Cyberbullying…a realization

November 15, 2011 Leave a comment

“You gotta take a look at this!”  These were the first words my wife said as I walked through the door the other night.  She calls me over to the computer only when there is something outrageously funny or horribly offensive and I could tell that tonight would be the latter. I walked to the computer and read through a facebook conversation posted on one of my daughter’s friend’s wall.  We read through the entire conversation together.  It was filled with a horrific medly of insults, vile language, and threats about what would happen at school the next day.

Now, let me be clear, it was not directed to my daughter.  But our daughter’s friend was the bully, and we had never seen that side of her.  In person she is a sweet, considerate, quiet 13 year-old.  What was it that caused her to change into a cyberbully?  Why did she feel she had free reign to unleash such garbage toward another girl online?

My wife and I decided to stop the attack.  We chose to approach her by way of texting.  Once this friend realized that her actions were public, she changed her toon.  The conversation was immediately deleted off of her wall, and she was mortified that we read through it.  She has apologized over and over to us.  She apologized to the girl she cyber-attacked.

A national organization called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids did a study in 2006 that found 1 in 3 teens have been the victims of cyberbullying and 1 in 6 preteens have been victims (read it at http://www.fightcrime.org/sites/default/files/reports/cyberbullyingteen_2.pdf).
With 33% of teens being victims, I wonder about how many are committing cyberbullying.  I also wonder if it translates into actual bullying at school, or if it stays in the virtual world.  A quick conversation with one of my daughters revealed that it does, but has evolved since the days of stuffing people in lockers and throwing their binders down the hall.  Now it is even more psychological.  “They just laugh around you,” my daughter said.  “Everywhere you go, people just start laughing and looking at you.  There is no reason for it….they just laugh.”

So, I wondered, at what point do we grow out cyberbullying, or bullying at all for that matter?

Never.

I was at a presentation of Loralee Choate, creator of loraleeslooneytoons.com.  She was talking about the highs and lows of blogging.  The highs, she explained, included a trip to the White House and brandwork with McDonalds (both increadible stories).  The lows had to do with cyberbullying.  She described a friend she had for years in the ‘real’ world who turned into her biggest troll (cyberbully) in the ‘virtual’ world.  It was a dual relationship.  This ‘friend’ would smile at her, then get online under another name and troll her website.

There is a certain sense of invincibility people feel online.  There is an assumption of confidentiality online as well.  I don’t know what can be done to educate the public that the United States Supreme Court found that there can be no expectation of privacy online.  After all, people have been feeling invincible in vehicles for more than 50 years when they are not.  I can’t imagine what technology will be in 50 years, but I hope the virtual learning curve is faster than the drivers’.

Until then, it must come back to oversight.  Parents, webmasters, colleagues, any third party.  Cyberbullies need virtual babysitters, and with so many of our youth in danger of being victims of it, or heaven forbid turning into the cyberbullies themselves, we must be aware.

So that is the point of this blog.  Cyberbullying is out there.  It is real.  It is around.  I admit I don’t understand the rush some people get from destroying another’s self-confidence.  Until reading that facebook conversation with my wife, I didn’t think it was as an immediate danger as it is becoming.

The Jetsons life in a 2011 reality – A look at Videoconferencing.

November 12, 2011 1 comment

I remember the Jetsons cartoon.  I still catch myself humming the theme song sometimes when thinking about my Oregon childhood (Meet George Jetson!).  For those of you who are unaware of such a staple of my cartoon diet, or those who want to take a quick jaunt down your own memory lane, enjoy:

Now that you too have the theme song playing over and over in your heads, I’ll get to the point of this post:  We live a (relatively) Jetsons life.

There is an episode I remember as a kid when a neighbor calls the Jetson’s home early in the morning.  Jane (the mom) was still getting ready for the day; her hair in rollers.  In the Jetsons world, when someone called, a television screen came popping down from the ceiling.  People spoke face to face.  You looked at the person calling.

Jane, of course, couldn’t bear to let herself be seen by the neighbor, so she donned a mask of herself before answering the television.  During the conversation, the neighbor sneezed and her own mask flew off of her face.  The conversation ended quickly!

It was all science fiction of course, but to the six-year-old Todd Hamann it was awesome!  To look at the person on the phone.  Wow!

Fast forward 30 (-ish) years to an older Todd Hamann staring down an iPad Touch running facetime.  It was awesome!  To look at the person on the phone. Wow!

“AHAA!”

Do you ever get that “AHAA!” moment when taking a broad look at today’s technology?  The ‘next big thing’ changes too fast sometimes to even become a big thing at all.  Products evolve so fast that consumers become numb to the technological leaps of each phase.

…anyway, I digress.

Tablet computing has Jetson-ized us even more and I think it would be a good time for that “AHAA!” moment again.  A computer measured in millimeters thick, and fractions of  a pound.  We can call our neighbors with these little TVs anytime, from anywhere.  Society calls it video conferencing, but to this grown-up boy it’s still called awesome.

I took a quick google search and found some professional video conferencing services.  I list them at the end of this post.  Video Conferencing is turning into quite an industry.  It’s cleared the $2 Billion annual revenue mark according to Tandberg.com .   Companies are catching on to this evolution in communication.

 

 

List of Popular Video Conferencing services.

http://www.oovoo.com – free video conferencing for up to six people at a time.  $9.95/month gets you up to 12 people at a time.  Currently a free download, but they will soon release a cloud interface.

http://www.skype.com – free one-on-one conferencing.

http://www.webex.com – $19/month

http://www.netmeeting.com – $49.00/month for up to 15 attendees

Model Leadership Strategies

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

In his book, Touch Points, Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbells Soup, stresses the importance of creating your own leadership models.  I have been studying up on my own leadership model and have reached a conclusion:

Empower, Uplift, and Share the Wealth

In my own leadership experience, I have discovered that these three actions above all will motivate all involved to a synergistic level.  People do not work merely for money, even though they might say they do.  If money was the only driving principle there would be a mass exodus from the public sector to entrepreneurship and business schools would be bursting at the seams with aspiring MBAs.  No, my experience is rather that people work for the pride of their work.  I absolutely know that public employees work for that very reason.  I was in management with the Driver License Division in Utah for long enough to know that.

Pepperidge Farm has also taught me the same thing.  Recently I was walking down a hall and bumped into a Line Lead.  “No one signs the extra work list anymore,” he said with some frustration.  “We need people to stay after, and no one is signing up.”  Clearly, we work for the pride of our jobs.  We work for the recognition of our coworkers and families.  We need the money, but believe it or not money is not the driving force behind why we go to work.

I have listed some popular leadership models below.  It may be a good idea to see where you think you fit into this list as a leader.  As for myself I probably align myself with the Quiet Leadership approach or the Level 5 Leadership model.  How is your workplace governed?

Popular Leadership Models

Transactional Leadership:  Rules..eh, RuleBest used in mature establishments, such as Pepperidge Farm.  Rewards are based on achievement, and punishment is dished out for breaking the rules.  There is a clear chain of command.  The clear advantage is organization, the disadvantage is that organizations that improperly use this organization can focus more on punishments than rewards…rules trump all.

Transformational Leadership:  Energy and Vision.  For this leadership model there must be one charasmatic leader.  People are motivated by a ‘higher cause.’  They are motivated by the idea that they can accomplish anything.  Inspiration comes through words and action, not through rules.

Participative Leadership:  Democracy…pure and simple.  All levels of the company have a say in policy, procedure, etc..  The idea is that with greater participation comes greater comradery.

Situational Leadership:  Mold to the Occasion.  Leadership models adapt with the situation governing them.

Charismatic Leadership:  Transformational Leadership….on steriods!  Leadership hinges on a charismatic leader who motivates with words and reason.  Ironically, having one overwhelmingly charismatic leader can smother creativity and imagination in the work force.  Things improve only on the scale the leader sets.

Quiet Leadership:  In this model, the leader motivates from behind the scenes.  Credit is not taken by the leadership, rather it is attributed to the workforce.  Ego and aggression are not worshipped as in some other leadership models because they are not needed.  Giving the group credit is meant to raise the standard of excellence without leaving a team member behind.  Ironically, Quiet Leadership is usually facilitated by management no less driven than the charismatic leader.

Servant Leadership:  My Responsibility.  In this model, the leader is made to feel they have complete responsibility for the outcome of the line.  The good of the line outweighs the good of the leader.  The leader tends to be self-sacrificial.  success belongs to the team, failure belongs to the leader.

Level 5 Leadership:  Quiet/Servant Leadership.  This is a mash-up of Quiet and Servant Leadership models.  The Company image is more important than the leaders, who merely facilitate the company’s vision.  Leaders in this model are not intimidated to hire those who have more experience or education.  They are humble, but driven.

The Viral Video, Gesundheit!

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

The Classics:

More than 378,000,000 views

 

More than 182,000,000 views

The best out there right now:

More than 1,400,000

Categories: Uncategorized

#Social Media Management is #Ruining my #Life! (rt @toddhamann)

October 10, 2011 3 comments

For the last few months, I’ve been focusing on the Social Media and the Small Business posts.  It’s been an education and I hope it’s helped some small business somewhere.  As a Matter of Fact I’ve been focusing so much on introducing small businesses to the power of social media that it’s most of what I think about.  As my poor wife knows all too well, if I’m thinking about it, I’m talking about it.

I thought I would take a couple blog posts as a deep breath.  I am enjoying social media management so much that I worry sometimes of burnout.  So, a healthy breather is probably a good thing.  I have decided to ramble…just a little.  You know, just close my eyes and type and see where my thoughts take me.

I am getting ready to graduate in May 2012 from Utah State University in Public Relations.  I am gearing that toward, you guessed it, social media management.  It’s fun. Plain and simple.  We’ll see what comes down the pipeline after graduation, but I am doing everything I can to gear my career toward Social.

I’ve been working with a small one man company out here called Mikey’s Balloons (No explanation needed).  Mikey is increadibly talented and has utilized word-of-mouth advertising up until about three weeks ago.  Facebook: non-existant.  Twitter:  nope.  Flikr/Youtube/Google+ were all resoundingly absent as well.  Mikey is a performer by nature.  He is fantastic at what he does.  I’m going to see how fantastic my team is at what we do.  Trying to build something from nothing with no budget…well, hold on to your seats!  I want to do this from here on out with the blog watching, completely transparent.

Argh!  There I go again!!!!!  You see, it is a fever.  It’s a hobby turned into a sick and twisted obsession toward promoting all things facebook and G+. 

I heard a story about six months ago of a world-renowned Chemist who asked his son how college was going.  His son, who was majoring in chemistry, told him that everything was ‘fine’ and left it at that.  The father sat his son down and looked him in the eye.

 “You never talk about school,” he said.

“So,” his surprised son replied, “I talk about school at school.”

“You need to study something that you love enough that you talk about it even when you don’t have to talk about it.”

The son took it to heart, changed his major to Business Administration, and crafted a highly sucessful career.

I relay that to you so you can ask yourself, “What do I talk about?”  What makes you tick?  What is that one thing that you can talk about for hours at a time?  That thing that you don’t mind researching because it’s just that fun? 

I’ve found my thing and it’s taken entirely too long to find.  In my situation however, when I started college Social Media wasn’t Social Media.  It wasn’t accessable.  It wasn’t invented!!!!  I was forced to feel my way blindly through most of my college education until my thing found me.  It was a long, tedious, process full of dead ends and broken dreams, but from this side of the tunnel finding my thing, my major, my passion, is that much sweeter. 

So, to end my rambling, Social Media is ruining my life.  Short and sweet.  Just like Mickey Mouse ruined Walt Disney’s.

Social Media and the Small Business…Location Based Marketing, eh…..huh?

October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

This is the third installment of Social Media and the Small Business, a series designed to educate the small business owner on the power of social media in today’s business world.

 

Location Based Marketing, eh…huh?

 

The Power of Geotagging for the Small Business

 

Location, Location, Location.  The old real-estate addage privides an entire lecture in three words (or one word now that I think about it).  Brick-and-mortar businesses grow around their location.  The better location beats the better product most of the time (Times Square vs. Main Street, USA).  In this new business climate dominated by social media, a concept is now emerging called “Geotagging.”   As A Matter of Fact, location based marketing is slowly redesigning “Location, Location, Location,” into “Tagging, Tagging, Tagging.”

Geotagging is the process of logging your gps location into a host of websites for the public to use as a type of yellow pages. For those who haven’t heard of Geotagging before there is quite a public following to them.  They are called “Lo-social” websites.  Flikr, Foursquare, Yelp, SCVNGR, Facebook, Google, Loopt  and Gowalla are a few websites that support Geotagging.  You may have heard of some of those, eh?

What’s in it for you?

From a business perspective, Geotagging makes perfect sense.  Every time people return to your business, they log in to, let’s say for the sake of conversation Foursquare.com, they tag that they were there.  Some companies reward the person who tags them the most (in foursquare they are entitled the “Mayor” of your business).  The Mayor receives discounts, services, gift cards, whatever you can dream up.  This will cause a stir between the Mayor and others who visit.  This is designed to promote more visits (or at least more tagging).  The more your business is tagged, the more competitive it gets with the Geotaggers and the greater following you will have.  This vicious circle repeats itself over and over and over again.

Some rewards are less monetary in value and more virtual, such as virtual “badges.”  These are given pretty much as bragging rights (e.g. first to tag, first to tag twenty times) that the public can have as status symbols on their profile.

SCVNGER.com puts a twist on their Geotagging philosophy.  They call themselves a game and instead of checking in, you have challenges to perform.  For instance just Geotagging your business may be worth a few points, but taking a picture with the manager, well that would be a larger number of points.  Singing the National Anthem….you get the idea.

There are a host of Lo-social sites right now. Is your business registered with them?

Flikr.com gives the option geotagging all photographs uploaded to it’s site.  Foursquare.com focuses it’s Geotagging community to a social network and provides some fantastic marketing opportunities. 

Lee Odden, in his online marketing blog www.toprankblog.com (that’s right, a blog), gives 17 tips for starting Location Based marketing campaigns.  One concept that hit me while I was reading through his article was the idea that your business may already be on those lists.  People may already be tagging your business and you don’t know it because you’ve never been exposed to the idea.

Another good read as you learn about Geotagging is Shane Snow’s article on Mashable.com.  Worth the click and five minute read. 

It would be wise to at least consider Geotagging sites as part of your social media strategy.  Their main advantage is they bring actual people into your actual business to spend some actual money.  In addition to the bottomline, customers can leave feedback of Lo-Social sites.  The feedback that you will receive from these sites can only help you understand your local public better, and in this economy gaining that feedback is not just a good idea, it is vital.

 

 

 

Social Media and the Small Business…The power of the Blog post

October 2, 2011 2 comments
This is the second installment of Social Media and the Small Business, a series designed to educate the small business owner on the power of social media in today’s business world.
 

The Power of the Blog Post

No doubt if you have been looking around cyber-space and listening to the masses, you will have heard a hefty amount of blog-haters.  As a matter of fact in 2008, Wired.com, Wired Magazine’s website, said not to even bother with those pesky little blogs.  As a matter of Fact, blogs are far from dead, especially business blogs.  Here we are, three years later, and yet another story about the necessity of blogs goes up on BusinessInsider.com

Blogs are a staple in today’s business climate.  It is the Wii of the business world…not the flashiest or panosh of the HD systems like the Xbox 360 and PS 3.  No one in the gaming community really talks about it, yet everyone has a Wii.  So it works with a blog.  A blog doesn’t have the flash of Facebook or the speed of Twitter, but the online community tends to miss it if it’s not there.  Why is that?  Well, I can come down to one solid answer…in business it has become morally correct to operate a blog.  Strange but true.

Michael Martine, a celebrated blogging consultant, on his blog Remarkablogger.com posted an infographic on how blogging fits in with today’s social media:

 

Blogging isn’t going anywhere…any questions?

Another blog post you may be interested in is: 

http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/06/small-business-news-building-your-business-blog.html

Categories: Uncategorized