Tag Archives: Community

How to Help Your Company be Social

Companies everywhere are finally realizing that they need to be social to survive in today’s marketplace. They are scrambling to figure out how to use Twitter and Facebook in order to be where their customers are. Some of them are grasping the advantages of Foursquare. The problem is that many of these brands aren’t doing social the right way. Yes my friends – there is a right – and wrong – way to “do” social media. Big corporations hiring a person or outside company to talk AT consumers are doing it absolutely wrong. Those establishments who talk WITH their community are the ones who are owning the social space.

There are businesses all over my Twitter stream who just can’t seem to figure out the difference between talking at someone and talking with them. Sending out messages about your latest “deal” or sale isn’t enough. Shooting a link or two their way with the hope they will click and buy doesn’t cut it. I don’t care how good your product or service is these days. If you aren’t opening a real dialogue with your patrons, you’re missing the entire point.

It’s great to see corporations such as Comcast and TechSmith really connecting with people. They don’t take the conversation out of the public eye just to shut someone up… they honestly do it to HELP people. However, I feel there is still so much more they could be doing. Creating actual back-and-forth conversations – even on Twitter – is something that each and every one of you needs to be doing.

Ask questions. When you receive answers, don’t just ignore them and congratulate yourself for getting a reply. TALK WITH THEM. Don’t tell people what you’re going to give them or do for them – ask them what they want. Find out how you can make your service better. Discover what the consumers think would make your product stand out from the competitors. Figure out your customer’s lives… what will make things easier for them? What is it you can do to help make their day better? All of this can be done right on social networks, y’all.

Stop counting your numbers and measuring your damn metrics. Quit worrying about that stuff, because it honestly doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think it does. What matters is those people sitting behind their screen attempting to connect with you. Once you’ve established that, the metrics will fall into place all on their own.

How to Use Your Social Network

Normally, using someone isn’t a very nice thing to do. The negative connotations surrounding that word tend to make us shy away from allowing ourselves to remember that it can be a positive thing, as well. Yes, you need to give more than you take and the social space is no exception to the rule. However, there’s nothing wrong with using your network when you need to.

Are you thinking of buying a new product? Use your network! Throw out a quick message on both sites and ask for opinions. The people in your community who have used or owned that item will be quick to tell you the pros – and cons. You’ll get real feedback in real time. What better way could there be to help make a buying decision?

Another way to use your network is to reach out and ask for recommendations the next time you plan pretty much anything. Your contacts will jump at the chance to tell you where the hottest clubs and hotels are, which airlines cost the least to fly on and where you should be eating or shopping. You can get quick advice about anything and everything – including which Elvis impersonator is the best.

Thousands of people are out of work and having difficulties finding a new position. Use those networks, people! Let others know you are on the hunt and ask if they know of openings in your field. Make sure you’ve signed up on LinkedIn and fully filled in your your profile. Give that link out any time you hear of a promising lead or whenever you inquire about an opening someone may know of.

Your network can be used for education research and finding out the latest information about breaking news stories. I suppose these examples wouldn’t be classified as using the people in your community as much as it would be expanding your mind thanks to them. Are you stumped on a homework question? Ask your friends for help. If you have Google’d your fingers to the bone and still cannot find answers you need for a project at work, the people you surround yourself with online may have a clue. When you hear sirens coming from every direction in your neighborhood, a quick hashtag Twitter search will likely yield the fastest results. Quite often, you can find out what’s what on your social network ten times faster than you would via your local news station.

The ways in which you can use your social network are virtually endless. Keep in mind what I said in the beginning: give more than you take. The next time someone asks for help you can offer, don’t ignore it because you are too busy. Take the time to help someone and you’ll be repaid tenfold.

What others ways do you use your social network?

Will You be at ceBIT This Week?


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Sprechen Sie Geek? I’m brushing up on the handful of German words I already know because I’m headed there this week to speak at ceBIT. If you’ve never heard of this conference, then you certainly need to have your geek card taken away. ceBIT is billed as “the digital industry’s biggest, most international event. Thanks to its unique combination of exhibition, conferences, keynotes, corporate events and lounges, CeBIT represents an unrivaled tool for doing business and sealing deals.”

Thousands of attendees are expected to grace the conference and exhibit halls with their presence throughout this week. I will be but one lone man navigating my way through the maze of gadgets, gizmos and Germans! If you’re going to be there, be sure to look me up and say hello.

The only device I’m really planning to take with me is my iPhone 4. I’m paying the extra twenty-five bucks in order to use up to 20MB of data while I’m in International territory. However, I plan to connect to the ‘net via WiFi as much as possible. My phone takes fantastic videos and photos, so there’s really no need to pack a lot of extraneous gadgets.

If I see anything interesting – or meet really cool people – I plan to take several videos to share with all of you. So if you know of a particular vendor that you feel would make for an interesting video, then let me know!

The subject of my keynote deals with connecting communities using various technologies available to us. As much as I find the commentary on YouTube difficult to swallow at times, it IS a large part of the communication that goes on within our little corner of the Internet. Yes, I get agitated at times. But hey – I’m human, just like you. Many of us have different facets to our lives. In my mind, that’s what makes a community grow and evolve.

My keynote will be live-streamed. Keep an eye on my Facebook page and my Twitter stream this week. I’ll let you know when the live stream is going and whenever (and wherever!) my keynote may appear.

Vorsicht!

Schippers Twitter Twibbon Shows Support in Wake of Man's Death

Jason Schippers was a young man who may have not been famous by any stretch of the imagination, but he had a thriving community all of his own. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Jason became ill a few months ago while living in Colorado. Doctors were stumped. They knew he didn’t have cancer. He wasn’t a smoker. But his lung was failing. Approximately a week ago, they did an exploratory surgery to try and find the cause of the problems. They ended up removing more than half of his lung right then and there. Even that wasn’t enough to save this amazing person. He was taken from this life on Sunday morning.

My brother Adam is one of the friends devastated by this loss. Adam and Jason met via Twitter, and Adam helped him get his job in Colorado through Twitter. Even after making the move west, Jason remained an active participant in the Des Moines Twitter universe. By all accounts, Schippers was one of those people whom everyone liked – and whose loss will never fully heal.

Since his death, the outpouring of support online has astounded Jason’s family. Within moments of his death, hundreds of people began blogging, tweeting and posting words of support and love on Facebook. Three full days later, the words have not slowed down… they have grown in number as more people learn of the story and lend their comfort to the cause. His family is overwhelmed and comforted by the love people are showing them… most of whom never met Jason in person.

Dallas Moore was a long-time friend and business associate of Jason’s. “People are becoming the authors of their own lives,” says Moore, who owns Social Republick, a creative marketing and new media business. “Thanks to smart phones and iPads and Wi-Fi notebooks, we’re constantly connected no matter where we are. It’s possible to build and maintain multiple relationships simultaneously around the world. No geographical constraints. Jason met many of these people in real life.”

A Twitter memorial Twibbon has been created to honor this young man and the awesome life that he led. Even though you may not have known Jason Schippers, please consider showing your support for those he left behind in this world. It only takes a moment to add the simple ribbon to your current Twitter avatar.

For any of you who still don’t quite get social communities and what they really mean, you have only to read Jason’s story. The astonishing response to Jason’s death will open your eyes to the strong – and very REAL – connections that are made online every second of every day.

Schippers Twitter Twibbon Shows Support in Wake of Man’s Death

Jason Schippers was a young man who may have not been famous by any stretch of the imagination, but he had a thriving community all of his own. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Jason became ill a few months ago while living in Colorado. Doctors were stumped. They knew he didn’t have cancer. He wasn’t a smoker. But his lung was failing. Approximately a week ago, they did an exploratory surgery to try and find the cause of the problems. They ended up removing more than half of his lung right then and there. Even that wasn’t enough to save this amazing person. He was taken from this life on Sunday morning.

My brother Adam is one of the friends devastated by this loss. Adam and Jason met via Twitter, and Adam helped him get his job in Colorado through Twitter. Even after making the move west, Jason remained an active participant in the Des Moines Twitter universe. By all accounts, Schippers was one of those people whom everyone liked – and whose loss will never fully heal.

Since his death, the outpouring of support online has astounded Jason’s family. Within moments of his death, hundreds of people began blogging, tweeting and posting words of support and love on Facebook. Three full days later, the words have not slowed down… they have grown in number as more people learn of the story and lend their comfort to the cause. His family is overwhelmed and comforted by the love people are showing them… most of whom never met Jason in person.

Dallas Moore was a long-time friend and business associate of Jason’s. “People are becoming the authors of their own lives,” says Moore, who owns Social Republick, a creative marketing and new media business. “Thanks to smart phones and iPads and Wi-Fi notebooks, we’re constantly connected no matter where we are. It’s possible to build and maintain multiple relationships simultaneously around the world. No geographical constraints. Jason met many of these people in real life.”

A Twitter memorial Twibbon has been created to honor this young man and the awesome life that he led. Even though you may not have known Jason Schippers, please consider showing your support for those he left behind in this world. It only takes a moment to add the simple ribbon to your current Twitter avatar.

For any of you who still don’t quite get social communities and what they really mean, you have only to read Jason’s story. The astonishing response to Jason’s death will open your eyes to the strong – and very REAL – connections that are made online every second of every day.

Facebook Community Zeitgeist App

I don’t want to keep sitting on this idea, and I’m looking for others to help make it happen – skilled others, mind you. Like, people who can develop Facebook apps and design ’em well enough so as not to require the user to read an instruction manual.

I’m sure that by posting this idea, someone might come along and take it without involving me or giving credit for the inspiration point. That’s the risk I’m taking. If I can find a project lead and development wonks, I say we divvy profits evenly.

So, why not hire some random person or group to do this outright, instead? Because I’m looking to try something different, and I know that when everybody’s skin is in the game, the idea has a greater chance of succeeding initially and on an ongoing basis. That, and it’s far easier to bootstrap with qualified individuals than it is to personally bankroll a project in the hands of people who don’t care whether or not a product works.

The idea is rather long overdue, in my estimation – and I need it for my own Facebook Community Page.

Mission:

  • To introduce game mechanics to Facebook Community / Fan / Public Figure pages
  • To better gauge and engage a community’s most active supporters
  • To offer app to all active Facebook communities

Layout:

  • Two Column Structure
  • Topmost Left Block: Big Fat Like Button, Introduction, Donation
  • Topmost Right Block: for Sponsor or Promotion

Data Blocks:

  • Latest Wall Posts [with Like, Permalink]
  • Latest Comments [with Like, Permalink]
  • Top n Commenters Today, This Week, This Month, This Year [with Counts]
  • Top n Commented Wall Posts Today, This Week, This Month [with Counts]
  • Top n Liked Wall Posts Today, This Week, This Month [with Counts]
  • Top n Donators Today, This Week, This Month, This Year
  • Latest Page, Community Videos
  • Latest Page, Community Photos
  • Most Active Friends Who Like This Page
  • n Embeddable Media (like for YouTube, Twitter, etc.)
  • n RSS Feed Blocks
  • Other surfaced statistics?

Admin:

  • Drag & Drop Modular Blocks
  • Statistics Tracking
  • Visibility Toggle
  • Frontend and/or backend?

Sponsor Block:

  • Headline, Field for Graphic, Field for URL
  • Like Sponsor Button
  • Facilitate calendar purchasing [via PayPal]
  • Admin sets price, duration
  • Purchaser gets emailed daily stats of impressions, upsell to renew
  • Randomized Backfill

Footer Block:

  • “Want Your Own Community Zeitgeist? Get it here!”
  • Made by “Us” [Like & Link to Respective Pages]
  • Donations Appreciated [Sliding Scale?]
  • Recent App Donations of $100+ rotate through all app deployments

Administrivia:

  • Users get notified for Achievement(s), prompted to Brag about Achievement
  • Where is the app hosted?
  • Is there a way to best measure acceleration in engagement before and after app’s deployment?

I’d start with basic functionality over a weekend’s time, and then take it from there? “But so-and-so is already doing something like this!” If they are, they suck – or I’d be using it already. 😉

Okay, so if you’re at all interested (and serious) in helping develop this sucker, you have to let me know sooner rather than later. I’m actively seeking a partner. Just email [email protected] with your position and/or proposal on the proposed app and business structure.

First come, first serve.

Why Do We Build Community?

I wear many hats along my chosen career path: writer, live streamer, speaker and mentor. The best part of what I do, though, is to help build our community. Make no mistake, it is our community, not mine. I simply provide the various tools to bring all of you together.

Tonight, I was reminded why it is that I do this. Kat pointed out that it is now (today, October 1st) one year since we lost long-time community member Cory (Gimpi) Carrier. I have already seen many of you commenting in various places about Cory, how much you miss and love him. He was a driving force behind what we did back in the beginning… providing comic relief, different perspectives and fresh ideas. He left a large mark in our hearts and lives.

Kat and Cory were very close friends, and I know how much her heart is breaking again today. As she and I were talking earlier, she explained what he meant to her:

He was such a vibrant and important part of our community – and of my life. He taught me things about the way the world looks at others. He opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about things. He showed me what type of person I only wish I could be on the inside. And most of all… he became MY hero.

THIS is why I do what I do. Connecting people together to create change, connections and lasting friendships is what it’s all about. The bonds that can be made when people join together due to a common thread are amazing to watch as they grow and strengthen. I am humbled to be a part of it. Thank you – all of you – for being a part of our community.

Please take the time to visit our software center today.

LeWeb 2009: Building Communities

When Loic Le Meur asked me last year to come to Paris and speak at his LeWeb Conference, I admit to being honored beyond belief. LeWeb is one of the premiere conferences anywhere in the world, and it’s held in beautiful Paris. When I found out that Queen Rania Al Abdullah was also speaking, I broke out into a cold sweat. This was serious business, folks. The people who attend this event are hard-core. They are THE movers and shakers in our world. They are smart – passionate – dedicated. Loic is their leader, and I hoped only to make an impact on the crowd in some small way.

Loic asked me to speak about building communities, something which I have been doing online since 1992. This is where my passion lies. This is what I am dedicated to. I walked onto the stage with the hope that the things I have learned along the way would help someone in their journey. I became so filled with the enthusiasm around me that I walked off that stage with my head held high. I feel as though I gave one of the best presentations of my life… not because someone told me so, but because I know that I believed in everything I said.

When you are going to speak to an audience – no matter how large or small – don’t talk at them. Talk WITH them. Yes, you need to tell them whatever it is you know. Of course you’re going to try to win them over to your side. But you still have to actually have a conversation with them… much as you do when you are trying to build a community.

Community comes from inside of you. The tools and platforms available are simply that: tools and platforms. They are not the community. Bring people together and give them the tools to connect to each other and then watch as leaders emerge from within. Talk to them. Work with them. Learn about them and grow with them.

Remember that building a community is not about connecting people to you. It’s about connecting them to each other.

How to Blog Successfully: Community, Content, and Commerce


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I was asked to discuss ways to become a successful blogger for my recent OpenCa.mp presentation. When deciding how best to approach this subject, I knew I had to dig all the way back to my beginnings. I needed to reconnect with where I started from… specifically the feelings of inspiration I had from the moment I sent my first email. Having done this Internet thing for so many years now, I’ve learned a trick or three. Most people will tell you that having good content is the key to becoming a successful blogger. I’m here to tell you that that is only 1/3 of the equation.

Community. Content. Commerce.

You don’t have to be perfect to start doing something. The tools are out there to help you get going. Don’t worry about fancy setups or expensive equipment. It’s not about that. If that’s what’s holding you back then you’re holding yourself back. It’s NOT the technology’s fault.

I’ve long explained that community is inside of each of you. Your interests are wherever you go. Your blog could be an extension of that. Community, though, is not separate from commerce and content. They all flow together. If you lose focus on any of the three, there’s a larger chance you will fail.

There are definitely times you should listen to your community, but you are ultimately in control of your direction. The people who follow you will tell you when something isn’t working right, trust me on this. They will be quite loud about it. If you listen carefully, though, they’ll also tell you when you’re doing things right. They will tell you simply by retweeting your links, by commenting on your posts and by just communicating with each other.

You WILL have detractors. Screw them, though. Think of it this way – for every person who hates what you’re doing, there will be hundreds or thousands of others who love things just the way they are. Don’t let that naysayer stop you from being YOU. Don’t live your life (not even on your blog or social media outlets) for someone else.

One of the key things to remember when you are creating content that it doesn’t really matter what you’re saying, or what your intentions are. It’s all about how people react to what you’ve done, and how they project themselves onto you. You need to keep that in your head at all times. If someone becomes upset over something you have shared with them, that’s on them. Your content is only genuine if YOU are genuine.

Your blog is your nexus point. Every piece of content you create should flow directly back there. I consider Leo Laporte to be a good friend. I admire the work he does, and think that he’s extremely smart. However, I had to shake my head in amazement recently. He wrote a blog post talking about how Google Buzz had let him down. Content he had created was just – gone. It was no longer anywhere to be found. He commented that he should go “back to the blog.” My counter to that is simple “Why did you ever stop?” Your blog is yours. You own that. You own the content you create. No matter how many other sites you belong to and create content for, it has to come together into one central place. That nexus should be your blog.

You are already a success. How you measure your success is up to you.

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Brian Solis and Community at Gnomedex


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If there was a theme in our Gnomedex schedule, it was that YOU have the power to change the world. No one embodies this ideal more than this year’s keynote speaker Brian Solis.

Brian has been coming to Gnomedex for many years as a paid attendee. He felt that this was the only conference which held value for him. He always walked away with something special. He used this to talk to our audience about what Gnomedex is and was… and what it has meant to him.

“If the elite have TED, the Geeks have Gnomedex.” Gnomedex, to Brian, is the place where community comes together and creates positive change… in ourselves and the world around us. The web defines a whole new era of society. Anyone who doesn’t realize the true power at their fingertips needs to be educated. Every tweet, blog post and podcast is a tool that you can use to help create the change that you desire to see.

We are the last generation to know privacy as it was. Each of us has the opportunity – and obligation – to help educate those around us. Party of the beauty of social media is to earn a response. Isn’t that why you tweet? You want to see what someone has to say about your thoughts. You want to know how the community will embrace them and take them further.

There are studies that show Twitter is making the world a smaller place. Social media is closing the distance. However, the way we communicate and connect is changing drastically.

People talk about how social media is about relationships. Brian reminds us that we don’t exactly send each other birthday cards. We check in with the idea of those we are connected with. We’re grooming an idea of relations over relationships.

Brian is globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing.

He is principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning New Media agency in Silicon Valley, and has led interactive and social programs for Fortune 500 companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. His website is ranked among the top of world’s leading business and marketing online resources.

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