Sunday, 29 June 2014

Twtrland: I'm an EdTech Influencer? Really!

How do you become an influencer? What would you do if you were one?

Earlier this week I read a great post by Brian Fanzo, now that's no change from any other week as he's introduced me to some great Twitter chats and I enjoy his content. This particular post was called "Did they put the wrong person on the Digital Top 50 list?"

Nice Bloggers Finish First
Now I don't know if that's the first time you've read a post like this or if you're hearing about these humble influencers for the first time, if so I wonder if this might comes across as false humility or anything... not because the words from this post sound inauthentic but because you hold the view that.

"If you're on social media, you're out to be heard and to make a name for yourself"

I can assure you this is not the case! I was dragged kicking and screaming to social media and only relented when senior people at major companies said "Social Media comes with the job now."

OK, so having a digital footprint is required but these "Influencers" surely have a strategy and appearing to be "nice guys" is part of that, right? It would be easy to fake in a post or two, right?

I've been following a number of these "Influencers" in social media and community management ever since I heard about "Community Managers Appreciation Day" and as I highlighted in my ISTE13 Reflections post;

It appears to me that being influential is less of "a means to an end" for the truly successful "influencers," and more a case of their authority being a byproduct which comes from sharing knowledge and expertise because they enjoy helping others to achieve their goals. These people are generally very agreeable and approachable. To me this makes sense, after all how many people want to engage with a selfish arrogant know it all... even if they do know their industry inside and out!

Of the "influencers" that I come into contact with there are more who fit this profile than any who let their egos get the better of them.

Are you an "influencer?" find out here
I'm An Influencer? Really?

I was truly shocked when I opened a Twtrland account and searched for people involved with EdTech in the UK and see my account come up.

Find new people in your industry to follow with Twtrland
What? I thought? An influencer? I can't even get my own kids to do their homework... or stop my wife from spending money... never mind influence anything in EdTech!

And if you do want to focus on EdTech any work I do appears to get largely ignored within the area of education I would like to work in... But not elsewhere. This is a source of frustration which I have written about previously; 

I thought that Brian's post was down to earth and amusing, and I wondered if I would ever react with the same kind of humility and attitude if I ever appeared in any education lists like this, which I thought was a long way off. 
A tough question I have to ask myself from time to time
More recently I made the offer of a free trial of Crowdmark as Founder James Colliander appreciated that the model of roll out I have been working towards had merit... but is in it's early stages.

But when members of SMT unsubscribe from an update with an offer of free Tech that actually works in this pro-Tech FELTAG era, you feel anything but influential... you feel demoralized and question the value of what you're doing.

So when I logged into Twtrland I can genuinely say that it was a total shock, I sure don't feel influential. This newly discovered status saw me thinking "Are you sure they mean me?" this was followed by the though of "If they do then maybe it's not me... maybe it's them?" 

"Some sectors can be a challenging target market for startups as there are two painful truths about them 1) They are hard to reach, and 2) They have no money. The product may be compelling and users need the solution, but the supplier is not able to reach their customers effectively" David Feinleib, Why Startups Fail

This is especially true when you have some Silicon Valley EdTech startups asking if you'd be interested in working in US education. 

If It was Easy Everyone Would be Doing it!
In my EdTech report I highlight that one of the implications of education being so difficult to deal with is that opportunities for our young people are lost. I think that this is a problem that is worth keeping chipping away at, even if it does mean enduring a few personal setbacks.

Here is a an example of a lost opportunity for our young people, one that I hope I might be able to exert and influence.I have to address. After attending Ian Cleary's webinar on "How to build an award winning profitable blog in 6 months," and news of his new blog academy (Which comes with a money back guarantee), I thought;
  • There are no jobs for young people, of the jobs there are
  • Businesses are screaming out for people who can create good content
  • Teachers are looking for good PD with digital leadership
  • Students need to be taught digital citizenship 
We need to get teachers and students onto this! 
I wrote to Ian and asked if he had any intention of rolling this out in education? The reply I got was;

"I'm currently focussing in on working with businesses and it would probably take a lot of time to get accreditation set up through the colleges" 

My reply to Ian was that: "A course like this from someone with your experience could have a big impact on educators PD and student outcomes, so educators being hard to reach simply isn't good enough. This is a crazy reason when we are in the midst of high unemployment and employers are screaming out for people who can produce good content"

So I'd like to test any influence that I have with one of the best causes I can think of... an idea that could assist teachers with their Professional Development on social media, that could help students to find work and/or work for themselves, teach them digital citizenship... and has a money back guarantee.
Ian Cleary Blogging Course

Oh and the cost? That's up to you... the more educators who register an interest (regardless of geographic location) the lower the cost will be. I've already let Ian know that way to many educators pay for tech out of their own money.

We know that school and college admins don't mind paying for services once they have demonstrated value. Therefore if there are enough digital leaders in education who are interested in this to establish some case studies, the course could be free for the first intake. If you'd like to be considered for a free pilot please follow and Tweet @IanCleary that your interested during #ISTE2014 (1st July).
I'm an Educator and I'd be interested to know more about your blog course

Saturday, 28 June 2014

ISTE2014 - No Country for an Old Fashioned Educator?

Can you imagine being a "Unconnected" educator who decides to get connected on social media this week and opens a Twitter account? Can you picture the scene:

You're an unconnected educator and some of your connected educators have been talking in the staff room about some of the things they've been able to do with technology in class this year and/or the tools they're going to explore over the summer..

"Wow" Mr/Miss Unconnected thinks "Some of this Technology seems to ACTUALLY work and have value in the classroom... I'm going to have to look into this," so included 'exploring EdTech' on their list of summer PD.

It's the end of June and schools out time for some relaxation, a vacation... and summer PD. Right whats this Twitter thing, where's that cheat sheet I was given?

1) Open account. Done
2) Follow friends. Done
3) Lurk and Learn.... ARGH!

What just happened?

ISTE14 Just Happened!
Could a techno-phobic educator who decides to take the brave step of opening a Twitter account pick a worse week? I was on Twitter for quite a while before I found out about the ISTE hashtag and it was frantic! So I'm not sure if Twitterland would be a good country to visit this week for educators looking to come out of their Twitter shell.

Tom Whitby wrote a great post during Connected Educator Month called "Patience for the Unconnected" and observers that;

"Connected educators may be the worst advocates for getting other educators to connect" 

Maybe you've been reasonably dismissive of technology in education (there's plenty of evidence to support this opinion), but perhaps a compelling presentation like Donald Clark's Three Tech Trends that could Change Learning Forever changed your mind. So where would you start exploring EdTech? And how could not feel anything but overwhelmed with all the choice and info.

The most popular EdTech news providers and web resources are well laid out and well tagged, just as Educators blogs are well informative and well written, and the Connected Educators are more than happy to provide help and advice to get colleagues connected.

Information Overload  
So the EdTech community is helpful and friendly but are people who are already apprehensive and outside their comfort zone going to admit to feeling overwhelmed?

Or are they not more likely to feel discouraged and think to themselves "Whoa this is not for me... I'm clearly not cut out for this tech stuff!" Any exploration of what technology is capable of in their classroom is cut short. But how would anyone NOT feel overwhelmed?

EdSurge have almost 293 subcategories relating to EdTech, with the most written about being: For Students, Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Useful For Teachers, MOOCs, Reports, EdTech Community, Useful For Entrepreneurs, Thought Leadership, For Teachers

I've used EdSurge in a number of recent posts, this is because I am exploring the site to assess the merit of a few ideas... One of which is to see if there might be any way to organise resources and present ideas in a way that might encourage the "Unconnected" to explore EdTech further.

Just a quick scan through the EdTech capabilities and there is an array of choices:

Digital StrategiesBYOD, Class Management and Classroom Technologies, ePortfolio, Flipped Classroom, Games and Gamification, Makerspaces

Internet Technologies: Cloud Computing, The Internet of Things, Real-Time Machine Translation
Semantic Applications, Syndication Tools

Learning Technologies: Badges / Microcredits, Learning Analytics, Mobile Learning, MOOCs,
Online Learning, Open Content, Open Licensing, Personal Learning Environments, Virtual and Remote Laboratories

Social Media Technologies: Collaborative Environments, Collective Intelligence, Crowdsourcing, Digital Identity, Social Networks, Tacit Intelligence

Visualization Technologies: 3D Printing, Augmented Reality, Information Visualization, Modeling Software, Visual Data Analysis, Volumetric and Holographic Displays

Enabling Technologies: Affective Computing, Cellular Networks, Electrovibration, Flexible Displays,
Geolocation, Location-Based Services, Machine Learning, Mobile Broadband, Natural User Interfaces, Near Field Communication, Next Generation Batteries, Open Hardware, Speech-to-Speech Translation, Statistical Machine Translation, Virtual Assistants, Wireless Power

Then, once you've identified an idea to explore there will be numerous EdTech companies to vet and decide on a potential partner with the right solution for your needs?!

All this innovation is great, but what a technological minefield? Looking into any of this involves an investment of time and money, both of which are in short supply in education.

Great Tech... Poor Uptake
The more I look at the effective roll out of any EdTech products the more I see that it's not an issue of whether your Technology is great or not... There's no denying that an Ipad can be a fantastic tool to facilitate teaching and learning. So why has it not been rolled out everywhere?

Please don't mistake this as any suggestion that we should have a one-size-fits all approach... after all an Ipad is extremely versatile. I think that a major reason why great tools don't get rolled out as quickly or as widely as they do is because the various stakeholders has not yet managed to "Cross the Chasm" from the enthusiasts and visionaries.

Geoffrey Moore's Technology Adoption Cycle 
How do we address this? My recommendation would be the same as I usually suggest in situations like this... Look for the bright spots. Maybe we should be looking to learn more from the schools that have made school wide transitions with initiatives like 1:1 classrooms, BYOD, using social media class etc... This would not be with a view to rolling out the tech that they use out... but to find out how they encouraged the skeptics and technophobes to explore this sprawling weird and wonderful world of EdTech.

If I were at #ISTE2014 this year I think that would be one of my missions... to seek out and learn from the 1:1 educators to discuss how they went about it. But alas, I'm #NotAtISTE so if you're a 1:1 educator why not cheer me up by leaving a comment below about the challenges you faced and how you addressed them.

Confused you will be! RT @RHNilsson The future of #EdTech infographic  @jimmy_daly … #feltag

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Do Teachers Really Know Best? 2,000 years of Questionable Edu Models

Ineffective EdTech often comes under scrutiny... But what about ineffective education models?

And what if THE most effective EdTech provider was critical of THE most inefficient education model? I think this would cause offense, defensiveness and lead to an "us" and "them" mentality. I've observed some of these interactions previously at education technology events;
I feel that EdSurge is the future of welcome engagement with Educators and EdTech so try to observe how they go about doing things. I mentioned in my last post how and why EdSurge's methods are similar to Apple, Google et al and highlighted why they seem to be an exemplar model of some "Social Selling"

One of my all time faviourite leaders is Ernest Shackleton and one of his top priorities was unity;

"Shackleton's leadership style was formed when working under people like Scott and vowing not to treat men they way he and his crew mates were treated. What he hated most about these jobs were pettiness, irresponsible bosses, insufferable working conditions and a lack of trust and respect among crew members. In the early expeditions which he led he learned that leadership that was rigid, remote, undemocratic, and uncertain didn't work. On the Endurance he focused on the one thing that that gave the best chance at reaching their goals: Unity"

Unity appears to be another important ingredient to EdSurge's success, which is something that few others have managed to achieve. EdSurge is able to bring all stakeholders together and gets them to mix and play nice together!

As I highlight in the posts above there are other events that also bring Educators and EdTech together but, based on the Tweets, they don't appear to manage to get the mix quite right. I've even made attempts at this myself, but didn't get it "quite right" (See Presenting Ideas in Edu)

What's Really Happening in EdTech
Have you ever wondered about what EdSurge's secret ingredient is?

I'd say it's Trust

EdSurge is trusted with all the stakeholders within the EdTech community, which is a rather unique position. Who else has 79 articles specifically on "Criticisms of EdTech" AND have EdTech companies queuing up to attend their Summits?

How have they built up this level of trust?

In my opinion they have achieve this by researching the issues and listening to all sides to weigh up the facts... and then tell it like it is. This provides a balanced and impartial platform to survey the world of EdTech.

When they share information they are able to tell it like it is and the various stakeholders listen... without taking offense, getting defensive or trying to second guess any agendas... They are the Switzerland or UN of EdTech.

EdTech can get it wrong... but so can Educators!
But what if you are in the EdTech camp and want to make educators aware of the challenges that EdTech faces? What if you want to highlight that creating a fantastic experience for your users is tough no matter what sector or organisation you work in!

  • Finding the right product and education model
  • Establishing the right culture 
  • Getting the right level of buy in (and enthusiasm) from staff 
  • Developing the right case studies and, 
  • Rolling out an idea effectively 
Is tough for any organisation... This is just as tough for educators to achieve as it is for EdTech!

Sure, it's not every EdTech product that works in every school and/or for every educator; but neither does every school work for every student. Here's one of my faviourite examples;

"Many schools are designed for extroverts. Introverts need different kinds of instruction from extroverts...too often very little is made available to that learner except constant advice on becoming more social and gregarious. We tend to forget that there is nothing sacrosanct about learning in large group classrooms, and that we organize students this way not because it's the best way to learn but because it's cost-effective... We often marvel at how introverted, geeky kids "blossom" into secure happy adults. We liken it to a metamorphosis. However, maybe it's not the children who change but their environments... they choose occupations, roles and settings that are concordant with their personalities" Susan Cain, Quiet

I do think that educators can be harsh with EdTech when things go wrong, and as EdSurge's "Criticisms of EdTech" highlights there is plenty that can and does go wrong... but it's also extremely hard to get everything right.

However, highlighting the challenges associated with "getting it right" and the problems that EdTech faces can come across as either a list of excuses and/or a "woe is me" lament. If an EdTech entrepreneur were to try a different tack and counter any argument about the shortcomings of EdTech with "Well, education isn't perfect either" this could lead to defensiveness and division, especially if it's followed by "Education needs to be disrupted."

2,000 years of Questionable Education Models
Being on the EdTech side of the fence, the best thing that I have found when trying to demonstrate to educators how tough EdTech can be is to highlight examples of educators being critical of education models, how some can gather support, get promoted and rolled out...even when they are largely untested and unqualified and end up being disproved, debunked and ridiculed as being ineffective further down the line.

Finding resources like is even better if they were to vindicate the merits of the work of technology companies which could do more for teaching and learning than some of these education models.

I saw a great example of this recently in the form of a really fun and engaging presentation by Donald Clark. The topic was "Three Tech Trends that Could Change Learning Forever" please find an overview, video and slides on the following links. Enjoy!

Presentation Overview
Presentation Slides

In an effort to be as neutral and as balanced as EdSurge... I think I'll chalk this one up as a win for EdTech! Lol

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

ISTE13 Reflections - Death of an EdTech Salesman

Will EdSurge wring the death knell for EdTech sales people who have not adopted a social strategy?

Ever since I started exploring inbound marketing there is a comment that has intrigued me, which has created a good deal of debate, this comment is:

Cold calling will be a thing of the past in 3-5 years

I have to say that the more I explore "Inbound Marketing" the more I tend to agree with this statement. Despite the relevance of this and the fact that sales is in a state of transition, it's perhaps not the best interview strategy in the world to make a statement like this at an interview for an EdTech sales job.

However it would be a big mistake for any Managing Directors or Sales Directors to scoff at the suggestion... I certainly don't think they will be within the next 12 months.

It's never easy to predict where the puck is going to land when you're weighing up the arguments put forward by the proponents and detractors, and the future of cold calling is no different. Something that I always find useful is to ask two questions;

1) Who's the best in the business?
2) What are they doing?

Effective Rollout
I would be surprised if most EdTech companies would turn down the opportunity to have the kind of effective roll out that major tech companies like Apple and Google enjoy. But how many replicate these companies model? One of the curious things about Apple, Goolge et al is regarding sales. Have you ever asked an educator "Have you ever had a sales call from Google or Apple?" Try it, but don't be surprised if the answer is "Erm, well no. Come to think of it I haven't"

If you follow this line of enquiry you'll discover that they found out about the tech through the positive reviews from other educators.

As with most ideas and insights I first noticed this in an EdChat, and my observations were confirmed at ISTE. Here's my post from last year The Death of a Salesman

After noticing these changes, I decided to explore... which ended up creating a lot of new ideas (and a lot of late nights reading and researching!) What I was looking for now that I appreciated the changes in educator-supplier interactions, I wanted to know how to facilitate this apparently effortless and seamless rollout? The answer is a little counter-intuitive. For example what would your answer be if I were to ask;

What's the best kind of customer service?

Did you answer something like "Great customer service?" or maybe it was "Service that exceeds expectations?" If this  is truly the case why are supermarkets and other retailers replacing tellers with self service machines? What would you say if I told you that the best service is no service?

Like a lot of people I used to think that exceptional customer service is what all great companies should endeavour to achieve. Then I read "The Best Service is No Service" which highlights how Amazon saw customer service differently from most organisations. Amazon's view was that;

"If we've got customers contacting us then there's a problem, what can we do to ensure this problem doesn't arise again"

Kind of blows your mind hearing this for the first time, doesn't it? If you're like me you've used Google for years but never interacted with anyone at the company, ever! No sales calls, no customer service enquiries. Nothing. If you needed to call Google every time I had a search query they might be struggling in the same way that Yellow Pages did.

Building Relationships and Delivering Value
Build the relationship first
In an attempt to make sense of the changes and share with educators and EdTech entrepreneurs I produced an EdTech report called "Developing Relationships and Delivering Value"

If I've convinced you of the "No service is the best service" idea, then if you deliver value then you don't need to build a relationship, do you? After all I've just highlighted that innovative companies don't need to put in sales calls.

The relationship matters a great deal... but timing is everything. If you develop a product without first building the relationship and getting input, you may find your EdTech idea in a lot of trouble further down the line. It's definitely a case of "Prior Preperation Prevents Poor Performance," without feedback you may find;
  • A bug in the product that people didn't foresee. 
  • There is a competing product already doing what the proposed solution does. 
  • Maybe the thing big issue the product was designed to fix is a minor irritation that people can live with, rather than committing their limited tech budget. 
  • Maybe there's some interest but not enough to allow the business to scale
Regardless of any problems the product has now been built, the developers and sales team have been hired so overheads need to be met. Whether the product delivers value or not, it's up to the sales guys to deliver... This is the wrong time to build the relationship. If the product has any problems even the best sales team will struggle.

Relationships matter a great deal, but it needs to be before the product is developed. If this is not THE biggest differentiating factor between the major tech companies and others, then the level of collaboration and due diligence that they go though pre-launch most certainly is!

The major tech companies do work hard on sales and roll out but the method is very different. Here's what I've learned from looking at some of the practices that Apple use: Effective Roll out

From Editorial Controlling Procurement  
So major EdTech companies build the relationships before they develop the product and iterate their way to product-market fit with their customers and this interaction and feedback with early adopters and tech enthusiasts facilitates word of mouth sales. But what about EdTech? Who's doing things really well?

As with my previous ISTE Reflection post, my current research and PD earlier this week has helped to "join up the dots" to add further insight to my experiences from ISTE13.

In "How to Win at Social Selling" John Golden suggest that if social media and producing content is part of the job, as well as adhering to the Sales and Marketing Creed & Code of Ethics, sales people should apply The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics to any content that they produce.

OK and the the idea of sales people honing their journalist skills to the rest of my observations over the last 12 months and you've got to ask yourself "Does the future of EdTech sales lie in some form of publication?

Does anyone know of a EdTech publication who has worked hard to develop relationships with educators and the EdTech community for 3 years through research, listening and sharing to build trust and a strong follower base?

What's New EdSurge?
Have you seen EdSurge's new product insight reports? Do you work in EdTech sales? What do you think will be more effective method of sales... a company calling round their contacts with cold calls and corporate literature, or the circulation of these reports to EdSurge's subscribers? That would be quite a sales challenge! I'm not sure I would want to put myself forward to test this idea.

Then there's the 18,566 Twitter followers that some of the EdSurge staff and contributors have including @betsy_, @KatrinaStevens1, @FrankCatalano, @nickpunt, @motodot, @cquattrocchi, @MJMadda, @mattwbowman

We often do we hear of excited EdTech startup founders telling educators how behind the times educators methods are... how people need to understand that technology has disrupted traditional methods of education and how and why educators need to embrace change. What happens when we put the shoe on the other foot?

Have EdTech sales departments kept up with the changes?
How many of your sales people have produced content that is as compelling as EdSurge?
Have your sales people spent 3 years researching, listening and sharing?

John Golden's company Huthwaite ran a Sales Pulse Survey in 2013 Surveyed senior sales professionals and the results found that the sales people agreed that buyers were using social media as an integral part of the buying process. In addition over half the agreed that customers no longer valued traditional sales tactics and approaches.

However...despite the admission about these changes 99.9% of sales people are not trained on the effective use of social media as a sales tool.

As I feel that EdSurge's model is the future of Sales this is why I'm doing some research on EdSurge articles, I wonder how many articles will be written by EdTech sales people. More on this research in future posts in the mean time EdTech sales teams may want to;

1. Purchase reports so that you can see what your competitors are doing. You can do this online or contact
2. Participate in an EdSurge Summit where EdSurge will have 500+ educators looking at various edtech products. Smaller companies (<$10m) can apply for a vendor table and larger companies can sponsor. For sponsorship information, contact

3. Check out some of Alice's resources on social selling. Three MUST reads are Social Media for Sales People, 15 Conference Twitter Tips for Sales People and Why Sales People Should Stop Cold Calling  

It would be great to hear what EdTech sales departments are doing with their professional development to adapt to these changes. Please feel free to leave a comment below detailing any social selling PD that you do. I find my reading list and various edu and non-edu Twitter chats really useful.

EdChats: #EdTechChat (Monday, 1am GMT/8pm ET), #EdTechBridge (Wednesday, 11pm GMT/6pm ET) #ukfechat (Thursday 9pm)

Non-Edu Chats: Social Selling Hour (#Sshour Monday 9pm GMT/4pm ET); EU Sales (#SalesEU, Wed 3pm GMT) and Community Manager Hangout (#Cmgrhangout, Friday 7pm)

Monday, 23 June 2014

ISTE13 Reflections: Record, Rewind & Replay

Last year I spent 3-4 days almost exclusively on Twitter because I found the discussions on the ISTE Twitter stream so compelling. With ISTE14 about to get underway I thought I'd review some of the key takaways from ISTE13. 

I learned loads at ISTE last year and was the inspiration for a few new ideas, some of which I'm still exploring and include an update below.... It's amazing what you can learn when you use social media to listen instead of broadcast. 

As well as a few education based ideas ISTE13 helped me to identify some topical trends in sales and, based on my PD activities this week, it just might have helped me stay a little ahead of the curve. 

Three Takeaways from ISTE13
Three main things that I learned as an EdTech supplier from the ISTE13 Twitter stream were;

1) That there is real value in curating, listening & learning from educators on Twitter... This is such a valuable exercise that there needs to be an easier way to review all the data from major conferences and the 150+ regular EdChats. There are so many great ideas during each event and EdChat but a problem is that they tend to be scattered across 150 storify archives.

2) There is a real skill to effective engagement for suppliers on social media. Any attempt to treat social media as a one-way corporate broadcast will not win any friends or influence any influencers, this approach will be very much frowned upon! The advice of social selling experts, social media gurus and educators is consistent as the universal consensus is building relationships through authentic two way engagement is the only way to go. 
"Tweet responsibly this ISTE14"
If you are an exhibitor at ISTE it's not too late to read Alice Myerhoff's short e-book "Social Media for Sales peopleyou may want to check out her "Twitter Tips for Conference Exhibitors" post.

3) I was aware that the sales process was changing, but it was through observing the interactions during ISTE that I saw how rapid the pace of change was. I didn't know at the time that it was "Social Selling," but I saw how quickly and how far the wrong kind of engagement could spread and easily damage a brands reputation. 

On the other hand, I saw how no engagement between the company and supplier could be very effective. How? If educators liked a product or brand they would recommend them and news would spread quickly through word of mouth. (For more info see The Death of an EdTech Salesman

Listening to your customers and potential customers is of the utmost importance to anyone hoping to create great products, so following education based discussions online is a no brainer. Every startup and EdTech expert will tell you this is key to achieving product-market fit. It's also great to "get out of the echo chamber" and check out what other tribes and communities are doing, so I follow different industries to see if I can benefit from their practices and research. 

This week I continued my PD journey of better communications with a Webinar by Ian Cleary on "How To Create an Award-Winning Profitable Blog in 6 Months" and reading John Golden's book "How to Win at Social Selling." More on both of these great resources in future posts but, for the moment, I want to focus on the dichotomy of being heard above the noise of everyone else on social media and the importance of quiet reflection.

Social Selling is like... Lesson Plans?
I can imagine that anyone who takes a dim view of social media or sales people and/or selling may be thinking;

"What on earth have the 'look at me' social media fanatics and greedy self interested sales people got to do with quiet reflection?

My recommendation for anyone with this opinion is this: read John's book and register for one of Ian's webinars. This is perhaps unlikely if you're a skeptic, so please allow me to highlight a couple of key points.

Silence is Golden

Social media has changed the sales process and anyone who has the view that sales people are the "slick snake oil" type of sales people who you believe will say whatever it takes to close the deal, then you may be surprised at how similar the new social models of selling are to developing and executing lesson plans. 

This process is one of the core messages from John book, he advocates the following model.
Not only is the profession changing, so is the type of people who is succeeding. Golden highlights that Social media has given introverts more of a voice with sales, I couldn't agree more!

The Humble Blogger
When I joined Ian webinar on successful blogging, my first impression was;

1) How well he presented his credentials as a successful blogger at the start of the presentation, and

2) How humble he was about his achievements

There were a few slides detailing the kind of conferences that Ian was invited to present at, and the kind of thought leaders that he was compared with and ranked alongside in various social media expert lists. The way these credentials were delivered alternated between a "no big deal" matter of fact manner, and a kind of "Can you believe these results... I'm a little surprised myself" attitude. The Webinar continued with an hour of Ian providing the benefit of his expertise.

There may be some bloggers who are ego driven and "out to make a name for themselves" or have the sole purpose of becoming an "Influencer." I have found myself engaging with various industry experts and "influencers" recently and have noticed a recurring trend.

It appears to me that being influential is less of "a means to an end" for the truly successful "influencers," and more a case of their authority being a byproduct which comes from sharing knowledge and expertise because they enjoy helping others to achieve their goals. These people are generally very agreeable and approachable. 

To me this makes sense, after all how many people want to engage with a selfish arrogant know it all... even if they do know their industry inside and out!

If you've nothing nice to share... Don't share anything at all
A question that was posed during Ian's Webinar was "How often should I post on my blog" Ian's answer was;

"Any time you have good content! It's better to have one great post once a month than 4 rubbish posts because you feel you have to write something every week, even if it's a bit rubbish" 

John confirms this sentiment by highlighting that for all the great things social media has done to improve the sales process, there is always the danger of posting "just for the sake of it" but this undisciplined approach can end up draining a lot of time and there will not be much to show for it if you don't have a strategy and/or good content.

I like how these experts recommend the way you should deal with having a social media presence, especially their advice to take the time to research and listen before sharing.

Rewind and Review: ISTE13
I have learned lots this week from this great PD on being social. But I was also delighted to discover that, in a number of ways, I had been adhering to some of these practices that John and Ian recommend by observing the communications from ISTE. 

For example, I found that there were so many fantastic discussions taking place but felt that trying to follow the discussions truly was like trying to drink from a fire hose! Surely others felt the same? 

I did contribute to the ISTE discussion, and hope that I did so responsibly, but I also thought "There are so many voices here, no one can possibly take it all in... all these great ideas is being lost in a sea of 40,000+ Tweets. I thought a great way to deal with the dichotomy of social media and reflection was to curate all this data; An Iste Bytsie Post... with some Big Conference Data, this was then added to a larger data set which included some 200,000 Tweets from a 6 week snapshot of 150+ EdChats.

It took a long time to pull this data together and there was no set plan as I had no idea what this research would uncover, I took a break from all these spreadsheets and wrote a post to justify the value to myself Mining Data... Nuggets of Gold and Pearls of Wisdom

I wonder if you can imagine my delight when I read that my rationale for pulling all this data together 12 months ago mirrors John Golden's advice;

"Recieve. Do not transmit. Sit Quietly. Absorb. Ponder. Be contemplative... I know this all sounds like I have drifted into some new age mysticism and can see you picturing someone in lotus position, chanting to themselves while they read some discussion thread but sitting in virtual scilence is critically important. It is the only way to gather the data, information, and knowledge necessary to make good decisions regarding the people you connect with"

Paused: EdChat Moderator
One idea that trawling through this data led me to suggest that some kind of EdChat Moderator resources might be useful. With over 150 EdChats, it would be impossible to participate in them all and felt there would be a number of benefits to having a collective archive of all Ed Chats. I detail some of these benefits in The Connected EdChat Moderator.

I did explore this idea, but a key stumbling block was finding a platform that could support this so I put the idea on hold. However a week before ISTE14 I may have found a potential solution.

Record and Play: ISTE14 I have been aware of Nurph, which is a Twitter chat platform, for a while and joined Nurph chat last week for some tips on the topic of "Interested in Starting a Twitter Chat." During the chat Nurph mentioned a new "Record and Play" function, I let the EdTechBridge moderators know about this new functionality and they used it for the first time this week: Nurph EdTechBridge Chat Replay...Ah the benefits of getting outside the echo chamber.  

When I saw this reply function I contacted Nurph to see if they could;

1) Organise a "Record and Play" for conference hashtags as well as EdChats?

Answer: Yes! ISTE please get in touch if you would like to have a replay function of the conference Twitter stream. 

2) Have a playlist of all the EdChats with various search criteria so they were in one location so people could quickly and easily replay any chats they missed?

Answer: Yes, this is not something that they provide at the moment but if enough EdChat moderators are interested they would put the development work in to whatever specifications educators would like.

So my question is... Why surf the web when you can Nurph it? Why trawl through 150+ webpages and separate storify accounts each week for the EdChat archives when you can have an EdChat replay in one handy playlist?

Are you going to be following ISTE on Twitter? 
Are you involved with an EdChat? 

We'd love to hear what you think of this kind of "record and replay" EdChat playlist. Please leave your comments below or sign your EdChat up to Nurph at

NB I am not affiliated with nor have been compensated by Nurph... I have been been looking for better Twitter way to curate EdChats for a few months and this looks really promising.