Archive for the ‘social’ Tag

The Leafs Get Social

Dave Fleet’s going to a Leafs game, makes an off the cuff tweet about it, then gets an @reply from @mapleleafs followed by a direct message from the Leafs new  inviting him on a pre-game behind-the-scenes tour of the ACC given by Jonathan Sinden, the man behind the @mapleleafs and a member of the Leafs interactive marketing team.

Surprised and delighted, Dave blogs about the experience. Looking at the comments, some people are suspicious, (as was I). Dave’s blog is well read and he has lots of followers. In a way, this seemed like they were scanning twitter to see who was tweeting about the game and then approached Dave because he had a large follower count. As it turns out, that wasn’t the case. Jonathan Sinden had the idea of giving an enhanced fan experience to one of the Leafs twitter followers and Dave just happened to tweet at the right moment. That’s what he wrote in his comment on Dave’s blog and I believe him because the comment sounds very sincere and doesn’t sound like it was cleared through legal.

I like how this turned out as a rapid response initiative rather than part of a tight strategy (and this coming from a strategist). What I mean by that is, I can’t envision a long discussion at MLSE over how this is going to further business objectives and generate a great ROI. This had a “Hey I have an idea to enhance the fan experience that won’t cost us much, let’s try it out” kind of feel and that’s something more businesses should start doing more often. Leafs tickets are among the most expensive in the league and rightly so given demand in this hockey mad city and as a result, there seems to be a lot of corporate types at the games (well, at least in the platinum seats). With a random acts of kindness like this, one feels that the team does care about the average fan.

Joel, Please Don’t Jump the Shark

An open letter to Joel Moss Levinson:

Dear Joel,

I was looking for examples of entrepreneurial Gen Y’s and I came across an article in the New York Times about you. It’s my all-time favourite social media story. While everyone else was getting their 15 minutes of fame and then moving on with their lives, you figured out how to turn a hobby into cash…by entering viral video contests

Then I saw this video for Murphy Goode. Joel, what gives? What happened to the playful Flight of the Conchord-esque videos. This one was too earnest, you were trying too hard. I know, you didn’t get the Tourism Queensland Best Job Ever and that was very wrong of them. It’s possible they just didn’t want to give it to you because you won so many other contests. When I was in Australia, Americans were seriously underrepresented among the backpacker population and having you as their resident blogger would have gone a long way to getting more US visitors.

Don’t get bitter on me Joel; keep the smiles coming. For the rest of you, here’s my all-time favourite.

For more Joel Moss Levinson check out his blog

Old Philosophies, New Technology

In a recent article in Wired, Kevin Kelly remarked that “the frantic global rush to connect everyone to everyone, all the time, is quietly giving rise to a revised version of socialism.” He’s got a point. Wikis, peer-to-peer file sharing, and creative commons licensing do seem to follow the “for each according to his ability, to each according to his need” creed. And it’s rather ironic that the fruits of entrepreneurial dot-com capitalism would spawn such collectivist eco-systems.

Or have they? I think the digital eco-systems to which Kevin Kelly speaks isn’t socialism at all but more like a hallmark of American democratic capitalism. Back in 1831, Alexis De Tocqueville observed that Americans displayed a peculiar fondness for civic associations,

Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fêtes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools…I have often admired the extreme skill with which the inhabitants of the United States succeed in proposing a common object to the exertions of a great many men and in inducing them voluntarily to pursue it.

(Democracy in America Volume 2, Chapter 5)

Sounds a bit like the meetups and tweetups we have today only the invitation comes electronically. So what motivates us to organize? In Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky defined three ingredients to a successful self-organized group. A plausible promise, something big enough to mean somthing, but not too big that we can’t picture ourselves achieving it; the tools to connect us (i.e. social media); and and finally, an acceptable bargain for all participants that settles the tension between personal desires and group goals. For De Tocqueville the terms of that bargain is dictated by something he dubbed “self-interest rightly understood”. See, because we live in societies with other people, we all have to get along with one another, so it’s in our slef-interest for everyone else to also have their self-interests fulfilled.  “[Americans show with complacency how an enlightened regard for themselves constantly prompts them to assist each other and inclines them willingly to sacrifice a portion of their time and property to the welfare of the state.”


What we’re seeing isn’t a “new socialism”. What we’re seeing is old school, made in the USA, enlightened capitalism where we help ourselves by helping others. Social media has simply heightened our awareness of this principle.