What’s an Influencer?

Am I an Influencer?Am I an Influencer?

The other day I posted a story about the quick decline in Covid-19 cases in the US since Biden became president. I got pushback from a few friends who remarked that there was not necessarily a direct correlation between the two events and that I should be careful what I write as I’m an influencer. That kind of tickled me to think that I am influencing anyone. That said, I’ve been sending out a monthly email newsletter, The Eleven, since 2008 and it reaches over 6,000 inboxes and I have a healthy number of friends and followers on various social media platforms. Then, this question became even more interesting when I received an email from Intellifluence the other day.

Like many people, I receive a ton of emails trying to interest me in upping my SEO, website look and feel, and Google ranking – on a daily basis. Usually, I delete them just like you do, but I decided to click on this particular one and now here we are talking about social influencing. I tend to think of influencers these days as people who get paid to share or show off products for pay. My version of influence or the way that I think of what I do in the world is usually more often trying to get someone to change their behavior in some way – often with an environmental goal in mind. Stop cutting down trees. Don’t use gas-powered lawn equipment. My hope is to keep the planet as habitable as possible and so I write and create videos around topics that hopefully will sway someone to shift their behavior a little bit. And sometimes I think I’m making a difference.

For instance the group I’m working with to end the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, QCPDX, recently ordered 10,000 door hangers to be spread around the Portland, Oregon metro area. Even if just a few people change their behavior it will make living in Portland a little better. The air will be cleaner. There will be less noise. But that’s not all – we’re also encouraging people to visit our website and when they do it’s likely they’ll join our newsletter so that we can reach out to them from time to time with whatever we’re doing. That’s another level of influence.

I guess maybe I am an influencer after all. I keep thinking about the Wizard of Oz and whether I’m a good influencer or a bad influencer? It actually matters to me a lot what types of things I get behind, so I hope I’m mostly a good influencer. And, I suppose it’s an ongoing experiment as we each live our lives we figure out what makes sense. Something that I might have gotten behind a few years ago might not work for me now in 2021. This came up recently when I was invited to join an MLM. The products seemed fantastic and I’m still enjoying them. As I got drawn further into the business and became a distributor, though, I realized that every product shipped out would end up leading to another delivery van driving down residential streets. If not in front of my house, in front of someone else’s. So, I decided to not become a distributor and it was a good decision for me for now.

I’m looking forward to continuing to think about this topic and learn what it means to be an influencer, and if I’m going to be one, how to be a good one 🙂  Thank you for reading – feel free to leave comments below. I’m always open to feedback.

Albert Kaufman, Portland, Oregon, 3.11.2021

All You Wanted to Know about Facebook But Were Afraid To Ask

The Eleven

Hi there,

Yes, it’s The Eleven, a little early, but I have something exciting that I want you to know about. Besides my new effort to Do Something Today to Right the World!

Facebook. Huh. What is it good for? Absolutely … many things 🙂  Do you wonder what to do while you’re there, perhaps? You might have questions about how to use your fan/business page to your best advantage. You might be wondering what the best ways are to stay connected to those to who you are closest. In general, it would be great to know how to navigate Facebook so that you waste less time and get more out of the time you do spend there. Right?

Enter Albert Kaufman, also known as the Facebook Guru. Yes, I’ve spent more time than your average human both teaching about and using Facebook. And I have tips and tricks to share that will make your experience more streamlined and interesting. I’m offering a low-cost webinar on Monday 2.9.15 at 11 am PST. Come join me online and learn a few of my moves.  I also have a free in-person class on 2.12 – featuring my friend, Tshombe Brown. We’re both huge fans of the Portland Fruit Tree Project and I’m sure this class will be scintillating! Forward this to a friend you know who could use a hand with their online marketing, please.

Red

In other news – I’ve been having fun learning about terrariums from a new friend down the street, Gregg Harris of Roosevelt’s Terrariums. I’ve started making my own.

I’ve been noticing the new public art along Division Street and elsewhere around Portland. It seems like there’s been a slew of new sculptures and murals in my neighborhood, recently. I’m also working to remove billboards.
And then there’s the ongoing – ecstatic dancing – oh, I got to sing and play guitar outside around a campfire during the full moon the other night, that was incredible! And, I’m continuing my love affair with NextDoor.com – a great way to get connected to your neighbors :)Pictured on the right is Marcia Wiley – the maker of Wileyware on a recent visit to Stumptownlandia!

That’s all for today. I hope life is treating you well and that it’s full of love, hope, visions, friends, dreams, good health, great food, and happiness!

All you need is love,

Albert

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Opening Our Minds to Feedback!

Ready for Opening?

We all hear various types of input about ourselves all day long and all our lives long.  It comes in various forms: criticism, compliments, advice, warnings, kidding, hints, etc.  And, many of us give these out like party favors to our friends and family. I finally realized something earlier this Summer when I tried to get my Relative 1 to wear some new shoes.  I had suggested in a variety of ways that his life would improve if he changed his shoes.  I sent him websites, I told him why I like my shoes and how they make walking more enjoyable, etc.  Nada.  I have run into the same response as I’ve tried to encourage my Relative 2 to feed her kids differently – a big NO sign has been written in the sky as in “don’t tell me how to feed my kids, I got it”.  I’m dating one of the best nutritionists in the world and over the course of years, I’ve learned more about food and diet than I did in my previous decades of life.  But trying to encourage my relatives to change their behaviors has been unsuccessful, to say the least.  So, I had a realization that if a person is not ready to hear feedback in some form, they’re not going to be able to take the information in – whether it’s useful or not, a big wall goes up, and the information is batted back like a baseball sent into the bleachers!

So, the idea I want to share with you is this. Rather than have this experience, how do we all open our minds to be able to hear what is useful that is coming our way?  Rather than deflect, how do we open up our receptors wider when compliments, criticism, feedback of some sort is coming towards us?  Because sometimes there are hidden gems in the dust.  Anytime someone tries to tell us something about ourselves it should be looked at as a gift.  And, interestingly, we often have trouble receiving physical gifts, as well.  My 14 years of attending Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert, and participating in the gifting economy there have taught me a lot about how to give and receive gifts with grace.  And, perhaps there’s a tie-in there, I’m not sure yet.

It seems to me that what’s key here is teaching one another and practicing how to open our minds and our awareness to the messages we’re receiving.  Opening up and letting in.  Breathing in the message, taking it in.  And before we can hear that we need to be doing something differently (ex: our toenails need clipping) we have to have our minds open to feedback in general.

So, I want to work with people at this meta-level of receiving information easily.  Does this practice sound like something you’ve heard of before?  Is there already a theory out there that’s been developed that sounds like this?  I’m asking because if not it seems like something that we’d all do well to learn and learn quickly.  And, if there is something out there like this (and thanks to Susan Cerf for sharing her version of this with me, and the article which I’m encouraging her to write…) I’d love to know more about it.

Some have suggested to me that instead of saying “no” to a person’s feedback we can ask “why?”.  And, instead of me telling you that your shoes need tying, I might ask you “are your untied shoes causing a problem for you?”  And, that’s possibly a short-term solution.  But our ability to open our minds to every type of message that’s coming towards us and figuring out what’s useful and integrating it seems key to me.

Thanks for listening, and I’m ready for your feedback.

11.11.11 – I added a continuation to this idea to my e-letter, The Eleven.  Further comments welcome.

I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately.  Partly because I live in a very rich community environment (many of us refer to it as the Portland bubble) which benefits me greatly, and partly because of how the world is turning these days, I thought I’d share some lessons learned along the way regarding community building.

I think one aspect of the community that’s important to its success is communication. The ability of community members (you and me) to be able to hear feedback, accept/hear what’s useful in the information, and act/move on it is key. The better we get at giving and receiving feedback to one another the better our relationships will be and the faster we’ll mature. To me, feedback shows that someone cares about someone else. Our society does not really do feedback very well – and because of that, we all generally don’t take to it very well.  In the article above I wrote a while back, I wrote about how we need to get better at opening our minds.  I think it’s worth a read. (the comments are also very good)

Since then I’ve had some further thoughts about feedback. Here’s a way to handle feedback that gets your hackles up – to be able to more easily parse what’s useful and what’s not within the information.  Imagine that when you give a person feedback (positive or negative) that you are speaking to the 20 million other people who do things that way. That’s a way for both the giver and receiver to depersonalize the experience so that the triggering of old hurts does not automatically happen.

example: passenger says to driver: “you’re following the car in front of you too closely, please slow down you’re making me uncomfortable”. 

So, the driver, in this case, is like 20 million other drivers who do this thus making 20 million passengers uncomfortable. That said, the driver can either decide to acknowledge the issue, ignore it, or tease out what they feel is useful without taking the criticism of their driving personally. And it goes the other way, too.

When you are the recipient of feedback, imagine that you are one of 20 million people hearing it.

Example: Someone compliments your work on a particular issue. Well, they’re complimenting 20 million people who’ve decided to take actions on that or some other issue – you’re in good company.

How does this help build community? Well, it’s one facet in our getting better and better at getting in close with each other and helping one another mature!  And, according to a good friend and amazing therapist, much of her work is about helping people mature because “when they’ve matured, they no longer need therapy”.

So, here’s to improving our communication skills and learning to give and receive feedback well. Of course, this is just one area in the communication area and is just one part of building strong communities. These topics are a lot of what I write about, so, stick around and perhaps something will appeal to you enough to try it out.  Let me know how it goes!

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9.29.19 – Perhaps asking for Advice is more useful 🙂

1.14.2020 – Feel free to comment below. Thanks!

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