Steve Stofflet

Steve Stofflet has written 21 posts for Social Drill

Social Fundraising


A fascinating development on the internet is the current number of sites that aid individuals, groups, and organizations with the ability to raise funds for a range of purposes.

Instead of opting for the [formerly] traditional method of utilizing loan options from a bank or family members, many are now deciding to go directly to their core supporters for support; and it seems to work.

Some of these groups allow people to post requests for help – others deal more towards non-profit groups and community issues.

Make no mistake, though: this is a huge new field of opportunity, as a quick review of various solicitations will prove that many people are warming up to this ‘one-on-one’ approach to help.

What I really like about this, is that this is one-on-one. People supporting their friends, neighbors, and total strangers. It’s so refreshing to see this homegrown form of stimulus starting to take root on the internet, and I would urge you to visit these sites to learn more about this:

After all, you never know who you might meet…


Consistency is key… oops!

It’s been too long since uploading an article to this blog. I have violated my own personal goal of maintenance and consistency in writing:  and I’m here to apologize to anyone who happens to stop by and read this.

So I’ve decided to post a few resources on this topic, in a quick attempt to get myself back on track. Hope you find these useful in your social media pursuits – and that you will also accept my sincere apology for the distance between this and my last post.

Here we go:

    1. 50 Steps to Establishing a Consistent Social Media Practice by Chris Brogan
    2. 7 Ways To Craft A Consistent Social Media Brand by Kristi Hynes
    3. Social Media and Brand Consistency by Edward Boches
    4. The 15 Commandments of Social Media Communication
    5. 5 Tips for Making a Consistent Social Media Effort by Marlene Friis

Again: my apologies for not sticking to my original intent – and thank you for allowing me to back off, re-group, and attempt to develop my consistency for the future.

One slight reminder, though:  too much of a good thing is bad.  While developing a following via social networks/media/blogging – consistency is a strength.

At the same time, remember Aldous Huxley:
“Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead.”

Find a happy medium: that’s my goal.

Wish me luck!

Be fearless if the situation calls for it…

(please note: this article originally appeared online while I was a student in the New Media Driver’s License course at Michigan State University.)

Copyblogger caught my attention a few weeks before I started the New Media Driver’s License course, due to a post entitled “The Eminem Guide to Becoming aWriting and Marketing Machine.” This Eminem post just came from a completely different point of view that many people would hesitate to apply to social media marketing: controversy.

That article drew my attention to his site; I honestly forgot how I ended up there – as I visit a variety of blogs in my efforts to expand my ‘worldview’ on social marketing and online networking. In fact, I belong to a number of groups on LinkedIn related to digital marketing, and I posted a link to it on one of those just to see what the reaction would be. It created a stir; half the people loved it, half of them hated it. The point it made for me?

They were all talking about it.

Prior to the development of digital marketing, I ran a media company that collected short films and Entertinament Weekly Articlreleased them in compilation tapes to the home video market (back in the days of VHS). Selling these titles was never easy, as few people had any exposure to the concept of short film. It required marketing that not only thought outside the box; but reinvented it.

As an example, my company collected a series of hallucinogenic animated films – worked with a performance artist by the name of Tony Vegas – and we turned it into a 60 minute compilation entitled “Tony Vegas’ Animated Acidburn Flashback Tabu.”(Artwork courtesy of Stephen J. Stofflet. Article / Entertainment Weekly May1992)

Now where would you put your advertising dollars for a title like this? We brainstormed: and ended up touching base with Timothy Leary (please tell me you remember him… if you don’t, visit Wikipedia) – and got a copy of the tape in Leary’s hands. He loved it. He wrote an article about it. We got the article in the hands of the entertainment editor at Entertainment Weekly.

The result?

A completely unknown collection of twisted animated short films got a full page in one of the country’s top entertainment magazines. Roughly equivalent to about $30,000+ that cost us maybe $100.00 – and some successful networking.

In a way, this could be compared to the effect of a viral video today; we got a controversial figure to endorse our program in a ‘mainstream’ publication. The response from this exposure was significantly higher than anything we had released to date, due to the notoriety of the author.

That is what I like about ‘copyblogger.’ This guy, Brian Clark, has created a site that is interesting. It’s fun to read. It provides free resources like tutorials that include “Copywriting 101” and “SEO Copywriting.” But he’s willing to go out on the edge with an article like the one on Eminem and what he can teach you about marketing and writing: put yourself out there / be extreme. In fact, he’s posted another similar article pulling material from Madonna: “Madonna’s 6 Secrets to Personal Branding Mastery.”

Does this work for all clients? Absolutely not. However, it’s important to go in this direction for those clients that could benefit from it.

Be fearless if the situation calls for it.

Social media credibility and influence

Kred LogoKlout has been around for some time, providing social media geeks with a way of measuring their “influence” via their various social network postings.

It appears a new player is on the way:  Kred

What is it? Well, in an article posted on Techcrunch, it apparently is slowly rolling out over the next week or so – headed directly for a head to head confrontation with Klout.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to sign up via Twitter to get an invitation to check it out – gotta stay on top of the new stuff, you know…

I’ll let Techcrunch tell ya how it works (go check out the article):

“So how is this different from Klout? The main difference is Kred’s transparency. It shows you exactly how you got your score and lets you drill down to every retweet to see how many points it was worth. A normal retweet might be worth 10 points, but one from somebody with high Kred might be worth 50. A mention is worth more than follow, and so on. Since Kred is calculating everyone’s scores in realtime, it normalizes your score against the average.”

Google+ for the masses…

Google plus logoIt’s official – you no longer need an invite for Google+   -effective immediately, the search engine giant has opened its doors to the public after 99 updates to their offering during the beta testing period.

Have you played with this new networking opportunity yet? I have to admit that I was a little leery at first, but the program offers some really cool options – the most notable being the “circles” that you can create out of friends, family, professional associates, and just about any other demographic you could think of. Currently I work in Facebook as a social / family / friend tool – and save work associates for LinkedIn. This new approach could be a definite game changer for social networking.

Come on over and check it out


Putting a face to email…

VUMail logo

mailVU is a great new opportunity to personalize the online experience, and one that is finding some serious fans in the realm of higher education and online / distance learning courses.

Inherently simple in its approach, mailVU provides a personal touch to email – a method of communication notorious for its lack of personality. I cannot begin to count the number of messages that I’ve received that were embarrassingly inept when it comes to spelling, grammar and structure.

With mailVU, you simple visit the site – record a short message – and send off an email to the recipient. You can choose to have the message self-destruct after a certain number of views, days, or even retract it at will.

An excellent opportunity to put a face in place of the words.

Check it out…

#F**kyouwashington – will it be heard?

fuck you washington trend map

F U Washington trending map


it seems that the media has caught onto the Twitter frustrations boiling up at politicians in Washington – check out CBS News at:

This one got my attention while visiting my new Google+ account…

It seems that a new trend on Twitter is (and pardon my language, but I’m giving you the uncut version to facilitate your search…) #fuckyouwashington

Apparently instigated by Jeff Jarvis over the weekend, it’s starting to trend on Twitter. The question is, as ‘in your face’ as this hashtag is – will it get the necessary attention that it deserves? Is it capable of catching fire? Will twitter users latch on to #fuckyouwashington as a way to send a message to our elected representatives, and if so – will they pay attention.

This has me interested… while it has picked up some steam – it seems overwhelmed by Parking Wars, #amywinehouse and Brett Favre. A little disappointing from the perspective of child of the 60’s, but I’m holding out hopes that this will spark out and get some coverage and some major participation.

Social media as social revolution is fascinating – you get insight as to the how people prioritize things… and it’s not always comforting.

Here’s hoping for a good old-fashion digital sit-in!

Social Intelligence… defining an oxymoron

Social Intelligence HR logobig brother is watching you

There’s a new company on the web – Social Intelligence – that archives your online behavior for up to seven (7) years, to facilitate retrieval within the scope of a background check for employment.

My favorite paragraph on their front page (and this is an excerpt for informational purposes):

“We are not building a “database” on individuals that will be evaluated each time they apply for a job and potentially could be used adversely even if they have cleaned up their profiles. It is important for job applicants to understand we are not storing their historical information to be used against them the next time they apply for a job.” (their emphasis)

There is something so Orwellian about this company it’s sickening. This post will probably end up in their database, and that’s fine. I’ve always been a privacy advocate, and that is not about to change under the threat of these online monitors of personal behavior.

I’ve always lived by the rule –  if I don’t want my grandmother to read it, I’m not publishing it as an update to Twitter, Facebook or any other social network or internet outlet. However, young people don’t always have this foresight. For a company to exist on a providing a product that is technically legal, but morally questionable (such as this one) is troubling to say the least.

I understand the concept of background checks, and don’t dispute their value. What bothers me is that momentary lapses of judgement are now going to be archived for reference by future employers.

This company (accurately) states that they provide information that is legally allowable under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  One question: how many of you have ever had something appear on your credit report, and you’ve attempted to dispute it? How much time does this take? How much effort? And besides, what if you just made a bad decision, and later corrected it?

Too bad.

An article in the New York Post – “How to Protect Your Online Rep” – provides some good oversight into this new info industry, that you should really review.

I think what bothers me the most  – outside of the impetuous nature of youthful mistakes being archived (potentially indefinitely) to be used in screenings (the infamous ‘permanent record’ syndrome)… is that the information shared by these companies can effectively shut down freedom of expression, association and speech.

Think about it – if you know that “liking” a certain group on Facebook that holds politically charged opinions – and the potential of that information is going to be shared with a future employer:  where’s the ability to have an opinion, or to associate with like-minded people?

I’m not worried about what I put out there (if I was, I surely would not have authored this blog post). I believe in the basic rights of our constitution – and I think companies like this (regardless of their legal standing) have the potential for truly destroying the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy.

The phrase ‘slippery slope’ comes to mind…

What do you think?

Awesome? Me?

First, this is a great domain name… now that I’ve gotten past that observation, let me endorse your taking a look at this site.

What is ‘’ you ask? Another social network? Another entry into the glut of social media? Not really… though it does relate to social media/networking.

While most social media sites facilitate interaction, they do little in relation to the acquisition of new conversations/contacts.  In fact, the best description of their approach comes from them:

Although a few companies like Dell, Starbucks, and Comcast have shown some decent success in utilizing social media, but a study by Yankee Groups shows otherwise for most companies. Other studies show Facebook and Twitter do not bring in leads. Such channels can be used as channels to engage with your existing customers, but not as a tool for generating leads which has been seen as a discouraging data point. I am not claiming will completely fill that gap (at least not initially until some more features are added to the product), but certainly it is taking a first step toward that direction.

Real Time Communication for Your Site

Comm100 logoComm100 is an open-source, no-cost hosted customer communication SAAS provider. A chat host that opens up a new level of reaching out to clients, the simplicity of this communication tool is truly amazing because of its ease of implementation, and deserves a solid evaluation from anyone who is serious about developing and maintain client relationships.

By placing a few lines of code on your website, you are able to establish a live link to visitors to your website; providing them with real-time support for any questions they may have. I’ve encouraged a number of friends and associates to explore the flexibility offered by this software, due to its ease of use and the solid real-time relationships that it can support.

It’s especially helpful for those of you who might be exceptionally mobile, as they also offer the ability to monitor communications remotely via their smartphones. They have created apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian platforms.

In addition to supporting real-time communication with visitors to your website, it can provide a wealth of information about who and when they are visiting, and the frequency of their visits. These conversations can be attached to tickets, email follow-ups can be generated, and the entire customer service experience can be exceptionally pro-active and positive, due the ease of this exceptional software.

Visit their site, download their software, install it on your website and give it a try; the experience is surprisingly easy and contributes a valuable personal interface that allows you to establish solid relationships with new and returning clients.