Tag Archives: build-community

What Are You Getting out of Social Media?

There are about ten million blog posts that discuss how you are supposed to “do” social media. You’ll find perhaps two million people who label themselves as experts, gurus, and rock stars. These individuals will tell you the right way to use Twitter or Facebook. They’ll help you learn the ropes in order to grow your business. Everything you read is about what you can do for social media. Have you ever wondered, though, what social media is doing for you?

You know that tapping into the power of a social network can help you reach a larger number of people. You’ve realized that your business simply cannot survive without being seen on the various platforms and services. Heck, you even understand that you will eventually gain a lot of “clout” simply by being a good little social media student. Is that seriously all that’s in it for you?

Embracing social networks can help you grow as a person. Meeting people from all over the world will expand your mind. You’ll be able to make connections that you otherwise never would have, which can help you to become a better you. If you aren’t using your Twitter stream and Facebook Wall to learn from others, you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity, my friends.

I’m not going to bother trying to list the things you can gain through these channels. The possibilities are endless, to be honest. I’m not talking about trying to figure out how to speak Chinese through a few tweets. I’m telling you that you can literally change your life by opening yourself up and allowing the world into your mind.

I’ve read tales of people who have had their confidence boosted after becoming active within social networks. We’ve all heard stories of those who were inspired in some way and went out to do amazing things. Every day there are new tidbits floating around the Web that talk about all of you out there who are changing the world. We can each leave our mark for future generations to look back upon. Why can’t we get a jump start through the various social channels that we have available?

Reach out to people who you feel are the movers and shakers in whatever avenue you wish to pursue. Listen more than you talk. Take action when it is necessary, and tell others about it. Participate in conversations. Learn how to be smarter, stronger, and more well-rounded. Let your community help you to become a better you.

Express Yourself to Succeed in Social Media

I was a recent podcast guest on the Entrepreneurs Northwest with host Michael Surkan. During my time on the air with Michael, we discussed ways to put yourself “out there” in social media and turn yourself into a success. It’s not always as easy to do as most of you would think – or as so-called “experts” would have you believe.

Becoming successful on social media streams and gaining a lot of followers requires some effort on your part. Your content has to be solid. It cannot be bland or generic. You have to put your personality behind it. Don’t simply Tweet a link to a hot news story. Tell us why YOU feel it’s hot. Put your own spin and perspective on it.

The fastest way to gain more followers is to get out there and follow others. Engage them in conversations. Jump into whatever it is they are discussing with their network. Give your own opinions and perspectives and let the true “you” shine through.

The art of marketing through social media is a messy and disturbing one at times. However, with a willingness to lay yourself on the line by actually talking to people can lead to success beyond your wildest dreams.

Thanks, Michael, for having me as a guest on your show.

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.

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I grew up in a small town, and I was able to really get to know my neighbors. You may live in a bigger city. Even if you do, the chances of you reaching out to those around you at some point are pretty high. We still need to connect with people, even if it’s via the Internet while helping them with their computer problems. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Mac OS X or Windows, there’s really only one solution, and that is GoToAssist Express.

If you’ve got a business that is based on helping people with their issues remotely, how do you want to connect with them continuously? You want to get to know everything about that person. When you get to know them for the person they are, the chances of them sticking with you as a service provider will be much greater.

Think of it this way: you walk into a large store and head to a counter. You end up becoming ticked off pretty quickly, because you have zero connection with the person who is trying to help you with whatever issue you may have. Or… you make a phone call, and have to push 124723 buttons just to find a live person. You end up fuming with frustration before you hear that live voice.

Just because we’re using the computer in our home (or office) to help others with their computers doesn’t mean that we have to lose the human aspect of it. If your business is related to helping people with their technology troubles, step back and get to know them.

Hop onto Twitter and ask your community questions. Think of starting a “customer of the week” promotion. Have an open house. Send out a newsletter and ask for feedback. There are any number of easy ways for you to reach out to those in your area, thus building your customer base at the same time you are strengthening your existing ties.

Remember this, my friends: you’re not just connecting to another machine. You’re connecting to a human being. The more you can humanize the experience of helping someone, the more you are going to grow and thrive. Who cares if someone comes along with better rates… you have that bond with your community to fall back on. That still counts for a lot in this day and age.

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How to Build Your Community Using Open Atrium

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Gregory Heller was an attendee at Gnomedex this past summer. During our open mic session, he talked to us about the Open Atrium service, which is a free (and apparently better!) alternative to Drupal. It comes with six features – a blog, a wiki, a calendar, a to do list, a shoutbox, and a dashboard to manage it all. Open Atrium is completely customizable. If you want a feature that’s not on that list, you can add it yourself.

The fun really starts when people start sharing the features they build for their own Open Atrium with everyone else. Then everyone doesn’t just have access to six features, but also a bunch of others that are easy to plugin to the basic package. Open Atrium is built on Drupal. This makes it easy to add other Drupal modules to the package and to build new features for it.

If you’ve ever tried to build something with Drupal, I’m willing to bet you got frustrated in a hurry. Open Atrium is so simple to use out of the box that you won’t have to worry about whether you’re getting it right anymore. It just… works.

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