Bloggy Friday le 5 décembre 08 à 20h [fr]

[en] Next Bloggy Friday in Lausanne: December 5th, 8pm at Chez Rony.

On ne change pas une équipe (ni un concept) qui gagne! (Enfin si, des fois, mais j’avais besoin d’un phrase un peu bateau pour introduire cet article).

Sortez vos agendas, notez: vendredi 5 décembre (dans 2 semaines), on se retrouve Chez Rony (Chenau-de-Bourg 17, Lausanne) à 20h pour un petit souper entre personnes branchées blogs et nouveaux médias. Pas besoin de faire partie d’un club, il suffit de s’inscrire!

On se réjouit déjà de découvrir de nouvelles têtes.

Grasshopper!

Laissez un mot dans les commentaires, ou mieux, annoncez-vous sur Facebook.

N’oubliez pas de rejoindre le groupe Bloggy Friday Lausanne sur Facebook pour ne pas rater la rencontre du mois prochain!

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Somesso – Frans van der Reep: From survival of the fittest to survival of the most cooperative [en]

[fr] Notes de la présentation de Frans van der Reep à la conférence Somesso.

steph-note: oops, he’s speaking German. Phew, switching to English :-) — these are my scribbled notes, inevitably imprecise, of Frans van der Reep’s keynote at the Somesso conference.

We have to invest in our ability to observe, see, understand. Frameworks have shifted.

Geography class, flying over countries with our eyes closed. If we turn the map by 45 degrees, our knowledge disappears. Similar to being invited to the blackboard in front of the classroom. The ego also comes in, not accepting that you don’t have the answer. People try to get an answer, so they don’t ask questions where they don’t have an answer.

This map-shifting is what corporations are going through now regarding the internet.

We need people who are capable of shifting and optimising their viewpoints, and who are willing to experience new viewpoints => we need new frameworks.

These frameworks (some of them) are what Frans will present in this speech.

Somesso 10

We’re going from top-down to bottom-up, and from push to pull.

Change is coming so rapidly.

A year doesn’t have any commercial meaning. It’s long. => we go from marketing to sales. Example of a company who have no marketing, they just put clothes in shops, leave them 3 weeks and see what sells (remove or add).

Social media makes everyone a salesperson, whether you like it or not. => what are you good at? what’s your personal value? what’s your business? It’s always been like that, but the internet is pushing it to the front of the scene.

Old, top-down, push:

  • European Ruling
  • Top-down ICT Planning
  • Marketing
  • Politics
  • Innovation planning

New, bottom-up, pull:

  • private initiatives
  • prototyping
  • sales
  • referendum
  • linux/wiki/csn

We don’t want courts of justice to be bottom right in the box, or it will be lynching in the marketplace. But they’re coming down a bit.

Somesso 11

Next slide: 4 ways of organising a company.

Two axes: simple => complex and dynamic => static environment.

If you look at companies, management and control is not necessarily worse an option, but it should be used where it is a solution to a problem. One way => all ways (top right, where the social media stuff is — complex and dynamic).

9% of companies are one-person companies in the Netherlands.

Different worlds, to be used when it makes sense. eg. journalists are in the “all-ways” world, but printing and distribution in the “one way”. No value in putting a company only in the one-way world.

Somesso 12

If you don’t adopt the internet as a tool to create transparency, it’s far too expensive to& (?)

Accept multiple viewpoints.

Somesso 13

simple/one-way: camouflage (corporations)
complex/dynamic: stand up (what the internet encourages you to do, what the 1-person company forces you to do)

Somesso 14

Seen from another angle: on the left, the maintainer, who focuses on what is known. On the right, the entrepreneur, who focuses on what is not known. Shared practice vs. Next practice, and Right practice (control, hold grip) vs. Best practice (enlarge quantity).

Where companies stand in this graph.

Somesso 15

Teams, clans, clubs&

Somesso 16

Moving from survival of the fittest to survival of the most cooperative => develop the talent to spot talent is the most important thing to do.

Somesso 17

One size fits all doesn’t work.

Be transparent, consequent and clear in your intentions. Cooperation is a personal decision.

Comment from the floor: all this is very relevant to the current US presidential election.

Frans: the Middle Ages are a very good model to understand what is going on. Tribes, guilds, torturing and the plague are back& There is a huge power vacuum, in which the Al Qaedas fit in, that’s the political problem we have.

Charles de Neef: seems quite challenging for corporations to move into that top right square, but some big corporations have shown success in adopting the top right mindset/tools.

steph-note: no wifi (at least not working), and timing seems tight — we’ll see how it goes. I count about 50 people in the room.

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Qwitted Qwitter After Less Than 24 Hours [en]

[fr] Qwitter, un service qui vous dit quand on cesse de vous suivre sur Twitter. Très peu pour moi -- je viens de le désactiver après moins de 24 heures de service. Non pas que je ne "supporte" pas l'idée qu'on puisse cesser de me suivre (bon dieu non, c'est plutôt que je ne saisis pas ce que 1500 personnes y trouvent à recevoir quotidiennement mes mises à jour) -- mais simplement parce que j'évite d'ajouter à ma vie déjà suffisamment angoissée des sources de "négativité", comme la consommation d'indices de marchés boursiers ou de nouvelles télévisées ou non. (Il y a les gens qui ont des "problèmes d'angoisse", comme on dit, et il y a les autres. Ces derniers ont bien de la chance, et qu'ils s'abstiennent de commentaires simplistes, de grâce.)

I thought I’d try out Qwitter. Not that I’m that obsessed with who stops following me, but I thought it could be interesting to see when my Twitter behaviour made followers drop me.

Well, less than 24 hours later (and after only 2 people qwitting on me), I have decided to turn it off.

Of course, I know people unfollow me. But getting this kind of news in my inbox generates just about the same kind of “downs” as checking the stock market every 10 minutes (instead of once in a blue moon or even once a day) and watching the news on TV (instead of avoiding unnecessary focus on all the wrongs in this world).

So, no thank you, Qwitter. There are enough sources of anxiety in my life without me adding them just for fun.

“Anxiety” is a big word here of course — I mean, who cares about people unfollowing them on Twitter — but still, who has never felt the tiniest pang at losing something they had (or thought they had)? It’s quite clear from research out there (check out Predictably Irrational for example) that being given $1 and then having to hand it back leaves one slightly more unhappy than if one never had that dollar in hand in first place.

Of course, I could filter all the Qwitter e-mails into a folder and check on them only when I want to know when such-and-such stopped following me. But is it really worth the trouble?

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Bloggy Friday le 3 octobre 2008 [fr]

[en] Bloggy Fridays are an informal meeting of bloggers and other "online" people initiated in Lausanne. In theory, we meet on the first Friday of each month -- but in practice, you're better off pinging me 10 days before to prompt me to organise it! Next meeting: Friday October 3rd.

Nous avons passé une soirée fort sympathique lors du Bloggy Friday de septembre qui a eu lieu [Chez Rony](http://www.restaurantchezrony.ch/): [Virginie](http://derriere-le-hublot.com/), [David](http://www.davidruzicka.com/blog/), [Richard](http://www.main-vision.com/richard/blog/), [Marco](http://downtowncreator.wordpress.com/) et moi-même, ainsi qu’un invité surprise de dernière minute: [Lyonel](http://lyonelkaufmann.ch/Blog/). Comme vous le voyez, on n’était pas assez pour que les timides puissent se noyer dans la masse et espérer passer inaperçus, mais l’avantage avec les petits groupes c’est qu’on fait vite connaissance de toute le monde 🙂

Oh, plus on est de fous, plus on rit — donc on est contents si on est plus que cinq! — mais au fil des ans, je suis venue à accepter que le Bloggy Friday Lausanne ne sera jamais Paris Carnet.

Day 1, Croix des Chaux - Taveyanne - Villars 071 Si vous avez envie de vous joindre à nous, il suffit de mettre un petit mot dans les commentaires ou de vous inscrire sur Facebook. J’insiste, comme toujours: le Bloggy Friday est ouvert à tous (un vague intérêt pour internet et les nouveaux médias est souhaitable, pas besoin d’être blogueur depuis 8 ans), il n’y a pas besoin de connaître les participants (d’ailleurs ils changent tout le temps) ni de me connaître. L’objectif de telles rencontres c’est justement de faire connaissance de personnes du coin avec des intérêts un peu similaires — qu’on les connaisse déjà en ligne, ou par leur blog, ou pas du tout.

Rendez-vous donc le vendredi 3 octobre 2008 à 20h Chez Rony (c’est très sympa)!

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Seminar on Social Media Adoption in the Enterprise [en]

[fr] Dernier jour pour s'inscrire au séminaire sur les stratégies d'adoption des nouveaux médias dans l'entreprise organisé par mon amie (et néanmoins experte de renommée internationale) Suw Charman-Anderson. C'est à Londres, ce vendredi.

My friend [Suw Charman-Anderson](http://strange.corante.com/) is organising a seminar this Friday in London on the
adoption of social tools in the enterprise: [Making Social Tools Ubiquitous](http://fruitful-socialtoolsadoption.eventbrite.com/). There are still some
places left. The sign-up deadline is tomorrow — act fast.

You’ll find a description of this seminar below. This is a chance to
learn about social tools in the enterprise directly from a world-class
expert who has practical experience introducing social tools in
various businesses. Want a peek? here are [notes I took from her talk
last year](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/04/fowa-enterprise-adoption-of-social-software-suw-charman/) at the Future of Web Apps conference.

> **Overview**
> You may have heard that social tools – such as wikis, blogs, social bookmarking and social networking – can help you improve business communications, increase collaboration and nurture innovation. And with open source tools, you can pilot projects easily and cheaply. But what do you do if people won’t use them? And how do you grow from a pilot to company-wide use?

> Social media expert Suw Charman-Anderson will take a practical look at the adoption of social tools within your business. During the day you will create a scalable and practical social media adoption strategy and discuss your own specific issues with the group. By the end of the seminar you will have a clear set of next steps to take apply to your own collaborative tools project.

> **The setting**
> Fruitful Seminars take place in an intimate setting, with no more than 9 people attending, so you to get the very most out of the day. The are held at the luxurious One Alfred Place, and include tea & coffee, and lunch from the restaurant.

> **Who should come?**

>* CXO executives
* managers
* team leaders
* decision makers
* social media practitioners
* social media vendors

> Or anyone in situations similar to these:

> * You have already installed some social tools for internal communications and collaboration, but aren’t getting the take-up you had hoped for.
* You have successfully completed a pilot and want to roll-out to the rest of the company.
* You want to start using social tools and need a strategy for fostering adoption.
* You sell social software or services and want to understand how your clients can foster adoption of your tool.

For more information, check out these recent posts Suw wrote:

– [Fruitful Seminars: Making Social Tools Ubiquitous](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2008/05/29/fruitful_seminars_making_social_tools_ubiquitous.php)
– [Q: What does promoting an event have in common with the adoption of social tools in the enterprise?](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2008/06/17/q_what_does_promoting_an_event_have_in_common_with_the_adoption_of_social_tools_in_the_enterprise.php)
– [Why isn’t social software spreading like wildfire through business?](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2008/06/20/why_isnt_social_software_spreading_like_wildfire_through_business.php)

The second Fruitful Seminar, [held by Lloyd Davis](http://perfectpath.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/mastering-social-media/), will take place on July 16th: [Mastering Social Media](http://fruitful-masteringsocialmedia.eventbrite.com/).

Not for you? tell your friends about it. Not this time, but want to keep an eye on what Suw, Leisa and Lloyd are doing with Fruitful Seminars? [sign up for their newsletter](http://groups.google.com/group/fruitful-seminars/subscribe). Otherwise… time to [sign up](http://fruitful-socialtoolsadoption.eventbrite.com/)!

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5 Lessons in Promoting Events Using Social Media (Back to Basics) [en]

[fr] Leçons apprises lors de la promotion de Going Solo:

  • communiquer directement avec les gens (messagerie instantanée, conversation offline, téléphone) est le mode de communication le plus efficace
  • ne pas négliger l'e-mail, les dossiers de presse, le matériel imprimable: tout le monde ne lira pas le blog ou Twiter
  • rien ne devient automatiquement "viral" parce que c'est sur internet: aider les gens à vous aider à passer l'info, par exemple avec un e-mail "forwardable"
  • aller où sont les gens, les retrouver dans leur communauté (Facebook, MySpace, Rezonance, LinkedIn... partout)
  • ça prend du temps... beaucoup de temps

J'ai été surprise à quel point tout ceci a été difficile pour moi, alors qu'une partie de mon métier consiste à expliquer aux gens comment utiliser les nouveaux médias pour communiquer plus efficacement. Une leçon d'humilité, et aussi un retour à certaines choses basiques mais qui fonctionnent, comme l'e-mail ou le chat. En récompense, par contre, un événement qui a été un succès incontesté, et tout cela sans le soutien des médias traditionnels (pour cause de communiqué de presse un poil tardif) -- mis à part nouvo, qui a répercuté l'annonce, mais qui trouvait que c'était cher!

One of the big lessons I learnt while organising [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is that [promoting and communicating about an event through social media](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/) requires a huge amount of time and energy. In this post, I’d like to share a few of the very practical things I (re-)discovered.

Even though part of what I do for a living is explain social media and its uses in marketing to my clients, I found it quite a challenge when I actually had to jump in and do it. (Yes, I’m aware this may sound pretty lame. By concentrating on the big picture and the inspiring success stories, one tends to forget some very basic things. Sending managers back to the floor every now and then is a good thing.)

The **main lesson I learnt** is the following:

– **1. The absolute best channel to promote anything is one-on-one personal conversation** with somebody you already have some sort of relationship with.

Any other solution is a shortcut. And [all shortcuts have prices](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/06/11/about-not-reading/).

This means I ended up spending a lot of time:

– talking to people on IM, IRC, and offline at conferences
– sending out personal messages on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Anytime you do something to spare you this time (like sending out a collective e-mail, writing a blog post, or even tweeting — situations where you’re not adressing one specific individual directly) you dilute what you’re communicating. You open the door to:

– imperfect understanding of what you’re trying to say
– people not feeling like it’s really addressed to them (lack of interest, or lack of awareness that their actions are important to you)
– people simply not seeing it.

I have many examples of this. I created a [page with material people could use to promote Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/support), in particular, [blog sidebar badges](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/badges-for-your-sidebar/). But not many people put them up spontanously, even amongst my friends. But when I started pinging people on IM and asking them if they would please put up a badge to support my event, they did it. They just hadn’t got around to doing it, hadn’t realised that them doing it was important for me, or it had simply slipped their mind. It’s perfectly understandable: it’s “my” event, not theirs.

Another example is when I started sending out my “forwardable e-mails” (lesson #3 is about them), most people stopped at “well, I’m not a freelancer” or “I can’t come”. It took some explaining to make sure they understood that the **main** reason I was sending them the e-mail was that they *might know somebody* who would like to come to the event, or who could blog about it, or help with promoting it. If I spared myself the personal conversation and just sent the e-mail, people were much less likely to really understand what I expected from them, even through it was spelled out in the e-mail itself.

And that was a big secondary lesson I learnt while preparing Going Solo: it’s not because people don’t get back to you, or don’t act, that they aren’t interested or don’t want to. The burden is on you to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.

Let’s continue on to the next lessons.

– **2. Blogs and Twitter are essential, but don’t neglect less sexy forms of communication: newsletter, press release, printable material.**

The first thing I did for Going Solo was to create [a blog](http://going-solo.net) and a [Twitter account](http://twitter.com/goingsolo). Getting a blog and Twitter account off the ground isn’t easy, and it took quite a lot of one-on-one communication (see lesson #1) (and [blogging here on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/22/going-solo-venues-open-stage-and-link-love/)) to get enough people to link to them so that they started taking off.

But the lesson here is that **not everybody is on Twitter, and not everbody reads blogs**. We highly-connected types tend to forget that. It didn’t take me that long to get the feeling that I had “exhausted” my immediate, social-media-enabled network — meaning that all the people who knew me directly had heard what I was talking about, linked to stuff if they were going to, or registered for the event if they were interested.

So, here are some less “social media cutting-edge” forms of communication I used, most of them very late in the process (earlier next time):

– [an e-mail newsletter](http://groups.google.com/group/going-solo-news)
– [printable (and printed) posters](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/03/more-cutting-edge-promotion-tools-posters/)
– a [press release](http://going-solo.net/press/) and other “old media focused” material

Some comments.

Our press release came out so late that we got no coverage at all from traditional media, bar [one exception](http://nouvo.ch/n-1279), which focused on how expensive the event was. This means Going Solo Lausanne is a great case study of successful event promotion entirely through social media.

When I [created the newsletter](http://going-solo.net/2008/04/30/going-solo-has-a-newsletter/), I spent a lot of time following lesson #1 and inviting people personally to sign up, through IM most of the time. I sent out invitations through the Google Groups interface, of course (to the extent that I got [flagged as a potential spammer](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/05/01/google-groups-pain-in-the-neck/)). But I also went through the process of inviting people directly through IM.

A word of warning about newsletters: don’t *add* people to your newsletter unless you’ve checked beforehand that they were OK with it, or if you have a *very* good reason to do so (they are the speakers/attendees for your event) — but even then, it can be risky. I was recently added to a bunch of mailing-lists without having asked for it, rather than invited, and I find it really annoying. It’s way more impolite to unsubscribe from a newsletter than refuse an invitation to subscribe, so adding people can put them in an embarrassing situation (be impolite vs. be annoyed at getting newsletters one doesn’t want).

– **3. Don’t expect “viral” or “[organic](http://epeus.blogspot.com/2008/02/be-organic-not-viral.html)” spreading of your promotion to happen, but prepare the field so it can: the forwardable e-mail.**

There is so much talk about the fact that social media allows things to *spread* all by themselves (and indeed, there is an important potential for that, and when it happens, it’s very powerful) — that we tend to expect it to happen and be disappointed when it doesn’t. And let’s face it, it’s not something that we can control (sorry for stating the obvious again, I’m doing that a lot in this post) and it takes quite a bit of skill to create the right conditions so that it *may* happen.

So, now that we’ve set our expectations, what can be done to *help things spread*? I mentioned having exhausted my immediate network higher up, so I needed to come up with a solution which would help me reach beyond it. How could I get my friends to mention Going Solo to *their* friends?

Of course, our use of social media in general allows that. Blogs, Facebook Groups and Events, sidebar badges… all this is material which *can* spread. But again — what about the people who aren’t bathing in social media from morning to evening?

**Back to basics: e-mail.** E-mail, be it under the shape of a newsletter, a discussion list, or simple personal messages, has a huge advantage over other forms of online communication: you’re sure people know how to use it. It’s the basic, level 0 tool that anybody online has and understands.

So, I started sending out e-mail. A little bit of *push* is good, right? I composed a rather neutral e-mail explaining what Going Solo was about, who it was for, giving links to more information, and a call to action or two. I then sent this impersonal text to various people I knew, with a personal introduction asking them to see if they knew anybody who could be interested in information about this event, and inviting them to forward the message to these people. Nothing extraordinary in that, right?

I of course applied lesson #1 (you’re starting to know that one, right?) and tried as much as possible to check on IM, beforehand, if it was OK for me to send the “forwardable e-mail” to each person. So, basically, no mass-mailing, but an e-mail written in such a way that it was “forwardable” in a “here’s what my friend Steph is doing, could interest you” way, which I passed along as a follow-up to a direct chat with each person.

In a more “social media” spirit, of course, make sure that any videos you put online can easily be shared and linked to, etc. etc — but that will be pretty natural for anybody who’s familiar with blogging and “being online”.

– **4. Go where people are. Be everywhere.**

Unless your event is already very well known, you need to go to people, and not just wait for them to come to you. If you’ve set up a blog, Twitter account, newsletter, then you have a place where people can come to you. But that’s not enough. You need to [go where people are](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/):

– Facebook
– Upcoming
– LinkedIn
– Xing
– MySpace
– Pownce
– Seesmic
– Existing communities big and small… (blogs, forums, chatrooms)

Again, this is a very basic principle. But it’s not because it’s basic that it’s invalidated by the magic world of social media. Where you can create an event, create an event (Upcoming, Facebook, Pownce, Rezonance — a local networking thingy); where you can create a group, create a group — I waited a lot before creating a [Facebook group for Going Solo](http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12748128087), because I had a [fan page for it](http://www.facebook.com/pages/Going-Solo-being-a-freelancer-in-a-connected-world/13470503249) already, but as you can see the group worked much better.

– **5. It’s a full-time job.**

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d spend *weeks* doing nothing else but send e-mails, update Facebook pages, blog, send e-mails, talk to people, IM, tweet, e-mail again… to promote Going Solo. It’s a huge amount of work. It’s so much work that one could imagine having somebody full time just to do it. So when you’re (mainly) a one-person shop, it’s important to plan that a significant amount of your time might be spent on promotion. It’s easy to underestimate that (I did, and in a major way).

Working this way doesn’t scale. At some point, one-on-one communication takes up too much time and energy to compensate for the benefits it brings over more impersonal forms of communication. But that only happens once your event is popular enough. Before you’ve held your first event (which was the situation I was in with Going Solo Lausanne), you don’t have a community of advocates for your work, you don’t have fans (you might have personal fans, but not fans of your event) or passionate attendees ;-), you don’t have other people doing your work for you.

At the beginning, every person who hears about your event is the result of sweat and hard work. Hopefully, at some point it’ll take off and you’ll start seeing more and more people [blogging about the event you’re organising](http://del.icio.us/steph/goingsolo+coverage) — but even then, it might take a while before you can just sit back and watch things happen. But in case this moment comes earlier than planned, you’re all set: you have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook group and a newsletter. Until then, though, you’re going to be stuck on IM and sending out e-mails.

**A few last words**

I hope that by sharing these lessons with you, I’ll have contributed to making things a little easier for somebody else in the same situation I was. You’ll have understood that I haven’t tried to be exhaustive about how to use social media for promotion — indeed, I’ve skipped most of the “advanced” stuff that is more often spoken about.

But I think it’s easy to get so taken up with the “latest and greatest” tools out there that we forget some of the basic stuff. I, for one, was guilty of that initially.

Also, one thing I haven’t spoken about is *how* to talk to people. Of course, some of what you’re doing is going to be impersonal. Own up to it, if you’re mass e-mailing. Don’t pretend to be personal when you aren’t — it’s hypocritical, doesn’t come across well, and can be smelled a mile away.

I haven’t quite finished reconciling my practical experience with how I believe things “should” work. I’ve learnt a lot, but I certainly haven’t figured everything out yet. I would have wanted to do a lot more, but time simply wasn’t available, so I tried to prioritize. I made choices, and some of them were maybe mistakes. But overall, I’m happy with how things went and what I learnt.

If you have had similar experiences, I’d be really happy to hear from you. Likewise, if you disagree with some of the things I’ve written, or think I’m wrong on certain counts, do use the comments. I’m open to debate, even though I’m a bit hard-headed ;-).

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Time to Sign Up for Going Solo [en]

[fr] Ça va commencer à être le dernier moment de vous inscrire pour Going Solo, si vous voulez profiter du prix de lancement. Aussi le dernier moment pour en parler autour de vous! C'est possible d'acheter des billets plus tard, bien sûr (et ça fera plus de sous pour l'événement si vous vous enregistrez plus tard) -- mais bon, ce serait dommage de laisser passer le délai.

Je ne serai pas dans le coin pour vous le rappeler à nouveau (serai offline jusqu'à la fin du week-end), donc c'est maintenant entre vos mains. Si vous connaissez des communautés de freelancers qui peuvent être intéressées par l'info, ne vous gênez pas pour la communiquer plus loin. Il y a quelques bons articles en français couvrant Going Solo -- fouillez dans ma collection de liens ou bien sur Wikio.

…and [plug it](http://going-solo.net/support). Earlier Bird prices (300CHF) [end this week-end](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/14/only-a-few-more-earlier-bird-days-left/), I wouldn’t want you or your readers to miss them (well, I’ll get more $$ for the event if you [register](http://going-solo.net/registration/) after the deadline, but I’m thinking of you too, see).

I’m really happy about how this is going. Much [coverage](http://del.icio.us/steph/coverage+goingsolo) (in four languages so far! want to add yours?) and a very encouraging number of registrations.

I’m going to be offline from tonight to the end of this week-end, so I won’t be around to remind you that time is slipping away. It’s in your hands now! If you know of any freelancer community who might be interested in the news, *please* pass it on to them. I’ve spent my last three days actively promoting Going Solo all over the place (I should write a blog post about it, because I think it’s an interesting case study on how to do the whole “social media” stuff right — at least, I hope I’m doing it right!) and I’m just “out”.

Next thing I need to concentrate on is polishing up a press and partner package (pretty PDF with all the relevant information neatly tied up together). Next week, when I come back.

I’m now wondering why I’m posting this on CTTS rather than the [Going Solo blog](http://going-solo.net) — I should probably cross-post it later. Opinions on that welcome. (I’m again stuck in a “where do I blog this?” phase).

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Quelques pages en français [fr]

[en] I've added some French content to stephanie-booth.com. One page describing my standardized offer for blogging in business (of course, other packs can be negotiated -- this is mainly to help my clients get started). Another detailing private classes I offer individuals (not my main business, but I like doing it and I'm regularly asked to). A description of the "Get Started with Blogging" seminar -- I'm doing it as a workshop at LIFT, but I also plan to organize these regularly here in Lausanne (or elsewhere if there is enough interest).

I'd like to announce a first blogging seminar end of February -- but I'm a bit concerned about how I'll get the word out about it. You see, I'm pretty good at communicating stuff using new media, but I do sometimes feel a bit at loss with more traditional ways of promoting events or business initiatives. Any advice or assistance in that department would be greatly appreciated.

Chers lecteurs francophones (si vous êtes encore par là!), j’aurais besoin de vous. Dans le cadre de l’opération “[mettre vaguement à jour stephanie-booth.com](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/28/quest-ce-que-je-fais-au-juste/)”, j’ai ajouté un peu de contenu au site francophone. Alors bon, comme d’habitude, c’est un peu brouillon (mais j’ai quand même réfléchi un peu à ce que j’écrivais) et c’est déjà en ligne. Mais votre avis sur ce que j’ai écrit m’intéresse. Bien? Pas bien? Détails à corriger? Problèmes de fond? Mauvaise stratégie? Parfait-y’a-rien-à-retoucher?

Vous voyez l’idée.

Les pages en question sont les suivantes:

– [Blogs et entreprises](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/entreprises/blogs/) — j’essaie de “standardiser” un peu mon offre pour que les clients puissent s’y retrouver. Il y en a pour tous les budgets, et bien sûr, on peut toujours discuter de formules particulières. Mais il me semble qu’offrir 2-3 “packs” est une bonne chose.
– [Cours pour particuliers](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/cours/) — ce n’est pas mon business principal, mais il faut bien que je me rende à l’évidence, on me demande pour ça. J’essaie d’expliquer dans quel contexte je fournis ce genre de service.
– [Cours d’initiation aux blogs](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/initiation/) pour particuliers — il s’agit de la fameuse [idée de cours](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/trois-heures-pour-se-mettre-a-bloguer/), que je propose dans deux semaines [sous forme de workshop à LIFT](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging) (si vous allez à LIFT, profitez-en).

Concernant cette dernière offre, j’aimerais fixer une date pour un premier cours à Lausanne toute fin février, mais j’avoue que ce qui me fait un peu souci, c’est comment communiquer là autour. Voyez-vous, je suis une spécialiste de la communication *nouveaux médias*, et les personnes à qui s’adresse ce cours ne s’alimentent probablement pas quotidiennement sur les blogs.

Il faudrait recourir à des moyens de promotion plus “traditionnels” que je maîtrise mal: annonces, affichettes, mailing-listes un peu “pushy” (oh horreur!), alerter mes contacts journalistes, mon entourage offline, faire passer des infos dans écoles ou entreprises… Tout conseil ou coup de main dans ce domaine serait bienvenu. Merci d’avance.

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LIFT'08 Workshop: Get Started With Blogging [en]

[fr] J'ai déjà parlé ici de mon projet de cours d'initiation aux blogs. J'aurai (si les participants sont assez intéressés!) l'occasion de donner ce cours sous forme de workshop à l'occasion de la conférence LIFT à Genève, le 6 février prochain.

Le workshop est gratuit, mais il faut être un participant à la conférence (je vous invite vivement à vous y inscrire si ce n'était pas encore prévu -- c'est un des meilleurs événements du genre en Europe).

This is something I’ve wanted to do [for some time now](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/trois-heures-pour-se-mettre-a-bloguer/), and I’m happy to kick it off at [LIFT](http://liftconference.com): provide [a crash-course in blogging for non-bloggers](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging).

I know many people attending LIFT are already seasoned bloggers like myself. Many of you (my readers) probably are. I wanted to offer something to those who are not so *immersed* in the web as us.

So, basically, this is a three-hour workshop to open a blog (from scratch, I plan to use WordPress.com), twiddle the basic settings, learn how to publish, and talk about blogging. I’m always amazed that though the media now sing “blog, blog, blog” in every publication, many people haven’t really had a chance to get near one and see how technically easy publication is.

So, if you know anybody who is going to LIFT and isn’t (yet) a blogger… send them to my workshop 😉

Quoting from the [workshop description](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging), here’s the stuff it’ll cover:

> First, on the “blogging technique” side:

> – opening your blog
– discovering the various options and settings offered by the blogging tool
– how to publish a post or a page
– linking to blog posts or websites
– organizing one’s content with tags and categories
– managing comments
– choosing a design for your blog and managing sidebar content

> Second, on the “blogging culture” side, we might talk about:

> – blogs vs. “normal websites”
– different uses of blogs (personal, corporate…)
– dealing with openness and conversation in a public space (negative comments…)
– blogging etiquette and ethics
– reading other people and how to promote one’s blog
– other “Web 2.0” tools to use in relation with your blog

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Adapting to Budget: "on peut tout faire avec tout" [en]

[fr] "On peut tout faire avec tout", me dit une copine designer avec qui je parle d'un mandat pour ma conférence, Going Solo. Ce qu'elle veut dire, c'est qu'il y a généralement moyen de s'adapter au budget du client.

C'est vrai pour moi aussi -- du moins dans certaines choses que je fais, comme apprendre aux gens à bloguer. On peut mettre en place un blog pour une entreprise pour 2'000CHF, mais aussi pour 50'000. Dans les deux cas le client aura un blog, mais les choses seront tout de même assez différentes:

  • Dans le premier cas, le client sera livré à lui-même pour découvrir la culture de la blogosphère et la stratégie de communication qui lui est propre. Je lui en aurai parlé, bien entendu, mais cela restera inévitablement abstrait. Il va devoir apprendre en public, perdre la face peut-être. Il fera des erreurs. Si tout va bien, il s'en sortira, à long terme. Au bout d'un an, de deux ans, il finira par réellement comprendre ce que ce nouveau média a à offrir -- s'il n'a pas abandonné, découragé.
  • Dans l'autre cas, le client sera accompagné, suivi de près, conseillé, coaché pendant six mois. Il apprendra "juste". Il fera moins d'erreurs grossières. On ménagera sa susceptibilité en ne l'obligeant pas à apprendre sans filet sous les yeux du public. Il y aura des crises également, c'est sûr -- mais il ne sera pas seul pour y faire face.

Il n'y a pas une méthode plus juste que l'autre, c'est ce que je suis en train de comprendre. Ça dépend du client. Est-il prêt à être livré à lui-même, quitte à échouer misérablement ou à se décourager? A quel point tient-il à apprendre à maîtriser ce média? Son budget est-il limité? Je m'adapte.

Last week, I recontacted a girl I used to do judo with, who is now a designer (not a “graphic designer” per se — an object designer). We talked about her work and what she did, and ended up trying to see if there was anything we could do together for Going Solo.

I met her to discuss this — it was a very strange experience for me to be “the client” and to feel totally lost about what she was going to do for me. And also, to be wondering how much this kind of thing would cost me. I had more than a few thoughts for my clients, who sometimes turn green when I tell them the price tag for what we’ve discussed.

What I’d like to talk about here is something she said: “on peut tout faire avec tout”, meaning “you can get anything for anything”. Not very clear out of context, I’ll admit. We were talking about budget. Basically, what she meant is **”tell me how much you have for this, and I’ll figure out a way to give you something for that price”**.

As the client in this story, I personally found that much more comfortable than to have to wait for her to come up with a quote (which would probably make my heart sink) and then get into painful discussions to see how we could reduce the cost.

My needs here aren’t very specific. I want a logo, a “look”, banners, some printed material, etc. And it makes sense: I can probably get that for 2000 CHF, and I could also get it for 8000. What I’d get would be different, of course — but basically, it would fulfill the basic need.

I liked what she said, because it resonated with some background thought process of mine which never quite made it to the surface. In my “industry” (let’s think of social media here, like corporate blogging), you can also “get anything for anything”. **Want a corporate blog? Well, we can do it for 2000, but also for 20’000** — or even more.

Let me explain a little. This is something that’s been bothering me for a few months, and I’m glad I’ve finally figured it out.

When I quit my day job (or was about to do so), I set up blogs for some clients. It was very **lightweight**: evangelize, install WordPress, show somebody how it worked, adapt a design to a WordPress theme, give some strategic advice (not always received) — and there we go. Sometimes, I didn’t even go through all that. It was “talk a couple of hours, open a [WordPress.com](http://wordpress.com) account, done”.

*But I wasn’t that happy with the results.* People often didn’t really “get” it. I felt they were under-using their blogs, that they could be doing so much more with them. Sometimes, people “didn’t get it” to the point that they actually didn’t really use the blog we’d set up.

So, I changed my way of working. Over the weeks and months, I came to understand just how vital training was when it came to understanding social media. Not just the technical aspects, but as I’ve written [again](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/) and [again](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/07/blogs-en-entreprise-un-peu-en-vrac/) (and probably elsewhere), the cultural and strategic aspects of it. So, I started to include that in my discussions with clients.

“Setting up a blog and learning how to publish a post is just the beginning. The big job is understanding the blogging culture, and figuring out how blogging fits into or changes (in most cases!) your communication strategy.”

*I didn’t want my clients to be disappointed in their blogs, or to “fail”, or to mess up too much.* It brought me to quoting healthy 5-figure prices for “we’d like a corporate blog” type of requests.

Not surprisingly, they thought it was a tad expensive. “Isn’t the whole point of this social media stuff the fact that it’s supposed to be *cheap*?” So, I didn’t get the gigs in question, and I wasn’t very happy either. The corporations I’ve been in touch with seem quite ready to be evangelized about social media, but not really ready to bet money on it.

(I know a lot of what I’m saying is old news, so forgive me if I seem to be stating the obvious to some of you.)

About a week ago I had a chat with one of my old clients, who told me that after about a year of having a rather non-bloggy blog things were slowly starting to change. Nothing very notable, but **they were loosening up**. They brought in somebody to help for the website who was more of a “web” person, and that had a positive influence on how lively the publication was becoming.

This seemed to bring me an answer to something I’d been uneasy about: lately, I’d caught myself explaining how blogging, as a tool, creates a certain kind of culture and communication strategy — but in the same breath, kind of negating that by insisting that throwing blogs at people doesn’t make bloggers out of them. I still think I’m correct about this, but it’s more complex than I make it sound. If you give somebody a blog, and they use it long enough, sooner or later they’ll start to “get it”. The catch is that there are high chances they will give up before they get there. And also, there is no knowing how long they’ll take to “get it”.

So, what do I do with this? **On the one hand, it is possible to keep blogging “cheap”. On the other hand, I do believe it makes sense (particularly for corporations) to invest a hefty chunk of time and money in learning to get it right.** (Corporations don’t hesitate much about spending lots of $$ — or even €€ or ££! — on software solutions… put that money you’ll save on the software in training and strategic consulting when it comes to social media.)

I realised that the key was *compromise*.

**Say your budget for opening a corporate blog is 2K.** We’ll open a WordPress.com account or install WordPress on a server somewhere, get you a domain name, maybe a cheaply customised theme with your logo in it. I’ll show you how to use the tool’s basic functions. I’ll give you some advice (blogger’s survival kit), recommend some other tools to try, and that’s about it. You’re on your own.

You’ll scrape your knees. It might take you a year or more to figure out for yourself that blogging isn’t about reproducing your “print” or “old marketing” content in a light CMS called a blogging tool. You might give up, or decide that this blogging thing is not all it’s hyped to be — it’s too hard, it doesn’t work, it’s just a fad. On the other hand, if you do hang on in there, feel your way through the crises, engage with your readers, learn to be part of the community, mess up and apologize… There is a lot of value in there for you.

**If your budget is 50K, we’ll do things differently.** I’ll follow and train your team over 6 months. I’ll walk you through the crises. I’ll help you prevent some. I’ll hold your hand while you learn. Talk with you when your communication strategy feels rattled by this alien blogging thing you’re doing. Help you see clearly so you understand what’s at stake more clearly when you have decisions to make. Spend time convincing the sceptics that what you’re doing really has value. Teach you to write better, as a blogger. Show you how blogging is part of this Bigger Thing that’s been happening online over the last years. When we’re done, I’ll have taught you almost as much as I know, and you’ll be autonomous.

In both cases, I’m compromising. The client is compromising. Blogging *is* about learning in the open, messing up in public, and getting scalded by the heat of real relationships and real people and real conversations. It’s about being human.

**Where exactly is the compromise?**

In the first scenario (the “cheap” one), the client isn’t really ready to invest much time and money in understanding blogging, or doesn’t have the means to do so. If he’s not committed or not passionate enough, the whole thing will **fail**. Remember that **many people start blogging, and then stop**. They’re just not around to tell us about it. All we see are the *natural bloggers*, those who have it in their blood, so to speak. Those who have a personality that fits well with the medium. On the flip side, the client gets the “real deal” right away. No training wheels.

In the second scenario (the “expensive” one), the compromise is in **saving the client’s face**. It spares the client the indignity of learning through making lots of mistakes, and in public. By investing time and money, and hiring competent people, you can avoid making gross mistakes, and appear to “get it” faster than if you jump in and half drown before you figure out how to float. We’re compromising here by preventing the client from looking too bad while he gets to grip with the new medium. Ultimately, the client will have to learn to lose face every now and again — nobody can prevent the business from messing up now and again. But it won’t be due to being uncomfortable with an unfamiliar medium.

**I don’t think there is *one right way* to get into blogging. Just like there is not a “best” way to learn, between taking classes and learning all by yourself. Both of these scenarios are good — and all those in between. It will depend on the client:**

– is the client ready to scrape his knees in public, a lot — or is he still happy with a rather controlled communication strategy, which he wants to ease out of gently?
– is the client willing to see his attempt to get into blogging fail (for a variety of reasons) — or does he want to put all the chances on his side to make sure he sticks with it?
– is the client on a budget — or is money not an issue?

Which brings me back to where I started. Translating what my friend says to my own business: if you want to get into blogging and your budget is set, it’s possible (within reason, of course). In all cases, you’ll get “blogging”, but you’ll get different flavours and intensities of it.

You *just* have to trust the professional you hire for this to be giving you your money’s worth.

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