Bryan Person held his second social media breakfast on Wednesday at the Digital Influence Group in Waltham. The breakfast is not part of the social media club, however, social media being relatively collegiate, both groups are happy to promote one another.
Larry Weber from the Digital Influence Group talked about social media; including material from his new book, “marketing to the social web”. Larry Weber was the founder of MITX, where he is usually the host for award ceremonies, he has a very flamboyant style, relaxed, but also includes lots of references to senior people in the technology industry, Larry has been around a long time. I enjoy his MITX monologues as he does an excellent job of promoting technology companies in the state of Massachusetts. And while I’ve lived in Silicon Valley and Seattle, I think it’s a great idea to support your home team. I wish sometimes there was way to take the energy from Larry’s MITX rhetoric and bring more people together on working on the goal of developing more successful Massachusetts technology companies. At the breakfast, Larry included a lot of historical references. He described how early American newspapers were all about opinion and contained no news, in fact the news and advertising did not appear for a very long time. He was making a connection between the development of newspapers and the development of social media news sites. Reading between the lines, that it will take some time for the business models for social media to develop.
This reminded me of the work Jen McClure is researching for her thesis on early newspapers. Jen’s blog is a good resource for articles about journalism; she is also a colleague of mine in the Society for New Communications Research. I think any interested observer of social media and marketing strategies should pay attention to early journalism. We can learn a lot for what comes next.
In addition, Larry Weber gave away free books to everyone who wanted a copy, I picked up one, and I look forward to reading his book about marketing to the social web, I hope he included some of those insightful historical references.
Larry also made a comment about Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO of SUN Microsystems, in relation to Larry's opinion that CEO's should not blog. Larry did not believe that Steve talked to customers or could understand them as a CEO as he would not have the time. Larry brought up this issue after he had been asked if he was blogging at the moment. Larry described that he was not, but that he monitors the web, and posts comments, and also conducts podcasts and videocasts. This is the second person that has criticized Jonathan in a few weeks; Dan Lyons at the Social Media Club gave passing negative constructive criticism of Jonathan Schwartz’s blog. I've had some good experiences with SUN bloggers, but I have also been rebuffed by SUN's PR department in the past when I asked if they would be interested in doing a case study, I would still like to conduct a case study with SUN by the way. However I also used to work for a SUN reseller when I worked for BioData in 95-97 in Silicon Valley. So I have mixed feelings about the company. I admire Jonathan Schwartz for blogging. I also don't think it is a bad idea for a CEO to blog. Especially if they are running a technology related company. It’s almost expected these days. However, I think Larry and others have a good point that a CEO does not have a lot of time, so I can understand if a CEO does not blog. I just would not criticize them for blogging, rather the content is what matters.