• "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..."

I’m not one to look at my blog stats religiously, but I’ve noticed that the numbers are steadily growing.  I want to take a moment to thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say.

I also want to welcome all the new comers – thank you for passing by! If you were wondering, here are some of your favourite posts.

If you like these post, feel free to subscribe to [fabricecalando.com] by email to get the updates at your convenience. Finally, I would also take the opportunity to thank Huge for all the comments. We’ve known each other for years and I’ll try to convince him to do a video interview soon! Stay tuned :)

In the mean time, I would love to hear from more of you so leave comments, if only to say hi!

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Architecture
In a recent TED Talk, David Byrne “explores how context has pushed musical innovation.” For example, if you’re a punk band and you play dingy bars, you’ll play music that suits that – the volume has to be loud enough to overtake the yelling and ruckus from the crowd. Wagner built his own concert hall to accommodate more bass and if you’re U2 and you play arenas, you’ll play music that suits that – medium tempos that sound big…Now, if you’re a new pop-celebrity you might write a great driving song that plays great on the car sound-system. It turns out birds adapt their chirping to their context as well. Here’s the complete talk, I recommend you take 16 minutes and watch it.

That got me thinking on how context evolves how we communicate.

There was the traditional PR pitch for traditional news outlets, then websites and then blogs. Now there’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. Corporations need to evolve the style of communication to fit the architecture the message will be “played” in. They have to move towards conversations as opposed to monologues, because that’s what Facebook and Twitter are all about. A video that works on TV might not work on YouTube, and vice versa. As Byrne mentions, our passions are still there even though we’ve changed to fit the new context.  Similarly, corporate objectives and goals must remain, it’s the communication that must adapt.

The thing is, the platforms are changing quickly and so must their adaptation or they will risk not being heard.

In a world where attention is currency, how is your company adapting its communications to fit the different platforms? Actually…how are you adapting your communications?  For example, are you simply pushing your tweets to Facebook or LinkedIn? Have you ever thought of what that impact of doing that was?

(Photo credit: Galerie de photos de Reinante El Pintor de Fuego)

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199247527_f9c82b8da0
Does it sometimes seem like all of a sudden, out of nowhere, come the big gun bloggers – Chris Brogan, Mitch Joel, Gary Vaynerchuk, Darren Rowse, et al. (actually, they’re not really out of nowhere, they’ve been at it for years, but it has more impact if I write it that way :). Remember the time when bloggers were kids in their basements that blogged about gaming, celebrities and technology?  The only person who could monetize his blog was Perez Hilton? These big guns have highly successful blogs on various topics, make good money and are the voice of social media in their own way.

Compared to them, I’m a newbie so I often ask myself with all these big guns writing, videoing and podcasting away, are budding bloggers ever going to be able to catch up?

In short, yes.

First, you can blog about whatever interests you – if you’re more than happy keeping a blog that updates your family with your travels – that’s awesome.  Readership numbers are not everything, they’re great, but they’re definitely not everything.  As Gary argues in his book Crush It! (affiliate link), passion is one of the founding blocks of a successful blog, so if you update away, connect with others in your space and you’re loving it…that’s what matters…

Second, everyone has a different perspective on life.  You can be a designer, and I can be a designer and we’ll approach things in completely different ways.  We’ll both be interesting in our own way.  From there monetization is only a ton of hours away because, in reality, working hard has always been the key to success; blogging is only a new way of achieving that.

Finally, the big guys are there to teach – they’ve all made it to where they are by sharing and helping others. So read them, learn from them, comment on their stuff and follow your path…

Remember, in a world where “personal branding” (for lack of a better term) is becoming more and more important, it’s better to be out there and enjoying it, than not out there at all.  Chris Brogan and Mitch Joel actually have an interesting back and forth on whether a blog is your job or not.

What do you think? Are you starting out or have you been at it for years?

(Photo credit: Jakob Montrasio)

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Just yesterday, a group of Montrealers launched a new Podcast — We Are Geek.  You can find it here (in French only).  For this first edition, they shared their thoughts about this city. I found it interesting and I’ll continue following it to see where it goes, you should check it out.
Podcast

I thought I’d share with you a list of Podcasts I’m subscribed to. I find them all extremely stimulating! I get ideas on how to better my work and personal life almost every time!  From my descriptions, the Podcasts might sound redundant. Each person, however, brings his or her view to the table and they sometimes differ quite a bit…and I think that it’s precisely that which makes these interesting.

For Immediate Release (FIR)

The FIR Podcast is actually a few different recordings. The main one is the weekly Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz Report, but all the elements are extremely interesting. They do a great job covering new topics and trends in social media as well as best practices. The conversations are always insightful.
If you’re looking beyond the basics of social media – definitely check this out!

Jaffe Juice

Currently these are recordings of conversations between Joseph Jaffe and Mitch Joel. They cover the current status of media and social media as well as their thoughts on future trends.  These guys are smart and there is plenty of thought provoking ideas in here!

Jaffe Juice TV

This is a video Podcast by Joseph Jaffe.  They are short (a few minutes only) and insightful. It’s a collection of his thoughts regarding trends, best practices, social media, advertising and business.  Just passed the 100th Podcast – congratulations!

Managing the Gray

Podcast hosted by C.C. Chapman with tips, thoughts and advice — self-help style. C.C. is a very smart guy with some really great advice on topics such as goal setting and making time.  You’ll find tons of useful info here.

Marketing Over Coffee

John Wall and Christopher Penn talk about marketing, social media, business as well as a couple interviews. The conversations are often very practical.  There’s some good stuff in there – these two are very smart and know their stuff!

Six Pixels of Separation/Media Hacks

This is actually two Podcasts rolled into one and dare I say – it’s my favourite.  Hosted by Mitch Joel of Twist Image, Six Pixels of Separation is usually an interview with a big shot in the social media and marketing world.  Mitch is a great interviewer and the insights gained from this Podcast are phenomenal!  It’s also a copy of the Jaffe Juice Podcast when their discussions go live.

Media Hacks is a bi-monthly talk that covers one or more trend in the social media, marketing and tech industry.  Mitch Joel and some of his regular contributors — Julien Smith, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, Christopher Penn and Hugh McGuire go back and forth in a somewhat organized way and with varying degrees of swearing :)  It’s always thought provoking!

Without taking anything away from the others, I strongly recommend this one!

Wine Library TV

Wine Podcast by Gary Vaynerchuk – it got me interested in wine and it showcases Gary doing what he does best! What more is there to say :)

I don’t know if my descriptions above really give any of these great Podcasts any justice, so I’ll suggest this — go listen to them, see what you think…
What other interesting Podcasts do you listen to — social media related or not?

(Photo credit: topgold)

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Work
I get asked that question regularly.  In my own experience, it does — from new jobs and new opportunities to new acquaintances. Over the past weekend, I found another example.  Simple and easy.

I was reading a post by Julien SmithTwo Great Local Business Uses for Foursquare. In the post he outlines how a new local business — FAIT ICI — is opening up. They contacted him because some of his previous blog posts hinted that he could benefit from their offering. But, they also got in touch with him because he checks-in on Foursquare to a coffee shop right next door. With a little research they know that he’s from the neighbourhood and could enjoy their products.

He’ll most probably check out the store when it opens.

But where I find this social media really demonstrates its potential, is that by contacting him, Julien wrote a blog post and I found out about FAIT ICI (note: I had seen the awning before, but had no clue what it was). So did his other readers. As a fellow Montrealer who reads Julien’s blog regularly, his interest in the store peeked my own interest.

I’ll most definitely check it out when it opens.

You might think to yourself, “OK, so they got two potential clients, that doesn’t make a business.” True, however, who’s to say they haven’t contacted others?  Also, this coverage cost the owners nothing in terms of ad dollars. Finally, they found two potential new customers with peeked interests — the first sale is almost guaranteed.

What do you think?

(Photo credit: Navarr)

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Tree
Roughly one month ago I started sharing how I was getting the company to venture into the social media space. Today I’d like to continue on that topic. Here are 8 things you can do to keep heading in the right direction (keep in mind that this is how I’m doing it, but this will vary from company to company):

  1. Read a lot of stuff related to social media and your industry
  2. Interact and communicate with coworkers.
  3. Keep in mind that any company that wants to be successful at social media, needs to be social at its core. If the company you work at is not by nature social, open and willing to share, you’re going to have to get your company to be more social. A good place to start is to find like-minded people in the organization. Find people who, like you, believe that social media will help. Preferably people who work in other departments, and start sharing: share insights, readings, tactics, events…anything really. The more you share, the more you’ll be able to get new ideas in your department. You’ll also be able to introduce people to each other in different departments and so the sharing will start… For example, I attended a conference where this company setup a private Facebook group for its senior executives. Just to get them comfortable with the platform and with sharing. All the information about an upcoming corporate seminar was broadcast to that private group only – no emails or calls…just Facebook was used to communicate this event. It forced them to sign-up to Facebook and start using it. Keep in mind though; this WILL TAKE TIME…LOTS OF IT and that brings me to the next point…
  4. Be patient, very patient… This will take time. As I’ve mentioned before, companies fear change and you’ll encounter some resistance. Social media might not yet be a priority, so expect cancelled or rushed meetings, excuses and postponements. That’s normal — nothing personal. Just keep plugging at what you believe in. If you work at it, in the long run it’ll pay off…
  5. Scale. Another advantage of points 2 and 3 is that you’ll find people that will work with you. For example, they blog themselves and will want to connect with bloggers in your industry. That’s great! Take any help you can get. For example, where I work we have very different audiences for each channel. It helps that I have someone that can relate to one or more targets better than me. She can do outreaches and suggest interesting strategies and tactics in relation to that specific audience.
  6. Scoping players in the industry. While your “waiting around” in between cancelled meetings, start scoping the playing fields. Who are the influencers in your industry? Bloggers are big, but look to see if you have smaller activists who like your brand and talk about it on Facebook or Twitter. Start taking names. If your site has one or more forums, it’s a good place to start looking – they are gold-mines of information. Like-minded coworkers and others willing to help are key at this point… Some interesting tools to use here are Facebook‘s search function, search.twitter.com or socialmention.com. Chris Brogan has a great post about that – Grow Bigger Ears in 10 minutes.
  7. Thinking about objectives. What company or departmental goals can be helped by social media? If you’re selling a product, how can you increase those sales? If you have a bad rap, how can you help polish the image? If you’re selling a service, how can you showcase your knowledge? If you’re selling a media spots, how can you get more eye-balls there? This doesn’t have to be definitive, but start kicking around some ideas. Get your bosses input – what are his or her objectives for the year? What’s the outlook for the next five years? How can you inline yourself with those.
  8. Work on small tactics. Do you already have a Facebook page or a Twitter profile for your company? Maybe a corporate blog or YouTube page? Whatever the case may be, start optimizing that presence. From your readings, you will inevitably have fallen on plenty of “How to” type of posts – Here’s a great one on how to better manage a Facebook page and problogger.net is great for better blogging. Start working on them; start connecting with the people that have already given you some attention by following you. Another plus is that a healthy community gives you ammo to convince your upper executives to further go down the social media path. If your company doesn’t have any presence, reserve your company names on all major social media platforms. Sites like KnowEm.com can help you with that.

What do you think? Do you have anything to add? Have you tried anything new?

(Photo credit: Wonderlane)

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Time
“I don’t have the time to do this social media thing” or “We don’t have the resources to it…” — if you’re in a large organization, you probably hear this a million times a day. If you want your company to venture into social media, this can be a major issue.

While most social media tools are free, the “cost” is in human hours. Gary Vaynerchuk mentions in his book Crush It! (Affiliate link) in order to make it “you’re going to have to work really hard” and that’s true of large organizations too. If you want your company to succeed, you’re going to have to find a way to get things done.

The advantage of large companies, is that there is plenty of staff, so there are a few options…

What you can do to find the right people on your team to help you down the social media path (no particular order):

  • What kind of organizational structure where you thinking of?  Jeremiah Owyang has a good outline of what is already out there.
  • Look at which efforts can be scaled and which cannot.  Chris Brogan had a good post on this. If you’re in a large organization, chances there are plenty of online activities is going on, so having a team of people will make it easier.
  • What kind of corporate culture do you have? You’ll probably need to have a strategy that fits within the culture if you want it to work. If your employees tend to work 9 to 5, it will be hard to convince them to stay longer to engage with people online. Look at your staff’s tasks – are they all vital, can they add more value by dumping some tasks and engaging with people online?
  • Start small. There is no shame in starting small. Start it yourself by only listening/conversing/creating content on one aspect of your brand. As your online presence grows and by showing others it can be done, others will hop on and help out.
  • Sit down with the team.Some people may be more than willing to help out…

What do you think? How are you getting things done on the inside?

(Photo credit:Michel Filion)

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A few weeks ago I bought 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Darren Rowse.  The book seemed interesting, but I never got to it, mainly because I was watching the Montreal Canadiens in NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and I wanted to give it my undivided attention.

The book intrigues me and I want to get started. Now is as good a time as ever!  I’ll be doing one task each day and today is the first day of this month-long challenge!

I’m pumped! Wish me luck!

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One of the reasons I respect Chris Brogan so much is this. From one situation he was able to stimulate a discussion and add tons of value to any entrepreneur willing to learn…as well as get 4 blog posts out of it. I could argue that large companies can also learn from these posts, but that’s another story.

In his post, A Perfect Dichotomy he outlined a situation where, while looking for a new logo, he stimulated a discussion surrounding crowd-sourcing in the design industry. He then outlines and re-frames the question and turns it into a learning opportunity in his post The Opportunity to Learn. He further delves into the vital aspect of the question with his post Who is your Buyer and finally writes up a 7 point how-to on winning new business with his post 7 Ways to Win New Business.

Basically, from what I can tell he described a situation, identified a learning opportunity, tried to re-frame thinking and finished off with a simple how-to.

How many people can add value and get so much blog post mileage from one situation? Is that how you look at your blog posts?

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As some of you may know, I’ve recently started working in the TV industry as a social media consultant.  Any time you start a new job in a new industry, you spend an incredible amount of time wrapping your head around it to try and figure it out.  Especially when you’re in marketing and communications. In my daily quest to find out more about this industry, I stumbled upon a few posts by Craig Engler (General Manager and Senior Vice President of the Syfy Channel in the US) on boingboing.net. His posts were an open, interesting and insightful look into the industry and it’s convergence with the internet.
If you’re looking to understand more about the TV industry here are some posts I recommend (in no particular order):

Of course, the Canadian and Quebec markets and regulations vary, but this gives a good basic view into the world of TV.

On the other hand

On the complete other side of the spectrum, I also stumbled upon this post by Jim Long: New TV — How Broadband, Cord Cutters, and Media Center Apps are Changing the Way We Watch. It’s  a look into where TV might be heading.

Is the TV world currently healthy? Yes. Is that world changing? Yes. Is it in need of a change? Yes. Are TV channels ready for the change? No — no one really knows where we are headed, but we’re experimenting. I think it’s great that people are venturing into Online TV Networks!

What do you think? Do you have any questions? Comment below or hit-up Craig at @syfy on Twitter, I’m sure he would be happy to answer you.

(Photo credit: gothopotam)

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