A week of social

Last week, I participated in the TEDActive Project – Social Networks. The purpose was to explore how we might use our social networks to turn inspiration into action.

Monday. We meet, 20 people with experience across different social networks and with roles from journalists to artists to change agents and connectors.

The expertise of the people within the group is astonishing, each of us bringing a “superpower” to the group. As discussion unfolds, we surface questions to explore with the wider TEDActive audience:

  • How might you find what matters to you through your social networks?
  • How do you discover what you can do about the thing(s) that matter to you?
  • How might you tip inspiration into action?
  • How might we tackle big things with human-sized action?
  • How might we nurture your social aura (effectivess, reputation)?
  • How might social networks make you more courageous?
  • How might you move from tweet to street?

Tuesday. I find myself in a random group to share lunch. I say I’m enjoying being a part of the projects and we’re exploring questions like “Do social networks make you more courageous?”. The conversation kicks into gear. While the projects are useful for having a focus and meeting a group during an overwhelming week, they also encourage deeper conversations.

Wednesday: We set about putting an experiment into place. The most difficult part of the project has been finding how to capture our different passions. We’d been charged to develop a set of “micro-actions”, but how do you find a way to draw those differences together in a meaningful way?

Thursday: One minute. Our story.

When I woke this morning and checked my messages, I had a link to a video. The video was made by two Year 12 students, Nile and Hannah from Huntington School in York in the UK. And they made the video to explain why they’re excited to hear about the TEDED program.

They found TEDED through their teacher, who was sent the link by his head of school. The Head of School found out through Sir Ken Robinson who sent out a tweet asking people to support this initiative. Sir Ken sent the tweet because he was messaged by Marcus, a member of our group for whom Sir Ken is a mentor, a personal connection. In a single day, with 9 targeted messages, our group got the TEDED link into 6,017 schools across the US, the UK and Australia.

Rather than proposing a specific micro-action, we are proposing a new micro- philosophy. Know the power of the people in your network, know the way to reach them, and know to ask them to act in a way that matters. Whether it’s showing support for the middle east, participating in JR’s global art project, or spreading TEDED we’re asking you to be deliberate in your social networks. When you share your ideas from this week, we’re asking you to be the signal, not the noise.

Friday and beyond. Amanda Rose summed it up best:

  1. Be yourself. People respond to those with an authentic social media voice.
  2. Listen and give back to your community.
  3. Chose the right social media channel for your message. Consider the audience.
  4. Clearly define what it is you are asking.
  5. Be passionate. Show people how they can be part of something bigger.
  6. Report back. People want to feel valued and hear the impact.

The outcome of TEDActiveSOC project is to ask all TEDsters to take on this micro-philosophy. Make these the Six TED Commandments of Social Networks to turn inspiration into action.

Photos: Michael Brands / TED

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