Ten Ways to Kill Community

Sometimes the best way of understanding HOW to do something is to think how NOT to. In this fantastic short presentation, Marilyn Pratt steps through the 10 things that you can do to kill off the community that has begun to grow around your brand (or products, services etc). There is some great insight that can be applied to any business’ community – and each point is backed up with the hard won experience of working in, building up and evangelising a large corporate community.

Marilyn is one of SAP’s community evangelists and knows first-hand what works (and doesn’t) – but does this accord with your experience? What other ways have you found to kill your community?

Social Media Experts Run Over By The Cluetrain

DampflokAlmost every presentation on social media that I see alludes to The Cluetrain Manifesto. Either that, or to the Obama campaign.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this – I myself am a huge fan of using the Cluetrain – but it is also important to use it IN and AS context. And it is also important to dig into the underlying meaning of the Cluetrain – and to use that to power your own ideas, communications and approaches.

But the problem that I often see is, that for all the talk around social media (from agencies as well as from independent consultants), very few practice what they preach. Very few proposals or strategies are written with a view towards business – they provide almost no support for the marketers who need to sell these proposals and strategies back into their businesses. It makes me feel like quoting the Cluetrain back:

As markets, as workers [and as clients], we wonder why you're not listening. You seem to be speaking a different language.

I was thinking through this as I read Mandi Bateson’s excellent post on “social media” and whether all the talk is getting in the way of clarifying the message – and importantly, are we discussing the topic with passion or with reason. You see, in general, businesses will get behind social media if they can see that it will work for their businesses. Their decision will be based on reason – on the facts and figures, the case histories, the reputation of the people in the room and what they bring to the table, and it will be based on relationships.

Businesses won’t get behind your ideas if you don’t give them a reason to. They won’t champion your project if you don’t provide them with the support and the ammunition to take on their own (internal) detractors. And they won’t know what they are missing out on, if you don’t make it clear or if you strangle your pitch with social media jargon. Remember the Cluetrain:

The inflated self-important jargon you sling around—in the press, at your conferences [and in your social media pitches] — what's that got to do with us?

Maybe you're impressing your investors. [Maybe you’re impressing your social media echo chamber.] Maybe you're impressing Wall Street. You're not impressing us.

If you are going to pitch social media – then be respectful. Don’t get run over by the Cluetrain.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

time to graduateAs we start to bask in the long shadow of the calendar year, many people begin to look to their futures. For the aspiring graduate, that means internships, the first job and kick starting a career. For others it’s about life, family and even career change. Does this sound like you? If so, these five must-reads from last week will be right up your alley!

  1. Julian Cole shares some tips on just how to land yourself an internship.
  2. Zac Martin, freshly minted himself, suggests that blogs are the way to go – at least for some of us.
  3. Matt Granfield reminds us that for every job in marketing/advertising/social media there are thousands of graduates. How do you stand out from the crowd? Take a look at his 10 step process for getting a job in social media.
  4. Alan Jones talks work and life balance and shares seven steps to finding your dream job.
  5. And if you are wondering whether it is time for a new job, you might want to take Ellen Weber’s Workplace Wellness test and see how your place of employment stacks up.

Don’t Let Malaria Slip Through the Net

A-small-boy-who-has-malaria-receives-fluids-intravenously-at-a-hospital- Malaria is a disease which infects between 350‐500 million people each year and kills more than one million. Most are young children living in Africa.

The thing is, insecticide treated bed nets have proven to be a cost effective way of impacting malaria, reducing child mortality in affected countries by 20% and illness by 50%. The nets protect children and their families from malaria mosquitoes – and each net only costs NZ$11.

UNICEF Undercover is aiming to raise $385,000 by the end of 2010. That will put 35,000 nets into the homes of those who would otherwise be at risk. Even one donation of $11 will make a difference. You can donate here.

A Cup of Chaos #25 – #Media140: Journalism and Social Media

Over the last two days there has been some great discussion around the impact that social media is having on journalism. I have been listening in to the #Media140 conference via a live Ustream feed – and in this part of the proceedings facilitated by Mark Jones, we get some interesting perspectives from Renai LeMay, Wolf Cocklin, Latika Bourke, Andrew Davies and Dave Earley. Some of the opinions and approaches arising from the various panels (more short presentations than discussions) have been fascinating. They are well worth a listen – and may just stimulate your own thinking this Friday!

On Generosity and Grace

I normally don't re-post articles that I write for the MarketingProfs Daily Fix, but I wanted to make sure that I shared this with you all. Generosity and grace is a topic that has been on my mind for some time – and something that goes, I think, to the heart of the transformation that we are seeing in consumer behaviour. It's also something that I touched on my post last night appealing to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to address the crisis faced by Sydney's Wayside Chapel

You see, social media – or what I am increasingly calling "participatory media" is not just about connecting. It's more active. It's more emotionally engaging than it appears from "the outside". It's COMPASSIONATE (more on this next week). It's about moving from emotion to thought to action within the blink of an eye, the click of a mouse and the shaking of a hand. It's why I think it is the future of your brand. I'd love to hear your thoughts on generosity and grace:

We are marked each day by the casual collisions that are the artefacts of our existence. There are phone calls, messages and the relative anonymity of online interactions. And in the search for connection, communion or community, we thoughtlessly mistake message for meaning, words for action and interaction for friendship. It’s a confusion of intention – and we are the poorer for it.

When I began writing my blog I did so with no expectation of return. Like a long-dead star, I felt that I was emitting the weakest of signals with no hope of a destination. The gravity of my expectations was as light as utterance, each word or post marked only by the steam of my breath.

But over time an unexpected, slow kind of success appeared in my orbit. Each comment felt like a gift, each email a revelation, and each face emerged from the ether to reveal some other – living, breathing, longing being.

Through words, through ideas and by sharing stories we began to find each other – you and I. And each time we brushed past one another we each revealed, perhaps inadvertently, some secret or grain of truth. And yet in losing some small essence, rather than being diminished ,we grew. We prospered. Not in the way of casual connection, but in more mysterious ways – for we were encountering ourselves by way of grace.

The paradox, of course, is that with every gift of self, with the free transmission of what-is-mine to what-now-is-yours, our gravity expands. Such reality requires new thinking on all our parts. After all, who among us has not looked with envy on the success of our peers? It’s as if the well-spring of success has only finite resources and each cup taken is a cup lost to us all.

But we are living now in a time and a space where both opportunity and results are being reconsidered. We are turning towards the hard face of generosity – where an act of grace is not just expected, but is a mandatory condition for a relationship to take root. We are mercenarily applying the judgement of our peers and their peers to the decisions that we make in business, as families and as individuals.

This does not mean that we are un-generous – quite the opposite. It means that your reputation precedes you. It means we act, not alone, but in cognitive unison. We’d like you to understand this. We’d like to help you make all our worlds better places. It starts by being generous. It starts with good grace.

Dear Kevin Rudd, Wayside Chapel Needs Your Help

Homeless people of Sydney - Rev Graham LongIt seems everywhere that I look that I see a problem I would like to help solve, an issue I’d like to address or a challenge that I’d like to take up. But after pulling together The Perfect Gift for a Man in support of the Inspire Foundation, kicking off the Age of Conversation III (supporting Make a Wish) and #Movember – I wonder how much more I can take on. However, tonight via Paul McKeon and Leigh Sales, I learned about the desperate needs of Sydney’s Wayside Chapel. Wayside is a charity that has been in the consciousness of Sydneysiders for decades – caring for and supporting homeless people around Sydney since before I was born.

Wayside Chapel Need $2 million

As Graham Long explains:

We are in a spot of real bother with our building. We’ve already lost the use of both levels of our theatre. It is boarded up and we cannot enter it. It is condemned. We have now lost the use of the upper level of our main building because of fire risk. The third level of our main building is jammed in every corner with our staff and I have to find somewhere to put them. The lower levels of that building are full of staff and programme areas … Our programmes are successful and expanding just as our building is shrinking.

To address this, the Wayside Chapel need not just good will, but hard dollars – not one, not two but probably THREE million dollars. Graham believes that ONE THIRD of that could be raised – but has turned to Kevin Rudd and the Australian Federal Government for help with the other $2 million. But there is a catch:

Every Federal Minister seems to know about us and love us and believe in our work, but we don’t seem to fit anyone’s category for funding. Unless someone can judge us with a broader view, we might be sunk.

It’s Not About Money, It’s About Relationship

Clearly the Wayside Chapel has community support. They even have political support. But neither of these things are turning to action. The immediate problem is not financial – it is a problem of relationship. What needs to happen is for someone, someone close to the Prime Minister, to put Graham Long’s letter into the hands of Kevin Rudd.

Now, if I had Kevin Rudd’s phone number I’d give him a call. Unfortunately, I don’t. But you know what? One of you might. Or might know someone who does. If YOU do, please pass on this message. Send a link to someone who knows someone.

It will only take you a moment. And in that moment you will help Wayside Chapel continue to change the lives of all those others that we, personally, cannot.

When Storytelling and News Meet

jawbone In amongst the pitches and requests that speed from my Inbox to the Trash, sometimes, just sometimes, comes something worth pausing over. An email from Todd Denis from Jawbone.tv made me curious enough to take a moment to check out the story – and I am glad I did.

Not only does Jawbone cover niche news topics in an engaging way, there is always a storytelling aspect to the content that they feature. For example, this article on Significant Objects is not just interesting in itself, but goes into the detail of how storytelling has been used as the basis for a social experiment – where a worthless object is transformed into something desirable (and valuable). Take a read.

What the experiment shows is that objects become valuable when a narrative or story is attached. That is, objects (yes, even social objects) are worth more to us, the readers, when it comes with a story. This is something that BTL advertisers and promotional marketers have known for years. The question here is how you and I can turn storytelling, objects and even events into an experience that our customers will pay for.

Oops, I think I just gave the answer away.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

StormWhen I look back over the previous week’s torrent of information, I try to find a theme that resonates with me. 

I look for an idea that jumps from one medium to another, that I hope will appeal to your radar – registering a point of interest or difference. 

Sure, I could go to the big blogs and pull their most read stories – but chances are you will have seen it already. 

My five must-reads are of a different order – they’re from writers with a particular point of view and are less about volume and all about value.

I hope you find them fascinating!

  1. A couple of weeks ago, Tim Noonan had the great idea of turning our regular coffee mornings into a something that lives beyond the Friday morning. His new site, coffee casts, contains interviews with our coffee morning regulars – and is a great example of how easy it is to double the value with everything you do (there’s even one with yours truly).
  2. What’s that you say? You don’t have time for social media? Drew McLellan shows you how he manages to be busy, productive and social all at the same time.
  3. Neil Perkin is always thinking and challenging his readers. This week he explains why clever people believe stupid things. Some great insight here about behaviour and action.
  4. Jasmin Tragas reminds us that Nancy White is coming to town – and that when it comes to community management Nancy has probably forgotten more than the rest of have learned 😉 Check out the dates here.
  5. Matt Granfield digs around the latest Toyota Yaris campaign and unearths some surprising similarities with an AWARD school campaign. Take a look and judge for yourself.