Erosion Rate

By | Blog, Facebook, Media, New Posts, Platform Building, Relationships, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Website

The difference between attention and time spent paying attention is the erosion rate of a creator’s long-form content.

For example, the average video on YouTube is around 4 minutes. The average blog post is no longer than 200 words. The average podcast is around 45 minutes to an hour.

As audience attention spans wane and decline, there is less and less interest (or care on the part of audiences) in the expense to creators of the sunk costs of making long-form content. The sunk cost is the video editing suites, the cameras, the time spent editing 20 minutes of digital footage into 4 minutes of something that someone might click through.

The sunk cost is the time spent writing, the computer and writing software, and the time spent uploading the blog post for something that someone might skim through.

The sunk cost is the time spent finding a person with a perspective that is interesting, then connecting with that person, interviewing that person for an hour, and then editing, posting, and distributing the audio that someone might listen to with half an ear for around 20 minutes.

And we haven’t even gotten into the fact that repeating the processes for all three forms of long-form content (audio, video, and written) takes time as well.

But these are still sunk costs.

The erosion rate of your content matters if you are a creator of content. But it should matter to you more as a consumer of content. As a consumer of content, connecting with creators that you care about, and supporting them by writing them, contacting them, and talking about them to others, matters more for the creation of more content.

It also reduces erosion rate and brings more value to the content for you the consumer.

Our 1,000th Post

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Leadership, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Presentations, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Speaking, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Twitter, Twitter, Website, Workplace, Workplace Development

I thought it would take less time to hit this milestone than it has taken.

But that’s not an unusual expectation. Many people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can accomplish in ten years.

My expectations with this blog started out high minded and then crashed to earth and then became high-minded again.

But with 1,000 published posts, some of which are guest posts, podcast episodes, and other sundry items, I can say, with some assurance, that I have gone further than I thought I would.

And you have responded.

You have retweeted, e-mailed, reposted, commented, Facebook “liked” and “shared” posts, and have even gone as far as to reach out to me offline to give me feedback.

That’s how this blog grows.

It’s not like kudzu, where you plant a vine and then come back a year later and there’s growth without investment.

It’s more like planting corn: Some years it’s good. Other years it’s not so good. But the farmer still tills the soil, plants the seed, prays on the knees, and then brings in whatever harvest there may be.

Year after year. Bumper crops and thin ones.

What comes next? What does post 1,001 to 2,000 look like?

Well, there’s another book coming this year, a collection of my best posts about work, disrupting your workplace, and how to accomplish all of that while also disrupting your boss. And it’s about why external training and development doesn’t work for the creation of change.

Look for that in the Fall of 2018.

There will also be a shift as parts of this blog go elsewhere on the web to serve other functions.

In 2018, as I advance and grow my personal brand, the writing will separate, and my blog posts covering conflict management, self-awareness, storytelling, and other contemporary leadership and people management skills and best practices will be featured in this space more prominently

Articles about personal leadership, business development, branding, entrepreneurship, bootstrapping, risk-taking, marketing, social media, the future of human communication on the Internet, and other more personal brand based content will migrate to a new site, focused on building my personal brand with an eye towards keynotes and speaking opportunities.

Look for this split to happen gradually, and then all at once by the Fall of 2018.

But no matter how it plays out, I want to thank you for joining me on the journey so far.

I write this blog because it’s good for my mental and physical health.

I write this blog because it’s good for my writing muscle and it further establishes my own “voice” in my own head.

I write this blog, because it connects me to you, whether that connection happens now, or one, two, five, ten, or twenty years from now.

I write this blog, whether anybody will read this blog or blogs in the future that I may launch, or not.

I write this blog, because the acts of thinking, writing, and then publishing to the world, is still an amazing thing—even in a world of Internet thinness.

So, the real question is where would you and I like to go next?

Internet Thinness

By | Advice, Blog, Culture, Education, Facebook, Google, Media, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Platform Building, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Website

There is a species of thinness at the center of most of what you are reading, absorbing, and choosing to be activated by, on the Internet.

Social media (from YouTube to Soundcloud) drives a lot of this thinness by providing distractions, by watering down complicated subjects, and by blasting your attention and awareness repeatedly.

There were many people who believed that the rise of the Internet would herald deeper, more intimate connections between people.

They believed that the mechanism of combining television, radio, computer technology, and phone and cable lines, would herald a newer, fresher, more meaningful communication experience for humanity.

They believed that the Internets’ ability to scale empathy, connection, and action, would overcome the human tendencies toward tribalism, passivity, and disconnection.

And to a certain degree, they were right.

At scale, however, it only took a little while, for the forces of the big to take over and dominate the center of the Internet communication schema, and to use it for their own ends.

Which typically means to sell you more stuff at a faster rate, than ever dreamed of before…

…and as the long tail has gotten even longer, and as the “get rich quick” artists have fallen away;

…and as the large communication conglomerates have dominated more and more of the center;

…and as the average person has decided that active publishing and shipping is too hard, and that passive consumption is easier;

…and as the metrics of engagement have proven to be more and more inflated;

…the thinness of the big dominating the center, has become more and more apparent.

In the face of these realities, the hard thing now is to stick to the outer edges of the Internet universe; to do the work of publishing hard, thick, crusty ideas; to be committed to the building of communities of like-minded people over years (and in some cases decades); and to do, say, show, and commit to the hard thing without hope of payoff.

Instant, or otherwise.

It will take a long time for the thinness to thicken up in most of what you read, absorb, and choose to be activated by, on the Internet.

At this rate, it may take another twenty years.

But if you choose not to ship, choose not to participate, choose only to observe, it may be impossible for you to act when you’re ready.

Start this year.

Messages in 730 Characters

By | Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, New Posts, Technology, Twitter, Twitter, Website

Speed: Fast and wrong is still wrong.

Inaccurate: Wrong facts cannot create right truth.

Ephemeral: No culture–work, community, family–can survive anonymity in delivering feedback.

Caring: Practicing empathy is not about liking the other person.

Humility: The entire world does not revolve around your use case of conflict.

Status Quo: This current status quo only showed up recently in human history. Just like your worldview about it.

Power: Knowing what the work is–and isn’t–is power.

Politics: The personal is not political. Stop outsourcing your emotional life to political and policy decisions by other people.

Billboard: What’s on the billboard of your mind matters more than the messages on the one along the side of the road.

ROI of Ethics

By | Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, Leadership, New Posts, Organizational Development, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Twitter, Virtue

One of the main reasons that social entrepreneurship is sometimes scoffed at by audience’s observing from the outside, is the recognition of the obvious tension between the founders’ personal ethics and business revenue generation.

So, what’s the ROI (return on investment) on founders’ ethics?

The ROI on founders’ ethics is the same as the ROI on using the Internet and the tools of communication to leverage business practices against future audiences’ time and attention.

The ROI on founders’ ethics is the same as the ROI on corporate social responsibility—the idea that business must be more like Martin Luther King, Jr., and less like Milton Friedman.

The ROI on founders’ ethics, at the core of social entrepreneurship practices, comes down to deciding whether maintaining principles matters more than generating revenues through all manner of non-ethical business practices.

But, every business person, every founder, every person who starts a social entrepreneurship project, must decide—usually at the beginning of a project—about what those principles are.

And about how far they are willing to travel with them.

HIT Piece: 10.11.2016 -“For” You, or “To” You

By | Advice, Blog, Facebook, Google, HIT Pieces, New Posts, Old Posts, Privacy, Social Communication, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Twitter, Twitter, Website

The government (and the corporations that consort with it through lobbying efforts) can’t provide every service, fulfill every need, and relieve every want for every individual.

The government (and the corporations that consort with it through lobbying efforts) can be hampered from taking away rights and encouraging responsibility, from individuals.

One perspective is known as “positive rights” and the other perspective is known as “negative rights.”

In online interactions with corporations that are coalescing and acting like “real-world” mega-corporations (consorting with, and lobbying against or for, government policies and such) the issue in conversations around online anonymity is whether or not you believe that those mega-corporations should do for you, or should not do to you.

“For” you, or “to” you.

The preposition makes a difference.

If you believe that Google should do for you, then you will gladly give over your private data without a thought, to companies that view you as a product, and your privacy and anonymity as an afterthought.

If you believe that Facebook should not do to you, then you will be savvy about what you reveal online, where you reveal it, and to what company you give access to your data. You will interact with companies on the Internet who view you as a customer, and your privacy and anonymity as their first thought.

The preposition makes a difference.

If you believe that SnapChat should do for you, then you will gladly stay inside the walls of that communication garden, adopt the rules of the garden without thinking, and will complain when the rules of the garden are changed—as they inevitably will be—because you didn’t build SnapChat. Evan Speigel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown did.

If you believe that Dropbox should not do to you, then you will gladly pay for their premium service which protects your anonymity and expands company revenues in ways that allow it to continue to grow, because you will realize that you aren’t the product. The cloud storage is the product. And you won’t get caught the next time there’s a data breach.

The preposition makes a difference.

If you believe that AirBnB should do for you, then you will gladly applaud as they make changes to who can use their app as a part of their service, to reflect current political and social considerations based in long-simmering cultural passions, rather than revenue based considerations.

If you believe that Uber should not do to you, then you will sign petitions to bring Uber to your town, while also insisting on anonymity in driver data, protection from harassment from incumbents such as taxi drivers and others, and encourage the founders to develop robust responses to charges of sexual assault by drivers in countries not America.

The preposition makes a difference.

If you believe that the Internet should do for you, then you will happily engage with the Internet as a finite communication and connection tool. You will be happy inside walled communications (Skype), commodity (Gmail), and collaboration (GoToMeeting) gardens, and you won’t explore much further than those gardens. Because the Internet has too many options, is too confusing, changes too fast, and is too chaotic and scary to make an informed decision about services or products.

If you believe that the Internet should not do to you, then you will read blogs that have only been read by under 100 people or so, you will mourn the death of RSS feeds and will manage your email subscriptions carefully, and you will be unhappy with the “walled gardens” that the majority insist upon using. Because the Internet is infinite, never-ending, and like any other communication tool, requires self-control to manage, intuition and critical thinking to navigate, and patience to address on its own terms.

“For” you, or “to” you.

The preposition makes a difference.

When considering issues of online anonymity, harassment, bullying, bad behavior, privacy concerns, data breaches, and all the other unethical and illegal behavior being engaged in by individuals and corporations, the understanding of the difference in the meaning behind the preposition matters.

HIT Piece 9.13.2016: Facebook-as-the-Internet

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, HIT Pieces, New Posts, Old Posts, Platform Building, Privacy, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth

You are probably going to read this post by clicking on a link from Facebook, if you read this at all.

More likely than not, you won’t read this if you see it posted on LinkedIn (it seems too arduous to click on an article, thus the increase of click-bait recently on the platform).

If you happen to see the link to the blog post on Twitter (I didn’t pay for it to trend, nor do I have enough heft to cut through the constant firehose of information on the platform) you most likely won’t read it either.

These three platforms (along with Google) have created an environment of ease of access, shareability of information, and have grown through social proofing (“Everybody else is there, so I must be there as well”) that their influence as media companies is now being seriously discussed by media companies still around from the 20th century.

This leads to three problems, beyond the obvious ones though:

  1. There are biases evident in both the algorithms that run these platforms (as usual, computer models and programs are created by human beings, and human beings have biases) but that phenomenon is compounded by the fact that the people using the platform the most have their own biases. The real struggle is not to get more human curators to do the work of curating that an algorithm is programmed to do. The real struggle for both human curators and the human programmed algorithms running in the background of these platforms, is to educate and inform the audience using the platforms in spite of their biases.
  2. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pintrest, Snapchat, and on and on, are not the Internet. They are applications built atop the Internet. By only accessing information through these silos (the search engine Duck Duck Go actually gives better results than Google) the “lock-in” effect gets deeper and deeper in the person doing the search. This can be a positive. But it can also create myopia, willful ignorance, and a lack of curiosity about the world outside of these platforms.
  3. In the future, the social media and information communication platforms built on top of the Internet will become more fractured, not less. This is the reaction/response to the first two problems, and to solving the problem inherent in the sentence that opened this post. Eventually, more and more niche audiences, being less and less served by the platforms built at “mass” (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, et.al) will seek information out on the long-tail of options. There will be some reverting back to what came before social media (i.e. chatrooms, discussion boards, email listservs (I’m on two or three) and other tools) but eventually, niche audiences will seek access to their own silos outside the megaphone of established social media platforms.

Note, I did not say that these platforms would be profitable, popular to the masses, or easy for outsiders to integrate to and use. Reddit is already like this to some degree in its resistance to monetization, its relative openness, and its vain efforts to curtail its core users’ language and political preferences.

But as every woman seeks the promise behind being her own information queen, the seduction inherent in getting away from Facebook-as-the-Internet will grow in popularity and promise.

[Opinion] The Quality of Mercy Doesn’t Scale…and Never Will…

By | Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Emotional Intelligence, Facebook, Google, Media, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Peacemaker, Problem Solving, Reconciliation, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Twitter, Twitter, Virtue

From the Coliseum to Facebook, there has rarely been any mercy from the mob watching the participants in the arena.

The reason the writers of the Constitution favored a Republic over all else, was that they believed the mob was a dangerous, unpredictable force that moved without logic, rationality, reason, or mercy. And then the horrors of the French Revolution proved them correct about human nature.

In modern times, we have psychological and sociological surveys, assessments, and experiments, that show that when it is possible for individuals to stand-by, and watch degradations happen to others, people will. This is called the Bystander Effect.

In modern times, we have psychological and sociological surveys, assessments, and experiments, that show that when it is possible for the mass of people to suffer the injustices of the moment as long as those injustices do not personally affect them in any way, people will. This is called social proofing.

In modern times, we have psychological and sociological surveys, assessments, and experiments, that show that when it is possible to go along with others en masse as an event of any kind happens, because that even happening confirms a belief deeply and long held, people will. This is called confirmation bias.

The quality of mercy comes about when you know someone personally; when you are connected to their story intimately; and when you empathize with their struggle in a real and powerful way.

The quality of mercy cannot scale.

The outcomes of mercy—justice, forgiveness, reconciliation—can scale, but the actual quality of mercy comes along in an individualized process that cannot be scaled, and must instead be seeded, from one person to another.

No matter whether you’re among the mob watching in the Coliseum, or among the mob engaging on Facebook.

[Advice] On Influencers

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, Marketing for Peace Builders, Media, Networking, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Selling for Peace Builders, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Twitter, Twitter, Website, Workshop

Influential personalities and brands online are about to become even more influential as the years go by.

And mediators, lawyers, and negotiators should take note.

Influencer advertising is tricky to navigate, whether you are trying to partner with the peacebuilding neighborhood association with a vibrant Facebook community or the pop singer Rhianna.

Influencer marketing is only going to grow larger in the coming year for the very same reasons that social media is influential now: Individuals trust other individuals more than they trust brands. In the field of mediation and peacebuilding, where trust is a huge deal, influencers and thought leaders such as Bernard Mayer and Kenneth Cloke bring their substantial influence to academic programs, academic writing, advocacy and other areas.

However, as the influence of those individuals begins to fade, a new generation of influencers is rising in the ranks of mediation and peacebuilding professionals, such as Patricia Porter, Brad Heckman, Cinnie Noble, and others who have begun to leverage social tools and the wide reach of the Internet to make a dent in the peace building universe.

For the ADR professional with limited resources to be able to connect with larger names in the peacebuilding world, there are a few things to remember when considering using influencers to advertise your content, your services, your philosophy, or your processes:

Does the influencer’s brand link well with my brand promise?

Carefully considering how an influencer’s brand (which may range from Bernard Mayer all the way to Kim Kardashian) complements the strengths and reduces the weaknesses of the peacebuilder’s brand promise is key to developing a long term relationship with the influencer. Influencers are people first and foremost, and peacebuilding professionals should be about building that relational knowledge ahead of jumping into a branded relationship.

Is the influencer’s audience an audience that I want to be addressing as a peace builder?

Depending upon who the influencer’s audience is (and audiences range in taste and structure from the 1,000 followers the neighborhood peace builder has on her Facebook page, all the way to the millions of fans and followers Jon Stewart has) the peace builder has to decide carefully if that is an audience worth talking to. The fact of the matter is, every audience that a brand influencer has is not appropriate for a peace builder to talk to, nor is every audience open to hearing a message about peace.

Does the influencer’s message help or harm my message?

Every influencer talks to their audience in their own way, using words, images, symbols, and other forms of social cuing that inexorably tie that audience to them.

Some influencers are less savvy than others, but that does not mean that they aren’t sophisticated communications professionals in their own right.

 

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode #1 – Chris Strub

By | Advice, Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Google, Leadership, Media, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Privacy, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Twitter, Twitter

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 1 – Chris Strub, Social Media Engager and Connector, Part 2

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode #1 – Chris Strub

Welcome back to the fourth season of The Earbud_U Podcast!

The nostalgia for the perceived security and safety of the Industrial-TV complex dominated world of work and human interaction, is almost deafening.

The nostalgia mostly comes in the form of complaints about the work ethic of the current generation by a generation feeling left behind, and discounted.

Our guest today, Chris Strub is back from the second season of The Earbud_U Podcast. He defines putting in the work and redefining what the new work ethic is, by building a new way of working, using tools that allow him to grow his impact, and actively demonstrate the changing nature of the work ethic conversation.

When work ethic (or nostalgia for an imagined time in the past when people worked “harder” than they do now) is discussed, it’s often framed in the context of “paying your dues.” That mythical state of working hard, being unnoticeable (except for the work that you do), making no demands upon the work structure, and showing appropriate deference to the life experience of people older than you.

In a communication world with digital tools that are reshaping everything from shopping to working globally, “paying your dues” can begin at the age of 15 doing things that

  • Don’t scale
  • Will not appear on a resume
  • That an employer will never know about
  • And will bring the person passive income that can be leveraged after ten years…at the age of 25.

You know, at the moment when the “you should be ‘paying your dues’” conversation begins to happen, directed by superiors, co-workers, and others who didn’t have the digital tools that the 15 to 34 year olds have at their disposal right now.

Work ethic still exists. We just haven’t figured out a new way to calculate its value.

Listen to the podcast and take the multiple opportunities out there to connect with Chris today: