Social media as self actualization: how has it launched you?

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By ANASTASIA ASHMAN

I’ll be speaking with creative entrepreneur Tara Agacayak on a panel about social media for the International Professional Women of Istanbul Network (IPWIN).

The happy trends of Web 2.0 online networking, collaborating, and user-generated content seem tailor-made for pro women like us who often face a more difficult career path abroad. Whether “trailing spouses” lacking a local work permit like Jo Parfitt recounts here or in some other way being at a geographic or cultural disadvantage is a common expat woman experience.

IN AN ATTENTION ECONOMY WE’RE NO LONGER OUT OF SIGHT
We’re used to relying on technology to fill the gaps in our expat operations so social media has the potential to level the playing field for the most far-flung female professionals:

  • Social media works best the way women work best: it’s about making and tending personal connections
  • Social media supports and consolidates the spread-out personal networks expats and global citizens have already initiated in their mobile lives
  • Social media provides access to state-of-the-industry practices, trending thought, and leading players in our professions

So, as social networking renders overseas women like us visible and relevant, it’s a powerful tool of self-actualization. Our presence online becomes an advance calling card in life and work. We’re driven to fine-tune who we say we are, and how we behave, and where we appear online and who we choose to interact with, who our target audience is and how we do business. If we commit to social media, we evolve.

How has social media launched you?
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Anastasia Ashman is a California-born writer/producer of neoculture entertainment based in Istanbul. This series covers what’s crossing the mind and desk of expat+HAREM’s founder.
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  • http://www.taralutmanagacayak.blogspot.com Tara Lutman Agacayak

    Anastasia – working together with you on the topic for last week’s panel has brought up some very interesting themes in social media. I wrote this follow-up post about using social media to build a business as it applies to creative entrepreneurs http://ow.ly/Dsmu (so many of whom are women).

    A thought I had on your last comment – I remember reading an interview of the woman who started Daily Candy. She said her inspiration was her frustration that by the time she saw her reviews published in that month’s edition of the magazine she worked for, they were less trendy than they had been when she first wrote them. Doing daily updates enabled her to put things out in a more timely fashion.

    You have more experience than I do in the writing/publishing world, but I see this as an interesting challenge – keeping information current and relevant while at the same time working on a book or story that will eventually be published at a specific point in time and then remain static.

    I’ve been seeing more talk about “real time” web applications and it fascinates me to see where that will take us.

    Thanks to everyone for such compelling comments.

  • http://www.taralutmanagacayak.blogspot.com Tara Lutman Agacayak

    Anastasia – working together with you on the topic for last week’s panel has brought up some very interesting themes in social media. I wrote this follow-up post about using social media to build a business as it applies to creative entrepreneurs http://ow.ly/Dsmu (so many of whom are women).

    A thought I had on your last comment – I remember reading an interview of the woman who started Daily Candy. She said her inspiration was her frustration that by the time she saw her reviews published in that month’s edition of the magazine she worked for, they were less trendy than they had been when she first wrote them. Doing daily updates enabled her to put things out in a more timely fashion.

    You have more experience than I do in the writing/publishing world, but I see this as an interesting challenge – keeping information current and relevant while at the same time working on a book or story that will eventually be published at a specific point in time and then remain static.

    I’ve been seeing more talk about “real time” web applications and it fascinates me to see where that will take us.

    Thanks to everyone for such compelling comments.

  • http://www.retaggr.com/Card/AnastasiaAshman Anastasia M. Ashman

    On another network an expat woman writer asked me what the benefit of social media is besides meeting other writers. She also wondered why she might need it before she has a book to sell.

    Social media networking is something you can do long before you have something ‘to sell’ — in fact, 3 years in advance of a product is the period I hear from the kind of people whose book goes straight to the top of bestseller lists. It takes that long to get a meaningful network in place before you really ‘need’ it. Building trust, credibility, presenting yourself authentically, being generous and helpful. That takes time.

    I agree meeting other writers is an important component of online networking for women like us scattered around the globe, living among people who may not speak, let alone read or write, in our language. However, there are so many more people you can meet. Taking the writing professional as an example: Potential readers, agents and editors and publishers — and with the massive upheaval in publishing right now being able to follow developments is more important than ever– people in related fields. Living abroad, we can attend conferences virtually, or take part in live chats on women’s issues, cultural concerns, literature, branding, social media, bookselling, marketing, etc. I wrote about many of these issues last April in “How This Author Uses Twitter”. Becoming visible to the people in your niche — finding out who works in your niche, that’s priceless legwork.

    How it helps me now: Social media has helped bring me up to speed on the trending/cutting edge thought in a variety of areas that affect what I do, as well as put me in touch with people I want to work with. It’s like continuing education, cultivating a professional peer group, professional development.

  • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

    On another network an expat woman writer asked me what the benefit of social media is besides meeting other writers. She also wondered why she might need it before she has a book to sell.

    Social media networking is something you can do long before you have something ‘to sell’ — in fact, 3 years in advance of a product is the period I hear from the kind of people whose book goes straight to the top of bestseller lists. It takes that long to get a meaningful network in place before you really ‘need’ it. Building trust, credibility, presenting yourself authentically, being generous and helpful. That takes time.

    I agree meeting other writers is an important component of online networking for women like us scattered around the globe, living among people who may not speak, let alone read or write, in our language. However, there are so many more people you can meet. Taking the writing professional as an example: Potential readers, agents and editors and publishers — and with the massive upheaval in publishing right now being able to follow developments is more important than ever– people in related fields. Living abroad, we can attend conferences virtually, or take part in live chats on women’s issues, cultural concerns, literature, branding, social media, bookselling, marketing, etc. I wrote about many of these issues last April in “How This Author Uses Twitter”. Becoming visible to the people in your niche — finding out who works in your niche, that’s priceless legwork.

    How it helps me now: Social media has helped bring me up to speed on the trending/cutting edge thought in a variety of areas that affect what I do, as well as put me in touch with people I want to work with. It’s like continuing education, cultivating a professional peer group, professional development.

  • Anastasia M. Ashman

    Here’s a slideshow based on our presentation, including links to scores of the below resources we discussed during the event:

    WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?

    TOP WOMEN IN SOCIAL MEDIA 2008 & 2009

    TIPS & TOOLS TO GET STARTED, OPTIMIZE & IMPROVE YOUR PRACTICES

    DOs AND DON’TS

    BLOGS AND SITES OF PANELISTS
    ANASTASIA (microblog, individual blog, group blog, Facebook group, LinkedIn profile, Delicious bookmarks, Ning writers’ network)

    TARA
    (individual blog, microblog, LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile, LadiesWhoLaunch profile, artisan training site-blog-microblog-Facebook page, bazaar tours site-blog-microblog-Facebook page, web consulting site-microblog-Facebook page, women’s microcredit site)

  • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

    Here’s a slideshow based on our presentation, including links to scores of the below resources we discussed during the event:

    WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?

    TOP WOMEN IN SOCIAL MEDIA 2008 & 2009

    TIPS & TOOLS TO GET STARTED, OPTIMIZE & IMPROVE YOUR PRACTICES

    DOs AND DON’TS

    BLOGS AND SITES OF PANELISTS
    ANASTASIA (microblog, individual blog, group blog, Facebook group, LinkedIn profile, Delicious bookmarks, Ning writers’ network)

    TARA
    (individual blog, microblog, LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile, LadiesWhoLaunch profile, artisan training site-blog-microblog-Facebook page, bazaar tours site-blog-microblog-Facebook page, web consulting site-microblog-Facebook page, women’s microcredit site)

  • http://www.retaggr.com/Card/AnastasiaAshman Anastasia M. Ashman

    Thanks Tara (great panel — and obviously just the beginning of a social media alliance between professional international women in Istanbul — and around the world!). Thanks Qefal, and Catherine (who tweeted to the crowd during the panel). Charlie you are so right, I have heard self-described ‘geeks’ and shy people say that social media lets them enter situations where they might not otherwise feel welcome and that would certainly also be true for women.

  • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

    Thanks Tara (great panel — and obviously just the beginning of a social media alliance between professional international women in Istanbul — and around the world!). Thanks Qefal, and Catherine (who tweeted to the crowd during the panel). Charlie you are so right, I have heard self-described ‘geeks’ and shy people say that social media lets them enter situations where they might not otherwise feel welcome and that would certainly also be true for women.

  • http://www.productiveflourishing.com Charlie Gilkey

    Thanks for linking to the Productive Flourishing! I appreciate it.

    I’d like to riff off your last point, if I may.

    Social media is particularly powerful for women because it makes the world much more flat (a la Friedman) than offline networking. In offline networking, all sorts of social mores and unconscious evaluations are being made, and these mores and evaluations are historically disadvantageous for women.

    While social media doesn’t override the reality of these disadvantages, it at least mutes them so that women have a chance to be heard. And, because they’re not being kept from the important conversations, they can also learn and be empowered.

    Good luck on your panel, and thanks again for the link!

  • http://www.productiveflourishing.com Charlie Gilkey

    Thanks for linking to the Productive Flourishing! I appreciate it.

    I’d like to riff off your last point, if I may.

    Social media is particularly powerful for women because it makes the world much more flat (a la Friedman) than offline networking. In offline networking, all sorts of social mores and unconscious evaluations are being made, and these mores and evaluations are historically disadvantageous for women.

    While social media doesn’t override the reality of these disadvantages, it at least mutes them so that women have a chance to be heard. And, because they’re not being kept from the important conversations, they can also learn and be empowered.

    Good luck on your panel, and thanks again for the link!

  • http://skaiangates.blogspot.com Catherine

    Social media allowed me to be social in my native language. As an expat that is a huge plus for me. I don’t need to struggle with expressing myself through a second language. That was the initial push for me to try it out.

    Once there I realised there is a huge potential that social media releases. I haven’t fully made use of that potential yet but it’s inspiring to be near it.

    In the last week I’ve been in personal contact for the first time with at least five people in similar situations to my own. Living where I do I’d be waiting a long time to bump into five such people on the street here!

  • http://www.skaiangates.com Yazarc

    Social media allowed me to be social in my native language. As an expat that is a huge plus for me. I don’t need to struggle with expressing myself through a second language. That was the initial push for me to try it out.

    Once there I realised there is a huge potential that social media releases. I haven’t fully made use of that potential yet but it’s inspiring to be near it.

    In the last week I’ve been in personal contact for the first time with at least five people in similar situations to my own. Living where I do I’d be waiting a long time to bump into five such people on the street here!

  • http://www.taralutmanagacayak.blogspot.com Tara Lutman Agacayak

    Yes, I identify with this exactly. I feel as if once I found social media, I also had access to a tool to find myself.

    You are faced with yourself everytime you have to describe yourself in a bio, list your interests, or type in your mission statement and goals. The more often you do that the more you come to know and express who you are.

    With social media it gets repeated over and over. Every time you tweet or post or comment, you are expressing something from your unique point of view. Therefore you have to have some notion of what that point of view is.

    Social media being collaborative, it also becomes about who you congregate with and what you create together. In sharing ideas, you are able to grow even more. I’ve been both challenged and congratulated through my networks and they both serve to shape who I am.

    • qefal

      Hi… a man in a conversation about women and social media.

      Anastasia, you know what? you are entirely right. Completely spot on. I am entirely convinced women rule the world and certainly when it comes to social media this is the case.
      I know what I am talking about because two years ago I created Let’s Adopt, an animal welfare group that grew exponentially amongst women.. I ended up with a 23.000 group of volonteers all over the world.. close to 80% women.
      What for you and me is so obvious is being completely ignored by mid management of large corporations but what is completely astonishing is that, in most of those cases, those managers are.. gues what? women!

      During the last six months we have been meeting with some of the largest companies of Turkey, the lack of understanding of the possibilities available to them right now is completely unbelievable (we wrote about this in our post yesterday).

      So.. to recap… I feel that, most men don’t get it because their use of social media is completely different to women AND most women “pretend” they dont get it because of fear of introducing something radically different to the way they have been doing their jobs all their life…

      Fear and lack of curiosity… Most companies survive not because of their managers but IN SPITE of them…

  • http://www.taralutmanagacayak.blogspot.com Tara Lutman Agacayak

    Yes, I identify with this exactly. I feel as if once I found social media, I also had access to a tool to find myself.

    You are faced with yourself everytime you have to describe yourself in a bio, list your interests, or type in your mission statement and goals. The more often you do that the more you come to know and express who you are.

    With social media it gets repeated over and over. Every time you tweet or post or comment, you are expressing something from your unique point of view. Therefore you have to have some notion of what that point of view is.

    Social media being collaborative, it also becomes about who you congregate with and what you create together. In sharing ideas, you are able to grow even more. I’ve been both challenged and congratulated through my networks and they both serve to shape who I am.

    • qefal

      Hi… a man in a conversation about women and social media.

      Anastasia, you know what? you are entirely right. Completely spot on. I am entirely convinced women rule the world and certainly when it comes to social media this is the case.
      I know what I am talking about because two years ago I created Let’s Adopt, an animal welfare group that grew exponentially amongst women.. I ended up with a 23.000 group of volonteers all over the world.. close to 80% women.
      What for you and me is so obvious is being completely ignored by mid management of large corporations but what is completely astonishing is that, in most of those cases, those managers are.. gues what? women!

      During the last six months we have been meeting with some of the largest companies of Turkey, the lack of understanding of the possibilities available to them right now is completely unbelievable (we wrote about this in our post yesterday).

      So.. to recap… I feel that, most men don’t get it because their use of social media is completely different to women AND most women “pretend” they dont get it because of fear of introducing something radically different to the way they have been doing their jobs all their life…

      Fear and lack of curiosity… Most companies survive not because of their managers but IN SPITE of them…

  • Anastasia M. Ashman

    Former martial artist here, can appreciate the initiative you’re taking on with Qefal….come to the panel on Thursday Claire and we’ll show you how we tamed Twitter. :-)

  • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

    Former martial artist here, can appreciate the initiative you’re taking on with Qefal….come to the panel on Thursday Claire and we’ll show you how we tamed Twitter. :-)

  • http://www.berlinski.com Claire Berlinski
  • http://www.berlinski.com Claire Berlinski

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