I recently attended NGO Connection Day, which was sponsored by Microsoft and TechSoup Global. The keynote speaker was Beth Kanter, who gave a great presentation on social media. Like everything she does, it was full of useful ideas and inspiring examples, and delivered with great energy. But I was also intrigued by the talk from Microsoft’s Senior Director of Community Affairs, Akhtar Badshah, on the topic of “constructive disruption.”
Akhtar has written an article, “Constructive Disruption Can Drive Social Change,” in which he explains how technology “enables nonprofits to achieve dramatically greater impact through new business and service models.” They just have to be willing to put up with a little disruption!
Akhtar mentioned social media in his talk and his article. This prompted me to examine how social media has been a force for constructive disruption in my own life. It has actually changed my business model and skill set, and strongly affected my own branding efforts.
First, because I wanted to blog, I got a professional logo (thanks to A Street Design) and my own website (thanks to Julia Rodriguez). I’m still embarrassed by the fact that I ran a business for years without either one.
I think very differently about my business now. I actively promote myself, which I never did before. And I’ve expanded my services to include writing content for social media and basic social media consulting for nonprofits. (Full disclosure: basic really means basic.)
Creating content for Twitter, Facebook, and these blogs has begun to influence my writing style. I enjoy writing shorter, pithier pieces now. I like to be more direct and personal where appropriate. I actually like the 140-character tweet limit.
Now that I’ve built a social media presence, I feel more connected to the world. In my previous freelancing days, I worked alone and had only occasional contact with a few clients and colleagues. Now I learn from, and interact with, hundreds of people every week. I’ve also become more inquisitive, constantly searching for new ideas and ways to communicate better. My brain is always churning. (Do you experience the same phenomenon?)
Lastly, I sense more connection between my personal and professional lives. This blog is one example. Another example would be how often I come across something on Twitter that I want to share with my Facebook friends, who are mostly personal, as well as my Twitter followers, who are largely part of my business audience.
What about you? What are the forces of constructive disruption in your personal or professional life?