In 1996 Adam Brandenburger of the Harvard Business School and Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management, wrote a book entitled Coopetition and explained how “businesses can gain advantage by means of a judicious mixture of competition and cooperation. Cooperation with suppliers, customers and firms producing complementary or related products can lead to expansion of the market and the formation of new business relationships, perhaps even the creation of new forms of enterprise.”
Today is National Cyber Safety Awareness Day. Many of you know I authored the original Facebook Guide for Parents, now titled The Parent’s Guide to Facebook: Tips and Strategies to Protect Your Children on the World’s Largest Social Network. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a good friend, the brilliant innovation and positioning consultant Mark Levy. He had just met a woman who was about to release a book entitled The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook, and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World. She approached him about working with her to help position her book. I worked with Mark on a totally unrelated project but since he had worked with me, he wanted to know how I felt about him helping her with her book launch.
I immediately said “of course you should.” You see, writing the Parent’s Guide was a labor of love for me. I had originally started writing a business book about Facebook when I realized that, unbeknownst to them, most of my friends and family’s privacy settings were configured so their information was completely open to the public. That is when I changed course and wrote the Facebook guide. I did a soft online launch of the book and have benefitted both financially and professionally. For example, I was invited to sit on a panel cyberbullying panel for our local Channel 12, with the CT Attorney General among others, I have also made many local television appearances and have had the pleasure of speaking to students and parents here in the U.S., and in Canada about the importance of protecting privacy on social networking sites.
I told Mark that I felt very strongly that the benefit of parents and children armed with as much information that can protect them online far outweighs the possible competition for my book personally and I pledged to help her as much as I could.
Mark arranged an introduction and I had the pleasure of speaking with Shawn Marie Edgington, the author of The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook, and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World, whose own daughter was cyberbullied and was the reason for her passion on this subject. She sent me an advance copy of her manuscript and if you have a child that has a cell phone or has a profile on any of the social networks, I highly recommend you pick up this book. It is full of great information that will help parents understand this new digital world. The book cites all sorts of statistics and studies that will make any parent’s hair stand on end. For example:
- 50% of teens admit to being bullied online or by text message.
- 64% of all teens say they do things online they don’t want their parents to know about
- 71% of teens receive messages online from strangers (National Center for Missing and
- 51% of teens have been asked for personal information online (McAfee Inc.).
- 30% of teens contemplate meeting a person they met online (Teenage Research Unlimited).
- Over HALF of bullying and cyberbully attacks go UNREPORTED to parents, educators, or authorities.
- On average 282,000 students are physically attacked by a bully each month.
And — as a result of being bullied, 19,000 children are attempting suicide over the course of one year.
These facts are disturbing to say the least. Shawn’s book goes on sale today and if you purchase through her site http://theparentsguidebook.com (not an affiliate link), all royalties will be donated to the Megan Meier Foundation, an organization founded to protect children from cyberbullying. Megan Meir, you may remember, was a thirteen year old girl who took her own life as a result of a neighbor who set up a fake profile online pretending to be a young boy. Megan was harassed and bullied until she could see no way out of the pain.
Also, you will receive several bonuses including, the Top 5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Facebook, written by yours truly.
Since our introduction, Shawn and I have begun to work on other projects together that will help kids and parents learn the dangers of too much online information. In fact, she launched a fundraising initiative for school systems called The Cyber Safety Academy (http://cybersafetyacademy.com) that will feature two of my books as well as hers and other cyber safety products.
Coopetition is alive and well. Too often people think that they can’t work together mainly out of fear. Fear that someone will steal their idea, fear that the other person’s products will be more successful or other fears. I have a different view, in this case the cooperation and collaboration will ultimately benefit both of us and, more importantly, impact the lives of the most precious resource, our children. I encourage all of you to think and work collaboratively. You never know what you cook up that will change your life and the lives of others.