social media

Becoming Media Literate

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.)

The first mention of agent orange I saw was associated with the debunking of that claim, on the twitter feed of NPR's Andy Carvin.

Becoming (social) media literate is a process, and especially messy in a crisis.

But many people have already been through major crises while using social media (for instance, Carvin pioneered the crowdsourcing of citizen journalism during the Arab Spring as I, Jillian York of Global Voices and TIME pointed out in April 2011), so to portray us all as rubes -- and social media as "untrustworthy" -- is inaccurate.

Social media is a tool. It's up to us to use it wisely. As web anthropologist Stowe Boyd says, "The single most important decision we make in a connected world is who to follow."

 

On the GlobalNiche Bookshelf: Global Dexterity. Reinventing You. The Impact Equation.

GlobalNiche bookshelf: Global Dexterity by Andy Molinsky

Building your global niche is a 21st century skill. For work. For life.

International business, human resources, the future of life & work bestsellers and new releases from Harvard Biz Review are stacking up on our bookshelf at Pinterest.

 

Finding cultural effectiveness. Career reinvention through social media and your own content. Achieving impact via your platform and social networks. Adopting an entrepreneurial mindset.

These are all GlobalNiche mainstays going mainstream. Click here to tweet about this.

What does it mean to be a global worker and a true "citizen of the world" today? asks author Andy Molinsky in Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior across Cultures without Losing Yourself in the Process.

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."

 

Global dexterity? It's what we do here.

 

GlobalNiche is global dexterityGlobalNiche is 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.

 

GlobalNiche bookshelf: Reinventing You by Dorrie Clark

"Use social media to build connections" is one of seven steps branding expert Dorrie Clark lays out to reinvent yourself professionally, in  Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future.

"Show what you know" is another of Clark's steps. She suggests you use your content to show the world what you care about.

Again, sound familiar? It should. Using your content online and off to get where you want to go is exactly how you build your global niche. It's why the GlobalNiche program at its heart is about content strategy. Your content and your online presence is the key to creating your place in the world.

Another title that is particularly useful for people building online presences to reach offline goals is The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise? by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Brogan is a favorite of ours here at GlobalNiche.

 

GlobalNiche bookshelf: The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

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."

Start where you are. That's your only option. Oh, and start your evolution today.

GlobalNiche bookshelf: The Finch Effect by Nacie Carson

 

Evolution is exactly what Nacie Carson urges in The Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life. The Portfolio.com blogger and founder of TheLifeUncommon.net says it's your best bet in today's high-pressure economy.

Traditional career strategies spell professional extinction, she writes, but the fluid new gig economy offers tremendous potential for anyone willing to adapt.

Carson's five steps for ensuring professional success are all part of the GlobalNiche mindset and skill set.

  • Adopt a gig mindset.
  • Identify your value.
  • Cultivate your skills.
  • Nurture your social network.
  • Harness your entrepreneurial energy.

Among many other notable titles on the shelf about navigating the world today is Mitch Joel's Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It. I hope to tackle this sometime soon. In the meantime, tell us which books on your shelf echo these 21st century life and work skills.

 

Old School, Part 2: Would You Take Twitter Advice From Someone Who's Never Tweeted?

I wouldn't. Let's get more specific.

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.)

No?

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.

Being A Year Ahead Of GigaOm On Future Of Communication

Mathew Ingram of the emerging tech & disruption of media site GigaOm.com tackles a topic close to my heart in his column today: "The Future Of Online Etiquette Is Already Here, It's Just Unevenly Distributed". Ingram comes to the same conclusion we arrived at in our GlobalNiche webchat series more than a year ago with our guest speaker and world citizen, international worker and multidisciplinary strategy consultant Shefaly Yogendra on Communication Styles of Mobile Progressives.

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.

 

Your Content Adds Up. Now Make It Discoverable, Too.

We're born content producers. The more prolific among us are literally volcanoes of content.Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 12.23.09 PM

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?

  • floppy disks
  • hard drives
  • external drives
  • 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.

Maybe now you’ve got a mental image of your piles of creation, content associated with the life you’ve lived and the things you’ve loved (or hated, who knows).

At GlobalNiche we believe it’s forgotten gold. (Don’t feel too badly. We all have similar piles that we haven’t used for much of anything. YET.)

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 12.00.22 PM So, next question.

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.

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 11.54.10 AM

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 Facebook Connection is Not An Email Subscription

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.

Even better:

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.

Genotype Detectives. Cultural Creatives. Expats In Hollywood.

  • 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...

Masterminding A Membership Site

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.

Ooh yes I like the idea of being able to discuss whatever topics of the day that people are interested in (like art and culture and world affairs)....that would be possible in the bulletin board area where anyone could start a thread of their choice. Definitely on my list of interviewees are Amna Ahmad and Justine Musk!

You guys are really giving me some good direction here, about bringing my own worlds together. Being that bridge to make sense of how different communities and the leaders in them are informing who we are, and what our issues are. In particular, you're giving me some very clear ideas about how GN.net can synthesize all the best elements of what we know to be happening out there (rather than cover the same ground other expat or travel sites do and in the same way...because frankly, if those other sites were speaking completely to what I/we need, we wouldn't even be talking about this right now.) <- Exciting, challenging!

Thanks for your words about the newsletter, and the type of people and ventures mentioned in it. The newsletter can be a bridge between expat+HAREM and the GlobalNiche, and be a way to transition those who are interested into GN.  I'm also thinking about upgrading the newsletter to be more graphic...will need some tutoring please. Yes to the real-world meetings as often as possible (Tara and I've been making plans for a recurring Istanbul gathering) and I think we could also use a freaking major retreat on a regular basis.

This is really great feedback, thank you!

$$$ >> ONE LAST QUESTION << $$$

if you have any thoughts on it: price range. What would membership in this private community be worth to you?

Could be a range of prices...from the most basic offerings we talked about to more intensive and developed services.

Like Third Tribe -- the early adopters pay very little, and were part of the growth of the community. Now, they've just capped the community at a much higher rate and when they reopen, it will be still higher. All the while they've improved their offerings and built a year's worth of equity that new members can tap into from the very first day. So, can you share some comparable prices for memberships you have paid for, or know about?

Yes, the target market is a widening of the demographics attracted by eH material. Expanding to everyone who finds themselves geographically disadvantaged (could be and American in Kansas), culturally fragmented, etc. The idea is that this notion of a global niche may have come from our own need to find solutions but it can be applied to many other life situations too that may not seem so extreme in their disconnection.

Third Tribe is an example of an educational support community. It happens to be for online marketing. That does intersect with part of our interests at eh/GN but I don't mean that GN = internet marketing community. The model is instructive. As for cost, they opened the community at $27/month. I found that easy to sign on for, even though I'd never been part of a paid online community before. I think one of the reasons is that they had done a good job of letting me know what I'd be getting, and how I needed it.

I agree it would be great to have a resource area of best links on different useful topics...and self-help/self-improvement experts too. The counseling leads: There's a newish website of counselors globally (ExpatExpert.com was passing it around), as well as whole organizations for online counseling. Things have really changed, and it would be good to be on top of what's available.

Today we wrap up...thanks again to everyone for your fantastic comments and food for thought. (And excitement at the prospect of GN.net!)

FYI, we've got a Global Niche Facebook page as of today, and are collecting interested parties over there -- so head on over and like up. Thanks again for a terrific week of masterminding. You are all wonderful.

Custom Creative: The Making Of An Authentic Indie Life

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]

+++++ AT expat+HAREM

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 demonstration of 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

We loved Dr. Brene Brown's recent TEDxHouston talk on  wholeheartedness and its root in expressing our vulnerability.

But the blog of longtime expat Diana Baur and majorly creative entrepreneur (the American potter is an innkeeper in Italy) sharpens the point for identity adventurers and global nomads like us. "Wholehearted people don't have an externally-driven directive about living correctly."

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."

+++++ YOUR THOUGHTS

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?

Making The Psychic Limbo Of Global Citizens A Productive State

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.

Glo· bal· niche, n.

a psychic solution to your global identity crisis

[More about Anastasia Ashman, the founder of this global niche.]

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.

HERE'S WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY "WE'LL HELP YOU FIND YOUR GLOBAL NICHE": a psychic solution to your global identity crisis.

COMMON INTEREST AND EXPERIENCE DEFINES US

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

More.

THOUGHTS ON HYBRID LIFE WRITING Combining outsider-view-from-the-inside and journey of self-realization, we think expat/emigree/immigrant literature deserves a shelf of its own.

+++ OUR ROOTS +++ Based on the original Expat Harem concept by Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gokmen

expat+HAREM, the global niche is the archive of a group blog and community site launched in 2009 by Anastasia Ashman, coeditor with Jennifer Eaton Gökmen of Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey.

* The site is inspired by the cultural embrace and self-exploration of that best-selling and critically acclaimed 2005 expatriate literature collection.

+ DETAILS: media coverage, academic uses, and awards for the anthology created and edited with Jennifer Eaton Gökmen, compiling the work of 32 international Expat Harem writers.

+ BEST 5 BOOKS ON TURKEY: Turkey’s most-read author Elif Shafak picks Expat Harem among the best 5 books on Turkey (Five Books, November 2010)

+ THE ACCIDENTAL ANTHOLOGIST: expat+HAREM founder's personal story behind the book.

+ HAREM GIRLS FOR SALE: 2 years from workshop to bestseller list -- the story of two expat editors.

Editors interviewed on The Crossroads satellite TV, July 2009

+++++ Take the next step with us --> into GlobalNiche.net's creative self enterprise for the global soul.  Another good place to explore:  Anastasia Ashman's producer page at Facebook.

Psychic Solution To Your Global Identity Crisis

Glo· bal· niche, n. psychic solution 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.

(Tell us the terms you use.)

On Twitter someone asked, “is ‘hybrid life’ kinda like what a salamander leads?” Uh, sure...you could call us cultural amphibians. Water, air, land, we (try to) do it all.

If you've arrived in the expat+HAREM community, perhaps you do know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you want to see what's next in neoculture (another coined term to-be-explained).

Here’s the deal.

WE'RE ALL BORN GLOBAL CITIZENS even if that knowledge gets trained out of us. A global identity seems nebulous, and ungrounded. Better to bond with the more concrete: family, culture, nation.

Problem with concrete though: it cracks over time, in quickly changing conditions, and sometimes even under its own weight.

 

 

Globalization means we’re entering a permanent state of psychic limbo about who we are and where we belong in the world.

Mixed blood. Crossculture. Third Culture. International work, study, travel. Fusion faiths, dual nationalities. Many of us know the bittersweet liminality of living between multiple worlds, and the soul-sprung righteousness of refusing to settle on just one.

The more we move around the less home is one place --  not to mention the mirage home becomes as soon as we leave it -- so our associations spread and bifurcate and split again. Our capacity for inclusion grows, and our sense of self expands along with it.

Coming, going, never quite arriving. This is where we live today. We’re searching for our place in the world, our people, the hybrid lifestyle that will make it all cohese. We know this:

Our concrete center will not hold.

OUR PEOPLE ARE NOT WHO THEY USED TO BE We also recognize we’re unbounded by the communities in our physical midst and traditional markers like geography, nationality or even blood.

Now we find inspiring new kinship in interest and outlook.

Virtual technologies like social media and mobile devices help identity adventurers, global nomads and digital citizens integrate even faster across out-moded boundaries.

To become the global citizens we truly are, we need to find our place in the world.

This has always been the case. But the 21st century offers new ways to find where we uniquely belong, and a new urgency to actualize our global citizenship.

Here at expat+HAREM we believe you can create a psychic solution to your global identity crisis.

Call it psychic location independence.

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.

Interview With Writer Abroad On Lowering Barriers And Raising Your Game

I’m thrilled and honored to be featured in Chantal Panozzo’s WriterAbroad Interview series. I join fellow expat and global nomad authors like the Petite Anglaise blogger-turned-novelist Catherine Sanderson in France, veteran Expat Expert publisher Robin Pascoe, Maya “The New Global Student” Frost in Argentina, and Alan Paul, the Wall Street Journal’s “The Expat Life” columnist based in China.

Chantal -- an American in Switzerland whose work appears in the dysfunctional family Chicken Soup anthology with mine, and guest posted last week at expat+HAREM -- asks how to connect with a reading audience back 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?

Prescient Perspective

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.

Istanbul International Book Fair

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.”

-- Istanbul's call to global nomads by Kristen Stevens, Hürriyet Turkish Daily News, 6/28/08

on TRT2 literature program

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."

-- Tales from an Expat Writer, Career by Choice: personal branding for professional success abroad, 3/08/09

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."

-- Tales from an Expat Writer, Career by Choice: personal branding for professional success abroad, 3/08/09

on satellite TV6 "Crossroads"

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."

-- Publishing and the Digital World Citizen, Editor Unleashed, 9/02/09

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).

Turkish national television

"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."

-- Social media aids expat life, by Jennifer Eaton Gökmen, Hürriyet Turkish Daily News, 1/9/10

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."

-- Writer Interview: Anastasia Ashman in Turkey, WriterAbroad: Surviving (and thriving) as an international creative person, 4/11/10

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."

-- MB alumni interview at mbToolbox, mediabistro.com, 11/05

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."

-- interviewed by Frank Mundo about my five favorite historical travelogues at LA Books Examiner 6/10

New Year's Evolution: Our Metamorphosis Chooses Us

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. moths by A.Ashman 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.

Suddenly I was virtually attending conferences like the interactive SXSW and participating in live webchats on branding, innovation, and literature. I became a joiner and a beta-tester, signing on for a month-long experimental blogging course and volunteering for a conference-call-based life design course for expat women entrepreneurs.

I’ve become a full-feathered indie blogger, and a player in the digiventures of others: founder of the group blog to build on hybrid Expat Harem themes so many of us are living, a new media guest blogger, a location-independence blog carnival participant, administrator of a LinkedIn group for creative entrepreneurs using social media, and the curator of a year-long 2010 webcarnival to celebrate Istanbul.

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!]

Social Media As Self Actualization: How Has It Launched You?

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?

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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.

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Here's a slideshow based on our presentation, including links to scores of the below resources we discussed during the event:

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?

TOP WOMEN IN SOCIAL MEDIA 2008 & 2009

TIPS & TOOLS TO GET STARTEDOPTIMIZE & IMPROVE YOUR PRACTICES

DOs AND DON’TS

BLOGS AND SITES OF PANELISTS ANASTASIA (microblogindividual bloggroup blogFacebook groupLinkedIn profile,Delicious bookmarksNing writers' network)

TARA (individual blogmicroblogLinkedIn profile, Facebook profileLadiesWhoLaunch profile, artisan training site-blog-microblog-Facebook page, bazaar tourssite-blog-microblog-Facebook page, web consulting site-microblog-Facebook page,women's microcredit site)

Great (Avatar) Expectations: Who Decides Our Best Look?

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?