Media

Do you remember the headlines in 2017?

Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 07.59.04.png

I decided to capture the news headlines for the whole year of 2017. About 3 headlines every single day. 

Why?

To illustrate how we’re all being manipulated by the daily media without us even realising it.

By March I started regretting it, but I continued and have added screenshots of those headlines to a Pinterest board. 

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/stayingaliveuk/headlines-2017

I’ve captured 1,100+ headlines about an average of 3 headlines per day. 

How did I decide what to pick?

Well I basically decided that if my eye, my attention, my internal guidance system drew me to a particular headline then that’s the one that got selected. Of course I did look out for the major ones, the big news items too. Unfortunately Donald Trump and Brexit obviously feature in abundance because there was some news on both every single day. 

I used the Apple News app to tap into the daily news and locate those headlines. 

I am delighted to nearly have completed the exercise with just 3 days left and will be taking 2018 off from even looking at the news app.

Have a look through the board and some of the headlines might surprise you. 

Enjoy!

Are you aware how disappointing you are?

 @LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

As a consumer, I genuinely want to help the companies I buy from. Sometimes it comes out as criticism, but there is always a genuine intention to assist. Sometimes they just don't listen until you give them more direct and sometimes hurtful feedback. Take LinkedIn for example. I have been giving them feedback for years now on their customer service. I have even resorted to writing about it. You can find my articles here and here.

When you want to give feedback to brands and companies and nobody takes you seriously your love for them dies a tiny bit every time until one day you may turn around and say enough is enough. It's like the whole world falls in all at once, but it never did happen all at once, it happens a little bit at a time, usually over a long period of time. 

My wife and I stayed at a recent venue for a short retreat and when checking out, I wanted to give the receptionist, whose sole duty there was to check people out, some feedback on a couple of things during our stay.  Her answer was not unsympathetic but she answered by saying to include our comments on the feedback form, which would be emailed to us. Needless to say the feedback form was very impersonal, no place to add your own personal details and just one generic box to add comments. My love for them died a tiny bit. Not huge but it did hurt a little and whilst I could have been a raving fan, I'm now just a fan. It won't take many more incongruent experiences for me to no longer be a fan.

Brands and companies across the board struggle with this. I do understand, nowadays comments can be flying in from all directions. In the old days the only way you received customer feedback was when they were directly opposite you or you received a letter of complaint.  There was no mistaking how that feedback would be received. Now the comments can arrive in at least a dozen different ways and actually they will never find their way directly to you. They just exist in the cloud and potential customers find them, read them and decide their action. 

We are wired to think negatively or rather we have a survival instinct. This means that when we read negative reviews about a brand or company, we take them seriously. Even if it's just about food, which as we all know is highly subjective. Our primitive brain assumes that if the food is bad we could die, so we will avoid it at all costs. Yes people can get food poisoning however, I personally don't see that many stories of people dyeing in restaurants. When we absorb reviews about places to sleep, we too believe that we could end up feeling threatened in some way. Our physical or mental health could be under threat. 

I do get it, brands and companies lose customers every single day and it's natural to do so. You buy your loaf of bread from one outlet one day and then maybe some other outlet the next. And this is because very few brands and companies really think through the whole buyer's journey, from reading reviews, seeing their network's comments, adverts, the physical buying experience online and offline and the follow-up. How many times do you get a call from your baker to ask you if you were happy with your loaf today?  Not that many right?  It's just an extreme metaphor to make the point.

As the image suggests, true engagement is something you feel!

What's your view? Answers on a postcard or in the comments field below will do nicely!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #customerservice #help #feedback #reviews

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals.  Feel free to click through and book a call with me http://styin.me/discovery-call-20mins.

Do you really believe you’re getting better at it?

 @LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

Depends what you’re talking about right?

Well, I am talking about the quality of your content. If the stats are right and I have no reason to believe they are not, then you and me are checking our phones 110 times a day.

I seriously can’t think of 110 things that I have looked at on my phone, can you? I certainly haven’t shared 110 things. The other day my darling wife Clair received her year in review by Facebook. I don’t get one by the way, because I’m not active enough there! Anyway, her most interesting stat was that, over the year, she had liked 13,500 posts. Averaged out over 365 days, that is 37 posts each and every day and that means some days she will have liked much more and some days much less.

If you are a Marketer, a Social Seller, a Writer, a Digital Native, a Coach, a Trainer and more, you undoubtedly be looking at the Social Web to get noticed, to be heard and be searching for engagement.

Just consider the attention span of your readers. They essentially have about a split second, like a ‘Formula 1’ racing car split second to make up their minds, whether your content is worth engaging with.

I bet you haven’t even read this far. And if you have do tell!

I’m wondering if you’ve even realised how quick you check your phone and ‘thumb’ through the content. How much do you actually retain and what grabs your attention to want to engage with it? Not much right? So have a think, what does actually make you stop and read further. Is it a video, a great image, the crafty and sneaky headline, the compelling question or the incredibly useless tip list? Or maybe it’s just good old regular dogs, cats and food. Yep food is a strange one, really it is, but obviously it’s something we’re totally consumed by, food!

Right then did you get the answer yet? What engages you?

I’d love to learn and I am sure you would to, so help me and all the other marketers out there, share your answer below.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone’s ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don’t really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me. I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Originally published on Medium

The New LinkedIn vs the Old LinkedIn

LinkedIn, is about the change.  I thought it would be good to show you the upcoming differences.   If you are using the LinkedIn mobile app, you will be pleased to learn that it's very close in user interface to the app.  At long last!

Are You Storytelling Yet?

Chapter 1 - Is Storytelling fact or fiction?

To what extent is story or storytelling currently used in events, meetings or conferences in your business? 

I don’t believe storytelling is used widely at all. There is a tendency to show and tell. With that I mean that the presenter or speaker always has something to sell, usually their product or services and therefore they have an agenda. You can’t blame them as this is how presenting is mostly done. When I create Whiteboard Animation videos for my clients, I have to coach them regularly to stop selling and instead ‘Share a Story’. Here is a fun video I created to explain this message in memorable way, hopefully!

How can a story or storytelling create or enhance the effectiveness of business messages and an audience’s perception of leadership from a speaker?

We all love stories, we learnt about stories when we were very very little and it filled our imagination with all sorts of wondrous images. When we grow older we still love stories, we read books, we watch films, we watch TV, we watch the adverts. When we read books we have to fill our brain with images to make sense of the storyline, as otherwise we wouldn’t remember it. When we ‘Share a Story’, it is so much more memorable. When we ‘Share a Story’ it enhances our memory of it, because we make an emotional attachment to it.

Chapter 2 - The benefits of Storytelling

What are the benefits and challenges of using storytelling more and how does technology play a role in this? 

The benefits are very significant. If we are teaching or presenting and we wish our audience to remember what we have said or spoken about, just presenting facts just does not cut it. In fact it is a well known researched fact that we forget 80-90% of what we have heard within hours of leaving a meeting, an event or conference. Check out the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Ebbinghaus

The challenge is we live in a world where we are all being bombarded by advertising messages everywhere we look, it’s getting so much tougher to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. And worse still actually get remembered.

Technology plays a massive part in this. I don’t care what anyone says, we are predominantly visual learners. That means anything visual, images and video is where you can grab someone’s attention. Of course video for me is where it’s at, but not just talking head, animation is going to continue to grow exponentially, so you’d better be doing some.

The objective is just about being more memorable and not forgettable. Most brands are forgettable although they spend millions getting into our minds on a macro level. It’s not surprising that brands are using animals in their ads to evoke an emotional response from us. I call this the ‘Awww Factor’. When we have an emotional response to something we see or experience it will be memorable for longer. Equally the animal in the ad will be memorable and it delivers a hook to the product. 

Watch this video where I explain this concept.

Chapter 3 - The barriers to Storytelling

What do you consider to be the key hinderances that stop people (speakers and presenters) from using story and storytelling methods more? 

Because they can’t think of any and are stuck in a paradigm of using sales speak, Powerpoint Presentation (‘Death by PowerPoint’) methods and their desire to prove to the listening audience that they are credible and important, have a lot of knowledge and wish to impress. Because if they impress, the listener will ‘buy them’. Trouble is the content and the presenter will be forgettable.

The best example of great Storytelling and presenting I can think of are TED talks. The presenters in the main are sharing stories, that’s why TED has been so successful.

Watch this great Ted Talk by film maker Andrew Stanton of Toy Story and WALL-E fame, who shares some clues to a great story.

What can you do to make your messages be more meaningful and memorable for your audience’s ear? 

If it was made compulsory for speakers at meetings, events and conferences to only be allowed to share a story, then they would.

Guidelines could be issued to any speaker to detail how they could make their presentation more engaging by sharing stories.

Here’s another great video that explains brilliantly why stories need to be told instead of presenting bullet point lists.

The video maker has the following description under the video:

A list is great at stating raw information, but raw information alone never changed anyone. Robots love raw information, but humans respond to stories. You know, information that’s wrapped in something they can understand and that has meaning.

So, when you need to explain what your something does, be careful that you’re not just making a list of the features. Give your audience something to believe in. Give them something to care about. Give them a story.

Chapter 4 - The science behind Storytelling

So do you actually know what takes place in your brain when you hear a story?

Let’s compare these 2 short paragraphs and you decide which one is more memorable?

‘Using my smart phone  makes me more efficient and allows me to get back in touch with my colleagues, family and friends in a way I have never been able to do before’.

‘Last week, I was travelling in Europe away from the office and my young family. I have a 2 year-old daughter who misses me when I’m away. Anyway, the scenery was great and I was in the middle of some gorgeous snow peaked mountains. Obviously I was working!I managed to have a good signal on my smart phone and was able to easily get back in touch with my colleagues, family and friends. I love it that modern technology allows me to do this in a way I have never been able to do before.

You may wish to think about the images that appeared in your brain for the 2 different stories.

Here’s a handy infographic that explains in a bit more detail what happens in your brain when you listen to stories.

Do you think it's time for you to start 'Sharing Your Story'? Discuss...

@stayingaliveuk

Are You a Modern Seller?

2015, I hope, will be the year that Social Selling goes mainstream. With that I mean that no longer should we be calling it ’Social Selling’. I prefer us all to be talking about it as ’Modern Selling’. The fact is Sales has always been a Social activity and in some ways Sales Professionals can be confused by the term ’Social Selling’.

In some cases I have witnessed some really awful practices on Social Media, where bombarding folks with constant promotional material and ads are thought of as Social Selling.

Let's examine ’Modern Selling’ in a bit more detail. 

First of all what are some current practices that look like they are going to be killed off by ’Modern Selling’.

  1. The Cold Call. Although this can be at times a useful method, it is definitely starting to drag everyone down. Who actually enjoys receiving a Cold Call these days? This most definitely will be dead and buried in B2B selling by the end of 2015, if not sooner.

  2. The Cold Email. This is a tough one actually. Email is still such a fantastic tool to get in front of folks. It's on people’s phones and therefore it's quite tough to avoid, unless you have set up a super duper filtering system and who has time to figure those out? However I know that more and more people are hitting the delete button for email.

  3. The Email Newsletter. This has been an annoying and nagging interruption for many years now. Who really wants to know about all your great achievements in the past week, month, plus reports on how great you are in the eyes of your latest customers? Nobody cares, really nobody does. I have been unsubscribing from newsletters for about 2 years now and still they continue to add me without asking my permission. I'm guilty too, because I have tried it and well failed, because I haven't felt comfortable about it and you do run out of ideas of what to say. I stopped. I do have downloadable content on my website and it’s completely optional if folks wish to be added to an email list and I state completely upfront that I don't send regular emails. Only now and again will I share some content that is in line with the content they've downloaded. Often that content has nothing to do with me, it's someone else’s content who are able to convey and support my own thoughts much better.

  4. Brochures. Yes some folks are still keeping the printers employed by cutting down trees and distributing brochures to prospects and well anyone who will have them. It's time that these are thrashed, because your prospect will anyway. 

  5. Features and Benefits. This is the biggest one to crack. I would love to see this one dead and buried. Sales professionals spend most of their time practicing these in order to memorise them when in front of prospects and clients. Marketing professionals also spend countless hours presenting these in many different formats, to convince buyers to make decisions based on how their products compare with others. It doesn't make any difference to your buyer. She wants to buy your product to solve a problem. You would be better off listing problems and solutions, so she can see her problem listed. 

What are the alternatives I hear you cry!

  1. Personal Brand. You, whether employed, self-employed, freelance, consulting or any other process you identify yourself with and if you reading this, are already a ’Personal Brand’. This wasn't necessarily possible without Social Networks. Social Networks and by being on them, have allowed you to become a ’Personal Brand’. You HAVE to take this responsibility seriously and if you don't, the consequences can be very harsh. This is the starting point, without this recognition you will struggle to get recognition. You have to craft a great story about yourself and make this consistent across all the Social Networks you exist on. Whether these are personal or business networks. Social is Social, keep the story the same across all. Folks will check you out across all of them and if they aren't in synch you will come across as random.

  2. Conversation. The ultimate aim for anyone in Sales or in Business is to have a conversation with a prospective buyer. Therefore your ideas, approach, strategy and intention should be about how you can have a conversation with your buyer. Your buyer won't be interested in you, the only thing on her mind is juggling and solving her problems. You are most likely an interruption to her day and as such you need to be able to convince her that time spent with you will be well spent! All your actions, communication, social posts, will be to support why a conversation with you will be interesting and more importantly a very worthwhile interruption to her day.

  3. Engagement. This is the holy grail. We all would love to have our connections become potential prospects and at some stage they will have either liked, commented, shared and loved what we posted or have written. Instead of focussing on what you can ’get out’ of your connections, instead focus on what you can ’give’ to your connections. What free content can you share with them that will help them. Share their stories and updates with your network and help them to get more exposure. The route to engagement is trust. This is all you can shoot for to start to develop a relationship. Folks will do business with people they know, like and trust. Once you build trust, which can potentially be developed online, they can start to know you through a conversation, which can be done over the phone. The ’likeness’ can only happen when they start comparing your profile with theirs and get to know you a little better. Folks are always searching for ’likeness’ when meeting new people and if there are some areas of commonality, likeness can develop quite quickly.

  4. Personality. Let your personality shine through at every opportunity. Avoid writing in the third person and reduce the amount of ’I’ statements. It actually isn't all about you. Share ’Why’ you do what you do, as this resonates so much better compared to only making statements about ’What’ you do. If you're able to share passionate insights about how you are helping folks this will also help viewers reach a better understanding about you.

  5. Gratitude. Showing gratitude to new connections for accepting your invite or in response to their invitations is an essential part of the ’Modern Selling’ recipe. Furthermore when it comes to invites, I experience too many invites on LinkedIn that have the standard default text. Asking people to give up their time to look at your profile, read it and decide whether to accept your invitation is actually a big deal. Sending a basic and standard invite therefore is actually saying that you don't respect their time, but you do want them to accept your invitation. I also liken it to talking to someone with your back turned when you meet them for the first time. Something you would never do. You can also show gratitude by engaging with your connections’ posts by liking, commenting, re-sharing, retweeting and favouriting (Twitter). 

We are all learning how to do all of this much better. I still have masses to learn and all of our journeys on Social Media are still very very new.

Take it step by step and think about all your actions and interactions carefully and thoughtfully. When you take your ’Personal Brand’ seriously and you have respect for your connections, you can achieve great things.

@stayingaliveuk

HELP! Older Generation targeted by Computer Virus Scammers based in India

We all receive unsolicited calls from companies trying to sell us stuff. And although we can protect ourselves with ’telephone preference service’ in the UK, companies that call us from overseas are not bound by the same regulations as UK companies. 

When I received a call from an overseas company pretending that they were aware of a computer virus, allegedly on my PC, I decided to record the call and explore exactly what it was that was wrong with my computer.

You can listen to several calls below. Just press play.


It was particularly interesting to me because they told me that they were Microsoft Certified specialists and as I'm a Mac user I was interested to learn how they knew that I had a virus on my computer.

After I recorded the call I uploaded the call on Mixcloud and shared it on Social Media. When someone on Facebook asked me for the Mixcloud link some months later as she too had been targeted by them, I discovered that an ex-employee of the company had shared his experience of working for the company and shared the company’s contact details openly including two of their directors' names and phone numbers.

To read his post just follow the link below to the Mixcloud recording.

http://styin.me/scam-computer-virus-call

The person who contacted me on Facebook asked me how we could make use of Social Media to get this company and its directors brought to justice? She has assisted me with this blog and will be giving it exposure across her network.

So this Blogpost is our attempt to get as much publicity around this scam as possible. Would you like to help us? We need this trending on Twitter for the proper authorities, the press and TV to take notice.

Here are a few options for you to share this blogpost via Social Media.

  1. Tweet this article using the following text: 'investigate urgent #pcvirus #scam http://styin.me/expose-pcvirus-scam @BBCwatchdog @actionfraudUK @ofcom @ICOnews @ScamWarners #askpcxperts' CLICK TO TWEET

  2. Ask others to retweet and tweet their own version too.
  3. Post on your Facebook page the shortened blogpost link: http://styin.me/expose-pcvirus-scam and ask your friends to share and re-post as well.

Let's use the power of Social Networking to get this company investigated by the proper authorities and stop them from causing problems for an older generation who are far too nice and trusting based in the UK, USA and Canada.

If you're outside the UK, please ensure you report them to the proper authorities in your country.

We did further research on social media to see if the company had any profiles and found the following accounts. I have no idea if they are real. I suggest that we report the profiles to the Social Networks.

When you report them use the following text. 

'I would like to bring to your attention that this company's profile represents a company in India that carries out bogus calls to the UK, USA and Canada telling computer users that they have a computer virus. We are reporting them to the proper authorities but I suggest you remove their profile from your network'.

1.  Twitter: https://twitter.com/AskPCExperts

2.  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ask-PC-Experts/536416523112033

3.  Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/askpcexperts-com

I found some further evidence that ASK PC Xperts and United e-Services are one and the same company by further web research. United e-Services was mentioned in the ex-employee's post. The address details certainly appear to match. Below are some web images from a directory search and a job advert.

Thank you for your support!

Additional information:

Domain details: http://styin.me/whoisdomainlookup


Have You Got Content Sorted?

Social Selling experts say that one of the pillars of Social Selling is our ability to demonstrate that we are experts in our industry/sector and thought leaders in our own businesses. One way to show these attributes is to share insights.

Firstly what is meant with insights? Relevant content. Content our buyers are interested in reading and hopefully they'll remember you all the more for sharing it.

The trouble is where do you find those insights/relevant content?

Well, I'm here to share with you that I've pretty much got this part completely sorted. Well in my own mind I have, because I've spent hours refining this and in the process discovering that app developers haven’t made it that easy for us, as of course they aren’t active users of their own apps so there’s no joined-up thinking. 

Until finally the day that joined-up thinking occurred and I'm soooo delighted that those wonderful app developers out there have just made my life even more productive, even though they don’t even know it.

There are just two apps involved and in combination they are my winning formula and very easy to master. If you master this, you will be able to share relevant insights quickly, regularly and easily, with the minimal investment of time and effort.

The first one is Flipboard. Flipboard is an awesome article and news aggregator. And with its magazine style format, it's a dream to browse and flip through the articles. But there are some key things to do, to complete the perfect setup.

  1. Connect all your social accounts in order to get the newsfeed from each of them flowing in your Flipboard. A tile represents a social stream or your selected stream inside Flipboard. Think of it as your individual social magazine.
  2. Do you have twitter lists? Create a separate tile for those.
  3. Have a favourite hashtag? Create a separate tile for as many as you like.
  4. Do you follow key news accounts on Twitter? Like LinkedIn’s Pulse? Add another tile for them.
  5. Create a tile for blogs you follow easy. Get the RSS feed and search for it inside Flipboard and create a separate tile for as many as you wish.
  6. You can create literally dozens of tiles.
  7. Complete the set-up in Flipboard.

The second one is Buffer. Buffer is the best social media sharing/scheduling app on the planet, really it is. Forget Hootsuite.

  1. Download Buffer, free account up to 10 future posts. Paid account $10 per month up to 200 future posts. Go for the paid account, I did.
  2. Connect all your accounts in there too.
  3. Buffer will give you a free email address so you can literally email anything to your schedule (Buffer)
  4. Once you have Buffer installed, I suggest that you learn how to use it properly.

Now with both apps installed and working, you can literally share any article from your Flipboard direct to your Buffer.

Click on the square and arrow icon bottom right, to reveal ‘More Options’ for sharing from your iPhone or iPad. Click on the 3 dots to show more sharing apps and the Buffer logo will be visible. Just select it, be ready to insert a title or message, select the accounts you are sharing to and press ‘Buffer’.

I know it sounds easy and my journey to achieve this has meant that I spent a few hours to learn how Buffer worked and how Flipboard operated.

If you want to have a super-easy, fast, time efficient way of sharing content, this is by far the best route.

I wish you success and let me know when you have mastered it.

Sorry this article is only for iPhone/iPad users.

Teenager says: 'Sorry, I forgot...'

Really?

We all know that teenagers are wonderful people, they are the engineers of the future, the brilliant leaders of the world, the amazing inventors and very clever scientists. We value them and we respect them, well most of the time...

My brain goes purple with rage when I hear them say:

oh sorry I forgot, you know what my memory is like, I just didn't remember...

Why? Because in today's digital world there is absolutely no excuse for anyone, and I mean anyone who has a digital device to forget anything ever.

Teenagers, in the western world at least, have phones, iPods, iPads, iPhones, Androids, Computers, Laptops, Tablets, Kindles, Blackberries and many other digital devices.

All of these devices have something in common and that is they have apps like calendars, notes, tasks and reminders.

Why are they not using these tools?

Every parent and teacher needs to remind their teenage darlings that it's about time that they started using the devices for memory joggers or they will take those expensive devices away from them for ever, not just for a few days.

There should never ever, ever never, never never, ever ever never be an excuse to forget stuff that they are just to lazy to want to remember. It's too convenient to say ’I forgot’, it just doesn't wash anymore.

Remember they have to learn and remember tons of stuff at school and colleges to get through exams and get good grades. They are brilliant at doing this and they do actually remember huge amount of data in their young lives. They are actually much better than adults in doing this because they have to practice remembering stuff every day.

Time to hand out some tough love then, they either start using their devices also for remembering stuff instead of texting, instagramming, tweeting and chatting or they lose them.

Oh and just in case they don't have a digital device, remember pencil and paper?

Go on you can do it.

Is Creating Content the Elephant on the Web?

IMG_1214 Recently I joined a twitter chat #sshour (social selling hour) and the subject of content curation was being discussed. I too have been busy organising my content stream, selecting the articles I enjoy reading and sharing them on my preferred platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. And I love scheduling them using Buffer.

And my reason for doing this? Thought leadership? Just sharing ‘stuff’, which my connections might like to read? Wanting more followers, likes and comments?

Does anyone really give a damn?

And what's our outcome? Is it more engagement with our buyers, receiving more enquiries for our products and services? Or is it ’FOMO’,  fear of missing out? Or ’FOBLO’, fear of being left out?

Social Media has a lot to answer for. It’s changing human behaviour across the planet. We never shared so many intimate details of our lives, so publicly. And as we are so obsessed with sharing content surely we are trying to look interesting, relevant and impressive to our connections and followers?

No wonder there are 630 million search results on google to my question ‘how often should I blog?’

I asked the question last year: ‘Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

I know it’s a great feeling when your article/blog or your shared post gets noticed by your followers. Ever time this happens somewhere deep inside of us we say, ‘Wow she/he loves me’.

And by just pushing out more and more content and posting regularly, are we hoping that we’ll get noticed by some big shot CEO who will approach us to come and do some consultancy or maybe even work for them? There's news there too for us. They aren't reading them.

I believe there are two tribes who do all the blogging and posting. Folks that are self-employed and are making it part of their own personal marketing strategy or folks that work for big business and their job is in marketing anyway.

Everyone in between either don’t really care or are just too busy at work to bother.

I’d love to hear your opinion. Are we overdoing it and heading for blogging/posting burnout?

IMG_1209

Are You Afraid of Rejection on Social Networks?

IMG_1187

You should be...

Many more social networkers are being more discerning in deciding who they connect with. I'm sure by now you've heard the saying: ’you’re network is your net worth’.

It’s more important for networkers to show off 'WHO' they are connected to, compared to 'HOW' many.

What's needed is some {old-fashioned} personal branding. If you're reading this then you're already a personal brand and you might not have realised it yet. It doesn't mean you have to be a Rock Star or some YouTube celebrity, although of course it would help. What's a personal brand? I'm not talking about celebrities, it's anyone these days, who has a profile on a social network, a blog or any other profile that resides on the web, like YOU! Personal branding 2.0 is alive and kicking. Anyone nowadays has a voice, whether, you Tweet, Facebook, Google Plus or LinkedIn, you and anyone else can share their inner feelings and thoughts about any national or any international affairs. Plus your opinion on companies, their customer service and their products and services, counts. Potentially you can cause massive damage to reputations of companies or individuals.

With this power also comes great responsibility.

I am assuming that your reputation matters to you and this means, you should take it seriously. Anyone with an internet connection can interrogate your presence on the web. And as you're probably reading this on LinkedIn, a search result of your LinkedIn profile will very likely appear on page 1 of Google when someone searches for your name.

In 1 keystroke any searcher can learn everything about you in a just a few seconds.

Doesn't this warrant a great presentation of your personal brand? It absolutely does. For the past few years we've all rushed to join the latest social network in 'fear of missing out' (#fomo) or ensuring that as a minimum we've got a profile in case someone happens to search for us there. And in that rush we have proliferated our profiles across these networks causing a huge amount of inconsistency. Here are just 4 items from my audit checklist for you to review and examine how you're doing with your own personal brand:

  1. Do you have different profile photos on different networks? Most of us are still super critical of the way we appear on photographs. This means we scour our photo library picking out the best photo that we perceive will represent us in the best light. What happens is you may select a photo of yourself in business attire and place that on LinkedIn. You’ll find another one from your holidays maybe with family and friends in a T-shirt, crop yourself and place that on Facebook. Or maybe a family picture and use that on Google plus or Twitter. And when you are developing your personal brand this type of inconsistency completely confuses the viewer.
  2. Are you using the company logo instead of a profile photo? If you are a big brand great, push your recognisable logo if need be. However if you are a small or micro business, using your logo is THE most impersonal thing you can do. And using a logo on your personal profile on LinkedIn is just plain silly and actual against LinkedIn's terms, which you agreed to, remember?
  3. Do you write a different ’about’ section on each profile? It's one of the easiest errors we can make. To become a recognisable personal brand you need to have consistency as readers will scan your profile and at least pick up a few keywords from your ’about section’ with an opportunity to remember them. If they vary greatly it will lead to readers being confused and not remembering anything tangible from your ’about section’. I know the no. of words allowed also varies greatly, which means that brevity counts.
  4. Are you using different header images across networks? Everyone has gone header crazy. Plus the sizes differ hugely. Furthermore how the header interacts with the profile photo and how it appears on mobile devices is another factor that complicates things further. Use your graphic designer to help you get the best look and resolution.

Take a few minutes and review your social networks and adjust them to be closer in line with each other. After all your personal brand is important to you, it's time to take it seriously.

@stayingaliveuk

ps. A great business friend, Richard Tubb @tubblog, asked me to review his media branding and this inspired me to write this article. Thanks Richard!

Are You Improving Your LinkedIn Profile?

I teach people every week how to improve their LinkedIn profile. However there are millions on LinkedIn who don't bother to improve their profile. Most aren't getting it yet and don't appreciate that your profile on LinkedIn is your personal brand. Ignore it and you will reduce your chances of finding that perfect job, that career progression or that perfect client. The 1st key area is the profile photo. I still see many profiles and receive invites from people who don't even bother with a professional head and shoulders profile photo. Or they have a badly taken photo which could be a holiday photo or where they stand far in the distance. I completely don't understand this. The other day someone's excuse was that they had put on weight and therefore didn't want to share their photo. And what part of you thinks that people will take you seriously without a photo?

Personally I say, what are you hiding by not wishing to post a photo of yourself? In fact if you don't post a photo of yourself the chances of people connecting with you is reduced by at least 50%.

So it is essential you make this a priority.

The 2nd key area that is ignored by many is your headline. Many make the mistake to enter a title like; manager, director, coach, programmer, student etc. Of course you can use this if you wish, however you have 120 characters of space to tell the reader what you can do for people and what you are good at. OK, granted if you are a student it makes it slightly harder however you also want to stand out of the crowd, so putting something like ’Researching the meaning of the Universe to better serve my future clients’ or something equally different will make you stand out.

The reason for putting something different is that your headline follows you around wherever you go on LinkedIn. For example when you send emails inside LinkedIn, when you send invites to connect, when you post discussions in groups. Each time your headline will be shown and if you just keep your title only, it won't tell the reader anything about you. In effect it's your elevator pitch that is presented every time they read something from you.

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The 3rd area is your skills and expertise. LinkedIn have developed this section carefully over a number of years, originally it was called specialities, which was a simple text box, where you could list your specialities. Now LinkedIn suggests to your connections to endorse your skills and they have succeeded tremendously with this initiative. The main reason they have developed this is for their advertisers. Advertisers are able to target their ads very specifically to you based on the skills on your profile. Now you know why LinkedIn keeps giving you suggestions to endorse people. The profile header has even got a new button at the very top saying ’endorse’.

Now most members overdo it. They list the maximum 25 skills. Firstly only 15 will show on your profile but only 10 are in a list with the photos of those that endorsed you, which tends to be the list that most people go for. Everyone scans profiles and because the main list of 10 is more visual they tend to just go for those. Plus they tend to be the highest endorsed and that's why it makes it easy for them. So reduce your list to 10 and keep very focused.

Once you've identified your list and you are happy with it, this list of skills become your keywords. Keywords inside LinkedIn is essential if you want to be found on search. With 260 million members your job is to have your profile optimised for search.

Then take those skills (keywords) and spread them intelligently throughout your profile including a few inside your headline.

This will definitely help when people are searching for members based on skills.

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Finally the 4th key area is your summary. Most of the time members use this to promote themselves, which is fair enough if you're looking for a job. However most are actually looking to promote their business or their employer if they are an employee. Of course you need to say something about yourself and I would suggest this is done under your experience section. THE most important part of your summary should be some text that describes what you can do for people. Note, ’what YOU can do’ for people ’NOT what you DO’!

Keep the text short, lots of white space and bullet points wherever possible. This allows the reader to scan your summary in super quick time. Remember people are time poor and don't have time to read a very wordy profile summary.

OK I think that's enough for now. These in my view are the 4 key areas on your LinkedIn profile that need work. It shouldn't be too overwhelming for you. Another tip is to re-visit your summary, headline and skills regularly. It is vital that you refresh these and update them based on things that are changing in your world.

Wishing you massive success always!

How Do You Share Content?

As part of your journey into ’Social Selling’ and becoming your own ’Personal Brand’, you will inevitably need to share content. You don't always need to write your own content, although it’s obviously better if you did. Not everyone likes writing, certainly it took me a few years before I started blogging.

So curating and sharing other’s content is OK, providing it adds value to your own authority on your subject matter.

So how do you do it? Or rather how do I do it?

First we have to answer a few questions. Why share content in the first place?

Well, it shows that you are interested in your subject matter and more importantly that you wish to share it with your network and maybe, just maybe they will get something from it. Don't be concerned about not receiving any comments, likes or shares, that should definitely NOT be the reason for sharing your content.

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However they might and it's that possibility that should encourage you to keep sharing. You just don't know where it could lead to.

I use just 3 apps for doing all my curating and sharing.

Firstly the best sharing app that I use is ’Buffer’.

I have written a separate blog on buffer, so go ahead and read more about it there.

The second app is Flipboard, where I follow different streams that are closely connected to my subject matter, plus all the posts from people I follow.

The third app is ’Pulse’, a LinkedIn app, which allows me to find more content, by LinkedIn Influencers and many other news streams.

Buffer allows me to email all content I find on the web, either via these apps or generally on the web.

I have set my buffer to share the content 3 times per day, meaning my content is posted automatically in the morning, lunchtime and evening. Times of the day that people are most likely to browse their mobile devices.

I will add additional content now and again on a more spontaneous basis. And I also add some personal comments now and again about any subject I wish. This will hopefully show people that it's not all about business and they will see my personality come through too.

So it's time to start writing, get searching, reading and finally sharing. Have fun and ensure that you have your audience in mind when sharing content.

Wishing you success always!

Just 3 Apps for busy Executives?

Just 3 apps for busy executives...really? If you are a baby boomer or even if you're not and you're not sure which apps to download on your shiny new Apple iPhone 5S or iPad Air.

How about just having 3 in addition to all the ones you get free from Apple of course.

The idea is for you to achieve a super fast review of what's going on what is being said about your company, so you can scan it (read), write it or find it.

Number 1 is Flipboard

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Flipboard is still for me THE best social integration magazine app around. There are others but as Flipboard was first and they made the biggest impression, for me they have stayed ahead of the crowd.

What do you need to do?

  • You need your company social feeds as priority 1. This means you can view and keep up to date with what your marketing teams are sending out.
  • You need your own social feeds if you have time to be engaged with them. You can have feeds from all the major ones, plus you can post and engage from within Flipboard too, so there's no need to download the individual apps. Its basically your single dashboard for everything.

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Second is LinkedIn

If you're no making use of LinkedIn, then you are missing out on some key intel. LinkedIn is now THE biggest and MOST important professional database in the world.

Fortune 500 employees are there for sure and most Executives have a profile, even if some of them are hiding them.

Time to get out of the shadows and be seen!

The LinkedIn iPad app has received a major overall and now its fast and accurate. You have to meet someone, call them or even research them. Using LinkedIn is the best tool for doing that.

Your company profile should be there too. With all the detail of your latest marketing posts.

Remember of course you can pull a lot of the feeds into your Flipboard too! Primarily though this iPad app is for research and engagement.

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Third is iA Writer

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Not much to be said, its a simple writing app, no distractions, no formatting, no fluff, just think and write. A draft email, a report, meeting notes, just anything that needs recording simply easily and safely. Done!

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Go and get those and STOP playing games, use your mobile devices to do some business and stay focussed!

Success!

 

 

Are You Losing Growth on LinkedIn?

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Members are losing growth because they are using the mobile LinkedIn app.

Since I started using LinkedIn seriously, I made sure NEVER to invite new connections with the standard LinkedIn invite sentence, 'I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn'.

It made a massive difference to growing my network and reach and I'm pleased with my progress.

I teach others to always use a personal message and write something to make the invite personal. All of you know this right?

So why has the standard invite not been changed?

And why hasn't mobile given us the same opportunity for sending a personal message?

Now that LinkedIn is being opened up to a bigger and younger audience, guess how they will invite someone? Correct, via mobile! Guess how many rejections they will receive? Loads.

Why? Because business professionals are saying that they will not connect to someone they don't know and especially if they don't include a personal message.

Mobile will by far be the biggest opportunity for LinkedIn growth, most new members wish to grow their network fast, especially young people, as they are keen and excited with a new opportunity like LinkedIn.

They've been used to just invite hundreds of school friends on Facebook and follow like crazy on Twitter. It will be wrong for them to replicate their behaviour from those platforms, but we both know that they won't and will make a massive mistake but just sending out tons of invites, by clicking on ’connect’ against profiles showing up on their mobile devices.

Please Mr. LinkedIn, please change the way that you can invite members to connect on mobile and please, change the standard #LinkedIn invite sentence or at least add a flag that says, say something personal.

The ’only invite people you know’ message just doesn't work anymore.

Looking forward to some positive action from you Mr. LinkedIn.

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Have you used Buffer app yet?

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 08.59.03 You may not have used Buffer as yet, but I'm here to tell you that if you haven't then you MUST. Of course only if you are involved in posting on different social media platforms for your own business or you are doing it on behalf of the business you work for.

So let me summarise what in my opinion are the MAJOR benefits of Buffer.

It's a very simple app, that is focused on doing one thing really very well

It works elegantly on all mobile devices as well as your desktop or laptop browser

You can post direct from any browser by installing the plugin, which allows you to buffer anything that you come across on the web

You can install a sharing button on your own website for other buffers to use When you send your posts to buffer it does exactly what it says, it puts them in a buffer and releases the post based on your preferred time schedule, which you set-up in advance for each account

You can set up many different channels and after a recent update the following channels can be activated; Facebook (personal), Facebook (company page), LinkedIn (personal profile), LinkedIn (company page), LinkedIn (group), Twitter, Google+ (company page), Google+ (personal profile not yet available).

The ability to send an email to all your active accounts in one go and the post will be scheduled according to your time schedule

The app also provides analytics on the posts, which you are able to collate and monitor If you don't want to auto schedule your post based on your pre-determined time schedule, you can customise a specific date and time for specific posts

You are not distracted by other streams from your connections as with other scheduling apps

If you just want to share something instantly, you can do it in the moment and of course it will go to all your active channels

You can switch certain channels off to be included in the auto schedule and instead included as and when you wish

If you have your own URL shortener it will automatically convert it to your own URL. Needs a bit of organising but it works very well!

Buffer’s team are awesome and give fantastic customer service

They write brilliant blogs and not just about their service

Here's a blogpost sharing great tips for using buffer tog tether with a cheat sheet with shortcuts.

20130913-231249.jpghttp://blog.bufferapp.com/top-hidden-buffer-hacks-features-social-sharing

Enjoy it and if you need any help, let me know or just contact @bufferapp.

Success!

What Stage are You at with LinkedIn?

The 4 stages of LinkedIn In all my dealings with clients, I have concluded that their are 4 stages of progress with LinkedIn.

Most members are stuck at stage 1, what I call the 'Profile' stage, where they are still getting to grips with developing a decent profile, that shows what they can do for people or employers instead of 'what' they do.

The objective of course is to get to stage 4, the 'Sell' stage and this is the same for members looking for business or for those looking for jobs or advancing their career.

You do need to commit time and effort to each stage and make sure you are comfortable and confident in applying or completing the stage before moving on.

Each stage prepares you for the next one and its a logical progression. There is no way you can dive in and start 'Social Selling' until you have a decent profile, a decent size network and you know how to behave.

I often say that not having a decent profile with a decent photo is like greeting someone in person with your back turned to them. I still see too many holiday snaps, people posing in the far distance or with family members and mates. Its a disaster and it will NOT win you business or your next job. NO WAY!

When you invite members to connect with you, they will almost certainly look to see if you have over 500+ members. Why? It makes you an attractive connection. Adding another 500+ people to their 2nd level network means they will achieve more exposure on LinkedIn and allows them in turn to find potential prospects to connect to easier too.

If you have 500 connections, who in turn have 500 too, it means your network grows to 250,000 in a heart beat. Now this gives you options and social is a numbers game, sorry but it is. And for those who tell me they are very careful who they connect to and decline people they do not know, you need to wise up to the fact that your network will stay small, because of your small thinking.

Once those two stages are out of the way, you can focus on your behaviour inside LinkedIn and this includes groups, emailing, sharing, liking and commenting. A massive subject taken for granted by most. Oh and it's NOT a promotion campaign that's what the advertising channel is for.

Only after those 3 stages are completed can you think about how to develop leads on LinkedIn.

Hope that makes sense? If you wish to book on the '4 stages of LinkedIn', my price is £200 + vat ($350), for 4 hours of tuition, 13 weeks online support via my LinkedIn group, costed based on the size of your group. £35 ($49) for my 2-hour video course 'Mastering Your Profile on LinkedIn'.

My coaching is over a period of 8 weeks, with a 2-week interval between each stage allowing you to adopt your new learning and implement a new approach.

It's a small investment, if you consider how much potential ongoing annual turnover/profit you will make from just adding one new customer every month to your current business.

I look forward to working with you to make that a reality.

Success!

What can The Workplace learn from Social Media?

culture map flickr - dgray_xplane For decades organisations across the globe, are searching for the holy grail, ’Employee Engagement’.

Engagement levels are on the rise globally but shifting across regions. Although the economic impact of the recession continues to rebound in some areas and recess further in others, engagement levels rose slightly to 60% in 2012, up 2 percentage points from 58% in 2011. We see the largest engagement increase in Europe (improving 5 percentage points) and Latin America (improving 3 percentage points). North America’s engagement decreased slightly by 1 percentage point—particularly in the U.S., where engagement dropped 3 percentage points—and Asia Pacific remained the same. [Source: AonHewitt: http://www.aon.com/attachments/human-capital-consulting/2013_Trends_in_Global_Employee_Engagement_Highlights.pdf]

So globally we've pretty much stayed about the same, which means 40% of employees are NOT engaged. But what does engagement actually mean?

Does it mean they show up but nobody is at work? They do the basics but nothing extra? They prefer not to get involved in those famous ’let’s be a team’ activities?

Or...people are busy with life, work is just a part of it and they carry their worries with them wherever they go including into the workplace? After all we have just one brain and leaving your troubles at home, just doesn't work, because our brain goes with us wherever we go.

But Social Networks have exploded and people are very engaged there! So what happened there?

I've been fascinated by Social Networks for the past 5 years, not only have I actively engaged with them, I've wanted to understand why everyone loves them so much.

That's when I decided to write ’Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’

So here's the bombshell, we are not loving our workforce enough it’s as simple as that. Many years ago I was involved in the Health and Wellness industry and tried to alert organisations of the need to improve their wellness efforts at work. One of the ways that I suggested they did this was through an online survey called the ’Wellness Inventory’.

I remember presenting this to a major building society in the UK to the HR Director. One of the items on the ’Wellness Inventory’ that people had to answer questions for was an item called ’Love’. He saw this and immediately said; ’actually we don't think that is appropriate here’.

I realised in that instant that I was pushing water uphill with this inventory and getting organisations to adopt it and sure enough I had to change direction after a few months of getting nowhere.

I hear stories every day now from employees who work for small, medium and large organisations. Those stories confirm to me that people at work are not loved enough.

It's time to examine the success of Social Networks and take on board the tactics that these Social Network giants adopt to gain more members, more engagement and share the love.

It's not a bad 4 letter word, you must just try it!

Have you understood the new LinkedIn updates?

LinkedIn have been busy. Their have been 6 significant updates in the past few months and I'm sure there will be more on their way. I have created this one page MindMap to help you view what the different updates mean.

You can download the PDF by clicking on the link below or just click on the image below to view it online.

In summary the new features are:

  1. New all encompassing search bar
  2. Rich media updates on your home page or company page, upload files or images
  3. Mentions, you can now mention anyone or a company when you post an update
  4. Contacts, completely revamped and improved
  5. 'You recently visited' graphic to interrogate and review what you've been up to
  6. 'Whose viewed your updates', a great measurement tool to see what posts are receiving engagement

Success!

New LinkedIn Features

New LinkedIn Features

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE4gRccorCk

 

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Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?

As published in The Non-Significant Journal of Business & Consumer Psychology Issue 2.1 - Spring 2013

Background

In recent years, an increasing number of scholars have sought to study and measure the impact of social networks (social media).

Social media network connection concept
Social media network connection concept
  • A 2010 study by the University of Maryland suggested that social networks may be addictive, and that using social networks may lead to a "fear of missing out", also known by the acronym "FOMO" by many students.
  • It has been observed that Facebook is now the primary method for communication by college students in the U.S.
  • According to Nielsen, global consumers spend more than six hours on social networking sites.
  • Consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites—roughly 20% of their total time online via personal computer (PC), and 30% of total time online via mobile.
  • Tim Berners-Lee contends that the danger of social networking sites is that most are silos and do not allow users to port data from one site to another. He also cautions against social networks that grow too big and become a monopoly as this tends to limit innovation.
  • According to several clinics in the UK, social media addiction is a certifiable medical condition. One psychiatric consultant claims he treats as many as one hundred cases a year.

Introduction

Networks are not new; they have existed since the very first existence of cells on planet earth. It's quite amazing to know that our cells work together in networks to achieve tasks together. One such example is wound healing. For wound healing to occur, white blood cells and cells that ingest bacteria move to the wound site to kill the microorganisms that cause infection. At the same time fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) move there to remodel damaged structures. This is a wonderful example of how cells behave together in networks.

Even our brain neurons wire together in associative networks to create our memories and skills. Cell division even mirrors the way that networks grow.

We humans are no exception in nature. We exist and flourish as part of networks. We seem to have some inborn instinct to behave in this way, actively involving ourselves in many different systems of connections.

Thumbs up like button on white background.
Thumbs up like button on white background.

The first network we experience in our lives is the immediate family, where we learn how to be social by watching our parents and siblings. Beyond that, we soon learn how to ‘network’ with other groups of adults and children. We then start our social journey by joining many different networks, the nursery, primary and secondary school, the college and university and then our work and leisure networks.

The size, membership and complexity of these networks may grow or contract during our lifetime, but they always remain an important part of our experience. There are several theories put forward to explain this networking phenomenon, from Social Comparison Theory,Role Theory,Homogeneous Theory and the Social Identity approach. The evidence seems to point to the conclusion that networking is in part driven by our genetic make-up.

Tribes

These networks have a major impact on our lives. They determine how we see the world and how we see ourselves; we constantly monitor how we are accepted in our various networks.

Perhaps another word for these networks could be 'tribes'.

Belonging to a 'tribe', gives us the feeling that we are part of ‘something bigger’ then we are. It helps to give our lives more meaning and significance. The belief that you belong to a ’tribe’ is reinforcing, as it encourages you to relate more strongly with the other individuals in that ’tribe’. It helps with the identity that you have given yourself as you became an adult.

When your ’tribe’ behaves in the same way that you do, you will consider them the same as ’you’ and somehow feel a connection. It triggers an automatic approval, telling yourself that they are OK as they behave in a similar way to you.

The way that this translates in social networks is that individuals will follow people on twitter, send each other friends’ requests on Facebook or ask to be connected inside professional networks, like LinkedIn. We may have never met the person but for some reason we want to share intimate details of our lives with them.

Facebook
Facebook

Never in the world have we seen this kind of behaviour before. It did not exist before social networks appeared on the worldwide web. You could not have imagined walking up to strangers, people you have never met and suddenly start sharing your personal life with them. It just didn’t happen. We as humans need to trust someone first before we will share personal details. In social networks personal details are being shared all the time without any apparent shyness or reservation.

And the only reason this happens is because we have connected at some level with this stranger in a social network where their behaviour mirrors our own. In social networks we behave for around 80% of the time exactly the same way as everybody else. Just the act of being in a social network together, posting updates, sharing content means you are doing the same as everyone else and that makes you part of that tribe.

Significance

Social networks give us a platform for significance. According to Anthony Robbins, significance is one of the 6 human needs as per his Human Needs Psychology model.  We all have a need to be significant in our lives and when family and friends, like, comment or respond to our activity inside social networks, we feel good, we feel loved, we feel significant.

Dopamine is closely associated with reward-seeking behaviours, such as approach, consumption, and addiction. Recent research suggests that the firing of dopaminergic neurons is motivational as a consequence of reward-anticipation. This hypothesis is based on the evidence that, when a reward is greater than expected, the firing of certain dopaminergic neurons increases, which consequently increases desire or motivation towards the reward. This is why social networks are so addictive and why games inside social networks (e.g. Farmville) are so popular. Equally though, aggression is also evident in social networks and recent studies indicate that aggression may also stimulate the release of dopamine.

Why do humans enjoy social networks?

Humans are social beings, they thrive around other humans and other humans make them thrive. Without human interaction we have no reason to exist. Compassion and love is a ready built-in operating system, which we are born with. Without the love we experience on the day of our birth we would probably die. Throughout our lives we crave that love and connection with other humans. Especially as those humans are the same as us or expressed in another way, exist in the same tribe as us.

Anthony Robbins’ Human Need Psychology says that one of our 6 human needs is love and connection15 .

Physical social networks, whether it’s the family unit, our workplace unit or other tribal social networks, which we belong to for our sport, hobbies and political activities, all exist because there is some love and connection that takes place.

Virtual social networks via the web also exist for the same reason. The creators of these networks have been able to create certain activities to allow us to feel love and connection with a connection or a tribe that exists inside these networks. Whether it is ’liking’, ’commenting’, ’sharing’, ’re-tweeting’, ’favouriting’, ’re-posting’, the user feels good when this takes place or in other words they do feel loved. This is very addictive and when dopamine is released in the brain, we want to experience more of this feeling16 .

As human beings we also want to give out love and this is another one of the human needs and is called ’contribution’. And therefore in social networks we also like to contribute to our fellow human beings.

The way that this translates inside of virtual social networks is no different. For example by actively ’liking’, ’sharing’, ’commenting’, it makes us feel good and drives us to do more of it, whenever the recipient rewards us in some way for taking this selfless action. And guess what happens more dopamine is released and the more addictive it becomes.

Put on top of that Ivan Pavlov’s dog experiment

and ’ding, ding, woof, woof’, every time our mobile device makes that familiar notification noise, we know that this could mean more dopamine and more love, so we’ll react instantly to the need of that possibility.

How social learning grows networks

In 1961 Albert Bandura conducted a controversial experiment known as the ‘Bobo-Doll ‘experiment, to study patterns of behaviour associated with aggression. Bandura hoped that the experiment would prove that aggression can be explained, at least in part, by social learning theory, and that similar behaviours were learned by individuals modelling their own behaviour after the actions of others. The experiment was criticised by some on ethical grounds, for training children towards aggression.

Bandura’s results from the Bobo Doll Experiment changed the course of modern psychology, and were widely credited for helping shift the focus in academic psychology from pure behaviourism to cognitive psychology. The experiment is among the most lauded and celebrated of psychological experiments.

Penguin points
Penguin points

This study can be viewed as quite significant and why social networks grow so fast. When we see the activities of others in social networks, we start to wonder if we're missing out on something and whether we need to start involving ourselves. When we then discover that our tribe, (whether family, work, hobby or other tribe), is doing the same, we will stay and investigate it further. And that is when we start enjoying shots of dopamine in our brain and when the addiction of this social network interaction starts working.

CAUTION: NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS

Conclusion

Social networks are here to stay, they've always existed and whether they are physical or virtual they are an important piece of our human make-up. My personal view too is that back in the times when humans went through war and terror they would draw closer to each other and grow closer socially. For example, during World War II, it was easier to connect with our fellow humans as we were all going through the same terror and strife. We would look out for one and other and support each other.

Basically we were giving each other a lot of love.

Bird Doodles
Bird Doodles

As the human population has grown and spread across the globe, some of the physical connections may have been lost. Virtual social networks have allowed us to make that re-connection with each other and in fact get in touch with people who we may not have seen for many years.

Of course this makes us feel loved and appreciated too.

And now, because these virtual networks show us how many fans, followers, and friends we have, this is proof to the world and ourselves how popular we are.  We take this metric as an important measure of how many people approve of us or rather love us, a kind of ‘love-o-meter’!

...or in Bryan Ferry’s - Roxy Music words...”Love is the drug I’m thinking of...”