Friday, May 28, 2010

Today in social media

The Point: There is a lot of Junk parading as social media tools these days. Some last, like twitter, and become useful. Others just... die. Like Swurl. Don't get lost in all the chaos, pick your medium of communication and stick with it.

(Image source:

The title of this posting might lead you to believe I know, or even care about what the new rage in social media is today.

I don't.

Well, maybe I care a little bit because I don't like to feel too old. But anyway, I digress. It was during a conversation with a beautiful young lady about breaking into the world of communications, that I stumbled into how truly daunting, and confusing the world of Internets 2.0 could be. I (and others who have had the pleasure of meeting me) would agree that I am a fairly intelligent and technologically savvy person. So when even I begin to mentally flail and sputter while trying to explain how to go about implementing a social media campaign, I believe it's time for people to get serious.

The problem is that there are so many gimmicks and fads out there (think Swurl), and many more being created each day, which instantly seem to act like geek flypaper! And of course, if all the geeks (I sometimes count myself amongst those ranks) are on new platform XYZ, and you hope to communicate with us, then of course you're gonna have to follow us right? Not necessarily, but this constant influx of short lived fads tends to complicate the landscape and make it a pain for any would-be born-again geek to join the ranks of their forefathers.

My suggestions? Spend some time trying to figure out what exactly your goals are for implementing a social media campaign. Try to identify your target audience, and get an idea of what messages you hope to be sending them. Figure out what the best medium of communication would be to send those messages (not everything is twitter appropriate). And remember that you don't HAVE to do EVERYTHING! Granted, having a Facebook page is almost a no-brainer, especially since (it is rumored that) Facebook has plans to take over the world. It's also not a bad idea to have a youtube channel if you have videos that people may want to see. Besides those two, I don't believe I would rank any other social media tool as an "almost-necessity" ("almost" because not everyone has something sensible to say via youtube!)

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Me, events, and networking

The Point: I like people, I like helping them, and I have an event planning background... why the heck haven't I organized some professional networking sessions already?!

I find it helpful and reassuring to constantly think about what I'm good at/for-- you know, as a way of validating my existence. I've been doing this for a little over 15 years. So far the verdict is that I deserve the space and air I consume on this planet.

It was during one of these, rather self-absorbed sessions, that I realized that my skill at event planning could, and should be put to use outside the confines of my office. Don't get me wrong, I've organized a few parties in my day, and they were NICE, but what I'm really thinking about is something more along the lines of a fun professional networking shindig. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's been done, and I've been to some of them, and they either degenerated into an overcrowded drinkfest, or the participants were so shy (and the drab corporate atmosphere didn't help either) that they never really made good, strong connections.

My idea is simple, and has probably been done before, but I'll do it again anyway! And you're more than welcome to borrow it too:

  • Starting with close friends and friends of friends, invite a limited and diverse (or be industry specific-- your call) number of people to a networking event. In this day and age of Layoff Peek-a-boo (get it-- now you have a job, now you don't? Get it?!)most people would be more than happy to join you for a little networking action.
  • Find a nice little bar and talk to the manager to give you the place on some Wednesday or Thursday evening, and promise him 30 - 50 people (make sure you deliver). Don't forget to request discounts on drinks and food etc. Most people would be happy to oblige since they generally don't get a whole lot of people patronizing their establishments during the weekdays.
  • Get to the place a little early, decorate a little bit and wait for your guests to arrive. And take the lead to introduce people. Encourage others to do the same, and you'll be surprised how well it works, especially since this group are already acquainted to one or more people on the room.
That's it. That's my idea.

NOW NOTE: These are by no means hard or fast rules and I will NOT be held responsible for a flopping event. All I'm doing here is offering some quick tips that have been helpful to me in organizing past events. If you really want to do this, do a little bit more research. Start by Googling "How to organize a bar event", and go from there.

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On and on we go...

I started reading a blog post this morning. After two paragraphs and no sign of a central idea to this book-length post, I jumped to another blog post. And yet again, it was apparent that I was expected to read the entire tome of a blog post to discover what this blogger was talking about. No clue in the title of the post (I tried to do the same), and no clue after two miles of quick scanning (approximately 4 paragraphs down). What's up with that?!

I understand that a blogger by definition has to be some shade of egotist, and thus will sometimes tend to love the sound of his/her keystrokes a little too much. That is however no excuse to put innocent readers who just seek information, through the headache of having to deal with your long-windedness (kinda like this, no?)

The point is (finally!), can we as bloggers begin to summarize our e-speeches in the first paragraph, before cutting loose with all the long sentences and big words. Or just bold the main points of your prose (Like I just did!) so it's easily identified by readers, like myself, with the attention span of a sledgehammer.

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