Posts Tagged ‘communications’

New Tools, New Ways to Connect

Ed | October 9, 2010 in New Media Things | Comments (1)

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In the constant search for the ultimate social media nirvana, I’ve incorporated two new tools to make sharing and connecting just a bit easier.

Tumblring along

The first new tool, Tumblr, is a blogging platform founded in 2007. While not as extensible as WordPress, it offers various features and themes in a user friendly web-based interface. It’s great for photos, short text posts, link-sharing and video sharing, with separate templates for each type of post. Tumblr offers easy integration with Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to cross-post to both platforms separately or together. (more…)

Twitter Follow Friday – Apr 30 2010 (#FF)

Ed | April 30, 2010 in Miscellaneous | Comments (1)

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Today’s Twitter Follow Friday (#FF) post is testimony to the “social” nature of social media. The two people I mentioned in this week are well known in Boston-area social media circles. After reading their tweets and blog posts for over a year, I finally ventured to the Boston Media Makers meet-up (first Sunday of every month at Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain) where both are regular attendees. Read on . . . .

Ari Herzog (@ariherzog) is a social media enthusiast who leveraged his presence on the web to a city council seat in the Newburyport, MA. As such, Ari has a unique few of the intersection between social media, online marketing, and local government. He reached out to me after I mentioned I was a resident of neighboring Haverhill, and since then, we’ve had spirited discussions on all topics digital. He also introduced me to an SEO professional who provided valuable feedback on some of my consulting work.

Adam Weiss (@adamweiss) is a Boston area podcaster, photographer, and digital media strategist. He podcasted regularly for Boston’s Museum of Science, and now produces and hosts the critically acclaimed Boston Behind the Scenes podcast. Full disclosure here: I’ve yet to meet Adam in person, but after mentioning at a Boston Media Maker meet-up that I was looking for a social media project to work on, he put me in touch with Jenny Attiyeh, producer of the Thoughcast podcast. I now work with Jenny as a social media producer for Thoughtcast, which includes serving as the Twitter voice of the podcast. Thank you Adam, for the great connection!

Thanks to both Adam and Ari for reaching out to me over the last few weeks. I hope I can soon repay your kindness.

I’ll point out again, that these two valuable connections were made thanks to social media. Both Ari and Adam are active tweeters and bloggers, and considered by many to be thought leaders in their respective areas. Had I never ventured into the world of tweets, blogs, and Facebook updates, or attended the meet-ups organized by other social media types, we never would have met.

And what about you? Do you have a connection or interesting story that had its advent in social media? Let’s here about it in the comments.

A look at my five newest Delicious links.

Ed | March 7, 2010 in Miscellaneous,New Media Things | Comments (0)

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Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so I’ve decided to take a close look at the last five items I’ve added to my Delicious account. Click here to see the whole feed.

1. What you need to succeed in Social Media, by Chris Penn.

What can I say about Chris? Along with Chris Brogan and Amber Neslund, Penn is one of the web’s most prolific and influential bloggers. He built a nationwide community around one of life’s most painful and boring topics – college financial aid, and used that as a springboard to become a leading authority on all things web and social media. When he talks, I listen.

In this short but powerful blog post, Chris points out that media (social or otherwise) is only a means to help “communicate something fundamentally human.”

The lesson I take from this post is this: Be a great communicator about something you are passionate about. Use social media to help magnify that passion to an audience that benefits from your knowledge.

2. The reason your personal brand sucks, by Chris Penn.

I’ve always hated the term “branding,” but I’ve embraced the whole “personal branding” phenomenon. In this post, Chris urges the reader to “distill your essential quality,” the factor that makes you as an individual unique in what you do, and how you do it.

“Once you figure out your essential quality, your personal brand will take care of itself,” Chris writes.

I’ve taken this piece of advice to heart in both my day job, and my consulting activities, and it will guide my actions for the foreseeable future.

3. Eleven ultimate resources to help you become a WordPress champ, by Blog Design Studio

I loves me some WordPress, and this is one of many posts with links to WordPress info, tutorials, and plug-in data. Link number six on this page was of particular interest to me, a link to I’ve used it myself several times already, and recommended it to friends and clients.

4.Why Flash should be open source – and why it won’t be, by AtomicPoet’s Blog

The lack of Adobe’s Flash on the upcoming iPad has spawned many questions regarding the viability of the RAM-hogging, browser-crashing protocol. This post suggests that by open sourcing Flash, it could be developed into a more reliable product, thus making it an appealing addition to both the iPad, and the iPhone.

The most ironic thing about this post? It’s posted on the most anti-Flash blog theme I’ve ever seen; a plain white page with black Times New Roman type text, devoid of any “gee-whiz” type of visuals.

5. Critic’s Notebook: Christopher Hawthorne on Unhappy Hipsters and the mystery behind it, by the Los Angeles Times

If you’ve yet to stumble onto the Unhappy Hipsters blog, you should take a few minutes to visit. Its author posts a photo of mid-century modern architectural design, mostly from Australia’s Dwell magazine, and adds a snarky comment. Very clever, indeed.

The mystery however, is that nobody has any earthly idea who is behind the new blog. Los Angeles Times architecture critic Chris Hawthorne offers his best guess, as well as a snarky-tinged review of the blog itself.

Elevator statement nearing completion!!

Ed | September 30, 2009 in New Media Things | Comments (2)

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Time for an update on my networking/spacefinding/what-the-heck-do-I-do-with-my-life quest.

Earlier this week, I attended a great workshop entitled Taking your elevator speech to the top floor: Networking skills everyone should know. If you have been following me on this blog, you know one of my main tasks here is to not only find my space in the social media sphere, but also develop an elevator statement, and learn how to leverage and use that statement as a networking tool.

The facilitator, an acting coach, was excellent. She related several tools to be used in almost any situation, and gave us tips for zapping uncomfortable “ahs” and “ums” from our conversation. We paired up and worked on our conversational techniques. When the facilitator talked about critical listening in conversations, I thought back to a networking conversation I witnessed but did not participate in, while attending Podcamp Boston. Both of those campers used the exact techniques described by the facilitator.

But for me, maybe the timing wasn’t quite right for this workshop, for this reason: I still don’t have an elevator statement. In fact, I still haven’t figured out what it is that I do, nor have I figured out how to help people with whatever it is that I do. All of this was going through the back of my mind as the next breakout session started.

The person I paired up with had to leave early, so for this breakout session, I worked with two other participants. This brealout though, required me to talk, answering questions posed by the two other members of my group. As I fumbled through the exercise, my breakout partner stopped me dead in my tracks.

“You’re a consultant, specializing in teaching computers and technical writing. Those are great skills to have, because not everyone can write, and a lot of people don’t have time to write.”

I was floored, and didn’t know what to say. This workshop participant had spent all of, maybe, 90 seconds listening to me, yet summed up in a few words, what I’ve been trying to put my finger on for about two months now.

Well, in all honesty, the room was so loud that I didn’t quite catch every word she said, so some follow-up is needed. But her observations were a great kick-start towards my own elevator statement “nirvana.”

So keep a close eye out. There may be a blog post in the future announcing a new elevator statement, which will require new business cards, and also require a touch-up of the website. The best part though, will be crossing off yet another task on my Podcamp Boston Takeaways #pcb4 checklist.

Using the tools; my media & communications habits

Ed | September 9, 2009 in New Media Things | Comments (0)

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During the first week of my first communications class ten years ago, the teacher had us do an exercise. “I want you to record your media habits for 24 hours, or take a break from all media for 24 hours, and tell the record your actions in place of using media,” she said.

I struggled for a few moments after hearing that. I contemplated the horror of a day without TV, radio, or the Internet, and quickly decided that I would instead record my media activity.

I don’t have the paper that I wrote based on that assignment, but I do remember the gist of what I discovered; even in 1999, I was an internet junkie. This was the time when everyone was still enamored with a Yahoo home page that aggregated custom information, including separate modules that regularly updated weather, sports, and e-mail status. I used these tools to their fullest extent.

It was my second year in New England, but I still had an interest in Southern California, where I grew up. Being a baseball fan, I used the Internet and my Yahoo page to track both the Dodgers and Angels as they made their way to the playoffs. Newspapers had yet to fully bloom online, but I got as much of my news as I could using Yahoo search. E-mail was a primary means of communication, as its instant delivery often allowed for quick planning and action.

Other media habits at the time included daily use of the TV for news and sports, and my trusty pager that would buzz my belt every once in a while. I didn’t have cell phone back then and my land-line served me well, even though it was used most of the time for Internet access.

Flash forward ten years, and my clunky desktop and dial-up are now replaced by a sleek laptop and wifi. Social media applications keep me informed of the activities of friends, family, and network associates

Television doesn’t appeal to me anymore, I find network TV to be insulting to my intelligence, and cable shows are often just as bad. Almost anything I want to see I can find via You Tube, Hulu, or the like. You Tube has replaced television as my most valued source of entertainment. As a classically trained musician, I find the wealth of classical music clips, (overtures, arias, solo work) available on You Tube to be staggering.

The radio, once a big part of my life, has also gone the way of the dodo. Internet streams targeted to specific musical genres offer generous music choices with very little interruption. My sports consumption habits have changed in the last few years. I still watch the Red Sox on cable, and  I can follow the Dodgers live in a separate mini-window on the computer, with legendary broadcaster Vin Scully calling the action. This year’s US Open, my favorite tennis event, also streams live over the Internet, exposing fans to some of the grueling action off the main show courts.

With RSS feeds and other tools, I now have the capabilities to go on information overload should I choose. I follow 12 feeds in my mail reader, usually skimming the headlines, quickly deciding if the post is worth my time. If I’ve skipped a few days and face 100 unread posts, I’ll usually just mark them all as read and move on. I also follow 10 feeds in my browser.

And while the option exists extend many of these tools to my cell phone, I choose not to take advantage. My life style doesn’t yet necessitate instant access.

It’s amazing to see the progress of these tools over the last decade, it makes you wonder what the media and communications landscape will look like in another decade.


Thanks to Chris Brogan for the inspiration to share this post

Podcamp task list (#pcb4)

Ed | August 28, 2009 in New Media Things | Comments (4)

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Ed's Podcamp task list

Ed's Podcamp task list

While driving to Podcamp Boston 4 a few weekends ago, I took stock of where I was in this whole social media space.

I’ve been blogging, inconsistently, for nearly almost three years, and mostly about personal life events. I had a successful podcast for about six months. I’ve posted with regularity on You Tube, and shared photos on Flickr. I rode the MySpace bus for a year and a half before migrating over to Facebook. I’ve bought domains and configured them to point to a personal website, a professional website, and a resume website.

I totally understand Twitter, save bookmarks to Delicious, and have a gallery of movies and photos on my Mobile Me space. I’ve also commented on enough blogs and published some public relations work, so Googling my name renders about ten pages of links.

Yet when another Podcamper sat at my table asked why I was attending, all I could muster was, “I’m just checking it out.”

How’s that for a closed-ended response!

When the Podcamper asked what I did, I couldn’t even come up with a decent answer. By the end of the day I referred to myself as a “lifecaster” because it was the only category I could think of, but in all honesty, another Podcamper suggested that to me.

It would be an understatement to say I was a bit unprepared, and listening to other podcampers talking and socializing revealed to me the depths of my unpreparedness. To wit:

- I had no business cards.

- I had no prepared elevator statements.

- I could not define what I did, what I wanted to do, nor my goals for this conference.

- I was painfully shy about engaging in conversations at the tables I was sitting at, and even more shy about initiating conversations with conference leaders, or anyone else for that matter.

It was, to say the least, not an auspicious start.

I recovered nicely, though, thanks to a vigorous lunchtime conversation, and an afternoon session on the “conversational web” that turned into a Twitter 101 and Facebook privacy issues forum. I felt good about my contributions to the dialogue, and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to engage anyone who sat with 10 feet of me.

Two days removed from the conference, I sat down to make a list of takeaways and action items. Here is what I came up with:

- Rehash website

- Install WordPress Blog

- Blog at least three times a week, on any topic

- Tweet (compelling) at least once a day

- Develop elevator statent

- Look for more networking opportunities

- Define role

- Podacast?

I also wrote down several bloggers names to follow, and jotted some working titles to help define what it is I wanted to do. Now, not even a full month later, I can report that I’ve crossed off half the tasks off the list, and I’m well on my way to completing the rest of the items.

In the spirit of sharing, here are the results of accomplishing these tasks.

Rehash website

Rebuilding my professional website forced me to define a title, and put in to words exactly what it is that I do. It also illustrated the need to change my resume website. That will be a task for the next list.

Install WordPress Blog

Installing a WordPress’ platform forced me out my iLife/Blogger comfort zone. I’m still a bit challenged by WordPress themes, but learning new web protocols is always exciting. Finally grabbing my name as a dotcom URL puts me on an even keel with the rest of the world.

Blog at least three times a week, on any topic

Penelope Trunk’s excellent guide to starting a blog suggests three steps relating to the actual writing of the blog; 1)post something right now, 2) practice, practice, practice, and 3) ignore your lack of readers. I can’t think of three better tips for beginning bloggers.

Look for more networking opps

Look out PodCamp New Hampshire. I’ll be there, elevator statement ready and business cards in hand. I’ll also be at Tech Cocktail Boston 3, testing out my elevator statements and enjoying some downtown fun.

I was going to wait till the one-month date to post this little progress report, but going through the list got me excited about the progress I’ve made in a few short weeks. We are often told to celebrate small victories. This is one for me.

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