Social Media, Technology, Writing, Living and the Luddite in Me

“What prompts a person to be writing on their blog on a quiet Sunday afternoon?”, this person asks herself…

This fresh post is inspired by a friend who attended a conference in Seattle: Chris Pirillo hosted his 10th and “final” Gnomedex Conference in Seattle this weekend apparently? While I did not attend myself, a close friend did and shared this initial report that I find noteworthy:

Gnomedex exceeded my expectations. The diversity of subject matter, where the Geek stuff was actually pretty toned down, was fascinating. A couple speakers pushed into the transcendent spheres, speaking of trust and integrity. What one forgets is that Geeks are generally bright in many areas besides their core technical expertise. The more seasoned people are taking a careful look at their entire lives, and asking a lot of tough questions about the world.

The main theme I took away, as did many others, was, “Don’t delay that thing you’ve been wanting to do. Just DO it.”

There were two presentations by people who just decided to make films, despite the fact they’d never done it before. Check out http://lifeinperpetualbeta.com for one fabulous example.

Much more to share when we get together.

Metrics aside for a moment (yes, I know they are dear to your heart where ROI in your business is concerned) I find the phenomena of Social Media as it exists now fascinating.

Why? I think about  the possibility of what can be created between people on opposite sides of the physical world, the huge “personal webwork” we can construct of connections we may have throughout the Globe – as well as in our local backyards and communities.

And current technology for communication via Social Media Channels (abundant as they are)  is to me like having a “fairy godmother.”

Introductions to new and wonderful people can happen naturally and quickly if we choose to blog or read blogs and comment in meaningful ways. If we choose to author articles or to blog (that I use this as a verb makes me chuckle) means we will attract new contacts into our lives.

By what and how we share of ourselves on the web, we create the possibility that like-minded people or those in need of our expertise can find us intentionally through a Google Search, or organically, or by accident, or by recommendation.  Being found by any of these means works for me.

Big into communication as I am, I observe the duality of outcomes via Social Media and Being Social: Social Media fosters connections between people and their businesses and companies and hobbies and causes globally. Connections that stick and some that never have a chance.

Social Media adds to the “noise” in the world at large that we must filter and discern for ourselves. And among that “extra noise” is some really valuable information that has changed my life for the better.

Social Media can feel like intelligence in action. And it can feel like the exact opposite at other times.

And… I have also been considering another by-product of my ability to connect through infinite Social Media Channels which I will call a False Sense of Connection vs. a Truer Felt Sense of Connection.

I can split my focus so much that I ultimately feel “out of touch” with what matters most, while attempting to stay connected to everything and all.

I find I cannot always aggregate all the information found or sent, or at least do so well and with consistency.

Again, I am put in a position to choose HOW and WHERE I spend my time and energy (in any given space of time). And even though technology is a tool that helps organize my information and input and output, and works to keep me organized; I must learn it to use it well or hire someone who knows it, to set me up to use it well.

I am continuously fascinated by the evolving and exciting applications for all of communication technologies at large, and I am seeing a fascinating pattern…when I step way back to observe from a bird’s eye view.

First there was “the Maverick” one great new idea…that as first to market and well executed gained a monopoly on marketshare. It takes time for it to be adopted, integrated and made a part of the average user’s daily life.

At which point IT becomes regarded as something we must have to exist comfortably and be effective.

Then come “the Contenders,” the other options for the same or a similar application and I must CHOOSE to stay with my first choice, or investigate and move on to another “brand” or possibly use both “brands.”

And more choice and innovation keeps being born…that I am using or passing on using or maybe even unaware of?

These days we seem inundated with so many choices.  Some must have and others cause me to ask, is that even necessary?

Can I manage these days doing things in a truly LUDDITE way? Or must I take part in all of the technology at work and play in the world to strike it really rich and fully realize my potential? Like a pioneer, be first to the new land and take full advantage of the new landscape.

I’m as happy as the next person that email exists, that the WWW is used so openly and freely and I wish the lines of local and global communication to remain open.  I champion having a blog and actually have multiples myself.

I am a power user of Social Media Channels; until I occasionally crash and say, I need to unplug a while.  And I did for some part of the Summer, by choice.

Bottomline for me today, is that as much as I appreciate the abundance of technology and our ability to analyze, capture metrics, make wise choices and uses of the applications, and see it favorably impact my business ventures and in time my bottomline monetarily…

NOTHING replaces a face to face connection over tea or coffee or a meal or a shared face to face activity… Handwritten cards are so rare,  getting them is special to me at least…

I’m LOYAL to “brands” that are good to me, even if they raise prices fairly…

I’m more likely to attend an event I was truly personally invited to as opposed to a series of email broadcasts…

I’m into relating with people I like, feel  I know and can trust…

…and there are many other things I could say, but I am trusting you get the trend of my observations…

I’ll be a power user of technology for I am wired that way…to be able to communicate freely with the world at large is exciting. I enjoy it. I feel good at it too. My network is truly global and that makes me want to TRAVEL far and wide. Too bad no one has invented a Transporter that works yet, but for now I will selectively pay the price and go by plane, train or automobile.

And how do I cook you a homecooked meal? Or take a walk with you? Or sit in a dark movie theater and share a viewing of Eat, Pray, Love and then go out afterwards to talk about it face to face? I guess we’ll have to plan ahead for this local activity.

The Duality I embrace: I’ll take my immediate world as low tech as it is and appreciate it as much as the high tech world I “cannot live without.”

Krysta Gibson's Perspective: Can Social Media Grow Your Business?

A Note from Deborah:

I believe, I have many things in common with Krysta Gibson, who these days publishes the New Spirit Journal and consults on publishing and businesss and more. And as a happy subscriber to her newsletter, I was struck by this recent “essay” and offering. And thank you Krysta for granting me the go ahead to post to my blog; the place I evangelize about Authentic Writing and My Personal Marketing Manifesto (yes, I have one!)

First and foremost I love Effective Communication that furthers Human Relations. I love reading, writing, speaking, writing, communicating ideas in what ever “language” is your natural form of expression. And I champion people in business and in life confidently expressing themselves be it for their business or their relationships, in the name of having a Purposeful Life Experience, while of this Earth.

Continue reading “Krysta Gibson's Perspective: Can Social Media Grow Your Business?” »

A Startup Success Story (and Facebook played an active role!)

Ok, it’s late and I am up too (again) late but before I sign off for the night: I “gotta” share this story that ran in the San Francisco Business Times for a couple of reasons that have me beaming and I hope you can feel my enthusiasm leap off your screen:

September 25, 2009 — The San Francisco Business Times featured How Fast Time Flies as its Startup Spotlight (read the story!) Web site helps weave memories into digital scrapbooks .

A pleasantly surprised How Fast Times Flies founder recently shared it with her Facebook circle (of which I am gratefully part of.)

#1 Cathy Biddy Bennett was once upon a time a high school classmate of mine and well I don’t think any of us of the Santa Catalina class of 1983 figured back then (as we headed off to college) that for some, our fortunes would be made via the internet. Were we even conscious of it as we chose Liberal Arts degrees and pursued careers in medicine, finance, law, teaching and other fine fields?

#2 Real Relationships and Strategic Alliances played a significant role in catalyzing this success story. And trust and collaboration paid off big time.

#3 Utilizing Facebook successfully helped build a brand and generate interest that became sales and more sales:

“Ecom also built Bennett a Facebook presence in January 2009, and the business took off.

Prior to Facebook, How Fast Time Flies had about 11,000 members. Membership more than doubled within six months. Bennett now advertises on Facebook, has a Facebook application and a dedicated fan page.

“That medium is so, so powerful,” Bennett said. “I didn’t get into it at first because I didn’t think my customers were there; I didn’t think moms were there. And, yeah, they are.”

Cathy very gently, genuinely and tactfully used first her personal page and later her business page to showcase some of the cool things that customers had created. I watched as time passed that she got a little bolder, but remained understated as well, in her posts to share wins and wows. And her way “of being” herself, clearly attracted even more interest and customers.

No hype, just honest and genuine enthusiasm from Cathy the person (and the proud business owner), sharing customer creations month after month and contest winners as voted upon by the community. I recall one time months back, she unknowingly double posted only then to apologize for the duplicate posting. I suspect no one minded the double take. For her authenticity always shines through for me.

Using social networks like Facebook or perhaps one that is more targeted, such as Greenwala, a newer network established to champion all things Green will increase awareness of you as individual or cause or company over time. Facebook is for everyone AND within the entire population are the tribes we identify with also.

More specialized social networks may be easier to locate by online searches and they may have fewer members BUT at least you know they are more than likely receptive to you and your values and offering. The question may be how many active profiles in different communities can you consistently cultivate and participate and contribute to? A dormant profile within a community could send a mixed message, so being discerning about where you spend your energy seems a valuable dialogue to have.

Now, I don’t think it’s necessary to “over think” a Social Media Strategy. In fact, over thinking it could backfire sometimes. Authenticity trumps strategy time and again and good finds are naturally shared through friends and family and groups and now, social networks. So imagine that you have a good thing that simply needs to be more easily found. God bless the entrepreneurial cheerleaders” who created first newsletters, then websites, and now populate their blogs with the great exciting things they have found as they journey the web or the physical world.

Social networks allow for you to reach out, as yourself, be yourself, and be more easily discovered (if you are ready to be). Planning your involvement professionally and tactically is important, like the foundation of a home is. And genuineness rings true and clear where posts and pitches are concerned. And responsiveness when one can be, builds rapport naturally.

One of my favorite phrases is “Social Media is Straight Up Honesty.” –Francisco Rosales, of SocialMouths.com

And for as long as I have seen Cathy posting on Facebook as the mom and friend and business woman she is, I have felt her gentle spirit in every post and comment and share. Inspiring in me a desire to use her company’s fun service (aka patronize her) and let my circles know about this cool way to digitally beautify and share photos with others.

Good Product/Service I need/want + Generous/Gracious Leadership + Values that Align with Mine = Gets My Attention and Business!

I celebrate this former classmate’s enterpreneurial success and again gently encourage all you who are waiting to join in Social Networking, as the meaningful channel it is to grow personally and professionally and organically over six months, one Facebook post at a time, with some strategic and well-timed ads to attract new followers (per the article).

CONGRATULATIONS Cathy.

How Fast Time Flies for those who enjoy digital scrapbooking what a concept!

How are you using Social Media?

I’m curious. I truly am. Are you on board yet or are you still waiting till you feel comfortable?

With all the advice being given by self-proclaimed SEO and Social Media experts, are you clear on the basics of how to get started with Social Media and what to do to “organically” and in a manageable and sustainable manner attract the attention you want and need and desire?

I am a “gently vocal” advocate for people embracing Social Media and being consistent in their participation on chosen Social Networks. And there are more than enough options to be affiliated with: from the Facebook’s to more specialty networks created through user-friendly apps like Ning. Perhaps there are seemingly already, too many? And the abundance of choices makes it daunting to dive in?

Does Facebook scare you? But you know you best get on board at some point? Perhaps you promise yourself, you will once your website is just how you want it? Or your Blog is populated with hearty content?

May I suggest taking baby steps. Make them as small as you need to. Don’t post personal material if you prefer, but once your personal page exists, well set up that Fan Page for your business and do some authentic posting, catalyze some discussions, and pay forward the good work and posts of others because it is the FUN and right thing to do.

It was quoted in a teleclass offered by Julia Stege of Graphic Girlz: Creative Marketing Solutions, that 87% of marketers are using Social Media but only 60% began in the last few months. And the average amount of time spent on Facebook by a user was 20 minutes a day. There is still time to be an early adopter! Ask a friend to help you get established and oriented at the very least. And yes, these are all simply suggestions, but I wholeheartedly advocate what has been good for me personally and of late my marketing business.

Imagine that you have a collection of buckets before you. These buckets represent your core revenue channels and you’ve determined what percentage of your annual income you want to come from each “bucket.” So it follows that each bucket deserves the time it requires to be producing the results and the revenue you strive for.

For example, if you are keen to have your products found and purchased, be it books, CDs, downloads etc, marketing effort and energy must be directed intentionally toward promoting “your products.” And therefore time must also be appropriately devoted to services offered, events, classes and any other designated “bucket.” And with consistent, intentional attention your “buckets” will be brimming with desired results. And, thank you Nancy Juetten of Main Street Media Savvy for sharing your metaphor for your success.

So let’s apply this notion to your marketing plan: again what are the “buckets” you are willing to pay attention to with consistency and heart?

Okay, so you don’t quite have the obsessive passion for blogging like some and Social Media intimidates you a little, but ask yourself if you can’t be found easily, or found at all…?

A quick and important aside on my belief about business and abundance: there are always more than enough clients for all those offering services and products. You are someone’s desired service provider, teacher, school, author, speaker, artist, and so on. Recession is a state of mind we agree to.

For years my mantra: “Speak well of yourself, for your deep mind is always listening” has been posted in my workspace as a constant reminder, I choose my state of being.

I am but one of many evangelists encouraging every person in business I know to be present in Social Media outlets and be consistent in your way. The bright and squeaky wheels get the grease don’t they? Not all of us will post daily. But can you at least commit to bi-weekly or weekly?

CASE IN POINT: A client I have been supporting for three years with enrollment and registration and marketing support agreed recently to create a Facebook profile as well as a business page. And she admitted it was not something she was comfortable with but she trusted my gentle insistence. Thank you!

Three weeks later and a dozen posts or so, she declared in a weekly call we have, “I like this Facebook thing.” She had reconnected with dozens of friends, some colleagues and attracted some new followers.

She was having FUN with it as much as we were using it to share business news. We aren’t concerned with attracting a multitude of followers overnight, but we are interested in building a community in conversation that shows up and takes note of upcoming trainings and support calls. And feels like sharing worthwhile offerings with people they really know.

I find Social Media fun to engage in most often daily. I love spreading good news and inspiration and practicing random acts of kindness for my growing Facebook clan. What I used to do via email and personalized invitations to friend’s and client’s events, I now can do more broadly but just as personally.

If you are shy about getting started because technology unnerves you, I just know there is someone more than willing to jump start you and give you an easy tutorial. And when you see that it can be fun to instantly share great news with your whole group in a single post, I bet you become a Fan too!

May we all be blessed with courage and gumption and enthusiasm when we most need it, so that we can be found and engaged by those who need us.