You and Your Avatar

After two very real face to face events in the last month with completely contrasting groups, I am struck by the challenges and the opportunities they present.  My peers come from a highly technical world .  My clients and students come from two communities that are vastly different in their technical capacity and access to technology (for economic, education, cultural and infrastructure reasons). In one they are traditional senior leadership who are resistant to change.  In the other they are eager, often young, entrepreneurs and business students from both developing and developed markets.

  I am always seeking tools to bridge their issues. My last post, in which I experimented with a tool that creates avatar based movies from text script, got some very interesting responses.  Some liked the simplicity, others bored by seeing the same tool used for games thought it less helpful, and then there was the human factor.  That is what struck me the most.  Here I am trying to bring out the human element, the people behind the machines and the tools, and I was just as guilty of creating a tool that replaces the human factor with avatars.  Shame on me.  

So I will say, thank you again for the great commentary received both online and off.  It was fun playing with the text to video tool.  I agree it is not the best to complement the message.  As to the avatars, well I have never been very fond of them.  I prefer the real faces and bodies: blemishes, wrinkles, bulges and all.   I am sure I will experiment with more and I will make more mistakes, but I hope you will call me on them and continue to be real.  That is what it is all about.  If you have suggestions of tools that I should try, please do share.  I am experimenting with many others that are used more for my classroom and clients.  But I am happy to learn of new ones that make knowledge sharing and teaching more interactive.

Here are some fun pictures of the REAL people in the last month that inspire me:

Women for Sustainable Growth

South by SouthWest

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Twitter for Event Promotion

Recently I have been asked to provide some twitter tips to event organizers that I advise. I thought it might be worthwhile sharing as this seems to be a common question.

First, Do you have a twitter id for your company? If so make sure you share it (widget for that at If not, you should. Keep it short like @BEbiz (short for Big Event Business) so that it is easy to re-tweet (RT) – share and spread. That account should tweet updates on speakers booked, events or interviews leading up the event, relative events and content, live statements at the event, RT others tweets about the event and related issues and post event comments as well as content related to the topic and people involved. (It can also feed into your Facebook, Community and LinkedIn pages, if you have them.)

Next, make sure your event has a hash-tag (#) and that everyone knows about it. That way you (and participants) can track any tweets about it using the simple search functionality in twitter. For example, use #ABE11, short for A Big Event 2011. Post it on your site and place reminder in all communications to use the tag (as well as at the conference for live coverage).

Third, You can insert the feed from all tweets using the hash-tag (#ABE11) onto your website so that all conversations are tracked and shared. This is an easy widget that can be found at

Fourth, be sure you get your presenters and sponsors twitter id’s, if they have them, and put them in the program. It helps those who are tweeting to assign content to the presenter. Each time you book a speaker is an opportunity to cross promote so be sure to share your twitter id and hashtags and make sure you “follow” them on twitter too. You might even create a list of your speakers in twitter so others can follow them.

And fifth, but VERY important. Make sure your venue has decent wifi coverage and that people know how to get on if there is a code. Test it too.

Good luck and enjoy. Remember to listen as well as tweet. True balance is from give and take. Nobody likes to follow a pure self-promoter. Keep it in context and off you go.

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Ah ha Moment and Social Strategy

Playing with some new tools to communicate the basics of why social strategy. Hope you enjoy this one. It is the very first of a coming series to accompany other interactive content.

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