09 November 2009

Historic Moments Revisted

Returning from a delightful and long overdue retreat with my husband to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, I paged through the news to what was happening over the weekend while we blissfully "checked out." A picture of a women standing in front of Checkpoint Charlie 20 years ago with hope-filled eyes and a charming smile brought me back.

I was sitting in "German for Foreigners" at Universitaet Salzburg on my year abroad when classmate, Elena Cooney, handed me a note. I opened it to read the words, "Do you want to go to Berlin?" Having woken up late, I had not read or heard any news, but nonetheless always up for an adventure. My response was, "sure, why Berlin?" Her simple response started my heart racing and lead to plans being made and us deserting our unfinished class. "The wall came down." Was all she wrote.

We agreed to rendezvous at the train station as soon as possible with bags packed for the weekend and passports in hand. We made it as far as Munich before we realized that we were not the only ones with the same intentions. Not a spot on a train to be had heading in that direction. Despite our disappointment, we settled into our pension and headed into town to be feel the buzzing city that soon would become part of the united Germany.

Just to be a part of the moment, to feel the vibe of freedom, was truly exhilarating. There were Trebants "zipping" around with their lawnmower-like engines and folk flowing in from the former Eastern block. We settled into a funny little pub called Zum Bärin. We sat drinking Jägermeister with a priest from Czechoslavakia and dozens of others who were newly arrived "on the other side" for the first time in over 40 years. Being part of such an historic moment was like nothing I have ever felt before or since.

I made it to Check Point Charlie a couple of months later. I chipped my obligatory pieces off the wall to keep as souvenirs. Crossing the border I was welcomed with smiles and open appreciation of my being an American. (Something I had not felt before then.) I was fascinated by the sharp contrast between the two sides, one so vibrant and new and the other so gray and deteriorated. I look forward to returning to Berlin to see what I understand is a completely transformed and exciting city.

Where were you when The Wall came down?

28 October 2009

Solidarity Unobserved is Destructive

Women Behaving Badly from Pink Magazine 2006I have been holding off on writing this post, because I try to look at the positive in every situation. But life is now always a bed of roses, and even if it is, there can be thorns. In my work I teach effective networking and collaborative techniques and tools. I meet many wonderful people and I am inspired by everyone of them in different ways. We all have our reasons, be it a bad day or simply a personality conflict. My good intentions can be perceived as aggressive or controlling. When I am passionate about the work that I am doing, I tend to go full speed, which may not be the pace of those observing or taking part. So, I admit, this may be brought on by myself. None of us are perfect, after all, certainly not me.

The purpose of this post, is rather to "get it off my chest" as well as to remind others to think about the impact of their actions and reactions. It saddens me to think that my behavior might cause someone reason to be mean and disrespectful. Especially when they do not simply impact me, but others who benefit from my work. I don't care if everyone likes me, after all I don't like everyone either. If we spend all our time pleasing everyone, someone always gets burned, and we burn out. But I do try to be considerate of others and the impact of my actions, regardless of whether I "like" them or not.

I will not name any names and do not need to, as that is not the point here. But I ask that each of you in response take a moment to think before you act. Try to understand the intentions on those with whom you interact before reacting. We can accomplish so much more together when we do just that. It is more productive and far more enjoyable. I promise I will do the same.

Interesting article on Women Behaving Badly in Pink Magazine has some great ideas and thoughts on this topic. (note: image above from this article)

23 October 2009

Social Optimization: Making the Most of Your Relationships

This presentation is from a three part class I recently taught on social media strategy. It was designed for a particular audience, which was business school students and entrepreneurs. The last slide provides a basic exercise for getting started on building a stronger foundation for your social strategy. I am revising the second two parts (Social Media & Implementation) for a more general audience to upload shortly. The class name has since been updated to "Social Business Strategy." Please feel free to contact me should you be interested in learning more about this class and supporting materials.

15 October 2009

Wealth Acceleration and BPW Malmö

Last nights BPW Malmö meeting with Liselotte Molander presenting on Quantum Wealth Acceleration was a great success. She inspired us to look inside ourselves for the answers to our wealth issues. We saw demonstrated and felt the impact of her teachings. Clearly we all could use more of this. Her positive energy and enthusiastic story telling teaches complex concepts with beautiful and simple fluidity. What a treat to have such a talented speaker who I feel fortunate to call my friend. Thank you Liselotte for sharing your work and your time with the rest of your BPW Malmö sisters.

We have many new guests last night and six of them joined the club after the inspiring experience. We really are finally making traction. I am so happy to see the quality and engagement of the women that have chosen to take part in BPW Malmö. It was only a year ago that we talked about bringing the club to Öresund and now we are over 33 dedicated members with regular guests and the word spreading. Nearly half the club has an international background personally and all have an international professional background. More good things to come and a great team to do it with.

22 September 2009


Another Business and Professional Women (BPW)Congress completed and more great memories and inspiration collected and shared. The European Congress took place in Munich and gathered members from members from around the map. Thanks to the hosting committee for their wonderful efforts and the attendees of my workshop on Social Media for Non-Profits for their enthusiastic participation. Liz Benham, BPW International President, emphasized the importance of participation and having a voice and sharing best practice.

Marianne Platnner spoke of the mentoring task force and the ideals of successful mentoring programs. She depicted it beautifully with the tandem bike in that the mentee (in front) steers and the mentor (in back) helps when the come to a steep hill, but for the most part it is mutual effort.

Sabine Schmeltzer said it best when she presented BPW Switzerland's their "Code of Solidarity" and "Just do it" program at the BPW Europe Congress in Munich. We sometimes need to be reminded not to be our own worst enemy.

"Code of Solidarity"
1. Say "No" to negative thoughts and jealousy
2. Be proactive - take the first step
3. Speak up when women are put down
4. Help uncover women's hidden potential
5. Always play fair
6. Be objective, don't get personal
7. Support other women whenever possible
8. Praise openly and unsparingly

"Just do it"
1. Overcome restrictive doctrines
2. Recognize your strengths and discover your potential
3. Pursue your goals. Don't get discouraged by set-backs
4. Stick to your opinion and set limits
5. Resist perfectionism
6. Convey presence and competence
7. Seize your chances
8. Put yourself in the spotlight
9. Celebrate your success
10. Use your network for support

19 September 2009

Writing for a global audience, hello "z"

I finally give in. As a serial expat, my American language has become influenced by British and European English resulting in my spelling going to pot. Working with Social Optimization does not help given its blatant exposure of my weakness. So, I give in. I will use (or at least try) to return to my American roots and spell with the "z" of my childhood. I must admit I am attached to the the softness of the s in "optimisation" so it will be with regret. I have received sufficient flack from both family/friends and readers now that I must decide. On top of it all is the fact that in order to optimise for search engines, I must use the more common spelling. So forgive me if I slip up every now and again. From now on you can find my work under social optimiZation. But fear not, I will not become a ForbeZ.

18 September 2009


In an effort to make the reading experience more efficient and interesting for my readers, I am doing some housecleaning. The blog on 2BalanceU's activity in Social Optimization regarding social media strategy from the technical and business perspective will be moved to blog.2balanceu.com. I will move some of the previous entries on this url to that location so as not to create a situation where you must toggle between them. This url which will be shortened to wsw.2balanceu.com will continue to have entries regarding my work in empowering women through knowledge sharing, which includes teaching social media strategy for entrepreneurs, international humanitarian organizations and networks. Please let me know if you cannot find what you are looking for, as I will be backing everything up in the process.

15 September 2009

Q-Day Opening with Teitur

Enjoy the fabulous opening to Q-Day while I try to edit together footage from great presentations on innovation, creativity and conscience byHesslow, Persson, Mullis, Tunick, Albertson, Blackmore and Bushnell.

14 September 2009

Keeping Social and Keeping Up

I am reminded by my colleague as we sit and work on the book about "Social Optimisation" that the biggest struggle that we all share is too few hours in the day. Trying to keep up with blogs and tweets, curriculum development for classes, presentations to tweek to specific audiences and deliverables for consulting clients becomes a bit of a balancing act (pun intended), not to mention having a life and keeping healthy (which by the way is not optional, its required in the social optimisation equation). Yes, even those who work with balance can become off-balance. But this only fuels my fire, so to speak. The more effective the tools, the easier to take the best of what there is to reuse where applicable and apply where needed. The beautiful thing about social is that we all use it in most of the areas of our work. It is about people communicating with people. The message and the methods may change, but the base principals are the same.

I have decided to try some different tools that might make the message simpler and cleaner, video. So keep posted, for video blogging to come. (Of course, the drilling above my office might make this a challenge, I will do my best.) Tomorrow begins "Q-Day" that leads up to "Innovation in Mind". So, I will be blogging and "V-blogging" during the day and we will see if this works well.

Stay tuned....

07 September 2009

Social Media for Non-Profit Organisations and Networks

"Where do we start," is the common question I get at workshops on social media for global networks. The struggle that many have is partially based on a technology gap, partially quick turnover of volunteer boards, and often too much fear of getting out of the comfort zone. This leaves much room for knowledge to be lost and information to get caught in transitions and never shared. In my workshop on PR tools at the BPW Europe Congress yesterday, the discussion was quickly diverted to what are the tools for, how to use them effectively, as they were all perceived as channels. The beautiful thing about the way things are evolving, social media tools are, in general, user friendly and free (non-profits love this). So here is one way to simplify the recommendation:
Firstly, with each of these tools there must be an account that is shared by the club to access and a record of which tools are being used. This will simplify the archive and tracing process during handover of new boards. This can be done by creating a free gmail account which forwards to those currently responsible.

Second we select the content to be shared. This does not always have to be created, as it may have already been created by others (interviews, photos from events, in the press, links to products, services, articles, blog posts,...). Write your commentary and questions in text format and save for insertion.

Third we send these through translation tools that will host the dynamic content and provide an embed code or link to it to insert when you broadcast.
Here are some examples of translate tools that I have found effective:
  • Links: http://bit.ly Shorten urls so that they are easier to share.
  • Presentations: slideshare.com Converts Powerpoint presentations and images and hosts them, providing a, embed code
  • Documents: Adobe Acrobat, from Word download the conversion tool to make any doc a pdf
  • Video and Music: YouTube.com Upload video to host on YouTube, can use the direct link or create an embed code
  • Pictures: picasa.google.com Upload your images and create an album to share via link or embed

Fourth step is to take ownership of these tools and provide them context. You can do this through creating a press release uses the links and embeds to enrich the content. This can be broadcast through onlineprnews.com which with the free version will broadcast and the fee based will optimise it for search engines (determine which is best based on the importance of the reach and accuracy in targeting required for the particular message). Maintain a blog that can be linked to your homepage where your editorial, and content can be compiled and broadcast. Both Blogger and Wordpress are free and easy to set up and use.

In between these lies the infamous twitter. Do not use your personal twitter, keep a separate account for the organisation for relevant, contextual only tweets. They can be managed separately using tools like tweetdeck. Tweetdeck will also enable you to shorten urls within it, so that you can share individually elements of the content (from content host links, above) or the full summary (press release or blog). This is important as you are limited to the 140 characters. You can also embed the twitter profile and tweets in a sidebar of the blog or website by using a badge. If you are new to twitter, keep in mind to stick with format of headline and link only. To avoid "ego" only tweets, refer to other links in context outside of organisation.

Next you have the channels which here is just to name a few. The key is to understand where your audience is interacting and have a presence there, whether it be in the form of a group, a fan page, a separate community or site. Here are some of the ones that I use and their different purposes:
  • SOCIAL: Facebook is a great tool for social interactions that have extended and local reach. Just remember that the interaction is social, not professional, so unless it is of personal interest to the audience, it is not appropriate. As an organisation you can create a Fan Page that Facebook members can join to hear news, give feedback and share their appreciation of with their friends.(note: rule of thumb for connecting on Facebook, only do so if it is someone that you would ask how their family is, not just as a conversation starter, but because of genuine interest).

  • PROFESSIONAL: LinkedIn is the best tool for professional referal and reputation management. Create a group to where you can have interactive dialog, update when there is new content or news of note or interest to others. (note: rule of thumb for linking on LinkedIn, only do so if you have an interaction or experience to base a referral on to ensure the integrity of your network. When you refuse, do so politely leaving the door open for when you have that interaction or experience).

  • ~Xing is a hybrid of the social and professional that also encourages local communities to create face to face events. Most active in German speaking countries but does have global coverage.

  • Homepage: Provide a space to announce your presence and link to them on your homepage so that your readers know to look for you there. Also be sure to provide the opportunity for your readers to share content via both RSS and tools they are using (try adding ShareThis). If you already have a community or blog, make sure to integrate the new content regularly).

  • INTEREST: Ning is a free online community building tool that can be used for both professional and social purposes, depending on your need.
Lastly, but very importantly, once you get to your audience, you need to remember that it does not stop there. To be truly effective, monitor and measure who your reader is and their behavior. Google has two great tools for the monitoring (Google Alerts) and measurement (Google Analytics): I am currently evaluating some of the more indepth tools that are coming out onto the market for measurement. This is a critical step to understanding our effectiveness and continuing improvement. You can always ask them directly if you know your audience or embed a survey in one of your communications via SurveyMonkey.

As we all know these tools are constantly evolving and new ones come to market daily. The recommendations made in this posting are simply what I am using today. I welcome your thoughts on others to try.

31 August 2009

Why We Engage

In trying to understand better just why and how social media is better at engaging us as individual users, I have been looking into several different theories often applied to education technology. So here is a first shot and please feel free to put in your two cents, as this is just the start of what will be far more extensive research.

Engagement theory (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999) uses the base structure of Relate, Create Donate, assuming we are talking about engaging both the teacher and the student. As participants in user based media we are both the teacher (sender) and the student (receiver). We therefore all benefit and become more engaged based on participation as we contribute to of all the three areas (Relate, Create, Donate). Perhaps it is more cyclical in the open collaborative model version of how we interact online today. Instead of creating one final product of research, it is ongoing and dynamic. So we are engaged, but how do we stay there?

So, now let’s look at the psychoanalytical perspective to understand Social Representation (Serge Moscovici in 1961), a "system of values, ideas and practices with a twofold function; first, to establish an order which will enable individuals to orientate themselves in their material and social world and to master it; and secondly to enable communication to take place among the members of a community by providing them with a code for social exchange and a code for naming and classifying unambiguously the various aspects of their world and their individual and group history". Here we must have rules established in order to engage as the interaction is based on TRUST. It is generally agreed that we must have this trust in order for user based tools to be successful.

Outside of the academic sphere and into the multifaceted global realm, we have new rules and codes that are being created. The rules are evolving and are being created collaboratively. With each new evolution of the tools we use the codes of interaction evolve. And yet, the sharing and learning continues. Are we engaging simply for the sake of curiosity, the need to learn and to share? Even Wikipedia struggles to find a general collaboration theory that explains it. What we do know is that it is happening and users are engaging. In the quest of understanding effectively interaction for maximum benefit for both the receiver and the sender, I put this out there as a seed for discussion. What are your experiences with engagement and how do you feel that the rules have changed to make it more effective?

19 August 2009

Social Media ABCs for Dinosaurs

Okay, so perhaps we do not need to go to the extreme of calling them or us dinosaurs. In fact, many clients referring to themselves as "dinosaurs" are not so old. They simply have a comfort level with the tools they are familiar with: paper calendars, email and newspapers. They may have adapted to the online version of their newspaper, and even do research using search engines. They might even order a book or two online. Their reference to dinosaurs being unfounded, for what they need is not savvy but comfort. So what is more comfortable than going back to being reminded that the base rules lie in what we already know, the ABCs:

A Authenticity
B Be Present where your intended audience is
C Consistancy encourages following
D Dynamic content is more engaging
E Edit entries before submitting
F Filter, you do not need to see everything
G Global reach, there is a big world out there
H Help others who are in need of answers
I Ideas, test them
J Just what you need, be selective about where and when to avoid "overindulgence"
K Knowledge is for sharing
L Link to that which adds mutual value
M Monitor what is being said about you (your brand)
N Networking, start with the ones you already have (face to face) and go from there
O Objectives, be clear on what you hope to achieve
P Policy, know what you want kept private and when
Q Questions, ask them
R Reputation, maintain yours with integrity
S Share
T Tools, use ones that simplify and automate where applicable
U User, all users ultimately are individuals
V Video, use it if you have it
W Watch your statistics
X Xenophobia, be wary of your own fear of the unknown, be open
Y You are a multidimensional being/organisation, expressing this is an asset
Z Zenith, you can achieve your maximum potential through more effective interactions

18 August 2009

Get Social

During the Summer I had both the traumatic and delightful experience of being offline for nearly five weeks. Usually connected to the Internet every waking minute, I experienced what felt close to withdrawal when both my computer and Smartphone broke. Given my location being very remote, I took this as an opportunity to organise my thoughts and do the other part of social optimisation.

Yes, I got social face to face. I interviewed others on their professional and personal experiences with online social media and face to face social networks. I listened, reflected and responded. The beauty of faces and their expressiveness when they spoke with passion was profound. Having the unusual opportunity to being among a hugely diverse community in fields, levels, interests, ages, expertise and technical savvy was the perfect setting for testing theories on social optimisation and building relationships.

Amy Domini, CEO of Domini Social Investments (pictured above, as we headed out for a sail), said it well, there is no better way to get to the heart of things. With salt water splashing in your face and the sun beaming down, laughter and genuine experience is shared amidst conversations saving the problems of the world and sharing knowledge.

So, now I am back at the office with a repaired computer and replacement mobile phone. With weeks of mail to catch up on and meetings and trainings to prepare for, there is not much social for the next bit. I thank those who shared such wonderful social moments. I hope that others have had similar experiences, if not you should try and please share your insights. I am glad for the reminder of the power of the face to face connection of really being social.

14 July 2009

7 Key Rules of Social Optimisation

These "rules of engagement" apply to Social Optimisation both online and off. Maximise your impact while minimising effort through following them.
  1. BE AUTHENTIC: You can only be what or who you are. This is dynamic and changing as well as multidimensional. Represent that clearly and with both pride in success and humility in failures. It is much easier and will be respected. Deception will only come back to bite you.

  2. DEFINE GOALS: Understanding what you hope to gain from a relationship minimises time spent on relationships with no gain, and often drain. Have a strategy and understand both what you have to offer as well as what you need. Unhealthy relationships as well as those connections that just create added noise without relevance most likely should be removed to make room for accomplishing goals.

  3. LISTEN: There is much to be learned by listening, we gain insight into others, their needs, their feedback, the knowledge and their experience. Understand who they are and learn their story, this creates depth in relationships.

  4. SHARE: Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but without sharing it is worthless. Share what you know with others and build. Connect peers that have mutual needs or potential synergies.

  5. BE PRESENT: Isolation is not social. Learn where your peers, or audience are and participate in the conversation.

  6. BE POSITIVE: Solutions never come from whining or shooting the messenger. If you see opportunity for improvement suggest it. When you come across something you like, provide praise.

  7. BE CURRENT: Update your peers on your status, on things that are relevant and keep current with the tools which will always be evolving.
These are the foundation steps. They are meant to be generalised to accomodate both online and offline as well as individual and organisation scenarios. I welcome your thoughts on these "rules of engagement".

30 June 2009

Summer is Social

In the effort to maximise my social impact and effectiveness, I will be focusing on my off-line social networks and developing curriculum during the Summer. I will be interviewing a lot of interesting people on the impact of social media and social networks and their lives and their businesses/work. I hope to compile a few highlights for a weekly blog entry and will return to more frequent entries at the end of August. So please check back and read through previous entries for morsels of social optimisation for impact.

18 June 2009

Storytelling for Impact and Resonance

We are writing our own stories everyday, whether we take pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or tell it to a friend/ colleague. These are the stories that are woven into those of others. From individual letters to condensed newsletters, we evolved to the email and online newsletters. Creating websites and blogs and connecting through online communities spreads our stories to further corners of the globe. But, have the stories gotten lost? Do we remember to share how they impact our lives or others, rather than just the latest sales pitch or annual reports, what we ate for breakfast or what we are reading.

In pulling together the cases for my book, I am more determined than ever to tell the story from the impact perspective. How does social media effect our lives and our businesses. I am one individual with many roles which affect how I am impacted by any story. I, the shareholder, the executive, the speaker, the teacher, the developer, the social entrepreneur, the writer, the mother, the wife, the sister want to write a book that I would enjoy reading, that will resonate. I interview the people behind the case studies and hear the experiences and misadventures with social media and social networks. These speak to me with far greater resonance than the case studies. After all, "social" is about people. So, I am changing my strategy in collecting content. I will interview and collect stories of impact. These stories need to be shared. They are real. They impact our lives, our communities, our businesses and our futures.

Has social media or your involvement in social networking had an impact on you, your business and/or your community. Please tell me your story. Let me interview you to share it with others.

16 June 2009

Social Media Not Just Marketing & Socializing

Finding the holy grail of engagement in social media, we have to be ready to take it on whole heartedly. This means not just throwing a web page or fan page up or even creating a social platform for participants. It means interacting and "engaging" for the maximum effect. Think in terms of stakeholders/people/social. It means listening and speaking.

Why do we participate in LinkedIn and keep our profiles fresh? To represent ourselves accurately in the case of a referral or a request. Why do we participate in a group? Because it is of interest and stimulating. Otherwise we become "lurkers" in our interactions online. We log many hours but never leave a trace, besides a number in the Analytics (which might just as well register the time while I leave my computer on a webpage while I go to lunch).

Let's look at several different forms and impact of engagement. First, PLAN!
What is the purpose? Is it engaging my consumers? Communicating with my shareholders? Selling something? Recruiting? Connecting remote teams? Define resources/time I have/wish to commit to it. In this case, let's say, I create a blog and start by talking about my work and things that impact my business and what I think is interesting about it. Hmm, the analytics show low traffic. Promote it with tags relating to the posts on other related social media sites. Ok, good start, still not much though. Remember that someone needs to be interested. So write to your audience. Your strategy includes understanding who you are communicating with. Context delivers quality and increases interest.

The beauty of social media is that it is based on "user generated content" (UGC), that means there is a person behind it. Speak to the person and show that you are one too, in other words, respond. What you are building is TRUST and RELATIONSHIPS. This is not limited to the world of marketing, but to the sphere of people. People are your peers, shareholders, employees, clients, customers, members, designers and developers, testers, and more. They will be talking regardless. Become part of the conversation.

10 June 2009

Entrepreneurs on twitter

This is a response to a tweet from Furqan Nazeeri (@altgate) listing 67 entrepreneurs on twitter. I am afraid I am not very good at limiting myself in 140 characters, so I decided to write him an email and share it with my readers. I responded to his post as there were no women on his list. Naturally he responded asking for suggestions. In an effort to respond, I realised, yet again, that their presence is greatly lacking. I referred @ariannahuff, @maggiefox, @charleneli, @adrianne and @connectedwomen based on their quality of interactions.

Two things stood out to me. I am curious if others have seen these trends as well. Note: these are observations, not judgements, and very generalised. The first is that women entrepreneurs often focus on coaching and soft skills, leading to small businesses that don't dare to think big. If they are on twitter they use it as a social update tool only or references to their own services only (which doesn't encourage others to follow them). If this is the type of interaction, I can see why they might consider it a time drain without much ROI. I guess there is a lot of work to be done.

The other trend I observe here is that twitter is still perceived very much an American toy to the rest of the world. I looked through my list of who I follow (keep in mind I only follow based on context of social media optimisation and social entrepreneurship) and the vast majority were US west coast based. Some of the women entrepreneurs that I thought would be an obvious hit in terms of twitter, didn't have a presence at all (ie. Julie Meyer of Ariadne Capital and Stina Honkamaa of Google Sweden, link in Swedish) or they only had a social one.

Entrepreneurs need to capture, listen and interact with their audience. If done effectively, participating on twitter with a strategy as part of overall strategy, will have a positive ROI. Twitter etiquette by Julie Niesen is a good place to start. The playing field is level, let's keep it that way. Thanks Furqan for sparking the question. I will continue my quest to support and share the stories of those who are succeeding as well as to encourage best practice for those who've just begun. Please feel free to send me ideas.

05 June 2009

Jason Goldberg on R&D and Social Media

This is a powerful example of how we should be developing our strategies to incorporate social media in all stages in the future. Social media is not just for marketing and brand building.

03 June 2009

Social Optimisation

People are what make things social. Our interactions with people are online, off-line, in the office, board room, and classroom, with our clients, shareholders, customers, friends and family. So, let us not mix up the terms "social media optimisation" and "social optimisation." Social media optimisation is about maximising the positive impact while minimising the effort when using social media channels for communications with people on-line. Social optimising includes the off-line relationships that are often (but not always) the foundation of these relationships and gaining the maximum mutual benefit from them. Where we are present for face to face interactions, or who we have shared history with can determine a great deal. The end result when we optimise is quality, improvement through learning and dialog, depth in mutual understanding and creation of sustainable relationships. The additional benefit is the we create more time to enjoy our successful relationships and ourselves: balance. Time is the ultimate return on investment (ROI) of social optimisation. Time is money, don't waste it, enjoy it.

Whether you apply these terms to a corporate strategy or to your individual approach, the end results are the same. Optimising requires understanding what you want to achieve, your strategy, applying the best tools to communicate with your people (where are they already), creating a dialog, listening to the response, and maintaining your relationships.
Social optimisation requires application of the three basic rules (REAL, RELATIVE and RESPECT) to create sustainable quality relationships that will benefit you whether you are social for recruiting, branding, R&D, team building, selling or just keeping in touch with friends. In the end the "social" comes down to the person at the other end.

01 June 2009

Social Media is Good Business

After a series of rather heated discussions on this topic, I felt it was time to put the words down on paper (or at least my version of paper, save a tree). It is mistake to think that social media is just about marketing and the social media optimization is only about building more traffic. Without even realizing it, many companies both big and small are using social media in all areas of their business practices with a very positive effect. Why do they not realize it? Because, social media and networks in general are being used by "users" who work for them as tools that optimize their work. Either way, it is still quality of the interactions that result in optimisation not quantity.

For example, most human resources departments commence by doing the simple Google search to learn more about a potential employee before they interview. This will lead them to other social media interactions like a blog or profile listing on LinkedIn and Facebook and on other sites. This practice has become standard in the first stage of reinforcing that which stands on their application, or weeding out individuals who will not fit with the company culture.

Imagine this chain for recruitment using twitter as a starting point: twitter search for subject matter expert on "socialmedia" --> See several posts by same person and follow link to their profile --> On their profile more interesting entries so check out the website listed in profile --> Leads to blog with more interesting/relevant content --> Look at the profile on the blog for full name --> Check LinkedIn for profile --> See some of their presentation posted on SlideShare --> just the kind of candidate we are looking for --> Send them and inMail requesting a Skype talk --> Speak to get the real connection via voice and see if they are available (or if not have a referral to someone else) --> Follow them on twitter to see if they react publicly to the call. This of course could go many ways. But each one of these steps to could apply to any field and costs nothing other than the person's time to follow through completely.

Product / Service development is another area in which the implementation of social media strategy can shorten the innovation cycle with direct consumer feedback. Whether B2B or B2C the end consumer is the one who needs to be satisfied. So, why not engage them in the process. Customer surveys have been done online for years. Now they can be integrated into conversations that are a true dialog. We can speed up development cycles by understanding our consumers' needs based on conversations rather than assumptions.

Try this example for using social media for product development à a company is looking to create new flavors --> Create a Facebook Fan page for product --> Hold a contest for most popular innovative flavor using their product as a base --> Promote it on Facebook, homepage, twitter, blog and anywhere else they know their consumers are with a tag --> Let contestants submit YouTube videos, audio, images or text narrating their recipe and post to Fan page --> Create link to daily best of on twitter --> Allow other users to rate flavors based on new recipes using base product --> Invite best flavors to share and compete via video conference --> Invite active fans to join the video conference by voting --> The Fans choose the flavor (the engineers develop it to scale, and then offer the fans a chance to test it) --> See if they got it right, thank those active fans who took time to help by giving them free product and ask for feedback (repeat until get it right) --> These fans in turn will spread the word through their channels (twitter, Facebook, etc.) --> Let those great videos and other content become part of a virtual recipe station and fun viral compilation video build your brand afterwards. --> Keep ear to the ground on reactions via all social media channels --> Reward their efforts, creator of winning recipe gets free product. The sites I am using for examples here are simply that, examples. (Oh yes, and by the way you will build your brand in the process as a by-product)

These are just two examples of business areas. Imagine the impact if they coordinated these efforts and incorporated them into their enterprise or business strategy. Now, THAT is social media optimization. I am not recommending that your R&D or your HR departments become social media experts. What I am recommending is that they learn to listen and watch. Social media in its basic forms are simple to use. More and more tools are being created to optimize how we interact with social media so that it becomes less of distraction and more effective. It is these tools that should be focused on. Planning is critical. How can you best apply a social media strategy to increase effectiveness in your organization? That is social media optimization.

27 May 2009

Be Social for Success

Understanding the value mix of online media participation and face to face interaction is key to the success of the modern business and individual. There is a delicate balance needed between on-line efficiency and off-line effectiveness. New tools are created to make our work easier and to connect us to our stakeholders and communities (those-whom or that-which we need/desire in our lives). The ultimate challenge in today's connected workplace and lifestyles is to find the perfect balance or mix. When not used effectively they achieve just the opposite of their intended purpose and priorities get re-arranged. Interacting with people whether face to face or online and sharing is how we learn and improve as individuals as well as organisations. In networks and face to face interactions we build the foundation for deeper connections and context for further interactions both online and off. In social media, we reinforce these relationships and are referred to others through authentic connections that further add value.

Three basic principles or "R"s should lead us to how and where we interact (REAL, RELEVANT and RESPECT). It is much harder to be someone you are not and it will catch up to you. Being authentic will earn trust, whereas getting caught being fake will ruin your reputation and those around you. Whether you are using social media to connect to your old friends, your remote colleagues, your employees or your clients or to meet or gain new ones, the quality of your interactions and their being in context to your audience and the arena are what count and resonate. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". In other words, constructive criticism is far more effective and it won't come back to bite you later. These basic principles are core to face to face networking as well, and what creates the foundation for valued relationships.

Strategy needs to be considered on all levels. Participating in social media or face to face networks should not be limited to marketing. If used properly they impact product/service development, employee engagement and turnover, brand building, customer satisfaction and relations, business development and individual success. Ultimately there is a person with thoughts feeling and views of their own called a "user". We feel engaged and become advocates when we learn about the things that impact us, we appreciate having our voice heard (and listened to), we appreciate respect and return it. We derive value from our interactions when the three R's are observed. That value creates incentive for further interaction and referral.

Social media optimisation and social optimisation should go hand in hand when building lasting and strong relationships with our friends, our employees, our consumers, our investors and extended community of stakeholders in our lives and our businesses.

25 May 2009

Value of a Digital Relationships

Trying to determine the value of a friend in social media can be challenging, almost as much as it in real face to face life. Thinking about our digital relationships is quite interesting in terms of understanding value. In determining this we need to understand the different forms of relationships and why we have them.

Facebook's purpose is social interaction with our extended network. Overlapping the use of your Facebook profile that is connected to your college buddies and nephews is not the same profile that should be connected to your business peers. If a user is too focused on one side or the other with a blended profile, their "friends" will lose interest and turn down the volume or cut them off completely. It's like being stuck next to the old friend at a dinner party that talks about their work. Even worse, a business dinner that you are stuck next to the new parent who is struggling with potty training. Real friends provide context by understanding their audience and therefore have far greater impact (and greater value). To obtain the highest value from your friends in Facebook, make sure they are the friends you do want to be "social" with, and create a separate fanpage for your business. If your real friends are interested in your business they will be a fan of your business too.

When you want to boost your ego or build your brand, then tweet away. Yes, I am actually writing something positive about Twitter. I admit it, I have converted. But, and I mean a very strong "but", when used effectively. There are a lot of tools to build your followers (twitter's version of friends). I am happy that others are interested in the links and things that I share and appreciate their insight. Like many professionals, I use twitter to find other interesting links and things that others are sharing. The value of me following all of my "followers" would be merely to increase the noise in the feeds that I get. I have never been a fan of scrolling endlessly. Sharing my daily grind of how many shots of espresso I have consumed or my favourite chocolate is best left to my friends on Facebook, as I do not wish to create anymore noise for my followers. Besides, who I am following is also a resource to my followers. If there are interested in what I am saying, they are probably also interested in who I am listening to. It should therefore have context. They can see that I am real in the variation of my shared links as they vary from my personal reads like "Anatomy of Peace" to reports from the Skoll Forum on Social Entrepreneurship to new media tools or articles like Business Week's Byrne and Baker's podcast on the value of our digital relationships for advertising.

Let's not forget LinkedIn which is a great business networking tool. I am not going to hang out on it all day making small talk with my connections. I visit when I am looking for someone or something specific or adding a new connection. The groups and connections that I have in LinkedIn are based on real interactions. We worked together, participated in face to face networks together, studied together, met at conferences around the world and shared a conversation, had meaningful conversations from which we can refer back to and/or share mutual professional interests. All of which provide a basis for me being able to refer them to someone or them to me. I make a point of placing a high value on the connections and therefore not connecting with the ones to whom I come home with card in hand. So, I may not have thousands of contacts in LinkedIn, but in each of them there is something we mutually offer in terms of a reference.

Amassing a huge contact/friend/follower base has never been a high value in itself. Unless you are one of those unusual people who never forgets a face or a conversation, but that is mostly the exception. What it comes down to is authenticity and the value and integrity of those connections. Their value to an advertiser is not the same as what they are worth to you. Your value does come down to your influence and that can only be created by your own integrity.

20 May 2009

Wisdom from Gaselleträff in Malmö

Dagens Industri (DI), Sweden's version of the Financial Times, has a speaker series called Gaselleträff. The aim to is to encourage fast growing businesses to shine and share their experiences to ultimately stimulate the economy. They award prizes to a "gazelle" regionally each year. Moderator Lars Tulin, DI reporter for Malmö, spoke of the importance of opportunity and the increasing use of the word "mojligheter" as the key to growth. Here is a brief roundup of some of the words of wisdom from the event:

  • Rune Andersson, Mellyby Gård: PRICE; price elasticity and what customers are willing to pay more critical than cost. GROWTH; do not settle for being marginal. INVESTMENT STIMULUS; lower owner tax needed in Sweden to encourage angel and risk investment. STEP BY STEP, advised not to take the whole world in one go.
  • Jonas Hansson, Öresundsarvet; RELATIONSHIP BUILDING with clients critical.
  • Lars Ljungälv, Swedbank; VÅGA VARA STOR; Dare to be great.
  • Anna-Stina Nordmark Nilsson, Företagarna; 99.2% Swedish businesses have >50 employees, 12% Immigrants, 25% Women owned, Offensive actions to deal with current economy (note: I was a bit disappointed that the only woman speaking was coming from a lobbying perspective. Where are the women in business?)
  • Göran Lundwall, ALMI; INNOVATION critical for stimulation in economy and growth, INVESTORS seek solid business plan, profitability, bank interest and owners.
  • Carl Bennet, Getinge och Elanders; INVESTMENT STIMULUS recommended tax-free incentive for angels /risk investment until profitability.
  • Peter Bodin, Grant Thornton; CORE BUSINESS focus, BALANCE between vision for future and staying on top of current issues, PEOPLE surround yourself with intelligent people with varying expertise for board, communications and team members.
  • Lars Kry, Proffice; PEOPLE consider why your employees chose to work for you
  • Michael Corneliusson, Telia; WEF Denmark and Sweden will be first to recover crisis because of IT and COMMUNICATIONS competency and development.
  • Peter Nillson, Trelleborg; PEOPLE enjoy the people and team you work with
  • Frederik Lindén, Svenska Exportrådet, MARKET SIZE It isn't Swedish business ideas that are too small, it is the Swedish market, EXPORT SUCCESS requires vision, focus, local presence and endurance
  • Andreas Qvarfort, APQ EI, Skåne's Gaselle 2008; POSITIVE ATTITUDE

18 May 2009

Entrepreneurs can Change the World

I came across this video from Grasshopper.com by way of MarketingProfs.com. I thought it would be nice to pass on. I love the simplicity of the message. It speaks to what I "preach" of believing in the possibility of things and thriving in the opportunity rather than dwelling on the risk.

15 May 2009

Public Speaking needs Public Listening

Why do I get the sense that everyone wants to be heard but nobody is listening. In the last few weeks I have been to several presentations that completely missed the mark on the audience to whom they were presenting. Then there is the social media phenomenon of sharing too much with perhaps those that don't really care to know.

Okay, perhaps I am being cynical. This is not usually my way, but we all have those days. Perhaps I am just not listening well? Always a possibility, of course. This is not a simple matter of targeting our message. It comes down to the basics of human relations and communications. Ask a question. Listen to the response. Consider the response. Reply to it (agree, disagree, clarify your question if the response did not answer it). At the very minimum acknowledge it. Consider the answer they are giving, not the one you anticipate.

Did I miss something? Oh yes, wisdom of my mother (and probably everyone else's) "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." A lot of complaining and blaming doesn't get us very far. Look for solutions for what we can do rather than problems in what is not being done. "No whining" might be the motto of the day. Statistics are great, but even they can be skewed. So, listen, to your heart, to your audience and to the people with whom you are speaking. If you invite them into the conversation, listen to what they have to say. You never know you might just learn something. Then you would really have something to speak about.

12 May 2009

Leadership and Self Deception

The Arbinger Institute has been a favourite of mine for years in terms of approach to leadership and simply human relations. Glad to see they finally not only have a presence in Denmark, but an enthusiastic one. I met with Mette Ponty this morning to discuss her workshop at the end of the Summer. Perfect timing I must say. Taking ourselves "out of boxes" and walking in others shoes is difficult, but perhaps we are more receptive to it when the weather is good.

Now of course, applying it to current leadership challenges. I find myself busy building executive boards for new organisations both corporate and non-profit, getting consensus and enthusiasm as well as realistic commitment. Being a dreamer or visionary (depending on how which angle you look at it from) can be an asset but also a challenge (depending on how it is applied). So I dig deep in my network to divine the wisdom from those who have walked this path many times before (mentors are a beautiful thing) and chant the wise survival mantra of my father-in-law "patience, patience, patience."

At the end of the day, the job simply needs to get done. I choose do-ers with passion and dreamers with insight to combine for the ultimate team. Maybe not the easiest to find consensus, but when we do, it's really good. I look forward to the workshop to share with them the clarity that coming out of the box with the Arbinger methodology can provide.

11 May 2009

Prioritise Balance

The sun is out here, which is a big thing after the well known dark Winter in Sweden. The result is that people are outside. By nature they are being more efficient and selective about how they use their time online to minimise it. One would think that I would discourage decreasing online interaction. Actually it is quite the contrary. I think we should because quality, not quantity, is what is most effective. The tools we are developing are to achieve just that. Directing us to the sites and resources that are relevant to us to avoid wasted time. For time is what we have the greatest limitation on.

This is the time of year we should be tracking sites for effectiveness (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). If we are getting good traffic now from the North, then we are doing something right. Internet traffic, just like television and demand for films goes down during the Spring and Summer. I certainly hope it doesdrastically, otherwise, health will be the greater problem.

Here are some ways to maximise online effectiveness and minimising the time spent online:

* bike to work
* cut down on the number of social networks active in, but use tracking tools for opportunities to participate when relevant and focus on topic specific, or interest specific communities for here and now
* use file sharing tools (ie. Google docs) to avoid having to distribute
* delegate tasks that others can do more effectively
* turn off the indicator for new messages on your smart phone to concentrate on the tasks at hand, or people that we are meeting with
* use broadcasting tools for updates to avoid re-entry
* get outside and breath fresh air at lunch time (yes, leave the desk for lunch)
* work while your are effective, if you are wasting a lot of time (daydreaming, getting distracted by "interesting websites or news", chatting) go for a quick walk outside, and then come back with a fresh perspective (coffee may be required).
* take the extra 5 minutes to take the scenic route home (and enjoy it).
* be present

These may sounds obvious, but I find it is helpful to remind myself of these basics regularly. Just like staying focused on a vision, focusing on balance can help maintain the vision.

04 May 2009

2BalanceU.com News

One of the beautiful things about being an entrepreneur is the opportunity to learn and make mistakes and learn more. After trying for three years to make 2BalanceU the portal for sharing resource recommendations around the globe, I realised we were going about it all wrong. The last thing we needed to do was to create yet another destination that fills our time, distracts us and requires us to learn how it works before we get anything out of it. The vision was right, empowering through simplified global knowledge sharing. But the approach was wrong.

What will emerge from the next version will amaze you with its simplicity and delight you. It will free you up by requiring less time and effort getting to what's relevant from the sources you already draw from and others that provide information important to you. You will be more effective through greater accuracy in sending out what we wish to share to your intended audience. We have things pulling us in so many different directions, because we are multidimensional individuals. The knowledge sharing tool will come out this Fall. This new tool will be build as a cooperative effort between 2BalanceU and Off The Red with the input of several Advisory Members to ensure we have a sound business model for sustainability. The new site will have a new name (we are still working on that part) and logo, so keep posted and I will let you know when we have it.

2BalanceU remains as a consultancy that provides the vision, the network and input to the executive team. This enables me to continue my passionate work and study of how technology has enabled the evolution of the women's sacred circle to the modern professional women's network. I need to find someone to fund my PhD work, as it cannot be done by the former 2BalanceU as planned. (Ideas welcome...) I will also continue speaking at global conferences on social media and network optimisation as well as empowering women in leadership through knowledge sharing. I find this work inspiring and very fulfilling as a great way to really understand the different needs and tools around the world used for knowledge sharing. I will also continue to consult on Internet strategy, particularly on how to engage consumers in dialog.

So thank you for your notes asking, when will 2BalanceU be "live" again. I am so glad to see there is interest and I appreciate your support. I am sure you will be happy with what is coming soon.

30 April 2009

Language Deterioration

I am deep in the research of social media optimisation (SMO). By this, I mean that I read whatever I can get my hands on (or comes through my alerts and RSS feeds) and I participate actively to see how I can make my own usage more effective. Perhaps I am getting old, which I prefer to think is not entirely the case. But why is it that my hackles are raising when I read the blogs or informal entries from the new journalism? Is it really necessary to use slang, sms abbreviations and even swear words to express oneself about a strong opinion? They don't necessarily even have to be strong words, but as soon as I run over one, it discredits the entire article for me.

Digging a little deeper, I look at the source of the last ten that caused this reaction for me. Each of them was written by a male in, I am assuming from their pictures, his mid 20-30s. So, I will say only one thing to these bright men with incredible potential (as otherwise the content on their postings was quite interesting and well thought through)...Grow up and clean up your language. You will make your mothers proud and you will have a far more engaged audience that admires you for your expertise rather than your being "cool".

29 April 2009

TED with Sarah Jones: One woman, eight hilarious characters

Perhaps I should apologise for posting yet another TED talk. But this was just what I needed to listen to today. Brilliant. Sometimes wisdom sharing is simply in passing on a smile.

28 April 2009

Appointment to BPW International PR Standing Committee as Representative for Europe

What an honour and a delight to receive the email last night appointing me to the BPW International PR standing committee as representative for Europe. I know there is a lot of work ahead. I am pleased to be able to use my experience and knowledge of social media and social network optimisation for such a great organisation with a focus on empowering women around the globe. I am thankful that both Mary Scott, PR Chair, and Liz Benham, the BPW International President, have the faith in my ability to contribute.

Liz Benham - Amélie Le Clercq- Heidi Forbes ÖsteIt looks like we will have a great team of experts with Agnès Kraidy of Cote d’Ivoire, Tiwalade Fapohunda of Nigeria and Maria Rea Pocoroba of Mexico and lead by Mary Scott of the US. This is an exciting opportunity for us all to truly maximise the BPW International network. There are many tools that are available to us to build awareness in new ways to prepare us for the future and maintain a sustainable organisation with impact.

Now I better get to work connecting!

23 April 2009

Embrace Social Media

Social media is a "cost efficient experiment" according to the Social Computing Journal. Smart Brief says polls on LinkedIn and AdWeek show "Recession will yield ad improvements in ROI, Web, social media". Bryan Eisenberg of ClickZ states that "social media should be a part of any forward-thinking and transparent company." Smart Brief has gone so far as to recognise the importance by creating its own section of Smart Brief on Social Media.

So what does this all mean? Social Media has hit the mainstream and we need to learn to manage our interactions with it, as individuals and businesses. It has enormous possibilities and we are all invited to partake, in fact we cannot avoid it once we go online. It was not so long ago we were learning how to deal with ratings and comments being the extent of the online interactions. Now we are creating global communities everywhere. In Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations we are drawn deeper into the impact of communities or organisations that are self created. As marketers we need to learn to not simply "harness" the communities but become active participants. As receivers we need to embrace the wealth of knowledge to be obtained and learn to optmise our interactions so that we do not become even more overwhelmed by the influx of information. Do not resist, but take the time to take part and learn what is out there to make the most of it.

22 April 2009

Putting a Pricetag on Knowledge Sharing

When you speak to lawyers, agents, consultants, accountants, they all have the same approach to sharing; they charge. If they do not physically send a bill they count it as "pro-bono" advising so they can deduct it because money=time. This is a very rational and professional approach. The question that has come up lately in several conversations is boundaries between sharing for mutual benefit, the value of credit for ideas, and the building of your brand through mastering expertise. It basically comes back to the same question of return on investment (ROI) but takes into consideration the benefit to the provider of knowledge as well as the receiver.

As is my nature and the nature of my work, I include the other social components in my ROI model that may not be considered in the traditional approach. So we are talking value creation and relationship building. On the soft side, we talk about "karma" and it coming back to you later. But that won't pay the bills and you can't get a loan based on the promise that someday your sharing efforts will pay off. And yet, what drives our creativity and the ability to learn from each other is often sharing. Here is a very basic model I have been using recently to determine whether what is shared should be followed by an invoice (of course, this should be agreed to in advance). But in most cases it ends up being driven by the receivers ability to pay.

20 April 2009

Technology to enhance our lives, not rule...

Renny Gleeson said it beautifully on TED

18 April 2009

Old Networks Using New Social Media

I have been working a lot recently on social media and network optimisation. So here is my "2 cents." Many women's networks, provide a great format and vision for the future. A common issue that many established face to face networks face is the need to connect their members online. The communities are more physically dispersed and in need of connecting for sharing and maximum effectiveness. It is for precisely this reason that social media sites like Connected-Women come about and are very much needed.

When building any organisation, whether it is a new entrepreneurial endeavor or an established business, it is important to focus on the vision. Building Technology platforms is an entirely different business than face to face networks. If advertising revenue is not part of your business model for the network, you do not need to drive traffic to your site. What networks do need to do is get information to their members. This can be done with a clean and easy to use Internet site, that is well connected to other complementary sites. What they need to learn is how to optimise where their members are already rather than creating yet another place and time consumer for members.

As I mentioned, this is a growing problem for established face to face networks with geographically dispersed communities. My best advice is do NOT build another LinkedIn or Connected-Women for your members. Create a space there (the sites which your members use) for members to interact with other members. They should have a way to identify each other as part of the same network within those sites. Of course, a membership directory is useful. But once they find the members they need, let them link to them elsewhere that they are already active. Non-profit networks have too many other great things to do with the limited resources they have. Don't waste resources on trying to keep up with building a new technology platform (that by the way will be out of date in a year so will need updating constantly in order to keep interesting for members).

This is adapted from my entry on a thread question on Connected-women.com about what we want from FCEM (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs). To see the complete thread click here

17 April 2009

Social Optimisation and Social Media Optimisation

Perhaps I spend too much on-line analyzing social media usage. I am starting to wonder if people have forgotten about the face to face side. I cross between both worlds in my work and my personal life. As an entrepreneur and as an expat, it is essential for me to connect, communicate, listen and interact with both the growing pool of knowledge and individuals in my global network. It is how I grow my business and myself as an learning being. Given that there are only so many hours in the day, we must prioritise everything we do in order to accomplish that which is most important and most beneficial.

It comes down to an equation of value for time. Let's face it, a lot of the work we do is not monetarily compensated. We either do things for the love of it, for the need for it, or for the love of someone or something that needs it. So is the life of a social entrepreneur. That, of course, does not mean that I do not like or need to make money. It simply means that we are compensated in other ways for our efforts. After all, I would like to see someone try to place a monetary value on the 15 extra minutes I take to snuggle with my kids in the morning before we launch into the hectic morning routine. It might be easier to monetise the effort it takes to share a bit of my expertise with a non-profit organisation that I believe has the ability to empower women all over the world, including me. But I win in the end for feeling that I have done my part. Then of course there is the countless hours building business plans and laying the groundwork for it before a new business becomes profitable.

All these tools that we use to optimise our interaction with both those we know personally and those we share common interests with are time consuming. As individuals we are bombarded by messages from every corner. It is just for this purpose that I am learning to apply my work practices to my life practices. Turn things off when there is something that requires (or deserves) total attention. This mean Blackberries, SMS, twitter, the computer, the phone. And then pair down to the messenging sources that provide the greatest and more effective impact. Use them for the proper purpose and no more. Remember, there are only so many hours in the day. Take the time to have the conversation with the neighbor or client without checking the vibrating phone in your pocket. They'll appreciate it (and you will get much more out of the conversation than "nice day, eh".

So social media optimisation, well, there is so much more than ever before. I look at it this way. There is a balance between a message buzzed and a message swarm. If you are sending the same message through many overlapping outlets, you create a swarm that will send your target running. So place wisely and thoughtfully. Don't waste their time by creating too many complete spaces to find you. Create portals so that they can get to your central information and can be updated when it changes (based on their needs). And remember who is a "friend" and who is a "connection". Your "friends" are proud of you but may not want to hear about every little new product or service you produce. Your "connections" probably like to know you are real, but every update on your two year old's development may get a bit tiring. Optimising the time you spend on sending the messages so that you have time to hear the responses makes the social element far more fruitful.

16 April 2009

BPW Malmö Open House Success

Thanks ladies for a fabulous kick off event. Finally we have an active BPW Malmö: an exciting internationally focused platform for empowering business and professional women to achieve their leadership potential. I am once again reminded of the dynamism of the women in the growing community of Öresund. Anna Arwidson of AbScen once again did a fabulous job with her workshop breaking down the elements of communication. Movement and laughter always help to create a memorable experience. I was delighted to see our guests from neighboring clubs Helsingborg and Kristianstad to make the kick off a real success. I look forward to seeing great things and creating great things here with BPW Malmö.

01 April 2009

Skoll World Forum 2009 Shines Light on Social Entrepreneurs

Thanks for the wisdom Premal Shah of Kiva shared with us social entrepreneurs.

It is great to see that Kerstin Eriksson was following the advice so plainly of transparency, speak about both successes and dreams as well as fears on her entry about participating in the Forum at http://www.socialedge.org/blogs/forging-ahead

Global X captured summaries and interviews with some of the presenters that are enlightening and inspiring on his blog http://www.socialedge.org/blogs/global-x/.

All I can say is, wish I had been there. Maybe next year?!

27 March 2009

Shout out for Expertise

I was contacted yesterday by a dear friend of mine whose infant nephew is suffering from a facial deformity. They are seeking a specialist team of a pediatric neurosurgeon and a craniofacial plastic surgeon. Do you know someone who is specialised in this area or can connect to someone who is? Please have them contact Julie Bolt <julie_bolt@yahoo.com> if they have any questions or wish to contact the parents. Thank you in advance for any help that you might be able to provide in connecting them to the specialists they need.

"He was diagnosed with metopic synostosis which is the premature closure of the suture from his hairline to his nose. However, that is only what caused the problem and is not what has to be fixed. Because his browbone did not develop it will continue to "sink" and his forehead will continue to form into a point. If not corrected, he would eventually look very deformed. This in no way effects his mental development. It is purely cosmetic, but absolutely necessary.

They will have to perform reconstructive surgery that will involve a pediatric neurosurgeon and a craniofacial plastic surgeon. We do not have a "team" like this in Greenville, so Dr. Troop has recommended a group in Atlanta. They will make an incision from ear to ear, pull the skin back, take the upper plates of bone in the forehead off and use some of this to reconstruct a new browbone. The surgery will take several hours and his hospital stay will range anywhere from 4 days to 10 depending on two main factors. His eyes will have to open(after the surgery they will swell shut) and his blood counts have to come back to normal. The main risk is blood loss. He said that the child's condition was very rare. The surgery will probably be performed in July because they would like for the existing browbone to be more developed. After the surgery he will then wear a helmet for 3 to 4 months or until he grows out of it."

So this may be off-topic, but if we do not use all the channels available to us when those we care about are in need, we are not being resourceful. So, start with email as my friend Julie did, then blast it out through social media and face to face network channels. There is nothing lost in finding solutions for those who need it most. For those it doesn't concern, let it act as a reminder to us that we should be thankful that we are not in this situation. Even more importantly that the least we can do is try to help, and it takes so little.

25 March 2009

Commencing of the Matriarchal Millenium

It shall not take a thousand years. And, no, I am not saying that women will take over, or that they should. What I am saying is that we are becoming conscious leaders with an appreciation for those skills often referred to as feminine: investing gains back into communities, and social growth, Leading with compassion, Listening, Considering the holistic impact of our actions as leaders and individuals are only a few. This does mean that women will be recognised as capable of leading and given the opportunity to do so. This does mean, that they will protect their communities and families with ferocity and passion. This does mean that they will negotiate to maintain peace providing an environment in which all feel nurtured to continue grow in. This does mean, we have a way to go, but we are on the right road. This does mean that we each have a lot of work to do to keep us on that road, together. I am looking forward to being part of the journey.

23 March 2009

A new look at Entrepreneurs from old eyes

"Today’s smart entrepreneurs start global" -The Economist

Yes even the conservative Economist is recognising the much lies in the hands of Entrepreneurs, and even goes so far as to mention some social entrepreneurs while they are at it. According to the article Entrepreneurialism has Become Cool, the outlook has changed. "Today entrepreneurship is very much part of economics. Economists have realised that, in a knowledge-based economy, entrepreneurs play a central role in creating new companies, commercialising new ideas and, just as importantly, engaging in sustained experiments in what works and what does not. William Baumol has put entrepreneurs at the centre of his theory of growth. Paul Romer, of Stanford University, argues that “economic growth occurs whenever people take resources and rearrange them in ways that are more valuable…[It] springs from better recipes, not just more cooking.” Edmund Phelps, a Nobel prize-winner, argues that attitudes to entrepreneurship have a big impact on economic growth."

Sweden's Dagens Industri, states that creative start ups are on the rise and the economy falls. "What is now perceived as a crisis, perhaps many people in three or four years will think back on that it was the best thing that happened to them," says Ashkan Pouya, MBA and entrepreneur.

Combining this energy to support the entrepreneurial spirit, the hopes are high on a new global economy rising like a phoenix from the ashes.

19 March 2009

Velo, Boulot, Dodo

Ahh in celebration of the bike. The sun is finally out when I commute to work and still out when I return home with the beacon of the Turning Torso guiding my course. I renew my appreciation for the ability to commute by bike allowing my mind the luxury of free creative thought while I transition from office to home.
The days are longer but I appreciate the opportunity to work hard and then collapse in restive sleep at the end of the day. Much of my year is spent as a road warrior speaking about social media and face to face networking best practice and far too much of the rest with a keyboard attached to my carpal tunnel suffering wrists. That "velo" part of my day is a release. Not to mention, if feels pretty good to have an environmentally friendly commute. It is no wonder that all those faces in cars that I pass look stressed. I bet they wish they could "velo" too.