On social media, Box, Twitter and story

On Monday, I spoke with a woman who works with non-profits to help them use social media effectively.

Of course, she had some insightful things to say about what works best for good social media strategy and execution, and good content strategy. Knowing your audience, as she did with me, is key.

She also talked about what it’s like working in this field in the Bay area. There’s immense access to expertise, and you get first access to new, hot topics in the industry. The early adopters of new technology live here, as it turns out. On the flip side, it’s difficult to retain talented people. It’s a competitive environment, she said, and if you’re good at what you do, you get snapped up quickly. She had some fascinating comments about how the technology boom here has shaped the city—how some of the pillars of the community can’t afford to live here anymore, and how that can cause problems.

On Tuesday, I went to Box.

Box is a company that helps other companies elevate their tech game by using their services. I met with one of the communications people at Box, who was awesome and helpful and kindly showed me around, and I asked for the Box story. Box is more than cloud storage, she told me. It sounded familiar.

Box’s offices in Redwood City are cool. Each floor is themed differently and has a common area decorated to match the theme—beach, castle, forest. Its meeting rooms are named after its customers, many of which are big brand names. That really gives the place a nice feel—it makes you remember who you’re working for, and who’s impacted by what you do.

On Wednesday, I went to Twitter.

Twitter had an open house for recruitment purposes (I was a tag-along observer more than anything else). We heard their CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey speak. He talked about what Twitter is. It was essentially their brand story, too. And it’s a story everyone is familiar with. Twitter, as they now say, is about what’s happening. What’s happening now. It’s changed how we share news, and create journalism. It’s changed how we get news and consume journalism. It’s changed how we communicate. (They’ve also moved away from blue and grey and incorporated more colour…sounds familiar!)

The brand story chats combined with the physical space thoughts made me think about companies, and customers.

Box is defined by who’s in. Twitter is defined by who tweets. ATB is defined by who banks.

Once you have a box, it’s easy to fill it.

Once you have a full box, it’s easy to describe what’s in it.

So many people in my usual world talk about Twitter like it’s the world. Like it’s the literal, actual human race right now. Like it’s a reference point for thought, like it’s a thought leader. Like it’s impactful, like it’s a game changer.

Twitter, in San Francisco, is an office building full of people who work on code and marketing and budgets, like many of us who work in offices doing the same things.

But Twitter means so much more to the world and its customers, its users, its humans, than what we could convey just summing up the parts it’s literally made of.

Box is way past cloud storage—cloud storage is just a given, they told me. They’re about solving technical problems for their customers. Were you one of those people who was using email attachments? Those days are gone. Now you have Box.

ATB is more than a bank—because it’s where people keep their money. People. And with that money, they live. They pay for things. And they use their lives to get the money in the first place.

I’ve read so many articles where the writers talk about big things—huge things—and reference just one tweet. Just one tweet that made a huge impact. But there are so many of those tweets and conversations happening there, big and small and wide and skinny and bright and dark and funny and sad.

Some thoughts, so far. More to come.

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