Making the impossible, possible

Last night at the Berkman Center for Law & Society at Harvard University, model turned innovator Lily Cole, introduced her latest venture “Impossible.” Impossible is a new social media platform with a simple goal and huge potential: to make wishes come true.

The website aims to create a community of people that can guide and give to one another. For free.

Need a photographer? Want to learn Spanish? Looking for a local perspective in a new city? Hoping to talk a problem out? Need someone to shovel your driveway (yep, this is an event in Boston after all)? Wish for it on Impossible.

Cole’s concept stems from the idea that we receive personal reward when we give and help others.  On Impossible, you pay for your wish with gratitude and appreciation. While Impossible has roots in a sharing and gift economy, it’s foundation is a feel good one.  Warm and fuzzies is its currency; altruism is its bank.

And while the panel (who included Jonathan Zittrain, Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web), Judith Donath & Rosemary Leith) raised concerns of trolls and coercion, the consensus is you can kill with kindness (Zittrain points out how Wikipedia handles its trolls by thanking them).
Cole’s eloquence, commitment and enthusiasm is inspiring and the project is without a doubt, impressive.

Optimists can sign up at http://www.impossible.com.

I just created my account and I’ll happily help shovel your driveway.
Mission possible.
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10 Things Social Media Managers Can Learn From George Takei

Who would have thought that George Takei, the 1960s Star Trek actor, would go from playing a helmsman on the Starship Enterprise to becoming a superhero across social media?  His witty & self-aware Facebook posts receive more likes & shares than most other actors & musicians or even global brands.  When looking at fan engagement, his posts trump the likes of Coca Cola & Justin Beiber.

So what can we as social media managers garner from George Takei when creating a strategy?

Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned from observing George Takei (& you can see him in action for yourself by liking his Facebook page here)…

1. Know your audience
From Star Trek fans to internet nerds & math geeks – George Takei knows what his fans are interested in.  He plays with the puns & humor appreciated by this character set.  But he keeps it broad enough that you don’t need to be a Trekkie, web geek or a math whiz to find these types of posts funny.

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2. Have fun & have fun with your fans!
Takei doesn’t take himself or his craft too seriously.  His humor is his signature trait.  He acknowledges his audience & often shares posts his community sends in.

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3. Take ownership
While he will jest with these Trekkie & math nerd stereotypes, it’s clear he is proud of his craft & what he has accomplished.

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4. Be consistent
He posts throughout the day, balancing anywhere from 2-5 posts over 24 hours.  According to an interview with Hyphen Magazine, he uses HootSuite to queue his posts.

5. Stay Focused
Takei is active in 2 causes: Asian American issues & homosexual rights.  He peppers in these topics sparingly (but again, with regularity).  Fans clearly know these are the two causes that matter most to him & rarely will he introduce other politics.  And while he still uses humor as a tool for activism he also balances it with a more serious tone when it matters.

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6. Have a meaningful & relatable message
It’s the message that is important.  Takei shows us that you don’t need fancy or professionally produced graphics and slogans.  It (really is) the content, stupid.  Finding the right internet meme or fan submitted image gets the likes & shares.

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7. Offer familiarity
He often acknowledges that he can’t respond to every single comment or write back to every single fan (one post can generate thousands of comments!). He sometimes refers to himself Uncle George & always keeps his tone chatty & informal.  But he still asks for fan feedback when he can with things like caption contests to keep things conversational.

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8. Maintain perspective – positively
Takei keeps it real in upbeat, inspirational ways

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9. Go for the warm & fuzzies.
Takei taps into humanism & universality in touching & emotional ways. I mean, doesn’t this friendship against all odds make you feel warm & fuzzy inside?

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10. Have an all encompassing catchphrase
It’s amazing how Takei’s signature “Oh myyy” can be used as a comeback to haters, a reaction to the bizarre or even as a nod of Takei’s approval.  It’s even gone on to be the name of his book & his perfume (eau my).

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Have you learned other lessons from George Takei?  What do you think makes his posts so popular?  Share in the comments!