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Microsoft Goes Viral with the Help of Brickfish – Part Three

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This is the third part of a three-part series about Microsoft and Brickfish teaming up to get the "I’m a PC" campaign all across the Internet. The first part was about the actual campaign and how the two are working together. The second part was an interview with Brickfish CEO/President/Co-founder Nichole Goodyear. This part, the third and final part, is an interview with Microsoft's social media specialists, focusing on this specific campaign, and the probable campaigns in the future, as well as what Microsoft is doing to recapture the college market.

What are your names and positions within Microsoft? What exactly do your positions entail? Can you each tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Marty Collins is the Social Media Strategist for Windows and leads the Windows Social Media Marketing team. The team's primary goal is to use online, social media and communities to manage a positive and on-going conversation with our customers. Our approach: We know our customers are online. They are reading and writing forums, participating in communities like Facebook and MyYearbook, Tweeting, blogging, reviewing, you name it. Our objective is not only to inspire our passionate customers to advocate for our products in these spaces, but also to have a valuable presence and relationship with the existing communities that allow brands to have a presence.

To that end, the Windows Social Media Team has created a community on its own domain called the Windows Live Clubhouse, which launched in August 2008. Active and passionate WindowsLive members write about tips, tricks, and personal experiences with our Live suite of products (Hotmail, Live Gallery, Messenger, Spaces, etc.). Then, other members of the community can vote and review on that user-generated content. With enough reviews and comments, the UGC is pushed out to and becomes publicly available to anyone visiting the site. We see value in engaging our passionate users and broadcasting their insights to like-minded customers. This effort is managed by Marcus Schmidt and you can learn more about the Clubhouse here.

Ali Wiezbowski is the Social Media Marketing Manager and manages another primary aspect of our team's work: the strategy and implementation of a valuable brand presence in communities that exist off Windows' domains. Those include Facebook, YouTube and Brickfish, as well as other popular tech forums like Yahoo Answers. Ali's role is to consider how to complement product launches and consumer campaigns across the Windows organization (and not one or the other), as well as maintain an on-going, 24/7 conversation with our community members in these spaces. These forums have been designed to evolve over time, and will continue to do so as the Windows Social Media Marketing team matures. She graduated in May 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania with a double Bachelor's degree in Communications and Visual Studies, and moved to Seattle in July of this year to start her career with Windows.

For those college kids out there, how did you get your job with Microsoft?

AW: I was lucky because Microsoft came to me. We send recruiters out to college campuses around the country to participate in college fairs and recruit future graduates. I spent some time discussing the culture and the job opportunities with Microsoft employees who'd graduated from my alma mater, and I was convinced. More information about opportunities and local college visits can be found Here.

This year, I participated in the recruitment process from the other side of the fence, which I think bears an interesting perspective. For all the college kids out there: It's not just about the detailed questions you ask and how well you think you know the company, don't just try to impress me or name-drop your former internships. The candidates that were most intriguing demonstrated an authentic enthusiasm for communications technology and the job field they were applying for, which speaks wonders to the culture of our organization.

About Robert M. Barga