This post is Part II.
Part I: The Real Success Was Something I Hadn’t Expected reflects the events and learnings from the first week of the launch of my book Full Steam Ahead!
It’s Saturday morning after a very busy book launch week. Finally I have time to relax and reflect on my experience. I contemplate the blog I will write – how did it go, what did I learn.
An email comes in from my twitter buddy Ted Coine:
I’ve been noodling an idea for a week or two, which I’m calling “The tweet heard ’round the world.” Basically, we collect a good cadre of participants and set a time when everyone will RT one Tweet, and we’ll see if we can get 2 million “viewers.” Some friends are already signed up to help out; I’ll get more today. Would you like to be the beneficiary of this experiment?
Already surprised by the amount of support that had arisen the previous week, I am further amazed.
An organic, emergent approach
Early on I had decided to take an emergent, less planned approach to getting word out about the book primarily because second editions are rarely promoted at the same level as a new book, and also because I wasn’t convinced that the traditional approach was worth the time, money and effort.
At a personal level, this more organic approach works for me because it’s in keeping with the lesson I’m learning in this phase of my life, which is about “letting go.” Letting go in a good way—letting go of planning details, letting go of being responsible for everything, letting go of being the “glue.” A working mother needs to be all of these things, but my youngest is graduating from high school and letting go is my mantra these days.
I am learning that the more I let go, the more the universe responds, and that support arises from unexpected places. The universe also conspires to remind me I need to let go when I forget.
The “Tweet Heard Around the World”
I asked Ted what this was about. He explained they had been thinking about this experiment for awhile and it had just occurred to him that it would also be great to help get the word out about the book. It sounded like a lot of fun and I threw my hat in the ring.
There were two tasks:
– to create a tweet that people would be motivated to retweet and
– to find a way to track it.
The decision was to track the tweet through a custom link to Amazon. We needed to ensure the link wouldn’t be dropped since that was the tracking mechanism. So we crafted the tweet so it wouldn’t make sense if the link were dropped.
No dust settles under the feet of the folk at Falcon Strategies and their co-conspirators. The decision to do this was made on a Saturday and three days later, on Tuesday at 4:30 pm, I sent the tweet.
For the next 3 hours, twitter reverberated and my mention list overflowed. Just before Hootsuite froze, I received the DM that caused me to begin wondering who was really leading the launch. It certainly wasn’t me!
The results are in.
TweetReach Report for http://bit.ly/FullSteam:
- Reached 401,980 people via 294 tweets
- Exposure: 4,135,065 Impressions
Was the experiment a success?
From Ted Coine’s viewpoint, the answer is yes. He described the experiment and the results in his post: The Tweet Heard Round The World (take 1)
From Ty Sullivan’s viewpoint, the answer is no. His post, The Tweet Heard Around The World: Epic Fail or Success? Or Scott Stratten Kicked My Ass, begins with an apology to his followers for not explaining to them ahead of time that the subject of the tweet was a book. He got feedback that it looked to them more like a pitch for a book than an innocent experiment, and they felt used.
From my viewpoint?
I was sad when I learned that Ty’s followers felt used. Was this an issue of not communicating with them ahead of time? Was it a misuse of the medium? I wondered if there was something I could have anticipated to prevent it.
But it also occurred to me that the universe was reminding me once again that I’m not in control, and I can’t make sure that everything works perfectly. Mistakes will be made and people will get upset, even when we have the best of intentions. People didn’t like being surprised. They felt caught off guard. The feedback is a gift. It’s how we learn.
Was the experiment a success? I would say yes. The numbers are striking, we learned some important things, and, oh, did I mention it was also a lot of fun?
Which brings me to the final learning point that I listed but did not discuss in Part I:
Twitter is an amazing world.
Having been on Twitter for five months, there is much I still don’t understand: how it works, what its full potential is, what the measures are, and what all the social mores are.
But I do know that it’s about real people having real conversations, and a good rule of thumb is to approach it in the same way you approach any relationship you care about.
How is it possible to form real relationships with people using 140 characters? I have no idea, but I do know it is possible because I have experienced it.
I used to roll my eyes watching kids texting their friends. Now I understand something I didn’t get before. You can get a real sense of who someone is, what they’re interested in, and what their values are – not just from a single tweet, but from the patterns of tweets they send.
Now I watch my friends’ eyes roll when I mention Twitter.
And the only response I can think of is: Take a look around. I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.
Well done, Jesse.
I absolutely agree with you that Twitter is about real people having real conversations — for some of us.
Perhaps the reason you get the eye-rolling response is because there are many people using Twitter who don’t understand the power of the connections we find. Instead, they have a different agendas, different expectations,a different perspective.
For me, every day on Twitter is a chance to connect with others: to learn, interact, encourage, help, and relate. I tune out the rest! 🙂
Becky, very few of my friends have tried Twitter. I get the feeling they’re a little intimidated by it because when I offer to show them how it works, their eyes glaze over. It might be more characteristic of my age group than the younger ones who grew up using technology. But I enjoy technology and I must admit I also had a judgmental attitude. I couldn’t believe that people could really connect in 140 characters.
Kudos to you for your willingness to open yourself to new ideas in promoting your book. Opening yourself up to ‘new’ does indeed ask us to ‘let go’…of control, of our traditional way of doing things, and of the outcome. We practice ‘non-attachment’ and in doing so, further open ourselves up to the gifts of the Universe. Your message on vision is so powerful and important, and so deserving of the wonderful response you’ve had to the tweet!
Sharon, So glad you understand and appreciate the message. And thanks for the reminder that the purpose of the launch is to make people aware of the book so they have an opportunity to benefit from the information and tools it provides.
The things you’ve accomplished on Twitter in such a short period of time are amazing, Jesse. I remember your skepticism, and now I am learning things from you! You succeed because you are willing to learn, and for those willing to learn, there are few limits. I will say that I HATE campaigns, especially around book promotions. I’ve been asked to be part of a few and they leave a very bad taste in my mouth. It has for me tarnished the reputation of some people I used to admire. Stick with being personal and sincere, give without expecting anything in return, and people will do for you things you could never do for yourself. Keep up the great work!
Thanks Bret, I really appreciate your feedback because I know you tell it like you see it. Letting someone know what they’re doing right is as helpful as letting them know what they’re doing wrong. Your advice has always been sound and I appreciate it.
Good Morning Jesse,
I understand about “letting go.” I get it and have let go of many things through out the years including my childhood, my perception of my adopted daughter and what a family looks and acts like, my house being spotless, the bed needing to be made and so many other things. Letting so much go has opened me up, I feel much lighter, and I don’t react to negativity or feel so stressed out and burdened.
But, letting go of contol, of our traditional way of doing things has me a bit. What about getting up every morning and going to work? Getting things done at work in a timely and productive manner? Is having expections a control thing too when it affects others? I thought it is more about how we react to the stimuli good, bad or indifferent. I am not sure I am making myself clear and I am sorry for that.
I know that once I let things go, I don’t react to negative or stressful stimuli in the same manner I once did. Thank goodness. I didn’t like myself much then and I was always in a state of negative excitement. panic, overwhelmness, exshaustion, depression, panic attacks and more.
Letting go really helps one to be in a much healthier place. It is so much better for your well being as a whole. I also think “letting go” in the beginning needs to be a consouis choice, until it becomes a natural behavior and state of mind.
Tweeting is still no interest of mine. It does have its place.
What a beautiful statement, Laura. It’s great to hear the benefits you have experienced by “letting go.” Your question about how to know what to let go of and what not to reminds me of the Serenity Prayer – God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
You’re on the right path, Laura, and I have full faith that you will continue to learn and grow.
Often when you develop a character in a book, that character’s person can “take over” from you and become more three-dimensional. I’m curious… did that happen as you were writing/
I loved the idea of the “tweet that was heard around the world.” Don’t know where that originated, but it caught my fancy. 🙂
I love knowing that the tweet “caught your fancy.” It caught mine, too. And it really was a lot of fun getting to know and play with the rest of the crew.
Regarding your question about the characters in the book, if I understand it correctly, I would say yes, that’s what happened. Ken and I had outlined the general storyline, but not the details. I was responsible for putting pen to paper for the first draft. I watched a movie in my mind and wrote what I saw as it unfolded – a magical experience. (I assume you are saying the characters felt like real people to you. That was one of our goals for the book.)
As an old friend of yours [older in years and a friend for a long time] I admire the trail you have blazed in this new world of Twitter and Tweet and RT, etc. When you talked of these new technologies, I have rolled my eyes when they weren’t glazed over and similed condecendingly too I imagine saying she’ll soon get tired of it all. Dealing as I am now with folks with dementia who are slipping away from human contact, I wonder how this new world of technology with which you deal and this new world of dementia with which I deal will intesect in the future. In either case, it is truly about letting go, isn’t it?
I’ll chime in and say the whole thing was amazing. I love your analytical approach and exploration of potential.
On the feeling used point: I felt uncomfy with a link that went directly to a book sales page so in the spirit of twitter I simply added a note that the link went to a book when I tweeted. Problem solved.
You have my best wishes for continued success.
Thanks for your comments, Dan. As always your views are helpful.
WOW! What a great post! And even better feedback and responses. I love what Dan Rockwell said about adding a simple line about the book in the Tweet. Such a simple thing! Why didn’t we think of it!?
Alas, what an amazing experience and footnote here about what people thought: So many I spoke to after the blog I did were just so supportive of the fact it was an experiment and we had the drive to make it work no matter what the feedback. Moving forward it will be handled differently and the planning will be tighter.
As the Human League once sang, “I’m (We’re) Only Human.”
So glad to have been along for the ride with you and your amazing book, which I still have to pick up 🙂
Always your friend,
It’s been a pleasure and an honor getting to know you, Ty.
We’re all just learning and growing here. It’s simple.
Thanks, Kelly. Well-said! You just summed up in 9 words what took me over 1000 to say.
Jesse, I appreciate the “learning to let go” part of the story and identify with your 5 month journey, as I am dipping my skeptical toe in the Twitter tide.
Thanks for letting us read this chapter…I’m encouraged.
From one newbie to another, I would say “The water’s fine. Come on in!” Oh, wait. You already have. You did a great job co-hosting the chat last night!
Great insights from a great experiment! I believe social media is still in the “wild west” phase, where pioneering is the norm and nothing is “all figured out” yet.
This was a terrific adventure and learnings have been duly noted. The number of impressions is amazing – not just because of the fantastic number of retweets, but because friends (new and old) trusted each other and passed the good word on.
That’s immensely reassuring and – I believe – shows that people do things for people they care about. More good will come (and more experiments, too!).
I love your thought about social media being in the “wild west” phase – makes a lot of sense. It’s interesting how wide the range of reactions are, but it does feel like the common denominator for all is sincerity and, yes, trust.
Brilliant post Jesse. I participated in that little experiment and I’m thrilled it was a success. Was I surprised that the link was for a book on Amazon? Yes. Was I irritated? No, I just wish someone had told me that was part of the plan. I was asked to participate by people I like and respect, so I did my part and re-tweeted the message.
Everyone reacts differently to those little 140 messages and yes, we live and learn from them (good or bad). In my opinion, the true power of Twitter are the real connections we end up making by actually engaging, teaching and listening. I’m still learning about the “letting go” thing!
I’m glad we have connected on Twitter.
Thanks for sharing your own experience, Sherree, and your perspective that the real connections come from engaging, teaching and listening.
I appreciate what you honestly shared in your post and the two varying viewpoints on the post links referenced (Ted Coine and Ty Sullivan). In hindsight, reading all this confirms my initial feeling about the Tweet Heard Around The World project; it felt like a marketing strategy to boost sales. Yes, it was also an experiment to demonstrate the power of re-tweeting, but the RT focused on promoting a book.
It could have been the Holy Bible or some wonderful must-read book by a great global citizen revered by all, worldwide. It was still the promotion of a book, a product that would bring financial gain to a few and probably many other excellent benefits to those many persons who would purchase the book based on this tweet.
Part of me initially felt, “how fortunate and blessed you were to have all that muscle behind you, to develop these marketing strategies, and enlist others to push sales”. I then started dreaming, “I’ve also got a great book out by Pearson/Prentice Hall, with a few 5-star reviews on Amazon, and I’d love to get the word out about my self-paced career-life workbook (especially since I coined the term ‘career-life’ back in 1976-77 in Hawaii), and it involves my life’s work to engage people to not just look for regular jobs, but rather, be bold and CREATE a career, especially in this ever-changing global economy!“ Then I realized that my initial feelings about the “promo-power tweet”, even if it focused on my book, would still be there.
My next feeling focused on the “experiment” factor to discover the power of RT’s to reach huge numbers of people. And my immediate thought was why not a Tweet for Peace, Prayer, some non-product that promoted social justice, a core value, or even a concept about reforming education in the USA or encouraging our government to reduce the deficit, exactly what Ty Sullivan has now shared in his comments.
And I realized I HAD generated many of these Tweets, being the idealist I am. Monday evening I even sent a Tweet to Queen Noor with a link to several Tweets I made about issues she has raised in some of her Tweets these past few months. I did a White House Christmas Eve Tweet to the Press Secretary that was published urging the President to have a televised fireside chat with all Americans to deal with this tough economy, and even started a blog on this. I sent a Tweet in the first few days of the Egyptian demonstrations for Google, Twitter, and Facebook to collaborate and create technology that would not permit communications to be closed by any government anywhere. Who knows who read these billions of Tweets that go forth from millions of Twitter users! This IS all about getting positive ideas out there and nobody does it better than Twitter.
My belief is if you get an idea out there, it just might start a conversation and lead to some positive results. Starting conversations is what change is all about.
Which brings me back to you and your book. You are out there with others trying to start a conversation about a book you believe makes a difference in the lives of others. You are a Mom who has a teenager off to college soon, so you have spent many years doing what I consider the most important vocation ever-parenting.
And you are a human being who really believes that you have something to contribute to make the rest of us maybe have a little better life journey by listening to what you have to share on your blog or in your book, and you DO!
Life is about living now, doing what you are here to do, contributing something meaningful to others/society, and being in integrity as you try to accomplish all this with some measure of happiness and balance among your career-life roles. I think you and your colleagues are doing this-AND your contribution is your book and the positive effect it will have on readers.
While Ted makes some valid points about Power-Tweets, Ty hits the mark! It’s not an activity that others should now try and duplicate with their products. It IS an activity to do with some ideas and core human values that our global community could use such as LOVE, PRAYERS, PEACE, REDUCED DEFICIT IN US, etc. and other topics.
The most important thing you shared was your last observation about reading someone’s tweet patterns to know more about a person’s values.
My major observation about all this discussion concerning a Power-Tweet is this. Tweeting, like all else in this world, at its core, is totally about trusting relationships.
The determining factor for me, amidst ALL my other feelings, was my trust in the pure heart and work, what I refer to as “calling”, of Lolly Daskal who sent me a DM. Because I believe I know Lolly’s intentions, based on her pattern of tweets, I allowed all my other feelings to dissipate and did what Lolly asked of me—and I did several tweets to support her, you, and others at Lolly’s #leadfromwithin community I trust, because I have come to know some of all your hearts’ intentions through your positive tweet patterns. I wish you the best, EdC
Thanks for adding to the conversation, Ed. Much to think about.
Hi Jesse! I have had a twitter account for a couple of years but only became active earlier this year, I am learning so much! I was honored and happy to have participated in the “Tweet Heard Around The World”. Maybe I’m naive but I had no reservations in sharing the link with my followers. And by the way, the characters do feel like real people…I actually came back to your page to see if there was an “Ellie” in your group 🙂 All my best, John
Thanks for your comments, John, and your feedback on the book. Great to know!
Jesse, it was wonderful to read such an honest and humbly accepted account of your experiment, thanks for writing and sharing it. For a couple of years I looked at Twitter from afar, I just didn’t get it. I tried several times to use Twitter but never got past my one lone tweet “having lunch” – which sat there for over a year along with someone who decided that was enough to follow me. A friend of mine encouraged me to try again so I decided to make a more concerted effort and now after a couple of months I’m really enjoying it and making some wonderful connections in ways I didn’t before. Although I’m amazed and inspired by what you did in such a short time, I’m very appreciative of your insights about the etiquette and consideration that’s needed in this environment. Cheers- ira
Thanks for sharing your story, Ira. I think you’ll find Twitter is a remarkable world as you continue to explore it.
p.s. I am now following you.