Jan 27, 2011

Spread Your Message, Don't Disengage

One conference. Two outstanding keynote speakers with tremendous messages.
One's message quickly faded.
One's message created a stir, hit like a tsunami, as purposefully intended.

I humbly and lovingly would like to suggest why. 

Both speakers spoke the awesome.  Both speakers were quotable and very much quoted. Both speakers motivated, encouraged, loved, helped, taught and inspired.
One Stopped the Spread and one Encouraged the Spread.
One "gets" social media more than the other and this is a tremendous example for the rest of us.

When the magnificent Brene Brown first began to speak, she made one big mistake, probably out of fear, a fear that both she and Scott Stratten both addressed.  Brene Brown pulled out her Blackberry or similar electronic device, began tapping it furiously while speaking and showed us what we looked like to her.  She essentially criticized the crowd -- us -- for being on our electronic devices while she was speaking.  Using shame and guilt (two emotions she adamantly opposes in her entire keynote) in a passive aggressive style, she shut some of us down and effectively Stopped the Spread. 
Brown stopped a lot of the spread of her message, her name, her brand, and, personally, I think she did it out of fear.  Fear that we would play on our computers instead of listen to her, fear that she would lose her audience rather than increase her audience.  A critical misjudgment.

The closing keynote speaker, Scott Stratten from UnMarketing got up to speak and immediately encouraged us to dig out our electronic devices, the more, the merrier.  Why?  He knew we would tweet and then retweet his message, engage, increase his audience, spread his message, and, in some cases, particularly mine, even invite him home to dinner for stuffed shells.

Surely Stratten had a certain amount of fear that he'd be criticized, misquoted, misunderstood, mocked or possibly totally ignored while we checked our email instead of listening.
  • He didn't let fear stop the climb.
  • He engaged us.
  • He encouraged the Spread.  (And it spread.  Check the stats.)


Any name said...

Huh, interesting especially since I wasn't there and was "watching" from Twitter. Several people tweeted about the power of Brown's message, which made me seek out her website and TED talks. I was really moved. I didn't see as much about Scott, but a) it was Friday night and b) I am used to seeing @unmarketing on Twitter.

Brené Brown said...

I have to say that I'm kinda shocked. It was never my intention to shame/guilt anyone out of live-tweeting my talk. I love the live tweet stream and hoped to encourage it by including my twitter handle on my first slide. I often live-tweet talks and would certainly hope/expect people to do the same.

In fact, I usually spend a lot of time reading the hashtags after a talk. As a researcher, it's like a really great content analysis - what resonated, what didn't.

I was joking around about tweeting from stage, and based on the trending stats - I don't think most people perceived my kidding as a "don't tweet" request.

I do have some fear every time I stand on stage in front of an audience. I don't take people's time and attention for granted. I shared my thoughts on fear at Blissdom because I believe it's important to be honest about the vulnerability of engaging in social media - especially with new bloggers.

It was a lighthearted joke about the nature of our work. I'm sorry that you perceived it as passive-aggressive, critical and fear-based.

Poof said...

I'm definitely glad to hear you were lighthearted and joking. I hope others took it that way.

I am positive it hurt your spread and something speakers should understand.

Thank you for taking the time to come speak.

You have an excellent message. I enjoyed and learned from the things you said and you set a great tone for the conference. I hope I did not sound unappreciative, but I remain firm in my belief of disengagement.

Thank you, also, for responding here.