Tag Archives: Linkedin

ROI and Working with Social Media Influencers

amirandes-crete-minI have just read Skift’s latest which includes the use by tourism boards of social media influencers and my head is about to explode. In the piece the Tempe, Arizona tourism board is referenced as viewing the 2m social media impressions generated as a successful return on their investment for inviting 4 bloggers to be their guests. Let me express that I have more than a little experience, and many documented analytics to prove, that Tempe set the bar way too low.

As a first let’s understand that in 2016 tourism accounted for 10.2% of GDP and one of every eleven jobs globally, and despite our geo-political circumstances these figures are growing, not shrinking. In some markets, by example Croatia, tourism represents approximately 20% of their GDP. What’s more, because of globalization, machine learning and artificial intelligence employment for the average person will increasingly be found in the travel vertical; which makes customer care and attention-to-detail skills so important in your hiring decisions. A less than perfect cup of coffee in our social media connected world becomes an immediate, and widespread, negative review (Yvonne also shared her post on LinkedIn). So, before inviting anyone who is an influencer to visit, get your house in order (“Is your destination Instagram-worthy?”).

Next, there is an enormous disconnect between the possibilities which could be realised and the results generated largely because the right questions aren’t asked, nor have parameters been established around a visit from a journalist, blogger or social media influencer in advance. If you are the person responsible for coordinating ‘press visits’ allow me to suggest you embrace at least the following points before you decide to host anyone:

  1. The average global rate of engagement (on Twitter) is 1.6%. As influencers anyone you invite should be able to generate at least triple that (4.8%) and since they are in the very top tier of people on social media globally 6% is a very realistic objective. While previous performance does not guarantee future results you are engaging them, and their portfolio, on your behalf. It is entirely reasonable to ask to see examples of their previous work and the supporting 3rd party analytics (get as granular as you feel is necessary).
  2. Ask for references. No one has time for prima donnas (of either gender) no matter how large their following might be. It’s in your very best interest (mitigate stress levels for your organisation and those venues you will visit) to know how easy, or difficult, an influencer might be to work with as well as the satisfaction your peers had with their delivery of top quality content in real time and the subsequent results (again documented by analytics).
  3. The total number of impressions generated is a fragment of what should be part of your evaluation cycle. Unlike any other vertical, hospitality realises close to an 11% conversion rate on social media engagement (see point #1 above) making the quality of their content extremely important to your future revenues. Establish specific requirements about the content for the posts, what they need to post and how many times per day before, during and after their stay in exchange for your hospitality.
  4. Once you decide upon contracting a social media influencer to help you with your marketing efforts, it is entirely reasonable to me as I have done this for clients, to ask that they pre-market their trip to visit you. This can vary depending upon the scope of the package you have put together for the guest but a single Instagram and Twitter post each day for two weeks leading up to their visit is about right.

Transportation, accommodations, feeding (and providing beverages), spa treatments, and activities for a week can run into the tens of thousands per person and providing that hospitality needs to come with business objectives and metrics as part of your invitation. When I worked doing public relations in tech we used to use a CPI (columns per inch) metric to calculate the value of earned media against monies spent, anything above a 4:1 ROI was deemed a success. If you are spending 100,000 of whatever your local currency is (I think) at minimum you should realise a demonstrable 5:1 ROI (and yes, there are ways to measure this).

Finally, an entire portfolio of dreamy backlit views of your influencers pool or ocean-side are not going to fill your restaurants to eat your glorious gourmet food and drink the world-class wines in your cellar.  Whatever your budget might be for hosting please remember this point – their visit is not positioning them to expand their personal brands at your expense, it is about driving your incremental revenues by heightening the awareness of everything about your destination.

Post script. While the trade laws in every country will vary please be hyper-diligent about compliance issues related to in-kind and monetary payments to social media influencers. In the United States the “Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has rules in place requiring that “influencers” who share promotional materials “clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands”.”

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Reputation Management and Appropriation, Lessons in Ethics from Edmond Dantès

My study of communications and public relations was taught by passionate adherents to Ivy Lee’s Declaration of Principles – that it is the ethical responsibility of a public relations practitioner to offer uncompromising truth to the public on behalf of one’s clients. Perhaps because of this, and despite working in high tech for 16 years, it should be un-surprising that I view the use of technology in the form of bots exponentially deployed during the United States 2016 presidential elections, let alone anywhere else, as abhorrent.

My various social media accounts address the complexities of my person; Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram serve as outlets for my professional existence while Pinterest and Facebook are more intimate expressions – at the intersection of these social platforms is my blog. While I have a blog I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself ‘a blogger’ (it is not a commercial venture). Yet my writing on this platform, having gone viral, has had impact – in part responsible for shifting public policy and the proposed exploitation of the pristine waters of the Adriatic in 2015/2016.  While building my own Instagram presence I admit to being thoroughly perplexed as to how (with the quality of photos and nominal content offered) fellow travel specific accounts could possibly have earned followers approaching 100,000 in less than a month. Thus, the clarity offered in reading Jess Gibson’s Dear PRs post referencing ‘bot-gate’ was genuinely appreciated, and it’s also why I take a particular delight at the failure of Instagress.

The truth has always found a way to be revealed, in our connected world discovery of appropriation, fraud or illicit behavior comes down to days, minutes or even seconds with a few keystrokes and keen intelligence. Throughout history there have been individuals whose jealousy, ruthlessness, greed and sloth have risked fortunes and reputations for (perceived) gain or retribution – Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo anyone? Just as Edmond Dantès took full advantage of his time falsely imprisoned to learn every skill imaginable in developing a faultless reputation and re-branding himself, every effort in thought leadership and in garnering a dedicated follower base, and fostering epic levels of engagement takes considerable patience, skill and acuity.

Beyond the Instagram bloggers’ ‘bot-gate’ other more widely known unveilings of deceit relate to appropriation of the resistance movement by Pepsi and State Street of New York City’s iconic bronze sculpture created by Arturo Di Modica.

The Tate Modern offers this essay on appropriation,

[…] to create a new situation, and therefore a new meaning or set of meanings, for a familiar image. Appropriation art raises questions of originality, authenticity and authorship…

All great art is subversive, a commentary manifest with physicality. Co-opting the passion found in resistance to injustice in its many forms, feminism, racism, environmental stewardship, and its related arts for commercial gain by the advertising industry has a vast history in the United States.

Fearless-girl-vs-arturo-di-modica

I don’t like what Fearless Girl ‘is’ specifically because she is contrived by Mad Men to gender-wash their clients’ bottom line. The $2.5 trillion (under management) State Street Global Advisors opted for a publicity stunt on International Women’s Day of instead of doing the long overdue ‘hard work’ of creating a work environment of equality and gender partity or proactively investing in education for girls on a global basis. For the unaware allow me to point out that advertising (in which both Pepsi and State Street engaged) is only related to public relations as it is a part of the greater communication functions in general. It seems to me if you are retained to represent the interests of a seven or eight figure client your responsibilities should include candid risk assessment to any proposal you present. Ultimately this all comes down to proactive reputation management versus putting your client in the rather costly position of damage control through crisis management.

With so much to lose why take a chance in the first place?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

 

Namaste, I just woke from a ‘dream catch’

A neighbor used to comment repeatedly his wonder that there didn’t seem to be any delay in ‘once I got an idea in my head’ and my acting on it – sometimes this was over things that to me seemed a ‘no brainer’ (what would keep me from ‘doing’ anything so banal as what I was acting upon?).  Three days ago a young Croatian woman I met through a Linkedin professional group less than a week ago expressed astonishment over how fast my brain engaged from thought to action.  My dearest and longest held girlfriend Doris, 78, immigrated from post WWII Germany in her teens, knows me and how my brain works perhaps better than anyone on the planet even expressed her astonishment when reading my post entitled Living in Holocene, Days Like These the obscure nature of the individual bands perplexed her and so she asked.  As I was talking her through the breadcrumbs, I confess the whole struck even me as incongruent as recounted though it seemed seamlessly logical during the process of writing, but I am very happy with the finished piece which hopefully provokes thoughtfulness – and joy!

In general, our brains are fascinating and I don’t know about yours but mine sometimes seems DSCN9982like the rubber band ball I am ‘making’ for my nephew – held together by the laws of physics yet far from being uniform in its design or apparently coherent in the way I process information.

I am reading three (very different) books right now – Jack Cashill’s Ron Brown’s Body, Marilyn Yalom’s How The French Invented Love and Mark Sundeen’s The Man Who Quit Money – the eclectic nature of my choices may help explain how my brain connects Imagedisparate information. In any case two ‘seemingly’ unrelated touch points whacked me upside the head in the middle of a dream state last night – the long since read writings of Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (where the hero leaves, and ultimately returns from, the human experience to explore him – or her – self in an epic state of mythology) and a ‘chance’ encounter with a man on OKC who my normal experience would never find occasion to meet.

The gentleman and I each have ‘overly long’ profiles – rather like transparent user manuals to guide potential partners our way or scare them off – an exception in our sound bite world. His highly functioning brain was fascinating to glimpse at, the scope of his influence on our global society might have been intimidating, it was immediately apparent to me we would never be romantically involved, but what struck me was the potential for ‘information to exchange for higher purpose benefit’. I wasn’t sure what, or how or when I would understand the randomness of ‘the message’ but I was certain that one of us (both of us?) had something of importance to convey to the other.

Sundeen’s writing included Campbell’s words,

“A blunder, apparently the merest chance – reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood.”

So, in the middle of the night as my mind flitted about in the ephemeral I was ‘guided’ to the reason of this encounter.

I am a receptor of energy, its powerful impact can level me if negative and exalt and elevate me when positive, but like every human being (and in truth I believe in the shaman guides that animals also have the capability) we are conduits for messages. These float around in the atmosphere – ideas of pure genius, inspiration, clarity, opportunities for personal growth, reverence and yes, the possibility of attaining enlightenment and at-one-ment or slipping into an abyss of pain – all simply waiting to be plucked and acted upon.

For the sake of his privacy I am not going to use his real name (yes, he really is that much of a global influencer) and I am omitting a handful of words that would point any curious reader toward him, but I will share what I was compelled to get up out of bed in the middle of the night to share with him. (Edited for clarity.)

Me: Just woke from a ‘dream catch’ that is clearly meant to be conveyed to you — it’s only important that I share, not that you respond to me. 

ImageThat genius energy which floats around in the atmosphere waiting to be plucked and developed? The shaman experience you had – the gifts you have with [omitted] – the connection between neuroscience and empathy – the Dalai Lama’s comment about how in teaching 8 year olds to meditate and in doing so a cessation of all war in two generations could be realised – and, of course – following messages. The point is humankind’s cycle of evolution out of our physical realm into the more natural, higher place we came from must return, the state of at-one-ment can be fostered by you and your gifts with [omitted] . My message was very clear – you are to bring about the return to light. 

He responded: Thank you for acting as a conduit. Give me some time to process this.

Me: Namaste. None of us get a choice about being a conduit, only acting on the information.

And that is REALLY my point, acting. I understand that in our hyper-connected world we are assaulted with terabytes of information daily, our processing skills can only run so long before overheating and melting our hard-drives, establishing filters to ensure system stability at once with expansion is a necessary but finely honed skill set. Our society instills reluctance into conveying messages ‘randomly’ – we don’t wish to offend, anger or be perceived as a nut-case, Mitchbut those are human traits and not those of our essential being.  Oh, yes, and how ego holds onto false gods and our own thoughts often create a different set of barriers to reception of messages that have larger benefit.  While we need to filter information to make it salient I don’t inherently believe that discernment related to conveying messages is a good thing – as in everything else in life the risk is often worth the reward – some people will ‘get it’ and some won’t. We don’t get a choice about being a conduit, only whether we act on sharing.

If you enjoy my blog please share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my print or ebook from Amazon, please click on the cover art of my book, ebook also available through Barnes & Noble and Lulu, thank you! 

Through the Looking Glass

As an infant I had an Alice in Wonderland pinafore dress complete with hand-embroidered flowers and butterflies on the bodice of the apron, my mother kept it for years in the cedar chest because it was so pretty.  In my thirties, recognizing that fate was not going to bring a lover and new husband and subsequently children to my life, I gave it to someone who had just had a baby girl. I thought of this dress for the first time in years last night because of the words of two people – one known and one a virtual acquaintance met through OKCupid whose process of discovering ‘me’ took him to my Twitter, Linkedin and blog accounts (and the post you are now reading).

redqueenAlice, as we all know, found herself able to see the parallel and converse of her own ‘real world’ by walking through the looking glass above her fireplace mantel in Lewis Carroll’s 1871 sequel to Alice in Wonderland.  It is the clarity of vision, the discovery of self of which Alice’s various adventures within the chaos offered by tea parties, card games and chess pieces, fantastical creatures, portmanteau words and jabberwocky that always so fascinated me – our own lives are not so different if you think about it!  Why do we run so fast and stay in exactly the same place? Why is that we forget the basics of our identity as we grow older? Why is it so often the case that someone else can see us more clearly than we can see ourselves?

“Again and again all I have to say is that if Anaïs Nin and John Steinbeck had a love child her name would be Teresa Fritschi and by the way she is my #BFF – oh yeah! xo.”

The first time my girlfriend Jennifer wrote that my parentage should be attributed to the (unlikely) coupling of these two great authors I balked, scoffed, dismissed and was more than a little humbled.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
― Anaïs Nin

ermine

Russian Imperial Regalia, 1724

Ah well, therein lies the truth – I can state unequivocally that my fictional mother was quite, literally, speaking all of our truths with those epic words. But Jennifer sees me with clarity and encourages (sometimes to the point of annoyance) for me to own my essential being and talents. The symphony of each of us is often of far greater quality than the critical filter we unjustly apply to ourselves.  Your best friends are supposed to build you up and make you stronger (though I confess I have had friends who claimed that mantle trimmed in ermine who, upon reflection, used me meanly to raise themselves up), helping to tweak your failings to improve you with kindness, but what of strangers? To receive the following blessing to my labors and SUCH A MONIKER makes one breathless!

“Dear incredible, articulate, Teresa,

who am I to judge your motivations for doing anything? I just had a moment of whiplash from initially considering you a distant alien in Sweden who I could blithely say any fool thing to without any possibility of repercussion – and then finding that you were much closer to home. Possibly, potentially… maybe… conceivably… y’know *bashfully blushing* …someone I might be able to actually date. Maybe… possibly… That is the game here after all.

I have a weakness for writers. My ex is a published author and a brilliant scholar as well as an even more gifted novelist. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a horribly horribly bad thing. Probably both.

Anyway – I don’t know where you are – or what you’re about except that you’re more than a blogger or a writer of a memoir. You’re a philosopher of love. …and that makes me a little bit weak in the knees.”

A philosopher of love! Oh.

Rochester-20130131-00937

My fat free, Chobani passionfruit with toasted coconut and Snow on the Mountain frosted cake!

Which brings me to this image of a cake that I baked and sent to various friends last January… on receipt my friend Patrick texted back “tease” and I replied “if I put that on a business card do you think it will help my love life?” to which he replied – “your life is love”.  A widower in France with two small children wrote over the weekend –

“Tu as insuffler en mon cœur l’envie, le désir, l’amour, l’amitié et la vie, mon âme ne saurait préserver plus longtemps sa quiétude tant sans toi le monde m’apparaît morne, vide. Vide de sens, de charme et de couleur, de passion, de sentiment et d’ardeur.”

My French is improving but allow me to rely upon SDL Translation with modification to actually not have this sound like a 19th century romance novel with the sweeping use of ‘thou hast’ and ‘thee’:

You have breathed into my heart envy, desire, love, friendship and life, my soul cannot continue to exist in quietude, without you the world is empty to me; empty of meaning, of charm and color, passion, feeling and vigor.

My girlfriend Farrah, and a mother of two, to whom I expressed my concern over being up to the responsibility of being a stepmom to someone’s young children wrote:  “All you need is love Terr and you have that in abundance. […] But, believe me, you know more than you think.”

My point is this – it takes repetition over time for us to embrace how other people see us, sometimes you have to stand perfectly still to own your greatest self. You must give yourself what others give – encouragement, compassion and praise. Honour what is good (or great) about the filter with which other people view you and be smart enough to toss the ugly stuff aside as my fictional father John Steinbeck so perfectly offered:

Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard.

If you enjoy my blog please consider “buying me a cup of tea” in your currency via livelikeadog@gmail.com through PayPal and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschi – to order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Authenticity

ImageMany years ago, in my second job in the high tech space, The New Yorker magazine ran a cartoon by Peter Steiner.  My senior management team loved that cartoon because it perfectly exemplified the business case for our B2B enterprise solution – credential issuance, authentication, and instantaneous revocation (where necessary) and an assurance model for high value transactions rooted in commercial bank relationships.  In 1998 this was a paradigm shift so far ahead of its time it took until 2004 for the concept behind it and platform to be accepted and subsequently deployed at the global Fortune 50 firm where I was brought into to serve as the project lead for the related communications and change management.  The journey of finding love, in particular almost exclusively relying upon a single online dating site, is not one that promises authenticity.

On the Internet – now, just as in 1998 – you can be anything you want to be and, sadly, an awful lot of people do exactly that.  Recently I experienced both extremes of behavior. Three weeks ago a man asked to ‘take our conversation outside of’ the site and provided an email address.  The next email included five photos allegedly with his son.  But ‘the little voice’ suggested ‘trust but confirm’ and with my reply I asked for him to connect via Linkedin or Facebook; not surprising there has been no subsequent communication. In contrast, in the last 24 hours, a man has so thoroughly astonished me with his transparency as to truly reaffirm my belief that all things are possible.

“Hello. Is there any possibility to date with me?”

I emit a heavy sigh when I see that he is 24, and lives some 6000 miles away from me.

A friend (also attempting to find love) points out ‘it’s not like you are ever going to meet’. Well, perhaps not but still, a conversation never hurt anything, right?  As has previously been my reply to expressed interest by someone so much younger than myself this is also one of polite dissuasion. But then what is a number? If it doesn’t bother ‘the he’ then why should it bother me? But it does – a bit less than when I started this journey but still…

“Many thanks for your supremely flattering desire to take me out – truly lovely. Aside from the geographic challenges involved I have no immediate plans to be in Istanbul and surrounds – sorry. But if something changes I will certainly let you know and would delight in meeting you for tea.”

A decade ago a girlfriend commented that the 18 year old renter who lived downstairs had a crush on me and would hum Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson, Imagethe theme from The Graduate, every time Daniel left our company.  When ultimately he not only made a pass but pinned me to my sofa in amorous intent I was, as the Scots express, gobsmacked.  When he subsequently held my hand and stole a kiss in front of his (all male) friends in the 19-22 year old range I was as embarrassed as a 13 year old.  This was the extent of it because I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I was a year older than his mom! Now, ten years later here I am being charmingly wooed by a man who was four years YOUNGER than Daniel was when he originally pressed his suit. (Shaking my head, heavy sigh.)

My new friend Momo, age 25, wrote this morning “sweeti, u r really something special” (spelling is his own).  I should believe this, understand it at a most cellular level, but the truth is I think I am rather ordinary. When it comes to being the focus of any male attention I feel like I should be looking behind me at the real source inspiring their words, I am overwhelmed and seriously under prepared. Having shut myself off for far too many years to count from the potential pain of being betrayed or hurt in a relationship all this is surreal to me.

Serhat’s reply leaves me breathless (unedited).

“Your reply proved that how true my decision; I sent message to you. I am sure you know everting about man, how to make him happy. 🙂 you are so cute thank you for your nice message. I want to date with woman that older than me at least once.. ı havent dated yet. But if ı date she should be like you. İf you havent planed your vocation you can take into consideration izmir also. it is really nice city you can search from web. and I can take you to showing around , be sure if you are with me anyone can’t it beter 😀 ( maybe litle bit embellishing) but ı am sure ı can make you happy. (by the tis way ı have a car) maybe it is litle bit rude but ı should mention that because it is big easiness to reach somewhere. ı can make a food for you that girls always says “delicious.” if you dont think to come izmir it is not problem first year of next year ı will go to riga (latvia) as a student maybe ı can go to sweden from riga to see you. ı have saved you as my favorite see you”

This is all on the assumption that I am successful in making Stockholm my home.  From my agreeing to meet for tea when/if I should make my way to his native Turkey (which isn’t such a reach as one of my dearest friends in the world lives there) to the above.  But it is lovely, isn’t it? In a world where we are so cynical about everything the kindness and enthusiasm being shown to me makes me want to believe that somehow I have fallen through the best kind of rabbit hole and time has stood still, that I am like Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray without all the debauchery and moral repercussions.  Or, maybe something else is really at the root of this.

Concurrent with the decision to get serious about finding love, I discovered a British man (age 26) name Matthew Hussey. Matthew is a life coach, dating guru and author whose universal wisdom exceeds that of men twice his age, he is also spot on in identifying ways to foster success in dating (for both sexes). I don’t need most of his practical advice about body language, confidence and self-esteem but I find the habit of receiving his blog posts reassuring as I navigate these oceans again.  But I think that just maybe (as Matthew challenged mom’s to help establish a standard for how women should be treated by raising their sons ‘properly’) men in their twenties have learned the new paradigm of courtship. They don’t seem to be hung up on the number but (in my new, limited experience) are really interested in the woman, who she is, how she thinks, what makes her heart race, how to make her feel like a goddess. I know it’s narrow in my view to assume men (even in) their forties are clueless (let alone older than that, men who are my peers and older still) but it strikes me that the confidence and bar no holds attitudes of reaching out and making it clear what they want belongs uniquely to the domain of twenty-something men.  Even as I am trying to politely extract myself from dating men less than half my age I am exploring the kind of man I do want – regardless of his age. There is a line from Steve Lopez’ The Soloist which resonates with me on my journey “… I’ve learned the dignity of being loyal to something you believe in, of holding onto it. Above all else, of believing, without question, that it will carry you home.” I am loyal to the idea that while I am not perfect, nor is it likely that the man I eventually find will be such, I believe that some place in the world a man exists that is perfect for me.

To which point I finally took a deeper look at my potential suitor’s profile and discovered we actually have a great deal in common.

“Thank you, truly. You have a vibrant wonderful smile and what shines through is your happiness and joy for life. I am, again, deeply flattered that you have chosen me and find my profile worthy of saving to your favorites. I will do so as well and will keep my promise. So, yes, if not Izmir then definitely Riga or Stockholm.”

I don’t know how, in the space of 24 hours it goes from:

“I will be waiting you.”

To his creation of a private Facebook page (we are the only two members of the group, and he migrated it from being a closed group to a secret one within an hour) but it has. Here he is sharing his family and friends and providing links to their Facebook profiles, essentially bringing me into his world and making himself utterly transparent in the process.  It might be the one truth we can all agree upon that “On the Internet no one knows if you are dog” but in Serat’s case he is proving that he is certainly a man worthy of knowing in the real world.

If you enjoy my blog please share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Grandstanding

A watermelon sitting on my kitchen counter earlier today brought to mind the word ‘grandstanding’ – bear with me for a couple hundred words while I make my point.

ImageJust for a moment think of the social media sphere as a pickup truck loaded with a hundred watermelons so that one watermelon can make it to your kitchen counter. Within the whole of social media my content output and influence is not even the equivalent of a single watermelon seed.

It’s not that I am unaware of the potential for global influence as a result of dedicated effort, cohesion of my ‘brand’ and ‘cross-pollinating’ (the practice of making sure of each social media platform receives the nectar from my efforts).  Nor am I lazy or unfocused when passionate about a topic.  I have dear friends, and people I certainly am connected to on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+, who have leveraged their expertise, well-turned phrases and amplification skills into international radio shows, bestselling books, and well-paying keynote speaking opportunities and consulting gigs.  But for myself, a marketing communications professional of many years, I am remarkably uncomfortable standing in the spotlight.  My work is about making my employer or client and their product suite or value proposition look great in front of their constituent audiences –behind the scenes.  In my own authorship (media both traditional and social) it is a philosophy of gratitude, awareness of beauty and authenticity that stirs my cauldron of words.  But understanding what I do about resonance (in public relation parlance Third Party Validation) it is pure joy to use my skills to issue communications in the form of a well-deserved #shoutout for those individuals or organisations whose superlative efforts to make the world a more resonate, hopeful, cooperative, holistic, spiritual place.

We have all experienced the individual whose need to be the center of attention in business meetings and at cocktail parties makes them a pariah.  They divert the topic being discussed to something ‘more personally relevant’ or take over the floor without place on the agenda or invitation.  ImageTheir etiquette skills ceased developing beyond their four year old selves.

In our always ‘on’ globally connected world these people are just as unwelcome as their very scary brethren, the Internet Troll. The difference between the two is subtle but significant – the former have may offer real value but need ‘netiquette’ counseling and the latter are jealous, nasty, narrow minded often anonymous individuals screaming obscene vitriol in boldface and capital letters (those who forced Kellogg’s to drop its endearing mixed race family Cheerio commercial come to mind).

The netiquette pariah, the grand-stander, piggybacks onto messaging created by those individuals whose extensive pool of followers and influence, detracting from the influencers’ core message. And, for the influencer (and their followers) the distractor often negatively impacts both ‘the brand’ as well as diminishes the potential impact which might be realized in the original well-crafted salient and succinct posting. The amplification is loss to the noise of the grand-stander. Their volumes of unrelated text (though perhaps fantastically valuable information if presented in the proper context) are social media toxic waste on multiple levels.  The grand-stander is like the sheer volume of the pickup truck of whole 20 pound watermelons when the original communication is a single Lycopene rich 1cup serving.

So, my watermelon is all cut up and in the refrigerator. The rind has been food processer’d in three batches and worked into the garden soil to enrich what I have labored and nurtured for the last five years – just as you’ve been building your social media presence. Out in Netopia-land (apologies to the brand) there exist persons who will not see that they are gross violators of netiquette and unwelcome trespassers. Just as Ann Landers used to suggest to readers that they clip her column and leave it where it might spur a conversation, if you have experienced such violation – feel free to repost (or forward in the private message) my blog to bring the grand-stander ‘enlightenment’ around their un-welcomed behavior. Otherwise, take Kellogg’s example and unfriend, report as spam or block, or more drastically consider deleting the message accordingly to preserve your brand.

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