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.

Stress free ways to value and share your great ideas

11 March

This is a ‘what if’ post.

What if you valued and owned your ideas and shared them with more people?

What if you found a way to share your ideas that felt easier and more fun?

Last week I gave a talk at the Limerick Women’s Networking Event – the topic was ‘How to humanise your business with a blog’. We talked about the fears and concerns that most business owners have around using social media. Here are my suggestions to help you share your great ideas.

Simple ways to value and share your ideas

For some, the idea of starting a blog is overwhelming. Here are three ways to help you get comfortable with voicing your opinion on the web. Think of them as an in-between step to blogging – a practice run!

LinkedIn Posts

LinkedIn now allows you to write articles or posts which are posted on your profile page and seen by your connections.

LinkedIn articles

I freely admit that it’s taken me years to warm to LinkedIn. I’m still finding my way around it and discovering new ways to improve my profile. Recently though, I started sharing some of my blog posts as LinkeIn articles. The response has been great. It’s simple to format and upload an article and share it with your connections.

The benefits: You get to share your passion and expertise and build your reputation. You can post as frequently as you like without any posting schedule pressure. It can help you to attract more of the type of work you love to do. It’s a great way of re-purposing content to share with a new audience.

‘Medium’ articles

Medium.com describes themselves as a community of readers and writers offering unique perspectives on ideas large and small.

Medium

I subscribe to Medium and have yet to write an article. But I love the format and concept. Medium is a web-based service that lets anyone publish articles online; Wikipedia calls it a “blog publishing platform”. It’s also a form of social journalism. Once you open an account, you can publish articles on any topic you like. Entries can then be recommended and shared by other people, in a similar manner to Twitter.

The benefits: Medium shares all the benefits of writing a LinkedIn post. In addition, there is the potential to connect and collaborate with a eclectic mix of people. It is possible to remain anonymous if you wish.

Instagram articles

Some people describe Instagram as a micro-blogging platform. There is much more to Instagram than image and video curation and I have discovered brands who are being very innovative. There is the option to include text underneath your visual. Most people include a short description and a dizzying list of hashtags. There is another option:

Instagram allows you to include a supporting piece of text which adds meaning to the image. I’m excited by the possibilities here. You can stand out by doing something different. I believe that Instagram is a great place to experiment with sharing ideas.

The benefits: It’s a really easy to set up an account and post content. You can start off with a private account until you get the hang of it. Use it to share short form articles or sound-bites. Explore your writing style and learn from watching others. Great for discovering new ways to tell your business story. Here are some people who do this well:

Humans of New York – HONY

Humans of new York share portraits and stories about people. Sometimes they are intensely sad, other times hilarious. We are offered a supporting story to add meaning to the portrait. We feel like we understand the subject when we can empathise with their world.

Humans of New York


A M Fitness – Always Move

Andy Myers is the founder of Ireland’s Original Movement Studio. He regularly writes about his passion and process and shares stories about customer progress. As a result he gets great engagement on his Instagram account. Below he describes Reg, who is in his over 60’s class. This business is obviously more than a job for Andy. It’s through the written stories that we sense this.Always Move

This article on Instagram as a writing platform might interest you too
Can Wired make Instagram journalism mainstream?
 

This post is designed to give you simple ways to practice your idea-sharing muscles! It’s so tempting to share other people’s content – that’s what the digital world encourages us to do. I want you to develop a new habit – to own, value and share your great ideas. I’d love to hear your feedback on this one. Soon, I’ll be offering a workshop on how to use Instagram for business. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing more.

 
Featured links
My LinkedIn posts – Aisling Nelson on LinkedIn
Medium – Medium.com
Instagram – Instagram.com
Humans of New York – Instagram account
Always Move Fitness Studio – Andy Myers