What is your customer paying attention to right now?

I’ve been slow getting back into work this year – I mean really slow!! I just haven’t been ready to leap into the fray, and I still don’t feel fully ready. Why?

Because sometimes I just get worn down by the constant negative news ricocheting around our globe. I’m also getting more and more despondent at the lack of progress on social media. In fact, much of what I don’t like on social seems to be growing not shrinking!

This is the burden of my work. To do my job, and help executives understand the opportunity of social media, I have to be in the middle of it. I have to understand it in all its gory detail, so I can help my clients navigate it. It’s murky out there, I tell you.

But I LOVE social media. I really do. I love it’s potential. It’s amazing. That’s why it can’t stay down. I have to keep fighting and be part of the community helping to make it better and more powerful.

However, I’m human too and it can get a bit much.

To give you a feel, let’s look how 2019 has started

We have…

The continuing Brexit chaos!!

The US shut down and everything else that comes with this administration, including the Democratic presidential nominees starting to be announced – along with the bullshit that comes with it. Oh and let’s not forget the important news, like the mind-blowing amount of coverage Trump got when he fed footballers take-away food at the White House…?

There is more and more environmental news, which is a massive concern, along with intense weather patterns, including some cold winds blowing in the US this month.

However, a ray of sunshine on the environment front – excessive packaging is finally being addressed. Check out this article, this article, this article and this one. As a next step, I would love to see the biggest plastic polluters dedicate at least 50 per cent of advertising budget towards education on environmental issues… what a massive difference that could make! Advertising would be relevant again AND they’d still sell product! Wotcha reckon?

And then we have the catastrophic news coming out of Brazil, the growing crisis in Venezuela, the recent Nairobi attack, the never ending Syria war, the Zimbabwe crackdown, and whatever Russia is involved with today (and Israel, and North Korea, and whoever else wants to play games in our fractured world).

We have the revolting war in Yemen AND so much more.

No wonder I feel this way. The news cycle is relentless and so much is horrible!!!!

We had the Covington School Boys story.

And before that, the Gillette ad, which split opinions around the world. I have read thoughts for and against this ad, but for me, it’s a winner, because it started a conversation – and it’s a conversation we really need to have!

Because we all need to recognize that both men and women need to step up and be better!!! We all need to play a higher game, because we’ve got a lot of work to do to get this world headed in the right direction.

Let’s also remind ourselves, this ad is about stuff like this…

  1. UN Reckons With #MeToo by Acknowledging Its Harassment Failures – one third of staff harassed!!!!
  2. Citigroup Reveals Women Employees Earn 29 Percent Less Than Men Do
  3. Bernie Sanders and Former Staffers Meet After Harassment Allegations
  4. WATCH: ‘Upskirting’ becomes illegal across UK – because of course we needed a law for this….
  5. Men of Australia, it’s time to pick your side – after another senseless murder

Please read Tobias Wilson’s excellent article, which featured on Mumbrella Asia – On the Gillette ad: ‘It’s time we’re either on the change-bus, or we’re off it’.

But there’s bigger news

Of course, the world’s attention is captured by much more important things, such as the ‘egg news’. Didn’t hear about it? Here you go – Egg picture beats Kylie Jenner as most-liked Instagram post of all time. How can you possibly survive without that knowledge?

Or the Bird Box Challenge. You’re definitely under a rock if you didn’t hear about this one…. ‘Bird Box’ challenge: Netflix urges people to stop due to safety concerns. This news was brought to my attention by my 10-year-old son, Jax.

He said: mum, I’m going to walk into a shop, blindfolded, and the first thing I touch, you have to buy for me.

Mum: Mmmm interesting, but no!!

And of course, we have the #10YearChallenge on Facebook. I quite like that one, but the only 10-year challenge that is really resonating with me, are the environmental ones… a positive twist on this trend.

Andrea Edwards

Why does this matter?

I always start my talks and presentations discussing important and popular news going on in the world right now, because this is what is consuming our audiences time and attention right now. If we want to reach our audience – whether as an individual social leader, or a brand trying to reach customers – being switched on to the now moments is critical. If not, you look completely out of touch.

The other side most often ignored is that social media is a two-way medium. If you’re not on the pulse, it is much easier to use social as a broadcast channel. That’s media, not social media. It’s why I wrote this blog last year – Social leadership requires great sensitivity, high EQ and global awareness – following the Kavanaugh/Dr. Ford events in the US.

Success as a social leader isn’t from a pontification position, it’s from a deep level of empathy with our audience. To be able to be empathetic, we’ve got to be in it – listening, hearing, engaging – because if we’re not, it’s impossible to understand what is capturing our audience’s attention and why – whether it’s the serious news or the frivolous stuff.

No doubt we’re in the age of infobesity, and everyone is caught up in something, outraged by something… That’s what we must be paying attention too, because with that, you can understand the enormous challenge of earning the right to your audience’s time. Which means whatever you put out there, it must be awesome enough to break through.

What does world-class looks like?

Here’s an example of what I believe world-class content looks like – content that breaks through the noise and inspires: Were You Laid Off by Tesla? So Was I.

Why is it awesome? Because he gave us an insight into something very powerful – the incredible culture at Tesla – which captured the exciting energy of working for a company changing the world. I would have said yes to a job offer too!!!

He also talked about the risks and family pressure that came with it, along with the deep disappointment of it being over, but mostly, the beautiful gratitude for the amazing experience he had, despite the brutal ending. Yes, it’s over and it’s heart breaking, but the journey of life is about integrating the highs and lows, seeing both as gifts, because that is how you embrace a brighter future. I LOVED it!

Vulnerable, powerful and totally inspiring.

Can you share with me an example that breaks through the clutter for you? I’d love to read/watch it!

Looking ahead

We are in the chaos of information age and it ain’t going anywhere. More and more will be created. News cycles will continue to be short, attention will get even shorter. Global politics will continue to keep us on edge. Fear will continue to be pumped into the world. Communities will continue to rage over perceived insults, frivolous trends will happen, and on we go, around and around, this is the world we live in. This is the world I’m fully invested in.

And it’s not an easy place to be invested in. It does drag you down sometimes, which is why there’s a lot of articles being written to help us cope with this dreary time on the global stage. As a general rule, I’m pretty good at being neutral. Pretty good at stepping back. I can listen to all sides without getting angry and emotional. But I can’t do it all the time. It just bites sometimes.

Let’s move forward with social

So, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on these things over recent months, because I needed to step back a bit. If it’s not making me feel good, that’s not good right? Or do I just accept the reality? Don’t know if I’m willing to do that….

I also needed a break from the relentlessness of social media (sorry if I missed your message). Although obviously, when I say break, that’s most people’s level of active participation, but it’s still a break for me.

And the one thing that kept rattling around in my head is a hope that we all play a higher game – in life, for our world – and one of the most powerful tools we have to help is social media.

We have power here, because our collective voice is beyond anything we’ve ever had access to before. We are part of the information cycle now. It’s not top down anymore. It’s around and around. There is opportunity in that. There is also pain.

Diamond of information

I believe we must focus on the massive opportunity for positive change. Let’s strive for everyone to up our game and move the world forward to a brighter future. To challenge the bullshit when we see it. Let’s fight the trend of fear mongering. And let’s calm it all down so we can really pay attention to what matters.

Because I don’t like this control by distraction era. Do you?

And here’s a little project for you in the comments. I’ve shared with you how I’m feeling and the news and moments that are taking my attention. Based on this insight, how would you seek to earn my attention and time if I was your customer? Curious to know.

Cheers

Andrea

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I believe it’s time for all of us to embrace our voice and embrace the future. We do this by working and living out loud with meaning, intention and by being true to ourselves.

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