August 20, 2017

What is Social Media, What is Twitter and How Can we use it for the Good?

As I sit here working on my article about how Social Media was used to help raise thousands upon thousands of dollars and to rally thousands upon thousands of volunteers to help in the Hurricane Sandy aftermath, missiles are being launched on our Israeli brethren by Gaza.  And how do I know this?  Because I am watching a live twitter feed from the IDF.

Live Twitter Feed from the morning of November 15, 2012

“IDF@IDFSpokesperson,‘ Good morning to our friends in #America. While you were sleeping, 3 Israelis were killed when a rocket hit their house’.

IDF@IDFSpokesperson, ‘Breaking: A rocket fired from Gaza struck an open area near Rishon LeZion, a city with more than 200,000 people. #IsraelUnderFire’.

IDF@IDFSpokesperson, ‘Our latest count: 245 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel since yesterday. #IsraelUnderFire’.”

What is going on here?  Well, first its war.  May HKBHU protect all of k’lal yisrael especially those harmed by Hurricane Sandy and in Eretz Yisrael right now and may #PillarOfDefense be over with no casualties before this article is published. Second, it’s unadulterated news, a way to circumvent media biases and the miscommunication that occurs through the traditional media game of broken telephone.  Facts and information are being transmitted, or rather in social media speak are ‘streaming’ in real time, live, directly from the source.
@IDFSpokesperson is exactly that.  A spokesperson from the IDF who set up this twitter handle which is another word for a stage name (@IDFSpokesperson is a twitter handle) so that he can transmit information or have a conversation, open to the public, through the open media waves of social media, in this case, through Twitter.  And, I found this Twitter Feed through my Facebook Page.  I know, for those who are new to social technology, this may all be a bit confusing.  Let’s break it down.

What is Social Technology?

First, let’s explain social technology, otherwise known as social media.  Social Media is the revolutionary transformation of media, going from a top-down broadcast model to one that now allows what was once a passive audience to communicate with one another and take part in the content creation.  It is a new media-age form of communicating information, communicating news and facts or just chatting socially and passing on jokes, slogans or news articles through the technology we know as the Internet.  Social Media allows regular people to communicate with each other in real time. Officially, “social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction and the construction of words, pictures, video and audio” Wikipedia.org.   Similar to text messaging but with more visuals, video and audio, an easier flow and much more appealing user interface, social media is a new way people socialize, raise awareness, market, sell and advertise their products, businesses or information.  It’s also a new way to chat
with friends, keep in touch and be social.

The main social media platforms today are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pintrest also gaining in use and popularity.  While social media is a very important and increasingly necessary tool in marketing any business today, using it with filters and boundaries, as with anything on the internet, is very important.

Here are some very interesting social media statistics. Three out of four Americans use Social Technology.  Two out of three of the global internet population visit social networks.  Visiting social sites is the 4th most popular online activity (ahead of checking personal email). Time spent on social networks accounts for 10% of all Internet activity and is growing at 3x the regular internet growth rate, 13 hours of media is uploaded to YouTube every minute,  there are 100,000,000 YouTube videos viewed per day and 13,000,000 Wikipedia
articles.  In short, social media is not something that business owners can really ignore, if they are serious about growing their business outside of the heimish community.

What is Twitter?

Considered ‘microblogging’, Twitter is used to read, write and share messages of up to 140 characters. These messages, or ‘Tweets’, are available to anyone interested in reading them by simply following your Twitter handle like the one exampled above, @IDFSpokesperson.  Twitter offers a unique combination of open, public, and unfiltered information in the form of what’s been coined, ‘tweets’.  The @ sign represents your user name/twitter handle and the # represents a conversation thread that you can
post to or follow.  I’ve been following ‘ #IsraelUnderFire’ to stay up to date with the recent bombings in Israel through my Twitter Feed, which I showed you above.

Twitter is just communication in a new shape, but it’s also a platform for listening to the communication of others in new ways.

What is Facebook?

There are 5,000,000,000, yes, 5 billion minutes spent on Facebook each day.  Facebook is the largest social network in the world with over 950 million users worldwide. The average user has 130 Friends and spends about 20 minutes on the site 40 times a month.

Others

YouTube, Google+, Pintrest, Flickr and Instagram are other popular social media sites.  YouTube, bought by Google in 1996 for a whopping $1.65 billion dollars is a video-sharing website where anyone can upload, view and share videos.   Google+ is the social networking equivalent of Facebook created and owned by Google. It offers a different user interface and experience and is competing fiercely with Facebook for marketshare and leadership. Pintrest is a virtual pinboard or bulletin board designed for people to organize and share all the ‘beautiful things’ they find on the web.  People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.  Flickr is an online photo management and sharing application.  Instagram is a way to take photos and share them with other platforms like Flikr, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Hurricane Sandy Rescue & Relief Efforts

It’s no secret that technology can help us in many ways. What is amazing, though, is how wonderfully social technology has been
used to spread critical information and galvanize people into action.  During and in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, new facebook pages and Twitter streams were created so that average citizens and chessed organizations could follow live and in real time what was
happening throughout Hurricane Sandy and learn about the areas damaged, what areas were still out of power, needing relief and how to help.  One small example is Masbia.org, a Kosher Soup Kitchen run by a Chassidic Jew, who leveraged social media by sending out
Tweets and Facebook page updates to get hundreds of extra volunteers within hours to help them go from 500 hot dinners a day to 3,000.  At the last minute, after a request came in from the US Councilman, Masbia galvanized enough volunteers and donation money
to feed hundreds of relocated seniors hot meals during the heavy snow after Sandy on Nov. 7, 2012.  Masbia has continued to use the power of social media for the good by  raising thousands of extra dollars, galvanizing volunteers and gaining a much higher profile.  Social media helped numerous other organizations raise awareness, volunteers and money in relief efforts that are still ongoing today.

Social Media & The Israeli Defense Force

Perhaps the most breathtaking use of social technology has been seen this past week when the IDF declared war through their twitter feed, as shown in the examples above. They used social media as a way to spread the truth and create positive Public Relations. Calling it a ‘Twitter War’, combatting online Hamas’ use of social media to tell fabricated stories, the IDF used the same social technology the way smart businesses are using it today, to communicate the truth in a personal manner.  In doing so, the IDF and Israel has gained far-reaching support from around the world, changing again the face of war and brilliantly bypassing traditional media and create a flurry of positive public relations and support.  Consider this, from The Jewish Press on November 16, 2008

“Now the official Twitter account of the Israel Defense Forces’ live-tweeting its assault on Hamas may well be the most meaningful change in our consumption of war in over 20 years. This is something new…the other thing that makes this new, besides routing around the traditional media, is that we’re looking at a stream. This is truly war in real time. We’ve watched war “live” before, but not like this: There are no commercial breaks, no talking heads, no ticker tape running at the time. It is as unending and infinite and microsecond by microsecond as the speaker wants it to be, limited only by Twitter’s current technical limits.  Most importantly, though, consider this: A country can declare — via Twitter — that it is at war. If that doesn’t make the Internet real, I don’t know what does.”

Technology is shifting power away from the editors, the publishers,the establishment and from the media elite.  Now it’s the people who
are in control.  Here’s a beautiful request from ‘an Israeli citizen’ expressing the positive power of social media:

“You hear the news, you check on our safety, you care and you are worried. Your concerns and well-wishes are greatly appreciated and they strengthen us. Thank you. Big time. But we are at war here. A real, seriously real war. And you – each of you can, should, must help. We’ll take the rockets. We’ll endure the missiles. We’ll send in our soldiers on-foot to Gaza to destroy terrorist hideouts, to detonate missiles launching pads, and to target suicide bombers on-rout to kill more of us. Rest assured, we will do all this. But YOU have a role in this war too – an important role, in an important battle. It’s the war against lies and deception, the war against misinformation and ignorance, the war against cheap propaganda and sheer hatred spared by the Palestinians and the news media behind them. When you see a post you care enough to like, care enough to share. Share the truth, share the information, let everyone know. Its’ a battle as important as the one we’re fighting here, and can literally save as many lives if not more. Don’t just like. Share. Educate, and spread knowledge. Share. Do your part, help us, fight with us. It’s the littlest you can do, and it’s the biggest thing you can do. For us, for you, for peace.  Make your posts public, and share them.  Thank you, with much love.”

On the flip side, information always needs to be filtered and some wisdom or chochma should be used when you post things on any social media site.   As reports of bomb sirens went off in Tel Aviv, there were others warning not to share specifics about where the bombs were landing since Hamas was also monitoring social media and twitter feeds….

The Israeli Defense Force has issued a warning to all Israelis on all social networking sites. Their warning urges Israelis not to post information on Facebook or Twitter about where rockets are falling and where sirens are being sounded. Hamas intelligence, IDF is warning, is closely monitoring Facebook and Twitter for such information; they’re then using that information in recalibrating their firing angles in order to target the rockets more efficiently.  We are living in a new world, in which common citizens can distribute information to millions. Terrorists know it. And it’s changing the very nature of war.”

With that, I hope you have a much better understanding of how Social Media and Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the events that are reshaping our lives right now.

In my next article, I hope to discuss how to use Social Media to help grow your business.

The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful Jewish Women Entrepreneurs

picture from www.freedigitalphotos.net

What is an Entrepreneur?

To understand what a successful Jewish Woman entrepreneur is, we should first define entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship is not reserved only for serial successes like Facebook billionaire Mark Zukerberg, real estate mogul Donald Trump, or Bill Gates or Henry Ford.  Nor to Anita Roddick (founder of The Body Shop), Martha Stewart (we all know her) or Ruth Handler Barbie (against her husband’s advice, she created the first Barbie Doll and featured it the New York Toy Fair in 1959).  An entrepreneur is, quite simply, anyone who starts or creates a new business – whether she’s a creative blogger, writes a book, invents a toy, opens a boutique, has a consulting business, or a therapy agency, she can be considered an entrepreneur.

Many Jewish women have and continue to be successful entrepreneurs.  The famous Schicks bakery in New York was founded by an jewish orthodox woman in the 1940’s.  As a US immigrant widowed young, with children to support, she wrote to her uncle in Hungary to let her return to war ridden Europe.  He wrote back and told her that Europe was no longer safe – she should to bake challah for the blessings it provides, especially in the area of parnassah (income).   And bake she did.  She baked and sold and baked and sold.   She became well-known not only for her delightful Challot but for her generosity and talent that resulted in an empire and legacy to pass down to her great grand-children.

It was also a group of wealthy Jewish women entrepreneurs who started the entire field of social work.  They got together and went door to door checking on the elderly and impoverished, bringing them food and medical aid during the Great Depression of the 1920s.  FEGS, one of the largest social service agencies in the United States today, is a direct result of these women’s efforts.

Entrepreneurship is defined as well as someone who “shifts resources from lower to greater yield.”  Sound familiar?  Jewish women are uniquely charged with the responsibility of creating something from very little – churning wheat into challah like Mrs. Schick and turning little children into responsible adults.  In essence, then, we women are all successful entrepreneurs:  as wives, mothers, and again as business women.  That being said, however, there are still some common traits that lead to exceptional success in business.  Here are the 7 Habits of truly successful Jewish Women Entrepreneurs, derived from my years of studying , teaching, and coaching entrepreneurs–not to mention being one myself.

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Jewish Woman Entrepreneurs

1- Successful JWE’s are authentic – they are true experts at what they preach and market because, let’s face it, the market is transparent and copy-catters have very short life-spans.  They do what they are passionate about, and it shows.  They create expert organizations that are fun and safe places to work.

2- Plan – successful businesses are built on professional marketing and business plans.  Anyone who wants to run a successful business should at the very least, sketch together both such plans.  There are plenty of free templates that you can find on the internet and theJWE.com to help you do so.  Writing a business and marketing plan accomplishes three main goals:

  • It helps get you, the business owner, focused and thinking about  critical details that you may have otherwise overlooked
  • It helps you see if your idea is realistic and viable before you waste any more time and money on it
  • It allows you to raise capital and resources for your business.  The best way to raise capital for your business is by bringing a sound business plan to a bank and/or private investor.  When a potential investor sees that you are well organized, thought out and planned-out they will be much more likely to give you the money you need to start and grow your business.

3- “Just do it.” No, this isn’t an old Nike campaign and it doesn’t contradict #2 above.  While I’m a big advocate of using Marketing and Business Plans – spending too much time on planning and perfecting can take away from the organic and creative nature of entrepreneurship.  Too much time ruminating about something can be counter-productive.  A healthy balance is required.  Most successful entrepreneurs just begin building, creating, selling.  They don’t wait for the funding, customers, or even approval.  They move and keep things moving.  Market timing and instincts are as critical to success as anything else is.  Waiting and planning for too long can leave you on the sidelines instead of in front place.  It can also de-motivate your employees or partners.  Ever wonder why there are always ‘bugs’ in the newest tech gadget you are using?  Why it’s released only a few months before the next bug free version is ready?  Because time to market is critical.   Many people can say about the newest success – ‘I had that idea too’ but only few people actually ‘do it.’  The successful JWE’s marketing and business plans are usually developed while she’s in the midst of doing.

4- Perfection?  The  successful JWE is not afraid to make mistakes.   While she may demand perfection, she is smart enough not to wait for ‘perfection’.  Perfection is an elusive target that changes and grows along with us.  Waiting for something to be perfect will often mean that you never really do anything or you do it too late.

5- Commitment: Successful JWE’s understand commitment.  A big misconception is that if you run your own business you won’t have to work as many hours.   In fact, the exact opposite is true.  To start and run a business successfully, expect to put in over ten hours a day…for the rest of your life. The benefit is that your schedule can be very flexible and you can choose which of the +10 hours each day you are working.   There is a direct positive correlation to the amount you put into your business and the success you get out of it.  The same with children.  Meaning, the more time and energy you put into it, the more successful you will be.  And vice versa – as soon as you slow down, your personal investment of time, your business success will slow as well.

Another big misconception is that once you build a business, you can just sit back and reap the profits, letting it run by itself.  This only happens after 20, 30, 40 years, similar to investing smartly in the stock market.  Do not start a business if you are not willing to devote yourself to managing it for most of your day, every day.

6- Good Character traits– If anyone ever watched The Celebrity Apprentice, the highest rated TV series in America over the last few years, collaboration, support, and helping are not traits the celebrities model as they compete to build the most successful projects and businesses.  These TV shows are simply not realistic models of success.  Becoming a charismatic leader and creating a trusting, open, civilized corporate culture, along with collaboration, support and teamwork have been proven time and again in academia and real world case studies to be much more successful than what’s modeled on popular TV shows.

Good character traits may also be the only factor that is most unique to women and especially to Jewish women.  Such values are core Jewish values and women, by nature, exhibit these character traits.  While corporate America may try to stifle such traits, it is the confident woman who is always supportive of others, regardless of what they can get in return.  The successful JWE is successful because she has set up for herself a network of support and guidance and is at the forefront of supporting, mentoring and guiding others to success.  The successful JWE intuitively understands – her success means my success.  Her success is a model that I can learn from.   JWE’s network, teach, mentor, support, and motivate each other to succeed.

7- Finally, let us not forget the spirituality inherent in all Jewish women. This is the real secret to our success:  our intuition, character and understanding that all success comes from the One Above.  These traits, intrinsic to a Jewish women and bred in her value system, naturally lead us to success.

What do you think?  Can you see yourself in any of these traits?  What traits do you think lead to success as a Jewish Woman Entrepreneur?  Let us know in the comments below.

OfficeMax – President’s Day Sale – Save Up To 75% all week

Here are some great deals for my Kosher Work-a-holic readers who are running their own businesses or simply work, a lot!

Take advantage of OfficeMax.com’s huge President’s Day Sale and save up to 75% all week from Febuary 19 – 25th.  You can get great buys on supplies for $10 or less.  Plus, they have really BIG DEALS on Epson Printers, Ink, Toner, Paper & and more.  As always, they offer FREE SHIPPING on most orders $50+.

Pay only $29.99 for Boise X-9 Case Paper

Great Buys on Supplies for $10 or Less

Save 50%, Epson Color Inkjet WorkForce 645 Printer, only $74.99