Archive | March, 2012

The Art of the “Tweet-Up”

15 Mar

I’ve recently been turned on to the latest medium for in-depth conversation: Twitter, believe it or not! Yes, the website that forces you to chirp out your most profound thoughts and ideas in 140 characters or less can actually be used to have great discussions.

Tweet-ups, twitchats, tweet-meets, whatever-you-wanna-call-ems generally take place at a scheduled time, once a week.  They have a host and a corresponding #hashtag.  The host asks questions and every one partaking in the tweet-up tweets the answer with the hash tag.

I call this post “The ART of the Tweet-Up” because there is some  serious skill involved in keeping up with these discussions.  As instant as Twitter wants to think it is, it’s not as fluid as an oral dialogue.  You still need to wait for all of the Tweets to go through and if you’re a little bit behind, they’ll be on question 5 before you can get out the answer to question 2.  Not to mention all of the side chatting going on, all with the same hashtag.  Forget trying to multitask or doing more than one discussion at a time because you’ll get lost in an instant.  And maybe apologize to your regular followers because they’re about to be BOMBARDED with fragmented responses.

But after you work out all of the kinks (thank god we did some practice tweet ups in class… I’d be a lost little bird without being shown how they work), they’re seem to be very promising!

I found one that I have been following weekly called #journchat.  I’ve yet to add to the discussion because I want to become familiar with the style of questions and the usual participants (so that I don’t look like an idiot).  They seem to be a great way to network and gain followers with similar interests (both professional and otherwise) and stay up-t0-date on the current conversations.

I look forward to participating in Tweet-Ups in the future.  They are a great resource.  I encourage everyone to find a weekly Tweet-up related to their field.

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“Engage!” Chapter 15

13 Mar

In this chapter is where I see myself as a digital middle child.

There are our parents and older siblings who see no reason to cultivate a digital reputation and persona.  Then there are our younger siblings who are already doing this and sharing EVERYTHING, with no misgivings.  Then there is myself and a lot of people my age.  We go about our business, sharing what we like to share but still resisting in someway.  We’re half committed to the the idea of having our entire reputation and personality displayed online, and have trouble coping with the fact that this is how we will be judged in our future, professional endeavors.

I like to express things and share but only with people who I know are looking.  For the most part, I have the privacy settings on my Facebook as high as I can get them and I don’t post anything personal on my Twitter.  I don’t really use any other social networking sites so when you search for me, there is not a whole lot that comes up.  Mr. Solis would probably think that’s a bad thing, but I don’t like the idea that someone is going to form an entire opinion on me based on a few things that I post.

I think that even if I DID share everything and foster a perfect digital reputation that allowed people to see everything I wanted to see as a professional, people still would not get the same impression of me as they would face-to-face.  I don’t like all of this talk about creating digital personalities.  Sure, they’re convenient but I really think we should still encourage face-to-face interaction!!!

I’m really stubborn about that, too.

Social Media and My Productivity (Or Lack Thereof)

7 Mar

A lot of discussion has been going on about employees surfing the web while they should be working and how much revenue companies are loosing because of it.

A quick Google search tells anything from $200 to $800 BILLION.  That’s right. $200,000,0000,000 to $800,000,000,000.

That’s a lot of zeros.  Could that be right?

When I think about how much valuable homework time I lose by just taking “a quick break” to check my Facebook (fast forward one hour and I’ll knee-deep in the comments section on a particularly good thread on Reddit, my homework long forgotten) for every hour (or less) I spend actually working and it seems about right.

Having the internet at my fingertips constantly, and having it be required for a lot of my homework, does absolutely NOTHING for my productivity.  It was a lot easier for me to get things done before MySpace and Facebook took over my whole life.  There was a point in my youth where I would open up a new tab in my web browser and instinctively type “myspace.com,” even though I already had a tab open on that website and intended to go somewhere else.

But those days are long gone…  Now, I instinctively type “facebook.”

But what brings this up is a study that I just read that makes the very bold statement that surfing the web while doing work can actually make you MORE productive.  Apparently, taking a quick break to browse the internet can be just as refreshing as going out and grabbing a coffee, if not more refreshing.

Allowing employees to check out the websites they want (like Facebook) for a couple minutes allows them to return to their task restored and ready to keep working.

I guess this makes sense.  Once I finally drag myself back to my homework, I work a lot more diligently.

But of course, this could be because two hours have passed and I have no choice but to work diligently lest I miss my deadline.

Engage!: Chapter 12

6 Mar

I know that when I become a professional and start putting myself on-line not just for purposes of entertainment, I need to develop a “personality” for the brand that I end up creating for myself.  Solis stresses that it’s important that it’s important to be consistent with the professional personality- that is to say, let’s not mix business with pleasure.

It’s a good idea for companies’ employees to have two online personas/profiles: professional and personal.  But even with your personal profile, you have to be aware that if it is public, you likely that you will just naturally be associated with your profession and the company you work for.  While you will have your own personal space to technically say “whatever you want” it’s important to be mindful of the link that people will ultimately make between you and your job.

It’s also important that on the professional profile, everything that is said is devoid of any REAL LIFE personality of its user, if in conflict.  Every attribute and characteristic within each posting needs to be in line with that of the company.  While you are on your employee Twitter account, you are a direct representative and spokesperson for the brand for which you work.  The stuff posted on that profile may be tightly controlled, and it probably should be.

The best way to avoid mixing up business and pleasure is to just keep everything separate.  Don’t post about how hungover you are on your work Twitter or bash your boss on your personal Twitter, and I think you’ll be alright.