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May 09

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Social Media 123

There's nothing quite like taking the social out of social events.

Last year I threw out 350 of the 500 business cards that I printed when I first set out as a freelancer, 14 years ago. So how should I be marketing? Editors and authors often wonder (with me) if social media deserves the hype it gets, and if it is something they must learn to use. In my article on “Social Media for Editors,” I wrote:

  1. It is the real world.
  2. Promotion is about being top of mind.
  3. Do it well, or not at all.
  4. E-whatever is for-e-ver.

There are fruitful contacts to be made through social media. Go where your clients are. Go where you like to spend time. And for the love of humanity, if you are in a place where there are people and colleagues and clients, spend time with them. [And hand out those business cards.]

The full article appears in the Winter 2011 edition of Active Voice,the national newsletter of the Editor’s Association of Canada. These are the links, reviews, and other details that got left on the cutting room floor. You are invited to continue the discussion, in true Web 2.0 style, on the EAC’s own social media site: the members-only Interactive Voice forum, in the “Active Voice” thread.

Best overview: SuperNews! “Bromance” episode provides a satirical yet surprisingly insightful definition and summary of the most popular social networking services. Skip the first few minutes of introduction.

An article on who uses social media: with stats and infographics, formerly known as graphs — was just published by Liberate Media. Well, move over snot-nosed young’ins, the nearly-40 crowd is taking over!

Evidence that networking works: one friend got a tech support role on the NASCAR circuit just because the Purolator guy asked him if he’d be interested. Loose connection, cool result!

Promise that social media may work for me: I have been re-tweeted by Scientific American (That’s right, I’m on the big-guys’ radar. Yikes!), followed by some serious science guys and publishing types (Yike-yikes!), and even got one contract inquiry from a complete stranger. (Hmmm.)

When networking stumbles: A project manager told me that she found a freelancer on LinkedIn, but couldn’t send her a note offering work without paying a fee. (I take it she was a second- or thrice-removed connection.) So, having her name, she got in touch through another place the woman worked. LinkedIn opened the door, so to speak, but failed to close the deal. Many sides of this issue, and I am not sure what to conclude.

Reviews of social media I tried:

Facebook — Little addictive, great water cooler, learn how to block all the game notices and explore the privacy settings so you are not broadcasting all your personal data to the planet. Two particularly successful uses: 1) staying connected with the teens (who wouldn’t talk to you otherwise), and 2) promoting events and engaging fans. It’s very design naturally amasses apostles for you.

Twitter — Gets me news before the media does. “What was that shaking? Everyone’s Tweeting ‘earthquake!’?” People joked about triangulating the summer 2010 Ottawa quake based on timing of the Tweets.

It’s nice that tweets are so short, and it’s crazy who is following me, considering I do no promotion of any kind. Now the trick is to impress those people with useful, relevant, or original material to keep them listening — and not to over-tweet or otherwise be annoying.

(Note, one “communications expert” told me to tweet the same thing five times a day. Guess what, her tweets were so annoyingly repetitive (and used-car ad-like), that I un-followed her, with prejudice. Twitter recently took a stand against such practices, going so far as to call repeat-tweets and tweet-stacking “spam.” Whoa, dude. Harsh. I did, after all, ask to see that person’s tweets. — See When Good Blogges Go Nuclear.)

Wondering what else Twitter can do? Read the Best Tweets of 2010. Common, they’re each only 140 characters. It won’t take long.

LinkedIn — I like that this only lets you connect with people you already know (well, that was the idea) but that somewhat limits the connections you make; requiring you to be “introduced” by others. Nice that it lets you see once- and twice-removed connections, though.

Four-Square — It showed me the crying clown face because not a single one of my contacts in any of my networks (including my address book) is a member. Turns out that I know where my friends are anyway, and if we want to be together, we just get in touch. Far too stalker-ish for my liking.

Interactive Voice — The members-only EAC forum. Rather an empty hall where people periodically check in. Hmm, kind of like LinkedIn. Too bad, because this seems like an ideal venue in which to track, save, and update the information gathered on a fairly recurring basis by the EAC-l collective brain-trust. (Yes, I am talking to you.)

EAC-l — The members-only EAC email forum. This is a very busy water cooler, and an invaluable source of info on any topic (ANY) as well as editing questions. Sometimes a source of work, and always a source of collegial interaction.

Comments — These are found on any newspaper website, hobby website, and even on others’ blogs, etc. If you poke around long enough, you might meet someone or even make a name for yourself. 

Clickable links to further reading:

Survey — There is still time to weigh in on the use of SM by editors. Click the “survey” link at the top of the home page. You can browse the results after taking the survey.

Why You Should Be On Twitter If You’re a Writer (or literary agent, editor, publisher, book publicist), by Cheryl Rainfield

Writer’s Guide to Twitter, byDebbie Ridpath Ohi. Debbie has some insightful and sound advice (or perhaps it’s a manifesto) she called How I Tweet.

The 10 Commandments of Social Networking for Writers, a blog post by Jason Pinter.

Twitter Twits: Tweets that got people fired, by Elizabeth Bromstein on Workopolis

How to Facebook your way into a job, by Jenna Charlton on Workopolis pretty much concurs with my conclusion: social networking is about making connections, not about spamming your friends and loose connections.

CBC’s Spark has done a number of spots concerning social media:

CBC’s White Coat, Black Art devoted the Social Medicine episode (Oct. 1, 2010) to how medical professionals can and should not use social media. Their cautionary tales and advice can be useful to all professionals.

Social Media in Plain English, a short video that uses hand drawn illustrations to  sort of show how networks work

Guide to Connecting with Me on Social Networks, by Joe Chernov. An interesting manifesto.

If You Build it They Won’t Come: a guide to author websites, by Laura Hazard Owen in the Publishing Trends blog contains advice and insights on using social media.

What the Past Can Tell Us About the Future of Social Networking, by Mark Suster. Let’s not forget AOL, bulletin boards, and chat rooms. Mark Suster will remind you of all those services and show you how today’s media, while wildly more popular, are just like song remakes: the kids think it’s something fabulously original and don’t know why their parents recognize all the words.

Statversations — Summary notes on the idea of status updates as conversation, by Queen’s media prof Sidneyeve Matrix. Bit of an overview, bit of insight. This is a slide presentation worthy of your four minutes; answers some questions, and introduces new ideas. Part of TEDx Queen’s U 2010.

Doin’ it Right:

I enjoy following and interacting with these people/ businesses in social media — for work. There are tons more people who I enjoy on a personal level. I am sure there are others “doing it right.” This is who I have found. Please add your own recommendations in the comments.

  • EAC-l: everyone who asks or answers an editing question via the EAC members only email forum
  • LinkedIn: everyone who posts to the EAC page
  • Twitter: @RicDay (publisher), @Mary_Roach (author), @lburwash (editor), @popsci (magazine), @eac_acr (professional association) and @eacconference (2011 conference), @sciencegoddess and@GrammarGirl (writers) who are also both are also on YouTube
  • Facebook: Think Communications by EAC member Joanne Haskins
  • Carolyn Burke, our EAC Executive Director is so diverse, and so commercially successful, that it’s hard to identify why I want you to know her. 1) She is credited with having the first blog—ever. 2) She started a professional networking site called Ryze.com. 3) She has been profiled in several business magazines for her various successes.

[Photo by me, showing our illustrious EAC K-Twig members.]

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/05/social-media-123/

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