PubCon South 2009 Tweets Off with Social Media Maven Guy Kawasaki
On a cold, wet morning, quite unusual for Austin Texas in March, Webmaster World’s PubCon South 2009 kicked off to a keynote fireside chat with social media maven Guy Kawasaki. Guy Kawasaki currently is the managing director at Garage Technology Ventures, Founder of Alltop.com: the online magazine rack, and author of eight books, most recently “Reality Check.” He is also a former Apple Fellow and one of the individuals responsible for the success of the Macintosh computer. With all those skills crafting his tool belt, Guy Kawasaki is now one of the most popular users on Twitter. Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs, served as moderator of the interview that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day: Twitter.
Brogan immediately established a casual atmosphere when he placed his Apple down on a table between him and Guy with a digital fire crackling, melting the cold morning off most in the crowd and kick starting the coffee and donut sugar rush that the continental breakfast had dutifully supplied. Kawasaki fed the energy in the Ballroom Keynote Area, Salon A (the actual conference room name) with his enthusiastic smile and modest manners towards his Twitter popularity. However, he didn’t miss any chance to plug his new venture: Alltop – the online magazine rack. The majority of the conversation stayed primarily on advice for Twitter and how Kawasaki is able to use it successfully for marketing purposes, especially for Alltop and his eight books.
He encouraged everyone to use Tweetdeck, a user dashboard and a must use if you are on Twitter. ‘Search.Twitter’ is also a very helpful tool to help you search through the content to find out if anyone is talking about you or your brand. By using Twitterhawk, you can get an auto-tweet for a response from your Search.Twitter. You have an option to set up a few auto-responses that can be automatically or manually selected to send back, depending on the context of the tweets. Twitterhawk also records what addresses it sends messages to so that you do not resend a tweet back to people. Kawasaki also strongly encourages that tweets consistently be using high quality links and high quality content, or you will not interest your followers and lose brand value.
Despite all of his popularity, Kawasaki still gets hate tweets, which he finds perplexingly hilarious yet still a reality in the world of social media. “Is Twitter spam an oxymoron?” Kawasaki hypothetically questions the crowd. “You chose to follow me, but then you send me hate tweets!” He uses an analogy to illustrate. “It’s much like turning on the TV to the QVC, getting mad about all the ads for green necklaces and calling up the FCC… Just change the channel!” Kawasaki has found a humorous way to resolve his hate tweets conflict now. He has coined a new phrase. “I tell them to UF’M… Unfollow Me.”
Kawasaki also discussed briefly about venture capitalism and how dumb ideas are the best ideas. Just look at YouTube: If someone came up to you in 2001 and asked for money to start a video portal website that will feature all pirated content and (amateur) user-generated content. You most likely would have laughed them out of the room. Kawasaki shared a story of a man who approached him eight to nine years ago for money to launch a product for the drowning business. The product was a role of red tape that you attach to the wrist when you are out at sea or on a lake. If you are caught in a storm or there is any reason that a search and rescue helicopter would need to find you in dark waters, the red tape unravels at water’s impact and acts as a reflecting trail for any searchlights. Did Kawasaki invest in this red tape idea? He did not share, but it was made clear that the man gained funding somehow and now owns a very successful product for the drowning business.
A quick Q&A session at the end of the fireside chat was highlighted by Kawasaki’s unorthodox response to a question probing for insight into his SEO strategy. Kawasaki feigned spontaneous and chaotic inspiration in his own success, but he did leave the room with this statement: “Google’s business is into finding good content. If you write good content, Google will find you.”
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