Are You Ready For Cyber Relations?

Credit: www.lakeshore.wnyric.org

The internet is a very social place (as if you did not know that already).  In a paper presented at the First International Conference on Cyberspace, in May 1990, two very expert social guys, Chip Morningstar and Randell Farmer, reported that cyberspace was defined more by the social interactions involved rather the technology being used.(1)  And this fact has not changed.  The social currency of the internet is the communications between real people and the central characteristic of using the internet is that it provides a place where people can affect and influence each other.  

That sounds a lot like ‘real’ life (versus internet life), doesn’t it?  We join physical community groups around town to make friends, help others, learn things, and business groups, to advance our careers and meet other like-minded individuals.  Joining a digital group is no different.  Life is all about relationships, physical AND virtual, and today you have more opportunities to relate to others than you ever had before. 

Successfully leveraging your virtual relationships in cyberspace are not much different from leveraging those physical relationships that you have created at your local homeowners association or your professional organization’s monthly meeting.  You get to know people one-on-one and you also get to discuss things in a group.

I am sure that there are people in your physical community that you admire. And maybe there is someone’s column you like to read in the newspaper or watch on television. Today, many of those people are sharing their thoughts and expertise on the internet as well.  So, the first step in your cyber-relationship training is to follow a few of those people to get to know them better.  You do this by following them on the internet in one or more social networks (like LinkedIn or Twitter) and ‘listening’ to what they are saying and doing.  You do not have to talk to them directly; you do not even have to interact; just ‘listen.’  (By ‘LISTEN,’ I mean to read what they say on your computer or smart phone, and to pay attention to their news feed, or blog, or tweets.  This way you can get a deeper sense of what is important to them.)

Attitude Adjustment Homework #1: Follow People.*  Follow a few people (whether on Twitter, LinkedIn, Connections, what ever your network of choice), whose updates may be of interest to you.  You can always ‘unfollow’ them later.

(*Do you need help in how to follow?  Write a comment to this post and I can give you quick steps.)

(Credit for image: Lumaxart at www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart)Once you start following some people. the next step is to look at what groups/communities they belong to.  When you become part of a digital community, it gives you a view into the discussions of that group which can really open you up to a tremendous amount of information and knowledge that you might not get elsewhere.  You may be amazed at how much knowledge people share in these little discussion sessions.

Joining a few communities is a critical part of making the whole social internet thing work.

Attitude Adjustment Homework #2 : Join at least one GROUP or Community of Practice (on any social network site).

Attitude Adjustment Homework #3: Focus 10 minutes – 3 times this coming week on ‘listening’ and feel free to comment if you have something to say.

What will make the difference in your success in the social world are the conversations you have.  Moving from being a ‘local expert’ to ‘global digital expert’ takes active participation in conversations through social networks and on-line communities. Digitally, I rarely talk to just one client or colleague at a time.  I talk to multiple people simultaneously, across multiple time zones, all in real-time.   (The power is staggering, in a good way.)

I know that I have said this before but, an important thing about expertise is, if you don’t share it, what good is having it.  Expertise comes in the RELATIONSHIP of sharing the knowledge with others.

At first you may find it a little weird ‘stalking’ around and reading people’s status’ and such, but once you start doing it, you will realize that you are not only increasing your knowledge (because there are tons of really smart people out there doing really innovative and exciting things) but you are increasing your expert value, because you are one of them.

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

Endnotes

1. Morningstar, Chip and F. Randall Farmer. The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat. The New Media Reader. Ed. Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort: The MIT Press, 2003. 664-667. Print

Image 1 credit: www.lakeshore.wnyric.org

Image 2 credit: Lumaxart at www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart

4 Steps To Decide What Social Network To Join

Today’s Digital Attitude Adjustment is focusing on building connections: connections to other humans via the internet.  Social connections are the currency by which you build your social reputation and ultimately, your digital eminence.  Out here in cyberspace, communication takes place in the form of written words, pictures, and videos.  These are your digital footprints, the path to you.

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Building your online reputation all boils down to connecting with others.

No others = No reputation = No eminence.

What that means is you need to join and participate in at least one social network.

A common question I get asked is “What social network should I join?” and “Which social network would be right for me?”  I know it can be confusing so here are some thoughts to help guide you.

2973684461_8ecfb1dd10_zChart Credit Laurel Papworth  and Gary Hayes

* INVOLVE – listen to, live the social web, understand it, this cannot be faked
* CREATE – make relevant content for communities of interest
* DISCUSS – no conversation around it, then the content may as well not exist
* PROMOTE – actively, respectfully, promote the content with the networks
* MEASURE – monitor, iteratively develop and respond or be damned!

1.   Figure out who you want to connect with. (If you are a business, who is your audience?)

Ask what social media venues others in your organization or profession are using?  Different venues are good for different connections.  The leaders are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.  They serve different purposes for different people, but, if I was starting today, I would join Facebook for personal and LinkedIn for business. Twitter is really good too, but not everyone was born to Tweet.

I think my personal history kind of parallels the growth of social media, so here is a little flash back.

I started my journey into social networks back in the 1970’s with Usernets and Bulletin Board Services (BBS).  They allowed me to chat with others through online forums. The conversations were not interactive, like we have today, but they were revolutionary for the time. 

In the 1980’s I moved to online services, CompuServe, Prodigy, and then America On Line (AOL).  At that time I also was starting to use Internet Relay Chat (IRC & IRQ)) services which developed into Instant Messaging. 

Then in 1997 I discovered a service called “Six Degrees.”  This was the first site that I can remember that actually let me have a profile. 

I think it took several years (or maybe I was busy working and raising a family) but about 2005 I joined a new venture called  MySpace (it was big for it’s time, but I would not bother with it today);

In 2006, I moved to Facebook (where I still play with my family and friends everyday, sharing status updates and pictures);

I joined Twitter when it was an egg (2007 or 08), but I am only just starting to Tweet on a daily basis (and watch all the knowledge that flashes by every moment of every minute of every hour – thanks to my new very social friend at Kenexa (an IBM company), Bruce Kneuer, Social Media Manager).

I have been a member of  LinkedIn since 2009, but , like many people, I thought it was only for job hunting, which is not true anymore, so I am using it much more (a shout out to Social IBMer Ben Martin, who has some great blog posts to help you use LinkedIn).

I started my pet blog,DogDaz, on Tumblr in 2010, but moved it to DogDaz on WordPress in 2011, which is a better platform for it.  I still do Tumblr but only go on to reblog the great pictures that people post.  

I ‘pin’ sometimes on Pinterest, but mostly I watch what my kids have on their boards.

I belong to several groups in LinkedIn, as well as other communities of practice I belong to, but am getting ready to pare down because I have to many.

 I am also active within my company, IBM, on our internal social space called Connections.

This of course is separate from all the email spaces that I use for the blogs, personal, and business (AOL, gmail, and Lotus Notes).  Oh Yeah, I do have a Google+ account but have not had the time to research it’s value for me yet. 

I tell you all this because, different venues serve different purposes. Now you are probably really confused, so read step 2 below.

2.  Do your research and experiment.

I joined different networks over the years, but only one at a time.  This way I could observe and listen for a while to see how the network worked, what was being discussed, and where I might want  to put my few precious comments.  If you do your homework in Step 1 above (What are other people you know using? What is your professional organization or business group communicating on?), you may get your answer quickly.  Like I said, the winners today usually are LinkedIn and Twitter if you want business like connections.

3.  Set goals and manage your time.

Social media can suck up all your time if you let it, so be clear about why you are using it and how much time you have to devote to the activity every day.  A timer really does work, so get one!  Twitter and Facebook demand more time to be active on than LinkedIn or Pinterest.  Be real with yourself about the time you will have to devote to the medium.

4.  Don’t spread yourself too thin.

You really have to prioritize what you are doing.  You do not need to be on every social network, and you do not have to use them every day.  It is better to be on only one social network and have good participation, then to be overwhelmed and not participate at all.

The only way you build your social reputation is by connecting through social networks. If you are not connected, you need to remedy that right now!   Without virtual connections, you basically are talking to yourself.  Sharing information without connecting is meaningless.

YOUR ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT HOMEWORK: GET CONNECTED

For a great exercise in connectivity and human relationship building check out “Leading With Intention,” a blog by Vicki Flaherty, a fellow IBMer..

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

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What Are Your Reading This Weekend?

Sir Winston Churchill said, “So little time, so much to do,” but I must modify that to “…so much to read!”

girl_reading_school_book_sm_wht_31368I may be on the laptop for hours and hours reading articles and blogs and teleworking all day, but there is something about paper under my fingers, and walking into a real brick and mortar book store that just fills my heart. There are so many books that I have been wanting to read, so I thought I would go pick some up last night (literally).  Here is a list of several books, some which I have read, some I am reading, and some I am going to read this year.  I compiled this short list from personal experience and researched reviews to help on this journey to understanding self, brand, and how to take a place in relationship to the new social paradigm. I hope you add some to your stack and feel free to add some to mine.

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READ:

Dale CarnegieHow To Win Friends And Influence People: Written in 1936, I have my fathers original (he dated it 4-9-37). Dad was a dress salesman in New York City.  I have read this book a zillion times since I was young.  It still is one of the best business books you can read because it is all about the art of the relationship, the network, and good old communications. (Post script:  My Dad was born in NYC in 1912, and has been gone 15 years last month.  He went from nothing (literally) to owning his own dress manufacturing business in the ’50’s.  Thanks Dad for setting me in the right direction.)

Arbinger Institue – Leadership and Self Deception: I recently read this for a leadership class and I thought it was an interesting way to look at how we box ourselves into believing our own story (whether good or bad) and then swirl people around us into our own self deception.  A good airplane read that will make you look at your internal conversations and how they affect your relations to others.

Spencer Johnson – Who Moved My Cheese: This little story helps you look at how you deal (or don’t deal) with change.  Change is the only constant we know, but the only one that likes change is a baby, they scream for it.

Richard Bolles – What Color Is Your Parachute?: The first time I read this was in college in the 70’s.  I just had my step-daughter go buy the newest edition, since she just graduated college, and the self examinations and practical guidance is a great tool to help you hone in on what it is that you really would like to be doing for your career and what you are best suited for.  Self-knowledge is what the brand of you is all about.   This is a good starting point.

ON THE NIGHT STAND: 

Marshall Goldsmith – What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There:  This is really pushing me to look at how I take what I know up a notch.  I’ll let you know how it turns out when I am done.

Reid Hoffman – The Start Up of You:  On the night stand, waiting for me to finish “What Got You Here”

WAITING TO READ:

Seth Godin – Permission Marketing Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers

Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point 

Simon Sinek – Start With Why 

Dave Kerpen – Likeable Social Media

Jim Collins – Good To Great

Partrick Lencioni – The Three Big Questions For A Frantic Family

Sheryl Sandberg – Lean In 

Ben Zander – The Art of Possibility

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Please let me know what you think, and comment with any adds and ‘don’t bother to reads.’ 

What are you reading this weekend?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

Today’s Attitude: Baby Steps

womanatdesk.gifTruthfully, creating and maintaining personal digital eminence is a lot harder then I ever thought. Developing eminence for a product or service seems like a piece of cake compared to self promotion.  But wait… I am the product now.  I am “The Digital Attitude,” the brand called “Lorian.”

For those of you that are following along with my journey, I realize that there is a tremendous amount of work to do, so I am going to need to do it in baby steps.

My first 24 hour’s attitude adjustment included:

(1) Reading the following stuff; Luis Suarez’s Blog – ELSUA.net.  Luis is an IBMer and his main focus is living social and working without email (It’s a cool concept, don’t you think), and, I am reading everything I can find by Chris Brogan.com , a guru on everything social and successful author.

cropped-summer122.jpg(2) I spruced up my LinkedIn profile (more on how in a future post), including a new picture.    My LinkedIn Adviser, a wonderful British gentlemen named Social Ben (Ben Martin), told me that profile pictures look best with a BLUE TO WHITE GRADIENT background.  Blue says ‘trust’ and White says ‘purity.’ I don’t have a professional business picture and I could not find one with a light background, so I am hoping this one works for now.  I guess I may have to invest in a professional shot.

What do you think?  Would you trust that face? –>

(3) I have been learning a great deal about tagging and keyword control.  I plan on blogging about that very soon.  I went and tagged my profile with a whole bunch of relevant keywords so that people can search me better.  If people can’t find me based on key words, then my profile is kind of meaningless. (I looked at what some other people had on their profile to get an ideas.)

(4) I went and endorsed a few of my colleagues for their skills on LinkedIn, so that I can help them adjust their digital attitude a little too.

If I have any time before I go to sleep I am going to try and follow a few strategic leaders, like Ginni Rometty (remember I’m an IBMer), and start to comment on what she discusses (if I have something relevant to add).  Comments help you build more eminence day by day.  (I think I am getting the hang of this.)  I also am going to take a deep look at my lack of network connections on both LinkedIn and Tweeter.  (I have a lot of work to do.  I think this week, I will make an Attitude Adjustment Plan, so I know where I am going.)

Doing all this stuff really is starting to set me off balance with my work/life things, and I know there must be a smarter way to incorporate social into my schedule. Are you with me?  Are you starting to make an Attitude Adjustment Plan to build your digital eminence? Are there topics you think I should explore?

Thanks for taking the journey with me.

digitalattitudesmall

See you in the Cloud – Lorian

(All views are my own)

Taking Out The Digital Garbage

maidYears ago I used to Google myself (did I really just use Google as a verb?) every couple of months.  In those days, before Facebook and LinkedIn, all the good newspaper articles with my name in them and business highlights would come up at the top of the list.  Now I Google myself about once a week, and find that the Social Media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) and years of accumulated digital clutter have taken over the first page.  I don’t want to be defined by things like my local Homeowner’s Associate Newsletter just because it mentions my name 3 times and some search engine picked up the feed – that to me is DIGITAL GARBAGE.  Internet search engines go out and pick up every instance of my name, so what I get is a lot of stuff floating to the top that I don’t want seen first, if at all.  Have you Googled yourself recently?

Today’s digital attitude adjustment will be to figure out how to take out the digital garbage.  I want people to see the stuff I think is more important on top.  I am not sure how to go about this, but I will get back to you later and let you know what I have found.  There is a whole industry around this for businesses, but what about for simple, hard working stiffs like me?  Are there secrets for us regular people for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?  Controlling my personal information is important, but it seems almost impossible at times.

How do you take out your digital garbage?  Suggestions welcome. -Thanks

digitalattitudesmallSee you in the Cloud – Lorian