Tag Archives: media

Social Media and your Inner Self

21 Apr

Social media provides a window to your soul. Big words, but quite accurate really if you define soul in a sense, as your collective consciousness or the summation of your life’s experiences. Not the whole picture by any stretch; but only a peek that sometimes would not be possible with all the clutter of daily life. Not to mention the tendency for us to oftentimes put on masks or pretenses as a means for self-preservation.

But I guess this can happen only after your 300th post or blog or comment or so. By then, it has already become too difficult to monitor or edit your blurbs in any organized way. By then, like it or not your slip will show. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. For after all, you are who you are, unique and have something important to share that no other person can have– your ontology. I am sure, someone out there is genuinely interested in what you have to say or think.

We have these unique lenses conditioned by  experiences that will make us push that button to like a page or become abhorred by some topic or antic. We are moved to cheer, commiserate and even admonish by the new feeds, points of view, value systems. This is part of our being human, to engage with the community because we all have a stake in it.

With the social web however, this community just got bigger, and the exchanges richer. Hopefully, we will all become better for it. We hope this will lead to greater understanding and tolerance. If not, spark that move towards positive change as it had happened in Tunisia.

I once said that social media helps us write our autobiography in installments. And I hope that killer app becomes possible where I can simply extract all my past and current social engagements  and write that definitive book of  me.

I know even I will be surprised by what I may read. But that’s just me… love or hate it.

Social Media is a Two-Way Street

16 Apr

#SocialMedia is a two-way street. Media should flow from both ends, otherwise it’s just #broadcasting or worse, #narcissism.10:30 AM Apr 13th via web”

Can’t help but to twitter this one recently. I just felt frustrated that not very many still seem to understand, that Social Media need at least “two to tango”. It is not like broadcast media or the polished TV ad  that most marketers have played to perfection these past 50 or so years. It is new media that need to be  accepted in their own terms, warts and all.

Although I support that social media also need not take on one specific template that precludes all others; I believe strongly that we will not be utilizing to its utmost the true power source of the platform, if we turn it merely into a loudspeaker. Or in some cases, even worse, if some are allowed to make it into their instrument of narcissistic behavior. With their having discovered a captive audience, they must not be permitted to freely  insinuate themselves ever so aggressively into our lives. Just see those endless self- aggrandizing tweet streams to realize this.

So when we think of that next post, please remember that social media begins only after the first hello.

( Good or bad, let me know your thoughts here -https://twitter.com/rvbello, among others. I cannot commit to always agree, but I promise that I will always listen– B. )

To Innovate with Social Networks and Media, Bring it Closer to Home

19 Mar

I was recently introduced by a long-time friend to a CEO of a local company, a man at the helm of the family corporation established by his father. One thing that struck me during our  conversation–and as an observation during my stay at the corporate premises–was that this man recognizes family strength and deeply believes in the benefits of innovation derived from learning and in adopting advancing technologies in the industry they vie in.

Family Working at Home, November 1912 (New York City)

Jewish family working on garters in kitchen in tenement home, November 1912 (New York City). TRiver | Flickr | U.S. Library of Congress

From Offline to Online

I can sense that the business is something the CEO would defend at all cost from competitors’ slaying tactics and strategies. The business is his life. It would likely be so for his children and his family’s next generations. The corporation’s C-suite is composed of siblings or close family relatives. And the rest of the company–its employees–are treated as family members.

The company inculcates in its employees the values of the family–the company’s aspirations to continuously grow and progressively succeed.

The company is home-grown and regarded as among the leaders in its industry. It competes toe-to-toe with a multinational corporation, which is the acknowledged leader in the local market. And it is about to launch a wave of new offerings with an upgrade of equipment that are cutting-edge in the industry. For the CEO, that also means adopting the soft component of technologies to extend reach and engage with its b2b market–bringing the business through its bricks-and-mortar network online through social media.

The pathways to the decision to adopt social media wasn’t easy. In an initial round of conversations among company staff members, the dilemma was in identifying who should run the company’s online presence.

As most companies would do in starting to conduct business and engage customers online, the obvious choice is to tap function units in the organization with key employees who speak  the language of the trade at marketing and technical levels and are themselves, in their personal capacities, already online with their social or professional networks.

There are but two key staff members who they think are eligible.

I asked what the universe of the company’s networks are. At least 4,000 individuals and entities. Even with an ideal engagement ratio of 1:50–or 1:400 ratio in their case, with two key company staff members–that is going to be trying. But perhaps not for long if the company frames the fit for it to go social online.

The Prerequisites

One thing going for this company is that it listens. Listening is among the first steps toward adopting and innovating use of social media. The next and greater aspect to listening is being open and willing to experiment. And the third and greatest is an incessant drive to set standards no one else has–not even customers. This is a standard it sets onto itself.

In the course of the conversation, the CEO raised his concern about a 2% quality failure at their labs. He wanted to get the figure down. As an experiment, he “challenged” the production line staff to take on a wager that for a below 2% rejection rate sustained daily, he would put a part of his monthly salary to a pool of incentives that the staff can partake. This brings to fore the second point about listening: opening up opportunities and motivating people to innovate at shop-floor level.

But the 2% figure has remained to be so even after the challenge. So our CEO is moving on to a next experiment with a question:  What if we can go below 1%? This is now finding innovations in the company that would approximate zero-defect in his production labs. Compared to the closest multinational competitor’s quality failure of 10%, this is setting a gold quality standard in the industry.

Having listened well, having been open to learning and willing to experiment and seeking to establish a gold quality standard, our CEO and his company then deliver the incomparable advantage the competition will not and cannot ever provide the market, i.e., offering customers a replacement of damaged merchandise from its production lab errors. Competition, on the other hand, asks customers to sign a waiver of claims from damages.

Online to One’s Roots

Just how long would it be trying for this company to take on being social with its networks online? The answer lies in its ability to find the natural fit of its corporate values to use social media in any of its business processes–inside the company and outward toward its customers, whether in marketing or in the entire value chain of the business.

The foundation to succeed, to sustain success, and to be able to simultaneously innovate with adoption of social media is to practice it along deep company values and teach others in the company to do it in contexts that fit the corporate culture. A culture that then ripples out to its business networks–on- or offline.

In dealing with the social markets, a shared positive culture that reflects the company and one that goes beyond the walls of its offices have great potential for rewards.


Related readings:
Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business | Josh Bernoof & Ted Schadler
Control in an Age of Empowerment | Robert Simons
Sharing Leadership to Maximize Talent | Marshall Goldsmith
Why You Should Have a Hyperlocal Facebook Strategy | Jan Rezab
The Obvious But Uncomfortable Way Your Company Culture is Judged | Amber Naslund

Jennifer Aniston Sex Tape Reviewed

11 Mar

The Jennifer Aniston Sex Tape, on Youtube, is not what you think it is.

But you probably live under a rock if you have not come across the latest video created by Smartwater with movie goddess (yes, I can’t help it) Jen Aniston for the bottled water brand. It has gone viral on the net with close to 5 million views in three days. I know it’s manipulative s**t, but it’s also funny, features one of the more bankable names in Hollywood and if you got here, then I rest my case.

Most of all, it’s very instructive on how our search- engine- conditioned brains have been trained to filter information. We all know about advertising blah, blah, blah but then nothing beats the power a few emotionally-laden words to get your mind whirling. Do you still remember the infamous ” I Love You Virus”? Another formidable feat in social engineering made possible by our cultural programming and a Filipino computer whiz. Can we still rise above the sum of our socialization? Have we become web zombies? I guess the final arbiter will still be in the realm of social media, so you be the judge.

But I’m too in love with beautiful Jen Aniston to over- analyze a simply creative and funny ad for a water brand I will probably never even drink. But did those four magic words get my attention, you bet it did.  Partly because of my Catholic upbringing and mainly because people still believe in wishing upon a star.  If  this headline had  also caught yours, now you know the real power of  the Social Superhighway.

For my final word on the subject. Mr. John Mayer, let me see you beat this one.

Peace.

A Golden Rule Going Social with Social Media

6 Mar

When asked what the business rules about Social Media are, I am stupefied. I tried high and low to search what there is about such “rules” and even attempted to define what such rules are by labeling them “always-never” business rules.

I realized I cannot know what the Social Media business rules are.

There are numerous guides, experiences, recommendations, and great stories about successful ventures using Social Media. But it seems to me, after searching, there are no rules. What there is are practices that have worked in particular fields of industries that have advanced faster in the use of it.

One such field is media marketing, akin to advertising which is in essence marketing communication.

However, Social Media do not comprise all of the Social Web and its technologies alone.  It denotes three general areas of the social sphere of the Web: relevancy (by strict definition, usefulness); networks (people); and last, the media as the communication vehicle of people to exchange or share objects that are meaningful among people–at a certain space of time at a certain location.

Digital strategist Mark Smiciklas of Intersection Consulting depicts the social media as the tactic and mere tip of the Social Media Iceberg. He has combined the aspects of business, people, and efficacy of social media into a strategy framework–a balanced scorecard that stacks up a range of activities in the entire social media value chain.

Social Media Iceberg presented by Mark Smiciklas | Intersection Consulting

Social media tactics are merely the tip of the iceberg | Mark Smiciklas | Intersection Consulting

What lies underneath the use of  social media are strategic components to make the media work: how it really can work with people and how people must work it up.

Organizations that adopt social media may employ the best and brightest people. A lot has done it. And many businesses have deployed good social media marketing efforts.  But in many other organizations, people and strategy may be hamstrung by their own organizational inertia, multilayered hierarchies, cumbersome decision processes, lack of focus, setting off-tangent or mis-aligned goals, or simply having little perspective to tackle the complexities to take on a culture that promotes successful use of Social Media: being open or cutting across function silos.

Social media marketing efforts succeed because they are driven by marketers. That has always been the way advertising works. At a future state of maturity of Social Media in business,  however, gatekeepers of product or brand management may become at a certain point the bottleneck in catapulting the true potential of Social Media.

Book author David Vinjamuri, president of  ThirdWay Brandtrainers, states in his article “Want to Open a Dialogue with Consumers? Start from Within” that the challenge for many organizations is that in the last decade, digital and interactive media [social media in today’s guise], was often “greenhoused”–assigned to a small group with an independent budget.

Acting like media networks, with marketing akin to it, groups within companies who “own the media networks” come flat without real great block-timer shows to put up. There are always the social media actuators but with few social media actors.

Following the traditional media network mind set: while there might be producers of  ” shows” on social media, the shows must have a good concept, a compelling script, a campaign-able story line, and the most important component of all to have great actors who will portray the heart and soul of the story.

An audience to such great shows attach themselves to the actors–seldom with the backstage or production people–even with the show’s directors or producers.

The big difference though between media network shows and a social media “show” is in social media story, producer, writer, director and actor can be one and the same–whether they be people within an organization, or corporations, or individuals like you and me.

In his book Accidental Branding: How Ordinary People Build Extraordinary Brands, David Vinjamuri underscores the singularity of  brands’ stories as told by its creators. Such moving stories create new meanings as stories are passed from one audience to another. Audience becomes storyteller themselves. And on and on can stories ripple out to people who will build upon these brands’ new contexts and relevance.

In all so far that I have observed, nameless people are the true actors, our storytellers and audience at the same time, on Social Media–in their own contexts of space, time, and with their own things or stories to share.

There is not one shoe that fits. People are the Golden Rule of Social Media.

My appreciation to Mark Smiciklas for allowing me to use his Social Media Iceberg. And to David Vinjamuri who has inspired  me via his book and insights about Social Media in marketing.

Business and Social Media (Part I)

19 Feb

Talk about a love/ hate relationship. It’s like Britney Spears and the tabloids.

Business has always been first to recognize any developing trend. But it took a while before it started doing anything with social media. First of all, their systems were built around ironclad structures such as mass marketing, advertising and broadcasting. Tools that were made to be efficient for the greatest profitability. Tools that were designed for maximum control. Yes, greater control has been the linchpin of marketing communications for more than a hundred years. It worked best when it could dominate the channels of communication as well as find its greatest common denominator. This has meant buying primetime and  preaching to everybody that they should have long, black hair because the focus groups had said so. This could be done because business had made sure that the channels of communications were limited by barriers to entry, that included very strict regulation and megabucks to even play. They had so relished this role as the gatekeepers of thought and taste.

But then the internet revolution had changed everything. People started creating their own media channels to reach out to each other thus bypassing the gatekeepers. Costs and regulation were no longer any real  issue. So much so that people,  for the very first time, were truly at the driver’s seat. They now do not need to be told that they had to have long, black hair to be cool;  because having it in some other way could just be as radical. People had the numbers to prove this. The know,  because they are in touch with each other directly and THEY now own their media.

At this point, business had to take  notice because they realized that their influence is rapidly being eroded . It’s not about being bad guys because they really are not. They just had it so easy these past hundred years so that in an almost Darwinian kind of way, business had to just really adapt or else die.  And adapting was another thing that they were actually good at, besides spotting trends. And they had to simply bite the bullet.

Business, to again thrive in this brave new world, had to retool their systems around the new social thinking. Preaching to customers and control of media no longer worked. Persuasiveness, advocacy and consensus building did. Engagement based on honesty and authenticity was the new currency. Smoke and mirrors had lost their sheen, while listening and nuancing will pay  greater dividends indeed.

To understand social media, business must now necessarily be part of it. It must learn to be customers themselves. It must integrate all their traditional channels with the new media. It should monitor more closely than before, changing habits and taste. It should be in the middle of conversations. It should never scrimp on the process of understanding. And most important of all, it should learn to accept that it no longer can have total control. If it just kept all these to heart, then we are sure that it will get the love back.

Peace.

Social Media: A Possible Necessity or A Necessary Possibility

16 Feb

Social Media have been getting some bad press lately. Well, of course it depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting on.

The New Egypt and its great people have praised to high heavens the inestimable contributions of facebook & twitter to their unseating (pun intended) President Mubarak and helping the ushering in of an era of freedom for their country. It goes without saying however that Mr. M and his henchmen are probably sulking in their boots for not doing enough to close down early the new media channels for people’s interactions.

More recently, Justin Bieber’s  true “beliebers” have terrorized the twittersphere with vituperative rants after they didn’t get their candy bar from the Grammys.  Or just now, Mick Jagger probably woke up to see himself killed online with the “RIP Mick Jagger” buzz which had obviously proved a big, ugly hoax. The Godfather of Rock is not about to sing into the pearly gates, at least not just yet.

But for every little horror story about social life, one could probably rattle off a hundred more examples where social media had actually made a positive difference. Whether it was getting people to become more aware of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest or making it possible to catch up with long lost friends after a High School reunion, social media and networks have been mainly a force for good. I even remember how a friend had posted once that it was actually a gift that has allowed her that “much-needed break from the mundane chores at work”, an oasis in a sea of minutiae.

It may surprise many to know that the phenomenon of  social media is not even a new thing. It may have already celebrated its 30th anniversary if you counted Mark Granovetter’s piece, “The Strength of Weak Ties” published in 1973. You can therefore say that social media is simply a reflection of the very human need to reach out to our environment;  for even as babies we all longed to touch and be touched. The internet, new media and web tools have only enabled this process to move light years faster and created touchpoints that are virtually limitless.  In fact, I expect pretty soon that social media will  find its way more seamlessly in people’s consciousness so that social life will then be known simply as,  just life. No more duality, only one endless thread.

So to answer the question if social media are a “possible necessity or a necessary possibility”, to echo Bertrand Russell. I’d simply re-tell this little story from my Zen teacher:

“Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: “The flag is moving.”

The other said: “The wind is moving.”

The Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng happened to be passing by and he told them: “Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving”.

Peace.

Memo to Esperanza Spalding

15 Feb

I had wanted to call this blog post, “Social Media Beats Radio S**t”, but was prevailed upon by my daughter from performing online seppuku from all the irate Justin Bieber fans who are bound to descend on this blog with their devastating loss at the Grammy Awards last night.

Yes, if you still don’t know yet; all-time favorite Justin Bieber lost to mega talented but virtually unknown jazz singer/ bassist, Esperanza Spalding for the much-coveted “Best New Artist” category at the Grammys. But while Esperanza truly deserved the recognition more than anything; this post is not really about arguing musical tastes or hair styles but about the immediacy and power (no matter how misplaced) of Social Media, particularly Twitter in this instance.

Here is a sampling from the MTV “Clutch” Blog just a few hours after the Grammys ended:

“For a little while last night, Esperanza Spalding was given the middle name “Quesadilla” on her Wikipedia page by, presumably, a disappointed Justin Bieber fan. To the surprise of many, Spalding won the Grammy award for Best New Artist at last night’s ceremony. Justin himself handled the loss gracefully, but not so for the angry Wikipedia updater who added this to Spalding’s entry: “Recently, she won the best new artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards JUSTIN BIEBER DESERVED IT GO DIE IN A HOLE. WHO THE HECK ARE YOU ANYWAY?”

Lovely, right? That person is not alone in his or her disappointment, though. Much of the outpouring of dismay has been a little less vulgar (not all), but equally insane. Here’s a sample:

+ “Wtf is a Esperanza Spalding?” @PoeticMotionsz

+ “Her name is Esperanza Spalding. That’s like…a Disney Princess and a basketball. But congrats to her.” @kingsleyy

+ who the hell its Esperanza Spalding? -.-. u dont deserve that award b**** -.- @EspeSpalding sucks -.- @Allyitshere

+ “Congratulations to Esperanza Spalding for winning Best New Artist, I will now google your name to find out who you are.” @BeliebInTheBest

+ “Esperanza Spalding shouldn’t have won no one knows her, another b**** we have to google. Drake or Justin should have won.” @Maryam_9

+ “Esperanza Spalding said she was surprised she won Best New Artist “‘because I’d never heard of me.'” @BorowitzReport

Whether you agree or not with the badly-vented spleens of Tweens who worship his Bieberness, social media is here to stay and Esperanza better have a platform of her own to present her case. The good news is today more people, who seem to recognize real talent, were on Twitter to defend our “Best New Artist”.

The only real problem is that Esperanza said, in a recent CNN interview, that she even does not have an email account yet because she prefers receiving “manually written” communication (notwithstanding the presence of a unverified @EspeSpalding twitter account). Well, somebody in the artist management department better do something fast, because Social Life is here to stay.

“The Transformative Power of Social Media”

11 Feb

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden tells it exactly, when he talked about ” the transformative power of social media” in an address to university students, about an hour after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down to give way to a new government.

It was about the pivotal role that facebook, twitter and all of social media played in helping spark and sustain the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. There are simply no words to express what great power, people speaking with one voice,  amplified through the internet , can achieve save perhaps to see these images and sounds from Tahrir Square.

Special Sauce #3: Be Yourself

11 Feb

I remember having to take personality tests in school. They were quite long. Even if I wanted to skew the responses to my favor,  it was quite hard to try to fake it. The maze of ipsative questions,  somehow made sure that I would sooner or later expose my true self and give away my thoughts.

Flash forward to 2011, social media sometimes has the makings of a literally humongous personality test. Like the test I talked about before, we are in some ways led to make ” forced choices”, or similarly, instant responses to the tweets or facebook posts we receive. Although we try to put our game face on, something freudian slips out eventually.

We all know that there are “tools’ available today to aggregate data across contents and contexts, so that an almost accurate profile of the “persona’ can be extracted. Well,  we don’t even have to utilize  sophisticated software sometimes because  a lot can be gleaned even from mere choices of words and punctuations.  Like excessive use of  “… ”  perhaps to indicate someone who must have lived through the 70s (*wink*)

My best advise therefore if we  envision a life in Social Media, would be to simply just be ourselves. This will include putting our best game face on, for even that is truly part of  who we are. But remember… sooner or later, no matter how hard we even try… our slip will show.

Peace… man.

%d bloggers like this: