Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Web Line 8: RAP3: Belong (2)

Web Line 8: RAP3: Belong (2)

Derived From

Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Trust Agents

Book Website

RAP3: Belong (1)

Joining Communities

Today our communities are online - spread around the globe. This makes it much easier to hang out with people with similar interests.
Here’s how you can join, engage and belong to online communities:
  1. Listen first : How do people interact here? Eg: LinkedIn is different to Facebook. What’s good behaviour? What’s bad?
  2. Take small steps : Be friendly, add to the conversation. Notice who’s who in the zoo.
  3. Start something new : Become a doer and offer to lead something for the community.
Local Communities
Previously our communities were based on geography. If we got lucky there might be some people like us in our local neighbourhood. Otherwise, you had to move to be closer to your tribe.

Making Friends
  • Join communities eg. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
  • Find people you already know.
  • When making contact with people you barely know leave a personal message to introduce yourself.
  • Listen and learn about others. Search for subjects that appeal.
  • Then connect around mutual interests.
Making Comments
One of the ways to build your online presence is to write comments on other people’s blogs.
  • Leave your name and company name without being spammy.
  • Don’t directly mention your stuff. Remember, your comments are meant to add to the existing conversation, not subvert it.
  • Be yourself and one of us.
  • Add value. Nice comments do little to bolster your credibility.
  • Leave 10 comments a day to build a web presence.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Web Line 7: RAP3: Belong (1)

Web Line 7: RAP3: Belong (1)

Derived From

Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Trust Agents

Book Website

RAP2: Stand Out Part 2

RAP3: Belong
: In you’re not one of us, we’re not going to listen. Game over. Be helpful, be human and be a good citizen to belong to your communities.

Building Trust

How we do it online may have changed. However, the foundations of trust have stayed the same. It’s built on:
  1. Credibility : Are we who we say we are?
  2. Reliability : What can we expect in the future?
  3. Intimacy : Do I know them? Are they aloof and distant? Or, open, honest and human?
  4. Self-orientation : The less you focus on yourself the better we’re likely to trust you.
Rehumanizing Business
Not so long ago, mechanical intrusive marketing was acceptable. It was kinda nice for someone to want our attention. Now we’re all busy. And, we’d rather eat our dinner than answer a call from someone we don’t know and don’t care about.

How to Be Human
  • Ask how others are doing.
  • Take the time to understand the culture of your community. What are the rules and standards?
  • Promote others.
  • Show a picture of yourself - show others you’re real.
  • When you mess up, Acknowledge it, Apologize and Act to clean it up.
  • Be a person first and a professional second. Share both sides of you.
  • Build relationships not campaigns.
Online Trust Signals
Now that we’re living in the virtual online cyber world, the signals of trust have changed. Here’s some online signals of trust to look out for...
  • Design : First impressions count. A basic and terrible design can be a turn-off compared to a chic one.
  • Longevity : Are they a fly-by-night or have they been around for a while?
  • Productivity : Consistent output is a guide they’re playing for the long haul.
  • Comments : If no one is commenting, perhaps they’re not part of a community.
  • Links : How did you find this site? Who recommended it?
  • Domain Name : An ‘official’ domain name carries more weight than a free one from Blogspot or Wordpress.
  • About : What does their About page tell you?
  • Cross-channels : Check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Are they consistent across multiple channels?
Actions: Trust Check
Now that we’ve just listed some of the online signals of trust, review your operation to see how others may see you. Put a plan in place to overcome any trust weak spots.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Web Line 6: RAP2: Stand Out Part 2

Web Line, Part 6: RAP2: Stand Out Part 2

Derived From
: Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Trust Agents
Book Website:
Previously: RAP2: Stand Out Part 1

RAP2: Stand Out - Part 2

To be a Trust Agent you need to be noticed. Playing by the old rules is no longer enough. With new tools and new channels you can now create your own rules and your own game.

Make Your Own Game

If you’re following the rules, you’re playing catch-up to those already out there doing it. To stand out and be the trusted expert:
How to Play Games
  1. Playing : Learn the rules and know how to tweak them to increase your fun.
  2. Cheating : When you have an unfair advantage on the game, you’re cheating.
  3. Hacking : The popular definition of hacking focuses on destroying something. A more potent definition is to ‘find another way’. Seek alternatives and modifications to enhance the system. Check out life hacking, work hacking and game hacking.
  4. Programming : When you create the rules, you’re programming the game. You’re creating a new angle and a new everything.

Actions: Learn Fast
To learn fast, get feedback. Here’s how...
  • Links are currency on the web. When someone links to you they recommend you and this is an indirect way to get paid.
  • Quality comments add social proof to your content value and your expert status. Lots of comments tell others it’s the place to be.
  • Revenue can range from Google Adsense, Affiliate income or sales of your products or services. Consider this direct feedback.
  • Indirect Sales are valuable feedback too. For instance, at Book Rapper we offer free content and you might pay us by hiring us to write/design with you.
  • Test with a range of web tools to see how you’re doing. For instance, Google Analytics or Hubspot.
Actions: Below the Web Line
  • Collecting friends or followers in social media is low level feedback. It might stroke your ego. And, quantity is not the game here. Better to build a smaller army of fans than a flood of indifferent followers.
  • Press Coverage is generally of lower value today than the credibility you can gain on the web. Adjust your strategy accordingly.
Three Online Rules
  1. When you treat people well, they treat you well back.
  2. The bigger your network, the easier it is to get things done.
  3. The more personal the relationship, the more direct you can be.
Actions : Content
Build a Content Marketing blog around a product

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Web Line, Part 5: RAP2: Stand Out 1

Web Line, Part 5: RAP2: Stand Out 1

Derived From
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Trust Agents

Book Website
RAP1: Trust Has Changed

RAP2: Stand Out - Part 1

PROFIT : To be a Trust Agent you need to be noticed. Playing by the old rules is no longer enough. With new tools and new channels you can now create your own rules and your own game.

Actions: Gate Keepers
Define the Gate Keepers in your industry AND your organization.
  • Who are they?
  • What are they owning, controlling or protecting?
  • Define the rules they play by.
  • How can you jump over them?
Actions: Gate Jumpers
Search for these Gate Jumpers on the web :
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Perez Hilton
  • Huffington Post
  • Radiohead
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Robert Scoble
How did they break the rules? What results did they get?

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Web Line, Part 4: RAP1: Trust Has Changed

Web Line, Part 4: RAP1: Trust Has Changed

Book Rapper Review of Trust Agents

Derived From
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Trust Agents

Book Webs

RAP1: Trust has changed
: Who we trust has changed. Previously we trusted TV, the news, PR, Advertising and even politicians. Now we don’t. We do trust our friends. And, online we have Trust Agents.

What’s a Trust Agent?

They’re digital natives, non-sales oriented, genuine, transparent, connectors of people and power users of the new web tools.
They experiment with new things, humanize business and they help us make sense of the world.

They’re likely to have multiple online channels: a potent blog, a website, be active in social media, post videos on YouTube, have a photostream on Flickr and recommend stuff on Digg and Delicious.

And, you don’t call yourself a Trust Agent. It’s a title others defer to you.
Why is Social Capital Important?
Capital is any form of wealth capable of being employed for generating more wealth.

Social Capital is the power we generate from knowing and working with other people.
It could be in the form of a referral, collaboration, advice, keeping up with what’s hot or just chilling over a cold beer.

Think of your network as a resource for getting things done.
And, for spreading your ideas.

And, remember your social capital is built on trust.

Human Business

Business was, is, and always will be about human’s interacting with each other.
And, sometimes it’s more human than before.

Now, with two-way conversational marketing and personal media channels through blogs, etc. the human touch has just got stronger.

We have the power to connect with many and still keep it personal.
It’s time to leave the supermarket and head back to the corner shop!
One-way marketing and BIG media meant the mass approach lightened the personal touch. We were all treated the same. Did you feel less human?
Trust Agent Qualities
  1. Stand Out : If you’re not outstanding you won’t stand out.
  2. Belong : Be ‘One of Us’ to gain credibility and trust.
  3. Use Leverage : Do more with less with the new web tools.
  4. Build Relationships : Be at the centre of a wide social network.
  5. Be Helpful : Use your soft skills to help, understand and partner.
  6. Assemble an Army : To create massive results inspire others.
Actions: Start Here!
  • Listen : What are people saying about you? To listen get a Gmail account and start an RSS feed of your name and key words via Technorati.
  • Blog : Start blogging or post more. This is your main channel! See Book Rapper issue We Blog
  • Comment : Read blogs and value-add with comments.
  • FAQ : What does your audience want to know? Start answering their questions. Instant expert!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Web Line, Part 3: Book Rapper Review

Web Line: What You Need to Succeed Online, Part 3
Previously: Web Line, Contents, What's New

Book Rapper Review: Trust Agents

The internet has changed the way we do business. The info sources we used to trust, well, we no longer do. Trust, like attention is now at a premium. And, building it is the key to your success online.

  • A neat 6 part model for becoming a Trust Agent
  • Clear and concise commentary on what’s happening by seasoned experts
  • Oodles of actions for you to take
  • New York Times best seller and one of Amazon Best Books of 2009.
Learn the new rules and the new actions you need to take to make it happen online.

Who’s It’s For
Any expert, thought leader and leader wanting to be successful in today’s world.

Chris Brogan
  • One of the world’s most popular bloggers
  • 13 year veteran of social media
  • Conference speaker
  • President of New Marketing Labs
  • Co-founder of Podcamp
  • Founder of Dadomatic
  • For more check About on his website
  • Twitter: @chrisbrogan
Julien Smith (Co-Author)
  • Podcast Pioneer
  • 15 year veteran of online communities
  • Started out with Bulletin Boards
  • Then with Flash Mobs
  • Now the social web
  • Twitter: @julien
Book Rapper Thinks...
This book’s got more action than Die Hard 8! Plus some essential frames and perspectives for winning on the web. From rapping this book Book Rapper is changing it’s approach to the web. Consider changing yours!

Book Website

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Web Line: What You Need to Succeed Online, Part 2

Web Line: What You Need to Succeed Online, Part 2
Previously: Web Line Speed RAP and Intro

The Web Lin
The Web Line gives you a benchmark of what the top web performers, like Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, are doing for their online success.
What it takes to succeed in life is constantly changing - particularly on the internet and with social media.
To reflect this it’s a floating line.
And, to achieve your mission in life you’ll need to stay above the Web Line.

The Plimsol Line

The Plimsol Line is also know as the waterline or the International Load Line.
It displays the legal load limit a ship can carry.

to Follow
  • BR Review : Trust Agents
  • RAP1 : Trust Has Changed
  • RAP2 : Stand Out
  • RAP3 : Belong
  • RAP4 : Use Leverage
  • RAP5 : Build Relationships
  • RAP6 : Be Helpful
  • RAP7 : Assemble An Army
  • RAP8 : Trust Rules
  • Companion Pieces
  • BR Context : Plopportunity

What's New!
Chris Brogan's New Book: Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online

Released 22 Feb, 2010

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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Web Line: What You Need to Succeed Online, Part 1

The Web Line: What You Need to Succeed Online, Part 1

The Book
Chris Brogan & Julien Smith, Trust Agents

Speed RAP
The web and social media is re-humanizing business and our interactions with each other. Gone are the days of interrupting, talking at and selling to gain attention. Today we need to build trust, be helpful and converse with other human beings.

The Big Idea
The command and control military style leadership and in-your-face selling of the past is dead on the web. To succeed online using social media you need to lead from behind. Build trust, develop credibility and if you help enough people the sales will come.

Your Challenge
Stay above the Web Line! Build a followership. Become a lighthouse leader. Attract people to you, help them avoid the rocks and give them something to look out for.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Now that you can get all the Book Rapper issues for free, I thought it would be appropriate to publish the big picture context and update each author and the issue at hand. Here's the second in the series...

Book: Ori Brafman & Rod A. Beckstrom; The Starfish and the Spider; The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, Portfolio (Penguin), London, 2006.

Our Context

During the Cold War, the Americans and the Russians were engaged in an escalating battle of espionage and defence.

It was thought impossible that a plane could get anywhere near Russia, let alone the beating heart of Moscow, without the Russians knowing about it well in advance.

Well, it happened. By effectively flying below the radar, a German flying student flew his small plane from Germany and successfully landed smack-bang in Red Square.

You can just hear the jubilant young pilot shout “Surprise! I’ve
arrived,” to the amazement of the Russian shoppers and Red Guards.

The central idea in The Starfish and the Spider will have a similar impact on business over the next decade.

Even though there are well-known examples of successful decentralized organisations around us right now, coverage of this concept in the popular press is all but invisible.

While the business press celebrates our prized leaders as the source of strength, certainty and foresight, our business schools champion ‘leadership’ as the great salvation for our confused and ever changing world.

Yet, the ticking clock in the background suggests the pendulum that swings between centralization and decentralization is making a decisive strike in the opposite direction.

Has no one noticed that the central (sic!) feature that is transforming business today is a decentralized structure called the Internet?

In parallel with our opening story, it too is a result of Cold War defence. Developed by the US Military to create a ‘leaderless’ organization in case the Soviets
attacked, the Internet has created its own war on business traditions.

As Seth Godin suggests in his latest serving, Meatball Sundae (see RAP4, Marketing How-Now), the Internet has ended advertising, changed marketing forever and upturned business. Have you been paying attention; have you noticed?

Decentralized organizations pose a similar threat. The game has changed, as any music industry executive will tell you.

Napster started in a college dorm room and has dismantled the music empires of the big five recording companies one swapped song at a time. The starfish had attacked the spider and won. (See our story in the RAP on Page 7)

Historically, the Industrial Revolution gave birth to business based upon top-down control in the form of a hierarchy - think military command. In contrast, the Internet shapes the Information or Knowledge Era in which we live and this favours a decentralized approach based upon loose networks, open systems and interacting relationships.

Is it any wonder the Big Military of the US didn’t see the tiny cells of Al Qaeda coming? Talk about slip through the cracks...

The pendulum is swinging. Whilst it won’t swing completely to purely decentralized structures, competitive advantage in the digital economy is heading that way.

We are likely to have many more fusions like Ebay, Skype and Wikipedia.

Other landscapes will not escape the starfish imprint.

On the political platform, Barack Obama may become the first black president of the US. However, this will be a mere sideshow to the real change - the first president elected using a fusion of decentralized campaigning.

Whilst Hillary’s campaign was up to $36 million in debt based upon a classic top-down approach of seeking big donations from major players, Obama broke funding records. More than 250,000 people contributed to his campaign with more than 90% offering $100 or less. This is more contributors than any previous candidate and simultaneously he gained more than a million friends on social networking sites.

Whilst elections are not won by dollars in the bank they are won by grass roots action one vote at a time.

Most interestingly, if decentralization gets Obama to the White House, could this be the beginning of the redesign of democracy?

With the aid of the Internet, participatory democracy is highly achievable against the centuries old tradition of elected representatives going off to our Capital Cities to vote on our behalf.

In Australia, as the most governed country in the world, perhaps it is time to dismantle the Federalism of states and become the ‘Starfish Republic’.

Decentralizing the monolith of government would surely be a transformation of our society.

Closer to the lounge room is the demise of television, that bastion of centralized conformity and family life that is being transformed by the freewheeling anarchy of the Internet. Being told what to watch and when to watch it is not a popular sport for Gen Xers and Ys.

TV is also changing at other levels: the canned laughter of the sitcom is giving way to Reality TV where the ‘actors’ are free to be themselves rather than following some preordained script.

The Big Brother parallel to business is evident in the increasing demand for innovation. If you want to be creative you need to abandon corporate speak and start to think and act for yourself.

In a command and controlled environment innovation is a contradiction. To remain competitive in the cut-throat global arena of big business, decentralized units are ‘the Idea Advantage’ because they are naturally suited to the free-flowing nature of an open system.

Ironically, the presentation of decentralization as the way to leader-less organizations is a misnomer - we’re heading to Leaderful Organizations.

Instead of a starfish organization being mired by the imagery of a chook with its head cut off running around aimlessly, our organizations will become more leaderful!

If Peter Drucker were alive today he would proclaim the ‘Leaderful Organization’ as the replacement of business bossiness.

Rather than having one dominant leader or chain of leaders, our organizations will require that we all step up to the plate and demonstrate personal leadership in being accountable and responsible for our contribution each and every day.

A catalyst and an even stronger ideology that is truly worth believing in will replace the reliance on the CEO to lead the way. Building corporate cultures is like innovation; in a closed system of centralized control it is a contrivance and a contradiction.

Instead, decentralize, loosen the reins and let your employees step up to the plate in smaller circles where there is no place to hide.

In our previous RAP The Four Hour JOLT! we pointed to the demise of the 40-hour work week. Decentralized organizations make the Four Hour Work Week feasible for all of us.

This is a major change in our society. It not only changes business, government and community organizations, it also dramatically alters our roles within them and within our local neighbourhoods.
Ignore this at your peril!

PS : Co-author of The Starfish and the Spider, Rod A Beckstrom has just been appointed head of Cyber-Security - a new organization established by the US Governments Department of Homeland Security. The Bush administration has realized that a centralized approach is not working to stem the impact of starfish based hackers and terrorist cells following the failure of the centralized FBI, CIA and NSA in failing to predict S-11.

The obvious update is that Barack Obama is now in the White House. Did his Fusion approach of using a grass roots, social networking approach combined with strong clear leadership work? You bet!

No word on Rod Beckstrom. He's probably business with his new job...

Ori Brafman has since published a new book with his brother Rom. The book's called: Sway: The irresistable pull of irrational behaviour. I haven't read it. Scanned it at the book shops several times, haven't been tempted enough to want to read it. Love to hear your thoughts from those who have.

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