Six weeks of Social Media

Cover of "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand ...

Cover via Amazon

Six weeks ago I started a Social Media class without any specific expectations.  Beside the twelve page intimidating syllabus, I didn’t have any idea how this class would change my opinion of Social Media.

One of the first things we were asked to do was to read ME 2.0 by Dan Schawbel. This book is a huge advertisement for social media. The author is self-centered guru for personal branding; full of ideas how to market oneself online. The use of social media for purposes of self-branding is one of author’s mantras.  The contents of the book got me thinking about social media in a different light.

My opinion of social media was based solely on personal use to connect to friends and family without any plan, agenda, or professional purpose. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have a positive opinion of social media prior to this class. My perception was that it is time consuming, as well as a privacy, security, and self-destruction online mechanism that can cause more harm than good for an individual.

I am aware that the online community is our new “corner of the street”, a public place where everyone and anyone can see our actions and judge us by the same. Only online, the instances of our behavior are captured forever, and can be shared and replicated with, or without our approval. Naturally, this concept is very intimidating to me. I have always tried to stay away from over-exposure and annoying updates from friends who don’t seem to understand the concept of sharing too much information.

Then I started this class, and was given a choice to choose between marketing personal or professional interests and goals, using social media. I decided to go the professional route, since I’m changing my career and it is little intimidating being on unfamiliar ground. I figured this class would be great practice, with instant feedback about my progress.

The first social media we had to sign up for was a blog at I never blogged before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. After using each social media for a week, I had to blog about my opinion on the media and its uses for my brand. Blogging for the first time conflicted with my opinion of sharing my thoughts online with just anyone. Once I got over the initial post, I felt better, and more confident about the process. I continued blogging multiple times a week for the remainder of the class.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

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In the second week we had to sign up for Twitter, which was very different for me, since I’ve never had a Twitter account, let alone, participated in my newly career inspired interests. The first week using Twitter was confusing, but later on, I learned more and felt more comfortable navigating.

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Image via CrunchBase

The Facebook assignment opened my eyes about the uses of Facebook for professional purposes. If one takes the annoying friends and family out of the equation, and instead focuses on professional interests and groups, the Facebook possibilities are endless. Cautionary use is advised such as; joining groups with a good reputation and not befriending people you don’t know.  It is also recommended to keep personal and professional profiles separate.

Next in line was the bookmarking site Diigo. This is a great way to collect sources for class projects, and articles of personal and professional interests, accessible from virtually any computer with Internet access.

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We then tackled LinkedIn, the headquarters for professional self-marketing. It offers a wide variety of options for students, newcomer professionals, or seasoned professionals, who want to be part of a huge community that offers much more than self-marketing.  Groups of interests are formed and people can join based on their professional needs or interests. Job openings are advertised, along with options to have different account levels based on personal need. I’ve signed up as part of the assignment and I am still exploring the options that are available.

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Finally, we opened a YouTube account to explore the content beyond just entertainment. I located many helpful and educational videos that I can relate directly to my brand, or use for professional purposes.

I have to admit before taking the class; I failed to see that I can take control of my information that is online and use it to my advantage. I also failed to recognize that being part of the online community (the professional) is very important for many organizations; big and small. In fact, online presence is welcomed, not “frowned upon”. That being said, our online behavior should reflect our offline behavior. We don’t want to associate ourselves with elements that could potentially harm our reputation online, just as we would offline. Our goals, and the “brand” for which we went to be known for, should be consistent, both online and offline. This way we can expose our brand to a greater range of possibilities, and increase our chances of achieving our personal or professional goals, faster than using more traditional methods.

English: Stephen Monaco speaking about Social ...

English: Stephen Monaco speaking about Social Media Marketing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I still believe that common sense goes a long way when it comes to online behavior. I don’t agree with all recommendations that we should expose ourselves to everything that is available online. I believe a person should define goals and research about which online can be the most beneficial. I would suggest they choose the ones that are the best fit and the easiest to use. Over time, expansion should be strategic and online presence should be consistent and simple. I think that overdoing it; can have the potential of doing more harm to a brand, then not being present at all. I didn’t think that my prospective and understanding of social media would change in only six weeks, but with an open mind and a healthy dose of skepticism, I managed to learn something that can be of great use for my professional future.

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Bye Ping

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Image via CrunchBase

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

It seems that Apple’s Ping didn’t reach desired heights, when it comes to social media. This was hinted at by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook that with the latest release of iTunes. Ping never lived up to its potential due to limited amount of iTunes users, the lack artist profiles, and serious spam issues. Now with the integration with Facebook, it makes sense for Apple to get rid of Ping!

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Streaming or Buying

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According to the latest research, young people are streaming music rather than buying. University students believe online streaming offers more, with options to personalize favorites and have access to new and upcoming tunes instantly, by using apps such as Pandora, Spotify, and 8tracks. Young people claim that buying music doesn’t make any sense when everything is accessible online at any time. With instant access, many believe there is no point in paying for music anymore. The question is how does that affect the entertainment industry? Many artists solely depend on sales to stay in business. What is the alternative, if any? All these questions are being examined as we speak; however, is there a solution?

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Explaining Scrum in less than 120 seconds

Scrum is segment of agile way of managing a project.

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Agile: An Introduction

Agile is newly acquired and increasingly popular form of managing IT projects.

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More on Trello

Trello in action. Tutorial!

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Google 3D

Google Earth iOS version icon

Google Earth iOS version icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Googe available in 3D soon! Not only can we can have directions and navigation to our destination without a wireless connection, but we are going to be able to see real close-up images of the places we search for through Google Earth images.

Google is launching a new upgrade for Google Maps to allow access without wireless connections to more than 100 countries on android devices. Google is also planning to collect images of places including cities street views with focus on locations that can be only reached by foot. This service is going to expand to bikers, hikers and pedestrian levels of map searching.

Google promises 3D view of cities and suburb to more than 300 million people. For now, this service is limited to the San Francisco skyline on the mobile apps. Google is also looking to roll out this application to desktop computers as part of a Google Earth desktop version.

It is pretty amazing to imagine that we are going to be able to visit the world in real time and see the current views of the most amazing places, from our compute,r or our mobile device, pretty soon. This is going to be another breakthrough tech moment that will forever change the world as we know it.

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Trello’n (Photo credit: toolmantim)

Trello is a free web based project management application. It was developed by Fog Creek Software. It’s highly interactive and allows real time updates, even when the application is already running.

Another cool feature of Trello is accessibility, it can be access online on PC or on mobile devices trough the Trello app!

Trello is 100% web based and no software installation is required. It consists of separate vertical tabs representing different project

steps. One of those tabs lists all members which are the project teammembers. Each tab consists of an individual card that can be dr

agged between all tabs, which allows users to update the progress of the project. Individual cards have detailed information embedded on the back, so by clicking on the card, people can view all details and updates.

Image representing Fog Creek Software as depic...

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Transparency is one more great feature of Trello. Everyone involved in the project can have information updates at the same time, such as the progress of the project, who is handling which task, and who to contact regarding a specific segment of the project.

Trello is very popular among small businesses and individuals because it’s accessible, user friendly, easy to navigate, and free of charge.

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LinkedIn (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

I signed up with LinkedIn account this week and I had a chance to explore the options on the website. I had not used this service before and I didn’t know what to expect. The options are endless, and I do believe that with some time I would be able to say LinkedIn was useful for me; however, for the time being I can’t say that it was the best thing for personal branding.

Since this was my first time signing up, I didn’t have any connections, nor did I belong to any groups. My challenge was to complete this week’s assignment, since we had very specific requirements. One of the requirements was to join three groups with one hundred or more members, and to comment on each group throughout the week. However, due to my newly formed profile (I believe) I was not accepted to any of my selected groups but one, for which was too late to comment since my assignment deadline was too close.

The other difficulty was getting a recommendation. This was a difficult part of my assignment since some people didn’t even get notification (people didn’t read it) by the time of my class’s deadline. I was able to receive and post two recommendations in a few days, and I am happy about that.

The entire LinkedIn experience this week was stressful; not for the reason that many others stressed (hacking the users accounts), not that I’m not upset about that, but, for the reason that I didn’t have enough time to complete all requirements.

Overall, I think that LinkedIn can be a useful resource for professional growth. I can’t give a definite answer for now, since I’m just starting to develop my profile. I had a very positive experience with people I requested to connect with, as well as the  recommendations I’ve received so far. The final conclusion is yet to be determined.

Related articlesImage representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

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Reflection on Diigo

Image representing Diigo as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Bookmarking websites is part of social media now, and one can register on one of those sites, join groups of similar interest, and follow others. One of these websites is Diigo. I joined Diigo this week and used it every day to bookmark websites and news articles. I was able to highlight important parts and to put the sticky notes on certain places, as my own comment or reminders.

I have to say that I was skeptical about the entire process; it seemed to me that entire procedure was similar to adding favorites, and that it wouldn’t add any value to the online research process.

After using Diigo for a couple of days and learning my way around it, I realized that it actually does add value. It’s helpful for the simple reason that it could be sorted by using different tags. The other nice thing about it is that by searching for specific topics using tags, one can also find an endless pool of sources and information that others have already tagged, highlighted, and commented on.  It can actually speed up the entire research process.

Another interesting aspect is that bookmarked and highlighted information can be edited, deleted, and shared on other social networking sites. Private settings can also be used, in which case, only the authorized user can see the bookmarked information. I think it is a good source of information and a great electronic file depository.

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