winner: @SpikeJones

@adage v. @Justinkownacki / @mtkgdouchebag Ya remember those old time wrestling matches where Big Bad Bobby Duncan would distract the referee while Black Jack Lanza got his brass knuckles out and clobbered Superfly Jimmy Snuka? Ya, me neither but trust me, it happened. It was completely unfair but then again you almost needed 2 guys to beat Jimmy Snuka so in that sense it was the price you had to pay for a fair wrestlin’ match. Well just like old time wrestling, this week saw the first ever, 2 on 1 death cage match in the 1 year history of the @deanshaw Twitter madness tourney pitting Big Bad @Justinkownacki and Black @mtkgdouchebag against Superfly @adage. And just like their Pro Wrestling predecessors, @JustinKownacki and @mtkgdouchebag teamed up to stun @adage who had an uncharacteristically poor performance.
Winner: @Justinkownacki / @mtkgdouchebag

@adrants v. @YourCustomers Ya remember when I took two really hot chicks to the high school prom but could only go home with one? Ya, me neither but trust me, it happened. And just like that magic night, here I was with two Twitter beauties battling for the honor to take me home. They both were very engaging, smart, and had a great set of RTs (if ya know what I mean). At the Prom, as ‘Stairway To Heaven’ began to wind down and the lights came up, I needed to make a critical decision and ultimately went home with my Mom who was waiting for me in our ’76 Pinto. In this case, because @YourCustomers committed the sin of reposting tweets, @adrants is coming home with me, in my Mom’s ’76 Pinto.
Winner: @adrants

@SethMacFarlane v. @SocialMedia411 ya remember when @SethMacFarlane begged me to get him into the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney and promised that he was “gonna go all the way” and fly me out to Hollywood to party when he won? Ya me neither but believe me I was there, and it happened. Well as luck would have it @SethMacFarlane maneuvered his way to the Elite 8 and seemed destined for a Cinderella run to the Final Four. But alas the funnyman ran into the buzzsaw that is @socialmedia411 beat him senseless with a barrage of Twitter kicks to his funny bone. Back to cartoon land for you @SethMacFarlane.
Winner: @SocialMedia411
Welcome to the Final Four boys…and…errr…corporate entities. May the best Tweeter or whoever I figure does best win! #BringIt

To check out the brackets go to challonge/TwitterMadness
For more info on the tourney check out my Diversions page

@deanshaw Twitter Madness: Sweet 16 Roundup

Controversy erupted as competitors demanded to know the algorithmic formula for determining winners in the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney. These competitors insisted that somehow certain matches were rigged or tilted in some Twitterer’s favor. For the record I can tell you that the formula is so complex that even if I were to reveal it trying to decipher the complexity of the formulas would be more difficult that understanding anything that comes out of Ozzy Osborne’s pie-hole. Even if I wanted to reveal the formula, it would be impossible since it is kept in a spent bottle of ‘Ol’ Grandad’s Bourbon, buried 14 feet underground and protected by a family of Sasquatches somewhere in the woods of Pennsylvania. So you are just gonna have to trust me on this. The algorithm doesn’t lie and here is what it tells me about the Sweet 16 matchups.

@Webtrends v. @ShannonPaul “You don’t have to be the best; you just have to be better than the other guy.” No matchup personified this theory better than this one. @Webtrends seemed obsessed with Facebook with half their tweets focus on the social media behemoth. Me? I am Facebooked out. @ShannonPaul on the other hand spent her time defending Detroit and imparting weight loss tips. Tough call but @Webtrends needs to find a new muse and @ShannonPaul gets sympathy points for sticking it out in Detroit
Winner: @ShannonPaul

@SpikeJones v. @Sysomos This match had an international flair as both opponents hailed from outside the U.S., with @Sysomos residing in Toronto, Canada and @SpikeJones from the Republic of Texas. They both got bonus points for translating their tweets to English as I don’t understand French or Cowboy. @SpikeJones stuck with what got him here. Snark, sarcasm, and shots across the bow of the cool social media kids. No preachy content or sniveling RTs. Gotta respect a guy who knows his role and plays it well. @sysomos played a strong game and appeared to have the match won….until further investigation…which showed excessive reposts which earned them major douchbaggery points. Aggravating that situation further was the repackaging of the same content with different context. It had all the charm of the bait and switch tactics you’d get at the local HH Gregg store. A/B tests may be the way to go in the web world, but on Twitter it’s an annoying gotcha to your most ardent followers. If the contents that important, I’ll find it on my own, don’t beat me across the face with it.
Winner: @SpikeJones

@adage v. @KISSmetrics Stealing @sysomos playbook backfired as @KISSmetrics fell into the same reposting trap. Just because you’re in love with your Twitter infographic doesn’t mean we are. Tweet once or maaaaaaaaybe twice, but when it becomes a tourettian impulse, you start hacking me off. Just because @GuyKawasaki does it doesn’t mean you have to, and for what it’s worth I could only handle the “@GuyKawasaki Show” for about two weeks before it became more annoying than a Jersey Shore marathon on MTV and got him #unfollowed. @adage put on a formidable performance with lots of great original content on a wide variety of topics. They are a true productivity killer and I salute them for that.
Winner: @adage

@JustinKownacki v. @mktgdouchebag this matchup was so close I had to do some really eyeballing of their performances before determining a winner. They were both real strong with engagement and even struck up some banter over the subject of “marketing douchebaggery.” Interesting side-note: I first became aware of @JustinKownacki through a dusty old side project of his called Marketing Douchebags. The world would be a better place if this site could be resurrected but I understand that covering the world of marketing douchbaggery is a 24 hour a day responsibility and one that no mere mortal could keep up with…but I digress. So figuring this guy was savvy enough to brand himself the marketing douchbag on Twitter I came across @mktgdouchebag who was a whole different flavor of douchebag. Have I said ‘douchebag’ enough to boost my SEO relevancy?

Ok then let’s continue. It’s an interesting confluence of events that culminated in the epic battle on the field of Twitter Madness. @JustinKownacki actually went 2 days without 1 mention of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, Digg, etc. – big points for that. He also serves up free entertainment with The Baristas that isn’t worse than anything on the CW. It also brings back memories of my cable access show from the late 80’s (no you will NEVER see it posted on YouTube – but trust me it was stellar). In combing through @mktgdoughebag‘s activity I discovered something I had previously overlooked. In his avatar he is actually wearing one of those earphone thingies. I was about to deduct major points for severe douchbaggery but then realized ‘wait he’s @mktgdouchebag’. So, by accident or design, its brilliant (no deductions). In an overtime thrilla…
Winner: @JustinKownacki

@TheOnion v. @adrants In a stunning upset, #18 @adrants beat #2 @TheOnion. Onion brought its usual array of smothering sarcasm and wit to the floor but let @adrants hang around just long enough to offer enough under the radar and often hilarious industry news. In a statement to the press @TheOnion said ‘Sure we’re stunned at our early exit from the Twitter Madness Tournament but then again we don’t have a clue what it is and why anyone would give a rat’s ass. @deanshaw is a hack and he can take his 350 followers and go to hell.”
Winner: @adrants

@YourCustomers v. @exxx In a very lopsided victory @YourCustomers trounced social media pixie @Exxx They outperformed @Exxx in every category except one; A twitter handle that sounds like a porn site but isn’t.
Winner: @YourCustomers

@forrester v. @SethMacFarlane In a battle of “Less is More” @forrester and @SethMacFarlane tried to under tweet each other. In the end @SethMacFarklane offered witty anecdotes while @forrester was about as exciting a scrabble night at the VFW hall.
Winner: @SethMacFarlane

@avinash v. @SocialMedia411 how do you beat an industry icon who gets by using only his first name? No not Cher…@avinash. You do it by pounding our interesting content in massive volumes day after friggin’ day. It’s what @SocialMedia411 does and they do it well.
Winner: @SocialMedia411

So, it’s on to the Elite 8. Time to step it up boys (or on @ShannonPaul ‘s case ‘girl’). #BringIt

To check out the brackets go to challonge/TwitterMadness
For more info on the tourney check out my Diversions page

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