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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Can't Be Serious - Status Quo in Social Media and Life - The Dodo Bird is Calling

You Can’t Be Serious - Status Quo in Social Media and Life - The Dodo Bird is Calling!

Let’s face it; saying that things should or could remain status quo is like burying your head in the sand and hoping that when you come out, things are exactly like you left them.  So, why exactly do people think this?

Over the last few days alone I have heard status quo mentioned in terms of a community and the call for it not to change.  I have heard it referenced in terms of social media ‘still’ being a fad – talk about having your head in the sand!  Just today Gini Dietrich spoke of status quo in her great post Seven Metrics PR Should Track to Gain Respect.  Gini being Gini though, knows that status quo is not the answer.

Folks, status quo is just not possible.  Think about it this way.  Say you decide that you are going to continue to do things the way you always have.  You say, if isn’t broken, why fix it?  Good philosophy many would say.  Perhaps at one time that were true, but let’s look at a good examples of status quo:

Dalhousie, New Brunswick, is a beautiful little town in Eastern Canada.  It was a mill town.  It was a wealthy little town.  You noticed I say, “was”.  As times changed, industry standards changed, the mill and its processes more or less stayed the same.  On top of that, there was no aggressive action to bring more industry or new industry to the town.  A once thriving town is now but a shadow of itself.  The mill was torn down earlier this year, as so many other buildings have been.  Where the mill once stood is now a vast expanse of emptiness.  This was my hometown, so seeing it disappear goes way deeper than words can express. 

Image compliments of

There are of course theories that prove that organizations (also organisms) can only go on “as is” for a certain period of time before needing to change or innovate to survive.  The S-curve, which has been discussed by many great minds, discusses just this and if you are into some interesting theoretical discussions, do click on the hyperlink. 

My point though is that we can’t just stick our heads in the sand.  If we do, the world still goes on around us and change occurs with or without us.  So, to avoid going the way of the dodo bird, we need to continually change and innovate.

So, the question now is:  do you agree or disagree?  Can you promote status quo and survive?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reputation Management, the #1 Reason the C-Suite Needs to Listen to Social Media

A good reputation is priceless. Once damaged, it can be both difficult and expensive to reverse — and in some cases, impossible.

With the onslaught of corporate scandals a decade ago there were significant changes in corporate governance, including the introduction of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002. These wide-sweeping changes were introduced to rebuild consumer confidence.
Back then, our biggest worries were about what was said in the latest press reports. Add social media to the mix and a whole new dimension has been added to protecting corporate reputation. The question then becomes, What is your company doing to monitor and protect your reputation in the social space?

More recently, there has been a momentous change in how corporate reputation is affecting the bottom line.  In fact, a 2011 Eisner Amper Board of Directors survey, found that reputational risk had actually overtaken regulatory compliance as their number one concern.


To underscore just how important reputation has become, RepuStar launched its Corporate Reputation Index, calculated by the Dow Jones indexes in late 2011. Corporate governance experts now recommend that you manage reputation the same way you would manage any other asset that you have.

So what are the critical social media conversations that the C-Suite could start with?  Here are four that can really shed some light on corporate reputation:

  1. Brand mentions (both the volume as well as the sentiment.  Are people being positive or negative about your brand?
  2. Names of your executive, board of directors other high profile public facing employees.
  3. Discussion around key initiatives, events or activities.
  4. Safety and health issues.

Has your enterprise company listened to conversations around its brand and reputation? Now’s the time, before you have a reputation management crisis on your hands.

(Note:  this is a blog post that I wrote for my day job and it originally appeared on on July 20, 2012)  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Top 5 Buzzwords from 2012

As yet another month, and year quite frankly approaches its conclusion, I wanted to do something a little different for my post.  I wanted to take a look a few buzzwords. 

You know, those little words or phrases that appear and just seem to bore into the brains and vocabularies of every person with a voice, a pen or a keyboard. A good indication to know when something has become a buzzword or buzz phrase is when you can’t go an hour without a colleague using it or you read it in blog posts regardless of where you turn.  Sometimes, the reaction is a physical twitch that emerges without control.  You will see someone have some sort of physical reaction and wonder, what the heck is up with him?  That would be the reaction to overused buzzwords.  It happens to all of us, so we should at least have fun using them.

Interestingly enough a lot of these buzzwords appear to have started in the social media space and transcended to the rest of the business environment.

Anyway, there are a lot more, but here are 5 that I find interesting:

1.      Cadence

This little gem is surfacing just about everywhere.  From the cadence of accountability to the cadence of software releases, “we” as a collective, want to make sure that we march to the same beat I guess and therefore, need our cadence.

It will be interesting to see if this word follows us into 2013 as a popular buzzword.

Image compliments for

 2.  Community

Community is not new.  Prior to social, we all thought about community in terms of where we lived.  Big business who want to be involved in their local communities often set up Community Relations or Community Liaison Committees, so this is definitely not new.  Then of course came social where community became something different and much bigger.  It was your customers, every possible prospect, your fans and your influencers to name a few. This is really the exciting part and expanding your horizons to embrace new people, is thrilling.
3.  Engagement

We apparently all want to engage with someone:  community, employees, prospects, customers, etc. You name it and there is someone, somewhere trying an engagement strategy of some sort.  Not a bad thing actually.  Being engaged means that you are participating and contributing, so a good thing really!

4.  Leverage
In addition to wanting to engage with everyone and their dog, we also want to leverage relationships, knowledge, industry and partnerships.  We don't seem to be leveraged out yet, so let's stay tuned for that one.

5.  Curate

On top of cadence, community, engagement and leverage though, I think that the top buzzword for 2012 has got to be curate.  Regardless of which industry you are entrenched, we all want to tell a story.  We need to curate, or take time to create content or a story worth telling and sharing.  I love the idea and it sounds somewhat romantic to curate..doesn't it?  Am I wrong here? 

So, that sums up five little words that are a part of my everyday vocabulary regardless of whom I am chatting with.  What are your top buzzwords for 2012?  I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Oh and just one parting thought for today...why not try to use each of these words in one sentence all together at least once a day for a week?  Who will be the first to call you out on the overuse of buzzwords?  It is a challenge and it could be fun.

Monday, October 8, 2012

5 Things I have learned from Honey Boo Boo

I have to confess that I am not a reality tv fan.  I have tried, but I just can't do it.  I watched the second season of Survivor and found it interesting, but then it hit me.  Why am I watching something that brings out the worst in people?  This of course is my opinion and it is not widely shared.  If it were, these shows would not be on. 

Then came Honey Boo Boo.  From a few tv ads I had the show figured out and really didn't want to watch.  Something strange occurred however.  Honey Boo Boo started to surface in conversations regardless of where I was.  Whether at work, giving presentations to potential customers, social settings and more.  People were enthralled.  People were actually watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  So, I confess.  I watched one episode of the show.  I should add that I watched the show with my mouth gaping open.  I was...I was...well...appalled.  Honey Boo Boo herself is the sweetest little thing, but really?  Is this what entertainment has become?  But not all is wasted by the 20 minutes or so that I watched.  Between hearing about the show and watching the show that ONE time, I did learn a few things:

1.  People really are drawn to train-wrecks.  They don't want to be, but are.  The more horrific, strange or bizarre something is, they need to see it for themselves.  I apparently fit that description too. 

Honey Boo Boo herself.  Photo from Babble Blog
2. I will be politically correct and very Canadian by saying that we (people in this case, not Canadians only) love to see people living different lifestyles so that we can critique them and then feel better about our own decisions.  

3.  Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame, but if you can find your niche at the right time, you have it made.  Would this show have made it 15 years ago?  Likely not.  But with the ever growing craziness of so-called reality shows to showcase people at their worst, this obscure family found out that their little cutie pie struck a cord with American audiences and jumped on that bandwagon to leverage it to the max.  That is what probably irks people most - that they didn't think of it first.

4.  Just when you think that you have seen it all, something more wild and crazy surfaces.  Who would have thought that a little beauty queen and her family would get a nation going?

5.  And then finally, maybe people just want to escape.  They want to get away from all the seriousness of economies tanking, job losses, and the need to make important decisions.  Maybe, just maybe, watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a distraction - a needed distraction.

Of course, I am always interested to hear if you think that Honey Boo Boo is a distraction, or something else.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Supreme Court of Canada Ruling on Facebook Anonymity is one for all to watch

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a young Nova Scotia girl can remain anonymous in her fight against cyber bullying.  The decision was made with the hope that she would not be victimized all over again for fighting back against bullies.

The girl has been struggling to find out who created a fake Facebook profile using her photo along with posting false 'scandalous' highly sexualized activity.  Facebook provided the IP address, but the internet service provider would not provide more details without a court order.  Well, they have it now. 

This is an extremely important case to watch as the legislative process has been slower to move on social media issues as outlined in Social Media and the Legal System - Another Story.  This is a victory for every person and/or business that has been harmed by the careless and ruthless nature of people hiding behind fake profiles. Until now, there have been no consequences.  Victims have been left powerless and perpetrators have had a false sense of security. 

This is a precedent setting case, so stay tuned for more commentary and detailed analysis as this story unfolds.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

 5 Social  Media Mistakes to Avoid

Getting into social media is easier than ever with the numerous available networks.  What people sometime miss, is the basics however.  The basics will help you showcase your skills, personality and build your network.  So, let's get started:

1.  Failing to use a photo or avatar for your profile - Best practice suggests that you use a photo that will enable someone to recognize you.  Failing to use a photo or using the default image provided, will result in people not following you. 

Contestants at the recent Dreamforce being social! Photo courtesy of me!
2.  Not completing your bio - Remember we are in a social environment.  People want to know who you are.  You want to know who people are.  Showcase your expertise and your personality by completing your bio.  Just be sure to remember your audience and write for that audience.

3.  Having too many networks - You want to be out there so you sign up for three maybe four different networks.  As it turns out, it is a lot more work than you thought.  As a result, you are really only maintaining two.  Take it slow.  Start with one, then add another.  If that isn't enough add another, but wait before adding any more.  Make sure that you understand the volume of work that it takes to manage your profiles.  Rather than add another, you might decide that an existing network is not right for you.  Opting out is better than not maintaining.

4.  Not writing professionally - let's face it, people make assessments based on how we speak and how we write.  Be sure to write professionally in your network.

5.  Failing to be human.  Social media is about being social.  It is about being human - remember that you are human.  You make mistakes and it is ok as long as you learn from those mistakes.  Share what you learn with others.

These are five of the most common social media mistakes.  Check back next time as I cover more social media mistakes to avoid.  If you have some that you would to discuss, please chime in.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

People Ask Me:  What Social Network Should I Use?

5 Reasons to Use Facebook

Last time I touched on Twitter.  So, today I will focus on Facebook.  Keep in mind that these five reasons are just touching the surface.  They are ideas to get you thinking about how and why you can and should use Facebook. 

Facebook is used by many for personal relationships only.  That is fine.  There is no law that says you must use it for work.  No one should make you feel bad for wanting to restrict it for this purpose. That being said I have broken out the reasons to use Facebook between personal and professional.  Remember, it is your choice.  Take a look.

If you want to connect on a personal level:
  1. Facebook is ideal for reconnecting with old friends.  Facebook has provided me with an opportunity to reconnect with both family and old friends that I have not seen in years.  I love that aspect of Facebook.  
  2. It is a great way to keep friends and family up-to-date on your experiences while travelling.  It is a one-stop shop for your photos, videos and travel diary.  
  3. For some who feel technically challenged, using Facebook actually teaches you a lot of computer skills.  You learn about sharing information, how to find people, brands or groups.  You learn about security and personal information settings and much more.  These are skills that can be easily transferred to the work environment.  
  4. Facebook enables us to become involved with causes that are of interest.  For example, you may join a Facebook group that focuses on a hobby.  Not only do you learn more about your hobby, but you can meet people with similar interests.  
  5. If you are a parent, you should be on Facebook.  You want to keep an eye on what your kids are doing.  You want to be sure that they are safe.  Keeping a watchful eye is part of that process.

 If you want to keep things on a professional level:
  1. You can connect with your customers and share information, including special deals, contests, etc.
  2. You can build a community that shares your information with their friends, family and followers.  They become your brand ambassadors.
  3. Facebook lets you collect information about how much traffic you have had to your page and what posts, in particular, have appealed to your community, also known as your customers.
  4. Facebook makes it easy to extend your reach beyond your local borders. 
  5. Using Facebook ads can be very, very, very targeted.  You can be very general or very specific.  Your choice. 

Remember, whether you use Facebook for personal and/or professional purposes, keep in mind that you are using a medium that makes it easy to share information, and depending on your privacy settings, your posts, including pictures could be public.  Don't say something that you won't want to be the headline in a newspaper, or something that would jeopardize your relationships - personal and professional.  Keep it light. Keep it fun.

As a side note, should anyone ever ask you for your password, including a potential employer, that is in my opinion, crossing the line.  Many States and other governments are implementing laws that will prohibit potential or existing employers from asking you for that information. Keep you passwords safe at all times.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Social Media, Our Legal System and Common Sense Please

I recently wrote a post entitled "Social Media and the Legal System - Another Story of the Tortoise and the Hare?"  The post focused on a mistrial in a murder case after it had been discovered that a juror had been active in conversations on a social media site, that openly discussed the guilt of the person on trial.   While a very unfortunate situation, there are some very simple questions that could have been asked, and hopefully are being asked now, in the jury selection process to avoid a mistrial.  These questions are outlined in that post. 

This week however, I read a blog post on The Social Graf that left me speechless.  It is one thing for our legislative and legal systems, which are large institutions in themselves steeped in tradition, to move at the speed of social and/or fully understand the disruptive nature of social media, but this post takes the cake. 

Image source:

I have always believed that the common sense is not always common sense. What I mean by this, is that while I think that it is common sense to put my seat belt on when I get into a car, not everyone thinks that way.  Apparently, it is the same when it comes to communications and social media.  According to The Social Graf, judges are now having to explicitly list social media channels and brand names of mobile devices to help jurors understand that they can not speak about the case on these channels or while using these devices.

To me, the instruction to not speak or communicate about a case with anyone in any form, while on jury duty is pretty straight forward.  You just don't do it.  You don't speak, write, sign, act or draw pictures about the case.  There is a sense of integrity, moral and ethical conscience associated with being a juror.  You are there to bring about a course of justice based on the facts presented.  There is a process to follow and not following the process can result in innocent people - victims and families of victims - being harmed. 

I don't believe that social media is the cause of this phenomenon.  There is something else that is taking place that has further skewed the common sense meter.  What that something else is, I don't know.  If you know, please share.

(If you are receiving notification of this post by email, be sure to visit the actual blog for the full graphical representation.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

7 Reasons to Use Twitter

People Ask Me:  What Social Network Should I Use?

Which network or networks should I choose?  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+?  By far this is the question that I am asked the most, and understandably so.  It can be quite daunting to look at all the different networks, existing and emerging, and wonder which one should I use. 

Let's start by looking at Twitter. 

So, who is using Twitter anyway?  Well, the data would say that a lot of people from different backgrounds are using Twitter.  There are over 500 million active users generating more than 340 million tweets daily.  (Thanks Wikipedia).  Everyone from kids, to actors, to politicians are on Twitter.  It is used for both personal and professional communications.  However, let's break that down a bit more. 

According to information from, more women than men are using Twitter.  I have to confess that this tidbit surprised me.  Not surprising however, is that people between the ages of 25-54 when combined make up the largest group of users.   Twitter has typically attracted an older demographic, although Facebook has seen a shift in the last few years to users over 55 jumping on that channel to communicate, but I digress.  We will look at Facebook next time.

Here are just 7 reasons to use Twitter and if you like communicating in 140 characters, it might just be for you:

1.  Networking -  What a great way to connect with people that have similar interests as you.  Perhaps it is based on wanting to meet people and learn from them about a hobby or your chosen profession.

2.  Research - Whether you are researching your next Smartphone or doing market research, Twitter can yield great results.

3.  News - You are a news junkie and want the latest and greatest coming at you all the time and as it happens in succinct messages.

4.  Job Hunting - Whether you are looking for an employee or looking to be hired, you can use Twitter to gather a lot of intelligence.  Employers for example, often tweet about open positions.

5.  Customer Service - In our socially connected world, it can be a lot quicker and more efficient to initiate contact with a company through its Twitter handle.  Additionally, it can be a lot more convenient for you.

6.  Advice or Opinions - Looking for a good book to read? Or, want to know what camera they would buy if in the market?  Reach out to your network.  They are valuable resources.

7. Branding - Again, whether you are working on your personal branding plan or executing a branding plan for your employer, Twitter is an excellent tool for this purpose. 

This is really just scratching the surface when it comes to using this great communication tool.  If you are looking to write longer more detailed communications, other networks might be better for you.   Twitter is fast, efficient, entertaining and fun.  It is a great way to share information that is short and to the point. 

Need more advice?  Want to know how to get started and what you should Tweet?  Check out:  How Do I Know What to Tweet

Monday, August 20, 2012

People Ask Me:  How Do I Know What to Tweet?

More and more people are asking me questions about how to do "something" with respect to social media.  While social media is not the new kid on the block anymore, people are still struggling to understand all the different channels and when to use which one. So, based on which question I get asked in a given week, I will answer it here, in my blog.

So, what do you tweet?

This is a great question and I am glad that people are asking it.  It means that they really want to embrace Twitter and all the good things that come with it.  That is fantastic. 

Let's start with some easy things.  What are your hobbies?  What are your favourite news topics?  What things get your mojo grooving? 

For example, if you are interested in craft beer, it might be a great starting point to share some of your knowledge and insight.  You may also seek out others who have the same interest and pose questions so that you can learn more.  You can even create lists that contain all the people and/or brands related to craft beer. 

Image compliments of Picaroons Traditional Ales and DE MacLean Original carvings

Perhaps you are interested in silent films and want to learn more. You can start by searching out people of interest and following them.  Learn what they are talking about.  I think that you will learn fairly quickly that the things you wish to Tweet about are great conversations.  You just need to build your confidence and learn the environment of Twitter.  It is no different than going to a gathering with new people.  You always want to get the lay of the land and get to know people so that you feel more comfortable.  That my friends is human nature.

Start slowly, listen to others and share interesting and cool things.  One word of caution however, keep in mind that people are people.  Think about your interactions with people that you see each day.  How do you react to the person who is always in a good mood and wishing to help.  How do you react to the person who is always negative and complains about everything?  The same feelings and rules apply on social networks.  People are naturally drawn to people who are friendly and positive.  

So, there are just a couple of easy ways to determine what you can tweet about.  Start slowly and take it from there.  Before you know it, you will be an old pro and helping others figure out what they should Tweet.

There are other ideas as well and I encourage you to share them.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

World Humanitarian Day, August 19, 2012 - What Mark Will You Leave?

Today marks World Humanitarian Day.  It is time to pause and reflect upon not only the year that has passed, but the year that is coming.  There have been many devastating things that have occurred over the last year, but for me I have to also stop and think about the many wonderful positive human moments that have also occurred. 

I think about the many heroes that through the everyday activities of their careers have stopped and saved many lives.  I think about countless people who have stopped what they were doing, and sometimes, risked their own well-being to help another human-being in their time of need.  Many of those people helped are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.  And maybe, just maybe, one of those people in need was your loved-one.  Without those courageous and selfless people, who stopped and helped, we would be impacted so much more.

All of these people, both those needing help and those extending help are human-beings.  Regardless of age, colour, income, race, religion, geographic location and/or sexual orientation, they are human-beings. 

For a recap on some of the most visual experiences of humanitarian relief, watch Beyoncé's video with her new song I Was Here

Now that we have thought about the past year, what about the next year?  What mark will you leave behind? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Finding the Power of Positive in Social Media - You Do Have the Power - Ignite it!

On August 2, 2012, Frank Eliason wrote a blog post as a result of the growing negativity that he was seeing in social media.  In particular, he referenced a recent story of a little girl of 11 years old getting to sing the National Anthem before a Dallas/Los Angeles soccer match.  I guess it did not go well and someone, perhaps a few people decided that this was something that he/she/they would share via social networks.  The comments that were made were absolutely atrocious.  It is hard to imagine that such mean and hateful statements were said about a little girl who had a dream and dared to step forward in front of many, to live her dream.  Perhaps she is not Mariah Carey or Celine Dion yet, but why be so vicious?  How many of us would have the courage to take that step.  Not many I would say.  I wouldn't.  Rather than be ridiculed, she should be celebrated for having the courage and the strength to step out of her comfort zone and do something that she dreamed of doing.

When we look at our world today and we look at our children I am always amazed at how we work creativity, innovation and imagination right out of them.  I don't think that we mean to do it, we just do.  This little girl is a prime example.  If she has seen the comments, the threats against her, do you think that she will try anything out of her comfort zone again?  What if someday she has an idea for something revolutionary, something that could change our world for the better?  She may, as a result of this, just be too afraid to try it for fear of being made fun of, or worse, threatened yet again.  So, who loses then?  We all do!

positive thinking

I love the idea that Frank has suggested that August 14th be #positivelysocial day.  The idea is to find the positive in your world, your community - both online and not - and share it positively.  So, join me tomorrow as I share the positive things that I see in my world.  Not only will you make others feel better, but more and more research says that YOU will feel better.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why a Vacation is Good for Mind, Body and Soul

We all want to feel wanted, connected and in the know.  We all want to belong.  It is for these reasons that many of us love to work and work many long hours.  It is important to us to be contributing and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  I can easily get wrapped up in my work and my work environment putting in more and more hours each day and each week.  But what does this get us in the end?  Is this helpful to me as an individual?  Am I improving the bottom line for my company? 

We all know that Europeans take a different approach to vacation, or holidays as they call it.  They are allotted more by their employers and more importantly "they take their holidays".  But what does the latest research say about vacations?  Being the curious sort, I headed to Google and found some very interesting results.  Very interesting.

It will come as no surprise that technology has kept us connected to our work environments while supposedly on vacation.  I know from personal experience and close to 10 years of not getting a real vacation because of work-related commitments, phone calls and email, that it is not healthy.  Coming off of two weeks of real vacation, I feel absolutely recharged and relaxed.  I also managed to get a lot of reading done.  Some completely unrelated to my profession, but also read one work-related book, Running the Gauntlet.  Even though the latter was a professional book, being relaxed and disconnected from work, I was able to digest and think of ways to do things differently because of the book, but I digress...let's get back to the research.
Reading Running the Gauntlet from the Hammock
Leading companies, top employers if you will, are experimenting with unlimited paid vacation to combat burnout and also the need for people to feel that they have to work around the clock.  The concept is simple, get your work done and you can take vacation  - as much vacation as you want - provided that you fully disconnect from technology.  Let me stress that this is unlimited vacation.  It is not about "you have three weeks vacation for the whole year".  Nope, it might be for a given year you have performed so well that you take five weeks instead.  While this is a great recruiting tool, it is also ensuring that people return refreshed and relaxed.  Now that my friends, is not only innovative, but it is good for the individual and good for the company.  We talk about win/wins, but this is a real example of that!

One of the most interesting articles I read was written by Jenna Goudreau for Forbes and called:  The Vacation Paradox:  Why Some Companies are Paying Workers To Go Away.  This article has some really good examples of companies that are actually using these tactics and see the benefits.  In fact, some go as far as paying a vacation incentive to employees to ensure that they actually take vacation and disconnect.

So, the question is:  It is now August.  How much vacation - real vacation - have you taken this year?

Friday, August 3, 2012

In Social Media, What is Engagement?

For me, this is a big question.  I have my own opinion of course, but let's look at this issue.

I see many articles and blog discussions on this topic.  Many center on engagement being about how many "Likes" are attributed to a brand page or a specific post on a brand page.  Similarly people also look at how many shares a post has, to judge whether or not there is engagement.

I look at engagement differently however.  Let's go old school for a moment while I dust off the old 'New Collins Dictionary" and look up engage. There are 11 different definitions, some related to marriage, but here is the one relevant to this discussion: "to involve (a person or his attention) intensely."  If I look at engagement, the definition relevant to this discussion is: "a promise, obligation, or other condition that binds."

When we look at these definitions then, it becomes more apparent that engagement in  is much more than a "Like" or a "share".  A like does not involve two or more people being intensely involved in anything.  A "Like" doesn't involve an obligation or a promise to do anything.  I can say that I "like" Land Rovers, but I have no connection to the brand or any individual behind the brand.  I am  simply stating, here in this blog post, that I "like" Land Rovers.  Even if I visited their Facebook page once in my entire life and liked the page, what does that mean?  I may never return to the page and more importantly I may never buy a Land Rover.  My preference in "dream car" might change as well.  It has before.  So, while "Likes" are nice, it does not, in my opinion, mean engagement.

The other side of that equation is how does a brand respond/engage with someone who likes them?  Do they say "thank you for liking us?"  Probably not.  So, again there is no real engagement.

For me, engagement really comes down to people interacting with one another.  It is about a relationship.  It is about a conversation or multiple conversations.  Hmmm...what does this sound like?  It sounds like the goal and objective behind social media. In the words of Erik Qualman, it is about relationships and not technology.  The technology is just making it easier for us to connect as people.  Engagement is all about someone responding to a post and either asking or question or starting a discussion. Sharing a post comes a little closer to engagement. It is assumed that the person sharing was interested enough in the post to share with his or her friends/followers.  

I stress that engagement is about the relationship and wanting people that you care about to read something that could be relevant/helpful to them.  It is about them conversing with you about your brand, your product or even the friendship that you have developed.  Engagement is a relationship.  

Do you agree or disagree with my definition on engagement? 

For more reading on social media, check out The Ostrich Effect.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Social Media and the Legal System - Another Story of the Tortoise and the Hare?

Not this Time as Judge Declares Mistrial in a First-Degree Murder Trial, a Direct Result of Social Media

There is no question that social media has turned business and quite frankly, the way we communicate as individuals, on its head!  And while I would like to think that people have embraced this new world and accepted social media, sadly this is not the case.  I still hear conversations from people whom I consider learned and influential pronouncing that social media is a fad.  Really?  Seriously?  I know that they aren't monitoring social media, but really just pick up any newspaper or turn on any traditional news agency and social media is being discussed as a viable force that is disrupting business operations in both negative and very positive ways.

Perhaps one of the most important areas to change is our legal system.  Traditional to its core, the legal system is a behemoth culture and world of its own.  Fundamentally conservative, it is slow to change and react, which actually has been good.  Not one to overreact with the need to ensure that both legislation and policies are fare and unbiased, this has served the legal system and our citizens well.  True to its reputation however, social media is disrupting our legal system as well.  It might be time for legislators to learn that they need to move at the speed of social so that they are protecting the innocent and establishing fair and inclusive laws that respect its citizens.

On July 18, 2012, a Moncton, New Brunswick judge declared a mistrial in the first-degree murder trial after learning that one of the jurors had been a member of a Facebook Group against the man on trial. 

What went wrong?  Why wasn't this found during the jury selection process?  Simple questions like:  Do you have any social networking profiles?  If so, have you ever participated in or belonged to any social network or group associated with the victim or the accused in this crime?  Such questions would have raised the issue immediately and would have resulted in that particular person not being selected as juror. 

Thankfully this occurred early in the process, but that is still not a comfort for the victim's family.  This is but one example where the legal system has to understand the implications of social media and its limitless use.  They need to actually start using social media and have the right resources in place to guide them through this vast sea.  In this case, moving at the speed of social is imperative for our policy and legislative professionals.

Do you agree this our legal system needs to move at the speed of social?  In this case they shouldn't be the tortoise?

Interested in learning more about social media?  Be sure to check out the  TheOstrich Effect

Friday, May 25, 2012

Appreciating Health

Over the Victoria Day long weekend, my husband and I worked four days straight in our yard.  Between planting, digging, weeding, lifting heavy bags of garden "stuff" and on and on, I imagined that I wouldn't be able to move at some point during the weekend due to the overuse of muscles that I just don't quite use sitting in an office clicking away on a "clackity box".  And, truth be told, I haven't been quite as active as I used to be and might have "attracted" a few new pounds.  Surprisingly enough, I really didn't experience muscle fatigue.   The only unpleasantness that I experienced resulted from dividing and transplanting more than 50 Irises.  The repetitive motion of digging and planting these lovely plants seemed to reactivate tendentious in one arm - but within 24-hours, I was back to normal.

All that to say that it made me very aware of my health and how I was feeling...and how good I was feeling.  It made me appreciate the fact that I could lift 33lb bags of manure and that I could dig and move huge amounts of soil.  I suddenly became aware of both my freedom and vulnerability all at once.  It was both liberating and intimidating all at the same time.  The one thing I know for sure is that I really appreciate my health.  Sure, I have allergies and the occasional headache, but overall, nothing too serious.

During the week I was reminded of how my appreciation post was going to be about health and good health, when a dear friend was impacted by a family member being diagnosed with a malady.  Thankfully for her and her family member, it is something that a few small food habits can more or less rectify.  Despite this however, no one ever wants to hear that they are being impacted by "something" out of their control.  You can't help but be concerned that it might get worse.  You can't help but think about the worse-case scenario.

We never know what we will be served as each day starts, so let's cherish and appreciate each and every day that we feel like we can move mountains and hills. closing...I have made an appointment at the gym hoping to get back into my old habit of regularly working out.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Appreciating What You Have

For my Facebook friends, seeing appreciation posts from me is nothing new.  Some time ago I decided that I wanted to appreciate and thank those who have touched my life in some way – a good way.  It could have been a small gesture or it could have been a life-long relationship.  Regardless of which it is, the only requirement, for me, is that when preparing the post, the person, place or thing MUST evoke an emotional response from me.  The memory, the description, the process of sharing must be strong and profound for me.    I am hoping that in some small way that my recollection, my sharing of this personal experience will in a small way, touch someone else.  Perhaps it will result in someone else resurrecting an old relationship or reaching out to an old friend. 

Since starting my appreciation posts I have received so much positive feedback that I cannot begin to comprehend how my “little stories” has actually touched others.  Many of my posts have been about people no longer with us.  As a result, I am always so pleased at the comments that others also share about that person.  It has been a truly wonderful experience.

Perhaps the greatest compliment however, is just how many people have asked me if I mind if they copy my idea and start their own appreciation posts.  How wonderful!  Taking the time each week to stop, think and write about the people, places or things that have positively impacted their lives.  I love that I have been able to inspire others to do this.  I hope that they too will inspire others in their lives to do the same.

So, with this love fest in mind I have decided to take my appreciation posts to the next level – I am adding my posts to my blog.  So, stay tuned as I make this transition and please continue to provide your commentary, I really enjoy that.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Who "Owns" the Customer?

In a Social Enterprise Asking "who owns the customer" is Not Only Antiquated, it is Ludicrous

Each day we have interesting and insightful conversations that get our juices flowing.  Sometimes we get a new idea or sometimes we exit those conversations just scratching our heads. I recently had dinner with someone I have a great deal of respect for, but I have to say that I left that conversation scratching my head.   I have known this person all of my life and I can say that he is usually very insightful and spot on when it comes to intuitively knowing that the customer wants.  In this conversation however, he was dead serious when he spoke of his organization and who should be making decisions about the customer.  His exact words were:  'Why should PR be involved in this issue?  This is a customer issue and therefore, it is our decision what to say or do when it comes to the customer.  They are our customers not theirs.  What do they know about customers?"

I have to say that I was floored - from two perspectives.  First off I have to state my bias.  I do come from the "PR world" and was integrated into PR when they actually controlled the message.  I also spent enough time in the public sector to know how the various interested parties want a say in the message, the timing, etc.  However, and thankfully so, I have seen the light.  Because of my passion for social media and the intrigue around the democratization of knowledge, I know that no one single person or business unit owns the message.  That being said, I also know from experience that no one single unit owns the customer.  If an organization approaches its customers from the standpoint that only the Customer Service department has a stake in the customer, then heaven help us. 

In today's social enterprise, we all have a stake in the customer.  We all have a say in how to communicate.  We have moved beyond someone thinking that a department owns the customer.  Or, at least I thought we have.

Over the coming weeks, I will explore some actual best practices that I was working on in my last organization and how these practices can move organizations to being social enterprises as opposed to anti-social enterprises.

If you have experiences that you would like to share as well, I welcome your thoughts and conversations.  After all, it is about being social.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Can you Celebrate Acts of Kindness?

Recognizing and Celebrating Acts of Kindness

This week I had the opportunity to go to San Francisco for work.  I was going to a pretty darned interesting and neat customer event where I was presenting on "Building Community."  It was a great event with close to 8,000 people in attendance.  I got to meet a lot of great people, share information and learn more about my many colleagues.

While this post may appear to be about travel, it is not. It is about what we can learn from people - strangers - who remember that we are human beings sharing a space and sharing a common goal.  It is times like these that I learn more about humanity and the fact that we all need to take a minute to think about someone else and not just ourselves.

The travel to and from San Francisco meant very long days, but it was worth it.

YFC Fire Fighter in Background attending to fire
Arriving at the airport on Wednesday morning at 4:45 a.m. I thought of my former colleagues that I used to work with at the Airport Authority.  There had been freezing rain overnight, but despite the labour issues plaguing the workers, they were out making sure that things were safe for all of us travelling that morning.  Thanks guys!!  I think of all of you often.

The flights to San Francisco were uneventful, which quite frankly is just fine with me.  However, my journey home was a little more eventful.

Act of kindness - Act I

The journey was very long and interesting.  On the first leg of the flight there was a man who had a very orange and puffy winter coat (think George from Seinfeld) and while he did not wear it sitting in his seat, he decided that he would put it on every time he went to the washroom.  He went a lot.  After about the 5th visit - I am guessing - he ended up on the floor.  Not sure what happened.  During the close to six hour flight, he was on the floor at least three times and hidden behind the curtain in the back of the plane at least three times.  I have to congratulate the way that the flight attendants handled the situation.  It was very professional.  They were calm.  They kept him calm.  They kept the passengers in the vicinity of these "events" calm.

At the end of this flight, I had a short connection - which really is the theme of this trip.  I was in the second last row of this lovely Airbus and wanted to get through Customs and make my connection to Ottawa so that I could get to my last flight.  I want to recognize the kindness of the many people who willingly let me pass by them so that I could get out before them.  In fact, a whole Rugby team who lived in the Greater Toronto Area, let me go ahead of them.  I wish I could acknowledge the team here, but I didn't have time to ask who they were.  Despite this, I say a full hearted Thank You!

Act of kindness - Act II

More often than not people like to tell their stories of how bad something was.  How bad customer service was, how mean people are or how a product failed to live up to expectations.  I think that Airlines no doubt get the brunt of bad feedback in public forums.  I, however, want to focus on an absolutely kind and customer-focused Flight Attendant of Air Canada Flight AC 460 from Toronto to Ottawa on the night of March 16th. 

While he was responsible for Business Class passengers and I was not one, he was amazing to both me and my colleague.  Due to a delay caused by a broken overhead bin, which needed to be attended to for safety reasons, we were left with about 10 minutes to make our connection - the final leg of 10+ hour journey.  Not only did he retrieve our carry-on luggage and bring it to the front of the plane - and properly store it for safety - but he also made sure that we were the first two passengers out of the plane - again an Airbus that was completely full.  He ensured that the ground crew had been radioed in advance and there was someone there to meet us and direct us to our gate.  Ultimately we made it home!

So, this made me think when was the last time I helped a stranger?  Now I will challenge you: When was the last time that you helped a stranger, a friend or a colleague?  If you can't remember, I hope that this will spur you on to help one person a day.  Think about how you would feel if you were in their respective shoes. 

AC logo courtesy of AC website and YFC photo from 2009 Annual Report