What do you think it takes to see the world in a new way? For Renee Blodgett, CEO and founder of Magicsauce MEDIA, the answer is simple—140 characters.
This philosophy has helped turn Blodgett into a social media sensation; among her many distincions, she's been named the "#12 Social Media Influencer" by Forbes two years in a row, a "Top 10 Social Media Mentor" by Women Online Magazine, one of the "Most Powerful Women in Social Media" by CEO World Magazine, and a Shorty Awards Finalist in the "Business Influencer" category.
Blodgett practices what she pitches, helping companies around the world navigate digital waters and identity branding. She is also the founder and managing editor of We Blog the World, a site dedicated to adventure, culture, and transformative travel. An avid traveler who has lived in 10 countries and visited more than 75, Blodgett believes in the power of the "instant community." She talked with us about globe-trotting, lessons learned—and, of course, the vast and ever-powerful social media universe.
What are some key experiences that helped shape you into the person you are today?
First and foremost, my belief systems weren't tainted by the words "you can't" or "this isn't possible." When children believe they have limitations through limiting beliefs and language adults pass on to them, they end up never shooting past that limited ceiling. My grandfather was instrumental in making me believe there was no such ceiling and that anything I wanted to achieve was possible.
Of all the hats you wear, do you have a favorite?
Managing editor and founder of We Blog the World. What draws me to it is the opportunity to explore new places, learn from new cultures, and be shaped by people who fall in my path as a result—that and my love for photography and the written word.
How would you define the impact of social media?
Social media has played an instrumental role in both my personal and professional lives. Think of it as a personal touchpad—one on which, in a matter of seconds, you can reach people on the opposite side of the world. What makes this so powerful is that through 140 words, we can learn about new people we resonate with, tap into the power of new relationships, and learn how to think about the world in a new way. This real-time feedback provides valuable insights that can shape how we run our businesses and, in the case of my clients, provide data that can help define how we build the next version of a product or service.
How have you managed to make an impact using social media?
Through the power of "instant community," I've helped clients launch new companies and products using more valuable insights into what matters to customers than we've ever had in the history of running a business. Most recently, I've been working in the area of digital health. Now, we can now get data on our breathing and sleep patterns, our exercise routine, how well we eat, and how well we brush our teeth. That real-time data helps customers take better care of themselves. This is a powerful paradigm shift for doctors, dentists, healthcare providers, and consumers. We use social media to communicate and educate not just customers, but potential users and healthcare providers. The power of community through social media and other channels will be key to the future of healthcare.
Your company, Magic Sauce Media, has worked with over 80 clients and projects. What would you say are the two biggest lessons you've learned from all these experiences?
I have a mantra that I used to put on all my cards and it still hangs in my office—"Those who see the invisible can do the impossible." When an exec "gets this" right away, chances are we'll be a good fit as partners, and if they don't, I know in a nano-second that they're either not visionaries or they're too tactical in their approach, which won't be a fit with the way I embrace a project. There's no right or wrong here—it's whether the project or person is a fit with who you are, not what you are.
Secondly, I've learned that there will always be people who want to see you fail or simply want to leverage themselves above you so that they shine and take central stage. Sometimes your goal may be to do just that, and sometimes not. Know the difference and don't get caught in the middle of a political triage where you can not only never win, but you lose respect for yourself in the process.
Remember that while your goal may be to put a client on a map in whatever way that means for your skillset and experience, you matter too, and losing yourself along the way and taking a back seat in order to do that will zap the life out of you. It's important to recognize a toxic situation and move on, as painful as it may be.
How do you unwind, when you get the time, and recharge?
Music and dance is one way, and surrounding myself by natural beauty is another. I love nature and getting out into it as much as possible, whether this is on my own home turf, at a conference for a client, or on a trip where I'm writing editorial and shooting for my blog.