In an online world dominated by analytics, you may be relieved to know that one of the most important social media tools at your disposal is your intuition. It is especially important in creating a vibrant web presence, where half the battle is separating the wheat from the chaff among the new marketing tools popping up daily.
Intuition is one of those skills that everyone uses but hardly anyone mentions. Sometimes called a “hunch,” or a “gut feeling,” it teeters on the brink of being too “woo” to discuss in the presence of business associates. So in the interests of having some guidelines about how to develop and apply intuition in a business setting, here is a quick primer on what intuition is, how to sharpen it, and when to use it. Continue reading I is for Intuition
Being honest is an art, not a science. If it were a science, anyone could do it well by following a simple formula. Instead, there are different rules for different levels of honesty, and it is important when cultivating your web presence to know which level you are going for, and why. What sort of honesty is appropriate for a Twitter stream? A personal website? A Facebook page? And when do any of these cross the line into too much honesty?
I have been exploring these questions ever since I began blogging over 5 years ago, and realized how different it was than essay writing. The immediacy of web publishing, and the instant access of hyperlinks and Google searches, means that more is revealed about the writer of a blog post than is revealed by a print article. While this may make some shy away over privacy concerns, the truth is that privacy itself is a moving target. And when privacy as we know it becomes a thing of the past, honesty itself needs to be redefined.
Continue reading H is for Honesty
One of the many things I like about Clay Shirky’s new book, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, is that he shines a light on some of the human qualities that give the internet its real value. Shirky writes, “The harnessing of our cognitive surplus allows people to behave in increasingly generous, public, and social ways, relative to their old status as consumers and couch potatoes.” (p. 63) Generosity is intrinsic to the overall success of social networks, yet its role in your web presence plan may not be clear.
Generosity can mean giving things away for free, and that is a standard formula for business websites: give people free access to some content, and charge for more. (Or in my case, give away content and charge for services.) Businesses that value generosity often make it a practice to help support a local non-profit agency, in order to give back to the community. Yet generosity in social networks is different than just wealth or resources, and understanding the difference could make or break your web presence plan. Continue reading G is for Generosity
In my latest email newsletter, I talk about finding your way into “the zone,” where creating content for your web presence is effortless and enjoyable. Being in the zone is also called “flow,” and the feeling is unmistakable: deep concentration, coming up with just the right words and concepts when you need them, being so engrossed in your task that you don’t notice time passing.
Flow is an optimal state where focused work becomes deeply satisfying, but flow also requires that certain conditions be met. According to author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, these include having clear goals, a lack of distractions, and a task that is challenging but not too difficult. Under these conditions, people are able to do some of their best, most innovative work.
Everyone understands the importance of reducing distractions and having clear goals. What is less well understood is how important it is to know your unique work rhythms. To really benefit from flow, you may need a whole new way of thinking about how you manage your tasks, as well as your time.
Continue reading F is for Flow
One of the most challenging aspects of boosting your web presence is responding to the many different types of people in your social network. These could be friends (or former friends), colleagues, customers, clients, or prospective clients. Setting a good tone is easier by phone or face to face than it is through writing. That is why I encourage clients to strive for equanimity in dealing with both combative and complimentary interactions.
While equanimity is commonly thought of as a spiritual rather than a business value, the demands of online communication are such that equanimity, or even-temperedness, is essential. The time between receiving a comment over email, Twitter, or the web, and responding to it, is minimal. To be most effective, we need to focus on a quality that helps us respond in a timely way while staying as calm and centered as possible.
Equanimity in online presence means keeping in mind three key points at all times: 1) Nothing written is private; 2) Your business will be judged not by what you do but by how you interact with others; 3) Criticism and praise say as much about the person sending it as they do about you. Here is how to translate these points into everyday action. Continue reading E is for Equanimity