• "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..."

Three things that happened to me this past week:

I’ll spare you the details of the conversation and in no way am I trying to lessen the plight of people suffering from Anorexia or Bulimia and if you haven’t read Seth Godin’s Linchpin (Affiliate link) — please go read it.

Although all 3 events are loosely related to each other, it did make me realize just how much fear — or the lizard brain as Godin calls it — cripples us.  The fear of embarrassment, the fear of failure, the fear of incompetence, the fear of what others might say and in some cases fear of bodily harm. This is often bread out of childhood. If you stop and look at almost anything you HAVE NOT accomplished in your life so far, it will most certainly be because of fear. I’ve recently come to realize that a few things in my life have been held back because of fears that started during my childhood. Nothing big, it might not even be noticeable to an outsider (heck, I hadn’t noticed it until now).

Except for fear of bodily harm, the only advice I can give you today is don’t give in to the fear. I’ve come to accept that I’ve held back on a few things and now I’m ready to move on…

As Metallica puts it in their song Outlaw Thorn (Affiliate link)

And if I close my mind in fear
Please pry it open

Accept what you are afraid of, accept it  for what it is and move on. You can accomplish great things!

What do you say? What’s holding you back?

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Last week I attended a conference keynoted by Chris Brogan. During his presentation, he made remark worth sharing. It went something like this:

Social media is not a department in your company.  That would be like having a phone department where only that department answers the phone or a fax department where only that department faxes.

Being one of the social media consultant at Astral Media, I started laughing as I asked myself: “Did Chris Brogan just cost me my job?”  I later told him about my reaction and he answerd “I’m glad if I get you fired.”

And the truth is, so would I…

Let me explain…

As Chris Brogan argues, social media is nothing new. It’s all about the trust relationships we’ve all been building throughout our careers. If you’re in Sales, you build trust with your clients so they’ll buy from you; if you’re in Customer Service, you build trust with clients so that they continue using and enjoying your product; if you’re in Communications, you build trust with journalists and clients so that they continue talking about you; if you’re in Internal Communications, you build trust with employees, so that they thrive at their jobs, and so on…

I would suggest that internal and external social media consultants and experts can help you out with tools. They can help you educate your staff and even build apps and skin blog platforms if needed, but the reality remains that social media is the responsibility of the entire company and its employees.

Get Started!

Because social media is not anything new to you, it’s easy for you to get started today.  Set-up your online presences; start listening to what your clients are saying and start connecting with them. Chris Brogan outlines how to get started here and Jeremiah Owyang details how to get your company started here.

What about you? Do you have more tips and advice?

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Yesterday, I had drinks with my friend Konstantin at KF13 – he’s a freelance designer.  Juxtapose this with me — I work at a large media company where I help develop social media strategies and online presences.  Cool job right? I think so! For those of you, like me, who work in a large corporation, what makes us so envious of small businesses and freelancers? Is it the flex hours? Is it the freedom? Is it aura of seeming unlimited success and potential?

Do you like your job? Do you love it? What about your company and coworkers?

What it boils down to is passion.  The store owner and the freelancer have a passion for what they do and sell.  As an employee, in no way does that mean that you’re not entitled to this! Sure you can argue that since school we have been pressured to stop being curious, but no one said you had do listened to the teacher.

I’m really happy to be doing what I am and the company I do it for is great – they give me a lot of freedom.

The freelance way is not for everyone, so take a look at what you do — do you like it or don’t you?  If you don’t, can you incorporate your passion or can you develop it to ultimately only work on that?  If you do, then what could you do to make it better?  If you can’t answer that, try recording yourself like in an interview and ask basic questions – why do I work here? What do I bring to the table and what have I accomplished? Who do I look up to? Where do I see myself in the future? How can I contribute more?

4 things you could do right now to re-ignite the passion in you:

  1. The Steve Jobs thing – In his Stanford Commencement Address a few years back, Steve Jobs explains how, each morning he asks himself “if this were the last thing I did, would I still do it?” If the answer is “no” too many days in a row, it’s time for a change.  Is it time for change in your life?
  2. Think about what makes you happy – a good book, time with loved ones, a certain industry, being on the road.  How can you integrate that in your life?
  3. Work-back schedule – where do you want to be 5 years from now?  How do you get there?
  4. Just do it! Don’t wait for people to OK what you want to do, just go for it!

Think about it, most companies these days are pretty open and are willing to work with employees to help them be more productive — sit down with your boss and look at flex hours or even working from home once in a while.  If that will increase your productivity, they’ll be more often than not very happy to work with you.

What are you doing to ignite your passion?

Photo credit: MOHSEN MaSoUmI

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On April 1st, Facebook rolled out a new feature – Community Pages. Visually identical to Fan Pages, they are “reserved” for Facebook users that want to create a presence for a topic or cause – like “Can this Onion Ring get more Fans than Steven Harper“. What is more is that once a Community Page attains a certain number of followers, the user that created the page loses control over it, all the fans become administrators. On the other hand, as you may know, Fan Pages are for Brands to establish a Facebook presence to interact with their fans. The administrative control always stays with the brand.

As most Facebook initiatives this could go either way – fail miserably or great success. In the case of great success, you will need to pay attention to what is being said by users outside of your Fan Pages (actually you should already be paying attention). It’s easy for a user to create a Community Page that goes against a specific brand. They can now completely bypass your Fan Page. It’s not sure if Facebook will help brands with slanderous Community Pages

Five things to keep in mind:

  1. You will need to be more vigilant about what is being said outside of Fan Pages because the conversation could be happening elsewhere
  2. Even if a favourable Community Page exists, a slanderous group can easily take over by increasing the fan base
  3. Because only Facebook users can comment on a page, you will need to determine how to react to slanderous Community Pages – is it a PR rep, a director, a VP. Keep in mind that the person who answers needs a real profile, fake profiles with a few friends might only add fuel to the fire…
  4. Because Fan Pages and Community Pages look identical, you will have to work even harder at attracting new fans to the fan page
  5. On the flip side, this could be a great way for you to delegate some control to your fans – the fact that they are admins of your page shows great confidence

What do you think? Community Pages, hit or miss? Are you going to use them?

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks

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How I got started…

I’m starting this series of posts to outline how I’m helping my company with its social media strategies. I’ve been here for close to two months and things are starting to happen.

At first I was going to talk about how I read plenty of blogs – Chris Brogan’s blog, Mashable, Web-Strategist.com, Seth’s Blog, iMedia Connection, the Twist Image Blog just to name a few. I’ve also signed up for Third Tribe Marketing (affiliate link) and read books such as Trust Agents I’ve been doing this for the past couple years now (even before starting this new job) and have been commenting on posts here and there. Then, at work, I’ve been meeting with the different web teams, production teams and communication teams to learn about what they’re all about.

The thing about large companies, is that they are often set in their ways and are difficult to change (read this very interesting article by Clay Shirky about that). It’s not impossible, but it’s hard. You can however, do it by doing what I’m focusing on now…

I’m spending more time with teams both inside and outside of my department to talk with them about social media. So while reading, listening and then interacting are the starting points, if you’re trying to get your company to evolve with social media, try sit down with people.

Have regular conversations, nothing official, invite whoever is interested. Take videos of people, interview them and see how the social web can help them out. If you’re convinced them social media can help them, this will help them understand what you’re talking about… If your role is to develop social media, I would do just that – engage with people as you are starting to roll out strategies.

What do you think?

Photo credit: aturkus

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If I can unfriend you on Facebook, unfollow you on Twitter, unsubscribe from your RSS feed or newsletter because I feel you’re pushy, not respectable or I don’t feel like we can do business together, then shouldn’t I be able to not receive your email?  We are in the era of the social web after all, right?

This is an open post to employees of all companies.

I know email seems safe because you’re not in front of me and can say whatever passes through your mind without thinking it through too much. You can even write in bold or CAPS, even highlight and underline and if you want to really make sure I get your point you can also combine BOLD, CAPS, HIGHLIGHT and UNDERLINE!

I know you think you’re being a go-getter and feel this will get you ahead because you’re so assertive and I know we work in a big company and it’s really hard for you to go from the 8th floor to the 7th to come talk to me in person. But if you won’t make the effort and come see me to ask questions and work things out, I won’t make the effort to read your emails. So there! All your emails have an automatic redirect to my “Deleted Items” folder. I could be the bigger person here, but the point I’m making is if I can unfollow you on Facebook or on Twitter, I can do the equivalent in Outlook, even if we work together…that’s the reality of living in the social web era!

Too tough?

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A recent tweet by TheHabituals got me thinking about the National Hockey League’s (NHL) forays into social media — something I’ve been following over the past year. The NHL has been toying with social media at least since 2009.  The Director of Corporate Communications — Michael DiLorenzo — has been tweeting since then. Some of his colleagues do too. The NHL also paired up with Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerMedia so you know good stuff is happening :)

During the 2009 Stanley Cup finals, the NHL organized tweetups for their fans and since then, the 30 teams have been hopping on Twitter. Some started strong with seat contests, behind the scene pictures and game updates, others, like the Montreal Canadiens, only used the medium to redirecting users to site. Slowly but surely though all teams are using the medium as more than a promotional platform. I don’t know if the smaller market teams learned the the tool faster than the big market teams because they felt the need or if the NHL established some sort of implementation schedule, but the shift to a more open style has been obvious…

What is lacking is conversation with fans.  Anyone of the teams I’ve tweeted, never answered.  I’m either not very popular or that’s a gap in the strategy. That being said, given their slow adoption curve, could this be the next step? I think it could very well be…

It would also be interesting to see them participate on fan blogs and forums as well.

Will this help popularize the league in the US?  Their numbers have been going up (sales, attendance, viewership, etc) and social could have something to do with it. In part, at least.

The conclusion? If a large organization with 30 “regional offices” — all with different challenges and opportunities — can get started, so can you — no matter how big or how small.  Listen to what’s being said (check out Chris Brogan’s post about this) and start slowly, but start. Adapt and evolve as you get more comfortable…

Anything more to add about Social Media and the NHL? What do you think?

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Last night, I had drinks with a friend of mine — David Fabrega — who’s leaving for a trip around the world. He’s actually leaving with another friend — David Aimé. Feel free to hit them up. They decided to leave it all behind for a year to do this great trip around the globe. They have a hole project planned that ties in perfectly with their passions and interests.  It’s really, really interesting, but I’ll let them tell the world about it.

He wanted to meet for some insights on social media. I’ll help them along their trip, but they’ll be doing most of the work. Honestly, what an amazing meeting, very inspiring…all about following your dreams and passions. I know they’re excited about this (wouldn’t you be?) and they’ll do great – passion, confidence and determination have a way of doing that. I love those meetings because they not only give me a boost of energy, but they make me stop and think things through.

So what are you doing to make your dreams and passions come true? What are you doing to make your life great?

(Photo credit: Wolfgang Staudt)

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If you haven’t yet, please take 5 minutes to help make a difference. Support the Quebec charter for a healthy and divers body image.

There is a thin line between wanting to be healthy and feel good about yourself and risking your health trying to live up to unrealistic beauty standards.

The charter is there to help advance body image issues…

The site was developed by my old colleagues over at Fjord Quebec and it literally takes 5 minutes. Go ahead, make a difference!


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