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This is a news release I just had to share. I am after all, a Detroit native.

DETROIT, April 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — A group of Detroit businesses are encouraging the more than 2,000 recently laid off Yahoo employees to consider bringing their talents to the Motor City.

Quicken Loans, Detroit Venture Partners, Rockbridge Growth Equity and Fathead.com are among the downtown Detroit-based companies interested in hiring hundreds of technology and marketing professionals formerly employed by Yahoo.

The group has created a website, www.ValleytoDetroit.com, for these technology and Internet marketing pros to upload their resumes.  The companies will immediately begin interviews and have committed to fly final candidates to Detroit to introduce them to the wide-range of established and start-up companies that have sprung up in the city’s emerging technology corridor over the past two years, creating the vibrant arts and entrepreneurial renaissance in Detroit that has gained the city national acclaim.

“Detroit is quickly emerging as one of the nation’s best kept secrets when it comes to technology, Internet and mobile-related jobs,” said Josh Linkner, CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, a Detroit-based high-tech venture capital fund.  “We know that there is a great deal of talent inside of Yahoo – especially in marketing and web development, and we’re encouraging those who have been impacted by job cuts to consider Detroit as the next stop in their career. Read the rest of this entry »

I was promoted at work last week.

I’ve been the Social Media Manager for just about two years and now bear the title: Vice President, Director of Social Media. To say that I’m excited about the future and the increased expectations that come with my role would be an understatement. I have a great team that’s growing, and some of the best colleagues I’ve had in my entire career.

When I shared the news in a Facebook status update, the likes and comments went through the roof.  It was amazing to see the out pour of well wishes from family and friends and people I’ve worked with dating back to 1996.

But despite this new title, I am nowhere near complacent. Nor do I feel like I’ve reached a mountaintop. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a milestone for me. But to think that there is such a thing  as “arriving” or making it to the top in an industry that changes almost overnight is a huge mistake.

If anything, I am even more challenged now to stay on top of changes and trends and make sure that I am providing the best guidance for my team, my co-workers and our clients. I have to groom others to do the same kinds of things that I’ve done and even more.

I have to provide value and work even harder on integration and proving the value of social business.

In my mind, this is the beginning. I know so many people looking to get in social media who feel like all they need is that one position with a well-known (or maybe even not-so-well-known ) brand to claim themselves an expert. But that’s not how it works. Read the rest of this entry »

When I see something smart, I just have to share it. And this move by the Phoenx Suns is just that…smart.

The Phoenix Suns will become the first NBA team to hire what they call a Social Sideline Reporter.

Now, I’m sure that there are other variations of this kind of position out there but to quote Beyonce, the Suns are “putting a ring on it” and making it official.

Here’s an excerpt of the position description from their website:

This unique position will play an exciting new role in the team’s home-game broadcasts on @FoxSportsAZ and @ArizonaSports620, as well as the experience at @USAirwaysCenter. The new game-night personality will provide quick social media updates, giving fans a voice within the broadcasts and in-arena presentation, and will also interact with the Suns’ followers throughout the game on Twitter.  

And to make it even cooler, auditions must be posted on your social network of choice, using the hashtag #socialsideline. Again, smart.

I haven’t been this excited since NASA was looking for someone to live tweet the shuttle launch, and the winner found out about it from my tweet promoting it.

You can learn more about the position here.

Kudos to the folks behind this idea. I’m sure the fans will love it. You’ve clearly listened to them and you’re doing something about it.

I’m sure this will be replicated sooner than later.

 

This is a cross-post from my company blog.

It’s one thing to gripe on Twitter. People expect it. If it’s a customer service issue and you’re lucky – the right person from Company X will see it, work to resolve your issue, and you can move on. It’s a common occurrence these days as some companies are offering better customer service on Twitter than they are over the phone and in person.  But that’s a post for a different day.

Back to the griping.

Because Twitter is so fast-paced chances are, the majority of your followers won’t even see the gripes if they are few and far between. You are in no way classified as a common complainer and can easily go back to your normal way of tweeting. No harm, no foul.

But when you post the same kind of content as an update on LinkedIn, it attaches to your profile page and is visible to anyone who happens to view your profile.  Now remember, this is a professional network. What you want to appear in that space is something that reflects positively on you or your business. (I recently posted  link to a video highlighting some of the work Capstrat’s social media team has done on Facebook.)

What you don’t want is something that casts you in a bad light or leaves a bad impression on someone who may be interested in working with or for you, hiring you, or gleaning a bit of information from your profile to make some other decision about you.

I came across a LinkedIn profile today that had an update filled with Time-Warner bashing. And you know what? I wasn’t phased by the bashing at all even though there’s a great chance that all of his claims are true. I was more concerned about the person who was willing to sacrifice their own image on a professional social network, just to blast Time Warner. In my opinion, that is a major mistake. This person may be the best of the best in their field, but after reading that rant about Time Warner, which shows just below his name and current position, I wanted to get as far away from him as possible.

Now what if I wanted to hire him or contact him about an opportunity? I am now questioning his professionalism and quite honestly have lost interest.

You’ve heard it before, but with social media, you have to be smart. You can’t post everything that crosses your mind. Be selective about what and where you post. And when it comes to LinkedIn, keep it professional.

Save your gripes for Twitter, where they belong.

It is so easy to read through your favorite blog posts and chime in with a cursory comment such as: “Spot on,” “great post,” “I agree with you 100%” and “Me too.”

The same goes for online communities and forums.  While I enjoy reading the actual posts, sometimes the best content is in the comments. It’s the different perspectives and point-of-view that add value while also introducing you to people you may not have otherwise come in contact with.

I can recall a time when I was a very active commenter on my favorite blogs. It comes in waves now based on my workload but I always strive to post something of value. So whenever you see one of my comments, you better believe that I thought about my words before posting them and felt like I had something worth adding.

As a community manager, you come to value comments in a way that is indescribable. I’m sure that bloggers feel that way too. But when you are charged with growing a community, you truly associate the comment with the person’s time. You see the direct correlation because you are painfully aware of the fact that there  are so many choices online and you’re grateful that for that moment, you were one of their choices.

Comments yield opportunities  

Another reason to be smart about your comments is that you never know who is reading. I’ve gotten great opportunities from comments. It’s nice to get an email from someone indicating that they read your comment on  a post and they’d like to interview you for a story or connect with you in some other way. It happens all the time, so you’re actually helping yourself when you do this.

Posting thoughtful comments isn’t hard to do, but it’s much easier when you care about the topic or feel some sort of emotion as a result of what you just read. But even if that emotion is lacking, you can still add quality to the conversation beyond “Spot on” and the others mentioned above.

If you want to get started on improving the quality of your comments, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Post a different perspective with no intention of starting a fight
  • Explain why you agree with the author
  • Always post more than one sentence
  • Quote exactly what you liked and add a bit about why it struck you
  • Encourage the author to write more and tell them what you’d like to see discussed next
  • Offer new ideas

I recognize that some of these tips may be painfully obvious, but if they really were, I think we’d see many more thoughtful comments. And if you’re on the receiving end of those comments, be sure to express some gratitude and thank people for their time.

Remember, they could be anywhere else on the web, and the fact that they are with you is something you have to learn to appreciate.

If you learn anything about communicating across social channels in 2011, let it be this: Never write anything when you’re angry. I’ll take it one step further and add that you should never  respond to any comments that bring out emotions you feel you cannot control.

Here’s an example: You’re reading a highly critical comment about your company, yourself or one of your colleagues or employees. After the first few sentences you are fuming. You know it’s a lie and you cannot wait to rebut. That is when you have to walk away. You are in no position to respond.

Not yet.

I have seen this time and time again, and the people who would seemingly understand this concept, and the permanence of any content posted online, fall victim to their emotions.

One comment turns into two, unfinished thoughts morph into uncontrollable rants, and when the dust settles, they look like a fool.
Consider the tale of this back and forth on Twitter, as described by MG Siegler over on Techcrunch. This is just one case of bad judgement and it probably won’t have much fallout for those who participated, but it is chronicled on a popular blog, something they may not have expected.

Read the rest of this entry »

Have you ever gotten into a discussion with someone about personal vs. professional accounts on social networks?

Some people believe it’s impossible to separate the two. Others create two different profiles on their favorite social networks and drive themselves crazy trying to manage it all.

There are people who freak out each time they get an invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn. (That’s my old boss, I don’t know…” or “I never really liked her, do I have to say yes?”) I know people who refuse to look at their friend requests on Facebook because they don’t want to have to make a decision on whether or not they should let a person in.  In many cases they keep these people in what I call “Facebook purgatory” so they don’t hurt their feelings.

This is a real struggle for many, but it doesn’t have to be. Quite honestly, I think it’s madness and if you’re one of these types, it’s time to take back your power.

If friend requests, invitations to connect and potential Twitter stalkers are keeping you up at night, that needs to stop. Today. All you have to do is develop your own personal social media policy. Determine your own rules of engagement and apply them. And don’t be scared to let people know how they can connect with you.

If you don’t want to chat it up with your co-workers on Facebook, don’t. And even if you are connected already and don’t want to be, adjust your privacy settings. Create lists within your friends lists and limit what they can see.

I have no problem telling people how I connect. I had a friend request from a former co-worker on Facebook just today and declined it. I told her that I would prefer to connect with her on LinkedIn instead. I hope she doesn’t take it personally but I have a certain way I choose to connect that works for me.

I liked her when we worked together, but our relationship doesn’t fit with the way I communicate on Facebook. She doesn’t need to see the pictures of my children I post from time-to-time or read my fun rants with my cousins. Because our work relationship never reached actual friendship, (like many do) she doesn’t belong there.

My policy works something like this:

Twitter: Anyone except the porn people and hard core affiliate marketing types. I’m pretty much professional on twitter. I have a niche there and try to stick to it. If you don’t like live tweets, journalism, or social media, you won’t enjoy following me at all.

  • Direct messages: If you send me a DM, I will respond.
  • @Mentions: If you mention me in a reply, I will respond accordingly. It may not be immediately but you will be acknowledged when warranted. I don’t typically thank people for retweets. I figure it was of value to them so they shared it. I will follow them so I can return the favor some day.

LinkedIn: Any business connection I’ve made. This includes people I meet at conferences, former co-workers and anyone I know professionally. I haven’t met all of these people, but I know of them in some significant way.

Blog: If you post a comment on my blog, I will try my best to respond, especially if you’ve never posted before. Again, it may not be immediate but it will happen. Sometimes  I reach out via email instead. I will never have a heated argument online and do not engage with trolls or disrespect other bloggers.

Facebook: Family and friends. Co-workers or former co-workers who have transcended co-worker and moved into “friend” territory. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you are likely someone I would invite to my house.

This may be a bit formal for you so consider it food for thought. It took me a while to figure out what works best. So don’t be offended if you reach out to me on Facebook and we don’t connect.

It’s not you at all. It’s me, and that’s how I manage it all.

I’d love to hear about your personal policies and boundaries in the comments.

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This is a post I wrote on August 19, 2007, back when I was trying to decide what I truly wanted to blog about. I’d started a blog called “Newsworthy or Not?” and later abandoned it as I found that community management was what I really wanted to focus on.

However, a recent request by a college professor to include some content from that old blog in her upcoming textbook on Public Relations led me back to it. Quite honestly, Id’ forgotten all about it.

So, I came across this post that I’m sharing here with the hopes that it might resonate with some, even today. And though it isn’t really the focus of this blog, everyone needs to find their story. It’s what makes you unique.

If you’re active across social media channels, your story is what  you share with the masses. Your story is how you engage. And caring about the stories of others is how you pay it forward.

So read on, and I hope this helps in some small way.

Read the rest of this entry »

I find it utterly ridiculous how upset people get over the fact that someone calls themselves an expert. Particularly when it comes to social media. If a person sees themselves as a guru or a maven or even a goddess, what business is it of yours, or mine for that matter?

Seriously. Unless you’ve hired them and they failed to deliver or you know someone getting completely brainwashed by their shenanigans, maybe you should pump the brakes a bit and focus on doing what you do. I used to care about this but now it isn’t even a blip on my radar.

So much about social media is evolving. There’s something new to absorb every day. People and organizations are all at different levels and what works for company A doesn’t necessarily work for company B. So much of it is trial and error and some of those gurus may have decided to claim the moniker because they’ve failed so many times and are finally seeing some success. That may not be the definition of a guru, but maybe it is where they work.

We get so excited about the success of a single campaign (most often from a really big brand)  and before you know it, here come the “best practices” posts “Five things that ____ did right;” and odes to the greatness of Brand X. Yes, sometimes those campaigns are awesome and they teach us all a lot of lessons.

But to some working in the industry they mean nothing at all. The social media strategists, managers, gurus, maven’s and experts in certain industries have very different struggles and areas of concern and the Old Spice viral videos don’t sidetrack them into thinking that’s their solution.

People talk a lot about snake oil salesman, and I’m not saying they don’t exist because they do. But doesn’t every industry have its share?

Someone told me last week that they don’t refer to themselves as an expert, “guru” or anything else. He said he simply tries everything  before everyone else does. It’s almost like a badge of honor to “not” be called an expert.

Well, here’s the definition of “expert” from Dictionary.com:

“a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert.”

 

Do you think that a good portion of the the aforementioned “experts”  have special skill or knowledge in some particular field? I know, I know maybe not all of them but at least a few, right?
After launching and managing an  online community for three years I will say with conviction that I am an expert at dealing with trolls, crafting messages that don’t offend, and creating and enforcing moderation policies. Were my policies always followed? Nope, but I do have that special knowledge having dealt with different situations and constantly making adjustments to get it right.
There’s a lot to be said about constant trial and error, especially when you learn from your mistakes, and any good guru, expert or maven has had her share.
Of course there are people out there claiming to be something they’re not. But it’s not something that you or I can fix.
And quite honestly, who cares?
So I say, take the focus off of those types. Take back your power, and keep doing you.
As your fellow expert, I expect nothing less.

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Here is my contribution to a recent article on imediaconnection.com, on the quality of the social media workforce and a few other issues related to social media.  I know that most of you won’t see it there, so I’m sharing it with you here.  You can read the entire post here: Is a social media bubble ready to burst? My portion is on the second page, and here it is in its entirety:

“The quality of the social media workforce is a direct reflection on the hiring managers, who in many cases have no idea what skills are needed for this emerging role,” says Angela Connor, social media manager at Capstrat. “When the role isn’t clearly understood or well-defined, hiring mistakes are unavoidable. There’s a growing list of people with titles like social media strategist who have never developed any kinds of strategies in their entire career. They know enough about social media to talk themselves into a position that has no real objectives or success metrics and three months in, everyone is miserable.”

According to Connor, a big part of what’s driving social media to staff up with a less-than-qualified workforce is the misguided belief that millennials are somehow social media ninjas by birth. The result, Connor says, is that agencies and brands place more responsibility in the hands of their interns than they should.

But Connor isn’t fully convinced that blind faith in millennials means there’s a bubble. Or, at least, she’s not fully convinced that the bubble will burst with devastating effect. According to Connor, the first generation of social media workers (those who began working in the field when nobody was talking about social media) are moving up in the world, and that’s a good thing. “If these individuals stay true to what they know, maintain a high-level view of both social media and its potential, and continue to be students of the craft, they will set the bar high and make a real difference,” Connor says.

What are your thoughts on my take?


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