MACHI nieuwsbrief

Van idee tot uitvoering: ‘the making of’ MACHI’s nieuwsbrief

Deze werkweek heeft bij mij vooral in het teken gestaan van het ontwikkelen van iets nieuws. En iets dat onverwacht best een beetje spannend blijkt te zijn: mijn nieuwe nieuwsbrief.

Al ver voordat ik met mijn bedrijf begon ontdekte ik dat online zichtbaarheid voor mij succes bracht en ik werkte daarom bewust aan een online ‘personal brand’.

Nu als ondernemer werkt het enorm in mijn voordeel dat ik al veel eerder was begonnen met tweeten over MVO, duurzaamheid en Azië: ik ben voor de mensen die mij volgen herkenbaar en consistent. Maar nu is het ook marketing: hoe positioneer ik mij zakelijk gezien zo goed mogelijk? Lees meer

Being I_am_Europe

‘Rotating curation’: does that ring a bell? If you’re on Twitter you may not know the official name but you might have seen them pop up: they are Twitter accounts with an account holder which changes weekly (usually), often used for accounts connected to locations: countries, cities, etc.

I have followed @sweden for a while now, apparently the first of these #rocur accounts, but until last week I had no idea of the huge amount of accounts there are. That is, until I curated one of those accounts: @I_am_Europe.

I applied for the curation for a few reasons. The main one being that it seemed like fun. Also a new way to have unexpected conversations, find interesting people and so on. A way to learn a little more about what works on Twitter in terms of engaging an audience. And maybe an opportunity to share and talk about some of the topics I think are important.

It was fun, but definitely also a learning experience again on the dynamics of Twitter.

Some of my take-aways from the week:

  • Interacting via a ‘new’ account and (partly) on a timeline of people – and group of followers – you don’t know is really quite hard to do at first. Of course, I could use my existing contacts – and I have sometimes – but I was also looking forward to be able to add to any new conversations. But it takes time to figure out who is who and what people are talking about.
  • Partly a continuation from the previous point, I underestimated how much time it would take to do well. Especially with my original plan of discussing some topics backed up with a bit of research and deciding how to integrate them in a day of tweeting without feeling like I was pushing these topics too strongly. And getting stuck in an unexpectedly chaotic work week didn’t help….
  • Considering those two points, it was very interesting to see what people replied to, favorited, re-tweeted. And mostly they were pictures of my city, pictures of shopping for food at the local farmer’s market or sharing excitement about an upcoming Arcade Fire concert. Huh… so much for interacting about all those other topics.
  • I used Wednesday most to share some other things, which on that day was mostly RT’ing and talking about the 25 year ‘anniversary’ of the Tiananmen Square protests on June 4th, 1989. An occasion I felt deserved a lot of attention.
  • Being ‘I_am_Europe’ also gave me access to some other sources and some people helped me out in finding some difficult-to-find data for research I’m working on. Yay, thanks again!

All in all, fun week! And I hope that the 1200+ followers of the account enjoyed my tweets of course.

But also, for me it proved that engaging and interacting on topics on Twitter that go beyond the daily details is difficult and takes time to work on – not just with physical time during a day to be online, but also time (weeks, months, …)  to build an audience and a connection with that audience. Suffice to say, using social media successfully isn’t easy….



Weekend reading: on WeChat, ‘sea turtles’ and more

While I’m on a long flight back to Europe, here are some interesting reads from the past week(s) on – mostly – China.

‘Are you on Wechat?’

This is probably one of the questions I’ve heard most while here. So, clearly, this is a major communications channel for people living here. And WeChat is much more than just a Chinese version on Whatsapp, as is explained in this extensive and interesting article on TheNextWeb.

Journey of the ‘Sea Turtles’

Another article on contemporary society in China, posted on TeaLeafNation this week, goes into the background of Chinese who’ve studied abroad and decide to come back to China, or don’t come back, or come back and leave again. It’s a complicated discussion, and the article shares some examples of why this is also a very personal discussion for many Chinese people in this situation. There’s a lot to gain in China in an economic sense: job opportunities and the fact that you are not a migrant in an unknown country, but at the same time this isn’t always as easy as it seems with having to build a new network and being confronted by a lot of social issues (high cost for housing, schools, etc).

Shenzhen Architecture Biënnale

At the moment, the Shenzhen Architecture Biënnale is taking place, which is curated by Dutchman Ole Bouman. As you can tell from this blog I’m interested in (sustainable) urban development, especially as it is such a huge issue in the Chinese context. This article (in Dutch) offers a critical perspective at this year’s biennale, and asks why none of the questions relevant to the ever-continuing Chinese urbanisation are asked at this important event.

Still to see:

And on my list to watch back in the Netherlands is this episode of Rambam on supply chain transparency in the textile industry, specifically focusing on two Dutch companies (Wibra & CoolCat) which have been very negatively featured in the Dutch media the last months (especially CoolCat). From a Dutch perspective, when talking about CSR in international business it almost firstly arrives at supply chains and then it immediately links to the textile industry. I am currently doing some work on this with a group of Dutch companies in Shanghai and am very curious what this programme will present in this case (as especially in the CoolCat case, I think there is a lot of misrepresentation going on).

The power of networks

social networking
via Flickr/Sean MacEntee

I’m an active user of all kinds of social media, as you can tell from some of the links on this blog. But, there are plenty of things that I don’t like about social media – or rather, that I dislike in how people use it.

For example, one of my pet peeves on LinkedIn is receiving an invitation to connect from someone I’ve never met who doesn’t include anything personal in that invitation.

Who are you?
Why do you want to connect with me?
Why is it interesting for me to connect with you?

These are some of the questions that immediately pop up when I see yet another one of these emails popping up in my inbox.

Ususally, I ignore. (So, if you are reading this and I don’t know you, but you once sent me an impersonal LinkedIn invitation: now you know why I didn’t accept) Sometimes, I’m in a good mood. And I think, ‘Sure, I’ll reply. Why not?’

When I do, I accept an invitiation, but also reply with a message to the sender to find out more about this person and the things we might have in common. I like knowing my network – that doesn’t have to mean we go way back, but I want to have some idea of who you are. Of course, this appraoch doesn’t always work. And those people, after time, are deleted from my contact list again. But sometimes, the results go way beyond anything I had expected.

One of these invitations a year ago ultimately led to a small project to help his company set up a location in Tokyo – and, incidentally, was my first project as an entrepreneur. And this week I finally replied to another one of these invitations which had been sitting in my inbox for a while staring at me indecisively. It’s now a few days later, I’m also in touch with one of his contacts and together we’re talking about a possible collaboration to work on in September. It may not happen, of course, but just the idea that this is a possibility leaves me amazed at the power of (online) networks.

It’s also a good reminder to just do this more often: connect and talk to people. It’s the only way to make social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter (and probably all the others) work in the way you would like them to. Anyway, I guess this article (in Dutch) pretty much sums that up as well.

And probably, it’s the only way anything in the world works.