Michael Geist @mgeist and the Turning Tide of Legal Implications of Social #cdniabc12

This is one session I don’t want to miss at International Association of Business Communicator’s (IABC) Summit 2012, Trends 2012.

In the last year events have transpired that have huge implications on how social media will impact the way information is curated and shared: Pinterest and the IP issues; the ongoing debate on Bill C32.

Michael Geist has spoken at length about intellectual property (IP) and the “fair use” of copyright.

The fact that Pinterest was called out as a platform that infringes on copyright has tremendous effect on how all other platforms deal with consumer use of images/property for which they have no real legal ownership.

This speaks to the heart of Digital Rights Management, which is defined by Wikipedia as”a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale.”

Imagine what this would do to user-generated content. Remember, according to Forrester’s Social Media Ladder that the number of “creators” in Social Media make up approximately 13% of the total who are part of social networks. Mind you that was at least 5 years ago. Now that penetration is growing… and growing rapidly.

The infographic below provides a view of the value of content marketing. Here are some critical numbers:

  • 90% of B2B marketers use some form of content marketing
  • 60% pf B2B marketers plan to spend more $$ on content marketing
  • content primarily used in article posting (79%), social networks (74%) and blogs (65%)
  • the investment that companies are investing in unique “owned” content is significant at 25%

The value of that content to the customer/prospect is demonstrated in the amount of shares, republishing, or any ‘derivative” form of the original content use. Imagine what would happen if doing any of this “behaviour” constitutes a possible “criminalization” of individuals. The limits and standards are still being worked out and I may be taking this to the extreme, but I need to see that scenario in order to clarify what may manifest at that “extreme”.

The larger picture is how it would impact the Internet as a whole. The collapse of networks who rely on the sharing of information will result…. not at first, but it will put a strain on the online population as they come to think twice about choosing to or “how” they share the content.

What is the point of brand investment in content if they were unable to really determine its value? We are all held shackled to a set of rules that government creates to protect the rights of the content owner, but in the end, wind up punishing those very same owners as a result. How ironic!

Where social media seeks to democratize information and allow the masses to have a say, the impending laws, Bill C32, may turn the tables and bring back control to the corporation. And that would have severe consequences on networks, information and the internet as a whole.

The Hope for the Internet

I went to Michael Geist’s site and saw some glimmers of hope:

He states that the Copyright Modernization Act combined with  the Reduce U.S. Pressure Copyright Act combined will seek a compromise on a few issues:

  • on fair dealing, it adds education, parody, and satire as categories.
  • on education, it creates several limited new exceptions, that arguably are too limited, but still mark an improvement over the current act.
  • on consumer rights, it creates important new exceptions for time shifting, format shifting, and backup copies. Those exceptions are undermined, however, by the digital lock rules.
  • on creativity, it establishes the new remix provision that protects individuals who create their own non-commercial mashups

If you have a chance to go to International Association of Business Communicator’s (IABC) Summit 2012, I urge you to also check out the following sessions:

  • The Power of Internal Branding: The Communicator’s Secret Weapon – Day 2 with David Grossman
  • Content in Context and the Content Marketing Revolution – Day 2 with Jonathan Harris
  • Privacy and Communications in Changing Times – Day 2 with Jennifer Stoddard, Privacy Commissioner
  • Communicating During Times of Crisis – Day 3 with Anick Losier

[Image Credit: Bigstock.com]

The Changing Workforce: Social Media and Engaging with Employees #cdniabc12

In a space where social media has infiltrated our companies, at first by choice; later on, by the strength of external voices, it’s become increasingly clear that social media is no longer just a marketing and PR channel. It is a force that impacts all levels of the organization. It is no longer about being aware of what’s happening, but about effectively managing the message to desired outcomes.

On November 1-3, 2012, The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), a global network committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communication, will host the IABC 2012 Canada Business Communicators Summit, Trends 2013 at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa!

One of the hot topics will be presented by Jackie King, Vice President and Group Leader, Change and Internal Communications Hill & Knowlton Strategies, is Customizing Internal Communications for the Modern Workplace, Particularly During Times of Change

This important session provides some pretty key insights about “exploring the importance of connecting with, and engaging with various internal stakeholders particularly within today’s corporate reality of downsizing/rightsizing, mergers and acquisitions, and transformation at the operational and leadership levels.”As the session indicates, where technology changes ever so rapidly, where real time discussions are having more impact on the business, where the global economy is moving towards more efficiency, it is becoming more critical to transform processes to maximize effective communication.

“Agility is a competitive advantage. As companies refocus their strategies to meet new conditions, success will be determined by the speed of adoption.”

In order to make this happen, the transformation needs to be made at the employee level. “Engaging employees is more than just a feel-good exercise – it’s about influencing attitudes and behaviors to drive bottom-line results.”

I recently wrote an article called, Do or Die: The Inevitability of Social Business. What Jackie sites as important changes to the organization will impact three levels (reference: Humanize by Maddie Grant and James Notter)

  1. Culture
  2. Process
  3. Behaviour – at the individual level

In this post, I pointed out, “Can we effectively align the workforce to operate cross-functionally, break down silos, and more importantly, come to a consensus?” This is difficult if departments have different goals and objectives. Let’s compound that with having to design a dynamic model that flexes based on customer outcomes. Now, we’re changing the way we integrate external information, and we’re paying heedance to the value of that information that pummels our organization daily… in volumes… and in real time.

These changes that Jackie King will reference are not easy, by any means. A mindset shift, decentralization of information and the ability to assign control to the employees will be necessary to help manage and potentially scale the communication. This is one session that’s not to be missed.

Other highlights from the conference that are must-sees:

  • The Power of Internal Branding: The Communicator’s Secret Weapon, by David Grossman, ABC, APR, FCPRS, Founder and CEO of The Grossman Group
  • Content in Context and the Content Marketing RevolutionJonathan Harris, Managing Director at Infomart and VP Business Development, National Post
  • Examining the Prime Minister of Canada’s Media Relations in a 24/7 Media WorldDr. Alex Marland, Associate Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
  • Somebody We Used to Know: Reputation Management in the Age of Social Media, Martha Muzychka, ABC, Principal, Praxis Communications

For more information on this conference, please click here. Early Bird Prices in effect until October 11, 2012.

Image reference: http://www.jarche.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/social-drives-training.png

Role Models: Giving back means being another’s inspiration

I was privileged to ask to speak at the UFSC International Conference this weekend. The UFSC  is The Urban Financial Services Coalition is “the premier networking, professional development and community outreach organization for Black and other financial services professionals from diverse communities”. Their mandate is to:

  • Engage the talent in our community to develop professionally and seek their potential
  • Inspire young people to consider financial services as a viable career path
  • Inform our community about the importance of financial literacy to sustained prosperity
  • Empower all our members and constituents to reach new heights of leadership, personal growth and community service

As a panel member I spoke about the role of role models and what has inspired me in my life. It was great to hear the stories of panel members who had grown up in challenging circumstances and were able to go on and do amazing things with their lives, in spite of all the barriers they faced.

In my own life, I never really thought about my obstacles as obstacles. To me, they were just milestones I had to overcome. I listened to a gentlemen as he spoke about the challenges of the Black community and the years of suppression they had experienced. It was because of this history that he declared was the cause of the poverty and disenfranchisement Blacks had faced for decades. He was quite articulate as he stated that it was only “right” to give back to a community who have been marginalized and not granted the rights and freedoms compared to other communities.

One of my fellow speakers, Dwayne Matthews, Executive Director of d&a Canada, posed a controversial statement when he noted that he did not believe in giving back as much as “strengthening the weakened”, through mentorship, advice and training. Monetary gestures are not enough to fix the problems, nor motivate the youth.

I spoke up, as a daughter of immigrant parents. My parents came from the Philippines and were well-educated, both having received university undergraduate degrees before they married. When my parents decided to come to Canada, they brought with them 4 children under the age of 4. They struggled for years making ends meet. My father had to go back to school to get his Canadian university equivalency before he could even hope to try for an accounting designation. My mother always wanted to be a flight attendant. When they came to Canada, those dreams would never be realized. My father worked by day, then at night as a janitor, while studying for his accounting courses on the weekend. My mother took whatever work was available– remember Woolco?– to help supplement their income. We lived in a semi-detached home in Sarnia–I shared a tiny bedroom with my 2 sisters.

Growing up, we lived with racism, being one of only a handful of visibility minorities in a very white community. It was tough but we got through it. My parents were very protective but they always pushed us to study hard and get good grades. And we did. That was one of the ways we gained acceptance. My parents wanted us to live our own dreams even if they couldn’t.

My point is, while the gentlemen who challenged us about giving back, the obstacles of poverty and racism in my own life were overcome, not by others who “gave back” but by my parents’ incessant will to make sure we strove for something “better”. They instilled that in me and my siblings.

I didn’t really have any real motivation to be successful. That was ingrained from my parents at a very young age. I became who I am because of them. And when they weren’t around, I surrounded myself with “like” minds to accelerate my growth. That’s what my parents taught me.

I graduated university during the recession and it was difficult to secure employment for most of my graduating class. While I was lucky to secure a direct marketing position, no one seemed to be registering for seminars and conferences during this time. So, I moved from department to department until I was laid off. I took another job with an event company just to ride out the recession.

Then I landed my dream job at Ogilvy. Wow, 10 interviews later and I was in! And I held my head up high! I finally made it–or so I thought. It took me less than 3 months to realize how cut-throat the agency world really was. The notion of “you’re-only-as-good-as your-last….” was a common mantra. It was also a dog-eat-dog industry. Only the toughest survived. I battled a lot of frustration and politics in my career. I’ve unwittingly gone into battle with opponents much stronger than me. The tone of someone’s voice was enough to quell my spirit, crush my motivation and make me want to crawl underneath a rock.

I survived because of a mentor, Sandy Williams, a big ad executive who ran her own shop. Sandy had the patience to teach me about the ad industry: how to survive the insanity and the politics; the ins and outs of good creative; the essentials of production environment; and most of all, how to carve my own path.

The best advice I ever received from Sandy: When listening to someone who is visibly frustrated and angered by you, allow them to scream and vent. In the meantime, close your eyes and attempt to take away the “tone” of voice you hear and concentrate on the message they’re trying to get across. Use this as a guide to help you learn.”

This has gotten me through some tough times. I’ve grown stronger but promised myself to lead with integrity and motivation instead of fear. It’s the only way I can inspire others to learn to trust their own instincts and carve paths of their own.

This is probably the most important gift I could give. Am I a role model? I’m glad I’m perceived as one. I’m learning to trust that as far as I’ve come, I’ve learned a few things along the way–things that I must share. There is no point keeping it to myself if I can somehow have even an infinitesimal effect on someone else’s path to success.

I am forever thankful for my parents and people like Sandy that I’ve met along my journey. You have given me the knowledge and the strength to trust myself and what I’m capable of becoming. I hope I can do the same for others.

inspiration art exhibition part 2, originally uploaded by bwrahbwrah jonguh.

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