- It’s all about the song. I can run scales and hit divalicious high notes till my nose bleeds, but if it doesn’t add to the meaning of the song, it’s all in vain. So too in social media. We are capable of all kinds of fancy, flashy things. But if they’re not adding to the meaning, the value, of what we’re trying to put out in the world, why waste the effort?
- Practice. Some are more naturally gifted vocal artists, some have social artistry down pat, but we could all do with a little refresher course.
- Give your voice a break now and then. Same with social media. Turn off, recuperate. It'll do your voice (or eyes, or mental health) good.
- Sing your own songs. It’s your voice, literally and metaphorically. Be who you are, be real, and be heard. People will appreciate it.
- Sing other people’s songs your way. A couple years back there was a contestant on American Idol who sang “I Will Always Love You” pitch-perfect. The judges’ criticism? She sang it too much like Whitney Houston's version; she didn’t make it her own. There’s always room in the world for a really clever, fun, unique, poignant, unusual, or just damn good cover. How does this translate into social media? Curate good content. Comment on it. Make it yours.
- Learn from great voices. When I was first getting in to singing, I focused a lot on being a great belter - it was all about hitting notes high and strong. And that has its place. But then I would listen to Billie Holiday and her deep-blue swing, or Willie Nelson’s southern sentimentality, or Ani DiFranco’s chatty interludes, or James Brown’s vocal fireworks, or any number of unique voices. I took a little bit here, a little bit there, learned from each one, and developed my sound. So too in the social-digital world do I keep my eye on the voices of those I admire, and imitate them, and learn from them, and they help me find my own voice.
- Sing with others. It’s hard to give up center stage. But I tell you, nothing teachers you more about being a good singer than having to sing with someone else, and there are few things more rewarding than a really beautiful chorus of human sound. One would think this piece would be easy online; social media is inherently social, right? But you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget this, and how often we can fall into star mode, losing sight of the chorus.
It’s funny how many of my high school vocal lessons translate into guidelines for social media. Here are a few tips I've learned as a singer that have also helped me think about social media in useful ways:
This year I am going to learn code. And I'm going to do it for free, on my own time, thanks to the good folks over at Codecademy.
Jewish tradition has a lot to say about words and language. Lashon hara, or evil speech, is in particular a topic of (perhaps not enough) discussion. (Heard that story from the rabbi on Yom Kippur about the woman with the pillow and the feathers? Yeah, me too. Every year.)
Words are powerful. The Bible has long declared that the entire universe was created with a few simple words spoken by a pretty powerful deity. "Let there be light," and there it is. This idea, surprisingly enough, is not totally counter to the scientific understanding of the Big Bang. Here's a picture (please don't ask me how this was taken, ask this guy) of the sound of the big bang, one big speech bubble...
In essence, speech creates worlds. It can also destroy them.
Remember the story of the Golem? That lumbering, clay man created for the soul purpose of saving Jewish lives during tough times? He is brought to life with a words on parchment, and destroyed when those letters on his forehead are changed from "emet" (truth, a word made up of three characters - the very first, middle, and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, because is not real truth the beginning, the middle, and end?) to "met" (death; interesting study in opposites, ain't it?). The loss of a single letter, aleph, brings the poor beast to the ground.
The Internet is quite literally a world built with words, but written in a language I don't quite understand. It isn't the only one, by any means, but it is the most tangible example of humanity's ability to create our own universe, to imitate God's work (however you understand God, or the work which was - is continually being or will be - done). I want to do that. I want to create worlds with words. So I'm going to learn how to code.
Originally posted in Darim Online's blog, JewPoint0
Beth Kanter and Allison Fine accurately quip in “The Networked Nonprofit” that “social media is a contact sport.” You can’t expect to succeed without getting your hands dirty.
As it happens, that’s just how the young nation of Israel agrees to learn the Torah - standing at Sinai, overwhelmed by the presence of the Divine, they collectively intone “na’aseh v’nishma” (Exodus 24:7 - what an appropriately enumerated verse). Loosely translated, “we will do, and (then) we will hear/understand.” Or, even more loosely translated, “first we will give this a try, then we’ll have some idea what it’s all about.” Israel agrees that the Torah is not an intellectual exercise, it is a lived experience.
“Na’aseh v’nishma” is your social media call to action.
Knowing conceptually that it would be useful to connect with other people free of the constraints of time and space is an important step. But it can’t compare to, for instance, engaging your network on Facebook to help find the modern equivalent of “na’aseh v’nishma.”* Sensing that social media increases the likelihood of serendipity doesn’t hold a candle to finding your next job through Twitter. Believing that social media is a key part of your communications strategy is very different from putting that belief into action.
But what about those who need to feel the ROI (or rather, ROE - return on engagement) before diving in? What about the “lo n’aaseh” (“we will not do”) folks?
On the one hand, there are those who will take on this challenge only because they “have to.” A friend recently told me about a colleague in her office who, upon taking the job, was cajoled into creating a Facebook account for the first time. The position involved working heavily with teens, and the person he was replacing realized as he was ending his tenure that he had missed out on opportunities for engagement by avoiding social media - “Facebook” was the advice he passed on to his successor. The new colleague is seeing early signs of success, meeting the teens in their own space, in their own language. Another friend had a similar experience:
On the other hand, there are those for whom working in social media may never feel like the right fit. It may move too frenetically, require too many technical proficiencies, feel too exposing or time consuming, or any number of things. At the same time, social media is becoming part of the vernacular of our culture. Even the most reluctant of us may have to reexamine our practice in light of new ways of working. This is a familiar story to some:
Ultimately, you can’t really “get” social media without saying “na’aseh v’nishma” and engaging it as a contact sport. Facing reluctance is tough - there are always reasons not to do anything! So if you’re working on a co-worker, easing them into working with and through social technologies, it would be useful to have the following things in mind:
Admittedly, this is no easy task. Success in social media does take an investment of time, energy, thought...much like any meaningful human relationship. But this is how we learn. We do, and we do again. And then we understand.
What was your “na’aseh v’nishma” moment? When did the “doing” make all the difference? (Share your voice in the comments and one lucky commenter, chosen at random, will receive a free copy of the book “Switch”.)
*The modern equivalent of “na’aseh v’nishma” could arguably be found in cognitive psychology: “effort justification.” It’s a fancy way of saying that when we work at something, when we dig in and invest ourselves, we understand it better and appreciate it more. Hat tip to Jay Schreiber and Rabbi Josh Yuter for helping me out on that one.
It should be clear at this point that my husband Alan and I are big, big nerds. (If you needed more proof, he's reading the Myst books right now and I...well, read my other blog posts.)
So in that vein, we're watching the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation series from the beginning. Here's a way cheesy promo spot to get you excited for the rest of this post.
There have been all kinds of articles talking about Star Trek technology, comparing it to the types of nifty gadgets we actually have today. And a competition has even been launched to help expediate the creation of a real-life tri-corder to diagnose disease. Pretty cool stuff. Even if you're not a nerd (I think).
But there are some other interesting lessons we can learn from Star Trek, especially when it comes to social media. Here are a few:
Nonetheless, there are some interesting lessons to be gleaned that can help us make our own experiences in social media more meaningful and productive. Bottom line: Star Trek blends social technologies that best mimic true human interaction and learning into the work of the ship.
Is there more to learn here? More to criticize? What would you add to this list?
Originally posted on JewPoint0
Consider the following tale:
Gloria works for a large and respected nonprofit organization. She tweets occasionally for the organization, but also has a personal account. One day, in an innocent slip of the fingers, she tweets about drinking at a party from her work account instead of her personal one. Not registering the error, she finishes her day as usual. June’s colleague suddenly starts fielding messages from the organization’s constituents about the, ahem, unexpected tweet. How should he react?
Or perhaps this little story will capture your fancy:
Tom recently Googled his organization and found that there were several blogs discussing a project his team was implementing. He was pleasantly surprised to find such an enthusiastic group advocating on behalf of his organization, but the blog was hosting by an organization with explicit political leanings, and Tom’s organization is specifically non-partisan. Should Tom take advantage of building the organization’s network and strengthening relationships with individuals who could contribute a lot to their work, or should he steer clear of anything that could be interpreted as political? How should Tom respond?
Both June’s colleague and Tom could really use somewhere to turn for guidance.
The way many organizations are facing these and other questions is by developing a social media policy (we recently blogged about the excellent policy developed by the Avi Chai Foundation here: “Avi Chai Foundation Gets Social”). A social media policy is essentially a document that helps define how different groups associated with an organization should conduct themselves online. It is a valuable and powerful tool. A social media policy helps outline both expectations and possibilities for social media interactions. It acts as a go-to document for any questions or conflicts that may arise. A social media policy can provide a sense of security, knowing your team is approaching social media from the same set of assumptions. It can also, somewhat counter-intuitively, foster a sense of freedom in the use of social media – you can jump into the game with more confidence when you know the rules.
Perhaps even more valuable than the document itself is the process of developing a social media policy. It encourages a big conversation, an honest discussion of the values and character of your organization and how they should be reflected online. As Beth Kanter explains on her blog, “…if you want the policy to truly work, you need a process, especially if your organization is still grappling with fears and concerns.” The process can present an amazing opportunity for listening, sharing, and reflection among the people who make your good work possible.
Darim is here to help you have this conversation and implement your own social media policy. That way, Gloria’s accidental tweet (a true story which you can find out more about here) and Tom’s political blog posts won’t seem so daunting – with the right approach, they can become opportunities for learning and increased connection with the people who care most about what you do.
To dig deeper into this topic and start the conversation, Darim is offering a webinar on social media policies (and because it’s our tenth anniversary, you’re welcome to join us for free). Here is all the information:
Social Media Staffing and Policies
Tuesday, May 17, 1-2pm
Register here: http://bit.ly/lZTGph
And we want to hear from you! Does your organization have a social media policy? If so, what did you learn, or how did you grow through the process of creating your guidelines or policy?
Take a moment to watch the video below.
Now consider this.
Think about the amount of technology that went into bringing this video to your screen. The sheer accumulation of human innovation is mind-boggling.
Humans can shoot themselves into space in metal cans. Humans in other metal cans can watch the other, while sitting comfortably and being offered free drinks. They can take out a mobile device, which works half-way up into the stratosphere, and record through the window. They can take that video and upload it to a worldwide network. I can access that network, watch the video (along with almost two million others, as of this writing), grab a couple of letters and place the video into my own space on this worldwide network, and comment on it. Then you can comment on my comments, and so on.
It's pretty freaking cool, I think.