Archives for category: Web 2.0

I’m sitting in the airport, getting ready to go back to reality. It’s been almost a year since I wrote my first post. In that time span a lot has changed; my world has changed. I feel like it is time for a reintroduction.

I started off lucky. I was fortunate enough to get a college internship a year and a half ago at a Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. While the experience was great, it was the people I met during that time that I need to give thanks to, they showed me my potential.

The Executive Director of the Chapter, Jane Baxter Lynn, became a mentor to me. I would work hard, and that obviously earned her respect, but it was her passion and dedication that drove me to work harder, and be better. During my time there, I went from a college student to a communications professional. I learned the tools I needed to make it in this profession; hard work, dedication, and striving to keep things as simple as possible.

With my wings flapping, I jumped. I took my internship experience from USGBC and from my good friends at Greenlights, and aimed high. I had developed a pretty good skill set in online communications. I read blogs, tweeted, and began to understand the online landscape. With that experience, I felt it was time for more. I applied for a position at Edelman.

The first person I met at Edelman was Dave Levy. That is when I knew I was in the right place. Dave is a wealth of information, and he saw potential in me, and invited me to join Edelman’s internship program. I was extremely fortunate to become a part of a team that literally had awesome running through their veins. For as much as I learned in school, and in my two years of interning, I probably learned about twice that in the two months I interned at Edelman. That experience set me up for success; in October of this past year I was offered a full-time position,  working in Digital for Edelman.

All that has happened over the lifespan of this blog. And now, I can call myself a professional. As I have changed, so has this blog. It was once a sandbox for a college student to figure out the online space. Then it was an interactive resume for a graduate. And now, it is a sandbox once again. This time, however, it is the sandbox of a professional.

I often wonder what the new year will bring. What changes will I experience; what things will I learn. And so I leave with my one call to action: share. I want to learn about your experiences, and find out what you have learned.

Its time for me to catch my flight. I wish you safe travels and a happy new year.

My blog  just turned 40.

Like most that experience age 40, my blog is questioning itself in a weird mesh of reflection and bewilderment.

“How has there already been 40 posts?”

“Ugh, those paragraphs aren’t as tight as they used to be.” 

“Have I, after 40 posts, been successful?”

The interesting thing is that I feel a forty-year old would come to terms with the above comments much like I am coming to terms with this blog. A lot has happened over the time period of those 40 posts. The writing may not be as ambitious or written with the same intellectual vigor, but it has developed a tone; it now has structure. And yes it has been successful. It may not have won any awards, but it has carried a message, and has been received well by people.

So… am I supposed to buy a Corvette now or something?

Well, my blog is 40, not me, so I think the Corvette will have to wait. But in the meantime I do have some ideas for what I am going to do:

       1.     I am going to write to an audience, an audience that will listen.

When I started this blog it was intended to demonstrate that I was familiar to blogging, and meant to be a device to help me develop my writing skills. But I got tired of writing to some mythical job recruiter, and I decided to focus on writing to people who can identify with me. I will continue to offer this blog as a tool to recent graduates, employment seekers, and emerging communications professionals.

       2.     I am going to tell a story.

As I look back on some of my past writing, I realize that my best posts reveal something to the reader, and give them something that they can feel. A persuasive argument has no emotion, but an inspiring story can be quite persuasive and can hit people in the gut, where it really counts.

       3.     I am going to continue to strive for excellence.

While I feel I have made great strides in my writing, I want more. I want to engage a readership. I want to see a conversation take place via comments sparked by a thought-provoking post. I want people to tweet about my posts; to ignite conversations of their own. I want my pursuit of betterment to make other people better.

I do realize that those are some pretty lofty goals. But how else do you achieve greatness other than by setting the bar high?

I am fortunate though, to know what I need to do to achieve those goals: Listen. I will listen to criticism, I will listen to advice, and I will listen to my audience to make my online presence, worth something to others.

There is one more thing that I will try do start doing more frequently; leave with a call-to-action. So I say this to you: write. Write with everything you got. Put your head down on a piece of paper; punch out your thoughts on a keyboard. And if you are already doing that, great. Show me what you got. Share your writing with me, as I share with you. So that by the time you and I turn 40, our achievements will allow us to afford that Corvette.

I know you aren’t listening.

It’s not that you don’t want to, it is that you are physically incapable of doing so. If you aren’t on Twitter then obviously you are out of the question. But what if you are on Twitter? What if you claim to be engaged? Whether it be your personal Twitter handle, or the one you manage for work, I can tell you why you aren’t listening.

I consider myself actively engaged within my subset of the Twitter community. I can validate that claim because I tweet, re-tweet, and engage with new people whenever I get the chance.

I guess you do that too, don’t you.

But do you use Twitter lists? How many hashtags do you follow? Have you set up a Seesmic, Hootsuite, or TweetDeck account?

The reason I know you don’t listen is because there is just too much information flowing your way to comprehend it all. I follow over 800 people on Twitter, however I only actively engage with about half of that number. That group of 400 or so are categorized into about 15 different lists, and about 6 different hashtags. I do the same with my Google Reader account; sorting my 70+ RSS feeds into about 8 different folders.

I am not saying that I listen the I possibly can, nor am saying that there is a “best” way to do so. But I want to highlight the capabilities technology offers us that enable us to listen and listen more efficiently. Because the bottom line is that there are some brilliant people out there talking about brilliant ideas, and I would hate to be the one to miss out because I didn’t hear about it.

I just started a new job in a new city. For some reason, there is a quote that keeps going through my head during this transition:

“Why do you think the Yankees always when? …Mickey Mantle?
No. It’s because the other team can’t stop looking at the pinstripes.”

I felt a need to make sure I have my goals straight; to make sure all the changes haven’t gotten me distracted from my original reason for embracing change.

So I made a list that described my personal professional goals in the digital communications field so that I can stay focused through all the distractions:

  1. I want to know how to interpret the conversation:
    Not only identify that the conversation is there, but know how to report it, know what to do with it, and eventually know how to direct it in a certain direction.
  2. I want to understand the “Why” of the digital strategy:
    Going beyond what the strategy is, understand the different strata of the tactics involved from the singular task to the global intent.
  3. I want to be a content perfectionist:
    Know how to write in a singular voice with the different tones/inflections required across blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and online communities. Understand the differentiation between channels and why that difference exists.
  4. I want to make myself essential:
    The goals above are necessary for me to become essential; valuable. I know I want to work in this realm of digital communications, so I want to become a keystone to provide myself staying power in a field I love.

These goals are specific to me and working in the field of digital communication. However I believe that reminding myself of these goals is essential to staying focused. So whether you are facing change or merely getting bogged down, remind yourself why you are where you are, so that those pinstripes don’t throw you off task.

I just came across this luncheon webcast of Michael Slaby at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/interactive/events/luncheon/2010/03/slaby

I highly recommend watching this in its entirety because the conversation is so tangible to so many different kinds of organizations and situations.

Slaby dives into his experiences on the Obama campaign team and then follows up with various discussions regarding the Obama campaign technology to Web 2.0 and how online strategy can turn into offline movement.

My personal favorite discussion was about maintaining the campaign narrative through the online channel  and how web 2.0 applications were used as a tool for people to tell the story instead of web 2.0 trying to tell the story.

This was a very engaging discussion that definitely sparked my interest and brought forth many questions for me. Hopefully it will do the same for you. And if you happen to come across other webcasts that are similar in nature, please send them my way!

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