I went to buy a USB headset at the Dundas Radio Shack store this morning. I told the clerk (Alex S?) that I wanted to try a behind-the-ear headset since my current one pressed on my ears too hard and irritated them. I picked out the Logitech Laptop Headset H555 and asked about bringing it back if I wasn’t happy. He said I could, within 30 days, with the original packaging.
I then proceeded to show him that, even though the back of the clamshell package had "easy open" written on it, I couldn’t figure out how. He struggled with it for a bit but then discovered that he could push in hard along the edge with his fingers to break the seal. He started it for me and I left a happy customer.
I got home and continued to push along the edge of the clamshell package. I made good progress on one side, halfway down, then did the other side. That side cracked inward instead of along the edge. I was afraid I’d cut my finger so I took a pair of scissors to cut the edge that remained. All went well until I noticed that one of the headset wires was cut. It had evidently snuggled up along the edge of the clamshell and I hadn’t noticed it when cutting the plastic.
I went right back to the store and spoke with the manager, Torfinn Zempel. He sympathized but said since it happened out of the store, there was nothing he could do. Looking at the packaging (I never did open up the clamshell all the way), he said it looked to him like a flaw in the packaging because the headset cable/wire was up against the outside edge instead of nestled deep inside.
Torfinn gave me the phone numbers for Logitech. I asked him to call Logitech but he said it was better if I did. I was obviously cautious and concerned about the dreaded clamshell packaging when I purchased the headset, so I think he should have gone to bat with Logitech for me. I didn’t argue much but I left really unhappy. I needed a headset for my business.
An hour later, I got a voicemail from Torfinn, telling me that they’d swap out the headset. When I went back to the store, I didn’t offer to tell him my Twitter story, waiting to see if he’d ask. He didn’t, but just said they’d contacted Logitech who said they could ship the damaged headset directly to them. I was curious about how it all unfolded behind the scenes but figured I’d just let it go.
Here’s me, happy with my new Logitech headset, photo taken by my Logitech HD Webcam C260, purchased a few months ago at the very same Radio Shack store.
So as A) we head into the 2010 election season; and B) begin looking for a new Northfield City Administrator, I thought it might be helpful to point out some very important reasons on WHY someone in a leadership position should consider using social media tools like a blog and Twitter.
Knowledge workers get paid extra when they show insight or daring or do what others can’t. But packaging the knowledge is expensive, time consuming and not particularly enjoyable for most people. As you get better at what you do, it seems as though you spend more and more time on the packaging and less on the doing.
… The exception?
The intense conversations you can have with your customers and prospects, especially via a blog. Once you get the system and the structure set up, five minutes of effort can give you four minutes of high-leverage idea time in front of the people you’re trying to influence.
The book adds this to that last sentence: “This is pure, unadulterated leverage. The stuff you actually get paid for, with no overhead.”
Godin’s insight — “among highly-compensated workers, the percentage of the [knowledge] work you get paid to do goes down as you get paid more” and that “packaging the knowledge is expensive, time consuming and not particularly enjoyable” — was stunning to me and still is.
In the Why keep a blog? section of my 2005 Leadership Blogging Guide (currently under revision as a White Paper), my #1 reason to blog is to “Leverage your leadership interactions that otherwise disappear:”
In the course of any leader’s week, there are literally hundreds of interactions with colleagues, constituents, staff, media and other members of community. Whether these interactions are face-to-face, phone, electronic or paper-based, they comprise the bulk of how leaders exhibit their day-to-day influence. A phone call from a constituent, a conversation with a staff member at lunch, an email exchange with a colleague, an off-topic discussion at a team meeting – all likely evaporate into thin air, for all intents and purposes, as soon as they’re concluded. Even most paper documents such as memos and reports are quickly relegated to the trash, the shredder, or the filing cabinet, never to be seen again.
With a blog, leaders can select from among this never-ending parade of interactions the ones that they deem strategically significant, and give them a longer “shelf-life.” With a posting to their blog, the story of the interaction gains immediate wider audience while making it significantly easier for that audience to pass the story around to others who they think should know about it.
Prospective civic leader bloggers frequently ask, "How much time is blogging going to require?" It’s a fair question. Blogging feels like just another task when you first start out, and it does require some time commitment to work it into your week.
But once you experience feedback from your blogging, that not only are others reading your blog but that it’s starting to have influence, your attitude towards the task of blogging changes because it becomes strategic.
"I’m going to blog this because I know that she’ll read it and pass it on to…"
"When this group of people sees what I’ve blogged about this, then they’re more likely to…"
You start to realize that your blog leverages your leadership strategies in time-effective ways.
Among other reasons why a leader should blog/tweet is that the tools allow you to:
Use a voice of authenticity to have a one-to-one conversation with an audience
Extend your presence with a selective window into your day
Provide another way for people to interact with you
Convey your message directly to your audience instead depending on media institutions
We’ve added two buttons to the bottom of every blog post here on LoGroNo:
If you have a Facebook profile, you can click the Recommend button and your recommendation will show up as a one-liner on your Facebook status with a link to the blog post. Many blogs and news organizations are doing this now. For example, see this week’s MPR story on the St. Olaf memorial chime tower which, as of this writing, has 56 recommendations.
If you use Twitter, you can more easily retweet a blog post. Clicking the retween button puts the blog post title in a Twitter text box, shortened with a Bit.ly URL link to the post.
And if you view the individual web page for a blog post (like for this one), you’ll see some additional options for ‘sharing’ the blog post via email and other social media services.
Doing this helps spread the word about a blog post. And we appreciate it.
In the two years I’ve been using Twitter, I’ve primarily seen it as a micro-blogging service, another platform for publishing with some unique advantages that make it an important complementary tool to a blog.
But in past few months, I’ve discovered how valuable it also is for tuning into the voices of the people I’m most interested in.
David Carr wrote a Jan. 1, 2010 NY Times column titled Why Twitter Will Endure in which he describes this unique advantage of Twitter.
I’ve reread his column several times as I’ve come to experience what he’s described.
This sandwich board in the front of the Goodbye Blue Monday caught my eye, not only because it’s clever (“Look for us on Facebook & Twitter – but you won’t find us”) but because I’ve been trying to get smarter about how Twitter and Facebook can complement a blog.
Northfield Historical Society Executive Director Hayes Scriven has joined the Twittersphere, just in time for tomorrow’s Outlaw Run. He says he’ll be tweeting throughout the day’s events. We’ll see. I’ll be riding in the event, checking his tweets and providing him instant feedback via my Twitter-enabled motorcycle helmet. You too can follow Hayes on Twitter.
I have a Meebo chat widget for Locally Grown at the bottom of our LG Live page, below our Twitter widgets.
And I just discovered that the Northfield Public Library has one, too. It’s on their Ask a Librarian page. I used it this week to get a reference question answered and to renew my card. Waaaaaay cool, IMHO.
This will likely make Ross furious, however, as he sees the library as one of the three legs of a stool that anchors downtown (along with the post office and the liquor store). By using this chat tool, I didn’t drive (or bike or walk) downtown to complete this task and then stop by a local downtown store to buy something. Ah well, he probably wants them to disconnect their phones, too, for the same reason. No pleasing that guy.
In the UK last week, some Guardian and Observer reporters used Twitter from the G20 summit and had their Tweets show up on the newspaper’s web page here. I’m going to try this tonight from the Northfield City Council meeting, using my Twitter account. (Since there’s no wifi at City Hall, I’ll have to use my G1 phone.) Experimentation time!
I’ll try to pay attention to any comments attached to this blog post but it would be best to use your Twitter account to send me a direct message so that I can re-tweet it if appropriate.
I’m running my own social experiment on Twitter, trying to get people to tweet about items of local importance on Tuesdays, using the hashtag (label) #TLT for Tweet Local Tuesday and a hashtag for their community. Please join @griffinjay, @rosscurrier, and me, @tld, on Twitter to spread the word. Our hashtag for Northfield is #NfldMN.
Helen Albers: A big Tree Hug to all of our town tree-lovers! With thanks to all who have responded to express their appreciation of trees! Happy Holidays! Helen Albers
Beth Kallestad: Thank you Helen for your tree planting and reminding us of the need to protect those trees!
John S. Thomas: It truly is a beautiful tree. I am still “sick” of the way the trees on Fourth Street look. It will be MANY years before they mature… and I hope they do!
Marsha Kitchel: What a lovely photo of Helen Albers, beautiful in red, hugging her red maple. Hold on for dear life if “new and improved” means touching this gorgeous tree or any of the trees on Bridge Square. Northfielders would be...
Griff Wigley: Northfield City Engineer Joe Stapf sent me these photos today of the repairs to Armstrong Road and the adjacent Mill Towns Trail. Joe wrote: The trail paving is complete (still being rolled so not yet open), and the roadway is...
Doug Peterson: Hi Griff, After reading Jan Hill’s reply, I realize my mis-understanding on “riding the rails”. You got me. Can I blame that on getting old?
Jan Hill: I knew this was a send-up, Griff, having investigated possible routes ourselves (and knowing you!) But I thought for sure the cyclist on the rail was a fake–until I watched the video. Now that’s scary.
Griff Wigley: Nick, I’ve heard from another Northfielder on this who wrote via email: The part where you suggest that riders go on to the active rail line does not make good common sense to me. I have worked on the railroad as a head...
Nick Benson: Your non-pussy readers should note that trespassing on railroad tracks, as shown there, is both dangerous and illegal; trains can be surprisingly quiet when approaching on smooth welded rail like that, which doesn’t...
Ross Currier: I just walked through Bridge Square and ALL THREE of the tables were occupied. It didn’t look like they were playing chess, though, more like eating lunch… …and what a day for it, in beautiful downtown Northfield,...
Griff Wigley: The three picnic tables were installed last week. Each has an inlaid backgammon and chess/checkerboard. I’ve added photos to the blog post above.
Griff Wigley: Joe, thanks for that explanation. And if your eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Gentilini, is still around, I think she might approve of your communications style.
kiffi summa: Joe or Mr. Stapf… Thanks for the explanation; I think its/they’re great, and long overdue… I just didn’t want anything to put off the Bridge Square redesign implementation … and often it’s...
Joe Stapf: Ah-h-h-h, yes, The Gaming Tables… Question #1) Who authorized them!!!??? I did. The picnic tables (if you recall, a trial) were deemed by me to have been a success. We received absolutely 100%, pure, unadulterated positive feedback...
Griff Wigley: Two new parking-related blog posts: A bicycle field trip with Dale Gehring to get smarter about ‘making the connections’ http://northfielddowntownparki ng.org/2013/08/30/a-bicycle-fi eld-trip-with-dale-gehring-...
Griff Wigley: New blog post: Proposed layout of directional and way-finding signs for public parking
Griff Wigley: New blog post: Washington St. lot restriped to optimize parking spaces
Griff Wigley: Blog post update: recommended downtown parking management action steps for Aug. 13 Council work session
Griff Wigley: Blog post update: July 31 parking management planning meeting at City Hall
Griff Wigley: There is a Prayer Walk for the Northfield School District today, 4-8 pm: By Maria KayLynn Olson and Kiersten-Kiwi Williams Bielenberg Schedule: 4:00-4:25 Prairie Creek 4:30-4:55 Arcadia 5:00-5:25 Greenvale 5:30-5:55 Sibley 6:00-6:25...
Griff Wigley: Hi Marie, thanks for asking. I’ll contact you via email.
Marie Wright: I’d like to use this photo on my website. My theme is vintage Main Street USA. I feel that I need your permission to copy this photo and use it. (Julia Rose Grey is my pen name for my genre of novels.)
Griff Wigley: Dave, I like the two-prong attack, too. Can you let us know when the short-term task force is due to meet? I’d like to attend, and I’m sure some of the neighbors would as well. And make sure that pizza with mushroom...
Griff Wigley: Nfld News article on Tuesday’s Council action on this issue: Subcommittee to explore fixes for tax-forfeited land acquired by Northfield During heavy rain, water has overtaken the yards and basements of Karen Moldenhauer and...
David DeLong: Griff, I’m told there’s over 50,000 cubic yards of dirt in the pile which translates to over 2,500 dump truck loads. I think there’s enough to go around. The problem is moving all that over residential streets, if we sell it or...
Griff Wigley: At last night’s meeting, the City Council opted to A) form a 4-week task force of 3 council members plus engineering staff and citizens to deal with the runoff problem in the neighborhood; and B) ask the Parks & Rec...
kiffi summa: good to know, Griff… I trust that you’re correct about the amount of dirt needed for the create of a bike park. Maybe if there’s so much more than needed, a berm could be created between the park and the houses, if...
Nancy Averill: Ah KDWB. THE best radio station ever. We had the KDW-Beatles. We had the KDW-Beach Boys. We were color radio. We had leaky billboards. I maintain that Professor James Francis Patrick O’Neill is the very basis of my humor. We...
Griff Wigley: Paul/George, they reopened the old culvert and put in a new larger secondary one. I’ll try to get photos.
Griff Wigley: Thanks everyone for your kind comments about the photos. I’ve added a few of downtown to the blog post above. See Rob Hardy’s comprehensive listing of links related to the flooding on Northfield.org.