It is July 2015. Everything is changing fast so this book updates daily. Pinterest now has buyable pins. E commerce is now very different. Rather than directing “traffic” to your shop in your website you send it to your Pinterest boards and pins for people to do their shopping there. More and more people are using the Internet. I want to do that better and better each day and I want you to as well. Things are changing very fast every day and we all have to help each other to keep up.
From time to time my writing may come across as “lawerly”. I am doing my daily best to recover from 6 years of law school and 16 more in the job. Just keep reading anyway and I will keep reviewing and updating so that it gets more and more real.
As people spend more and more time online, it becomes more and more important for each person to consider the online presence that he or she is developing. With every action taken online, there is an online presence developing whether an Internet user is aware of it or not. By reading and applying the information contained herein, you will have the knowledge you need to wisely develop your online presence intentionally. This need not take so much of your time. For most of you the most powerful learning will come from getting to know certain time saving tools which will easily reduce your time online from say 3 hours a day to one. I am fully confident that this is possible for may “average” internet users.
This interactive (we will run a 24 hour a day “help desk”) subscription “book”, or maybe more correctly this “resource”, is the result of over 7 and a half years of being online almost daily. Please feel free to ask questions in the Google+ or Facebook comments below and tag my name with the + or @ signs. You can see that there are already over 200 comments. Please also use the share buttons at the left to introduce the book to your friends!
I will continue to be online daily and continue to update and improve this resource. The 7 Pillars Book is a “project” that will never die. I have watched and watched the best and learned how this all works. First of all, a huge thank you to all who have contributed as teachers on my amazing “journey”, especially my wonderful wife, Yoriko, for her faith and patience and support.
I also want to thank my Mom, Ruth, for encouraging me to dream big and to love writing from a very early age. My dear departed father, Trevor, taught me to be a team player and that I could accomplish more by collaboration, so this book/resource is the product of the daily work of many people whom you will get to know as you read. I do not know so much so have been blessed to be collaborating with several amazing people to bring this to you every day.
The book is far from a finished product but I decided to release it now in the hope that some of you will take an interest in the way it grows and perhaps be inspired to write yourself. I also want your input and feedback. You will be credited for this wherever possible. I am very open to changing my views and opinions as there is way too much to cover here to be a definitive authority on all of it.
This book is about your online presence and is not merely a social media book. Even casual users who only use the Internet for email or Skype or to occasionally comment on news articles now have an online presence. If you use the Internet, it is unavoidable. You develop an online presence with everything you do online. This book is about crafting your online presence intentionally and strategically, leveraging the best resources available. You will need security. You will need to know how things work and how each tool fits into your overall presence.
I am beginning this book with a guarantee. Every paragraph of every page will help you fill in gaps in your online presence. With this knowledge, you will better leverage the time and energy you spend using the Internet. The book will also be updated on a daily basis so what you are getting is a living, evolving document that will keep you up-to-date with the latest tools and strategies to enhance your presence. Subscribers to the book will also be sent weekly “digest” emails detailing updates that have occurred during the previous week and where to locate them in the book. This will also include new chapters from time to time.
The book has a chapter on how to build and nurture each of the 7 Pillars. It then has a chapter on each of the 9 main social networks. These chapters will contain thoughts from some of the main influencers in those various networks. There are then several chapters on using the pillars specifically for different professions or endeavours.
In the “tools” section in Chapter 2 we will bring you a “How to” page for every tool we believe might be useful to you. There are hundreds. These will be gradually added as this resource grows. Like Wikipedia. Not only will we show you that but we will link those “How to” pages with chapters in the book to give you practical examples of their use and to show how they fit into your daily online presence strategy.
About 5 years ago I saw a book title saying “Know me, Like me, Follow me”. The writer was Penny Power. Just the words in the title gave me guidance on how to use the internet. When we build a solid base and follow a tried and true system, success becomes inevitable. As more and more of us get into online life how can we ensure that we make our time spent on here worth it? We must get known, liked, followed then promoted. The getting bought from will become inevitable. It is constantly interesting to me watching how people go about learning to do social media. This is something they will use every day for the rest of their lives. Like driving.
When we learn to drive we have as our goal the passing of a test that grants us a licence. If you were to take a social media test how would you do? Everyone recognises the need and value of driving instruction. Yet so many are prepared to spend the rest of your life stumbling around the internet at limited capacity for the want of spending a few dollars and a tiny amount of time on getting up to speed?
Recently I crowd sourced from my Facebook friends their order of activity once they logged on each day. Each was different and many to my mind seemed to have serious gaps. Gaps that if were driving gaps would result in accidents, damage to the car and at the very least taking a long time to get somewhere.
With 781 others I was part of a 3-4 learning experience called Social Traffic in early 2008. Daily tasks, education and review. It was an incredible learning experience of the basics and I have spent over 15 hours a day 7 days a week for the last 3 years mastering the spaces, tools and strategies we learned about. Plus all the new ones that are continually appearing. As far as I can see I am the only one of the 781 who maintained a reasonably rounded social media presence with minimal gaps during the past 3 years since Social Traffic ended. Presumably because I have a reason and purpose behind why I log in and even more importantly I believe that what I am doing is effective. Same as driving. You need the confidence that you will clear an intersection before pressing the accelerator. One gap in your online presence will not necessarily derail you. Just as an inability to replace a flat tyre or complete a hill park manouevre will not mean you cannot operate a car. It will however hold you back.
I see a reasonably clear road map for use of the internet. In Social Traffic Simon Ford laid out this road map.You need to know you are, you need content, you need to be social, you need to support and promote. You need to be shareable. You need a list and a product. These kinds of things. Simon prepared lengthy videos explaining each and every social media website of relevance and had us watch them over a 3-4 month period. Sometimes I wonder if I was the only one of the 781 who did.
What are you doing about this? Are you planning just to plough on through your internet experience with a piecemeal education and gaping holes in the way you operate? Leading to minimal effectiveness. To fill in these gaps there are 7 pillars which must all be nurtured and re-nurtured.
Firstly we must decide who we are so that people know who we are and what we stand for. Then we will get readily found and recommended. Success is often determined by what we say no to so please do not make your niche too wide and do not attempt to be everything to everyone. I am fairly and squarely into social media and the environment. I daily get people coming to me wanting to work with me in those areas and even better sometimes both. I doubt that this would be happening if I talked about say golf, wine and real estate a lot too. Although those 3 areas are passions of mine and I am highly knowledgeable I let them go in the interests of being able to be recommended.
Secondly we need to be continually skilling up about the internet. Gmail brings out a new feature? Learn it! Skype releases a new version? Upgrade immediately! Try new things. Beta launches of new sites etc. If a friend whose opinion you trust invites you or recommends some new place to you go and give it a chance. Add a new skill every day. Unlearning is key here too.
Strategies and tools are developing fast. Embrace change. Have a data base and keep building it too. Be conscious of always adding to it. Send your best content to that base for free. Have the best available system for capturing email addresses and regularly showering that data base with great content. Know SEO and stick to key words. You drive your car well right? Drive the internet well too. If all these things are not solid then what you build above will be like a castle in the sand.
This is a chapter that will be updated heavily every day. What is new this week can often be gone next month and nothing stands still. There is also a large section of this website that is being built to give you information about all the useful online tools. Just add the name of the tool to the URL like michaelqtodd.com/socialbro or michaelqtodd.com/radian6 or simply use the search area when looking for updated information about anything internet related. These “chapters” are created and updated either by the people who have built these tools or by somebody passionate about them who is a regular user of them. If you cannot find a particular tool then please suggest it to us in the comments area below.
OK so now we have a base to build on. The third pillar is about getting liked. For this we need to give value. Be friendly, fun and especially be an expert. Be the go to guy about pet care in your town, state or country. If people want to know which wine goes best with which food where do they go. Become that person!
You need an authority blog and you will need somewhere to channel the people who you attract to so that they read your regular posts. Insanely great content is necessary. Being regular is necessary. Somewhere along the line there also has to be a product associated with your area of expertise. When you comment on blogs, threads in FB, tweet etc you must always regularly turn conversation back to your expertise and your product. People will grow to like you and the product. Yes you need a product! People should know and remember what your product is from your branding. You should not have to force it down their throats at every opportunity.
Next (number four) we must be social and accept followers. Engage and interact with these people. Be real. Get on Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, G+, Vine, Linked In, Pinterest and Instagram and be yourself. Treat people like you would have them treat you. Be consistent. It is much better to be on social media for say 30 mins a day instead of say 12 hours a day once a week.
The extension of this and the fifth pillar and the fastest growing area which many have as yet not embraced is location based social media such as Foursquare and “Social TV” like Get Glue. Be seen to be doing the things that everyone does. Like going to restaurants, watching movies, ball games etc. Share photo and video of you and your friends and your family. People like people like themselves.
Sixthly you need to make yourself shareable. A recommendation from someone else to their followers and friends is worth umpteen times more than if it comes from ourselves. So do not broadcast! Often you need to regularly share and promote the content of your “competitors” to have them do this back for you. Think abundance. Promoting others in your nice or industry promotes that industry. For example network marketers bickering with each other turns people off from becoming one. However if they see it as a fun and friendly space then they will be attracted to it.Everything you do must always be geared towards getting promoted. This is how you leverage your online presence. Niche, great content, socialising, being seen to be real, promoting and connecting others will lead to getting promoted.
You also need to be set up and be interacting on sites like Triberr, Scoop.it, List.ly, Stumble Upon, Xeeme, Slideshare, Storify and especially Empire Avenue to get people sharing your content. I will examine several of these in greater depth in this chapter.
Many many people neglect this pillar and expect that this will “happen naturally”. Unless you are already a celebrity you will have to get organised and put some effort in. Of course however it is essential. Does getting promoted for free sound good to you?
Whether you are truly great and reach and stay at the top of the tree is determined by your mindset. So the seventh pillar is about being great. Be relentlessly confident and positive. People come online to have fun and be inspired. Do not “fight” about anything or with anyone. Ever. Acknowledge and enjoy your greatness. If you do not no-one will. Be the leader of the leaders in your niche. You will get promoted like crazy. It is inevitable.
Once the pillars are in place keep renewing and strengthening them. This is where my updates will come in. Every week you will be given a short review of what is new. A new Facebook timeline set up. An opportunity to follow people as your Google+ business page. Whenever things change you will be kept up to date. I am excited about how developments on the internet are connecting us and helping spread consciousness. Things are happening at light speed so I saw little point in publishing anything that was not constantly refreshing itself.
Subscribers to updates will get weekly emails with a review of modifications and enhancements to this book. What you see now is bare bones but these bones will be built on day by day and will hopefully become something that you go back to again and again. Further enhancements will include fresh new chapters about how to use the 7 pillars for various professions and pursuits. There will also be insights from successful social networkers in all of the main networks that I have featured. The pillars are just as relevant for businesses as they are for non profits and for individuals. Any online entity must have as few “gaps” as possible and be constantly updating how it is doing things.
People began connecting to each other online in the late 1990s and early noughties on such places as America Online and Friendster. Linked In and Ecademy for business people led to My Space for younger folk and artists and musicians and blogging. We then saw the growth of social bookmarking sites such as Stumble Upon, Delicious and Digg. We began to be able to see what our friends were reading. We found new content and filtered our connections. We began sharing and storing photos and video mainly on Flickr and You Tube. Our own channel! Wow how cool.
It all culminated in Facebook in 2005 and Twitter in 2007. These were two real powerhouse sites that got their model very nearly spot on. We flocked to them and now they are where many of us get our news and our entertainment. Not by searching for it but by having it find us. Pinterest are doing the same thing right now. Now curation and pure sharing sites are the big buzz. Scoop.it really helps us become the media by giving us the tools to put our own twist on other people’s content by altering images and headlines and creating our own topics and developing following around them. In effect you no longer have to be a content creator to be influential. You can curate. Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit and other places are growing at rates that are staggering. Sharing is exploding.
Listening tools are using the relevance graph to allow us to find the people and content we really want within seconds. I very rarely ever search for anything. I have become random. I fully trust that the very best content will find me at just the right time.
Before say 2006 media had been controlled by a select few who held the power to disseminate messages on television, radio, books and in newspapers and magazines. One key question will allow you to remember forever what social media is about. Ask “How much does Facebook spend on content”? Of course the answer is “nothing”. It is generated by you and I. We are now the media. Facebook merely creates a platform for us to play on. The other factor I want to emphasise is the social. News and views are being shared and discussed in a fun and friendly way. By everyone everywhere(or almost!).Without the social you cannot be the media. You have to do both. Very very soon the words “social media” will become redundant and replace “media”.
And we are all capable of having more influence and reach than perhaps you imagine. The power to make and break news has passed to us. The social part of the new media is the sharing of and the discussions centred around the content. These discussions lead to like minded people meeting and connecting. It always warms my heart for instance to see Facebook friends “Friending” notifications in my timeline after they both comment on content I have posted. Essentially this is why I do what I do.
Where is all this going? We saw a taste of the power that we are beginning to have during #iranrevolution in 2009.
Protests following the 2009 Iranian presidential election against the disputed victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and in support of opposition candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi occurred in major cities in Iran and around the world starting 13 June 2009. The events have also been nicknamed the “Twitter Revolution” because of the protesters’ reliance on Twitter and other social-networking Internet sites to communicate with each other. The Iranian government could not crack down on dissenters like they had in the past because they no longer controlled the messages and news coming from their country. We did. On Twitter. It was raw, live and exciting. You really felt like you were part of something and were making a difference.That was the day I “got” it. I stepped up from a place of 99% belief to a whole different level of 100%. Maybe you need to be part of something like this to gain similar belief. Once you have and transmit that belief you will probably be shared and shared more and more. There are still a very limited number of people who truly truly believe but our number is growing.
It just exploded that day in Iran and after that everyone involved realised that anything could happen if even a small, committed group started sharing heavily even in a random way. Such things as turning our avatars green and changing our location to Teheran to confuse the Iranian government were fun and powerful. Thousands of us joined in and no-one did not see it. We had become the media. This is why I keep my avatar green. It was like I was reborn that day.I was not the only one I am sure. When an Egyptian guy living outside the country made Facebook events leading to tens of thousands gathering in Cairo and eventually overthrowing a regime that had supressed messages for 40 years or so we realised that the power was definetely in our hands now. A whole transfer of energy and possibility is taking place.
The power to attract thousands to an event so quickly and for free by word of mouth is the true power of this new media. With #Kony2012 we saw a great example of how one piece of content shared again and again (a You Tube video) could “out” someone used to getting his way by imposing his will on previously defenceless children. It spread around the world like wildfire. Look for more and more of this kind of thing.
The American election win by President Obama 2 years ago was due in no small part to his running a superior social media campaign. This is the selfie era and It is not impossible that 3 times as much content will be shared online this year as was in 2013. Where will all this end? China is at present managing to stave off public discussion by Facebook and Twitter but surely cannot keep this going for much longer. I am equally sure that South Korea and Japan with their incredible technology will soon manage to infiltrate North Korean cyberspace and bring about revolution there. I have just met some Syrians in a Tokyo cafe and had an interesting discussion about how their government is attempting unsuccessfully to suppress the messages of their people..
So how can you be most effective among all this massive change? Keep sharing and connecting in a strategic but open way. Keep narrowing your niche to be more valuable and be more easily recommended and remembered. Above all you can and must feel empowered to be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. You now have a voice. If your content is special. If it has a powerful message, is fun, is truly unique and you have made it shareable then nothing is impossible.
I have now opened up the whole book for free for the next 2 weeks and will release a fully updated version so please enjoy the rest of it by clicking on the blue letters here and at the bottom of each chapter.
So we will begin in Chapter 1 by examining how to get yourself known online. Pillar 1 of your 7 pillars of your online success. Not so much how you see yourself as how others see you because there are hundreds of millions potentially watching you.
Once again please feel free to ask questions in the Google+ or Facebook comments below and in any chapter and tag my name with the + or @ signs. I will come by and discuss anything you wish. Use the share buttons at the left to introduce the book to your friends!
Michael. Tokyo 3 July 2015