social web

How To Become Your Own North Star On The Internet

We're all digital strategists now.

 

In fact, if you aren't thinking deeply about how and where and with whom you appear and interact on the web, you need to start.

Today. You can and should be using your online presence as a 21st century life & work skill to connect with relevant people, information you need and enriching opportunities. I'm going to help, so you can get started today. (And the resources I'm sharing with you are completely free, so if you want to buy something you'll have to go find a different post.) I've been saying all of this for years. Doing it for years. As a content and digital publishing specialist, I've been showing people how to use their own content to connect purpose and action in digital spaces, for 5 years, both in private and group coaching environments. Along with Tara Agacayak and Tanya Monsef Bunger, I built a curriculum at GlobalNiche, a social web training company that's now shifting into an empowered digital life movement, so you can do it on your own, or in groups, wherever you are and whoever you are and whatever you do. If you are a person active online, this training will ask you the strategic questions you need to be thinking about. If you're not yet active or don't love being online, this will help you figure out what makes sense for you. Our combined 25 years of experience, including major expatriate life and work challenges, forced us to tap our backgrounds in culture, info tech, media & psychology to create this network-activating system using the backbone of the social web. We've used this method to survive. No matter who or where you are, you can use it to thrive.

I'm now making that training perfectly free, so you can take advantage of all our guidance immediately.

 

Want to learn how? It's my gift to you! Start by downloading the handbook

 

  When you download this powerful free handbook you're going to start to transform what you do, how you do it and with whom. This repeatable, dynamic six-step method will help you become your own North Star on the Internet and bring you closer to the people and things you care about. You'll emerge with inspiration, direction and confidence:

    • a vision that lights you up and goals you can measure
  • a do-able plan and digital skills you need
  • and a practice and peer group you can rely on to keep going

 

 

Here's what people who've done it say:

    • "I felt I couldn’t catch up. The way GlobalNiche describes social media – it’s about using technology to communicate naturally – clicked for me." ~ paralegal
  • “Opened my eyes to my own assets. It has given me the confidence to bet on myself.” ~ work-at-home parent
  • “I doubled my Twitter presence just by learning about good Twitter etiquette.” ~ scriptwriter
  • “I’m blown away by the possibilities. I now have an action plan. I feel a huge shift in my life." ~ academic
  • "For people who are wondering if what they have to say is valuable.” ~ financial officer
  • "Helped me to recognize and own how I am being virtually “seen” and make positive and educated changes." ~ landscape contractor

 

With this non-dogmatic foundational method you'll:

    • uncover the real value you've already created: by taking inventory of what you've been doing, detecting the patterns in your activities, gaining insight into what you're drawn to
  • put your mountain of natural resources to work for you: by acknowledging all that you’ve created and use it to gain insight into who you are and who you want to be
  • show the world how you make sense: by linking what you've done in the past & are doing today with your wider goals
  • recognize that you need to become visible to meet people you want to collaborate with, work for, hire
  • combine who you are and where you want to go with the tools available to express yourself
  • make empowered, focused decisions about how to operate online
  • go beyond managing your reputation online to using social media to represent your best self
  • meet and enter conversations with your peers, mentors and customers on the web
  • get recognized by authorities & peers in your field, recruiters, the media
  • identify how to use existing materials as building blocks for future projects
  • identify new ways to use social media, which platforms work for you (and which do not), and how to use those platforms to your advantage
  • express yourself with the best social web tools available, including how to use Google+, Quora, ScoopIt and Storify to your benefit
  • gain a new understanding of the best social media and content management and strategy tools, formats, methods to try
  • establish an interactive calling card at a site like About.me
  • learn best practices for blogging frameworks like WordPress and Thesis, blogging services like Twitter and Tumblr, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram
  • learn best uses of video and slideshow sites like Animoto, YouTube, Vimeo, Slideshare, email service providers
  • grasp a new perspective on yourself as a content creator, realize the energy you generate around your interests IS content
  • publish, record, remix, repackage, reformat your content
  • design and implement a do-able plan with small steps to get your creations into global circulation in alignment with your larger goals

 

Want more?

If you want more guidance, get the free multimedia curriculum which expands on the handbook with video coaching and other materials. You'll have lifetime access to the self-paced course, 24/7, on all your devices. I'm making that entire program perfectly free for you, so join with a friend and do it together! 4,700 people already cashed in this free coupon to get connected & effective. Did you? Let me know how you're liking it!

A Simple Strategy For Building A Global Network Isn't About You. Your Plan Has To Make The Network A No-Brainer For Its Users -- Not Its Builder

Which one of these is a 'simple' strategy for building a global network of people who have a range of digital abilities: a pervasive, cohesive presence with many online doors -- or one room in graveyard of the web?

Which one of these is a ‘simple’ digital strategy (true story!) of an organization that aims to build a global network from a millions-strong list of women it’s loosely associated with:

  • a pervasive, cohesive presence across multiple social networking services, a community with free flow of information -- with windows into other related rooms of your peers and corridors you can go down if and when you are ready, willing, able, that is, when are you motivated and enabled to connect and pursue what appeals to you about this gathered community,
  • OR, one room on a service known for not-loving its group functionality, a service littered with the skeletons of well-intentioned groups, a room that is 'easy' to open?

When you find yourself looking for a simple strategy to connect all your important people so they can finally get off an inert list of names and start to build closer ties, so you can ambiently be aware of your peers on a consistent basis, so you all can see each other and learn what everyone is up to, so you recognize your commonalities and your opportunities to collaborate, and so you can TAKE ACTION on your shared goals using the cost-effective, labor-saving, reach-amplifying online communication tools available in 2013, ask yourself this.

Simple for whom?

Is your plan simple for you, the community builder? Or is it simple for the community waiting to happen?

Here's A Way To Ask For And Get Support For Personal & Pro Challenges, On An On-Going Basis

Graduates of my program are prepping to bring GlobalNiche's online presence & online community building methodology to their own worlds as servant leaders in peer-based workshops (like this group led by Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt starting in November). With this framework, in six weeks the network is connected and has a model to continue working together and a place to do so.

I've also been brainstorming the groups of people in my life I want to connect with more effectively. (You try it. Bet you can name three groups of people close to you that you want to see succeed.)

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My groups share a common thread.

We are peers and colleagues and friends and acquaintances -- and we are siloed in what we know, what we are trying to do,  how we do it, and with whom. We don't fully consider or know how to tap the resource we represent to each other.

That's what I'm proposing. A methodology to work in community on our own goals, with a stronger network as a result. A way we can all be cocreators of an effective network using the backbone of the social web. A way to ask for and get help and support for personal and professional challenges, on an on-going basis.

I see you.

You are people whose dreams I've been privy to, whose skills and talents I'm aware of, whose personal and professional pressures I know, whose untapped potential I recognize, and who I feel a commitment to helping put it all together to get where you want to go.

You're also people I would love to be better connected to, and who I'd like to connect better to fellow kindred spirits in my network. People you'd like to know. People who can help you and improve your life.

 

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Groups I'd like to be a servant leader to are:

1) people I've collaborated with professionally or been in peer work groups with, including writers and media pros and publishing world types.

Often coming out of traditional models and feeling the brunt of disruption, I understand your skepticism and why you are slow to adopt today's social web tools and ways of operating;

2) friends whose work and dreams I'm aware of but we've never really brought our full professional selves together to make things happen.

We can go beyond commiserating over coffee and silo-ing the personal and professional in our relationship;

3) people I have a history of interacting with intellectually in the long term, like fellow alumnae of my college;

4) acquaintances who ask me about what I do or how I do it, but don't imagine yourself doing it.

This would include my hairdresser who as an independent professional who moves from salon to salon could use the continuity and discoverability of an online portfolio. The young pilates instructor I met at the Wisdom 2.0 conference who could be establishing her practice with instruction videos online. The woman I met at a cocktail party recently who hadn't heard of local and online gatherings of people who share her cross-cultural experience;

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5) people who have followed and appreciated my cultural work like Expat Harem the book and also the blog but don't see how it translates into GlobalNiche's social web training and online community building and personal brand building -- or why any of that is a way to help you live in the world the way you saw glimpses of in my cultural work.

People who haven't yet grasped that your cultural understandings, sensitivities, interests, experiences are assets and guidance you can use to live more fully with the help of social, mobile, and online tools and life. People who don’t yet see how your cultural understanding can help you on the internet, and in fact, give you an advantage online.

I see you, and I can envision what will emerge from our better connection. Don't wait for me to contact you. Reach out right now and let's get started.

Tech Makes The Global Citizen, or Repatriation = Relocation With Benefits

San Francisco may be a tech-forward location but that's not why I've increasingly been turning to technology to help me be where and who I am today.

As a globally mobile individual, I rely on tech because of all the moves that came before this one. I rely on tech for my total, global operation.

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This originally appeared in The Displaced Nation, August 22, 2012.

Today’s guest blogger, Anastasia Ashman, has been pioneering a new concept of global citizenship. Through various publications, both online and in print, and now through her GlobalNiche initiative, she expresses the belief that common interests and experiences can connect us more than geography, nationality, or even blood. But what happens when someone like Ashman returns to the place where she was born and grew up? Here is the story of her most recent repatriation.

I recently relocated to San Francisco. Three decades away from my hometown area, I keep chanting: “Don’t expect it to be the same as it was in the past.”

Since leaving the Bay area, I’ve lived in 30 homes in 4 countries, journeying first to the East Coast (Philadelphia Mainline) for college, then to Europe (Rome) for further studies, back to the East Coast (New York) and the West Coast (Los Angeles) for work, over to Asia (Penang, Kuala Lumpur) for my first overseas adventure, back to the USA (New York), and finally, to Istanbul for my second expat experience.

My daily mantra has become: “Don’t expect to be the same person you once were.”

With each move, my mental map has faded, supplanted by new information that will get me through the day.

Back in San Francisco, I repeat several times a day: “This place may be where I’m from, but it’s a foreign country now. Don’t expect to know how it all works.”

What a difference technology makes (?!)

Today my work travels, just as it did when I arrived in Istanbul with a Hemingway-esque survival plan to be on an extended writing retreat and emerge at the border with my passport and a masterpiece.

I knew from my previous expat stint in Malaysia that I needed to tap into a local international scene. But I spent months in limbo without local friends, nor being able to share my transition with the people I’d left.

This time is different. Now I’m connected to expat-repat friends around the world on the social Web with whom I can discuss my re-entry. I’ve built Twitter lists of San Francisco people  (123) to tap into local activities and lifestyles, in addition to blasts-from-my-Berkeley-past.

I’ve already drawn some sweet time-travely perks. To get a new driver’s license I only needed to answer half the test questions since I was already in the system from teenhood.

After Turkey’s Byzantine bureaucracy and panicky queue-jumpers, I appreciated the ease of making my license renewal appointment online even if the ruby-taloned woman at the Department of Motor Vehicles Information desk handed me additional forms saying: “Oh, you got instructions on the Internet? That’s a different company.”

One of the reasons my husband and I moved here is to more closely align with a future we want to live in, so it’s cool to see the online-offline reality around us in San Francisco’s tech-forward atmosphere.

It doesn’t always translate to an improved situation though. Just as we are searching for staff to speak to in person at a ghost-town Crate & Barrel, a suggestion card propped on a table told us to text the manager “how things are going.”

So, theoretically I can reach the manager — I just can’t see him or her.

So strange…yet so familiar

It took a couple of months to identify the name for what passes as service now in the economically-depressed United States: anti-service. Customer service has been taken over by scripts read by zombies.

When I bought a sticky roller at The Container Store, the clerk asked me, “Oh, do you have a dog?”

“No, a cat,” I countered into the void.

He passed me the bag, his small-talk quota filled. He wasn’t required by his employer to conclude the pseudo-interaction with human-quality processing, like, “Ah, gotta love ‘em.”

What I didn’t plan for are the psychedelic flashbacks to my childhood. I may have moved on, but this place seems set in amber. The burrito joints are still playing reggae (not even the latest sounds of Kingston or Birmingham) and the pizza places, ’70s classic rock stations (Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle,” anyone?). The street artists are still peddling necklaces of your name twisted in wire. Residents are still dressed like they’re going for a hike in the hills with North Face fleece jackets and a backpack.

A bid for minimalism

The plan is also to be somewhat scrappy after years of increasing bloat. My Turkish husband and I got rid of most of our stuff in Turkey in a bid for minimalism. We camped out on the floor of our apartment in San Francisco until we could procure some furniture.

If it was a literal repositioning, it was also a conscious one — for a different set of circumstances. We’d expanded in Istanbul with a standard 3-bedroom apartment and “depot” storage room, and affordable house cleaners to maintain the high level of cleanliness of a typical Turkish household. In California, I intended to shoulder more of the housework.

I was soon reminded of relocation’s surprises that can make a person clumsy and graceless. I should have kept my own years-in-the-making sewing kit since I can’t find a quality replacement for it in an American market flooded with cheap options from China — and now have to take a jacket to the tailor to sew on a button, something I used to be able to do myself.

When the lower-quality dishwasher door in our San Francisco rental drops open and bangs my kneecap, I recall the too-thin cling wrap and tinfoil that I ripped to shreds in Istanbul, or the garden hose in Penang that kinked and unkinked without warning, spraying me in the face.

New purchases

“We’re getting too old for this,” my husband and I keep telling each other as we shift on our polyester-filled floor pillows that looked a lot bigger and less junky on Amazon. (We were abusing one-day delivery after years of not buying anything online due to difficulties with customs in Istanbul. Cat litter can be delivered tomorrow! Pepper grinder! Then I read about the harsh conditions faced by fulfillment workers in Amazon’s warehouses and cut back.)

One of our first purchases Stateside was a television. Not that we’re going to start watching local TV, but we did flick through some satellite channels. It’s something I like to do upon relocating: watch TV and soak up the local culture like a cyborg.

Since I last lived in the US, reality shows like COPS — where the camera would follow policemen on their seedy beats — have gone deeper into the underbelly of life, and now there are reality shows about incarceration.

The Discovery Channel has also gone straight to the swamp. That’s where I caught a moonshiner reality show featuring shirtless (and toothless) men in overalls called “Popcorn” and “Grandad.”

It’s an America I am not quite keen to get to know.

But I can take these reverse culture shocks lightly because my repatriation is part of a continuum. It’s not a hiatus from anything nor a return home. I’m not missing anything elsewhere, I haven’t given up anything for good. Being here now is simply the latest displacement. Today is a bridge to where I’m headed.

Global Niche Mastermind: Jet Fuel Combo Of Tools, Techniques, And Peers

This announcement appeared in the International Professional Women of Istanbul Network bulletin. BUILD YOUR PRO WEB PLATFORM: The Global Niche Mastermind (Saturday, January 29th 30TL/person)

Join a no-nonsense 2-hour exhibition with local social media experts Tara Agacayak of Turquoise Poppy and Anastasia Ashman of expat+HAREM.

They'll demonstrate the jet-fuel combo of tools, techniques and technology -- and peers -- that you can expect in their new "Build Your Global Niche" mastermind program.

That's an upcoming 8-week online offering to help creative entrepreneurs build your personal brand on the web.

(Requirements for Jan29 event are a basic web presence with 2 of these: blog, Twitter account or LinkedIn profile. Sorry, no exceptions.)

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)

Publishing And The Digital World Citizen

I once opened a can of ebook whoop-ass on Stephen King. “No interactivity, no extra benefit for readers!” I scolded the usually imaginative novelist back in the go-go days of Y2K. From my desk on New York’s Silicon Alley where I had the publishing beat at an internet industry magazine, King’s self-publishing experiment The Plant – a flow of static installments lacking flexibility, community and collaboration – was a lackluster leap of faith.

I was used to doling out tough-love to content owners peering across the digital divide. After previous stints in media and entertainment, intellectual property rights and audience concerns were also familiar to me but my exuberance came from a new media clean slate of the expat sort.

I'd just parachuted into the dotcom boom from Southeast Asia.

For five years my Malaysian office was minutes from Kuala Lumpur’s Multimedia Super Corridor, a futuristic zone advised by Bill Gates and Intel’s Andy Grove. Like the rest of the Newly Industrialized Nation, I was plagued by weekly power outages and wrote by candle light. While my attention span shrank to the length of a Compaq battery life, expatriate skills included patience to wait one month for a government-issued phone line. Waiting for internet access expanded my endurance to a couple of years.

When I finally got online the possibilities of global and real-time connection revolutionalized my estranged expat life.

A decade later I’m dipping into the professional fray from 6,000 miles to the East. I’ve been a writer and producer of cultural entertainment in Istanbul since 2003, and continue to live here. My first book Expat Harem took a conventional route: lit agent, Turkish and American publishers, road trip book tours, an electronic release for Expat Harem on Kindle (aff) and Sony eReader. My second effort — an edgy nonlinear memoir of friendship — requires a complete rethink. (Three months to set up our 49-day 10-state road tour across America, three years to recover from? Wouldn't do that again!)

Geographic disadvantage demands I compete in my home market virtually. With the economic crisis, collapse of traditional publishing and fresh hope pinned on the social web, my global audience is also now virtual.  I’m shifting to new school thinking in distribution, promotion, and sales.

Like internet access equalized my ‘90s expat reality, now social media closes the professional morass as my Tweetdeck columns resonate thought leadership across publishing, technology, and marketing. (Follow my Twitter lists of  300+ publishing professionals and 200+ interactive media people, transmedia visionaries, digital storytellers and marketers.)

I’ve got Web 2.0 and 3.0 plans for my second book -- see Digital Book World, the publishing community for the 21st century -- not only because as a contemporary author abroad I must connect with readers and offer dynamic interaction with me and my material, but because as a digital citizen I can.

Building community around the healing power of friendship – the memoir’s heart — promises to bring my writing world even closer to who I am and what I care about, making where I am viable. Exactly where I want to be.

Have you been culturally or geographically challenged in your career? How has the playing field shifted today?

A version of this essay first appeared in former editor of Writer's Digest Maria Schneider's Editor Unleashed, 2009.

See more images relating to this story here and here and here.