The Socializers
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Posts Tagged ‘ social networks ’

To face a real demon, you must first look inwards and conquer your own darkness. ~Luis Marques

Humans have brought two distinct digital worlds into being during the last 10 years: an “exterior” world of websites & apps and an “interior” world of emails, texts & private messages. The veil between these worlds is growing very thin.

A significant layer of privacy is being quietly withdrawn: your Google & Facebook searches are already public information. Soon your emails, texts & private messages will also be searchable, first by marketers and then by anyone.

But have no fear. Transparency foments evolution — to see “everything” creates more choices and opportunities. We are a species that can hold the occult with compassion — the hidden material of life can be met with grace. Your attitude towards this change is an important deciding factor in how you will be affected by the cultural shift of opinion regarding transparency.

So, ask yourself now, will you still love your best friend, your spouse, your community, when you can discover their Facebook searches, when you can read their emails & texts, when you can listen to their phone calls? Will the private opinions of others cause you to boil with rage & jealousy, or will you surrender to the freedom of “truth”?

Certainly, a massive period of resistance to the invisible is currently occurring. This is because everyone knows how powerful the hidden realm is. What you cannot see is currently animating what you see. Leaders with high stakes and numerous other special interests groups are the only obstacle to a totally clarified eco-system of data. And, as we have seen through Assange and Snowden, this is changing — the “truth” is coming out.

Transparency can potentially be used by the collective to quickly resolve serious issues affecting our survival. The truth really can set you free…and a culture where this freedom reigns already exists on this planet. This new culture is similar to the free love generation of the 60′s: people who are comfortable being “naked” in the digital sense (and probably in all other senses) and who are compassionate with the shadow material of others.

So what will it be, my friend? Will you continue to worship the cabal, to bow to the coven, to respect “privacy”? Or will you open the invisible, display the full archive of secrecy, grow comfortable with the next layer of “truth”, of “reality”.

It is easy to bring shadow to the forefront and call upon the hangman, the man with the axe. This is even banal. It is not so easy to open a book of “Deep Transparency” and be compassionate.

The world is about to discover whether it can forgive its devils or whether it will perpetuate a culture of war.

As a person who daily analyzes and studies signals in social networks, I advise you to practice opening your kimono completely with those you trust. Test your ability to have grace on yourself and others in such a circumstance. As a culture, we must be ready to stand naked before one another and come to this process with humor, grace and, above all, deep compassion. This is our only path away from total destruction by the cabals, the covens and the secret societies that continue to rule our human domain.

Many of us signed up for this social media experiment in order to know one another and ourselves more deeply. And many of us began to share the goal of working together on a massive scale to fix the world. The large organizations that understand this, and work with us, will win our favor and loyalty.

“Capturing the full potential value from the use of social technologies will require transformational changes in organizational structures, processes, and practices, as well as a culture compatible with sharing and openness.”
~McKinsey Report, “The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, McKinsey & Company, July 2012.

WHAT IS THE BLACK BOX: Wikipedia defines the black box as follows, “In science and engineering, a black box is a device, system or object which can be viewed solely in terms of its input, output and transfer characteristics without any knowledge of its internal workings, that is, its implementation is “opaque” (black). Almost anything might be referred to as a black box: a transistor, an algorithm, a business process, or the human mind. The opposite of a black box is a system where the inner components or logic are available for inspection, which is sometimes known as a clear box, a glass box, or a white box.” (SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_box)

BUSINESS HAS TO MOVE OUT OF THE BLACK BOX: Business must move toward the white box model for one simple reason: more access to customer collaboration. We live in an age where customers and employees work together on products, services and programs. The most effective product lines, service offerings and policy programs involve customers in the development process. The reason this method is so effective is because the customers have a previous experience that contributes value. The professional expert who has worked for years in a specific business niche can benefit massively from amateurs who have tried multiple variations. Major brands are involving customers in the development of next season’s fashion line, governments are inviting citizens to work with policy makers, and customers now lead service communities under corporate umbrellas. As the old adage goes, “many hands make light work”.

MOVING TO COLLABORATION: In business, black boxes have been essential in a competitive market, to protect sensitive internal processes in development. If one’s competitor can see how one develops an application, a program or a product, then he can take it and improve it and beat you to market. Corporations have prioritized black boxes to protect their stakeholders and investment in people, materials and resources. But in many cases, these same black box eco-systems have created misunderstanding and conflict. And these misunderstandings are a primary reason why businesses are moving toward transparency. To state this another way: we exist within a world so clarified by social networks that many businesses are opting for collaboration models. Businesses are opting for white boxes.

Jacob Tell, an innovator in collaboration vs. competition at Oniracom, a leading lifestyle marketeing company, has said, “We’ve chosen a partnership model over a competitive model. This is a proper way to approach business in today’s increasingly networked world.” As a veteran of the Internet and people-person par excellence, Mr. Tell has identified a very true and helpful dynamic for today’s new paradigm of business — a humanized way of being and doing where we come together for a win-win.

THE WORLD WANTS THE WHITE BOX: Mr. Tell is not alone in his sentiments, either. Kim Stokely, a leading trainer of educators in the United States has said, “This time of history signifies the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism.” The US Intelligence office has just published a Trends 2030 paper that states, “There will not be any hegemonic power in the future. Power will shift to networks and coalitions in a multipolar world.” Tom Oliver, of the World Peace Festival, has stated, “Until now the world has had no method that systematically deals with violent conflict. To fill this void, experienced peace builders from across the globe have got together with government officials, civil society and the military to design a strategy that could prevent war and resolve violent conflict. This strategy works at all levels – from the bottom up and top down.”

The entire human community cries out for a unified and transparent world group of leaders that move from competing black boxes to collaborative methods of dealing with conflict, poverty and disaster. The world needs and wants a White Box paradigm and good 21st century corporations, banks and governments will step into this clear room together. Peace is quite possibly the number one reason for entering this white box paradigm and leaving the black box method.

RESOURCES:

DEEP TRANSPARENCY VIDEO:

HOW TO OPEN THE BLACK BOX – The method to opening the black box is straight-forward:
1. Research your customer using social media monitoring solutions. Listen to what your customer is saying.
2. Design a White Box program to invite your customer or fan into the process of your business. Base the strategy and aspects of this program on what you discovered through research.
3. Design safeguards in this program to protect your business from sabotage from competitors.
4. Allocate inner resources from every silo (HR, PR, Marketing, Sales, C-Suite, Customer Service, etc.) to handling different aspects of this White Box program. Designate one person to manage the entire program and be a liaison between the departments involved.
5. Design the campaign where you announce this program.
6. Launch the program.
7. Be sure to follow up on EVERY entry/suggestion. Allocate resources so that you can do this. This is a full-time job for one employee (or more, depending on the size of the operation).

SOURCES:
1. Here are 9 case studies where social media took out the middleman:
http://barnraisersllc.com/2012/04/9-case-studies-social-media-middleman/

2. The Current State of Social Engagement Inside the Large Enterprise:
http://www.slideshare.net/dachisgroup/current-state-of-social-engagement-inside-the-large-enterprise-engagement-scale-report

3. Transparency.org:
http://www.transparency.org/

4. Twelpforce Case Study Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc6Z5KR-Oys

5. Framework and Matrix: The Five Ways Companies Organize for Social Business:
http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/04/15/framework-and-matrix-the-five-ways-companies-organize-for-social-business/

6. Brandwatch
http://www.brandwatch.com/

…but the dreamers of the day are dangerous people, For they dream their dreams with open eyes, And make them come true. ~D.H. Lawrence

A VISUAL EXPERIENCE OF THE PSYCHE: The social networks are a visual experience of the subconscious. We are re-membering the ability to communicate via extra-sensory perception. To say this more clearly: the Interwebs are a training ground for communicating via thought alone. To phrase this a third time: when one uses the Interwebs to communicate, one is peering into the collective unconscious…the realm of collective imagination…you are literally looking into a catalogue of humanity’s thoughts and dreams.

THE NATURE OF THE AVATAR: The Sanskrit noun avatāra is derived from the verbal root tṝ “to cross over”, joined with the prefix ava “off , away , down”. The implication in regards to one’s Facebook profile or Twitter account is fascinating: namely, that a digital social avatar is a separate, living entity fed by YOUR blood, your dreams, your fears, your desires…and by the context in which it flourishes. To say it again: your digital “avatar” is a “crossing over” “away or down” into the social fabric of the Internet. And, I would argue, this avatar has already come to life and is attracting a community (context) every second of every day as others interact with your content, your expression, your 24/7 presence.

NAVIGATING THE IMAGINAL: What the social networks taught me: how to travel to a lived physical experience via the imaginal. To say this a second time, in a different way: a human can create a collage of image, text and relationship in social networks that yields a path into a desired physical experience. And yet again, to say this in a third way: you have assembled your desired location via the stories, images and relationships engaged within the Interwebs.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

~William Stafford

Perhaps the most confusing aspect of being human is the experience of being alone. We want to connect with one another, to know one another, to be immersed in love with one another. And so we enter the Internet and spend truly huge amounts of time creating worlds to connect within. But for some, deep down,
there is an unsettling feeling that this entire experience in social networks is not meeting what we are looking for. And the question arises as to why this unsettling feeling persists.

Perhaps this feeling is about coming to terms with that moment no-one has mastered…the moment
of passing from flesh into mystery. The moment of physical death. A thousand philosophies speculate on the passage from physical life into the hereafter: from
becoming fodder for worms to reunion with friends and family in the lap of God. The reality is that we cannot avoid this day that eventually comes to us all. So
we keep strong and love those around us the best we can. I believe that humans are architecting spiritual realms via social networks. And I believe that this is what the massive growth of communication in today’s world is all about…a discovery of how to contend with the final doorway, a planning of how one would like “forever” to look like, a participation in a fantasy world that one can make real in a very short amount of time.

To say this again, more directly: The myriad groups and circles that now exist in the digital realm are really a spiritual creation as well. Perhaps we are at a point in history where community created in these digital-light realms precedes or presages the fabrication of such experience in the spiritual realm. Whether one believes in life after death or not, this possibility is here with us now: the bonding of “invisible” presences across the world through image, light and thought. We do this via our laptops and mobile devices every day. And perhaps this is a global training in how to do this with only our minds, only our hearts, only our feelings.

What a truly amazing experience these social networks can be! The experience: I can now see the invisible through my glowing screens. To be clear, I can see the faces and hear the voices of those who share a specific passion with me, who share a common dream with me, who also believe what I believe. Social networks are dream-maps. And it is via these dream maps that I can expand into all that I am meant to be. Giving oneself to one’s deepest passion and discovering a community of support for this has never been so easy, so simple and so satisfying. With one keyword entered into a search field, an individual can make a passage from loneliness into togetherness, from fear into love, from death into life. And that’s a major gift of this experience we are all sharing presently in these networks of light and life.

My conclusion is that humans are architecting their heavens every day via social networks. Humans are writing their ideal worlds into being within the Internet. When I find those who love what I love and share time and food and presence with them…I know, in that moment, that I will have experienced what I believe about the hereafter. These millions of digital circles are a massive proof of humanity’s core desire to be reunited. To find a specific Twitter list, a specific Facebook group, a specific LinkedIn group and to correspond with those who occupy this group…this is an image of humanity’s greatest aspiration: to find one’s people…and be with them, in the flesh, in the spirit, in the heart.

WHAT IS “SOCIAL STORY WEAVING”? The concept behind “social story weaving” is to bring a potential network of Benefit into awareness of itself. No path could be more efficient than telling a story that is the seed of a future reality. In this action, we begin to see how social networks may be used to form connections in a fun, creative way for the benefit of all involved. Want to be woven into a fiction that becomes a reality? Then try it out TODAY!!

SOCIAL STORY #1 – WEAVING FACT AND FICTION INTO WIN-WIN CONNECTIONS: Once upon a time Jason de Silva — https://www.facebook.com/jasonlsilva -— and Barry Ptolemy — https://www.facebook.com/barry.ptolemy — noticed a girl from Sicily named Gia — https://www.facebook.com/giasdivinedelight —. Her life captured the perfect blend of homeliness and eroticism, nurturing and adventure, Hestia and Aphrodite. Jason and Barry decided to make a home-spun movie about her. Sjoerd Koppert — https://www.facebook.com/SjoerdKoppert — provided the sound stages and musical talent for the film. And that is how Uru — https://www.facebook.com/urumusique —, one of Koppert’s top talents first came to Palermo.

The film followed Gia’s romance with her fiance Jason — https://www.facebook.com/jason.duque.18 — across the continents. The couple purposely chronicles their journey to marriage in the social networks. The tension in the plot comes when multiple suitors begin showing up in Palermo, looking for Gia. And that’s the name of the film: Looking for Gia. In the midst of filming, Ryan Kavanaugh — http://www.linkedin.com/in/ryankavanaugh — at Relativity Media caught wind of the story and wanted in. He put 30 million into the film and the project went to a whole new level. The story demonstrated how stories are woven via social networks every day of the year. The film connects the well-being of the entire planet to the well-being of Gia and Jason’s relationship, showing how the ups and downs of economies, governments and individual’s all depend upon the success of their marriage.

The film’s plot is fascinating because we see through it how everyone has power to shift the direction of humanity and move us forward or backward. There are 8 major tangents that take place in the film. All of these tangents tie back to Gia and Jason’s relationship and the growth of their love.

*This post is dedicated to Gia and Jason Duquestar, two very beautiful souls from Palermo, Sicily.

FREEDOM: Many individuals want to break free from corporate walls, familial boundaries and cultural structures. This, in fact, is the story of progress and also of experiencing depth. There are many systems of thought that offer paths to freedom. If one considers the interior of his/her psyche as akin to a corporate structure, then we can go further with a few metaphors that may be of help in finding freedom. Before getting into this though, it is vital to know that freedom comes from taking 100% responsibility for one’s own actions within a given context. This singular truth is the key to freedom. The intelligence gathering process for business and government provides leadership with clarity, security and power. And the best kind of power emerges from individuals who have taken 100% responsibility for the process of discovery and subsequent strategy.

INTELLIGENCE IS MAINSTREAM NOW: For our current article, we will take the market intelligence community and its function as a means to discovering freedom via responsibility. Market intelligence used to be a rarified action, not frequently discussed amongst co-workers on your average coffee break. In fact, in many traditional settings this is still true. But there are many forward-thinking corporations, communities and individuals who understand the power of deep intelligence on any given topic or interest. The market intelligence (MI) process has actually become more widespread in the corporate world due to the advent of social media monitoring tools like Radian6, BrandWatch, Sysomos and PeopleBrowsr. Even very basic Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google searches provide the average man and woman a point of view previously unknown. For example, one may type keywords related to a specific interest into the search field at a social network and discover people nearby who share that interest. A new “in-the-flesh” experience becomes possible through such location-based searches related to an interest.

THE FIREFIGHTER AND FUTURIST: The advent of readily available intelligence brings humanity as a whole to an entirely new level of responsibility. Answers to most questions are at everyone’s fingertips. And this experience of responsibility translates into freedom for the corporation, the community and the individual. The process of going from a passive “bored at work” search for one’s passion to standing up from the chair and diving into a completely new life may be described as going from the “Firefighter” to the “Futurist”. To explain: the Firefighter is approaching an interest on an ad hoc basis, reacting to outside stimulus and “sitting at the station” waiting for an emergency. The Futurist is deeply engaged on both a global and local level, using intelligence to drive a process of rewarding, pro-active discovery. The Firefighter has no focus other than the emergency he reacts to…the Futurist is immersed in a broad, deep and future-oriented journey that draws in topics, people and places outside the immediately relevant environment. To be clear yet again on this comparison: the Futurist is creating the reality that the Firefighter often reacts to.

The Futurist has realized that reality may be defined ahead of the curve of fate or karma. While the consequences of an action take place within the boundaries of a specific world, the Futurist has moved on and discovered a completely novel experience, devoid of the content and context wherein the previous consequence was generated. He/she may then transform “the past” via valuable learnings, cultural understandings, and innovative approaches discovered “in the future”. A leading solution helping Futurists do this now is Recorded Future.

RESEARCH LEADS TO FREEDOM: The deepest importance of Market Intelligence has to do with creativity. When one discovers the complexion of an eco-system surrounding a specific interest, then he/she may tweak the elements of that eco-system and create what he/she wants. This is why researchers and business leaders must work hand-in-hand to shape our world. And this is also why it is inexcusable for any individual to say he/she cannot find a path to a dream. Even the simplest location-based search around an interest will place one in the company of others who have thrown themselves with passion into achieving very similar dreams to one’s own. Try this today, using the search fields in the various major social networks. Go deeper with social business intelligence tools.

The most beautiful parts of an individual are often expressed in the most private of settings. What the world loves about “the stars” is that these individuals have chosen to bring slices of their hidden beauty before the world. Social network profiles have provided everyone in the world a chance previously unknown in known history: instant expression of innermost beauty to the world…again and again and again. Appreciation of this expression in all of its forms is an essential mannerism of humanity in current times. The variety of expression is truly astounding. Beyond words.

Personality and personal identity are in some ways like co-ordinates on the street map drawn by our intersecting relationships. We know who we are and we define what we are by references to the people we love and reasons for loving them. ~Gregory David Roberts, author of Shantaram

Many human beings have worked over the last three-four years building maps of acquaintances and thoughts. Personal social networks are maps of heart sensation and the timelines we now study are chronologies of feeling. A timeline in Facebook is a history of where and when an individual has hooked his or her most sacred desires and closely held fears to specific events, memes and relationships. Every relationship is a vessel, carrying feeling, intention and action to some collectively agreed-upon destination. Social networks offer up several hundred potential journeys of this nature in any given hour.

A common form that the vessel of relationship takes in social networks is conversation. The conversations an individual chooses in comment threads, on Skype, or via texting, emails and chats, are surface signals of underlying realities. And the translation of these signals for personal gain is the number one priority of most human beings. Every one of these signals or actions via personal digital communication is like a fisherman throwing out a line for some form of happiness or connection. And these “trawlings” are indicators of the lightning-fast world of word of mouth, where human beings are connecting with one another for some form of gain – whether this is gain of the heart or the wallet. Big brands want to know the Five W’s of personal conversation (and resulting gains) in digital and mobile networks — the is THE hot content for researchers. And this is also why emails, chats, text messages and other personal threads are of great interest to research organizations like Facebook and Google.

Discovery of bliss as a means of avoiding pain is a primary motivator for many individuals. The mythologist Joseph Campbell has captured the essence of this psychological phenomenon when he writes, “Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.” You have a chronology of bliss-pursuit and pain-fleeing in your Inbox and Facebook timeline…right now.

When I log in to Facebook and see the options of who is available now for a chat, I associate these faces with a story and a feeling. And I make a choice to enter a story or not based upon the feeling within. In fact, Facebook technology serves up ads to me based upon my heart-choices on any given day. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, writes, “The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain.” Gone are the days where the mysteries of fluctuating markets confounded scientists and researchers. We know for certain now that individual choices are made based upon fluctuating feelings. And the densest clouds of conversation in social networks collect around phenomena common to the heart of every individual: pain and desire.

Try searching your maps of acquaintances today as a clue to your identity and your journey. Look at your timeline closely to see how you journeyed and associate this with a history of feeling. You created a map of heart sensation and you own a chronology of your own feelings. Study where you hooked your most sacred desires and closely held fears to specific events, memes and relationships. Take note of the relationships that carried you to destinations of happiness. Now create a spreadsheet of several hundred potential journeys to happiness that currently exist…right now in front you today.

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” via @Oprah

In the early 21st century, human beings constructed social networks that connected everyone. In the midst of this process, it became fashionable to share one’s deepest self with the network. The result of this sharing was a profound sense of global connection between all humanity. Within a few short years, a wave of emotional warmth and peace swept through the cultures of the planet. People started to really listen to one another and help each other in myriad small ways. There were a few bumps along the way, but these very same challenges became the greatest of opportunities for connection and cultural stabilization. The norm became full acceptance of the whole human with both shadow and light. The norm became an open-heartedness to others. The norm became to embrace “the Other” and welcome difference. The norm became to love one another…deeply and fully.

In the early 21st century, humanity walked across a collectively built light-fiber highway of data into an un-ending, harvestable dreamscape…each person’s inner world became visible and tactile. Such is the complexion of this spreading digital network, once unknown…now an increasing source of physical and spiritual sustenance to all. Human heart “stuff” has become the content of regular newsfeeds and the impact of this deep sharing with one another is profound. Consider the momentum towards global understanding that such intimate newsfeeds create. Consider the inescapable intimacies that result from hearing each other’s hearts. Consider how tightly bonded our human community has become and how instantly a wave of liking and care spreads now through digital networks. The inner realm is currently accessible and moldable via social networks in particular. Humanity has got what it takes to create a Golden Age of peace and prosperity…very quickly.

Love does not dominate, it cultivates. – Goethe

Creating an organization characterized by heart-orientation requires leadership to implement listening technologies and human-run analyses of conversations. These analyses can lead to extremely effective internal and external focus groups geared towards bringing employee and customer needs to the forefront. Such research also exposes potentials for excellence previously unnoticed. This “positive shadow potential” can be just what an organization needs to move forward into the next level of excellence.

Unconscious processes are a central reality of organizational life, just as in individual life. Effective market research using social data can reveal such processes. When I peer into the conversations surrounding an organization and within an organization, much is revealed about the workings and doings of that team. A primary value for large enterprises in hiring a market research team to work internally is discovery of shadow aspects within the silos. When unseen trends within staff are revealed through conversation research, leadership can take steps to elevate positive potential and heal negative propensities.

Seeing into the heart of an organization via social listening projects is a very effective measure for weaving the strengths of the silos together for total organizational success. For example, the customer-facing staff who are involved in servicing complaints and solving technical difficulties are often at odds with quantitative, sales-driven staff. The results-orientation around money in the sales department runs contrary to the nurturing orientation in the customer service department. Sales leaders need to hear the chief complaints from customers via the market research staff. This will help the sales staff to bring their pitches into closer alignment with what the customer truly wants and needs.

To cultivate a heart-based organization, leadership must itself be willing to invest in a unit focused on listening. This is the first step in nurturing deep growth and consistent attention customer need.

Growing community in social networks begins with a passion for shared experience. If you want to be part of something exciting right now, put a few words associated with YOUR favorite activity into a search field at any social network. You are sure to find living, breathing human beings awake and actively discussing your passion RIGHT NOW.

The metrics of growing communities have to be related to heart first. We all want and love specific people and activities in life. And that passion dictates how and where we spend our hard earned dollars. Community managers who understand this very real truth about human beings do not push products, events or services. They initially engage in conversation with others about a shared passion. The offerings within a dynamic community generally emerge out of a collective wish list or a mutually desired experience. Those highly attended events are birthed from noticing where people like to congregate. Great community managers are passionate about the niche topics related to their brand and lead others into mutually gratifying experiences.

When we lay out a plan for growing a community, our initial goals ought to center around creating meaningful content and discovering individuals who feed passion. A community manager who has lived, eaten and breathed a topic finds this naturally and is excellent at listening and encouraging members of the community. Everyone in a community has their own unique way of expressing interest, insight and observation. Good community managers facilitate a collective story fed by everyone in the “circle”. This weaving of stories is how cohesive communities form and provides a context for spreading awareness of a product/service. We need those thousand true fans as our initial base to carry on the work of the Community Manager.

It is the job of a Community Manager to nurture conversation. A Twitter stream, a Facebook wall post, a comment thread on a blog, a winning presentation on Slideshare, a location on FourSquare, a widely pinned photo on Pinterest, a video on YouTube that gets passed around: these are ALL seeds to be watered and nurtured by a Community Manager. JESS3 has given community managers a very precise map of content that different consumers interact with when considering a product or service (The Content Grid). It is a community manager’s job to identify, create and spread each of these pieces of content into the social fabric of the Internet.

For more on people-centered Community Management read this interview I did with Eleftherios Hatziioannou, former social manager for Mercedes Benz.

A story within a story, also rendered story-within-a-story, is a literary device in which one narrative is presented during the action of another narrative. Mise en abyme is the French term for a similar literary device (also referring to the practice in heraldry of placing the image of a small shield on a larger shield).

In Wikipedia, it is written that a story within a story (“mise en abyme”) can be used in novels, short stories, plays, television programs, films, poems, songs, and philosophical essays. But I argue that such artistic devices may be used in our real fleshly lives as a means of discovery, innovation and evolution. And I propose that digital social accounts like Facebook contain nested stories, all of which are doorways into alternative experiences or possible existences…a living fabric of “mise en abyme” that you have assembled for any purpose under the sun…

For more on the device “Story within a story” see the Wikipedia entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Story_within_a_story

The reality is that many products and services have a real human story at the root of their existence. Tapping into this story is what connects us to the heart of a product’s latent community, the living fabric with an orientation toward a specific service.

The existing corporate story related solely to sales should cease as the number one tale known to contemporary society. And this needs to happen now.

Humanity is tired of being “sold”. Humanity wants and needs the magic, the tactile sensibility of a story populated with sweat, flesh and the intricacies of a rich inner life. That’s where connection occurs.

The way out of anything is to go INTO it, so deeply into it that you find the core. The core is usually like a seed or a small infant, no matter what the outer aspects look like. Take that seed, that infant, in your hands, in your arms and it will offer up its need and desire to you. Fulfilling that need and desire at the core of any puzzle, any challenge, any hardened situation, usually results in a fresh flow of life-juice. Peace and Joy are the natural outcome of such love.

Right now our world has a connective digital tissue. It is called the Internet. The Internet has become like flesh now. It is sensitized because of the people who are constantly using digital networks to communicate. And this communication moves very swiftly around the planet. At the push of a one button in the smallest apartment, at an island home or on a farm by the sea, a message can be sent and arrive EVERYWHERE.

It seems there are so many puzzles that humans are trying to figure out at this time in history. And we have the tools at our fingertips.

1. IDENTIFY YOUR MISSION: Use a pen and paper to write it down.

2. NAME YOUR MISSION and CLAIM IT: Go to http://www.knowem.com and a domain registrar and claim the name of your mission.

3. FLESH OUT YOUR MESSAGE WITH TEXT, IMAGES, MOVIES, MUSIC AND MUCH MORE: Go to the World Wide Mind and study each type of major social property. Find content related to your mission in these properties by using the Search field. As you do this, you will be discovering a community of like-minded folks. Make a note of their profiles in an Excel spreadsheet. If you spend a whole day doing this, going around The World Wide Mind, you may have discovered hundreds of new friends. Oh, and mash up all of this great content you find, along with your own, to create the first coloring of your own network.

4. UPLOAD YOUR INITIAL CONTENT TO YOUR VARIOUS CLAIMED SOCIAL PROPERTIES.

5. BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY: Contact each of the individuals on your spreadsheet by sending them a personal note appreciating their content. Invite them to be a friend.

6. CONTINUE SPREADING YOUR MESSAGE AND DISCOVERING NEW FRIENDS.

7. STATE YOUR GOALS AND INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN YOU: Write simple short messages each day as tweets, Facebook posts, Flickr photo uploads, YouTube uploads, Twitpics, a song addd to Last.fm, a presentation placed on SlideShare. Socialize these messages to ALL of the social properties in which you are present.

8. TAKE ACTION: Now create an event using Meetup.com or EventBrite and invite people to come and interact. Find like-minded people in the digital networks and invite them. Meeting in the flesh is amazing, especially after having been kindred souls in the digital networks. Use a community like Challenge Post or Giveo to get your cause out there and get something done!

Its never too late to enter social networks. And there’s no right way to be social. After all, as the great mystic Ziauddin Sardar says, “There is more than one way to be a human being.” So go be yourself. Totally. Go where you want to go in social networks and you will find people just like you there!

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words. ~ RACHEL NAOMI REMEN

When the tribe first sat down in a circle and agreed to allow only one person to speak at a time – that was the longest step forward in the history of law. ~ Judge Curtis Bok

‎”Council is the practice of speaking and listening from the heart. Through compassionate, heartfelt expression and empathic, non-judgmental listening, Council inspires a non-hierarchical form of deep communication that reveals a group’s vision and purpose.” ~Ojai Foundation leadership, (http://www.ojaifoundation.org/what-is-council)

worldwidemind

The way of council circle is THE ethos for our current socially-networked world. This is where each voice has its time and listening is more important than a battle of voices. In council, our pride is in how well we have heard “the Other”. This is humanity’s only hope now.

The wisest being in the circle is invisible, created by the drumming, the silence, the tears, the laughter, the stories. In the men’s circle, we each spoke, wept, laughed, shouted and sang into the silence, into the center of the circle. Often, if I chose to remain silent, waiting until it felt right to speak, another would say something that captured what lived within me perfectly. The feedback after deep sharing and deep listening was appreciation for something other than what I shared. This lifted me up and out of my pain, my pride, my sorrow, my victory and put me back together again…lifting me up or humbling me through warmth, through friendship, through a feeling of brotherhood enwrapped in a profound spiritual sense of community.

I remember a circle 5 or 6 years ago. I sat down and began using the words Us, We and You. A long time circle brother gently stopped me. “Nathaniel,” he said, “I can’t see you when you use these words to describe experience. And I want to see you. Please only use I when you talk about your week and the lessons you’ve learned.”

This was a huge evening for me because I really felt in my body the truth of personal responsibility.

My experience of circle is that I gain incredible wisdom in sitting with others, really on a level rarely plumbed in other settings.

One of the cornerstones of Circle is teaching adults and children to appreciate one another in a manner that the recipient can truly feel the appreciation. I say what I really see inside the person, what I love, honor and respect about the person – not their story. I learn not to over appreciate because I know that some of us can only “hold” so much. I avoid speaking about their appearance but more about their essence. Avoid disguised advice in your appreciations like “ It’s important to take care of yourself”. I try not to use superlatives like greatest, best etc. I try to step out of myself and think only of giving the gift of appreciation in a way that the receiver will accept it with ease.

The principles of deep-listening in Council Circle gatherings are necessary for our now increasingly socially-networked world.

Deep Listening principles from the Council tradition are as follows:

1- Maintain eye contact with the person speaking.


2- Be relaxed but present.


3- Be still.


4- Listen from the heart.


5- Be non-judgmental.


6- Allow the story to unfold.


7- Listen carefully and the person speaking will always tell you what they need.


8- It’s not your job to “fix” the person who’s speaking.


9- Common mistakes to avoid:
a) DON’T give advice (unless asked for)
b) DON’T “swap stories” to reassure the person who’s speaking. You may
think your story is “the same” but its THAT PERSON’S moment, not yours.
c) DON’T interpret the meaning of his feelings
d) DON’T interrupt discharge of emotion (laughter, tears, etc.).
Let the emotions flow out into the circle and sit in attendance to
that emotion.
e) DON’T talk very much
f) DON’T ask questions for your own information.
g) DON’T think a lot about how to “help” the person speaking.
h) ONLY ask questions to lead the person deeper into feelings & his own re/solutions.

10- The most common mistake: Trying to show the person speaking what a good, understanding, perceptive, kind, helpful … person, counselor, leader … you are.

11- Listen, listen, listen! (That’s really what we all need).

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words. ~ RACHEL NAOMI REMEN

The nature of a circle is equality and if we really want to heal the world through circles (whether digital or in-the-flesh), we must learn the way of circle, which was mastered many moons ago in the tribal cultures of the world. This is our only hope as humanity at this time. We do not have time for the dis-organized, tangled world of arguing as seen in the British Parliment. We NEVER have time for the killing off of other ethnicities and the horrible mess afterwards. We don’t have time for hate-speak and fighting.

If I take time, once a week, to sit with my brothers and sisters for 3-4 hours and only listen to their truth and only speak my truth, we will make light-speed progress through a weaving of hearts and minds. Try this today: sit with your friend, your spouse, your parent, your brother or sister, and simply listen to him/her for 30 minutes. Don’t offer advice, don’t interrupt, don’t identify. Just listen. That’s what our world needs right now to allow our collective intelligence true emergence.

Dear World-Citizen,

Here’s just one of many takes on giving your gift to the world today!

1. GREAT CONTENT: The bottom line in marketing within the social networks is Quality Content WITHIN a Quality Context. @MarvinTowler

2. THERE IS NOTHING TOUGH OR NEW ABOUT IT: And that nothing has changed at all. The local veggie salesman often knows more about socializing than marketeers. Spend a day at the Farmer’s Market! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me1zCtzwDM0)

3. GOOD RELATIONSHIPS: It’s about relationships. And humanizing business process. http://www.peopleizers.com

4. BREVITY IS THE MOTHER OF WIT: And bite-size storytelling. The best in the world at brevity are Seth Godin (http://www.sethgodin.com/) and Paulo Coelho (http://paulocoelhoblog.com/category/20-second-stories/). All the content is bite-sized. And potent.

5. RIGHT CONTEXT: It’s about placing Content in the right Context in EVERY stripe of The World Wide Mind http://www.theworldwidemind.com/

6. YOUR FRIENDS: It’s about securing A Thousand True Fans who really love what you’ve got to say and show. And who YOU engage with!: http://www.thesocializers.com/blog/2011/05/28/1249/

7. YOUR GIFT(S): It’s about discovering your gift and sharing it!: http://www.discoverthegift.com

8. HUMANS CAN, SO HUMANITY CAN: And blooming where you are planted. Being here now!: http://petereconomides.posterous.com/62354093

But most of all, it’s about doing what you already do right now. Just being you every day! : )

You’re already there. (You’re also a truly radiant being! Keep shining brightly!!)

Nathaniel Hansen

Peter Ecomomides of FelixBNI tells a story of his neighborhood market to illustrate how everything has changed & nothing has changed. Peter talks about conceiving creative & human ways to interact with customers. Applying common sense marketing to social tools (Social Monitoring Tools) & social networks (The World Wide Mind). The importance of adapting social technologies to ways humans have always spent time is vital. We gossip, watch movies, check out photos, listen to music, check the news. The most successful social networks, apps and tools are digital software that serve timeless human actions. This is the beauty of what Mr. Economides recognizes in his statement about “getting back to social”. He acknowledges that social objects – tweets, status updates, photos posted to Flickr, video posted to YouTube, ARE the medium. Mr. Economides writes, “Twitter is not a medium. Your tweets are the medium. Your blog, your Facebook page, etc.”

AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MR. PETER ECONOMIDES OF FELIXBNI

ON CHANGE: You’ve emphasized that “everything has changed and nothing has changed”. What are your thoughts on that today and why is this an important message for those getting into marketing via social networks?

Everyone in marketing was educated BDSM – Before the Development of Social Media. And the marketing we learned was focused on the Broadcast Economy. Mass media. Mass retailing. The consumer as a demographic number.

Social Media has given birth to the Conversation Economy. Massive media which do not broadcast. Messaging has become stream of micro conversations. The consumer now has a highly individual profile.

My point is that this is the way it has always been. Mass, if you think about it, is the aberration. It’s back to village, where conversation and word of mouth rule supreme. It’s just that this time the village is global. And the main road running through it is the internet and social media.

The irony is that the largest medium in the world has taken us back to a world filled with individuals, conversation and word of mouth. But as Gary Vaynerchuk says, it’s “word of mouth on steroids.”

Social media is influencing consumer behaviour way beyond the internet. And this is the most important thing for any marketer to bear in mind. Great marketing rests on powerful consumer insight. And if marketers don’t understand the 360º effect of social media on consumer behaviour, they’re in serious trouble.

I often illustrate this through my local butcher.
I believe that he has the best meat in Athens. Now, I am not an expert. I do not know this, but I believe it. Not because of what he says but because of how he behaves. He does not impress this on me. He expresses it in everything he says and everything he does.
He has not studied marketing. He knows nothing about social media. But he is an insightful human who understands what makes people tick. His reputation has been built entirely on word of mouth. He knows that. And he also knows that his reputation can be ruined by word of mouth. In a flash.

Smart people have always known this. And the best butcher in the village has always behaved like this. Ask your grandmother.

Everything has changed and nothing has changed.

ON TECHNOLOGY AND CONVERSATION: Danny Brown writes, “Every single one of us is connected, from the tech savvy to the Luddite to the in-between. And if we’re all connected, it becomes easier to help. And if we all help each other, maybe there’s just a chance the world might be a better place.” Do you see social technologies as accelerators of helping each other and making the world a better place? What can humans do in the context of social technologies that is different than via telephone, fax machines, and the Pony Express? Is it only about speed or is there something more tactile about social technologies now?

Conversation is the key.
Good conversation is a dialogue that consists of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. In other words, it is dynamic. It moves somewhere. Social media facilitates synthesis in a way that the telephone, fax machine and the Pony Express never could. It’s immediate. It’s massive. And it’s open. It’s like a perpetual town hall debate.

Television? Just thesis. No antithesis. Certainly no synthesis.

ON TWITTER: What is Twitter and why do you use it?

Twitter’s a cocktail party where you are free to drop into a conversation, plant a seed, pick a fruit, shape a thought, learn, share, contribute … and move on to the next conversation. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

Twitter is also the most immediate news source on the planet. I witnessed the Egyptian Revolution earlier this year by switching between Twitter and Al Jazeera on my iPad. I was in Tahrir Square through Twitter. Picking up news and personal drama. And I’d see the images a little later on Al Jazeera. No other medium could have done that for me.

The evening news? Forget about it!

ON FACEBOOK: Why have so many people flocked to Facebook?

A market is always built on a great product.
And I think Facebook is a great product.
Easy. Intuitive. Lots of ways to share. And, importantly, lots of reward through the Like button.

But there are a lot of great products out there which do not succeed ….
Facebook’s initial appeal was to the high school and college crowd. Important influencers of the older crowd. Facebook crossed the chasm into mainstream through kids. And once they had the critical mass, the network effect kicked in. One billion users by the end of 2011 … remarkable. But that;’s the network effect in action.

Facebook has played an important role as most people’s first step into social media. But it runs the risk of becoming the “low rent district” of the internet.

EXPLAINING SOCIAL TECHNOLOGY TO GRANDMA: How on earth do you explain social technologies and social networks to grandma? Or the crustiest of CEOs?

Back to the village! And back to my butcher story.

You’ve seen many approaches to marketing over the years. What are two of your favorite campaigns, in the past or now? What could social technology and social networks facilitate that maybe would have been tougher in the past?

I’d rather talk about great brands.
Because a campaign is just a stage in the life of a brand.

Every category has a protagonist brand.
And it should be the ambition of every brand to be the protagonist of its category.
Think of a soft drink. Coca-Cola?
The Coca-Cola of vodka?
The Absolut of computers?
The Apple of beer? The Heineken of sports shoes? The Nike of coffee shops?

Starbucks hardly advertises. But look at the quality of the conversation it has with its customers. In everything it says. And everything it does. Everything communicates.

Starbucks knows what its “Starbucksness” is all about. And so does every barista who works there. That’s the key to a great brand. Consistent behaviour throughout the organization. In everything it says and does.

Great brands have always understood the conversation. Great brands have always understood that they sell product to individuals and not to numbers. Great brands have always “got” what the social media experts are preaching. Nothing is new.

Naturally, social media open up new opportunities to connect with consumers through thesis, antithesis and synthesis. I wonder about the future of consumer research …..

ON GREECE: You have lived all over the world – in New York, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Johanessburg, Athens. You’ve marketed huge brands like Apple and Coca-Cola. You’ve been in leadership at major ad agencies like McCann and also done your own thing. Now you live in Athens, Greece. What is happening in Greece right now and how can OR are social networks play(ing) a part in this?

There’s a huge conversation going on on Twitter, revolving around current events in Greece. Also a number of great forums on Facebook. But I don’t see much traction. I am working on a public forum in the style of Quora which I hope to launch soon.

GREEK FAVORITES: Who is your favorite Greek musician? Film director? Playwright? Journalist?

Konstantinos Beta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiuSbj-PrvA)
Costa-Gavras (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa-Gavras)
Dimitris Papaioannou (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimitris_Papaioannou)
Alexis Papahelas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_Papahelas)

Find more on Peter Economides at FelixBNI (http://www.felixbni.com).

“Wait a moment, here I have it. This: ‘Most men will not swim before they are able to.’ Is not that witty? Naturally, they won’t swim! They are born for the solid earth, not for the water. And naturally they won’t think. They are made for life, not for thought. Yes, and he who thinks, what’s more, he who makes thought his business, he may go far in it, but he has bartered the solid earth for the water all the same, and one day he will drown.” ~Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

THOSE WHO KNOW HOW TO SWIM MUST TEACH: We live in times when mankind has bartered solid earth for water. Those who know how to swim, must swim and teach. And those that would survive must be willing to learn and adapt. Such is the case for those learning social networks. Social networks are an outer manifestation in the form of text, photos, video, news and music OF OUR inner lives. Whereas before we heard thoughts from another person over a telephone line or experienced a director’s vision on the television or silver screen, we now have an environment (social networks) where we live WITHIN a constant stream of thought, vision and communication. To speak plainly: those who can find business intelligence, set up on-the-fly networks and aggregate customers quickly WITHIN social networks provide value to traditional businesses seeking to enter these same networks.

collectivestream

THE MEDIUM HAS CHANGED: Sifting through this stream, filtering it, is the primary and initial task that those who work in social networks must do via social media monitoring and community management. And those who introduce corporations and brands to the use of social networks must simplify and translate all of the lexicon that has ballooned around social networks into an easy to grasp language. Many, like Peter Economides of FelixBNI, state firmly that nothing has changed EXCEPT the medium or channel. While this is very true, there is also the reality that a new medium often changes the user or participant. We communicate at the speed of thought now and our “PCs, the Internet, mobile phones, GPS have come together to enable a vast distributed data network of collective memory…a collective stream of intelligence” (PeopleBrowsr). To speak plainly: social networks now provide a new, faster means to create connections, sales and business relationships.

CONVINCING DUTCH UNCLES: So how does one convince a businessman in his 60′s who is used to using the telephone and maybe a fax machine to communicate…how does one convince such a man to use Facebook to see photos and read stories of his grandchildren, to see Twitter as a scope into powerful business intelligence, to view photos of family and peers at Flickr and video of family at YouTube? How does one convince him to look for the breaking news at Reddit or discover the latest market trends at StumbleUpon? How does one convince him to read what his competitors’ team is presenting at Slideshare or Scrib’d? How does one convince him to catch up with his granddaughter’s music at her Last.fm channel or to create his own radio station at Pandora and listen to this on the drive to work? How does one reveal that vital conversations related to the brands he founded are taking place within Disqus communities (communities built around the comment-threads from blogs)? How does one convince him that Wikipedia is a faster route to information on many subjects than Britannica? How does one convince him that Yelp will “save the night” in a new town if that top restaurant is fully booked? To speak plainly: there is a network for every market and many networks contain a slice devoted to specific markets. Use these free venues for connection to your customer and for making sales!

SELLING CRONIES ON SOCIAL NETWORKS: Selling the crustiest, saltiest critics on the power and speed of social networks is rooted in psychology. Changing anyone’s mind, accessing a heart, really depends upon getting to know that person. What motivates him or her? What goals does he or she have? Doing a little homework USING social networks PRIOR to such meetings is one route to engaging in a convincing conversation. When I know what 10 competitors to a brand are doing RIGHT NOW (social monitoring tools) and six months from now (Recorded Future), that can be a great conversation starter. When I know where 50 new clients/customers for a product or service are located and what they are saying, this can lead to some exciting plans for the corporation. When I can show what events led to a shift in consumer behavior that either helped or hurt a brand, that can lead to some important adjustments to the supply chain and perhaps product identity. When I create a simple infographic that visualizes EXACTLY where that gentleman’s customers are conversing in social networks, what they are saying, when they are saying it and to whom they are talking, well, we hope he will see pools of new business opportunity. Will this businessman want his regional sales teams to know about new businesses expected to enter an area during the next 3 years? How would the CEO of a major automaker like to see alliances, business relations, company affiliates or joint ventures related to top global automakers? To speak plainly: When normal business processes are augmented or enhanced by social network data, we can make informed and calculated decisions on where, to whom, when and how to sell online. More effectively, with less expense and faster response time!

TEACHING LEVERAGE: But the next part is sticky, in more ways than one. Because after this classic businessman has paid for market intelligence and a plan to access these pools of customers, his first action is often incorrect. He wants to blast these customers with the digital equivalent of direct-marketing mail pieces from a neighborhood souvlaki joint. He wants to buy TV ads and slap a Facebook icon at the end. He wants to get on the bullhorn and round ‘em up to the lot for those shiny new vehicles. And so now we have to show him examples of how brands have leveraged the inexpensive and free social networks to harness the collective strength of employees and customers alike. We have to show him how Best Buy raised up its entire staff via TwelpForce and solved thousands of customer service issues via Twitter. We have to show him how NewEgg put up lots of videos to teach customers how to fix or use electronics purchased at their stores. We have to show him how Starbucks gave their customers a chance to change anything about the stores or products or service through My Starbucks Idea. And even if we heard about these great methods of leveraging social networks years ago at conferences or through friends running those social communities, we have to keep telling the story because it is still so new to so many. Especially the crusty cronies. To speak plainly: Do not assume when selling social network ideas to CEOs that he/she has seen or “gets” what you are talking about. Spell it out WITH examples that include simple math and clear lists of benefits.

SELLING COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT AND CONTENT-MARKETING TO MARKETING MANAGERS: Another tough sell is convincing the Marketing Manager and the General Manager that a new position of Community Manager or Social Media Manager WITHIN the corporation is essential. And that this person will be creating LOTS of regular content and engaging in relationship with the customers and stakeholders of the brand. As Jeremiah Owyang, of Altimeter Group, says, “Agencies should teach their clients how to ‘fish’ rather than do it for them as strategic advisors.” Or as Steve Woodruff writes, “The companies who advance with real personality in their social media endeavors will likely do best.” Content and relationship that works in social networks is born from customers who are passionate about the brand and a Community Manager or Social Media Manager who takes this content and distributes it throughout the social networks to the advantage of BOTH the customer and the brand. Read more on Great Community Management in this interview with Eleftherios Hatziioannou, former Social Media Manager at Mercedes-Benz Global and current Social Media Director at s.Oliver.

It all goes back to psychology and knowing what each person WITHIN the organization wants, what they need, and what the company is ready for now. And then showing how some simple first steps involving Listening, Planning and Executing can lead to great things. As Peter Economides of FelixBNI writes, “It’s about social psychology, not economics.”

A FEW GREAT TWEETS TO CONSIDER:

“You need someone who can read into the data and say “this is telling me…” ” richmeyer

There are way too many analytic solutions out there & not enough people to analyze the data and turn it into actionable data. richmeyer

Organizations need individuals/teams within to leverage analytics into actionable items that can help meet brand objectives. richmeyer

A “spot-on” CSV of 100 Key Influencers w/social links + a summation of these Influencers’ latest messages + a graph of who follows them. Nat_Hansen

(Author’s note: The following piece is born out of my deep love of mythology and the belief that rituals embodying these mythologies can transform cultures deadened by modernity and the love of money. ~Nathaniel Hansen, M.A. Mythological Studies, Pacifica Graduate Institute, April 18, 2011. Athens, Greece).

All cultures … have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works. ~Joseph Campbell

We’re in a freefall into the future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes. ~Joseph Campbell

Heresy is the life of a mythology, and orthodoxy is the death. ~Joseph Campbell

Deities find power in the cultures that adore and nurture them. Bringing a deity back to life involves igniting a flame of desire within the populace whose ancestors once served and worshipped it. The truth is that the deity itself has not died…the people only need remember what their ancestors felt and saw and smelled. Re-igniting a culture with its root metaphor, with the essence that animated its founders, IS a path to enlivening its people. A nation in crisis can find inspiration AND momentum via a root metaphor.

WHAT IS A ROOT METAPHOR: A root metaphor is much more than a figure of speech or an image. A root metaphor is the god, the mythology, which births a culture. Author Sandra Barnes writes, “Root metaphor names things that are likened to one another…once a root metaphor is named it becomes a protected category within which many ways of replicating, restating, or reformulating an idea can be tried out. The greater its ability to incorporate and adapt to new experience, the more powerful it becomes.” Archibald MacLeish writes, “A world ends when its metaphor has died.” The pain in the West is not of a people yearning for the arrival of a savior but of a people chained from honoring the natural world surrounding them. The importance of a people re-discovering the root metaphor of the earliest cultures from whence their ancestors came cannot be understated. Experience of a root metaphor is experience of a deity.

Ritual sustains the relationship between a deity and a culture. Ritual is the embodiment of myth. Ritual is the swiftest route to invoking gods from long ago. The best books on ritual are the following:

Ritual: Power, Healing and Community by Malidoma Some: http://amzn.to/ritualbook1
Liberating Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual by Tom F. Driver: http://amzn.to/ritualbook2
Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions by Catherine Bell: http://amzn.to/ritualbook3
The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion by Mircea Eliade: http://amzn.to/ritualbook4
A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies by Astrid Erll: http://amzn.to/ritualbook_5

Helping a culture remember its gods has the potential to awaken within its core, its depth, a renewed vigor and vitality. The literature on the effect of political power games masked as beneficent acts by religious organizations is manifold. And the literature on violent wars based upon the same is also manifold. No wonder people want to forget gods that were part of an era in which their ancestors were violently attacked and killed! We now live within yet another period of history where such violence between people groups has resulted in countless deaths (ie.-Bosnia or Rwanda).

So why would a culture want to remember gods that might awaken previous conflicts with other cultures?

The reasons for remembering an ancient deity are manifold. The central value I seek to identify is simple: Power grows within the culture that touches the hand of its ancient gods. When a people are animated by the gods that gave birth to their nation, amazing things can happen. It’s one thing to move from the love of money to loving people. It’s even more powerful to come together with those loved ones and worship a deity, or a pantheon of deities.

Watch anyone discuss religion, politics or sexuality and you will see a person animated by a god. The passion these three topics engenders has more to do with the unseen than the seen. And the realm of the unseen is the realm of the gods.

A PATH TO DISCOVERING POTENT RITUAL: So how does one bring a god back to life? How does one ignite the cultural memory of a people?

1. Identify the external artifacts (architecture, music, daily schedule) that match ancient forms. Map and describe these.
2. Listen to the conversations of the people in social networks and identify where these same external artifacts locate in the fabric of the Internet. What symbols in the physical plane are mirrored in cyberspace and in the social networks? Draw connections. Make maps on your wall of these. Or use mapping software online.
3. Create campaigns, films, music, community programs, public cultural events, private gatherings of influencers and multiple small gatherings (circles) that bring people together in the flesh. When a revolution that starts in social networks move to the realm of flesh, great emotion, attraction and synergy occurs. This is the power of going from a Facebook wall to a Facebook event to a lover’s bed, of going from an Eventbrite conference to a local meetup to the office of an organization that matches your skillet perfectly, of going from an online game to a concert with other fans of a great band to the band’s hotel suite!
4. Install “avatars” into the mix of #3 who embody the energy of the gods/goddesses you wish to help the culture remember. Empower these avatars to inject the energy of the gods/goddesses directly into the imagination and emotional body of the culture. Watch how quickly the messaging from these avatars spreads through the social networks and Internet media channels (like YouTube).
5. Immersion: As the members of a culture are immersed in the power of the medium and the avatars, watch how author and reader, performer and audience, begin to merge and weave the flavor of the god into the flesh of the culture.
6. Choosing the right content is critical. As was once said, the difference between the right and wrong word IS the difference between a lightning bug AND lightning! You WANT the members of the culture ALL humming that god’s tune on their lips. That’s what brings change…and quickly!
7. Location: The most powerful location into which an avatar can speak powerful words is ritual. Return to the excellent books on ritual above and make this study part of your work. Then re-create the original rituals from ancient times as the meeting point between a current generation and its ancestral gods.
8. Health: Once the avatar sparks the culture, keep him/her healthy as the vitalization of content leads to heady situations where the avatar MUST keep his/her cool and not implode or explode. Good healthy habits are in order!!
9. PR: Deal with critics by having pre-scripted guidelines in place for the typical critics of such a deity. And ALWAYS remember that Critics are there to drive Creatives to higher heights and deeper depths! The most powerful answer to a Critic can sound like this: “There will always be more than one way to be a human!”

The nations of the world are ripe for remembering ancestral deities. Lots of them! And the time to act is NOW!!

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