Posts Tagged Social Media Club

The State of Social Media. (A Conversation in Austin)

iweozs30yz1rcfmw7jk2_400x400When we started to advance Social Media as an industry or field of practice back in 2006, I had the highest hopes for our future. I saw social media as an opportunity to not only bring people together, but to bring people from different backgrounds together. Just as Howard Rgeingold had explained in his book Virtual Community, but instead of being in the fringes, it would be at the core of society. I also saw social media as the force for organizational transformation, bringing transparency and openness to companies and governments alike with societal change forcing a new wave of change management.

Unfortunately, as Shel Israel explained to me many many moons ago, we tend to overestimate change in the short term and underestimate it over the long term.

As social media has evolved, SMC is also facing change. While many cities have found a way to persist, others have become a bit more quiet. Perhaps remaining as a strong online community as Austin has done without a lot of in person events, or just folding altogether. This is actually normal and healthy. Change is a constant and is required for any community in order to remain relevant and valuable to its members.

The question becomes what do we need? What do we want? What are we willing to do to have it?

While I’m not seeking to get involved in the organizational structure discussion, I am interested in getting more engaged with the community here in Austin now that I will be down here regularly over the months ahead. So I want to talk to some other folks who care about what’s going on in social media today – to share experiences, insights and yes, miseries too. While social is now pervasive as a medium, it’s less then optimal as a profession.

In recent weeks I’ve spoken to way too many people who are struggling, who are undervalued by management and who still don’t have an easy+valid way of proving their ROI. So while social is amazing in so many ways, it’s not yet widely honored for its true potential which means it’s not getting the investment it deserves which means it’s not getting honored for its value… Ugh.

So this isn’t going to be a pity party. Not in the least. It is going to be whatever we want to make it together as a round table conversation with whoever shows up. I’ll start with deeper remarks on the subject to kick things off, talking about the why’s and whatnots as I see it, then open up for questions and ongoing group conversation.

So what is the State of Social Media from your perspective? Share in the comments and if you are in Austin, come join us next Tuesday at 630pm at the Ants Eye View offices in North Austin.

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On a personal note…

Chris and Kristie and the Cabo ArchIt’s been a while since I blogged once again. Since pointing out how little I could trust American Airlines communications last month in talking about its broken promises I have been busy in mind if not on socnets (and they never did reply again to my follow-on communications, nor did the guy who worked on their Twitter account @aairwaves stay on top of it, or get back to me). But I digress and I give those airline people too many pixels as it is…

Since I haven’t been out and about a lot, I am getting the same questions over and over, so I thought I should at least take a few moments and lay out a quick personal update about life, health, work and the near future. The vacation with Kristie to Cabo (and the brief visit to Miami for my grandad’s 94th birthday and a few business meetings) was a great trip, but did not afford the time for reflection and plan development I hoped to find. No, instead I returned needing a vacation from my vacation. 12 days on the road is really way too easy for me now, but my body still feels the consequences. Regardless, I am here back in San Francisco for 2 weeks before heading to Montreal for Webcom where I will finally deliver my keynote on Serve the Market and run a session on community management with my wife and Social Media Club co-founder Kristie Wells.

My Health

So it looks like the health scare I had in Sweden was a result of a lot of bad things, but thankfully not an indicator of a bigger problem with my heart. While there is not specific diagnosis once again (UgggghhhhhH!) the trouble that seemed to be a minor heart attack was probably closer to a panic attack, caused by sleep deprivation, exhaustion, stress, not taking my blood pressure medication and perhaps an inflamation of my chest/rib cage known as costochondritis. Of course, I can always blame SxSW and the craziness that we had with the Social Media Clubhouse and particularly late night on that party bus 🙂

At this point, I haven’t had any chest pains in weeks, though it did last after my return for a bit. My blood pressure is now down to a more manageable 145/85 or thereabouts and getting better every day with the meds and workouts leading the way.  While traveling last month I lost almost 20 pounds which I managed to gain back after only a few weeks back in the states. Now I have to get all the way back down again, but I am working on it.  Chief strategy being curtailing drinking beyond wine with meals and one or two social drinks. That should go a long way to better health just in itself.


I have a brilliant business idea I hit upon while in Sweden that I really want to pursue. Everyone, including angel investors I have pitched thinks its a brilliant idea, and I have a college buddy waiting for the plan who would likely fund it fully and many other friends in the venture business I could get behind it, but its still risky and I need to start making real money soon after postponing income for too long this past year and not picking up as many clients as I would have liked. I also still have a lot of commitments which aren’t making me any money at all right now, which I need to 1) finish with and 2) stop taking on.

Social Media Club is at a crucial point right now and the pieces are falling into place for a major change to how it operates that for too long has been waiting in the wings. In order to fully accomplish our mission, we need to generate more income for the organization, become more structured with our network of chapters and empower more people to address the core activities on a full time basis.  Hiring Justin Herman has been an incredible good fortune for us and the community as a whole, but we need more paid staff and that means its time to shore up our ‘business model’ and get to work. Which is what we are doing with the new site, but even that is a risk as I am sure the new model, despite its necessity and obviousness won’t be well received by all. Which means we have a real challenge in front of us that we will begin to address more formally on our local chapter leaders call next MON and thereafter with the launch of a real membership drive. (it was supposed to all happen at SxSW but our development team really screwed us over so we have to get a new team up and running right now and fix all the crap they left half finished and broken).

The bottom line though is we can’t keep doing this on a volunteer basis any longer. We need a real professional organization that is looking out for the community, not these psuedo efforts by people with for-personal-profit and self-aggrandizing motives. As I said during the Business Wire panel last month in San Francisco, the problem with Social Media douchebags is not going away, and someone needs to address it properly. I intend Social Media Club to serve this important role of community standards bearer. A compass holder if you will. Its more complicated of course, and its deserving of a longer post which I am indeed writing this month…

Then yesterday, GigaOm wrote about this executive search for a ‘Head of Social’ at Google and all the current thinking/planning was thrown into a kerfuffle. I mean, where else could I get a chance to make a real impact using all the intellectual tools and talents at my disposal. With a background not only in virtual community, but general web strategy, software development, organizational change, user experience, marketing, evangelism and community leadership, it would seem a perfect fit. More so when you consider that my vision in 2002 for The Noble Pursuit included an element I called ‘The Global Anthropologist Project” as an effort to harness what is now called the wisdom of crowds and has been manifested not only by Wikipedia but also by many of the social search functions Google has already adopted but which widely has not been realized as I had envisioned it yet. It would really be fabulous to take on the challenge, working with Bradley Horowitz, Chris Messina, Joseph Smarr and the rest of the Google team do social right. Completely right for the full golden triangle of user-service-advertiser (or the real USA as its also known 😉 The opportunity is huge and very enticing – it could also potentially mean a huge lift for Social Media Club… but most importantly, it would be a chance for many of the ideas of Insytes to see the light of day. I almost wish I wrote about them more often.

Life, the near future.

At the moment, I have my hands full fixing all the problems with the Social Media Club site and getting it relaunched, getting the Social Media Club business model ramped up properly, organizing about 10-20 events between now and the end of the year, wrapping up a client engagement, looking after my health/losing weight, investing in my relationship with Kristie and finding a way to do a lot of writing.  This post is a step in the right direction for all of it actually. So the near future looks pretty good.

I just need to keep finding my way to the keyboard, the gym and the conversations that matter most, which means being more proactive then reactive and focusing on the important stuff more and the urgent stuff less.  Life is really pretty good right now, just putting one foot in front of the other and not getting overwhelmed by all the big ideas about how things should be in the world in the face of how things actually are… it feels good to make the world the place of our dreams, especially if I get to play the role of George Bernard Shaw’s unreasonable man.

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Chris Heuer Speaks: Social Media Workshop Birmingham 2009

Chris Heuer teamed up with Ike Pigott, Scott Schablow and Mack Collier for a Social Media Workshop in Birmingham, AL on April 27, 2009. The workshop, tailored to the needs of attendees, focused on creating a social media plan for one’s organization, including review of case studies. Chris presented “Principles of Social Media” as an overview of effective social media practices and theories. You can read Scott’s post on the workshop here. You can view the list of event goals and presentations below, following Chris’ slides from the presentation.

  • Learn the Principles of Effective Social Media from Chris Heuer, founder of Social Media Club
  • Discover the secrets of Building the Community You Want with renowned consultant Mack Collier
  • Ike Pigott takes you inside Social Media Marketing where the tools provide real solutions
  • Find out how to measure your success and set even higher goals, as Scott Schablow demystifies Metrics and Return on Investment
  • Together we’ll look at successful case studies to learn what works and what doesn’t
  • You’ll work with our team to develop a Social Media Strategy that is crafted to meet your needs, not someone else’s
  • We’ll give you the tools and the approach to effectively sell your plan internally, and earn the buy-in that will make it a success.
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Chris Heuer Speaks: The Power of Social Networks

On April 21, 2009 Chris Heuer led the April Social Media Club San Francisco/Silicon Valley event, “The Power of Social Networks.” The evening began with a fireside chat between Chris and guest John Hagel, a network effects expert and Director at Deloitte Consulting, LLP. Following John’s remarks he joined a panel of noted social media authors to discuss the use of social networking tools to achieve business goals. The panelists were Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor and Adam Jackson, author of 140 Characters.

John Hagel at Social Media Club from Social Media Club on Vimeo.

Power of Social Networks Panel #SMCSFSV from Social Media Club on Vimeo.

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My Weekly Look Forward

Well, maybe its me looking back, but only because I want to learn from what I just left behind to inform where I am going…

I am for the first time in a long time sitting in a moment that is pretty near the present.  For most of my life, like many of you I am sure, I invested a lot of energy into worrying about the future over which I have little control, or regretting my mistakes made along the way.  I have learned from the books I have read on Buddhist and Zen principles a scant little, but this one thing was driven home in all the works:

be here now

So simple, yet so hard – especially for an ADD rattled mind that would be equally happy facilitating a large conversation between a few hundred people or having tea with one of our wise elders learning their life lessons.

I guess it really is just about getting older, gaining more perspective from experience.  As I turn 40 this summer, the number just weights heavy on me, eventhough it is still looming in the distance some 4+ months from now.  So I clearly see the only thing I can do is type the next word and the next.  While I could of course now delete those words, or edit them, I can’t have the first seconds back in which they were typed.  I can only be here now, as I was there then and as I will be when I am there.

OK.  Philosophical rants aside, I have a new accupuncturist at Kaiser Permanente and the guy is fantastic – not only has he helped relieve the rotator cuff pain, but he must have hit my ‘bliss’ spot on my forehead because each time I leave, I feel more grounded then ever before, more here, more here now.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still blurting and hitting the hot button still causes a reaction more times then not, but it is bettter.  Better still, I feel healthier.

But there is another element of that too, which is Grace Di’Laura, a great administrative manager, but more importantly a great person who has the crucial ability to think, to question tasks so that she can perform them more effectively and efficiently.  It’s so crucial and so few people have this talent – great questions mark the beginning of great conversations, and great conversations lead to innovation.  Ultimately, the implementation of those innovations will lead to transformation… of organizations, of people, of communities and even of entire societies.

To get back to the story, the reason for being so extraordinarily pleased with Grace is that she has helped me get near to the ever elusive inbox zero.  So if you dont hear from me on some email you sent in the next week or so, please do followup again – clearing through 10,000 or so emails from the last year or so took several weeks to do and I am sure it was not done without missing something important (in fact, we just deleted everything prior to January 1 actually ;).  But the feeling of being able to let go of all those old emails I knew I wanted to respond to, but couldn’t, due to the 24 hr daily time limit… Grace freed me from those and so much more already in the first couple of months.  We are really going to miss her when she goes to law school this summer.

Of course, this is also why I am able to be here now better then ever before.  Unfortunately, it has meant that I spent the majority of the last week clearing up old open issues, preparing to file taxes (ok, Kristie’s doing more of that then me, but it still takes energy), dealing with settling old debts, completing a project for a client, doing the weekly Social Media Club work, getting the social media workshop series redesigned and now finally thinking that each Friday should be my day to create content and nothing else. OK, maybe a lunch meeting, like I just did with Timo Heuer, family from the old country 🙂

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great time we had at WoolfCamp, where I got to debut my Tweet Story which we will be publishing next week.  WoolfCamp was a bit different this year, but still held its charm – coming together with a group of kindred spirits to honor Virginia Woolf and the writer inside us all.  Given the difficult times we have all seen it was just as much about being together, celebraring our humanity and our community, as it was about talking about topics of mutual interest.  Kristie and I were so glad we made it down there, though bummed we missed StartupWeekend SF.

If you care, which you probably dont, I allso made some progress on a few different businesses we are starting up to build some residual income sources, more to come on that shortly.

Now, next week will be all about catching up on the Social Media Buyers Guide Project and getting into final production mode for the workshops we are doing in Birmingham, Hamburg, Paris and London.  Still trying to see if we can do something small in London – maybe our friends at the Paul Young Foundation can let us borrow their main room for the afternoon?

As long as I am writing about it, I should mention that we are now embarking on producing a lot of events, so I am starting to look for sponsors from communications agencies and social media technology vendors.  If you want to get in front of the people who are implementing social media solutions in their organizations and I don’t call you next week, please do reach out to me.

Next week’s Social Media Club Question of the Week (#SMCQ5) is going to be a good one I think.  Something along the lines of our responsibility to check our facts, ensure we are clear when something is opinion and when we are stating facts and the general harm that can be caused by intentionally ignoring such important ethical tenets, as we saw yet another detractor of social media club do this past week. C’est la vie.  Some people will just never get it and we can’t do much to help them except continue to explain what it is we really stand for and continue to live the values that we find to be important.

Also next week is the beginning of regular 24 Hour Fitness visits – finally feeling healthy enough to get that back into the routine.

So that’s my first Weekly Look Forward, thanks for stopping by.  Hope your week ahead is a good one.

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Government 2.0 Camp Meet World Cafe

So I was talking with Peter Corbett at SxSW last week about how cool it was that the Government 2.0 Club gave us a shout out for what we have been trying to do with Social Media Club as a bit of inspiration for them, when he asked if I was able to get to DC for Government 2.0 Camp.  With our upcoming Social Media Workshop series, I really didn’t want to fly, but then realized, it was a chance for my prior public service (at the US Mint as the Chief of eBusiness [actual title was much longer and more bureaucratic]) and my current community organizing experiences to help make a difference… so I cashed in some miles, arranged to sleep on couches and am getting on the flight now.  Right now, so I have to make this short.

I am hoping to get on the calendar to do a session on “lessons learned from association 2.0: building an open social organization that serves the community”, but honestly dont know if I will make it early enough in the morning (is anyone coming in from near IAD in the morning? ping me here).

Then on Saturday morning, I am going to lead a World Cafe session that will help us focus the lessons learned on Friday into collaborative, positive action in the most efficient way possible.  If you have never experienced a world cafe, you are in for a treat – it is one of the best ways to tap into the collective wisdom of any large group of people and so much more.

It is going to be 3 rounds of small group conversations with no more then 4 or 5 people in each group.  After each round, one person from each table will report out to the rest of the group (and to a video recorder in each classroom which will be shared online for those who could not make it).  After the reporting is done, everyone but the individual who has chosen to act as a table host goes to a different classroom and a different group of people – at this time, we will ask a new question for you to consider and explore. And we do it again, until we are done with the 3rd round of conversation and we will then have a session in the main room (I think) to continue the rest of the day. (Peter Corbett please correct as needed for our logistics as this is still in flux)

Of course, I have to plug the fact that I am trying to pay for this trip by auctioning off my time on ebay.  So right now you can bid on a 1/2 day of my time, Monday afternoon 3/30/2009 in the DC Metro area, where I will help you develop a strategic social media plan.  Sorry to be a bit spammy instead of eloquent on this, but my plane is now boarding!

See you on the east coast!

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Chris Heuer Speaks: Social Media Club Seattle, February 2009

Chris Heuer joined the folks at Social Media Club Seattle to present “How to Make a Case for Social Media.” Chris visited the chapter for this event at the Microsoft Redmond campus on February 24, 2009.

Chris Heuer – Social Media Club SEATTLE from Seattle20 on Vimeo.

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Chris Heuer Speaks: Social Media Workshop Miami

At the Miami Social Media Workshop Chris Heuer gave his presentation, “Social Media Principles and Introduction to Conversational Marketing.” The Workshop is designed for small businesses, communications agencies and tourism related businesses.  Workshop leaders will help attendees figure out how to effectively use Social Media for their businesses, learn how Social Media marketing is different from than traditional marketing, and take home some very practical knowledge they can apply to their businesses immediately.

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Friend Feed Rooms Replace Mailing Lists

Friend FeedI won’t bother with an in-depth comparison right now, but it is seemingly obvious how Friend Feed Rooms replace mailing lists.

We can have them

  • public or private
  • open or closed (members invite other members or not)
  • we can message each other
  • we can share links
  • we can let people know what we like
  • we can have a comment thread
  • we get to have it on the Web instead of locked in our email inbox
  • it has RSS feed so I can access it in my Google Reader

This is the first real step that I have seen towards what I originally wanted to do with Insytes back in 2005… it still has a long way to go to get that full potential, but maybe I can get a consulting gig with them, or some options or something and I can help them really build it all out as the best communications and collaboration tool on the Web.

For now though, join us in the Social Media Club Friend Feed Room and lets start sharing and learning from each other as it was originally intended 🙂

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Chris Heuer Speaks: Ignite Seattle

On April 14, 2007, Chris presented “Social Media Club: It’s a Multi-Channel World” at Ignite Seattle.

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