Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's Holding YOU Back?

There are a number of different ways to approach this question.

Cue up the Barenaked Ladies and ask yourself what you'd do if you had a million dollars (aside from being rich).

Ultimately, the question being how would you spend your days if money wasn't an issue?

The questions that immediately catches you next burns with uncertainty--at least for me--what would make me happy?

Well, gee. I've never thought of it that way. For as long as I can remember, I've been running from school to work to practice or rehearsal, looking for progress for successes' sake.

What would make me happy???
I like winning a lot. I like to succeed... But frankly, when faced with the REAL opportunity to pick happiness without any of the usual obstacles, I find it immensely disappointing that I have managed to put success before happiness--that happiness doesn't rank as success in its own right.

Maybe it's that I don't see happiness as a progression to anything, as a tangible or demonstrable success. Being happy should just be, should just happen. But it doesn't, not for me or many others in my goal oriented generation.

At the end of the day, we're seeking approval, still mulling over the little successes and failures of the day.

So, what's holding us back???
The face in the mirror? The horse with no name? Maybe. But really, what it comes down to is confidence.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Social Media Marketing: A Panel of Rock Stars

Plugging away at the laptop live from Podcamp Boston 3.  We have a great panel of marketing rock stars talking about how PR, marketing and the business community in general is handling social media and building strategies around all the new tools that are available.  

We have Adam Broitman, Philip Robertson of oovoo, @Dough (Doug Haslam of SHIFT Communications) and Greg Verdino of Crayon.  And David Meerman Scott is here, in the crowd, answering questions.  

Social media is a matter of earned attention; you create content and sharing it with others.  We talk about the democratization of content.  But it brought up a good question: 

Are we disenfranchising the entire internal team by finding on official corp voice?  
COMCAST as an example--maybe it's only using Twitter as a channel.  Why is Twitter the only way to effectively deal with an issue with COMCAST? 

A big role of social media marketing is education.  How have best practices influenced  the community.  It's important to be mindful of the difference between control and directing people to a call to action.  You can contribute to the conversation and in that way guide it, but you can't control it.  People and companies are learning that they were never in control in the first place. 

The social media news release is bite- sized bullets.  Where's the social?  Get people to share.  Wire services getting involved--interactive press room (see Marketwire and PRWeb).  RSS to allowing comments, it's an evolution that people getting used to still.  

Bloggers are lazy. They're not going to go to the website and read the whole press release. 

Rip and read is old school.  There is not enough time in the media making industry to really thoroughly go through and digest everything.  

And the two dirty words are: Best PRactices
What have you learned? 
Give the audience the chance / opportunity to pass along and share about you and your brand.  
Yes, we can.  Obama brand ambassador is you.  
LISTEN! Understand the audience and talk to them in their language.  

Who's getting it right?  
COMCAST, at least on Twitter (according to @dough). 
Best uses of social media are from people who are using the tools or making the tools (think twhirl).   Although they're smaller companies and more nimble consequently; it will probably be harder at the bigger guys.  
Dell has had a good run at it.  Though an audience member says not really, apparently they still run posts through legal.  
What kind of company you work for becomes a factor. 

Doc Searles' vendor relationship management (VRM)--What is it?  Instead of vendors managing customers (CRM), consumers have so many options that it is the users that are the ones making the choice (VRM).  

The panel only after it was ten minutes over meandered into metrics.  Basically, we know its important, but it really depends on the campaign. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WebInno: A Lesson in Speaker Prep

Three presentations; one theme--speaking takes practice, lots of practice.  You'd think it would be technology, between the three, innovative web companies.  But the theme that quickly emerged was that public speaking requires training.  

One presenter spoke in a monotone and was consequently not engaging.  Another presenter rushed through everything, going too quickly for the audience to keep up or process the information that was being thrown at us.  The final team of presenters ummed and liked their way through everything.

A couple of pointers for presenting seem to be in order.  Of course, you could always turn to the experts for help (I recommend @pistachio).  However, there are a few simple things you can do to prepare to speak in front of people, or a few things to keep in mind.  

First, don't freak out.  Do whatever you need to do to not freak out.  Normally that means: 

Prepare just enough--too much scripting makes you sound like a robot, not enough pre-planning makes you sound like an angsty teenager trying to ask someone to the prom.  

Speak clearly, annunciate; speak loudly enough for the back of the room to hear you.  Speak and believe what you're saying.  

Look for ways to engage.  Tell a story.  Make eye contact with members of your audience. 

Finally, let's reiterate the most important one: don't freak out.  If you're nervous, the audience will feel it.   Be confident and comfortable. 

Nobody is perfect.  Admittedly, I'm not a fan of public speaking.   It makes me nervous.  But last year at Podcamp 2, Laura Fitton (aka Pistachio) spoke on speaking.  The take away was simple: BE YOURSELF. 

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Polite Conversation in Social Media

Note: I started this post about a month ago and for whatever reason couldn't seem to finish it. I worried it would be taken the wrong way, so I struggled to articulate what I was really thinking here...

I've been kicking this idea around in my head for a few days now:

Polite conversation is neither polite nor conversation, discuss.

Aside from the joke rift off of a famous Jewish woman comedienne, I'm serious. In an honest and open community, what topics are off limits? What's kosher to talk about in the publicsphere and what isn't?

Admittedly, I'm not certain I completely understand the idea of polite conversation. As far as I can tell, it's a safety zone where you're not likely to offend anyone, i.e. the talk about last night's T.V. shows, this morning's trip to the gym, coffee addictions and what you brought for lunch.

But why can't people be trusted to talk about religion and politics and the like without blowing a gasket? In my mind, it's really a question of respect when you cut to the core of the matter. Polite conversations assumes that you will take your views on certain matters over that of another. Really, it assumes that people can't be trusted to respect the views that really matters to those around them--because let's face it folks, how much do you really learn about a person from discussing the gym and coffee?

It doesn't seem very social, does it? With all this talk about community and engagement, why do we hide behind the same polite subjects? Open, honest, social conversation should be about
embracing those around you, understand those around you--creating a global village, so to speak.

Not to say that everyone has to be friends, holding hands singing "Kum Ba Ya." I'm certainly not saying you have to like everything you hear in conversations, online or off. There's a time and a place for everything (unfortunately), but these so-called polite conversations are the prenuptial agreement of discourse--it implies distrust.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Half the Year is Gone

Where did it go?  It seems like just a few weeks ago it was really cold here in Boston, really cold.  And now the year is half gone.

Take stock.  What have you told yourself you wanted to do this year that you haven't done yet?  Have you kept those resolutions?  

Get it done.