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3 (Three) Small Ways to Make Big Change

After announcing my return following a blogging hiatus, I received an invitation from The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio to write a blog article. The invitation was right on time and is just the push I needed to write about another topic passionate about — community support and social change.

In advance of Friday’s annual Keyholder fundraiser, the editor asked me to respond to this question: What can you do today, this month, or year to spark change in your community? Great question! There are so many ways — big and small — that people can do to make change happen today!

Of course we could talk about the big things like raising money, serving on a community board or hosting an event, but instead I want to focus on “small” or less obvious ways people can make change happen. Because small or large, contributions to change are just that. No matter how small your contribution — it matters.

Go In Your Community

Museums, churches, local governments, meetup groups, Internet communities and many others host all types of events to make their community a better place. Unfortunately, many events are not supported or embraced. But a small way to spark change in your community is to support your community by attending these events. If you want to spark change such as seeing more community events or more people attend — do your part and go! Support what happens in your community.

Get Opinionated

Frequently, people are neither interested in receiving feedback and too busy to give it. Whether you have a great experience or one that lacks luster — giving your opinion is one small way to spark change. In most instances organizers of community gardens, public art shows, welfare programs, fairs and festivals all want feedback. They really want to know what you enjoyed, if it met your expectations, what you would like to see in the future and  more. That’s how improvement happens. And although it can be time consuming to complete surveys and questionnaires consider how the simple act of giving your opinion can improve your community.

Go Local

If the change you want to spark is more local business then the best “small” thing you can do is to shop, eat, and buy local. That’s not to say there aren’t some great national or regional chain businesses, but change at the local economic level happens locally. And the commitment to make your daily, weekly, or occasional purchases at a local business sparks tremendous change for that business, its employees, your local economy and the national economy.

The idea of sparking change is awesome — and the options are limitless. Whether you have plans to spark big changes or you want to start with small ones, you have options.

What would you add to the list?

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is excited to welcome special guest Whoopi Goldberg to Nationwide Arena on Friday, June 29th for Keyholder 2012. The Women’s Fund’s annual Keyholder event is a preeminent gathering in the central Ohio area, attracting thousands of people to honor the women and girls who have made a significant impact in their lives. Tickets are on sale now for $50 each and all proceeds are used to provide grants that promise social change for women and girls. Call 614-225-9926to purchase tickets or stop by http://womensfundcentralohio.org for more information. Connect with The Women’s Fund on Facebook and Twitter (@WomensFundCO).

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Coming Back From Hiatus!

Hey there readers and those passing through! I’m excited to announce I’m back from my blogging hiatus. As you can likely imagine — or have experienced yourself — I was feel pretty burnt out on blogging and not finding the motivation to write about much. But that’s all changed! I’m feeling great about getting back to blogging and looking forward to posting articles once or twice weekly.

I still plan to write about technology, social media, the Internet, and networking. Since New Year‘s I’ve been working out like a crazy person, so I might even post some fitness video and equipment reviews too! If you have topic ideas, I would love to hear them — either for the blog or Digital 411 — so definitely let me know!

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to, you can check out some of my most recent episodes of Digital 411 on TalktainmentRadio.com. I’ve done some pretty sweet episodes lately that I think you might really like.

Recent topics include: International Social Media Month, e-waste and electronics recycling, gamification, and mobile app development from an insider’s perspective.

So, I’m back from hiatus! I’m super excited and I’m so glad you’re still with me!

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in communication

 

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Better Than a Pile Up: A Review of 3 Business Card Reader Apps

So, you’re gearing up for your next big networking event and when you return to your home or office, you are guaranteed to have more business cards than you know what to do with.

If you’re like most, the cards usually end up accumulating in a pile on your desk. And there they sit. I probably don’t have to tell you what happens next – the cards just sit there until you get tired of looking at them, then you toss ‘em.

There’s a better way to manage all the information you collect during networking events: Business Card Reader Mobile Apps – and there are plenty to choose from.

I’ve taken a closer look at a few to give you the inside scoop on how they work and some key features. Keep in mind: most business card readers have the same bassic function – you open the app, take a horizontal picture and software like OCR technology extracts the data. The data is then returned to you or automatically entered into the contacts menu of your mobile device.

Now, a closer look at some of the additional features some business card readers offer.

WorldCard Mobile

World Card Mobile is not free ($4.99), and I am partial to free or low cost apps, but for the price, users get a number of useful features, making the app worth the cost for iPhone 4/3GS users.

A key feature is it’s companion, WorldCard Contacts app which allows you to save the actual business card image in addition to having the data entered into your contact list.

When using the WorldCard Mobile and WorldCard Contacts apps together, users enjoy advanced functionality such as merging existing and new contacts together, capturing contact information from email signatures and social media integration.

CardMunch

If you’re not new to business card scanners, you’ve probably heard of CardMunch which made headlines in January 2011 when they were purchased by LinkedIn. This made CardMunch more powerful for two reasons: First, following the LinkedIn purchase, CardMunch became a free application eliminating the $2.99 purchase price and $.25 additional cost to scan cards beyond the initial limit of 10. Second, CardMunch allows users to send connection requests with your new contact through the app on LinkedIn with ease.
An additional feature that makes CardMunch stand out from other readers is their 100% guarantee of accuracy. According to CardMunch, after you take a picture of your business card, or anything with contact information, the data is transcribed by actual people and returned directly to your phone contact list within minutes. The guarantee of accuracy is definitely an added bonus for a free app.

CardMunch also has what it calls a CardFlow feature which means the actual image of each individual card is saved, and users can browse those images, and access additional information assigned those images making your rolodex even more digital.

ShoeBoxed

A standard in the world of business card scanners is ShoeBoxed’s business card reader. When users take a picture of their business cards using the ShoeBoxed app, the digital data is extracted and “verified” by humans. I don’t think it’s the same as transcription by humans like CardMunch, but I imagine it gets pretty close on accuracy. Also, contact information can be quickly intergrated into Constant Contact, SalesForce, Outlook and Batch Book, which is great.
What distinguishes ShoeBoxed from the others is their online account and premium version. The app, online account and premium service together gives users the ability to scan receipts and other types of documents which are then accessible either online or available for download as PDF and Excel documents. Additionally, data can be exported to Google Contacts and QuickBooks – proving very useful for managing expenses and accessing documents on the road.

So, clearly there are a lot of options. Decide whether you’re willing to spend money or are interested in an app with multiple or single functionality, and if you want an online experience to find a business card scanner that suits your needs. But by all means, don’t let those cards pile up on your desk!

This story was originally posted on ITMartini.com July 19, 2011. 

 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Networking

 

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Looking for genuine awkwardness? Check this out!

I recently discovered the best web series I have ever come across. “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” is not just a smartly written web series that features a diverse cast of characters, but the situations that come out in this web comedy seem much more honest and authentic than anything represented in today’s main stream media.

There are about eight episodes depicting J — the lead character — played by creator, director, producer and all around creative Stanford graduate, Issa Rae. The program has really resonated with a lot of audiences, African American and otherwise — and when you check it out you’ll see why. My guestimation about that is either being awkward, or experiencing awkward moments is so human and you can’t help but identify with the awkwardness you see Jay encounter.

I’ve included here one of my favorite episodes, (#5) and really “In my mind, I’m the best dancer ever,” however that little fact has been hotly contested.

Be sure to check out all eight episodes of The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” and let me know what you think? What are some awkward moments you’ve experienced for which there is no life map on how to handle? Share them below in the comments section, I can’t wait to read what people come up with.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in communication, media

 

You’re Invited: Digital 411 IRL (In Real Life) Event

You’re Invited: Digital 411 IRL (In Real Life) Event

About a month ago, some Twitter friends picked up on the current national discussion about whether there’s a higher education bubble and if we are on the verge of seeing it burst. Peter Thiel has written about this topic, “We’re in a Bubble and It’s Not the Internet. It’s Higher Education,” as well as Glenn Reynolds, “Higher Education’s Bubble is About to Burst.”

With the Twitter conversation heating up, we decided it might be interesting to take the conversation offline and include entrepreneurship to hear more about what people think. As a previous college professor and constant advocate of higher education, — of course — I got excited about the prospect. All of this has manifested into the first Digital 411 IRL (In Real Life) Event, and you’re invited to be part of the fun.

The Digital 411 IRL Event will be a live, interactive debate with a panel and live audience discussing the potential (or pending) higher education bubble bursting. We will address the question: Do you need a college education to be successful? And given the number of technology companies that are started by college drop outs, we ask: How might the higher education bubble affect technology companies and start ups?

I’m excited to moderate the panel which includes the following participants:

For those in central Ohio, you can attend the event live on location at the Ohio State University’s new, College Commons space located in Ramseyer Hall. And given the topic and location, we will be collecting school supplies to donate to St. Vincent Family Center to ensure every child is prepared to start the 2011-2012 school year!

For others, you can participate in the live broadcast by tuning into TalktainmentRadio.com Thursday, August 4 at 5pm. We will be taking questions and comments by Twitter, so send them along with the hashtag #Digital411IRL. Register for the Digital 411 IRL (In Real Life) 

I’m obviously as excited as can be and I hope you will join us IRL or virtually. It’s sure to be an interesting and engaging discussion! I’m looking forward to seeing you at this live event!

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Digital 411, education

 

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Faster Than a Taco Bell Pitt Stop: My Day As A Juror

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may recall me wining about being called up for jury duty. Before the anti-American hate email and Twitter messages begin flooding in, let me just say: I support America and the criminal justice process.

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, I can tell you about My Day As A Juror. Given all the hype surrounding the Casey Anthony trial, you may be expecting to hear about the courtroom stunts puled by attonreys on both sides of the aisle, or the gridlock that the jury found itself in during deliberations. Well, I hate to bust your bubble, but if you’ve ever served on jury duty — you know 12 Angry Men it is not.

In fact, My Day As a Juror only lasted about 15 minutes, before I was excused. So, this article could be more properly titled, My Day Getting Out of Jury Duty. As you can imagine, prior to my report day, I searched what I believe to be the entire website for the “Excused from Jury Duty” form. And turned up nothing. So, I reported at 10:15am for the opening remarks and screening process. Although the forms I searched for I couldn’t locate on the site, I did find a lot of information about inexpensive parking and the jury duty process– which was helpful.

When I arrived, there were about 45 other people waiting to do their civic duty as well. After receiving my juror pass, I was instructed to complete a few forms. No biggie — I am of course completing forms and searching for that one coveted document, “Excused from Jury Duty.” Again nothing.

Around 10:45am, what I can only identify as a “jury duty morale booster specialist” came out and got to work warming up the crowd. To the credit of Franklin County, jurors do have access to wireless internet, computer terminals, a fridge for packed lunches, as well as hot and cold beverages. All of that of course is designed as additional compensation for the meager $20/day (of which $5 goes towards parking) jurors are provided for a minimum 2 weeks of jury duty.

What!?! You’re kidding I thought. You’re really only compensating people $20/day, 3 weeks following your service, and parking is part of that — I gotta figure out how to get out of here for real, I thought.

As Mr. Jury Duty Moral Booster is working the crowd, he’s fielding questions from people about lunch, how far into the afternoon people can expect to be there, trials, and wireless internet access. I thought to myself, “Am I the only jury duty dodger in the bunch? I guess I know what question I have to ask?” And then it comes out: “How do I get excused from jury duty?”

His pace of usual question answering is interrupted. Mr. Jury Duty Moral Booster — noticiably annoyed, takes a deep breath and stammers a reply, “well…why? What’s your issue?” What’s “my issue?” Is this a trick question, I wonder — I have plenty of issues, but in this moment — I recognize my chance.

So I give ’em everything I’ve got, while keeping in mind, the childcare excuse didn’t go very far so child as strategic pawn is out. I say, “I’m self-employed and a member of the press.” Although member of the press falls flat — which I anticipated would be a better get out of jail free card, self-employed turns out to be a winner!

Approximately 15 or 20 minutes after my arrival for jury duty, I was excused. Obviously, I’m not advocating that you dodge jury duty like I did, but with the threat of only making $20/day for 2 full weeks as a juror was enough to send me running. But in the event you find yourself starring down the barrel of jury duty — if you’re self employed, that’s a legitimate excuse to use — and it works.

What jury duty stories do you have to tell? Leave them in the comments section below and come back next week to read about My Day As A Market Research Subject!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in blog, communication

 

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Google Chrome Extension: ToDoist A Review

I’m always on the lookout for great Google Chrome web browser extensions and those that provide some additional functionality to make my life on the internet easier. I don’t have a magic way to find extensions other than using a search phrase like “Best Chrome Extensions,” and seeing what comes up.

During a recent search, I came up with ToDoist — which I’m convinced will make my life easier. I’ve only been experimenting with it, so I’ll give the highlights here of what I see so far with this to do list extension. To be sure, there are a bevy of list making extensions available, so don’t be afraid to search around to find the one that works best for what you want to accomplish.

Unlike most extensions I’ve used in the past, users of ToDoist first sign up for the service through their website. Once you complete that, then you install the extension, which will be added to your navigation bar with a check mark and “T” icon.

Once you sign up and get to the start screen, ToDoist provides you a great overview of the range of ways in which you can integrate the application into your existing online usage habits. Since I use an iGoogle dashboard, I appreciate you can incorporate your ongoing to do lists there, as well as the Netvibes dashboard. ToDoist is also available as an iphone and Android mobile application. There are keyboarding shortcuts and filtering options as well.

As a list making function, I appreciate the ability to first create projects and then assign tasks to the pertinent individual projects — which obviously makes ToDoist a bit more than a simple list making application — but rather a project management app.

Once you’ve created your project, and then assigned tasks to that project — this is were ToDoist gains some momentum in my book. What I really like is once you’ve set up your project, ToDoist has an “Add Link” function which allows users to easily bookmark pertinent web links. Additionally, you can assign that link as a task to a specific project. For me, this eliminates emailing links to myself with a reminder to return to them at a later time. However, if that’s something you would like to do — ToDoist gives you that option.

If you’re willing to upgrade to the preminum service, you can get access to reminders, notes and much more. I’m like many people in that I’ll make due with the free service. That’s not to say in the future, I won’t upgrade, but for the moment, I’m not sure what ToDoist has to offer is worth the cost of upgrading.

So, what do you think about ToDoist? Are you currently using it or another list making, project management application or add on with some good functionality? I invite you to share your thoughts on ToDoist or any other add on in the comments section below.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in communication, Productivity

 

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It’s Google +1, Not the The Rapture!

So, for much of the week everyone in the wide world of technology has been completely losing their *ish about Google +1. Since June 28, 2011 — Mashable has published over 20 stories about Google +1. Here are a few headlines to prove it.

10 Top Google+ Users Weight In on The Web’s Newest Social Network

Zuckerberg on Google+: It’s a Validation of Facebook Vision

Google to Retire Private Google+ Profiles on July 31

For those that are not familiar Google +1 according to Google, it’s news feature or a social network as one headline would lead you to believe is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “your should check this out.” Further about Google +1 says the search giant it is a way to “help your friends, contacts, and others find the best stuff on the web.” (a video introduction of G+)

About the addition, everyone has had an opinion. It seems as though people are completely blown away by Google’s newest product. Don’t get me wrong, I love new Google products, I’m willing to try anything out once and see how it goes, but for goodness sake — G+ is not the rapture.

In fact, what I think is actually more interesting in the world of social media is the latest Facebook features including Skype‘s video chat integration and deeper integration of Facebook with Skype. Facebook also introduced group chat — on the fly and invite several people to a group chat, and supposedly a new design — which I have yet to see.

Now from my perspective, I see the deeper integration between Skype and Facebook to be a bit more important than Google+1. First G+ is closed to most of the world at this point. But that’s actually small potatoes compared to the bigger issue — Facebook’s introduction of more products that keep users on Facebook.

Among the number of ways in which Facebook facilitates communication — the fact that users can now video chat through the service tell me a few things. Facebook is getting closer to potentially developing their own web browser. This not withstanding the fact that FB has had success with integration into web browsers like RockMelt. I will not be surprised to see a Facebook web browser in the near future.

Interestingly, Mark Zuckerburg says about the new Google addition that it’s a validation of Facebook. Although not overt, I get the sense that Zuckerburg is gearing up for something even bigger than a social network — but rather a browser, or search engine or Noah’s ark

I am also more interested in the Facebook’s announcement because again, FB has found another way to keep users on their site over others. Inevitably, users will begin video chatting right away, and will likely believe that it’s the video feature of Facebook — and nor will they know or care that they are using the Skype service to do that.

I’m sure there’s more to say about Google+ but I’m not sure I understand why everyone is losing their shit about this introduction. What do you think is the bigger and more important story? The Facebook-Skype integration OR Google +1? Weigh in below and let me know what you think.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in communication, social media

 

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I like my blog shaken, not stirred

Hi there loyal and new readers of Erika Pryor At Large. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit MIA for the past few weeks. Not because I don’t love to bring you new and exciting things, but rather I was experiencing some growing pains.

More specifically, I’ve found myself wanting to write about a range of topics, but feeling like I couldn’t do it on my blog.Then I thought, what the hell is the point of  having a blog, if you don’t create content about what you are motivated. And I found no better time than Independence Day to make this declaration.

I’m skaking things up here at Erika Pryor At Large. I’m talking about more topics related to career and work, and of course there will be social media and web tech stuff. As an added bonus, I want to start providing Digital 411 program notes, that include websites, stories, and other general information we discuss during the course of the program.

So, what do you think is the first new thing you’re rolling out, you ask? I’m so glad you’ve asked. It’s a series called: My Day As A …

Here’s a little background. If you’ve ever worked as (or known someone that was) a consultant, freelancer, entrepreneur or small business owner, you know that no day is really like the one before, or the one coming next. For me, this is what a typical week my include among other things:

Monday I play the role of “marketing therapist,” for a client listening attentively to their difficulties managing the 10 different hats they are charged to wear, while also helping my client develop an action plan to get things done.

Tuesday, I’m getting close to an article submission deadline, so I’m finishing up the research and writing of blog and website articles.

Wednesday I find myself  working with a client to prepare them for their media interview and photo shoot. I’m also working with their team on our regional campaign launch.

Thursday I’m working on developing the Digital 411 program schedule and getting guest co-hosts lined up for the next weeks and months.

By the time Friday rolls around, I’m scheduled to do some gurrella marketing at a local festival. Followed up by spending Saturday at Port Columbus doing market research for a client.

That’s this week — but can’t say next week will look anything like this one.

And for me, that’s the exciting part of things that keeps me engaged in my work. That’s when I thought to myself Why not share these interesting moments with your community? Well, that’s what I’m not doing with the series My Day As A..

As an added bonus, I’m making the series open to others and accepting submissions from YOU! That’s right, I’m guessing a day in the life of you has it’s interesting moments, and now there’s a place where you can share it with others.

In addition to this new series, I’m making a resolution to add more video posts and video supplements to the blog.

Thanks for being a fan, listener, and reader of Erika Pryor At Large and Digital 411! I have so much fun doing both and love the interaction and support I continue to receive from you. It’s great keep it coming and I’ll keep coming with posts, videos, commentary, and much more here!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in blog

 

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Facebook Fan Pages Blown Wide Open

Facebook Fan Pages Blown Wide Open

Facebook is a topic favorite on Digital 411, and there are endless things to talk about when it comes to the world’s most popular social media network. As the biggest online time sink and with more than 700 million users worldwide on Facebook everyday, if you’re not using a Facebook Fan Page to connect with your consumers you’re missing opportunities to be part of their daily lives.

On the Saturday, June 11, 2011 episode of Digital 411 we’re blowing Facebook Fan Pages wide open. Telling everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a successful page. We’ll discuss how to leverage custom tabs, social applications, email capture and much more.

Here are our guest co-hosts that will blow Facebook Fan Pages wide open:

Elijah R. Young

Co-Founder at Fandura (www.fandura.com), Serial Small Business Entrepreneur, Small Business Start-up Consultant and Business Strategist, Elijah R. Young creates digital strategies that allow brands to both market themselves in the social media space, and connect their social online identities to their offline branding and marketing materials.

As a serial small business entrepreneur, as of January 2010, Elijah R. Young have started or been involved with the launch of 16 businesses from 2003 to Present. I am always looking to invest in entrepreneurship and develop new business ideas either offline, or via my personal blog. Follow Elijah on Twitter @ElijahRYoung

Mark Hill 

Mark Hill is a serial entrepreneur and has been so his entire life. He launched his first retail company out of his Ohio State dorm room at the age of 19. Since then he has either been a co-founder in or a part of 5 other startups, all but 1 being in the e-commerce or technology sectors. At Fandura (his latest company) he is excited about building web and social applications that help business owners grow their businesses.  Follow Mark on Twitter @IamMarkHill

I promise you will walk away knowing more about Facebook Fan Pages than you ever imagined. Join us during our live broadcast Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 10amEST on TalktainmentRadio.com. We take your calls at 1(877) 932-9766 and you can join the conversation on Twitter too @Digital411.

Can’t listen to the live broadcast — that’s okay. Catch the podcast the following week or subscribe on iTunes (http://bit.ly/Digital411iTunes) and don’t miss an episode!

 
 

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How do you make an online publication and offline community work?

How do you make an online publication and offline community work?

The next installment of Digital 411 promises to be a great one. We’re answering the question: What is the secret sauce to managing an online publication and an active offline community? As you can imagine, this can be a bit tricky because the offline and online doesn’t always come together as well as you hope.

As an added bonus, what do you do when you throw a hard copy publication in the mix. The workload, content, events and much more can get pretty complicated. But, in central Ohio, we’ve found at least 2 entrepreneurs that are making it work — and well. 

On the next episode of Digital 411, Saturday June 4, 2011 at 10am EST, my guest co-hosts reveal their secerts, successes and challenges. Here’s a little bit about TaKeysha Sheppard Cheney Sheppard and Walker Evans.

TaKeysha Sheppard Cheney

TaKeysha Sheppard Cheney is the Founder, CEO & Publisher of The Women’s Book, a multi-media publication that showcases local women leaders and resources including woman-owned businesses, nonprofits, news and events. The Women’s Book’s goal is to make it easier to find what’s happening in a community that benefits women and girls.

 

Walker Evans

Walker Evans is the founder of ColumbusUnderground.com and co-founder of TheMetropreneur.com along with his wife and business partner Anne Evans. Walker has turned local media from a hobby into a full time career over the past decade and continues to consult with local businesses and organizations on topics related to new media and social media.

He lives in the historic King Lincoln District adjacent to Downtown with his wife and two children. He loves the urban energy and culture that Downtown Columbus has to offer and currently serves on multiple boards and committees including The North Market Development Authority, The Columbus Metropolitan Club Advisory Board and the Create Committee of the Columbus 2020 regional economic development initiative.

Digital 411 broadcasts live Saturdays 10am EST on TalktainmentRadio.com. Listen in, and join the conversation by calling 1 (877) 932-9766 or send your questions and comments by Twitter to @Digital411.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in business, Digital 411

 

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5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

If you’re like a lot of people right now, you’re likely looking for a job. Whether you’re like me and always looking to add new projects and gigs to your freelance portfolio, or searching for a full time position, you’ve likely noticed an increase in the number of placement agencies conducting searches.
From what I can tell, there seems to be a strong push in that direction. Which makes sense, given there are still more people searching for jobs than there are jobs available.

The good news is: There are jobs available. The bad news is, you’ve got to figure out how to get your application materials beyond this additional level of screening in order to get your shot in the hiring process. So, what are some best practices and strategies for actually getting your name in the hiring poll. Here are 5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

1. Know what you want

Recruiter’s are busy people and in demand right now. They don’t have time to waste, so whether you’re at a job fair, networking event, on the phone, or sending an email, don’t beat around the bush regarding what you are looking for in a job, as well as what will make or break the position for you. Even if that position isn’t a great fit for you, it’s likely the recruiter will come across something that may be, and the more they know about your background, experience, and professional interests, the better.

2. Attention Grabbing Headlines

As you can imagine, staffing specialists are weeding through a large number of applicants while attempting to fill multiple positions (that’s why they are being pulled into the hiring process more now than ever). You’re goal is to get their attention in your email subject lines and professional headlines.

When developing those punchy headlines, don’t go crazy, but do consider the nature of the position. If you’re in a creative field (such as marketing, writing, graphic design) you have more at your disposal; however, even if you’re position isn’t necessarily in the creative realm, you still have space to include key words from the position positing in your attention getting headline and email subject lines too!

3. Help A Recruiter Out

Remember, recruiters are talent scouts and are always on the hunt for to add outstanding talent to their pool. So, if you have an opportunity to interact with a recruiter one-on-one and you’re not a perfect fit for the position, they may ask you to pass along the posting, or refer them to someone that is. Do It! 

Recruiters know that people in the same or related fields know one another professionally, and appreciate a little additional help in penetrating that circle. Also, this is a great show of good faith and professionalism.

Sure it’s disappointing that the position wasn’t right for you, but helping the recruiter is something that they will likely remember. Providing that additional help can also mean they now have a better understanding of what you’re searching for. Also, keep in mind this is now a working relationship, and if you can help them, they are more likely to help you. That’s a win-win!

4. Offer Your Availability

Although we don’t always know from the position posting that it’s a recruiter that is conducing the search, it’s good practice to offer your specific availability and request a meeting or phone conference. Be sure to include the fastest method of communication as well. Remember: you want to always include a “call to action.” It frequently works.

5. Stay in Touch (on their terms)

By virtue of their work, recruiters are “high touch” people. They are in constant contact with their clients to give them progress updates on their searches, and routinely touching base with candidates, to find the best one for their open positions. This means they are on the phone and email a lot.

Staying in touch with them — and recriporcating that high touch sensibility is a good way to not only get their attention, but keep it during the course of your job search. Be sure to ask the recruiter how they would prefer you reach them, (phone, email, message in a bottle –whatever). Once you’ve got the preferred communication method, use it.

Also, it’s not a bad idea to include your resume in the text of the email as well. They might remember your name, but not your background. So, don’t make them search their database to find your resume and see if they have a position you might fit into.

Although not necessarily part of keeping a recruiter’s attention, but just good business etiquette is to let the recruiter you’ve been in contact with know when you’ve secured a full time position. A short email will do the trick.

So, have you worked with a recruiter lately? What strategies did you use to secure their attention?
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in business, communication

 

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Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?

Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?
A few weeks ago, a few social media consultants and myself were having a spirited discussion regarding solo-preneur to micro to small business growing pains. What some of us were really saying was: I’m starting to feel that owning my own business isn’t fun anymore, I think I like working as a consultant better.We toyed around with the idea out loud and with others like was it time to get a full-time job? And if it was, could having a gigantic personal brand do more harm than good? Could my personal brand actual scare away potential employers?Is this really possible, I thought. I had spent the last three years or so, building a personal brand that stood for something and reaping – what I believed were — the benefits of a strong online and offline reputation. I never considered the possibility that  my persona brand could be too big for an employer?

Of course everyone from Katie Couric to Angela An and every other news caster, employment counselor and economist has talked about the importance of networking and building a brand. But what if the opposite can be true, with potential employers declining to meet with you because your brand is too big?

We speculated about the negatives of hiring someone with an inflated personal brand. Someone in the company — presumably a decision maker — doesn’t like you because of some inflammatory remarks you made at a speaking engagement.

Especially at a small business or startup, the president may be concerned that by hiring you, your brand will overshadow the company. We also speculated as to whether or not, expectations of what you can do and accomplish are inflated because of your larger than life online persona.

Clearly that conversation got me thinking. So, I reached out to someone who I know works with small businesses and asked what she thought about the question: Can a strong personal brand scare away a potential employer?

Here’s some of what Andrea Applegate of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce had to say on the subject.

Regardless of your occasional tech and social media savvy lawyer or nurse,most small business owners really don’t know much about social media. She continues, “technology, PR, marketing, or youth oriented industries are the types of small business owners that are well versed in social media.”

Andrea notes that since, “small businesses in other industries don’t even understand social media, so it (the killer social media brand you’ve been cultivating) is meangingless to them.”

Here’s the real dagger in your social media lovin’ heart: According to Andrea, “most small businesses and startups have no real understanding of how powerful social media can be and is.”

Although this is good news of sorts. I mean if you decide to hang up your consultant lifestyle for a straighter laced existence, then working with a startup or small business feels like less of a sell out — over working for the man and going straight corporate.

But that brings to light another problem: My potential audience may not have any idea about me and my awesomeness? Now what do I do.

According to Andrea Applegate — it’s time to get integrated. Since many business owners have their finger on what’s happening in their industry — start working traditional reputation building channels as well.

Social media my not be the first place your audience turns for everything from coupons to daily news, said Andrea “you have to distinguish yourself as an expert in your filed using traditional mechanisms (like speaking at conferences, writing white papers, etc.) because these activites have a higher value for these employers.”

Whoa, so you’re advice to consultants thinking about getting a 9 to 5 gig with a small business or start up generally is to go integrate old school reputation management with new school personal branding methods. That’s great advice! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but valuable nonetheless.

What do you think? Is this sounds advice to consider, or B.S.? Are you thinking if the company doesn’t get social media is it not the right place for you to begin with (I admit that’s my gut reaction =)

 
 

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Facebook Community Page Settles as Virtual Wake Sites

Facebook Community Page Settles as Virtual Wake Sites

A few months ago when I had Chris Groves and Ashley Shipley on my internet radio talk show, Digital 411 to talk about social media T.M.I. (too much information), Chris and Ashley introduced me to something I’m calling “virtual wake sites” (VWS). These VWS frequently appear following the unfortunate and untimely death of someone. This person is often times young as well.

In reading about the most recent incident of a young woman in London that posted to Facebook she felt threatened and believed she had a stalker in a number of status updates. now there is a virtual grave site, a Community Page called R.I.P. Emily Longely. This virtual grave site includes a tasteful picture, provides some basic information about Longley’s death and — wrapped in the warmth of teenaged angst — is the poem “Heaven’s Gates.” At the writing of this article, the page had accumulated more than 13,000 fans. The page creator indicated that the virtual wake site “was made with respect for Emily and her family, for her friends and all that would like to leave their messages.”

A few days — not weeks — prior to Longley’s untimely death, Tyler Rhodes, 17, not only said another neighborhood teen threatened him with a knife, Rhodes went so far as to identify the person by name on the world’s most popular social networking site.

Rhodes was slayed by this boy only 48 hours later.

The authorities turned to his Facebook profile page to get a sense of his life in the days leading up to his his untimely death.Those status updates were used to apprehend Rhodes killer, Jah-Lah Tyree Vanderhorst

Community Page, “In Memory of Tyler Rhodes,” features the 15 to 22 urban male recresite uniform — black tank top, gold cross combo. Interestingly there’s another virtual grave site, a Public Figure page. “Rest In Peace Tyler Rhodes 2.1.94-4.30.11,”

What seems to be a common denominator among these sites is that the young person had taken to Facebook in an attempt to seek out help for their situation. What is even more interesting in my opinion when you look at this phenomenon is that with the creation of these Community Pages, there’s no indication of irony of these virtual wake sites.

By this I mean, Tyler and Emily both turned to their Facebook network, likely made up of individuals geographically near and far for help regarding their current situation. Both indicated that they felt their life was threatened. There’s little indication that anyone took their concerns seriously — yet the same individuals that did not take their concerns seriously went to the social networking site to create a place of memorial.

I’m not exactly sure what that says, but it says something. I think it says something about the guilt people may feel for not taking the concerns of Tyler and Emily seriously. These virtual wake or grave sites may also say something about an actual purpose of Facebook Community Pages. (Besides being the best use of a useless Facebook development).

According to Facebook, which introduced their Community Pages last spring, says “Community pages — the pages that link from fields you fill out in your profile — are for general topics and all kinds of unofficial but interesting things. You “like” these pages to connect with them, but they aren’t run by a single author, and they don’t generate News Feed stories.”

So, the question remains, what are they good for and how do you use them? In most instances the use of this unofficial page (over the branded and official page of a brand) has only been able to frustrate businesses and brands that have put in energy and funds to maintain a great looking page for their fans. And now, Facebook has created a way for either Facebook or users to create this unofficial stomping ground.

What do you think about Facebook community pages or the phenomenon of virtual wake sites?

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2011 in communication, social media

 

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Inside the Making of an Internet Celebrity

Inside the Making of an Internet Celebrity

If you’ve been paying attention to popular culture for the past 10 years or so, you’ve noticed a rise in online or internet celebrities. These fun folks are responsible for introducing great phrases like “love muffins,” singing about their favorite day of the week, and protecting their favorite celebrities like Brittney Spears.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Obama Girl?

Join us Saturday, May 14 at 10am on TalktainmentRadio.com to learn about the making of an internet celebrity.

But first meet our cyber celebrities.

Lex McAllister is a Business Owner, Motorcycle & Car Enthusiast, On Air Personality With Auto Smarts Radio, Reality Show Star, Spokesperson, and most importantly, A Woman With NO Excuses. Lex’s business and radio careers started with a ferocious bite that’s had her infected ever since! Sounds extreme, but her blood runs on gas, PREMIUM gas.

In 2009 the lights of Hollywood turned toward Lex as she found herself “On the Wings of Love,” during ABC’s fourteenth season of The Bachelor. Bachelor Jake Pavelka couldn’t keep up with Lex and her two HOGs, so Lex left the show to start her own show; one that pushes women into a lifestyle of risk-taking, NO-regret-giving, mistake-making goodness.

Since 2009, Lex has started her own company Lexicon Works, PR, Marketing, & Promotions Group and is an avid car and motorcycle enthusiast.  Native to C-Bus, Lex was schooled in NYC’s Marymount Manhattan College then later worked for NBC, ABC, MTV, Revolution Studios, and Sibling Entertainment.  She was recently named one of the 10 TOP Columbus CEOs by Columbus CEO Magazine.

Lex is the creator of the Live No Excuses Radio program broadcasting on Rewind 103.5/104.3 FM. Follow Lex on Twitter @LexMcAllister

Amy Schmittauer is the Founder and Face of SavvySexySocial.com where she shares tips to help small businesses and entrepreneurs own their social media presence. Amy is predominantly known for reaching her audience through video blogging, for both business and personal life. As a self-proclaimed socialista, if she is not talking to a camera, she is probably tweeting, dailyboothing, or checking in to meet people IRL (in real life).

Join Amy this summer in June as she takes vlogging on the road. Amy won a coveted blogger spot in the Fox Rent-a-Car Road Trip. With 16 days in a car and 6 new cities to check out– her vlog entries are going to be all new and Pro-Fresh-ional!

Follow Amy on Twitter @schmittastic

Listen to previous episodes of Digital 411

This stuff is good. So, subscribe to Erika Pryor At Large in your reader!
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Digital 411, social media

 

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You Produce Digital 411 User Contest is Open!

You Produce Digital 411 User Contest is Open!

Digital 411 is about what the awesome users want and that’s why I’m handing over an episode to you! Announcing theYou Produce Digital 411 User Contest! Win the opportunity to produce your own episode of Digital 411 — an internet radio show heard exclusively on TalktainmentRadio.com with Dr. Erika Pryor.

What do you have to do to win?

Submit your pitch in 140 characters or less on Twitter @Digital411, Facebook, or by email at: digital411@talktainmentradio.com. The last day to submit pitches is Friday, May 20, 2011 at 5pm.

Since, this show is all about the users, the winning pitch will be the result of an online election between 3 finalist pitches.

Online voting is Monday May 23, 2011 through Friday May 28, 2011.

our only guideline is to submit a pitch that is related to technology, tech gadgest, social media, or web tech.

When the users have spoken, the winner and I will produce YOUR Digital 411 episode including:

  • Guest selection
  • On-air script development
  • Pre-show research
  • Run on-air interviews live!

The You Produce Digital 411 User Contest episode is will air live Saturday, July 2, 2011 at the Talktainment Radio studios in Columbus.

So, get your 140 character pitch ready and tweet it to @Digital411 or email digital411@talktianmentradio.com. The deadline is coming quick! Anyone is eligable to enter this contest (this means you can enter even if you were a guest co-host on a previous episode). 

Good luck and thanks for being a loyal Digital 411 supporter!

Click here to access Digital 411 on iTunes! 

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2011 in Digital 411, Productivity

 

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Politics in Social Media Land…More than Meets the Eye

It’s the start of the election cycle and there’s no time better than now to start talking about how and why politicans and governments are using social media. As an added bonus, it’s been a pretty crazy week with the world of politics and social media land so, the discussion on this week’s program will be an exciting one you won’t want to miss. 

Meet our guest co-hosts that will be giving us the inside scoop.

Natalie Lehner

Natalie Lehner is communications director for the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. She is a former public radio reporter, anchor and producer. Lehner is also a former political talk show host with Ohio Public Radio and Television. She also worked as a reporter at NBC4 TV in Columbus, Ohio before getting into public relations. Follow Natalie’s musings on Twitter @ImaCornStar

Brian Hoyt


Brian Hoyt is the Public Information Manager for the City of Gahanna and manages the City’s communications, marketing and social media programs.  Before joining the City of Gahanna, Brian worked in public relations for an Ohio based advertising agency and as a public relations and political consultant.  Additionally, Brian has worked in employer relations for a recruiting firm and a non-profit workforce development organization. Check out Brian on Twitter @OhioBrian

Digital 411 is heard exclusively on TalktainmentRadio.com. We record live Saturdays, 10am EST. Join the conversation by phone at: 1877-932-9766 or send your questions and comments by Twitter to @Digital411. Also, join the conversation between programs on the Facebook page.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2011 in communication, Digital 411

 

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Cbus representin’ at Future Midwest 2011: An event review

A few weeks ago when I was kicking alongside many other Cbusrs with Hubert Sawyers III during his inaugural pilgrimage to Columbus, OH I heard about the Future Midwest 2011 conference happening in Detroit. Since I have not had the opportunity to attend many interactive conference in the past year — I decided this would be a great opportunity to meet some new people in the interactive space and see what’s shakin’ in the “D.” Although I didn’t arrive to Detroit until the end of day one, I got to participate in some very informative sessions, had a great Taste of Detroit experience and met some very cool people.

Here’s a brief review of some of the highlights.

Privacy

David Norris, CEO of Bluecava talked about the future of privacy. What was most interesting about his presentation was the argument that online retailers and advertisers need to find ways to bring consumers into the privacy discussion. Because advertisers are collecting personal information about you why not bring consumers into the privacy conversation and offer them ways to be actively engaged in the very complex eco-system.

What Norris also said is that the government — or more specifically, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — really has no idea the extent to which privacy is being violated (or perhaps redefined) by the professionals in internet marketing. So, the legislation that is currently under negotiation is pretty much worthless. Even more alarming for me — and somewhat unknown by the FCC — is the depth to which surveillance is occurring.

According to Norris, most users are unaware that the “tracking” of their website activity goes way beyond their website traffic and includes everything that is done on that website.

Finally, even if you opt-out of personalized ads, that’s really just one piece of the puzzle — and just clear your cookies and that opt-out is officially wiped out. Very interesting stuff.

Relationship Building and Storytelling

The other interesting session was presented by John Meyer and Scott Meyer — bro-founders of 9 Clouds. In addition to being pretty proud of their term “bro-founders,” John and Scott seemed to really understand how to help the non-tech person know how to convert their understanding of online relationship building and storytelling. I love their line, “Your mom is better at Facebook than you are, she just doesn’t know it.” More specifically, your mom — likely part of the fastest growing demographic of people joining Facebook — knows how to maintain relationships and tell great stories. As digital and interactive marketing professionals, if we can help our clients and employers understand how to translate those skills to the digital space, than we can harness the power of social media. That resonated with me.

Although the conference presentations were awesome, there are some low lights to my Future Midwest experience. As any conference organizer knows, you can’t please all the people all the time, so I hope that this constructive criticism is taken as such.

Wireless Internet

Okay — so interactive — web — social media types are notorious for their immediate gratification needs. As an added obstacle, we all have 2 or 3 or sometimes 4 devices to burn up bandwidth. So, needless to say, there were some issues with the wireless internet access. My hope is as the conference continues this will be resolved.

Cbus Representation

Even in the Midwest — the tech/digital/interactive/social media hub that Columbus is — is the best kept secret. I think we have to do more in the Cbus to promote the awesome stuff we have going on here because I was sad to see there was no presenters from Columbus on the program agenda. I’m hoping as the relationships grow among and between the communities in Columbus and Detroit that there will be a Cbusr representing at Future Midwest 2012.

Michigan In April

Michigan like Ohio has unpredictable weather conditions, and I obviously can’t put the weather at the doorstep of the conference organizers. I love the Eastern Markets venue, but it was uncomfortable cold. But again, what can you do.

For those of us that are freelancers and independent consultants it can seem daunting to attend conference and conventions because the cost can be a pain point. I know this can hold me back, but I encourage you to save and make it happen. It’s always worth the cost whether it’s the knowledge or the networking you’re going for.

So, what events and conferences are coming up this summer that would be worth shelling out the dough or going the distance to attend? 

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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in business

 

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How to break into your social media career

With the rise of social media networks moving beyond everyday consumers to include big business, small business, educational institutions and much more, there’s a new sense of excitment when it comes to social media as a career. But the question remains — how do you actually break into the social media career? You might also wonder what does a social media career look like? Do you just post messages on Twitter all day?

We’ll be talking about all of that and much more this week on Digital 411. Meet our guest co-hosts that will share their career path to breaking into social media.

Jenn Hallowes, Mar/Comm Social Media Specalist

Jenn Hallowes is a results-driven Communications, Marketing, PR and Social Media Strategist with a tremendous passion for the ever-expanding digital world. Jenn develops long-term strategic plans and leads tactical initiatives, and synchronizes multimedia plans and objectives ensuring consistency in brand elements, voice and purpose.

Catch Jenn on Twitter @JennLynn9

Mark Kotowski, Social Media Coordinator

Mark Kotowski is an experienced social media coordinator having worked with different organizations to reach different goals. He specializes in creating and maintaining online identities through social networking, utilizing several forms of social media to orchestrate an active brand presence.

Follow Mark on Twitter @maedko

Digital 411 records live Saturdays at 10am on TalktainmentRadio.com. We also take callers on the air at: 1 (877) 932-9766 and questions on Twitter @Digital411. Listen live, join the conversation and have fun with Jenn, Mark and me this week talking about how to break into YOUR social media career!

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in communication, Digital 411

 

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Why are you worried about social media when your website sucks?

Perhaps these are conversations that are happening behind closed doors, so I’m hear to blow the lid off a few things. But first, let me set the scene for you.

At some random networking event, I run into someone really interested in talking about working together to build brand awareness using social and digital media. Awesome, just the conversations I love to have. We follow up our unplanned encounter with a scheduled meeting. In preparation for the meeting, I do my homework researching this person’s current social media, digital presence and website. Like a good consultant should!

What do I find during my routine pre-meeting preparation, but a complete shit show of a website. I mean, the thing hasn’t been updated for years, there nothing to indicate a company personality or link to their social media sites, and — as an added bonus — the logos from the website don’t even match those on current business cards.

So, we show up for a our coffee and social media conversation. When we get past the pleasantries, the conversation goes something like this —

Me: So, how do you feel about your website?

Them: Oh, I know it needs a little sprucing up, but I really want to talk about social media.

Me: Really? Hmm, did you have fantasies about driving traffic to your website from your social media channels?

Them: excitedly Yeah, that’s a real goal!

Me: quizzically Why are you worried about social media when your website sucks?

Herein lies the problem. Everybody is very concerned about their social media presence — that’s actually a good thing — but, if your plan is to drive traffic to your website and it’s a complete mess, than you are not ready to dive into social media just yet.

Although I don’t actually do any behind the scenes website construction or programming, I’m glad to throw in my two cents when it comes to visual appeal, user interface, and general layout. Here are some of the biggest offenses that send me back to my Google search results. Admittedly, you may have others to add to the list, since this is not exhaustive I’m sure to leave a few out.

Too Much Text

Although it may be tempting to include everything and the kitchen sink, but remember, people’s attention spans are shorter than what they use to be. You know from your own experience, if you’re questioning whether the investment in time or energy seems to outweigh the payoff — then you’re already planning to move on.

If you have lots of text to include be sure to break up with other visual elements such as pictures and headings.

Scannable Pages

Pages with too much text don’t draw in readers because people can’t get an easy preview of what the page has to offer. Make pages scannable with headings, pictures, survey questions or other types of visual aids. You may get a reader on the fence, they check out the video, and decide reading is a good idea. That’s great because it increases the points of interaction and amount of time spent on the page.

Use of Page Real Estate

I might have a bias for a three column page, but I find websites are easier to navigate when there are multiple points of navigation easy to locate on the site. I’m also partial to navigation at the bottom of the page as well.

Sidebars are always a great place to include testimonials, upcoming speaking events, or other types of timely information. And make social media interaction easy with plugins and streams in columns too!

I’ve also heard the “Website Under Construction” signs are pretty useless, so maybe you want to get rid of that and not make the site live until it’s fully ready for traffic.

“About” Page Falsie

In case you’re unaware, the “About” page is typically one of the most visited on most sites. I appreciate an actual “About” page, which tells me something about the minds (read people) behind an organization. Not the “falsie” which attempts to present a “big” company using “we” and “us,” but personalization can be to your benefit. At least give your site visitors some insight on the leadership of your organization — no matter how big or small.

No Contact/Interaction Opportunities

If you would like to increase business opportunities with your website — please include a contact page with a contact form. I have been to many out-of-date websites which seem to be missing the all important opportunity for prospective clients to actually reach someone at your organization. There’s nothing wrong with making contact with you as simple as possible.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to start your social media efforts or do you still have some work to do to get your website ready for the 21st century visitor?

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in business, communication

 

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Exposing the Battle Scars: Why Getting Fired Can Help Others

So, it’s been nearly a month since I was unceremoniously released from what I thought was my dream job at RMD Advertising. I’ll spare you the details — because they are rather ridiculous. Since then, I’ve been working independently and reaching out to my network about new collaborative opportunities.

Now that my networking game is in over drive, I’ve talked with a number of people that heard about me getting fired. In addition to talking, I’ve heard from people via the blog post, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and email. A small handful of people simple reached out with condolence about the situation. What was even more surprising — the out pouring of people voicing one of these three sentiments.

Congratulations!

Not an isolated incident — I was congratulated on being fired by more than one person. That surprised me given I didn’t leave on my own terms.

People hate their jobs

Okay, that’s not really a surprise. A lot of people really hate their jobs. Now, I can understand hating your job as you are in the process of finding something more suiting. But what the hell are so many people doing working a job that they really can’t stand. I mean really — you’re not doing yourself any favors staying at a job you hate.

Even the man hates working for the man

So many more people than I realized are ready to step out on their own starting their own business or working for them selves. Some people indicated that are actually “waiting to get fired,” while they complete client work on their bosses dime and build their client list in preparation. Obviously that’s ethically wrong — although I can’t say I’m innocent of such an offense —

Exposed Battle Scars

What surprised me the most, hands down, were the number of people with their own story to share about being fired. Not their parents, spouse or sibling — but them. How they felt so embarrassed while attempting to piece back together their self-esteem which had been completely dismantled.

Of course all of this got me thinking about the high level of shame around being fired — especially in this economy. I say *uck that! Shit happens that is completely beyond your control. And if you’ve been fired in the past you shouldn’t feel like a complete louse because someone else decided to judge you in ways that are likely untrue. I mean it’s likely your boss doesn’t even really know you and probably has very little understanding of who you are and what you care about. And in many cases — they don’t actually care.

If you’ve got some battle scars you want to show — please do it here. I’m not judging you. In fact, I’m calling a moratorium on shame related to being fired. Quite frankly life is too short!

So, what battle scars do you want to show off?

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in business, self empowerment

 

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What’s in your networking tool kit?

... is going to sting a little when he's bring...

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On the April 9 episode of Digital 411, I convened a great panel of networking pros to talk about what it takes to become a master networker. Frequently people think you have to be the most outgoing and gregarious person at an event to be a great networker — wrong! Rather than recap our discussion, I invite you to listen to the podcast and take notes, because the conversation was great!

What we didn’t get to talk about was your “networking tool kit.” What’s a networking tool kit you ask? It’s all the stuff you need to have easy access to and with you when attending just about any networking event or outing. I’m not saying everyone travels this way, but these are items I’ve found to be invaluable to have with me.

Business Cards

So, this one is a no brainer. And if you listened to Ryan Bauer on Digital 411, he’s not a big fan of receiving them — and in fact, reportedly saves them to burn for heat in the winter. None the less, have plenty of business cards with you.

As an aside, I don’t necessarily give my business card to everyone, and I don’t think you should feel compelled to do so either, but that’s completely up to you. Also, regardless of whether you’re unemployed or a student — get some business cards. There are relatively inexpensive options like Vista Print that can give you something to work with.

Mints or Gum

I can’t tell you how many networking events I’ve been to where I find myself trapped in a corner talking to somebody with breath smelling like a loaded baby diaper. Of course it’s not intentional and maybe they can’t help it (I hear there are actual disorders that cause this), but this can all be hemmed up by carrying a few mints or a pack of gum with you.

I prefer gum and pop a piece at the beginning of an event, and during each bathroom break. I might be a little OCD about it, but bad breath is memorable — and who wants to be remembered for loaded diaper breath?

Hand Sanitizer

I am not a germ-a-phobe, but I do keep a bottle attached to my person at all times.

This is so much more essential than what it might sound like at first glance. Keep in mind, you likely live in America and are expected to shake hands. And if you’re going to an event and hoping to meet new people, you’re going to seem really weird if you don’t shake hands. Remember:

Roomful of people + Lack of ventilation + Bodily Contact = Instant Illness. Trust, you’ll thank me for bringing this to your attention.

Water

The other day someone said to me, “Wow, you’re having a beer. That’s so weird because I’ve never seen you drink at networking events.” I wouldn’t say I “never” drink at networking events, but it’s obvious I don’t always drink alcoholic beverages when networking. My goal is to never be that person that gets way to hammered and clearly lose sight of my purpose for attending — to make a good impression with people I’ve never met.

And as I’m sure you know, alcohol doses not hydrate you and with all that talking, you get dry mouth and are basically asking for loaded baby diaper breath. #JustSayin!

Good Exit Line

Depending on your level of influence and the other person, you might find yourself trapped talking to some dude about some bull stick network marketing program they’re trying to rope you into and that sucks. That’s why having a good exit line is important. I’m not giving out my secret lines here — but I encourage you to come up with something that is courteous to politely excuse yourself from those conversations so you can circulate and work the room.

So, that’s what I have in my networking tool kit. What do you always have ready when going into settings to meet new people. I’m sure I’ve left some things out so feel free to share in the comments section.


 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in business, Networking

 

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On Re-Connecting with My Life: Do You Need To?

I’m not sure if this is new age spirituality or what not, but lately I’ve felt a little disconnected from my life? I think that’s a rhetorically savvy way of saying, “I’ve felt out of touch with things lately.”

Admittedly, my life has been on a bit of a roller coaster especially where my work-life balance and career are concerned. So, I’m now settling into a new routine. As much as I like to change things at will — I’m not so good at handling changes that don’t come from my own command. Does that sound familiar?

So, how do you know if you might be out of touch with your life? Great question? And I wish I had some profound answer to that question. Speaking from you own experience, I realized I was out of touch when I finally made the mental decision to wrap my mind around the situation and truly embrace it as a blessing (perhaps in disguise, but you get what I’m saying); rather than something thrust on me without my permission. (Because as much as we like for life to go our ways in every instance, it usually doesn’t happen that way).

Although my approach may sound simple, it’s actually not. I think most people are not very self-reflexive. Not by default, but rather people don’t give themselves the luxury of thinking about their own needs first. Do you believe that if you put their own needs first — especially if you’re a woman — that you are being selfish, self-involved, and basically a horrible person? If so, you’ve fallen into a trap that turns into a very viscous cycle. Well there’s great news for you: That’s not how it has to be. And what’s better — it may not take a whole lot to snap out of it.

Here are a few things that I did to kind of get out of this funk of feeling far away from everything that was important.

Going back to the things I enjoy. There are a few things that I really like doing such as kick boxing, hiking, and road trips. I haven’t let myself do much of those 3 things in a very long time. But that’s all changed. I’ve been hiking in the park a few evenings each week — and the warmer weather is making that possible. And I’ve been kick boxing at a great new women’s fitness facility called, R Studio.

Getting organized. I wasn’t ready to start freelancing again so soon. In fact I had kind of hung up my freelancer cap for a while. But, situations dictated otherwise. So, this weekend, I took some quality time to find a great web-based project management software (product review forthcoming). And also did some needed spring cleaning to spruce up my work and life sacred spaces — how’s that for balance.

Getting reaquainted. As much as people say it doesn’t matter — human connection is one of the most powerful connections we can make. And for me, I find my batteries recharged by developing new relationships — like I do in learning new things. So, I stepped up networking. More than meeting new people, I decided to return to those emails with invitations for coffee and lunch to which I had not been particularly response. And I’ve enjoyed catching up with people. As an added bonus, there have are some great professional opportunities developing — go figure, all that from networking.

Now I don’t want you to think I’ve got beer goggles on or something. These three little changes are not a magic bullet. The good news is, making the mental decision is the first step to changing your demeanor.

So, at the beginning of this article I asked if you were feeling little disconnected with your life. After reviewing how to snap back into things — upon second thought what do you think now?

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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in business

 

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How to Become a Master at Networking

I’ve always loved networking! Meeting new people and learning about them is fun. And I’m not alone, but if you don’t love it — you’re not alone either. What we know now is that networking is a must.

Regardless of whether you’re searching for a new position or just looking to enhance your professional opportunities, networking is a must. And now with social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook being thrown into the mix of happy hours, alongside lunch and learn events, it can be difficult to know what to do and how to do it.

So, how do you become a master at networking? That’s what we’re talking about on Digital 411 Saturday, April 9, 2011 — Listen to the Podcast here. For an hour, my guest co-hosts will be telling all of their secrets about the best way to network, how to manage networking goals at an event, what to do online, and how to actually create professional relationships.

Meet our guest co-hosts and master networkers joining me in studio.

Ryan Bauer

Ryan specializes in creating consumer demand through engaging, interactive marketing campaigns. For the last decade Ryan has worked with top marketing agencies (Interpublic, Daymon, WPP + more) and as an independent marketing consultant for several clients. Ryan’s core approach for success incorporates engagement marketing, live event management, digital/interactive, social media and traditional marketing techniques into achieving strategy goals.

Ryan blogs at Rynomics.com and tweets at @Ryaomics

Kirsten Radu

Kristen spends her days as a sales regeneration specialist and recruiting assistant for Safelite Autoglass and her evenings as a Twitter enthusiast (junkie). She is constantly discovering Columbus, embarking on new adventures and sharing her story, thoughts and passions with anyone listening. She uses social media as an excuse to bring valuable strangers into her life and make connections between friends and acquaintances.

Kristin tweets at @Kris1010

Bobby Roberts

Bobby Roberts is a contract accountant, freelance writer, and overly optimistic Cubs fan. He first used social media to promote my writing online. Now he uses it as a outlet to stay entertained, meet new people, and to help build a personal brand. Bobby says, “My life has changed for the better, professionally and personally, since becoming more involved with online & offline networking.”

Bobby blogs at America’s White Boy and tweets at @sweetbob

 

Click here to listen to the Digital 411 podcast!

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in communication

 

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I’m Fired Up! (or Why getting fired helped me get out of my own way!)

I’m fired up! That’s what I’ve been saying to myself — and more importantly — out loud and to others! I’m fired up and pissed off about some things and that’s just the way it is for a while. Maybe you’ve noticed some of my recent blog articles and Digital 411 programs. If you havn’t buckle up and settle in for a few hundred words, it’s about to get interesting. As a disclaimer: This post is a rare personal one.


A few weeks ago I started my dream job. Working as an account executive at RMD Advertising. A great company with an excellent reputation for growing food brands. I worked hard there — about 6 days. I did like every new employee hoping to learn the ropes as quickly as possible. I stayed late, took work home, tested my knowledge as I accomplished tasks, and asked questions when I couldn’t figure things out on my own.

Then I heard the words no one ever wants to hear. “I gotta let you go” followed up with, “I just don’t think you’ll be happy here.” Now, I’m not sure what the second part means, but I’m fairly certain I know what the first part means. That’s right! RMD Advertising fired me after just 6 working days. Now, since I wasn’t snorting bumps in the bathroom or secretly defecating on my boss’s desk, I can’t figure out how a person gets fired in just over a week. But being the overachiever that I am, I had accomplished the task.

It’s likely I’ll never learn why I was prematurely let go and it’s not important to this story. So, what is important is how getting fired helped me get out of my own way. Here’s what I mean by that.

Considering I’ve never been a very good “employee,” and I’ve heard the stories about entrepreneurs getting fired from every job they ever had, I got to thinking. May be this major blow to my self esteem is the universe telling me that I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur. A role I have resisted for a while because entrepreneurs are rouge, outerliers and risk takers. I didn’t want to be those qualities because the aren’t typically used glowingly. However, we’re experiencing a huge paradigm shift. Now 15 year olds are successfully starting businesses, securing start up capital, and learn business basics in summer camp. But as an entrepreneur, you’re constantly working the hustle. Another thing I wanted to avoid.

Working the hustle is a big part of the life of an entrepreneur. You are consistently selling yourself, your business, networking and seemingly up against what seems to be great odds, only to find yourself strategizing as to how you’re going to overcome those challenges. That seems hard. What I failed to recognize (and the universe did see clearly) is that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. And in my case — having a full time job with little flexibility was getting in the way of doing what I’ve always done: work the hustle.

So what did getting fired do to help you get your own way to do?

That’s a convuluted way of saying: What are you doing now? Well I’ve resisted working full time as a consultant, but when I was approached to do a consulting project 3 days after I was fired and negotiated a contract  just 6 working days after being fired for not doing bumps in the bathroom I got the hint. It’s time for me to stop attempting to be traditional — which I’m not — and make my own way.

So, what am I so fired up about? Well, initially I was fired up about getting fired — of course. But now I’m fired up about being an entrepreneur, about finding obstacles as opportunities, and helping people with social media and digital PR. Also, I’m fired up about doing what you were born to do — and not what people have determined you should be doing. Since everyone has skills and talents, that means we should be using what comes naturally and easily to us to fully be your authentic self.

I say if you have to get fired in order to realize that, then so be it. Everything does in fact happen for a reason.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Productivity, self empowerment

 

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Don’t Live Through Your Own Marc Jacobs Twitter-Intern-Fiasco

So, Marc Jacobs, beloved clothing apparel retailed is doing damage control for a little Twitter-Intern-Fiasco. Some genius within the Jacobs organization broke the cardinal rule of social media management: Thou Shall Not Hand Over Twitter to Intern.

What this person didn’t realize or rather care to realize is this intern was not a big Twitter fan or user. In fact, said intern didn’t want any thing to do with the official Marc Jacobs Twitter account stream and used the platform as an opportunity to bite the hand that feeds (or maybe not) them. So, there are so many things wrong in this situation.

I can only cover a few here so this is what I’ve got to say about how to successfully manage company social media.

Rule #1: Don’t be an idiot and hand over the social media brand account to an inexperienced intern

I continue running into poor, misguided souls that have basically watched too many 20/20 reports on Gen Y and now believes that every person under 25 texts more than talks, and manages social media from their mobile device. Perhaps that’s true in your case, but do you know if they would enjoy doing that for a brand? Have you considered what is also apparent among Gen Yers — they may be experienced users of social media networks, but have no clue about successfully leveraging social media to achieve specific business goals.

Now, may be you are one of the lucky ones. You’ve found that rare, diamond in the rough. That clearly understands social media beyond posting messages that should be removed by Texts From Last Night. Great. Now see Rule #2.

Rule #2: Don’t leave the inexperienced intern to create messages without supervision and approval

This seems like a no-brainer, but clearly needs to be said. If you really want to test your interns social media chops — and provide them a learning opportunity, a novel idea — assign them the task of writing out Twitter and Facebook messages, links included for a week or month at a time. Perhaps your social media strategy doesn’t include a specified (minimum) number of messages you want to go out everyday (hint, hint, it should). Plus, what we know about Facebook‘s algorithms is that more messages with video and picture links appear more often in user’s newsfeeds more frequently. Does your intern know that? If not, this is where the training begins. Additionally, by tasking this person with the responsiblity of writing messages that are submitted for prior approval says someone is reviewing what they are posting on behalf of the company. Now, if you’re not watching — like Marc Jacobs — but care, then you’re sending mixed messages. If you aren’t watching and don’t care then don’t raise hell when you don’t get the kind of messages or engagement that you originally imagined. And unlike fetching coffee or making copies, this is a learning activity that counts and is meaningful.

Rule #3: Free social media should still cost you

I’m sure you’ve heard this before too, but Social media is free — the human resource to do it is not. In my opinion, the biggest mistake any company can make is to hand over their official brand accounts to a professionally inexperienced person. I mean let’s be honest, would you want the pharmacist or the lab tech filling your vital life saving prescriptions? If your answer to this question is the pharmacist because they have gone to school longer, have a certification, passed medical training and the like, the same rules apply. The intern in this situation is the tech, and they are likely not professionally or intellectually ready to manage your brand voice independently.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in business, communication, social media

 

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Now we’re concerned with mediocrity? (My response to “Why Rebecca Black is Everyone’s Fault”)

In case you’ve been under a rock, there’s a new hot “reality-singer” celebrity of sorts with a simple — yet catchy tune that is making serious rounds in digital, social, and traditional media. Her name, Rebecca Black. Her song “Friday.” Without going into too much detail (because if you’re somewhat literate you can guess), Rebecca recounts, in painstaking detail, one of her favorite days of the week “Friday.” In case the premise was too complicated for some listeners, there’s a video that provides visual cues to uncover the less than veiled meanings of her words and phrases.

From what I can tell, Rebecca Black’s parents “gifted” her production time and the opportunity to make her own music video. My gifts as a teen were never so elaborate or expensive — but I digress.

So, many media traditional and online, personalities are giving this chick grief for what is clearly a less than stellar vocal performance. In particular Peter Shankman provides his commentary “The Age of Mediocrity: Why Rebecca Black is Everyone’s Fault,” posted on Mashable.com. Peter Shankman’s point is that Rebecca Black’s popularity is not her fault, but rather the fault of society because we have lowered our standards so much — this is what counts as main stream musical talent and entertainment.

My response to Peter Shankman and others spouting this position is — where have you been? This crappy, poppy performance is only one in a long line. I mean let’s be honest, when Taylor Swift is lauded as a songwriter and exceptional storyteller, and Christina Auguilera (who has since re-cooperated herself) is reaching stardom with verses like “I’m a genie in a bottle baby,”and don’t get me started on Katy Perry and that damn “California Girls.” Furthermore, let’s just venture a little outside music and consider our good friend Snookie, The Situation, or the Real Housewvies of _________ (insert desired city here).

It seems pretty clear to me that we’ve already reached — or sunk to depending on your disposition — mediocrity. I say to the Peter Shankmans of the world — get over yourself and don’t blame society as an excuse. If you really think society is at fault, where do you identify your role contributing the the rise of Rebecca Black. Blaming society is a cop out, plain and simple.

We’re in an age when people seek opportunities to exploit themselves and whatever mediocre talent they have. And further more, there are plenty of people that seek out those individuals to make their quick buck giving some poor, unsuspecting sucker their 15 seconds to 15 minutes of fame. It is what it is. And if you’re looking for people to assume some personal responsibility for th state of affairs, I’m asking that you start with yourself.

Additionally, I would argue that Rebecca Black’s instant popularity is the result of the global village Marshall McLuhan hypothesized many moons ago. He knew even before Rebecca, Taylor or Christina was a glimmer in their parents eye, that electronic communication would compress the world making access to information instant. And it has. He did warned others to be prepared for such a revolution. So all I can say is “whoop there it is!” (another great musical number lacking depth and breadth).

On the flip side I can respect Rebecca Black’s approach. She did it because she wanted to and had the opportunity to do something fun. Rather than big, bad record company that seeks to exploit the kid for the 3 songs she can eek out, leaving her with nothing but a VH1 “Behind the Music” episode when it’s all said and done.

So, what do you think is she at all new low of mediocrity or is Rebecca Black par for the course?

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in communication, media, social media

 

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Technology Education: How Prepared is the Next Generation?

The latest statistics from Mashable indicate that 80% of children under 5 years old are using the internet at least once a week. That’s staggering! With the growth in the ways technology is creeping into our lives in every way possible the demand is growing from qualified technology professionals. My question, like yours is: What’s happening to prepare the next generation of technology professionals to meet this demand? In 5, 10, 15 years will we find our selves without the people to fill the need? I’m not sure, but that’s what we plan to find out on the next episode of Digital 411.

I’m confident that this is a don’t miss conversation on Digital 411 live 10am on TaktainmentRadio.com., Saturday March 26, 2011 (Bookmark the page!) If you’ve got questions about what’s happening in technology education, give us a call at: 1 (877) 932-9766, Tweet us @Digital411 or email us Digital411@talktainmentradio.com.

Lisa Chambers, TECH CORPS National Director and State Director (OH) (@lisachambers and @techcorps_org)

Lisa Chambers has served as the State Director of the TECH CORPS Ohio chapter since 1999. Under her

leadership, the Ohio chapter has experienced significant growth and success and her work has been recognized and

honored at the local, state and national levels.

Chambers was recently named a “Modern-day Technology Leader” by US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine and in 2008 the chapter received the Technology Innovation Award in Nonprofit Service Delivery from TechColumbus. In her new role as National Director, Chambers will focus on building a national infrastructure to support the delivery of innovative technology programs to students throughout the United States.

Follow her on Twitter at: @lisachambers and @techcorps_org

Shane Haggerty, Marketing & Communication Coordinator, Hi-Point Career Center (@shanehaggerty)

Shane Haggerty is the marketing and communications coordinator for the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Shane spent three years as a middle school and high school English and journalism teacher at Crestview Local Schools in Convoy, Ohio, before working as an assistant principal and athletic director for three additional years within the same district.

He earned degrees in English education from Huntington University and in educational leadership from the University of Dayton. He returned to school full-time in 2004 and earned his master’s degree in sports marketing and PR from Xavier University, completing professional internships for Xavier University’s Athletic Media Relations Department and at Game Day Communications, a top sports and entertainment communications agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shane is currently the president-elect of the Ohio School Public Relations Association (OHSPRA).

Follow him on Twitter @shanehaggerty

Listen to Digital 411 live 10am on TaktainmentRadio.com. If you’ve got questions about what’s happening in technology education, give us a call at: 1 (877) 932-9766, Tweet us @Digital411 or email us digital411@talktainmentradio.com.

To join the conversation before the show, connect with Digital 411 on Facebook.

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in communication, Digital 411, education

 

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Why face time is essential to your niche community

I really enjoy the niche communities I’ve found online through Facebook, Twitter and Cbusr. In fact, there are quite a few people that I probably only exclusively interact with online. That being said, I really enjoy checking in with my online friends offline.

In the past week, I’ve attended about four meetups organized by Yelp Columbus, Cbusr, Social Media Club Columbus, and Team Cbus. What I realize after attending each of these great events is that I always have a great time seeing my online friends, offline.

Team Cbus Alive photo shoot meetup

Although it’s difficult to really understand for those that don’t maintain an active digital presence, something that is as important to the digital presence is holding and attending off line meetups. Think of it this way — the best way to maintain relationships regardless of geographic distance, is with face time.

Of course, I’ve been asked the question: Do attending and holding offline meetups really help you digital presence? The answer is a resounding YES! Here are a few reasons why meetups are essential to your niche community.

Something special happens when people get together

It’s easy to forget, but this is why we always “go home,” or visit old friends, because something special happens when we get together and spend face time with people that we don’t see very often. And this happens whether you live 15 minutes away or 150 miles away from one another. It’s an important function to maintaining a relationship.

Facilitate sustained engagement

If you are the curator of a niche community with a significant online component — you need to give people an opportunity for additional interaction. Talking and interacting online is fun — I’m the first to admit that — but I really enjoy the opportunity to have sustained conversations with individuals. It is the sustained engagement that can be how the synergy happens that makes the group a worthwhile community to which members want to be a part.

Get a sense of the larger community

Frequently when you’re a member of a niche community — you may have a few individuals that you interact with regularly, but by attending online events you can get a better sense of the larger community to which you are a part. You can meet and interact with the other people that your people are talking to, as well as grow your personal or professional network. It’s always nice to meet your friends, friends and learn more about one another in the process.

Community Ambassadors

So, may be I’m a meetup snob, but I like to know who will be attending events that I plan or consider attending. Yes, the attendance list matters. I like meeting new people — especially those that I have had sustained online conversations with, but have not had the opportunity to meet.

Having offline meetups provides opportunities for your community members to act as ambassadors for the group on line. Whether it’s a Facebook invitation or something more sophisticated, having offline meetups provides community members the opportunity to show their support and tell others how and why their niche community rocks! This is a great way to both grow engagement as well as comittment to the group.

What other reasons would you offer regarding the importance of offline meetups to sustaining your online niche community?

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Digital 411, Networking

 

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“All aboard and heading to Austin!” or Team Cbus on Digital 411

At one point I thought Digital 411 (the radio show) had already peaked when it comes to great guests, with the combination of social media experts I had on the show during Blogging Month (February). Then I got the word from Nate Riggs that the Team Cbus was being formed and even if I could not be on the actual team — that there was room on the team for me still.

I thought, how awesome! I really want to help this great group of five social media personalities, professionals, and entrepreneurs from Columbus, taking the Chevy SXSW Road Trip Challenge to form a team, drive from your home city to Austin, Texas to participate at the South By South West (SXSW) Interactive Conference, and along the way do some good and raise some cash for a great cause! Who wouldn’t?

Meet Team Cbus

So, what better opportunity could I have to get all the ins and outs of this Team Cbus mega road trip than to have the whole team on Digital 411. And that’s how I realized that there are just too many cool things going on in Columbus and beyond for that matter — I can never peak because I’ve got a endless supply of really cool digital, technology, social media, web and mobile applications to talk about.

So now that I’ve built up enough anticipation — want to know who’s on Team Cbus? As you guessed, a colorful cast of characters leading what I call a technology lifestyle — it’s not something they do, it’s part of who they are.

Since the Team has put together both a very attractive website built by Christian Adams of Christian Adams Photography and Allie of Allie Lehman Design, (@Alliepal), as well as a Facebook page, I’ll just send you to either of those to places to review and learn more about the whole sha-bang! But I will give you a brief introduction here and let the pictures intrigue you!  I’m biased — of course — but this week’s episode of Digital 411 is going to rock because this many cool people in a room together can’t be fun-free. Tune in Saturday, 10am to Digital 411 on TalktainmentRadio.com.

Team Captain, Nate Riggs Description: Social business strategist, builder of corporate social media teams. Blogger. Speaker. Runner. Blended family dad. Jedi Master.

Elijah Young Description: Co-Founder of Social Talk Live, Teacher, Only Child, Left Handed, Super Villain Strategist, Monopoly Master.

Sarah Storer Description: Blogger, speaker, storyteller, Social Media nerd, community enthusiast, authenticity hound.

Mike Whaling Description: Successful entrepreneur. Web, SEO, and Social Media strategist.

Eric Leslie Description: Father, Entrepreneur, Volunteer, Community Organizer.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in blog, Digital 411, Networking, social media

 

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How Stella got her “Dashboard MoJo” back

I figured I’d get your attention with that catchy title. On the Feb. 19, 2011 episode of Digital 411, we discussed Better Blogging Practices with Jacob Stoops AKA Agent-SEO and Nate Riggs. Throughout that conversation, we discussed — among others things — what bloggers like Nate and Jacob do to continue coming back to the dashboard to blog, alongside keeping their “Dashboard Mojo” fresh.

I have to admit Nate and Jacob made some great points including the “Bloggers Play book,” using pen and paper, planning out posts and determining a comfortable writing spot. What we spent less time discussing that I want to touch on here is: How do you stay motivated? It’s likely this question resonated with me because I get asked it a lot.

How do you stay motivated to . . . You fill in the blank: blog, write, network, finish a dissertation, etc.

This is certainly not to brag or toot my own horn, but rather to say I’m a pretty motivated person and I don’t play much close to the vest. I take that as a great compliment. And typically when I receive these sorts of questions there are a couple different answers based on what’s in that blank; however, there are a few motivating factors that sustain throughout.

ESTABLISH GOALS

This is the No. 1 thing I do to stay motivated regardless of the task or ongoing task at hand. For me, it is truly the most important motivating factor I have in my life skills tool kit. When I have an end to look forward to, I can better get through the more difficult activities or tasks to accomplish. You don’t have to have a whole bunch of goals, just a few that you can really concentrate on and on which to stay focused.

WRITE FOR YOURSELF TOO

When it comes to blogging, nobody gets it right, right away. It takes some work and sometimes you really feel as though you are just “writing at” people. That’s a frustrating feeling because you’re not sure of the audience or if there even is an audience. When you get to the point where you’re having a hard time going back to the dashboard to crank out a post– to which both Nate and Jacob agree — write for yourself. Popular blogger and previous Digital 411 guest, Sarah Storer who blogs at The Naked Red Head calls this “Soul Puking” (which is poised to be the next best colloquialism akin to Paris Hilton‘s “that’s hot).

Her point with soul puking is that you get the stuff out that YOU need to get out and it doesn’t always matter if there’s an audience or not. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be intensely personal, but it does mean that sometimes it’s okay to write just because you want to write something and if it goes with no comments, retweets or shares, it was still worth it. At least that’s how I understood the term and I’m sure The Naked Red Head will correct me if I’m wrong =)

FIND THE PASSION

Jacob Stoops made the best point during the show discussing the importance of passion and I could not agree more. Passion is more than a like — it’s that inner thing that drives you to keep going because even when it feels like work — you are still truly enjoying yourself. That’s why subject is so important. It’s much more difficult to openly discuss, endorse, analyze or critique something that you really don’t care about — so, work with the topic or subject that you do. I’m going to leave it at that, before I go off.

BE PERFUNCTORY

Why when people see the word “perfunctory” do they have such an ugly look on their face? I don’t think it’s only because it sounds funny, but rather it’s an ugly idea. One way Wikipedia defines the word is “an apathetic individual with an absence or interest.” So that sounds pretty bad too. How about “going through the motions.”  Although, it’s something we don’t talk about as the noble “ways of a winner,” quite frankly every single day you can’t give 100 percent to everything and sometimes we have to go through the motions, to work our way back to what feels good about what we’re doing.

What’s worse than operating in a perfunctory manner, is quitting  (or taking a prolonged break) because it’s that much more difficult to kick things back into gear. So sometimes — very infrequent times — you have to just go through the motions to get to the …

MOJO SECRET SAUCE

So, this is the holy grail to motivation whether it’s getting back to writing for your blog, stamp collecting, designing your website or anything else. To me, your MoJo is the good stuff that you get with the right and special combination of everything listed above. At least it is for me. That’s when you are your best you.

So, what have a missed, or what do you do to get to your best you? Add it to the list in the comments section below.

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in blog, Digital 411, Productivity, self empowerment

 

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Blogging, Branding and Gen Y: Everything you wanted to know from Tyler Durbin

We are wrapping up an amazing month on Digital 411. On our final installment of Blogging Month we’re talking Blogging, Branding, and Gen Y with two of the most well connected Gen Y professionals: Tyler Durbin and Cheryl Harrison.

If you’re not a Gen Yer — listen.

If you haven’t heard of Tyler Durbin and Cheryl Harrison — still listen.

And most importantly, if you want to some insider information on how to use blogging to brand yourself and advance your career — by all means listen!

A few interesting pieces of information about Tyler — besides his dashingly handsome good looks!

Tyler Durbin is a blogger, young professional and advocate for his Gen-Y comrades. Tyler is also the founder and editor of GenYJourney – the online platform for Gen-Y’s to engage and collaborate with each other on the life and career issues they are facing as college students, recent grads and young professionals. He created GenYJourney upon graduating from college in 2009 and has continued his weekly contributions to the site along with collaborating with nearly 100 contributors (across all generations).

 

 

You can also find Tyler sharing his story as the weekly Voice of a Young Professional columnist at Classroom to Cubicle magazine. When not writing, Tyler speaks about his experience as a recent college grad and Gen-Y blogger to groups such as The Ohio State University, Public Relations Society of America and has also served on several panels including the Blogging for Personal Branding panel at 2010 Ohio Growth Summit.

Feel free to connect with Tyler on Twitter @TylerDurbin

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in blog, business, Digital 411, Networking

 

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Blogging, Branding and Gen Y: Everything you wanted to know From beingCheryl

Our last and final installment for Blogging Month on Digital 411 is: Blogging, Branding and Gen Y: Everything you wanted to know BeingCheryl AKA Cheryl “I’m a good idea” Harrison. Cheryl is a great person that really knows her personal branding stuff.  She and Tyler Durbin are a dynamic duo and I’m uber excited to feature them on the show this week.

Here’a  little more about her.

Cheryl Harrison is a marketing professional and community manager with an affinity bordering on obsession for social media. She has been actively using various iterations of the social web for more than 10 years… we’re talking Geocities pages, discussion forums and LiveJournal.

Cheryl has blogged at beingcheryl.com for close to three years on topics ranging from practical marketing strategy to absurd personal anecdotes. She also blogs at tappedin.tv, a site centered around craft beer and the Columbus community. Cheryl has been been featured on CNN, Ragan Communications, Columbus Alive, the Columbus Dispatch, 10TV, NBC4, Mix 107.9 and Examiner.com, in addition to several dozen blogs.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in blog, Digital 411, Networking

 

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A Very Special Blogging Gift For You

Look Who’s Talking Better Business Blogging … Jacob Stoops (2/19/2011)

So, this month has been so much fun on Digital 411. We’re talking blogging from just about every angle and perspective we can think of, and with that you can’t forget SEO. Jacob Stoops AKA Agent SEO knows more about SEO than should be humanly possible.

By day Jacob is the Director of Search Engine Optimization for People To My Site — a Columbus based search engine marketing company. And by night Jacob doubles as Agent SEO — a super smart guy that wants to make SEO as easy to understand as possible. What I love about Jacob is he’s no one trick pony — as he puts it, “I dabble in Social Media, moonlight as a WordPress designer, and live in Columbus, Ohio.”

If you want to see the transparent side of SEO, listen to Jacob this week, he’s joined by Nate Riggs — so you know it’s going to be a little crazy. Also, check out his blog, Agent SEO — it’s jam packed full of great information. Listen to Digital 411 live on TalktainmentRadio.com at 10am

Follow on Twitter @jacobstoops or Fan on Facebook Agent SEO

Something Special for YOU!

As an added bonus, this week we are giving out 2 of the hottest tickets in town, The Blah, Blah, Blogging Boot Camp Conference. February 25-26, 2011 at TechColumbus. If you really want to kick start your blogging efforts, at this event you can meet, greet, and learn from many of the stellar guests that have been on Digital 411 this month, in hands on workshops.

Tickets include the Friday Meet and Tweet networking event and Saturday’s all day blogging workshops — a $300 value.

So how do you enter to win?

Tweet @Digital411 “I want to win the @beyondsocial101 Blogging Conference tickets” or

On the Digital 411 Facebook page wall, “I want to win the Beyond Social 101 Blogging Conference tickets.”

It’s that simple. We will announce winners on air, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.

Listen to Digital 411 live on TalktainmentRadio.com at 10am. (you can listen to previous episode podcasts there too!)

It could be you!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2011 in blog, business, Digital 411

 

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Better Business Blogging and a Special Offer

Blogging Month on Digital 411 is heating up, even though it’s the middle of February. This week we welcome an awesome panel of guest co-hosts that are sure to please. I’ll be rolling out their bios and video intros here, so be sure to check back this week to see them all.

Something Special for YOU!

As an added bonus, this week we are giving out 2 of the hottest tickets in town, The Blah, Blah, Blogging Boot Camp Conference. February 25-26, 2011 at TechColumbus. If you really want to kick start your blogging efforts, at this event you can meet, greet, and learn from many of the stellar guests that have been on Digital 411 this month, in hands on workshops.

Tickets include the Friday Meet and Tweet networking event and Saturday’s all day blogging workshops — a $300 value.

So how do you enter to win?

Tweet @Digital411 “I want to win the @beyondsocial101 Blogging Conference tickets” or

On the Digital 411 Facebook page wall, “I want to win the Beyond Social 101 Blogging Conference tickets.”

It’s that simple. We will announce winners on air, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.

Listen to Digital 411 live on TalktainmentRadio.com at 10am. (you can listen to previous episode podcasts there too!)

It could be you!

Look Who’s Talking Better Blogging Practices (2/19/2011)

First up, The Nate Riggs — like The Ohio State University — once you experience his high energy personality and innovative approaches to business, social media, technology and — of course — blogging, you certainly won’t forget him.

 

Nate Riggs is a business communication strategist, an agency-experienced marketer and a social media content engineer.  Over the past 10 years, he has developed a passion and expertise for how humans utilize technology and the social web to build relationships.

Throughout his career, Nate has held a variety if roles leading marketing, sales and business development efforts in interactive and traditional marketing agencies, retail design firms, and internet technology start-ups.

To learn more about Nate Riggs check out his website: www.nateriggs.com

Connect with Nate on Twitter: @NateRiggs

See more of his spiffy videos on YouTube

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in blog, business, Digital 411

 

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How to build community on a business blog

This month on Digital 411 we continue unlocking the mysteries of blogging. On the most recent episode, Tom Williams, president of InnoGage and Lori Crock, principal of Written Impact shared more valuable information than I could possible capture here regarding how to create and manage a successful business blog, but below are a few highlights. Be sure to check back here soon for the live podcast.

Although blogging doesn’t always present itself as such — it’s a great way to build a community. When it comes to blogging for a small or medium-sized business this can be a valuable asset, since regardless of the products or services you offer — you are are ultimately selling yourself to future and current clients. A few points on how you can build community on your business blog.

KEEP IT SOCIAL

At first it may seem a bit scary, but providing readers and opportunity to comment is extremely important. First, as Lori Crock pointed out, allowing for comments illustrates that you are interested in feedback from readers. With most blogging platforms, you can alter the settings so you receive email notification and comments are approved. This should take some of the fear away. However, regardless of a negative or positive comment you need to make a point of responding.

Responding to comments is an easy and fast way to develop a rapport with your current and future readers. If you want to encourage readers to come back, subscribe, or snag your RSS feed, you need to demonstrate that you care about  what they say. Think of the comments as the ongoing conversation about your material.

OPEN UP THE PARTY

Although it’s tempting to give the blogging duties to the marketing or communication division — if you have one — as Tom Williams aptly pointed out, a blog can be a way to provide some inside perspective on what’s happening within the organization. So, by allowing the engineers, customer service reps, sales force, and the like to provide some insight on what’s happening not only in the organization, but also the industry gives valuable perspective.

As an added bonus — this strategy can effectively split up the work load with individuals responsible for writing a blog article once a month depending on your publication schedule. With the work split up, you may need to designated an editor — which is where the marketing or communication division can be very useful given their skill set. In addition to creating community among your followers — you are  facilitating that among your staff members, as well.

LINK-A-PALOOZA

Links are a great way to identify where you’re coming from with a particular article and what other information is important to your thought development. As an added bonus, most websites and blogs have software that alerts admins of when their site has been identified in a link. I’ve found that frequently the author or site admin will come to my blog, leave a comment or contact me directly by email.

What ways have you built community with your business blog? Feel free to share your successes in the comments section below.

Blogging Month on Digital 411 is almost over, but we’ve got two more great episodes left. On the next installment, we’re talking “Blogging Better,” or how to be more productive and effiecient with your blogging efforts. My featured guests for this episode are Nate Riggs of Social Business Strategies and Jacob Stoops AKA Agent SEO and SEO Director, People to My Site.

GET THE DIGITAL 411

If you want to stay in the know about future topics, guest, take polls and be part of the growing Digital community, here’s what you do:

Connect on Facebook

Bookmark TalktainmentRadio.com where you can hear the program recorded live, Saturdays at 10am. We take live callers too, so join the conversation at: 1877-932-9766.

Subscribe to the blog or snag the RSS Feed

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in blog, business, Digital 411

 

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3 Ways to Build Your Blog’s Niche Audience

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

This month on Digital 411 we are talking about blogging. On the first episode — of four total — we started at the beginning. My guests, Elijah R. Young, co-founder of Social Talk Live and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Red Head offered a tremendous amount of information for beginners and seasoned bloggers alike.

I really enjoyed our conversation about cultivating a niche audience, so I’m sharing some of our insights here.

Guest Post

So, you’re thinking about starting your own blog, awesome! Now, you’re asking yourself: How do I generate a niche audience? Consider writing guest posts for other blogs. Since a big aspect to keeping a blog alive is fresh content on a regular basis, bloggers are always looking for strategies to make that happen and guest posts can be a win-win for everyone.

Find a few blogs that cover topics related to what you are considering as a niche topic. Once you’ve found 2 or 3 that might work, review their content for fit. Next, come up with 1 or 2 article ideas that you feel comfortable and capable writing. THEN reach out to the author.

Although you may have dreams of starting the next Technorati or ProBlogger — consider a blog that is a little smaller. My educated guess is: The author may be less likely to turn you down because they aren’t inundated with requests.

Pitching a story is not that difficult, but you want to be sure to pitch to the right venue and provide the author a couple of options, since you don’t know what their content-publication schedule.

If things work out well, you may find yourself with a regular guest posting gig. This is great because now you are building an audience that is familiar with you and the topics you write about. When you start you’re own blog, you are giving people more of what they want and are familiar with. As an FYI: I’m open to guest posts, feel free to contact me by email =)

Comment on Other Blogs

If you’re goal is to build or develop a personal brand for yourself on a particular set of topics, then commenting on other blogs is a great strategy. Also, if you want to develop a niche topic — it’s very important to know the other blogs that cover topics similar to what you’re covering. This means reading and reviewing those sites regularly.

In “A Major Revitalization with Blog Commenting & Its Best Benefit,” Melvin identifies some great reasons to be an active blog commenter — here are a few.

  • Get some awareness from the blog community — Tell the blogosphere “hey I started a new blog, welcome me!”
  • Get more traffic — This is mostly the point of blog commenting. So, even if you’re the 99th person to comment, go ahead an leave your thoughts or question.
  • Show appreciation to bloggers who comment — In the blogosphere, the “give and take” relationship is practiced considerably. And when someone comments on a site, there’s a good chance that the author(s) will check out that blogger. And, if their content is compelling enough, they will comment back.

Interact with Readers

Although it sounds simple, it’s not a practice used by every blogger and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Red Head, takes this strategy seriously. I really liked some some of the suggestions she offers to engage readers and build a community around her Royal Nakedness!

  • Offline Meetups: There’s so much value to interacting with your readers offline — it cannot be underestimated. Of course, it’s flattering for you — the blogger — but it’s also flattering for your readers. It really gets at developing a community around your blog. Keep in mind, people talk, and are likely to spread the word that you’re an engaged blogger that really values your readers and makes that known.
  • Skype Conversations: Sarah said something she has enjoys doing when her readers are displaced geographically is to have Skype meetups. In an effort to not only learn what they enjoy and would like to hear more about, but just to get to know her readers better as individuals with thoughts and ideas that are valuable. I really like this idea and plan to incorporate it more in my own work and you can too. Thanks Sarah!
  • Social Media Engagement (Twitter and Facebook): Although it’s not technically “on your blog,” interacting with your readers using some other social media channels can help build a niche audience too. Think about it this way — the conversation is public —  so friends and associates of those you are talking to can see what’s happening and are more likely to check out your blog to see what all the fuss is about. Just remember to be authentic, thank them when ever they provide a shout or promote your articles, and try to be engaging or solicit feedback. This is a great way to acknowledge your key supporters!

There’s so much to be said about blogging and we are just scratching the surface. What strategies can you offer the novice blogger about audiences, content, subscribers or otherwise? Leave them in the comments section below. I’d love to include them in the next episode of Digital 411

As you can see from this brief snapshot — we cover a lot of ground on Digital 411.I invite you to listen live Saturdays, 10am on Talktainmentradio.com. (also, you can access previous podcasts at this link). As an added bonus we love to have callers (1877-932-9766) and give away promos too!

Related Articles

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in blog, Networking, social media

 

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Look Who’s Talking…Blogging for Beginners (2/5/2011)

On Digital 411, we have dedicated the month of February to Blogging. We’re kicking things off with two people that are supreme experts on blogging from the inside out. I’m super excited to start blogging month with Elijah Young and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Redhead.

Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Redhead, Guest Co-host

“Life is fun(nier) when you’re naked.” The Naked Redhead (TNR) writes under the assumption that life is more fun when you’re honest (naked), when things are funny, and when people get together to try to do the Right Thing.

Her writing has been featured on Smitten, Glamour magazine’s relationships blog, and across the great series of tubes that homosapiens like to call the Internetz. She attempts to blog under a moniker, because there’s not too much she likes more than getting tons of traffic from people searching for porn. (Her favorite search query to date is “gigundous boobies”.)

For more on Sarah Storer see:

www.thenakedredhead.com

@Thenakedredhead

Elijah R. Young, Guest Co-host

As co-Owner of 360 Degree Social, Elijah R. Young creates digital strategies that allow brands to both market themselves in the social media space, and connect their social online identities to their offline branding and marketing materials. All of that is just a long way to say that I’m a nerd and a good thinker 🙂

As a serial small business entrepreneur, as of January 2010, Elijah R. Young have started or been involved with the launch of 16 businesses from 2003 to Present. I am always looking to invest in entrepreneurship and develop new business ideas either offline, or via my personal blog.

For more information on Elijah Young see:

http://www.socialtalklive.com

http://www.elijahryoung.com

@elijahryoung

 

An added promo highlight!

We are giving away an autographed #CalendarGirls of Twitter calendar on the show.

How do I win you ask?

On Facebook: (Tag) “Digital 411 I want to win the autographed #CalendarGirls Calendar and help bring awareness to epilepsy.”

On Twitter: @Digital411 I want to win the autographed #CalendarGirls Calendar and help bring awareness to epilepsy”

Enter on both for 2 chances to win!

The winner will be announced on the Digital 411 program 2/5/2011, Facebook and Twitter.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in blog, Networking, social media

 

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Entrepreneur Used Her Love for Laughs to Build a Business

This story was originally published in Metreopreneur January 26, 2011.

Timecha Swain is a funny woman making a living off her witty sense of humor. No, she’s not a comedian. She is an entrepreneur operating in the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy.

As founder of SlapStik Entertainment LLC, an independent multimedia company located in Columbus, Swain features comedians, as well as relevant news and events in the world of comedy from around the globe.

“We talk dirty, but we don’t air dirty laundry,” Swain says. “I think that’s what makes us unique in the market. I think that’s what makes us unique and why comedians reach out to us.”

Dubbed “Little Oprah” by her inner comedian circle, Swain’s original dream was to become a reporter. She studied broadcast journalism at Wright State University and continues her marketing degree at St. Claire Community College.

While a student at Wright State, Swain founded SlapStik in 2002 with a clear mission.

“I wanted to fill the void I saw in terms of comedy publications, create something off the way and, quite frankly, do something that I would really enjoy and make me laugh,” Swain says.

Though she has guided her growing multi-media company and booked comedy shows for nine years now, Swain admits that if she knew what it would take to make SlapStik happen, she might not have started the business.

“I am the company,” she adds. “Everything is up to me and in my hands.”

An upside to owning her own business is the opportunity to interact with comedians and writers throughout the county, Swain says, estimating that SlapStik will have distribution deals in 16 states in 2012.

“It’s exciting to see international hits on our website,” she continues. “We began working with international reporters to gather content from across the country so we can speak to our growing global audience.”

However, SlapStik’s growth has come at a cost.

“I’m on the road an average of 30 weeks a year, promoting comedians and running the business,” Swain says.

In fact, the extensive travel was a factor in her decision to return to the Columbus area from Las Vegas.

“When I receive emails at 4 a.m. from my team, I feel like I should be working too, so it’s difficult to give the business and my two kids the attention they need,” Swain says. “As a single mother to 13 and 10-year-old boys, my mother is great and helps me when I’m traveling.”

Through the years, Swain has learned some important lessons that now shape her business approach, she says, adding that in 2011, “I will be more purposeful in my planning, execution, and networking”.

“You never know who you will meet and what opportunities will come from that,” she says of the latter.

She should know. An accidental meeting resulted in Swain booking a comedy show for United Way of Union County.

Swain also hopes to make SlapStik magazine a monthly, rather than quarterly, publication and do more comedy event booking and promotion in the new year.

To learn more about SlapStik Entertainment LLC, visit SlapStik.com.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in business, self empowerment

 

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My Latest Side Hustle: Digital 411

It seems like nobody is working just one job anymore. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s a sign of an uber-busy generation entering the workforce — whatever the circumstances, everyone seems to have a side hustle, other gig, or their own business going. I think there are some benefits to having a side hustle. First it means, you’re not putting all your hopes and dreams of professional fulfillment in your current position. You may be in a position that isn’t exactly what you want to do, so having a side hustle means you can do what is personally and professionally fulfilling.

Another advantage to working a side hustle is you continue getting your name out there and associated with your desired area of interest. Its’ so important to keep people aware of the cool and exciting things you are doing. That way if an opportunity does arise, you are the first person people think of.

Finally, it’s fun. My personal philosophy is: I’d rather be busy than bored. And I really mean that. Sometimes I do feel a little exhausted by my outside work activities, but I will always opt to be busy and engaged rather than bored and depressed. So, here’s an intro to my side hustle. I invite you to share yours in the comments section. Who knows what can happen when more people know what your side hustle is all about.


ABOUT DIGITAL 411

Digital 411 is the best side hustle I’ve got going. It is a talk radio program heard exclusively on TalktainmentRadio.com. The program is recorded live in the Talktainment Radio studios Saturday mornings at 10am.

Each week 2 or 3 guest co-hosts that are experts in their field are in studio to address the topic of the day.

Those are the logistics — now on to the goods!

So, what do you talk about on Digital 411? As a “technology lifestyle” program we talk about everything related to social media, web technologies, mobile media, gadgets, smartphones, and everything in between. The topics for the program of are two varieties: Social and Technological.

Technological Program Topics

Programs around this topic focus on how to use technology effectively and productively. Because there’s so much technology out there, it can be overwhelming to determine what to use and how to actually use it. So, the guest co-hosts and myself find the best technologies and gadgets out there and provide listeners with the useful information you need to make an informed decision about what and how to use it.

To address these topics, I take a couple approaches. First there’s an Attack of the App Show. On this program, the guest co-hosts an myself talk about and examine mobile and web applications that can make your life easier and more productive in some way.

Another re-occurring program is Ask the Expert. On these program a novice technology user (whether that be Twitter, LinkedIn, smartphone, or the like) and an Expert are the guest co-hosts. During the course of the program, the novice has the opportunity to “Ask the Expert” everything they wanted to know about the web or mobile technology and we tell you everything you want to know.

Social Program Topics

The social program topics are interesting because I really try and address the questions and concerns people struggle with as different types of technologies change our lives. As a communication specialist I’m intimately concerned with communication.

Now that you have the skinny on Digital 411, how can you get involved?

On Air Caller

Providing information for people who want to know about online, social media and technology related topics is what the program is all about. If you have a question or comment about a topic covered, give us a call and join the conversation at 1877-932-9766.

Topic Ideas

I’m always developing the program schedule and love suggestions for possible topics. That’s how the “Ask the Expert” and “Attack of the App Show” ideas came out. Send me an email at drerikapryor@gmail.com to let me know what kind of show topics you’re interested in hearing more about.

Guest Co-Host

Are you an expert on anything related to social media and technology? Why not be a guest co-host on Digital 411? TalktainmentRadio.com is a fully equipped studio — so geographic location is not a problem. If you have a phone and a voice, we can make it happen. Send me an email at drerikapryor@gmail.com.  I’ll get in touch with you and see what we can work out.

Join the Facebook Community

The Digital 411 Facebook Page is where a lot of the interesting conversation and information featured on the program are shared. Also, review guest profiles in the “Notes,” see upcoming program topics in the “Calendar,” take the weekly Digital 411 audience poll, and get some insight into what the guest co-hosts and myself are reviewing in preparation for the show. The facebook page is lively and I promise you won’t be sorry.

If you’re a Twitter user, follow the show there at @Digital411. The conversations are interesting and I think you’ll like what you get there too! (It’s not simply a repeat of posts and information on Facebook).

Sponsor A Program

If you’re trying to reach the young professional — Digital 411 is a great venue to do so. I know for a fact that young professionals — more than any other age demographic tune into the show in droves. Interested in sponsorship opportunities — send me an email and let’s talk about upcoming show topics and what would be the best bang for your buck. I can be reached by email at: drerikapryor@gmail.com.

LISTEN TO EPISODES OF DIGITAL 411

Digital 411: What\’s the best smartphone for the busy young professional?

Digital 411: Virtual Cheating: When have you crossed the line?

Digital 411: Facebook and Teachers: Should teachers friend their students on Facebook?

Digital 411: How do you build relationships using Twitter?

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in business, self empowerment

 

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Blogging: Jump In the Water’s Fine

When a new year begins, many people elect to set goals and resolutions to do a number of things like lose weight, get more organized, or get their finances in order.

As you can imagine, individuals that I regularly interact with have identified social media related resolutions. Some I’ve heard so far include:

 

  • To start a blog,
  • To create a Facebook business page, or
  • To complete my LinkedIn profile.

These are the goals I commonly hear from people. For those that have declared social media 2011 goals just do it! More specifically, if you’re goal is to start a blog, really Just Do It!

Unlike starting a Facebook business page or completing a LinkedIn profile — I think blogging is a little more intimidating. Yes there are lots of elements and platforms to consider — which can be overwhelming.

To help those that are apprehensive, but truly want to start a blog and feeling a little lost on where to go, in this piece I offer a brief review of some of the most popular blogging platforms out there. Please note, there are plenty more to consider, but the most popular are popular for a few of the reasons identified here.

WordPress

So, in addition to being biased because my blog is hosted on WordPress, I am not alone in regarding the site as one of the best blogging platform out there. In “What’s the best blog platform,” by FastCompany.com, they too identify WordPress as the best blogging platform — and I have to agree with the reasons sited.

  • Ease of Setup: With the growing number of templates that feature 1,2, and 3 columns, diverse colors and more — it’s very likely that you will find a template that will fit the theme and personality of your blog and you. Also, I appreciate the opportunity to preview the blog prior to going live with a selected theme.
  • Ease of Use: FastCompany.com could not put it better — if you are familiar with Word, you’ve got 90% of the skills you need to use WordPress.
  • Wealth of Plugins: Since WordPress have been around for such a long time, just about any plugin and widget that you could imagine is already available for use.
  • Free: Another thing that’s great about WordPress is that it has a free hosting. If you want to purchase your domain name for additional branding purposes you can — and the cost is rather inexpensive.

An additional feature that I like about WordPress is the opportunity to have a team blog. More specifically, the administrator (or owner of the blog) can identity the level of access for other contributors from writer to administrator access.

Blogger

Another very popular blogging platform — and where I started my first blog — is Blogger. This platform is hosted by Google, so for those that like to stick with a name they know, Blogger might be a safe bet. For Bloggers By Bloggers identifies Blogger as one of the best platforms for the following reasons:

  • Templates: Like WordPress there are plenty of templates, colors, and fonts to choose from. To me selecting the templates and coming up with a combination of colors and fonts that work for the personality of your blog is part of the fun of having one!
  • Google Analytics: Although most blog platforms have an analytics feature so you can see how many visitors are coming to the site, from where and what they are visiting — the respect of Google Analytics cannot be denied. For some this is a big draw to Blogger.
  • AdSense: If you think you’re going to get rich on your blog — think again. But adding ads to your blog is a great way to get some additional exposure and Google’s Blogger makes it really easy to add advertisements through their AdSense option.

Tumblr/Posterous

For Bloggers By Bloggers identifies Tumblr and Posterous as the simplest blogging platforms out there. Whether you are getting started casually or professionally, either of these two platforms will have you up and running within minutes — which is an added bonus.

  • Email Posts: I have heard from more than one person that this is their favorite feature about both Tumblr and Posterous. This makes blogging easier for many and is an added bonus.
  • Sharing Options: From what I understand, the easy social sharing features are built into the blog and there’s nothing additional to do. If you are starting a blog for casual or professional use, I highly recommend including social sharing features. Let people easily be ambassadors of your awesome content!
  • Growing Community: Both Tumblr and Posterous are growing by leaps and bounds and there are lots of eager readers and writers interested in connecting with others using the platform. These are key features that can enhance the visibility of your blog. In other words, excellent reasons to get started blogging on either platform.

You know I think WordPress is the best blogging platform. When it comes to blogging it’s easy to procrastinate because there are a lot of factors to consider. My advice to you is Just Do It! Many things you will just learn by virtue of doing it. So, just jump in because the water’s fine.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2011 in blog, communication, Networking, social media

 

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Lessons Learned from a Blogging Novice

Recently I celebrated the one year anniversary of my blog. I can hardly believe it’s been a year since I starting maintaining my own soapbox. When I started blogging, I was not quite sure of the payoffs. Also, I didn’t know much about the platform, set up or what I wanted to write about.

After spending a little more than a year doing this, I feel as though I’ve learned some important lessons — and I want to share them in the hopes that the additional knowledge can help others.

(If you’ve been blogging for a while and have lessons you’ve learned, feel free to add them to the list I start here in the comments section.)

Be Consistent

This is a lesson I continue to learn over and over again. Although I don’t publish as much as I would like to, I do try to maintain consistency by publishing once a week. What ever publication schedule you decide to go with — just work diligently to maintain it.

Integration

I find the statistics quite useful on the WordPress platform. From regular review, I realize that a lot of traffic to my blog comes from other social media platforms. I’ve found the WordPress application on LinkedIn and Networked Blogs on Facebook to be great for increasing visibility. It’s pretty easy to do — I highly recommend you taking advantage of the opportunity.

Personal Branding

People have asked me: Do people still blog? I figure, since I’m still reading them all over the place, the answer is yes. Many people don’t actually realize they are reading blogs all the time. Regardless, if you are interested in doing some personal branding work, then I highly recommend getting on the blogging bandwagon. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and ideas out there. I have had many exciting opportunities come my way because of the content I continue to cover on my blog. Blogging is a great personal branding strategy and it’s free. I highly recommend!

Diverse Topics

The topics that I find most interesting, are not always most interesting to readers; therefore, when I’m viewing stats on what pieces are getting the most hits, I try to take that into consideration when developing article ideas. Writing about what’s getting read seems to make good sense.

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Short and Sweet — When I first started writing, my posts tended to be long and much more involved. Something I figured out speaking with others is that they don’t have to be. I can have multiple posts on a single topic or create series if I think there’s more to be said. Keep posts simple makes them easier to read on the go or quickly breeze through.

Do Some Research

Many blogs that I enjoy reading and I believe in turn what makes my pieces interesting to read, is the level or research involved. Admittedly, that’s my disposition and training, but anyone can do research and be a compelling source of relevant information. Research is also a great way to learn what’s happening in a particular field, while also keeping your readers informed.

Day-to-Day Life

I try to write about what I’m involved in reading or researching in my day-to-day life. What’s fortunate for me is that I spend a lot of time reading and writing about social media and technology. I encourage novice bloggers to write about the topics and interests you have in your daily life. Keep in mind there’s a lot of information that you can easily draw upon using this strategy too.

What are your blogging experiences? I would love to learn about your challenges and successes. Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2010 in blog, business, communication, social media

 

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Happy Holidays, I’m on Vacation

Thanks so much for reading and responding to my blog for the past year. I appreciate your support, kind words, and constructive criticism.

Like many, I’ll be celebrating the holidays with family and friends for the next few weeks. I wanted to provide a heads up and let you know that I won’t be publishing until January.

In 2011 I’ll continue my regular publication schedule with posts published on Sundays. If you’ve got ideas about topics you would like to read about, feel free to email me at: drerikapryor@gmail.com and let me know. I really would like to hear from you.

Also, I invite you to tune into my new internet radio program, Digital 411 heard on Talktainmentradio.com. As I develop content for the program each week — recorded live Saturdays, 10am — I anticipate writing more posts about topics that coincide with those discussed there.

Each week on Digital  411, I invite guest co-hosts on the program to talk through the questions that are circulating about how social media and technology are changing our lives. In 2011, you can expect topics on my blog and radio show to cover some of the following:

  • Virtual Infidelity
  • Social Media T.M.I.
  • Smart Phones
  • Personal Branding
  • Online — Offline Networking
  • Blogging
  • Various Mobile Media and Web Applications, and more.

Again, thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the other side.

Happy Holidays!

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2010 in blog

 

Pimp my Facebook Business Page

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The REVOLUTION

For the past six weeks I’ve been working with TalktainmentRadio.com to develop the hottest internet radio program this side of the Mississippi — affectionately known as Digital 411. The first episode airs live Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 at 10am. Visit TalktainmentRadio.com to review interesting programming options.

The PROBLEM

As I began developing what is sure to be the best “soft tech” radio show examining web technologies, gadgets, tech toys and more from the user’s perspective, I faced a dilemma. What social media platform should I use to build and maintain a digital presence for the show? There are so many options to consider: Blog, Website, Facebook page, Twitter, and YouTube to name a few.

In addition to determining which social media platforms would be the best fit, I weighed the time commitment I’d have to make for both set up and ongoing maintainance — my bigger concern. As you know, if you don’t actively maintain your presence on social media, then social media will do nothing for you.

The SOLUTION

After some careful thought, I decided on a Facebook business page, Twitter account, and Paper.li. Here’s the method behind my madness:

  • Facebook business pages have much more functionality than other types such as group or entertainment pages.
  • Twitter is a great tool to drive traffic to the Facebook page and highlight topics of interest likely covered on the show.
  • Paper.li is an outstanding companion to Twitter because it pulls all the links shared on Twitter from a specified account and organizes them into a “newspaper” format.
  • The added bonus of Paper.li is that you can select how often it updates, lists to pull links from, and auto-promote on Twitter — ultimately a great fresh content source.
  • Most importantly: Facebook applications make it possible to: Pimp my Facebook Business Page.

HOW TO PIMP A PAGE

With all that being said, how exactly do you “pimp” a Facebook business page. Below are a few applications that I found that can up the level of engagement and content on my page, without me doing all the work.

Keep in mind the applications update and change frequently, so consider doing a few searches on Mashable to find the most useful applications.

NOTES

This is an application that is already installed on your page — thanks Facebook. I strongly believe that most under use Notes; however, because I have decided that I don’t have time to maintain a blog, in addition to a Facebook page — notes can easily substitute for blog posts.

In terms of functionality, Notes offers the ability to add pictures and importantly — you can “tag” other users. This is great because you can “tag” your FB network when a new Note is added. Kind of a nice feature since you don’t have a traditional “subscription” option.

I’ve used Notes to explain Digital 411 in the form of a “Pocket Guide.” I plan to add a new Note for each Guest Co-Host called “Look Who’s Talking.” My hope is fans can get to know a little about them, and they get some additional exposure from coming on the show.

POLLS

This is by far my favorite engagement-centered application because it’s easy to use, people like to take polls, and you can promote on your personal profile page, as well as your business page. The Poll application page is useful because it show all your previous polls, how many people have voted, provides the option to send to friends, as well as download pollsters names.

SOCIAL RSS

Social RSS is a great application for keeping the content on your Facebook fan page fresh and relevant. With Social RSS users can select up to five blog feeds to feature on your business page by simply including the RSS feed.

What’s great about this application is you can select which blog posts appear on your wall, and the page has a tab for users to review feeds too. The added bonus: Your fans can easily subscribe to your featured blog feeds.

Be sure to keep in mind the publication schedule — if the blog has a rigorous publication schedule and you’ve selected that feed to go automatically to your wall — you may find your wall completely populated with blog posts. For this reason, I’ve elected to have my blog feeds go to a tab for review rather than the wall.

NEWSLETTER (Powered by NutshellMail)

The NutshellMail newsletter is an application developed by Constant Contact and have a lot of functionality — especially for Facebook users that aren’t on Facebook that often — and may lean toward email.

When users sign up for the Digital 411 “newsletter” they agree to receive the status updates for the page via email. Once they have signed up, users can make selections on the frequency of emails, what other pages they would like to include in their email, how many updates.

As an added bonus, users will also see inbox messages received on Facebook, friend request, event announcements and can add MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter to the mix. Overall a great application with a number of benefits for users that take advantage.
What Facebook applications are you using on your business page? Are there others I should add to Digital 411 that are great for engagement and fresh content? Feel free to share them below in the comments section, I’d love to know.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2010 in blog, business, Productivity

 

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I Survived Skype Baby Shower 2010– Can You Say the Same?

I suspect my family is like many others around the nation and world with relatives  living all over the place. Also, I suspect many families and friends are enjoying the new ways they stay in contact with their geographically displaced relatives using new media technologies like email, Facebook, blogging, Google Voice, text messaging and more.

Over Thanksgiving weekend 2010, I experience the most creative approach to celebrating the exciting events that families share — a baby shower — and Skype was the technology making all this possible. Hence the Skype Baby shower 2010!

The Problem

My brother and sister-in-law live in Pasadena, California while most of the family lives in the mid-west (throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana mostly). The great news is they became pregnant with twins — the bad news is they live in Pasadena, California.

How can a family celebrate such an exciting thing like the birth of twins when everyone is geographically displaced? What’s an expectant grandmother to do?

The Technology

For those unfamiliar, Skype is a web technology offering a range of interactive services — some offered free and some with fees. When you register on Skype, users have a number of choices including:

  • Instant Messaging: chatting or “IMing” one-2-one with other Skype users.
  • Phone Calls: You can make voice and video calls Skype-to-Skype, cell phones, and landlines to domestic numbers free. There is a fee to make international calls.
  • Facebook News Feed View:  Grant Skype access to your Facebook account and interact with your news feed via Skype.

We paced the laptop on the piano so everyone could see the screen. They could see most everyone in the room from this spot.

The Solution

A Skype Baby Shower! Being the creative and expectant grandmother she is, my mother devised a plan: Ask the parents-to-be to register online (as they normally would).

Next, request likely baby shower attendees to have their gifts sent directly to the parents-to-be. Then, schedule a baby shower.

Finally, during the baby shower, the parents open the gifts that have been shipped to them while on a Skype video call with all the attendees gathered together to watch. Fantastic plan right?

The Result and Highlights

An interesting family event.

Rather than scrap the typical baby shower games that circulate around the mother-to-be like guessing how many toilet paper squares it takes to go all the way around her belly or identify horribly tasting the baby food — we played other interesting games such as “Baby-Themed Scatagories.”

I admit, I did feel a little bad having so much fun with mom, but that didn’t stop me from accepting my well deserved door prize — a crown (which makes complete sense).

Since, my sister-in-law had her babies early — she was a little exhausted during the event. And since we (in Michigan) were ready to get started later than originally scheduled– the party was further delayed because mom needed to express milk.

I’m glad she decided to do that off camera — not everyone is so considerate.

As you can likely imagine — there were some technology issues and the declared  “Tech Committee” (AKA another brother-in-law with an engineering degree with mad pumpkin carving skills) was called to resolve them; however there were a few highlights of the event. The most notable being my brother and sister-in-law saying “hello” to baby Carter via Skype video call (pictured here).

I'm not sure what baby Carter is thinking, but I was thinking how funny to see a baby interacting on Skype -- what's next text messaging?

You can’t tell me it’s not weird to hold a laptop up to a baby — with limited motor skills and cognition — to view people he’s never seen in 2D?

I admit, I was a little skeptical of my creative mother’s idea, but being the tech enthusiast that I am, I really wanted to see how her brainchild came to fruition. Other than feeling a little strange celebrating a woman and babies that were not in attendance and having a lot of fun without the guests of honor – it was great.

When you put it all together – the use of Skype to have a baby shower for geographically dispersed family celebrations– makes for an interesting take on how the use of technology enhances our lives in significant ways.

Has your family or friends used new media technology in creative ways to stay connected? Share your story below, I’d love to learn how others use technology work for them.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in communication, media, social media

 

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Happy Birthday: A New Take on Sphere of Influence

Recently I had a birthday — yes, I’m a Scorpio, which might explain some things for you — and with all those Happy Birthday comments on my Facebook page, I must admit I felt pretty special.

A few weeks prior, a friend celebrated a birthday and posted the number of “Happy Birthday” comments he received. Of course this made me curious about how many comments I might receive. So, as the big day approached I began keeping a tally. I ended with about 75 well wishes for my birthday our of about 400 friends, which is almost 20% of my Facebook friends (Thanks Bill for doing the math – you know numbers aren’t my thing 🙂

As I scrolled through the friends kind enough to take the time to leave a message — I began to see a trend. Many of the names I recognized as individuals that routinely comment on my posts and vice versa. This got me thinking about a Sphere of Influence. So, here’s the question:  Can the number of well wishes (like Happy Birthday) indicate your sphere of influence? My answer is yes. Before I tell you my thoughts on the topic, be aware that there are a number of analytics tools available out there to provide some sort of scientific (albeit secretive in most instances) understanding of your sphere of influence on social media.

What’s different about Happy Birthday as a way to understand Your Sphere of Influence? I believe these are the interesting characteristics:

Level of Attention

First, many of the social influence tools out there don’t say much about Facebook. For business pages, the social media juggernaut does have an analytics page, but it does not provide a whole lot of insight into who is interacting with your page. This may or may not be something that is important to you. If it is, then well wishes tell you something more. It tells you not only who is interacting with you or your page, but also gives an idea of their level of attention.

Consider this: When it’s someone’s birthday, a reminder message appears in the right hand sidebar. Let me admit now, every birthday reminder does not move me to actually go to that person’s page and wish them a Happy Birthday. I can’t imagine I’m that outside the norm.

I take this to mean, those that actually take time to wish you well wishes — whether it’s a business acquisition, happy anniversary, happy birthday or the like — gives you a great idea of those that are regularly attending to your message.

Active Contributors

In addition to having an idea of what users are actually paying attention to your messages, the great thing about well wishes is you have an idea of who are your active contributors — and importantly what they are saying. This is a great poll of people to consider tapping for topic ideas, as well as the information and resources that you put out there. The people who know and like your material are likely to already have ideas about what they would like to see more (or less of) so, why not ask.

How to Engage Others

Let’s face it, the economy is in the toilet, the job market stinks, the holidays completely stress us out, and the list of bad news goes on — people like good news. And the opportunity to share in the accomplishments of others is a great break from the ordinary. The more good, positive, and productive news you can provide, the better you can make your readers feel. I’m not suggesting you completely wax over compelling news or information, but consider keeping a healthy balance.

Remember: Happy readers pass along information that they like to others — and for many — growing your following, readership, fan base or following is a good thing.

So, what are your thoughts about social influence? Care or Don’t Care? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2010 in business, Networking, social media

 

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Status Update Abuse: Know When to Say When

There are several dangers that come along with using social media: loss of privacy, possibility of hacked accounts, and status update abuse. Recently, I received a LinkedIn message from a connection that indicated I was putting out too many status updates. Here’s the message I received.

What does this message tell you? To me, this message reveals 3 specific things.

1. (Possible) Status Update Abuse

Okay, I admit, I send a lot of status updates throughout the day. This is part of the personal branding work I undertake everyday. It’s likely you’ll see some individuals in certain industries are likely to post more often than others. In my case, I work in digital communication. I spend a lot of time keeping up on what’s happening in technology innovation, social media, young professional groups, and the Columbus city scene. I use LinkedIn and other social media outlets to operate as a resource person on these topics.

Since this person is not someone I’m connected to locally — it’s likely that my updates simply aren’t as relevant for her as they might be for others. It’s also likely that my alleged Status Update Abuse means I should review the posting frequency because my goal is not to alienate my connections. Importantly, you should consider both post frequency and medium when using social media. If people block or hide your updates — you really can’t be very effective.

2. Inactive LinkedIn Network

For me, this message also reveals this user may have a network of Inactive LinkedIn Network. Again, depending on the professional industries represented in your LinkedIn network, you might find your connections to be more or less active. Since many of my connections are in the public facing digital communications, advertising, public relations, and traditional and new media fields -many are very active users.

I consider active to mean:

  • More than 5 posts in a day
  • Posts frequently feature news articles, blog pieces, case studies, and events that are relevant to their personal brands or professional work
  • Posts include messages sent on Twitter

Depending on your use of LinkedIn this kind of active use may seem completely appropriate — as it does in my case — or completely excessive — as it does in the case of others. That’s a decision individual users have to make.

Something to consider: When I receive LinkedIn connections from individuals I may not know personally — I review their profile to review the last status updates and when it was posted. Here are some conclusions I draw influencing my decision to accept a LI request from an unknown user:

  • Less than 3 days — moderately active LinkedIn user, a may be a good person to know.
  • Within hours — an active user and likely offering relevant info regularly and a good person to know.
  • More than a week — inactive LinkedIn user, seeking to grow their network and likely not a resource person.

3. Customize Home Page Settings

Importantly, social media networks are powerful because you get to CHOOSE how YOU want to GET YOUR INFORMATION. This means you can Customize Home Page Settings to show information from your connections that you will find most relevant. LinkedIn knows that every user is not interested in knowing all the same information and have created quite a few levels of customization to ensure you get what you want in your home page news feed.

Go to “Settings,” select “Home Page Settings,” and “Manage Updates by Type.” The screen will look like this:

Also, if you want to simply block a single individual, hover over the right hand corner of that person’s update in your news feed to reveal “hide.” Click and that’s it.

You can also review those that you have hidden in the “Home Page Settings,” option too.

What advice would you give LI connections that are committing Status Update Abuse?

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2010 in business, communication, Networking, social media

 

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From Freelancer to Full Timer: Landing Your Next Position

So, I’ve been operating as a for nearly a year as a freelancer, and admittedly, there are many things I enjoy about this role. That being said, I’m glad to be back in a full time position. It’s been a week since I started my new position with The Columbus Board of REALTORS as the Interactive Communication Coordinator and Young Professional Network Liaison (I know the title is a mouth full right?) and I think I’m adjusting well.

A Brief Disclaimer: I have not worked a 9-5 gig for more than 10 years — so, I’m not just adjusting from a short stint as a freelancer, but rather from a long stint as a free agent.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I know for many individuals — freelancing is a means to a full time position — and this piece is for you. I know there are plenty of people operating on a freelance or independently with no desire to return to a full-time position. That’s awesome! But this piece is specifically intended for those looking to land their next full time position.

So, the question I’ve been asked by others in transition: What did you do? I don’t know that I did anything that special, but what I offer here are some of the things that I believe contributed to taking me From Freelancer to Full Timer.

1. Maintaining a Blog

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Maintaining a Blog is a great way to do some serious personal branding work. Not only can a blog be an outstanding way to demonstrate what you know or your areas of expertise, it can also be your digital home for your growing portfolio of creative or writing samples.

When contacted by a hiring manger, there’s nothing more exciting to hear (for me anyways) then, “I’ve read through some posts on your blog and clearly you know your stuff.”

2. Active LinkedIn User

In case you didn’t know, LinkedIn is  the “professionals’ social media network.” So, if you’re looking for a professional position and you don’t have a LI profile — open an account and get started ASAP. While in conversation with hiring mangers, I’ve heard more than once, “You’re everywhere on LinkedIn.” For me, this indicates that my name, face, status updates and group posts are relevant and frequent to that individual. I admit, that’s music to my ears!

If you have a LinkedIn profile, but don’t know what to do now, there are a number of ways to more fully utilize you’re profile and start making your investment pay off. Here are a few posts to check out for some ideas on how to do that:

3. Additional Interests of Value

Since there are more employees than jobs, it’s important to find additional ways to distinguish yourself from the pack. While in my interview, I not only spoke about my background and training, but also about my Additional Interests of Value. In my case, I have a growing interest and investment in the burgeoning young professional community in Columbus. Also, I’m always very concerned with education and educational opportunities.

What I continue to find, is that employers and hiring mangers are enthusiastic about the additional interests that a candidate brings to the table. It doesn’t hurt to be interested in more than just work since that’s only one aspect to bringing a new person on board.

4. Network, Network, Network!

What we continue to know as the job market continues to flooded with more people than jobs is: The more people you know the better you chances. This means that not only do you want to make a targeted effort to meet individuals in your industry, but also individuals outside your industry.

This can be even more important if you’re in an industry like communication, software or medical equipment sales. I say that because you never know where your next job opportunity will come from, and knowing someone in that industry to tap for additional information or a name to strategically drop can be very useful.

So, I’m not sure what else may have contributed to securing a new full time position. But I will say these were things that I learned about during the interview or my first week that seemed to be helpful. What else would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2010 in business, Networking, social media

 

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5 Ways Politicians Can Use Social Media Better

Well, it’s election season and that means the smear campaigns are in full force. We’re all familiar with the television ads featuring the opposing candidate‘s unflattering picture, with quotes likely “taken out of context,” supported by a seemingly partisan campaign group. Since Obama‘s landmark win — due in large part to a rigorous social media campaign — many other politicians are incorporating Twitter, Facebook and blogging into their campaign work, and that great!

However, I think there might be a few ways to better maximize social media to see an ever greater return on the investment. Here are a few tips I can offer after actively reviewing some local candidates Facebook and Twitter outreach.

It’s Not All About You:

An aspect of social media that makes it different from traditional advertising is that It’s Not All About You. Your followers and fans want to know more than why you’re the best candidate — you’re already presenting those reasons elsewhere.Use social media as an opportunity to explain what’s happening in the political process.

For example consider posting when and where the next “meet the candidate” event is scheduled, identification of important pending legislation, or polling stations in your district. Remember, many people are disaffected with politics in general because it lacks transparency and generosity. So, social media becomes a way to embrace what voters feel is currently lacking.

Be a Resource Person:

This goes along with point number 1. Politics can be difficult to get excited about for some because the information is frequently diffused and difficult to follow. Why not use social media to tell people what’s going on. Informing others on how they can get involved and volunteer not just with your campaign — but with the campaign efforts of others in your party helps people see that politics (and your party) are bigger than just you.

Give Us the Good News:

Although it’s likely easier to identify all the things that are going wrong in politics and why your the best person to “clean up Washington,” sometimes voters want to hear about the things going well and how those things will impact our lives. Social media is an opportunity to identify what else you plan to do to keep these productive improvements moving forward. Granted it might sound a little “pollyannaish” but let’s face it, hearing about what’s going wrong and the person or party supposedly responsible for it, can be a depressing and cause distance rather than an affinity for a particular candidate.

Tell Us About THE Issues:

We know that there are a number of issues that reign supreme: Health Care, Employment and Jobs, Taxes, and Higher Education to name a few. But I’m sure there are more — especially at the local level. Why not use social media to inform your followers and fans about THE issues? Not just those beyond this list, but what are the dynamics and distinct characteristics around these issues too. The more voters know about issues, the better informed we can be to make a good decision with our vote.

Be Consistent:

If you want to continue growing your base using social media — you can’t just post every so often and expect people to pick up what you’re laying down. Like any brand attempting to make inroads using social networks, you have to be consistent with your messages. The more frequently you post information that people are interested in, the more opportunities you have to get others involved in your conversation starters and sharing the good word.

I’m sure I didn’t touch on everything politicians using social media for campaign purposes. So, what politician have you seen doing a good job using social media? Let us know so we can check out there work. What advice would YOU offer to politicians? Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments section.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in social media

 

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Digital 411: Celebrating Social Media Month

May is a big month for Digital 411 and Erika Pryor at Large. Since May is International Social Media Month, I want to focus on what’s happening in social media. On the most recent episode of Digital 411 I sat down with my favorite Irishman, Barry Chandler to talk about his latest initiative — Social Media Month Columbus.

Also known as TheBarBlogger, Barry Chandler is well known for innovative integrated marketing campaigns, first within the hospitality and tourism industries and later with nonprofits, small business and beyond. So, I was super excited when he agreed to sit down with us and talk about how he want to help any body or business that wants to wrap their mind around social media and grow their business using the best suited platforms.

There’s so much great information available on this episode of Digital 411 — I invite you to take a listen. Even if you can’t listen to the whole episode, I promise you’ll get some great take away points in the first 15 minutes. Also, check out the Social Media Month Columbus website. What you may not know about the site is there are new videos released every single day during the month on May! There’s more, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself from the site and this episode of Digital 411!

Digital 411 broadcast live Thursdays, 5pmET on TalktainmentRadio.com. New episodes record live twice monthly. You can follow what’s happening on Digital 411 here, on the Facebook page and Twitter @Digital411. Feel free to submit your topic suggestions and interview recommendations here, Facebook or Twitter.

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