City of Northfield’s Twitter accounts: two official, one nameless, one spoof

Twitter City-of-Northfield-logo Twitter2

The City of Northfield doesn’t quite have its Twitter act together yet.

CityofNfld

Automated tweets of RSS feeds from the City of Northfield, MN website. Set up by a frustrated city official who shall remain nameless.

NfldPW

We are the Public Works Department for the City of Northfield, MN. Our goal is to update you on current activities such as snow emergencies, sweeping, etc.

NfldRec

City of Northfield, MN Recreation Department. Follow us to learn about pool closings, arena activities, programs and special events!

Someone is trying to help them, however:

City_of_Nfld_PR (a spoof PR account operated by some rogue person in the community)

PR for the city of cows, colleges, and contentment! This is not affiliated with…

I love Radio Shack: a happy ending to a clamshell packaging horror story

Dundas MN Radio ShackI 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.

AARRGGHH!

Logitech headset in clamshell from Radio ShackI 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.

When I got back home, I sent out this tweet:

Bought @Logitech headset from local @RadioShack Accidentally cut wire opening frickin plastic clamshell. They won’t take it back. Help?

30 minutes later, @RadioShack posted this public tweet:

@griff_wigley Hey Griff-email us details @ help@radioshack.com (store info, receipt info, etc.) and we’ll be happy to try and help.

I emailed them my story above with the photo. 

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.

I love Radio Shack

Using blogs and Twitter to leverage your influence as a Northfield community leader

Northfield civic leader blogging class, 2005 Northfield civic leader blogging class, 2005 Northfield civic leader blogging class, 2005 Northfield civic leader blogging class, 2005
Way back in 2004-05 when I was still at NCO/Northfield.org, we encouraged local civic leaders (including members of the city council, school board and county board) to start blogging. I taught a civic leader blogging class and even coached some local ministers.  It was all part of the civic blogosphere project with an emphasis on including leaders.

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.

Michael Hyatt is CEO of the Christian publishing company Thomas Nelson Publishers and recently gave a speech titled “Social Media and Your Ministry.” A preview of that speech was captured in this video of an interview, blogged at How Can Christian Leaders Get Started with Social Media?

Hyatt says in the video that “Twitter may be greatest leadership tool ever invented” in part because it’s “a marvelous way to leverage your influence as a leader.”

(The title of the video makes one think it’s all about ‘how to get started’ but the most important pieces are related to why.)

The only other person I know of who’s written about blogs (and now Twitter which, after all, is a microblogging service) as tools for leveraging one’s influence as a leader is Seth Godin in his book, Small is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas. (I blogged about this back in 2006, Leadership blogging and the leveraged effort curve.)

Godin originally wrote about this for his blog back in March of 2005: Godin’s Leveraged Effort Curve:

Seth Godin's BlogKnowledge 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

More to come.

Buttons added to posts: Recommend and Retweet

retweet-recommend

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.

The pros and cons of the twittersphere for BP and the City of Northfield

We got an email from Tim Freeland at KYMN today, alerting us and other local media folks to someone called @City_of_Nfld_PR on Twitter. Adam Gurno blogged about it on Northfield.org this morning, too.

Looks like the City now has a problem similar to BP with a person on Twitter called @bpglobalpr. See news coverage here, here, and here.

Is it a cause for alarm or just a harmless spoof?

Personally, I object to whoever’s encroaching on my faux franchise.

On social media mindcasting and lifecasting: it’s tricky

Jay Rosen Earlier this week I read a blog post by Bora Zivkovic titled Twittering is a difficult art form – if you are doing it right (which started with a tweet by Aaron Naparstek) and followed his link to Jay Rosen’s blog post from a year ago, Mindcasting: defining the form, spreading the meme. Rosen tweeted about it this week, too.

mindcasting I also re-read the March 2009 article in the LA Times, On Twitter, mindcasting is the new lifecasting.

  • Mindcasting (WordSpy definition): “Posting a series of messages that reflect one’s current thoughts, ideas, passions, observations, readings, and other intellectual interests.”
  • Lifecasting (Zivkovic definition): “to be in a continuous presence in a community of one’s liking.” Rosen extreme example: “what you had for breakfast or how much you hate Mondays.”

All this helped me rethink my own use of social media:

Continue reading On social media mindcasting and lifecasting: it’s tricky

Another Twitter advantage: listening to the collective voice of selected thought leaders

twitter-48 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 CarrDavid 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.

Some excerpts:

Continue reading Another Twitter advantage: listening to the collective voice of selected thought leaders

Do you use Twitter? We’d like to follow you

twitterlogronfld-sshot

We’re now following 80+ Northfield-area people and organizations who are using Twitter.

If you don’t see our LoGroNfld Twitter account among your followers, follow us and we’ll likely follow you.

Or let us know that you’d like us to follow you by attaching a comment here or by using our Contact Us form.

On using Twitter and Facebook with a blog: It’s Complicated

Social media policy sandwich board at the Goodbye Blue Monday coffeehouse 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.

Continue reading On using Twitter and Facebook with a blog: It’s Complicated

Outlaw Run’s Hayes Scriven joins the Twittersphere

Hayes Scriven  Outlaw Run T-shirt
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.


follow NorthfieldHist at http://twitter.com

Ask a Northfield librarian via their new Meebo chat widget; will Twitter be next?

librarian meebo chat windowI 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.

I hope the library is also considering using Twitter, as these Twittering libraries are doing.

Twittering from tonight’s City Council meeting

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.

Twitter users: Please join me for TWEET LOCAL TUESDAY

twitter-birdI’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.

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