Archives for category: Blogoshpere

I’m sitting in the airport, getting ready to go back to reality. It’s been almost a year since I wrote my first post. In that time span a lot has changed; my world has changed. I feel like it is time for a reintroduction.

I started off lucky. I was fortunate enough to get a college internship a year and a half ago at a Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. While the experience was great, it was the people I met during that time that I need to give thanks to, they showed me my potential.

The Executive Director of the Chapter, Jane Baxter Lynn, became a mentor to me. I would work hard, and that obviously earned her respect, but it was her passion and dedication that drove me to work harder, and be better. During my time there, I went from a college student to a communications professional. I learned the tools I needed to make it in this profession; hard work, dedication, and striving to keep things as simple as possible.

With my wings flapping, I jumped. I took my internship experience from USGBC and from my good friends at Greenlights, and aimed high. I had developed a pretty good skill set in online communications. I read blogs, tweeted, and began to understand the online landscape. With that experience, I felt it was time for more. I applied for a position at Edelman.

The first person I met at Edelman was Dave Levy. That is when I knew I was in the right place. Dave is a wealth of information, and he saw potential in me, and invited me to join Edelman’s internship program. I was extremely fortunate to become a part of a team that literally had awesome running through their veins. For as much as I learned in school, and in my two years of interning, I probably learned about twice that in the two months I interned at Edelman. That experience set me up for success; in October of this past year I was offered a full-time position,  working in Digital for Edelman.

All that has happened over the lifespan of this blog. And now, I can call myself a professional. As I have changed, so has this blog. It was once a sandbox for a college student to figure out the online space. Then it was an interactive resume for a graduate. And now, it is a sandbox once again. This time, however, it is the sandbox of a professional.

I often wonder what the new year will bring. What changes will I experience; what things will I learn. And so I leave with my one call to action: share. I want to learn about your experiences, and find out what you have learned.

Its time for me to catch my flight. I wish you safe travels and a happy new year.

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More questions.

Because what is fun about knowing all of the answers?

When I was in college, my favorite classes were the ones that I felt comfortable asking questions in. There were certain classes that were structured to be a forum; an ongoing conversation. In those classes, I felt the most engaged and would go the extra mile to find out what questions I should be asking. By finding out what those questions were, I was able to discover the answers that really matter.

When I started my job hunt, I asked the professionals I knew for advice and guidance. In fact, at my last college internship, I emailed the entire office with a list of “lingering questions” before I left. I was searching for the right questions to ask, so that come time to interview, I would have the right answers.

Now that I am officially a communications professional, working in the real world, I am searching; Not for answers, but again, for the right questions.

Voltaire once said “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” And that is an adage I want to live by. As I take that next step in my career, I will not forget what got me here. I will wear that Voltaire quote on my sleeve, and I will also remember a little tidbit Socrates mentioned: “Question Everything.”

I believe those two quotes will guide me to success.

So what is your best question? I’d like to hear it.

I try to read as many other blogs as I can.

I even try to read the generic ones that offer “the 10 things you must do” or the “seven steps to success.” They are annoying and lack originality at times, which makes it frustrating to even consider the advice they offer.

However the other day I was reading a blog post offering advice about writing. The post was rather bland and really just focused on the basics. But guess what… it was stuff that I wasn’t doing.

My blog is not really focused on anything, it lacks direction and thus lacks followers. For me that is fine for the time being, because I like to use it as a sandbox for my thoughts and ideas. However I also use it to perfect my writing skills, and it was tough swallowing the fact that I really wasn’t writing good content.

So how do you write good content?

I don’t know… your guess is better than mine. But I do know that if you really want to improve your writing, yourself, or your world, you have to not only listen to counterpoints, but you also must be willing to swallow your own pride and submit to legitimate criticism.

So I will continue to read those lackluster blog posts and listen to their message, and will try to be willing to accept valid points when I am heading the wrong way.

So I ask you, are you willing to submit to new ideas, criticism, and admit when you’re wrong? Or do you get in the way of making yourself better?

My blog  just turned 40.

Like most that experience age 40, my blog is questioning itself in a weird mesh of reflection and bewilderment.

“How has there already been 40 posts?”

“Ugh, those paragraphs aren’t as tight as they used to be.” 

“Have I, after 40 posts, been successful?”

The interesting thing is that I feel a forty-year old would come to terms with the above comments much like I am coming to terms with this blog. A lot has happened over the time period of those 40 posts. The writing may not be as ambitious or written with the same intellectual vigor, but it has developed a tone; it now has structure. And yes it has been successful. It may not have won any awards, but it has carried a message, and has been received well by people.

So… am I supposed to buy a Corvette now or something?

Well, my blog is 40, not me, so I think the Corvette will have to wait. But in the meantime I do have some ideas for what I am going to do:

       1.     I am going to write to an audience, an audience that will listen.

When I started this blog it was intended to demonstrate that I was familiar to blogging, and meant to be a device to help me develop my writing skills. But I got tired of writing to some mythical job recruiter, and I decided to focus on writing to people who can identify with me. I will continue to offer this blog as a tool to recent graduates, employment seekers, and emerging communications professionals.

       2.     I am going to tell a story.

As I look back on some of my past writing, I realize that my best posts reveal something to the reader, and give them something that they can feel. A persuasive argument has no emotion, but an inspiring story can be quite persuasive and can hit people in the gut, where it really counts.

       3.     I am going to continue to strive for excellence.

While I feel I have made great strides in my writing, I want more. I want to engage a readership. I want to see a conversation take place via comments sparked by a thought-provoking post. I want people to tweet about my posts; to ignite conversations of their own. I want my pursuit of betterment to make other people better.

I do realize that those are some pretty lofty goals. But how else do you achieve greatness other than by setting the bar high?

I am fortunate though, to know what I need to do to achieve those goals: Listen. I will listen to criticism, I will listen to advice, and I will listen to my audience to make my online presence, worth something to others.

There is one more thing that I will try do start doing more frequently; leave with a call-to-action. So I say this to you: write. Write with everything you got. Put your head down on a piece of paper; punch out your thoughts on a keyboard. And if you are already doing that, great. Show me what you got. Share your writing with me, as I share with you. So that by the time you and I turn 40, our achievements will allow us to afford that Corvette.

I know you aren’t listening.

It’s not that you don’t want to, it is that you are physically incapable of doing so. If you aren’t on Twitter then obviously you are out of the question. But what if you are on Twitter? What if you claim to be engaged? Whether it be your personal Twitter handle, or the one you manage for work, I can tell you why you aren’t listening.

I consider myself actively engaged within my subset of the Twitter community. I can validate that claim because I tweet, re-tweet, and engage with new people whenever I get the chance.

I guess you do that too, don’t you.

But do you use Twitter lists? How many hashtags do you follow? Have you set up a Seesmic, Hootsuite, or TweetDeck account?

The reason I know you don’t listen is because there is just too much information flowing your way to comprehend it all. I follow over 800 people on Twitter, however I only actively engage with about half of that number. That group of 400 or so are categorized into about 15 different lists, and about 6 different hashtags. I do the same with my Google Reader account; sorting my 70+ RSS feeds into about 8 different folders.

I am not saying that I listen the I possibly can, nor am saying that there is a “best” way to do so. But I want to highlight the capabilities technology offers us that enable us to listen and listen more efficiently. Because the bottom line is that there are some brilliant people out there talking about brilliant ideas, and I would hate to be the one to miss out because I didn’t hear about it.

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