10 Things Meteor Strikes and Asteroid Near-Misses Teach us About Social Networks

meteor russian

1. Interplanetary

2. Collisions

3. Or

4. Fly-bys

5. Teach

6. You

7. Nothing

8. About

9. Social

10. Media

…except maybe that shallow link-bait blog post headlines really miss the mark.

OK, now on to a more substantive post, about floundering Carnival cruise ships and Facebook branding.

5 Spectacularly Successful Strategies for Faking Authenticity






Microsoft Announces Minus, New Social Network for Pharma

While high-profile social networks like Facebook and Google+ have recently made splashy announcements to try to gain the attention of the masses, Microsoft has been quietly, and brilliantly, working on a new social network custom-designed for pharma.

Steve Woodruff, the Pharmaceutical Connection Agent, was given an exclusive sneak peak at the platform, dubbed Minus, which is being launched today to a beta audience of one pharma company, one patient, and 25 lawyers. While detailed screen shots were not yet approved by Regulatory, a mockup of the interface was obtained, showing the sensitivity of Microsoft designers to the constraints of pharmaceutical industry communications. (click to biggify —>)

Steve Ballmer, President of Microsoft, beamed as he read a carefully prepared and vetted statement to members of the press, who were not allowed to ask questions or engage in dialogue during the announcement. “Here at Microsoft, we understand legacy systems, bureaucracy, and the need to consider the past when developing for the future. That’s why we’re the ideal partner for the pharmaceutical industry to create a social platform that will reflect how controlled, one-way, non-interactive communications can occur in this modern world of digital networks. This is what social media is all about – MINUS all that social stuff.

“Now, please view these 17 slides of disclaimers, safety warnings, software contraindications, and approved uses for Minus.”

The announcement was hailed as a great advancement for an industry dogged by difficulties participating in the public, free-wheeling world of social networks. “For years, we’ve struggled with how to communicate with the public in a safe, controlled manner that will keep us out of trouble,” said one VP of Marketing, whose identity could not be revealed due to privacy concerns. “Now, we can get our messages out there on the Twitter and the Facebook by using this Minus thing to…to…say more stuff. You know, join the conversation.”

While it wasn’t yet clear who exactly would participate on the Minus platform, this was viewed as no barrier to adoption. “We’ll just pull a Google+ on everyone and make it limited rollout for everyone in pharma who has a Klout score of 82 and above, or who has a value of 1,000 or more on Empire Avenue,” explained Ballmer. “That ought to get us to critical mass in no time.”

To appeal to its target audience, Microsoft enlisted the avatar of ancient Uncle Sam Wilson as the key figure in its marketing campaign. “Old Sam had just the right look-and-feel that we wanted to accelerate uptake of the platform,” said VP of Minus Biz Dev Sam Wilson IV. “Doesn’t he just exude social control?”

Addressing the thorny issue of user-generated content in a regulated environment, Ballmer scoffed, “UGC is so 2009. We’re looking to the future by hearkening to the past. Remember the good old days of DOS? Guess what computing kernel powers Minus?”

Reporters were encouraged to submit questions via an analog “Suggestion Box,” all of which would be reviewed by an approval committee and selectively answered within 3 weeks via a special Minus application using U.S. Mail.

(please do not tweet or share this link without prior authorization from a qualified lawyer. Any harm that comes from using this blog post in a way that it was not intended must be immediately reported to proper authorities. 9 out of 10 regulators surveyed approved this message)


Recently on Connection Agent:

5 Reasons Why Twitter Might Soon Be Dispensable

Why Google+ Could Succeed

Build Your Own Opportunity Network (free e-book)

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Unconstructive Feedback – A Leader’s Guide

When Lisa Petrilli and I launched Leadership Chat last year, one of our hopes was that we would, at times, provide a point-counterpoint perspective.

Turns out that we actually agree on an awful lot, though we do tend to approach things from different angles.

But this week, we’re on opposite sides of the fence. Lisa writes about Giving Constructive Feedback in this 8-point post. And that’s all well and good – but what about those leaders who really want to excel in Unconstructive Feedback? Who’s giving them guidance?

I am. So, in the interests of conforming to the recently-enacted No Stupid Left Behind Act, here are my eight counterpoints:

1. Delay is critical. Disassociating feedback from action will help create the desirable sense of confusion that keeps employees on their toes. It is best to wait a day, a week – even a year – before telling George, “Hey, that time you talked about our company history in the presentation to that client? – it was too long-winded.”

2. Keep it vague. What you want is maximum guilt feelings spread over the widest possible range of behaviors. Instead of focusing on a specific typo in an email message, and the potential confusion that it may have caused to a small group of people, simply say, “Your writing leaves a lot to be desired.” That sort of generality will encourage better performance in all circumstances!

3. Focus on the abstract. Instead of looking at how a particular behavior impacted a particular circumstance – the why and how – move to higher levels, such as, “You’re a superb demotivator. Why don’t you stop it?” That way, any number of behaviors and attitudes can be ranged under one overarching criticism.

4. Exaggerate everything, being sure to put each criticism in the worst possible light. Remember – people don’t understand context. So just bring the maximum firepower for maximum effect. The question you always need to ask yourself: “Can we go all scorched-earth on this transgression?” Make it memorable!

5. Make it hard-nosed. Underlings have to be kept in line. You’re not there to make friends. You were made a leader to enforce policy. Period. Remember – you can’t fix stupid, but you sure can enjoy yelling at it!

6. Keep ’em guessing. While criticizing undesirable behaviors, be sure to leave the alternative along the lines of, “I’m really expecting you to do better.” That way, they never quite know if they’re getting it right, which could lead to complacency.

7. Monitor behind closed doors. Tell them they’d better get it right, and that you’ll be watching. They were hired to do a job and they need to know that you’re not there to babysit. If they want a coach, they can go back to high school and join the football team.

8. Let them know that they are right on the bubble. The best workers are those who fear for their jobs continually. Use the word “expendable” liberally when upbraiding them for their marginal performance. This will extract the maximum effort from their dissolute souls.

Lisa, I know you meant well. But, really – I have far more “leaders” on my side. My principles are embedded in so many organizations, and they are passed down from generation to generation by countless corporate scribes and practitioners. In fact, I’ve been meaning to tell you – all of your blog posts really leave a lot to be desired – I’m expecting better! :>}

(yes, dear readers, all of the above is sarcastic spoofery. If only it weren’t so common in practice, however!)

So, what do you think – Steve’s view of feedback, or Lisa’s? Join the discussion on Twitter tonight during #LeadershipChat (8 pm ET) and let’s talk about how to give constructive – or not – input.

(Image credit – Wilted Rose)

PLUS – big news! Special guest host joining us for next week’s LeadershipChat (July 5th) – author and all-around smart fellow Guy Kawasaki (we’ll talk about leadership principles from his book Enchantment). Don’t miss this one!


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Announcing the QWERTY Thirty in Social Media!

There has been a proliferation of lists lately circulating in the blogosphere/Twittersphere: 40 Brilliant Women that Must be Followed or You’re Done For. Awesomely Hunky Men in Tech.  99.5 Clowns (still waiting for Gary Vee to publish this one).  You know, arbitrary feel-good lists that allow us to pat people on the back and tell them we think they’re cool. Plus, it’s linkbait.

So I thought this morning I’d make up my own: Awesome People Who Are On This List Because I Said So.

No gender. No reason. Pure, arbitrary choice.

But wait! This should be a community project! We all should have our say-so. Have you come across someone who uses a QWERTY keyboard to express their awesome? Or even their not-too-awesome? Then help create the QUERTY Thirty list:








Go ahead – create this list by adding your favorite people in the comments. Put ’em on this stellar list just because you say so! The list closes at 5 pm ET. That’s arbitrary, too.

(what if we end up with 746 names? Simple. We’ll just round it down to 730 to keep things rhyme-y!)


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Book Review: Pick a Title. Any Title.

Bloggers always like to be first getting out a new book review on their blog and through Twitter, in hopes of achieving maximum retweet exposures (MREs).

So, since my friends Jay Baer and Amber Naslund are about to launch their awesome new book The Now Revolution, I thought I’d cheat a little bit to get the very first review out of gate (video below). I like MREs just as much as the next blogger. And, hey, there are efficiencies here – have you ever heard of the Reusable Book Review (RBR)? Yeah – I’m trademarking that.

Tomorrow, return here to very same URL to view my thoughts on Ann Handley and CC Chapman‘s Content Rules. And the day after, Scott Stratten‘s UnMarketing. Because if you don’t send it, I still review it with my patent-pending RBR technology!

(Actually, I do have a couple real video book reviews coming up here on Connection Agent this week – stay tuned!)


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Become a Certified Quora Ninja!

(yes, this is a spoof. Only a pixie-dusting unicorn can make you a real Quora ninja!)

Yes, you too can become a Certified Quora Ninja!

Quora is the hottest thing on the social media circuit today! All the hottest names in networking are advancing their personal brands, and beefing up their subscriber numbers, by asking and answering earth-shattering questions on the most relevant and authentic site going!

With our 15 years of experience navigating Quora, we have the chops to certify you at the Expert, Guru, or Ninja level in no time! For just $995, our 2-hour webinar can transform you into a question-fielding black belt who will be envy of the social media crowd. You’ll be a sought-after speaker at South-by, and your Klout ranking will go through the roof in just days!

Here’s what you’ll learn in this dynamic and ground-breaking course:

  1. Setting up an account in Quora (bonus: using Twitter to log in!)
  2. Creating your profile – 7 hints even the experts don’t know!
  3. How to ask a question that ends with a question mark.
  4. The art of the answer – how to obfuscate and sound intelligent doing so!
  5. Hyperlinks – your best friend on Quora. The ninja-click explained step-by-step
  6. Selling yourself based on superior knowledge you don’t possess – the 5 keys.
  7. BONUS! The ninja method of cut-and-paste research to amp up your expertise!

What will you get from this amazing course? A huge well of in-depth knowledge from the experts. Big props from social media lemmings who will turn to you for expertise and substance-abuse counseling. And, a coveted digital Quora Ninja Certificate (suitable for computer wallpaper or Twitter background graphic) that proudly proclaims your new status among the elite! Click to biggify —->

Just forward $995 by Paypal TODAY – this is a limited-time offer, and only a handful of visionary ninjas will be anointed before this course is closed forever!

(post inspired by this lunatic profile on LinkedIn—-> (click to biggify),                    discovered and shared by my friend Olivier Blanchard, Chief Social Media Ninja-Puncturer).

Disclaimer: this is a spoof. Any hope of turning you into an expert by means of a bogus course on- or off-line is strictly imaginary. The ConnectionAgency does not guarantee that, by taking this or any other course, you will be investing in anything worth more than a virtual sheet of 20-lb. paper. Title, taxes, dealer prep and options not included. Void where prohibited by common sense.


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