An Open Letter to My Social Network Upon the Rejection of My SXSW Panel

Thanks for Nothing, Guys!

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From: Cameron Von Awzzomsaws
To: All contacts
Date: Oct. 15, 2012
Subject: An Open Letter to My Social Network Upon the Rejection of My SXSW Panel

Dear "Friend":

A little while ago, I took time out of my busy schedule to alert you to the fact that I'd submitted a panel for SXSW Interactive 2013. I shouldn't have to tell you that that kind of opportunity is a very big deal to my young and paradigm-shattering Conversational Marketing agency and I obviously wanted to get the word out. Using Hootsuite, I posted this message to both Facebook and Twitter: "Heads up, I've made it to #SXSW's Panel Picker. Watch this space for frequent promotions. (Oh, and please vote for me!!! ;))"

There's little doubt this message was simple, functional and, thanks to those three exclamation points and the emoticon, fun. (Let's be real: Behind my new Warbies, I'm all business -- not an exactly a three-exclamation point kind of guy -- and that 's exactly what made the punctuation flourish so charming.)

There were just two main points that you should have easily absorbed and immediately acted upon:

1. I was, rather conscientiously, alerting you that as a friend or a follower of mine you'd be hearing a lot about my panel idea. This should have insulated me against complaints about, as one of you put it, "polluting my feed with your wank." I warned you and you had no right to complain.

2. I urged you to vote for me. But I did so softly. In very deliberately making that call-to-action parenthetical and adding the winky emoticon, I fully intended this promotion to feel knowing if not a touch ironic, and, of course, not promotional. And it did feel that way, despite some of your suggestions to the otherwise. For those of you who didn't get it: Welcome to America, now speak internet.

I'm not sure what was unclear about any of this, but the message apparently didn't get through. I found out today that "Letting Go: Growing Your Brand in an Open-Source, Consumer-Created, Multivalent Marketing Biome" didn't make the cut. This, despite my constant exhortations that you vote for it. To say that I'm frustrated, or miffed even, is an understatement.

I am going apeshit.

If that initial message were all I sent, then maybe you'd be forgiven for not doing what I asked you to do. You might have gotten distracted by a cancer diagnosis or by the death of a loved one. It's entirely plausible that a major event in your life might have prevented you from navigating to the Panel Picker page and to click that little thumbs-up button and do your small and not-very-time-consuming part to help send me and my bizdev director, Brad (who can pull, BTW), to Austin. But that first message wasn't all I did. Not by a long shot.

A day after Panel Picker went live, I sent out another message, again using Hootsuite and again hitting all the major social networks. (No excuses that you didn't see it.) I pointed you directly to the Panel Picker page, urged you to vote and gave you another monkey-brain simple call to action: "Please RT."

Using Hootsuite's analytics tools and a modified link, I was able to find exactly how many of you followed the link and exactly how many retweeted. Oh, you bet I did. Of my 19,000-plus Twitter followers, only seven of you could be bothered to even look at the page with the panel's description and run down of all the questions that would be answered that I spent so long putting together. Even worse, there were only two retweets and six Facebook likes.

I really don't get you people. Do you know how much of my time you wasted, to say nothing of the time of Ashton Kutcher, Anderson Cooper's boyfriend or the marketing department at Chick-Fil-A? Together we had planned a panel that would have been the final word on Conversational Marketing, with ripped-from-the-headlines case studies, and insight drawn from the social-media trenches. Instead, you'll have to endure panels like "Call Me Maybelline: Marketing Beauty Products to Tweens" and "I Can Haz Herpes: What My STD Taught Me About Branding." Your loss.

I'm not claiming my campaign was a seamless operation. Mistakes were made. Did Hootsuite betray me when its tweet scheduler went all Fukushima and started posting the same Tweet every hour? Sadly, yes. Did I tell them just where they can shove that cartoon owl? You betcha.

But the fact is this: If you guys had JUST VOTED when I told you to, I wouldn't have had to set up that auto DM -- we know how well that worked out. And if I had gotten the RTs I asked for, I wouldn't have had to spend so much of my time handcrafting follow-up communications sprinkled with local flavor, like: "It's that time of year again. Can't wait to eat some bbq. Please check out my panel and vote. And please RT."

Tell me, please, who doesn't want to be reminded of barbecue. And who doesn't want to help other people think of barbecue?

Honestly, you people are a bunch of douchebagitrons.


Cameron Von Awzzomsaws

P.S. Hope to see some of you at TedxPeoria

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