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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

This morning I was surprised by two delightful tweets from fellow green and social media guru, Max Gladwell, and visual green thinker Franke James:

Tweets La Marguerite

What’s the fuss about? A mention in the UK Guardian, from Do The Green Thing startup co-founders Andy Hobsbawm and Naresh Ramshandani:

Which tech businesses or web thinkers are the ones to watch?

“For tech we read people like Clay Shirky, Nicholas Carr, Yochai Benkler, Howard Rheingold, Kevin Kelly and Bruce Sterling. For green thinking we follow things like WorldChanging.com, Max Gladwell, the TED blog, Treehugger, La Marguerite and folk like John Grant, Jules Peck and Amory Lovins.”

This acknowledgment comes at a time when I have expanded the scope of my thinking besides just ‘green’, to also include other interests such as, the role of social media in facilitating social change, as well as a rekindled involvement with insight  meditation.

I have also moved away from ‘traditional long-format blogging’, as here on WordPress, to a more organic way of sharing my thoughts on micro-blogging platform Twitter, where you can follow me every day here.

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It’s been several months already, since I started working on a new green tech project. And I want to share my excitement about our most favorite tool, our team wiki. Short and sweet, here are ten reasons why we could not do without our wiki:

  1. It’s free. Not all wikis are, but we found one that does not cost us a dime. We are planning to upgrade as we expand and need a more robust version.
  2. It’s easy to set up. All you need is a name, and you can start inviting your teammates to be co-administrators of your wiki.
  3. It’s easy to use. Don’t listen to all the scary wiki stories. While it’s true that some wikis can be a bit hard to learn – I never warmed up to SocialText for instance – , others, like PB Wiki, are a breeze.
  4. It’s oh so forgiving. No need to worry about messing up. You can always edit, rename, or delete a page. And if you change your mind, you can revert to earlier versions on your page history.
  5. It’s a virtual structure. The front page is a good place to list all the main areas of work for your project, with all the relevant pages underneath each area.
  6. It’s a task organizer. We are using the side bar to keep track of individual tasks. Nothing like seeing one’s name next to projects, to deliver.
  7. It’s a repository of  knowledge. We can each contribute our knowledge as we go, without having to worry about it ever getting lost.
  8. It’s a search tool. Type any keyword into the wiki search box, and you get a list of all the pages within your wiki with mentions of that keyword. Very,  very useful feature.
  9. It’s a safe box. No danger of Powerpoint presentations, Word documents, images, pdfs, disappearing. They’re all stored in the wiki ‘cloud’.
  10. It’s a playground. Uniquely fit for the creative needs of  startups. You can play alone, writing pages on your own. Or you can edit, or comment on each other’s pages.

And, no I don’t work for PB Wiki or any other wiki company.

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Just as I was finishing getting dressed in the YMCA locker room, this old black woman walks in with her walker, and starts talking to me, and telling me that she is 96 year old, and that she was on TV this morning. The local station did a segment on her, as part of a series on the new President’s inauguration Tuesday. Juanita is no ordinary lady. She is the oldest African-American in our county, and was born in 1913, in Oklahoma City. I find the fact that Juanita witnessed so much of our American history, and lived long enough to be a part of Tuesday’s celebration, incredibly moving. We probably spent a few minutes together, at the most, and I may never see her again. Yet, that random connection with her was filled with meaning, and I am not about to forget it any time soon.

Juanita made me think of  the many connections I have made on the Web with perfect strangers. Fleeting encounters, often times with no follow up, and yet precious. Tweets sending me support when I felt down, or answering a question just when I needed it. Comments on my blog that made me think, this person and I are made of the same cloth. Moments shared during the Presidential campaign, on Twitter 2008 Election. I have been asked how can I be following 2,000 people on Twitter? My answer is, precisely for the chance of these random connections. Time limited exchanges packed with feelings, or thoughts, and during which I was able to give and/or receive lots.

As the world becomes more and more one, and technology breaks down the barriers of communication, it is my sense that random connections on the Web will take more and more space in our lives. What we may give up in continuity, we gain in in the moment experiences.

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Following the ranks of new Twitter followers today, was Netflix7, Netflix’s new presence on my favorite network. I am not sure what Netflix is trying to accomplish. Regardless, it is helping me make a point. Companies need to better understand the meaning of ‘socia’l in social media. The beauty of well understood social media lies in its messengers: people. Substitute a recognizable human presence with an abstract brand of corporate entity, and the social in social media vanishes. The message becomes no more than interactive media, old style. 

If Netflix wants to engage me, capture instead all the existing conversations on Twitter, of which there are quite a few, judging from search I did on Twitter – 15 in just 30′ – and gather them, and share them, same way Trader Joe’s has done. And get the social media nuts in your ranks to evangelize for you, and listen to, and respond to these people already talking about Netflix. Same can be done with blogs, an other social media channels.

Simple enough?

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Online social capital is becoming a highly sought out asset, particularly for those seeking to market themselves and/or their services using social media. Based on my limited experience on the receiver’s end, here is a list of do’s and don’ts of social media:

10 Do’s of Social Media:

  1. Do comment on others’ blogs
  2. Do respond to comments on your own posts
  3. Do reciprocate comments with comments on commenter’s blog
  4. Do link generously to others’ posts
  5. Do answer emails/DM from your readers – I don’t care how important or how busy you are
  6. Do share parts about yourself that resonate with others
  7. Do make others feel better about themselves after they read you
  8. Do gift others with valuable information, offers of support, spontaneous acts of random kindness
  9. Do facilitate relevant connections amongst your readers
  10. Do answer others’ requests for help – signing of petitions, joining of causes, small donations

10 Don’ts of  Social Media:

  1. Not responding to comments on your posts
  2. Not responding to others’ online communications to you 
  3. Engaging in excessive self-promotion
  4. Making others feel bad, or even worse non existent
  5. Boasting about your 5,000 friends – frankly, I don’t give a dam
  6. Being a fake
  7. Pushing a product or a service
  8. Using others, for your personal gain only
  9. Sending automatically generated messages – this is supposed to be social
  10. Harassing others with too many asks 

Easier said than done. Particularly when dealing with multiple channels and significant numbers of ‘friends’. I have found the time required to be a good ‘friend’ an ongoing challenge. Consistent with HP’s Twitter Research quoted in Jeremiah Wang‘s blog, my coping strategy on Twitter, has been to relate with ‘friends’, in concentric circles, starting with a core of people I have an ongoing relationship with, then going into circles of decreasing interaction frequency.  In the blogging department, I have had phases of intense dedication, when I followed my own medicine to the letter, followed by periods of neglect, as happened recently before I relaunched this blog. 

I wonder, what else would you add to those two lists, either from a user or a producer’s perspective?

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Thanks to Peter Kim for putting out his great survey of Social Media Predictions 2009. One unintended learning from the survey, at least for me, was this list, and what it means for social media:

Fifteen big names in social media – including Peter Kim -, and only two of them women.

I can understand women being underrepresented in older, more traditional fields such as engineering, or government, but social media? This feels like deja vu. I noticed a similar trend in the field of green and sustainability, prompting me to ask the question, ‘Where are the Women in the Green Stratosphere?’

Men appear to be especially good at appropriating spaces, even ones they don’t particularly care for as a whole. Again the cooking analogy applies. While women represents the majority of the home cooks, and do most of the daily cooking, cooking celebrities, the chefs with five star restaurants, big cooking shows and books galore, tend to be men. Same with social media. From 2008 Rapleaf study:

When it comes to social media, women are at the forefront. At Rapleaf we conducted a study of 13.2 million people and how they’re using social media. While the trends indicate both sexes are using social media in huge numbers, our findings show that women far outpace the men.

Not surprising, given that women are inherently inclined to being more social than men. It’s part of our DNA, and a well documented fact. Women will continue to thrive in both online and physical social networks. I just wish we took a more deliberate role in the shaping of social media. Women have things to say, that are different from men, and that can contribute to a richer picture.

This post is the first in a series I will be writing on social media. My humble attempt at adding another feminine voice to the social media chorus . . .

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As reflected in the new tag line ‘A Girl’s View of Social Media, Sustainability, and Social Change‘, La Marguerite is getting reborn. From a green blog, to a more inclusive forum where to share my three main interests: sustainability, still, and also, social media, and social change. Social media has become a passion that’s become too big for just a few occasional tweets on Twitter. Social change touches upon my current forays into social entrepreneurship. All three embraced from a very feminine perspective:

dsc00349

I am thrilled!

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In response to my last post, I was overwhelmed by a flurry of worried emails wondering what’s happening with La Marguerite, and my alluded identity crisis as a green blogger. The truth is, I have been posting a lot less frequently, and when I do, it is usually related to my new foray into cyberspace, a new website still in development, to do with food, sustainability, and grocery shopping. 

It is not just the new website however. I have also fallen into the slow blogging phenomenon, as described in last weekend’s New York Times, ‘Haste, Scorned: Blogging at a Snail’s Pace’. The article does a good job of capturing the shift taking place amongst bloggers, including the rise of Twitter as an alternative  blogging platform. For those of you not familiar with it, Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows you to share, in 140 characters or less whichever thoughts come to you throughout the day, in response to question “What are you doing?”. Now, rather than sharing these small thoughts on La Marguerite WordPress blog, I go to La Marguerite on Twitter. And I save the blog for those rarer occasions when I want to expand on a particular issue.

Yet another reason for my decreased frequency in posting, has to do with a very practical consideration, and one that faces the majority of serious bloggers: the need to make money, and to spend one’s time wisely. This is a huge issue in blogging and social media in general. So far, there has not been a satisfying model for full time content providers such as myself to make money from their social media enterprises. Particularly in non commercial fields such as here on La Marguerite.

Last, it is my belief that blogging can only go so far in terms of its social impact. I have written about this before. At some point, action needs to take the relay of thinking and writing, and  I am not happy with just inciting others into action. 

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In “Green, a Dead End for Social Networks?”, I continue to question the legitimacy of green social networks, even going as far as suggesting that they be abandoned altogether. Instead I propose a non direct approach to go around the ‘nice to have, but don’t need’ problem of green social media in general. One example could be a site that helps people manage their personal resources more effectively as food and gas prices continue to rise. Conservation and efficiency measures would obviously be featured prominently on such a site, but always first as a way to maximize personal resources, and only secondarily as feel-good green measures.

Another alternative is to treat green as what it is, a qualifier for all aspects of people’s lives. This is in sync with growing green narrative: green economy, green revolution, green jobs, green media, green homes, green cars, green living, etc. It is also aligned with the psychology of most people, for whom green is only a secondary benefit. Using that logic, it makes sense to not have separate green social networks, but instead green applications that come as a layer on top of existing mainstream networks. Imagine if you had the option of going green on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Craigslist, eBay . . . seamlessly, at your discretion?

At the heart of both approaches, “roundabout green network”, and “green layered network”, is the recognition of green as a global necessity of the highest order, to be reconciled with the fact that it is only a secondary benefit on the personal level.

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