It's funny, but even my best friends don't seem sure about just what it is I do for a living.
I stepped out of PR seven years ago. Since then, my income has come from diverse activities: consulting, speaking, writing and more recently online video.
Much of the work has been ad hoc. Someone said, "would you be interested..." and if it interested me, I'd get involved. I guess I've always enjoyed roller coaster rides.
There has remained a central theme, ever since Scoble and I wrote Naked Conversations in 2005-- to follow social media wherever it has gone. On this blog, over the past three years, I have written and posted video of more than 100 people in at least 34 countries on five continents. I estimate that I have written more than 120,000 words on this subject, not counting the 80,000 words contained in Naked Conversations.
Much of this work has been in the form of the SAP Global Survey on Social Media, Culture & Business. SAP has encouraged me to follow the topic and that has given me the good fortune to talk with people as diverse as Michael Dell, whose company is using social media as part of the solution to an unfavorable situation and Wael Abbas, who posts videos of Egyptian police brutality on YouTube so that the world will understand what kind of "democracy" runs his country.
SAP has been a great sponsor. They have given me a free hand in selecting topics. They have encouraged me along the way. They have paid me to do what I would have probably done on my own anyway. But after one year, they have elected not to continue and I wish them well.
Effective July 1, the SAP Global Survey will become the Global Survey. I will continue. Hopefully a new entity will step up to sponsor this ongoing exploration. Meanwhile, I will continue to seek out new stories about how social media is changing just about everything. In fact, I will be expanding topics to also cover issues of Green and Corporate Social Responsibility. If you have either a story or an interest in sponsoring, please contact me.
Meanwhile, my relationship with SAP is far from over. They sponsor WorkFast, the live online video program I co-host each Friday with Robert Scoble, over at FastCompany.TV. The new show seems to be off to a solid start. Additionally, TheConversationGroup, which was instrumental in the Global Survey sponsorship deal has just contracted me to start a new, less-public research project for SAP as well.
That brings us to GlobalNeighbourhoods.TV (GNTV), my other online video program. Unlike WorkFast, GNTV is my baby, is an extension of not just the Global Survey, but Naked Conversations as well. As many of you know, GNTV was launched in March at FastCompany.TV, and--shall we say--had an inauspicious start.
When GNTV launched, I was not quite ready for prime time. If I was an actor, I would say I was prepared for a summer stock script reading. When the curtain went up, I found myself instead at center stage of an opening night on Broadway with some determined hecklers in the audience who managed for a while to distract me.
Most people seem to agree that I got better. After 14 episodes, I think GNTV has proved its value and professionals hungry for insights into how they can use social media in their businesses have found GNTV to have more than a little value.
A few weeks back, however, FastCompany granted my request to take back GNTV, to remove it from their site and to eventually relaunched it o a smaller scale on this site. Primarily, with FastCompany as a partner, the cost of sponsorship was too high for a new program. Here, I can charge a sponsor significantly less dollars and have great flexibility in the sort of deal I can offer. Here, I am the sole decision maker.
GNTV will go on a brief hiatus, until perhaps mid-August. I need to deal with the complexities of AV, production, storing, hosting, compressing, measuring, etc. Because some of these costs can be quite significant, I also need to have sponsorship before I restart.
Prior to relaunching GNTV, I also want to complete a long-overdue project, which is the redesign of this site. I am actively looking for affordable, creative and technical talent to help me modernize this site and make it better suited for video.
Now, let's get back to the original question of just what it is that I do for a living. I now have a more focused, if not totally succinct, answer:
- Primarily, I am an independent online journalist. I write and produce video stories about social media and its impact on culture and business. My primary revenue comes from sponsorships.
- I'm also available for freelance video and text journalistic projects. Recently, Scoble & I collaborated on an eBook called, "The Conversational Corporation" for Dow Jones. It was an assignment I loved and welcome similar assignments. Several organizations have recently contracted video personalities to do interviews for enterprise projects and I would be happy to be considered for them in the future.
- I speak. I speak at conferences and in enterprise settings. I am also available to come in for a half or full day to be part of a corporate conversation on social media issues.
- I advise. I am interested in joining advisory boards. While much of my time recently has been spent with large enterprises, I have spent more than 20 years advising startups and feel the wisdom I have accrued in that area goes beyond social media.
Declaring myself an independent online journalist is liberating in several ways. There is a restriction in trying to be too many things to too many people. This week is going to be a bit of a navel-gazing period for me. I welcome comments, proposals and new ideas.