Facebook could be an IPO of the heart. Humanity deserves that.

ON CRISIS – THE PRESENT MOMENT FOR MANY: An individual has a choice in the face of crisis to either flourish and create OR to diminish and criticize. This is also true for a family, a community, a nation, and a continent. The people who are moving forward in country like Greece have chosen to create, have chosen to flourish, have chosen to put aside griping and whining and blaming and to take their best skills and apply these skills to what is directly in front of them.

ON THE HEART VALUE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS: One of the greatest lessons in life is that family and friends and community are more powerful than all of the money in the world. That’s the value of tight knit and vital, living social networks….the people. It’s not about identifying the next sucker. It’s about reaching out to the hand next to yours in the circle of life and offering a smile across the circle to the ones who are most in need. We’ve all got gifts to give. And these are unique. So go today and just give your gift, without fear and without anxiety. Someone holding your hand and someone in eyesight will get it and will be grateful. And that’s the basis of true and powerful social networking.

FACEBOOK – A HEART-BASED IPO – THE WORLD’S FIRST: Do you really think that another fancy program on how to glean every last cent from consumers is the right direction for an organization like Facebook or Google? No way!! In fact, a truly powerful IPO from Facebook is where everyone gets one share for every friend they have, every group they follow, every like they’ve ever clicked, every comment they’ve ever made. We, the humans of this planet, created this network together. And we, the humans of this planet, deserve a return on that investment of our time, of our extremely personal information, of our memories, of our images and of our deepest longings, fears and stories. When that happens at the Facebook IPO, then our species will have transcended the previous and defunct financial models. And we will have entered an age un-imagined.

Social networks can be "mise en abyme", a lived experience of stories within stories

A story within a story, also rendered story-within-a-story, is a literary device in which one narrative is presented during the action of another narrative. Mise en abyme is the French term for a similar literary device (also referring to the practice in heraldry of placing the image of a small shield on a larger shield).

In Wikipedia, it is written that a story within a story (“mise en abyme”) can be used in novels, short stories, plays, television programs, films, poems, songs, and philosophical essays. But I argue that such artistic devices may be used in our real fleshly lives as a means of discovery, innovation and evolution. And I propose that digital social accounts like Facebook contain nested stories, all of which are doorways into alternative experiences or possible existences…a living fabric of “mise en abyme” that you have assembled for any purpose under the sun…

For more on the device “Story within a story” see the Wikipedia entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Story_within_a_story

Back To Social: Everything has Changed and Nothing has Changed

Peter Ecomomides of FelixBNI tells a story of his neighborhood market to illustrate how everything has changed & nothing has changed. Peter talks about conceiving creative & human ways to interact with customers. Applying common sense marketing to social tools (Social Monitoring Tools) & social networks (The World Wide Mind). The importance of adapting social technologies to ways humans have always spent time is vital. We gossip, watch movies, check out photos, listen to music, check the news. The most successful social networks, apps and tools are digital software that serve timeless human actions. This is the beauty of what Mr. Economides recognizes in his statement about “getting back to social”. He acknowledges that social objects – tweets, status updates, photos posted to Flickr, video posted to YouTube, ARE the medium. Mr. Economides writes, “Twitter is not a medium. Your tweets are the medium. Your blog, your Facebook page, etc.”


ON CHANGE: You’ve emphasized that “everything has changed and nothing has changed”. What are your thoughts on that today and why is this an important message for those getting into marketing via social networks?

Everyone in marketing was educated BDSM – Before the Development of Social Media. And the marketing we learned was focused on the Broadcast Economy. Mass media. Mass retailing. The consumer as a demographic number.

Social Media has given birth to the Conversation Economy. Massive media which do not broadcast. Messaging has become stream of micro conversations. The consumer now has a highly individual profile.

My point is that this is the way it has always been. Mass, if you think about it, is the aberration. It’s back to village, where conversation and word of mouth rule supreme. It’s just that this time the village is global. And the main road running through it is the internet and social media.

The irony is that the largest medium in the world has taken us back to a world filled with individuals, conversation and word of mouth. But as Gary Vaynerchuk says, it’s “word of mouth on steroids.”

Social media is influencing consumer behaviour way beyond the internet. And this is the most important thing for any marketer to bear in mind. Great marketing rests on powerful consumer insight. And if marketers don’t understand the 360º effect of social media on consumer behaviour, they’re in serious trouble.

I often illustrate this through my local butcher.
I believe that he has the best meat in Athens. Now, I am not an expert. I do not know this, but I believe it. Not because of what he says but because of how he behaves. He does not impress this on me. He expresses it in everything he says and everything he does.
He has not studied marketing. He knows nothing about social media. But he is an insightful human who understands what makes people tick. His reputation has been built entirely on word of mouth. He knows that. And he also knows that his reputation can be ruined by word of mouth. In a flash.

Smart people have always known this. And the best butcher in the village has always behaved like this. Ask your grandmother.

Everything has changed and nothing has changed.

ON TECHNOLOGY AND CONVERSATION: Danny Brown writes, “Every single one of us is connected, from the tech savvy to the Luddite to the in-between. And if we’re all connected, it becomes easier to help. And if we all help each other, maybe there’s just a chance the world might be a better place.” Do you see social technologies as accelerators of helping each other and making the world a better place? What can humans do in the context of social technologies that is different than via telephone, fax machines, and the Pony Express? Is it only about speed or is there something more tactile about social technologies now?

Conversation is the key.
Good conversation is a dialogue that consists of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. In other words, it is dynamic. It moves somewhere. Social media facilitates synthesis in a way that the telephone, fax machine and the Pony Express never could. It’s immediate. It’s massive. And it’s open. It’s like a perpetual town hall debate.

Television? Just thesis. No antithesis. Certainly no synthesis.

ON TWITTER: What is Twitter and why do you use it?

Twitter’s a cocktail party where you are free to drop into a conversation, plant a seed, pick a fruit, shape a thought, learn, share, contribute … and move on to the next conversation. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

Twitter is also the most immediate news source on the planet. I witnessed the Egyptian Revolution earlier this year by switching between Twitter and Al Jazeera on my iPad. I was in Tahrir Square through Twitter. Picking up news and personal drama. And I’d see the images a little later on Al Jazeera. No other medium could have done that for me.

The evening news? Forget about it!

ON FACEBOOK: Why have so many people flocked to Facebook?

A market is always built on a great product.
And I think Facebook is a great product.
Easy. Intuitive. Lots of ways to share. And, importantly, lots of reward through the Like button.

But there are a lot of great products out there which do not succeed ….
Facebook’s initial appeal was to the high school and college crowd. Important influencers of the older crowd. Facebook crossed the chasm into mainstream through kids. And once they had the critical mass, the network effect kicked in. One billion users by the end of 2011 … remarkable. But that;’s the network effect in action.

Facebook has played an important role as most people’s first step into social media. But it runs the risk of becoming the “low rent district” of the internet.

EXPLAINING SOCIAL TECHNOLOGY TO GRANDMA: How on earth do you explain social technologies and social networks to grandma? Or the crustiest of CEOs?

Back to the village! And back to my butcher story.

You’ve seen many approaches to marketing over the years. What are two of your favorite campaigns, in the past or now? What could social technology and social networks facilitate that maybe would have been tougher in the past?

I’d rather talk about great brands.
Because a campaign is just a stage in the life of a brand.

Every category has a protagonist brand.
And it should be the ambition of every brand to be the protagonist of its category.
Think of a soft drink. Coca-Cola?
The Coca-Cola of vodka?
The Absolut of computers?
The Apple of beer? The Heineken of sports shoes? The Nike of coffee shops?

Starbucks hardly advertises. But look at the quality of the conversation it has with its customers. In everything it says. And everything it does. Everything communicates.

Starbucks knows what its “Starbucksness” is all about. And so does every barista who works there. That’s the key to a great brand. Consistent behaviour throughout the organization. In everything it says and does.

Great brands have always understood the conversation. Great brands have always understood that they sell product to individuals and not to numbers. Great brands have always “got” what the social media experts are preaching. Nothing is new.

Naturally, social media open up new opportunities to connect with consumers through thesis, antithesis and synthesis. I wonder about the future of consumer research …..

ON GREECE: You have lived all over the world – in New York, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Johanessburg, Athens. You’ve marketed huge brands like Apple and Coca-Cola. You’ve been in leadership at major ad agencies like McCann and also done your own thing. Now you live in Athens, Greece. What is happening in Greece right now and how can OR are social networks play(ing) a part in this?

There’s a huge conversation going on on Twitter, revolving around current events in Greece. Also a number of great forums on Facebook. But I don’t see much traction. I am working on a public forum in the style of Quora which I hope to launch soon.

GREEK FAVORITES: Who is your favorite Greek musician? Film director? Playwright? Journalist?

Konstantinos Beta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiuSbj-PrvA)
Costa-Gavras (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa-Gavras)
Dimitris Papaioannou (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimitris_Papaioannou)
Alexis Papahelas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_Papahelas)

Find more on Peter Economides at FelixBNI (http://www.felixbni.com).

YOUR 1,001 NIGHTS: You have created your own best medicine through the stories within stories upon your Wall

People are moved by stories and drama and hints and clues and discovery. ~Seth Godin

YOUR SOURCE IS A GUIDE: There is a thread of vitality in everyone’s life worth tapping into. It is a stream that has run downhill to you from a great river teeming with YOUR KIND. Do what you can to follow that stream to the river and then devote your life to discovering the river’s source. It is this SOURCE that the human soul seeks MORE than anything else for it holds answers to ALL of our most personal questions (most of which DO NOT even have words).

I would argue that one’s passion IS a powerful resource in facing the world’s winds and waves. ACTION STEP: Discover the tribe around YOUR SOURCE through simple keywords used in the Facebook search window. You will find friends, discussions and groups oriented around YOUR passion immediately upon pushing SUBMIT. Here’s more on how to do this.

BIG BRANDS WILL PAY YOU FOR YOUR STORY: We live in a renaissance period of self-discovery through story. Robert McKee, the author of Story (one of THE best books for screenwriters on the planet!), writes, “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.” I would submit to the reader that over the course of the last year YOU have written a fantastic STORY through your Facebook status field, Twitter field and YouTube Channel (if you don’t have one, get one!) And I would suggest to you that there is TREMENDOUS value in this story for you and your tribes!

The next big revolution is YOU making money on advertising for BIG BRANDS who spot your channel and want to advertise to your 100’s of millions of subscribers!!!) ACTION STEP: The arrival of big money to invisible, yet super-creative, storytellers revolutionizes the publishing and media industry big time! Watch how YouTube and GoogleTV effectively pull this off over the next 12-48 months. Set up your YouTube channel today and research GoogleTV.

SEE YOUR BIGGEST CRITICS AS YOUR GREATEST ALLIES: Behind the scenes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, there are bean-counters who are interested in the big numbers BUT do they understand or want to understand the dynamics of story and how to weave a tale that wraps even the most pessimistic person into a tale of romance.

Discovering the power of story and the formulas that work on the heart and emotion has been an activity for years in the entertainment industry and in the marketing world. On a human level, stories save lives every day and the advent of social networks/ platforms for telling collective stories allows humanity to transform curmudgeons, pessimists and naysayers into enthusiastic communicators of their passion. I would add that the greatest Critics are my favorite allies for their ability to see through a story to its heart. It has been said that the Optimist created the airplane and Pessimist created the parachute. ACTION STEP: Write down who your greatest critics are and what they say about your creative actions in the world. Then write down how these critiques help you refine your offering.

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS METAPHOR: Perhaps one of the greatest examples in literature of a story wherein the storyteller transformed her audience is that of Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights.

The main frame story concerns a Persian king and his new bride. He is shocked to discover that his brother’s wife is unfaithful; discovering his own wife’s infidelity has been even more flagrant, he has her executed: but in his bitterness and grief decides that all women are the same. The king, Shahryar, begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to dishonour him. Eventually the vizier, whose duty it is to provide them, cannot find any more virgins. Scheherazade, the vizier’s daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it. The king is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins (and only begins) a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion, postpones her execution once again.

So it goes on for 1,001 nights.

The tales vary widely: they include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and various forms of erotica. Numerous stories depict djinn, magicians, and legendary places, which are often intermingled with real people and geography, not always rationally; common protagonists include the historical caliph Harun al-Rashid, his vizier, Ja’far al-Barmaki, and his alleged court poet Abu Nuwas, despite the fact that these figures lived some 200 years after the fall of the Sassanid Empire in which the frame tale of Scheherazade is set. Sometimes a character in Scheherazade’s tale will begin telling other characters a story of his own, and that story may have another one told within it, resulting in a richly layered narrative texture. (SOURCE)

YOUR 1,001 NIGHTS: The complexity of the Arabian Nights is a fantastic image of the complexity in social networks. Our stories have stories within stories and nowhere is this more evident as one travels the thread of comments on a Facebook image, a blogpost or a YouTube video. Every comment has the potential through a link to carry one into an entirely new story and so on.

Communities like StumbleUpon are another fantastic example of the “babushka effect” of the Internet. At StumbleUpon, one may enter a variety of keywords and then get link suggestions that lead to further suggestions and so on. Creating a tale from your discoveries on the internet, from mashing up the various universes you visit and personalities you meet on this journey creates value for you and your tribe. I would submit that your Facebook wall itself IS just one place to read your story of the past 1,001 nights. I would also suggest that it contains valuable medicine for transforming whatever you feels threatens you.ACTION:Write down what one year of Facebook statuses or Tweets tell you about yourself. What is the MOST consistent message you are telling yourself OVER AND OVER AGAIN through these fields?

FUNDING YOUR STORY: There are so many options now for finding funding from YOUR donors, Venture Capital that loves YOUR content and from YOUR tribe. Start with the fantastic tool Kickstarter! Check out the ultimate Crowdsourcing wiki here.

What is the name of your planet?

“If they turn on advanced search tools, this can threaten Google.com. All this social aggregated content will yield a powerful database of what you and your friends like, the precursor to customized web experiences and social advertising.” ~ Jeremiah Owyang, an internet analyst with the Altimeter Group

Welcome to the opportunity to create your own planet. Starting with your Facebook page and then adding a Flickr account, a YouTube channel, a SecondLife avatar, a Last.fm channel, a Twitter profile, a StumbleUpon or Digg profile, a WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger blog, you can assemble your own tribe, create your own advertising, monitor the traffic within your world and be its leader. Find intelligence from leading sources. Ready your rocket and leave planet earth for your own planet, fellow Human. Earth is Chalmun’s Cantina. Come and visit when you like, especially when you need a tactile experience with flesh, sand, forest, and fellow friends, easily found through services like MeetUp.