Social media (SM) users are relying on the web 2.0 sites for more than just networking these days. Might SM’s greatest contribution be mental health? SM’s use as a therapeutic outlet was studied and explored by Mental Health Camp, a Canadian-based conference in April 2009. This collaborative project investigated SM’s influence on mental health, both from a PR perspective and as a therapeutic outlet.
The all day Camp looked at ways to erase social stigmas associated with poor mental health “one tweet at a time” through social media marketing. Camp presentations and discussions pitched SM as an opportunity to release public service announcements from a personal perspective.
Additionally, presenters positioned SM as an outlet for those dealing with stress and anxiety. In terms of daily relief, individuals can blog and tweet away mental angst. According to Mental Health Camp counselors, mental health ranges from mental wellbeing (e.g. minimum stress, interpersonal problems) and serious illness (e.g. addiction, schizophrenia, anorexia). Mental wellbeing is our focus in this blog. Rather than keeping thoughts and burdens weighing on your mind, why not write a soothing blog or post on Twitter? In this sense, SM is a new age, productive version of the punching bag or stress ball.
Although the Camp concluded in April, online therapy continues on the Mental Health Camp’s website (here) as well on sites throughout the internet. As we have documented on this blog Web 2.0 and SM continue to weave into communication networks in productive ways.
Personally, I find blogging and other SM software both fun and therapeutic. In addition to a quick cure for boredom, networking with friends on Facebook is a great distraction from daily stresses. And when my girlfriend and roommates are sick of listening to my rants about my favorite sports teams, I continue the discussion on the blogoshpere. I know, I know…how pathetic right? Well, the stigmas surrounding these online outlets are quickly disappearing while the benefits are becoming more apparent.
Now is the perfect time to become an entrepreneur. That’s right, I said now.
With many older, established organizations running low on capital and funds, failed business models are being washed away. There’s room for fresh, new ideas. Obviously, it takes more than an idea to make it in this economy, and Ann Arbor is lucky enough to have three economic developers poised to incubate your burgeoning idea.
This driver of economic growth relies on collaborative efforts to build workforce and development initiatives. Automation Alley hosts networking events and skill-building exercises. Every level of business leader can find opportunities at Automation Alley. The Alley has created the Entrepreneurial Initiative of Southeast Michigan (EISEM) to highlight regional entrepreneurs. EISEM holds a bi-monthly forum with keynote speakers and local startups in order to extend each business’ message with customers and investors. The next forum will be held at Detroit’s TechTown on August 13. Please visit automationalley.com for more information and events.
This heavily lauded economic development corporation, headquartered in downtown Ann Arbor, strives to realize the tremendous amount of potential pouring forth from surrounding communities (U of M, EMU, tech groups, etc.). Like many economic developers, SPARK hosts networking events throughout the area and looks to educate and refine start-ups to their maximum potential. Entrepreneurs can open an account with SPARK and set up a profile to advance their networking potential on their website: www.annarborusa.org.
The Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest
The GLEQ extends their economic vision throughout Michigan, inspiring venture capitalists and entrepreneurs throughout the state. GLEQ provides a tremendous database of educational resources to member companies. Unique to the GLEQ is the competition they hold for new participants in two categories; New Business Idea and Emerging Company. Cash prizes are awarded to top finishers. Read more about the GLEQ and their competition at www.gleq.org.
Many other economic organizations exist in Michigan with the mission evolving from education purposes to inspirational efforts amidst these economic downturns. While the auto-industry reassembles and reinvigorates, the work of economic developers and venture capitalists cannot be overvalued. Ross Perot said, “Most new jobs won’t come from our biggest employers. They will come from our smallest. We’ve got to do everything we can to make entrepreneurial dreams a reality.” And for that reason, the time to explore your entrepreneurial spirit is now.
I’ve been trying to explain Twitter and Facebook to my parents for some time now, and despite my best efforts, they still find the lack of privacy a little unsettling. “You mean everyone will know when you go to the bathroom?”
Not exactly Mom, you don’t tell people everything you’re doing. But her point is a good one. Social Media (SM) allows individuals to effortlessly communicate and share ideas across broad networks, but some recent news has shown what happens when social media goes wrong.
Twitter’s rapidly growing population consists of celebrities, presidents, companies, neighbors and even pets. Charlie Villanueva, Forward for the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, has become an infamous Tweeter after two incidents last month. First, Villanueva or CV31 as he’s known on Twitter, posted a Tweet at halftime of a game against the Boston Celtics. Bucks’ head coach Scott Skiles quickly reprimanded these actions. (The Tweet can be read here.) For an encore, CV31 cited an inside source when he announced that Jim Calhoun, the coach of his Alma mater would coach in the next game of the NCAA Tournament for the University of Connecticut after health complications kept him out of the previous game.
“Juror Jonathon” ran into trouble in March for Tweeting details of a $12.6 million case from his cell phone. These Twitter updates, while not explicitly forbidden by courts, are believed to be grounds for a mistrial.
These two incidents are yet another example of technology moving faster than regulatory rules (or just a lack of common sense). Social media is a great public relations tool, providing ways for businesses and individuals to control their messages. But as more companies and businesses enter the social media circus, they must be wary of information leaking to the public through blogs, podcasts, Facebook pages, MySpace, Twitter, etc. The traditional walls of privacy my parents are familiar with are being torn down in favor of faster communication. Until rules are in place to control the expansive social media capabilities, remember to balance networking with personal responsibility and common sense.
Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Corporate Communications &Leadership &Marketing &Public Relations Tools &Social Media &Technology PR Insights 24 Mar 2009 04:26 pm
“What’s on your mind”? With this simple query that appears on the front page of Facebook profiles, Facebook has thrown down the gauntlet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had Twitter on his mind for a while now, and struck back at the up-and-coming social networking site two weeks ago. The much anticipated and incredibly hyped Facebook profile changes appeared on browsers everywhere on March 13. How BIG were these changes? As you can see here, the evolution of Facebook’s façade earned Zuckerberg an invite to appear on Oprah. Clearly, dorm room tech geeks aren’t the only ones noticing the social media frenzy.
Where’s all this buzz coming from? Well, Zuckerberg’s changes mark the latest chapter in the clash between Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has built its reputation on simplicity since CEO Evan Williams launched the site in 2006. Zuckerberg threw subtleties aside when he joined the 6 million on Twitter with a username of his own (thezuckerberg), apparently researching the micro-blog from the inside. (For those scoring at home, add “Espionage” to the list of professions social media has transformed.) The most obvious examples of Facebook’s robbery: When users sign on to Twitter they are greeted with the eerily coincidental question, “What are you doing?”. Facebook’s revamped look helps companies develop a presence on the site beyond the traditional “Fan Pages”. With Facebook’s improved business-oriented functionality, look for Facebook’s membership to spike in the upcoming months.
In the past six months, Twitter has really found its stride attracting celebrities, musicians, politicians, professional athletes, news agencies, businesses, and even President Barack Obama (username: BarackObama). This diverse, informational, and entertaining Twitter population was growing so much (752% In the last year!!) that Facebook looked to purchase the site last year to the tune of $500million in stock. Twitter and Williams rebuffed the offer, proclaiming that “Twitter is just getting started”. Facebook’s offer and subsequent rejection is even more astounding when you discover that Twitter is not a revenue-generating machine. Perhaps these are the changes Williams’ and his team foresee.
What’s the next step in this titanic clash of social media giants? It’s hard to speculate, but definitely fun to watch. Stay tuned.
About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Leadership &Marketing &Media &Michigan Public Relations Firm &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 20 Mar 2009 03:51 pm
Are you a thought leader? Thought leaders are credible, insightful industry professionals (often heads of companies) with the expertise to comment on industry trends and issues…basically, the leaders of thoughts. This is highly desirable brand position requiring a focused public relations (PR) effort and a commitment to hard work.
Thought leaders provide insight and vision and therefore, are “go to” sources for members of the media often providing quotes and commentary for news coverage. Highly visible examples include Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page of Google, Richard Branson of Virgin Megastores, or Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook. These leaders provide insight of global scale due to their product’s popularity around the world. It is also possible to carve out a niche for your company’s product or service locally or wherever you define your target market.
A few thought-leadership tips from www.skmarketing.com, a Minneapolis based business-to-business marketing agency:
1. Availability: Respect the hectic schedule of the journalists and other members of the press and return all calls ASAP.
2. Preparedness: As a thought leader, you are expected to possess wisdom and a familiarity with a wide variety of topics in your field. It is advised that you prepare talking points prior to any media engagement/interview.
3. Be Opinionated: Donald Trump might be the best example of this type of thought leadership. Thought leaders are expected to bring something new to the conversation without sitting on the fence. Be bold, compelling and dramatic.
4. Persistence: Create your own fortune through thought leadership tools. Examples include determined press releases, knowledgeable speaking engagements, effective social media, white papers, by-lined articles, and/or case studies.
Eiler Communications has practiced these skills for over twenty years, establishing brand messages and thought leadership strategies for local and national businesses. David Mielke, Dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business, is an example of a local thought leader Eiler Communications works with consistently. Mielke has established a voice in the business community writing articles in the Ann Arbor Business Review and on www.MLive.com, often times commenting on the current state of business ethics. Mielke also serves on a number of economic and business boards.
So, are you ready to be a thought leader?
Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Financial Services &Leadership &Michigan Positive &Michigan Public Relations Firm &PR Firm for Economic Development 06 Mar 2009 06:18 pm
Don’t turn on the news tonight. Take a night off. I’ll spare you the suspense… Unemployment is high, the markets are down, and the Red Wings (probably) won.
The negative economic circumstance dominates newscasts these days, but we rarely hear about the financial aid available. President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on February 17th thereby generating thousands of dollars for business owners seeking aid in the tough economy. The ARRA is designed to stimulate many different industries around the country, with unique investments here in Michigan. In efforts to accelerate the economic recovery, Governor Jennifer Granholm’s administration has created a website filled with helpful hints on obtaining grants and tax aid for state businesses. Granholm and her staff should be commended on the launch of this site, for Michigan is one of only 17 in the nation to offer ARRA information with such ease. Sites assisting the search for recovery financing:
Governor Granholm can be seen here, outlining the state’s use of ARRA funds.
Work is being done to fuel the local economy as well. Ann Arbor SPARK is focused on continuously supporting regional businesses and entrepreneurs throughout these tough economic times offering programs, resources, and proactive backing. Many businesses have heard about and benefited from SPARK’s commitment to Ann Arbor innovation.
Hopefully your business has stood up to the downward sloping economy, but if you’re having trouble, make sure you apply for grants and financial assistance soon. Many grants have a “90 Day Window” for applications. The economy can’t wait, and neither should you.
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming….
Last week I wrote about including “Going Green” in business plans of the future, not only to help the environment, but also to sustain company coffers. This strategy is readily apparent following General Motors (GM), Chrysler and Ford’s visit to Congress last month and their subsequent unveilings at last week’s North American International Auto-show (NAIA).
In December, the CEOs of Detroit’s Big Three trekked out to Congress on the wheels of their newest hybrid vehicles in search of a Bailout. Although the CEOs were successful in acquiring a $17.4 Billion loan, the trip cost the automakers a great deal of credibility and public perception. GM CEO Richard Wagoner defended the decisions of the last few years as “right for the time”. GM’s resolute decision-making resulted in sluggish development of fuel-efficient vehicles; a disparaging trend given the nimble (and successful) movements of Toyota and Honda. The U.S. auto leaders needed to become relevant and responsible once again. Like many businesses both in Michigan and around the world, they turned their focus to environmental issues.
The Big Three were able to secure the congressional loan on the merits of their plan to go green and produce hybrid vehicles; an act that will benefit all three companies financially and in the public’s eye. A report in the Michigan Business Review identifies the mission ahead:
“[Chrysler, Ford and GM] face the challenge of introducing new products while convincing the public that they’ll be around to build those products.”
These new products include a more fuel-efficient, direct-inject turbocharged engine called Ecoboost from Ford…which sounds cool enough to be in a Batman movie. GM is looking for big returns on their E-Flex platform in which vehicles are battery dominant and plug-in capable. Chrysler is making the most of its new bailout bounty by promising three electric vehicles by 2010, shocking to some. Until these new innovations reach the market, PR opportunities such as the NAIA and news reports must be considered deftly. Going Green isn’t enough anymore to sway the American consumer. Companies now must to show purpose with environmental measures, especially when they are receiving our tax dollars.
We have been covering “The Magic to Brand Yourself.”
Why … reasons to do it … the necessity of having a strong “name” for what you do.
Here are some ideas of how to build your own brand.
1. As noted in the Dec. 24 blog, make a list of 20-25 organizations or people that you want to build ties with to get your name known. Like me, figure creative ways to get with these groups and people.
2. Speak to target groups of people that are important to you, on your target list.
3. Write for periodicals, blogs and other online or traditional media that are read by the groups and people you seek to reach.
4. Do your own web site and blog your ideas.
5. Don’t just join target groups. Be a DOER. Get engaged in a meaningful project that you can engage in. Such groups may be non profits, community forums, educational institutions.
More than ever political candidates nowadays are seeing the huge advantages of market positioning and high tech PR via social media. Once in a while a candidate comes along and is a breath of fresh air. There was no better time for Barack Obama than now. With the 2008 election finally over, to the relief of many, we can sit back and assess the impact this positioning and PR had on candidates and nominees.
We are a society of pop culture and instant downloads where information is accessed at astonishing rates. News an hour ago is not news anymore and we are constantly searching for updates.
President-elect Barack Obama is an incredibly charismatic individual and plays well into this culture. Here is my thinking: I don’t think that policy and issue play as large a role as it should have and did in previous presidential elections. Although unfortunate, I feel image is a larger determining factor for the voting population.
Using these ideas, media relations and market positioning are just a couple of ways to build a fan base that can promote a candidates influence in multiple venues. Examples of this type of social marketing would include viral videos on YouTube, vlogs, internet forums, podcasts, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr, just to name a few. Videos seen on YouTube of campaign rallies were free PR on a national scale. In fact on his home website, there is a link to “Obama Everywhere”, which lists all the above and a handful more of places where you can learn and discuss Obama. His campaign took advantage of this social market positioning and used it in their strategic plan for success. He reached out to the numerous constituents and gained their attention and respect by understanding that technology is continuous and evolving.
It was in this sense that Obama was able to fundraise from micro donors (and in return allowed him to disclaim lobbyist influences in government). Furthermore, according to a CNN.com exit poll, 66% of all 18-29 year-olds and 52% of 30-44 year-olds voted for Obama. These are the same typical demographics that are familiar with and use social media as both an outlet for discussion and information seeking; the so-called “internet generation”.
The reason this is relevant in politics today is because you will not find a single candidate out there who does not have a website and/or numerous spin off sites. For example, Obama teamed up with Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes to create My.BarackObama.com, in which users could join an online community that boasted over a million members. Using these high tech venues one can find local events, contact undecided voters near you, and share stories via blogs. The thinking is this: candidates, especially at the presidential level, can be, and oftentimes are, impersonal. My.BarackObama.com removes that a little bit and makes him and his campaign feel more about you.
Obama positioned himself as a beacon for change. He spoke with an intelligence that articulated respect. He symbolized a new beginning or at the very least a fresh start from the turmoil of the last 8 years. Obama had a strong grasp of the power public relations and high tech devices to campaign in new ways. From my viewpoint, someone who understands the way people think and seems to have a direction definitely gets my vote.
Leadership 22 Oct 2007 09:56 am
Since my first undergraduate course in leadership, I’ve been fascinated by the abundant scholarly and practical leadership philosophies aimed at cultivating success. Leadership is not an industry-specific phenomenon. Nor is it a subject only for upper-level executives. Leadership impacts organizations at every level.
At this month’s E2Detroit Entrepreneurship and Excellence Symposium, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture on leadership by First Gentleman Dan Mulhern.
Formerly a high school teacher, community organizer and successful attorney, Mulhern has spent the past several years consulting, speaking and writing about leadership. He shared insights from his most recent book, Everyday Leadership: Getting Results in Business, Politics and Life , with E2Detroit attendees. At its core, Mulhern said, leadership is about two things: where are we going? (Vision), and how do we get there? (Momentum).
Vision can bring real life results to your home, work environment and any other organizations or issues with which you’re involved. Begin your vision with the end in mind; make it clear and simple and set activities based on desired outcomes. Vision doesn’t need to be grand and it doesn’t have to come from the top down. In fact, vision is most powerful side-to-side. To cultivate your vision you must create a team and excite people.
Some questions to ask your self as you build you organization’s vision:
- Where do I think they’re going?
- How well do I tap in to what my employees think and care about?
- What are my employees’ most cherished values?
- How hard am I listening to what other people think is successful?
- What is my picture of success?
“Leadership is all about energy,” Mulhern said. That’s where momentum comes in. Once the vision is in place, how do we motivate people toward the goal? The first step is realizing the primary job of leadership is emotional; priming good feelings and releasing energy. Some other easy ways to create markedly positive momentum include encouraging the heart, setting reachable goals with clear deadlines, pitching in, making decisions and challenging people.
If you find problems generating momentum, ask yourself three things:
- Where is the energy moving?
- What do I need to do to get things moving in the right direction?
- Who am I being that the people around me aren’t lighting up and what do I need to change?
Posted by Nicole