Category Archives: social-media-breakfast

SMBEB: Sharon Profis’ expert tips on personal branding

I’ve seen a few talks about personal branding in my time but I have to say Sharon Profis’ presentation this week at Social Media Breakfast East Bay was definitely up there as one of my faves.

It could be down to the fact that it’s pretty much her day job as a tech journalist, and her passion for her day job shines through Winking smile.

So, what were some of her top comments? This is what stood out for me:

  • Interact with your social networks the same way you would with your friends. Don’t just reach out when you need their help. Stay involved. Share often.
  • Remember that this is human2human contact: allow yourself to show your imperfections. Don’t apply too perfect a sheen: remember what we relate to!
  • As a journalist, she’s found value in showing the process behind the creation. Even if that process is messy and not perfect. There’s a great story in the process.

One thing I got to thinking watching this presentation: how social allows us build our own personal brand, and with that personal brand it can change our relationship with our employer. Sharon succeeds as a journalist in part because she has a large social network. A network which also brings value to her employer C|Net (who also help her build her network). A lot of journalists are in the same position.

But as we see the growth in employee influencer programs, we can see this same impact of social celebrity empower those who can master the medium. For instance, think of a professor that offers much of their lectures online. Their relationship with the institution can in fact be weakened and it may be in their interest to be partners with universities rather than employees. Much as we see organizations leverage citizen developers (take a look at the Business Tech Trends webcast).

More on Sharon Profis

SMBEB: Robert Scoble and Shel Israel on the Age of Context

Robert Scoble and Shel IsraelMy smartphone knows from my email that I’m due to fly out of an airport 20 miles away later today. When I open up my phone, it will tell me that the flight is on time and that the there’s no traffic on the route but I should leave 2 hours before the flight to get there in time, all without even having to click of a button.

Welcome to the Age of Context.

Well, actually the beginning of the Age of Context. As Shel Israel and Robert Scoble explained at the Social Media Breakfast, East Bay this week, we’re only still scratching the surface. During their presentation (based on their new book, titled, yep, ‘Age of Context‘) they took us on a journey showing the huge potential for technology to meaningfully impact our lives. When everything has a sensor, when we can real-time process vast arrays of data, when we have wearable intelligent devices, a whole world of opportunity opens up.

What struck me most about the the presentation was the link between this Internet of Things/wearable tech narrative and the concept of pinpoint marketing. Less ‘spray and pray’ marketing, as Scoble put it. We’re talking marketing tailored to me given the rich body of information known about me. Maybe even marketing isn’t the best term as from the individual viewpoint, I would just interact with an assistant that helps me through my life, perhaps occasionally offering useful products/services that I’d pay for.

In a follow-up conversation with the insightful Bill Flitter of, he did make the excellent point that in order for this to become a reality, we really need a platform where we’re happy to collate all this data. As we see in the smartphone app world, the model is one of task-specific computing via multiple providers. Each one understands a micro-piece of me. It’s pretty siloed. We’re missing a trusted, reliable, standardized platform. Maybe Google, Amazon or another major player will provide the glue. But we will need to collectively buy-in in order to make this a reality.

All thought-provoking stuff!

Check out the slides from the presentation:

We have also posted the recording of the presentation on the Age of Context on YouTube

You can see commentary on the event from this Twitter Timeline from Bryan Person.

More on Social Media Breakfast, East Bay


Nicole Lazzaro and Tony Ventrice discuss gamification at #SMBEB

At last week’s Social Media Breakfast, East Bay, Nicole Lazarro from XEO Design and Tony Ventrice from Badgeville took us through gamification: how game mechanics can be applied to business applications to provide a more immersive experience.

So, what exactly are game mechanics and what drives us to spend hours playing popular video games?

Nicole took us through the steps that will lead to what the Italians call ‘Fiero’: a feeling of elation through overcoming obstacles.

The four steps Nicole outlines:

  • Easy fun: offering choice and fulfilling our desire for curiosity at the outset
  • Hard fun: you can’t just push a button to win – there has to be a strong element of challenge and mastery
  • People fun: bringing out these very human traits of competing and communication
  • Serious fun: creating a sense of meaning – the purpose you achieve by playing the game

Now Tony showed us a different methodology: one that included fantasy, choice and growth. Using monopoly as an example really brought this to life. The fantasy is one we can all associate with: the idea of owning large tracts of prime real estate. That is the goal we buy into when we play the game. There is a large element of choice, from which areas on the board to develop right through to the choice of whether you want your playing character to be the top hat or the Scottish Terrier. And then there’s the very visible sign of growth as you move from houses to develop your hotel empire.

Tony explained how you can apply this methodology in evaluating social networks like Yelp and business applications. When it comes to business applications, we’re really seeing gamification applied to the areas of adoption, activity and retention.

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More commentary from this event:

Porter Gale on power of relationships at #SMBEB

Porter Gale knows a thing or two about building relationships, having been VP of Marketing for Virgin America amongst other things.

As Porter explained at a recent Social Media Breakfast, in her book ‘Your Net worth is your Network” she makes the case that there is little more valuable in life than the relationships you build. And in order to do that, she suggests we have to be concise and consistent in how we put ourselves out there when we network.

Porter offers the following framework:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of passion and discovering what it is you really feel strongly about
  • Add to this your tone: in Porter’s case she wishes to be ‘inspirational’ which may mean catching herself and holding back on ranting through her networks
  • Combining your passions and tone allows you to be clear and communicate your purpose

You can uncover more on this in her book.

On a related note, I did find myself going back and looking at the central theme in sociologist Erving Goffman’s seminal book ‘The Presentation of Everyday Self’. Borrowing from the theatrical world, Goffman talks of the backstage and front-stage personas we adopt and which come into play when we interact with others. I couldn’t help thinking Porter’s message pushes for us to consider how best to link the back- and front-stage and then define the role we act out.

One thing I’m still trying to figure out is how this relates to what appears to be a more extreme, unmediated life-streaming position proposed by the likes of Jeff Jarvis in ‘Public Parts’ and which Luis Suarez picks up in his discussion on social vs. open business.

Anyhow, we saw some great coverage from the event:

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