March 25, 2010
I love blogging. Actually, I love writing. I have been writing for years. I love expressing myself. I love sharing. And I hope people find value in that. I find value in what other people share. Books. Videos. Blog posts. One famous person said that if one day is not an improvement from the previous, then you’re better off dead. So we must learn. We must learn from each other. From each other’s knowledge, thoughts, and experiences. We’re all unique. And we’re all interdependent.
Seth Godin talks about blogging in this video. I think it’s powerful. I’m going to play this video at my next blogging workshop – it’s extremely insightful. I hope you’ll watch it.
March 24, 2010
Yola, an innovative web company founded by South Africa’s own Vinny Lingham, has a very striking slogan. It says: “stop browsing. start building.” I get caught up in this all the time. I’m browsing, reading, researching, reading some more, filing – and I’m spending too little time building. Too little time producing. Too little time creating new products. Too little time developing new seminars and workshops. It’s my avidness to learn that does this. But it’s not a wise thing. I need to have P/PC Balance. P is Production, and PC is Production Capability. You can read all about it in this post. I have my scale titled more on the PC side, when in fact the scale must weigh evenly on both sides.
I’m not always out of balance, sometimes I get some good balance. But those times are too few and far between. This morning I posted a message to Facebook and Twitter. Here is the Facebook version:
Twitter and Facebook are immense resource pools. The information is there. But in order to build, we need to switch off these pools for a while. I find this hard, but I need to correct this. I find many people do.
March 23, 2010
I recently learnt about sea turtles, what a fascinating creature. Did you know that they are almost always submerged in water? It is for this reason that they have developed an anaerobic system of respiration. Although they breathe air, under dire circumstances they may divert to anaerobic respiration for long periods of time. They quickly refill their lungs with a single explosive exhalation and rapid inhalation when surfacing to breathe.
The sea turtle pictured here is called the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. Beautiful!
My first time learning about this creature was on a tv documentary. They showed how the eggs are laid in the sand, on the ocean’s shore. Wikipedia states that:
The mature nesting female hauls herself onto the beach and finds suitable sand on which to create a nest. Using her hind flippers, she digs a circular hole 40 to 50 centimetres (16 to 20 in) deep. After the hole is dug, the female then starts filling the nest with a clutch of soft-shelled eggs one by one until she has deposited around 50 to 200 eggs, depending on the species. Some species have been reported to lay 250 eggs, such as the hawksbill. After laying, she re-fills the nest with sand, re-sculpting and smoothing the surface until it is relatively undetectable visually. The whole process takes thirty to sixty minutes. She then returns to the ocean, leaving the eggs untended.
Now this is not a simple process. Due to the physical design of the sea turtle, movement out of the water is not very fast. It sort of crawls to move forward, and digging the hole to lay the female’s eggs is also a slow process.
After all this effort, the mother returns to the ocean, not knowing how many of the eggs will survive. And it has been statistically proven that only a very small proportion of each hatch – usually .01% – succeed.
God has designed nature and the universe with perfection – we all agree on that. But if we had to apply this type of process to business, it would be akin to shooting in the dark.
I think that is what advertising is, particularly big spend advertising like billboards. Advertising is shooting in the dark. It’s like dumping a whole lot of money in a hole, and expecting about .01% success. And if you have the opinion that advertising for branding is a smart thing – its not. And Chet Holmes will agree with me on that.
How do you know how many people viewed that billboard? How do you know how many people purchased your product due to that billboard? Measurement = impossible.
Did you know that $220 billion is spent on unmeasured advertising every year – in the US alone?
There’s a saying that advertising is the price you pay for not being remarkable. I’m sure you’re remarkable. We all are. Or more accurately, we all can be remarkable – but it takes some work. Advertising is the easy way out.
I’ll leave you with words by Seth Godin on this topic: “Do you want to bet your future on a process [that of advertising] that’s getting less effective every day?”
Photo credit: Wikipedia
March 22, 2010
Do you remember the movie Ocean’s Eleven? I’m sure you do. Right at the end, Tess (played by Julia Roberts) says to Terry (played by Andy Garcia): “You of all people should know Terry, in your hotel, there’s always someone watching.”
She’s referring to Terry’s earlier comment that in his hotel someone is always watching, referring to the surveillance cameras everywhere. At this juncture of the movie, Tess has just witnessed Terry – via one of his own cameras – saying something which ended their relationship.
The Internet is moving to that level. Someone is always watching. Someone is always ready to write a blog post, or to tweet, or to update their Facebook status. Mobile phones make photo and video sharing child’s play.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to act and speak with integrity and good character at all times. We should be true to this standard of ethics even if no one is watching, of course. That is the ultimate model to strive for.
Gary Vaynerchuk was prank called at SxSW a few days ago. I think Gary’s a great guy, and I think his videos are brilliant. Someone called Gary in his hotel room, at 5am in the morning. Gary did not know it was a prank caller, and Gary did not know that the caller was video recording everything. Gary did, however, act with integrity and not lose his temper.
Watch the video…
Photo credit: ell-r-brown
March 21, 2010
Recently, in a post titled The Amazing Race, Facebook, and Twitter, I spoke about the Personality Ethic and the Character Ethic.
Facebook and Twitter (and some other websites) reveal who we truly are. Sometimes we try to put up a facade (the Personality Ethic), but sooner or later the real you (the Character Ethic) is revealed.
Many people with secondary greatness – that is, social recognition for their talents – lack primary greatness or goodness in their character. Sooner or later, you’ll see this is every long term relationship they have, whether it is with a business associate, a spouse, a friend, or a teenage child going through an identity crisis. It is character that communicates most eloquently. As Emerson once put it, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”
I truly believe that people’s characters are revealed online. Sometimes that may be good, other times not, but it happens nonetheless. Now this has been proven…
A recent study was conducted to ascertain whether people are their true selves online, or if it’s all just idealism. The study disproves a widely held assumption that online profiles are used to create idealistic images of ourselves. Participants for the study included 236 Facebook users – 133 from the United States, and 103 from Germany. Participants ranged from 17 to 22 years of age.
I’ve always maintained that Facebook and other websites are not popular because of fancy technology and fancy websites. No. It’s because Web 2.0 principles are in alignment with human principles. Trust, sharing, transparency, etc – these principles are what make the Internet work today. The study says, “OSNs [on-line social networking sites] might be an efficient medium for expressing and communicating real personality, which may help explain their popularity.”
Furthermore, it explains:
Our results were consistent with the extended real-life hypothesis and contrary to the idealized virtual-identity hypothesis. Observer accuracy was found, but there was no evidence of self-idealization, and ideal-self ratings did not predict observer impressions above and beyond actual personality. In contrast, even when controlling for ideal-self ratings, the effect of actual personality on OSN impressions remained significant for nearly all analyses. Accuracy was strongest for extraversion (paralleling results from face-to-face encounters) and openness (similar to research on personal environments). These results suggest that people are not using their OSN profiles to promote an idealized virtual identity.
This is just the beginning of this type of research (and this fact excites me!). More in-depth research is planned, and explained as follows:
Our findings represent a first look at the accuracy of people’s self-portrayals on OSNs. To clarify the processes and moderating factors involved, future research should investigate (a) older users and other OSNs, (b) other personality traits, (c) other forms of impression management, (d) the role of specific profile components (e.g., photos, preferences), and (e) individual differences among targets (e.g., self-monitoring) and observers (e.g., OSN experience).
I hope this post intrigues you as much as it intrigues me. You can find the complete details of the study here.
Photo credit: massimobarbieri
March 20, 2010
Some people think that content – all content – should be free from start to end. This includes people providing content, as well as those consuming that content. I think that’s ridiculous. A lot of content should be provided for free, as is the case currently, but with all types of media and content moving online, it’s inevitable that premium and selected content pieces should carry a price tag, even if only a nominal one.
This discussion has been becoming more and more frequent, because it’s becoming more and more important – for all concerned.
Free is great, but at a certain point that well runs dry. People are willing to pay for things like access, unique content, premiums, artefacts, etc… Creating platforms that add value to a community is worthwhile (and worth the cost). No one ever said that everything in Social Media has to be free… and even free has a cost associated to it.
I totally agree with this. In fact, let me share the comment I posted on Mitch’s blog post:
I agree that money should be made online. I particularly favour the Freemium model. I plan to apply this to my seminars and webinars, as well as online content. Right now what I give for free, which I see as sharing and adding value, is totally separate to the things I charge for. I need to change that.
I like what Andrew Warner has done with his interviews on Mixergy.com. First all his video interviews were free (and they’re about an hour long each). A few days ago I discovered that interviews are now only free to view for a week. Anything older than a week can only be viewed under a paying membership. I like that model. It allows people who don’t want to pay 1 week to view all the videos, and it allows serious visitors the opportunity to pay for content to view and browse at leisure.
What do you think? Are you prepared to pay from premium online content?
Photo credit: stevendepolo
March 19, 2010
I’m sure we all remember the movie The Karate Kid, an all-time classic. I watched a rerun a few months ago, and realised that each wisdom from Mr Miyagi is worth exploring – in a blog post or video. Karate means “empty hand” – and is a defense strategy. I did a bit of karate at school (many moons ago), and I got to yellow belt. Karate and martial arts teach us discipline. In business we also require discipline, and I think that as entrepreneurs we can learn a lot from these art forms.
Mr Miyagi says in the movie: “First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule, Daniel-san, not mine.” This is very important. In business (and in life, even) we sometimes put the horse before the cart. We don’t adhere to due process principles. We’re too impatient. Mr Miyagi’s anecdote is similar to Covey‘s “Law of the harvest.” You reap what you sow.
Chet Holmes has worked with over 60 of the Fortune 500 companies as America’s top marketing executive, trainer, strategic consultant and motivation expert. He’s done work for Charlie Munger (one of Warren Buffet‘s partners), and has recently also started to do projects with Anthony Robbins. He has also studied and taught karate for 23 years.
The lessons we’ve learned about consistency have taught us that it is the only way to really improve anything. The secret to great accomplishment in karate is not in learning 4, 000 different moves. There’s aren’t 4, 000 different moves in karate. There are 12 moves. Becoming a master is not about doing 4, 000 different moves; it’s about doing 12 moves, 4, 000 times each. The same is true for all areas of accomplishment. Golf, tennis, sales, customer services, ALL areas of competency require repetition of fundamentals.
We need to apply this discipline to our businesses when it comes to Social Media. There are just too many tools and applications out there. And we cannot use all of them. Everyday we see people on Facebook and Twitter saying “try this new tool, this that new tool” – and for the average entrepreneur this is just as a liability on time. For most businesses, Social Media is a tool, it’s not their business. Social Media is our business – and more than just a tool – but I’m talking about those outside of this industry.
One Social Media tool is not enough though. Facebook alone is not enough. Twitter alone is not enough. LinkedIn alone is not enough. There must be a decent mix of online tools – a mix that’s right for your business. Not every business is the same. Once you’re identified the mix that suits your business, you have to be consistent in using those tools. Using a tool once every two weeks won’t result in any true value. Once per week is also too minimal. A few times per week is required, and with tools like Twitter, daily activity is required. This all might sound very time consuming, but it does not have to be. There are tools that can help you manage your online activity.
TweedDeck is essentially a Twitter tool, but I use it for more than that. I use it…
- To track the people I’m following on Twitter and respond to them
- To conduct multiple concurrent Twitter searches (for research and tracking purposes)
- To track and respond to Facebook status updates
- To track and respond to LinkedIn status updates
HootSuite can be used for a number of purposes, but I simply use it to schedule updates. I can spend around 10 minutes and schedule updates that will be broadcasted over one or two days. This is quite fun because even if I’m sleeping or in a meeting, my messages are going out to the world.
So I don’t even need to be on the actual websites of Facebook and Twitter, and I can still be managing my activity there.
It’s not about working hard so much. Sure we have to work hard, but we can be smart as well. And all of this can be fun, while still getting to business results that we want. But we have to remain disciplined.
Photo credit: andrew_mc_d
March 18, 2010
I picked up a link to a video on Twitter this week. Tom Mucciolo, President of MediaNet, explains the nuances between video presenting and live presenting.
I’ve been doing online videos for a very long time, and yet I find Tim’s pointers useful. Videos are becoming increasingly popular online. The video sharing websites are improving, and our bandwidth speeds are also improving. Video, thus, is one of the best methods to get your message to a wide audience.
Depending on what your goals are will determine the level of professionalism – in terms of editing – you require. The videos of Gary Vaynerchuk and Chris Brogan are extremely insightful, but they have no editing at all. They’re just quick on the fly videos. They’re powerful clips, and very short. The videos that we produce are a bit different, they have a bit more editing, and the goal is different.
- Feedback is important. When you’re in a room doing a live presentation, the feedback – body language, etc – you get from the audience makes you also give feedback. So your face and your body changes, your eyebrows move, you smile, etc. When you’re speaking into a video camera, do not speak just into the lens. Imagine the feedback of your viewers, and provide corresponding feedback.
- When people are taller their hands appear bigger on camera. So if you’re tall, do not show your hands, or at least do not show open palms. If you have to gesticulate, then close your fingers and point. If you’re short, then your hands appear normal on camera and this is not an issue for you.
- When stretching your arms in gesticulation, try to keep them within the camera frame as much as possible.
- Depending on the nature of the video, the presenter can either speak directly into the camera, or speak to another person as in an interview style. Consider your desired outcome before starting the presentation
- It’s critical to break the eye contact with the camera. Maintaining eye contact is important, but breaking it is equally important. The same is true off camera. In a live presentation, if you do not break the eye contact at certain times, the audience will feel like you’re grinding down on them.
Have a look at this video of Robynn Burls from Encyclomedia. We covered one of their conferences in 2008, and this is a little clip at the end of the day. Please note that the intro of the clip does not have any sound. We’ve since then added little jingles to all our video intros, and this makes a huge difference. That’s another important tip if you’re producing online videos.
Robynn is a real natural in front of the camera, and she brings her message across clearly and in a very pleasant manner.
Watch the original video of Tom Mucciolo here.
March 17, 2010
At the start of all my seminars I play one of the Shift Happens videos. The people I talk to are usually the Eternal September crowd, so it’s important that I first illustrate the importance of having the correct mindset, a mindset which accepts change and progress. Only thereafter can I gradually ease them into the world of Social Media.
The mind has incredible power. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.” If we take just a little effort to change how we think about things, new dimensions open up for us.
The Internet is huge, would you agree with me? I think you would. I was at the Coral International Hotel a few days ago (my second visit, and I highly recommend it) and I picked up a copy of an international newspaper there. An article by Arno Maierbrugger mentioned that, “By the end of last year, a total of 192 million domain names had been registered by internet users throughout the world, according to data by internet infrastructure provider VeriSign.”
I’d say the number is much higher than that though. Many websites use sub-domains – like photos.jayz.co.za, which do not need to be registered. Also, WordPress.com and other companies provide countless millions of sub-domains to their members.
So how do you stand out in such a mass of content. The key is to be different. The key is to be unique. And the funny thing is that we are all already unique. But due to society, peer pressure, and what is known as “group think” – many of us try to conform to be like everybody else. We discard our individuality for acceptance. And in doing so, we lose our unique essence.
I try my best to be myself all the time. I’m a teacher, so I try to teach. Many Social Media blogs rush to get out the latest Social Media news of the day. I don’t do that. For all the best news, go to Mashable.com – Pete Cashmore has done a fantastic job growing that website into the best online resource in this space. My blog is about ideas. Insights. And it’s specifically geared at the lay person. This is not a blog for geeks, although many may label me as a geek. It was refreshing to get a message on Twitter recently from Jo Duxbury who said to me, “It was so refreshing to see blog posts that are intelligent and original.” I don’t mention that to impress you, but I want to impress upon you the importance of being yourself.
Will Smith, in this video, says, “Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity.” Once we set ordinary goals, we just become ordinary. Why not set huge and unrealistic goals? I saw something interesting on Twitter today, which said: “Don’t tell me that the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” I like that sort of thinking.
Seth Godin is, in my opinion (and the opinion of some millions), a marketing genius. I have (only) 3 of his books, and I highly recommend getting any of them. At the last talk I did, I told the audience that if they go to a book store and see any book by Seth Godin, they should grab it and buy it – without hesitation. Yes, he’s that good. Seth is Seth. He speaks his mind, and he is very intuitive. I like that.
I found this interesting video of him, it’s titled “The Mindset of a Winner” – and I think it’s valuable that’s why I’m sharing it with you. I’m sure that after watching this video you will sit back – at least for a minute – and think about what you’re doing in your business. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks.
Photo credit: thost
March 16, 2010
Facebook is free. Twitter is free. YouTube is free. With all these free tools, many businesses try to go the DIY route when implementing a Social Media strategy. I think this is a huge mistake. Although the Social Media tools are free, knowing how to use them takes intuition, practice, experience, and a broad knowledge of Web 2.0 and Social Media. What’s intrigues me most are the nuances in Social Media. Every platform is different. For example, frequent posts on Twitter are good, they’re not so good on Facebook, and a terrible thing on LinkedIn. I’m over-simplifying (again), but these platforms are all different. We all (including myself) have treated them as equal, and dual and triple posted to them, but that doesn’t work.
As more people try to DIY with Social Media, they’re going to realise that they need to “call in the experts” as it were. Today, Khalil Aleker posted this question to me on Facebook:
The main challenge for many Facebook users who want to create “fan” or business pages is that you have to have a personal profile in order to start a fan page, and the two are linked. As a result, business owners regularly receive “friend” requests from people who actually intended to become a “fan” of their business page. Any advice?
Yes, you do need a personal Facebook profile to create a Fan page, but thereafter the Fan page is independent. Furthermore, you can assign other people as Admins to the Fan Page. Members of the Fan page never need to know who manages the page – and several people can manage at once. This is sometimes essential, especially in a growing organisation.
So if you want to grow your Fan page, you simply market and promote it, and not your personal profile. A few months ago Facebook launched vanity URLs (they were first only allowed on Fan pages, but now they’re allowed on personal profiles as well), so place that vanity URL wherever you can – posters, email signatures, etc. Ours is facebook.com/jayzcoza – pretty neat and simple to remember.
With a Fan page also comes the skill of motivating interaction and participation, monitoring Facebook Insights, etc. To me, a Fan page is a company’s mini website within Facebook. And you have to take full advantage of that. Also, it’s not a personal profile, so personal family photos, etc are a big no-no!
It’s possible to create an event within your personal profile. But if it’s a company event and you have a Fan page, then you should create the event within the Fan page. It’s easy to miss this nuance. This way, the event will stay within the Fan page, even after the event date. It’s an automated archive of all your company events – and that is valuable for your reputation history.
My point of this post is to show that DIY does not work with Social Media. People like myself who are specialists in this area know that it takes a daily effort of analysis and research to get it right in Social Media. And things are ever-changing in the online world, so for the lay person to keep up is difficult, and sometimes even impossible.
Khalil, I hope this answers your question.