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Egregious use of the word “authentic.”

Listen to my DishyMix interview with Joe Pine, author of Authenticity.
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Author Joe Pine on the Principles of Influential Authenticity, The Experience Economy and Phoniness Generating Machines

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Joe Pine, Susan Bratton and Klaas Weima
Image by SusanBratton via Flickr


Starting with Change as the Fundamental Supposition in Marriage and in Life by Joseph Carrabis

This post is part of a series on managing change inspired by my DishyMix epsiode “Managing Through Change: A Personal and Professional Workshop.”

DishyMix guest, Joseph Carrabis, founder and CEO of NextStage Evolution offers a perspective on “change.”


You asked for a story about change (which is constant) and managing the work-life balance.

Susan and I are coming on our 25th wedding anniversary. We’ve been together for 31 years. I wrote our wedding vows:

I can not promise you fidelity, sanity, health, hope, love, comfort or joy. All I can promise is that I will change. Not all my changes will be good. I ask God’s help that not all will be bad.
I ask you today to be with me in my changes, to tell me when I am foolish, to heal me when I am sick, to love me when I forget to love, to give me hope when I have none to give, to give me comfort when I am cold and alone, to give me joy when all I know is sadness.
Stand with me the rest of my days. I have asked you to do this. I ask you again, here, before our friends and families. It is said before others, but the words are for you. I love you.

Nobody in the audience knew what the vows would be, not even the minister. People knew I’d written them and everyone assumed they’d be whimsical if not funny. I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve asked for copies of our vows since then.

What is saddest is that of the 80 couples who attended (and barring deaths) only two couples remain as couples. Death took two other couples.

Why did we last as a couple? Perhaps because we defined our relationship from the beginning by the changes we would go through — both known and unknown — and recognizing that nothing is static, everything evolves.

Study change, study evolution, and you learn that nature preserves balance of the whole at great cost. Nature reshapes oceans and continents, moves galaxies and suns, creates light and darkness in equal measure, and always to keep itself in balance, a mobile of eternity sent singing a balance of harmonies by the winds of change.

Isn’t it then a demonstration of whatever gods one honors to give the Universe rest by keeping oneself in as much balance as possible?

Want to know how to weather the times, economic upheavals, business successes and failures, the birth of a child and the loss of a friend? Keep yourself in balance first with yourself then with the world around you. Spend as much time fostering yourself as you do others, give as much time to others as you do yourself. Your world can change in less than a heartbeat so do joy whenever you can. The world will take care of bringing you sorrow when you least expect it.

The bad news is that keeping yourself in balance is in itself a full time job. It is what you were really born to do. Get use to it. Recognize it. Do it. The good news is that making this your full time job means everything else falls into place faster than you can imagine, in less than a heartbeat, when you least expect it, so take joy in it.
Listen to my interview with Joseph here:

Joseph Carrabis, Founder, NextStage Evolution on “Why People Do What They Do.”


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Image courtesy of Creative Commons apdk’s “Wedding Rings.”


Human Nature Meets Social Media – The Brain Science Behind Participation by Joseph Carrabis, DishyMix Guest Blogger

Joseph Carrabis continues his guest blogging by answering this question from DishyMix listener Alex Nexbitt, co-founder of Digital Podcast, a digital consultancy focusing on the convergence of brands, media and social technologies.

If you like Joseph’s insights and work, I encourage you to read his new blog “That Think You Do”
This is the second part of a multi-part response to Alex’s questions about social media participation. Here’s the first part of the answer to this thread/question. Here is the second part of the answer on Exafference and Reafference.

Alex Nesbitt

Alex Nesbitt’s Question:

One of the biggest challenges with social media is getting passive audience to become active contributors. There are different ways of contributing, for example writing, videos, photos, and there are different reasons for contributing, for example the desire to be seen and recognized, or passion for a topic. What are differences in the reasons why and the ways that women vs. men decide to contribute, and overall what approaches would be most effective in motivating each?

Joseph Carrabis’ Answer:

Alex Nesbitt, Part 3…


  • Getting people to move from exafferent (passive) to reafferent (active) social media involvement has to do with fair-exchange. Fair-exchange means the site owner/management has to take a “personal” stake in building and maintaining the relationships that are the core of social networking and social media usage.
  • The nature of our species is that once women feel safe in a social network they will add content more readily than men will. One of the principle aspects of this safety is that women will generally feel safest (nonconsciously, anyway) in a woman-woman network than in a mixed gender network.
  • People become socially active in proportion to their recognition (and the type of recognition they receive) in a given social group (network). This means site owners/management need to demonstrate that each person in the network has value to the network. There are an incredible number of ways to do this and which ways to use are dependent on the type of network, its purpose and goals. Note that the purpose and goals to members may be (and usually are) quite different from the purpose and goals as defined by site owners/management.

I was going to start this installment with a description of “direct address” and I saw that Susan Bratton was already there. Her Rally for Suz: Help Me DOUBLE My DishyMix Audience blog post is an excellent example of direct address; simply stating what you want. I wrote in The Stephane Hamel, Susan Bratton, Eric Peterson Convergence and more “Thoughts on Blogging” “Direct address is something NextStage and others’ research has indicated is a powerful motivational tool in social networks — simply asking people to take part. Works 99.99999% of the time and is an element of what NextStage talks about in “Using the 10 First Contact Marketing Messages“.” This is also something that shows up in NextStage’s Principles as “People who don’t ask for what they want deserve what they get.”

One of the things NextStage’s tools can do is determine when “direct address” should be used in marketing material, on websites, videos, speeches, in trainings, whatever, to reach and motivate audiences into action. Direct Address can take the form of text, music (anybody who’s been in a gym club aerobics class has heard someone’s best attempt at using direct address music (and often without knowing what it’s really about, sad to say, hence with mixed results), or audio (listen to a well crafted political speech (regardless of language) or a “motivational” speech (ditto)), visual/video (some of the best examples I’ve ever seen are the plays/movies of Neil Simon and David Mamet. Another excellent example is the Peter Falk-Alan Arkin version of “The In-Laws”). You can read an example of using sonic (sound, music, audio) direct address at The Investors Heard the Music. The best use of direct address is with a mélange of all forms, just make sure that mélange is highly orchestrated for effect. And of course I’m limiting this discussion to a western cultural audience.

Direct Address works so well because it’s part of our evolutionary history – we’re designed to communicate directly with each other, in person. The advent of exafferent communication methodologies (print, radio, video) means we had to learn ways of communicating “direct address” when we couldn’t receive the other person’s response cues (we didn’t know how they were interpreting our message).

What did we do? We went back to our primitive origins. Think back to prehistoric images (prior to writing forms regardless of their usage), things like the Trois Freres and Lascaux paintings and their counterparts worldwide. There are no images of thoughtfulness, of “sedentary” acts. All depictions are of action. Flash forward to TV commercials when TV was young. Did they want to sell you a washer? Then they had a spokesperson showing you how to use the washer. Later on they thought they were becoming more sophisticated and they didn’t show you mom washing until near the end of the commercial. First they showed you kids and dad getting dirty.

Today we applaud and honor witty and cleverly done commercials and I always wonder “What were they selling?” If the average exafferent participant can’t figure out what the commercial (print, audio, video, whatever) is selling within the first ¼-1/3 of a commercial’s run time or scan time then the marketing message is lost.

Fortunately direct address is done fairly easily and in many obvious ways (I’ve demonstrated several examples at eMetrics, IMedia and other conferences). Examples of direct address are well documented in studies of verbal signaling, directional processing, cognitive distancing, …, things that psycholinguists and semioticists deal with daily. You can find them used in law enforcement, security work, litigation, interrogation techniques, most investigative work…and successful marketing practices.

(I often get a kick out of audience reactions when I demonstrate that interrogation techniques are simply an intensified form of marketing practices, or that the most prevalent form of direct address that most people are familiar with in modern society is pornography. Does interacting with pornography cause a reaction in you? Welcome to direct address, the act of getting you to respond whether you want to or not. (and I’m not justifying pornography, only recognizing it as a cultural phenomenon and influencer))

My next post in this series shares some of the simple and easy to follow rules for getting people to participate in social media that fall from everything we’ve discussed in this thread so far. Read it here:

Using Brain Science to Get Passive Audience to Become Active Contributors in Social Media – Joseph Carrabis Answers Your Questions.

Joseph Carrabis is CRO and Founder of NextStage Evolution. He is also a Senior Research Fellow and Advisory Board Member of the Society for New Communications Research and Director, Predictive Analytics and Senior Fellow at the Center for Semantic Excellence as well as a member of Scientists Without Borders. His new blog is “That Think You Do.”

Joseph Carrabis

To hear Joseph’s DishyMix interview, click a button below.

Joseph Carrabis, Founder, NextStage Evolution on “Why People Do What They Do.”


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Using Brain Science to Get Passive Audience to Become Active Contributors in Social Media – Joseph Carrabis Answers Your Questions.

This week, my DishyMix guest blogger is Joseph Carrabis, CRO and Founder of NextStage Evolution. Joseph is a Senior Research Fellow and Advisory Board Member of the Society for New Communications Research and Director, Predictive Analytics and Senior Fellow at the Center for Semantic Excellence as well as a member of Scientists Without Borders.

He has a new blog here. (great url!)  His latest post is Romancing Real Women. Read that next, but read this first:

Joseph Carrabis

I am enthralled by the level of insight Joseph brings to understanding the difference between how men and women react to marketing.

This is a multi-part series, so feel free to sign up for my blog RSS feed to make sure you get all this goodness.

Here’s the question from Alex Nesbitt, CEO, Digital Podcast
One of the biggest challenges with social media is getting passive audience to become active contributors. There are different ways of contributing, for example writing, videos, photos, and there are different reasons for contributing, for example the desire to be seen and recognized, or passion for a topic. What are differences in the reasons why and the ways that women vs. men decide to contribute, and overall what approaches would be most effective in motivating each?

Don’t miss Joseph’s previous posts on this question: 

Converting Passive Social Media Prospects to Active Social Media Users

Social Media: Exafference – Passive Participation (the “They’re Giving You Their Time” Part) – and Reafference, or Creating Active Participation

The Quality of Social Media Relationships: What is “Genuine” Communication?

Alex Nesbitt, Part 4…

So, distilling the 20+ pages of notes I made in order to answer Alex’s question, we tie it all together with some simple rules (bet you thought I’d never get here, huh?). These rules work in print, in text, in audio, video, rich media, poor media, social media, your choice…

•    When communicating to your audience and wanting to motivate them you must be motivated yourself
•    When communicating to your audience and wanting them to take action you must be active in the way you want them active
•    Be like Hemingway – keep it simple with as little embellishment as possible
•    Be confident – watch what you write, use as images, use as podcasts, use as video and make sure everything is consistent, not in the large but always in the small
•    Video/Podcasts – let your guests correct themselves, don’t correct them (unless it’s a glaring error)
•    Video/Podcasts – keep self corrections to a minimum (again, unless it’s a glaring error)
•    Video/Podcasts – when you become aware of an error in a previous episode mention it publicly and hopefully before your audience brings it to your attention
•    All forms – show concrete images, use concrete terms, etc., to cause people to take action
•    Direct Address – when asking people to take part make sure they know it’s totally up to them (taking part is their choice)
•    Direct Address – when asking people to take part make sure they know there’s no ongoing commitment on their side, they are under no obligation (this is a biggie as both research and business studies show people are more likely to take part in an endeavor if they believe it to be a one shot deal even though they usually habituate to the activity)

Further suggestions on this subject that are highly specific to social media can be found in my SNCR Awards Gala presentation (and don’t be surprised that the crux of encouraging activity on a social media site should involve common sense and good manners):

•    Give Credit Where It Is Due
•    Admit Your Mistakes
•    Manage the Discussion
•    Be Honest
•    Lead the Discussion
•    Explain Everything

There’s actually a lot more that gets into very specific areas:

•    Keep overt competitiveness to a minimum of at all on female-oriented social media sites
•    Demonstrate reciprocity on male-oriented social media sites
•    Demonstrate the actions you want members to engage in several times in several ways across several elements of the social media site
•    Reward employees for taking part in company social media activities (studies show such employees are usually happier and more productive)
•    There’s a wide variety of social networking factors involved (many of which I’ve documented elsewhere)

Let me know if there’s a serious interest out there and I’ll schedule a series of podcasts or webinars or some such that will cover this material. People who’ve seen my conference presentations know what those can be like.


Building Social Communities – Advice from Dave Evans, Author of Social Media: An Hour A Day

Here is a Q&A I did as a special DishyMix podcast segment with Dave Evans about creating online communities:


Dave Evans, Author, Social Media: An Hour A Day

Susan Bratton: Okay, Dave, please explain where you see the world of forums and communities and things like Ning and other white label social network implementations. How does a company decide what technology or service is right? If you’re a brand and you’re competing with all these other networks, how do you know the right thing to do is create a community or a forum or a network implementation?

Dave Evans: The first way I’ll answer this is by relating it to Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s book, “Groundswell.”

Susan Bratton: Yes, Charlene was on “DishyMix.”

Dave Evans: That book sets up the first thing to think about: “what does your audience want and what is your business’ objective?” You get those two things and nail down and you’re in pretty good shape. That’s the point that both Charlene and Josh make.

So, when I think about this and then apply to your question about forums, communities, etc., what am I trying to accomplish as a marketer? Am I trying to enable self-service help, the way that Dell has done with its forum? Am I trying to enable a community experience that’s built around people sharing ideas with each other the way the things that we did, for example, with Better Homes and Gardens and 18 other Meredith properties. It’s those objectives and it’s the capabilities and desires of the audience really that drive you choose to do.

When I look at the white label platform, at the Nings, at the Plurks, at the Jives, at the LinkedIns, and so on, these are all great platforms. Each has a specific set of capabilities, each has something that it’s better at than the other. So it really comes back to understanding, “What are my business objectives? Who is my audience? What are they willing to do? Then one of the central questions that I try to get to is, “What’s the role of the individual in the community?” If I’m there for self-serve, a forum will take care of that very quickly, very efficiently, and so on.

If I’m looking for an interactive experience with other people, then we’d want to get to the level of the persona, the profile, and so on. “Who is Dave Evans? Who is Susan Bratton? Who are these people that are talking?” It’s through that knowledge that I’m going to judge all the contributions that they make to the community. It’s much more about the personal interaction. If I’m looking for an information on an HDTV or my power button, my light isn’t coming out of my scanner machine or something like that, I go to a support forum and figure that out very quickly.

Susan Bratton: So then, if you’re talking about people sharing ideas with each other where the profile of that person, whether it’s an avatar or it’s their real identity, they’re creating an identity in that community. Is that where you’d say move to something like Ning or Plurk or one of those white label social networks where you actually have to register, sign up, upload your image, and then you have the ability to have a conversation?

Dave Evans: Exactly. But you also have that same thing in the existing networks. So for example, things like the “DishyMix” Facebook Fan page. You don’t have to build any of the community and structure. Facebook has put that in place for you, but you recognize here’s what you want to get done, your audience is already here, and you took the time and effort to build the fan page rather than simply a profile page, the fan page gives you so much more.

Susan Bratton: I don’t think that it does though, because in a fan page, my users can post their comment, they don’t really get to talk to each other. It’s all a linear news feed of wall posts. There’s nothing really there that supports a conversation with each other. It’s more like billboard.

Dave Evans: Yes, yes. I think, from the fan page perspective, yes. What I was referring to was the effort that you go through to put the fan page together so that you now have the ability to directly communicate with your fans.

Susan Bratton: It’s still more like a one by one conversation. I might post something and people will comment on it. It’s not generating interaction among “DishyMix” members.

Dave Evans: Correct. But Facebook already has that piece in place. For example, the work that Dr. Anan Conrad, he’s a prostate cancer surgeon, and he built a community on the main platform for prostate cancer from both perspectives, people that are going in for treatment, as well as for survivors.

Susan Bratton: He understood that the people who have gone through prostate cancer are the best people to talk to if you’ve been diagnosed.

Dave Evans: Exactly. He’s the doctor, and we know how busy doctors are, he was able to put the stuff together very quickly, very easily in a few days to get it up and running and put this network in place. It’s all built around the profiles of the people that are in the network. Then, their experiences and so on and the networks enable them to share that. You’ll get ready for surgery, understand what the options are, all those sorts of things through this community.

Susan Bratton: One of the things that I see as a potential problem with the white label social network implementation, whichever brand you choose, is that that’s good when you’re around a specific vertical topic. But if you have multiple topics like, “I want to talk about weight loss or I want to talk about professional development in the area of selling. Oh, I want to talk about ecological lifestyle.” Whatever it might be, I’m just throwing random things out. I haven’t seen anything that combines an uber community that has a lot of different things they might want to talk about.” How do you do the cross, the hybrid between the forums where you have threads and the community, in general, unless you’re building something as big as a Facebook?

Dave Evans: Yes, yes, exactly. That problem actually comes up because of the difference in the functionality between, for example, some of the core elements like the blog and photo-sharing and video-sharing and that sort of thing. Then a tool like a forum where it’s the highly-structured threaded discussion environment. So a couple of ways around it are, for example, when we look at the Ning platform, my Ning account gets me into all of the Ning communities that I’m a member of.

So one of the things that’s happening through Ning and through networks that behave this way, is I create a single presence but then I’m a member of 18 networks. Maybe you’re a member of two out of those 18, but you’re a member of 20 others. So that’s one of the ways that we get at the divergence in opinions.

Susan Bratton: That’s also open ID. A lot of people are supporting that.

Dave Evans: One of the other features that we see a lot is the integration of forums and blogs and so on. Plurk has it and Jive has it, a bunch of platforms offer this where both tools are available. So for example, as a marketer, if I want to offer the experience of threaded discussions, I can do that. If I want to offer the experience of either me blogging and my audience commenting or actually giving my audience their own blog within the community, I can do all those things and then manage it all through the personas, manage it through all the individual profiles. So it’s a great area, and what it really comes back to is what is it that the customer is after? What is the business objective?”

One of my favorite quotes is Sam Walton’s, “If you have questions, go to the store because you’re customer has the answer.” So we start with the audience. What is it that they want to do and that they’re capable of doing? Once we understand that, it’s pretty clear that we may have put up as the business objective. What is it that we need to implement?

Susan Bratton: So, my mind is going in two directions. The first direction is, we can ask our customers what they want, but there’s this urban legend that our customers don’t really know what they want until we build it and iterate. Where are you on that scale?

Dave Evans: Yes. The same quote as Henry Ford, “If I’d ask my customers what they’d want, they would have said, “A faster horse.” There’s definitely some truth to that. At the same time, there are some customers and some habits and some preferences and some abilities that they have. If we put the wrong thing in front of them, they really will reject it. “Well, they have to learn to do this or it’s easy if you were just to do this, you’ll like it so much better.” They always find a way right now, and they know that.

So again, it comes down to where’s the common sense intersection of the two? There are lots of innovative things. I started using Google Chrome, and the first thing I found was, “Hey, wait a second. Where are my toolbars?” After a week of using it, I’m not really missing them. “Where are my buttons to take me to my homepage? Oh, okay, I just do it this way.” What you find is that overtime, you adapt to technologies that make sense for you and you don’t adapt the other one. It’s the same thing with any of the stuff.

Susan Bratton: In the last 24 hours, I’ve had conversations about community implementations with a weight loss company, an insurance company and a business credit card company. Each one of those organizations wants to build community as a part of their website. They want to provide a platform for interaction of their customers. Do you think that this is a good idea? A bad idea? A case-dependent idea? What advice would you give these companies?

Dave Evans: I’m going for case-dependent. I think what it really comes down to is, first off, what do they mean by community? Do they mean that it’s perfectly okay for somebody to log in and say, “I bought three cases of your product and it doesn’t work. I had an accident, your claim adjuster showed up and he was rude.” If that’s perfectly okay, then they’re really talking about community. I point that out because very often, what we see is moderation of comment, injection of things other than genuine comments, and so on. This idea of community, what the marketers really saying if you decode it, they want a place at their house where everybody will come and hang out and then they can do great things.

Well, that’s not exactly community. A community is much more driven by the individual, what he or she wants to know, what the expenses that they had were, and so on. If they’re okay fashioning that environment and creating that enviroment, they’re good for community. Then the next question is, “Is that person better served that a community where all insurance issues are being discussed or all weight loss issues are being discussed? Or, are they better served in a community that carries the perspective of only one particular product or solution?”

Susan Bratton: So it might be better to expand from your specific brand conversation to a community that covers all small business insurance or discusses maintaining your weight loss no matter how you keep it off?

Dave Evans: You can get really specialized, in depth information from the people who make the particular product that you’re using. You can also get a wholistic perspective on all of the approaches – the weight loss – in a community that isn’t sponsored by someone with the self-interest of selling one particular thing or have one particular approach. So when you think about community as a business, it’s not just a matter of, “Gee, everybody has a website, we need one. Everybody has got a community, we need one.” It’s really a question of what is going to best serve my customer? Where are they going to get the best information?” Then I go back to Fred Reichheld’s work, “How is it that the experience I’m creating that will make me so good, that even when the competitors are sitting right there with my customers, my customers are going to choose me.”

Susan Bratton: Yes. That’s a good filter. Alright. This has helped me think through things, and I’m really going back to that idea of the standard registration across multiple networks as being really key for a higher level of adoption and usage. Do you think that’s true or do you think that’s just because I have a social Web myopia where I already have a password so I think that’s important?

Dave Evans: No. I definitely think that the centralized identity, the centralized log in, the ability for me to easily move from network to network…obviously, at a certain level, that works against the network providers. They want sticky. They don’t want slippery. But from the customer’s perspective, from the network’s users perspective, I just want to be me. I just want to go to different networks and enjoy them, participate with people and so on. So the thing that makes it easier to do that like centralized, single sign on (SSO), and all these different methods, they go a long way toward facilitating that.

Susan Bratton: I have this bias that I believe that old people like forums. I’m talking about people our age and older, Dave. Though you’re better preserved than I with all that ski racing. :)

I know a lot of people in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and even 70’s who are very interested in being on early bulletin boards, maybe these are the AOL users or whatever who’ve learned how to post to BB’s. It seems like for the boomer, the leading boomers and the trailing boomers, that they are pretty facile with forums. Yet, we haven’t seen that big shift into social networks yet – but there could be with, what you were talking about with Plurk and Jive, this idea that there are forums and a network kind of blended together, especially around passion areas, that could be an on ramp for that community to feel comfortable interacting. I’m making all these up in my head, what do you think?

Dave Evans: Okay. So I have a theory for everything.

My theory for classic rock is that the boomer generation, the last time that it thought about any new music was either in high school or in college. Therefore, classic rock persists as this thing from our high school prom, from our college partying days, whatever. That is the music that we like and everything else is like…I don’t know, there’s this new formula, and something else, blah, blah, blah. Human nature says until we’re pushed really, really hard, we have to be pushed really hard – death in the family, divorce, all the great topics.

Susan Bratton: Yes, life changes, life stages.

Dave Evans: You’ve got to get to those points before we’ll open up and learn something new again. So where am I going with this? Here’s where I’m going. When the Internet came out, it was sort of a big enough thing that Boomers jump on it. Some of them were at the age where they were either at that trailing age was in high school or college, college in particular. For a lot of the rest of us, it’s like, “Wow! This thing is so big.” We were willing to do some things to open up and learn some things that we might not have been willing to do otherwise. It’s something that has been a little bit less eventful.

Well, now we’re maybe, maybe through social media, maybe through device-independence, through mobility we might see that kind of thing again. It might be big enough to bring some people. But the result of it is what we’re all really comfortable doing as boomers is using the bulletin boards and the messaging systems in the forums that existed in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Susan Bratton: I’m singing “Carry on my wayward son…” (Singing Kansas) in my mind now, because I’m thinking about prog rock. So here’s my tip for all boomers listeners. There’s a website I really like, it’s a really simple website, so you’ll like that. It’s called “Music For Midnight” and it’s Austin Beeman. He does this for love. He decided to go out and put together playlists of really good new indie music discovery podcast like C.C. Chapman does does on Accident Hash. Music for Midnight is all around downtempo trip hop and “easy listening electronica,” the kind of stuff when you go to a really nice brunch in a really hip place and the music is playing, and you say, “I like this.” That’s chill or lounge music and I recommend it if you are still listening to the music you did in high school!

Music For Midnight

Music For Midnight: Downtempo | TripHop | Ambient | Chill Out | Lounge | Independent Electronica

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Dave Evans: Go live in Ibiza for a while. Nice shout out to CC, too.

Susan Bratton: Well, that’s good. So I think you’ve helped me understand a bit more about the approach and the way to think about communities, and of course, the importance of log in and the value of forums if you have an older audience. These are really helpful things. Are there any other things that I should’ve ask you about communities, forums, social networks from a marketing perspective?

Dave Evans: No, I think we’ve covered the big stuff. We’ve covered business objectives, we’ve covered the desires and capabilities of your audience, we’ve covered how those things put together. We’ve talked a little bit about metrics and a quantitative approach to this. I do want to mention Joseph Carrabis in the podcast that we produced recently. I did ask him a couple of questions as a follow-up to the podcast and he pointed out something that really made me think. It was his idea of the role of gut instinct, of intuition, and so on, of the 20 years of experience that a seasoned marketer could bring to a social media application.

Susan Bratton: Yes. Trust your gut.

Dave Evans: It’s not all just numbers, there is a certain amount. I know the numbers as you do, “Does this make sense?” I’ve got to believe that it makes sense. So we want to include that one in there. We’ve talked about forums and communities and role persona, that kind of thing. We’ve talked about this idea of social spaces, all of the networks taken together. Social content, whether it’s blogs or posts on Twitter or photos on Flickr. We talked about interactions and the role of FriendFeed. I think we’ve covered it.

Listen to the podcast with Dave Evans.


Dave Evans, Digital VooDoo on Interruptus Vulgaris, Trusting “The Cloud” and Social Media: An Hour A Day

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Brain Scientist Joseph Carrabis Will Predict How YOU are Going to Vote Monday at 3pm EST.

Joseph Carrabis

NextStage’s Joseph Carrabis will be using his experience in brain science to predict the 2008 Election outcome today, Monday, 3 November at 3:00pm ET on Adam Zand’s Really Big Shoe show. Want to know how you’re going to vote? Listen in and take part.

You have been invited by Adam Zand to join a live Community Call.
Adam Zand’s Really Big Shoe (Join in)
Host: Adam Zand – ThisDudeAbides.Zand at gmail

Episode: EPISODE23 – Adam Zand’s Really Big Shoe
The world will fundamentally change on Election Day – The Big Shoe talks to Joseph Carrabis for a preview and a review of political social media efforts and effects. Carrabis is Chairman and Chief Research Officer of NextStage Evolution, LLC, NextStage Global LTD, and a founder of KnowledgeNH, NH Business Development Network and the Center for Semantic Excellence. He’s a Senior Research Fellow and Advisory Board Member to the Society for New Communications Research and frequent contributor to You’ve heard the pundits and the pollsters but what does Joseph’s online predictive crystal ball tell about how close the election is (; how messages are being received and re-interpreted and if O.J. Simpson is really a factor - We’ll catch up on Joseph’s consulting business ( and share best practices for marketers in the fields of predictive intelligence, persuasion engineering and interactive analytics. Joseph Carrabis and The Really Big Shoe will reveal what’s behind the voting booth curtain.

Call ID: 18410

Personal Message from the Host:
You’ve heard the pundits and pollsters but have you got your predictive analytics fix on Election 2008? Joseph Carrabis is our guest for a preview and a review of political social media efforts and effects. As Chairman and Chief Research Officer of NextStage Evolution, Joseph has been feeding us nuggets at We’ll look at the political and business ramifications of the science and art of predictive intelligence, persuasion engineering and interactive analytics. Most importantly, The Really Big Shoe will reveal what’s behind the voting booth curtain.

Phone Number: (724) 444-7444 Call ID: 18410

Date: Monday November 3, 2008
Time: 03:02 PM EDT

Call in:
Dial: (724) 444-7444
Enter: 18410 # (Call ID)
Enter: 1 # or your PIN


Boomer Insights from Mary Brown, JWT BOOM – Seasoned Sexuality, Leaving a Legacy and the Generation Jones Cohort

Meet Mary Brown, Partner, Strategy and Insight at JWT BOOM, and expert in the Baby Boomer generation. Mary has written the definitive book on Boomers called “BOOM: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer – The Baby Boomer Woman.” She closes the gap on what we collectively know about Boomers with the latest research and insight into this all-powerful demographic.

Mary Brown, JWT Boom

Here is an excerpt from my audio interview on DishyMix with Mary Brown. The links are below to listen to the whole show. Search this blog for other posts from Mary Brown on Boomers too.

Susan Bratton: I want to address a quote that I got out of your book. It says, “The baby boomer generation is not only open to new experiences, they’re becoming increasingly experimental with age.” And we’re going to tie that into some of the things you talked about with regard to seasoned sexuality, the search for meaning, and then I want to get some key take aways from the top speakers at your Live Wire Summit.

So tell us about this experimental group Mary. What’s happening in this seasoned sexuality piece, and is there an opportunity in the marketplace there?

Mary Brown: Definitely. I met Gale Sheehy when she came out with her book, “Sex and the Seasoned Woman,” shortly after we released ours. It takes a deep dive into the Aspirational 50 plus women out there. Did you know that of women over 50 little over half are single, to me that was like wow when she shared that info. In her words, you hit the 50s, go through that empty nest stage and tend to come out the other side of that going, “Do I want to spend the rest of my life with this guy?” There’s more women than men initiating these divorces that happen after 50. You’ve really got this group of women that have gotten to a certain point where they say, “You know what, it kind of doesn’t have to be status quo anyway, anymore.” I think it’s also a combination of as you age, from a self fulfilling as well as a developmental standpoint, you’ve got a lot more experience under your belt that tends to engender this confidence to say, “Hey, you know what, I don’t have to do things the way society has pressured me into doing them or the way I felt pressured. I can explore a little bit here.” And I think that’s what’s at the root of Gail’s Seasoned Woman… breaking through the stereotypes of what aging is right now, is you’ve got this boomer generation that’s bumping up against that 50 benchmark where traditionally it was thought that you were in a slow decline in all aspects of your life, wanting to try new things to starting new careers to just about anything, and the sheer numbers of boomers that are bumping up against this transition and busting it out I think is really what’s remaking the landscape out there right now very interesting.

Susan Bratton: Well, when you were doing your research you were also talking to people about the search for meaning. One of the things you said is that for the majority of the people you polled the search for meaning centered around striving for and discovering a more satisfying experience of their lives. You know, I tie that back to what you said about the fact that once you turn 50 you potentially have another half of your life left. It could be that you’re only halfway through, and so people are starting to think about contribution and their significance and their legacy and how they can live and create the life that they want because they’ve potentially been in service to others rather than in service to themselves and the tables begin to turn. What are some of the insight that you’ve gained about that search for meaning?

Mary Brown: Well I think that you put it really well, it is also interesting to note that it is now shown to be connected to actual changes that are going on in the brain as we age. We invited Gene Cowen to speak on this topic at the LiveWire summit. He’s an expert on the brain and behavioral science. He’s identified that there’s a lot of positive changes that occur because of aging at this stage, not despite it as is commonly held. You know, there’s a lot of new discoveries about how the brain actually has the capacity to continue to regenerate itself and thrive much differently than the perceptions were before. Our brains almost become wiser, what matters really flows to the surface, which helps explain the increased desire, as we become older, to leave a legacy. And take the whole green movement right now. Yes it’s more strongly associated with a young kind of energy and the younger generations, but it is really being driven and supported by boomers, who have the head space and the discretionary income to be able to make an impact on the green movement that we’re seeing right now, you know, what with green building, and other elements that influence our economy by how they spend their money on green, on organic, whatnot. You can’t underestimate the influence of grandkids on the boomers’ motivations in this regard as well. For our grandkids, we have a heightened sense of legacy and making a better world really gets that conversation raised.

Susan Bratton: That makes a lot of sense, and it’s interesting that Gene Cowen is a brain and behavioral scientist. I’ve had Joseph Carrabis, who is also a brain scientist, on DishyMix, and we did a really interesting show together where he talked about how you market and message to men versus women, the literal approach that you take and the way you structure your language to have a marketing message to a man versus a woman. He’s been guest blogging on my Dishy Mix blog and doing a really nice job answering more questions about that. (Note: Click on the Carrabis tag above to see all Joseph’s posts.) That’s a fascinating area for me. So I’m going to check Gene Cowen out. Now he was one of probably 20 speakers you had at Live Wire, the summit, and you do this every year. Would give us the net/net of a couple of the best presentations presentations? I have six or seven here that look the most interesting, one was keeping up with Generation Jones, and that was Jonathan Pontell. What point did he make that you thought was most interesting?

Mary Brown: Well I give Jonathan a lot of credit because he’s kind of a pioneer on saying, “Hey, wait a second.” We say that this is a generation of folks born between 1946 and 1964, but you can’t talk to the 45 year old boomer and the 62 year old boomer with messages that are going to resonate to both of them. He feels that there’s this particular succinct generation, Generation Jones, born between 1954 and 1965, which includes the most populace birth years in US. And he thinks that “Jonesers,” as he calls them, have been mistakenly lumped in with boomers at large. But he thinks that each cohort has very distinct consumer behavior, values and attitudes. After the summit he was on his way to New York to do an interview with Larry King about Generation Jones, so he’s really pushing this conversation to the forefront.

To listen to the whole interview, click on the links below.

Mary Brown, JWT BOOM on Boomer Archetypes, Seasoned Sexuality and the “Club Sandwich Generation”


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Boomer Archetypes, Seasoned Sexuality and the “Club Sandwich” Generation with Mary Brown of JWT BOOM


Meet Mary Brown, expert in the Baby Boomer generation. Mary has written the definitive book on Boomers called “BOOM: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer – The Baby Boomer Woman.” On this episode, she closes the gap on what we collectively know about Boomers with the latest research and insight into this all-powerful demographic.

If you’re interested in this alluring demographic, please also search this blog for all of Joseph Carrabis’ guest posts on Boomers and Social Networking. His insights are fascinating too.

Mary Brown, JWT BOOM on Boomer Archetypes, Seasoned Sexuality and the “Club Sandwich Generation”


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Mary shares the key takeaways from some of the most interesting presentations at the recent Livewire Summit she produced. Find out what Gene Cohen, behavioral scientist has to say about “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, What is Aging After All?” Jonathan Pontell’s insights into the Generation Jones cohort and Richard Adler’s “Boomer’s the Next 30 Years” also give us some new data to consider.

Get more detail with the “Boomers and Social Networking” executive summary from Boomer Pulse by Sharon Whitely and a Boomer Trends Study “Boomers: The Next 20 Years Map of Future Landscape Affecting Boomers” by the Institute for the Future in the Related Links to this show by clicking the links below.

Related Links:


The Quality of Social Media Relationships: What is “Genuine” Communication? Part 2 of 3

This week, my DishyMix guest blogger is Joseph Carrabis, CRO and Founder of NextStage Evolution. Joseph is a Senior Research Fellow and Advisory Board Member of the Society for New Communications Research and Director, Predictive Analytics and Senior Fellow at the Center for Semantic Excellence as well as a member of Scientists Without Borders.
Joseph Carrabis

This is part 2 of a 3 part series of responses to a question from Ted Zahn, Creative Director at Real Branding about the quality of our relationships in the social media space.

Ted Zahn, Creative Director, Real Branding

Ted Zahn
Hello again,
This is part 2 of my response to Ted Zahn’s question. Part 1 dealt with whether or not social networks will truly enhance the overall quality of our personal relationships. Here we continue with “will social networks enhance just the quantity of our personal relationships rather than the quality of them?”
Excellent question, this. NextStage presented some research findings on just this subject recently. The real question (to me) builds on something I wrote in part 1; how much effort does someone want to put into a given social network? It can be summed up by someone’s response during our research, “I don’t have time to be on five or six social networks.” This response was specific to networks like LinkedIn, FaceBook, et cetera. Although anecdotal, it was exemplary of the major themes we were studying.
Quick response first: People will take part in as many social networks as benefit them. They will more actively take part in social networks that more directly benefit them. Preparing my response I went back through NextStage’s research and then contacted about twenty people just to verify the emerging pattern. This leads to the next paragraph.
Perhaps a more useful response: The average human being will only be able to actively participate in a maximum of nine (9) social networks at a given time. This doesn’t mean they’ll only be a member of a maximum of nine networks (they could be a member of several hundred, they’ll only be active on at most nine in any given time period) nor does it mean they’ll participate in nine in any given time period (they’ll max at nine. Most times they’ll only be active participants on 2-3 at a whack). Thus if you’re a marketer wanting to know where to place advertising dollars, go for volume unless you have extremely high confidence in a networks demographics.
The limits mentioned above have to do with aspects of neurophysiology, specifically our brains’ I/O system. Once you get past neurophysiology you start dealing with things like situational awareness, attention-distraction gradients, engagement, …

<ASIDE>For the record, I define engagement the good old fashioned, neuro- and psycho-cognitive way, “Engagement is the demonstration of Attention via psychomotor activity that serves to focus an individual’s Attention.” None of this “if there’s this many clicks in this amount of time on this many pages during…” stuff.
Then again, I’ve seen lots of evidence that people do things based on what and how they’re thinking and little evidence that people think about things based on what they’re doing and how they do them, hence equating a mental state to an activity is the reverse of what’s true in my view.

Now the socio- and neuro-economist kicks in and asks, “What do you mean by benefit, exactly?”

How people benefit from social networks touches lots of areas of research. Let me start with the question “How does someone chose to self-identify?” John Spalding wrote “What we love to do we find time to do.” and this is demonstrated via self-identification.

For example, I love music so I block off some time every day to play guitar, piano, whatever strikes my mood and interest at the time. I also love bike-riding with Susan (wife, partner, WiseWoman of the North, etc) so we block off time for that every week. I wouldn’t reference myself as a musician or biker and here is one of the interesting things about self-identification, humans are constantly projecting themselves into their environment so that we can be recognized (identified) in ways that reinforce our self-concept. Thus, when people call me a musician (I’m not) I’m flattered, my ego swells, my pride rises a notch or two. When people say “I always see you out riding with Susan” ditto.

The fact that I non-cognitively project those aspects of myself into the world is what demonstrates the depth that those self-concepts exist in me.

So let me put it out there to the readers; what do you find time to do? Then, whether you chose to accept it as a definition or not, it’s what you “love”. More to the point, it’s how you want others to identify you, to recognize that you are not Joseph and vice versa.

Now let’s apply this more directly to self-identification and social networks.

Humans continually do things, say things, etc., to demonstrate who and what they believe they are. I write “believe” and not “think” intentionally. Belief comes from deeper parts of our self-concept than thought because we tend to have less of ourselves invested in what we “think” and more of ourselves invested in what we “believe”. I write in Reading Virtual Minds that there are three basic levels of self-concept – Personality, Identity and Core – and most people aren’t aware of them (probably a good thing for most people).

At various points in a person’s life they may need to identify themselves as an alumnus from a specific institution. A way they might do that is by taking part in the alumni social network affiliated with that institution. Or perhaps they wish to gain recognition as a kite-flyer so they take part in kite-flying social networks (for the record, I don’t take part in such networks).

Or do I? Now we get directly into how one defines a “social network”. The Pictou County Flyers is, indeed, a social network even if the members don’t recognize it as such. They periodically gather to perform activities that are all designed to do one thing and one thing only – reinforce their belief that within that social network they are safe and accepted.

You didn’t think I was going to write “fly kites”, did you?

The level of safety and acceptance one feels within a network is directly proportional to the number and quality of connections they have within that network.

Again, note “number and quality”. We’re not talking about the number of people they know within that network, we’re talking about the ways that people connect, their reasons for connecting and the strength of those connections.

For example, right now (I’m guessing) most readers only know one person in the Pictou County Flyers (me). Your connection to the ‘Flyers isn’t very strong. Let’s say I take you out flying some day and you fly the SkyTiger, the Q2002 and (god forbid) the Ekko. Let’s count your knowing me and our flying these three kites as a total of four connections.

Connections aren’t enough. It’s the quality of those connections that matters where safety and acceptance are concerned.

Let’s say we had a great time flying. We spent most of the day laughing ourselves silly. I was uniformly encouraging and made fun of myself when I made mistakes. We also had periods where we opened up to each other and transmitted quality personal information. We then went to a pub and had some beers and sandwiches, got to know each other a little more and finally I mentioned the Family Kite Night at Nelson Memorial Park in Tatamagouche (Nova Scotia, folks), inviting you to come along.

You may only have four connections to me but those connections are very strong. You feel quite safe and accepted by me. Safe and accepted enough to meet me and some of the ‘Flyers in Tatamagouche.

When we meet in Tatamagouche I tell the other ‘Flyers how well you handled the kites. They accept you because I accept you. People who prefer the SkyTiger, Q2002 and Ekko make their way over to you to talk, others who prefer other kites less so.

Kite flying is the vector. What is transmitted is social acceptance and safety, sometimes referred to as credibility and most often recognized by neuro- and socio-economists as social value, i.e., the benefit we mentioned o’ so long ago.

You’ll participate in kite flying activities because you benefit from doing so, specifically your value increases within that social network each time you participate.

Or you can be like me and just get a rush out of it.

So will social networks enhance the quantity of our personal relationships? Tell me how “personal” personal is, what benefit is derived from the relationship and I’ll answer yes or no. How many people are in your Skype contact list? How many do you interact with daily and for how long? How many people are linked to you? Ditto the ‘interact’ question.
Next up, is there a “digital effect” that is shifting the nature of our relationships to less personal, one-way broadcasts (email, status updates, photo galleries, “Where I’ve Traveled” widgets) at the expense of “genuine” communication. Is this just an inevitable trend of the digital age? Or are social networks actually a part of the solution? I’ll post something on my blog for people who want to know a little bit more of the science behind this kind of stuff.

Joseph Carrabis, Founder, NextStage Evolution on “Why People Do What They Do.”


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Meet Joseph Carrabis, Chief Research Officer, author, inventor, musician, cultural linguist and genius. Susan talks to Joseph about being a cultural linguist, gender specific marketing discoveries, cultural anthropology and how humans, as social animals, are interacting with social networking.

Hear Joseph describe the differences between neurolinguistic modeling, psychodynamic modeling and psychosocial modeling and how our brains are still working with 10 million years of evolutionary history. Get details on gender differences in the ways women create networks to establish power and authority and how men establish power and authority to create networks.

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Joseph Carrabis, Industry Resource for Social Media Consumer Behavior

You may know that Joseph Carrabis has been guest blogging questions from me and from DishyMix listeners through out this year on this blog. I’m quite star struck with his genius and had the opportunity to see him again at ad:tech Chicago where he was flown in for a private, closed-door session with a team from a major brand.

I took these three photos of Joseph at a dinner, which turned into more of a “salon” about human behavior with Pete Blackshaw at table.

To make it easy for you to read all of Joseph’s posts, I’ve added a “Joseph Carrabis” category to the blog. Now click his name above and you’ll see all of his contributions.

Joseph CarrabisJoseph CarrabisJoseph Carrabis

Joseph Carrabis, CRO and Founder of NextStage Evolution. Joseph is a Senior Research Fellow and Advisory Board Member of the Society for New Communications Research and Director, Predictive Analytics and Senior Fellow at the Center for Semantic Excellence as well as a member of Scientists Without Borders.

Here’s my DishyMix interview with Joseph too.

Joseph Carrabis, Founder, NextStage Evolution on “Why People Do What They Do.”

Listen Now
RSS: Subscribe
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Meet Joseph Carrabis, Chief Research Officer, author, inventor, musician, cultural linguist and genius. Susan talks to Joseph about being a cultural linguist, gender specific marketing discoveries, cultural anthropology and how humans, as social animals, are interacting with social networking.


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