There Is No Online Invasion Of Privacy!

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Last week I read an article by Matt Wilson via PR Daily. Titled, “Microsoft reportedly accessed blogger’s email to trace rogue employee”, the company was called out legally snooping in the blogger’s email, despite its Hotmail privacy policy.

Long story short, Microsoft is reviewing and “evolving” their policies after being reminded of its extreme criticism of the big G.

At the end of Matt’s article, he asks you if Microsoft’s promise to be more careful is enough. GO THERE to post your answer. [Read more…]

Six Phases In The Cycle of Creativity

Presentation1When you think of how you create anything, there is a cyclical nature to the entire process. Creativity has been studied for years by the academicians and scientists attempting to master innovation, the world’s most creative companies, the people with the brightest idea, and all the other elements that go into being creative.

Think of Yourself

Are you a content marketer? Does that mean you’re a blogger? How do you assess your creativity if you wear these titles? I’m going to hasten a guess that the ebbs and flows of blogging and content creation provide great rewards and serious depression, right?

I know this because my 3.9 years of blogging for my own professional blog and the additional 12 to 18 months as a guest blogger for many other blogs makes me somewhat of a poster child for this graphic I created about creativity.

Here’s a secret – I had the word “blogging” in the middle circle instead of creativity. I thought about putting content marketing in the center; however, I truly wanted this graphic to be your thought starter for whatever you’re creating…maybe you’re on the road to building a new life with a partner; perhaps you’re launching a career; how about finding your spirituality or coming to terms with who you are as a person? Or, you can be just a blogger, like me, for the purposes of this story.

Thinking About Creativity

A few clarifiers first:

    • Perhaps the elements can be labeled something else; these are my experiences to plant a seed for yours.
    • I didn’t study creativity to get to these; I made this all up, but its real from the now experience.
    • There’s a significant thought about the cycle of creativity and that’s timing. There is no set number of days or months you can rotate through these stages. Let’s hope you’ll spend more time on the positive side of growth, inspiration and empowerment; however, if you spend too much time, then you’re not rebuilding and transforming, right?
    • At any time within this cycle, you should never experience any one thing 100 percent. That would be entirely dangerous! Let’s think about that…if you were 100 percent disillusioned, you’d likely shut down your blog and never blog again. If you were growing 100 percent without an eye on being inspired to develop the next big idea, you would fail at creativity. I suggest and 80/20 Pareto Principle on this; spend 20 percent of the creative cycle asking the tough questions, challenging the status quo, and preparing to be inspired to rebuild as you’re knee deep in 80 percent of the stage you’re experiencing.
    • Lastly, if you are unable to recognize these stages in yourself (as a content marketer or blogger), then give it more time. If you’ve not been blogging two to three years straight with an average of four posts weekly, you may not have notched enough time on your belt to have experienced these elements.

Six Stages in The Cycle of Creativity

  • Inspiration. One can never be creative without the inspiration to be such. There has to be a button that gets pushed to turn on the inspiration, right? NO, actually not! Creativity is finest when someone is inspired and excited about something or someone. Passion is ignited or flamed when you listen differently or watch behaviors intently. Your inspiration comes from your spirit and how you carpe diem. I get inspiration for everything I write from current events, conversations, observations, and my own robust experiences.
  • Empowerment. When you’re inspired and all cylinders click, there comes a feeling of empowerment that is so rewarding and enlightening. The energy is fueled by a continuous injection of inspiration and light-bulb moments that are so evident in writing and creativity. It’s nearly euphoric, and the flow of production is heightened.
  • Disillusion. The pace of empowerment can last as long as your energy to create at a highly productive level. My latest stage of empowerment was six months, and then I crashed. The questions began to overtake the creativity and inspiration, and the disillusionment hit hard with the biggest question – “why am I doing this?” I encourage everyone to embrace this stage positively; if you only have a negative reaction to being disillusioned as a writer, then you will infect your writing! People read you for the positive spirit you bring. When I feel the lowest, I focus outward and find someone to profile on my blog. Giving gifts that are not monetary is such a lovely way to move out of the disillusion phase.
  • Transformation. Once you begin to ask why, instead of complaining about your malcontent, you can begin to transform. This phase includes the “what’s next” and “how do I get there” stage. It’s so highly critical and challenging because it involves a hearty introspective look at your outside self. When you hit the blog daily to find something to write about, it becomes second nature; however, when you stop caring what you’re writing about, you become disillusioned and need to transform. Spend time here because without the health transformation, you will not enter the next phase.
  • Rebuilding. Perhaps transformation and rebuilding are too similar to understand. I think this stage is oriented to take action. Let’s say I realized in my introspective state (transformation) that I no longer liked what my “house” looked like, then in the rebuilding stage, I would hire a developer/designer to spiff up my website and blog. I would also speak to the experts about things I didn’t know and hadn’t incorporated so I could seriously rebuild my foundation. This stage of creativity is probably the single-most critical element in the entire cycle. If you can’t rebuild your cracked foundation or repair the hole in the wall, you cannot thrive.
  • Growth. The hard work is nearly done; your house is in order, you are breathing deeply with satisfaction about the changes you made, and you’re ready to grow. Not that easy! Neither of these stages have an exact stop/start; in fact, they overlap quite a bit. As you transform and rebuild together, you also begin the growth phase during rebuilding as your inspiration picks up to empower you. One thing is for sure, your creativity can grow as a writer or in life at any of these stages; it just may be thwarted a bit at about 20 percent versus 90 percent. That’s a really great observation to point out, too.

Can you use this for a life experience that may not be about blogging or content marketing? Switch out the center theme and insert one of your own…see if the stages still fit the wheel.

This Post Originally Appeared on Steamfeed.com by Jayme Soulati.

Thoughts About Love In Business

If your parentdad-child-wagon-jpgs are stilted and unable to hug you with a genuine squeeze and vibration of love, then your journey to love, share love, open your heart to love, say “I love you” with meaning and be secure with that amazing emotion will be unsettled.

Happiness

All around us, there are studies on happiness. Have you read my series here each Friday that began Jan. 11, 2013, called The Happy Friday Series? It consists of your stories about happiness; there are no rules, just an interpretation, recollection, and often therapeutic sharing of life’s journey. Please read a few; here is the list from the first half of the year.

Please also consider writing for the series, as my goal is to get through year end without needing to fill a gap in guest writers.

Happiness research hit academia a few years ago; I still have the Harvard Business Review with happiness on the cover. Another Fortune company is going to find ways to make employees happier as it leads to greater productivity and morale.

Love on the other hand? It’s a sensitive emotion. Does it belong in the workplace? Should you use it to describe your services and products? Will anyone believe you if you do?

Kaarina Dillabough addressed respect as a topic for her post this week. She raises solid points about the lack of respect just about everywhere and mostly the lack of respect in the home. The children shooting adults out of boredom? No respect for life or happiness. I assume also there’s no love in the home or the foundation of the big three – happiness, love and respect.

That’s what the gangs are doing; encompassing and embracing errant children off the street and providing some semblance of security. At the same time the gangsta masters are delivering a foundation of structure and negative reinforcement; however, the flipside at home could be much worse.

Every Creature Thrives On Love

Every single living creature thrives on love. Perhaps it’s attention and love follows. Well, maybe snails don’t thrive on love; I’m not sure! Infants born with drug dependency react to cuddling and a warm embrace. When left alone, they suffer and cry uncontrollably. Heck, infants without chemical dependency thrive with warm and genuine hugs.

Think about someone ill or someone alone in a retirement center? What’s the best way to make them feel loved and secure and together? Hold their hand and squeeze. Feel the love from your heart travel to your hand and theirs. Watch it vibrate with healing energy to their heart and eyes.

Mark Schaefer wrote a post this week on a similar topic. He shared how his rigorous attention to analytics nearly drove his blog to disaster. His new approach is to be more relaxed with his writings and let his heart guide his content. What’s happened? His community found him back with more engagement than before.

So, I ask you…why are you doing what you’re doing today? If you’re unhappy with the results or you feel compelled to stay the course for the wrong reasons, then your heart is hurting. You do not love what you do in business. Love cannot pay the bills, I get it; however, love, passion and compassion are the very foundation of how you show up to others.

Is there a place for love in business?

Can you show it more so people can feel that you’re genuine?

Love comes in many sizes! Because we’re interacting more with perfect social strangers, we can show the love in a variety of simple ways:

  • Your gesture to someone on Twitter in the morning can be as simple as “Hey, how’s it going? I miss you @3HatsComm!”
  • You can honor love by thanking someone for a retweet or pingback.
  • You can pay attention by reading and sharing content.
  • Comments — always comments (and people have less ability to visit as often as we did). So, coming by to comment or take a survey shows care for your peers.

I’ve often spoken of genuine authority. What that means is subject to your interpretation. It’s not the purchase of Twitter followers; it’s not the grandiose presentation of your wins and successes at the expense of others; nor is it your false massaging of self to build up who you’re really not.

What if, as Betsy Cross always writes, you bared your soul on a scale beyond your comprehension? What if you were able to share one thing so painful right here on this blog and then you began to heal by revealing your inner pain?

The love and support you’d receive would be therapeutic, and you can be assured that I love you until you disrespect me back.

And, so, I ask again…is there a place for love in business?

Indeed.

Only if you truly love yourself first.

Innovate Or Die

Trump-Tower.jpg

Credit: Jayme Soulati via iPhone 4S to Instagram

Every news article you read, there’s something about company innovation. You can scale that to the size of your operation, and that can be in the realm of a self-published book, for example.

The examples I love and which inspire are:

Why Is Innovation Important?

Innovation is about remaining relevant. Companies that produce the same product or service the same way every day are not being innovative.

Companies that remain the same with no change for consumers become surely irrelevant.

Small businesses that never painfully challenge the status quo get stagnant after awhile.

Solopreneurs who never push the envelope to try new things cannot rise to the next level.

What is Innovation?

In this day and age, innovation can be defined in a variety of ways:

  • New products or services
  • New authority for the CEO
  • Increased levels of engagement by a company team
  • New realization that consumers are king.

Consumer Is King; Content is Queen

I want to focus on that a moment; consumers are king.  We’ve been hearing for awhile now that content is king. Nope. The throne is squarely in control of the consumer.

To innovate, companies need to understand consumer is king.

    • What does your consumer need to keep coming back to your business?
    • Where do you need to engage with consumers?
    • Where are they engaging with you?

The takeaway today is not really about defining innovation, because most of us know and understand what that means. Knowing what it takes based on market and consumer research, understanding the inside of your company, and knowing what business goals the company has set are all aspects of successful innovation.

This is such a broad subject, and I’ve only toplined a smidge of this topic. How do you break it down?

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Tennis Balls And Twitter Peeps!

A Tennis ball Author: User:Fcb981

A Tennis ball Author: User:Fcb981 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Along the top of Brian Vickery’s blog’s navigation menu is a list of clickable links to blog posts about sports. For all but one, I have a quick note:

  • In high school, I was probably the worst basketball player ever.
  • I played in the all-star co-ed 12″ softball game and ripped the webbing between pointer and ring man on my right hand playing second base.
  • I currently play USTA 4.0 tennis.
  • I just got my yellow belt in taekwondo (watch for my reaction to that evening in an upcoming Happy Friday Series post).
  • I played flag football in Chicago rec leagues and LOVED the adrenaline rush.
  • I coached kidlet’s rec soccer for five seasons.
  • I work out, but should do more.

What’s that all got to do with anything?

The cool part is it gives me seven good reasons why I can write for Brian Vickery and belong…besides the fact that he made one of the first guest appearances for my Soulati Media On The Street series, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting him IRL twice.

Far-Fetched Sports Analogy

Whew, now that we have our bonding straight, let’s dive in and cover off on one really far-fetched sports analogy with social media.

As I play tennis about six hours weekly, I also pick up several hundred tennis balls using a hopper, that metal ball picker upper. If you try to jam three balls in between the grooves, you struggle. If you grab two balls at a time, there’s no problem. If there are oodles of balls collected in the corner, you kneel and use your hands; it’s faster.

There are so many was to pick up tennis balls:

  • Do you first grab the errant singles spread around the service line?
  • Do you start in the corner of the court by the tarp and work toward the center?
  • Do you find the half-way mark and move right or left toward the corner?
  • Do you pick up the fewest balls and leave the most to others?

You absolutely get my drift. I wrote about tennis balls and business strategy once, but today, I’m just writing about tennis balls and social media. There is no right way to pick up tennis balls; they all get picked up regardless, but it’s sure fun thinking about it (work with me).

Twitter Peeps Are Tennis Balls

Now, think of each person you interact with on Twitter as a tennis ball. I’ll give you a minute to visualize all the peeps who tweet as a tennis ball.

They could be Wilson, Prince or Dunlop. They could have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 numbers. They could be Pro balls, training balls with dots or different colors.

All those balls in the corners, collecting? That’s your live stream of all the followers tweeting all day long. On occasion, you take a look and pick through a few for a good retweet; just like picking out the best balls to serve with.

How about the balls that are your favorite brand? I always liked playing with Dunlop best, perhaps it’s because it makes tires. Wilson balls always stink; they seem to lose their bounce fastest. Prince balls are decent, reliable; no complaints.

In your Twitter stream are there Dunlops you’ve favorited into a list to track what they say? How about the Wilsons who seem to be less bouncy with little energy? Do you unfollow or ignore? And, I love those Princes who aren’t really royalty, but they’re certainly loyal.

We’re not going into racquets for this piece, as this tennis ball analogy is as far fetched and grasping at straws as I can get. Eh, Brian?

So, the next time you hit your HootSuite dashboard and see the left-most column of hundreds and hundreds of tweets streaming in, take a peek in that corner to find the best ball and serve it up to your stream as a courtesy.

When you see a peep having a downer day, and perhaps he’s a Wilson, give him a volley with a bit of snap to share some energy for a healthy rally.

For those Princes you rely on as your doubles partner? Keep their feet moving with fancy content so the team wins the match.

But, remember this…every ball, regardless of whether it’s flat or bouncy finds its way into the hopper. That goes the same for your stream of peeps, too…treat each like a tennis ball and everyone gets picked up.

 

This post originally appeared July 1, 2013 on Brian Vickery’s Social Media Sports Analogies Blog

 

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