The More Things Change…

I’ll leave it to others to put up the inevitable Top 10 Predictions for Social Media in 2010…yadda yadda yadda.

Let’s just make 2 very safe predictions: a bunch of stuff is going to change. And the core that really counts will remain the same.

It’s fun – in a bewildering kind of way – to try to keep up with all the technology changes each year. The removal of barriers through all this networking technology is breathtaking and exciting. What can be more fun than taking a picture, or a video, or scribbling a thought, on a handheld device and instantly publishing it for an audience consisting of “any and all”? What’s more fulfilling than finding kindred spirits on-line? And it’s just going to keep getting easier, and more immediate.

But one thing will remain exactly the same. Great relationships, new business ventures, helpful new connections – all of it will be fueled, as it always has been, by trust. Proven character and competence. Wholehearted recommendations by solid friends and colleagues. Handshakes that mean something.

Yes, the technology platforms will continue to be polluted by quick-hit artists, scammers, and false impressionists. We hate seeing the trash and detritus tossed into our refreshing little stream. But seated by the riverbank, sharing a cup of joe, talking face-to-face and looking eye-to-eye – that’s the new kind of business environment we’re creating. Just like…well, the old ways. Turbocharged with great new tools.

The more things change in this fast-paced world, the more they remain the same. Read Trust Agents by Chris Brogan. Take the long view of developing character and competence so that people cannot help but trust you. And if our paths cross in 2010, please sit down with me for a cup of coffee. You’ve been a great avatar. Now let’s go deeper – the way it’s always been.

Happy New Year!

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Enlightenment in 4 Slides

OK, I’m sure that headline is overstating it a bit…!

Nonetheless, those of use who believe that social networking is transforming business have an ongoing challenge: helping people who are most familiar with traditional business communications “get” what is happening with social media, and understand why it will touch all areas of business.

Here is my “first draft” attempt to distill it down to 4 slides (on Slideshare). How would you express it? Add comments or link to your own Slideshare/blog post!

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19 Seconds of Pure Joy

What happens when a 1-year old pup encounters her first serious snow of the season?

Pure joy. For everyone.

(Also see: A Collection of 2009 Fun Links)

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2009 – Links you Might Enjoy (again?)

I have a bookmark folder in my browser called Stuff. It’s where I put interesting, weird, and funny stuff to spice up various posts.

So, here’s a collection of some of that Stuff from the past year. Eleven links – because I’ve had enough Top 10 lists! Enjoy!

Since you’ll need a cup of coffee to browse through all these, we’ll start with 50 Beautifully Delicious Coffee Designs

50 Brilliant and Creative Advertisements for your Inspiration

Worst album covers of all time

YouTube – blast into space, spectacular fall to earth.

The Big Picture from Boston.com – Human Landscapes

The Crisis of Credit visualized (a brilliant animation explaining the financial meltdown)

13 Fantastic and Fun Image Generators

Incredible pictures formed by thousands of soldiers

YouTube – comedian Brian Regan on Airline Stuff

Rain

60 Stunning Satellite photos of earth

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Building your Small Business

So, you have (or are starting) a small business. Now the big challenges are: How do I do this right? and, How do I get noticed?

Here’s a collection of posts I’ve put up over time, based on my experience. Since they are scattered over various venues, I decided to pull them together. Maybe they’ll be of some help:

Getting started

- 10 Lessons Learned Starting a Business

- How I Became a Consultant

Determining your focus

- What’s the Point?

- I’m Pursuing Niche Domination

- Who Needs You?

Personal Branding

- You – Projected

- Personal Branding: What’s your Value-Add?

Naming

- Don’t Make a Name for Yourself

- Product: Winner. Name: Loser

Branding/Marketing your business

- Do you Pass the T-shirt Test?

- Laundry List Marketing

- How to be Unremarkable

Using social networking

- Do you Have an Opportunity Network?

- Getting Started with Social Networking

- The Strategic Serendipity of Social Media

- Feed People

Storytelling

- Telling the Company Story

- What’s in a Name?

Core principles

- Ask the Right Questions

The right people

- Picking Bad Apples

- Hiring for Virtue

Customer Service

- Eat Mor Chikin

- A Boy and his Legos

- Greetings…Done Right

The ultimate goal

- A cult following

Wanting to start your own business, but still working toward the goal? This is for you: Time. Talent. And Magic.

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Computer Bigamy – welcome to the ceremony!

I’ve used PCs since the days of dual floppy drives and DOS 2.x. Not out of great levels of emotional commitment, mind you, but simply out of business necessity – that’s what was used in my work environments. Shotgun marriage, don’t you know.

Apart from a brief, temporary fling 20 years ago using a Mac for a while with Quark, I’ve stayed faithful to the PC all this time out of necessity and intertia. We’ve been through a lot of hard times together – upgrades, crashes, viruses, etc. I never did take a final binding vow “for better or for worse,” I just knew that for a season there’d be a lot of worse.

I’m about to become a bigamist.

The family PC is wheezing, with one disk in the grave, and frankly, I’m tired of Windows and all the headaches that come with it. So today, a new iMac gets set up. And what is always important to me is initial user experience – how intuitive is a system to set up and use?

Being thoroughly spoiled by the iPhone, the bar of my expectations is high. So here we go – you’re invited to peek in on the ceremony as I take the veil off this new system everyone else praises.

10:15 am – De-packaging. It’s all in one (attractive) box, which is a nice first impression. First glance inside – wow, I see simplicity. The all-in-one screen (27 inch diagonal – awesome!), a power cord, and a box with (I assume) keyboard and mouse. I’m so used to a jumble of stuff with every new computer…! Look, I realize this is external beauty, but…what a gorgeous white wedding dress!

10:20 – Set-up of keyboard and mouse – brainless (mouse cord a bit short for my tastes). Powering up screen, and now I want to see how far I can get without instructions. Because I’m a guy, and because that, to me, is an important litmus test of usability.

10:30 – Welcoming and opening screens – awesome. After establishing my language and country, it IMMEDIATELY did a wireless network scan and setup. Then, asked for my Apple ID. Recognizes me right away, coaxes to take a picture to go with main account, wants to now link with my MobileMe account. Done. Setup by 10:37. Painless. Umm…this is awesome, folks.

10:40 – Downloading new iTunes version. Speed of download is fantastic.

10:50 – Setting up user accounts – just slightly cumbersome, but not bad. Nice sets of controls.

11:00 – OK, I don’t need to write anymore. Getting this thing all configured, without once looking at documentation. I’m sold – I’m a Mac!

I guess I’ll to wait awhile to retire the other 2 computers, but I think I’ll eventually divorce these common-law PCs. For now, I’ll be a half-happy computer bigamist!

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Pick a Steve

I’ve been at this digital social networking thing for 3 1/2 years or so now, and it’s been a great (and educational) journey!

But there is one question that keeps pecking away at my forehead, and maybe you can help me with it. In fact, ONLY you can help me with it, because it has to do with you.

Which Steve Woodruff do you want to follow?

Let me explain. While I don’t consider myself to be schizophrenic (yet – but there are still kids in the nest here!), I do possess a few different “personas” on-line. There’s the pharma guy (with a dedicated pharma blog, Impactiviti); there’s the general marketing/branding/social media fellow (Stickyfigure blog), and then there’s the more personal stuff on Steve’s Leaves. Every one of those blogs is its own info-stream.

All of these personas and infostreams meet on Twitter – plus photos, banter, occasional spoofs, and whatever else comes to mind. Twitter is the 360-degree view, and that’s where I have the nagging question.

Do you prefer to subscribe to a person on Twitter (holistically), or a topical info-stream? Are you looking for information (primarily), developing personal/professionals connections (primarily) – or is it a solid mix of the two?

In my case, a number of my followers are from the pharma world – what is your reaction when I start tweeting on general brands or social media ROI? Or if you originally linked up with me due to an interest in branding, is the string of tweets when I’m at a pharma conference useful or just noisy? I’m sure I’m not the only “social networker” wondering about this – and I want to make sure that I’m providing value that YOU want, in a way that works best.

One idea: would there be value in setting up different Twitter accounts that would emphasize different facets/info-streams (one for pharma, one for photos, etc.) or do you just prefer to subscribe to @swoodruff and take the punishment of the full spectrum? I can see benefits and drawbacks to either approach. Is subscribing to a choice of info-streams for/from the same person a good idea or just a pain? What say you?

(full disclosure – I enjoy seeing people 360-degrees on Twitter. I can find info in a thousand places – I like the mixture of info, links, personality, creative ideas, pix, banter, shared parental angst, etc. But that’s me. I want your thoughts!)

See also: The Social Media Isolation Chamber

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