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Transforming Pixels to Gold

Spending too much time looking at screens, a good digital strategy could be about getting everyone some fresh air. And there's some truth in that - because there's nothing appealing about the decomposition process that begins with long hours glued to a chair orchestrating some devious marketing plan to deceive a potential tribe of money throwing masses?

What is your deeper business intent? And why is this relevant to social media?

David Wall - Thursday, September 02, 2010

This is part 3 of a 3 post series. [View part 2]

An extract from Sonja Falvo's new eBook: http://www.sonjafalvo.com/books.html



FOCUS ON CONNECTING OTHERS IN A MEANINGFUL WAY

There are many ways to approach social media and as many ways to find success. People like Robin Dickinson find amazing success by not only creating direct connections to his company but more so by facilitating connections for others (on social media and off). But this is not about a conclusive idea on how to use social media or what social media platform is best for you. I want to keep an important question in your mind before you consider these things.

The initial goals most people I’ve worked with strive for on social media are big numbers; judgements on what is successful or not are based purely on amounts of friends, followers or connections etc. While there’s some merit to this approach, it is important to question why we want to be on social media. The obvious answer for business owners is to make money.

This type of honesty is a great platform for something much more profound. Consider this, your product at some point came about to “fill a gap in the market”. This essentially says, there is a human need not being met or a human problem not being solved and that’s why your product / business exists. So whatever you sell, somehow it solves people’s problems or meets some human need. This is not necessarily a material need -there’s markets for emotional needs, economic needs, intellectual needs etc.

In this way ‘making money’ is secondary to the more primary reason your company exists. Start by asking:

  • How does my company contribute (fulfil needs / solve problems)?
  • How does my company create connections and build meaning in society?
  • When you understand that – social media / business / life success awaits you!

MEAT AND COFFEE

If you got to this point after reading the above, I’d probably say you’re thinking that ‘this is all very interesting but it’s a shame that it lacks meat’. Where’s the substance? How can all this be applied in the ‘real world’? So not to be branded the “ideas man” of this eBook – here’s a few paragraphs to sink your teeth into.

To be certain this example is real (enough), I thought about one of my favourite coffee shops a couple of blocks from where I live. It’s called “A coffee and a yarn”. The “yarn” part is the “having a yarn” (conversation) reference but also refers to knitting. It’s a coffee shop like any other -tables with cups full of sugar sachets placed in the middle -but right next to the sugar are baskets of wool and knitting needles. It’s a coffee shop concept that captures the knitters’ niche and it is growing in “coolness” as a thing to do to fill in the time (in Newtown, Sydney at least).

“A coffee and a yarn” -what is the deeper business intent? I suggest before diving head first into social media, to start by gaining an understanding of your deeper business intent. That way you’ll have a clear (or clearer) grasp on what sets you apart, but more importantly how your offering solves problems or meets the needs of the wider community. My personal thinking about the success of a coffee shop like “A coffee and a yarn” is not just that it targets a growing niche but it acts as a reminder of something that you could say is part of our cultural DNA.

It was once commonplace to get together in the process of making gifts for family, community or the tribe -slowly, manually and lovingly. We don’t do this anymore; we go to the shop and buy gifts or with a few clicks online, a gift arrives at our door sometime later. There’s no argument about the incredible convenience of all this – but with that communal making process gone, so too perhaps does a bit of heart with it.

A business like “A coffee and a yarn” contributes in a wider sense by being a reminder of this and in addition, supplying the space and mindset to bring this back into a modern setting. That’s my stab at what could be its deeper business intent.

THE PEACE OFFERING – FOR YOUR TRIBAL LEADERS

Now we know something of the business intent, we need an offering to help us draw in our tribal leaders. This can be done with social media. First imagine walking into an unknown tribe long ago with your message of deeper intent. Would you just waltz in empty-handed? I doubt that would be a good idea. Expect to be running out, possibly even with a spear dangling out of your back.

What you need is a “peace offering”. Robin Dickinson’s peace offering was his willingness and genuine interest to craft “Sharewords” for businesses free of charge. He introduced this idea on his blog, started with a small group and it grew from there. Let’s do something like this with “A coffee and a yarn”.

Our peace offering will be: an intimate gathering, free food / drinks and content for social media.

1. Create a blog called: A making community – the soul of the gift.

To interject this nice list I’m making, I think it will be useful to consider a real world analogy when strategising this social media approach. Imagine you wanted to create a community space in a town centre. The idea is you want people to get together, talk about your product, give you some ideas on how to improve it and hopefully sell loads of it. Because you’re worried about attendance, you’re prepared to give away some expired product lines you were going to ditch anyway.... How could that be a good idea? Still it’s what the majority of businesses do on social media.

So, rather than being a blog for one business, we want it to have the potential of being a community space around things people will be passionate about (this is a key difference to traditional business blogging).

A “Wordpress” blogging platform has some great community enabling tools – we will start with a “Wordpress” installation.

2. Create a post about an up-coming event called “A making community – the soul of the gift”. The event will be an intimate discussion group about the process of making gifts and what it means in a modern context. This will be followed by a craft workshop. The idea is to record this event (perhaps video stream it) so that this can be added on various Social media platforms. This is part of the peace offering.

SEEK OUT YOUR TRIBAL LEADERS

People often make the mistake of pitching only the big fish. If you do that, expect to have a lot of knockbacks. If you don’t have a big tribe, why would a tribal leader of the biggest tribe want you as an ally? Chances are, they wouldn’t – they’ll see you as just one of the many pitching them daily. So I suggest you focus your energy on small to average followings / connections on social media. Pitch the big fish when you’re a big fish – you’ll have more success.

  1. Make a list of people with a similar range of community building expertise. Twitter is a good place to start. Do a simple keyword search on http://search.twitter.com or try http://listorious.com . Have a look at people’s profiles, if they’re creating relevant on-topic lists (e.g. craft / knitting etc.) it’s a good indication they’re also the type of community builders you want to target.
  2. Extend the list to administrators of relevant http://www.meetup.com groups, Facebook pages: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ , http://www.eventbrite.com organisers and LinkedIn groups: http://www.linkedin.com/groupsDirectory . These people have a community building focus too.
  3. Send the invite via email if you can find it (you want to make it a personal request). Otherwise use the social media platforms you’ve found people on. Don’t make a ginormous list that will be unmanageable either – focus on small and quality (remember the type of attributes you’re looking for to get the best results).

Ask people to comment for expressions of interest on the upcoming event. Then use the comment area as an organising / further discussion platform as well.

BUILD, BUILD AND BUILD FURTHER

All this stuff is procedural. There’s no point focusing too much on procedure and platforms when you don’t know how this will benefit the wider community. All the right procedures in the world, just won’t stick. You can have the fanciest letterbox on the street, but don’t forget it’s the house that you live in!

  1. Use Eventbrite to legitimise and organise your event
  2. Capture the event on video
  3. Build all the social media spaces around: “A making community – the soul of the gift” (A facebook community page, a twitter account etc. Remember, this is not about your product or offering, if you want to attract a community – think about eventually creating a community space for others to use. Resign yourself to let go of some of the control. It will be liberating! And you’ll find people will be far more interested in your product anyway.
  4. Post the video on several social video spaces. Tube Mogul is a free social video distribution platform – this will save you a lot of time.
  5. Ask your new friends to be co-writers on you community blog. Profile there businesses / projects on it. You can use Wordpress’s ability to profile contributors to the blog. Start moving towards what http://www.mumbrella.com.au did for the Australian media and adverting space (industry news / guest posting / ongoing video episodes).
  6. Use Facebook to connect an intimate group of people. Interview members using status comments (Facebook comment activity keeps the status on the top of other people’s streams, which helps gain more activity and prominence).

Overall the idea is to start with small step to make this concept bigger and bigger. The first stage is to leverage and combine the audiences of smaller community builders. This will be a benefit to all involved. Start by priming the wheels of Reed’s Law -then watch it take effect!

I’m going to stop there. I guess I just have to be the ‘ideas man’. There’s a lot more of this procedural stuff I could write about for days but I’m not sure you’d enjoy it and I wouldn’t like to start boring you to tears! So here’s hoping the tips to this point are useful. Beyond that, I hope you can see that with the higher value of your business in hand that the success you’re hoping to attract on social media is well on its way.

If you don’t believe me, have a closer look at what Robin Dickinson’s doing with Sharewords and the Centurions... A definite one to follow

An interview with Robin Dickinson: Sharewords, Radsmarts and Centurions?

David Wall - Thursday, September 02, 2010

This is part 2 of a 3 post series.

An extract from Sonja Falvo's new eBook: http://www.sonjafalvo.com/books.html


[View part 1]

Great tribal leadership on social media – an interview on Facebook


David


Hi Robin, thanks again for being able to do this Facebook interview / conversation. As you know I think Sharewords is a brilliant concept. I see it as a great example of how connecting with people in a meaningful way has a reach far beyond the platform of social media. Was this the intention and how did the whole Sharewords concept come about?


Robin


Thank you, David. I appreciate your kind encouragement.

Sharewords is part of a much longer term strategy that I have been gently unfolding online for the past year. My diamond focus is to 'Help you succeed in business' and I commit full resources to enabling this.

An important part of helping businesses succeed is to facilitate the strongest possible word-ofmouth recommendation. It's highly profitable and it works wonders. Ask any business owner or solopreneur what will help them grow and you get an almost reflex response is "Spread the word!"

i.e. tell others about my business so that I get more customers.

Sharewords is a proactive response from business people to take control and craft the words *they* want spread! Think about how you share recommendations with your friends and colleagues. You use 4-5 words -quickly and effortlessly delivered. It's not a clunky sentence, nor the old-fashioned elevator pitch.

So, as a professional business development facilitator, I've been running a "live" workshop on RADSMARTS to show people how to develop their sharewords. The response has been massive. It's how we met, David.


David


The response is without doubt massive -I don't think I've seen as many responses to one blog post and it's still growing. The growth has also moved strongly into Twitter, Facebook and I believe a collaborative online newspaper.

I first became interested in sharewords after seeing perhaps 3 or 4 tweets about it from a couple of people I follow. What hooked me was the value of what you're offering – you provide a phrase (sharewords) that succinctly captures what a particular business is all about. This is done only after becoming very informed about what’s unique to the business and all free of charge. It goes beyond the usual free ebook or webinar and that’s what I believe really sets you apart – it directly shows that you are exactly what you say you’re about – interested and capable in helping a wide variety of business succeed. Your authenticity is easy to see.

A lot of companies interested in moving in similar direction might see this as a huge hurdle. The concern would be that if they offer so much value without monetising it, they’ll be taken for a ride

– their potential customers will just take what they need and move on.

What are your thoughts on this?


Robin


These are important observations you make, David. Things I have given much consideration to.

Think of the Sharewords post as part of the roll-out of a long-term strategy. Before publishing anything online, I thought long and hard about the hows and whys of my online participation, especially from a commercial perspective.

A key element of my online strategy is to attract and help a relatively small group of highly motivated 'like-minds' who also want to succeed commercially online. This value-based approach is very different from the volume-based approach that many businesses take i.e. get huge lists of large numbers of followers, subscribers and try and convert a tiny % into sales.

If I can find and help 100 succeed, who in turn can find and help 100 succeed, the leverage is enormous and highly sustainable. (This is called the Centurion project). Compare this with volume approaches that are resource hungry at a rate proportional to growth.

Implementing this value-plan effectively will take several years, and relies on attracting the right people.

Enter, the Sharewords post. The purpose of this post is to help me identify potential collaborators for the long-term plan. So far 24 people have joined the Centurion project as a direct result of their strong participation in this post. It has proven to be a vastly efficient way of helping strong people find me.

Outside of the context of this strategy, the Sharewords-style post -or online workshop as is probably a more apt description -wouldn't make any sense to me. To this point, I see many people blowing large amounts of their time, effort, money and intellectual property outside of any commercially solid plan.

How can that be sustainable?


David


I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. A lot of projects / businesses tend to take two contradicting approaches with social media. One is what's closer to a campaign style that builds a whole lot of attention in a short space of time. There’s usually a big enough carrot (like a 10k prize) and in this sense it’s about buying an audience's engagement. At the same time there’s the hope that community continues to contribute and be engaged. One has an extrinsic value and is often short lived because it doesn’t always turn into an intrinsic value.

That’s the hard one – how do we create just being a part of that particular community as a value in itself – without the need for a succession of big enough carrots?

Personally, I’ve been a part of various social media communities and often ‘drop out’. I believe at that point it’s a question of motivation; people tend to be much more motivated in a group when there’s a sense of working towards a greater good. I see inklings of that in your project – perhaps that’s a part of your bigger picture?


Robin


Sustained motivation is something I think about a lot.

For me, the drivers of sustained motivation in a community like the Centurions are a combination of a) attracting people who are naturally self-motivated and 'lower maintenance'; b) providing a regular scoreboard or feedback mechanism that tracks results; c) having a forum for regular, honest communication d) knowing that you are part of something big and bold and e) me being available to support members during their 'hour of need'.

Your point about 'working towards the greater good' is part of the fabric of the community spirit. That said, I make it very clear that this is a commercial venture aimed at generating more and more money for less and less work.

People have said that my approach is somewhat altruistic. For example, the many hours of sustained, high quality input I have invested into helping people craft their sharewords.

I don't think of myself as altruistic at all. I help people because I like helping people AND because it's commercially effective. It's been my offline business model for 20 years because it works so well to generate sustained profits -and I make absolutely no secret about it.

Does that make sense to you, David?


David


Certainly does. I actually think the idea that giving high value and receiving nothing in return won't happen in most cases. It's more likely people give the same value back or sometimes even more. People call it reciprocity but really value exchanges are what we've been doing for eons.

If we take the example of Sharewords I'd understand your return as being:

  1. Quality referrals / recommendations
  2. Active contributions / involvement
  3. Monetary Those things sustain each other and as you say make it commercially viable (online / offline).

Comparing the two though, I'd imagine point 1 has huge implications for this model in terms of

the exponential reach available online. I've lost count of how many times I've eagerly referred

Sharewords online / word of mouth and I'm just one of many. This reach must make it far easier to source the right community members (Centurions) who I imagine are key to taking this project even further.

What has been the result so far for yourself and the Centurions?


Robin


The results so far are:

  1. Clear feedback that a value-based model can work. Until I launched Centurions, it was purely theoretical;
  2. Better online metrics for less work. For example, blog views and engagement remain strong for vastly less work;
  3. Increased sales: it's early days, but members are reporting positive sales boosts.

Being based on a geometric progression, the results and returns from the early phases of the Centurion model will be modest and barely visible i.e initially the graph is asymptotic. The mid-later stages become much more interesting as the results compound. I think it was Albert

Einstein who said "The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest". We shall see. I must say that I find a model based on the notion of earning more and more money for less and

less work fascinating.


David


You're in a sense creating a tribe of tribal leaders around a shared set of values. That's got to grow your connections around your value approach exponentially (and it has). The effort of finding and directing connections gets distributed across all those involved so I imagine it must lessen the effort load.

So as you say, less work for greater outcomes!

It's indeed a very fascinating area and it’s great to watch it unfold for you.

Reed's law (like Einstein's words ) is a good example for how growth compounds on networks. Social media is an apt example.

2(to the power of N) – N – 1 = potential connections

N are participants, so 100 participants has the value of 1,267,650,600,228,229,401,496,703,205,376 possible connections!

I came across it on George Beckenstein's blog: http://www.benckenstein.com/digital-media/swine-flu-susan-boyle-and-the-network-multiplier effect/

By the way before we wrap this up, where's the best place to find out more about the Centurions? And do you have any other quick tips to share for those wanting to do something like Sharewords and the Centurions on social media?


Robin


Thank you, David. I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss these ideas with you.

If readers would like help creating their sharewords, simply come to the article and start participating. It's that easy.

For more information about the Centurions, simply email me at robin@radsmarts.com.

Wishing you and your readers every success in business and in life.

Robin :)


David


I'll extend that wish too and thanks again, it's been a very enlightening discussion :-)

David


View part 3 - What is your deeper business intent?

And why is this relevant to social media?




WHY BOTHER WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?

David Wall - Thursday, September 02, 2010

This is part 1 of a 3 post series.

An extract from Sonja Falvo's new eBook: http://www.sonjafalvo.com/books.html

I won’t spend too much time on the whys about participating in social media. You’re likely reading this because you’re already convinced of the benefits of it. In the simplest terms though, it offers the potential to widen the reach of your message exponentially without the need for an enormous budget.

Skip this part if you’re already a social media advocate but if you’re still wondering, Reed’s law states it best:

The value of potential connectivity is the value of the set of available transactions that are afforded by the system or network.

This means if a bunch of people (say five) want to hear at least one crazy thing I’m saying, you and the other crazy four people might also know five crazy people and each of those five know another five etc. etc.

In even simpler terms and for brevity’s sake, Reed’s law states it on one neat line:

2N – N – 1 = potential connections

(N is the value of participants. E.g. the above example was 5 participants)

Let’s change the value to 100 participants and see what happens…

2100 – 100 – 1 = 1,267,650,600,228,229,401,496,703,205,376

That’s a lot of crazy people!

The reason this is so relevant and even more likely to occur on social media is that communication methods are super-charged here. Imagine a more traditional approach. If I rang you instead and told you:

The secret is... that it's all so bloody simple we can't even believe it

Would you call another five people and would those five in turn do the same? No, it’s just too hard! There’s too much time and effort needed with little reward. And I’m sure you have better things to do than tell people a whole load of gibberish. It has to be something so outlandishly crazy, highly relevant or inspiring enough to outweigh all that phone calling, chit chat effort. The other interesting factor is the relevance of any message disintegrates over time. The time it takes for this phone process to spread my message reduces its relevance even further

Was it even relevant to begin with?

This doesn’t happen to the same extent on social media. The time and effort for spreading messages is significantly lessened, so Reed’s Law is so much more likely to occur. Also, because communication effort is very low (often just a click), the necessity of a higher quality message (to outweigh effort) is significantly less. It will more likely happen. This means communication is primed and ready for your message on social media.

So, it’s good to know that our messages can even be crappy and still spread far, wide and very quickly!

This occurs…. Over and over again on social media – it’s happening right now. Does that sound all too good to be true? We’ll in some ways it is….

NO ONE REALLY CARES ABOUT YOUR MESSAGE (OR MINE)

Social media is so much bigger than Ben Hur and has conquered more places and people than the Roman Empire did 10-fold. With all this exponential growth (people joining and communicating on social media with crappy messages every second), our wonderful non-crappy messages sink before we even type.

I’ve got a few thousand people following / connected to me on Twitter & LinkedIn combined but truth be known, I rarely read what 99% of those people are saying. It’s not just that I don’t care, it’s because the sheer volume takes too much processing time. I’ve got a little baby girl, a wonderful wife, an online marketing job and a small business to keep happy. You can understand why reading / replying to thousands of messages hitting my social media streams, can’t be something I care too much about. I’m sure my followers feel the same. In fact, they probably don’t even spare the thought I just gave them.

Basically we’re a selfish bunch and on social media it’s not at all different. We go online primarily to meet our needs. So, if your message doesn’t directly address what people need, it’s not worthy of attention.

When you’ve fallen into a black hole, look for that spot of light – that’s the gateway

Now you know the hurdle, let’s jump over it!

TRIBES, THE GATEWAY IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA BLACK HOLE

There’s no need to get depressed. Firstly, if you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs you’ll know that a sense of belonging is a core value for the majority of us. So that’s the stickiness of social media. Within all its vastness, it still offers us an easy way to find and form social groups based on shared values.

Since Seth Godin’s introduction to all this tribal stuff in marketing, we have commonly accepted calling these groupings “tribes” and they do function very much as you’d imagine tribes should. Individual tribes have a shared set of values, they have tribal markings (communication styles) and they too have tribal leaders.

One attribute of a great tribal leader is the ability to connect to other tribal leaders but more so it is the ability to facilitate connections between them. This transforms a linear “one to many” relationship into a circular “many to many” relationship, increasing a larger tribal circumference and strengthening its bonds.


On social media, don’t just find and foster connections but facilitate connections between others. This addresses the primary need of belonging and creates a larger tribal network as a platform to spread a collective set of values / messages. But in case I’m losing you right now, I know someone who’s doing some great tribal leadership work for his business; because what he’s doing and how it is unfolding is very apt, I have interviewed him. 

His name is Robin Dickinson:

View part 2 - An interview with Robin Dickinson:

Sharewords, Radsmarts and Centurions?



My idea "For love or money"

David Wall - Thursday, July 15, 2010

Here's my thoughts on what could work "For love or money"

See here: http://mumbrella.com.au/nova

Hi Adam,

Noticed the change to conditions to email the idea to you. So here it is to legitimise the entry :)

Also a couple of changes is to run the campaign in blocks of 30 days. The idea is to build more of a continual momentum - as you'd do it again for another person over another 30days - this would help to accumulatively increase the amount of tweets (with #2DayIsNOVA / @novafm and new @novafm followers) pinning to win the next 30 days of NOVA (because they can see the hype around current winners)

Thanks

David

#2DayIsNOVA
NOVA means “new” – Tweet why your today is NOVA using hashtag #2DayIsNOVA and win 30 days of NOVA experiences that YOU decide you want to have.

Other benefits

  • Get a massive Twitter following (on your account): we talk to you for 1 minute on 5 morning radio shows a week – Just give us your NOVA update & our listeners will need to follow your Tweets to find out what happens. On top of that your account gets the web exposure from http://www.novafm.com.au
  • You get to live your dreams for 1 whole YEAR and we remove the limitations

What you have to do 
Tweet something inspiring, funny, uplifting, or even stupid telling us why your today is NOVA. Tweet as much and as frequently as you like (Just follow & message @novafm and use #2DayIsNOVA so we can find it). If your messages get retweeted a lot – you’re probably doing something right – so tell you friends / followers as we regard your retweetability very highly.


Rationale
This idea is about seeding influencers. Social media influencers are generally behind things going viral. Anyone can follow and read a person’s tweets, so Twitter’s open platform and current popularity is a perfect candidate for viral potential.

What is a juicy carrot for a Twitter influencer? Simple enough – they wouldn’t be influencers if they’re not interested in influencing. The carrot is more exposure and a substantially increased following on their Twitter account (and off) supported by Nova.
But the even juicier carrot is offering the person a way of experiencing 30 days to enhance his/her life. A lot of major social media influencers (like @iconic88) become that way because other people are attracted to their passion for something in life – so you’d find there’d be a lot of interest (by people that can build even greater interest too)

Other points

  • How many times his/her #2dayIsNOVA message gets retweeted will be one indication of finding the best influencer
  • using “2Day” in the hashtag #2DayIsNOVA will get under the skin of your major competitor
  • Once you find a winner, you’d work out with that person 365 feasible things to do that makes each day NOVA
  • You’d be looking for the nice side of reality TV effect (giving an ordinary Sydneysider the opportunities to fulfil his/her dreams). It’s a bonus if this person wants to give something back (on some of these 365 days) like charitable acts etc. The positivity effect will enhance the reputation of the campaign – so this might be the sort of person you’d look for.
  • I’d say the cost couldn’t reach anywhere near for the spend of a major ad campaign or even a prized billboard space but you’d manage substantially more eyeballs (that continues and increases through the 30 NOVA days).
  • The winner won’t need to be on a gruelling schedule like that of the “Best job in the world” – 140 characters is much easier than a blog.

If you like this idea the charity I’d promote is Monica’s Rescues (http://www.doggierescue.com).

  • They look after and find homes for abandoned dogs. They helped me once and I haven’t yet had a chance to help them back.
  • They are also near going under right now – so they could really do with a helping hand.
  • 1 million eyeballs in 3hrs: Alyssa Milano and #BingforGulf on Twitter

    David Wall - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
    Alyssa Milano - Image ID: 24618904

    What is the potential of uplifting marketing with some clever use of social media? Today we see a very interesting real world example which essentially is doing something for the greater good - or in this case at least alleviating some of the mess!

    A lot of people don't really understand the value of Twitter. So here's an application that should help us see the potential. Today Microsoft Bing posted this:

    Alyssa Milano
    Retweet this & @Bing will donate $10 to #CNNHelpGulf up to 100K: http://bit.ly/howtodonate #BingforGulf
    When doing a little search on this, as of right now it appears that Bing has reached it's 100k pledge with 10,000 retweets (Twitter mentions) already far exceeded.

    It's very difficult to calculate just how many eyeballs this campaign has gathered but here's an attempt to do the math with a very conservative estimate.

    10k of retweets X 129 followers per account = 1,290,000

    That's way over 1 million eyeballs since late this morning.

    It's actually way more, as this is an extremely conservative estimate:

    1. The 10k retweets are actually far exceeded and will increase as the day goes by (a rough figure would be 5 times that)
    2. Twitter usage has grown exponentially since this time last year when the Guardian reported the average following of 129 per account.
    3. This doesn't even consider the celebrity factor of Twitter major players like Alyssa Milano who has 894,843 follows right now and she is only one of many celebs who have tweeted this
    Alyssa Milano
    RT this & @Bing will donate $10 to #CNNHelpGulf up to 100K: http://bit.ly/howtodonate #BingforGulf /via @RyanSeacrest

    We're not pigeons - so why are organisations rewarding poorer performance?

    David Wall - Thursday, June 17, 2010

    The standard belief in most organisations is money incentives spur greater performance. Reward the behaviour you want and get more of that behaviour. B. F. Skinner showed how this worked a treat for pigeons, see below.... but what about those of us without the awkward pigeon walk? What if we have no beak or wings? Will this work for humans?

    Apparently we're not as much like pigeons as some have us believe and it's been said the makers of the cartoon "The Simpsons" created the character "Principal Skinner" after B.F. The below clip might give us some insight on that one..

    The claim here is once a job requires more than just mechanical skills, monetary incentives / bonuses etc. don't work. Strangely still, the larger the reward the poorer performance. It goes against logic and that's a very human thing to do - so no surprises there.

    Some might not see the merit of employees doing more than just manual-based repetitive tasks, but if your company requires real innovation (and most would in such a dynamic market) then it appears monetary incentives are not the way to go. If a person is paid enough "to take issue of money off the table", what then can a company or a manager do to motivate staff?

    According to the claim, when we want better performance, we need to give staff:

    • Autonomy - a level of self-direction (apologies to the micro-manager)
    • Mastery - helping people become the best in their craft (so they feel like they are making a real contribution)
    • Purpose - an overriding purpose for the greater good (just amassing a lot money, probably doesn't fit here)

    The idea of purpose is an interesting one. A post by Techguerilla talks about that using a slightly different term but one with that's perhaps more apt: "Intent":

    Intent is essentially the combination of transparency with authenticity. Put simply, if your companies belief system is based on the premise that the greater the value you provide to your customers the more successful you will be then you have nothing to worry about, because the focus of your efforts across the organization should be in alignment with that belief. If on the other hand it is based on the premise that margins trump all, then I'd highly recommend treading carefully in the social media spectrum as it excels in exposing your true intent.

    If that doesn't help us to rethink the way things are usually done, here's a great video about motivating pigeons:

    Supreme Master TV's supremely bad outdoor advertising

    David Wall - Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Made a facebook comment the other day to an outdoor advert I think might be worthy of a post:

    "The message though admirable is confusing - who is this woman? Is she an extreme master who doesn't feel the cold? Is that why she's got that look of concentration? What's the snow and ice got to do with it all? Why is she a hovering apparition of a torso? Was the poster made with Microsoft word? If superfluous adjectives are the go why not call it Absolute Supreme Master TV or The Most Omnipresent Absolute Supreme Extreme Master TV? Took this @ Wynyard station - and I love it!"

    We’ll it just made me think about all the money that goes into advertising and when done badly, it kind of seems like a waste. 

    Rather than just poke fun, I want to offer a solution. My opinion is in an oversaturated environment of advertising messages - simplicity actually stands out. Now that's a no brainer but it's still rarely executed and that in itself offers advertisers an real opportunity. The image below (in the black) was a quick Photoshopping to illustrate an alternative. 

    So in light of that I’d remove everything on this billboard. I’d appeal to the more selfish nature of us all because saving the planet is just too hard and people tend to ignore the too hard. Basically it’s all about getting people to SaveYourself.com. This landing page would put a case for how saving the planet in fact is an act of saving yourself... do this through a bunch of real stories or interviews with interesting people – perhaps you’d offer community contributions etc. The SumpremeMaster.TV is the consistent back-drop to all this. You take it out of people’s faces and get them interested enough to want to find out more.

    It all comes down to movement, advertising needs to activate movement because in the end that’s what an exchange is - it moves energy in terms of goods, service, experience through capital. If any advert is a mental dead-end it’s likely to be an exchange dead-end too and that can’t be too good for the bottom line.

    Posted via email from Transforming pixels to gold

    Online Kula Ring

    David Wall - Wednesday, June 02, 2010
    Have you heard of the Kula Ring? A brief explanation is that it represents a practice of cultural sharing along a ring of participants. The item/s that are passed along this tribal ring hold great cultural significance. What I found so fascinating about this was how prestige is signified by increasing the value of the gift before passing it along the ring. The items could be seasonal products and necklaces / armshells (valued similarly to money) and these would often accumulate when progressed through the ring. 


    Another interesting facet is the idea of ownership. People only temporarily have possession of kula items but ownership is attributed to the originator of the item. This creates a sense of responsibility for each item as there’s a sense that they could be one day returned. In terms of perishables the value is kept in-tact via continual exchange in the ring


    Anyway, I had a thought about how this could work online. I was prompted when watching @rachelbotsman who writes / talks a lot about collaborative consumption (Tedx Sydney talk: ). She talks about the rise of an economy that doesn’t include money, triggered in part by online applications and communities. 


    The ‘what if’ questions here might be: 


    A) How could a cyclic exchange occur online?
    B) What item/s would be exchanged?


    Some answers might be:


    A) Small rings could start on social networks that have a nature of open sharing (Twitter’s probably the best candidate). These rings would pass an item along and have new participants enter the ring with every revolution completed. 
    B) The most obvious item would need to be virtual. Perhaps a very draft idea (such as this one) that gets share along a ring (of likeminded people) and grows ‘legs’ as it passes through. Legs meaning ways of making it more achievable.


    Basically it’s an idea for creating groups of collaboration that goes beyond a straight one on one / or one to many exchange.


    Some things to check-out:


    The Gift (Marcel Mauss): 
    Collaborative consumption (Rachel Botsman) http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com


    Posted via email from Transforming pixels to gold

    Idea: Self tree – roaming application

    David Wall - Wednesday, June 02, 2010
    What is it for?
    A way to keep track of your daily goals / intentions, keep them present within your thinking and retrieve timely relevant quotes and affirmations for a community of users.


    How does it work?
    It's a user nurtured virtual tree that grows in relation to a user's daily intentions.The intentions are the tree's virtual nourishment (like water) it helps the tree grow. The tree is a smart phone / desktop application. It grows exponentially when ‘watered’ regularly. The intentions are categorized according to what a person wants to achieve, focus on or what is most important on the given day.


    The growth / color / structure of the tree depends on the sum and relationship of a person’s intentions over time. All seedlings look alike however the tree becomes highly individualized based on the user’s interactions / intentions. Each intentions is represented by a sprouting leaf that grows also with time.


    Notes can be added every time an intention is made creating an archive of intentions (revealed by clicking leaves). Each intention is also accompanied by a relevant motivational quotations (from a database of quotes). Intentions can be published to other social networks like Twitter / Facebook / Foursquare - as a means of remind and 'go through' with such. When an intention is published is becomes more concrete and more likely followed.  


    All trees hold a unique code that allows people to transfer between various workstations / apps / smart phones etc. User's can view a website with snapshots off other peoples trees positioned in a virtual forest. 


    Background
    The concept is based on the benefits of taking a moment for self examination for achieving health and wellbeing. It is also grounded in the principle that we are all subject to various social and psychological interdependent ‘layers’. The intention categories are loosely based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.


    Other benefits
    • A holistic reflection of oneself is often beneficial for achieving health and well being
    • There is a belief that concrete intentions more likely achieve actualization
    • Encourages time-out to re-evaluate / reflect 
    • Encourage community connections / support from like-minded people (with similar intentions)

    Posted via email from Transforming pixels to gold

    SEO Stamp Of Approval: KeywordCompetitor.com

    David Wall - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    I was recently asked to review KeywordCompetitor.com, a real-time Keyword Research Tool. I was interested since needing to implement some competitive keyword research and was a little lacking on the tools in the arsenol to do so

    Having exhausted Google Keyword Suggestion, tools.seobook.com and even Brad Callen's stuff for insights into what's working for direct competitors, I thought this was worth a shot.


    After initial trials, I was amazed I see how this tool helps you track your competitors in real time, improve your SEO and PPC campaign, through getting daily reports and monitoring any changes made by your competition. Helps you react quicker and also make a few necessary changes in your own campaign. There’s other keyword tools out there, but for its Price and Features, Keyword Competitor get my vote!


    "TRY created an amazing design for us and we couldn't be happier with the results. They really took on our project as it was their own and they pulled through to the finish line."

    Marcel Newman.