Social Media “Prove It” Week

I admit it, I’m cynical. To a fault sometimes. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. And I’m extremely intolerant of the social media types that spend all day on Twitter telling everyone else how to do their job when they have nothing to back up their musings.

So last week, just for fun, I declared THIS week, social media case study week. I think my actual post was along the lines of “Next week is ‘National Prove It’ week. Everyone posts links to actual case studies they’ve worked on instead of just spewing stuff. You in?” And the more I think about it, the more I’m going to pursue this experiment beginning Tuesday (hey, it’s a holiday week and all). And I challenge EVERYONE. If you’re a Social Media or Word of Mouth practicioner, then post a link on Twitter this week to a case study that you’ve been involved in and use the hashtag #smproveit. If there is no formal write up, then post one on your blog or Posterous account. It’s time so separate the men from the boys…which consequently might help you thin out your “following” on Twitter.

All this to say that I’m tired of the social media philosophers. The only real way to learn the truth and what works and what doesn’t is by DOING. All the philosophers thought that the earth was flat. But one guy didn’t care and guess what? He didn’t fall off the edge. He proved them wrong. Just like you can tell BP how they should be handling everything right now, but you have no idea the internal red tape and lawyers and hoops that have to be jumped through to get something done. It’s SO easy to armchair marketing quarterback. And anyone can do that. But it takes smart people to DO. To ACT. To come out from behind a computer screen, put everything on the line and lead. Writing a blog post isn’t leading. Bullying people on Twitter isn’t leading. No matter if you have 25 followers or 25,000.

Oh, and one other thing. You can’t use yourself as a case study. You have to have a case study for a client.

So go. Use it (#smproveit). And we’ll see how far this little experiment can and will go. Oh, and we just might also have a kick-ass resource as well.


  • June 1, 2010

    Brett Duncan

    Loving this. Can’t wait to see what comes in. In the meantime, I’ll just keep littering the twitter-sphere with tons o’ theoretical horsecrap.

    (Welcome back to Texas, btw).


  • June 2, 2010

    Zane Safrit

    Spike. We’ve never really met. Some word-of-mouth connections….and all have joined us before anyone could raise their hand and say ‘stop’. Ok. That doesn’t really apply here but it riff’d well.

    Anyway. You know I’m a fan of your work at BOF, your heart, integrity and your humor.

    Having said all that…

    I like the intent of your post here, at least as far as SM, Twitter, claims to guruhood, etc., and bringing the transparency to the transparency crowd.

    I like that you did it. It’s a bit cranky, but I love that you did it.

    But (and you knew it was coming…)

    This post reads to me as though the underlying intent isn’t ‘aligned’. (I’ll gag for you. Sorry bout that term. ) Had the intent been to celebrate, share, case-studies of actual successes….then yeah, I think, cool, more people would have embraced it. That would have been cool for everyone. Fun, too. A real feeding frenzy of learning. For the group. For Twittersville, Twittersphere…you know.

    But, then you add your skepticism over Twitter and it appears that perhaps your real intent is asking people to beseech you for your approval. Missouri is the show me state but you’re in Texas.

    Frankly, if you ever approved some WOM idea of mine I’d be thrilled. On the other hand…to strangers you’re a social media heretic and you’re asking them to prove that social media miracles exist and you are the judge. Ummmmm…I don’t see it happening. And to-date, it hasn’t.

    Then…I tread lightly, but still tread…there’s the appearance of a conflict of interest as you work for a traditional PR firm. I trust your judgment that FH is wonderful. That said, social media seems to remain an alien being to those whose business is built around controlling the message and being the only ones considered, self-considered, smart enough to speak it. And the PR business is such a business. Granted, great people there. Doing smart things. But like oil and gulf waters or any waters, 70’s disco and the Austin music scene, transparency and BP’s management, the uncontrolled masses using social media and PR agencies’ need to control a brand’s conversation…they don’t mix. Often. Ok, at all as far as I’ve been able to tell.

    It’s two different languages and values and yes, incentives. Traditionally…PR agencies get paid when they share the client’s messages not when the client’s customers do it on their own? Maybe, I’m wrong to speak broadly. I’m sure there are exceptions. Help me, brother, if I am.

    You rock, regardless.

    PS: In your twitter posts there was no link to this post. Nor on your FB page did you link back here. Maybe a freudian slip…maybe a freudian slip if you did and I didn’t notice. Next time I’m in Austin, we can talk childhoods.

  • June 2, 2010

    Spike Jones


    Thanks for the well thought-out comment.

    Look, you need to take my cynicism with a grain of salt. My intent was two-fold, yes, I’d love to collect some links to truly great SM case studies. But also, it’s a way to make those SM windbags shut their yappers. Because the vast majority of them just spew BS. They tell BP how they should be responding. They tell Dell what they’re doing wrong. They bash the airlines for not kissing their ass when they have a flight delay or forget to give them an extra bag of peanuts. All from the comfort of their home office and without knowing what it really takes to get things done in the real world. In other words, they are arm-chair marketing.

    So my other intention with this post was to say to them. “You have all the answers, so show me how you’ve really applied it in the real world.” In other words, put up or shut up.

    And of course, most of them have chosen to ignore it because they HAVE NO case studies. They have no results. They have nothing to stand on except empty, unrealistic advice.

    As for your assessment of FH. I know that is perception around PR agencies that have been around for awhile. And honestly, they weren’t on my radar. Until I met them. Talked with them. And then saw what they were doing. Do you know that the Texas Digital team from FH was behind the entire Chevy Volt push at SXSW? Something that was lauded all over the internets by the social media kids as the hands-down winner of getting out there and connecting with the SM group using SM at the event?

    FH knows that they don’t control the message. Customers do. Look, this blog is my own and nothing I say here represents them, but do you think I’d really join a group that wasn’t doing something incredible? Especially after being with BoF for a decade? Not a chance.

    Keep an eye on us FH kids. You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

    Come on down. I won’t talk about my childhood, but the first round’s on me.

    And BTW, for what it’s worth, your reputation is stellar. We all know what you’ve done in the WOM world, so you’re cool in my book. Not that it matters.

  • June 3, 2010

    Matt Ridings - @techguerilla


    God knows I can’t say anything about your cynicism and snark, that’d be a pot/kettle/black hypocrisy of Haitian earthquake magnitudes. But I have to agree with Zane in regards to the way your challenge comes across. But most importantly, and I’m sure you can/could do this, you talk about *leading* yet you don’t lead with your own stellar example of “proving it” in SM. If you’re going to lay down the gauntlet I find it’s always best to do so with trumpeters and fire eaters announcing your badass self.

    You either have the background to be in a position to judge others statements, or you don’t.

    Snarkily yours,


  • June 3, 2010

    Spike Jones

    Greetings Matt,

    There’s a book coming out filled with case studies I’ve been fortunate enough to work on. Look for it in late August:

    This post is just a lame attempt to say – while we need people to call attention to the industry – if you can’t back up your advice, then keep your mouth shut. That’s all.

  • […] “All this to say that I’m tired of the social media philosophers. The only real way to learn the truth and what works and what doesn’t is by DOING.” (amen) Spike’s full post here. […]

  • […] Social Media “Prove It” Week (Spike Jones): The ever-cynical and uber-accountable Spike Jones launched his Social Media “Prove It” Week. The post is good, and the comments are even better. […]

  • June 18, 2010


    Loving this. Can’t wait to see what comes in. In the meantime, I’ll just keep littering the twitter-sphere with tons o’ theoretical horsecrap.

    (Welcome back to Texas, btw).


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