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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Public Radio

Social Media: Not Hard. Not Easy.

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I’m struck by the opportunity social media presents to writers.

One of the stories I tell in my Social Media Marketing class is about the demise of The Morning Show on Minnesota Public Radio. For years I listened to Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole spin out their eclectic music selections and oddball humor. So did a lot of people.

Jim Ed Poole retired (and then, sadly, passed away) and then The Morning Show went away as well. Dale Connelly began a new show in a similar vein—Radio Heartland—with a blog as co-host. The blog served as that necessary conversation partner—certainly never replacing Jim Ed Poole—but keeping Dale engaged with listeners. Then, as is the way of progress and regress and corporate decisions, Dale Connelly was out of the job. Radio Heartland continued with the same eclectic music but without the oddball humor. I continue to enjoy the music of Radio Heartland.

And, no surprise, the faithful audience for The Morning Show followed Dale Connelly to his Trail Baboon blog. No music, just oddball humor. Now Dale is the news director at KFAI Community Radio in Minneapolis even as he continues to write for his still-growing audience.

I tell this story because it illustrates an opportunity about starting as a writer today. Since there are no gatekeepers on the Internet, a writer can write what a writer wants to write. A writer can take pages and pages to sort through whatever it is she or he has to say.

True: no one may show up to read it. The writing may feel like shouting into the wind, but the point is to keep going in an effort to sort what it is you have to say as a writer. Audiences form. Eventually—at least that is the hope.

But for writers just starting, social media presents an opportunity to hone a message and then tinker with the best way to present it. This process of sorting and honing and tinkering develops a set of valuable skills that are absolutely transferable to the world of commerce (and far beyond, into our creative lives). I will argue that this sorting and honing and tinkering with our messages is the lifeblood of any writer.

My students already understand this. They’ve all begun this process without any prodding from me. But we’ll push a bit on the sorting and honing and tinkering in the next few weeks.

Especially the tinkering.


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Best Buy and Brian Dunn’s Blog: Kudos for Leaving Comments Open

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Minnesota Public Radio’s Martin Moylan reported Wednesday on Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn’s use of his blog to respond to media coverage of Best Buy’s business model. Moylan cited a recent critical commentary in Forbes magazine which received 2.3 million page views. In his blog Dunn responded to the critics but also tempted fate by leaving his blog open for comments.

Well done.

A quick glance through the comments shows all manner of agreement, disagreement, and vehement disagreement. Just like real people talking. It’s a messy mess of messages that point every direction all at the same time. And everyone can read it.

This, friends, is the future of conversation at an institutional level. Once people are given their voices back, they speak what they feel and sometimes what they know. But the act of listening is a huge hurdle and Mr. Dunn and his team did the commendable, credible thing by leaving it out in public for all to see.

We have a long, venerable history of jumping on market leaders, big notable institutions and authorities. There is something exhilarating about finding fault with those who seem to run the world, whether it’s Best Buy, Comcast, AT&T, Microsoft. Or the city council or the board of elders at church. Or elderly mom and dad. Or God. Sometimes they deserve it. Sometimes not. But the conversation is useful for lots of different purposes, including hinting at what is going on inside us.

Brian Dunn: thank you for your courage in letting people talk back. My estimation of Best Buy rose as I read the comments.


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