How do you spell “media”?

Media has been called social or digital for a little too long. It’s people that are “social”, not media. And the term “digital” covers but a fraction of the channels we use day to day to do what we do and be who we are.

It’s no longer a Finnish corporation that helps you and me to connect. It’s media. Drawing parallels. Finding common grounds. Linking experiences. Connecting people.

That is why media is spelled engagement and interaction, not arrogance and pride. It is spelled sharing and openness, not selfishness and hate. It is not a one man show. We’re in this together, you and I.

Don’t stop the music. Drawing upon the knowledge of millions. Enabling others to push their limits. Sharing and showing that you care.

Commenting. Conversing. Connecting.

How do you spell media?

Learn new words easily

With his talk at TED, Matt Cutts inspired the likes of Jacob Cass and Jesse Gardner (among many others) to try new things by setting up new challenges every day for thirty days. According to Matt, such everyday adventures make life more memorable. They boost your self-confidence and enable you to do anything.

One of the things Jesse planned for the month of December 2011 was to learn one new word a day for thirty days. Here, I present a couple techniques for you to succeed, should you decide copying Jesse’s challenge is for you.

Associations

Say you come across a couple of words that sound almost the same, but mean totally different things. This happens very often, when you are learning words in a foreign language. What’s the best way to learn them? Make use of your imagination! Try and ask this question, “When I say the words in another language I know, what associations are popping in my head?”

In the Armenian language, for example, the words for fish, snow and egg sound almost the same: ձուկ [dzuk], ձյուն [dzyun] and ձու [dzu]. Here’s how I remembered them: dzyun ends with the letter N, which is contained by only one of the three given words in English, namely, sNow. There were two words left. Fish are usually larger than eggs, so the word is also larger, dzuk is fish and an dzu is left for the word egg.

The ideas can obviously be very far-fetched. But remember – just because it may not work for someone doesn’t mean it should’t work for you. You may be the only person in the world who gets the association. And that’s totally fine! It’s your thirty-day challenge, not others’.

Chunking

At school, we got exercises where you had to spell very long words. Many memory games use telephone numbers as material for you to remember a long row of decimals. And just like the game authors suggest you break the numbers up, I suggest you do the same with long words.

There’s a muscle called sternocleidomastoideus in Latin. If you are unfamiliar with human anatomy, it’s a paired muscle on the left and right side of your neck. It does a good job helping you flex and rotate your head. The first time you see the word, you might even have a hard time pronouncing it. So, in order to remember it, I broke it in chunks and here’s the approximate span of my reasoning:

Stern means firm, strict or stiff, which makes me think of a neck, too.

Клей [kley] means glue in Russian (my first language).

Дома [doma] means at home in Russian.

Сто [sto] means hundred in Russian.

So, I get this word sterno-clei-doma-sto-ideus all broken up. And when I think of a hundred ideas that are firmly glued together at home, my neck starts hurting. Indeed, both of my sternocleidomastoideii are in pain.

You would probably use this word close to never in a liftetime, but if you do and know how to spell it, geeky linguistic bonus points fly instantly your way from yours truly.

You might think there are words that are hard to remember and you would be right. But there are no words, I assure you, that are impossible to remember. It just takes some time and creativity.

One stop to happiness

In Sweden, there’s a general mistrust of the public sector in general and the municipalities in particular. To put it more precisely, people do not trust the competence of those employed by Sweden’s “lower-level local government entities.” It is most probably characteristic of other countries as well though, and not just Sweden.

The mistrust is best revealed and observed at the first point of contact between the municipality officials and the public in need of service. Usually, it is a kind of a customer service centre called “One stop shop” or “One stop centre”. (It is safe to assert that the one stop centre trend has been soaring over Sweden for the past several years. Skellefteå started it, I guess. The project Innoveta continued.) Both links are in Swedish.

The name of such centres in the English language has been amusing and intriguing me for some time. One stop. The idea is that regardless of the nature of one’s enquiry or its inherence in the organisation of the municipality, the public can get their questions taken care of only having to contact the local authority once.

One stop. The idea is fairly complex. Before one can fully buy it (as if it were a goal in itself), I believe, one needs to get the answers to the questions regarding knowledge management, case management, channel management, etc. On a totally different level, the idea is straightforward, too. The public sector pride themselves in customer-centric perspective. It is therefore natural for them to see the benefit of say cutting on administration to pursue efficiency for the sake of the public’s gain.

On a quite subjective and somewhat unexperienced level, I’ll be touching on different issues of establishing and running a one stop centre within the coming couple of months. More specifically, I am interested in operations and operational (business) development of one stop centres, which will probably lead me to consider the role that self-service plays in the interaction between the local government and the public.

Happy time

Time is almost never enough. It runs too fast. Regardless of whether it’s about the things you need to do (but not necessarily want to) or the things you want to do (but not necessarily need to), the time is just not there. Or if it’s there, it’s sad. Should you succeed in managing it well, therefore, you will reap the harvest of an efficient flow that stands out. And most probably makes you feel better, too.

Recently, my friend Susanne tweeted out, “Typical Monday. One step forward, two steps back…” Which got me thinking. What makes me think I’ve made headway today? Can I influence how I perceive it? Every time I finish my work, I want to be able to exclaim, “I’ve done (almost) everything I could, and I’m pretty darn glad about it.” What can I do to make it happen, to make my time happy?

Here are four quick tips for your inspiration. You can apply them to your time at work, as well as your personal time.

1. Chunk it.

Chunk your tasks into categories. Focus on tasks in one category at a time. It will be easier for you to see the progress. You don’t saw the wood and brush your teeth at the same time. You don’t sow and cook simultaneously. Why are we trying to juggle different tasks at once?

2. Plan it.

Have a plan for the week. Set aside some time for reading and replying to e-mail, some other time for writing a report, yet some other time for meetings. Set aside some time to not do anything, too. Trust me, you’ll be amazed how much you’ve needed it. Don’t try to remember everything. Write down your ideas. Create to-do lists, to-watch lists, to-read lists.

3. Commit it.

Commit your time to manage your time. The change will gradually come, but it usually comes slowly. Stick to your plan. Get rid of distractions. Planned to start reading an article at 9:00? Make sure there’s no other window (often titled Facebook) open at 9:02. Get your friend to be an accountability partner. It’s easier to hold your schedule, if you know you’re later to report to someone who cares.

4. Enjoy it.

Having a clear goal and incentive to reach it is part of your success in managing time. Compliment yourself. Set up a system of rewards, badges, stickers, whatever. Progressively, you will notice how much you enjoy crossing tasks off your lists, even if it just means you get to drink that juicebox you’ve put in the fridge.

What are your tips on turning sad time into happy?

Sunshine after rain

We usually deem sunshine after rain as a pleasant reminder that things eventually get better; it’s like a promise of a new beginning.

When I’m stuck in the quagmire of self-absorption or crushed by the burdens of social exhaustion, I get reminded of the ray of light playing joyfully and enticing me to embrace her warmth.

The heavy drops of downpour dry up in an instant, and the cheerful beaming light giggles and hugs and kisses and calls out, “Papa, I love you!” in the manner that only we two understand.

Stop hitting that button, Bobby! – A quick guide to four verbs online

Do you push a button, press it, hit it or click it? What about a link? Here’s a set of guidelines to the four verbs that I’ve written for your linguistic accuracy online. Enjoy!

You hit…

  • the jackpot
  • it off with a friend
  • your neighbour’s car with a bat at night and run away

You click…

  • your heels
  • on a link or an icon
  • with your girlfriend

You press…

  • the red button
  • the juice out of a mango
  • a criminal for an answer
  • the flesh with the friend you hit it off with

You push…

  • a button (with force)
  • your way through the crowd
  • your luck and limits pressing on running away from the neighbour whose car you hit with a bat

Disclaimer: no bats, cars or humans were hit, pushed, pressed or clicked in the making of this blog post. No buttons or links were hit either. Ever. Well, never linguistically.

I’ve changed my name. Here’s why.

Artem Pereverzev is a strange name to pronounce. If you are Russian-speaking or know the language, you realise that the right way to spell it is this: Артём Переверзев.

The background

A surname with a number-three-looking letter in it is indeed strange. The fact that I am a citizen of Latvia and officially, the name appearing in my passport must comply with the country’s linguistic rules (which results in an another and horrendous spelling of my name) doesn’t make things easier. Over the years, I’ve heard all kinds of jokes, too. Artem-Fartem is most probably my least favourite of them.

The context

  • On Wednesday, I embarked on the quest to complete the #blogg100 challenge by Fredrik Wass.
  • Since 2009, my Twitter handle has been @pereverzev, which isn’t easy to remember or pronounce, if you’re not one of ca. 265,000,000,000 Russian-speakers.
  • My domain celareartem.com (which for the next 98 days will redirect to blog.celareartem.com) consists of seven different letters: C, E, L, A, R, T and M.
  • My other Twitter account @clartem, where all seven letters are present, has been passive. (I’d love to lay hands on @celareartem, but it’s already occupied. Do you know someone who knows someone? I’d like to ask for a favour!)

The result

Yesterday, I swapped the two Twitter handles around, because I figured hey, publishing a blog post a day for the next 100 days is a great way to promote my content on Twitter, where people can recognise me by my username. So, why did I change my username? Because I believe it’s easier to remember and pronounce. That’s why. (Some day, it might result in having to do with my personal brand. Some day.)

And maybe I’ll just go ahead and do a similar thing to what Niclas Strandh did. Who? Oh, right. His name is Deeped.

Turning your site visitors’ needs into desires

You’ve spent hours formulating your content, days spreading it over digital media, months chasing the visitors and years adapting it to their needs. They come, but do not stay; they hear, but do not listen. It is never easy to reach the target group with your message. It takes an effort. Or two. Or a dozen.

Someone asked on Quora, “What is the quickest way you got quality followers for your blog?” However you define “quality followers”, you want old visitors to stay and new visitors to become old. Old visitors who stay.

What makes users stay is the experience, or the feeling of an experience. They come back for more, when their desire to consume your content outweighs their need to do it. Learn how to turn what your visitors (users, customers, followers, etc.) were once persuaded they needed to do into something they are convinced they want to do.

It is not primarily what your visitors consume that you should focus on. It is how they do it and what they feel when they visit your website. Nine times of ten you should optimise the flow, not the product, in order to give your target group as seamless an experience as possible.

Do you agree? How would you go about making it a pleasure for the visitors to return to your site? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Bring it on, writing challenge!

My first blog appeared on the Internets around 2003-2004. It’s vanished into void since then. Several attempts were made to restore the regularity of my blogging, to no avail. But with Fredrik Wass’ 100-day challenge to write a blog post a day, I’ve decided to take up writing again. See, I’ve always been fascinated by how one can use words to create meaning. This is what I’m going to try to accomplish here.

My main interests are languages, design, web design and development as well as user and customer experience. So I expect my blog posts will touch on these topics. I will probably post a photo or two; maybe even some other kind of content will pop up along the journey.

I’m thinking of mostly writing short posts in English. Sometimes maybe Swedish or Russian. Kicking things off is this post, which I deem qualifying for the challenge. You are very welcome to follow this blog; I’d be honoured if you choose to.