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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Dear SXSW PanelPicker Haters

haters gonna hate meme

This week the 2012 SXSW PanelPicker went live and the chaos of shameless self-promotion began.

The goal – for people who submitted panels – is to throw your panel to the masses and increase your 1 out of 3,155 chance of your SXSW Interactive panel actually getting selected for the main programming at the festival. And the goal, for all of those who didn’t submit a panel, is to chime in on the programming and have a voice in what they’ll pay money to go see in March.

Full disclosure – I submitted a panel to SXSW 2012 (the best one ever, of course!).

Haters gonna hate

Throughout the week there have been a number very open conversations online about how much people hate the entire SXSW process. And I’m talking hate in the deep down, I’m-gonna-unfollow-you, kind of hate. This whole panel picking process is a popularity contest. And how pathetic and obnoxious it is that people are asking others to vote and retweet the ask to vote for their panel? How horrible is it that SXSW is asking people to promote their festival when the majority of these people won’t even get chosen to speak?

It is sad, and I get where those haters are coming from.

On the one hand, festival organizers who ask their community to make a decision about their programming is a cop-out. (Isn’t that their job?) But, let’s be real here, how many other organizations ask us to do the exact same side-show ask-for-votes thing? How many times has popularity been the deciding factor between if you get something or not?

Things like the chance to win a charitable grant, industry awards, a job, and even (cringe) an internship.

Vote-for-me campaigns are everywhere and it’s all about tapping your network in the right kind of way in order to get them your friends to do what you want – vote and share that they voted for you, a lot.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game

SXSW panelpicker pie chartAccording to SXSW, this whole voting exercise only carries 30% of the weight for whether a panel is a go or a no-go. Here’s the history on the PanelPicker and why SXSW is letting the community (oh, hey, that’d be you and me) have a voice in the programming:

Over the years, many of the most compelling panels and presentations for the SXSW Interactive Festival have come directly from our community. This process was formalized in 2007 with the launch of the PanelPicker, an innovative online tool developed to enhance community participation in SXSW. The PanelPicker enables the community in two ways. First, it offers the community the opportunity to suggest programming ideas. Second, it allows the community the power to review, comment and vote for those ideas they most want to see become a part of the event.

SXSW is a “community-driven event.” As a member of this community, don’t you want to have a voice in the kind of panels and talks that get primary real estate on the stages in March? Don’t you want to help decide what talks are innovative and worth your time and the dollars you spend for your badge?

Don’t you want to say after that panel that sucks in March, “Well, I didn’t vote for him!”?

So, will you vote for my panel?

Vote for my SXSW idea 2012

I wouldn’t do this post justice if I didn’t ask for you to vote for my panel – Change Makers: How Nonprofits Create Change Online.  Here’s the description:

Through social media, nonprofits can launch a movement, create buzz around a cause, and build a community. But how do you make sure that members of your community aren’t slactivists who “like” your organization but don’t do anything to help you reach your mission? How do you convert those social “do-gooders” into helping you create change? Join us as we discuss how three organizations have figured out how to ignite their communities and leverage their online platforms to create change through volunteerism at VolunteerMatch, crowdsourced fundraising at GiveForward, and small-scale donations at Jolkona. Come ready to interact, discuss, and figure out how to convert your supporters into active change agents for good.

This panel will include Frank Barry of Blackbaud, Robert Rosenthal of VolunteerMatch, Cate Conroy of GiveForward, and yours truly of Jolkona. The idea of this panel is to show how you can turn social media awareness into action get your fans and followers to do something online. We will feature real-world examples of how we do leverage our online platforms to create change.

This panel in the “Greater Good” tract with 149 other submissions.

What do you think about vote-for-me campaigns?

For obvious reasons I cannot take a neutral stance on this subject. So if you are involved or not involved in the madness that is the 2012 SXSW PanelPicker, have participated in a “vote for me to win ______” contest or not, what do you think about crowdsourcing for conference programming or awards?

Is asking the community to vote a good idea or a bad idea?  Is it a smart programming choice by the organizers or are they just asking us to do their work for them?

Social by Design

Laura Kimball LinkedIn Maps
The more immersed I am professionally and personally in social media, the less I self-identify as a social media professional. It’s interesting because when I left my last job in the book world, I advertised that I was “social media curious” and was aching to do something in that space. I had no idea what that would look like, but I knew that I needed to be there.

Fast forward to now. You all know that my major concentration at Jolkona is social media—it’s so core to my position that it’s 50% of my title. But social media is also part of my “non work” life. You can see an example of that right here on my blog and how you can always find me on Twitter.

So here I am, sitting on the top of my social media empire. Someone who learned the skills and is making an impact in the space, and yet I don’t want to self-identify* as just a social media person.

Why? Because social media is a tool—a channel, a platform. What is more important than the tools you use is what you do with them.

Here’s what I do through the content that I write and share across social media channels, personal and professional: I promote, I market, I provide customer service; I connect, I network, I build relationships; and I show up virtually and in-real-life. More importantly: I write, I edit, and I share. All the time.

Social is inherently social

Last night I started reading The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. I barely read through the introduction before the authors blew my mind with this quote on page xiv:

It is clear from our research that, in contrast to what you may think, promoting a personal goal is inherently social. To be successful, you must translate your passion into a powerful story and tell it in a way that generates “contagious energy,” so that your audience reflects on your tweet, blog post, or email, long after they leave their computers.

Read between the lines: your audience is your friends on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube/the-next-great-social-network, etc. and your friends in real life.

Remember the giving campaign I launched back in December? Through the help of you, my readers, and my friends across Twitter, Facebook, and real life, we blasted through that goal in 3 weeks and EXCEEDED the goal by supporting 6 moms and newborns in India. (My goal was to only support 5 mothers and newborns–which reminds me, I will write a blog post to recap that soon.) Yes, I could have reached that goal by promoting my campaign offline, and if doing so, I would have used the same strategy and techniques to promote it that I did online.

Social starts with you

One of the best pieces of advice that I received during my first internship is that everyone has to learn how to market themselves. (Thank you, LRC.)

You are the only person who knows what you’re passionate about, who can help you reach your goals, when to approach them, and how to deliver the message. You know what your motivations are and what the motivations are of others that will help turn a conversation over coffee into action.

But you have to start with knowing who you are and socialize from there.

Everyone can be is his or her own advocate and social media is another medium that can help amplify your message.

Questions for you:

If you work in the social media space, do you self-identify as a social media professional?

Or, if you use social media in your personal life, what role does it play? Do you even know why you have a Facebook profile or are on Twitter?

*How do I self-identify or brand myself? Check out the bio.

The Big News I Have Been Waiting to Share

Be the Change
The funny thing about living your life online is that when something big happens, you can’t wait to share it. And even when something hasn’t happened yet or is about to happen, you can’t wait to translate that giddy feeling inside of you into 140 characters of sheer glee and excitement!!!!!

And then, when something EVEN BIGGER happens in your life that’s a game-changer, you hold off and wonder what the best way to deliver the news is—Is it to be Tweeted about and risk losing it get lost amongst the noise of what everyone else had for breakfast? Shall it be a status update on Facebook that will encourage 10 or so “Likes”? Or will it be delivered in person, where you can give the maximum amount of details and receive the most amazing support from those who know you the most and how hard you’ve worked for it?

That’s what’s interesting about this whole ‘social media’ thang: social media is a form of marketing and now, more than ever, you have to act as your own brand manager. You are responsible for calling your own press conference. And you are the one managing your communications effectively to get the results and secure the ‘placement’ within your friends’ minds that you desire and deserve.

Read all about it: Laura is off the job market!

Nadia & Laura selling raffle tickets at SMC

For the past three weeks I’ve been elusive in my tweets and in my status updates, but it’s all for good reason. In the beginning of January, I started work as Jolkona Foundation’s second full-time employee.

For Jolkona, the startup nonprofit that I have been volunteering with since February 2009, hiring its first two employees means that the organization has reached a pivotal point in its life. I will be working closely with Nadia Khawaja Mahmud, who is the co-founder of Jolkona and the new CEO, as well as the volunteer leadership team and the 20+ volunteers who support them.

As the Director of Communications & Social Media, I’ll lead Jolkona’s marketing and outreach efforts, which include managing my own team, PR/Marketing/Social Media, and the following volunteer teams: Campus Outreach, Events, and Corporate Partnerships.

When I started with Jolkona, I signed up to run their social media with the goal to gain real-life experience that could bridge my way into a full-time, paid position. And it worked, as it landed me multiple contracts throughout the past year. But when co-founder, Adnan Mahmud, mentioned that in the ideally, they hope to look to their volunteers when hiring, I had no intention that that could be my reality.

You can read more about everything that Jolkona accomplished in 2010 and where we’re heading in 2011 in this blog post written by Adnan.

What makes this newsworthy?

For me, signing on with Jolkona full-time is a big deal, not only because I’ve been on the job hunt for almost a year-and-a-half and doing the job for almost a year, but because it’s something I’m truly passionate about. To friends, family members, and even in interviews with other employers, I always talk about how with Jolkona, I get to work with the most incredible, inspiring, and passionate individuals, working towards goals that are more strategic and more smart than any of my paid positions before. Mind you, this is a pitch I started saying last spring.

When I approach a new employer, I always say, “Give me a challenge, and let me show you what I can do.” It’s probably not the best strategy, but it’s the honest truth. And I’m incredibly honored and thankful that Nadia and Adnan have given me the chance to show them just what I can do for Jolkona.

We have a big year ahead of us, and I’m ready.

Photo Credit: Feggy Art

Create vs. Consume

Plane Crashes & Love Messages Simon Pais-Thomas

A friend and his girlfriend have a neat idea—they spend an entire day, one day a week creating things and consuming nothing. It can be anything, from learning how to play the drums to painting and even cooking together counts. But there’s one thing they won’t do, and that’s consume; be it other people’s food, watch movies, surf the Internet, engage with media, etc., it’s all off limits. Their focus for that day is to spend time together creating.

These friends are on to something that a lot of people are already talking about. How do we “turn off” everything that’s happening around us and find that delicate balance between information overload and comatose consumption so we can emerge like the beautiful and unique snowflakes that we are—intelligent, original, and full of life. If you listen to the debate, they all declare that we should shut down the distractions so we can open up the flow. Simplified: create more, consume less.

Exactly what they’re asking you to create and what counts as consumption is open to interpretation. Back in the day before social media, the word “consume” most often meant capitalist consumption, you know, shopping and buying “stuff.” Today, it’s most often referred to as consuming content published and shared across digital media, you know those damn tweets, frequent Facebook updates, too many blogs, obnoxious articles, and incriminating photos, etc.

When speaking about digital media and the call for everyone to create more and consume less, I can’t help but cringe. Imagine if the entire world decided tomorrow that they would all start writing and blogging and not read anyone else’s blog ever again. What’s the point of creating if no one is there to consume what you share? Is that what pro-creators have in mind?

I am one of the 23% of US adults online who create content on a daily basis. I do this professionally and for fun. For people who are in this similar position, I have an alternative challenge for you—spend at least one day a week where all you do is consume and participate in what other people create. Check out from your normal routine and give what you hope to get back.

Do you think you could do it?

Photo Credit: Simon Pais

Being Silent, Unplugging & Going Dark

Everything Goes Dark, Leah Makin Photography

Every so often someone on Twitter or Facebook boldly declares that they are unplugging this weekend, going dark. Usually they’re on their way up the mountains where there’s no cell phone reception. Other times they’re staying in town and just need to mentally unwind. And sometimes they don’t announce it at all and they fall

off the blogosphere.

And it takes awhile before we notice.

Falling off

A friend of mine, Andrew Swenson, recently “fell off the face of the social media earth,” without announcing it (or if he did, I completely missed it). A few of us piped up in between that we missed him. And when he resurfaced, he explained what happened and what he had learned. I admire what Andrew did. He had a lot of things going on in his “real” life and he needed the space to really figure it out for himself.

Being silent & holding back

When someone says that they’re doing this, it is just noise. But when someone just does it, it leaves me wondering what’s going on, what’s really going on in their life. Going dark without letting someone know is like staying out past your curfew when you were in high school; those who care about you get worried.

Being silent online means that something is happening that you can’t quite articulate. There have been a number of things that have happened since I’ve been social-media-ly-social that I have held back from explaining or taken a few days to figure out the right message to deliver the news with. Most of the time it’s about things that don’t matter in the scope of the universe but that matter a lot to me, otherwise I wouldn’t care and would just say it.

That leads to a series of questions—if we are extra social, why do we hold back when life is the most out of our control? Why do we develop these relationships when we’re feeling on top of the world and retreat offline when we aren’t?

Simple: we want people to view us in the way that we want ourselves to be viewed. We are attracted to people who are attracted to us. We want to surround ourselves with safe, positive energy and ideas. It’s human nature. And if we expose ourselves as anything but that then we leave ourselves open for something else—an unknown.

And this unknown is pretty damn scary because it’s our heart that we have bared from our chest and we don’t know how you or anyone else is going to react to it—if they’re going to dance around in it or stomp it out, leaving it and all our ideas pulsing, waiting for the blood to stop flowing and dry out.

If you look across the blogosphere, the “unknowns” we blog about are things that are exciting and exhilarating. We write about challenges that we’re ready to face, how we’re living a life according to our own rules, and how we’re crushing it.

Being affirmative is sexy; being vulnerable with a purpose can be too.

Photo Credit: Leah Makin Photography