Monday, October 18, 2010

Someone Else Said It Better

I'm not sure if it's proper to open up with a quote from someone, I'm the type of guy that will drop it at the very end when there is nothing left to be said because it's already been said, and probably better. This is one of my more favorite quotes right now...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pebbles In The Pond

What happens when you throw a pebble into a pond? Well first of all, it makes a splash, right? Then the waves start flowing away from the initial splash. The waves either continue until they reach a surface or obstacle or else it will eventually dissipate.

A pond so still that you can see your reflection in it, that's the stillness and calmness that I like to get my inner thoughts to. It has been a visualization of mine for some time, the canoe in the still water. Lately though, that visualization has me sitting in the canoe with cargo pants filled with pebbles and stones. Throwing them out in the still water watching how the water is displaced with random splashes and droplets popping up into the sky in slow motion and taking what seems like twice as long to return to the main body of water. What happens next are the waves flow outwards from the epicenter. Some pebbles or rocks cause bigger splashes than others, some create longer waves, others not. Enough of these pebbles and rocks cause the waves to meet, a moving venn diagram.

Does any of this sound familiar? If you use the tools of the Social Online Space, then this would be analogous to tweeting (pebbles) and how they are distributed, or how they resonate outwards with waves. I'll use the example of Alyssa Milano since Dan Zarella has run all the analytics on particular 'heavyweights' and their click through rates. Alyssa has a big following, yet there are others that have more. Difference is the size of the stone that she throws out. Those that have up to five times as many followers don't have as big a splash as she does, they are still throwing pebbles which result in small waves. She's tossing them boulders out there.

The one thing that I have noticed personally is that when there are so many pebbles being thrown out into the water, no longer can you see the reflection of your self, just a ripple filled version of you... distorted. Think of all those pebbles tossed into the big pool on a daily basis. That translates into a weak signal and a large amount of noise. It takes even more effort now to hear the signal and curate what resonates with you, or so it is with me. To each their own, but it is a bit difficult when everyone has a soapbox and is regurgitating the same rhetoric to everyone.

p.s. I have a soapbox for sale, great condition. Leave me a comment if you're interested

Image stolen from here

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Fill Your Tool Belt

Just because you can buy a tool belt and strap it around your waist, doesn't make you a carpenter. Same can be said of the tools we utilize in the Social Online Space (which will be referred to as SOS from now on). You can't just create an account and say you're keeping up with the Jones'. A screwdriver has a particular use, as does a hammer. You can't screw in a screw with a hacksaw and you can't cut a piece of wood with a screwdriver - you could, it would just look something awful and waste a whole lotta of time. The SOS has similar tools, we call them Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn et al. Each one satisfies a particular role in building your house.

So what are the stages to building a solid house?
1. Foundation
2. Framing
3. Exterior
4. Interior

Of course there a many sub-levels to each of these four steps, we won't go into those now. So let's take a look at the foundation, what tool would be best to pour the foundation? A blog. It's written in stone and gives the support that is needed to build in the SOS. Now comes the framing part. I'd consider this to be your social platform of your choice between the Twitter and the Facebook. It's the one thing that guides and supports the rest of the place. The exterior is that which you present to the world, so depending on which platform you chose for the framing part, then it would be the other. And now comes the interior. This would be in my opinion a profile on LinkedIn. If you have these four things in place, you have a well balanced SOS or home that you've built.

You can't overuse one tool, they all have to be used together. That's why you have a tool belt so you can fit all your tools in the belt so you can build whatever it is you want to build. You could replace any of the examples used above for a YouTube or Flickr, whatever it is that you do that is displayed and showcased with the proper tool.

And remember, just because you have a tool belt on, doesn't mean you can just start building. Take it from me, using a hammer all the time doesn't get anything done properly and is not an effective use of your time unless all you want to do is hammer nails into wood. Get some practice with various tools, do it over and over again. There is no experience better than experience itself.

Image stolen from here

Sunday, October 03, 2010

You Need A Prescription for Twitter?

In a conversation last night, it was proposed that soon there will be pills available for those suffering from the symptoms of what could be called anything as long as you preface it with 'tw' and turn it into Twitterese. So, give it a name... in the example above it would be Tweetard Capsules.

Do you feel anxious on twitter?

Waiting for your next tweet?

Watching the tweets fly by and feel you can't keep up?

Biting your nails waiting for that special @response from that certain someone?

You might need this prescription.

Today I read an article, "Twitter and Facebook cannot change the real world, says Malcolm Gladwell" and couldn't agree with it more.

These tools that feign authentic and real relationships only spread that false sense of belonging. Everyone wants to belong to something. These social mediums allow for that connection. Taking it away from them or to negate them in any way and you'll see them come out in droves with defensive speak until they can again stick their chests out and show off a few feathers

Last week got a pass for the screening of The Social Network. They took away our phones. We placed them in a brown paper bag, they gave us a ticket and wrote our initials on the bag. After that, placed them on a table. Now it's one thing to give up twitter for a day or weekend, I've got that down, but to relieve me of my phone? That's kinda personal ;) It was interesting to see the responses from people who were without phone. It was easy to join in on the shenigans and laughter that ensued.

We are also afraid to be without our precious tools in which to engage with. Yet, saying hello and smiling at a stranger is a tall order these days?!

Recently I was reminded of a time where I would just want to go out into the streets with fistfuls of coins and plug people's meters, just to be sure they wouldn't get a ticket in the next 30 or so minutes. It's hard to plug any one's meters on social networks, the magic that inspires change isn't attached to it.

There's a component missing to the social networks. Yes, they make for a more efficient means to gather support, get a message heard but the missing piece is the level of conversion in the Social Space. It's not difficult to press a button that sends that information to your social crew or copy and paste an 'approved' message. It's the magic that happens when a person who truly cares spreads that message.

Martin Luther King had a message and a million people showed up. They showed up because of a belief. A deeply rooted belief that made them stand up and show up, they were million person certain. Those roads are never the easy ones. Someone once told me when making a big decision, "Figure out which one scares you the most and go with that one." It challenges you to your core and proves to be quite liberating to begin living out of love and no longer fear.

Make a committment to your self, say, "Self, we're going to be a better person today" then shake on it. It's already a better day, innit?

*Image ganked from here

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