Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Can a middle schooler understand?

Dan Pallotta doesn’t understand what he’s hearing. To quote his post,

“I’d say that in about half of my business conversations, I have almost no idea what other people are saying to me.”

Similar epidemics exist in every field, sometimes spreading outside the box.

My personal solution? If a middle school student doesn’t understand, I should refine my explanation.

(Here’s a group making a project of simple explanations, and also a growing encyclopedia in simple English.)


Video, marketing, you, and your work

Premise: Ideas gain audience through the sharing made possible by social media.

How did video become an expectation in our marketing plans?

  • Video is inherently personal. We love to share video because we love to share stories. We love to share stories because stories are the means of sharing our lives. Video turns enormous corporations into a group of people working on something interesting – and shows us how we might become a little part of what they’re doing if we use their products.
  • iMovie set a standard for ease of use. Windows Movie Maker might be simpler for some tasks, but only because iMovie came first.
  • Technology (processor speed and data transfer) grew to reduce the time we invest making, editing, and uploading our masterpieces. At the same time, high-definition video cameras shrank to fit in our pocket.
  • Social networking made sharing our work exponentially easier, thus multiplying the potential return on investment (see #3).

Why isn’t every single school and small business riding the video express? Here’s three out of many possible reasons (with a literary parallel):

  • We might not articulate why a video isn’t impressive, but thanks to a lifetime spent watching television, our culture sees the difference between Quality and Not-Quality. (Literary parallel: think of the last time you closed a webpage or turned off your Kindle (or even shut a book) before you finished reading. Why was it so easy to stop?)
  • Quality videos take much more knowledge to shoot than we realize. (Literary parallel: though many writers use computers, not everyone with a computer can write.)
  • Quality videos take much more time to produce than we realize. (Literary parallel: though great editors use Microsoft Word, using Microsoft Word won’t make you a great editor.)
What do we do?
  • Learn about social networking for individuals and businesses. Start with Groundswell, then discover that there are 33 million people in the room with you. (Yes. Right now. Thought you’d want to know.)
  • Learn How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck. I’m truly sorry if the title of this book offends you – but you’ll be much more offended by your audience’s comments if your videos don’t reflect these principles of videography.
One last thing – I’m not talking about changing careers to become a professional videographer. 80 percent of what you must know will come in the first 20 percent of the time you invest learning. Become what Samuel Adler called an excellent amateur – a rare and refreshing designation, and a compelling goal for any life-long learner.

How ideas gain audience

Over at Project Domino, Seth Godin identifies three factors relevant to a spreading idea –  “a fabulous idea, a compelling salesperson and a media channel that enables that idea to spread.” Read all about it here.

Independent schools should learn something from this concept. Combine  a story about an innovative school program (fabulous idea) told by our students (compelling salesperson) over social media channels (a cheap, simple way to spread the idea to a broad audience), and we have a much larger market than we might expect.

I wonder what Seth would think of Philips Andover’s approach. According to Ian Symonds, this sort of video reveals the “new normal” of independent school marketing.

Will we wait until social media becomes yesterday’s news before we turn its possibility to our advantage?

Purposeful Participation

I believe social media has enormous potential for connecting individuals and tribes who would otherwise live in ignorance of each other. If you are peering into this arena, or are new to the environment, you will do well to read this post addressing some critical issues of purpose by Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald.

How many “issues” regarding social media may be traced to ignorance, miscommunication, or misaligned expectations? Avoid – or reduce – those issues by first determining your purpose in social media participation.

Essential reading: Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li.  If you won’t make time to read the whole book, at least review these slides.

Additional reading from Bradley & McDonald: Six Attitudes Leaders Take Towards Social Media. Which one describes you?