Beyond Your Senses in Social Media

“Boldly go where no man gone before.”

We have come a long way from the stone age of fire signal to a modern age of telephone and now social media on internet. What once spending hours talking on telephone, watching TV for latest news and entertainment, telegraphing to loved one or transmit urgency messages, or typing in line-mode with computer, now it is all merge into something we called social media on the internet!

(Source: FramePool

#Communication can be real or virtual. One way or the other, we need to talk. What is better than talking in-person face-to-face … maybe video chat via social media? However, social media, even with video chat/conference, missed the most critical ingredients in communication – the non-verbal! These non-verbal communications stimulate the senses of our brains and nerves, which including mostly of our eyes, nose, mouth, ear, skin, and intuitive feelings. In music, we rely on sound, melody, lyric, mood, and feeling; in cooking, we rely on visual, smell, and taste. In retail, we rely sound, visual, touch, feeling, and possibly smell.

We have video chat on many social media mediums nowadays. They all fight for a piece of this market where it is no longer just for personal use and communication, it is also becoming a very powerful and effective tool as part of a business #marketing #strategy. Currently, social media is meeting the minimum need of both personal and business users, but how can they capture a bigger piece of the pie, or even better if they can grow the size of the pie?

If we can activate the #non-verbal communication and incorporate human senses into the social media equation, it will certainly stimulate more interests for both personal and business use. How about #virtual reality plus #hologram? These technologies are certainly not new or strange to us, but are they mature technology yet and can we merge that with social media?


(Source: SPAR3D

For those of us who like Sci-Fi movies or TV shows, such as Star Trek, Star War, or any others, we see many of these technologies exist already in real life to some extent while others are still in experimental stage. Remember that famous phrase, use by all of us, “Beam me up, Scotty.” For me, I am a food lover and worst I am a coffee addict, therefore I can fantasize calling out, “Computer, make me a double cappuccino with shot of espresso. Choose a best Italian dessert that go well with it for me today … Beam me to a sunny beach front house with wave and blue sky/ocean next to my beautiful lover.” Wow, what a dream!


( Source: Getty Images

Now that is on a personal fantasy level, how about on the business side. I want to be able to try things out before I make my purchase decision. If they can incorporate the ability for the hologram to facilitate and appeal to my senses where I can touch, smell, and taste the products as if I am in a store, that will be perfect!

Now all this are just fantasy and dream, but do you think it is possible? Is there a need for this in social media? Are we ready to merge technologies?

Let’s “engage.”


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Weirdmaste – the weirdness in me honours the weirdness in you


adjective \ˈwird\

Simple definition of weird

  • : unusual or strange

Full definition of weird

  1. of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural: magical
  2. of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic

From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary


A few weeks ago I was served a scalding hot cup of contempt liberally laced with scorn. My crime? I had “gone all weird” and that was “uncool and unacceptable”. Hmmm….

Why all the hostility? What’s so wrong with being weird? Not a thing. And weirdness is plenty of things that are oh-so-very right.

Weirdness – being strange or extraordinary – as the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition defines it, is the very thing that has pushed individuals and society forward.

Weirdness challenges the status quo. That of course is scary for people like my contempt-pouring barista from hell. But challenging the status quo also means pushing boundaries, taking risks and asking difficult questions. Those activities are the wellspring of innovation and I for one am very grateful for all the mod cons that innovation has brought me.

Weirdness is a bold leader. So many of the most fundamental ideas and values we espouse today were introduced to society by so-called weirdos. A round earth that circles the sun? Crazy talk! Women’s suffrage? Those were some pretty strange ladies chaining themselves to the railings. Smallpox vaccine? Riiiiight. What kind of kook could convince people to be injected with dead viruses? We need our weirdness to fling the door of progress open and shout “Hey, follow me!”

Weirdness gives us the audacity to be authentic. Sure, sometimes authentic people are a little frightening. Their honesty and integrity can cast too bright a light and therefore too long a shadow on individuals or groups who prefer a less candid existence. But authentic people are also honest, respectful of themselves and others, and nonjudgmental. Works for me.

Weirdness is your touch of divine madness. Audacious, authentic and daring, weird people are willing to explore their passions and creativity and give them a voice. Name me an artist or thought leader from any society or era who wasn’t considered weird for his or her time. I don’t think you can. Weirdness pushes us past conventional thinking to embrace new ideas and new modes of being. Whether you love their ideas or works or not, isn’t the world richer, more diverse and simply more intelligent for having had the likes of the Buddha, Hildegard von Bingen, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Elizabeth I, Newton, Wordsworth, Kandinsky and John Lennon and all their weirdness?

Am I weird? You bet! It’s one of the most beautiful things about me. Your weirdness is one of the most beautiful things about you too. It’s your authenticity. It’s your originality. It’s your unbounded joy. So you be weird. Wave your freak flag and shine your weird light so I can find you in the dark.


COM0014 – Post 7 – Personal Reflection

Communication is all about sharing valuable information.  And what better way to communicate than through storytelling. Storytelling opens doors to engagement.  People remember stories. Storytelling can weave the reader into the fabric of your brand.  Stories ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’, and good stories touch readers in a personal way.  So really, what better way to create dynamic digital content for your readers?

Here at the Centre for Research & Innovation we have some great stories to share.  This Digital Communication course has reinforced to me that our stories, after all, are not in the ‘innovation’, as much as they are in the people behind the innovation – the driving force.  It is the unique value that the individual brings that makes a story so effective, personal and shareable.  Digital content can be guided by story as long as the story is relatable to your message; that it ties back to your mission, your goals and overall key messaging.

As I began to dig deeper within storytelling it became clear that perhaps we are not fully capitalizing on the merits of this practice.  To begin with we could expand our stories on innovation about the people behind the invention; to include their narrative, their challenges.   Not just the intelligence behind the innovation; but the motivation – the thing that kept them up at nights.  Stories infused with first hand content about overcoming commercialization hurdles, and in doing so how they changed the marketplace, and ultimately themselves.  Through this type of digital content we’d hope to advance our engagement, and encourage people to take innovation risks, that failure is ok too. And if I explore our storytelling choices one step further I think of the great social media tools readily at our fingertips; Podcasts, youtube, slideshare.  All are equally great ways to create dynamic content that can be easily shared.  What’s your story to tell?


COM0014 – Blog #6 – Do People Know your Story?

I was asked the other day to give an answer to the question “What is your favorite customer story?”. This was easy, I knew the answer immediately.  Working in the Research and Innovation field, I have had the pleasure to work with a few really great innovation customers (clients).  But one in particular has, and always will stand out for me.  He will remain nameless for this blog, but if he or someone close to him were to read it they would instantly know just who I was talking about.

John Doe tagI met ‘John Doe’ during the first year with my organization.  During our first meeting I could tell he was kind, smart and terribly shy.  It had become clear that John was onto something really innovative.  John rarely met our eyes. At first I thought he was hiding something, as he continued to look down during the entire time.  His idea had real merit, so much so that he was an instant candidate for our investor panel (think Dragon’s Den).  The problem was John was going to have to ‘sell’ his idea to our panel of investors in order to go beyond his prototype stage. Remember, you can have a great idea, but if you don’t show that you believe in it, the idea falls flat.  The investors need their new potential partner to show confidence in their own product intelligence.

We had three meetings in three days directly after that initial meeting; we worked towards his investment knowledge, investor pitch and overall presentation.  It was a struggle….John knew his numbers, loved his innovation, but he was terrified. So much so, after the third meeting he decided he wanted to let his idea, along with all of his hard work go.  John explained that he had struggled often with social situations and simply could not stand up in front of anyone, anywhere, to ‘pitch’ anything. I didn’t know how to react – he was visibly shaking. I immediately called in two team members; we sat down, closed the door and we talked – I will remember that conversation for the rest of my life. It isn’t so much the talk that was so remarkable (although my team members truly impressed me with their heartfelt insights) it was more how that young man reached out for help and clearly wanted to make a difference in his life. It was the honesty in which he spoke, the way he shared his story and fears. He left later that afternoon and returned the next morning. He looked (directly into our eyes) at the team and said he would to do it. He was genuinely moved that we cared enough to sit with him that afternoon and he wanted to do this for himself. It wasn’t about the product, it was about John.  It wasn’t about the money, it was about John’s commitment to himself.

That evening John attended his first Toastmasters meeting, and pledged to work with my team member once a week on his investor presentation.  He was terrified to go to his first TM meeting, but after the second meeting he said he began to feel safe.  I am still in awe of the changes that started to happen right before our eyes. The transformation I witnessed over that month was unbelievable. I swear he walked differently, he talked differently and he had an air of confidence that few hold.  To this day I still reflect on him and I am amazed by what a person can overcome if they simply make a decision.

successTwo months later John made his pitch, with confidence and enthusiasm to six investors. He was brilliant. The investors were impressed – so much so – that John received three separate investor opportunities.  John’s business today is a success. But more importantly according to John he feels like success.  He still stays in contact and we still talk about that meeting, and reflect on the way his life has unfolded.  It is really remarkable to witness what compassion can do for the human spirit.  John has not just turned his life over, but mine and my fellow team members.  When we are struggling and looking at things that seem insurmountable we speak of John and remember his courage.  Incidentally you wouldn’t be surprised to know that John has went on to mentor a few other struggling entrepreneurs.  We have witnessed many accomplished stories of innovators over the years who have gone on to commercialize their product to market success, but to me there is no greater story of real success than John.