Saw someone on Facebook bemoaning how "the entire internet" fell for the claim that the Turkish government was using "agent orange" against its citizens in the Gezi Park uprising.
The spread of mistruths is not a reason to distrust everything you see reported on social media (nor to decry it as a "menace to society"). It's a reason to do better about parsing the information and its sources.
Just like threatening chain letters and Bigfoot hoaxes, we're supposed to grow out of this kind of dupedom.
I see the growth taking place before my eyes in the Turkish use of social media. It helps to have skillful journalistic people covering the news. (Here's a new Twitter list of English language tweeters on Turkish current events by cultural journalist Robyn Eckhardt for a one-click follow of 20+ accounts. Here's my Turkey protests Twitter list with more than 80.)
It means you're able to adapt your behavior to conform to new cultural contexts without losing your authentic self.
"Not only is this difficult, it's a frightening prospect for most people and something completely outside their comfort zone," writes Molinsky, an associate professor at Brandeis University's International Business School. He straddles the psychology and organizational behavior departments.
"What's needed now," he claims, "is a critical new skill: global dexterity."
This critical 21st century skill is exactly what we've been pioneering at GlobalNiche and expat+HAREM group blog and the Expat Harem book before it, as we have striven to make the limbo state and high cultural stakes of expatriate life a strength instead of a weakness. How to navigate your surroundings in culturally appropriate ways while also honoring the truth of who you are. That's global dexterity. Thanks to Andy Molinsky for the term. Back in 2009 we couldn't find many people talking about it at all, so we came up with our own term: "psychic location independence."
At GlobalNiche we've also come to the conclusion that this approach to a dexterous, global version of yourself increasingly works for people everywhere, whether you're 'actually global' or not. You might be in your own backyard and need to navigate your surroundings in culturally appropriate ways and have your own, distinct truth to honor. You might not have a passport but can still benefit from becoming a global operative. In fact, being globally aware and globally functional has become an imperative in today's connected world.
The impact of our ideas is a function of the quality and similarity-but-distinction of the ideas, our ability to reach people and be understood, trusted, appreciated.
Impact = C x (R + E + A + T + E)
C = Contrast – having ideas similar to existing ideas, yet different enough to stand out
R = Reach – connecting higher numbers of people to your idea
E = Exposure – knowing how frequently you connect people to your ideas
A = Articulation – ensuring that your ideas are easily understood
T = Trust – based on multiple factors, such as credibility and reliability
E = Echo – connecting to your community in a personal way
As Brogan explained in a fun January 2013 Twitter chat I participated in (#BizBookChat a virtual book club for the actionable books community by Alyssa Burkus), "The Impact Equation is about how to turn your goals into ideas, & how to get those ideas absorbed and actions taken."
To build a platform, Brogan says, "you've got to find how you can best tell the story and where you can reach the people you hope to reach."
"Start where you are," Brogan counseled us in the fast-moving Twitter chat. "But look for growth. Move your chips to the next table. Strive to reach who you need to reach."
How about taking advice on social media best practices -- for something serious with high stakes, like looking for a job, becoming visible to recruiters, re-entering the job market after a hiatus or otherwise attempting a career change -- from an advisor whose Twitter account is empty?
Existent in name only.
How about if it's April 2013?
How about if it's the same month that the Wall Street Journal declared The New Resume: It's 140 Characters and @WSJCareers held a Twitter chat about using social media to get a job, concluding it's all about LinkedIn & Twitter & a digital footprint that shows your best stuff.
(I participated in this blisteringly-paced and totally on-target chat that featured The Daily Muse's Kate Minshew. Some of the tweets are Storified here. Search for more with the hashtag #WSJchat.)
How about expecting to get guidance on the latest advances in online career development at an event conducted by someone who thinks LinkedIn is exclusively for connecting with people you already know well rather than people you are loosely associated with professionally and want to grow closer to? Someone whose policy lets connection requests go unanswered while, creepily, LinkedIn alerts us she's reviewed our info-rich profile and decided that's a no.
Again, I wouldn't. Yet these are things I have witnessed and experienced recently.
Do you see where I'm going? This is not helpful. This is place holding.
Old-school is occupying the space where actionable help is supposed to go.
And, if you find yourself thinking you don't need up-to-the-minute Twitter advice from a career advisor -- you're wrong.
In that hour-long live discussion (listen to the recording at the link!) we asked,
Do your friends and family and colleagues think you enter an 'international cone of silence' when you leave their physical sphere?
Out of sight, out of reach. Apparently, that’s how our global existence sometimes feels to people who aren’t in the habit of connecting every which way like we’ve grown used to doing. Someone left me a message on my new American phone line in 2012 saying “I’ve been waiting 10 years to talk to you” — yet I know I’m more connected now than ever.
The GlobalNiche community talked about this literal and figurative disconnect, and how forward-looking, world-flung types like us can maintain our connections across vast geographical — and perceptual and behavioral — divides.
Our conclusion, which GigaOm just got to?
The more progressive party has to communicate with people where they exist, and that may be somewhere in the past.
We're born content producers. The more prolific among us are literally volcanoes of content.
Yet, what you’ve generated probably isn’t working for you.
It’s probably not laid out as a path where you want to go, nor presented as an invitation to other like-minded souls and interested parties to join you in your journey. It’s not contributing to the discoverability of you.
Do you have shelves full of:
paper, boxes and binders, clippings, photos, slides, sketches and notes
memorabilia and scrapbook materials
What about in the hall closet, and all that stuff in the basement?
CDs, cassette tapes, video tapes
I bet you have a bunch of content stored here, there and everywhere. There’s a reason you haven’t gotten rid of it.
That mountain of stuff represents your effort and interest, and independent research.
That mountain represents the things you chose to do because they make you feel alive.
Think of all the activities you’ve poured yourself into and how you’ve retained the evidence of them. Anything that represents your experiences, your thinking and feeling on certain topics. All those photos of people and places and things that hold meaning and jog memories, yet haven’t seen the light of day in practically FOREVER. Some of it may represent creative failures. False starts. Ancient history. That's okay. Include it.
Are you sitting on that mountain of content -- and also wondering how you’re going to make ends meet, effect a career change, or achieve a goal?
Maybe you’re thinking you can’t do what you yearn to because you live in the wrong place and don’t have the right contacts and there’s no opportunity to pursue that interest where you are. As an expat for 14 years, I spent a lot of time wondering if my location was a disadvantage to what I want to do. The answer was "yes" most of the time. But no longer.
If we consider that earlier output and experience not as failure or a waste of time, but instead a chain of events that make us who we are today, then we can start to get an idea of the arc of our lives and how what we’ve done in the past can help us get where we want to go in the future. No matter where we are -- with the help of the web and the platform we build on it.
What if you were prominent and findable in your chosen field of interest or activity?
How might your opportunities change if you let your content support your aims? <---Tweet that.
Whether you’re positioning yourself to land jobs or funding or a book deal, or you’ve got a completed book or other product or service to sell, it will make a difference to your results. If you’re findable and well-represented, you have a chance. If you’re unknown, unfindable, and a jumbled mess when people DO happen to stumble on you, you won’t make much of an impression.
Whatever you want to do, you’ll need help and support. An important part of gathering support is going public with your process, to attract likeminded people to your cause and to involve them in your journey. The kind of people who are interested your vision and your way of thinking and feeling, parties who can help you develop your plan, the kind of peers and confidants and guides who will form the basis of your network.
We've entered a golden age for content creators. Do you know how to wrap your arms around your content, see the story it tells, and link it with your goals?
A version of this post originally appeared at Kristin Bair O'Keeffe's Writerhead, September 7, 2012
A very sweet email I received from a new connection included these lines:
"I wanted to let you know that you're receiving this email because I lovingly friended you via Facebook and was hoping you wouldn't mind if I occasionally sent you what I was up to. If not, it's totally cool, you're welcome to unsubscribe below and my feelings won't be hurt one bit."
I'm glad I'm not going to be hurting someone's feelings if I choose to stop receiving something I never asked to receive and didn't know existed.
Unfortunately, sending me email I must to choose to stop receiving amounts to an automatic email subscription when the current standard for list subscription is the double opt-in.
The added twist of piling a list subscription onto a Facebook connection muddies the water even further.
Maybe I just wanted to connect in an ambient way.
Maybe I use Facebook and other social media services as my new contact book. (That's exactly what I do!)
Maybe I don't know yet if I want to receive news from you in my in-box, the most intimate of social medias.
Give me a chance to figure it out without making me reject you first.
What might work better: posting about the list existence on Facebook, where I can see it and decide to take action.
Post on Facebook things I'm going to want to know more about. Things I'm going to start wanting to be sure I don't miss. Then I'm primed to get on your list, and I will.
Why use social media? To discover who you really are, writes content strategist Dan Blank at We Grow Media. "When you start sharing more openly for all the world to see, outside of the social construct that surrounds you in your daily life, you share something that is uniquely you." (Here at expat+HAREM we wrote about the self-actualization of social media, especially for the far-flung and previously invisible.)
Wonder about your genotype? Last week was "World DNA Day" (who knew?), and expat+HAREM pal Dr. Nassim Assefi draws our attention to 23andMe, which will analyze your personal genetic info for health and ancestry purposes. Not only will you get monthly updates on DNA, and predictions for disease risk, drug response and other conditions, the report will help connect you to relatives and map your heritage. $99 at the moment, used to be thousands!
Cultural creatives carry the cultural change in society. The (R)evolution: the first international movie about (200 million!) cultural creatives pulls together the threads of their philosophies and their work, which are part of "a quiet but necessary revolution taking place in today's culture." Watch the trailer, donate or help promote to view the whole film. Connect with the cultural creative community on Facebook and Twitter.
Always happy to see an expat writer make good! Journalist Alan Paul's memoir Big in China: My Unlikely Adventure Raising a Family, Playing the Blues and Reinventing Myself in Beijing scheduled to get the Hollywood treatment. I was pleased to be featured alongside Alan in Chantal Panozzo's Writer Abroad interview series last year...
"Travel back in time, and around the world": This travel film archive takes you to bygone eras in faraway lands.
Comment below on any of the above, we're on the same page now...
Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it's a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Once a week someone steps into the center and asks for feedback and suggestions on their next steps. A week of discussion ensues.
Here's my prompt about what I'm thinking of doing.
Hey all! Besides the in-progress shift at expat+HAREM (which includes among many other changes, making the content evergreen and getting off the feed the beast with original content every week treadmill), with Miss Tara I am working on creating a spin-off community.
Globalniche.net. GN will be a private and paid membership site for the same global citizen/multiculti/expat audience, but focused on solutions rather than simply discussion and entertainment. Adding practice to the theory.
In many ways Globalniche.net will reflect what we’ve seen at ThirdTribe.com this past year: bulletin boards for discussion of numerous topics, regular hosted seminars, audio and video interviews with experts and fellow seekers, custom-created educational material and special offers from solutions providers, and a support community to enact the things being discussed. It will be an actionable space, and since it will be shielded from public view, it will also have an intimacy we can’t experience on the open web.
Everyone in this mastermind group (along with some other solid members of our current eH and creative entrepreneur community) will be invited to join as founding members. When we’re ready to launch a monthly membership option will open more widely.
When we get started (date not set but within 6 months) we’ll be asking the below kind of questions to our founding members. It would be great if you could get the ball rolling, tell us what would make this a VERY valuable community for you, as well as throw out your own questions about the plan, or what we might also want to ask our founding members.
What is your biggest pain in finding your place in the world outside of your culture and comfort zone, and operating to your true potential both professionally and personally?
What is your biggest pain embracing all the worlds you love to belong to?
What drew you to e+H (and kept you coming back)?
What improvements to e+H’s brand and offerings would you like to see in a membership community at globalniche.net?
What tutorials, resources and educational material would you want from GN? What do you want to learn how to do? What do you need support for?
What kind of people would you want us to interview and make accessible to the community (by name if you know them)?
Here are some of my responses to the feedback I received (I'm not sharing the direct feedback since the group is private). Five people participated (thanks to Catherine Bayar, Catherine Yigit, Sezin Koehler, Jessica Lutz, and Tara Agacayak!) and contributed 34 comments:
Thanks all, keep it coming! Characteristically, I have so many other deadlines this week I am practically missing my own party.
Thanks for the broader view of who might be of interest to hear from. Yes, futurists. In particular, may be able to address the tensions of living ahead of our time...because that certainly encapsulates a lot of the issues we face. It's coming for many others too, but we happen to be dealing with it all now. Agree, Global Niche is a widening of the Expat Harem window, and I'm looking forward to transitioning to it, as well as bringing in new people for whom expat+HAREM may have seemed too 'niche'. Glad that the questions feel deep to you, and thanks so much for plumbing them. The deeper we can go here, the better we can start off the block. It's heartwarming to be able to trace where we came into each other's lives -- and so far back, too. Want to hear the revolutions the link has caused in your life, because it's a natural path to where we are taking this -- together.
Happy blizzard -- or dense fog in the morning! We've got entrepreneurial social media life/work things to do in the low-visibility season ahead.
BTW here's an overview never before available: If you're at all interested you can now peek behind-the-scenes of my top five cultural producing projects related to but not strictly expat+HAREM. Hint: Family culture clashes! Art historic soap operas of imperial proportion! [link removed, no longer available]
Our shiny new Facebook page replaces a group set to retire one random day. Don't want to lose you in the shuffle. Please post on our FB wall any kind of culturati link you're liking today.
Do we look older more experienced? We just celebrated our first full year of bloghood! 23 guest bloggers to thank, we're also grateful for 2300 comments which took us to surprising intersections of culture and identity. Here we all weigh in on the posts which affected us the most.
2011 starts with the editor of Matador Life Leigh Shulman contrasting the peregrinations of a fictional exile with her own rolling stone life. Why do we leave the places we know, and is the melancholy of disconnect any different if it's elective or imposed on us?
YOUR PRO GLOBAL NICHE IS A WEB PLATFORM...
Not just a dreamy concept of world citizenship, your global niche is about "blooming where you're planted" in a holistic way, being creative and entrepreneurial to find happiness, growth and success wherever you are and in all your aspects.
In conjunction with creative biz consultancy Turquoise Poppy, expat+HAREM is excited to lead a January 22 demonstrationof how to build your global niche through social media.
Not geographically convenient, or complete newbie? Cultural creatives and mobile progressives everywhere can now start learning the web tools, techniques and technology: our new mailing list will get you started with free tutorials and keep you posted about next steps, like our upcoming mastermind program for creative entrepreneurs.
That's a high-impact online course where a supportive set of your international, creative peers will help you build your global niche on the web.+++++
AROUND THE WORLD & AROUND THE WEB
To live authentically individual lives we need to embrace the parts of ourselves that don't fit anywhere.
Publication to watch --> BETA is an about-to-be-released quarterly print mag from the global online travel network Matador. All about motion, journey and place, apparently the cheeky thing subtitled the topography of living will be sold at "some of our favorite camel markets and opium dens worldwide."
In the new year we're looking at where others end and we begin. "What are you redefining?" we asked.
Beth Wettergreen, the new liaison between a private university in Istanbul and U of Maryland, is struggling with the concept of 'private life' in Turkey. "Here, one is almost never unobserved. I have a feeling that the notion of a truly private life is reserved for the upper middle class and upper class."
Meanwhile another expat is facing the boundaries of a life vision at odds with cultural expectations of a woman who 'works' from home yet is not a traditional housewife.
"I risk appearing rude and living up to the stereotypes of the self-centered American in order to further myself along the path that feels right to me - even if others can't see it or understand it."
What creative, custom life/work solution are you looking for?
The expat+HAREM COMMUNITY AIMS TO HELP YOU:
1) DISCOVER your psychic peers + global community
2) CREATE a hybrid identity from your many worlds
Why do you need our help? The short answer: Because liminal life is a bittersweet limbo -- coming, going, never quite arriving -- and here at expat+HAREM the community embraces this unmoored and central reality of our globetrotting, multicultural, hybrid times.
A PLACE WHERE DIGITAL NOMADS, EXPATS, IMMIGRANTS, FUTURISTS AND WORLD CULTURALISTS ARE UNIQUELY SUITED TO SUCCEED
The psychic limbo and identity adventure global citizens experience today is expat+HAREM's sweet spot. Our neoculture.
This neoculture is our situation in life and our world view. What we work to make sense of, and to capitalize on.
Here at expat+HAREM we've defined the problem, and provide the solution.
MAKING LIMBO A PRODUCTIVE STATE Limbo is usually considered a place in-between. A state of suspended animation. Paralysis, a spinning of the wheels. Nowheresville. But it can also be an unconstrained place where anything is possible. That's how expat+HAREM choses to see it. Multifaceted people like us have strength and flexibility and experience and access to multiple perspectives. These are all assets.
WE'RE IN THE VANGUARD AND NEED EACH OTHER Globalization has had an unfortunate disenfranchising effect. (Perhaps like many in our community you've been there personally!) However, despite the resistance and misunderstanding and worrying 'purity' movements we're witnessing in populations large and small, at expat+HAREM we believe fostering our particular dialogue of culture and identity is a way forward. A chance to find new and meaningful connection to the world while making sense of conflicting situations.
IT'S NOT ALL BIG PICTURE Sure, we like to talk about the big picture -- whole hemispheres and societies! -- but at our heart we're concerned with the smallest details of the individual. Navigating relationships with people in your life. Achieving psychic location independence. Negotiating our personal connection with the many worlds we love to belong to. That's how we'll find our global niche.
Our most important bonds are no longer solely decided by geography, nationality or even blood. When we find where we uniquely belong in the world we've found our global niche.
expat+HAREM, the global niche embodies the Expat Harem concept* -- localized foreigner, outsider on the inside -- while speaking to intentional travelers, identity adventurers and global citizens of all kinds.
This 2-year archive of neoculture discussions delves into perspective on the crossroads and dichotomies of our hybrid lives:
modern existences in historic places
deep-rooted traditions translated in mobile times
limiting stereotypes revisited for wider meaning
the expat mindset as it evolves from nationalism to globalism
Glo· bal· niche, n. psychicsolution to your global identity crisis
Don't coin too many terms, warn the smart search engine optimizers. "No one will know what you're talking about plus they won't be able to find you!" At expat+HAREM we like to talk about unconventional, unbounded and unmapped life as we experience it, and if we could find the lingo we need in common usage, we'd certainly use it.
She'sNext interview: Here I'm talking about how multifaceted, 21st century women can find their global niche.
TAPPING INTO OUR OWN GLOBAL BEING When we discover our psychic peers and foster a global community with them -- fashioning a hybrid identity and a 'salamander' life that intersects and honors the many worlds we belong to -- we've found our global niche. It's good to be home.
People abroad have often turned to writing when other options for work and expression were limited. It tends to be a location-independent profession and pasttime.
Technology and the times now challenge writers abroad to do even more. Because we can -- and must.
We can make a bigger impact with less resources. Plus, even if we wanted to, we can no longer depend solely on high-barrier traditional routes. We writers are now producers, and directors, and engineers of content.
Revisiting all my entertainment projects in development in this new light: how to tell the story of my ‘forensic memoir of friendship’ using 25-years worth of multimedia? Can two screenplays be converted to enhanced ebooks for iPhone or iPad -- incorporating images, sound, text -- or even made into a graphic novel?
What recent technology or industry shift both lowers a traditional barrier for you and raises your game?
A round up of my quotes from interviews, profiles and articles by or about me that keep coming back.
"Expat Harem women are challenged to redefine their lives, definitions of spirituality, femininity, sensuality and self."
-- introduction to Tales from the Expat Harem, with Jennifer Eaton Gökmen, 2005
THE NEGOTIATION OF FOREIGN WOMEN IN TURKEY:Commitment Now asks: "Do you think many of the foreign women who have made Turkey their home have found that their adjustments are one-way?"
Anastasia: "Not in my life or for most foreign women I know. If anything we’re in a constant state of negotiating which way the street is going at any given time to accommodate both our instincts and those of the people around us.
"There's a huge spectrum of society in Turkey, all with their own quotients of modernity and comfort with Western traditions. My Turkish family is secular, modern to the point of being trendy, and highly Europeanized."
-- travel author interview with Commitment Now, 2009
TURKEY'S BOND OF METAMORPHOSIS WITH THE EXPAT HAREM: "Foreign women on Turkish soil are neither what nor who they used to be, yet not fully transformed by their brush with Turkey. Aligned in their ever-shifting contexts, both Turkey and the expatriate share a bond of constant metamorphosis.
THE DAMAGING CULTURAL FACTOR SEX TOURISTS EXPORT: "Writing from the sex-toured Near East, the damaging potential of each disposable liaison is empirical evidence that Western culture is morally corrupt. One forgettable fling has the power to affect systems far larger than the person, family, village or region which witnessed and absorbed the behavior.
"The environment of sexual predation many Western women face overseas is also bound to be heightened by the wanton and culturally inappropriate choices of 'sex pilgrims'.
"Travelers and expatriates striving to modulate their behavior to find social acceptance with native friends, families and colleagues must struggle to differentiate themselves from sexual opportunists who don't have to lie in the messy bed they've made."
-- book review of Romance on the Road: Traveling Women Who Love Foreign Men, Perceptive Travel, 7/06
ON THE PARALLEL IDENTITY STRUGGLES OF TURKEY, AND GLOBAL NOMADS: “Turkey is asking itself some of the world’s most difficult questions these days,” said Ashman, comparing the nation’s quest with her own identity issues as a global nomad and the questions central to her work. “Expat Harem asked 30 foreign women what modern Turkey taught them about themselves.
"Turkey as a crucible of the self, a mirror on our own possibilities as citizens of the world.
"We chose tonight’s topic because it is relevant to Global Nomads who are concerned with the concepts of personal identity, community and belonging, and the balance of cultural influences that can sometimes be at odds.”
EXPATS' AGILE AND UNIQUE NATURE IS KEY TO SUCCESS ABROAD: "Being an expatriate you’re naturally a person in transition. Your worst days can leave you feeling unmoored, and alienated. Your best days bring a sense of your agile nature and the qualities that make you unique from the people who surround you and the people back home.
"Working toward an understanding of what it will take for you to feel your best in your environment is extremely worthwhile.
"Your answers perfectly define you and the more closely they are incorporated into your business plans the better chance you have of career success abroad."
EXPATRIATISM AS FOURTH GENERATION IMMIGRATION: "Being an expat to me may be more akin to someone who simply isn’t living where they started. I’m just farther away. I guess you could say I’m a fourth generation immigrant, since my parents and their parents and their parents before them all left their homelands or their cities in search of better opportunities in the west. Coming to Europe completes that loop for my family.
"When I'm slathering Mediterranean olive oil on a wild arugula salad I am enjoying something a distant ancestor once did but that my closer relatives did not, as they served Spam in Chicago and tofu taco salad in California."
ON PUBLISHING AND THE DIGITAL WORLD CITIZEN: "Geographic disadvantage demands I compete in my home market virtually...and my global audience is now virtual.
"I’m shifting to new school thinking in distribution, promotion, and sales.
"Internet access equalized my ‘90s expat reality. Now Twitter closes the professional morass as Tweetdeck columns resonate thought leadership across publishing, technology, and marketing. I’ve got Web 3.0 plans for my second book not only because as a contemporary author abroad I must connect with readers and offer dynamic interaction with the material, but because as a digital citizen I can."
SOCIAL MEDIA ERASES THE TRADITIONAL DISADVANTAGES OF EXPATRIATISM: "Social media affords expats location-independence (work where you are and where you'll go), self-actualization (be an expert in whatever you choose), language (communicate in your preferred tongue), and flexibility (time and location become irrelevant).
"You can be current, involved, and a player in your field thanks to the new platforms. Once upon a time we expats were disconnected from our bases of operation that our countrymen back home had available to them.
"Now, the divide is digital. Virtual. Non-existent for the expat who makes use of technology."
WRITERS ABROAD BUILD NETWORK FOR NEW ROLE AS CONTENT ENGINEERS: "Reach beyond readers, other writers and even publishing folk. Seek out thought leaders in marketing, interactive tech people, small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. These are all fields that a contemporary author and content producer is entering whether she knows it or not.
"I’ve been revisiting all my projects to see how I can bring them to life in the most current way -- in terms of technology and distribution distinct from the low-percentage, high-barrier traditional paths.
"Writers are now producers, and directors, and engineers of content."
THE 'PROBLEM' OF GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP -- AN IDENTITY SUSPENDED BETWEEN MULTIPLE WORLDS -- CAN BE A SOLUTION FOR 21st CENTURY WOMEN: "We often dream about a spot where *our* kind of people live, where we can lead *our* chosen lifestyle.
"Today the bittersweet psychic limbo of global citizenship frees the multifaceted woman. Frees us to bond around common interest. Experience. World view.
"Through the digital nomadism pioneered by location independent people and use of self-actualizing social media, we can now operate independently of where we live and tap into a sense of ourselves both unique and as big as we can be."
-- She's Next digital media series, inspiring 60 second video interviews to cultivate happiness and leadership in 21st century women, 10/28/10
ASTUTE PORTFOLIO BUILDING: "I knew I could benefit from a more professional approach to the craft.
"[When I pitched a profile to the Village Voice I ended up publishing] a profile/book review/event announcement -- the managing editor’s hybrid idea when I emphasized the curating work my multimedia poet interviewee was doing at St. Mark’s Poetry Project, and an upcoming performance there of a new Brion Gysin book.
"If an editor was gracious enough to tell me exactly what he could use all I needed to do was accept the challenge."
HISTORICAL TRAVELOGUE CAN HELP FIND YOUR PLACE: "Long-term travelers, expatriates and global citizens often struggle to make sense of life's evolutions abroad, as well as find meaningful access to their new surroundings. Whether I'm simply passing through, or putting down roots in a place, I've come to crave a certain type of book.
"Historical travelogue and portraits of adventurous women travelers who came before me often helps connect me to the land, and remind me of the transformative tradition of female travel."
We resolve to be different. Fitter. Pay off debt. Volunteer. Clean out that god-forsaken garage. Stepping into a fresh calendar year seems like a chance to try on a colorful persona, yet new year's resolutions are so often based on territory (and self-images) we already know.
Instead, surprising facets of ourselves are evoked by a novel landscape and our metamorphosis chooses us.
This year I took charge of my own web presence. A major undertaking requiring vision and planning -- but it didn't rate an end-of-'08 resolution. When I set down a tiny microblogging footprint with Twitter 18 months ago I didn't foresee 2009's curated-webpath to my interests and intentions.
Being proactive in the blogosphere is an epiphany, a 2009 reawakening of my inner student....a time to learn exactly what I need to know -- as a writer and publisher, a global citizen and cultural creative in Istanbul -- and contribute to the future of my communities.
What's your surprise metamorphosis of 2009? Who did you become this year?
[Gratitude to everyone who taught me something in 2009!]
I'll be speaking with creative entrepreneur Tara Agacayak on a panel about social media for the International Professional Women of Istanbul Network (IPWIN).
The happy trends of Web 2.0 online networking, collaborating, and user-generated content seem tailor-made for pro women like us who often face a more difficult career path abroad. Whether "trailing spouses" lacking a local work permit like Jo Parfitt recounts here or in some other way being at a geographic or cultural disadvantage is a common expat woman experience.
IN AN ATTENTION ECONOMY WE'RE NO LONGER OUT OF SIGHT
We're used to relying on technology to fill the gaps in our expat operations so social media has the potential to level the playing field for the most far-flung female professionals:
Social media works best the way women work best: it's about making and tending personal connections
Social media supports and consolidates the spread-out personal networks expats and global citizens have already initiated in their mobile lives
Social media provides access to state-of-the-industry practices, trending thought, and leading players in our professions
So, as social networking renders overseas women like us visible and relevant, it's a powerful tool of self-actualization. Our presence online becomes an advance calling card in life and work. We're driven to fine-tune who we say we are, and how we behave, and where we appear online and who we choose to interact with, who our target audience is and how we do business. If we commit to social media, we evolve.
How has social media launched you?
On another network an expat woman writer asked me what the benefit of social media is besides meeting other writers. She also wondered why she might need it before she has a book to sell.
Social media networking is something you can do long before you have something 'to sell' -- in fact, 3 years in advance of a product is the period I hear from the kind of people whose book goes straight to the top of bestseller lists. It takes that long to get a meaningful network in place before you really 'need' it. Building trust, credibility, presenting yourself authentically, being generous and helpful. That takes time.
I agree meeting other writers is an important component of online networking for women like us scattered around the globe, living among people who may not speak, let alone read or write, in our language. However, there are so many more people you can meet. Taking the writing professional as an example: Potential readers, agents and editors and publishers -- and with the massive upheaval in publishing right now being able to follow developments is more important than ever-- people in related fields. Living abroad, we can attend conferences virtually, or take part in live chats on women's issues, cultural concerns, literature, branding, social media, bookselling, marketing, etc. I wrote about many of these issues last April in "How This Author Uses Twitter". Becoming visible to the people in your niche -- finding out who works in your niche, that's priceless legwork.
How it helps me now: Social media has helped bring me up to speed on the trending/cutting edge thought in a variety of areas that affect what I do, as well as put me in touch with people I want to work with. It's like continuing education, cultivating a professional peer group, professional development.
Here's a slideshow based on our presentation, including links to scores of the below resources we discussed during the event:
A longtime friend messaged me on Facebook to alert me I need to change my profile photo to a more flattering one.
I snapped it in my sunny Istanbul kitchen on my iPhone. I’d just had my hair done -- and a facial, so not a stitch of makeup. I look somewhat natural, and somewhat my age of almost 45. I liked the image for that reason. An actual unvarnished look rather than the airbrushed Turkish portraits in my book publicity materials, my playful Photoshop-manipulated avatars on social media sites, or the pound-of-make-up glamour shot from my Today Show TV appearance in 2008.
The pic is not the only way I can look, and I’m not cementing it as my favorite of all time. There are some surprising wrinkles, but also a touch of grey in my eyes I'd forgotten. The image makes sense at the moment, relates to creative work I am doing to be my authentic self, and I am proud of who I am in it. I’m using it across the web.
When my Facebook friend and I first met (before she rushed me to the hospital with a high fever), she looked me over in my sick bed and told me all I needed was "a little eyeliner".
For two decades I’ve cherished that line as her special brand of caustic Southern comedy. She was raised in places where American women have been known to sleep in their makeup – just in case. Even if I enjoy a little maquillage and lighting magic too, I’m from a rather stripped down area in Northern California. It's only natural at our core we have different sensibilities about female presentation.
Delivered with love and true concern, yesterday's message was a reminder to me.
Only we can determine what our best self looks like.
What do portraits (and self-portraits) demand of us? Which version of yourself do you want to show the world today, and why?