Why it is necessary to have a commenting policy for #Hashtag chats!

I am not sure what Payne Stewart has to do with #blogchat, but it was a part of a verbal spat during the Twitter chat on Sunday, June 15, 2015. I was sitting watching television while following the chat when this little verbal disagreement broke out. Nothing more than a few heated words, but still this raised a concern for me. Why, I have help clients build communities using hashtag chats. I would hate for something like this to unfold during one of my client’s Twitter chats…but it could happen.

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Story vs. Slogan – Invoking or Addressing our Audience?

I have been watching and reading a blog conversation between a few colleagues of mine surrounding the idea of Story vs. Slogans (Spike Jones and Amy Taylor). This topics absolutely fascinates me and actually plays a role in the discussion I have been having with another colleague Mack Collier surrounding do we address our audience needs or do we invoke our audience.

This discussion takes me back to a piece of scholarship that was written in the early 80′s surrounding the topic: audience addressed and audience invoked. As I re-read the article, I always find myself referring to one final point of Edes and Lusford’s conclusion…

“A fully elaborated view of audience, then, must balance the creativity of the writer with the different, but equally important, creativity of the reader.”

We write in tension but I think we have to find a balance between invoking the audience (creating a division in the writer and reader’s roles) and addressing the audiences’ needs (the reality the audience exist and that the written text is created in concert).

So what does this have to do with Story vs. Slogan…well a lot. But I want to look at something that Spike said in his post from December 2008:

Stories live forever. Slogans live until the ad agency gets tired of them.
Stories are real. Slogans are made up.
Stories pull you in. Slogans try and push out a message.
Stories are deep. Slogans are shallow.
Stories are personal. Slogans are impersonal.
Stories are passed on by word of mouth. Slogans are passed on by ads.

This dichotomy between “Story vs. Slogan” and “Audience Addressed vs. Audience Invoked” has me thinking…are we addressing the needs of our audience by pushing slogans down people’s throats? It sounds more like we are trying to invoke something that is unnatural and detached.

So what really makes a story different from a slogan? Spike wrote that “Stories are real. Slogans are made up.” What makes stories real and slogans just made up. Well, it is the act of listening…because stories are told over and over again: they recount a place and time in history. They connect the very fabric of our being with human emotion. When we tell a story, we are sharing something that is tangible in our hearts and minds that invokes emotion and connection.

I am not a slogan person or a person that relishes the task of creating positioning statements and branded tag lines. I like to capture stories as they happen, capture that moment in time that are true moments, those that help us remember.

Last summer I found myself in Andrews, NC working on a project for the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church… telling stories of rural churches. Every Thursday night, the Andrews UMC has a dinner for the community called the Welcome Table. The illustration of this blog post is not the story of this video, but one little moment in time when I am interviewing the pastor. One of the children walks up and gives him a hug in the middle of the interview…at the most appropriate time. This pastor will be telling this story for years…thus reinforcing the mission of “The Welcome Table.”

We can advocated for stories over slogan’s everyday of the week…but we must be willing to open our hearts so that we can capture those moments in time to share. This is what invokes our audience to share.

Here is the video of “The Welcome Table” for your to enjoy!

Peeling back the layers of the social story…

Each time I meet with a new group, another organization, a different business…I am so encouraged by the opportunity that is in front of them. The social space provides us the most unbelievable opportunity…the ability to truly share our story.

Our story…our perspective is one of the most powerful voices. We now have the tools to share this story in a way that allows our audiences to truly see inside our slice of life, our organization, our company, our institution…through our eyes.

The social space allows us to paint the picture for others to enjoy. We share information, pictures, real time information in way that large traditional outlets could not achieve a few years ago. With the ever increasing audiences using outlets like Tumblr, Blogger, Facebook, YouTube and other social outlets…we create our own social space. We can create a message that allows people to connect on our terms, creating the viral effect that repeats our message.

Storytelling is powerful. Whether if it is the use of video, a blog, a Facebook group, a hashtag chat…our excitement can translate for others to enjoy and share.

We will never be able to measure the social space…NEVER. We can create metrics to measure hits, growth in followers, likes, +1’s, and other bean counter important pieces…but nothing can measure the human effect. We are moved by pictures, stories, and the human elements that drive us to connect.

Just today I noticed Mack Collier’s update on Google+ and it had me thinking…

I have to agree…I like the 2nd lesson learned: “People respond better to ideas and experiences they can relate to”…YES! We are humans and we want to connect, so we are telling our own social story. Now we have the tools to reach so many more people in a shorter amount of time. If we spent less time equating the social space to the technology and more about sharing our story…we could really create some tremendous movements.

We want people to pull back the layers of our story…to see life through our eyes!

Blogging…is truly an entrepreneurial experience!

For many young bloggers and writers, the discovery phase of writing online is so new and confusing. There is a huge perception that what we write is going to be viewed as the gospel, and those comments can negatively impact our message. It is my humble opinion in that discovery phase of writing and blogging, that content is king.

It is important to create a focus for the content; learning how to communicate the message clearly. As bloggers/writers begin to find their niche, writing with a community takes it’s focus. It is this discovery phase that allows our internal engines to see what responses we receive and allow community driven content to naturally take shape. Obviously the joy is that we are using analytics to see where we engage certain audiences.

Here is what concerns me, so many times we read there is a heuristic or model to become a successful blogger/writer. Evverywhere we look, there is the “five steps” for  this or that. To me, blogging is like an entrepreneurial experience.

I have two friends that have very good definitions of entrepreneurship:

  • “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” – John Warner quoting Peter F. Drucker
  • “Entrepreneurship is an activity that involves the discovery, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities to introduce new goods and services, ways of organizing markets, processes, and raw materials through organizing efforts that previously had not existed.” Sean Williams, Ph.D

If you read these two viewpoints, this to me parallels the blogging world. Bloggers specifically can become innovators with a capacity to create wealth. Bloggers find a need in the market place and focus their writing. This discovery engages that market place.

But…with writing and entrepreneurship, there is not always a clear path to the end and so we have to leverage our communities, and focus on our content. We also have to be passionate about our “product” and write about that passion. Even if the community is going in one direction, we have to be willing to explore new avenues to write about passionately…which engages thought leadership.

I think that there is more than a one stop model for each person in the writing process. Yes, if we a blogging for business…we need focus. But I do think we have look beyond reach, action items, and engagement; and allow ourselves to write in way that allows more of that discovery phase to shine. Writing and blogging can be a place to explore new ideas, new strategies, and empower people to find the voice they never knew they had.

This post was inspired by Mack Collier’s Post: The 3 Critical Content Creation Questions You Must Ask (And Answer!).

Snow Filled Day – Response to a Tweet/Comment

As I am sitting here looking at the 7 inches of snow outside, I am scanning Tweets in my Social Media Favorites List. I noticed one from Mack Collier @MackCollier.

So I clicked the link and I have to agree with Mack…this is a smart lady! Here is the response from Margie Clayman (@margeclayman).

Margie, you have got me thinking about this crazy world in this social space. You said: “There are a lot of people who are out there solely to rake in the big bucks and get famous, and it kind of makes me mad that their methodologies work. I try to do things the slow, more engaging/interactive way, which I find extremely rewarding, but it’s not the kind of work that gets you accolades in the industry.”

This quote really struck home for me and made me think a little more. It is people like you who are out there helping people build quality initiatives, and if your motives are in the right place and the initiative works…you should not be in the fore-front. You are helping people understand the social space and build communities with your guidance. If you were in the middle of the initiative, then you would be the whole campaign and it would be just that…a campaign.

Helping organizations build quality social initiatives is about teaching and guiding. It is not about doing it all for them, thus you completely speak on their behalf in the social space. Community building is about helping people connect around an organizations’ initiatives, not around out own personal agenda’s. We help organizations we believe in…and we have relationships with these groups – they are important to us. It is our ethics that drive us to make sure their interests are always put first. This is just my humble little opinion and thanks for making me think on this snowy day in South Carolina! Thanks Mack for sharing this via a Tweet…it got me thinking.

Bobby’s 5 Links of the Week | November 21, 2010

Hello friends, here are my links for the week. As you can see…they include social media, mobile technology, physician marketing, and hospital social media. I hope you enjoy and let me know your thoughts about any of these article!

5 Mobile Technologies Retailers Should Be Using Now
November 15, 2010 | Houston Neal of Software Device
Mobile commerce is driving the next major shift in retail, and retailers that can learn to harness this technology stand to gain a competitive advantage. To learn about 5 mobile technologies retailers should be using, visit the Software Advice blog. CLICK HERE to read more.

The one sure-fire way to get more clicks and RTs for your blog posts
November 16, 2010 | MackCollier.com
Write better headlines. That’s no big relevation, and there’s a lot that goes into writing better headlines.  I’ll refer you to someone like @Copyblogger who has written a great series on writing better headlines. But there’s one area I wanted to focus on when it comes to headlines.  I share a lot of links on Twitter because I am trying to find helpful information for my followers. CLICK HERE to read more.

Calling Bullshit on Social Media

November 18, 2010 | Tamsen McMahon
1) There are tools. There are people who use the tools. And then there are people who are tools. Know the difference.
2) Ass-kissing will get you anywhere, but where is that, exactly? Where do you actually want to gofrom there? Think long-term.
3) Speaking of long-term, “asshole” is not a long-term strategy. Neither is “edgy” or “off-putting.” What do you really want to achieve? And for how long? Build a strategy on that.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the 32 points!

NewberryCountyDoctors.com – Video Repository
November 18, 2010 | Newberry County Memorial Hospital
Looking for a doctor and your in Newberry County, South Carolina…here is a cool portal providing videos of doctors talking about what they enjoy to do the most, practice medicine. Pretty cool idea to allow physicians to speak in-their-own-words by wrapping the searchable power of YouTube and a brand-able portal for Newberry County Memorial Hospital. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Woz: Apple Almost Launched A Phone In 2004, Android Will “Win The Race”
November 18, 2010 | Robin Wauters
Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak was being his fascinating self again this morning, revealing in an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that the company he helped get off the ground actually developed a smartphone in partnership with a well-known Japanese electronics company as early as 2004, but shelved the project prior to its debut (via Engadget).

If you write it…will they come? Monetize this thought?

Blogging is just a place to really express thoughts, ideas, passions…it is editorial and can be a place of free flowing ideas and thought streams. But monetizing a blog is very entrepreneurial. During a Sunday night #BlogChat on Twitter, Mack Collier’s (@MackCollier) weekly discussion group around blogging on Twitter, Daren Rowse (@problogger) moderated the topic focused on monetizing your blog. As I was sitting back and watching the discussion, I posed the question to Daren…”At what point did you begin monetizing your blog, what was your tipping point?” Daren posed this response:

At first I took as a simple smart ass response to avoid a longer discussion amidst this fast past, Sunday night chat. Pfft. But, I sat back and thought for a few minutes. I realized his quick response had merit…spoken from a true entrepreneur.  Now, he knew there was a big need out there for great content, but he knew that he needed to pay for his passion instead of letting the expense of the blog not provide a return.

Monetizing a blog is VERY entrepreneurial and *can* have a very small return on investment, maybe??? But let’s think about that for a second, how do you measure return? What is the basic business question…what need is out there that we/you can provide a solution and bring it to market and bear a “profit”? What do you deem as a profit? Monetary profit, web traffic, PR, exposure to services, expressions of thought/ideas???

Think about this for a second: Did You Know…
According to WordPress, “There are over 27 million WordPress publishers as of September 2010: 13.9 million blogs hosted on WordPress.com plus 13.8 million active installations of the WordPress.org software.”

According to The Future Buzz in January 2009, ” The number of blogs indexed by Technorati since 2002 are 133,000,000 and the number of people who globally read blogs are 346,000,000.”

According to Technorati on November 3, 2010, “After Hobbyists, Self-Employeds make up the largest cohort, representing 21% of bloggers. Such bloggers say they ‘blog full time or occasionally for their own company or organization.’ 57% say they own a company and have a blog related to their business, while 19% report that their blog is their company. 65% say they manage their blog by themselves. Reflecting their professional nature, Self-Employeds are the most likely to blog about business, with 62% saying they have much greater visibility in their industry because of their blog.”

Point being…there are a lot of people blogging and a lot of people reading. Lots of competition, you better have a tremendous business plan behind your blog if you intend to “monetize” those very words you so carefully craft.  Yep…monetize your thoughts, your passion, your eloquence. You think you can just sit down and write and expect they will come…sounds like the pipe-dream of a business that cannot make it past year two with an SBA loan. The ole “Field of Dreams,” if you build it…they will come!

In the movie…it nearly bankrupt the family. They were not waiting for the players to come out of the corn fields, they were waiting for those people with $20.00 bills to see those ghostly players take the diamond, to enjoy America’s past time. Risk…lots of risk.

But what do we really risk by putting a blog out there. I mean, you probably are only spending a monthly hosting fee, design time, maybe paying someone to build it for you? Maybe the most hard costs incurred is at most $600 in a year. Then you are talking about that creative time, that creative tension…that passion that you so eloquently craft with each word in the hopes you will connect with your audience. But at some point, after the confidence has been built and your realize your investment…it is time to make some cash! Yes, you are an entrepreneur…take that little bit of hard costs and lots of that sweat equity and turn into a monthly little bonus. And, if you can work hard…you begin focusing your writing (according to audiences), take part in some adwords and other paid ad campaigns, and you really generate traffic, clicks, and cash. But did you set out to make cash or did you set out to be heard? Or did you set-out to generate interest for your business as a small business owner?

In 2006, my wife set-out to write a journal. Overtime it turned into a full scale blog that tackled topics like breast cancer and infertility. Slowly over time, she gained an audience and built some online relationships. It became her support group…her place to release her thoughts and connect with like minded individuals. She shared her joys, pains, laughs, and cries as she wrote openly and honestly about loosing her best friend, her mother to breast cancer. She revealed to all her struggles with infertility. She had not built a community…she found her voice. But wait…she was not looking to generate any money. She did not set-up those pay for click campaigns…but how is she monetizing her blog? Her value came from the community…her place to share open discourse. Is she any less of an entrepreneur? No…she is more of a social entrepreneur.

I think it is up to us to find what we want to monetize in a blog. With so many audiences and so many spaces to fill with the free flowing words that come from our hearts…we must have a focus in our writing. We put ourselves out there, and for the first time in this world of publishing, we have a platform to feel somewhat equal to those journalists and accomplish authors who make money from their published/broadcasted voices. It is still about community and we as entrepreneurs still have to find a need, a reason to write…because ultimately we want someone to read. Thanks Daren for making me think a bit! Monetize this!