Congressman Bob Inglis talks about “Why Social Media?”

Congressman Bob Inglis spoke with me a few weeks ago after his January presentation to the Social Media Club in Greenville, SC. In his presentation, he admitted not engaging on a regular basis with his audiences using tools like Twitter and Facebook. He also admitted that it was not to long ago, he was learning to become more technologically savy.
It is political representatives like Congressman Bob Inglis that are finding the value in using Social Media Technologies to engage with audiences, but he does not was to engage with those nay sayers. It is this issue that I think is starting to transcend many of the politicos because of a few different barriers: technological ignorance, time management, and not understanding the context of those who are trying to connect using Social Media Technologies.
Social Media provides technologies to connect but does it really break down the walls of communication? We all know it is easier to connect and conversate when we are face-to-face, it provides the opportunity to understand tone, delivery, and read facial expressions. Politicos might have a hard time communicating with the nay sayers because it is hard to communicate through such a marginalized method. There are only words and information can be lost in translation. The nay sayers might be interpreted as having not so positive connotation, but in actuality they might be just trying to ask a question or have a concern; and they have a hard time translating that concern via Twitter or Facebook.

Congressman Bob Inglis spoke with me a few weeks ago after his January presentation to the Social Media Club in Greenville, SC. In his presentation, he admitted not engaging on a regular basis with his audiences using tools like Twitter and Facebook. He also admitted that it was not to long ago, he was learning to become more technologically savy. This conversation was great and exploratory, where I gained knowledge of individuals like Congressman Bob Inglis…like many busy decision makers that have a hard enough time managing their day and now Social Media.

It is political representatives like Congressman Bob Inglis that are finding the value in using Social Media Technologies to engage with audiences, but admits does not want to engage with those “nay sayers”. It is this issue that I think is starting to transcend many of the politicos because of a few different barriers: technological ignorance, time management, and not understanding the context of those who are trying to connect using Social Media Technologies.

Social Media provides technologies to connect but does it really break down the walls of communication? We all know it is easier to connect and conversate when we are face-to-face, because it provides the opportunity to understand tone, delivery, and read facial expressions. Politicos might have a hard time communicating with the nay sayers because it is hard to communicate through such a marginalized method. There are words and information that can be lost in translation. The “nay sayers” might be interpreted as having a “not so positive” connotation, but in actuality they might be just trying to ask a question or have a concern; and they have a hard time translating that concern via Twitter or Facebook.

Click Here to follow Congressman Bob Inglis on Twitter!

Creating a path for those to find your story

I have been thinking lately about how we get our stories to people…distribution points. The one thing that I consistently preach to my students and my clients:

  1. Audience – Who are the audience(s) you are trying to reach..list them ALL!
  2. Purpose – What is the sole reason you have something to say or tell.
  3. Delivery – What are you going to use to get that message to those audience(s).

These points create context…context for the message. As you notice…they are intertwined. Well, you may have a great story, but if you do not know how the audience can access the message…then you might be creating the best Super Bowl message for an audience who does not have a television. You might be creating the most unbelievable email marketing campaign, and your target audience does not open emails.

We have to think about distribution…yes, it comes down to delivering the message. Here is a list of distribution methods:

  1. Web
  2. Blogs
  3. Television
  4. Home Phone
  5. Mobile Phones
  6. PDA’s
  7. Text Messaging
  8. Twitter
  9. Facebook
  10. Fax
  11. Mail
  12. Brochures
  13. Business Cards
  14. White Papers
  15. Annual Reports
  16. Online Video
  17. Mobile Video
  18. Newspaper
  19. Radio
  20. Satellite Radio

Now let’s look at major “Anchor” tools where stories can be told, the beginning of the food chain:

  1. Web
  2. Blogs
  3. Newspapers
  4. Brochures
  5. White Papers
  6. Annual Reports
  7. Television
  8. Radio
  9. Satellite Radio

These places are where the stories are produced and created for audiences to eventually find themselves enjoying content. But, we have different distribution points to bring these audience back to the original source…teasing them with a hint of what’s to come:

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. Mail
  4. Fax
  5. Business Cards
  6. Radio
  7. Text Messaging
  8. Mobile Video
  9. Home Phones
  10. Mobile Phones

The point here is when we create stories, we can use these “Anchor” tools to place our stories and use the distribution points to bring audiences back to this place…to learn more, read more, or hear more. The new face of our organizations is our “Web Property”… our main website.
the-story-process
Organizations are learning that they must invest just as much time, effort, energy, resources, and money into shaping their main web property as the major distribution point of information. The organization internally must support this new media and begin using the distribution tools necessary to funnel audiences back to this portal.

Organizations are also learning to re-shape marketing budgets, pr budgets, and IT budgets to allow resources necessary to create, provide, and drive traffic to a web portal and IT providers are learning to build robust systems to support this audience base.

Organizations are also starting to learn that Social Media Technologies are just as efficient as other distribution tools to gain audiences attention with “Teasers” of content, finding new ways to tell stories in a distributive method. This distributive method is now the online community building technologies. Providing portals of conversation where people can engage and connect…and allowing the “Tribe” mentality to shape the community which becomes the online cheerleading section.

So now that ealier way to analyze context of a story is starting to take new shape:

  1. Audience(s) – Name all the audiences
  2. Purposes(s) – What is the purpose of the over-arching message and for each distribution points
  3. Delivery – What is the main point of delivery and what are the sub-distribution points that will tease audiences back to the mother ship.

To me…this is a game. How do we tell one story with multiple layers. Allow the audience to follow the “red-string” along the many paths of distribution points to ultimately get to the main story. What is your story, how are you telling that story, how are you reaching your audience(s), well…I am listening!

What did you gain…really?

1) Explain the experience of taking a test together, what did you gain by using this method.
2) If you chose not to use the answers that the group suggested, why…what was your reasoning?
3) Do you feel that your academic integrity was compromised?
4) Do you think that someone was capitalizing on your academic knowledge…maybe the student that did not study.
5) What is a situation that using a collaborative method of communication (taking a test) would not be beneficial.
6) What made you naturally choose to work in a group when I just laid down the tests and said good luck.
7) Were their any rules, or did the classroom create the rules?

1) Explain the experience of taking a test together, what did you gain by using this method?

2) If you chose not to use the answers that the group suggested, why…what was your reasoning?

3) Do you feel that your academic integrity was compromised?

4) Do you think that someone was capitalizing on your academic knowledge…maybe the student that did not study?

5) What is a situation that using a collaborative method of communication (taking a test) would not be beneficial?

6) What made you naturally choose to work in a group when I just laid down the tests and said good luck?

7) Were there any rules, or did the classroom create the rules?

ENGL 304 – Test One Study Guide

Chapter One
1) According to the National Commission on Writing, employees “almost always” use which of the following forms of writing?
2) The Dartnell Institute of Business Research found that the cost of producing and mailing one letter averages almost:
3) Select the false statement about writing:
Good writing tells your audience that you can think logically and communicate your thoughts clearly.
Poor writing reveals that you can neither think clearly nor communicate your thoughts effectively.
Writing is an extension of your interpersonal communication skills at work.
Your writing ability will never affect your job performance.
4) Whether you are looking for a job or are already employed, how will you need to communicate to diverse audiences?
5) What are the three basic communication styles?
6) What are the characteristics of an aggressive communication style?
7) According to the 2006 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, what are the skills employers identify as part of their top ten employee qualities?
Chapter Three
1) How do you achieve higher audience involvement with your writing?
2) Identify the following audiences and their characteristics:
Specialist audience
Semi-specialist audience
Lay audience
Multiple audience
Multicultural audience
3) Identify & define stereotyping.
4) How do you avoide sexist language?
5) Identify workplace documents and appropriate communication for workplace documents.
Chapter Six
1) Identify what will help you become a clearer writer.
2) Define and identify “passive voice”.
3) Describe the Gunning Fog index.
4) Define multisyllabic.
5) What will lower the fog index for a document?
6) Why should you not rely solely on computer spell checks to catch spelling mistakes?
Chapter Nine
1) Identify how Blogs are a unique type of communication channel.
2) Identify the characteristics of Online readers.
3) Understand and identify the characteristics of  e-mail.
4)  Identify the characteristics of E-mail messages written in the workplace.
5) Identify the benefits & characteristics of instant messaging.
6) Identify the forms of Blogging.
Chapter Ten
1) Why is the audience for memos usually specialist or semi-specialist?
2) Identify effective subject lines.
3) What should you do in the memo’s introduction?
4) Why is a clear conclusion important in a memo?
5) What is the best solution to make sure that every reader will understand the acronyms you use in your memo?
6) What are the BEST example of an informal, friendly tone appropriate for memos?
7) When is chronological organization appropriate in a memo?
8) Why is clustering a useful planning activity for writing memos?
9) Which question should you consider when clarifying your audience for memos,
10)  What are the dangers of writing sloppy or negative letters?
11) What information belongs in the writer’s address section of a letter?
12) Where is the proper location for the date of the letter?
13) What is the BEST option in a letter if you do not know the receiver’s name?
14) What is the most important information to include in the conclusion of your letter of inquiry?
15) What are the goals of a cover letter?
16) When rewriting any letter, what ways do you make sure that you have made it reader-friendly?

Chapter One

1) According to the National Commission on Writing, employees “almost always” use which of the following forms of writing?

2) The Dartnell Institute of Business Research found that the cost of producing and mailing one letter averages almost:

3) Select the false statement about writing:

  • Good writing tells your audience that you can think logically and communicate your thoughts clearly.
  • Poor writing reveals that you can neither think clearly nor communicate your thoughts effectively.
  • Writing is an extension of your interpersonal communication skills at work.
  • Your writing ability will never affect your job performance.

4) Whether you are looking for a job or are already employed, how will you need to communicate to diverse audiences?

5) What are the three basic communication styles?

6) What are the characteristics of an aggressive communication style?

7) According to the 2006 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, what are the skills employers identify as part of their top ten employee qualities?

Chapter Three

1) How do you achieve higher audience involvement with your writing?

2) Identify the following audiences and their characteristics:

  • Specialist audience
  • Semi-specialist audience
  • Lay audience
  • Multiple audience
  • Multicultural audience

3) Identify & define stereotyping.

4) How do you avoide sexist language?

5) Identify workplace documents and appropriate communication for workplace documents.

Chapter Six

1) Identify what will help you become a clearer writer.

2) Define and identify “passive voice”.

3) Describe the Gunning Fog index.

4) Define multisyllabic.

5) What will lower the fog index for a document?

6) Why should you not rely solely on computer spell checks to catch spelling mistakes?

Chapter Nine

1) Identify how Blogs are a unique type of communication channel.

2) Identify the characteristics of Online readers.

3) Understand and identify the characteristics of  e-mail.

4)  Identify the characteristics of E-mail messages written in the workplace.

5) Identify the benefits & characteristics of instant messaging.

6) Identify the forms of Blogging.

Chapter Ten

1) Why is the audience for memos usually specialist or semi-specialist?

2) Identify effective subject lines.

3) What should you do in the memo’s introduction?

4) Why is a clear conclusion important in a memo?

5) What is the best solution to make sure that every reader will understand the acronyms you use in your memo?

6) What are the BEST example of an informal, friendly tone appropriate for memos?

7) When is chronological organization appropriate in a memo?

8) Why is clustering a useful planning activity for writing memos?

9) Which question should you consider when clarifying your audience for memos,

10)  What are the dangers of writing sloppy or negative letters?

11) What information belongs in the writer’s address section of a letter?

12) Where is the proper location for the date of the letter?

13) What is the BEST option in a letter if you do not know the receiver’s name?

14) What is the most important information to include in the conclusion of your letter of inquiry?

15) What are the goals of a cover letter?

16) When rewriting any letter, what ways do you make sure that you have made it reader-friendly?

Blog’s With Answers
http://briannaeason.wordpress.com – Chapter One
http://carolinespears.wordpress.com – Chapter Three
http://joshlopes.wordpress.com – Chapter Six
http://kellymoses.wordpress.com – Chapter Nine
http://jonisoto.wordpress.com – Chapter Ten (ques 1-8)
http://darrinsorenson.wordpress.com – Chapter Ten (ques 9-16)

Ownership is more than task oriented learning!

This is the first time I am teaching Technical Writing at Clemson University, which is based in the Department of English. It was a last minute request by the department since they had a full time lecturer give their notice on January 1 of this year. Years ago, I took Technical Writing as an undergraduate and Technical Editing as a graduate student.
There are two classes wrapped around professional, advanced writing based solely on the type of students and the academic curriculum. You find more science based students (engineering, sciences, etc.) in Technical Writing and more business and liberal arts students in Business Writing.
So I decided to build the class around the needs of the students, where the students could take on ownership of the curriculum and I would provide the direction and professional instruction. So, I gave them a few example syllabuses from other Technical Writing classes at Clemson. I asked to to take the syllabuses and the book that is required, separate into groups, and build a syllabus based on their needs and wants. I gave them two days to take this information, collaborate with their group members to write this syllabus, and then be prepared to propose to the class what the syllabus would offer. Then, the whole class would vote which syllabus to use.
I knew that each group would propose different approaches but ultimately there would similar themes which would lead to having a hard time to vote on one particular syllabus. The consensus…well the favorite syllabus had nothing to do with curriculum but how the group wrote and clearly communicated in the document an obtainable plan. So, we decided to take the core consistent elements, and put them into the well written syllabus structure one of the groups created.
But here is what they learned…this group of engineers, mathematicians, and scientists learned how to write, communicate, and sell their vision. While they presented, other class members had questions and concerns. These ideas were voiced and at sometimes, heated discussion took place over a project that some did not feel comfortable taking part…live interviewing.
The first day of class, each student just wanted a syllabus. They wanted a “professor” to just tell them what to do so they could read the chapter, study for a test, and move to the next task. They were quiet, reserved, and un-willing to voice opinions. What has happened in just two weeks…a group has taken ownership of the time they are investing in three hours a week. Ownership in class instruction and all the outside work associated with this semester.
They are not only thinking…but taking ownership in their future. They are acting like entrepreneurs, visionaries…those who want to engage and take an active role in the educational experience that they are investing.
I love teaching!

tech-writing-proposal
This is the first time I am teaching Technical Writing at Clemson University, which is based in the Department of English. It was a last minute request by the department since they had a full time lecturer give their notice on January 1 of this year. Years ago, I took Technical Writing as an undergraduate and Technical Editing as a graduate student.

There are two classes wrapped around professional, advanced writing based solely on the type of students and the academic curriculum. You find more science based students (engineering, sciences, etc.) in Technical Writing and more business and liberal arts students in Business Writing.

So I decided to build the class around the needs of the students, where the students could take on ownership of the curriculum and I would provide the direction and professional instruction. So, I gave them a few example syllabuses from other Technical Writing classes at Clemson. I asked to to take the syllabuses and the book that is required, separate into groups, and build a syllabus based on their needs and wants. I gave them two days to take this information, collaborate with their group members to write this syllabus, and then be prepared to propose to the class what the syllabus would offer. Then, the whole class would vote which syllabus to use.

I knew that each group would propose different approaches but ultimately there would similar themes which would lead to having a hard time to vote on one particular syllabus. The consensus…well the favorite syllabus had nothing to do with curriculum but how the group wrote and clearly communicated in the document an obtainable plan. So, we decided to take the core consistent elements, and put them into the well written syllabus structure one of the groups created.

But here is what they learned…this group of engineers, mathematicians, and scientists learned how to write, communicate, and sell their vision. While they presented, other class members had questions and concerns. These ideas were voiced and at sometimes, heated discussion took place over a project that some did not feel comfortable taking part…live interviewing.

The first day of class, each student just wanted a syllabus. They wanted a “professor” to just tell them what to do so they could read the chapter, study for a test, and move to the next task. They were quiet, reserved, and un-willing to voice opinions. What has happened in just two weeks…a group has taken ownership of the time they are investing in three hours a week. Ownership in class instruction and all the outside work associated with this semester.

They are not only thinking…but taking ownership in their future. They are acting like entrepreneurs, visionaries…those who want to engage and take an active role in the educational experience that they are investing.

I love teaching!

It is time; for a place to call home…innovators

It is time…yes, it is time to connect all the dots and find a place that brings all of the entrepreneurs together here in Anderson. We need a vision, a place, a roof, a vision, a mission that will provide synergy to our cause. Some believe the answer is just build a place and they will come, a building where entrepreneurs can be educated…but entrepreneurs and small business owners want more than education, we want a mission, passion, vision, and a path…to success.

There are many major companies/organizations in Anderson, SC that are the foundation of this community. Without AnMed, Michelin, Bosch, Anderson School District, Anderson University,  Tri-County Technical College, and other major employers…the stability of the community would be a transient community. These pillars of the community give us the foundation necessary to build support around the entrepreneurial spirit. Why not build this place, this building, this entrepreneurial community  around the priorities of these pillars. They have problems that need to be solved, projects that could be business plans, ideas that cannot only lead to a high-impact business but a replicable business idea that could attract Angel Investors to the community spirit.

What problems are out there for these large organizations to be solved…is it an IT problem, a sustainability problem, a fiscal problem, a technology problem? Why not build a place around a set of priorities identified by these pillars, and use them as the vision to build this place where entrepreneurs can call home. A priority can provide vision and ultimately a commonplace for conversation and connection. This could foster conversations between entrepreneurs to find internal solutions and find a unified approach to solving problems.

Imagine if this place was built, and a priority was put in place, and these entrepreneurs built business plans out of ideas that are solving problems, and these ideas could lead to bigger ideas. Then the attorneys and business people of Anderson could help these companies become successful; and all of this could generate human equity creating a community that leads to long term community growth. The type of growth that closes the gap financially, where the average household income is increasing and those could actually afford healthcare, go to school, and be a contributor to this better Anderson.

What are the priorities of this facility that connect the entrepreneurs to the pillars of the community? Where each pillar is connected on the same playing field for one big vision…to build a bigger, brighter, healthier Anderson…one of innovation.

Efficient Storytelling Increases Connectivity

One of the hardest things I think I have ever taught or created was the “Elevator Pitch”. Have you ever tried to sit down and write your elevator pitch for your business, your message, or your cause? You know what I am talking about, when you walk into a room of people (whether large or small) and you shake hands and they ask, “Hey there, how are you…tell me about yourself.” Can you recite that perfect message, that one piece that not only peeks someone’s interest but has one major characteristic: it is repeatable. Why repeatable? Well, you want that person to remember your pitch, and be able to have that person turn around and introduce you to someone else and be able to repeat that pitch for you…increasing connectivity.
The same thing is true for creating an effective 30 second television spot. Think about it for a second, it is a company’s elevator pitch. You have only one shot to grab someone’s attention, relay and efficient and effective message that pulls someone off the couch or from across the room to pay attention, understand and comprehend, then be able to remember to repeat it. Why repeat, so they can go find your product/service/cause or tell someone that might need or want that product/service/cause.
As I discussed in the my blog entry Building Communities Around Media | Stories of Connectivity, communities are not connected via relationships, yet stories are the connectivity between relationships that build communities. These stories have to be efficient so that the connectivity increases. If you can tell a story, deliver a pitch, create a effective/repeatable spot; people are much more willing and able to repeat that story…and their connectivity increases via those stories.
Imagine walking in a room filled with 500 people. If you had a story to tell, a pitch to give, or an introduction to present; and this story can’t be told efficiently and effectively. The people that you are there to meet loose interest, change the subject, and less likely to connect you with other individuals (their friends in the room). The same is true with that television spot. If the message is not efficient and the story gets lost, then audience is more likely to TiVo past this spot or just not pay attention.
What do I mean by an efficient story, it comes down to understanding purpose, brand, audience, and delivery. You have to recognize that core message for that story and deliver in a fashion that is repeatable. There is a litmus test I like to use; the power of this Social Media Tool called Twitter. Have you ever written a script for a spot or that elevator pitch, now see if you can write in 140 characters. Yes, so you can Tweet that message. But if you want to make it repeatable, then write it in 120 characters just incase someone wants to Re-Tweet the message which usually takes up 20 characters.
The point of this discussion comes down to one example…Super Bowl Television Spots. These are crucial time slots where companies invest millions of dollars in placement, messaging, research, and production. Do you think they better create a message that is efficient enough, effective enough so that one time it runs during the Super Bowl, you will remember it and do exactly what they want you to do. Most of these companies have one shot to increase connectivity in the communities they are trying to attract…by creating a memorable, efficient, repeatable message. The more efficient, the more memorable, the more repeatable, the more it will reach more ears…thus increasing connectivity.

One of the hardest things I think I have ever taught or created was the “Elevator Pitch”. Have you ever tried to sit down and write your elevator pitch for your business, your message, or your cause? You know what I am talking about, when you walk into a room of people (whether large or small) and you shake hands and they ask, “Hey there, how are you…tell me about yourself.” Can you recite that perfect message, that one piece that not only peeks someone’s interest but has one major characteristic: it is repeatable. Why repeatable? Well, you want that person to remember your pitch, and be able to have that person turn around and introduce you to someone else. Be able to repeat that pitch for you…increasing connectivity.

The same thing is true for creating an effective 30 second television spot. Think about it for a second, it is a company’s elevator pitch. You have only one shot to grab someone’s attention, relay an efficient and effective message that pulls someone off the couch or from across the room to pay attention, understand and comprehend, then be able to remember to repeat it. Why repeat, so they can go find your product/service/cause or tell someone that might need or want that product/service/cause.

As I discussed in the my blog entry Building Communities Around Media | Stories of Connectivity, communities are not connected via relationships, yet stories are the connectivity between relationships that build communities. These stories have to be efficient so that the connectivity increases. If you can tell a story, deliver a pitch, create a effective/repeatable spot; people are much more willing and able to repeat that story…and their connectivity increases via those stories.

Imagine walking in a room filled with 500 people. If you had a story to tell, a pitch to give, or an introduction to present; and this story can’t be told efficiently and effectively…then the people that you are there to meet loose interest, change the subject, and less likely to connect you with other individuals (their friends in the room). The same is true with that television spot. If the message is not efficient and the story gets lost, then audience is more likely to TiVo past this spot or just not pay attention.

What do I mean by an efficient story, it comes down to understanding purpose, brand, audience, and delivery. You have to recognize that core message for that story and deliver in a fashion that is repeatable. There is a litmus test I like to use; the power of this Social Media Tool called Twitter. Have you ever written a script for a spot or that elevator pitch, now see if you can write it in 140 characters…tell that same story in only 140 characters. Yes, so you can Tweet that message. But if you want to make it repeatable, then write it in 120 characters just incase someone wants to Re-Tweet the message which usually takes up 20 characters. The point here is to drill it down to the core message and make it so it is replicatable.

The point of this discussion comes down to one example…Super Bowl Television Spots. These are crucial time slots where companies invest millions of dollars in placement, messaging, research, and production. Do you think they better create a message that is efficient enough, effective enough so that one time, ONE TIME it runs during the Super Bowl, you will remember it and do exactly what they want you to do. Most of these companies have one shot to increase connectivity in the communities they are trying to attract…by creating a memorable, efficient, repeatable message. The more efficient, the more memorable, the more repeatable, the more ears it will reach…thus increasing connectivity.

Building Communities Around Media | Stories of Connectivity

Telling stories has to have a purpose…there is a reason why you want to tell that story! You want to reach an audience, you want someone to listen to your story. We have been telling stories as long as we can remember. Whether it is around the kitchen table, in the car, wherever there is someone to listen.
We need a medium to deliver the story; whether it is our voice, the written word, or some piece of technology. These stories are told to create a group of listeners, ones who are attracted to these stories, and sometimes in a way so that they can repeat them. Whether it is the printing press, a website, video, pen & paper, radio,  or even the cave walls…technology takes these stories and creates a community around the distribution method.
From one perspective, communities are built around people and relationships. The communities grow as the relationships grow, and as more and more people cross paths, the level of connectivity increases. But for those people to connect, there must be a “red string” that connects these relationships, so a piece of communication that connects is the common place. That common place, that “red string” are stories. The stories are the ties that bind communities.
Think about LinkedIn, which has the different degrees of connectivity between relationships. But how is that relationship formed? What story was told to connect those people together, or that layer of connectivity, that “red string” that ties those people together? The lines that connect the dots represent that story of connectivity.
Those who have larger layers of connectivity have the ability to use some distribution method (voice, technology, etc.) as a shared place to continually transmit those stories.
So this brings me to the thesis of this discussion, stories of purpose that have found the right method to deliver and so create the connectivity in the communities in which we exist. So how are we really telling our stories, how are we really relaying our passion? Are we sharing to a mass audience or a small group of people?
Think for a second…remember when you are trying to remember a conversation you had or how you arrived at a particular thought. You start back-tracking though the stories you heard, the stories that were told. You identify the conversations you had…those conversations take place between people. Can you remember the stories that have had the greatest impacts on the people you told? Think…what story have you told that created a reaction then was repeated to another?
We want to know how stories are reaching people right now. We want to measure it through tracking mechanisms, whether it be Google Analytics, Neilsen Meters, number of magazines sold, or even the number of people that sign up to hear us speak. Is it tracking the connectivity via technology? What it’s really tracking is the effectiveness of the story. We all want our story to be told, we want someone to repeat that story in its complete authenticity. We want to connect with those who identify with our stories. Are we more focused on the reach or the story itself?
Technology is a commodity, the distribution point is a commodity, but the story has an equitable value beyond the value associated. There is value in the means to reach the audience, but the true value lies in the heart of the story. The stories are those that connect us to others, not the technology, not other people, but the “red string” of connectivity that lies inside our stories.

Telling stories has to have a purpose…there is a reason why you want to tell that story! You want to reach an audience, you want someone to listen to your story. We have been telling stories as long as we can remember. Whether it is around the kitchen table, in the car, wherever there is someone to listen.

We need a medium to deliver the story; whether it is our voice, the written word, or some piece of technology. These stories are told to create a group of listeners, ones who are attracted to these stories, and sometimes in a way so that they can repeat them. Whether it is the printing press, a website, video, pen & paper, radio,  or even the cave walls…technology takes these stories and creates a community around the distribution method.

From one perspective, communities are built around people and relationships. The communities grow as the relationships grow, and as more and more people cross paths, the level of connectivity increases. But for those people to connect, there must be a “red string” that connects these relationships, so a piece of communication that connects is the common place. That common place, that “red string” are stories. The stories are the ties that bind communities.

Think about LinkedIn, which has the different degrees of connectivity between relationships. But how is that relationship formed? What story was told to connect those people together, or that layer of connectivity, that “red string” that ties those people together? The lines that connect the dots represent that story of connectivity.

Those who have larger layers of connectivity have the ability to use some distribution method (voice, technology, etc.) as a shared place to continually transmit those stories.

So this brings me to the thesis of this discussion, stories of purpose that have found the right method to deliver and so create the connectivity in the communities in which we exist. So how are we really telling our stories, how are we really relaying our passion? Are we sharing to a mass audience or a small group of people?

Think for a second…remember when you are trying to remember a conversation you had or how you arrived at a particular thought. You start back-tracking though the stories you heard, the stories that were told. You identify the conversations you had…those conversations take place between people. Can you remember the stories that have had the greatest impacts on the people you told? Think…what story have you told that created a reaction then was repeated to another?

We want to know how stories are reaching people right now. We want to measure it through tracking mechanisms, whether it be Google Analytics, Neilsen Meters, number of magazines sold, or even the number of people that sign up to hear us speak. Is it tracking the connectivity via technology? What it’s really tracking is the effectiveness of the story. We all want our story to be told, we want someone to repeat that story in its complete authenticity. We want to connect with those who identify with our stories. Are we more focused on the reach or the story itself?

Technology is a commodity, the distribution point is a commodity, but the story has an equitable value beyond the value associated. There is value in the means to reach the audience, but the true value lies in the heart of the story. The stories are those that connect us to others, not the technology, not other people, but the “red string” of connectivity that lies inside our stories.

Thanks Firestone for Great Customer Service

There is something to be said for true customer service, something I can learn from my experience this morning at Firestone. So I am small business owner, I have to seriously watch my budget when it comes to expenditures. Well, my little bimmer needed some new rubber…it was long overdue! Four tires all around was in my search yesterday. My CFO (my wife) gave me a $400.00 budget for tires…so I stopped by Firestone yesterday on my way home from the Anderson Area Chamber’s Annual Luncheon.

I walked in and told the fine gentleman at the desk my budget. I also let him know that it would be good to get it done this weekend, some traveling I will be happening next week. Here is the catch, my little bimmer has an odd size tire requirement….14″ rims (195/65/14). They did their little search and noticed they had nothing in stock and they would have to get the Bridgestone Tires shipped in from another warehouse. Then the great peeps went into problem solving mode…three phones, a little bribery, and some sweeting talking; the manager convinced someone to make a trip to deliver the tires this weekend morning. So they asked me to be back in the morning to have all the work done.

So I show up this morning, and the place was packed. Tons of cars in the parking lot ready for service and the waiting room was packed. But when I walked in the door, the same two gentlemen greeted me from across the room with a smile. One of them stopped what they were doing, and walked out back to roll in the tires for me to inspect. The other had my paper ready to go, took my keys and said thanks for doing business with them.

Drawing of a service man between two gas umpsNow, you know about 10 years ago, gas stations used to be full service centers. When you would pull up to the tank, you could choose the gas price based on full service or pump yourself. A friendly smile would greet you with the option of having that nice person check under the hood, tire pressure, and even shake your hand when you pull out. I miss that little conversation which has turned into merely sliding your card and pumping yourself.

Well…Firestone in Anderson may not pump your gas, but they sure want to make sure you come back to do more business with them. It is the little things, a friendly smile, great customer service, even letting you inspect the tire that goes on your car. Thanks Firestone…you too should check them out!

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Part 1: Interview w/ Bob Inglis: Creating Jobs via Energy

Bob Inglis was willing to leave it all at the door and get on stage and chat about the transparent use of Social Media tools as a political leader in Washington. After the session, he was able to spend a few minutes with me chatting about various topics, each of which will be released one at a time over the next few weeks.

Today’s short sound-bite  is centered around the tremendous opportunity of “Energy” and how South Carolina can become a leader in this conversation. South Carolina has a chance to “repower our lives” and it can be done right here in the upstate. He specifically talked economic development in terms of what is in store for tomorrow and the opportunity of creating jobs.

smcGreenville-webTo listen to the the complete presentation and conversation between Congressman Bob Inglis and Trey Pennington, go to SMCGreenville.com.

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