Even on this blog I’m often referencing my first book on leadership titled Embrace The Lead and my second book on leadership titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy. These are the first two products I have over there to the left.
One of the products I don’t talk about all that often is my two-part seminar series titled Keys To Leadership, which I recorded in January 2004. I feel it deserves a mention because it’s not all that bad (I go back & listen to it from time to time), I’m as proud of it as I am of all the things I’ve created, and it comes with a pretty good backstory. Continue reading →
My Keys To Leadership CDs is something I’ve written about before on this blog, so you can check that post out if you’d like. Of course, the back story is so much more fun. But I told that story on the other post; what more is there?
The day I did the first seminar, which led to the first CD, I was at a crossroads in the early part of my career. I wasn’t a happy guy. I was doing some sporadic subcontracting work with this other company that was leaving me very frustrated. The money was good, but the working relationship was not.
I’m all about communications. When I was a director, I made sure to keep the lines of communications open with those who worked for and with me. If something needed explaining, I made sure to do it right, especially if I needed it done a specific way. The owner of the company I was doing the work for wasn’t quite that type. She expected people to just know how she wanted things. That might have been fine for the people who worked for her where she lived, which was in the Baltimore, MD area, but I didn’t see her on a daily basis. I knew my work, but not how she wanted it presented all the time. Sometimes I’d give it to her and it’d be what she wanted, while other times I’d present it to her and she’d say that’s not what she wanted, without an explanation.
Still, it was bringing in money that I needed. But I wasn’t happy, and I knew I was going to have to make a decision at some point. That’s another reason I had set the seminars up, and even though I’d definitely picked the wrong time to do them (you’ll have to go to that other link to learn why), I figured it might tell me something about myself no matter what happened.
I gave the presentation that Wednesday night and it felt really good. And the topics I discussed made me realize that it was time to end that association, to drop that client for my mental health. So when I came home I wrote her, since she never answered her phone, and said I was done. And you know what? She never responded, never acknowledged, never asked me why… as if I didn’t exist. She could have cared less; I meant nothing to her except a body that might have had a few skills, and based on how she was treating me, I’d started to question that as well.
For the next two months I was floundering; that loss of money was big, and my mind wasn’t in a great place. Then I got my mind in a better place, not only after revisiting my own words when I was creating the sound files, but that’s when I started getting into motivational things. Within two weeks of starting that process I had both a short term project then a very long term project, and I was on my way.
And that’s the rest of the story. Anyway, this is am immediate download product; you can buy either one or both presentations, and on the site there’s also a sample clip, for those of you who’ve never heard any of the interviews I’ve done, so you can hear my voice as well. Here’s the product link to Keys To Leadership, which is also there to the left underneath my book.
One day last week I felt it was time to trim the number of people I’d hooked up to follow on Twitter again. So I opened up the link to Twit Cleaner, ran the sucker, and stopped following nearly 100 people.
I don’t say that to be smug; I lead with that to get to this. Out of those 100 people, probably half of them indicated they were some type of social media expert. I like to use the term “specialist”, but I may have to revamp my thinking on that word one day. But I digress…
The issue at hand is that the people I decided to stop following had, in my view, in some way violated the concept of what I feel social media is all about. What were the sins? Let me point them out:
1. Not posting on Twitter. To me, it’s okay if people don’t want to use Twitter. However, if someone says they’re a social media expert, they need to be doing more than just having a Twitter account. What possible advice could they give to a client if they’re not using one of the most popular social media outlets in the world? By the way, this also goes for not having made a post in months, whether you used to be active or not.
2. Not being social on Twitter. One of my biggest gripes with some people on Twitter is that they never talk to anyone. Thanking someone for retweeting your post is not a conversation; neither is just saying “thanks” (that part also goes for responding to comments on blogs). Something Twit Cleaner does is asks if you want to see how your account is seen via its tools. I decided to check, and it said I was fine and perfect; well, I don’t remember the actual words. However, Twitter really was set up to be a communication device, for people to talk to each other. Sure, we can’t do it 24/7, but if you’re claiming to be a social media expert, you have to show that you indeed know how to talk to people.
3. Talking to yourself. Goodness, there is a lot of this! It basically takes 3 forms. One, the person keeps posting links or quotes, whether it’s links to their sites or the sites of others; two, the person keeps writing about everything going on in their day, only pausing minutes here and there for a breather; three, consistently marketing, talking about themselves… all 3 of these never including talking to a single person at all.
4. Not having a true link back to their website. This one I usually forgive early on if I’m following someone, but after awhile I won’t let it go. If you’re some kind of expert, which means you’re doing this for a living in some fashion, you need to have a website or blog or something you link back to showing some of what you do. If you’re linking to your Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook account instead, well, I’m the kind of guy who’s going to be suspicious of that.
5. Doing the “Follow Friday” (FF) thing all the time, whether it’s Friday or not, and only doing that, posting all those names without every doing anything else. True, appealing to someone’s vanity is never a bad thing, but if they see it all the time without any substance it starts falling on deaf ears; y’all don’t have anything on Eddie Haskell!
It’s true, there are no officially written rules for Twitter. But it’s obvious that there are things that help people stay engaged in some fashion. I still follow more than 1,000 people, and I have a lot more people who follow me. Everyone knows that if they actually write me about something I’d said I will respond to them. I don’t always respond to the people who just retweet me, especially if they do it often, but if it’s a new name, or someone I don’t see often, I will thank those people. I also don’t always respond to those “FF” things if it’s listing a bunch of names all at once.
Of course these are just my opinions, which means someone else might have a different thought on this one than me. If so, lay it on me; after all, I’m not calling myself a social media expert… yet. 😉
I tend to visit a lot of blogs. I’ve talked about it before on this blog, how I used to subscribe to nearly 250 other blogs, but at some point I got it down to around 104. Of course me being me I have added some more blogs to my reader since that time, and I’m given some of those an opportunity to show that they at least have something interesting to say on a consistent basis before I start whittling my list down again.
One thing that helps me determine I’m going to eliminate a blog from my reader is whether or not I ever get any responses from those blogs that I tend to leave comments on. Those of you who have seen me leave a comment on your blog know that I’m not one of those people who often leaves just one line responses. Sure, sometimes it may only be two lines, but you know those two lines are going to mean something and have something to do with the topic, and sometimes those lines are kind of long.
Sometimes you get the feeling you’re being ignored, and nobody likes that. I certainly don’t, especially if I’ve taken time to make a comment on your post. After all, as I’ve written many times on this blog, and many of you have written on your blogs, what’s the point in accepting comments if you’re never going to respond to anybody? If you’re going to do that you might as well just turn off comments, become Seth Godin, and move on with your life.
It’s not just blogging that sometimes leaves me feeling ignored. There many times on Twitter where I reach out to both people I know and people I don’t know and comment on some of the things they share. Most of the time you never hear anything back from those people, which once again leaves me wondering why I’m even bothering to try. At this point I pretty much know that almost nobody who’s using Twitter on a consistent basis is going to the website to post their comments or to read posts from other people. Everybody is using some kind of platform to check out their Twitter messages, which means pretty much everyone has created some kind of filter so that they see messages from people who write comments to them. If they haven’t done that then they’re idiots, and I doubt that people who are participating a lot on Twitter are idiots.
In my mind, people who do the two things I mentioned above are missing the point of social media networking. They don’t call it social “seminaring” or social “sharing whatever I have to say because I’m important and you’re not”. If they did then the word “social” wouldn’t be a part of it at all. I don’t like it when it’s people I don’t know, and I certainly don’t like it when it’s people I do know. There are a few people I have eliminated from my Twitter stream because I felt ignored, even if I’ve talked to them in the past. I don’t expect people to respond to everything I say to them, because sometimes there’s just nothing to say in response to a previous message. But I do expect some give and take every once in a while, and if I’m the only one giving then I’m getting out.
The one thing almost everyone knows if they visit this blog is that I’m going to respond to their comments as long as they’re more than one line. Of course, if we’re doing a back and forth at some point one of us has to end, and it could be me. Beyond that, I get to everybody at some point, and even if I don’t always respond to your comments, I always respond to a comment made by a new visitor, in hopes that they will return again and again. If anybody ever feels ignored by comments they leave on this blog, just let me know; but I don’t see it happening.
Are you feeling ignored by some of the blogs you visit? Are you taking care not to ignore people who visit your blog?
A couple of weekends ago I took a little test on Twitter. I wanted to see if I didn’t start off engaging anyone if I’d be missed. I did know that one of my blog posts was scheduled to post late morning, but I was curious if anyone would pick up on the blog post or send me anything.
photo by By PaDumBumPsh
When I finally looked later in the day I did have messages. A couple of people had retweeted the post. A couple had responded to the post. And one person had written me a welcoming message to the day. I felt pretty good because I think it shows I do have at least a little bit of impact, or influence, online. Of course, my local influence is still nothing, as everyone who wrote me was from somewhere else, but that’s okay; I’ll take what I can get.
Our lives are so much different now than they used to be. In the past, there was some sense of community, of knowing the people who lived in your community. You’d see people in the neighborhood and know everyone’s name. You’d shop at the same stores and see each other there.
Nowadays, we have more ways to communicate with each other, yet instead of spreading the sense of community, for the most part it’s become more restrictive. You only message so many people because you don’t want to pay for extra time if you go over your minutes. We don’t have to leave our homes to go meet people because we can bring people into our homes electronically.
It’s a shame, but that’s pretty much my life. I work from home most of the time, so I don’t have a need to leave the house all that often. I’ve learned that my wife and my elderly neighbors across the street think that I’m getting old before my time because I don’t leave the house. My mind says not to spend money unnecessarily, and that includes gas for my car. It’s less expensive to stay home, so I do. I leave when I have something specific to do; just getting out for the sake of getting out makes no sense anymore.
This leads me to wonder sometimes if I would be missed by many people if something happened to me. If I stopped twittering, left LinkedIn alone, got off Facebook, and pretty much just withdrew would people notice I was gone. Sure, I know a few would; I do luckily have a few friends, and of course my wife, mother and grandmother. I do have my newsletter. But would any of the “masses” really miss me? Would I even have a legacy that someone would say “that was a good guy”. Unless my wife sent something out, and that’s not going to happen, would people reach out and say “hey, where are you”, or would time just move on?
It’s an interesting question. The second question is if you’d want that sort of thing in the first place? As I’ve talked about this concept of influence I’ve thought about the second half of that, which is once you have some influence can you ever have a private life again? Then I came to a resounding “yes”. We had this CEO of Hewitt Packard have to resign and get out of Dodge because of an alleged sex scandal, and I realized that I had absolutely no idea who this guy was, yet one could imagine that his influence had to be pretty high. If it wasn’t for the scandal, he’d have never crossed my mind at all. And yet, because of his influence, his indiscretion (alleged; yeah, right) was big news, and plastered all over the media. Almost Tiger Woods bad, but that kind of thing is hard to top.
Do you think you’d be missed by the masses if you suddenly stopped writing or doing whatever it is you do online? Do you care? Or would you like something mixed, like the treatment Ben Vereen gets from the Muppets in a performance of Mr. Cellophane?