Posted by: East and West | 2009/05/28


“Spelling Bee finalists all got cookies…. I want cookies!!!”

“Cant believe there are 2 ppl from illinois in the finals for the national spelling bee!”

“@WCPO Local Student Eliminated In National Spelling Bee”

“@modbee The agony, the ecstasy, the scrunched faces of junior high kids: The National Spelling Bee.”

“Watching ESPN Spelling Bee. Great diversity of students. As an immigrant I was drawn to this contest soon after we arrived from Mexico”

“This spelling bee contest is intense. I hope these kids have a social life when they grow up.”

“ESPN spelling bee iPhone app? Brilliant.”

“The words are randomly selected and already in order when the kids enter the auditorium. Racism as an excuse? Cmon now!”

2009 Spelling Bee

(Photo credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee)

The tweets on the National Spelling Bee keep rolling in. It’s amazing how many people are tracking the Bee in real time, and even more interesting is the number of comments they — and the media — are posting online. The comments cover such a wide range of facets: the diversity of contestants, an accusation of racism, cookies at the end of the round, a possible iPhone spelling bee app, local contestants moving forward or being eliminated.

There’s so much buzz that tonight’s finals appear to have a guaranteed audience.  Wow.

We’d all like to get that kind of buzz when the companies we represent sponsor an event. It doesn’t happen magically; there’s a lot of work going on in the hive.

I currently work for a company that is just now dipping its toe in the viral marketing and social networking space. I’m certainly not an expert, but I’m continuously surprised at how some of the folks I work with hesitate to explore the web and its options. They’ve seen so many instances of companies being burned online — Domino’s pizza was a recent example.

I need to present more stories of how enterprises can succeed online, how communicating smartly on the web can build an audience that will follow us. While the web is a maelstrom of uncertainty, it’s also a hotbed of opportunity. We do need to remember that everything we do online will live forever, and that before anything we must deliver value to our audiences. Just like the value we deliver to customers in our stores everyday.

One of the tips for using Twitter is to be helpful and relevant to your audience, not salesy. If my company can do that as well online as it does in person, the viral buzz will follow. Just like the Scripps National Spelling Bee.


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