Posts Tagged ‘social media

27
Jan
11

There IS an “I” in Team!


Maybe it’s me, maybe I have this strange genetic animosity against cheesy, nauseating clichés… such as There is no “I” in Team.

Well guess, what? There is a darn “I” in Team, in fact there are many!

I guess it’s time we woke up and realized that this is the era of micro-marketing. Orwellian strategies are dead. The power of a team is in the power of every “I” in it.

Marketing has evolved from a Woodstock massive hallucination tactics, where one gets the idea, and the others glue themselves to it and call themselves “Team”, to a more polarized view where the power of a team and the magnitude of its outcome is mostly based on the performance of every individual separately. Only then, the efficiency of a team can be measured.

The stupid “I”-in-a-Team thing, was probably the brainchild of someone who was so lazy and inefficient that he or she had to hide their failure by not being an “I” and instead becoming a team! Pffff!

My aim in this post is to revive the concept of the team, talk about it again. It’s been a while we haven’t reflected on what makes a team and why. We have been drowning in calling ourselves “team” and became oblivious of what made us one.

Let me first start by saying that based on the new universal truth of “Perception is Reality”, teams everywhere around the corporate galaxy are cheering themselves. They are doing so for successes the hero of which is embedded in the deepest layers of the “perception” of team.

Look at Social Media and how successful organizations are managing their online strategy. Social Media is about speaking to every “I” in a team, culture, society or ideology. It is not anymore, like middle-ages advertising, about talking to clusters of masses that we look at like blobs of potential buyers. Every “I” we talk to in Social Media, teams up with other “I”s to form working influential teams.

I just love dictionaries. They have this simple and innocent way of explaining things that leaps beyond our weird way of translating them:

TEAM |tēm|
noun [treated as sing. or pl. ]
a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport.
• two or more people working together : a team of researchers
• two or more animals, esp. horses, harnessed together to pull a vehicle.

So here it is, in the most stark contrast with our game of perception and reality, a team is always about two or more “I”, each doing his, her or its job to achieve the team’s mission.

I know, I know, some of you are reading and wondering what the hell has gotten into me now to start philosophizing on the issue! I’ll tell you what, frustration! That’s what.

I am frustrated at the way we take things, twist them, mold them, shape them and keep massaging them until they fit our own vision of things… Not that we always have a “vision” of things… Vision might be a big word for the stupid us who actually do that… The amazing fact is that we actually create “teams” to do it!

I have to always come back to Lebanon for resourceful examples, for two reasons: Who am I to reflect on the world? And two, simply because Lebanon is an amazingly fertile ground that spawns imbecilities and is constantly kept at the perfect temperature to store them, freezing!

So, looking at Lebanon and how Lebanese at large perceive the concept of Team, you can’t help but think that our definition of team is: The ultimate hideout for mediocrity that simultaneously manages to uplift our image!

Your image will become that of the team’s. In other words, you’re a nobody that does nothing and yet manages, along with other “team members” to keep doing nothing, and collect the credit earned by that poor single team member who does all the work! Wao! I’d like to do that sometimes.

I bet most of you now are thinking about the “teams” you have at work, the ones you are part of, and whether you’re the parasite or the hero… Good. Keep thinking.

As for me, I do not care about how things go at work. What I worry about is how can a country become a corporation managed by “teams” of parasites with no heroes whatsoever, and still manage to create credit, share, brag about it and earn the people’s praise. Now that, is the epitome of “Perception is Reality”.

One loophole, It takes a moron to follow a moron. We are breeding a culture of morons, where finding a single hero to inject in a team of losers is becoming virtually impossible.

Those morons are the people who established the rule of “There is no “I” in Team”. Why? Because they’re right. There can’t be an “I” in a team of morons. There can only be one entity of assimilated pea-sized brains who managed to find salt-grain-sized brains to lure!

The others – those who refuse to be morons, to be lured… or ruled by morons – have discovered a higher universal truth: “The Perception of Perception-is-Reality”, and simply refuse to be assimilated.

There are many “I” in every team where success is measured by the power of synergy, and how reality becomes perception. And there is not one single “I” in a team where success is measured by its perception rather than its reality.

©2011 Ibrahim N. Lahoud

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22
Dec
10

Do you believe Social Media can drive business in the Arab World?


20
Dec
10

Social Media; “Share and Dare” versus “Trial and Error”


What’s so social about digital media?

How did those two words come together?

Why has suddenly the Internet become the most (virtual) convivial tool?

And how did it manage to turn conviviality into a business asset?

Simple. Our crave to make contact knows no boundaries. What’s more, we are more inclined to establish contact with remote nodes rather than close ones. Remember the days when you used to write letters to your cousins in Brazil? Before they left motherland, you used to see each other on holidays only. Once they were miles away, you found yourself communicating with them more than ever, getting to know them even more than when they were closer.

This is what made Facebook so successful; not that it was its original intention.

Businesses discovered an amazing insight: Don’t get your brand closer to customers; get customers craving for your brand. The farther you keep your brand in the virtual realm, the closer you get your market to it. Paradoxical fact. No wonder Starbucks is the most Social Media savvy brand.

But don’t get me wrong! I am not encouraging brands to push away from their markets.

Here’s another metaphor: Live with someone for a year under the same roof for every single day without ever going out, and you’ll end up having nothing to talk about. Come to think about it, you’ll end up killing each other! Move away from each other for periods of time, and you’ll come back with loads of topics to chat about. The secret of solid relationships is measured by the power of people to manage contact.

The power of social media resides in its ability to offer and exchange information in an interactive and dynamic way. It is there when you need or want it only.

Social media is the “anti-advertising” communication.

Social Media does not advertise, it communicates. It does not claim, it states. It does not patronize, it educates.

We, the Digital People, hate advertising, claims and patronizing. We love communication, clear statements and education.

Social Media is the “Make-A-Friend” DIY kit of brands.

Why?

Because we choose what to browse, read and interact with. We define our digital universe, acquire the tools we feel are right for us, and most of all, we do so by learning, watching what others do and using smart synthesis. It is not anymore trial and error, but rather sharing and daring.

Think about it, trial and error are the two most scary words in business, let alone personal. Trial induces delving into unknown grounds, so unknown that it never spells “trial and success” but “trial and error”. I mean really, how encouraging and engaging is it?

Sharing puts you at par with others. So if you’re a brand you’re not condescending. You’re not “telling”, you’re simply sharing, making the receiver part of the process, a partner, a peer. Daring is exactly what you expect as a reaction. Daring is nothing like trial. Where trial sound like a jump in a dark abyss, daring is more about courage, more about knowing “where” or “what” to try. This is what make “Facebookers” and “tweeps” exchange massive amounts of information.

Look at your Facebook friends. Most of them are shy in real life, yet share so much information on their profiles. Observe your fellow tweeps and see how you can easily profile them just by monitoring their tweets.

Social Media takes advantage of a very well-known syndrome; the virtual relationship, where establishing and sustaining a contact is by far easier than in real life. This is because we feel more secure and more in control of the information we receive and interact with. The more comfortable we are, the more we dare, and the more we dare, the more we share. Simple equation.

Brands in the 21st century are striving to make friends rather than customers, advocates rather than buyers. Before, brands used media only, pushing information down our throats and expecting us to believe and purchase. It did not work, at least not as much as they expected it would. The missing ingredient to make friends and advocates was to get social.

The advent of the digital age, and the way it helped people build their comfort zones, made it ideal for brands to bring together their two ultimate dream-tools: Media to communicate and Social to interact.

Social Media, Interactive communication!

 

©2010 Ibrahim Lahoud

04
Aug
10

To be Four and square!


I joined Foursquare a while ago and started fiddling around with it. Then, one day, it struck me; that’s one hell of image-building tool.

When I say image-building, I do not say good or bad. All I say is that by publicizing your whereabouts, people can start slowly profiling your personality. Elements like “when” you get to work, when you leave work; what time you go out at night, and what time you get back home (if you do…).

Our self-branding is conditioned today not by who we are. In the digital realm, very few people of our virtual entourage know who we really are… (Yes, I am talking to you Mr. 55 years old who pretends he still is in high-school) What counts in the digital reality is what we do and how we do it. Real or fake, our online behavior is the embodiment of our personality. Don’t you just love those Facebook status updates like “Off to France tonight”. The poor guy is traveling coach to a presentation in the suburbs of the French capital, staying in a 2 stars Auberge for one night and flying back home the next morning! But hey, who cares? He never said that! All he said was “Off to France tonight”; and everyone thought -with jealousy that he’s going to Cannes for the awards!

When I started with Foursquare, I noticed that most of my check-ins where home and work… Yeah, yeah, pathetic I know. And that’s when I saw the light and heard the Wagner music… People will think one thing: Pathetic!

I humbly know that I am slightly above pathetic and working hard on it, and I did not want to be perceived wrongly via a small app on my iPhone! (yes, I do have an iPhone and that’s why I said “slightly” above pathetic!) I later realized that I can check-in at virtually every location I head to and started making things better! Now I am getting more and more friends requests on Foursquare and my virtual self-esteem starts to measure in megabytes instead of bytes! I am even a Mayor of two locations…

What? Which locations? Damn! Ok, it’s my office and… my mom’s home. Happy?!

Another amazing fact is how the integration of social media and location-aware tools is helping people build more accurate profiles of each other. However hard we try, we can  never be fully consistent across all the social mediums we use. We reveal different bits and pieces of ourselves every time we post something. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare etc. force us to behave differently, to display hybrid aspects of our persona, sometimes even clashing ones. On Facebook, you see yourself interacting more intimately with your friends, while on Twitter things could get a little more public and, there you try to retain a more composed attitude especially if you’re a business tweeter. On Foursquare, we get the feeling that the location-aware tool is more tailored for the outings rather than the whereabouts. You want to publicize more going to Gemmayzeh for the evening (and the night) than going home or work or a meeting (like miserable me).

Is that good? I guess it is. It’s like asking if it’s good to spend more time on a computer. 10 years ago, the answer would have been yes, but today? What else can you do? Computers run our lives. Hell! They are our lives (aaaah shut up you “go out and live” advocates!); so are social media. Retrospectively, you can notice how important the impact of Facebook was and still is on your life. Twitter helped connecting me to wonderful people it would have taken me a lifetime to meet otherwise. Thanks to Twitter, I know more about my business, I discover things, insights. It’s pure revelation.

Facebook kept me in touch with my favorite universe, my students. It’s like watching your own children grow. You see them find a job, get engaged, get married (morons!). It’s beautiful! (well until you get to the married part 😉

Them came Foursquare! They used to know what I feel and what I do. Now they know where I am. I guess the loop is closed. We live in the Matrix! I am not going to strategize on whether it’s good or bad. But, since we’re there, let’s make the best of it!

So go, update your status now and tell people a nice white lie and get that ego off the ground for the rest of the day.

Throw some nice tweet (from your cellphone, it’s cooler) and enlighten everyone with an insight about your job.

And while doing all the above, tell us where you’re doing it from (No toilets please).

The biggest revelation of the digital universe is the fact that we call it a “Universe”.

© 2010 Ibrahim Lahoud




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