The Importance of a Small Town Mentality

C.C. Chapman, Founder and President of Cleon Foundation and author of new book Amazing Things Will Happen, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss his new book, sharing the advice that gets him through the day, and the positive influence of a small town mentality. C.C.’s book is so awesome, we’re giving it away for […]

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C.C. Chapman, Cleon Foundation @cc_chapman

C.C. Chapman, Founder and President of Cleon Foundation and author of new book Amazing Things Will Happen, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss his new book, sharing the advice that gets him through the day, and the positive influence of a small town mentality.

C.C.’s book is so awesome, we’re giving it away for free to the first 25 people who review Social Pros on iTunes or promise to review Amazing Things Will Happen on Amazon. All you have to do is fill out the form below saying you did or will, give us your mailing address, and we’ll mail you the book. (it’s the honor system, please respect it).

Update: Thank you for your submissions! This offer is now closed. We’re looking forward to seeing your reviews!


Yes, I’d like to receive a copy of Amazing Things Will Happen by C.C. Chapman

Read on for some of the highlights or listen below for the full podcast.

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Huge thanks to data-driven social media management software company Argyle Social for their presenting sponsorship, as well as Janrain, and Jim Kukral at DigitalBookLaunch. We use Argyle Social for our social engagement; Janrain is our crackerjack social integration company, and Jim is our guest host for the podcast (and a smart guy).

Social Pros Highlights For Your Reading Enjoyment, Thanks to Speechpad for the Transcription

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Advice to Get You Through the Day

Jay: What we’re going to do today is talk a little bit about C.C.’s new book Amazing Things Will Happen. It’s by no means a social media or digital marketing kind of book. So, it being the end of the year and the holidays, at a time for theoretically reflection, we wanted to talk about some of the lessons and themes of the book.

Because one of the things that’s been bothering me, personally, this year, and I think it rings true for a lot of people in our industry is: are we all getting better? Or are we just getting busier? One of the things that I really liked about C.C.’s book – which has a lot of personal life lessons about being a better person and a better professional – is that it counsels us to take the time to reflect and get our act together. I thought we would chat about that a little bit, and hopefully this can be the Social Pros that helps you get your head on straight for 2013.

C.C.: Sounds like fun.

Jay: So, C.C., you co-wrote Content Rules. You’ve been in the digital marketing business for a long, long time, and I actually love the part of the book at the beginning, where you went through your somewhat checkered and curious past. All kinds of crazy jobs and University work, and things like that before you “broke onto the scene with your hit single”, as they said.

Amazing Things Will HappenIt’s interesting that you’ve had this long and winding road. Was it difficult to say, “You know what? I’m going to write a book that’s not about marketing and business at all. I’m going to write a book that helps people live their life better”? Did that seem like a difficult leap to accomplish?

C.C.: Yes and no. I had wanted to write this book for a while. I’d been doing this Managing the Gray podcast that focused in this arena for a number of years, and I wanted to write this book. So, this is the book I’ve always wanted to write, and I passed on so many social media and online marketing books that got offered to me to write, because I was like, “I don’t want to write something that, the second it gets put on the shelf, it’s going to be out of date. That’s not what this is about.” I mean, I’m a geek at heart. I love all this technology and all these tools. But that’s not who I am.

This book was easy to write in that sense. The minute that Content Rules became a success, I’m like, “I’ve still got to write this other book, and I want to write it.” But then, actually physically writing it was hard because I kept asking myself, “Here I am. I’m a 38-year-old guy. Yeah, I’ve done well in life, and I’m still working hard and hustling every day. But what rank do I have to write a book to tell people how to live a better life?” That’s something an 80-year-old man or woman should be able to write at the end of their life.

But the way I looked at it was I said, “You know what? This is the advice that’s helped me. This is advice that gets me through the day. I want to write a book that hopefully my kids will read or people I care about will read and get something out of it.” So I kept focusing myself that way to do it. But it was not an easy task to write the book from that side.

But this is from the heart. Every time I see a review, every time somebody reacts, it affects me in a totally different way than the previous book. I love doing it, and all these people are like, “Oh, my God, C.C. It’s a change.” I’m like, “No, it’s not. Not if you really know me. It’s not a change.”

Jay: Yeah. I knew that you were very thoughtful in that regard and had put a lot of time and thought into how you live your life and how to make your life better. I did not realize that you had this book kind of brewing and working on before you wrote Content Rules. That’s interesting.

C.C.: Yeah, because it was hard. It was one of the reasons that I originally said no to Ann [Handley], because I was like, “I don’t want to write a content book,” and she hemmed and hawed and pushed me. I said, “All right, let’s do it.” So I’m glad. I have no regrets. I loved writing Content Rules with Ann, and we’re still talking about doing at least one more, if not more books together. So we’ll see what happens.

Jay: Fantastic. In fact, Ann Handley will be on the podcast next. We’re going to do a live show from New Media Expo. So excited about that.

I should also say to you, which I neglected to do in the introduction, we have a very special offer in this episode of Social Pros. Because I love C.C. and love his work, we’re going to do a special thing here that if you actually review Amazing Things Will Happen on Amazon and/or review this very podcast on iTunes… if you do either of those things, we’ll have a little form on the blog transcript and I will send you a copy of this book. The first 25 people who do so are going to get a free copy of this book out of Jay Baer’s pocket. So how about that? I’ll recap that at the end of the show.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

Jay: There were four things in the book in particular, C.C., that I thought were very germane to people in our industry, sort of the “run as fast as you can, and then run faster” industry. In no particular order, maybe the order in which I wrote them down, you have a section in the book called “To Each Their Own”. I thought that was a really appropriate concept for Social Pros listeners. Can you recap that for us?

C.C.: Okay. So the full saying, which I didn’t put in the book was, “To each their own, and if I don’t like it, I can go and tell them to F themselves.” That was the full saying my dad taught me.

But in “To Each Their Own,” the focus is, “Listen. There are always going to be people in this world who have different opinions, politics, music taste, whatever it is than you.” The fact of the matter is, too many people, especially in this online world that we work and play in, they feel like they have to jump in and give their opinion on everything.

My advice is, “You know what? Life is a lot more enjoyable when you don’t do that.” Just realize, “You know what? Is that directly affecting me or someone I care about?” If the answer is no, then just shut up and just say, “You know what? To each their own,” and move on. Because there’s always going to be a difference of opinions, and you saw this, especially this past year with the political storm that we were all in. People were yelling and screaming. You saw friendships disintegrate over what someone posted on Facebook, and it’s just ridiculous. Real friendships are based on more than – you should have people who have different opinions around you. You should be able to have good discussions.

But “To Each Their Own” is just stop, ignore it, and just kind of say, “All right. To each their own. They can go believe what they want,” and keep moving forward.

Jay: Yeah. I think it’s really easy to get sucked into the vortex, because it’s so fast to participate now, right? You don’t have to write a scroll and send it off with a messenger via horseback. Two swipes of the keyboard and you are now embroiled in this conversation.

I’ve actually been accused on more than one occasion of sort of being a glad-hander in social media. People have said to me, “Jeez, Jay. Howcome all you ever do is say that people are great? You’re just part of this suck-up social media mafia.” I said, “No. That’s not it at all. There are lots of people I dislike.”

It’s that I was taught, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So the only thing you see me say are nice things. I’m not going to review a book on my blog and say, “This book sucks.” Why would I take my time to do that? Nobody wants to hear about bad books from me. At least that’s my perspective.

C.C.: Right. Too many people, they just feel that they have to dive in, and I’ve got that too. If I lose it on somebody, it means they’ve really upset me. Like you, I’d rather say nice things than bad things, and there are plenty of people that I would love to publicly smack around some days. But it’s not going to help me. It’s not going to help them. There’s no need for it.

You don’t have to do it publicly either. That’s the thing. People forget, we have things like a telephone or email. I mean, there are ways that if someone upsets you, you can contact them and let them know. But you don’t have to do it in a public forum, and people seem to forget that.

Small Town Mentality

Jay: It’s funny you talked about that notion of being taught to sort of stay on the positive side, C.C., and maybe that’s because you were raised in a small town and I was raised in a small town. You talk about that small town mentality in the book. I really like that section how there are lessons that you learn living in a small town. Not that people who live in a big city aren’t gracious and positive, and things like that. But there is an inherent culture of living in a small town that changes the way you think about community and other people.

C.C.: Oh, I firmly believe that. It’s a mindset. I grew up in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire: blue collar family, strong work ethic. I have not done any scientific survey, but I guarantee that if you looked around at a lot of the people who are “known” in social media, or who are active and gotten to a level of influence of some sort, a lot of them have that small town mentality.

Where they’re always there helping other people, they address people by name, they say, “Good morning.” It’s not always about them. They listen as much as they talk, and that’s just something – it’s either in your DNA or it’s not. But it was one of those pieces that I firmly, firmly believe that, while I love the bustling city, just that approach to small town, having that in you makes life more enjoyable.

Jay: It’s funny you talk about DNA. Eric, you’ve come across a lot of people when you were at Argyle and before, a lot of people who are trying to use social media and digital technology to develop relationships either personally or on behalf of their business. Do you feel that people are inherently good at social media and social networking? Or can it be taught? Is it nature or nurture?

Eric: Oh, jeez. I don’t know. I think some folks are naturals. So I worked with DJ Waldow, who was a friend of everyone on the show today well before the advent of social media. When Twitter and Facebook started happening and DJ very quickly developed a following and was very quickly active, it was obvious to me. It was like, “Ah, yes. Of course. This is perfect for DJ.” He is absolutely the kind of guy that’s a natural fit for this kind of thing.

Unless you just have sort of this natural inclination where you love to do it and you want to do it. I think that if there’s that desire and passion to be social, it just happens because it’s what you love to do.

If that’s not there, you can teach it. But it’s not going to stick, and it’s not going to come off as genuinely as it might as if it were kind of something coming from the heart.

Jay: Yeah. I think I do agree that it’s a little bit of both. I’ve had people ask me questions in presentations and things, where they said, “Jeez. This is great that you tell us how to do all these things. But this is an awful lot of work to do this Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn thing all the time.” I said, “Yeah, it is a lot of work. But not really.”

Because when I was younger, in my 20s before we had this technology, I built my network by being involved in every single organization that would allow me to be involved. I was president of everything there could be. In fact, I invented a couple of clubs so I could be president of those. I literally built a network – bless my wife. I went to four networking events a week, so four different nights a week, every week, for ten years.

Now all of the sudden comes Twitter and Facebook, and I can sit here in my pajamas and network with people. I’m like, “Look, guys. This is not hard. This is the easiest thing in ever.

C.C.: Well, that’s the thing. I think the skills can be improved over time. But you have to like people to understand these social mediums. That’s what it boils down to. People always skip over the first word of “social”, and that’s really what it is, and it’s interacting. Yeah, your skills can get better. But you either love it or you don’t, and it does – it takes time. No matter who’s doing it, it takes time and effort.

Jay: You know what is also true is that there are people who have that vociferous, philosophical objection to sharing information about themselves, which tends to impede your social media progress a little bit.

C.C.: For sure. I mean, people want to connect with a person, not the personality is the way I always put it.

Down Time

Jay: Towards the end of the book, you talk about idle time, which is something that I am absolutely terrible at. I cannot sit still. It freaks me out. It scares me. But I think that forced reflection is really useful, especially in our industry where you’re always going a million miles an hour or you’re probably not very good at it.

Can you talk about that a little bit? I think you said something like idle time, while seemingly unproductive because you’re just sitting there, is actually productive.

C.C.: Yeah. So, the whole concept is not enough people, especially in this world, take the time just to unplug and truly do nothing. Doing nothing doesn’t mean checking Twitter on your phone or scanning Facebook. It means doing nothing. I’m a big outdoors guy. I love nothing better than going hiking or canoeing and those sort of things. When you’re out there doing that, you are idling, because you’ve got nothing but your thoughts.

Part of my creative process, as well, when I’m brainstorming an idea or I’m trying to come up with something, is just to do nothing. I’ll go sit outside, or go for a walk with no music, and then I firmly believe the brain just starts focusing on what’s important and starts thinking about things. I know way too many people who are scared to take the time, and in the book I know I encourage people, “Just take 15 minutes right now and do nothing.”

It’s going to scare the crap out of you. Especially, I know, as a business owner, there’s always work you can do every single second of the day. There’s always something more you can do. But, I also know that’s not a healthy or productive way to live a life, because you’re going to burn yourself out. So I think more people, especially once you start getting to a point where you’ve got some success or you’re doing the job that you like doing, put away the technology and just play with your kids or go outside. Idling well is something I wish more and more people did.

Eric: I can speak to that with a recent experience. I moved on from Argyle – I guess, jeez, like six or seven weeks ago. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve picked up a couple part-time projects just to keep my hands in the game. But I’ve really done a whole lot of nothing. After coming out of an incredibly stressful process of building and growing a company that’s continuing to do really well, finding myself suddenly waking up on a Monday morning with nowhere to go and nothing to do was crippling at first.

I felt guilt, because I knew there were other things that I could be doing and other things that I wanted to do. But I forced myself to budget the free time I’m allocating to these projects that I’m doing and play with my son. I mean, I’ve remodeled a bathroom in my home. There has been a lot of quiet time, either doing something or hanging out with family, and it’s been fantastic. I’m trying to figure out how I can do this for the rest of my life.

Jay: I was unemployed once for like four weeks in between jobs in the very early ’90s, long, long time ago, and it was so, so scary. But now I look back on that, I’m like, “God, that was the best four weeks ever.” Right? I mean, at the time it was just absolutely harrowing. But now I’m like, “Wow. I can’t imagine having that level of opportunity to sort of really get your head on straight.”

But then I realize, “You know what? You have that opportunity now. You just choose not to take it.” Right?

Eric: But you take vacations…

Jay: I do take vacations. That’s true, and that took me a long time, C.C. I mean, I didn’t take a vacation longer than a weekend for more than ten years.

C.C.: It’s not easy, either. I mean, I talk about loving to do this, but it’s not easy. It isn’t. If you’re active and you’re engaging with people, you want to. I worked from home. Things like Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, they’re my water coolers. They’re how I interact with people on a daily basis. So to suddenly not talk to my friends feels weird.

You should know you’re the only piece of work I’m doing all this week.

Podcast Renaissance

Jay: Speaking of doing this podcast, C.C. has been doing multiple podcasts for a long, long time, was very much a pioneer in podcasting circles. Now, we talked about DJ Waldow has a new podcast. There are a bunch of new podcasts in the marketing world. It seems like there is a bit of a podcasting renaissance happening.

I think it was because of the introduction of Social Pros almost one year ago. But there are maybe some other factors at play. Do you see that, C.C.? Or am I just making that up because now I’m doing it so I think everybody should?

C.C.: No, it’s hysterical. I did my first podcast in 2004, so podcasting has been around. But in the second half of 2012, all of the sudden there’s this new wave of podcasts coming out, and it’s been fun to watch. I think a lot of it has to do with, people are figuring out it’s easier than ever to listen to a podcast. That was always the problem we had. Subscribing and sucking them down to your phone or your device was not easy. It’s easier now. People can listen easier in their cars better than ever before because the integration is better.

So there is definitely a wave of podcasts. I remember the early days of podcasting when music podcasts or very super hyper niche podcasts. Scott Monty has been doing a Sherlock Holmes podcast for as long as I’ve known him. I hope some more of that comes back because I miss those days. But there has definitely been a wave of new podcasters. It’s funny to watch, because I kind of giggle. Because I’m like, “Oh, yeah. Been here, done that, but still doing it.” So I love it.

Eric: Well, it’s not just the downloading is easier, it’s also the production. It’s so easy to crank these things out. Not to discount what we’re doing, but you get some interesting people together on Skype, you record it, you mix it down in Garage Band. I mean, it’s pretty simple stuff.

Jay: Yeah. The expense side of it is a lot lower than it perhaps was at one time. So I’m glad. I think it’s a rising tide that lifts all boats scenario. Right? The more people that listen to podcasts, period, the more people will eventually find ours and others that I appreciate.

C.C.: Exactly. Audio is such an intimate connection with people. I mean, you’re in their ears. You’re in their car. It’s a medium that has always been kind of blown over and pushed to the side. But it’s a great way to get people to know you and get them to know what you’re thinking about. So I’m all for it.

Social Media Stat of the Week: 50% Increase in Social Media Minutes Spent

Jay: All right, thanks very much to our good friends at Argyle for helping get this show off the ground, and sponsoring it for all of 2012. Tristan Handy in particular deserves a tremendous shout out for doing all the post-production on this show for 48 episodes. It’s been fantastic, so thank you.

So it is time for the social media stat of the week. Mr. Boggs, what do you have for us today mathematically?

Eric: I did find a good nugget, also from the Nielsen Social Media Report, which is what we used to find the stat of the week last week with Erik Deckers. Some interesting trends that I dug out of the report that I want to sort of pose to you two as a question looking forward to 2013:

In July 2011, there were 88 billion minutes spent on social media. In July 2012, there were 121 billion minutes spent on social media, and this is in the United States. So that’s a 50% increase in minutes spent on social media over the course of a year. The unique U.S. audience in social media grew by 5% from 2011 to 2012, 164 million to 172 million. There’s this enormous increase in usage, and 5% is still a pretty big increase, but it’s by no means 50%.

So my question is, you’ve got to think that we’re getting close to peak social media in terms of unique users. The question for me is will usage continue to grow in 2013? Will usage flat line? Will usage decrease in 2013 based on some of the privacy backlash and advertising discontent that you see today? So anyway, you can draw some lines from July 2011 to July 2012, and I’m curious to get your thoughts on what these lines are going to look like July 2013.


via Nielsen


Jay: I think that increase – and I don’t have the data in front of me to drill down on it – but to me, just off the top of my head, I would attribute that difference between a 5% audience growth and a 50% usage growth to channel proliferation at the individual human level. A year ago, two years ago, you very much saw people, “I’m on Facebook, period.” Now you see even casual social media users on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Pinterest.

Individual social media proliferation has run rampant, and that, I believe, accounts for a lot of that growth. So if you think that’s true, then I believe we are in for a flat line. I don’t think we’ll see a diminishment, but I agree that there’s only so many minutes available, and the only place you’ll see growth is in usage of social on top of something else. So I think you’ll continue to see a growth of social television, people using Twitter in particular during television broadcasts, things of that nature, where social is a second screen experience, as opposed to a first screen experience.

I think that’s where the growth will come in the future, unless there’s some new social network that becomes relevant enough, like a Pinterest, that people say, “I’m going to devote time to it.”

C.C.: I think that you’re going to constantly be seeing unique users because there’s a constantly new generation of kids getting access to this stuff. Then they dive in. I look at my kids, and one is on Facebook and one is on Instagram right now. But I know they’re going to start jumping between them. So every year there are new ones coming in.

Plus, I think what’s interesting too is I think you’re also seeing, because as the devices get easier, especially tablets as they’re getting easier and easier to use, the older generations are starting to get online, and actually using social more than you would think. But still, they’re getting on and they’re connecting with their kids because their kids and their grandkids are social, and they’re like, “Oh, I need to be on this just so I can interact with Johnny or Jane at home.”

But, yeah, I agree, unless some new networks come along, I don’t think it’s going to keep going up, up, up, because right now there isn’t anything new pulling in a lot of people.

Jay: This may sound kind of intuitive given the line of work that I’m in, but I’m all for a flat lining of social media. I’m all for changing the nature of the debate away from growth and shiny object to optimization and improvement. I feel like if we get out of this culture of what’s next and talk more about what’s best, it will make us all better off. But that’s not going to happen. That conversation can’t happen until this growth trend slows down.

Eric: I agree. That’s a great insight, Jay. You mentioned proliferation of channels at the user level as a reason for growth. It actually brought to mind another thing that probably drove a lot of this usage, Twitter in particular really started to do a lot more email stuff, so getting new followers and daily summaries. So I imagine a lot of the time spent might be artificially inflated based on these platforms getting a lot better at driving engagement with their users. But that said, I think that’s kind of artificial. It’s the same user, maybe just sucking a few more minutes of their day.

Social Pros Shoutout

C.C.: I’ve got two women that I want to shine the light on today that I think are doing great, great things.

First is Renee Blodgett. She is a photographer. She is a marketer. She is just an all-around creative woman. She runs a website called We Blog the World, and it’s one of my favorite sites to go to every day because she has a huge stable of writers creating travel information on a regular basis.

But Renee, I’ve profiled her on Passionate TV. She’s just an amazing woman that I don’t think enough people pay attention to. She does a lot of things and I don’t think she gets enough credit. So she’s number one.

Jay: Excellent. Good one.

C.C.: The other one, her name is Karen Walrond. She is based in Houston. She runs a website that’s called I’ve always had to look up the spelling, even though I’ve known her for years now. She wrote this beautiful book called The Beauty of Different and it’s a gorgeous-looking book because she shot all the photos in it. But Karen is one of those women that I just don’t think enough people understand.

She’s cut from a similar cloth as I am, I think, where we look at life and look at the positive side of things. But she blogs and she takes photos, and she has a refreshing look at the world. She’s not a marketer. She’s a mom, and she has a beautiful daughter, and I work with her at the One campaign, sometimes we do stuff together. But Karen, she does great, great work, and I love her, and I think more people need to pay attention to her.

Jay: Fantastic. Those are both great. Thank you very much C.C., and thank you for being on the show, and for writing an amazing book that people will benefit from as I mentioned earlier. Either go to Amazon and review Amazing Things Will Happen by Mr. C.C. Chapman and/or go to iTunes and review this very podcast of Social Pros.

Then come back to this little form and let us know that you did. Give me your mailing address, and I will send you a book. First 25 people are eligible. If you have already reviewed C.C.’s book or already reviewed the podcast, you are ineligible, but maybe you can do something else amazing and I will consider that as well.

Boys, thanks for a great year. Happy holidays, merry Christmas, all those kinds of things, and we will catch you on the flipside.

See you next week!