Amanda Palmer TED Talk on "Art of Asking" has me asking questions about publishing, social media and more

Punk cabaret singer knocks 'em dead at annual talkfest, prompts me to ask you to share our content via LinkedIn and other social sites

Amanda Palmer readily acknowledges that her punk cabaret style of music isn't for everyone (though I, for one, like a lot of her Dresden Dolls stuff), but the nearly 14-minute talk that she gave on "The Art of Asking" at the annual TED Conference seemingly might be for nearly everyone: The YouTube edition of the video was fast-approaching 100K views as of Monday morning and the buzz is growing. (Video embedded below.)

Palmer in her talk documents her approach to truly connecting with her audience, whether it be couch surfing at the homes of strangers or asking for donations via KickStarter. She says social media enables much of this connectedness, but a lot of it is face to face as well (or face to every other part of her body, as Palmer has on numerous occasions invited fans to get very up close and personal with her).

Mashable labeled Palmer as the winner of the TED Conference and Huffington Post cobbled together a slideshow on "11 Lessons Publishers Can Learn From Amanda Palmer."

Similarly to Huffington Post, my initial reaction to watching Palmer's talk over the weekend was: How might this apply to me, as an editor. How can we better connect with our audience? One way we've tried to connect is via various social media sites, from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to Google+ to Pinterest and Tumblr. We use our social sites both to promote our content and to connect with readers, but we always could do a better job of the latter via these sites, using them to trigger more conversation and tap into what readers are thinking about the latest issues.

I've been tasked internally to figure out if there might be more that we can do to connect with readers via LinkedIn, figuring LinkedIn's focus on business professionals syncs nicely with Network World's focus on enterprise IT professionals. We have set up a LinkedIn Group designed to bring readers interested in enterprise networking together for discussion. We have a Network World LinkedIn company page basically designed to promote ourselves. And we have a LinkedIn Today News page that highlights the most shared Network World stories in followers' LinkedIn news stream.

One main goal on the editorial side of Network World is to dig up the most useful stories we can for our readers, but then to also do everything we can to make sure as many people as possible see our content (this is also good for the business side of things here, as we sell ads based on the number of people reading our stories). We, like most publishers, have obligatory social media icons for LinkedIn and other sites on our homepage and on each individual story and blog post.

But I've increasingly been asking myself what would prompt the average person to actually click on any of those icons after reading a piece of content on our site, and have come to the conclusion -- much as Amanda Palmer has in her line of work -- that we really need to get better at asking people to support us by clicking on these buttons. The more people who share our content through LinkedIn or any of these other sites, the more other people will see our work and so on.

So, please join our LinkedIn Group and follow our company and LinkedIn Today News pages, and help spread the word.

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
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