Tag Archives: Social Media

Writing: Your Ticket to Twenty-Somethingness

I started this blog as a way to practice my writing. Essentially, I write for a living, so I figured this outlet would help me develop and practice my craft.

Much has been written lately about the importance of writing in any job. As a young professional, you are likely familiar with the term “generalist”. If you aren’t familiar with the term, you are probably familiar with the concept –  as young professionals entering the workplace, we must be prepared to perform an increasingly diverse list of job responsibilities, and we’d better get pretty good at all of them. Gone are the days of being a “numbers guy” or the girl who is really good at editing everyone else’s writing. Excelling in numbers (haha, get it?) and possessing exceptional editing skills are marketable, but waning budgets, smaller staffs and more work also require us to know how to mail merge, answer phone calls, make phone calls, sell stuff, market products and report on them in a clear, concise manner. In short, you can be great at one thing, but you’d better be pretty darn good at everything else, too.

Strong writing skills are imperative, but many of us lack the basic grammar, spelling and composition knowledge we need to succeed. Dave Kerpen, author of Likeable Business, writes:

The number of poorly written emails, resumes and blog posts I come across each month is both staggering and saddening. Grammar is off. There are tons of misspellings. Language is much wordier or more complex than necessary. Some things I read literally make no sense at all to me.

Writing is a lost art, and many professionals don’t realize how essential a job skill it is. Even if you’re not a writer by trade, every time you click “Publish” on a blog, “Post” on a LinkedIn update, or “Send” on an email, you are putting your writing out into the world.

The title of that post is: Want to Be Taken Seriously? Become a Better Writer. ‘Nuff said.

Indeed, we must put a stronger focus on our writing skills and the way our business writing is coming across to our peers, supervisors and external audiences. If you don’t take your writing seriously, you won’t be taken seriously. I think this is true in personal communications among friends and family as well.

There are a number of resources available when you google the words “grammar” and “stupid”, but here is my favorite. Take note of the tips in that article for some simple mistakes to avoid. But beyond that, give all of your e-mails a second or even third look this week. The recipients will appreciate it and you’ll notice a difference in the way that your messages are communicated.

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No More Google Reader: What Now?

Google Reader will cease to exist on July 1. Most of what I told you about reading blogs revolved around syncing your RSS feed using Google Reader, so I apologize for that. I have been very happy with my RSS readers, and Google Reader has been the glue that kept them all together. I don’t have a recommendation just yet as to what you should do now, but I thought I’d pool some of my favorite articles about the subject together so that you can form some of your own opinions and try multiple options.

Surprisingly, this announcement from Google sparked discussion on the popular blog reader, many people expressing their frustrations with the program. I agree that Google Reader in and of itself was not impressive-looking, but it integrated with a majority of the RSS readers that work across devices, so it will be sorely missed by those who like to sync.

At least I have until July 1. In the mean time, learn with me:

  • This guy said “Good Riddance, Google” and made me realize I’m an “information junkie,” as if I didn’t already know that.
  • Lots of folks are talking about Feedly, which apparently does the same thing and looks better. Since Google announced the end of Google Reader, Feedly has gained 500,000 new users in less than a week.
  • Gini Dietrich over at SpinSucks offers a few of her own suggestions for reading blogs.
  • Flipboard is trying to capitalize on the announcement as well. Some people really like Flipboard, but I’d recommend it for people who don’t mind missing things sometimes. I prefer to see everything and opt-out of reading certain things if I don’t see the need, rather than letting the App do that for me.
  • John Dvorak over at PC Mag says Google should make Google Reader an open source code, like the WordPress platform I currently blog on. I disagree with how he got to this suggestion, but I think it would be great. The problem with this suggestion is that the main reason Google Reader is going to File 13 is to send more traffic to Google+. Making it an open source platform would not help achieve this goal.

A lot of you may be scratching your heads wondering what I’m even talking about, which is fine. This may be your opportunity to look more into RSS Feeds and develop a strategy for reading your favorite blogs.

If you prefer reading all of your favorite blogs via e-mail, I can’t blame you. Scroll on down to the bottom of this webpage and you can easily sign up to receive e-mail updates for this blog. Personally, I’d go nuts receiving an e-mail every time a blog I read published new content. RSS Feeds make this a lot easier, and, no matter how you do it, I highly recommend reading as many blogs as you have time to read. There is some great stuff out there!

What am I missing? What are you going to do?


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3 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence

How many times have you heard, “If you’re not on [semi-popular social media site], you are missing out! You need to create a profile ASAP!”? How many times have we then navigated to that social media site, downloaded the app on our mobile devices and then checked in periodically – but never on a regular basis? I’m guessing that, if you’re like me, you’ve probably done this a lot. You may even be doing this now because of what I told you last week about LinkedIn.

If so, consider these three ways that will help you improve your social media presence.

#1: Be deliberate about your social media usage and don’t overdo it.

Breaking news: you do not have to be on every single social media site in order to be relevant, contribute to a conversation or network with your friends, family and professional contacts. In fact, being on too many social media sites and neglecting to give the sites you really care about any attention will do more to hurt you in the end than it will ever help you. Consider all of the hackers who get into Twitter accounts and send private contacts sketchy links with viruses and spam via Direct Message. If you’re not using Twitter on a regular basis, you may not know that your account has been hacked. In the same way, your Facebook wall and profile that still offers up your favorite quotes from “Old School” probably won’t do much to help you land that interview you’ve been gunning for.

It’s ok to delete an account if you’re not using it. In fact, I’d recommend considering this at least once a year. I used to have numerous accounts promoting music I recorded in college online. While I still love to play music, those songs aren’t a very good representation of my current offerings. Last year, I deleted a number of those accounts in order to improve my personal online presence.

If you want to hold on to the account, but still don’t want to use it very often, take the time to keep your profile updated so that if someone searches for you, they’ll receive accurate information (i.e. changing your current city, profession, etc.).

#2: Don’t link all of your accounts together.

This is one that I assume will “convict” a lot of you. Unlink those accounts, y’all. If I’m scrolling through my Twitter feed and I see a tweet exported from a Facebook wall, I can’t see it unless I’m also logged in to Facebook. If what was said needs to be on both social media sites, take the time to reword the content to fit the site it’s being posted to. In the same way, whenever hash tags are placed on Facebook, the poster loses credibility. Instagram pictures look great. They really do. But hash tags are not searchable on Facebook. In addition, the point of social media sites is engagement. If you don’t have the time to engage in all of the sites you have an account for, it might be time to refer to #1 and get rid of some of the ones you’re not using as much.

#3: Learn about privacy settings for your accounts and use them.

I don’t see any reason for folks to protect their tweets. If your tweets are that bad, you probably shouldn’t be tweeting. Twitter is really not made for you, you vulgar kid. However, you may have a reason to protect your tweets that I do not know about. You may need to keep your Facebook account completely private and unsearchable. You may not want to put your picture on your public profile on LinkedIn. Whatever your preference, make yourself aware of how people that you do not know see you Google or Bing. Find out how your boss, potential boss and co-workers see you on Facebook and Twitter. If changes to your content are necessary, make the change. If you need to get more private or less private, do it. Just make sure that you’re aware of what you look like to friends and foes. And recruiters. Because all three are important.

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