09
Sep 12

The honeymoon might be over, but the fun has just begun

My ThisisVT imageToday is my last day tweeting as @thisisvt.  What I can tell you is that it has been super fun and I count myself lucky to have been able to interact with so many people this week and repp a state that I have called home for 14 years.

My turn at the helm came at the seventh week.  You know how they say the honeymoon is over when you hit the seven year mark in your marriage?  (ok, I really don’t know who “they” are, but I remember my ex-mother-in-law clearly explaining to me that “they” say that year 7, and every 7 years after that is a big deal.  Maybe it’s an Italian thing…for the record I made it to 14 years.) Well our State’s little Twitter account has reached that point now as well.

In the first weeks of the the account the accolades poured in from Time, New York Times, and Mashable (and of course Forbes, thanks to Larry Olmsted, fellow @thisisvt tweeter) as well as some local reviews, to name a few:

The account began in July and here we are already in September.  But it was during my time (Sept. 3 – Sept. 9) when …. well the critics started to come out. On Sept. 1 the DMN News (Direct Marketing News) called the @thisisvt twitter campaign “lackluster”: http://www.dmnews.com/vermont-tourisms-lackluster-twitter-campaign/article/256303/ (Sept 1) and Jonathan Baskin raked the VT Tourism Dept. over the coals for being “lazy”  and called out those of us who are tweeting as “boring”:  http://baskinbrand.com/?p=926 (Sept 3).

Ouch.

Then the local folks jumped in — with lots of interesting suggestions on who else should be tweeting for the account. I guess we got all our #vtfeathers ruffled.  Locally responders are looking for more diversity in the pool of people tweeting, and yeah, they wanted it to be more risky.  So I’m also going to address that from my POV.

So far we’ve had seven individuals tweeting. We hail from Alburgh, Montpelier, Burlington, Rutland, South Burlington, and an undisclosed location (that’s Larry). We’ve had equal representation from men and women and a variety of professions from College Professor (that’s me!), to Adman (Ken), famous writer (Larry), a healer/tarot reader (Raven), a bookbinder (Elissa), a blogger and owner of a local family web guide (Dana), and a small business marketer/comedian (Ed).


We had some good local suggestions though — like @southunionskunk and @BTVSnowDragon and 20-somethings and 80-somethings. It was an interesting dialogue and I certainly had a good time talking about risk taking (hence the #vtrisky hashtag). We’ve got a great deal of awesome people here in VT so I’m sure that we’ll continue to see a wide variety. Just remember, if you want to take the helm, be sure to nominate yourself! 

FYI, the DM News folks just focused on number of Twitter followers as a metric of success. For those of you who follow my blog you know that number of Twitter followers is NOT a measurement of success.  As to Mr. Baskin — while his blog post has syndicated in many different areas, his chief complaint is that not only are we boring, and the tweets useless, but “the tweets aren’t about Vermont, they’re about the tweeters themselves.”. Ahem. Yep. That there, my friend is the point. The marketers “didn’t give up” — they are providing us all an opportunity to share what we love about Vermont. That is the point of this whole thing.

Yep. It’s about one person, each week. One Vermonter each week. We all bring our own point of view, personality, and interests. We bring part of our life into this and are giving people a glimpse of our lives. But only a glimpse. Essentially, no matter how awesome we are…we are still just people. Ordinary people. With ordinary lives. And that, well, really isn’t that exciting. Sorry to break it to you. From my own experience, I’m not going to “pick fights” nor am I going to toss F-bombs just to make it “interesting”. In my experience that isn’t really worth it. I focused on providing information to people about events, goings on, pictures, history, education, business…those things that I think are great about Vermont.  (I did get into a little dust-up over the merits of VT Maple Syrup vs. MI Maple Syrup though.) Ed, on the other hand called out Texas while he tweeted. Raven focused on some wonderful things going on Rutland.  In other words, we did exactly what the Vermont Department of Tourism is looking for. We were ourselves. We brought our own points of view. We had fun. And that is the point.  On some levels while this is all about marketing for our most awesome Green Mountain State, it is also about giving those of us who love this state the opportunity to show that love.  It feels good to do this and to represent.

I had fun.

So I hope as the weeks go on, people will focus more on each individual person and what they bring to the table to showcase what makes Vermont so frick’n awesome: Vermonters.

Oh, and Cider Donuts (which @stevegarfield ordered from Cold Hollow Cidermill, thanks to me — and that my friends is an ACTIONABLE METRIC!)

From this:

 

To the big win:

 

Cold Hollow Cider Mill Cider Donuts received by @stevegarfield

So good luck to all of those who come after me and remember, the fun has just begun!

 


03
Sep 12

Repping for the State of VT at @thisisvt

This is VermontToday begins my week at the helm of @thisisvt, what some are calling a social media experiment, modeled after Sweden: the State of Vermont Travel and Tourism Department created a twitter account that they hand over to Vermont citizens each week.

I’m week 7.

Before me has gone:

And now it’s my turn.  A college professor.  I’ve made Vermont my home since 1997. In that time I’ve been the Director of Communication at the State Chamber of Commerce, the Director of Regional Communication at the American Cancer Society, Director of Marketing at Bluehouse Group and then in 2000 I started my new life as a college professor.  I teach digital marketing and a host of other classes at Champlain College, a small, private institution located in the hill section of Burlington, VT. I’ve lived in both Chittenden County and Washington County, and worked in Burlington and Montepelier (and yes, we truly do NOT have a McDonalds in our state capital).  I currently live in South Burlington with my daughter and my two cats.

This week I hope to bring those of you who choose to follow @thisisvt a glimpse of Vermont that includes our colleges (we have a great deal of awesome opportunities for higher education), our businesses (wait, what, there’s more than farms and cows here?) our chambers of commerce (great sources of information) and of course our vistas, landscapes, food, fun, and the quirky that is this most awesome state that I now call home.

I do hope you’ll join me and enjoy this week as I introduce you to my Vermont.