Dude to Dude – Bullying and Harassment is Not OK

The internet can be a messy, chaotic and unpredictable place. You can see some of the best and some of the worst of humanity on display … with the implicit understanding that we are all free to express our opinions.

Over time, many of us create personas through which we air our views and opinions. For example, I tweet using @servantofchaos but also use @gavinheaton – which has a different focus and audience. The ease with which we can setup these accounts often provides people with a false sense of anonymity.

But what happens when you witness bad or bullying behaviour? Do you say something, write, call it out or step back into the shadows of the social web?

I have always believed that to witness and NOT raise your voice in protest gives a silent nod to the behaviour you are witnessing. This sometimes makes for confrontation but often also leads to unimagined change. But whatever the outcome, speaking up at least gives permission for others to take your part or express their own uncertainties or fears – and that can only be a good thing.

Because the thing is … this is NOT just ONLINE. The technology is just another mask – and behind that screen is a real person.

Katie Chatfield shares a great video that provides some leadership. Jay Smooth’s Ill Doctrine blog is a treasure trove of in-your-face commentary on the nature of politics and masculinity. Here he talks about the appalling situation that confronted Anita Sarkeesian while running a Kickstarter project – finding herself the subject of a concerted and vitriolic sexist attack.

What I love about the video is that he addresses men specifically. One of my favourite lines (towards the end) is:

“No matter what scene on the internet is your scene, if you are a dude on the internet and you see other dudes in your scene harassing women or transgender people or anyone else who is outside of our little privileged corner of the gender spectrum, we need to speak up. We need to treat this like it matters. We need to add humanity into our scene to counteract their detachment from their humanity.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Take a few minutes to watch this clip – and then think about your scene – work, home, politics, sport, online and off. Find ONE way to add humanity into your scene and you will make this world a better place.

Your First Week of Blogging

When I first started blogging, I felt like I was living a divided life. There was “real life” – colleagues, friends and family – and then there was my “blogging life” – these great new people that I was connecting with all over the world.

Back then the “real life” people couldn’t understand my interest in my “pretend friends”. They could not understand the hours that I would spend on my computer. Of course, the real mis-understanding was that I was focused on the machine in the corner of my study – for in reality I was in deep relationship building with people on the other side of the world. The computer was almost invisible to me.

These days things have changed. Now I am often setting up blogs for friends and family – and watching them pick up, stumble and even sometimes power along with their online efforts.

With most businesses I recommend the development of a continuous digital strategy, and while the same approach can be applied at an individual level, most people aren’t ready for that kind of commitment. YET, almost everyone needs a framework within which they can understand what they are doing. They need something practical.

And for that, I always recommend connecting in with Darren Rowse. Australia’s very own ProBlogger knows his stuff – and his Guide to Your First Week of Blogging really helps you to get started. Of course, you could just trawl through the archives on Darren’s site, but most people are impatient to get started. So download the book and send me a link to your new site! What are you waiting for?

Even in B2B You Have to Think Like a Rockstar

Business-to-business marketing can often appear dull and boring. The messaging is subdued, the social media is lacklustre and personality? What personality, right?

Now, there are always excuses here – government regulation, brand guidelines, tone of voice or particular assumed audience needs. But these are merely excuses – not reasons. We should instead see them as challenges – for to succeed in B2B marketing, I believe we need to think like rockstars.

How does this work? Mack Collier has put together a great deck on the subject of rockstar thinking. He calls out four key points – but let’s think about these in a B2B framework:

  1. Rockstars are fans too: remember, rockstars don’t necessarily love their own music. But they do have inspirations, musicians and artists they respect. Pay homage to your inspirations – learn from what they do and bring their work and focus into the work that you do.
  2. Rockstars shift control to fans: if you are a rockstar what do you like to do? Yep – hang out with other rockstars. Think about ways that you can elevate your advocates – and empower them in unexpected ways.
  3. Rockstars find the bigger idea: what mission are you on? How are you improving the lives of people. How are you changing the planet? What is the difference you are making. Sure you can throw money at a problem, but what can you DO to change the game. Think about it, then DO IT.
  4. Rockstars embrace their fans: in the B2B world there are many stakeholders. How do you celebrate them? What can you do to recognise their help and their efforts? How can you answer their questions faster? Think about stepping out from behind the shadow of your brand to provide unexpected value.

B2B can be exceptionally funky – and can prove a fertile opportunity for out-of-the-box thinking. Do you have examples? I’d love to hear of them!

A Special Something

One of my colleagues, Ingeborg van Beusekom is something akin to a social media whirlwind. At one moment she is blogging, the next she’s sharing a link, an idea or a point of view. And then, before you know it, there is email, a piece of advice or a recommendation. She is certainly something. Perhaps that is what lies behind her Twitter handle. But up until now, her efforts have been locked behind a firewall.

Now Ingeborg is sharing her energy, insight and creativity with the world via her blog and Twitter account. The infographic below was shared earlier this week, but as you can see Ingeborg’s tweetstream is chock full of value – and her blog promises more of the same. Be sure to subscribe – especially if you have an interest or particular focus on B2B marketing. You certainly won’t be disappointed.


Don’t Target Your Fans, Target their Friends

sap-esmeDuring a presentation recently by Steve Sammartino, I was reminded of one of the most simple human behaviours – the short cut. Put simply, Steve told us, with no inducement humans will seek a short cut, a loophole, or way around a roadblock. We’ll look to “game” the system.

I think this is, in part, why we sometimes struggle with social media.

You see, social media is a great complex beast. It appears easy on the surface – setup one or more free accounts and go! But we all soon learn that growing a Twitter following is hard graft. We learn that our customers don’t always want to be our Fans. And that “being social” as a person doesn’t always translate to “being social” as a brand.

But I think this is largely due to our narrow focus – to our desire to take a short cut. Think about Facebook. We think – in our marketing world view – that the best approach to grow a community or fan base is to target our customers. BUT that isn’t social – that’s broadcast. That is assumption writ large. The underlying assumption is “I’ve got something for you”.

Perhaps, instead, we need to think about giving, pushing or delivering. We need to think about SERVING. How do we serve our customers needs?

And taking a purely social mindset, clearly the answer is to serve our customers friends.

Facebook and ComScore have teamed up to provide a new service called Social Essentials. If only 16% of branded messages reach Facebook users in a given week, we clearly need a different approach – and Social Essentials aims to bring the network scale to bear on this problem. For example, Starbucks has 23 million Facebook fans. Sounds big, right? But those 23 million fans have 670 million friends. Now that is what I call reach! But more importantly, it explains and commoditises what we too often call “influence” (and no, influence isn’t your Klout score). 

For the moment, Social Essentials seems to be about the measurement of campaigns, but there are big plans afoot. As FastCompany reports:

The service will, in the future, be able to track what kinds of products users are purchasing, what they were doing before and after seeing messages, and even what type of credit card was used–making it easier to conjure up savvy promotions that scintillate the particular pressure points of Facebook users.

Nike has called Facebook the “new TV” – and this new service sounds like it may just start delivering the digitally-verifiable reach that TV has claimed for decades. But it will become really interesting when this data is turned inside out and becomes available for real time targeting. I bet that’s what Google will be doing with Google+.

Curation is the New Black

When you really start to delve into a subject online it can be overwhelming. You soon find that we are living in a time of information abundance. There are not just the traditional sources of content – newspapers, broadcasters and publishers – but a whole new generation of individual publishers and content producers. We have bloggers like Darren Rowse who can turn their experience and expertise into significant business properties. There are brands whose efforts are showing traditional publishers a thing or two. And there people who just love sharing their thoughts, insight, expertise and observations.

But if content is king – then curation is the cutting edge. Yes, curation is the new black. And black is the colour de rigueur for any digital flaneur.

In a world where abundance rules, the curator’s taste is not just helpful, it’s necessary. It’s strategic. And a good curator can save you not just time and effort. They can simplify your life, sifting the gold from the slag. But perhaps, more importantly, if your curator is focused on your area of expertise, then it is likely they will be looking for the same vital insight that you are.


This is why I love what David Wesson is doing with his Social Media Strategist Scoop.It site. It’s like he is pulling the best posts from my RSS reader and publishing them just for me. And I can get the updates in my email, in my reader or on the web.

But curation is not just a manifestation of social media. It’s part of the fabric of our digitally lived lives. Curating content for your audiences, for your influencers or just for your friends allows you to tap into the Auchterlonie Effect – a way to create networks of trust and influence that will transform your business.

Take a look at what David Wesson is doing. Read Darren Rowse’s blogs. Then think about the strategic intent behind their efforts and how you can apply the same principles to your efforts. But there is one caveat – a good curator builds their focus around a deep understanding of their audience and brings an educator’s energy to the task. Don’t just fling content into a new web space – be selective. Show your taste. But most of all, show your understanding.

Ditch Your Fans and Find Your Lovers

UPDATED: Almost any article about social media that you read will focus on “likes”, “fans” and “friends”. At first glance, “social” media appears to have equated positive relationship terminology with relationship.

But when you look at the motivation behind “liking” a brand on Facebook – it’s decidedly transactional. There is a focus on discount and promotion, exclusive content and so on. Now, while a strategy addressing these desires will build your “fan base”, I’m increasingly sceptical that it will build you anything more than a glorified mailing list. In fact, researcher Dan Zarella has shown "The amount of 'conversation' that happens on your Facebook posts has nothing to do with the number of people who will see it" – suggesting Facebook Conversations Don't Achieve The Marketing Boost You Desire.

For those brands that want a little more from the investment they are making in social media, you need to dig a little deeper.  You need to look for those whose pupils dilate at the mention of your name.

It’s time to ditch your fans and find your lovers.

This is no easy task. You need to listen. Monitor. Pay attention. Dig. Analyse. Engage. Converse. Respond. And measure. You need to rinse and repeat. What I call continuous digital strategy.

But thanks to Sean Howard, you can now follow a step-by-step guide to using social media monitoring to find the people who already love your brand. The approach uses live data to help you truly understand who your real brand advocates are – and as is almost always the case (as is shown in the Nikon case study) – your most powerful advocates are rarely those with high klout scores or large follower bases. They are the people who consistently generate content and comment around your brand properties and digital assets.

I know this will make you cry – we all love the large numbers and the occasional mention from a social media superstar. But if you want to build lasting social media value for your digital properties, it’s time to ditch your addiction to “fans” – because when it comes to social media, it’s all about the love. Baby.

Escape Mediocrity

manifesto-image1 We live in a time where apathy has become a way of life. Where near enough is good enough. And where we only open our mouths to receive another spoon-fed morsel.

We have lionised failure and hardened our hearts. We’ve lost the art of adventure and dampened our curiosity, and cocooned ourselves in the safety of our own beliefs.

It’s a shame.

In fact, it’s a travesty.

Don’t you think it’s time we reignite and live by the daily miracles that make life worth living? Sarah Robinson does – and has produced an Escaping Mediocrity Manifesto. Check it out – and share what you believe.

How Data Creates Collective Action

If you have not subscribed to Mike Arauz’s blog, then remedy this quick smart! Dig back through his writing and plunder his brilliant ideas and analysis. I am sure you will find more than one or two things you can use to dazzle your boss or your clients.

But while you are doing this plundering, put your headphones on and listen in on Mike’s great presentation from the Next Conference. It’s the perfect way to round out your week!

100 Voices – 100 Years of International Women’s Day

I love this sort of thing … crowdsourcing and engaging super smart, articulate people, providing them a focus and letting them unleash their creativity.

Krishna De has gathered 100 quotes from women in business – all who contributed less than 140 characters. But even taking a quick glance you’ll be struck by just how clear and how powerful you can be in what is effectively the length of a tweet. A great way to celebrate 100 Years of International Women’s Day.