Originally posted on www.heliade.net
Belgium. We are a small tiny country. A small strip of rather bad highway on your way to Germany. A restaurant stop halfway between Paris and Amsterdam. We have sprouts, waffles, crazy politicians, mussels, and more beer than is technically good for us; chocolate and a little bronze three year old peeing in public.
We have Kim Clijsters, Jean Claude Van Dame and Jacques Brel . We have a king . We have Brussels and the European Parliament. On your map, we’re that snotty spot just at the right side of London.
But… now we have Michel Bauwens. At 53 years old, he is a Peer-to-Peer thinker and an active writer, researcher and conference speaker on the subject of technology, culture and business innovation. He is notoriously listed at #82, on the Post-Carbon Institute (En)Rich list, http://enrichlist.org/the-list/, a competitor list to Forbes’ richest people, celebrating a wealth of inspirational individuals whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures.
Bauwens believes in WiKi economy, based on Peer Production, as an emerging add-on to the existing capitalist structure: “Peer to Peer is mostly known to technologically-oriented people as P2P, the decentralized form of putting computers together for different kind of cooperative endeavors, such as file sharing and music distribution. But this is only a small example of what P2P is: it’s in fact a template of human relationships, a “relational dynamic” which is springing up throughout the social fields. There are three partners in this emerging model” says Bauwens: “a community of contributors that create a commons of knowledge, software or design; an entrepreneurial coalition that creates market value on top of that commons; and a set of “for-benefit institutions” that manage how this co-operation takes place.”
From musicians that crowd fund their album, before peer distributing it; to entrepreneurs that wiki-build a viable car with mostly 3D printed parts… the crowd sourced peer production thinking is interesting. It allows pockets of smart, connected people to reach out, move fast, and create wealth and added value with limited investments. It runs often on free software, engaged communities and free thinkers. It preaches an open internet, and an open mind. It brings a guerilla version of the mastodont economy.
Bauwens’ visions start like a bad day, and can turn on a dime. Roller skate, jet ski economy that allows to rove between the bulky ocean liners. The Occupy movement shows that Bauwens’ vision on peer to peer economy can easily migrate to other areas: politics, healthcare, space exploration… the sky really is the limit.
Social Media and Social Collaboration are the backbone to Bauwens’ new society. Small successes of crowdsourcing, crowd funding, co-creation, crowd distribution, and crowd politics are emerging at increasing speed, from the Black Eyed Peas, over the Occupy Wallstreet movement and the Arab Spring to Sonic Angels and online gamer communities solving multiple sequence alignment problems within disease associated genes.
Clearly, small highly connected pockets of people can move ideas and initiatives quickly, using the power of social connectivity. Linked to hardware shops and hybrid entrepreneurs that real-life the virtual thinking, the butterfly effect of online thinking will soon result in real hardware that can be bought for real cash. This will do much more than just ripple the traditional economy…
Bauwens’ 82nd place on the list, is just the beginning…
By Helen Nowicka
Our fascination with the differences between men and women has spawned countless TV shows, hit songs, and best-selling books. And now we’re starting to understand how gender also influences social media use.
I began thinking about this while reading Porter Novelli’s EuroPNstyles research, conducted among consumers in the UK and other European countries by my colleague Melissa Taylor, EVP of strategic planning and research. Drilling down into the facts and stats around social media, several clear trends emerged showing that the same preferences and behaviours are being played out in the digital space just as they are offline.
Of course both sexes are highly engaged in social media, but our data indicates that women are using social channels to reinforce existing social connections, and to interact with friends and family. By contrast men demonstrate a clear bias toward showing or sharing status, and promoting their opinions to the wider world. Never mind Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus – today it seems Men are from Foursquare, Women are from Facebook.
I pulled some of these trends into a presentation that I gave as part of Social Media Week London, here are a few UK highlights:
- Women are more socially active than men: 65% of women access social media at least once a week, compared with just 51% of men
- Women are more likely to connect with people they know: 93% of women using social media do so to read posts and view pictures from friends or to comment on their friends’ profiles. For men the numbers dropped to 89% and 84% respectively.
- UK women lead the rest of Europe in following brands to access deals and offers – this is the motivation for around 64% of women in social media, compared to a European average of just 52%, and 56% among UK men.
- Men are more likely to use social networks to display status and opinions. In the UK, 45% of men use social media to check into places compared with just 33% of women. Men are also happier to broadcast what they’re saying to the world: 35% of socially-savvy men are Twitter users compared to 27% of women.
- Men are also more active in the blogosphere: 54% of digitally-active men say they seek out other people’s blogs to read, compared with 46% of women. Men are more active bloggers than women too (34% vs 24%).
It’s interesting to see that Forrester, the Wall Street Journal, comScore and even Facebook are all seeing similar trends, although brands and marketers are not always following suit. As Forrester’s Tracy Stokes argues: “Women have the potential to drive a brand’s reputation online because compared with men, they are more connected with each other and like to talk about brands and products, especially in social media. But marketers, particularly in more male-oriented categories like finance, are not making a digital connection with women.”
It sounds simple but in this new era of communications, it’s not enough to know how to “do digital” – we still need to understand people and what influences them, regardless of the medium. Those brands that manage to combine social media savvy with human insights will maximise their chance of success.
Note: EuroPNStyles is an annual study conducted by Porter Novelli among more than 10,000 European consumers in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands (UK sample = 1,700 people). It reflects our agency’s belief that research uncovers insights which can trigger behavioural change.
Think about some of your favourite brands and the first things that spring to mind. Are they key messages, a company vision and mission? Probably not, right? Like most consumers, you’ll probably think of stories that characterise the brand for you: great customer experiences or moments in your life where the brand mattered to you.
And still, when you look at what most brands and companies provide on their websites and company literature, it’s all about vision, mission, strategy and press releases. No stories, just hard facts. No real emotions and real characters to which people relate, but very rational documents with well-crafted key messages.
Conquer the hearts and minds of your stakeholders
The real key to engage customers on a deeper, more emotional level lies in the ancient art of storytelling. No matter how many gadgets and hi-tech gizmos we might carry around, in the end we are living anachronisms: modern day mass-consumers with a stone-age mind. And that mind, as evolutionary psychologists like Steven Pinker have argumented, is particularly receptive to narratives.
So is it any wonder that in the age of social media, with its yearning for authenticity and credibility, brands are looking for ways to tell their own stories? Apple is probably one of the best examples of a company that has understood the importance of creating stories that resonate with customers. From the iconic 1984 Superbowl ad over the Get A Mac series to Steve Jobs’ heartfelt Stanford Commencement Speech, Apple and its late CEO have a track record of great storytelling.
Many of the so-called love brands are in fact serial storytellers. Rather than trying to convince and explain, they inspire, share emotions and focus on authentic experiences. It’s often what differentiates them in the hearts and minds of their customers.
What’s more, you don’t have to be Apple to tell a great corporate story. Johnny Walker managed to turn a brand in decay into an inspirational brand with the Keep Walking campaign and Coca-cola changed their marketing strategy when they realised their customers already tell more stories then they as a company ever will.
Within every organisation, the stories are usually there, with each of your colleagues. The challenge is to open your eyes and ears and capture the stories. Go talk to your colleagues or listen to your customers and ask them how they perceive your brand. Take the critical perspective of a journalist to discover the various stories that are connected to your brand and start sharing them in your presentations, magazines, social media, etc. You might just find out that the ancient art of storytelling will revive your brand in today’s modern world.
Heard at the Monster* Year Event: “Coaching people is about putting focus on the 8’s, not on the 4’s”
Monster had a full room at its 2011 Year Event (#MYE11) in Amsterdam yesterday. The first speaker set the tone for the whole afternoon. Spot on. Right on target. Just as one would expect from a top sporting professional. Marc Lammers, coach of the Dutch women’s hockey team, simply owned the audience of senior Human Resources professionals right from his very opening sentence. What struck us most is that there is so much similarity between guiding a sports team towards a golden medal at the Olympics and coaching employees to run the extra mile for better performance. And you know what? When you think about it, it’s all quite recognizable, quite understandable, so simple and straightforward.
So how can an HR coach improve the performance of his team members by applying some of the learnings that brought Marc Lammers and “his girls” to the top?
- Coaching is something you don’t do on your own. You need the support of other specialists. Because good coaching only comes with experience.
- Understanding the processes and measuring them is the key to success. It helps you keep your feet firmly on the ground and focus on what really matters to improve performance.
- When working towards improvement, make sure the team feels involved. Make them contribute to formulating the strategy. It’s all about creating an experience, a common commitment, together owning the plan for where the team is going.
- Focus on the strengths of your team members, not on their weaknesses. Motivate them to excel in what they are already good at. Think about how to take the 8’s in their assessments to a 10, rather than spending time and energy on getting the 4’s to a 6 and maybe never getting there.
- Innovate, think out of the box, dare to try completely new things based on insights, research, measurement and expert advice from different disciplines. And anticipate the natural resilience against new things by engaging the team in the process.
By applying these straightforward techniques, Marc Lammers succeeded in elevating his team beyond the ever-close-second disappointment. Why don’t we start applying some of these techniques into our own working environment? Would be a great new year’s resolution!
* Monster is a client of Porter Novelli
Signed by two new Marc Lammers fans:
Corneel Maes & Sylva De Craecker
On Twitter, 140 characters make up a message. That’s not much and some businesses, especially small to medium-sized ones, still think Twitter is a no-go. They say it’s too short, too uncontrollable and too time-consuming.
At first glance, Twitter might indeed not seem an ideal communication tool, but in just a couple of years it has proved the world that sometimes “short” is powerful. From its genesis as a basic online SMS service, it has evolved into a world-encompassing communication tool; Twitter users generate more than 200 million tweets per day, and the microsite often beats the most sturdy news platsforms in the world with speed and accuracy. And don’t forget that close to 750 million searches are performed on Twitter every single day, making it a toup-four search engine.
Communicating in 140 characters can be extremely tricky, and when done in an unconsidered or trigger-happy way, a lot of damage to brand and reputation can be done in a heartbeat. Here are 10 ways that brands risk ruining their reputation on Twitter and, ultimately, across their marketplace:
1. You have the wrong handle. A good Twitter name should be short, catchy, simple and recognizable, and refer to your brand.
2. You’re nobody except an egg on a blue background. If you do not tell people who you are and what you stand for, you’ll never reap ROI. Use your profile to show what it is you do and what you stand for. Include your location and website, and remember to use the C3 rule: be catchy, concise and complete. Also know that the default Twitter background with the impersonal “egghead” avatar is not the road to success. Dress up the bride. Stand out. Be sparkling, inventive, inviting.
3. You’re a robot or a zombie. Communicating from a corporate pedestal and hiding behind a shiny logo gets you nowhere. People want to interact with people, not with a brand. This is the engagement part of social media; So mention in the profile who is tweeting on behalf of your brand. You’ll be amazed how much more interaction is triggered by having real people represent your brand.
4. You’re selling. If you only communicate about your beloved product all the time, people will unfollow you faster than you can press “send.” People are not interested in your sales talk or marketing language. They are interested in finding useful content, hearing smart viewpoints and getting helpful tips.
5. You’re boring. People follow you because they think you might share good information with them, or because they want to build a relationship with you or your brand. So give ’em what you want. As a rule of thumb, divide your tweets in three buckets, one-third for conversing with people, one-third for spreading great content that others brought to you and one-third for bringing great original content to the platform. This optimal mix will allow you to boost followers, connect and engage.
6. You’re shy. Staying in your corner will not win any business or Twitter goodwill. Growing a Twitter account is hard work, and it requires commitment and a willingness to connect. The easiest way to get followers is to follow people. So search for and follow relevant accounts. So search for and follow relevant accounts. If you find someone interesting, check out who he or she is following and add some of these folks to your lists too.
7. You follow spambots and prostitutes. Tell me who you follow and I will tell you who you are, so be careful. When people start following you, it’s common courtesy to follow them back. That’s how a relationship gets started. Be smart about it though. Make sure you filter out the spammers, spambots, prostitutes and random bizarre people.
8. You don’t keep your house clean. Once in a month, do some housekeeping. Look to see if you’re following the right people back and if you answered all messages. Decide whether or not to keep people on your follow list if they are not following you. Ask yourself if the accounts you do follow are relevant in your Twitter stream. If not, unfollow them. Also, accounts that haven’t tweeted in 90 days are usually stone dead, so unfollow.
9. You’re rude. Yes, you have the right to disagree with other people and have your own opinion. What you don’t have is a reason to be rude or impolite. Deal with the message, not with the messenger, and disagree in a pleasant style.
10. You’re lazy. Remember that point earlier about unfollowing accounts that are dead? You’ll be unfollowed if you aren’t a regular tweeter. And remember that once you starte engaging, you’re in it for the long run and should never stop. Your social capital builds with every single tweet.
BONUS TIP: never tweet when angry, drunk, in love, upset, confused or high on emotion. What you put out there cannot be taken back.
Originally published in PRNews’ Digital PR Guidebook, by Danny Devriendt
Bull. Here is some advice from a grumpy old timer: turn it off. Set the privacy filters of all your social networks to the lowest protection. Throw those pictures and tutti quanti wide in the open. Let the entire Facebook community gaze at your holiday pictures; invite everyone into your Google+ circles, and get those tweets out in the open. Have a blast! Privacy was a myth of the 20th century…
Turning the privacy settings off will free you of that false sense of protection. It will make you think four times before posting. It will make you think if you really want your boss to see you without your tiny black bikini on an alcohol generous just-amongst-friends night. It will make you stop trusting your friends.
Because, trust me, friends cannot be trusted. The virtual ones I mean. These thousands of Twitter followers, these hundreds of Facebook people…. They are connections, not friends. And even at least one of your friends likely copy posts that privacy protected picture of you to someone else. If some people cannot keep a secret safe, than certainly not your pictures, most intimate thoughts… or wild frivolous fantasies.
So… turn those privacy settings off online, throw the curtains wide open! But, tighten your security settings offline. I have iron social media guidelines with my friends: on when the picture taking stops during that hot barbeque. And what happens with inappropriate taggers. If people do not want to be cast out of my social circle, they need to adhere to those rules. No pictures after dessert, no wild tagging… no exceptions. My way, or the highway. And yes, I check daily to see if everyone complies!
Trying to fix that crazy picture or sharp ranting is like trying to knit a sweater for a dead squirrel: it’s plain useless.
Have fun, offline and online… but let no-one check your rope for you. Only you can…
Originally posted on www.heliade.net
It’s sad to see how everyone, from markets, over journalists and influencers to White-Van-Man is overreacting when something terrible happens to one of the leaders of star corporations.
Steve Jobs passed away, and people all over the planet make his testament, and -in one breath- the one of his beloved Apple Inc. I’m sad that Jobs lost his yearlong battle against cancer. I feel for his family and friends. I feel for his colleagues at Apple, and I feel for the broad Apple community. The world lost a charismatic futurist. His loved ones lost a loved one…
But Steve Jobs is not Apple. Apple was never diagnosed with cancer. Apple never was one man. Hearing Bob O’Donnell from research firm IDC say that the timing of Jobs death is “unfortunate” gives me the creeps. What is a good timing then? Is it really better for anyone to read the obituary after the launch of the iPhone 5?
Analyst Chowdry from Global Equities Research said on abcnews.go.com: “Apple is Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs is Apple, and Steve Jobs is innovation, only God creates innovation.” God? Really?
Apple’s stock dropped 2.3 percent after the sad announcement. Earlier this year, when Steve Jobs asked for some privacy and time off to deal with his health issues, the Apple stock dropped 5%, instantly.
When Eric Schmidt announced that Google did not need his babysitting anymore, black hatting tweeps preached the end of the world, and Google-as-we-used to know it. Remember the day Bill Gates told the planet he would find wise ways to spend his capital, and would leave Microsoft in the hands of Steve Ballmer?
Let’s get real. Apple will survive Steve Jobs. That is why Jobs worked so hard. There will be Google after Schmidt. One might argue that Microsoft is experiencing a second youth under Ballmer. William Procter and James Gamble; William Hewlett and David Packard, have found their place in history books (and on Wikipedia), but P&G and HP are still very real.
France had Napoleon, De Gaulle, Pompidou… the US had Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy… The UK still is a great nation, even with Churchill long gone… Good corporations, and most nations, survive the change of leadership.
The King is Dead, Long Live The King. Life, even corporate life moves on. Historically, change in leadership opens room for new blood, new ideas, new challenges. Darwin would argue that change, of all things, generates evolution.
Strong charismatic leaders are important. But not more than that… It takes lots of people to make a thriving company. Antoine de Saint-Exupery voiced it perfectly – “How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on.”
Rest in peace Steve, we’ll miss you…
You’re not on Twitter yet? Ooooooow. That is bad. You really should be on this amazingly popular social media platform. You are missing out on more than you can possibly know. If you want to stay on top of things, get yourself noticed, evolve, grow and stay informed at all times, Twitter is the place to be. And because there are so many people on it, new users are even more scared to #fail. Makes sense of course. Twitter is “unknown territory” for a lot; a world on its own, and it takes a while to get to know it. So listen: I am prepared to help you out. I was in your shoes once, and I hated it. Below are 10 tips that will allow you to start off with a bang. And no, there is no need to thank me :-), but a #FF would be greatly appreciated (and to know what that is, see tip 10).
- The Twitter Handle: choose a Twitter handle that is short, catchy and referring to you or your brand. Keep it simple and recognizable.
- Your Profile: make sure you fill in your profile/bio. You don’t have much space, so use the right keywords to say who you are (work, hobbies, interests). Remember that this is the part that people read before they decide whether or not they want to follow you (back). So it’s important to use the right words.
- Tweetdeck: install Tweetdeck (www.tweetdeck.com) instead of working with www.twitter.com. Tweetdeck allows you to make groups of people (eg friends/colleagues/etc). This is far easier to monitor, especially if you are following a lot of people. Another advantage is that Tweetdeck allows you to link to your Facebook and LinkedIn account, a much more efficient way of managing your online social network.
- Start tweeting: because that’s why you are on Twitter of course. But don’t just tweet about anything. Tweet about something interesting you saw online, or what you are doing, but keep it short, simple, to-the-point and interesting enough. Give even more value to your tweets by adding a link or a picture.
- Start following: follow people you find interesting. People you can relate to and learn from. They can be people within your business, or people that share the same passion. They can also be people you would like to influence, like journalists, bloggers, politicians, etc. Keep in mind that when you start following them, there is a good chance they will follow you back. Make sure to check which people e.g. your colleagues are following. There is a high possibility that these people will interest you as well.
- Talk to people: don’t be scared to address people, even if you don’t know them personally. You do this by adding their Twitter handle in the tweet. E.g.: @dannydevriendt: did you know that… And like in emails, you can also cc someone in a tweet. E.g.: cc @dannydevriendt
- Be authentic. Don’t pretend to be someone else. Twitter should blend with your everyday world and/or work.
- Share: you can also retweet (RT) interesting tweets. To retweet something means you repeat a tweet from someone else. The person you retweet will be grateful for the recognition and the larger reach. You can do this simply by adding RT in front of the tweet. And don’t forget to thank people who retweeted your tweet. Showing twitter love will help you to grow your network.
- Use #hashtags: hashtags are a way to organize content. If everyone agrees to append a certain hashtag to tweets about a topic, it becomes easier to find that topic in a search. You can also use #hashtags to give context to updates that may not make sense otherwise.
- Give some love on Fridays: the #followfriday or #FF thing, is a sort of networking symbol by which you recommend Tweeters to your followers. In short: it’s a way of promoting your favourite Tweeps and Friday is the chosen ‘Compliment Day’ on Twitter.
And one final tip: stick with it. It’s hard the first couple of weeks, but once you get the hang of it, you will see it can easily become an addiction. A good one though. Just make sure you always think twice before tweeting. Because when it’s out there, it’s foreverrrrrr.