Category: Social Media Basics


Social Media is just like Ski/Skier Cross. Popularity is exploding. Rules are evolving. Training is not quite mainstream: but everyone is doing it OR wants to do it.

Ever since the introduction of Skier Cross in the Vancouver Olympics, its popularity has risen. I always thought of Ski/Skier Cross as being similar to roller derby on snow, until I researched some links for roller derby.  Skier Cross is more like a steeplechase on snow:  lots of individual racers braving many dangers and obstacles hoping to out survive ‘the pack’ of the other racers.

Here is a great video showing all the action of World Cup Ski Cross.  [Turn down the volume as the tunes are loud!]

Media has promoted the drama of the sport that MANY have unofficially engaged in for years. Typically these unofficial races started with a challenge such as, “Race you to the bottom: loser is buying!” (Typically this is when your buddy had already established a healthy head start down the slope.)

But as a parent of a ski racer, some of that footage reminds me of the old intro to ABC’s Wide World of Sports:  I always cringed at the end. But, as a young skier, that didn’t stop me from trying ‘The Jump’ while visiting Holimont. That was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. (Ouch!)

WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVE?

Like a mom, asks her child “Why you are doing that? What are you expecting to prove?” I am asking you as your coach or mentor, “What are you expecting out of social media?” Are you trying to win something, prove something, improve something or just have fun? Your social media future will involve lots of effort and learning, some disappointment and a bump or bruise on occasion. For more on thinking through your objectives, here is a link to a blog post which may help.

OBSERVE: LISTEN

Just like great racers observe other great racers and try to shadow them while racing Skier Cross, you can learn by listening and following the ‘lead guy’.

Watching and listening is a great step to get started. This will help you find out what works, what doesn’t.  You can determine what you need to be good at and what you need to be great at. You will observe what topics are the most relevant and what content is uncompelling.  And you may determine some methods to get your audience engaged.

JOIN IN: CREATE

Starting out is a leap of faith, especially when you face a wu-tang on a Skier Cross Course.  According to Ski Cross Canada,

A “Wu-Tang” is a very difficult feature to navigate, consisting of a near vertical ramp of 10 feet or more , with a flat top and a near vertical landing, most often placed at the start of a Ski Cross course.

Personally, I think adding a wu-tang it is meant to intimidate skiers and weed out the skiers that don’t have a lot of experience. But everyone has to start somewhere. So the first time facing one, it may seem big, but it is downhill from there.

This is just like social media. No matter how simple the post, the video or the tweet it may appear to be a huge hurdle when you do it for the first time.  Take your time, be yourself.

Next time, adjust as necessary. Learn from your bumps, spills. Accept that you won’t always be right and you won’t always be slick. Accept your mistakes, acknowledge the opinions of others and move on.

If you don’t want to create content, you can always curate content. Find compelling articles, videos or pictures. Comment on them and share them with others. Everyone is always looking for great content!

ACCELERATING YOUR START

Whether you are racing Ski Cross or you are using some form of social media,

  1. Remember what your intent was in ”entering into it”.
  2. Learn from others: their successes and mistakes.
  3. Try it and learn from your own experiences.

As for Skier Cross, I think it is a great spectator sport. It is great, if it isn’t YOUR child, teen or spouse who is racing…

Don’t miss my next blog post which continues exploring the similarities with ski/skier cross and social media. Subscribing is easy, just click the button below “Free E-mail Subscription” on the right hand side of this page.

Until then, enjoy (safely) the last few days of the season!

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(This is a perfect example of curation. I found an awesome video and I’m giving you my ‘review’. )

I love to deconstruct a concept to simplify it.  It is amazing how a simpler view will be so much easier to understand. And that is something the folks at Common Craft are masters at.

I found an interesting Common Craft video:  “Social Media in Plain English”. They brilliantly use analogy to illustrate some of the more common “features” and benefits of Social Media while they reinforce some of the aspects of Social Media.

They point out that as Social Media is affordable ANYONE can participate: large business, small business or individuals with ideas on any subject. Then the CONTENT can develop it’s own following.

What I love the most about this video is how they describe the notion of “feedback”. They use the analogy of feedback boards to illustrate how content/products can be described (i.e. tagged), rated, and how you can leave comments/messages for others.

They go on to explain this ‘new way to work’, (i.e. collaboration), with customers transforms customers into advocates and advisors (quality control, business development…).

In addition, the indexability of the content, (with tags), gives you the ability to help find the new, the popular or the content that is of interest to you (and many Social Media tools have features to assist these “searches”. )

What do you think: does having a simpler view of Social Media help you understand it?

As I mentioned in my first posting about Social Media, it is all about CONTENT. People are creating or capturing and sharing LOTS of content: descriptions, ratings, reviews, recommendations, pictures, videos: You name it, it is being created.

While the tools (i.e. technology) are the enabler, the more difficult aspect of Social Media is on the practise side. There are 3 different aspects (OR STAGES) on the practise side of social media that you need to consider:

Listening: Observing what people are talking about, photographing or video graphing will put you in touch with finding common trends in your industry/marketplace. This way you can spot opportunities or problems and be relevant in online or in person discussions. As a business you’ll want to “keep your ear to the ground” to listen for things that will impact the reputation of your business. The great thing is that all entries are indexed on the internet and therefore they are searchable.

Creating, Curating or Capturing Content: Contributing content may take the form of writing prose, posting descriptions, creating video, sharing ratings or comments. You need to think of yourself as a journalist and realize that you are not limited to one type of media. This is how you create your “brand” and promote your business, your ideas and your products. If you don’t have time to create an article from scratch you can curate: write a  ‘review’ or express a view on the work of others, whether it be a blog post, presentation, video, etc.

Collaborating:  Many say you have to use it (collaboration) to understand it.  Collaboration  is all about partaking in groups, discussions, offering valuable advice and content. Also, helping others positions you to ask for help, advice or opinions. Some say this, working together, is the most powerful part of Social Media. Collaborating, establishes you in a community: a community where everyone contributes and helps each other increases your effectiveness and efficiency.

In order to develop a strategy for yourself, you need to consider those different aspects of Social Media. For each tool set in your repertoire consider how you are going to:

  • listen,
  • create, curate or capture content,
  • contribute (via collaboration).

Your strategy may start by initially concentrating on listening and then ramping up your commitment from there.

Don’t delay, get started…

Hello everyone, no I haven’t disappeared…  I have been researching how to leverage Social Media.  Before I outline (and tweak) my Social Media strategy, I will attempt to outline some Social Media basics. (I’ll try to simplify this, as best I can.)

Social Media is an umbrella or catch-all term combining Social (interaction) with different types of Media (communication). Social Media is all about combining technology (internet & mobile tools and online spaces) with social interaction & communication practises. Both the tools and the practise (methods and discipline) are necessary to interact and communicate.

I tend to think of technology as the enabler. The tools are designed to create (or capture) and deliver content through social interaction. The tool set is a bit of a hodgepodge… but the favourites are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and personal Blogs.

On the other hand, the “practise” is left to an individual. The sharing of content (knowledge, opinions, experience, etc.) may morph into a discussion, debate or collaboration. This sharing takes discipline and commitment.

The bottom line here is Social Media is all about content (and) sharing. However, Social Media differs from sharing news and views via industrial mass media (such as printed newspapers, radio or television). It does not require significant resources to create and “broadcast/publish”: anyone can participate with little or no investment of money. You just need to think of yourself as a journalist, as my friend, Joel Mark Witt says. (Check out Joel’s awesome website dedicated to making social media understandable and easy.)

Social Media is changing the way companies: market, monitor and manage customer satisfaction, network, recruit and much more… It is also changing the way we: get hired, get paid for referrals, lobby for change, make buying decisions, monitor our children’s social network, and much more…

If we don’t learn how to harness Social Media personally and professionally, we’ll be left behind. I’ve already started my journey to learn how to leverage Social Media, how about you?

Don’t be left behind: Think like a reporter… and go and report!

Until next time… I have to go and post some pictures on Facebook!