The Quantum Mousetrap

Mark Eduljee's blog about Social Media Insights Intelligence and his FlightSim Movies

Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

I’ll have a social media sundae please: 2 scoops of twitter on a banana boat, with a sprinkle of lets-all-do-it

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Social media, two of the hottest buzz words…Celeb-ity birds do it, biz do it, even anxious elected fleas do it, let’s all do it, let’s… well you know the rest of the song.

How many times have you heard this: “If you’re not in, you’re out”, or “the conversation is happening, with or without you” or “Its about sharing, experiences

That’s absolutely right. And with the speed of today’s technologies and the promise of tomorrows cloud integration (Microsoft Cloud strategy), we should expect this merry-go-round to go even faster, and become even more demanding.

So, “What’s your social media plan!? Where is the latest version of your social media scorecard, ROI, goals, objectives, <add other pet keywords here>…who’s in charge of all of this!? What do you tell that board member who’s a twit – no, wait, what was it?… who knows about twitting, chirping? twicking?! Or was it Tweeping?Aaaah Raspberries!

Hmm…ring a bell? Are you hyperventilating too, and is that real air you are breathing?*1* Welcome to the dessert of the real. Welcome to the social media sundae.

The sundae is comforting, gratifying, it’s easy to dig into and comes in lottsa flavors. It satisfies our inner child.

It’s easy to get caught up in the look and feel of the latest social media buzz, site, gizmo, or trend, especially for those who know they need to do something, but have no sense of where to begin or invest. It’s relatively easy to rationalize allocating money and effort into “social media efforts”. Heck, if over 1.5M follow Larry King on Twitter, isn’t that a measure of success that we should aspire to? Maybe. Different strokes for different folks, sez I. Though, all of us (sociopaths aside, but businesses, politicians, and Joe the plumber included) are hardwired to seek new connections and look at the stars. It’s a caveman/tribe thing.

But once on that merry-go-round, it becomes difficult to keep score, or who’s passing the ball. (take this fun test)

Yes, it’s easy to become distracted by the go-go participation and activity that social media participation demands while completely missing the gorilla in the room. And that’s too bad because the gorilla has the banana that would make your sundae sing and tell you all sorts of interesting things other than how many followers you have.

I wrote about learning as a core life and business strategy in my last post. If we get so busy with activity and miss the singing banana, then we need to ask the hard question, have we learned anything?

How often have you found yourself so happy just to behold the sundae!…and to taste it, and to relish in its sheer yummy gooeyness, that you were oblivious to its 1000 pound calorie impact, or the revenge it would wring out of you as you sweated and strained in the gym to work it off the next day (to my non-US based readers, forgive the USA-centric measurements/metaphors and feel free to substitute my reality with your own.*2*)

When thinking about Social Media, there are two tracks to cover. You need to be doing both to be able to say that you have a 360 social media strategy:

  1. Engagement and participation. Your brand’s visibility and depth can be measured by reach, sentiment, rank, site traffic. It answers questions like: “How many customers like Windows 7, and are drawn towards communication, messaging, and events”. This is the confluence of social media, and marketing communications.
  2. Listening, learning, and insights. This is about quality, perception, and usefulness of your brand, product or service – vital to innovate, compete, and grow. It answers questions like “What is important to Windows 7 customers at any given time, or even in the future.” This is not about key word or campaign tracking. That’s a tactic used in #one above to drive reach and tune campaigns for added “stickiness”. This is about the value your social media efforts, its about investing in systems and processes that enable the connecting of dots between distinct customer conversations and figuring out the top 3 things you need to build, fix, extend, change or innovate in. It takes time to set up and tune. But boy is it worth it! This tells you how to learn to produce a more desired, or tasty, sundae over time. Who wouldn’t like that!?

There is a lot of attention paid to 1). It’s the 2 that occupies my thoughts and time. Creating effective social media listening systems to provide the right information, from the right sources, at the right time, takes time and commitment. I am committed to relentlessly pursuing the top bananas. More in future posts…

A social media sundae sans banana is like, like, warm beer… why??!!

*1* “Morpheus in the Matrix
*2* “A play off the phrase “I reject your reality and substitute my own” by Adam Savage in the 10th episode of Mythbusters.
Pic credits: Irish food board

When is it a good time to start?

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

The time to start is when I can make an informed choice to begin.

At the point of beginning, I am faced with two choices:

  1. Act fearful, make excuses, play the victim, act busy, procrastinate, or simply tune out. I lose. Those around me lose too. Or…
  2. Having done the due diligence to plan, assess capabilities and risk, I can check: Do I honestly think that success is reasonably probable? If the answer is No, then I ask why, reset, and set a deadline (very important to do this) to begin again. If yes, then start.

Then, only two outcomes are possible:

  • “it” falls short, sputters, or
  • “it” happens

As long as my choice to begin was intentional and informed, either way, I win. Why? because in both cases I learned something along the way.

I’ve learned to quit thinking of “need to start”. I focus instead on “want to learn”. It’s easy to choose to start when the goal is to learn. Learning is incremental. It builds on itself. Exponentially. The journey then becomes less about start or stop, or success or failure, and more about commitment and pace.

And isn’t that the real objective?  After all, isn’t the human condition simply all about learning, and using it in a positive, constructive, and helpful way to build-on and make the next time better?  And how can anyone learn if the choice is to not start? Do you know chronic planners and strategists who measure their success by the volume of activity, instead of demonstrating results from having done something?

In my About page, I quote my Dad. He had a worn down piece of paper in his wallet. It was a handwritten quote from Rose Knox, a pioneering business woman in the early 20th century, and it said, “Any man who trips over the same stone twice deserves to break his neck”.  He lived that principle. And I honor him by doing likewise.

Sooner or later, we all face times when we trip, when we don’t get to “it”, when the rocket staggers 2 feet off the pad then blows up. Think about Edison, he mentions how he got to a bulb filament that glowed long and bright only by first learning, “1000’s of times”, what material not to use. (Here’s an interesting thread about whether he actually said that).

It’s easy to focus on, and become paralyzed by, what can go wrong when standing at the start gate. I’ve done it. Honestly, I was really reacting to my lack of preparation. Worse is being influenced or coerced by powerful or authoritative figures who have a vested interest in seeing that you not start at all. That’s happened to me too. In those situations I reminded myself to remain calm and to give myself more time to think…to think about root cause. Dig deep, peel back the onion layers, and get to “why and motivation”. Forget about “What do I do next!”. That will come after the motivation and reasons behind the “Why” is known. Again, it’s about learning. Knowledge enables.

Focus on being positive and decisive, and as Emerson said “the universe will conspire to make it happen”.  Imagine if Orville and Wilbur had focused on the negative aspects of crashing, instead of rolling their Flyer off the hill to learn what they needed for beautiful, graceful, controlled flight!

Therefore do I now throw the switch to light the filament, and fly this blog off the hill with this first post. I choose to begin.

Is it perfect? No.  Will the Quantum Mousetrap always be improving, and strive to be helpful, interesting and engaging? I certainly commit to making it so. (how do you like the name BTW?  See my About page for why I chose that name)

And will you share your experiences with comments and participation? I think you will.

Now is a good time to start.

Your turn: How do you decide it’s a good time to start (or stop) doing something? What helps you not to trip over the same stone twice?  Who inspired you to learn from your blow-ups? Please use the Comments and Reactions link below.