Tag Archives: social networking

About 90 days . . .

Has it really been that long since I wrote a blog post?  That is appalling and precisely the sort of absentee blogerism that leads to declining readership.  I am ashamed and embarrassed.  But mostly, it shows I have been too busy applying all the lessons and best practices I typically try to share.

So in one respect, the application of knowledge is worthwhile.  On the other hand, it will not make me look like such a thought leader tomorrow when I present on how readily a person can manage social media for personal, professional and business growth.

Within an hour of waking up tomorrow, I will attempt to string together enough cogent statements to convince several social media fence-sitters that they can own this domain — pun intended — without having to sequester themselves in a Nerd Bunker for hours at a time.  I will further try to impress upon them that the relationship side of their respective businesses can be well-served by using tools such as blogs, social networks and other technological options.  Whether existing employees, potential workers, clients or potential buyers of their services, the Return on their Investment would have to be relatively high, since most of the acquisition costs are approaching zero ($0).

So here are a few points I plan to make:

1.  If you can’t commit the time to building deep, intimate relationships (Facebook), you surely can build some basic ones (Twitter) and invest where it might be most profitable (LinkedIn).

2.  You don’t have to be Ashton Kutcher to build a successful social network.  Use it to engage and reward your most loyal customers.  When all else fails, FOCUS your content on the most important customers/potentials.

3.  Leverage staff strengths and let leaders emerge.

4.  Efficient management can make you appear more consumed than you are with creating content.

5. Being a content distributor can be a better entry strategy than being a content creator (Copy and Share Everything).

Using these strategies should allow you to establish a social media presence, and learn how your organization and staffing can best manage this powerful tool.

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Trust: A new thought for relationships

Familiarity breeds contempt.  [This quote manifested itself as I completed writing the blog post below.  It belongs here at the start, but I found humor in how I only had this “revelatory” moment after expressing fully the thought below.]

Trust is not about the truster believing in the other party.  Trust is evidently about being comfortable confronting the other party, perhaps even to the point of being downright aggravating.  If you are in a committed relationship, consider for a second: have you ever been in a heated discussion with your significant other and wished — or even suggested — she or he would talk to you the way they communicated disagreement with less-trusted folks, like their co-workers?  Have you wished your boss would talk to you the way she or he talks to your customers when they disagree?  I know civility is losing ground to stress-induced verbal confrontation as a means of dialoging in the United States, but too many of us treat the people closest to us — those we need and trust the most — the worst.  We go well beyond “clear and effective communication” an approach contemptuous familiarity.

UNFORTUNATELY, TRUST HAPPENS

Recently, I have been involved in a number of discussions in which I expected a less-familiar conversant to challenge me more; and in a few others in which I expected a closely-acquainted conversant to find no reason for pause.  As the more distant person went to great lengths to be polite or respectful of my opinion, the dearer friend not only removed their gloves, but they swung away with no regard for how I might receive their harsh words.  And in both cases, my only deduction to explain causation is that TRUST HAPPENS.  As it does, the varnish of considerate communication seems to peel away to reveal a rawness that can be disconcerting.  You might find yourself wondering, “who is this person, and where is the guy/woman I thought I knew?”

As trust grows, conflict between two people, or within a group, seems to grow, not decrease.  I listen to many young people talk about relationships and how important it is that they “trust” the other person.  They mention it almost before they mention love.  I sit in meetings in which managers and leaders spend inordinate amounts of time figuring out how to increase trust between the customer and the organization.

And now, I have a different perspective on trust.  Gaining trust strengthens the relationship to the point where the engaged parties don’t use that trust to extend more latitude to the other.  Quite the opposite.  In our society, we use it like a weapon.  Now that you trust me, let me tell you how I really feel.  My wife, who knows me best, says I can be downright unrelenting sometimes.  And when she points it out, I find that I am not only communicating candidly, I am taking advantage of our trusting relationship to vent, blow off steam, unload about things that happen at work, during a really bad racquetball game, because I didn’t sleep well.  I haven’t cared or been more kind and generous BECAUSE of trust, I have instead forced her to accept the fury I might rather direct at others.  But . . . . then they won’t like me.  I trust that she still will, eventually.

IT IS TIME TO GET IT RIGHT

Therefore, I am going to spend some time trying to offer a new level of candor from the outset of a relationship.  And I further expect that, as a result, fewer people will want trusting relationships with me.  But the relationships that prevail will be far more enjoyable because the most contentious opinions and ideas we might discuss will have been dealt with while the person is figuring me out.  I hope my wife and some of my closer associates notice!

Reversing my relationship management approach will mean I won’t be subject to, or use, the type of brutal directness that can come with “trust.”  Instead, the more seasoned my relationships become by time and shared experiences, the more harmonious they will become.

Does this ring true for you, or am I alone in recognizing that trust can create some funk in my strongest relationships?

21st century chain-mail? I’m all in!

Thanks Cheryl, for bringing this fun exercise my way.  Buena suerte!  Learn more about Cheryl’s amazing business, CultureSmith. Before I reckoned that this was akin to those e-mails of yore that required you to reply to one person and forward to everyone you know, I thought of this as a very cool way to learn about some friends, share a bit about myself, and most importantly, do my part to feed this beast called social networking.  My primary interest is in seeing how many degrees of separation there are betwixt us all.

I will post six random things about myself and follow the remaining rules (see below).

Six Random Things About Me:

  1. I am both introspective and spiritual in unique ways, compared to my age peers.  I have spent most days since my mother died, when I was 12, quietly seeking meaning in her death.  I have Faith and know my path has been guided by that central, clarifying, potentially-debilitating-but-ultimately-empowering loss.
  2. One of my hobbies is barbecuing.  Our ribs and pulled pork are pro-quality, I think.  My wife and I have a dream of opening an authentic dive that serves nothing but barbecue, cold beer, and sweet tea.  It would be called Big Al’s or Snooks, after my dad, the inspiration and source of the primary menu item, eastern North Carolina-style minced pork barbecue.
  3. I am an absolute introvert, but rarely do people believe me.  I love nothing more than solitude and time with my own thoughts.  I am astounded that I have so many great people in my life, as a result.
  4. I am most thankful for the person my parents made me.  Whether I ever succeed at becoming wealthy, or make an impact on the world, I know in my heart of hearts I am the best person –today — I can be because they taught me the most important lessons: live by the Golden Rule, and all you have is your name.  Don’t do anything to undercut its good reputation or that of those who came before you.  And I am always becoming.
  5. I really do have the best wife in the world.  Its humbling.
  6. When I drive, I would much rather listen to talk than music.  NPR, ESPN, comedy on XM, you name it.  And if music must prevail, it shall be blues, hip hop, reggae, and gospel.  In that order.

And the bonus: I started this post staring slack-jawed at the empty page.  My very first thought: I’m pretty boring.  What would anyone want to know?

Well, that’s done now.  SO who will I tag??  Believe it or not, I don’t know that many people who blog.  I guess I better work on my networking skills.

My lucky six:

Okay, for those of you tagged, here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So what are six random things about you? Leave them in your comments. This should be fun!

A brief case study in social networking

REVOLUTION NOT BEING TELEVISED: BARACK OBAMA IS COMING TO LYNCHBURG

This evening as I wrapped up a meeting about a significant database issue, I received a phone call that, at some point in the next hour, tickets for a heretofore-known-only-to-party-hoi-polloi visit by presidential candidate and Illinois senator, Barack Obama, would be handed out at the local Democratic headquarters.

In this region, news is normally traded over morning coffee at the Weenie Stand (no, seriously, that’s what it’s called) or at Barbara’s Dream Hut at the farmer’s market on Saturdays.  Rare is this bucolic place the epicenter of national news, and rarer still is there a need to react very quickly to information you receive through the grapevine.  But today, if you waited to hear about this on television, you totally missed out.  This revolutionary’s visit was not advertised publicly.

So on this evening, with newly-produced adrenaline coursing through my veins, I picked up a client with whom I was to meet, forced her to race out of her home without her keys and moved with deliberate speed downtown to see if we could get passes to our town’s historic evening with Barack Obama. . . in LYNCHBURG.  Are you serious?

I immediately texted my wife, then called her to see if she can drag the kids out of the pool, dry them off, end their swim date, then hustle downtown to get more tickets.  Unfortunately, even though she was in the first wave of recipients of the message, and managed to alert a couple family members, her schedule kept her from arriving at Obama HQ in time, but let me not get ahead of myself.

TWO HOURS, 1,000-plus PEOPLE

While I thought we were privy to truly insider knowledge, received at 5:10 p.m., I was shocked to arrive at 5:35, and find myself standing in a reasonable, but growing queue, of a couple hundred people.  Already, within 30 minutes of the first insiders letting their circles of influence know, their closest concentric circle of influence had assembled.

5:38: I receive a blast text message from a buddy telling me to head downtown for free Obama tix, limit two.  Thank goodness I was already in line.  But it occurred to me that someone who hadn’t even arrived to get his own tickets was telling his entire network about the opportunity.  This suddenly became about social networking.

At 5:40, we were inching toward the ticket table, but had already started to hear rumors that the tickets were beginning to run out.  This was a lie.  First responders simply enjoyed taking a poke at those of us who waited with anxiety.

5:42: A recipient of the same text message I had received text-messaged me to ask if I knew what was up with tickets.  Unfortunately, as I received his message, I was invited to take a brochure from a campaign volunteer.  I made a mental note to write him after securing my tickets.  Knowing I needed to help my Karmic cause as much as possible, I accepted the innocuous propaganda, and prayed silently that it would somehow increase my chances of getting tickets.

Or better yet, getting the last two tickets.  Yes, I am that guy.  Its not enough to get tickets.  I also wanted the distinction of being LUCKY!  Since I couldn’t be FIRST in line, I figured the second best option would be to be last.  Alas, plenty of tickets were left.  Its 5:45 p.m.

5:46: I step up to the table, sign my name promising to show up at the appointed time or to give my tix to someone who would, and finally, I can think about responding to the last text message.

As I exalted in my victory, and repeated the new ritual of ribbing those still waiting in line, I felt the  adrenaline rush out of my body, much like that sensation moments after a big hit in a football game, or the few minutes after a wrestling match (freestyle, not WWE).  Knowing well those in line would get tickets, I felt justified in helping create a sense of tension they would enjoy after getting their tickets.  Tag, you’re it.  Pass it on.

6:00: A slight buzz is going through the waiting crowd of what must now be 400 people, wrapping out of the building, around the corner, up one city block, and around a second corner.  People who must be in the second concentric circle — or two degrees of separation from the insiders — have arrived, skipping dinners, dragging reluctant kids, toting briefcases and whatever they could carry as they raced from their cubicles to lap up whatever tickets their second-degree contacts would allow.

But I need to get back to my client meeting, because we have much to do and loads to lift.

7:00: As my client and I begin charting her path to increased contracts and greater brand recognition in the consulting community, I got a text message from my wife letting me know that they were about 30 people behind the last ticket recipients.

Two hours after the first ticket recipients arrived, in an absolute hush, the last ticket to an unpublicized event was gone.

EVEN FRESH NEWS STORIES ARE HISTORICAL FACT BY THE TIME THEY AIR

The citizens of Lynchburg returned to their coffee and breakfast sandwiches, knowing that if they weren’t within two degrees of separation of the insiders, they may as well have been on another planet.  Now, primed for one of the most significant news events in the area’s recent history, the real story is all but over.

If you’re not using today’s technology du jour, you will miss many opportunities.  Its pretty simple.  Nearly 1,000 tickets to a quickly-organized, ZERO promotion event were gone.  If you want to truly be connected to the most up-to-the-minute action in your community, keep your cell phone on, learn to text, or, of course, work for years to become an insider.  Otherwise, enjoy the news coverage.  Or as its also known, HISTORY.