Stratégie médias sociaux: à distance ou en dialogue? [fr]

[en] I'm always astonished when I hear about people developing social media strategies for a client "on their own". For me, the strategy emerges from the discussion between two parties, each bringing their expertise to the table: social media, and the company/context the strategy is for. I sell a process rather than strategies.

Je me souviens de la première fois qu’on m’a explicitement demandé de “pondre” une stratégie médias sociaux. Pas avec ces mots, bien sûr. On m’a demandé, après un entretien d’embauche, de “juste” mettre par écrit une stratégie pour l’organisation en question.

J’étais à la fois estomaquée et confuse: premièrement, je ne m’attendais pas à ce qu’on me donne une “mission” (et j’ignorais totalement que ce genre de chose se pratiquait, m’étant présentée à un seul véritable entretien d’embauche dans ma vie), et deuxièmement, produire de mon côté, en toute autonomie, une “stratégie médias sociaux” me paraissait d’un non-sens sans nom.

Au fil des années, j’ai rencontré à plusieurs reprises cette idée de production de stratégie médias sociaux “à distance” de l’organisation qu’elle concerne. Comme exercice pour des étudiants, comme demande de la part de clients potentiels, ou encore de la part d’agences.

Et je ne comprends toujours pas.

Pour moi, une stratégie est le résultat d’une rencontre: moi, qui amène à la table mon expertise en médias sociaux, et le client, qui amène à la table son expertise sur son organisation et les contraintes et moyens qui fournissent le cadre dans lequel on travaille. La stratégie émerge de la discussion. Pas de mon cerveau, ex nihilo, après avoir absorbé quelques généralités concernant mon client.

Du coup, ça m’a aidé à être plus claire avec mes clients — qu’ils soient le “client final” ou non. Je ne vends pas des stratégies, mais un processus d’accompagnement pour développer ensemble la stratégie. Economie d’énergie, économie d’argent, économie de temps. Une approche née du monde numérique, dans lequel il coûte peu de tester une idée directement, de planifier en cours de route, plutôt que de prendre des lustres “hors terrain” pour tenter de deviner ce qui prendra.

Certes, la planification a sa place. Mais des fois, il vaut mieux faire, et voir.

(Scoop: je suis restée indépendante.)

Slowing Down: About Cleaning, Laundry, Accounting, and Backlogs [en]

[fr] Il vaut mieux avoir un style de vie ou processus qui nous permet de faire les choses à mesure (compta, rangement, nettoyages, vaisselle...) que de courir et devoir s'arrêter pour s'occuper des désastres accumulés qui ont commencé à nous pourrir la vie.

I’ve just spent about 2 hours tidying up the flat and cleaning it. And yesterday, as I was about to head out to my concert, I couldn’t find my flashlight (which we need for one of the songs). It wasn’t where it was supposed to be, I couldn’t find it in the half-unpacked bag from our last concert two weeks ago, and basically lost 20 minutes turning the already messy flat upside down. (I found it finally. Hidden inside one of my concert t-shirts I’d taken out of the bag.)

This experience has allowed me to realise, after all these months of living a reasonably tidy and organized life (not too much, but enough to be functional), that it’s much easier to find something when the place is not in a mess *and* it’s nicer to clean/tidy as you go along rather than have to stop to do it (although I actually do like cleaning).

A year an a half ago I set off on a process which helped me crawl out of 10 years (maybe even a lifetime) of feeling overwhelmed by the mess in my living space (thanks, FlyLady). There’ve been ups and downs, but overall I have been living in a tidy flat for many months, doing my accounting, putting my laundry away instead of living in the laundry basket, and giving my flat a quick cleaning session once a week. I’ve been slacking these last few months though, probably because of calendar overload.

What’s the general teaching here? In the spirit of the “not running” and “doing things now” principles I detailed in my “Journey out of Procrastination” series, I’d say the following:

It’s better to go slower and have a process/lifestyle which allows you to deal with things as they come, rather than running around and having to stop to deal with the accumulated backlog once it starts impeding on your ability to live happily.

In practice, for me, that means I need to pay attention to build enough time into my days/weeks for:

  • unpacking bags
  • putting things away after I’ve used them
  • washing the dishes after the meal/snack
  • doing my accounting at least once a week
  • cleaning the flat roughly once a week
  • putting my laundry away the day after laundry day
  • taking things to the office

In summary: planning ahead enough so that I’m not in a rush. Added bonus: life is more enjoyable like that.

Seth Godin on Benefits of the Blogging Process [en]

[fr] A force de se concentrer sur les bénéfices qu'il y a à avoir un blog (= des articles publiés), on perd de vue les bénéfices du simple acte de bloguer -- de l'utilité pour soi de cet exercice d'écriture.

Take 90 seconds to listen to the following video:

I found it thought-provoking. It reminded me of the fourth principle in my journey out of procrastination: find pleasure in the process rather than only the goal.

What Seth Godin says here is how beneficial the act of blogging is in itself, independantly of the impact of the published post on others. You know, the therapeutic effect of writing, and all that.

I think we’ve lost track of that with all the focus on the benefits of blogging as a finished product (the published post). The process of blogging is actually what is the most precious in this whole story.

Harry Joiner, who wrote the post where I found this video, says the following about his own blogging practice, which I think is worth quoting — also as food for thought:

My point is this: For a while last year, I began to think that — for me, anyway — blogging was simply a means to a marketing end.  It was about being #1 on Google for my primary keywords, and once that was accomplished — what was the point of blogging more?  After all, I had a company to run.

Turns out I was wrong. The primary benefit of blogging is to develop and maintain a teachable point of view on something of value.  It’s about learning to communicate more effectively.  And as Seth says in the video above, “to contribute something to the conversation.”

Happy blogging!

My Journey Out of Procrastination: Five Principles [en]

When you’re trapped in the procrastination rut, solutions coming from those who are out of it just seem inapplicable. “Just do it,” for example.

I think I’ve recently pulled myself out of the rut for good (fingers crossed), and before I forget what it is like to live with the heavy black cloud of “things I should have taken care of last week/month/year” over my head, here are a few thoughts on what helped me build a life for myself where my invoices are sent, my bills are paid, my deadlines are met, and I actually have guilt-free week-ends and evenings.

It wasn’t always like that. Actually, for most of my life, it wasn’t like that.

Changing, like most changes, has been a gradual process. I know that (for me, at least) one of the thick roots of my procrastination lies in a very archaic urge of mine to not be alone, to not do things alone. I rarely found it hard to do things (even the washing-up) if I had company, and I understood at some point that putting things off until I got myself in an unmanageable mess was in a way something I did to either force myself to ask others for help, or manipulate them into helping me out.

I think it was really important for me to understand this, because unfortunately, freeing oneself of life-threatening procrastination is not just a question of tricks and methods, but also about understanding what role such a behaviour plays in one’s “life ecosystem”, and what can be done to replace it. In my case, it included being proactive about asking for assistance or company, making sure I was having enough of a social life, and sorting out a few personal issue I’m not going to dive in here.

That being said, I learned five important principles throughout my journey that are worth sharing.

The first is that radical change will not work. If you tend to live in a messy home, it’s not spring-cleaning once every three years which will change that. Going from living in a messy home to living in a more or less ordered home is a lifestyle change. It’s like quitting smoking or starting to exercise regularly, or eating more healthily. Reading GTD, spending two days setting up your system, and “sticking to it”, will not be enough (though I’m a great fan of GTD). Be aware that you’re in for a long process, which will probably take years (it took years for me, in any case — maybe even half my lifetime). This means that you need to start by making small changes to the way you do things, instead of aiming for a revollution.

The second is to not do it alone. By that, I mean involve others to support you. Things I’ve done include buddy working, asking a friend to come over to help me clean the flat, or having my brother literally hold my hand during three months whilst I started getting my finances back in order. If it’s easier to do with somebody just sitting next to you, then ask somebody to do just that. I remember one of my first experiences of this was being on the phone with a friend, and we both had a horrible awful pile of dirty dishes to deal with. We both decided to hang up, do it now, and call again an hour later when it was done. Somehow, it felt easier to be doing the dishes when I knew my friend was doing the same thing in another country.

The third is that backlog and process both need to be dealt with. When you procrastinate, you start off in the worst of places: not only do you not have a healthy “lifestyle” process in place for dealing with things (you let them wait until it’s so urgent the only thing left to do is to call in the firemen), but you also have a (sometimes huge) backlog of “stuff” that needs dealing with. Be patient with yourself. Also, understand that there’s no point in just dealing with the backlog if you’re not fixing the process. GTD is mainly about the process. “Do it now” is also just about the process.

The fourth is to find pleasure in the doing. One component in my procrastination is that I’m overly goal-focused. One thing I had to learn to do was to enjoy doing things, and not just enjoy having done them. Life is now, even when you’re doing the dishes or cleaning the flat or paying bills. What can be done to make the process more pleasant? Well, there are things like listening to music or focusing on the task at hand in a zen-like way, but it’s also possible to keep in mind that by paying my bills now, I’m being kind to myself and treating myself well (by keeping myself out of future trouble). It helped me to realise that I really didn’t mind doing the dishes for friends when I was invited — it was doing them for myself that sucked. It wasn’t about the dishes: it was about doing stuff for myself. (Which opens a whole new can of worms: is it easy to treat yourself kindly?) When I started doing my dishes as if I were my own best friend that I loved, things started changing.

The fifth is to know your boundaries and enforce them (aka “say no”). When there is too much to do that you can’t keep up, it means that you’ve been accepting or taking on too much. This is a major chapter in itself (and as I’m getting increasingly better at setting limits and saying no when needed, I’m starting to realize how hopelessly bad most people are at this). If you catch up on the backlog, set up a good process, but keep on piling up your plate with more than you can eat, there’s no way out. Again, this principle opens up potential cans of worms: why is it difficult to say no? Fear of rejection or angering the other are not to be taken lightly. “Just understanding” this is often not enough, as the root of such behaviour is often emotional and needs to be treated with respect. (You’ll probably have noticed: you won’t get much out of yourself — or anyone — if you don’t treat emotional components of problems with respect.)

I think that before diving into any “method” to change one’s procrastinative habits, it’s worth pondering on all five of these principles and trying to keep them in mind whilst going on with one’s life: change will be successful only if you pay attention to them all. This is, in my opinion, where GTD on its own fails at “solving the problem”: it’s mainly about the process (part of the third principle here). You can get started implementing GTD, but if the deeper roots of your procrastination are not dealt with, you will simply fail at implementing GTD properly enough for it to be “the solution”, just like I did. Not that implementing GTD isn’t useful: it was a very important step for me, and helped me a lot (it changed my life, clearly), but it was not enough to free me from procrastination.

Another element I’d like to add, in case it comes handy to somebody, is that I noticed at some point that when I am under stress, I tend to feel down, and when I feel down, I tend to find it difficult to do things, and therefore procrastinate. Figuring out this vicious circle was a really important milestone for me. Of course, it then took many months of careful observation of myself to reach the point where I could go “Oh! I’m feeling down and crappy, am I stressed? What’s stressing me? Oh, let me deal with that now so I can climb out of the pit!” — and now, it never even gets to that stage (or very rarely) because I catch it even earlier and nip it in the bud.

Writing: Desired Distraction [en]

[fr] Quand j'écris, j'ai besoin de m'interrompre, écrire un bout, repartir, revenir... De temps en temps je suis "avalée" par le processus d'écriture pendant un bon bout de temps, mais la plupart du temps le processus est bien plus fragmenté. Dès que les mots cessent de couler de mon clavier, je file vite quelques minutes faire autre chose. Je pense que mon cerveau travaille en tâche de fond pour préparer ce que je vais dire ensuite.

A topic I’m very sensitive to is multi-tasking. I stand somewhere in between the multitasking fanatics and those who point to it as the worst evil computers have brought us.

I’m very much aware of the benefits of the flow state, and how interruptions (what multitasking is all about) jerk you out of it. I’m convinced, though, that smooth and steady multitasking can in itself be an activity which can bring about a flow state (guess this would have to be demonstrated).

There are a certain number of things I have done to decrease interruptions in my daily activities: turn off e-mail (and other) notifications to almost nothing, put GMail in a different application than my browser, for example.

One activity during which I realised that I actively multitasked is when I’m writing. I write a bit, chat a bit, write a bit, fool around on the web a bit, write a bit, e-mail a bit… Every now and again I get sucked up and write-write-write, diving deep into it and coming out an hour later, but most of the time my writing process is more fragmented.

I realized that my brain needs the “off-time” between spurts of writing. Probably while I’m chatting or looking at my e-mail, my brain is preparing what I’ll write next in the background. When the words stop flowing to my fingers, I don’t stop and think hard to try to figure out what to say. I head out and come back a few minutes later. Sometimes I do this two or three times before I actually start writing again.

Basically, being distracted (or distracting myself) helps me write.

E-mail and Dirty Dishes [en]

[fr] Cet article fait le tour de ma méthode pour gérer le flux d'e-mail qui assaillit quotidiennement ma boîte de réception ainsi que le flux de vaisselle sale qui remplit inexorablement l'évier. Deux choses qui a priori n'ont rien à voir, mais qui au fond peuvent faire l'objet du même processus.

I’m a rather disorganised person. I know it comes as a surprise to many of my readers, because my online presence is reasonably organised (in the highly disorganised digital space we live in) and also probably because my writing is, well, pretty structured or something.

I’m a reformed perfectionist (in some areas). I’m somebody who read A Perfect Mess with glee, because it validated a conclusion I’d reached myself over the years: find the sweet spot between too much mess and too much order.

A few years ago I wrote a blog post titled Keeping The Flat Clean: Living Space As User Interface, after I realised that usability principles and accessibility apply to living space too, not only to websites (nothing revolutionary for the world, but it was for me). This kind of thinking has never left me.

So, what does keeping one’s inbox empty and taming the dirty dishes have in common? It hit me the other day.

It’s about keeping some constantly filling “bucket” from overflowing. It’s about having a process to deal with what comes in on a regular basis, and seeing the bottom every now and again.

Over the last year or so, I haven’t been too bad with e-mail. Here are my seven tricks:

  1. turn off notifiers but check regularly
  2. reply immediately to “small stuff” that doesn’t require much brain power
  3. archive, archive, archive: stuff I’ve dealt with, as well as bacn (I create filters for bacn)
  4. stay on top of the “longer” stuff I need to reply to, at max a few days after getting it
  5. identify the stuff I “should” spend time replying to but for some reason I won’t, and deal with it accordingly instead of letting it rot in the inbox for six months before giving up
  6. if things go out of control, I still try to keep up with what’s incoming so it doesn’t get more out of control, and take stabs at archiving/processing the backlog (in that way, my inbox hovered around a stable 300-400 messages in it for most of last year)
  7. if things are too out of control, I don’t hesitate to do a radical “inbox to zero” (my way).


  • my inbox regularly goes down to zero (about once a week or so)
  • there are usually between a couple and a dozen e-mails in my inbox
  • people are happy because I’m responsive to their e-mails
  • I’m happy because I’m on top of my e-mail (“empty inbox” has a very interesting psychological effect).


  • I’m not regularly active on any mailing-lists, and filter them all out
  • my estimation is that approx 100 messages a day reach my inbox, bacn included
  • I have to “deal” with 30-40 message a day, probably, once you substract what has been filtered out.

So, what about the dishes? I’ve actually been really bad at keeping up with my dirty dishes over the last year (and cleaning in general, ack). A few weeks ago when I was sick, I decided to take control of my kitchen again, if only so that mess in the kitchen would not:

  • depress me
  • get in the way of preparing food and eating regularly.

So, I did the kitchen equivalent of “emptying the inbox to zero” to get a fresh start (warning: this goes a little beyond dishes). Taking inspiration on my inbox mastery, here’s what I did:

  • put all the clean dishes away (they tend to pile up on the draining board)
  • washed all the dirty dishes, and put them away a little later once they had dried
  • cleared the kitchen table of all the junk that was on it and cleaned it
  • did the same thing with one of the working surfaces and the stove

That was my “kitchen to zero” state. The process for keeping things that way is pretty basic:

  1. make sure I see the bottom of my sink regularly (every day if possible, in the evening so it’s clean in the morning — no rigid rule, but an objective I try to meet regularly)
  2. make sure the draining board is regularly empty
  3. near-to-zero tolerance for anything remaining on the kitchen table and working surface once I’m done eating/cooking

It’s been working well so far. Here’s what I think are the three keys that my systems for e-mail and washing dishes have in common:

  1. go for emptiness: seeing the bottom is important, psychologically
  2. flexible “keep the spirit” approach rather than rigid rule: keeps me from feeling “failure guilt” when I slip a bit, and provides living space (life does not fit in rigid rules)
  3. contingency plan for when I drop off: I know I’ll drop off at times, but I know how to get “back on track” when I do (GTD taught me that was vital)

I’m interested in hearing if you use similar methods, or different ones, and what you think of my “three keys” to a successful system. Does it work for you, or not?

LIFT08: Paul Barnett [en]

Creative director. Between the creative vision and the huge raft of people who do all the work.

Is going to try and strip the gibberish away.

LIFT08 158 Paul Barnett

“Lots of people online doing things.”

Bother, too large to talk about! One of the things you can do online with lots of people: you can socialize. Social networking is massively popular and theoretically worth billions and billions!

Lets of people are making things and showing them off. “User generated” 🙂

“My cat was sick all over my grandma, and I videoed it. Wanna see it?”

*steph-note: this guy is really fun and I like his accent!*

Strange word: “entertainment games that make old-fashioned… something (money?)”

Objective: they do this really well, I want to give them money!!

Profit! Something his mum understands. Virtual making real money. Not sure why!

Decided to talk about two things:

– history of cinema
– ?? *steph-note: missed that*

Just like mainstream movies, games have:

– too many people working on them, cost way too much, miss their deadlines, and when people experience them, they go “I can do better!”

History of cinema: color… weren’t sure it would catch on. TV came, and they were convinced TV was dead. DVD. And yet, movies flourish.

They don’t have 5 changes in 50 years, but 50 changes in 5 years. They don’t have the generational thinking. People who are successful in this business build rockets to the moon and never come back. Technology keeps changing and they don’t know how to use it. They don’t have a clue about what’s going to be “the platform of the future”. They don’t know how to monetize it either. Problem: all the games that appear to make money online were built years ago. Problem in a moving market.

The online space is fun and draws new speakers.

Designers who design for designers cost a lot of money, speak gibberish, and you just have to believe them. Paul is the middleman, between various players in the industry who have different languages.

Casinos: like movies and games (cost a lot, not ready on time, and when you walk in “I can do this?”) Subscription model. Community management.

American system: if something works for somebody, build it bigger, better, faster… But that doesn’t work in the long run.

New design and thinking is happening online. Take your game design people, and put them online — fight insular thinking. Need to embrace the online industry.

Beauté fabriquée [fr]

[en] From nature to billboard in 60 seconds. Via danah, who got it from Boing Boing, who got it from Tom Coates. Read danah's post about this video and the ensuing conversation.

Trouvé chez danah, qui l’a vu chez Boing Boing, qui l’ont eux-mêmes trouvé chez Plasticbag. Lien vers la vidéo originale, mais attention, la vidéo originale sur le site de Dove, c’est du Flash qui ne vous demande pas votre avis avant de commencer et qui ne vous permet pas de l’arrêter. C’est court, par contre: une minute environ.

La vidéo nous montre comment on passe d’un modèle (une vraie femme, humaine) à ce qu’on voit sur les grands panneaux publicitaires. En accéléré, un avant-pendant-après incluant maquillage, coiffure, et photoshop. A regarder. A méditer.

Comme danah a mis sur YouTube une version de la vidéo, je mets un lien vers elle ici:

Note: le photomontage semble être de Cory, mais copié chez moi pour éviter le hotlinking. Pas que les requêtes provenant de ce billet fassent une différence face à Boing Boing…

Comme le dit danah: on est conscientes de ne pas en détenir les droits, mais cette vidéo est trop importante culturellement pour que sa diffusion soit handicapée par le choix malheureux de son format initial.