Posts Tagged ‘social media’

The Intersection of Social Media, Organization Change, and Complexity Science


An interesting intersection exists in organizations between social media technology and practices, knowledge management programs (including communities of practice), learning strategy, change leadership, and organizational philosophy about the use of each.

Social media can be leveraged internally in organizations in the form of collaboration systems, learning management systems, blog and tweet tools and social networking tools (whether they are exclusively behind the firewall or leverage public spaces such as FB, LI, and twitter).  Use of these tools in conjunction with a change initiative can also have reciprocal value in that it can increase utilization / adoption of the social tools and processes as well.

Change initiatives within organizations absolutely should consider the social fabric that currently exists, the technology currently available and used within an organization, and the informal leadership that have significant influence via the social network. These should be considered as part of the overall change plan and included explicitly in the form of communication plan tactics and tactics to help identified stakeholders and stakeholder groups to transition along the change curve.

Change management / leadership consultants (whether internal or external) should become familiar with social / organizational network analysis (SNA / ONA), types of web 2.0/3.0 and social technologies available and used within client organizations, and understand how the world of social networking is a critical element of organizational culture and change behavior.  Conversely, the use of social tools and processes in conjunction with a change initiative should be considered in conjunction with an overall organizational social media strategy.

The social world we now must understand and leverage does add a layer of complexity to our work. Understanding organizations as complex adaptive systems (via complexity science) can be an extremely helpful lens as we (consultants) analyze current state and develop change plans accordingly. In the end, it’s all about creating environments where positive change can emerge and social networks often (maybe even always, now) play a central role.


Video+Story+Connection+Humor+Interesting = Viral Spread

June 14, 2010 1 comment


This article from Fast Company highlights the viral spread of Dorito’s ads as part of a Super Bowl contest.   They are provocative and violent and the company doesn’t have to take responsibility, yet they benefit from the marketing.  One theme of  viral spread may happen when inhibitions are eliminated.  When something seems tasteless, immoral, or even wrong but you aren’t held accountable, are you (the general “you”) more likely to share it?

In this Dorito’s example, you can’t help but ask the question how YouTube and other technologies contribute to the general lowering of inhibition (comfort with exposure) and with the capacity to spread quickly.

There are some more provocative examples embedded in the article.  Here’s one that won a contest and ended up being shown during the  Super Bowl:

This article starts out by highlighting some pretty negative examples (of which, I’m sure, there are too many on YouTube) to count.  It also highlights a really great video that went viral related to a contest by Dorito’s in Canada:

It’s not just the “good” aspect that made it go viral.  There’s some other appeal here. This particular video is produced in the style of those produced by Lee and Sachi LeFever of Common Craft (check-out their cool videos explaining all sorts of social media such as Twitter).  It’s cool, quirky, different, a little funny, and VERY easy to follow.  This “Crazy Cheezy Dream” video is humanistic, yet fun and interesting to watch.  It tells a great story, but just enough detail that we can insert ourselves into that story (too much detail makes it hard to do that) – this is when we CONNECT with it!  Steve Denning talks about this phenomenon in his research and books about storytelling.  It seems so simple, yet makes all the difference in the world!  I would make the argument that this connection element exists in the more provocative examples from a fantasy perspective – something we wish could happen.

Today’s Lesson:  When videos tell a story that we can connect with, but are funny and interesting, too, spread happens.

Can You Tell Your Story in Just 6 Words?

April 7, 2010 3 comments


My attention was caught by two-month long discussion on the LinkedIn group:

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

It was posted by Kway Yu and has generated 610 comments as of today.  The premise of his invitation for folks to tell the story of themselves in just 6 words is based on a statement by Ernest Hemingway, master storyteller, that his best work was a story he wrote in just six words:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

This discussion has inspired hundreds of people to share a story of themselves in just 6 words.  My story right now might look something like:

Compelled to become who I am!


Inspiring change through interaction about ideas.

In an earlier post (The Discipline of Word Choice in Social Media), I shared how the use of fewer words is a discipline presented to us by several great historical works (73 words) and one that we are forced to develop through use of modern communication technology and social media such as Texting (160 characters) and Twitter (140 characters).  It is also a discipline developed by those who successfully communicate with corporate executives and by those who give excellent presentations.  Some of the best presentations I’ve ever seen are on where no presentation exceeds 18 minutes.

Storytelling inspires emotion and placement of oneself into the story – it becomes personal.  Steve Denning, storytelling advocate, has had a huge influence on my belief in the power of storytelling (or use of narrative) in business settings in recent years.  Is the art of storytelling making a resurgence?  It’s definitely going through an evolution and technology is helping us to think completely different about it.  I know most of you are at least learning to or mastering the art of communicating in just 140 characters, but can you tell your story in just 6 words?  I invite you to comment &/or Twitter your 6 word story, use #6story.

What is your 6 word story?

While searching for an image of the #6 to include in this post, I came across another blog post from 2008 about a teacher who gave this assignment to his students … check it out, too!

FaceBook is Using Info About You, Are You?

April 2, 2010 1 comment


An article in FastCompany, Why Facebook Personality Tests Are Hot with Jung-sters, tells the tale of how a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator-based personality test in FB is seen as a fun and interesting activity for youngsters. (Note the clever play-on-words used in the article title referencing Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist, whose findings serve as the foundation for the MBTI.)

It results in a huge sample size of data being used by Nottingham University student David Stillwell to study how MBTI type impacts a person’s social network an other behaviors of particular interest to marketers.

Talk about a creative use of social media to further research (and solve the sample-size problem that plagues so many researchers) and provide meaningful and useful information in the end.

This story may cause you to say,

Hey!  What are you doing with information about ME?

My response to this reaction is:

Hey!  What are YOU doing with information you know about yourself?

What do you know about yourself?

  • Do you understand your natural communication style?
  • Do you know how you re-energize?
  • Do you know your preference for closure vs. options?
  • Do you know how you feel loved or valued?
  • Have you put into order your preferences to be inquisitive vs. organize vs. create things with your hands?
  • Do you understand how you prefer to interact with others (individuals and teams)?
  • Have you noticed the activities that energize you and those that drain you?

If you did know the answers to these questions, think about how you could use this information to (see also Making the Most of How You are Wired):

  • shape the way you interact with people in your current job,
  • identify the next work you’d like to do,
  • re-shape the way you interact with your own family,
  • redefine the work you do currently,
  • and confidently step forward to something that may seem like a “leap of faith” to those around you, but makes all the sense in the world because it leverages everything you know about yourself!

Proceed boldly, my friends!

Following are just a couple of free or reasonably priced resources that can help you get started to better know yourself:
  • Keirsey Temperament Sorter:  Based on same psychological theory as MBTI – provides your type  – 15-20 minutes to complete online (FREE)
  • Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham – based on same research as StrengthsFinder (test that provides your top five talent themes), but results in information about which current activities in your life are energizing (strengths) and draining (weaknesses) and helps you to re-shape your work to spend more time living in your strengths.
  • True Colors – The book Showing Our True Colors helps you to understand the order and brightness of the four color types for you. This book helps you to understand how others might perceive you and puts words to what you’ve already known about yourself, but might not have been able to articulate.  I even used this with my 12 year-old and it was a fantastic conversation that helps her know herself and has helped to improve the way we interact with each other, too.

ROI of Social Investment … Beware of No “R” on the “I”

April 1, 2010 8 comments


So, I’m learning to be more disciplined in the careful use of word choice, but I also can’t help but be aware of how this “head-first-dive” is also sucking and draining my time.  Here I sit, since 3:15 this morning (it’s now 5:57) with full intentions to work on my final paper for a class, but I’ve probably only mustered 15 minutes worth of work on that priorityprocrastination!

Ok, so maybe I did learn some new things about and via Twitter, I did find some new interesting people to follow, and added some new LinkedIn connections….but it’s NOT what I planned to do this morning, NOT why I set my alarm for 3 AM!  (hubby hates it when I do that)

DigitalTonto recently posted an example of ROI of using social media, sharing the cost of time invested by Pat, the Artist.  We see how Pat obtains value from his social investment (ex’s: overall sales and even selling a piece to Barack Obama) .  What I’m now cautious about is the drain on time and therefore cost.

I often find myself describing time as a commodity:

  • Spent it wisely!
  • People will “spend” their time on what they value.
  • Every spend is a trade-off for something else we could be doing:

Do I workout in the wee hours of the morning or do I write a blog post, or do I get some laundry done?

We must watch out for Investment without Return and find an appropriate balance to leveraging social media – taking control of these tools without losing control.

Categories: social media Tags: ,

The Discipline of Word Choice in Social Media

March 31, 2010 2 comments


A recent post on PoynterOnline shows how the use of just 73 carefully chosen words in several powerful historic texts have been so impactful over time.

When Words Are Worth a Thousand Pictures …. 73 Razor Sharp Words

There certainly is an implication for bloggers.  It also brought to mind the discipline that using Twitter brings – how do you craft something meaningful  in just 140 characters or less?  How do you do it in such a way that others will be interested in it, too (because it’s so important – see Value of Social Media)?  Just today, I shortened my twitter name by a couple of characters to help address this character limitation issue (just for you, my RT friends, keep ’em coming!).

This leads me to think about storytelling and how Steve Denning‘s storytelling books speak both to the power of business narrative (aka stories) and to the discipline in using them effectively.  Different story formats work best for different purposes (The Leaders Guide to Storytelling) … and it takes discipline to craft stories in this way!  Even the most gifted storyteller probably isn’t gifted in all ways of telling stories for a purposeful outcome.

So, as I write this post, initially, it was WELL over 500 words (now just 250) and really included three different topics.  Result of applying this learning?  Break it up into 3 separate posts (set to publish at different times, of course) and help my social media / network friends to absorb these thoughts in smaller, more meaningful chunks.

Value of Social Media

March 31, 2010 2 comments


A couple of recent reads, along with my own “head-first-dive” back into the realm of social media, cause me to consider its power.  My first toe in the water was to experience FaceBook and, like many, I found it to be an exhilarating initial experience to reconnect with so many people from every different phase (and location) in my life.  The initial thrill wore off and I fell into a pattern of following and caring about a core group and casually surfing amongst the rest.  Of most value is the ability for this tool to help me “do life” a little bit more with dear friends and family who I don’t get to see or talk to nearly enough (best friends, siblings, cousins, …).

To Tweet or not to Tweet?  That is the Question!

For a long time, I didn’t understand why I would want to use Twitter.  I would say:

All I know is that if my daughter were to Tweet, I would want to follow her.

At 12, she most certainly does not…yet.

My friend and colleague Mike Brevoort made the case for me about how this tool can be a great way to engage others in ideating, connecting with SMEs / experts / people who I might not otherwise have access to, and begin to build a public brand.  Seth Godin recently offered a simple blog post with more context on the value of online friends.  DigitalTonto also posted an example of ROI of using social media.

Ok, Mike, you made the case, now here I Tweet … and blog!

With that said, I still haven’t successfully figured out how to add the “retweet” feature to my blog…HELP, anybody?

Categories: Idea Spread Tags: ,