Language Deterioration

I am deep in the research of social media optimisation (SMO). By this, I mean that I read whatever I can get my hands on (or comes through my alerts and RSS feeds) and I participate actively to see how I can make my own usage more effective. Perhaps I am getting old, which I prefer to think is not entirely the case. But why is it that my hackles are raising when I read the blogs or informal entries from the new journalism? Is it really necessary to use slang, sms abbreviations and even swear words to express oneself about a strong opinion? They don’t necessarily even have to be strong words, but as soon as I run over one, it discredits the entire article for me.

Digging a little deeper, I look at the source of the last ten that caused this reaction for me. Each of them was written by a male in, I am assuming from their pictures, his mid 20-30s. So, I will say only one thing to these bright men with incredible potential (as otherwise the content on their postings was quite interesting and well thought through)…Grow up and clean up your language. You will make your mothers proud and you will have a far more engaged audience that admires you for your expertise rather than your being “cool”.

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TED with Sarah Jones: One woman, eight hilarious characters

Perhaps I should apologise for posting yet another TED talk. But this was just what I needed to listen to today. Brilliant. Sometimes wisdom sharing is simply in passing on a smile.

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Appointment to BPW International PR Standing Committee as Representative for Europe

What an honour and a delight to receive the email last night appointing me to the BPW International PR standing committee as representative for Europe. I know there is a lot of work ahead. I am pleased to be able to use my experience and knowledge of social media and social network optimisation for such a great organisation with a focus on empowering women around the globe. I am thankful that both Mary Scott, PR Chair, and Liz Benham, the BPW International President, have the faith in my ability to contribute.

Liz Benham - Amélie Le Clercq- Heidi Forbes ÖsteIt looks like we will have a great team of experts with Agnès Kraidy of Cote d’Ivoire, Tiwalade Fapohunda of Nigeria and Maria Rea Pocoroba of Mexico and lead by Mary Scott of the US. This is an exciting opportunity for us all to truly maximise the BPW International network. There are many tools that are available to us to build awareness in new ways to prepare us for the future and maintain a sustainable organisation with impact.

Now I better get to work connecting!

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Embrace Social Media

Social media is a “cost efficient experiment” according to the Social Computing Journal. Smart Brief says polls on LinkedIn and AdWeek show “Recession will yield ad improvements in ROI, Web, social media”. Bryan Eisenberg of ClickZ states that “social media should be a part of any forward-thinking and transparent company.” Smart Brief has gone so far as to recognise the importance by creating its own section of Smart Brief on Social Media.

So what does this all mean? Social Media has hit the mainstream and we need to learn to manage our interactions with it, as individuals and businesses. It has enormous possibilities and we are all invited to partake, in fact we cannot avoid it once we go online. It was not so long ago we were learning how to deal with ratings and comments being the extent of the online interactions. Now we are creating global communities everywhere. In Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations we are drawn deeper into the impact of communities or organisations that are self created. As marketers we need to learn to not simply “harness” the communities but become active participants. As receivers we need to embrace the wealth of knowledge to be obtained and learn to optmise our interactions so that we do not become even more overwhelmed by the influx of information. Do not resist, but take the time to take part and learn what is out there to make the most of it.

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Putting a Pricetag on Knowledge Sharing

When you speak to lawyers, agents, consultants, accountants, they all have the same approach to sharing; they charge. If they do not physically send a bill they count it as “pro-bono” advising so they can deduct it because money=time. This is a very rational and professional approach. The question that has come up lately in several conversations is boundaries between sharing for mutual benefit, the value of credit for ideas, and the building of your brand through mastering expertise. It basically comes back to the same question of return on investment (ROI) but takes into consideration the benefit to the provider of knowledge as well as the receiver.

As is my nature and the nature of my work, I include the other social components in my ROI model that may not be considered in the traditional approach. So we are talking value creation and relationship building. On the soft side, we talk about “karma” and it coming back to you later. But that won’t pay the bills and you can’t get a loan based on the promise that someday your sharing efforts will pay off. And yet, what drives our creativity and the ability to learn from each other is often sharing. Here is a very basic model I have been using recently to determine whether what is shared should be followed by an invoice (of course, this should be agreed to in advance). But in most cases it ends up being driven by the receivers ability to pay.

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Technology to enhance our lives, not rule…

Renny Gleeson said it beautifully on TED

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Old Networks Using New Social Media

I have been working a lot recently on social media and network optimisation. So here is my “2 cents.” Many women’s networks, provide a great format and vision for the future. A common issue that many established face to face networks face is the need to connect their members online. The communities are more physically dispersed and in need of connecting for sharing and maximum effectiveness. It is for precisely this reason that social media sites like Connected-Women come about and are very much needed.

When building any organisation, whether it is a new entrepreneurial endeavor or an established business, it is important to focus on the vision. Building Technology platforms is an entirely different business than face to face networks. If advertising revenue is not part of your business model for the network, you do not need to drive traffic to your site. What networks do need to do is get information to their members. This can be done with a clean and easy to use Internet site, that is well connected to other complementary sites. What they need to learn is how to optimise where their members are already rather than creating yet another place and time consumer for members.

As I mentioned, this is a growing problem for established face to face networks with geographically dispersed communities. My best advice is do NOT build another LinkedIn or Connected-Women for your members. Create a space there (the sites which your members use) for members to interact with other members. They should have a way to identify each other as part of the same network within those sites. Of course, a membership directory is useful. But once they find the members they need, let them link to them elsewhere that they are already active. Non-profit networks have too many other great things to do with the limited resources they have. Don’t waste resources on trying to keep up with building a new technology platform (that by the way will be out of date in a year so will need updating constantly in order to keep interesting for members).

This is adapted from my entry on a thread question on about what we want from FCEM (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs). To see the complete thread click here

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Social Optimisation and Social Media Optimisation

Perhaps I spend too much on-line analyzing social media usage. I am starting to wonder if people have forgotten about the face to face side. I cross between both worlds in my work and my personal life. As an entrepreneur and as an expat, it is essential for me to connect, communicate, listen and interact with both the growing pool of knowledge and individuals in my global network. It is how I grow my business and myself as an learning being. Given that there are only so many hours in the day, we must prioritise everything we do in order to accomplish that which is most important and most beneficial.

It comes down to an equation of value for time. Let’s face it, a lot of the work we do is not monetarily compensated. We either do things for the love of it, for the need for it, or for the love of someone or something that needs it. So is the life of a social entrepreneur. That, of course, does not mean that I do not like or need to make money. It simply means that we are compensated in other ways for our efforts. After all, I would like to see someone try to place a monetary value on the 15 extra minutes I take to snuggle with my kids in the morning before we launch into the hectic morning routine. It might be easier to monetise the effort it takes to share a bit of my expertise with a non-profit organisation that I believe has the ability to empower women all over the world, including me. But I win in the end for feeling that I have done my part. Then of course there is the countless hours building business plans and laying the groundwork for it before a new business becomes profitable.

All these tools that we use to optimise our interaction with both those we know personally and those we share common interests with are time consuming. As individuals we are bombarded by messages from every corner. It is just for this purpose that I am learning to apply my work practices to my life practices. Turn things off when there is something that requires (or deserves) total attention. This mean Blackberries, SMS, twitter, the computer, the phone. And then pair down to the messenging sources that provide the greatest and more effective impact. Use them for the proper purpose and no more. Remember, there are only so many hours in the day. Take the time to have the conversation with the neighbor or client without checking the vibrating phone in your pocket. They’ll appreciate it (and you will get much more out of the conversation than “nice day, eh”.

So social media optimisation, well, there is so much more than ever before. I look at it this way. There is a balance between a message buzzed and a message swarm. If you are sending the same message through many overlapping outlets, you create a swarm that will send your target running. So place wisely and thoughtfully. Don’t waste their time by creating too many complete spaces to find you. Create portals so that they can get to your central information and can be updated when it changes (based on their needs). And remember who is a “friend” and who is a “connection”. Your “friends” are proud of you but may not want to hear about every little new product or service you produce. Your “connections” probably like to know you are real, but every update on your two year old’s development may get a bit tiring. Optimising the time you spend on sending the messages so that you have time to hear the responses makes the social element far more fruitful.

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BPW Malmö Open House Success

Thanks ladies for a fabulous kick off event. Finally we have an active BPW Malmö: an exciting internationally focused platform for empowering business and professional women to achieve their leadership potential. I am once again reminded of the dynamism of the women in the growing community of Öresund. Anna Arwidson of AbScen once again did a fabulous job with her workshop breaking down the elements of communication. Movement and laughter always help to create a memorable experience. I was delighted to see our guests from neighboring clubs Helsingborg and Kristianstad to make the kick off a real success. I look forward to seeing great things and creating great things here with BPW Malmö.

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Skoll World Forum 2009 Shines Light on Social Entrepreneurs

Thanks for the wisdom Premal Shah of Kiva shared with us social entrepreneurs.

It is great to see that Kerstin Eriksson was following the advice so plainly of transparency, speak about both successes and dreams as well as fears on her entry about participating in the Forum at

Global X captured summaries and interviews with some of the presenters that are enlightening and inspiring on his blog

All I can say is, wish I had been there. Maybe next year?!

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