Browsing articles from "February, 2011"

An Honest Take on Social Media

Just taking a quick minute in between speakers at this year’s Social Fresh series in Tampa.   Even though we’ve only heard from one speaker so far, my head is already swimming with ideas.

Brian Simpson with Vikram Chatwal Hotels had some great things to say about his experiences  in the social media arena.   While there’s a lot to go into, honestly, it can all be boiled down to one thing:


Social media is the newest boomtown, and as such it can potentially draw in every manner of opportunist, drifter, grifter and snake oil salesman.   I think the SM public, in general, is savvy to that fact.  As such, you can imagine there’s a lot of intuition and gut-checks  being applied by your potential visitors and fans.

Honest communications and a true desire to foster a community are key.  Otherwise, as Mr. Simpson so ably pointed out, you’re simply developing a base of spectators.   The difference?  Spectators may follow you, but they’re indifferent to your well being.  They have no passion for your standing.   A community, on the other hand, is more of a family.  Yes, you may witness some disagreement, and airing some of that dirty laundry can be occasionally problematic and embarrassing, but there’s also a mammoth plus side:   When push comes to shove, a portion of that community WILL rally to your cause no matter what.

In his presentation, Simpson admitted that all this doesn’t amount to a clean “sell up” that you can readily explain to the CEO with solid guarantees.  But watch what happens when the going gets tough.  Your spectators desert you.  Your community supports you, even before you’ve developed your own response plan.  And when it’s time to spread some good news or share a new initiative, your spectators remain indifferent.   However, if you’ve treated your community well, and with honesty… well, those community members are already out there spreading your message, without you even having to ask.

Bottom line – don’t be exploiters, give as much as you’re taking, and, above all, respect the fact that when you start a community you’re actually part of the community, not the unilateral owner.  Adhere to these basics and you’ll prosper in the boomtown.

And that’s my honest take.

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The Making of a Big-Budget, Big-Concept Commercial

One Epic Ride.

It was the belle of the superbowl. A commercial that combined whimsy with pure awesomeness, and just about everything else they could think of.

So, check out this behind the scenes featurette for one ambitious commercial!


Permanent Perpetual Motion

Illustration depicting thought.

Image via Wikipedia

As the creative industry continues to evolve with every second, it’s become very apparent how constant innovation is rapidly becoming the key factor in sustained success, not only in discovering client solutions but also in our daily internal solutions. As creativity and technology continue to blend into one tapestry, innovative thinking becomes the fuel behind the idea. When innovative conversation is shut down, not encouraged or avoided, that fuel slowly burns away. The one constant in our daily motion is that innovative thinking never stops; in a weird way it becomes the DNA of a team…a successful team. I equate it to the simple metaphor of how certain species must keep moving in nature to live….to stay relevant we must maintain a state of perpetual motion!  Innovative conversation typically starts with questions not yet connected to a defined solution, the why’s and how’s that bounce back and forth with an energetic fear. When a person feels that slight pinch of fear at the table…chances are pretty good your going down the path of innovative thought…or a looming disaster, either way it’s going to be a ride riddled with lessons to absorb. The other alternative in the creative industry today is staying safe with a slow decent into the fog…alright maybe that’s a little dramatic but I believe without innovation being constantly brought to the table, you begin to slowly loose the partners that gravitate towards the “that’s crazy but it just might work” conversations.

thought bubble

Image by laurie.mcgregor via Flickr

The awesome thing about innovation is it can be big or small, for the masses or just a tiny group. The reason I touch on this topic is because it’s more about gearing the brain and body to stay in a constant motion of innovative thinking, your not going to pump out inspiring solutions on a daily basis but if you foster the concept of keeping yourself and those around you in a constant state of “on”, problem solving through innovation becomes part of the daily flow. I’m lucky enough to work with innovators each day, a group of creative’s who not only think about what it’s going to look like, but how can it perform better, faster, differently! Currently we’re applying our innovation across the board, from custom notification feeds for our own office to experimenting with geo-location technology for our clients. All of this is being done because we are in a constant state of motion. This will go down as one of the most innovative and exciting times in our generation, a few us in this industry will get to play on the front-lines, no matter the size of the contributions we make – the time is now…..keep moving!

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How to Win Followers and Influence Likers

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Image via Wikipedia

Originally published in 1937, Dale Carnegie‘s How to Win Friends and Influence People has been a textbook for social relations for decades. A thought I had while re-reading it a few weeks ago was that his pointers can very much be applied to us who manage and utilize online social networks. The following mega-post features all the book’s tips, along with how they could be applied to the online space.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

1) Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. Many people use social networks for venting, speaking out every negative thought that comes to their mind. However, I’ve noticed that people flock around those who inspire and share a positive outlook on life.

2) Give honest and sincere appreciation. Always be the last one to say “thanks”. Thank people for every little thing they do for you. Even if you don’t hear anything back, believe me, it makes an impact. People appreciate feeling they’re useful to others.

3) Arouse in the other person an eager want. Don’t sell, as people hate to be sold to. Appeal to what people actually want and are looking for. Don’t think so much about what you want to say, think about what your followers and likers want to hear.

The Village People

Image by Dunechaser via Flickr

Six Ways to Make People Like You

1) Become genuinely interested in other people. Too many people jump into social spaces just to blab away. The best way to increase your influence on people is to listen, listen, listen. Comment on what others are interested in, even if it’s not your prime subject of interest.

2) Smile. Hard to smile online with anything else than emoticons (except if you’re doing videos), but I take this as a reminder to be fresh, focus on positives, show you’re content with what surrounds you. And don’t just fake it, be authentic.

3) Remember that a person’s name is, to him or her, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. If you’re on Facebook, Tag people as you speak about them, and tag them on the photos they appear in with you. On Twitter, @ mention them. As long as they’re legit ways to feature them (i.e.: non-spammy), people love to know others are talking about them.

4) Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Ask for people’s opinions, and show that you’re interested in them. And when people give opinions by their own account, keep delving into their thoughts. It’ll not only help them like you, you’ll also find out all sorts of interesting things about them.

5) Talk in the terms of the other person’s interest. Don’t post only about things from your perspective. Use tools like the Home on Facebook, Twitter’s Trending Topics (or better, What the Trend), Google’s Keyword Tool, or anything that will let you peek into what people are interested in right now.

6) Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely. Retweet and share other people’s blog posts, thoughts, and ideas. Focus on giving, and you will receive eventually (but don’t think too much on that last part).

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

1) Avoid arguments. Starting flamewars is so out. If all you can respond is something even mildly negative, swallow it. It doesn’t need to be out there. Look for a friendly way out of every argument.

2) Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never tell someone that he or she is wrong. One thing I’ve learned in these spaces is never to correct people in public. “Praise publicly, critique privately.” Send corrections as a private message or DM, people will appreciate it a whole lot, and most of the time, will admit the correction a lot more frequently as there is no need to feel defensive.

3) If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. I’ve seen some marvelous examples of people apologizing on YouTube, recording videos on why exactly they’re apologizing, and promising they’ll do things right. Wherever it is, don’t be afraid. People appreciate sincerity more than perfection.

4) Begin in a friendly way. Try to show yourself as a friendly and cordial person when approaching new connections. Every once in a while, I’ll greet people I just decided to follow on Twitter. Voices online are many, friendly ones are the gems.

5) Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes. Don’t always post controversial topics that will illicit an over all negative reaction (unless you’re really trying to be “the heel”). If you begin with commonalities, you’ll more easily be able to sway people to your side.

6) Let the other person do the talking. This is a tough one for many folks that just start out. Pretty much every social network has a posting mechanism, and some people think they gain points the more they use it. Definitely share, but enjoy other people’s thoughts as well.

7) Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers. It takes a little mastery, but if you’re attentive, you can find a creative angle in which your idea can be linked to other people’s own thoughts.

8) Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. Don’t be reactionary or defensive when responding to comments. People believe they have a point. You don’t need to agree with them to at least honor their right to an opinion.

9) Sympathize with the other person. Don’t ever make light of other people’s pain (which is just too easy to do online). People are a lot more complex than they may make it seem through the web. Always assume there is something you don’t know about others.

10) Appeal to noble motives. Speak to people as if they’ve already reached the highest and best version of themselves. They will love that you see them as special, just the way they see themselves.

11) Dramatize your ideas. Seek out the clearest way to convey your message. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. Also consider expressing your thoughts in the form of audio. Nothing wrong with just plain writing (hey, I’m doing it write here… I mean, right here), just don’t lock yourself into one format when you have so many more available to you.

11) Throw down a challenge; don’t talk negatively when a person is absent; talk only about the positive. People seem to flock towards gossip, but here’s a secret: gossipers gain neither respect nor trust. Refrain from talking about people, even competitors, unless the person has an opportunity to respond.

Kobe Bryant pointing at Rajon Rondo

Image by Aaron Frutman via Flickr

Be a Leader: How to Change People

Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

1) Begin with praise and honest appreciation. Thank people even when they’re pointing out negatives about you. Unless they’re trolls, they’ll settle and focus on constructively criticizing you, while you benefit from it as well.

2) Call attention to other people’s mistakes indirectly. Don’t be brash, shining bright lights on their errors (grammar police, I’m looking at you). You can sandwich a correction within positive statements, making it easier on the other person to swallow. This is especially important when people accuse you unfairly.

3) Talk about your own mistakes first. On the other hand, being transparent about your own shortcomings (c’mon, you know you have ‘em) is the fastest way to earn credibility. People want to know you’re just like them.

4) Ask questions instead of directly giving orders. Your audience will not follow anything you say, unless they perceive there is some benefit for them. Ask them what is important to them.

5) Let the other person save face. Similar to point 2 in this section, help people hide their errors. Nobody likes to feel like a fool.

6) Praise every improvement. Some people mistakenly believe that they can horde praise and keep it all for themselves, when it’s actually the opposite. The more praise you give, your presence will be perceived as more inviting.

7) Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. If you feel you need to be critical about something (like a business or service) or someone (like a blogger or other public figure), don’t forget to mention the positive aspects of your subject as well. This conveys that you have a higher expectation than what you are currently noticing.

8) Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct. In the same situations, unless you’re talking about an utter catastrophe, be objective in your criticism. This way it is clear what the subject needs to do to improve, and you will come across as knowledgeable in the subject matter.

9) Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest. Don’t be afraid to also communicate that you would feel very happy-honored-excited if people took action on what you present to them. As said before, most people love to feel resourceful towards others. If possible, share credit afterwards as well.

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Long post, but I hope this was helpful. If you have thoughts on different ways you could apply any of these, please share!

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A world of art at your fingertips

Ever wish you could afford that ticket to Paris and explore the Louvre? Do you miss the days that you had the time, even, to travel the world and stroll through famous and beautiful art galleries?

Well, as is customary with Google, they’ve found a solution!

It’s called the Google Art Project, and it’s basically a host site for you to explore virtual tours of galleries around the world, a collection of more than a thousand artworks online in extraordinary detail. View a panoramic wide shot of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Or view the artwork close enough to touch, and marvel at the craftsmanship of the most famous artists of history.  Of course, you’d just be touching your computer screen, so you’d look pretty silly.

As great as this site is, nothing can replace the pure visceral experience that can be found in a museum. The sounds of quiet footsteps echoing, the smell of oil and lacquer, the staggering heights of the vaulted ceilings.

But for those of us who don’t have James Bond money or Paris Hilton leisure time, this is the next best thing. So, go online and go explore the world’s greatest art!