Reflections and Sketchnotes from SxSW Interactive 2014


SxSW Interactive is wrapping up and I head home with food for thought. I am excited about the progress in both the development of and integration of social technologies. We’re not there yet, but things are certainly looking up. One always has to be reminded after an event like this that these are early adopters. We must not be myopic as to our understanding of who is using and how they are using social technologies and media. Here are some quick recaps of the highlights and sketchnotes from my SxSW this year…

Brand Innovators Summit with Ted Rubin, Ajay Ramachandran of Dynamic Signal, Bryan Kramer author of Human to Human, Jon Peters Digital Sniper (love this title), Susan Emerick author of The Most Powerful Brand on Earth, Tiffany Tuell of Hitachi Data Systems and Sabrina Stoffregen Director of Intel Ambassadors. Changemakers discussed how social can humanize communications and organizations. Understand your advocates and ambassadors, listen and give them what they want and help them share well.

Yahoo! Flickr designers Andy Law and Shaun Forouzandeh. Flickr moving to more dynamic interactive community with photoshop in your pocket for sharing your best side.

Nilofer Merchant and Rachel Sklar‘s session on Hacking Privilege. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In opened the dialog by laying the cards on the table. Play wisely by believing, belonging and becoming. Listen and create value that only you can provide – Onlyness. Be extraordinary!  Great continuing the conversation with these dynamic ladies.  Check out Nilofer’s book  New Social Era.  Nice work Rachel with  li.st and Change the Ratio and kudos for your passion for visibility and opportunity for women in tech & new media.

Neil de Grasse Tyson keynote of Cosmos on the Cosmic Perspective. We are special because we are the same. Be curious and never cease wonder.

The future of wearables and evolution of communication with Christina Mercando of Ring.ly, Koichi Yamamoto, Takahito Iguchi of Telepathy and Marco Tempest the virtual magician. Marco, love the magic! Christina, gotta have the ring! Takahito, looking forward to experiencing your discreet device. Wow! Impressive work that brings much thought to the future of wearables. Discreet, Funtional, Magic – BRINGING BACK PRESENCE

Hardwiring the Brain with Ariel Garten of Interaxon, Andrew Smith Lewis of Cerego and Jan Plass from NYU had a great session on tools for understanding the brain’s processing on inputs evolves the development of user design and mindfulness to superpower our brains.

Sketchnotes Flickr designers SxSW by @forbesosteMalmö in Austin at MashBashSketchnotes on Hacking Privilege at SxSW by @forbesosteSxSW 2014 by @forbesosteSketchnotes Neil deGrasse Tyson from Cosmos keynote at SxSW by @forbesosteSketchnotes on Next Evolution in Communication at SxSW by @forbesoste
Sketchnotes on Hardwiring the Brain at SxSW by @forbesosteJess3 ever present at SxSW 2014 by @forbesosteBefore the onslaught SxSW 2014 by @forbesosteSketchnotes Brand Innovators Roundtable SxSW by @forbesoste

SxSW 2014, a set on Flickr.

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Measure Engagement: Micro-Engagement with Macro-Impact

ROI of Engagement and the value of relationships is no new conversation. What is new is how we develop and maintain the relationships, especially as leaders. In developing leadership seminars for the new social paradigm, we came across the same challenge of measurement but looked at new solutions. “Quick and dirty” ROI measured from campaigns and their impact is not relevant or feasible when talking about social leadership. Unlike a short term campaign or solution it is a long term adjustment to culture and approach to communications.

 

Finding the tools that can help us measure more effectively are a start. Of course, looking at numbers of connections give us one view. Yet, they present several problems in themselves and only show us a small part of the greater picture. The greatest being that leaders are predominantly absent from these tools (Forrester Research), and resistant to entry for fear of exposure or distraction. Another being the need for measurement of network engagement that occurs outside these sites (intranets, industry specific networks, public following, etc.). Then of course there is long term and the secondary effects, the MacroImpact.

 

Klout.com does a great job aggregating the numbers of followers on Twitter, links on LinkedIn and friends on Facebook and their influence to see what kind of a role individuals play and their online influence. It may not be the MacroImpact we require to create the argument for investing in teaching social leadership, but it is a good place to start. Then we need to look at layering of other factors, after all, changing behavior and culture is no “quick and dirty” fix.

 

BUSINESS IMPACTS: To start with there are several areas from which we can measure shifts that are have MacroImpact from the Leader’s MicroEngagement (must be measured over time). Of course this assumes establishing a baseline and keeping in mind other externalities that can cause spikes:

 

* INCREASE/DECREASE in new applications for jobs under leader’s management or control
* ATTRITION of existing employees desire to stay/leave working with the leader
* TEAM COHESION project completions advance of schedule, faster to market cycles
* INNOVATION cycles decrease with open acceptance of new ideas within clear parameters
* IMPROVED HEALTH decreased stress from greater job satisfaction, less sick days
* PARTNER/CLIENT LOYALTY return clients and partners desire to continue relationship
* COLLABORATION new opportunities in-industry based on respect for knowledge and trust
* LEARNING community shortens time to response from internal subject matter experts,
saves need hire external consultants when knowledge available internally
* MEETING lengths and volume decrease due to better collaboration and clarity in
communication
* AGILE RESPONSE to opportunities and threats in PR through direct engagement savings in
“Fire fighting” and valuation dips

 

This is just a first “whack” at a list as we look into measuring tools to pull together for leaders to understand their own MacroImpact and for organizations to evaluate their social leader’s performance. I would love to hear your thoughts on what other factors could be included, and what tools can be used to measure this effectively. It is not simply performance review we are considering, but rather effective engagement.

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The Art of Social Optimization

Bringing all the elements of social together to consider the benefit and impact on organizations and their influence has become an increasingly important. To speak about being “a people oriented organization” social must be taken into account. My recent workshops in Egypt and Ethiopia followed by strategy sessions with a global company and executive trainings for business leaders have all had a common thread. In revising my presentation for the Ethiopia (note, 0.4% Internet penetration) to provide context, I removed the social media tools themselves(that all clients seem to want to jump ahead to). Doing this, the opportunities and the pitfalls of social became more distinct. I have returned to my “social optimization” theory that requires developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships for growth and sustainability in a social economy. This mean you have to look at how and why you interact with your human capital first BEFORE you apply to on-line tools. It is the cultivation part that is so critical and often overlooked.

The above presentation, of course, had much discussion that lead in different paths depending on the context for the audience. The workshops in Ethiopia and Egypt were more focused on growing businesses to compete in the global marketplace, and emphasized Networking and Communications. We spent a lot of time bringing clarity to their stories and finding context for growth. The corporate and executive presentation and workshops were held in northern Europe, and had more of a business strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility emphasis. Engagement and finding ways to be more effective were the focus of conversation.

A note regarding the video, as it may not have as much context without the accompanying dialog. Aired in 2002, its re-emergence explains the power of word of mouth and sharing things in social tools beyond their original intended use. I use it often in presentations because it touches beautifully on the feeling of discovering context and connecting to something greater than ourselves by listening.

On a personal note, I have to say that I am thoroughly inspired by the people and the opportunities that working in social strategy has presented. I work with interesting and companies and executives that recognize the need to prepare their organizations for the social economy in order to sustain their company’s and their markets’ futures. I devote part of my work to creating change through knowledge sharing in the networks where I feel it will have the greatest impact. In this part,I am both supporting economic growth through women entrepreneurs, especially in developing markets, as well as teaching for the academic and non-profit arena where there social tools can have immense impact on change and the next generation. I look forward to connecting to more people that are working in this cross-over area. For me, that is social optimization, as I get to learn, to teach, to be inspired, and hopefully to inspire some along the way.

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Why We Engage

In trying to understand better just why and how social media is better at engaging us as individual users, I have been looking into several different theories often applied to education technology. So here is a first shot and please feel free to put in your two cents, as this is just the start of what will be far more extensive research.

Engagement theory (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999) uses the base structure of Relate, Create Donate, assuming we are talking about engaging both the teacher and the student. As participants in user based media we are both the teacher (sender) and the student (receiver). We therefore all benefit and become more engaged based on participation as we contribute to of all the three areas (Relate, Create, Donate). Perhaps it is more cyclical in the open collaborative model version of how we interact online today. Instead of creating one final product of research, it is ongoing and dynamic. So we are engaged, but how do we stay there?

So, now let’s look at the psychoanalytical perspective to understand Social Representation (Serge Moscovici in 1961), a “system of values, ideas and practices with a twofold function; first, to establish an order which will enable individuals to orientate themselves in their material and social world and to master it; and secondly to enable communication to take place among the members of a community by providing them with a code for social exchange and a code for naming and classifying unambiguously the various aspects of their world and their individual and group history”. Here we must have rules established in order to engage as the interaction is based on TRUST. It is generally agreed that we must have this trust in order for user based tools to be successful.

Outside of the academic sphere and into the multifaceted global realm, we have new rules and codes that are being created. The rules are evolving and are being created collaboratively. With each new evolution of the tools we use the codes of interaction evolve. And yet, the sharing and learning continues. Are we engaging simply for the sake of curiosity, the need to learn and to share? Even Wikipedia struggles to find a general collaboration theory that explains it. What we do know is that it is happening and users are engaging. In the quest of understanding effectively interaction for maximum benefit for both the receiver and the sender, I put this out there as a seed for discussion. What are your experiences with engagement and how do you feel that the rules have changed to make it more effective?

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