Posts tagged social media
Posts tagged social media
We’re the grown ups now. And we like it.
It was the unspoken theme that surrounded my entire day yesterday from start (1:43 AM, when I woke up) to finish (12:25 AM, when I went to bed) as I went from LA to SF for the Glimpse Conference for the day. If you’re drawing a blank on what Glimpse is, it’s a full day conference based on social discovery that features a ton of panelists and speakers from start-ups and established businesses and online site writers alike, crowded together in a big room bouncing ideas off the walls on everything from changes in the social marketplace to content to music and dating.
I had gone last year, hence the title, and enjoyed the taste of what I got so much that I knew I had to go again this year. Round two of Glimpse was for the adults. The venue was upgraded to the Bently Reserve, resplendent in its two story layout with a bar and restaurant only a few steps out the door reserved for attendees, the crowd was bigger and filled with more professionals in the communications/social/marketing game, and the speakers were just as, if not more, passionate about their work and how they intended to change the world through it.
In 2012, Glimpse had been a smaller, more intimate, affair. I had worn a dress then that had a skirt that was loose and billowy. People talked about what they did and you mentally stacked up the duties of others within their position (if it was the same as yours) against your own and it pleased me then to know I seemed to be doing more than most social media managers. But a lot has changed since that year has gone by and the June 2013 version of me that went saw the change in myself and within others. I wore my boatneck pencil dress and pushed myself to perfect a sock bun that morning. At lunch during the conference, I was at a table with the VP of Communications from GoodReads who asked a small cluster of us what our social media goals with the respective companies we worked with were. I didn’t have to think twice in articulating my own personal strategy because I knew it was my own and it was what I was working on for a reason. There was no mentally comparing/contrasting my own duties against someone else to see if I was “doing it right” and no need to feel like I needed to hold court above anyone else either. It came out of me because it was what I had been thinking about and doing and pulling together for some time now.
You’ve got no idea how good it felt to be sitting in a sea of people aligned with Yahoo and Buzzfeed and Pandora and not feel insignificant or small in any way, shape or form. I like to credit that threefold because a) I have always been pretty confident with myself, b) I work with a great team that makes that feeling all around mutual in our department, and c) because I bust my ass for it. Social media may initially appear to be the job that on the surface attracts people as a position that’s easy to do (lulz, it’s Facebook!), but I’ve begun to notice a real shift in the field. The people who are genuinely passionate about it don’t disappear from the company after 6 months. They constantly keep the wheels grinding away on new initiatives and ideas to implement and like to try out a little bit of everything to see what works. They are not content to do everything the same forever and evolve with the job as it goes. Hence, the grown ups. And why you feel grown up when you’ve been doing it for some time. It’s a feeling that EVERYONE who works should be able to have and it’s the feeling you get when you’re established in your career. I don’t like to believe it’s a tipping point to anything or that you should consider what you’ll be doing for your “second act” (somebody asked me that once during an interview and I mentally remember thinking, “but I’ve only been in this position for two years that does not a second act make”).
To that threefold, I’d like to add one more element to credit which Glimpse took fully - enthusiasm. Hours upon hours in the same room as so many other people all so enthusiastic about what they do and where they’re going and what they have yet to implement to come projects a natural high. You couldn’t walk into the Reserve that morning and exit without a million ideas circulating in your head. “It’s the biggest discovery challenge, serendipitous discovery.” was what Otis Chandler, the CEO from GoodReads said at one point and he’s right! Serendipity in the online and the offline world, where we discover so much in others and moments and places and ourselves!
But I have a theory about serendipitous discovery and so much of life in general. It will never eat you alive unless you let it. But you wouldn’t let that happen because you’re part of the grown ups now.
I took a moment early on that day to scribble some ideas I had and this is what came out. Fits in well enough, I think.
“Not a big fish in a small pond but a fish in a pool of water, where it learns and grows and likes the current and sticks with it. The fish might swim upstream or not but that’s fine too. And so is swimming in the ocean, even if it sweeps you away at first.
Nothing is too big, too consuming, too overwhelming. Everything shrinks with time and familiarity. Everything, even the foreign. And then you run to embrace the new elsewhere or stay with what shrunk and carve out more of what you know or don’t there.”
The events of last week concerning the Boston Marathon bombing as well as the recent hacking of the AP Twitter feed had community and social media managers everywhere on high radar when it came to looking after the company and personal Twitter accounts alike. Tweets were pouring in, but many contained misleading information and links making it difficult to figure out what to retweet.… well I’ll be. I wrote this up on Wednesday and had it published on Thursday on tweeting during a crisis, namely of what I witnessed during the Boston Marathon where Twitter was running wild. Emotions were high, retweets without sources cited were being flung in every direction, hashtag abuse was everywhere, and worst of all, I noticed (as I’m gradually beginning to see an unfortunate trend of during times of trouble) that some Twitter users were bending this awful moment to pull in a wider following base for their own personal accounts. These are my rules of thumb for how to tweet properly during a crisis. What I didn’t expect was that Bruce Mendelsohn would comment on the piece. Bruce took what was the very first photo of the scene at the bombing and circulated online on a worldwide basis. He did it because he wanted to inform others about what was happening. He did not include his own opinion on the matter or tag it #breaking to pull in an audience for himself. He just took the photo and shared it because we needed to know what happened. He was there and captured a moment that those who were not there could not, and maybe for those who were there and the thought of taking pictures was the last possible thought on their minds. I can’t believe he read my article (and that he liked it, whoa) and shared his story. Social media is a fucking amazing thing, y’all.
My second year anniversary at work is a much quieter affair than it was last year, when I was practically bellowing on Facebook and all the assorted other social networks that, “Hey guyssss ONE WHOLE YEAR WOOOOO!!”
Already you may be getting the impression that I’m not particularly jazzed to be saddled in my second year here, but don’t let the lack of leaping in the air and fist pumping the sky fool you. My second year is in its own respects reminding me of the scene in Mad Men’s fifth season when Don Draper, creative director extraordinaire, is looking through a series of advertisements and copy produced by his team copywriters. A lot of the work is Michael Ginsberg’s, some is Peggy Olson’s, not much of it is Don’s. And he knows and can see this looking through the portfolio. Joan, standing in front of Don, sees this all in a different light - that because of his direction, this great work is all gathered before them from very talented minds.
When I first started my job, I wrote everything. Every article, every blog post (with the mild exception of the ones on Fridays since a legal intern would typically grab that one up), and yes, all of those Forbes posts - all ghostwritten under my hand. I did this because as the only social media employee period, I was the only one who could write everything, but also because I love to write and will never say no to working on a piece, no matter what the topic may be. I look back on a lot of my “early” work and shudder hardcore, but smile because in light of various circumstances at the time, I could not have written those articles any better then than I would now. They might read a little more “chop chop, on with the program” now than they did then, but there’s a great creative spark in many of those pieces that I’m awfully proud of.
In the same category of pride falls my two former interns, James and Kelsey. This summer, they’ll be full-blown associates, no longer under the “intern” title umbrella. As a team, we’ve all grown together so much it’s ridiculous. If you had told me in college that my former roommate’s boyfriend would wind up working with me and consider me to be his boss in many ways, I would have laughed in your face. Same goes for the girl acting in the campus stage play I was the assistant stage manager for. Who knew? Life can be funny and so far, I like this joke. It’s been good to me.
My job has evolved quite a bit as well. James and Kelsey blog an awful lot now than they did a year ago. We’ve secured so many more outlets to write with now than we did first starting off too. And I’ve settled into a close to Don Draper presence in the process of giving them more responsibility - scheduling articles and guest posts and confirming emails and sitting in all meetings and writing the occasional post here and there, but mostly serving as the head of our department more than anything else. It’s been an interesting shift, but not one I’m surprised about in the slightest. And definitely not a shift that allows me to rest on my laurels either.
Enough time has passed for me to discuss a change that occurred in March to our department. Without going into too much detail other than to say that this was not a decision made exclusively to our account there alone, Forbes decided to close several blogging accounts, with ours included. It was also an email that came from a producer from the site and not our editor. In the span of an hour, I went through stages of shock, anger, and acceptance which is a rollercoaster ride of emotions to the absolute max. I was moody about it for 24 hours (same day I went home early and made a burger and sat by the pool) because it was, well, it was so odd! When it comes to blogging, there’s no set date in mind for so many sites and you more or less wind up assuming that you’ll be blogging there until you run out of ideas. Or don’t, and keep making more up as you move along because it keeps you relevant to the internet. I don’t know why I assumed we’d be writing there forever and living happily ever after. Two years was long enough. There were a lot of rules to follow and quite honestly, it. was. so. stressful! As an example of some of the rules, every paragraph could only be 5 sentences long or less before publishing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But we ended on a very solid, tidy note, with a post that was so pulled together that I couldn’t have asked for a better way to exit a website.
Moodiness aside, that minor hiccup remained exactly that: a minor hiccup. My boss and team were wonderfully encouraging and we pushed forward with other endeavors instead. I’m quite fortunate in this regard because I know for a fact that there are many CEOs who would be less forgiving with their social media departments if that happened to them. But… I don’t work for those
crazies, old disgruntled WASP men, companies so that’s that! And our current endeavors have been paying off in spades, with much better outlets, one of which I’m pleased to say is The Huffington Post! (Which I “re-discovered” through a Google search my boss had a long-dormant account with and we’re gonna dust that off to get it all shiny and pretty again.)
So here we are, in 2013, a world apart from where we began, but still are so very rooted firmly in the same enthusiasm and drive that we had first starting out. My days only feel long when I get home and get asked by a roommate what I did that day. I blink once and it all comes rushing back all over me, like the ghost of a foggy dream from last night that the very sight of an inanimate object like a pen could invoke the very memory of.
What did I do? What did we do? What will continue to be done?
Only time, and more writing, may tell.
‘Bout that boss lady note…
I hosted a webinar on my own today for the first time and it went great! It was on social media engagement for businesses, entitled “Social Media Engagement and You: It’s More Than Just Saying ‘I Do.’” Such a different experience from last time - which if you may (or probably don’t) recall I was on a panel of three speakers with a moderator and over 500 people logged in listening and asking questions. This was a much more intimate affair - 15 people listening in and a PowerPoint presentation I worked pretty hard on. From what I understand it was well received - got some emails asking me for more information from business owners including one who runs a company in SF!
Feeling progressively more and more like a grown up every day, in every way. This is a far cry from that Festival of Scholars presentation I did in college where I was still coloring in my poster board up until the last hour before the presentation.
… people find the ones that are open and head on in!
Today something really awesome and unexpected happened at work. We’ve been running a contest that gives away $1500 for one very clever one to two minute video that discusses what makes your business brilliant and now that we’re in the last three (!!) days of the contest, we’ve had some last-minute stragglers submitting their videos to our website. Before leaving work for the day, I did a quick last-minute check on the contest folder where the entries have been collecting where to my complete surprise, a video submission was there from a girl named Hayley.
Hayley was one of the very first affiliates within our company that I worked with, nearly two years ago, and helped her out with establishing her blog and social media accounts. That in of itself was special enough. But there’s a little something more to it… at the time Hayley got her company incorporated and started with us, she was 16 years old. Now she should be 18 which is the legal age to enter our contest which of course is awesome to the nth degree.
BUT WAIT THERE’S EVEN MORE. Her company is amazing - it creates soluble sugar packets for coffeeshops to help cut back on the paper waste in landfills across the country. Isn’t that incredible? And to know that she not only started her company several years ago but still wants to keep with that idea and help it grow into bigger and better proportions really makes me smile and get all of the warm fuzzy feels inside.
It’s not often that I jump up out of my chair at work from excitement and run to tell the three other people who worked along with me and her about the video submissions but I did today. Because I’m proud of Hayley and excited to see her come back into the fold of what I help do here.
Publish a blog post about the conference before the event, 500 word minimum, link to conference page with approved anchor text*, tweet out the post
(must be completed by March 21st at 2pm ET)
Tweet up a storm at the conference with the hashtag #socialfresh
Publish a blog post about at least one of the conference sessions after the event, 500 word minimum, link to conference page (your choice of anchor text), tweet out the post (must be completed by April 25th at 2pm ET)
PS. Your CEO topic idea is awesome and works perfect for this requirement.
I CAN DO ALL OF THIS AND THANKS FOR THE KUDOS ON MY IDEA (BOLDED) BUT I’M STILL SO CONFUSED YOU GUYS. Does this mean this event is still free once I obtain my press pass? Will my boss be down with me going and/or able to spot me on my hotel room and airfare? (The hotel does a discount for the event.) It IS being billed as “the social media conference you’ve always hoped for” after all and the speaker list/venue is flawless. And I would like to go travel and do out of state things again because I’ve been trying to pay off debt which blows because I’ve been very Rapunzel locked up in her castle lately and just want to get out of the damn office and onto a plane for a few days so I can feel like I’m living life again.
Ahem. I’ll take all these things up tomorrow at work.
Once upon a time, like in 2007 or something like that, there was a really hot guy who used to come into the Subway I worked at and order a six inch sandwich and eat it there. One day, he paid with a credit card and I (discretely) wrote the card holder name down and Googled it when I got home. And lo and behold, I found his website that revealed he was a musician who specialized in Irish medleys, had a wife and two daughters, and was diabetic.
From that moment on, I would occasionally see him on the bus I commuted on. Once he sat next to me and I thought to myself, “Holy shit I really hope you don’t introduce yourself to me because I know I’m going to say back in reply ‘Oh, I know who you are’ and you’re going to be very confused and potentially freaked out fast.”
What I’m trying to get at here is that well before I started working in social media I was adept at finding out various items of interest on quite a few people. And also that it’s such a bizarre thing that in today’s society, we will undoubtedly encounter or sit next to people that we know from blogs and maybe we introduce ourselves and maybe we don’t, but we already know a pocket of information about said person simply by following their public profiles online.
He was a great songwriter/musician though. If something ever happened and I was in need of some Irish music for whatever reason, I would probably contact him in need of his services. But boy, what a strange way to reach out to somebody, “Well Jonathan, technically the first time I heard about you was when I was 17 and you ordered a sandwich at Subway…”
Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day, or as I like to refer to it as, Social Media Manager Appreciation Day where for just one day all of us interwebz obsessives are celebrated for all the goodness we bring to the blogging table.
Likeable Media says in order to work in this field, a manager must be five things:
1) Interested in what they do.
That whole adage about when you’re passionate about something, people around you take notice and can feel it. Passion invigorates, motivates, and inspires others in turn. I’ve always believed that even if you think you aren’t fully invested in a particular subject area, there’s always a facet associated with it you can pick out and learn more about and flesh out and enjoy. Nothing’s ever truly boring and all of life is a great big learning experience. It just takes you being game and willing enough to see that and embrace it.
2) Being on, even when you’re off
AKA the day doesn’t stop when you leave the office. This is probably the number one reason why people initially take on jobs in social media and wind up leaving them quickly, even if their resume listed them as a “social media pro!” It’s not a job you ever completely turn off from and for the most diehard of us, nor do you want to.
3) Patience and a sense of humor
People say and do stupid shit online and it’s up to you to know when and how to address the stupid stuff that could have a detrimental effect to the brand you represent while simultaneously alerting your own department about said stupidity and poking fun at the less-serious side it presents.
Sound like a genuine human being and not a computer generated spambot basically.
5) Take a reality check
You don’t have to know EVERYTHING going on the internet all at once and being a manager definitely means you sure as shit better not be micromanaging every person to death or going on an extended power trip. The internet gives and it takes away and on your deathbed you’re not likely to be recalling that one time a customer bitched at you in a tweet. But if you did your job right, you might wind up laughing yourself to a (literal) death about the clip from Maury about chicken tetrazzini. Mmm, classic.
Photo images from the popular photo sharing service went dark Sunday on Twitter, a decision, Twitter says, that was made by Instagram, which was acquired earlier in the year for $1 billion by Facebook. “Instagram has disabled photo integration with Twitter,” the micro-blogging site wrote in a status update. “As a result, photos are no longer appearing in Tweets or user photo galleries.”
Cue social media manager head explosion. I’d Instagram it for you, but… y’know.
“When I’m on my deathbed, I won’t be accepting of my demise. I’ll be angry because I’ll know there are 44 minutes owed to me from 2012, minutes lost to this sham of a show.”
-BusinessWeek writer Sam Grobart on Bravo’s new reality show Startup: Silicon Valley
Looking for substance of any sort in a reality TV show is like searching for a needle in a haystack. There’s always a possibility that you may find it and that is does indeed exist, but it’s going to be an exhaustive search that you’ll either give up on early or… give up on early. And for the most part, we’re content to give up. It’s not a bad thing to sit back and spend an evening engrossed in the drama of others while munching on some pasta and sipping from a glass of wine. In fact, it’s pretty damn relaxing sometimes.
But when a show arrives with the name of Startup: Silicon Valley, that’s when you get the feeling that you’re in for something other than name calling, booze tossing, and Andy Cohen post-show appearances. As a person who works in an environment focused on startups and entrepreneurs and has firsthand account knowledge that it’s an industry of hard work with few major payoffs in the early years, I wondered about how this show would work, particularly on a network as superficially based as Bravo. Would they show everyone hard at work and looking (as well as acting) less like spoiled divas and more like… regular people with a dream?
A girl can only imagine.
As it turns out, Startup: Silicon Valley was exactly as Mr. Grobart from BusinessWeek described it to be, “shallower than a dinner plate from the Kate Hudson Kitchen Kollection.” (Can I just take a moment to appreciate that description some more? Aaaaand… done! Brilliant.)
You can’t fault the cast, though you certainly can’t find a single thing to like about them either. The trouble is that they and their businesses are depicted as one-dimensional with very, very little on their minds, which is so far from how startups actually operate that I wanted to leap into the screen and slap the shit out of somebody, just enough to see something register in their eyes that resembled real unscripted human emotion. I already knew I was going to have problems with this show when their social media girl showed up, living out of a luxury hotel on behalf of a brand sugardaddying the experience. Whatever brand that was didn’t get explained and eventually the topic tapered over to the “real issues”: the social media girl was single and on the hunt for marriage because her clock was ticking on the children front.
And then we cut to a software engineer getting a spray tan and a swimming sequence and I swear to god if I didn’t know any better, I’d say this show was set in LA.
Startups, for anyone interested in how the forming a business thing actually works, move slowly in real time. You have a lot to work on and typically don’t get to begin with launch parties and swag bags. It’s time consuming and makes you tired and you have to budget everything and generating buzz can be difficult and you may want to give up, but you don’t because your business is your baby. You love and believe in its future, no matter how many forks in the road or distractions there may be to get there. But emphasis on the slow to grow portion, for sure, most of which is you filing paperwork with the state and applying for licenses and looking into working with CPAs and eventually getting all of that done and playing the waiting game.
In some aspects, startups have similar ties to what I do for a living. I have been asked before why I don’t write more about what I do which is a fair enough question because this is my blog and to some degree should shed some light about the girl writing behind it. Throughout my entire life, I’ve never been one to truly live in the present - I’m forever thinking in future tense and waxing nostalgic for the past. My “present” I’ll most likely expand on in a few more years, unless major moments happen that I feel obligated to record. That’s just how I do it.
But if I did write every detail each day, it would be as if Bravo focused on making Startup: Silicon Valley into a business centered show. Focused but painfully so and the audience would tune out fast. Some days for me are busier than others (though they are all pretty busy). I write every single day. I typically write about business. I juggle additional tasks with my regularly scheduled work. I usually work through lunch. I get in the office early and stay fairly late. And I continue writing and answering emails when I’m home.
Here is a peek at what I did on Monday this week:
-wrote up Forbes article on “How to Prep Your Business for Small Business Saturday”
-wrote up a guest blog post on “What Your Business Should Offer for Small Business Saturday”
-edited and submitted an article for SmallBizDaily
-published a blog post from a guest poster on our company blog on “5 Tips on Getting Out of Business Debt Fast”
-promoted out an article just published with SheOwnsIt on “4 Reasons Why You Need a Business License” (also written up by yours truly)
-compiled answers to a questionnaire for Stitches Magazine on colors and fonts for company logos
-promoted out a piece for Triple Pundit on “The Good of Flexible Purpose Corporations”
-ate lunch at some point
Not every day looks like my Monday does, but I rarely have a slow day. Generally my slowest days at work involve me leaving early, like at noon or something for a flight, and I tend to pace myself accordingly, knowing not much will get done and thus accomplishing more the day before.
The behind the scenes work is just something we as a collective group of people prefer to avoid showing. On Bravo, they’re not going to show you the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office working on your filing. They’ll show footage of the startup founders getting toasted with champagne at a launch party instead. On Facebook, I’ll show off an Instagram’d photo of SusieCakes bakery sending me and the office three boxes of baked goods as a thank you for a Forbes write up. I will not constantly update my status on how I reached out to the PR firm, emailed back and forth, got in contact with the founder Susan Sarich, interviewed her, transcribed said interview, and plugged it upon publishing. And nor would I have ever written down all of it into a blog either, until now. I’m much better at taking initiative and going with it headfirst instead of pontificating or musing that MAYBE I’ll snag an important interview.
Maybe something happens and maybe it doesn’t. If it does, then good for you for moving forward. If it doesn’t, you still keep moving. Opportunity doesn’t always come knocking - sometimes you have to be the one to knock first. But when you’re knocking and working on getting your foot in the door, chances are it isn’t the best time to write about what you do when you’re actually out there doing it.