Category Archives: Personal

Appreciating the Anti-Social Side of Social Media Managers

If you’re taken the Myers-Briggs, what are the ABCs of your personality? Well my results always teeter totter on that first letter of those four letter results. Oddly, the others always remain the same. Today and most days, mine is INTJ – I being for introvert. In more uncomfortable moments, I play chameleon and land on E.

For those of us who do digital and social media for a living, the expectation is that we are, in fact, highly social beings. Business requires us to be extroverts, especially those of us in social business, so where does that leave introverts who need time for themselves and do businesses/companies appreciate the introverts who just need a social time out?

In my Sunday morning TED video binge ritual, I came across Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” It left me feeling a little empowered, and yet a little frustrated. Empowered because I want the change, and understand that if you want something, you must demand it and have the courage to not just believe but to act. Frustrated because it only stirs up moments of self-doubt and frankly guilt for my need for solitude.

In January, Forbes published an article entitled, “The Secret Power Of Introverts” highlighting Cain’s book – Quiet. I’ve included a video of Cain’s TED talk below. In the video, she talks about the advantages of introverts, the need for us to share our strengths and talents, and the need for a societal shift to appreciate introversion through behavior and action.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (TED talk)

Susan concludes her talk with these 3 Call-to-Actions:

1. Stop the madness for constant group work
When I graduated from undergrad, I remember the incessant amounts of group work. Yes, we do need to learn the skills of working together, but we also need to learn to work in solitude. As I get ready to start my MBA, I am fully aware that the program will require LOTS of group work. Ideas are often sparked by interactions, but there is supreme value in autonomy and independence – for introverts and extroverts alike.    

2. Go to the wilderness
I love her call for us to unplug. We live in a constantly connected world. I spend approximately 85+ hours of my week engaging and interacting with people, whether online or offline. So, when it comes time for the weekend, especially Sundays, I need a time out! For years, I felt shame and guilt for my need for solitude. Now, I mainly think, “Screw it! I need me-time.” And that’s perfectly okay.

3. Look inside and share what’s in your suitcase.
Many of us forget to listen to our own voice – find time for reflection and deep thought. We’re running. Running here, running there, running off somewhere. But rarely do we make the time to commit to ourselves. I may not come up with genius or innovative ideas or thoughts that I’ll share with the world, but I believe in process. And hopefully, as I process through those ideas and challenges for my company and our world, I may make some sort of lasting impact. So although I may not open my suitcase to everyone, all at once, we introverts can give little peeks.

And, what about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What are your thoughts on Susan Cain’s “Power of Introverts”?

 

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An Easy New Year’s Resolution: Get Snipping

With every new year comes new year’s resolutions. Traditionally, at the top of the list each year, you’ll find losing weight (yes, it’s still on mine), saving money, and getting a better job. But this blog post isn’t about New Year’s Resolutions, it’s about lasting ones.

Image courtesy of visionboardvault.com

A few years ago, my friend Kong introduced me to vision boards and I’ve been hooked ever since. In my recent post about Pinterest, I talked about how I got my kick at boards and how Pinterest can be a nice online tool. But, if you’re looking to do one thing in the next couple of months that’s fun and inspiring, break out those old Elle and InStyle magazines and start cutting and pasting – the old fashion way!

What you’ll need:

  • Magazines, catalogs, newspapers
  • A cork board (I recommend this approach, but you can also use a poster board)
  • Scissors
  • Tape or push pins
  • Marker
  • A positive attitude of fun! (it’s all about perspective so don’t walk into this thinking it’s dumb or silly)

Visually break your vision board into a few areas that are  important to you like your home, your relationships, your career, your finances, your environment and your dreams. Dedicate a square section of your board to each of these sections.

Be intentional about what you put on your vision board as things that you want in your life. It doesn’t have to be material things but the meaning behind those things. What do the images make you feel? What do you want in your life?

Think about long-term and short-term goals. You want to include things that you can achieve in a short time frame (1 week-3 months). Celebrate those short-term wins! To celebrate that you’ve achieved something, take it off the board and celebrate that moment. Hell, have a glass of campaign and toast yourself.

Place the board somewhere you look at every day and that is private to you. The last thing you want is judgment from others for things that are important to you, so share it with people who will support you.

Keep in mind that your goals will change, and when they do, acknowledge it and remove it from the board. That’s the beauty of a bulletin board over a poster board. You can always reserve the right to chance your mind. I reassess my board every two weeks.

And the most important thing — believe! You must do good, be intentional and believe that good will return to you. Yes, cheesy I know – but it’s the mantra I have to believe and live by. So far, so good.

Hope these tips are helpful! Happy snipping!

What’s So Awesome About Pinterest

Since July, there’s one site that has been added to my daily visit list. That site is Pinterest. I first heard about Pinterest from my career coach (thanks Sarah!). It was an assignment, that turned into a time-sucking lovefest. Before I knew it, not only was using Pinterest to serve as my online vision board, but a place for me find new hobbies. So, what is Pinterest?

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social bulletin board that allows you to organize and share things you like and love. At it’s root, it’s a social bookmarking tool that allows you to capture images and links, and organize them like scrap-book pages. I’ve seen several key uses to Pinterest: organizing things you want, craft ideas, recipes, wedding planning and home decorating. It’s fun and whimsical and it’s catapulted in site traffic and value!

Ron Conway (an investor in the site) remarked that Pinterest’s user growth rate is what Facebook’s was five years ago. The site went from 50,000 monthly visitors in December 2010, to 4.4 million monthly visitors in October 2011. What’s it worth? Well, a lot. In early 2011, Pinterest was valued through venture financing at $40m and, most recently, it’s valued around $200m.

So, what’s so awesome about Pinterest? Here’s my top 10 list (in no particular order).

  1. It gives new ideas of crafts, recipes and outfits. It makes a catalog of things I like, love and want. Not only do I now find new things I’m interested in, I also can go back and read postings, buy gifts and make recommendations to friends.
  2. It’s eye candy! Shiny, glittery, glossy beautiful things that feed my hunger. The fact that it is so visually appealing is important. The UX on the site is great. My only harp is on functionality on the iPad. This is naturally a mobile type of platform, but I can never get it to work the way I want on my iPad, with scrolling issues and refreshes.
  3. It’s a time vortex. It’s akin to scrap-booking, but online – and honestly less messy.
  4. It expands my social reach. I find new bloggers, new websites and new stores because of the tool.
  5. It uses decent Facebook integration, allowing me to see what my friends like and have pinned. There’s more opportunity for integration, but at the moment the ability to repost on Facebook is fine.
  6. It feels exclusive, even if it’s not. My cousin today said she hadn’t received an invitation, and when I did, it was like Christmas Day!
  7. Pinterest is a nice audience for testing. For new products, a sneak preview on Pinterest may allow you to gauge interest or needs for revisions.
  8. It helps drive traffic to blogs! For running with highly visual websites, consumer sites, crafts/recipe blogs or other lifestyle sites- Pinterest is a great way to build more traffic and followers. For e-commerce, this allows for the ability to see trending products, data mining and sales.
  9. It provides magazine a great place to drive additional traffic and readership. This is a consumption-focused platform that requires pre-produced content. Content producers and publishers can greatly benefit from new visitors, more traffic and more sales.
  10. It’s an inspiration tool, which is the reason why my career coach recommended it! It allows us to reflect on the things that make us feel calm, quotes that are inspirational and ideas/designs that drive our creativity.

Want to get started? Here’s a nice video tutorial:

What do you use Pinterest for?

Social Woes: Has this ever happened to you?

The setting … a contemporary venue, the soft sound of beats overhead, and a loud bustle of voices in every direction. You stand quietly, scanning the room for a familiar face. Alas a gentleman in a nice suit approaches you and you’re wondering, “How is this really going to go?” And he introduces himself…

Ever been in this situation? How have you handled it?

Tales of a Social Extrovert – Pros and Cons

For 10-12 hours a day (sometimes more), social media strategists spend our time going meeting to meeting. Then, we work. Then, we rush to another meeting whether it’s for a networking function, a professional organization, or an organization we volunteer for. Then, we get home and we frantically check out Twitter accounts, news alerts and email. I don’t want to count the hours I spent “working,” but I can tell you that the time I don’t spend at the office, in a meeting, at an event or sleeping is getting pretty sparse.

A few weeks ago, my colleague did a post on “Confessions of a Social Media Introvert,” and he challenged me to do one on being a social media extrovert and what I get out of it. The truth? I’m an introvert who likes extrovert activities. I like being social. I like volunteering. I like challenging myself and I like being part of a team. But mostly, I like feeling like I’m contributing to something bigger than myself. Sometimes work gives me that. Sometimes it doesn’t.

There’s probably a lot of you like me out there (I hope). The folks who raise their hands for everything and have an addiction to the word, “yes.” Maybe we should start a support group? Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a closeted introvert, wannabe extrovert, yes-aholic. The thing is – there are pros and cons to being us. So I compiled a list of the pros/cons. Check them out!

Cons:

  • Burn Out: This is the biggest fear for companies, right? Run us until we’re on empty. Well, what happens when we run ourselves on empty? Who is at fault? For me – it doesn’t matter. We have to make the choice to make a change. For some people, that means finding time for yourself like working out, drawing, or taking a class. I still need to find that thing. Any ideas?
  • Over Commit, Underachieve: Stretching ourselves too thin is a common mistake. My calendar has been triple booked, but for some reason I still think that I can make it to three different events in different parts of the city in one night. What happens? You’re thinking about the next thing and never focused on that person, that conversation or the task at hand. Sometimes, it’s bad to be 3 steps ahead.
  • It Costs More: From a financial perspective and also from a personal, relationship perspective. After the memberships, event admission tickets, $4/gallon gas, and drinks/food – your wallet can hurt. I’ve had to consult my handy dandy annual budget to see if I can take on another volunteering activity. Also, I spend less and less time with my partner, hanging out with my brother and parents, talking to my cousins and spoiling my godson. And all of a sudden, this self-less thing starts to feel really selfish.
Pros: After reading these three negatives, there have to be positives, right? You will have your reasons, but here are my top three.
  • People-First: I’ve met incredible people and expanded my network for the activities I’ve taken part in. I’m smarter and more inspired for having met them. When I’m having a rough day and I’m anxious about the time it takes me to get back to the office after a luncheon program, I walk into an IABC event and everything changes. I remember the reason why I came in the first place. Social media is about learning and sharing and that’s the beauty of being a social media extrovert – online and IRL. You learn, you grow and you share. Knowledge is addictive.
  • Practice Makes Perfect:  One of my mentors always stressed the importance of volunteering on boards because the skills learn help you advance in your career. Serving on committees and boards gives you the leadership skills you need in the office – from presenting to pitching, to coaching and leading, to following direction. You can practice your management skills without the risk of a formal performance evaluation. Also, you learn the importance of a team and the dynamics that makes for a successful one. Plus, I can plan an event like a mad wo
  • New Doors: Being a social media extrovert builds your brand. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for my volunteering roles, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Your volunteering roles can give a company a glimpse of who you are as a person, what you value and where your priorities lie. It gives you an interesting story to tell on your resume, but it also gives you experience you may not get in  your day-to-day job. For example, I had done some social media work in my previous role, but it was my board position that opened my eyes to social media and then opened doors to my current position. man. Also, for some companies, these are new business opportunities (and although it sounds a little sneaky, it was pretty smart).

What do you think about the pros/cons to being a social media extrovert? Did I miss anything?