Glance Links – January 2015

30 01 2015

business-balance

Just some marketing stuff that caught my eye recently… lots of talk about balance – in business and life! If you have any that you would like to pass on, please share!

TooMuchContent

Does Posting More Content Lead to More Engagement? – The big bass drums have been beating for several years now… Boom! Boom! Create More Content! Boom! Boom! They’ve been drowning out the tiny tom-toms that have been trying to tell us that the glut of content will ruin us all. This article from Marketing Profs measures content engagement over the past two years, and it’s not pretty. But it’s great data and worthy of some thought. Do we back off some? Start looking at quality more than quantity to achieve an equilibrium? Zen Marketing, if you will…

Bridging The Gap Between Sales & Marketing – Last week I was asked by a friend to sit in on a new kind of discussion. Pat Walsh is an experienced marketer who has also spent decades as a facilitator in a variety of professional environments. Pat’s recognition of a gap between sales and marketing is not groundbreaking, but his presentation and conversation techniques could be. I’m not sure if there are many others out there that have the chops to build this bridge in your organization. Check him out!

The-Four-Agreements

The Four Agreements – After much prompting by some friends, I bought this book and read it. I’m not a motivational, self help, incense burning kinda guy. But the author has been on Oprah for god’s sake!! I liked the book… it seems simple enough and I get the benefits of the behaviour he wants us to aspire to. But as I was reading I couldn’t help sifting out the kumbaya moments and applying these tenets to a business environment. I find that being impeccable with my word, not making assumptions, not taking anything personally, and always doing my best has made my business life a lot more palatable. It’s how I’d like to be going forward, and definitely how I’d like the people on my team to be.

Social Feeds: Why The Intern Can’t Do ItWe’ve all heard this… young people are native internet users so it’s logical that they should handle your social media postings. But there is much more to it, and Ed Lynes explains it succinctly and, dare I say, brilliantly.

One more thing… “Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius” ~ Pietro Aretino… Nah! That didn’t warm me up either!





A Punch To The Gut

24 01 2015

Young-girl-4dd0288086086_hiresA 15 year-old girl hung herself this week. And two days later her family had to make the awful decision to remove her from life support. She died.

I convey these details in a very blunt way, because a sad story like this should be delivered forcefully, shockingly. Like a punch to the gut.

I didn’t know her at all. I remember this girl and her sister from a few years back, joyfully running around on the soccer fields where I coach. She had a distinctive last name, so I also remember them both getting many awards at our yearly sports banquets. From reading her obituary this morning, I now know that she did other things well: singing, dancing, writing, softball, basketball, cheerleading, fishing… to name a few. By all accounts, she was an extremely intelligent and engaging young woman, with a very bright future.

Is “why” too simple a question to ask?

I’ve heard from some that she took her own life because she was bullied, but I’ve heard from others that it wasn’t that simple – how could it be? There can’t be just one reason for something like this. But I’ve seen stories on the news and read some online articles about cyber bullying. Like those other issues, we sometimes don’t realize there is a problem until it happens in your own backyard.

In the wake of this death so close to home, there have been calls for retribution against kids who bully other kids. People are asking for prosecution by the police, or a good old-fashioned ass-kicking. This saddens me as well. Criminal charges and jail time is certainly warranted, but little consolation to a grieving community and family. Violence to punish violence is just plain stupid… it’s not likely to save the next victim of bullying.

Google the word “bullying” and you may be shocked at the sheer volume of information that you find. A quick investigation revealed some very alarming statistics (bullyingstatistics.org):

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
  • Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University.
  • A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying. According the same study, 10 to 14-year-old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide.
  • According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.
  • Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
  • Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber-bully victim, and fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement

To me, these numbers are staggering. Worse still is that even though the amount of resources to battle this problem are increasing, the amount of incidents are climbing.

I found myself feeling very fortunate that both my sons’ teen years are behind them. But after thinking about it, why should I feel that they are safe?

So the big questions… What kind of world have we allowed to evolve? A world where some kids feel free to humiliate and degrade others? A world where a scared and scarred child believes that suicide is the logical way out?

Are we all so detached? I don’t have any answers, except to communicate with your kids.

This tragedy has prompted some of my friends with younger children to have some very honest conversations… with themselves and their kids. They were hard conversations… ending with pledges by the parents to always be there to help, and to pay attention to signs that a child is struggling.

There were also pledges by the kids to be honest and open about their problems, seeking help from parents about anything… no matter how weird or embarrassing.

And they also pledged to do no harm to themselves or others… to not take lightly the precious gift they have been given.

We can always do better. And I have some talking and listening to do.

Read here about Carley… gone too soon, too young. And hug your kids…





Je ne suis pas Charlie

14 01 2015

11-paris-march-2.w529.h352.2x

I am not Charlie Hebdo… for many reasons.

First… I blog. I write about whatever I want, whenever I want. If nothing strikes me as interesting or worthy of opinion, I don’t write. I’ve always said that I write for me, and don’t really care if anyone reads it. But I’d be lying if I didn’t get juiced when people comment on a post. I look at my “view” numbers with interest, but I maintain that this blog is really for my personal growth and education in the medium. So I answer to no one, and I personally determine the level of controversy I could possibly create with a post.

mfew5tp0igaf1ukkanvmI have given my opinion here and people have disagreed. And when I wrote some of those posts, I knew I would receive some flack. That’s okay… a little spirited conversation is good for the mind and soul. I’ve also steered clear of some subjects for a variety of reasons, mostly because I alone choose the battles I want to fight. I believe that purposely inflaming passion about certain volatile issues creates barriers for real communication. I’ve often held back commenting on social media posts because I could predict the response.

Finally, I never use Freedom of Speech as a justification for my behavior, or anyone else’s. I’ve seen that one wielded like sword lately. People need to really understand that right before they say that it protects them. And I certainly can’t say that I am protected by freedom of the press, because that isn’t what I do.

Charlie Hebdo is a business. Like any business, decisions are made with both eyes firmly focused on the bottom line. Unlike me, they care about their numbers. The readership courted by the owners, investors and advertisers is reflected in the cartoons and editorials they publish. Clearly, the financial success of this magazine is largely due to the level of controversy they create.

Again… I am not Charlie.

Terrorists entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo last week with one mission – to silence them. After years of perceived humiliation by the pens of editors and cartoonists, a minute percentage of the insulted acted on their anger. Two men stormed the offices, killing 12 people and wounding 11 others. Among the dead were a maintenance worker, a guest at a meeting, two police officers, and eight columnists/cartoonists – including editor Stéphane Charbonnier.

The cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were frequently off-the-charts inflammatory. They attacked the teachings and icons of all religions, but concentrated heavily on Islam. Even the non-radical Muslim was justifiably insulted by some of the cartoon depictions of their prophet. What the cartoonists called satire, they called blasphemy. The insulted remained insulted as the editors continued to voice opinions they felt were guaranteed by the rights of a free press.

This is the main reason I am not Charlie.

1420733297778I admire a nice piece of satire. I admire using it to take on oppression, and to hopefully right wrongs. I fully support the notion of a free press, but I believe that right requires a certain amount of responsibility. My view of freedom of the press is the right to question and put forth challenging, intelligent opinions without fear of prosecution. But a free press has the responsibility to inspire, not incite. In many ways, Charlie Hebdo promoted as much hate as their targets. Editor Charbonnier gave this interesting quote to Le Monde newspaper in 2012 while discussing threats that had been made to him and the magazine. “What I’m about to say is maybe a little pompous,” he said, “but I’d rather die standing up than live on my knees.” That bravura is fine for him, but others were killed that day. I don’t forget who pulled the triggers, but Charbonnier gave no thought to putting others in harm’s way. He made decisions to go for the jugular when thoughtful, forceful commentary was probably a better course.

But that probably wouldn’t have sold as many magazines.

Of course, there is absolutely no excuse for this kind of retaliation. I’m sure that someday we all will learn that the killing of innocents is not a solution, but how many more have to die until we figure it out? It’s certainly a positive that so many people around the world have joined together to support the families of this tragic event… in peaceful, unifying demonstrations.

There is an extremely fine line between satire and hate. So before you slap that “Je suis Charlie” button on your chest, please take a close look at their cartoons. Real support of the right to a free press would be to denounce violence and killing with truth and inspiration.

Don’t be Charlie, be better than Charlie.

From Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj – a Muslim.