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Career Advice for New Grads in 140 Characters (more or less)

Has another year really gone by so quickly?  This post first appeared on May 14, 2010, but the advice still applies to 2011 grads.  If you contributed in 2010 and would like to update your advice, tweet at me using #Advice4Grads or leave your comment here.  Thanks again to everyone who contributed last year and best of luck to the Class of 2011!

The class of 2010 is graduating on Sunday. In their honor and in the spirit of true alumni networking, I asked many of the alums I interact with on Twitter to tweet me their best career advice for 2010 grads, in 140 characters or less.  

I got a great response and each is a little bit different.  Some of the alums couldn’t stop at just one,  and I included them all.   Us twitter folks are very good at writing concisely, and that is evident as you read through these snippets of advice.  Obviously, 140 characters of advice is not going to land you a job, but it can help you tweak what you are doing in your job search or how you behave in the workplace, to make that experience more successful.

Instead of providing the names, grad years and majors of these alums, I offer their twitter handles.  If you are interested in hearing more of what they have to say, follow them on Twitter; the vast majority have a link on their bio to a LinkedIn profile, website or blog.

You will also see a couple of longer bits here from a couple of alums who e-mailed me their advice, and a few more from some Non-SU alums, but nonetheless great people who I know from Twitter and wanted to help out.

Many thanks to all my Twitter friends who contributed to make this possible!  Many of the alums quoted here I have met on campus or at one of the SUccess in the City events, or spoken with on the phone.  Some I only know through Twitter.  All are wonderfully giving people who wanted to share what they have learned with you.  I would love to have your feedback in the comments section ~ let me know what your favorite bit of advice is and why.    (you’ll probably be able to guess what my favorite is :)

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Why I’m no longer Groupon-ing or Living Social

If someone said to you, “How would you like to have an awesome deal delivered to your inbox every day, a 50% off deal (or more!)”…would you want it?

I thought I did.  I signed up for Groupon.  I get Syracuse, New York City and (who knows why) Cincinnati groupons.  I also get Daily Deals, Living Social, and a whole slew of others.

If you’re like me, your inbox is already full enough.  So why do we continue to sign up for services that send us more worthless emails, like clockwork? Every morning when I wake up, I can count on hitting delete a minimum of 20 times for the mass markdowns, not just from the group couponing sites, but from every retail store I’ve ever been dumb enough to offer my email address to!

But I digress…there are lots of emails I hate, but my rant today is strictly for the group couponers.

To the right is a sampling of the “deals” I have been offered lately.  

The problem with these?  They’re not targeted:  I don’t have a baby.   I’ve seen Syracuse from the air; it’s not that exciting.  I don’t live in Oswego.  I don’t shop at stores that have names like Coldwater Creek.  Wall decals? I have my own eye doctor, thank you.

I’ve bought two Groupons in my life.  One for a restaurant that I probably would like, but I would only go to for lunch and I have to drive there, so I’ll never use it.  The other was for Bath & Body Works.  I took it into the store and the manager never even heard of Groupon (is that possible?).  It was only then that I realized that it was online only…so what may have seemed like a deal was really just saving me the shipping costs.  My bad on both counts.

But that’s what these group couponing sites are hoping for.  They hope that you don’t read the fine print, that you lose the groupon or forget about it or never use it.  They don’t care, they get their cut when you put your credit card number in.

What amazes me is that ALL of these companies are using old-fashioned marketing speak to try to sell you stuff you don’t need.  I thought we were over this?  I thought this was the age of transparency, one to one customer service and The Thank You Economy?

Here’s an example from yesterday’s Syracuse Groupon for half-off a helicopter ride:

“Lifting off from Hancock Airport, the sky vessel sojourns south over notable landmarks such as Carousel Center mall and Onondaga Lake. The airborne gaze upon Syracuse like an ant surveying his amoeba colony, as the chopper cuts east toward the zoo, Carrier Dome, and Syracuse University.”

Everybody raves about how witty Groupons are.  Please. This is like really bad fiction. AND PEOPLE BUY IT!

So, today’s lessons are A) stop giving out your email address to everyone that asks.  It’s not a law: it’s your choice, and B) Boycott needless junk in your life.  All of it, including Groupons. Your wallet (and your inbox) will be glad you did.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

What’s Instagram & Why is it so Popular?

Although Instagram has only been around for a little over three months, you’ve most likely heard of it, if not used it.  For those of you in the former category, I’ve got an overview for you of what it is and why I think it’s so wildly popular. Instagram is a photo-sharing app for iPhone.  Sorry Blackberry & Android users, it’s not available for you yet.  One of the reasons Instagram is based on the iPhone is because of its amazing camera.  So people are already taking lots of great pictures with their phones, why not try to make them more interesting?

Here’s a bit about the brief but amazingly quick ascendancy of Instagram:   

  • Launched on October 6
  • #1 in the App Store within 24 hours of launch
  • iPhone App of the Week
  • Holds the record as quickest to reach 1 million downloads, occurring on December 21
  • Launched 7 new languages
  • An Instagram photo made the cover of the Wall Street Journal

So why is everyone flocking to Instagram?  What does it actually do?

Easy to Get Started:  Got to the App Store, Download, Set up account, choose a username and upload a profile pic.

Photo Sharing:  You can take pictures within the app or use photos that already exist in your camera roll.  You can give your photo a title, which is helpful and fun.  Photos can be instantly shared, not only on Instagram, but also facebook, twitter, Flickr, Posterous and Tumblr.  You can also connect with your foursquare account and tag your photos with location.  By default, photos are public on Instagram.  If you want people to have to ask permission before they follow you, set to private.  To date, I don’t follow anyone with a private account.  That’s what facebook is for.

Photo Manipulation:  The ‘cool’ factor of Instagram is the fact that they have 11 different filters you can use to up the interest of your pix.  Even boring photos can look amazing with some of these filters.  Instagram has tweaked their filter selection since launch and there are indications that eventually you will be able to purchase additional filters.  Filters range from retro to futuristic.  When you factor in other photo manipulation apps like Diptic, Camera+, Photo Mess and 360, the possibilities are endless.

Social: Instagram, like any other social network, is based around having friends or followers.  On Instagram you ‘follow’ people.  At the top of your profile (or anyone’s profile) you will see the username, profile pic, how many photos have been uploaded, how many followers the account has, and how many they are following.  When you follow someone, their photos show up in your stream. The only other things you can do are ‘like‘ photos and comment on them.  Both are appreciated.  People ask questions in the comments, like ‘where was this taken’ or ‘what app did you use for that?’.  Once you get into using Instagram, you will see how laid back people are and how much fun they are having.  It’s currently a very friendly community.

Finding People to Follow: Instagram lets you see which of your twitter and facebook friends are using instagram and easily start following them.  There is also a ‘Invite Friends’ feature, but that simply links to your address book ~ and the rest is up to you.  Instagram will also suggest users if you like.  My two favorite ways of finding people to follow are 1) the Popular Page and 2) Seeing who is leaving interesting comments on pix I like.  The Popular Page shows you which pix currently have the most Likes.  You will inevitably find 2 cat pictures, 3 sunsets and  4 with really amazing lines (people seem to like symmetry).  You can click on any photo on the popular page and see all the other photos posted by that person, and many times you will want to follow.  It takes a lot of followers to end up on the popular page, so they’re usually pretty good photogs.  From there, I might look at the pix of some of the people who are leaving comments that I think are a) funny or b) similar to my thinking.  Following may ensue.  I also tend to look at the pix of people with interesting user names like ‘kyotosong’ or ‘lioness_in_maui’.  In general, Instagram is not about ‘promoting your personal brand’.  You will, however, find some superstars on Instagram, if you consider tech geeks to be superstars.  Scobleizer and Paris Lemon have accounts, as do Jack Dorsey and Ev Williams.  And a must follow is NPR ~ amazing pix.  National Geographic joined Instagram but has yet to upload a photo. They are, however, taking comments on what you would like to see.

So that’s the gist of how Instagram works.  What makes it so wildly popular?

The photographs.  You will find some of the most amazing photographs you have ever seen on Instagram.  The tools we now have allow almost anyone with a decent eye to take beautiful, crisp shots.  That’s not to say you won’t find the everyday and mundane on Instagram, because you will.  But as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  All the more important to be careful who you follow on Instagram, because its all about who’s in your feed ~ what do you find interesting?  Some people take shots of nothing but weddings, or landscapes, or horses.  Determine what is is you want to look at, or look at whatever strikes your fancy.

There’s no Klout on Instagram. Just because you’re Paris Lemon doesn’t mean you’re going to have a million followers on Instagram.  It’s all about the pix.  So post the pictures of your dog, or the socks you’re wearing or the street signs you pass on the way to work.  It’s OK here.  And no one cares if your follower/following count is upside down, in fact most people’s are.  You can go away from Instagram for a week or two and nobody will notice.  You can peek in and take a look when you want…post some pix when you want.  No one is going to unfollow you.  And if they do, big deal.  No pressure here.

A running documentary of your life. I’ve post 150+ pix in the past two months and I like looking through to see where I’ve been and what I’ve done.  You’ll like it too.

The Community. My experience on Instagram has been extremely pleasant and enjoyable.  I’ve never seen negative comments on people’s pix.  But I have seen people with large followings using those followings to try to do something good ~ ie raise awareness and possibly donations towards those affected by the flooding in Queensland, Australia.  I’ve talked to other Instagram’ers from China and Hawaii, and follow people from Amsterdam, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.  It’s a very global community and has a flat-world feel.

An Education on our Shared Humanity. This is my favorite part of Instagram.  Getting a glimpse into the everyday lives of people who I’ll  never meet, who live in completely different cultures than I do.  What I’ve found is not so much how different we are, but how alike we all are.  People all over the world celebrate weddings and birthdays, cherish their children and pets, appreciate a nice sunset or beach scene, like to drink (yes, they do) and are obsessed with food.  I love looking at pictures from China and seeing the dichotomy between Old China and New China.  And you can find something that fascinates you as well.

Instagram is a keeper.  If you like using Instagram, share with me how you use it or what you’ve learned from looking at all those pix.  If you have a question on using Instagram, or suggestions for some great people to follow, I’d love to hear from you too.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2011 in Mobile Apps, Social Media, Uncategorized

 

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Top 10 Twitter Moments of 2010 ~ Personal

I’ve been on twitter for almost 2 years now and it hasn’t disappointed me yet!

2010 was a year of fantastic growth for twitter and for me.  And I have to say that a lot of the great things that came my way this year were in large part due to the little microblogging platform that we love so dearly.

Here are the ones that come to my holidazed mind….all names will be in twitter speak.

  • Social Media Futures / weekend-long charrette that @rotolo invited me to attend, along with @danklamm, as guest blogger & tweeter.  This was my first ‘professional’ gig.  Great experience where I got to meet some of my future co-workers and compatriots including @alyssahenry @dhrosen @tricialing @shaycolson @amedmunds @georgegsmithjr @frosey @nickcicero and many others.  Loved the environment of this collaborative effort held in the Colab Playhouse, which I hear will be no longer, and that’s a damn shame.
  • SU Basketball Games / If there’s one thing I remember about last winter, it’s the rush I got while sitting at home watching SU hoops and being able to share the game with SU fan tweeps all over the country!  This was the first time I think I really discovered the power of twitter to bring a community together.  We were all rooting for @j_flynn and @w_johnson and making a run for the final four!  The best part of one of those nights was when we won a game in NY and the Empire State Building was lit up orange.  Guess that’s becoming something of a regular occurrence ;)
  • Meeting @bethebutterfly in NYC /  This was awesome.  I went to NYC with @aachie35 for fourth of July weekend.  I was going to write a post back then about how it was my ‘social media weekend’ because every part of it was infused with SM, but I never got around to it.  Anyways, when I checked into the W @ Union Square on @foursquare, @bethebutterfly tweeted at me and said she was nearby, would I like to meet for drinks.  @aachie35 (who has since realized this is perfectly normal) thought it a bit strange, but agreed to go along with me.  @bethebutterfly took us to Pure Food & Wine in Gramercy where I  was introduced to White Sangria (delish) and we hung out in the hidden courtyard.  She was great, the place was great…but the best part was this I told her she ought to check out @LvM, that I thought they would hit it off.  As witnessed on twitter, they did hit it off and became friends.  Score! 
  • Winning a suite weekend from @bryantparkhotel / @bryantparkhotel is probably the coolest place I’ve ever stayed in NYC.  When I found them on twitter and realized that they were doing awesome SM marketing as well, I promoted them whenever I could.  They ran a contest to help them get to 5K followers back in the spring, early summer.  To win, you only had to RT them sometime during the time of the contest until they reached 5K.  Imagine my surprise when they tweeted at me that I won!!  This is about an $850 prize ~ biggest thing I’ve ever won!  I’m planning on taking my daughter for the weekend in April, for our traditional spring break trip to the City.  It’s her fav hotel too :) [Note:  I just won another 2 nights in a loft B&B in Atlanta during the holiday #SMManners chat.  Figuring out what to do with that!]
  • Wegmans / @Wegmans has been a big part of my twitter consciousness this year.  @wegmans is amazing on twitter, everybody knows that.  I actually wrote a blog post about how awesome they are after they started carrying my favorite @starbucks drink because I asked them to.  But not just that, how they conduct their customer service overall is amazing, on twitter and IRL.  When @wegmans came to campus to speak in @rotolo’s class, the SM team told me that was their favorite bog post!  In addition, @wegmans became part of the #pricechopperfail controversy that went down early in the fall, not for doing anything, but just because what started it all of was a tweet comparing the grandeur of @wegmans to the pitiful state of Price Chopper.  This became a big part of my world for a few weeks, and brings me to one of my very favorite twitter moments:
  • Being tweeted at & twitter quoted during a live newscast/ @mattmulcahy was covering the #pricechopperfail story on the 10pm news the night of the appearance of the CEO of Price Chopper in @rotolo’s class.  I was tweeting during the newscast about the fact that we were being covered, and the live twitterfall was featuring many of our twitter friends.  During a break, @mattmulcahy tweeted at me to see if I had any further comments about the events surrounding the visit of Price Chopper’s team to @rotolo’s class.  I tweeted back at him and he read it on air as I watched.  Very surreal!
  • Twitter friends becoming real friends, working with me at SU and in social media/I can point to several real life friends who over the past year have gotten jobs at least in part due to their twitter presence.  @jpedde went from 0-70 in less than a year on twitter, and was working in social media within 6 mos of returning to the US from S. Korea.  I first connected with her on @linkedin and convinced her to join twitter, against her objections.  She was very quick study :).  @kimincuse became known to me through twitter and I met her IRL just as I was leaving my position in Career Services. At one point she had confided in me that she was looking to work for the University.  When I met her, I felt like I already knew her, and that she would be a great fit for the position I was vacating.  I encouraged her to apply and she ended up getting the job as Alumni Programs Coordinator.  So now she gets to work with my BFF @danklamm and soon (!) one of my other twitter BFFs!! [to be shortly announced...soooo excited about this].
  • This list would not be complete without talking about another person who got their job in large part due to twitter:  yours truly.  Long story short…I took @rotolo’s class in the Fall of 2009, got to know him and stayed in touch after the class ended.  I told him right up front that I was really interested in doing social media professionally.  However, at this point, there were no such positions at SU.  By the time Spring rolled around, @rotol had been named Social Media Strategist for SU, the official twitter account for @syracuseu had been launched and @syracuseischool had been contracted to handle the University’s social media presence.  When a position was being created for a Community Manager for the University & the iSchool, @rotolo approached me to see if I was interested.  Ummm….yes!!!  Shortly thereafter I had a meeting with Dean @lizliddy and the rest is history.  Dream job accomplished.
  • Afternoon with @nunesmagician/ This was one of my favorite days of the year.  Even before I was the Community Manager (CM) for @syracuseu, I was well aware that @nunesmagician was one of the most popular SU sports bloggers.  I also knew that he lived in Seattle, and I had missed meeting him when he was here during football season for his book signing.  When I knew I was going to be in Seattle with @syracuseischool for Social Media 101,  I tweeted @nunesmagician to see if he would be coming to our event.  He said he planned on it and DM’d me to offer to show us around the Freemont neighborhood of Seattle the day after our event.  Ater I checked Wikipedia to see what Fremont was all about, I was ready to go!  On the appointed day, @rotolo @juliewalas and I took a car over the bridge from downtown Seattle and met @nunesmagician at the Fremont Coffee shop.  This is the coffee shop he frequently works out of, and let me tell you, they make one mean white mocha!  Sean spent several hours with us showing us the sights of Fremont, culiminating with a climb up the hill at Gasworks Park with an amazing view of the city of Seattle.  After a pizza slice “the size of your head” at Ballroom, we were ready to head to the airport.  @nunesmagician’s hospitality was a highlight of my trip to the West coast and a great day with friends.
  • iPad via tweet/ Everyone who knows me already knows this story…but I’m telling it again for posterity.  The first night of our @syracuseischool trip to LA, we had an event at SONY Studios.  I was live tweeting and taking lots of pictures.  At one point I sat down off to the side and in front of me I noticed the professional photographer for the event downloading and manipulating his photos on an iPad.  I tweeted:  “I really need an iPad.  Amazing photo apps would make my life so much easier in situations like tonight.”  Within minutes, I saw the following come across my screen…

 ““““““““““““““““““““““lizliddy You got it! RT @KellyLux: I really need an iPad. Amazing photo apps …“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““

The Dean of @syracuseischool gave me an iPad via tweet. 

What else could I say to that but #AWESOME and TYVM?!?

Those two words sums up everything that has happened during 2010 via twitter.  Even when I was going through some rough times, my tweeps were there for me.  I haven’t been able to list everything that happened, because things happen so quickly and so often it’s almost impossible to keep track without writing them down.  So don’t feel bad if I didn’t mention our awesome twitter moment.  I want to do a final shoutout to some of my tweeps who didn’t make it into the post (only for the sake of length), but have meant a ton to me this year: @claudinerenee (my twitter twin), @tracytilly (my first twitter friend), @rmahtani (my design advisor).  And I would be remiss without mentioning @divacoachdabney who is teaching me ‘to walk in my own magnificence’…she’s truly a unique and positive presence on twitter and I hope to meet her IRL in 2011.  Love you all!!

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Are Social Media Community Managers the new 411 Operators?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my colleagues and I are forging a new profession and figuring things out as we go.

One question I have is, how do we sustain an activity that is essentially a 24/7, 365 days per year job?  Have we painted ourselves into a corner where we are at the beck and call of our social networks round the clock?  Have we become the new 411 operators?  

As you approach Thanksgiving and the December holidays, what is your plan for monitoring and participating in your social media accounts?  Are you taking some time off?  Is that allowed?  Will you schedule tweets and peek in to see what’s going on once in a while?

What about your personal accounts?  With Klout scores now updating daily, can you afford to be off the grid for a few days?

These are just some of the questions that I have been pondering.  Would love to hear how you are handling the holidays and social media, whether or not you’re a community manager.

Best wishes for a relaxing Thanksgiving and lots of Black Friday Foursquare deals!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Social Media, Uncategorized

 

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Politics 2010 & Twitter: A Comparison

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way our political system works…and how twitter is often referred to as a democratizing force.

If you are so inclined to follow this line of thinking for a little bit, it’s not hard to find the similarities between where we are on the campaign trail, and where we are in the twitter stream.

Here are a few examples that come to mind:

POLITICS twitter
You Like Me You got my Vote! #FollowFriday
I Ticked You Off Contribute to the other guy’s campaign Un-follow
Most Talked About Movie Waiting for Superman The Social Network
This Year’s Darling Cory Booker,Mayor of Newark, NJ @CoryBooker
PR Person’s Nightmare Carl Paladino @BPGlobalPR
What we all Loathe Attack Ads Spambots
Paid to Be On Your Side Lobbyists @KimKardashian
All the News that’s fit… New York Times @Mashable
Party Machine Congressman Aaron Schock @dens
Dream Team Barack Obama &Hillary Clinton @ConanOBrien & @LadyGaga
Elder Statesman Bill Clinton @jack
Break-Out Winner (or maybe not…) Christine O’Donnell Sh** My Dad Says as sitcom
Jump in already & make everybody happy Michael Bloomberg @sethgodin

These are just a few for your amusement.  Agree? Disagree?  I’m sure you can come up with others…

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Twitter and (the illusion of) Free Speech

This post appeared today on the Brand Camp University blog:  http://bit.ly/dfN1GU

 
 

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