Is the New Technology the END of Marketing? Just ask Owen

Filed in Sharisax Is Out There , Twitter 44 comments

“In a world that is moving from PC-centric to a world completely mobile, it’s hard to keep up,” wrote Owen Greaves in a recent post. Owen is a Futurist, who loves making this paradigm shift less painful when it comes to media and commerce on the Internet.

While many people may say that the world’s problems come from a lack of education, Owen states that this is a Listening problem:

The listening problem comes from an insecurity in my humble opinion, business owners don’t want to look stupid, or be seen as if they don’t know what’s happening in their business and or around them.

I can only tell you this, it is impossible for any one person to know everything there is to know about everything, including your business.

If you are a business owner, try to listen more, grow bigger ears, and then turn your business into a platform that people will find useful. People always return to what is useful. And become a likeable, lovable brand.

Owen and I met online two years ago when I was just beginning my journey, and we was one of the the Experienced Ones. It was on the site Friendfeed, which had been highly touted [at the time] by Robert Scoble, who spoke to my marketing classes at San Francisco State.

I’d been trying out that platform when I stumbled upon Owen, who must have seen Robert comment on something I’d written. At the time, I didn’t really understand the significance of that.

So Owen and I became “friends” on Friendfeed. One day I asked a question, and Owen simply “liked” it. I posted back, “Why did you LIKE my question and not Answer it?” And here is the answer which should help a lot more newbies out there:

When someone “likes” what you have posted, then their entire network gets to see that post. You don’t even have to comment or answer, all you have to do is LIKE, i.e., the Power of Liking.

So . . . that was helpful.

So . . . I started to follow Owen more and more, especially on Twitter, which had just started to explode in 2009. Of course, I like lots of other Twitter newbies, at first thought Twitter was Stupid — Who wants to know where you went out to eat? Well, actually, after I got to know Owen online, then when I’d see him post something like dining out or speaking somewhere or attending a conference, I could “engage” with him, and let him know I was listening.

Owen has been a continued online supporter, and now he’s even joined the gallery on our Facebook group for the students in my online course Social Media for Journalists. I’ve wanted to interview Owen for ages, so Students, Subscribers, and New Readers:

Here’s Owen Greaves

1. Explain your “love” for Twitter . . . and can you give some advice to small business people on why they are missing out by not understanding and using Twitter.

Owen: I love Twitter!

Mostly Twitter fills the need for real-time responses, research, and website traffic.

Twitter acts as a broadcasting channel, but also as a place to do research. TNN = Twitter News Network,

I can search for any keyword in and find results, I can finetune those results as well.

The biggest reason I love Twitter, relationships.

I have met more incredible people on Twitter than I have in my entire life shaking hands, and I have met a lot; I’m 53 years old so I’ve been around.

The best piece of advice I can give is this [and this holds true for all Social Media Networks]:

You can’t have a Social Media Presence and not be present.

You must be there, LIVE! I don’t automate my Social Network Updates.

2.  What are the biggest mistakes that businesses make when they get started with social media?

Owen: The biggest mistake…hmmm….I think the bigger problem is before Social Media, they don’t understand the changes in the business landscape on a global basis.

That creates problems for businesses when they try to execute a Social Media Strategy. Most businesses don’t look beyond the transaction  —

if you fly at 50,000 feet and look for patterns, you will see we are becoming very Mobile and very Social, that data needs to be studied on a business by business case, especially by what service or product a business offers. I know, I’m opening a can of worms here.

3.  How did you get started in social media?

Owen: Social Media is not new, it’s just gone digital.

I’ve been online since the early ’80s so I have seen much change on this incredible thing called the Internet. I started taking Social Media seriously in 2007, about a year later than the early adopters. I used to run a BBS (Bulletin Board System)back in the ’80s and then I used to market a Newsletter back 1995.

4. What’s your definition of social media?

Owen: Social Media to me is simple really: I used to go around town in my business sphere of influence and have coffee or go out for a cold one; today I do the same thing online. The benefits are almost the same. The big difference is I can’t see your body language unless I use Skype or a Camera.

It’s much easier to connect people in Social Media than it is in real physical life; that’s the BIG plus, connecting people matters more today than ever.

In fact, having more connections will determine your influence, your following, and your ability to earn money in some circles. Read my Blog Post from Jan 4th called – 3 things 2011 will bring and you will get a snippet of what I’m hinting.

5. Can you list any of the grossly misunderstood paradigm shifts?

Owen: There are some 14 paradigm shifts I talk about on my Blog, but there are far too many to list actually. If you were to talk about Nanotechnology alone, there are many shifts there.

But let’s just look at some of the simple shifts in the future of business, primarily online.

1.) Web-native Business Model (Open & Free)
2.) Network to Networked
3.) Social & Mobile
4.) Open Platforms – FaceBook, Twitter, Linkedin
5.) Control to Trust – building relationships
6.) Egosystem to Ecosystem
7.) Walled Gardens to the Jungle
8.) Shift to the Cloud
9.) Friction to Engagement – Control to Collaboration
10.) GUI to NUI
11.) Yes / No – Maybe
12.) Linear to Fuzzy Logic
13.) Denial to Foresight

6. You like to inspire creativity. How does one person inspire creativity in others? Do you have a definition of creativity?

Owen: I love to make people think, if that’s creative then yes I like to inspire creativity.

My way of inspiring people is for them to take their eyes off of themselves and put it on others. What I mean by that is, it’s not about you, it’s about those around you. Look at your business, or look at your passion(s), and see how they line up with the needs of others.

I often recommend this in my workshops: take a drive through your community and look around, ask yourself one question….what’s missing? If your business or passion can fill what’s missing, you may have something you can research and possible launch.

My definition of creativity is more of a process: if I can get you to stop thinking about your own needs, get you thinking about others, help you find your passion, teach you how to participate in an Open & Free Business Model….that’s the Future of Business. I can’t put desire in someone, but I can inspire creativity on some level.

7. Do you have any tips that you would like to share on any of the following:

a – How to blog?
Owen: Just do it. I recommend running a Self-hosted WordPress Blog with Headway Themes. you have all the flexibility you could ever want without ever having to write a line of code.

There are many steps on how to blog. The 1st one is knowing the core of your business, if that’s what your blog is for, the rest will come through your day-to-day efforts, just write, or should I say share. As you know I run my own webhosting company so I have considerable experience helping people get set up.

b – What to Tweet
Owen: I Tweet about everything, I share links, I talk to people, talk about good stuff and bad, I Tweet my life, I Tweet my work, I Tweet my findings…Tweet it all, within reason of course. I don’t want to know how many pimples you have on your butt.

c – Questions to ask at a networking event
Owen: I would suggest asking yourself why you are attending the networking event, if you are there to sell….don’t go!

I go to networking events to meet new people, to find out what problems they are up against, I’m always listening more than I’m talking, unless I’m the guest of honor and it’s expected of me to chat my head off.

You need to be the best you can be, have a genuine love for people and make an effort to be interested in them. I love people, I love helping people, but that should be your normal mode of operation if you run a business.

8. In your version of the perfect Future, what would be the Top Five Features of that World

Owen: There never will be a perfect future, I know too much.

I have always said, I want have a nice quiet life, leave a legacy of helping others, and spend as much time as possible with my wife & kids. If I become popular or famous so to speak, I’ll leave that to the rest of the world to handle, it’s not my primary goal, but I’ll do my best to handle it if it happens.

Well, friends, What do you think? What did you learn? How will this help you? And don’t forget to read more at


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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   25 February 2011
Tags : , , , , ,
Feb 25, 2011
12:02 pm

Thanks so much for this Shari, I love to share and make people think, I love it when the lights go on.


Author Feb 25, 2011
12:06 pm

I “predict” many lights will go on this week!!!

Feb 25, 2011
4:19 pm

“If you are a business owner, try to listen more, grow bigger ears” – so true, and not just in business – listening *and* understanding others is key to connecting in life.

You say you tweet everything except pimples… even controversial topics?

Great interview, Shari and Owen.

Author Feb 26, 2011
1:31 am

Owen has really been a huge supporter. Check him out. And BTW, how are you?
I’m teaching an online course in Social media for journalists. If you’d like to “lurk” and even participate on the class Facebook group, let me know and I will add you.

Feb 26, 2011
4:52 am

Hi Shari,

This is so timely, as this week we are covering SM and online marketing efforts in eCommerce. I’m referring fellow students and my professor to this informative and insightful post.

Thanks for sharing!

Feb 26, 2011
5:14 pm

Good, balanced, down to earth insight from Owen. I’m curious what he means by “11.) Yes / No – Maybe”

I’m currently working on a post about recognizing the strategic difference between optimizing for yes/no conversion VS going for maybe. I wonder if that’s the track that he’s on…

Author Feb 27, 2011
10:12 am

Justice, any chance you want to join the discussion on the Facebook private group for my Journalism students learning social media?

Feb 26, 2011
7:09 pm

“I think the bigger problem is before Social Media, they don’t understand the changes in the business landscape on a global basis.” This has been true in my experience with many businesses I’ve worked with. They don’t understand the complexity of Social Media, it’s benefits, and the business they could lose by not using it/adopting a tailored strategy.

Author Feb 27, 2011
10:14 am

In addition, Suzzanna, many of us Baby Boomers are being protective of what we know, hoping that social media strategies are simply a fad. You and I and our classmates, however, understand that this is the New way of communicating — whether for business or news.

Feb 27, 2011
10:50 am

Shari – I’d be happy to drop by your FB group.

Author Feb 27, 2011
4:49 pm
#11 Shari Weiss :

we need to be friends first. Can you ask me on Facebook?

Feb 27, 2011
5:43 pm
#12 Owen Greaves :

The YES / NO / Maybe is how we might get paid. I pay, You Pay, They Pay. The Future of Business is and will become more and more Tribal, you buy things based on the recommendations of people in your Tribe.

In fact, you will want access first, you’ll want to use it, and then maybe you will pay for it. Hence, YES / NO / MAYBE.

Hope that helps?

Feb 27, 2011
7:17 pm

Thanks Owen. I see how that fits particularly well with some industries – tech especially. And how it increasingly can apply to others as well.

The YES/NO/MAYBE that I’m working on communicating to my industry (natural health and wellness) is about YES/NO vs MAYBE in terms of marketing strategy.

ie – It’s great to get an immediate YES response to your marketing efforts, but that approach also results in a lot of NOs (closed doors). A MAYBE response keeps the door and conversation open. Of course you know this, but many health food related brands are still missing it.

BTW – I see we’re in the same region. Beautiful BC…

Feb 27, 2011
9:10 pm
#14 Owen Greaves :

The YES / NO / MAYBE is not something fully accept in todays business world, it will be eventually, the younger generations yet to come will adopt quickly.

What part of B.C. are you from?

Feb 28, 2011
11:24 am
#15 Mike Maynard :

He is one of the experienced ones; so much better than being one of the dreamless ones! 🙂

Feb 28, 2011
3:42 pm
#16 Justice Marshall@Social Nature :

Owen – I’m in Vancouver.

Feb 28, 2011
9:03 pm
#17 Vanessa Jensen :

Owen, Thanks so much for sharing your advice with us beginners…it is very helpfull. I’m still pretty novice at this so I’m not sure what is meant by #10 on your list of paradigm shifts…what is GUI and NUI??
I completely agree with you when you say it’s much easier to connect people with Social Media than it is in real physical life…I have a somewhat of a small small case of social anxiety but with the help of social media I am finding it much easier to express myself.
Thanks again & Take care
I look forward to you sharing more tips with the group.

Feb 28, 2011
10:56 pm

I’m new to the world of marketing but as the token ‘kid’ at work I get asked to do anything internet/social media related. My question is what exactly is meant by Yes/No Maybe. If someone could explain it that would be great.

Owen you state that “You can’t have a Social Media presence and nor be present” I think this is something that businesses need to work on. As I have worked for people that start a Facebook page, or blog and never update them. As a consumer I too have tried looking up information for local businesses only to find that their FB pages and blogs are outdated. It reflects poorly on them and its not ‘useful’.

Mar 1, 2011
12:48 am
#19 Susana :

I see much about Twitter being a great tool to use, but what about facebook? I think facebook would be better sense of tool simply because you are able to great groups and invite people to help promote yourself? I’m just asking because I don’t see facebook mentioned, while twitter is just a sense of updating status. I’m still curious about the advantage of twitter

Mar 1, 2011
2:03 am
#20 Mariana C S Rogedo :

There is a lot of information here! I had to read few times and make notes to absorb it. I liked when you say TNN – Twitter News Network. I couldn’t understand well how “The biggest reason I love Twitter, relationships”. I guess because i’m new on Twitter, it’s hard for me to understand how you are building relationships there. I know you said that you are more present without being there (physically) but it’s hard for me to understand that when we talk about business. To me, that observation is contradictory with my the idea, in which is business don’t understand the changes on the business landscape on a global basis. I’m also got a bit confused with the grossly misunderstood paradigma shits. If your definition of being creative is make people think, than you certainly are: make all of us think a lot!

Mar 1, 2011
11:03 am
#21 Owen Greaves :


GUI = Graphical User Interface

NUI = Natural User Interface

That’s it : )

Mar 1, 2011
11:07 am
#22 Owen Greaves :


I interact more than anything else, you have to engage with your following before you can ever try to sell them something.

Get to know your following as best you can, grow bigger ears, listen to what’s trending in your following by using

It’s time consuming yes, but if you are a business owner, you are going to spend time & money on marketing that doesn’t work anyway. So spend some of that time & money in the search, listen to what people are talking about in your particular niche.

Mar 1, 2011
11:10 am
#23 Owen Greaves :


I’m not going to say FaceBook doesn’t work, but the problem with FaceBook is, it’s cumbersome, harder to figure out, and they can do what they want with your account. They can decide to earase your content without notice, why? They own it.

Having said that, the same is true whenever you post to the Internet.

I have found FaceBook has it’s strengths, but it has yet to prove itself in my line of work. Twitter on the other hand, has made me more money and deeper relations than any other network.


Mar 1, 2011
8:07 pm
#24 A.S. Miller :

Owen, I really loved your advice on creativity – “My way of inspiring people is for them to take their eyes off of themselves and put it on other.” I wish I had a ‘real’ business to run so I could implement some of these ideas I’m finding in this interview!

Mar 2, 2011
12:43 am
#25 Champa :

I absolutely loved what Owen said about the “liking” a comment or post. What’s interesting is that we all tend to like a number of things; interesting, funny and sometimes plain silly. But what it tells people is that are varied in our thoughts.

I also agree with his idea of defining Social Media. The idea that the world has become smaller can only be true because of Social Media outlets. Not only has it become more convenient to communicate, but it allows you to communicate with literally everyone you didn’t and couldn’t even imagine doing so. In the past, it was impossible to communicate with celebrities, politicians, sports personalities etc. However, that has now changed. And that is exactly what makes it the ultimate future.

Mar 2, 2011
2:24 am
#26 Owen Greaves :

A.S. Miller: What is it that you do, and why do you not consider it a business?

Mar 2, 2011
2:29 am
#27 Owen Greaves :

CHAMPA: Social Media is not new, it’s just gone digital. Having said that, what is new, we the people got our voice back, and we still haven’t figured out how to use that power.

With this power to reach the power people, comes great responsibility as well, we can’t just yank someone’s chain and not respect their time. We must use this power for good, it’s not an echo chamber, and it is not for us, it’s for others.

As I have mentioned before, Klout & Influence are not for us, it’s for those who don’t have any, we must speak up for them. celebrities or not!



Mar 2, 2011
11:28 am
#28 Leanna Marie Francis :

“As I have mentioned before, Klout & Influence are not for us, it’s for those who don’t have any, we must speak up for them. celebrities or not!”

I really like this point. The internet is a great power that most people do not have or understand and it is the responsibility of people who have internet to use it to the benefit of those who do not. My goal is to help groups of people that are less likely to use the internet see how having it can help them, and find out how to get/use internet inexpensively or for free. First, I need to understand the thing better myself. As far as prioritizing the lives of celebrities… what a mistake. Most of these people have never known externally caused hardship and suffering so they cause their own, and we monitor it and dream of their excess when we should be trying to educate/elevate ourselves and others out of the very real and crippling limitations that we face.

Mar 2, 2011
12:37 pm
#29 Billy Rivera :

I like what Owen said about businesses not understanding that the business landscape is constantly changing on a global scale. A few years ago I went into an apprenticeship with the owners of two Korean BBQ restaurants in LA. Although restaurateur wasn’t at the top of my career list, I took the job because the owners were my quasi-adoptive parents; their daughter was my best friend. Their first restaurant was located in Westwood Village and made quite a profit off of UCLA students in need of a bang for their buck. So when it came time to open a second location in West LA, I stepped in. Unfortunately, their “old school” business model would eventually fail them because they didn’t understand that, as well as foot traffic, social media played a key role in the success of the Westwood location (Their Yelp page had hundreds of positive reviews). When the second location opened, there was no website, no Yelp page, and the lack of buzz online eventually led to the restaurants demise. The “Web-native Business Model” that Owen put at the top of his list is the one thing that small businesses need in order to get the consumer in. Every time I suggested that we invest in a dazzling website and creating a Facebook/Twitter, I was shut down because they firmly believed that word-of-mouth would be enough, and 15 years ago that would have been true. Social media is the new word-of-mouth, and without it, small restaurants can fail regardless if the food is delicious or not.

I also love when Owen said, “I can’t put desire in someone, but I can inspire creativity on some level.” I constantly act as an “advisor” to my youngest brother, and I strive to inspire him to reach his full potential. If there is one thing I’ve learned, you can’t just tell someone you think they will be great at something, but like Owen said, you can plant the seeds of creativity in them so they can discover their passions for themselves.

Mar 2, 2011
4:27 pm
#30 Jena Perry :

I really liked the phrase ” social media is not new, its just gone digital.” I believe this perfectly explains the social, natural shifts that happens with any kind of media in a highly technological society. It was a great interview to read! and i hope to have owen as my personal ad-visor when I start my business, since we share a lot of the same views and have a visionary type perspective. Its interesting to hear another side of the debate about social media and really balanced my viewpoint and am now closer to forming my own opinion about social media and journalism!!! I will be sure to visit friendfeed! thanks for putting the fun back into the internet!

Mar 3, 2011
2:00 pm
#31 Taniesha Ramirez :

I enjoyed the reading, it came with a lot of great advice I appreciated what Mr. Greaves, said in regard to “liking” comments, because I do feel that sometimes when you “like” a comment, it can be seen as more worthy of a second look. I also, loved his quote of “You can’t have a social media presence and not be present,” that l said a lot to me, especially as someone who spends a bulk of my time on social network sites.
I am going to try to be a better subscriber to my networking sites and be more present. Overall, this was a great interview, and I’m very inspired to be more creative.

Mar 3, 2011
2:07 pm
#32 Kevin Jennings :

@ shari and @owen I really liked this interview. I enjoyed how Owen explained his idea of what social media is to a business and to researcher. I also grasped a new level of comfort for social media and blogging from the way Owen answered the questions. For someone who is looking to expand their business through social media, he makes it seem like what it is suppose to be, social media! Make new contacts and relationships, share what you are doing on daily basis, people like to see the realness of who they are dealing with, well at least i do. LAstly i have to say my favorite quote was “You can’t have a Social Media Presence and not be present. You must be there, LIVE! I don’t automate my Social Network Updates.” I like this quote because it is so true, no one is going to know who you are if you’re not present in you own social media accounts. Once again i learned alot from this interview.

Mar 3, 2011
4:36 pm

I think the idea of the paradigm shifts is an interesting one. The concept of forward momentum and large changes in the perception of any institution has alway been of interest to me. I think one of the biggest things in sustainable paradigm shifts is that to most people, the shift seems gradual or almost nonexistent; rather it always is just how things are.

Mar 3, 2011
4:55 pm
#34 Mele Mesui :

Great read, nice to know that social media has been around for a long time it just went digital.

Also, I loved how Owen tied in his creativity with inspiring people, I think that’s the case for a lot of Social Media Journalist. Inspiring a thought, idea, or even a movement through their work.

Mar 3, 2011
9:22 pm
#35 Nick Selensky :

“People will always return to what is useful” Simple and effective. That is why Google has become the powerhouse of the internet industry. The created something useful and easy to use. They listened to what people searched for and made it easier to find. Any business that plans to survive in the 21st century should get used to listening. Like Owen said.

Mar 3, 2011
11:34 pm
#36 Owen Greaves :

Thanks everyone, being a real person, the best person you can be is far more effective than any tactics or slick marketing program

You all will enjoy my blog post from this morning – The Future of Business – Don’t sell, Just engage – check it out.

Mar 4, 2011
3:25 am
#37 Stephanie Ortega :

I agree with Owen when he states that the problem is not lack of education but a lack of listening. There are many places and ways one can learn from, but one first needs to listen. If you do not listen, then how do you expect to understand something that you don’t know? Therefore, people shouldn’t act like they know every thing because they don’t. Instead, they should open their ears and hear what others have to say. Then they will learn something they didn’t know. The reason why I say this is that everyone doesn’t think the same. If you feel they think the same as you, they will still word and explain it differently. Also when someone puts they “Like” what you have up, that means they are listening and reading to what you are writing on your Social Media sites.
The connections you have on a Social Media site are different then those you have physically in life. The reason for this is that you might not have real physical relationships with everyone on your Social Media sites; it gives you a different type of relationship. You only know what they put on their Social Media page. When you know them and interact in person, you know more about them. The way it is on a Social Media site is more of a connection of influence and that is why they follow you on Twitter or read your Blogs. This relates back to listening to what others have to say and learning from it.
I myself can say I listened to Owen’s Interview and learned what he has to say when being asked certain questions. I myself don’t think I would have answered the questions in the same way. What I learned from this interview was: the problem of listening, the different ways of showing you are listening, the relationship with people on Social Media networks, the connections you have would show the influence you have on others, the inspiration of creativity in blogs, and what to Tweet. I enjoyed this blog. Thank you.

Mar 4, 2011
3:30 am
#38 Suki van Arsdale :

so i’m only 22, but i’ve been online long enough to remember how much code we used to have to write to change anything online, like myspace profile looks, etc. so when owen mentioned how easy blogs are now, i definitely agree with that. “you have all the flexibility you could ever want without ever having to write a line of code.” YES YES YES. i’m still not huge into writing a blog about myself (i’d much rather read one, the two i like the best are and but when i did set up my wordpress blog, it was so easy! if things are made easier, such as this example, then no one really has an excuse to not do something.

Mar 4, 2011
2:45 pm
#39 anthony thompson :

That was a great blog. it was very motivating to me when he talked about going to my community and seeing what’s missing and if you have a passion for it then do something about it. i have never thought in the way. also i never knew social media went back as far as the 80’s i thought it started with myspace lol. but this was a great blog.

Mar 8, 2011
9:26 pm
#40 Neysa Ordaz Sifuentes :

Owen great input, i like when you said, “You can’t have a Social Media Presence and not be present.” I totally agree that you cannot build relationships, and interact with people without actually “being there”. You cant have someone else answer your comments and tweets, because then your not really getting to know your followers. I also totally agree that its easier to interact with people on the internet, than in real life. Online they cannot judge you for how you look, they get to know you with what you write. I think its great that you encourage people to actually interact and engage with your readers, so they feel appreciated and like they’re actually building a connection with you. overall i think the post was great for beginning entrepreneurs entering the social media world, like me.

Apr 7, 2011
3:34 pm
#41 Amanda Rodriguez :

The fact that people can openly communicate or express their opinions over the internet is what draws millions to the social media world. The social media world has developed new ways to expand your business, your vision and your life. I really liked this interview because of all the great input Owen gives us.

Dec 14, 2011
1:38 am
#42 Iris Marshall :

As I have mentioned before, Klout & Influence are not for us, it’s for those who don’t have any, we must speak up for them. The created something useful and easy to use.

Dec 21, 2011
6:35 pm
#43 payday loan :

I’m currently working on a post about recognizing the strategic difference between optimizing for yes/no conversion VS going for maybe. I wonder if that’s the track that he’s on…

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