LearnEnabling conversation is killer


Ryan Carson
writes on June 2, 2008

I had an eye-opening experience the other night and it reminded me how important it is to open up real conversation with your customers. It’s so exciting how tools like Qik and Seesmic are encouraging this.

I saw this tweet from Kathy Sierra, which piqued my interest to go see what was Gary Vaynerchuk was up to on Seesmic. Gary Vaynerchuk and Kevin Rose (digg) where doing an impromptu Q&A where you could ask them questions using Seesmic.

So I thought I’d have a go and shoot them a question (about Grand Theft Auto IV, of course):

I was really fun to get a reply almost instantaneously:

What is so amazing about this interaction is that it was personal and fun. That just isn’t possible over email or even the phone. They were in Las Vegas and I was in Shockerwick and we connected. It increased my loyalty to Kevin and Gary because they took time to interact with me – and that’s the value of that personal exchange. Amazing.

How do you all think this is changing the way we interact with our customers, fans and friends?


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0 Responses to “Enabling conversation is killer”

  1. Seemic and Qik are addictive – in that they create a facsimile of ‘real’ communication – but over vast distances. Communities are formed and cemented by in a way that was unthinkable just a few tears ago. Huge availability of cheap video technology (built in webcams, mobiles etc) and the coming of age of the internet means that this can only develop further…. What interests me is what we can do to harness this technology for the social good.

    I read how 50,000 volunteers were mobilised in Estonia to clear 10,00 tonnes of illegally dumped waste in a single day – we can use Seesmic etc for fun but we can also make the connections we need to change things for the good. Exciting times!

    @David Hart You presumably employ intelligent people who you trust to do a good job – in which case you need to treat them like grown ups and trust them not to abuse you or clients in Twitterville. Trust goes a lot further than heavy handed policies.

  2. This is interesting because it raises a debate we are having internally about transparent conversations with our customers. Also how we use Twitter.

    We are an agency and a lot of us are using Twitter and it’s great because people can get a real sense of what life is like at our agency.

    But, where do we draw the line? I mean, we don’t really want to censor people, but what if they start talking about a project that is confidential, or start bad-mouthing a client (it hasn’t happened yet). Generally we are relying on people’s common sense, but we don’t “own” our employees’ Twitter accounts so what sort of guidelines should we setting, if any?

  3. Really pleased to see you on Seesmic, Ryan – and glad you like it. Of course, Qik is really cool too.

    I think one of the the neat aspects of Seesmic has been that we’ve been able to attract interesting people (both ‘famous’ and otherwise ‘unknown’). The technology enables, but the community is what makes things sticky and compelling.

    @Hamish_M makes the point that 6hrs later the chat on those threads had ‘died down’… true but a key point is that those discussion are still accessible at permalinks and compelling to watch. And if you reply to that thread, your reply sends it straight back to the top of the timeline, creating the opportunity for new people to weigh in and original commentators to respond.

    (Disclosure: I’m an advisor and have an interest in Seesmic.)

  4. I watched all of the clips about 6 hrs after it all started. At which point most of the chatter had died down. But still, I found it pretty cool. And Kevin and Gary’s reaction when you joined in was priceless.

    Other than that, I haven’t used Seesmic myself yet, but I think it’s a pretty cool way to communicate. And Loic is about as enthusiastic as Gary when it comes to networking and socializing. 🙂

    On that note, does anyone have a Seesmic invite? My email is on my website. Cheers!

  5. Frankly, I don’t get Seesmic. To me, it’s a video toy as opposed to a service. Maybe that will change over time, or maybe someone else will come up with a better mousetrap.

    What I think you’re focused on is the importance of personal interaction into a digital world. Despite all the tools (IM, Twitter, e-mail, Facebook, etc.) at our disposal, the most effective way to really communicate is either in person or some way to facilitate personal communications such as video.


  6. This is an excellent example! But I think it also shows how the lines are being blurred in relationships. If people choose, they have all sorts of ways to open up direct lines of communication, in real time. @zappos on Twitter is another interesting example of how anyone interested can get more insight to a company, and have an ongoing conversation at times.

    The question is how does this ultimately play out and benefit customers, and benefit companies? Lots of companies setting up Twitter accounts and doing the same old same old? ( Think brochure-Web-0.1 days )

    ( And if you had Disqus comments enabled, I could have responded with video. )

  7. Ryan,

    nice… hadn’t heard of either Seemic or Qik before – will definitely have to check them out in more depth (signed up with Seesmic). Very curious now…

    And I think you’re right – lots of potential here. On a personal level it would just be an addition to the existing video chat tools – and worth playing with.
    As far as using these forms of communication with our clients – fantastic! I can see myself talking to my more tech-savvy clients quite easily. As I usually work for smaller clients – one worry would always be how a person who is not 100% happy on the web yet woudl take to using such a tool. In this case – I think a lot will depend on how fool-proof and easy the intial setup is.
    (I think I might also give these a try for my online teaching – would make the whole thing more personal and immediate)

    Thanks for sharing 😉

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