Social Media as Personal Power

powerquote Enterprise software isn’t very sexy. I agree with Robert Scoble’s perspective on this. And though others are disagreeing with this, people like Nick Carr are seeing Scoble’s point. The conversation around the argument is that enterprise applications aren’t meant to be sexy; they’re meant to work flawlessly for the organization. Well here’s where it’s interesting to me.

saisons poulsbo isn’t exactly a friendly place.

Social Media Works for You

EVERY tool that social media counts in its arsenal: blogging, podcasting, videoblogging, microblogging (Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Tumblr), and all the rest — every one of them is a tool equipped to offer you personal power. How do I mean this?

  • Social media gives you a voice. Though some organizations have strict policies against blogging about that organization, it’d be hard for them to stop you from blogging about other areas of interest, your passions, and things that don’t relate to your day job.
  • Social media gives you an audience. Instead of waiting for mainstream media to determine if your thoughts are worthy of a larger audience, you have the CHANCE to build an audience from day one. (And believe me, there’s someone for everyone out there).
  • Social media gives you flexibility. Are you better in pictures? Use Flickr. Not very tech savvy? Use Utterz. A budding Kubrick? Make a videoblog. Hemingway? Write a blog.
  • Social media gives you a world audience. Okay, what happens inside the firewall is one thing, but what happens out on the Internet goes pretty much everywhere. (Which is also a caution, as well as a benefit).

Ways to Enhance Social Media Power

Should you wish to use your media for something beyond expressing yourself, there are many ways available to you for developing a following and tapping this audience for the better good. Consider some of the following:

  • Find like-minded media makers. If you’re blogging about developing nations or non-profits, find great people like Beth Kanter. If you’re writing about presentations, get connected to Pistachio and Heidi Miller and Presentation Zen. There’s strength in numbers.
  • Use Twitter to develop relationships by COMMUNICATING with people, and finding folks who are interested in the things that you find interesting.
  • Contribute to others’ projects, and be useful. Think of way upon way upon way to be useful.
  • And help people connect. This is a gesture that people seldom forget. Those who continue to give of themselves find themselves with great friends and an active, engaged community.

The core of this idea is that there’s strength in numbers. One voice is but a raindrop. Many voices is a flood. (This is an echo of an audio ad Christopher S. Penn made for the first ever PodCamp, and it has forever stayed with me).

Use Your Power for Good

Social media can help you do many things, from simple things like finding a job (lots of us use our blogs as a sort of living resume (see Bryan Person’s post on this here). It can help you find great social causes. Of all the benefits building a community of active voices has, it’s that you can use this ability to help others.

Different Than An Enterprise Application

Social media tools are built to connect individual voices to a community. The basic unit of all (most?) social media applications is the individual. We can join groups in Facebook, but we start at the individual profile. We can follow people we like in Twitter, and add friends in Seesmic, but we are first and foremost a production company of one.

Further, social media tools do a great job of capturing unstructured information, as Rachel Happe from IDC pointed out in her speech on social networks in the enterprise. Use this difference for the power it’s worth. Use things like blogs and Utterz and wikis to gather and annotate and stretch and link and meta-organize information that doesn’t have a home in more formal settings.

And, as an added bonus, social media tools can act perfectly as a crossover tool. For instance, you can use Twitter with colleagues and with friends from other organizations (depending on corporate policies, of course). You can blog for ideas, inspiration, and collaboration, and use what you learn to develop your professional projects. These tools are perfect for the occasional task of shoring up your flagging interest in your day job, by showing you that engaged minds are out there doing amazing things.

Where’s Your Cape?

We kicked off the first PodCamp by saying that everyone in the audience was a superhero. They had their day jobs, their Clark Kent lives, but then they had these tools and this community that extended far beyond the firewall. People inside a PodCamp relate to each other in ways that don’t mirror 1:1 the typical corporate hierarchy.

At PodCamp Europe, we had people from Nokia and Ericsson in the audience, listening and responding to the sessions without competition. We frequently have Apple and Microsoft employees in the audience. It’s easy to forget about the competitive, dog-eat-dog world when you’re at a PodCamp because people there are more interested with learning the tools, developing community, and building a stronger relationship with communities of interest.

I grew up in Maine. I love it there, but there were plenty of times when I felt out of step with the folks living in my proximity. As the Internet developed, so did my opportunities to reach out and communicate with like-minded people. And now, with all these tools, I have the power to communicate and hold conversations in many ways with exceptionally diverse groups.

That’s the power of all this. It’s not Google juice. It’s not a new way to market to people. It’s sure as hell not about recreating media on the Net. Connections. Pure, quality connections. You need only read these two recent posts by Shel Israel to see the power YOU wield.

Now, how will you use it? How ARE you using it? What do you think about this talk of empowerment and ability?

The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.

Get the entire series by subscribing to this blog.

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  • http://www.ldpodcast.com whitney

    AsI read your post, I saw the word “recreating” and thought about the difference between creating something new in a new medium and its overlap with recreation- free time and goofing off.

    Many new media projects sort of start in the overlap of this space- creating a new project, a new means of expression in your free time; hoping that it becomes a full time enterprise, but not always being certain how the skills translate, an at what cost to give someone return on investment.

    The power of the ‘net lives in the ability to build engaged and passionate communities around topics and interests. In marketing parlance, this would be the “targeted market” around interests and ideas- people who would be open to your messages and promotions, perhaps. But because communities are based on trust, any approaches towards them can’t be as big and as crass as they are on TV for example, where you look to capture attention from your target audience and beyond. They can be subtle.

    In the end, even if you are selling Widget A, you probably will sell more widgets if you engage people who already own Widget A or like it, because these people will become the influencers and evangelists for Widget A- a community based marketing department you don’t have to convince, because they are already on your side.

    And isn’t that what we all are looking for, in the end? People that love us and what to carry our messages and ideas beyond us, into the world? This means the results of community builders and community evangelists isn’t a quarter by quarter return, it’s a longer term relationship building exercise that will pay off more than any magazine ad ever could.

  • http://www.ldpodcast.com whitney

    AsI read your post, I saw the word “recreating” and thought about the difference between creating something new in a new medium and its overlap with recreation- free time and goofing off.

    Many new media projects sort of start in the overlap of this space- creating a new project, a new means of expression in your free time; hoping that it becomes a full time enterprise, but not always being certain how the skills translate, an at what cost to give someone return on investment.

    The power of the ‘net lives in the ability to build engaged and passionate communities around topics and interests. In marketing parlance, this would be the “targeted market” around interests and ideas- people who would be open to your messages and promotions, perhaps. But because communities are based on trust, any approaches towards them can’t be as big and as crass as they are on TV for example, where you look to capture attention from your target audience and beyond. They can be subtle.

    In the end, even if you are selling Widget A, you probably will sell more widgets if you engage people who already own Widget A or like it, because these people will become the influencers and evangelists for Widget A- a community based marketing department you don’t have to convince, because they are already on your side.

    And isn’t that what we all are looking for, in the end? People that love us and what to carry our messages and ideas beyond us, into the world? This means the results of community builders and community evangelists isn’t a quarter by quarter return, it’s a longer term relationship building exercise that will pay off more than any magazine ad ever could.

  • http://www.natashawescoat.com Natasha Wescoat

    ahhh! As always, this is another great article that has inspired and empowered me..and not to forget, redirected my purpouses once again.

    With the “youtube generation” and the media’s influences, we tend to get sidetracked with new media. Television keeps feeding us the “get me get me” mentality. Always doing something for some alterior motive.

    Sure, we want to spread the word about our products, gain prospecive clients, gain notoriety for something we are doing with our media, but we have to remember our purpous with these tools.

    It IS about collaboration, about friendship, about communication, and about connecting with people in a new and innovative way. We have to check ourselves and calm down, remember that we WANT to connect to people, not just SELL to them. This article really hit home for me. Thankyou!

  • http://www.natashawescoat.com Natasha Wescoat

    ahhh! As always, this is another great article that has inspired and empowered me..and not to forget, redirected my purpouses once again.

    With the “youtube generation” and the media’s influences, we tend to get sidetracked with new media. Television keeps feeding us the “get me get me” mentality. Always doing something for some alterior motive.

    Sure, we want to spread the word about our products, gain prospecive clients, gain notoriety for something we are doing with our media, but we have to remember our purpous with these tools.

    It IS about collaboration, about friendship, about communication, and about connecting with people in a new and innovative way. We have to check ourselves and calm down, remember that we WANT to connect to people, not just SELL to them. This article really hit home for me. Thankyou!

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  • http://marshalsandler.com/?feed=rss2 mARSHAL SANDLER

    Nothing to say Whitney has said it all!

  • http://marshalsandler.com/?feed=rss2 mARSHAL SANDLER

    Nothing to say Whitney has said it all!

  • http://defogmyblog.typepad.com/Defog1 DefogMyBlog

    For me I think that through something like Twitter, that at first glance seemed daft, I learned that there are lots of people out there having a go and trying to follow whatever it is they want to follow and that it is really encouraging. Of course you also learn that people are having ups and downs the same as yourself or that some of them are very successful. Even if you are not in their league they are friendly and you can connect if you have a shared interest.

  • http://defogmyblog.typepad.com/Defog1 DefogMyBlog

    For me I think that through something like Twitter, that at first glance seemed daft, I learned that there are lots of people out there having a go and trying to follow whatever it is they want to follow and that it is really encouraging. Of course you also learn that people are having ups and downs the same as yourself or that some of them are very successful. Even if you are not in their league they are friendly and you can connect if you have a shared interest.

  • http://realestatecafe.blogs.com/ RealEstateCafe

    Chris, your concluding questions:

    “Now, how will you use it? How ARE you using it? What do you think about this talk of empowerment and ability?”

    …led me to pull together a Ning site I had been contemplating for weeks. Initially, I thought of calling it “E-piphany” (inspired by the Feast of Epiphany); then “i-piphay” (inspired by Apple’s i-product line); but finally decided to call the site “WE-piphany” for reasons you state:

    “Social media tools are built to connect individual voices to a community.”

    Do you or anyone else know if there are already any private or public initiatives to help no tech, low tech, or slow tech friends & family join social networks for Christmas?

    WE-piphany is primarily a gift to my own family and friends motivated by twin desires:

    (1) Enable friends who gifted writers share their wisdom with world, and

    (2) Extend connections rekindled at upcoming family and high school reunions.

    Maybe other share the same desire… Anyone else giving the Gift of Personal Power / Gift of Connection to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or the New Year?

    Share your story at:

    http://wepiphany.ning.com

  • http://realestatecafe.blogs.com/ RealEstateCafe

    Chris, your concluding questions:

    “Now, how will you use it? How ARE you using it? What do you think about this talk of empowerment and ability?”

    …led me to pull together a Ning site I had been contemplating for weeks. Initially, I thought of calling it “E-piphany” (inspired by the Feast of Epiphany); then “i-piphay” (inspired by Apple’s i-product line); but finally decided to call the site “WE-piphany” for reasons you state:

    “Social media tools are built to connect individual voices to a community.”

    Do you or anyone else know if there are already any private or public initiatives to help no tech, low tech, or slow tech friends & family join social networks for Christmas?

    WE-piphany is primarily a gift to my own family and friends motivated by twin desires:

    (1) Enable friends who gifted writers share their wisdom with world, and

    (2) Extend connections rekindled at upcoming family and high school reunions.

    Maybe other share the same desire… Anyone else giving the Gift of Personal Power / Gift of Connection to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or the New Year?

    Share your story at:

    http://wepiphany.ning.com

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  • http://markdykeman.wordpress.com/ Mark Dykeman

    Hello Chris. I like the analogy between social media power and superpowers – I’ve been a comic book geek for over 30 years!

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare enterprise applications to social media. It’s a bit like comparing Van Gogh’s brushes and paints to the machines that paint lines on highways. Line painters do an important, but repetitious and boring job and they do it well. Thank goodness! So do sales order systems, purchase order systems, general ledger systems, banking systems… they ultimately empower the organization to grow through consistency and conformity.

    Back to social media: well, I guess you might say that I’m growing my “power base” as I learn more about the virtual world. I live in a fairly rural area, so Web/social media/etc. have made a big difference by granting me the “power” to tap into wonderful and varied things that I would never have discovered otherwise.

    In some ways I wish all of this technology was around (in its current form) when I started university 20 years ago. Then again, I might not have graduated from university if it had been around – I’d have been too busy Tweeting, Facebooking, and playing online games!

    Long term, I’m not going to pretend that I have many altruistic or charitable reasons for using social media, although it would be nice to use it to support causes that I believe in. I might do that at some point in the future. Right now I’m exploring the opportunities and working on my writing/content creation skills.

    Besides, if I ever really wanted to have a superpower, I’d really want to have Peter Petrelli’s! But social media mastery would be cool.

  • http://markdykeman.wordpress.com/ Mark Dykeman

    Hello Chris. I like the analogy between social media power and superpowers – I’ve been a comic book geek for over 30 years!

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare enterprise applications to social media. It’s a bit like comparing Van Gogh’s brushes and paints to the machines that paint lines on highways. Line painters do an important, but repetitious and boring job and they do it well. Thank goodness! So do sales order systems, purchase order systems, general ledger systems, banking systems… they ultimately empower the organization to grow through consistency and conformity.

    Back to social media: well, I guess you might say that I’m growing my “power base” as I learn more about the virtual world. I live in a fairly rural area, so Web/social media/etc. have made a big difference by granting me the “power” to tap into wonderful and varied things that I would never have discovered otherwise.

    In some ways I wish all of this technology was around (in its current form) when I started university 20 years ago. Then again, I might not have graduated from university if it had been around – I’d have been too busy Tweeting, Facebooking, and playing online games!

    Long term, I’m not going to pretend that I have many altruistic or charitable reasons for using social media, although it would be nice to use it to support causes that I believe in. I might do that at some point in the future. Right now I’m exploring the opportunities and working on my writing/content creation skills.

    Besides, if I ever really wanted to have a superpower, I’d really want to have Peter Petrelli’s! But social media mastery would be cool.

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  • http://www.providentpartners.net/blog Albert Maruggi

    OK I get your point, but I don’t want to get lost in the “personal power” language. I would add one subtle distinction, these are personal tools to be heard (and hear others).

    The power is in the collective, oops don’t go Marxist on me, but it’s true. When a guy bought ink by the barrel with limited newspapers to compete with, that’s individual power.

    today this ink is limitless and no longer an issue. The different dynamic is everyone is either a competitor, a supporter, or a bystander.

    Moral of the story: the less bystanders, the more power spread across the people in the system.

    All the best,

  • http://www.providentpartners.net/blog Albert Maruggi

    OK I get your point, but I don’t want to get lost in the “personal power” language. I would add one subtle distinction, these are personal tools to be heard (and hear others).

    The power is in the collective, oops don’t go Marxist on me, but it’s true. When a guy bought ink by the barrel with limited newspapers to compete with, that’s individual power.

    today this ink is limitless and no longer an issue. The different dynamic is everyone is either a competitor, a supporter, or a bystander.

    Moral of the story: the less bystanders, the more power spread across the people in the system.

    All the best,

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  • http://socialbuzzmaster.com Greg White

    A post after my own heart…

    You could have written the sales letter for my new product. In fact I’d like to quote some of the text from this post if it’s okay with you.

    This is not a shameless plug, but an advanced notice to those of you who hold similar views.

    I have written a piece of software that contains ~ 600 Social Media sites. It’s a power tool for those of you who are interested in promoting your voice and your vision to the world.

    It is not a spam tool. But a ‘productivity tool’ that you can use to increase your ‘Personal Power’.

    I was inspired by the 8th Habit…
    “Find Your Voice And Inspire Others To Find Theirs…”

    Chris, I’d like to offer you an evaluation copy for your review. You don’t have to review it publicly if you don’t want to. But I think given the content of this post, you’ll appreciate what it can do.

    All I ask is that if you do take me up on my offer… Use Its Power for Good!

    You can email me at the email address attached to the post.

    Greg White
    http://socialbuzzmaster.com

  • http://socialbuzzmaster.com Greg White

    A post after my own heart…

    You could have written the sales letter for my new product. In fact I’d like to quote some of the text from this post if it’s okay with you.

    This is not a shameless plug, but an advanced notice to those of you who hold similar views.

    I have written a piece of software that contains ~ 600 Social Media sites. It’s a power tool for those of you who are interested in promoting your voice and your vision to the world.

    It is not a spam tool. But a ‘productivity tool’ that you can use to increase your ‘Personal Power’.

    I was inspired by the 8th Habit…
    “Find Your Voice And Inspire Others To Find Theirs…”

    Chris, I’d like to offer you an evaluation copy for your review. You don’t have to review it publicly if you don’t want to. But I think given the content of this post, you’ll appreciate what it can do.

    All I ask is that if you do take me up on my offer… Use Its Power for Good!

    You can email me at the email address attached to the post.

    Greg White
    http://socialbuzzmaster.com

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  • http://blogs.zdnet.com/projectfailures Michael Krigsman

    You’re saying the difference between enterprise software and social media software is the latter empowers individuals. While you don’t explicitly state what enterprise software does, presumably it empowers groups (ie: companies).

    You go on to say that “Social media tools are built to connect individual voices to a community.” Here’s where I see a disconnect: from this description, it appears that enterprise software and social media tools end up doing the same thing. Since I suspect that’s not your argument, could you elaborate more on what the differences actually are?

    By the way, was great to meet you on Twitter, and hope we can get together here in Boston sometime.

    Michael Krigsman
    Blog: http://blogs.zdnet.com/projectfailures
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/mkrigsman

  • http://blogs.zdnet.com/projectfailures Michael Krigsman

    You’re saying the difference between enterprise software and social media software is the latter empowers individuals. While you don’t explicitly state what enterprise software does, presumably it empowers groups (ie: companies).

    You go on to say that “Social media tools are built to connect individual voices to a community.” Here’s where I see a disconnect: from this description, it appears that enterprise software and social media tools end up doing the same thing. Since I suspect that’s not your argument, could you elaborate more on what the differences actually are?

    By the way, was great to meet you on Twitter, and hope we can get together here in Boston sometime.

    Michael Krigsman
    Blog: http://blogs.zdnet.com/projectfailures
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/mkrigsman

  • http://beth.typepad.com Beth Kanter

    My ego radar is failing me .. I don’t know why – just finding this now. Thank you for the pointer!

    Makes wonder if social media can be used for evil and how ..

    I tried to use my social media power for good and to help Cambodian children. I’m hoping that the collective power of social media networks can leverage the America’s Giving Challenge which ends next week.

    When the Challenge comes to close 1/31, I will be doing a workshop with poverty lawyers on social media and am hoping to to share some great screen captures ….

    BTW, Ed Schipul did an awesome presentation on social fundraising – definitely worth a look.
    http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2008/01/social-fundrais.html

    And, even better, he helped pitched my cause from the podium – along with Frozen Pea Fund!

    Now that’s using both online and offline social media power for good!

  • http://beth.typepad.com Beth Kanter

    My ego radar is failing me .. I don’t know why – just finding this now. Thank you for the pointer!

    Makes wonder if social media can be used for evil and how ..

    I tried to use my social media power for good and to help Cambodian children. I’m hoping that the collective power of social media networks can leverage the America’s Giving Challenge which ends next week.

    When the Challenge comes to close 1/31, I will be doing a workshop with poverty lawyers on social media and am hoping to to share some great screen captures ….

    BTW, Ed Schipul did an awesome presentation on social fundraising – definitely worth a look.
    http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2008/01/social-fundrais.html

    And, even better, he helped pitched my cause from the podium – along with Frozen Pea Fund!

    Now that’s using both online and offline social media power for good!

  • http://savetubevideo.com youtube downloader

    SOCIAL MEDIA AS PERSONAL POWER
    aha

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  • http://www.wfgreview.com/post/2011/04/18/World-Financial-Group-Convention-of-Champions-2011-e28093-Register-Now!.aspx WFG Convention

     These tools are perfect for the occasional task of shoring up your flagging interest in your day job, by showing you that engaged minds are out there doing amazing things.

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