ThoughtPiece: Citizen Marketers & the BlackBerry


Nice to see you again, Thought. This week, our eldest of editorial contributors strolls in with a great read about BlackBerry evangelists – folks who push the BlackBerry but aren’t really paid for it. You’re probably one of them since you’re checking out this site, and I’m pretty sure I’m one, too. So go ‘head and read on about… yourself. Thanks, Thought.

Citizen Marketers and the BlackBerry

One of the most impressive elements of the BlackBerry success story has been its ability to create consumer evangelists: customers so satisfied with the product that they voluntarily spread favorable word of mouth. Authors Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba take this concept even further with their latest book and discuss “citizen marketers”: those who go beyond casual advocacy of a product and begin to generate organized and regular content regarding a product or company. Current technology allows anyone to be a publisher or broadcaster.

The constellation of blogs on everything BlackBerry (including BlackBerry Cool) are one example of this phenomenon. McConnell and Huba classify 4 types of user-created websites, and I‘d thought it be interesting to examine these types and where some of our favorite BlackBerry sites fit into the taxonomy. I should note that the descriptions that follow are taken verbatim from the author’s blog; my contribution is simply to list a BlackBerry site that fits the description.

1) Filters. The Filters are human wire services. They collect traditional media stories, bloggers’ rants and raves, podcasts, or fan creations about a specific company or brand and then package this information into a daily or near-daily stream of links, story summaries, and observations.

Most Filters maintain a steady objectivity like traditional news wire services, but some Filters cross over into analysis. For the most part, Filters are not prone to fits of pique or confrontation, and they occasionally produce their own journalistic work.

I would classify BlackBerry Cool as best fitting into this category.

2) Fanatics. The Fanatics are true believers and evangelists. They love to analyze the daily or weekly progress of a brand, product, organization, or person and prescribe courses of action. They are, essentially, volunteer coaches.

The Fanatics praise great work — which may vary widely from marketing to accessory development — but they will also critique mistakes or obvious lapses in full view of the world, just like a coach may do as a teaching tool.

I would classify Robb Dunewood of RIMarkable and Russell Shaw of BBHub as best fitting into this category.