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Why bother blogging?

There are millions of pages online, why should anyone bother reading yours?  You have opinions, you have had experiences, and you have thoughts and passions… but honestly who cares?   Why should you waste your precious time sharing any of that with anyone? Let’s think about this in a different way for a second… What happens if you don’t?  What happens to your business, your passions, or your story if you don’t bother to share any of it?  You are the only one who can light the fire.  You are the only one who has the capacity to generate interest and spread your message and create advocates.  If you don’t tell it like it is, you lose the opportunity for even just one more person to come along and say… YES!!!  I can relate to that – I want that – I want to share in that experience. None of this is about attracting thousands of people to your web site.  All of this is about you getting your truth out to light the fire of just one person who is so turned on by your message that they are going to go out and get one more person on board, who will get one more person, etc…  Would you rather try to do business with a thousand people who just don’t get it or one person who understands completely?  That’s why you bother blogging (or should).  

What is Crowdsourcing?

According to Wikipedia: Crowdsourcing is a neologism (a word not yet accepted by the mainstream) for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. Wikipedia itself is an excellent example of crowdsourcing.  Wikipedia enlists the help of a large group of people to share the task of writing and expanding the online information source.  Other examples of crowdsourcing are iStockphoto and plethera of web sites where you can purchase stock photographs from many photographers at a significantly lower price then hiring a photographer yourself. Who's into crowdsourcing? Getty Images recently paid $50 million for iStockphoto, a Web site where more than 23,000 amateur photographers upload and distribute their stock photographs. Hipster clothing company Threadless.com prints and sells t-shirts designed by people on its Web site. Linden Lab's 3-D virtual world, Second Life, allows people to create and retain the intellectual property rights on new businesses, brands, and personalities. Business Week 9/25/08 Croudsouring is an excellent method of generating new, innovative ideas within an organization or industry that otherwise seems "locked" in the box.  It is also a very effective method for fund raising.  A large group of people giving small donations may be a more viable growth strategy for not-for-profits  then focusing on a single donor with large pockets.  Best of all, geography no longer factors into the equation.  The Internet has removed the borders from the talent that can be tapped. Web 2.0 has created a proliferation of web sites that offer the consumer the ability to be vested in product design, generate ideas or provide the actual product.  Croudsourcing at it's best?  See Crowdsourcing, [...]

Networking that Matters

In the words of Seth Godin:  Honestly, I can't say it any better then this :)  Check out Seth's new book: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us  

Blog Action Day – Just one more hand can….

In honor of blog action day, I thought I'd share a story with you.  If nothing else, it will help to debunk the mind set that one person can not have an impact on our world. Several years ago I had the privilege of participating in a mission to rebuild a school in Zimbabwe through my Rotary Club.  I spent two weeks in a small village outside of Victoria Falls called Chikandakubi.  It was by far the most profound and eye opening experience of my life. After some 24 hours of traveling, our team arrived at the lodge, which was owned by members of the Victoria Falls Rotary club.  I was over tired an in sensory overload.  Everything was different from what I was “used to”.  The sites, smells, and sounds all felt more vibrant then in the states.  The beauty of the famed Victoria Falls goes beyond my ability to describe in words.  To those who do not live there, Africa has a mystical quality about it – there is temptation to romanticize the landscape. Unfortunately, there is little else to romanticize about Chikandakubi.  The village, like many in Zimbabwe, has been ravished by aids and the vast majority of the population is starving.  Most children are either orphans or being raised by their grandparents as the 25 – 35 year old generation has been eliminated by Aids.  Some of the children are forced to stay in their compounds to help care for livestock or go out into the streets to generate money as their elders are frail and can not provide for the family.  Combine that with the reality that there is a fee to attend school, and you have a large population of [...]

A Day in the Life of a Social Networker

The past few days have been interesting at best.  I learned a lot about the social networking world and more importantly, about myself. The details: A few days ago Mari Smith posted a note on twitter about the Profile HTML box on Facebook.  I loved the application and installed it on my profile page and wrote a quick twitter post about it.  This prompted several questions from some Facebook connections.  Instead of answering each of them individually, I created a how to blog post about the application.  I included one very important element; I thanked Mari for letting me know about it.  Through my twitter feed, the post automatically went up on twitter, Mari saw it, came to my blog, commented and let her followers know about the post via twitter.  This generated a couple of hundred visitors to my blog.  It is always fun to watch a traffic spike! Lesson one:  Always give credit where credit is due.  If nothing else, it’s good karma. A day or two later Chris Brogan wrote his Pirate Ship post.  I loved it and after reading it, sent him a tweet about the “Lions and Tigers and Bears” post I wrote on Friday.  I guess he liked it, because he twittered about it and provided a link to his followers.  Again, this generated a couple of hundred new visitors to my blog and I got to watch another traffic spike. Lesson two:  Don’t be afraid to share, even if you’re not sure how well it will be received.  Speak your mind and share your heart.  If you are coming from your truth, you can’t go wrong! On Sunday I participated in a blog posting campaign about Digg and I wrote my “Yes, Sir May I [...]

Yes sir, May I Have Another DIGG Please?

Image via CrunchBase   I have been a member of the Social Networking community for the better part of a decade, long before “social networking” became a meme.   As such, it has been my privilege to watch the internet, some web sites and users mature and prosper.  Lately there has been much ado about Digg and its recent massive banning of users. Digg is a web site that allows you to bookmark articles and allows users to vote on whether or not they are good or relevant. Social bookmarking sites allow users to make friends, share content and give you insight into each other’s preferences. In addition, and without a doubt the most used function, Social Bookmarking allows a web page, blog or news post, to see significant increase traffic. The internet is a competitive market place, there is no such thing as one web site having a corner on a particular niche (tell me if you find one).  When a web site, any web site, is not treating its customers fairly, there are usually ample alternatives that the masses can utilize to that do the same thing. In the case of Digg’s faux pas, you can use Mixx, Stumble, Reddit, and Delicious or a variety of other web sites. Why is Digg’s ban significant? In terms of traffic Digg is considered to be the number one social bookmarking site on the web. My guess is, they are about to lose that distinction. For any web site to be successful and maintain that success, they have to have certain qualities that separate it from the crowd. They must be consistent, reliable and put the community first. According to recent reports, the moderators behind [...]

Lions and Tigers and Bears – Oh my.. NOT!

This is a rather uncharacteristic blog post for me, but I just feel the need to get it out.  Go ahead... blast away! As a very active member of the whole social networking scene, I get asked to digg, stumble, mixx and get out a good number of articles daily.  Recently the popularity of negative, downward spiral blog posts has made me somewhat withdrawn from all of that activity.  I do not want to promote this negative thinking. Here's my two cents on this whole "Bail Out", "Economic Downturn", "Bank Run" of recent news fame - it's a load of crap!  What did she just say?  You heard me, it's a load of crap... now let me tell you why. First, I do not have on rose colored glasses and I am not sticking my head in the sand.  I honestly believe that we have some profound changes in front of us, but changes for the better.  A mentor once told me that we must go through chaos to achieve change.  Welcome to the chaos folks! At no time in history has there been a better opportunity to shine.  This phase will weed out the weak and those of you who have true faith in yourselves, your business and your purpose will remain standing.  Now is the time where other businesses need your help, your services, your products, your strength.  Be at the ready to serve those who need you most. To my Not For Profit clients - now is your opportunity to think out of the box and make a real name for yourselves.  The people who you reach out to by sharing your stories, unveiling your passions and sharing your truth from the heart are [...]

Customers want YOU in the Conversation

Customers, especially ones that are active on Social Netoworking sites want to talk to you, the business owner.  When something goes wrong or they have something to share with you, today's consumer wants to break through the board room door and talk to you face to face (at least virtually). Today Emarketer wrote Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” said Mike Hollywood, director of new media at Cone, in a statement. “It isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion. I'll give you an example:  The other night I was on twitter and Paul Chaney (@pchaney ) was having a problem downloading his paypal report.  He mentioned this live and also noted "It figures, PayPal doesn't have someone listening on Twitter."  Hummmm,  sounds like a FAIL by PayPal to me.  On the other side of the coin, a blogger was writing about his expereince with JetBlue on Twitter and before he knew it they were following him to keep track of the conversation.  Good job Blue! Enabling your customers to contact you via Social Networks goes a long way to personalizing your relationship with them (do I sound like a broken record yet?).  People don't just want to buy blindly any more, they want to buy from a company that cares enough to invest in the transaction's overall experience.  Yes, I said experience.  You want people to walk away from any transaction or interaction with your company with a smile on their face and the trust and confidence in you to share that experience with their friends. Socail Networking tools are a proactive approach to customer service.  Retailers have long known that customers spread the word [...]

The Importance of Overdelivering

As an online merchant, your customers cannot see your face. They cannot hear your voice when you are recommending your products, and they cannot see the emotions on your face when you are telling your customers what benefits they can derive out of your products. The Internet is a level playing field for every Internet marketer and merchant out there. The sheer connectivity means that you can reach every individual in the world. You are not limited by geographic constraints and anyone can be your customer or client. This is precisely why you should overdeliver. When every competitor of yours has access to everyone in the market, your only way of winning the battle is to overdeliver, again and again. When you overdeliver, you present yourself as a person with the customer’s interest at heart. You become a trusted friend and not a greed-driven marketer out looking for their money. Overdelivering is simply your only way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can start overdelivering by providing superb support for your customers. How many times have you been turned away with rude answers when asking about a certain product you purchased? Compare that with the number of times you have been provided very good service, as if you're being helped by a personal friend. The ratio is just off balance, proving how scarce good customer support is. By providing excellent support to your customers and answering to their every needs patiently, you will gain customers that are fiercely loyal to you because they know you have their best interest at heart. When you provide excellent customer support, you're already ahead of most of your competitors. Take it a step further and think: in what [...]

Playing small serves no one

If you are like most people, the news of the last couple of days has set you on your butt thinking.... how the hell am I going to make money in my business if all these big things are happening.... Well - stop it! NOW is the time to tell your story, share your inspirations and show the world that magic that is you. NOW is the time to start the fire in the souls of the people you can serve best. NOW is the time to be bold, take action - share - go forward and know that you have what you need right now to get yourself out there. Playing small serves noone... now get out there... If you need a leg up - let me know :)