Social Media in 400 Seconds

by Lani Voivod | @LaniVoivod

Social Media in 400 Seconds, Starring YOUA funny thing happened to me last month. Allen was one of six NH professionals scheduled to give a PechaKucha presentation on social media for the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. If you’re not familiar with the word “PechaKucha,” it’s a Japanese word that means “chit chat,” and it’s also a hip and stylin’ presentation format that consists of sharing 20 slides at the snappy pace of 20 seconds per slide, with automatic advancing so there’s no smudging the fine points.

I was excited to be part of the audience, so I could check out this fun and fascinating event, designed to inform and entertain even the shortest of attention spans.

The day before the event, the phone rang. One of the speakers wasn’t able to make it – was I crazy enough to consider putting something together on 18 hours’ notice and present to an audience of 100+ professionals?

Why YES, yes I am crazy enough to consider doing that.

So I told my brain to start churning while I took care of the rest of the obligations of the day, which included turning in an RFP, picking up our kids, and even hitting my brother’s birthday party. I scribbled some notes in and around the day’s nooks and crannies, turned in 20 slides by 10pm as requested, and then spent a lovely all-nighter alone with my thoughts on how to squish the quite huge subject of social media into a 400-second box.

Here’s what I came up with – both the slideshow synched with the actual audio from the day, as well as the text of the presentation as I had intended to say it, before I knew just how fast 20 seconds per slide flies by when you’re having fun.

What about you? If you had 400 seconds to say something to 100+ of your peers and professionals, what would you share?  Let us know in the comments below!


We are living in QUIRKY times. Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old. Thanks to Facebook, our 6 degrees of separation has shrunk to 3.74 degrees. In one day we create and share 1.5 billion pieces of content on Facebook, 140 million tweets, and 2 million YouTube videos.


“Abundance Is Our Future!” said Peter Diamandis at TED 2012, as he gave props to “The Rising Billions.” He said that in addition to the 2 billion people who are already online and connected, 3 billion new minds will be joining the global conversation by 2020. Our desires – and ability! – to create, share, connect, innovate, communicate, and collaborate are UNIVERSAL.


Social media, then, is an evolutionary invention. It’s humankind’s attempt to meet and serve these profound, innate, universal desires. Right now, social media depends on immense and elaborate ALGORITHMS to index, decipher, and curate the world’s infinite well of information, interests, networks, and ideas. These math-and-data mashups are getting VERY sophisticated.


With all big shifts come very loud – and often angry – NAYSAYERS. Concerns about PRIVACY abound. In a 2010 piece for the New York Times Magazine called “The Web and the End of Forgetting,” Jeffrey Rosen said we’re “wrestling with the first great existential crisis of the digital age: The impossibility of erasing your posted past, starting over, moving on.”


And for busy professionals who are already feeling overwhelmed and at wit’s end, the perceived lack of TIME is the thing that’s really driving them NUTS. “How the heck am I supposed to keep track of every post, stream, comment, and social blip when I can’t even get a handle on my email?!”



This is the Social Media UGH! Factor. Good news: It’s not our job to see it all, catch it all, know it all. It’s our job to be OPEN to possibilities. Hopefully, this means considering how social tools, channels, and platforms could serve OUR best ideas, OUR personal happiness, and OUR passions and aspirations.



Why? Because ultimately, we are all at the center of our own customized, app-tastic adventure. Many of us here are one of the 1 Billion People who use MOBILE as our primary Internet access point. We literally hold the power of connection, creativity, and possibility in the palms of our hands on a daily basis!


And the human art of STORYTELLING is evolving, too. Storify helps users curate stories from the real-time social stream. Pinterest helps us SEE and organize our passions visually, and thus share our stories – our essence — visually. Hardly a frivolous endeavor, since Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn…COMBINED.



At the heart of every social interaction is an exchange of ENERGY. A like, retweet, share, comment – with these snappy actions we’re adding our vibes to the data-crunching mix. It’s all being cataloged and considered. Our online activity today is determining what comes up in our streams and searches tomorrow!


As all this exchanging, capturing, and quantifying of energy evolves, we have to remember that behind every avatar, behind the statistics and engagement reports, we are building and nurturing real RELATIONSHIPS with real people. They might be different than our grandmother’s relationships, but they are REAL, and they DO impact our lives.



What’s more, they affect our EMOTIONS. As the saying goes, we buy on emotion, then justify with logic. The emotion a brand, product, or campaign evokes in us often determines its market success, or failure. Social media is systematically retraining and reconfiguring how we see our friends, feel our preferences, and process our emotions.



To keep our edge and protect our authentic drives and desires, I have four bits of advice. First, we have to be NIMBLE. Keep our ears perked and our minds alert. Trends in business and culture reveal themselves quickly, IF we are paying attention. Cultivate smart, diverse social circles, and the content we need to grow and succeed comes right to us.


Second, we should respect the value of DISCOVERY. Maggie Fox, CEO of Social Media Group, said: “One of the most magical things about the Internet is that it’s a whimsical rabbit hole of DISCOVERY — we start somewhere familiar and click our way to a wonderland of curiosity and fascination we never knew existed.”


To truly put a premium on DISCOVERY, though, we must learn to do #3, which is to trust our INSTINCTS. This is a skill most of us have to relearn as adults, mostly by UNLEARNING all the habits and hindrances that have kept us thinking small, feeling powerless, and fearing our strongest, smartest, most intuitive selves.


The best way to unlearn all that garbage is to do #4: Reconnect to our sense of PLAY. We gotta LIGHTEN UP, don’t you think? You know, get messy, screw up, experiment, laugh, tinker, dawdle, meander, doodle. There are so many fun and “frivolous” sites and apps just waiting to be explored. As Joseph Campbell said, “Follow Your Bliss!”


Ultimately, it all comes down to INFLUENCE. You participate, you PLAY, you share and GIVE and listen and engage as a brand, business, OR individual, and YOU are affecting the future by influencing the ideas, innovation, and imagination of today’s friends, followers, leaders, dreamers, and doers.


The truth is, the world’s best super computer isn’t a computer at all. It’s the collective ingenuity, passion, and curiosity of billions of humans following their own white rabbits and sharing their discoveries with the global community. TECHNOLOGY isn’t the catalyst – it’s the by-product of our deep, primal desire to know more, do better, and connect more deeply.


YOU hold the answers. YOU have access to the playing field. YOU can decide whether to sit on the sidelines, or add your singular interests, talents, voice, and vision to humanity’s future. It’s all a cosmic dance. You give, you get. You share, you receive. You BELIEVE, you achieve.


Allen and I call it QUANTUM SERENDIPITY. Led by our instincts, fueled by our energy, nudged by our emotions, and catapulted by the ever-optimized algorithms, we meet the right people, find the best resources, attract the perfect opportunities. Part math, part mindset, and part magic, QUANTUM SERENDIPITY is what brought me here today to share this 400-second presentation with YOU.


And boy, am I grateful to have had this unique and wonderful opportunity.

So, did you learn something new, or think of something in a way you hadn’t before?

If so, pay it forward on one or all of your social media channels. You never know who might be watching, and what kind chain reaction you could be setting off.

Thank You.

  • Don Goodearl

    What a nice surprise to “run into” you folks on-line.  Michelle was just talking about you two last night.  Brenda and I are starting a new venture, in addition to her website:  We are starting which will feature porcelain and ceramic cookie molds and wall art. I will be adding a blog ASAP. The (starting) theme will be animal and biblical cookie molds.  More later – I am having cancer surgery tomorrow at Dartmouth and will be sidelined for about a month.

    PS:  Don’t look to close at her website, it is the first website I have every built – not done yet : )Can’t wait to see both of you.Warmest Regards,Don

  • Dawson_Rita

    This is really a very good post. To be frank, I wasn’t that interested while I started to read the article but, later found it interesting that I have also bookmarked the page. I liked the emotions part of the article where you have said – “we buy on emotion, then justify with logic”. I just loved this and its 100% true.

  • Allen Voivod *A-Ha!*

    Don, God bless you on your journey – the stuff you’re posting on your site is beautiful, too. It’s been much too long, and we hope to see you soon.

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