Posts Tagged: chris brogan

What Does “Be A Rockstar” Mean To You?

I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments. It’s such a vague phrase so casually bandied about, and so open to a variety of interpretations by everyone.

Don’t Let Others Distract You

You’ve found your groove. You’re focused on your dream. You’re putting into practice the ideas you discovered from early adopters and early investors in this whole “social” space from books like Twitter For Dummies, Trust Agents, Crush It!, Get Seen, and so many more*. You’re stoked – you can feel your dreams realized, a step at a time. Then, you get distracted.

Have you noticed you get distracted by the very minds who inspired you in the first place? It’s not always just a coincidence. In some cases, it’s intentional. In other cases, it’s more benign – a thought leader, as they become called, wants to keep generating ideas and sometimes simply doesn’t think of the impact it may have on the person the ideas touch. Other times, they do. A Gary Vaynerchuk or a Chris Brogan** or others say they are “redrawing” or “refocusing” or “going beyond crushing it” and “stepping up their game” or [insert other vague yet seemingly positive language] here.

It makes you feel inadequate. It makes you feel left behind. It makes you feel like you aren’t moving fast enough. It makes you feel as though you have to keep up with the Joneses. It makes you stop focusing on your goal.

Did you know that the skill I use the most in my job is my education in psychology? Did you know that distraction, envy and inadequacy are very effective techniques for sidelining the competition? Did you know that in this new economy with these new tools, at this rapid pace technology flies, you are just as much competition as the heavy hitters who have come before?

If you didn’t know that before, know it now. Listen to the “thought leaders” when it helps you, but check in with yourself daily. Make sure your eyes stay on your prize and stop thinking you have to veer off your track each time someone with a bigger megaphone tries something new. Should you stop innovating? No. Should you innovate wisely and according to what works for your resources? Yes.

Now get back to work, hustle, and stop letting me distract you.

* Yes, they are Amazon affiliate links. I read a book a day – it helps me feed my addiction.


** I adore Chris, Gary, Steve and the rest of my colleagues. They are awesome. You should still focus on what’s good for you and your business above all else.

Social Media Curves

While on a call with members of The Community Roundtable recently, I spoke about the concept of social media curves, or social media arcs. This is something I encourage my clients to consider as they embark on their first social media forays, or revamp an existing social media presence. It requires a shift in thinking that encourages patience – something in short supply in this always-on world.

What I mean by a social media curve is the time frame from when you first start to create and nurture your social media efforts and when you see your first success. In working with clients in all industries, the time frames I tend to see average out to 3 month and 6 month curves of time. This is strictly “anecdata”, as they say, based on the work I’ve done – I’d love to see the information compiled from others in the industry to see if this curve holds true across the board.

We’ve already covered the need for businesses, filmmakers, musicians, artists, etc. to have purposeful engagement on social media platforms. We’ve covered the need for being human, balancing personal and professional and other basics. So now that you’ve been in the social media trenches for a while and established your basic identity, presence and reason for being there (or re-established, if you are repairing a poorly done campaign or repopulating a social media ghost town), what comes next?

Once you’ve laid a foundation, it’s time to work from goals on the front end and set appropriate expectations on the back end. Map out what you hope to achieve through social media, then break it down into reasonable, bite sized goals. Each of these goals will become part of a social media curve. Prioritize the goals, then associate them with concrete offline benchmarks (after all, the “ROI” of social media is not an arbitrary number of followers or fans, but actual offline results: sales, referrals, leads, foot traffic, event attendance, restaurant bookings, collaborators on projects, better customer service, etc).

What do I mean by appropriate expectations? This is really where the social media curve idea comes in. Depending on the size of your goal, and how long and how well you’ve been maintaining your social identity and engagement, you will see results on a social media curve. A shallow response, followed by an arc of positive results and more attention and engagement from others, tapering off and becoming steady as the weeks go by. This means that for a small goal, you should see measurable and steady results after about 3 months, and for a larger goal, expect 6 months. (And keep in mind that “I want more business” is not a goal, it’s a hope – and hope is not a business model. A goal would be “I want to increase restaurant bookings by x% a week”)

Many are disappointed that the results are not immediate, since the internet seems to move so quickly. If you have built an outstanding (and I do mean outstanding as in extraordinary, fully engaged, interesting, interested, helpful and aware) social presence and have the social leverage that comes from that, you can achieve a slightly faster response, but too many think outstanding presence means numbers on a page. It does not. Take Chris Brogan for example. People do not listen to Chris because he has a gazillion followers, great hair and a huge blog following. People listen to Chris because he listens to them, and has spent years being helpful, aware, interesting, interested, and otherwise fully engaged. In the beginning of his social media curve, he could not have released Trust Agents and gotten it to reach the sales levels it did simply by using his social leverage to let people know he had a book out. At this point in his curve, he can (and did), and he can do it much more quickly than the average person, thanks to years of time and investment in his social media “family”.

For the average person or business online, however – expect 3 – 6 months before you see real results. Take your time and really cultivate your own social media family. Measure your success by how your offline goals are met, not by whether you have as much of a following as someone else. And above all else, slow down and handle your online presence with care.

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On Perception

I hoped that the volume of people pinging me after Chris discussed his rates would die down, but since it didn’t, I thought I’d quickly answer the questions. While I’m at it, I thought I’d talk a bit about perception and worth. Enjoy.

Justin Kownacki’s post, referenced in the video, can be found here (and seriously, if Justin isn’t on your daily read list, you are missing out).

Douglas Rushkoff‘s book Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back
can be purchased here (affiliate link).

And last but not least, a link to the Pick My Brain experiment, for those to pressed for time (or lazy) to scroll down.

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*the legal beagle yelled at me for not inserting something about “rates may change” in future. (I mean, duh, right?) So, there ya go, to make the legals happy.

Interruptive vs Disruptive Technologies

After reading Chris Brogan’s post on interruptive communication today, and responding in the video below on Utterli, I started percolating on the concept. I love when something simple gets my brain cranking, don’t you? Here is the link to Chris’s post, the video is embedded below, and after that are my thoughts as they strayed farther and farther from the topic and onto their own path.

Chris’s post got me thinking about two things. One was my own dual style of working: management vs creative. The best encapsulation of the dichotomy there as relates to running a creative business I have yet read is by Paul Graham, found here. Go, read it. I’ll wait. The second is the concept of interruptive technology versus the concept of disruptive technology. I see those two terms interchanged often, yet I don’t actually find the concepts interchangeable.

Interruptive Technology

These are technologies most often used to complete a task or communicate. I rank mine in order of “interruption level” in the video. What makes a technology interruptive is how it alters the work flow or life flow of another person or company. That means email will remain the least interruptive (in my opinion) and the most useful, for now, at tracking the minute and changeable details of a project. The phone and in person meetings or conference calls remain the highest level of interruptive technology with the lowest return. Yes, you get to see the body language (meeting/web cam) or hear the vocal inflection (phone/conference call) with these technologies, but they leave room for excessive blocks of time not spent working on a project, and for project details to slip through the cracks with no written record.

Disruptive Technology

Though this term is often used interchangeably with the above (as you can see in the replies to Chris’s post), to me it is not at all the same thing. A disruptive technology may involve communication (like Twitter) and it may become interruptive (like Twitter or Instant Message services), but it has a wider impact, disrupting an entire system, not just an individual work flow (like Twitter DMs and their effect on Email, or like Google Wave is hoping to disrupt multiple systems, including chat, message service, email and more). It is that system wide disruption as opposed to an individual, more myopic effect, that sets the two apart for me.

And Then There Is Ego

Once you realize how interruptive technology diffuses your efficiency and can put speed bumps and road blocks in your work flow, you may turn to disruptive technologies to manage your systems (Away Find is a great example of this, as is Evernote, and also using a mobile phone and voice mail to control what reaches you to interrupt your flow without missing the important items). So where does ego come into play?

Ego becomes its own problem when people begin to take your time management personally. There are a number of people and companies I work with that are awesome, and that have time management systems of their own. They see that I try to work within their parameters, and they do their best to respect mine – it s a win-win (It helps that I started adding an “effective work flow for this project” section in contracts). Then you get people who aren’t able to see your system (or the systems of others) as time management – these folks take it as a personal slight if an email isn’t replied to immediately, and then, they begin to bombard your system structure like a Kamikaze pilot from WWII – hitting your DM box, your email repeatedly, your phone, text, instant message windows and more in a look at me blitzkrieg. What kills me is the message is often then “Hey, call me ASAP.” and not “These xx items are urgent because of xx. I know you are writing per your away message, but could you please contact me.” (Guess which one would actually get a response from most people, by the way.)

Truly, there is not much you can do about how someone else’s feelings work. Personally, aside from doing my best to be tactful and understanding, I haven’t found a “magic formula” for the times when ego enters the equation. Have you?  How are you using disruptive technology to handle interruptive technology?

Topics on Fire Episode 4: Gender Gap and Technology

The final panel for Episode 4 of Topics on Fire has been set and the topic will be Gender Gap / Technology. Myself (Leslie Poston), Shireen Mitchell of Women Wired In, Leslie Bradshaw (recently featured on CSPAN covering the conventions), Meg Fowler of (currently helping promote, Micah Baldwin of CurrentWisdom and Lijit, Chris Brogan (social media guru and PodCamp Boston co-founder) have all signed on, with Aaron Brazell from Technosailor possibly joining us also, schedule permitting.

“Follow” the show on TalkShoe or stop back here for updates on each episode and notifications that a new episode is coming.

Listen to the podcast here, or via TalkShoe or iTunes subscription:

The podcast on the Gender Gap and Technology was a lively one. As you all know I am always trying to push for real world solutions to the problems we talk about, and we didn’t come up with takeaways in the limited time the panel had to discuss it this week. Because of that, I’m scheduling a Part 2. I’m hoping that the same panel is willing to come back and take a different approach: instead of rehashing the existing and past issue of gender and technology, as valid as that is, I’d like to start Part 2 by stipulating that the problem exists and acknowledging that strong men and women have done much to pave the way for women in technology. Then I’d like to make the sole goal of Part 2 finding tangible ways to help women feel less disenfranchised in technology, to help women get access to technology for careers and educations and as many other solutions as we can think of in an hour of positive, focused, goal oriented discussion.

If you were a panelist on the show and would like to come back for part 2 to finish the discussion we started, please let me know via email, Direct Message or in comments.

Future Topics on Fire Episodes include:

(as panelists confirm I will post them next to the podcast)

9/21 11PM Eastern Episode 5, Education and Technology (John Herman, E Christopher Clark)

10/5 11PM Eastern Episode 6, Gender Gap and Technology Part 2 (Corvida, Leslie Bradshaw, Micah Baldwin, Meg Fowler, Jen Nedeau)

10/19 11PM Eastern Episode 7, Politics and Technology (Leslie Bradshaw)