All You Need is Doug

Thoughts on PR, media, Michigan football & how to get the company named after me

How to Have Good Days

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One of my favorite speeches of all time is Jim Valvano’s speech at the 1993 ESPYs where he set up the V Foundation for cancer research (if you don’t know him, Valvano was a great college basketball coach and an even better person).

In Valvano’s speech, he said you should do three things every day – you should laugh, you should spend some time in thought and you should have your emotions move you to tears (either happiness or joy). In short – laugh, think and cry. That’s a great day.

I’d like to add a couple more that I always try to do every day:

  • Share – Share a thought, share an idea, share a smile
  • Help – Hold a door, carry a box, lend an ear
  • Give – Give your time, give a kind word, give to someone who has less
  • Read – Learn more about the world
  • Love – Tell a significant other how much they make you happy or a friend how glad you are to know them
  • Sleep – Refresh yourself so you can do it all over again tomorrow

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March 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm

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A Quick Thought on Competition

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There was a really fun article on Fast Company about Foursquare and Gowalla (two location-based games for smartphones). The reporter, Shane Snow, begins the article like this:

If you ever visit the downtown Manhattan offices of Foursquare, the popular location-based social game for smartphones, don’t say the word Gowalla. When I made that mistake during a visit there last November, 27-year-old cofounder Naveen Selvadurai sent me to the Foursquare time out chair. It was a joke. I think.

I like that. It’s OK not to like your competition all that much. If you make them your adversary, that’s healthy. It leads to better quality of work and motivated employees.

And better ideas. The Foursquare guys don’t like the Gowalla guys because they think Gowalla basically took all of Foursquare’s best ideas for their application. While I don’t know if that’s true, this rivalry will lead to both companies re-examining everything they’ve made and saying “How can we one-up the other guy and change the game so they’ll never catch up?”

In the end, as products and services continue to compete, consumers are the big winners.

And then we compete with our peers to acquire the best of all this stuff. The circle never ends.

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March 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

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How I’m Following SXSW

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If you were to read my Twitter stream, it would seem like everyone and their mother is going to South by Southwest. For those of you not familiar, South by Southwest (or SXSW, as the cool kids call it) is a big conference and festival in Austin. It’s broken up into three parts: Interactive (talking technologies and the social Web), Music and Film. (Fun fact: Documenting South by Southwest also was the job for the cast of Real World: Austin back in 2005. But I digress.)

The festival has grown in popularity from year to year, and now, all the social media heavy hitters head down to Austin for the Interactive portion. I’ve heard of it referred to as “the social media Super Bowl.”

If that’s true, I must be the Detroit Lions. Hi-yo!

I will not be attending SXSW this year, but I’m totally fine with that. The way I see it, I’m most interested in learning about the new technologies and how I can apply them to my job (call it a hunch, but I think location-based services will dominate). 

I was talking to my colleague Phil yesterday (who will be in Austin) and joked that I could be in 100 places at once from my computer, and it’s totally true. From Casa de Doug or at work, I can quickly monitor everything that’s going on without worrying about Internet connections or network overloads. (You’ll notice I’m leaving out the part about networking, having 70 degree weather and eating BBQ all day, but that doesn’t help me make my point :). My point is that I love to acquire information and I can do that better from here than there.)

So here’s what I’m going to do. Simple two step process:

  • The #SXSW Twitter hashtag will no doubt get overloaded with chatter about where people are or where they’re staying in Austin, so instead, I’ll follow my usual group of followers and might even create a list of people that I know will be there like @tomshea, @lish, @chrisvary and others so I can quickly get their thoughts. I’ll probably check in on the official SXSW Twitter as well.
  • Keep up on the news from Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, TechCrunch and some others. Anything worth mentioning will be covered on these sites.

If you’re going to be there (or even if you’re not) Mashable’s guide to the event is great. And I particularly enjoyed this blog about 10 Ways to Not Be a Jerk at SXSW 

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March 11, 2010 at 8:11 am

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Zack Follett plays with Lions

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Zack Follett was a seventh-round draft pick of the Lions in 2009 and he made his mark on special teams by laying out return guys, like in this clip.

I’m a big Follett fan and he just released a video on his Web site with him hanging out with some real-life Lions. I saw this on Pride of Detroit, one of my favorite Lions blogs, but check out Zack’s site as well. He’s got some cool stuff and he’s promoting a good cause.

This clip also features “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, my favorite Disney movie, so it just gets even better. Enjoy:

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March 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

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Who’s a Social Media Expert, Anyway?

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Even though I work in social and digital media every day, I don’t consider myself an expert in it. In fact, I don’t consider myself an expert in anything.

For example, I know a lot about Michigan football, but Brian and the crew at MGoBlog know a ton more. I know a lot about the show “Seinfeld,” but I’m sure if I was on some sort of “Seinfeld” trivia show, I wouldn’t stand a chance.

That’s why I don’t get why people refer to themselves as a “social media expert.” I went over to TweepSearch and got 366 results for “social media expert.” Searching “social media guru” got another 176? Do you think these people all are experts?

I think we need to go beyond hearing somebody say “Social media is about having a conversation! It’s connecting people!” and thinking “Oh, that’s just so brilliant! That person is an expert!” In today’s online space, knowing what the tools are and how they work are great. What’s better is knowing how to craft a strategy using these tools that aligns with other brand goals and messaging and knowing all the little things necessary to get it done.

Take a look at this graph.  It shows a bunch of social tools and how effective they are in doing different things. Hat tip to Drew McLellan for making this.

This is great. This is an understanding of the tools available to shape brands online. A true social media expert would then be able to take this and:

  • Craft a strategy using only the ones that best fit the brand’s goals
  • Know how to set them up properly and integrate them into larger communications plans
  • Know how to populate them with interesting content that’s relevant to the target audience
  • Incorporate some synergy to get the best out of each and reduce work flow
  • Know how to track results and how people are using them and report back to management on successes and best practices
  • Know how to effectively get management on board with what’s going on

That’s where the true experts shine – the ones that can pull this off. It’s not how many Twitter followers you have or how many times you reTweet Mashable. It’s about the work you do.

And yes, there are social media experts out there, but I’ve found that the best ones don’t need to have it in their bio.

Are you an expert?

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March 7, 2010 at 10:54 pm

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And here we … go

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Welcome to my blog! Thanks so much for choosing to spend a minute or two of your day here. Let’s get right into it:

So here’s the question: Why am I starting a blog? What value can I give that doesn’t already exist in the other millions of blogs?

Here’s the thing: I like to read. I read a lot. As of this writing, I have 179 blogs in my feed reader – everything from automotive blogs like Autoblog and Jalopnik to social media blogs like Mashable and AllFacebook to sports blogs like Deadspin and TheBigLead to fun stuff like FML and AwkwardFamilyPhotos.

See what I did there? I linked out to numerous third-party sources. I’m getting the hang of this already!

Anyway, since I like reading all these sites, I like to think I’ve learned a lot and I think I can provide some value to people. I share some of my favorite links on my Twitter feed, but this blog will feature some extended thoughts on my life, PR, the social Web and being a young professional.

And yes, I know what I’m doing. At my job as a senior account executive at Weber Shandwick, I’ve managed blogs, developed content plans and drafted many posts. As the picture on the right suggests, this blog (and my life) is an open book.

Let’s go. This will be fun.

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March 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm

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