bne IntelliNews

Forgive me, but I’m proud that we successfully launched the new at bne IntelliNews and it’s a huge improvement from the main news website we had before.

Mobile-optimized, search engine optimized, much more intuitive layout and better use of graphics make for a much more engaging website. It also serves as an improved portal to our premium products IntelliNews Pro, QuERI and Emerging Markets Direct e-store.

Post-launch we’re hardly resting on our laurels, in fact we’re already diving into the next development projects, so stay tuned dear readers :)


hotel social media guideFor inspiration for a hotel social media campaign, please check out my new ebook “HOTELS’ Best Social Media Practices Guide.” The ebook features mini-case studies of very impressive social media campaigns and includes inside details on each, including companies like Four Seasons, Hilton and Marriott.

The ebook is available from multiple online bookstores, click here for more details.

Apparently the U.S. has created a covert version of Twitter for Cubans to use — after the Arab Spring, is there any doubt now about the power of social networks to foment change against repressive governments?



I noticed on Facebook today that people were having difficultly accessing The Orb’s Brixton Electric free live set they made available for download. Here it is below

The Orb free download link (right-click “Save Link As…” to download the mp3): Set – The Orb live at Brixton Electric April 2013.mp3

If you guys want to check out my music, here’s my rock band Diversion and my solo electronic stuff Nonsense.

Also got the change to see The Orb in Chicago recently, here’s a video of the concert.


The Thank You Economy

A book I am enjoying lately when I have a moment to read between this assignment and that assignment is Gary Vaynerchuk’s “The Thank You Economy.” I can’t think of better marketing advice for people still wrapping their heads around what social media is, which I should say is still a majority of small business owners and even more corporations than you think.

Vaynerchuk is impressive on a personal level, too having been born in what was then the Soviet Union and what is now Belarus (and hardly wine country) but nonetheless become a top online entrepreneur specializing in wine and a visionary of utilizing social media marketing, which he calls “the humanization of business.”

You can get a taste of what the book has to offer by watching this interview he did a couple months ago on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

The book’s official website is here and here is another video of a presentation by Vaynerchuk.

#osama was the top Twitter trend when I posted this.

When the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, almost a decade ago I was in morning study hall at my high school. It was my senior year.

Ask your average American where they were when they first became aware of the 9/11 terrorist attack, and most that where old enough to remember it will be able to tell you.

Likewise, I believe that most Americans will be able to tell you where they were when they found out Osama bin Laden was killed, as happened on May 1, 2011. I was having a BBQ in my backyard with family and friends when someone received a text message with the news.

Interesting question: I wonder how many people heard about it via social media instead of through any traditional news source? I suspect its a majority.

@MayorEmanuel Twitter account

In 1729 Jonathan Swift published “A Modest Proposal” satirizing the indifferent attitudes of rich Britons toward the poor Irish by advocating that parents of the Emerald Isle sell their children to be eaten.

Nowadays, in addition to publishing a book Swift expand upon his idea by running a satirical Twitter account like the @MayorEmanuel which has gotten a ton of press lately since its anonymous creator came forward.

It turned out to be punk magazine publisher and Chicagoan Dan Sinker, and even though he had 0 followers he has amassed over 40,000 with his foul-mouthed tweets.

Now that’s a successful marketing campaign — heck, with a lot more blood, sweat and tears, a Facebook fan page and Twitter account and of course an excellent staff of writers and search-engine optimization I was able to build the monthly readership of Baltic Reports to 40,000 — the same number. Shows the importance of marketing methodology. Complimenti, Mr. Sinker.

Sinker is hardly the only person running a successful satirical Twitter account over the past few years, so it begs the question — while keeping in mind the importance of branding, should companies consider being more irreverent and creative with their Twitter marketing campaigns? It’s funny and can build followers rapidly. Regardless, it’s not a method most companies are embracing.

On television, successful advertising campaigns like the Geico Gecko show how it works, while Groupon’s Tibetan Super Bowl flop shows how it can backfire. Of course with social networking there’s the element of user interaction that television does not have. So is it good for companies to go irreverent on Twitter or not? Would love to hear thoughts on this.

UPDATE: Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and Dan Sinker are set to meet this Wednesday, March 2. Emanuel is standing on his offer to donate $5,000 to a charity of Sinker’s choice. Wish I could witness the meeting. Actually I have personally encountered Emanuel twice.

The first time was in 2006 as an intern at NBC Chicago while assisting reporter Don Lemon, now an anchor for CNN, at an election night rally for Forrest Claypool, whom Emanuel had endorsed for the Cook County Board President. Claypool lost to the Todd Stroger, who was voted out in 2010 after one scandal-ridden term.

The second time I met Emanuel was in January 2011 when I entered the California Blue Line CTA station on my daily commute to work and to my surprise Emanuel was there campaigning. On both occasions we shook hands, but as I recall Emanuel was much friendlier on the latter of the two. No surprise there, of course.

Thanks to Facebook.

Some of my colleagues are still skeptical about the importance of social networking websites. Indeed, in the UK there’s an amusing nickname for it “social not-working” and here is an interesting critique of Web 2.0 which brings up some valid points of Keen’s. However, Keen is downplaying the fact that  plenty of garbage floated through the gatekeepers in that medium, too and overall comes off as reactionary, like a monastery complaining that the printed press allows anyone to print rather than leaving the creation of books to the monk’s trained hand.

It is beyond foolish to underestimate the fantastic significance of social media as a communication tool. In fact, I would consider Web 2.0 to be the biggest advance in human communication since Gutenberg invented the printed press, and yes, that’s a good thing.

The recent protests to the sham election in Iran were coordinated with Twitter, and Facebook played a major role in the revolution in Egypt. Their countries’ state-controlled print and broadcast media could never have been used for this with the current leaders in place.

“Facebook and Tunisia did this” Egyptian TV personality Moez Masoud, said in a BBC interview when asked what the “secret” of this successful revolution was. The revolt was first organized via this Facebook fan page operated anonymously by Google executive Wael Ghonim. There you go.

Here’s a column on the Huffington Post that goes into this in more detail. Here’s a quote from the article:

“At the critical climax of the Egyptian revolution, one of its sparks, Google’s Wael Ghonim, told his followers on Twitter that he would not speak to them through media but instead through the Facebook page he created, the page he’d used to gather momentum for the protest, the page that had gotten him arrested, the page that was one of the reasons that Hosni Mubarak hit the kill switch on the entire Internet in Egypt (here’s another reason). After Mubarak left, Ghonim said on CNN that he wanted to meet Mark Zuckerberg to thank him for Facebook and the ability to make that page.”

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page also took note of the importance of social media in the Egyptian uprising.

Hello, this is a new blog on my new website You may have read blogs I have run such as the Baltic Business Blog, Vilnius Exposed blog and Euroblog — the archive of the first two can be found here. Since I have moved back to Chicago in November, I will not be covering European affairs on this blog but instead examining the world of social media marketing.

Here’s a recent photo of myself I took in Chicago looking into the Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. I’m the one holding the camera :)

Photo by Nathan Greenhalgh