Nowak was quite impressive. Especially liked that he offered good pieces of advice – for example, focusing on finding out what you're good at and not worrying as much about not knowing what to do with your life – and that he shared how he had failed at four different business ventures and what he learned through those experiences. He found that he had a passion for the Internet and that he could earn a great living by monetizing social media.
His presentation focused on key questions, including what is social media, why do big brands use social media and what is social commerce? He explained how media and other companies are now using "open graphs" to allow Facebook "likes" on their websites, great for merchandising and research and spreading word-of-mouth. He also showed us how Delver.com is Sears' way of using Facebook integration to help customers and their friends discover and explore products together. In short, Sears is testing how to have customers engage more with its websites.
Finally, in what Nowak described as "fishing where the fish are," we heard how big brands are using social media to draw huge audiences, make and save money, increase customer interaction, solicit instant feedback and monitor online activity associated with their brands. Also, good emerging media-ists understand that social media is both good and bad for brands. Be very wary of "brand-jacking" and how it can create customer confusion – Nowak showed a great example of how some angry folks used Twitter to vent about BP's poor handling of the horrendous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico this summer – and be ever ready to respond to viral explosions (YouTube!).
Control your reputation. Fish where the fish are!