What ‘Amuse Bouche’ taught me about microblogging!

26 July

First of all… ‘Amuse bouche’ are tiny starters designed to amuse your mouth! I was invited to a dinner party where each guest was asked to create one. The only rule was that it should fit on a spoon. This post is about my obsession with the word micro and how it equates with blogging. I’ll show you how to start small when it comes to sharing your ideas.

Micro food and micro blogging

First though, I want to talk about the joy of creating small things…

We all live in a world that can feel overwhelming.
Too much noise
way too much choice
and an obsession with how quickly time passes.

As a business owner, I know that you feel this too! “How can I run a business and still find time to write a blog?” This is a question that I am constantly asked as a trainer.
What if I showed you a way that allowed you to experiment on a smaller scale?

Doing things on a small scale gives us time to breathe. And it allows us to have fun. If writing a blog becomes a chore, why would you keep it up? And what sort of content will you create if you’re working to a formula?

So let’s get back to miniature cooking for a few minutes.

For this delicious project, I could choose any mix of flavours, colours and textures. That’s what made it exciting and tricky. If was going to be one mouthful, it had to have impact. I had to simplify, yet magnify the experience, because that is exactly what it was! I chose a savoury panna cotta – pea and lemon. I served them in a lime with crème fraîche and individually plucked lavender flowers. I spent magical hours creating a tiny piece of food art. There was an aha moment too; the power in small, well considered things. That could be a spoonful of food or a great idea shared.

Amuse Bouche

The word that has inspired me most this year is Micro.

One man in particular has changed the way I view the world.

Allastair Humphreys is a world adventurer who goes on epic trips around the globe. He wanted to make ‘adventure’ accessible to everyone (especially those with a 9 to 5 mindset). So he coined the phrase #microadventure. He shows how it’s possible for anyone to have regular, small adventures. This idea translates perfectly to blogging. Start small. Dip your toe in and get comfortable owning and sharing your ideas!

Today I want to focus on how you can use Instagram for micro blogging.

Microblogging is the practice of posting small pieces of digital content – text, pictures, links, short videos, or other media on the Internet. Microblogging helps you to get comfortable sharing your ideas publicly.

Who is telling great business stories on instagram?

Here are three examples – Instead of using the clichéd Insta-description formula – they are using the space to publish longer form paragraphs. These are still shorter than traditional blog articles but they invite two way conversations. What stories could you tell?

 

Neil Shea – photographic journalist with National Geographic (among other things)

Neil Shea

Neil takes powerful images and helps us to understand what we’re looking at.
From Neil’s website bio – “Since 2014 Neil has been a leading voice in social media storytelling, and with National Geographic and other clients he has pioneered the use of Instagram as narrative platform. He was among the first writers to take longform narrative techniques to the new “shortform” word+picture environment of Instagram.
 

Artist, Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy artist

Patricia has taken some of my workshops and was considering starting a blog. I encouraged her to experiment with Instagram first to get used to sharing her process and inspiration. She is starting conversations about her art and she is having fun in the process. In this post, Patricia describes how the recession inspired her to focus on creating something more positive. This insight adds meaning to the artwork and helps us connect emotionally with the person behind the business.
 

School for social entrepreneurs – providing training courses to help social entrepreneurs solve complex social problems

School for social entrepreneurs
Their tagline is ‘Doing learning differently’, so it’s not surprising that they use Instagram differently! A grid photo app splits one image into a series (as seen above). As you scroll through the 3 or 6 image sequence, they share different excerpts from a blog post. This makes an interesting story series. Instagram doesn’t allow live links in your text. The way around this is to update your bio link, every time you’d like to direct people somewhere else. Just mention that the ‘link is in bio today’.

Have I got you excited?

The aim of this post (and what drives me daily) is to help people to value, own and share their own ideas. By starting small, you can learn a process that suits you. Let me know if you’d like help with that.

PS, my amuse bouche didn’t sit on a spoon in the end and didn’t taste quite as good as it looked. But I learned heaps by having constraints. We had *so* much fun that we’re having another party next month!


Links to explore:

Neil Shea – website and Instagram account.
Patricia Murphy – website and instagram account
The School for Social Entrepreneurs – website and Instagram account
Allastair Humphreys – Website and Instagram account.

Surprise me – words that wake us up

23 February

This morning an election flyer popped through the door. I lazily scanned it over breakfast. I looked past the jaded layout and connected with the message. Liam turned a familiar concept on its head while still being respectful to his audience; Me.

The magic ingredient was surprise.

How does the element of surprise help us connect with our customers?

This political manifesto has an unexpected twist! Only yesterday, I read a business vision which contained phrases like ‘best practice’ and ‘fit for purpose’. What do we mean when we use jargon words like that? What are we hiding behind? Liam takes an every day word that he’s hearing from constituents and helps us re-frame it in a positive way. This might sound like simple word play but the result is powerful. It helps us to see an alternative reality.

People focussed political candidate flyer

Liam asks us to imagine a better future

Sure, this is a familiar political cry. But we’re being asked to take some responsibility for making a better world to live in. I’m willing to give head space to this idea.

Every day I hear the word ‘if’IF I get sick, will there be a bed for me? IF I can’t afford childcare, how do I go back to work? How will I retire IF I can’t live on my pension?

I believe that in a republic, the word ‘if’ should signal our hopes and not our fears…What if we could build this republic together? Let’s not live in fear, let’s live in hope.

Asking your audience ‘What if?’ is a great way to start an interesting conversation.

Another group who are effectively rallying change with the word ‘if’ are The Irish Architecture Foundation – inspiringly named ‘What If Dublin‘ on Twitter. Here is another community building group using the word ‘if’ to get us to question our beliefs.

These use their twitter account to debate ‘simple and not so simple ideas of how we can improve Dublin City’.

“We truly believe that architecture transforms lives. It influences our everyday experience, from the interiors of our houses to our landscape, our cities and our towns. We believe that the impact of our awareness and education initiatives will create a better-built environment, and we do everything within our power to make that happen.”

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