Visit our new digs!

June 5, 2009

If you’re still hanging around here, and you’re wondering why we haven’t been updating, never fear. We’re still turning out the content over at our new website. While you’re over there, learn more about everything LunaWeb has to offer.

For so much of the 20th century, Sears’ name loomed large in the American consciousness. “Sears” has taken quite a beating recently. The current recession has drastically cut demand for the durable goods that are Sears’ bread and butter. The retailer still hasn’t quite bounced back after how it suffered at the advent of online shopping.

Sears Crosstown by nichcollins on Flickr

"Sears Crosstown" by nichcollins on Flickr

But online shopping has quite a lot in common with Sears’ catalog origins, so it’s nice to see that they seem to realize how important it is to have a strong online presence.

It’s just too bad they don’t seem to know what to do with it.

While it’s a great step in the right direction for Sears to have a public profile on Facebook, there’s a slight catch: they put information out there, but they don’t seem to check back for their fans’ responses.

This seems like it might be okay, but when you scan their wall, you’ll see that there are 23 posts from customers – seven of which are complaints. That’s almost a third of all the complaints, and they aren’t the softer side of Sears complaints, either. These customers aren’t merely dissatisfied; they have vitriol enough to fuel a thousand Craftsman mowers. These people feel abused and ignored.

Sears’ apparent response? Ignore them.

That’s a bad move, no matter how you look at it.

Now, to be fair, it should be noted that Facebook doesn’t currently notify the administrators of a public profile when fans post to their wall. The people managing Sears’ page need to keep an eye on it every day if they want to stay updated. And it’s clear that something isn’t happening like it should be.

The employee(s) responsible are treating Facebook like just another task. Make a post, move along. They aren’t responding to negative comments – or positive comments. There is simply no apparent understanding that social media functions and thrives based on interaction.

Looking for answers, we went to MySears.com, the social network Sears started for itself. We signed up for an account and made a post on their message boards asking why this was happening. To our amazement, this began turning things around – within hours of our posting, happy, zealous Sears employees found our post, and set about responding to the angry customers.

We love watching people who clearly love to make things right – especially when they understand how to do so online. It’s too bad, though, that there is nothing on these employees’ Facebook avatars identifying them as legitimate (if non-sanctioned) representatives of Sears.

Whoever it is who posts the fun discounts, sales, and videos to the Sears Facebook public profile needs to stop turning a blind eye to the fact that there will occasionally be a customer who gets the raw end of the deal.

If Sears were to publicly make things right with the customer complaints on their Facebook wall, it would show to all other customers that, though things do go wrong, Sears is committed to their customers.

We like to call this possibility “a public relations coup.”

This is true for any business – the easiest way to show the online world that you’re focused on your customers is to actually focus on them. Interact with them. You can make the wrong things right, changing detractors into promoters, and turning the loyal into evangelists. It’s not called “social” media for nothing.

There are important models out there. Try Dell Computer, or Comcast. Even smaller retailers like Zappos shoes continue to make a name for themselves as companies run by real people – the kind you could meet on the street and have a conversation with.

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The Leadership Academy’s launch party for memphisconnect.com was alive with smiles for the community blog in excitement and participation.  Rob Carter was the featured guest speaker and energized the over 100 attendees with purpose, forward thinking, and his own unique story of an unexpected appreciation for Memphis.

The blog itself embodies the vision of Elizabeth Lemmonds who reviewed its key aspects to the crowd assembled in the amazing conference venue called “The Zone” at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of  Memphis.

Attendees visited among live art, poetry, comedy, great food & drink, and a variety of new media journalists capturing the event.

memphisconnect.com is a community blog encouraging citizens to share their Memphis stories.

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blogpost by lunaweb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Our next Social Media Expedition breakfast is approaching quickly. This month we will be taking a look into what drives us as creatures to connect and interact with one another online. We’ll be trying to understand what drives us to these online spaces from a psychological perspective. The presentation will be “A Species Driven to Connect”.

We will have Kris Markman, Ph. D. from the University of Memphis as our presenter this month. Kris is an educator and researcher interested in how people use new media in their everyday lives. A former public radio professional, Kris caught the internet bug in the mid-90s and has been studying social aspects of new media since 2001. Currently she teaches courses in communication at the University of Memphis and is conducting research on independent audio podcasters.

We look forward to seeing you at what promises to be an insightful and fascinating conversation. RSVP on our Meetup site!

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blogpost by lunaweb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

The Rejected Connected

March 20, 2009

Dave Barger, from LunaWeb, was able to make it to the interactive portion of South By SouthWest (SXSW) this past week.  This massive, Austin, TX based, conference has a heavy focus on learning and sharing information on technology and Web 2.0.  But what has typically been a festive, party atmosphere, took on a more serious tone in the face of  a sinking a economy populated by businesses struggling to stay afloat.

One bright spot in the midst of this gathering, was the serendipitous and spontaneous creation of several unconference-like core conversations.  Dave was lucky enough to be a part of one of these conversation, when several SXSW attendees converged on a session that had reached max capacity.  These 50+ rejects went on to form there own conversation group, “The Rejected Connected”.

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TweetHall – Rejected Connected from LunaWeb on Vimeo.

The discussion became a valuable mindshare of best practices for Twitter.  The group ranged from people brand new to Twitter, to Twitter application developers.  Everyone was able to contribute, and everyone walked away with a headful of new ideas to ponder.  The key takeaways for the session from Dave’s blog were:

– Using a good photo of only your face.
– Share your twitter handle everywhere.
– Don’t use the profile URL to merely link back to your twitter page.
– Multiple users of one org’s twitter account can end tweets in “/fl” that being /(first initial)(last initial) or state the person tweeting in the profile description.
– Be genuine and don’t be uptight about tweeting, just get out there.
– Don’t protect your tweets and still try and seek out people to follow (the analogy of “going to a cocktail party and locking yourself in the bathroom” was shared).

There was great discussion on the best way to manage a corporate identity on Twitter. Deceptively tricky questions like, “How much of myself do I put into my corporate Twitter account?” and “If I choose to have multiple Twitter accounts, what’s the best way to keep up with them?” were debated at length.

Tiffany Winman, one of the attendees, did a great job of nailing down the rationale behind marketers using Twitter. “Awareness/traffic; viral buzz; lead generation; increased customer satisfaction and loyalty via increased community networking, identifying and fostering relationships among employees and customers; generally decreases in costs and resources from traditional marketing methods; research on brand image, public sentiment, hot topics to improve messaging and product/service development.”

Otis Maxwell also had some valuable insight into how a previous session at SXSW provided further illumination on the spontaneous hallway discussion.

If you’d like to see the twitter conversation that resulted from this ad hoc gathering, search for #tweethall on twitter.

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blogpost by lunaweb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

TechFuelLaunchMemphis’ latest TechFuel networking event was all about atmosphere.  This past Thursday, Memphis technologists, media, creatives and entrepreneurs assembled at the top of Clark Tower to meet old friends, make new connections and have a great time doing it.  The evening was graciously sponsored by MPACT Memphis, who share LaunchMemphis’ mission to promote growth in the Memphis entrepreneurial community.

The LaunchMemphis group has been hosting these networking evenings as part of its ongoing effort to bring focus to entrepreneurial activities in Memphis, TN, and to deliver new technology business startups to the economy.  The organization was very successful in making progress towards this goal last year.  In that spirit, they have designed a schedule of events for 2009 that will continue moving Memphis to the forefront of the business community.

Upcoming on the LaunchMemphis Calendar are:

MPACT MemphisSocialCamp Memphis – March 6 & 7
Location: Memphis College of Art
SocialCamp Memphis is an unconference focusing on Social Media and Social Networking.  Just imagine a conference where the morning is comprised of designated speakers/topics, and the afternoon is comprised of focused discussions and impromptu presentations that are decided on by the attendees.  There will be a networking event the evening of March 6th, and the main event during the day on March 7.  See more information at the SocialCamp site and Facebook pageRegister early!

Startup Weekend Memphis 2: Back by Popular Demand – May 29, 30, & 31
Location: EmergeMemphis and Mercury Launchpad
Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of technologists and entrepreneurs to build a community and new business ventures in a weekend in a short 54 hours.  These motivated individuals come together form teams and decide what to make. Attendees are responsible for bringing the ideas, desire, and passion and walk out of the room with a brand new businesses launched or started.  Startup Weekend is a national program that has once again selected Memphis, TN as one of the cities that it will visit this year.  See more information and don’t forget to register.

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blogpost by lunaweb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.