Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7 rules to help you survive your imminent cultural disruption

"I suspect I'll be fine. They gave me a
guitar and taught me how to box."
Learning how to tweet to prepare for the Interactive Age is like learning how to box to prepare for war. It might come in handy but it won’t keep you alive.
That’s not to say that mastering Twitter and other social media tools isn’t important. It’s critical, which is why the American Society of Association Executives will feature such breakout sessions as “Tweet Like a Pro,” “Link Up with LinkedIn,” and “Hot Trends in Association Social Tools” at its annual convention in Nashville next month. In fact, nearly one in four of ASAE’s 136 “Learning Labs” is dedicated to social media issues.
This is significant. ASAE is the voice of the association profession. The fact that they are allocating so much bandwidth to social media shows just how much of an impact the Internet is having on that industry.
But among the positive breakout sessions there are several others that examine how social media is threatening to upset the industry’s decades-old model, specifically
  • “[T]he top disruptive trends with major implications for associations,”
  • “[E]merging trends … that challenge the traditional notion of associations as the knowledge gatekeepers of their industry,”
  • The fact that “disruptive innovations abound—and some are fundamentally changing the way [associations] do business.”
The trade association industry, it seems, may well be the next sector of the 20th century information-industrial complex to be critically disrupted by the Internet.
To survive this impending disruption, association execs need more than just Internet-weapons training. They need to understand how thoroughly social media has transformed the way we communicate and interact with each other. And they need to integrate the customs and mores of this brave new world into every facet of their organization.
To get that process started, we've compiled the Seven Rules of the Internet Age that all organizations should follow if they hope to benefit from—or simply survive—the cultural tectonic-plate shifts that the Internet has triggered.
Collaborate. Don’t dominate. If the 20th century was a winner-take-all poker game played with a stacked deck, the Interactive Age is parachute day in gym class. You only “win” if everyone plays together to achieve shared goals.
You’ve got to give to receive. In the 20th century, nobody but bakery shop owners and drug dealers gave away samples of their best products. But in the Interactive Age, giving is the first step in relationship building. The information you once sold is now shared. Its value—and your organization’s—will increase only as that information is, in turn, shared with others.
Authority is earned, not bought. Nobody takes their lead from four-out-of-five-dentists anymore. The days of advertising your way to “expert” status are gone. That honorific can only be earned … and that process starts when you give away that useful information.
The reach of your message is trumped by the reaction to your message. Getting a sound bite on NPR will always be a treat. But if it doesn’t ignite a reaction among the communities that care about your issues then it has no value … except maybe to your mother. (And she could be lying, too.) Smaller passionate audiences beat massive docile audiences every time.
Be transparent. With all due respect to New Yorker cartoonist Peter Steiner, “on the Internet, everybody knows you’re a dog.” The Internet has made it damned near impossible to get away with deception. Act accordingly. You can still lie, cheat, and deceive. You just can’t do all that and expect stay in business.
Flatten the org chart. Your organization is linked to countless vibrant communities that care about your issues and it is bursting with the social media expertise needed to capitalize on those connections. But those resources are locked in the minds and cell phones of staff members whose names you sometimes remember. Unlock the social-media power of your entire team.
Be empathetic. The audience now determines which content has value and which gets deleted. To capture the attention and win the approval of your audiences, you must replace proclamations in press releases with sincere engagement in the form of comments, dialogue, info-sharing, and genuine receptivity to their thoughts and opinions.
It’s a safe bet that ASAE’s breakout sessions on social media will be informative and thought-provoking. But one—“Are You Ready to Build a Digital Engagement Team?—promises to be particularly enlightening, if the promo is any indication:
“Most associations have traditional departments of technology, marketing, and communications … Within five years these teams as we know them today will be obsolete. … Your organization has to be agile and responsive like never before. Are you ready?”
An excellent question.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I tried to warn you ...

By ADAM SNIDER | 07/03/14 10:01 AM EDT
TODAY — Lowey to call for ignition interlocks: Rep. Nita Lowey holds a conference call today to announce she’ll file a bill when Congress returns that would mandate ignition interlock devices on cars as a way to cut drunk-driving deaths. One of every three road deaths is attributed to driving under the influence, and drunk drivers account for over 10,000 highway deaths each year.

Will all autos some day have breathalyzers?
By Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY 4/28/2006
Could the day be coming when every driver is checked for drinking before starting a car?

Widespread use of ignition interlock devices that won't allow a car to be started if a driver has had too much alcohol, once considered radical, no longer seems out of the question. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) gives a qualified endorsement to the idea. New York state legislators are considering requiring the devices on all cars and trucks by 2009. And automakers, already close to offering the devices as optional equipment on all Volvo and Saab models in Sweden, are considering whether to bring the technology here. …

Opposition to breathalyzers

Such talk makes John Doyle, executive director of the American Beverage Institute, cringe. "This campaign is a lot further down the pike than people realize," says Doyle, whose group is funded by chains including Outback Steakhouse and Chili's and is leading the opposition to broader use of interlocks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What's IN and what's OUT in the Interactive Age

"I now command all of you
to ignore me henceforth."
The 20th century was the Golden Age of managed messaging. Media moguls, corporate executives, and elected officials controlled and monopolized virtually every aspect of mass communication. But the Internet flipped that model on its head, and now we—the former “target demographic” of the Information Age—are calling the shots.

The transition from the Information Age to the Interactive Age has been so swift and so decisive that you can almost hear cigars exploding in board rooms around the globe as the former Masters of the Universe frantically apply 20th century solutions to 21st century challenges.

To help you avoid their fate, we’ve gathered a handy list of what’s IN and what’s OUT in the Interactive Age.

OUT:   The Big Three TV Networks  
IN:    Infinite free online networks                

OUT:   Zero-sum game
IN:    Givers Gain

OUT:   Mass marketing
IN:    Mass Relevance

OUT:   Watching your favorite show         
IN:    Producing your favorite show

OUT:   Press event
IN:    Event marketing

OUT:   Pander
IN:    Candor

OUT:   Paid advertising
IN:    Free advice

OUT:   Stuffing envelopes with newsletters
IN:    Pushing the envelope with content

OUT:   Infomercials
IN:    Information

OUT:   Corporate sponsors
IN:    Crowdsourcing

OUT:   Press releases
IN:    Vlogs

OUT:   Public relations
IN:    Personal relationships

OUT:   Promising
IN:    Delivering

OUT:   Outbound marketing
IN:    Inbound marketing

OUT:   Self-centered extroverts
IN:    Empathetic introverts

OUT:   Consumer
IN:    Partner

OUT:   “It’s about me.”

OUT:   Target market
IN:    Community

OUT:   Intelligentsia

OUT:   Commercial breaks
IN:    Commercial-free

OUT:   Powerful CEO
IN:    Power of SEO

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

8 Reasons Why Introverts Will Rule the Interactive Age

"Another encore?! Dear Lord, who does three
encores?? Must. Remain. Calm."
After spending the 20th century in relative silence, introverts are poised to rule the Interactive Age.
Social media has changed the way we communicate. The extroverted approach to communication in the 20th century—one-size-fits-all programming, in-your-face advertising, and dictatorial monologues—has been replaced by a more thoughtful and empathetic discourse that involves listening to the ideas of others, engaging in dialogue, offering comments and opinions, and sharing interesting content.
And no one is better prepared for this communication revolution than introverts. Here are the eight reasons why introverts will rule the Interactive Age:
 1. Introverts create remarkable content. Content is the currency of social media, and nobody writes better than introverts. Introverts are highly observant by nature. While extroverts are talking, introverts are watching, thinking, processing. This--combined with the fact that introverts have the willpower (heck, the desire) needed to be alone with only their thoughts for hours at a time--makes many of them uniquely gifted storytellers.
2. Introverts get right to the point. At eight seconds, our average attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. And when we’re online, we make that goldfish look like a Russian chess master. To succeed online, you need to get to the point quickly without sacrificing creativity. Having spent their entire lives avoiding small talk, introverts are experts at cutting through discussions about the weather and getting right to the issues that matter.
3. Introverts build strong relationships (with selected people and communities). Social media has divided our world into countless communities that exchange ideas and information based on shared beliefs and interests. Successful social media engagement is not defined by how many friends you have on Facebook, but how strong your connection is with the communities you care about.
Because they are naturally empathetic, observant, and good listeners, introverts are masters at building strong relationships. But those same qualities—which can be quite exhausting—also limit the number of people and communities introverts choose to build relationships with. So they tend to invest heavily in the relationships that are special to them, making those engagements all the more meaningful.
4. Introverts will share the stage. Social media is about sharing—sharing your ideas and opinions; sharing the ideas and opinions of others; and sharing your website with guest bloggers. Introverts are experts at sharing, especially when it involves ideas. Because introverts live in their heads, they are fascinated by new ideas. And they’ve long since discovered that you’ll come across new ideas faster by listening than by talking. So given the chance, an introvert will happily share the social-media stage with you.
5. Introverts will share your content. The hardest thing for an extrovert to learn about social media is that it’s not “about me.” It’s “about us.” And the key to making your social media “about us” is to comment on and share remarkable content created by others. Introverts by their very nature are givers. The minute they walk into a room with at least one other person in it, they are giving their attention, emotions, and energy to that person, often without the other person realizing it (especially if she is an extrovert). Introverts will reflexively share remarkable content with their friends because they are givers—and because it is so much less tiring than giving away their energy.
6. Introverts are authentic and transparent. On the Internet, everyone knows when you’re lying. Transparency and authenticity trump flash and pizzazz every single time. And while this new truth-in-advertising ethos is crippling the most successful extroverts of the 20th century, it is proving to be a boon for introverts, who quite honestly have a hard enough time mustering up the energy for a truthful conversation to even think about engaging in a deceitful one. Their lifetime of being candid and honest has honed their conversation skills, making them charismatic and diplomatic storytellers--traits that social media rewards.
7. Introverts are extremely comfortable with online relationships. Lock an extrovert in a room with nothing but a laptop and Internet service and pretty soon you’ll be replacing the door he kicked open. Introverts, on the other hand, can practically live online. For some it is the solution to a lifetime desire to share ideas, thoughts, and dreams with close friends … who are nowhere near them. As a result, the Internet has transformed many introverts into the Dale Carnegies of the online world. They share ideas, connect friends, and recommend the best websites--all while sitting in their yoga pants and sweatshirt in the safety and comfort of their bedroom.
8. Introverts invented the Internet.