Is this the Rise or Fall of Social Influence?

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Online business chats are the reason I love (and stay) with Twitter. Today, I have the pleasure of moderating #smchat on the topic of Influence.

#SMCHAT

Has social media (and we as its masters) stripped away the meaningful value of influence?

Over the last few weeks that thought has nagged me until at last I threw it at my friend Chris Jones (@sourcepov) for a sanity check.

DM with SourcePOV

If you know Chris, then his reply to my pondering will come as no surprise. “OMG, how awesome. This is a conversation made for #smchat.” So that’s how easily we arrived at the Thought Du Jour for the December 17 edition of our online chat.

Here’s a little contextual framework for our conversation

Influencers – and influence – mean different things to different people.  But let’s run with the description I snagged from TheNextWeb that says “Influencers are the power users and authorities. They lend credence to products or services and they elevate conversations. Influencers are experts; the trusted voices with social capital.”

Fair enough, influencers are people in the know.

But what’s…

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Pick Extraordinary People

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Who are you?

“You are most like the five people you spend time with,” so goes the saying.

Sure, sure. It makes sense. We spend time with the people who make us feel good (the definition of good being a relative and deeply personal one).  We hang with people who affirm what we know (or hope) is true.

I decided to name what makes my people so special. Not just special to me…I went bigger. How do the people I know make this sometimes-really-shitty-frustrating-and-imbalanced-planet a better place to live?

See for yourself.

I put those ass-kickin friends in this Wordle:

WordleFriends

The answers humbled me. I pinched myself. I said “Self, do you even KNOW how blessed you are? Do you even GET that you run among remarkable people?”  Yeah, I know. I really do know.

So, who are YOUR people?

Forget, for now, what it says about you. But who are they? Don’t stop with the five people closest to you; consider anyone who influences your life.

What is their mark on the world? What is the imprint they leave on you? If your experience is anything like mine, this is an exercise in extraordinary gratitude.

Dwarfed. And okay.

Funny thing is, I don’t see myself perfectly reflected among my friends. I see myself as a dwarf among giants.  These people do, see, and say things I need three lifetimes to have the balls to do.  What I do see, though, in every one of them is the person I hope to be.

And for now, I’m pretty okay with being a work in progress — and I’m banking on their goodness rubbing off on me.

Your turn ~ If you do this exercise, let me know. I’d love to see what you came up with.

P.S. If you aren’t familiar with Wordle, give it a whirl. It’s a simple, free word cloud creation site that allows you to form mini works of word art.    

How Will Story and Social Media Change the World? (#smchat)

#SMCHAT

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

Have you ever noticed that change starts and travels on the back of story? Whether the change is big or small, plays out on the world’s stage or within the boundaries of a close-knit group, it began with a story that appealed to the human condition. Perhaps that makes sense to you. Nothing captures and conveys the human condition better than story. Historians and psychologists have long said that storytelling defines and binds our humanity.

hieroglyphics-web

Despite its ancient roots (the earliest known record of story telling dates back to 2580 B.C.), story has found a new fast-burning fuel. Something in OUR modern time has altered the way we connect through the aid of story.

Enter social media.

Social media has given…

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4 Manifestos for Change Makers

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'Stand Your Ground.' photo (c) 2010, akshay moon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It’s ironic, don’t you think?

It’s ironic how we respond to change. We want change, yet we fear it. We crave change, then we claw at it.

We’d rather slip to the back of the line (of change) than butt our way to the front. We shrink, we hide, we duck.

Screw change. Let someone else do it.

So goes the sentiment of far too many people. There’s little chance of upside. If you stick your neck out, there’s risk; there’s no guarantee of reward. Failure is possible and humiliation is downright probable.

And this is how we end up swirling around in the toilet of mediocrity.

Change may scare. But mediocrity kills.

10 Random Questions: From One Creative to Another

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Annie Leibovitz Portrait

Annie Leibovitz by John Keatly

Moment of truth. Today I couldn’t bring myself to write about anything social, trending, controversial, educational or overly deep.  So coffee in hand I let my thoughts tumble around, and they landed (bullseye) on something I’ve always wanted to do.

Shoot Me, Annie.

My secret wish has long been to appear in Vanity Fair‘s Proust Questionnaire column.

I’d be witty, honest, and bang-on with my answers. My sparkle would mesmerize the writer. In a flash, they decide to break tradition of using a caricature. The creative director would come careening into the room with an unexpected Annie Leibovitz in tow. My hair would have it’s best day EVER, and my skin would be clear and creamy — no Photoshop needed.  The published piece would paradoxically leave me awed and humbled. My mother would wipe a proud tear from her crinkly eyes as she read my words.

Well, some dreams come true and others — ones like my tongue-in-cheek Vanity Fair fantasy — may forever be a fable. So what’s a creative girl to do when she still longs for some good Q&A? She whips up her very own questionnaire for all those people who — like her –don’t mind peeling back the layers and sharing who they are.

So here you have it. 10 very random questions I’d ask YOU if we had a sit-down to compare the minds and ways of being right-brainers.

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Stop Reading and Start Doing

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I read. A lot. Books, blogs, reports, research. Tweets (of course). You name it; I read it. Throughout my adult life  I’ve believed that I read because I’m curious. I’ve told myself and others that I read because I am a proud life-long learner.

Of course I am both of those things. But if, like me, you spend more time reading than doing, you may detect the deeper problem here — can you spot it?

Truth is, there is a deeper story. I read because I’m scared. I read to avoid what I do best, which is write.  In my moment of truth I had to ask, am I really learning or simply running?

Do you read as a way to postpone real action? It’s cool if you don’t want to raise your hand. I’ll be honest; writing this blog post is uncomfortable. It stirs feelings of shame that here I am — with a God-given talent — and I’m not fully using it. I’m hiding in the pages of someone else’s good writing.

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CFCA’s 5 Best Practices for Growing a Facebook Community

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This guest blog post was written by Shanxi Omoniyi, online content manager for Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA). Founded in 1981, CFCA is a nonprofit sponsorship organization serving more than 300,000 children, youth and aging friends in 22 countries. 

At CFCA we value the opportunity that social media provides in helping us create a community of compassion around the world.

Hopefully these best practices we’ve compiled can help other nonprofits harness the enthusiasm of their Facebook supporters to continue making the world a better place!

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