Here it is, Thanksgiving, and it is time to reflect on what we are thankful for this past year.  I could share with you how my heart is full of love for my family and friends, because it is.  But it is more appropriate for me to share with you what I give thanks for on a professional level.   This year I want to reflect on how truly thankful I am for the web evolution and revolution.

I am thankful that there are groups on Twitter and on LinkedIn that connect me with like-minded professionals, asking and answering questions that help me grow.  I am thankful that subject matter experts are providing free webinars to share knowledge on social media, marketing, and networks that increase my ability to benefit from Web 2.0 and that allows me to share this new knowledge with clients; we play it forward and that is a really great gift.  I am thankful that conversations happen constantly on web sites and I can make better product choices prior to a purchase.  And I am thankful that restaurant reviews can make my dining experience more tasteful than tacky.

Yes, the new web works for me.  I am in touch with family and friends far and near through Facebook, I am up to date in real-time on what’s happening around the globe through Twitter and based on my research, it is only going to get better.

Open sourcing is allowing companies like Google to improve new products before they come to market.  Just visit the next evolution of Internet interaction at Google, entitled “Wave.” 

And I am thankful for competition and how it drives innovation.  Today Apple’s iPhone is the benchmark for smartphones, and all hand-held technology.  According to PC World, Apple has approved over 100,000 apps and I am thankful that almost 20,000 of them are free.  But wait, there’s more.  We are the recipient of better products because competition is healthy, and Joe Wilcox, from Betanews is predicting that Google’s Android will take the top stop in mobile devices in 2012. Imagine that!

How many of us could have predicted we would be in virtual conversations and in virtual communities 10 years ago?  I am thankful for creativity and thankful for progress.

Here are just some of my favorite sites and sources (in alpha order) of which I am thankful.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?  Share your thoughts and hopes for social media’s future and what you appreciate about it today. Share your thoughts and thanks by leaving a comment. And thank you for reading my blogs.

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Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, an on-going student of social media, a good listener, a walker, a recycling expert, a dog lover, and a mother of the bride (read previous posts to learn more). Contact The W Group to discuss opportunities for improving the listening environment within your company or organization.

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Social Media – Know How

November 10, 2009

I am curious as to how you read the title. Did you mentally put a question mark at the end, or did you feel the excitement of an exclamation point!

Exclamation Point for Me!

If you read the title with an exclamation point was that because you are competent enough to be a “coach” to others, because you are “in the know” on how to use social media for a variety of purposes, and you are “in the know” on places to go, people to listen to regarding getting the most from social media.

Question Mark for Me!

And if you are in the question mark group, perhaps you are one of many who are struggling to understand social media. Asking questions like should I be engaging in social networking, or committing more time to online communities. Maybe you are wondering if there are really benefits to using it for your business. And maybe, just maybe, you are trying to put your arms around how to learn to use this new technology.

It’s All About the Conversation!

Whether you felt an exclamation point or you were hoping for a lesson on social media because of your questioning of this new world, here is the root of social media. It’s all in the conversation. I am challenging you, whichever side of the fence you are on, to join in conversation. Share your favorite websites, LinkedIn groups, people to follow on Twitter, etc. that have helped you grow in your knowledge on social media. For those of you wanting to join in but didn’t have anyone to ask, here is your chance! Post your questions. Let’s start talking about what works, what doesn’t, and try to help each other out by breaking down the barrier to social networking.

One request: please post your comments on this WordPress blog site where it asks you to “leave a comment/reply.”

It will be much easier to follow the conversations if they are all in one place.
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Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, an on-going student of social media, good listener, a walker, a recycling expert, a dog lover, and a mother of the bride (read previous posts to learn more). Contact The W Group to discuss opportunities for improving the listening environment within your company or organization

W small only   Driving to my weekly networking meeting I saw a dog walking down a major thorough-fare with traffic coming right up on it!  I stopped my car, put on my flashers and hoped my car, the dog or I didn’t get hit!  We all survived the moment, and now I had a beautiful Cavalier King Charles spaniel in my car!  Now this dog definitely belonged to someone, this is not your average dog—high maintenance might even be an understatement.

So now what do I do?

The first thing I did was take the dog to the nearest vet office to see if it had a microchip since it did not have a collar with tags.  No chip!  I did learn the dog was a boy and he was not neutered.  This is all important info which I figured would further define the dog’s identity when I was able to locate the owner.cavalier

 With three dogs at home I couldn’t bring this flea-full animal into my house.  So I took him to my vet where he would spend the day being pampered and receiving shots while I began executing against a communication strategy to find the owner.

How did I do this? 

First!  I made calls to the pounds, the local vets, I posted on Craig’s List, I contacted the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Society of Houston, and I send out a tweet to see if anyone was looking for a missing Cavalier King Charles spaniel. I posted in the “lost dog” section of Craig’s List that I found a dog (many details not included—see next paragraph).  I also posted on Facebook a request for a foster home for this cute boy as we have three dogs in our household and another would just be pushing it!

Next, I made signs.  Now since this is an expensive doggie, we didn’t put the breed on the signs.  We simple stated–Found Dog, Small Male, White and Tan. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx. I left off the breed, as you never know who is in the market for a high-end dog and would love to claim ownership!

I placed the signs strategically around the area where the dog was found. I chose a 2 mile square area to place the signs.  Additionally, I focused heavily around parks and schools, and major intersections.

Then our family waited. 

Nothing the first night but by morning a dog-lover who was walking her dog around one of the parks saw our sign.  She called!  She told me she saw a sign on a front lawn not far from the park saying “Lost Cavalier King Charles spaniel.”  Unfortunately, they had no phone number on their sign—their only sign in the entire neighborhood!  She gave me directions to the home, as I don’t even live in that neighborhood.  I drove over (without the dog), rang the bell, and asked questions.  I felt I had found the owners of our cute little man!  The owner was in tears and followed me to my house.  With many tails wagging, (my dogs included) the owner and the dog were reunited!

There are a few morals to this story.

  1. Have your dog micro-chipped (it doesn’t hurt, and it is not expensive)
  2. Always, always have a collar on your dog with your contact information
  3. Check your fence to be certain there are not any escape opportunities
  4. Put signs up and think strategically about where to place the signs and be sure to include contact information
  5. Use every opportunity you can think of to communicate you lost your dog or you found a dog

And what does this mean to you?

Whether you are looking for a dog, or looking to create awareness in your company or organization you need a well-thought-out plan.  Begin by defining your audience, hone your message to the audience, create a delivery strategy that matches the demographics of your intended recipients, create listening posts to identify if your audience is listening, and if they are not, immediately fine-tune your strategy!  Keep refining and measuring until you are happy with your results.

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A Public Note of Thanks!

I would like to thank my dog-loving daughter for her assistance is helping me with this lost dog endeavor. I couldn’t have done it without her!

Our poll this week is a test of your heart-strings!  What would you do?

 

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Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, a good listener, a walker,  a recycling expert, a dog lover, and a mother of the bride.  Contact The W Group to discuss opportunities for improving the listening environment within your company or organization

Social networking doesn’t just belong to the Gen X and Gen Y generations anymore.  The fastest growing segment on Facebook is now the 35-54 year old user—and that demographic includes the baby boomers! That specific metric grew at a pace of 276% over the last six months of 2008 which means if it continues at that rate, it will be doubling every two months![1]  Facebook’s community is growing older each day and with numbers like these, someone in your organization will be joining Facebook or another social network if not today, tomorrow!

With employees joining social networks the question “How Do You Feel about Employees Using Social Networks during Business?becomes very relevant.  As the employer what is your immediate reaction to my question?  Is it a “No, and I mean no!”  Or maybe you are thinking about rethinking your response, and perhaps you may be one of those who haven’t even begun to think about social networking at your company.

It is not possible for anyone to answer the question for you or your organization, but I can provide some food for thought!  According to a study in Australia at the University of Melbourne taking a social network break can improve productivity. This report released on April 2, 2009 states, “Surfing the net at work for pleasure actually increases our concentration levels and helps make a more productive workforce.”[2]

According to Dr. Brent Coker, the lead investigator of the study, Entitled Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing (WILB) can be attributed to people’s imperfect concentration.  “People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration.  Think back to when you in class listening to a lecture–after about 20 minutes your concentration probably went right down, yet after a break your concentration was restored.”

In a recent study by Deloitte LP entitled “Enterprise Value of Online Communities Yet to be Realized,[3]” they measured the responses of over 140 companies, including Fortune 100 organizations, which created and maintain online communities today. The communities ranged from fewer than 100 members to more than 10,000 members.

The Deloitte study found, “Communities can extend the edge of the corporation in truly transformative ways  –  tapping into new talent, helping design products and services, providing customer support and, most importantly, building the brand with the customer,” said Ed Moran, director of product innovation, Deloitte Services LP. “The survey data points to some growing pains, but companies are starting to see that online communities should be nurtured and leveraged for real business gain.”

So here is what I have garnered from reading the latest research:

  • People, including baby boomers are joining social networks at an extremely rapid pace
  • Social networking can improve productivity in the workplace if done in moderation
  • Using a social network for marketing purposes can provide talent development, innovative design production, and brand recognition

And therefore, the proposition on the table becomes how to marry these recommendations to work in your organization!  Can you do it?  Are you up for it? The W Group would be pleased to help you navigate in this new world!

I do have a word of caution:  be sure that if you develop this new element of business 2.0, that you avoid the pitfalls of social notworking! And that can be another topic for discussion later.[4]

 

Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist practicing internal marketing communications.  Her company, The W Group creates communication strategies that ensure employees, associates, and donors take notice and take action!


[1] Istrategy Labs  http://www.istrategylabs.com/facebook-demographics-2008-update-its-getting-older-in-there

[2] University of Melbourne, http://uninews.unimelb.edu.au/news/5750/, April 2009

[3] Deloitte LLC, http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/press_release/0,1014,sid%253D2245%2526cid%253D217168,00.html, July 2008

[4] Urban Dictionary, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Social%20Notworking&defid=3617456

We hear a lot these days about the popularity of social networking.What makes them so attractive?  I can define their success in one word: community.

A sense of community builds a sense of belonging.  Members of online communities such as Facebook, Linkedin, and mySpace define their success by their number of friends or connections.  Visiting social networks provide an outlet for people’s emotions and for sharing what’s important in their life at that moment. But will a list of friends truly define a commuity in the workplace?

You could build an online community at work, but most business leaders are still uncomfortable with that option.  Here is an easier, cost-effective solution, that your employees will support willingly, if well chosen. 

Find a project in your community that generates a sense of spirit, a sense of shared purpose, and a sense of belonging among your employees.  Being a good corporate citizen doesn’t have to cost you money.  Your employees can tutor in a local school, clean up an empty lot, participate in Habitat for Humanity, organize a food drive. The possibilities are endless.

Truly embrace the concept of being a good corporate citizen. You will begin to see behavior from your workforce that benefits your bottom line.maslow4

According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people are motivated by unsatisfied needs.  His hierarchy illustrates that lower needs like safety and security must be satisfied before attending to higher needs like esteem and self actualization.

Just look at the Maslow pyramid. If you want your workforce to be creative, to solve problems, and be confident, you must meet those lower needs first.

Building a community in the workplace must be grounded in your company’s mission and core values.  Your employees will respect your company more, and respect the leadership for creating an environoment of commitment to their community.  And with that, you create a stronger community in the workplace where values are shared and productivity improves.

During these turbulent and unique economic times, leaders must create a reality that provides basics such as safety and security, and a sense of belonging.  Otherwise, workers will not focus on the job at hand, but rather on protecting their personal needs. Move your organization to the top of Maslow’s pyramid and experience the optimal results of community.