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Is The Study of Philosophy Meaningful for Social Media Success?

Yes. You can succeed at networking via social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook by studying and following the teachings of classical Philosophers. Many philosophy quotes that fly through the Twittersphere are either directly from a philosopher or an abstraction of a thought by a philosopher. The best way to resolve the paradox of marketing yourself without marketing yourself is to conduct social case studies of Twitter users themselves. Study what tweets are retweeted; study the A-lister’s actual work habits not just their blog posts and tweets of wisdom. In addition, study the people who do it wrong. After all, we learn what is by determining what is not.

Success is arrived at through a series of habitual actions

While many say success is a journey and not a destination, I’d argue that there is one ultimate destination in life: happiness. On the road to happiness are many stops that require taking a journey. According to Aristotle, happiness is not an emotion but a state of being reached upon complete fulfillment of desires. As long as those desires are not led by emotion and are based on good intentions, they are, therefore, virtuous. Virtuous behavior being a necessary element of happiness, it is vital to behave this way.

The following images are tweets pulled from Twitter users illustrating the link between philosophical thought and Social Media optimization.

Tweet on Aristotle and habit

Tweet from Amber Naslund on blogging habit

The Knowledge Paradox and Social Media Experts

Social media experts are like the Sophists of their time. Paid to teach their wisdom, they became scorned by the true Philosophers who refused payment for their noble teachings. Like the Sophists, social media experts claim to hold the keys to the wisdom employers are seeking. Guess what? There are no social media experts, gurus, etc…. We are all learning with and through each other. Those who take the wisdom they have learned and apply it to their various fields are qualified in their industries, thus deserving pay. However, expecting pay for knowing how to use dirty marketing tactics will have you ridiculed by those who can deliver quality results, not just meaningless numbers.

Philosophy quote from Socrates on knowing nothing

Twitter expert tweet get followers

A tweet on hating twitter experts

Experience is Enough

The only way to establish yourself as knowledgeable in the realm of social media is to do what it is that you say you know how to do. Without lived experience it is not possible to understand the intricacies of human nature as it relates to the business of marketing. However, no one is just going to give you the experience. A good way to get it on your own is to study individuals. There is little better place to do that than through social media networking platforms. Philosophical tenets have proven themselves to be everlasting. Technological advances and changes in culture have yet to make vast differences in basic human behavior. A study of a few philosophical principles such as the ones listed earlier will start you on the path to developing insight into individual behavior and finally figuring out the answer to how to get more followers. Lived experience is not enough, but it is a good start.

Chanelle Schneider, also known as @WriterChanelle on Twitter, runs There From Here where she often writes on the topic of adult internships and other career and life advice for Generation Y with a specific focus on non-graduates, the students who had to leave school but didn’t drop out. Chanelle writes for Examiner.com as the Washington, DC Social Media Examiner, and is the founder of the generational chat: #GenYChat on Twitter.

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Posted by on November 2, 2010 in Networking, Social Media

 

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Why Wegmans is a Trust Agent [and your Brand should be too]

Everyone knows that Wegmans is the best grocery store in the country. We in Central New York take this for granted because they began in Rochester and have been in the Syracuse area since the John Glenn Boulevard store opened in Liverpool in 1968.

Image courtesy of weddingmapper.com

If you’re unaware of the wonders of Wegmans, allow me to provide a brief overview.  Way beyond a grocery store, Wegmans is a total experience.  From the beautifully displayed fresh produce (of which there is more variety than you can imagine), their delicious prepared food items and  their friendly and knowledgeable  employees, Wegmans is three cuts above the competition.

Now Wegmans is becoming known for their prowess in another area: social media.  The @Wegmans twitter account is leading the way with 8,700 followers and a Klout score of 45.  What is Wegmans doing that is making them so successful at social media?  Let me tell you.

[At the end, I will share with you my personal story of why I will be a Wegmans customer for life.]

Offering Content their Followers Can Use. What would you want if you were following a grocery store on Twitter?  Wegmans knows.  They share a recipe of the day, information on new products, tips for using a variety of fresh ingredients and news about upcoming store openings.  Wegmans also posts links to well-written articles and quirky videos from their blog Fresh Stories on topics ranging from food and wine pairings to profiles of local farmers who they partner with.  If you’re following a grocery store, this is probably the kind of content you’re looking for.

Joining the conversation. @Wegmans bio on Twitter reads “Can’t wait to talk to you!”  And they really can’t!  If you mention @Wegmans, be prepared to get a response.  I have not seen one instance of a Wegmans mention going unnoticed.  They are consistently ‘on’, and they are listening to what their customers have to say.  In social media, if you’re not talking to people, you’re sunk.  This is a far cry from what Wegmans local competitors are doing in social media.  @PriceChopperNY doesn’t really do much conversing on their account, and they’re follower:following ratio is pretty low.  But at least they’re trying. P&C on the other hand, seems to be a lost cause.  They don’t even have a social media presence from what I could gather from their website.

Having a consistent voice. Even though they haven’t told us who’s tweeting for Wegmans, you get the feeling there’s a real person behind the account.  This is not easy to do when you are representing a brand, trust me.  And not only do you get the sense that it’s a real person, you get the sense that it’s the SAME person.  The tone of the conversation is always consistent: easy, friendly, engaging, without a hint of sarcasm.  You don’t get a young, bubbly voice one day and then a boring monotone the next.  Wegmans is always pleasant, and this fits perfectly with their brand.

Showing they Care. I was going to divide this into several sections focused on what Wegmans does right with their account:  following up, doing what they say they will do, being polite.  But then I realized that they are all about the same thing:  showing your customers that you care.  This is what Wegmans is best at, and it puts them head and shoulders above not only their competition, but most companies using social media.

I promised to tell you my Wegmans story. It’s the reason I wrote this post – and why they have me as a customer for life.

I found a new product that I really liked when I was on vacation in South Carolina recently.  Starbucks doubleshot Energy + Coffee in 15 oz cans.   When I got home, I went to Wegmans and searched the aisles for what I call ‘my new love.’  Hmmm, not finding it in the store.  I found a few similar items, but not the one I really wanted.  Having interacted with Wegmans on Twitter many times, and being the social media junkie that I am, I asked @Wegmans instead of going to the store manager. Then this happened:

1.  They asked me for specifics on the product.  I sent them this image.

2.  They responded that they would check with their supplier and get back to me.

3.  When I tweeted about it to my followers, they responded that they couldn’t promise anything.  That’s fair.

3.  They contacted me a few days later and said, sorry for the delay, we are still working on it.

4.  I got a tweet from Wegmans asking what store locations I usually shop at.  I gave them my #1 and #2 stores.

4.  I got a DM from Wegmans asking me for my email address.

5.  I got a very nice letter from Michelle, a Consumer Services Specialist.

6.  The products will be in both of my store locations of choice by the middle of next week, and I have a contact name in each store to follow up with if there are any questions or concerns.

7.  Customer for Life.

In their best-selling book, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith say this about the emergence of ‘Trust Agents’ in social media:

“People who humanize the Web are trust agents.  People who understand the system and how to make their own game are trust agents.  People who connect and build fluid relationships are trust agents.”

Wegmans has become a Trust Agent – and thereby my loyalty and devotion to their brand.  Isn’t that what every company wants?

Do you have a great @Wegmans story? or a story about another company who has your allegiance because of their astute use of social media?  Share in the comments.

 
 

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3 Simple Lessons learned from Two Years in Career Services

As I start down a new avenue along my ever-changing career path, I think it’s a good time to reflect on where I’ve just been.

In June 2008 I started work at Syracuse University’s Career Services office.  And when I took the job, I knew literally NOTHING about the field of career services.  Sure, I had the right mix of experience for the my job working with alumni, but the only experience I had in terms of career was managing my own, and somewhat poorly at that.

So two years down the line, I feel like a know a little bit about careers and job search and interviewing, and especially networking….all those mysterious things that every job seeker wants to know about.  I’m going to share with you a few of the most important things I’ve learned.

1.  It’s not Rocket Science. If I can do this, so can you.  Meaning, if I can learn how to connect with the right people, learn about job opportunities and market myself, so can you.  How did I do it?  Listen and observe. The best places to do that right now are on Twitter and LinkedIn.  You can follow the most amazing people, and they are giving away FREE advice every day of the week!  It’s there for the taking!

2.  Degree/Major ≠ Career. Having managed a database with 1,700+ mentors for the past two years, I can assure you of this fact. Rarely, do you run across someone who is 5+ years out of college who is doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE DOING.  The thing is, most kids growing up are only exposed to a handful of careers.  There is no way of knowing everything that exists out there, and on top of that, new career fields are being created all the time.  So when people get out of college they tend to go for the types of jobs they have *heard about*.  And that’s all well and good until they start getting exposure to the world of work and realize all the different things they could be doing.  At that point, it becomes essential that you follow what interests you, regardless of degree.  People do it all the time.  Take me for example, I have degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education.  Do I seem to you like someone who is pining away for a nice bulletin board covered with construction paper?  At one time I was…but the fantasy was better than the reality and I had to change gears.

3.  Most people are fundamentally nice. You know, it could be that there was some aberration and I was just handed the nicest people on the planet to work with, but I don’t think that’s the case.  From day one of my job in career services, I was able to interact with and assist and learn from some amazing people — students, alumni, recruiters, employers, faculty, you name it.  I could not believe my good fortune.  It seems that when you are in a position to help people, it works in your favor. People see *helpers* (for the most part) as being good.  Therefore, when they interact with helpers, they come in with their defenses down and their niceness up.  That’s a great way to interact with the world…so if you can position yourself as a helper, no matter what your career field or job title, you will be setting yourself up for success.

There’s lots more where this came from, but suffice it to say that grasping these three really simple concepts will take you places you never dreamed.

As I move into the new and exciting world of social media and become a communications professional, I will still continue to hone my skills in career and helping others find their dreams.  I will just be helping different people and using different platforms.  I hope you will come along with me on this journey and see what else we can discover and share.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2010 in Career, Networking, Uncategorized

 

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Weekend at the Playhouse

This past weekend I participated in a design charrette co-sponsored by the Syracuse University iSchool and COLAB, which is part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at SU.  What we termed #SUCharrette on Twitter was a coming together of 36 students from across campus who spent 36 hours thinking about “Social Media Futures.”

While I was there as an official observer, blogger and tweeter (I had my social media maven hat on), I did learn a few things that I would like to pass on to whomever is willing to listen.  I know that both of the Deans of the schools co-sp0nsoring the event were there, so it was kind of a big deal.  And these are a few of the reasons that everyone involved had an awesome experience.

COLAB-oration.  Social Media Futures was one of the first and only events that I have seen on campus that brought together students of all disciplines, freshman through senior, undergrad and grad, to work on a project.  And this wasn’t just your run of the mill ‘group project.’  This was an intense, focused project that would live or die based on how well the team members connected and worked together.   While some groups did a better job than others of coalescing and compromising, all agreed that the opportunity to work with others they don’t normally interact with offered a fresh perspective.  Almost every group included NEW, iSchool, MAX & VPA students (with a smattering of EDU and Whitman thrown in).  This does not happen every day.  Students who have a single major in a single school or college may never have the opportunity or inclination to take classes with those outside of their discipline.  And that is great ~ to an extent.  But surrounding yourself with people who all pretty much think in similar terms will only take you so far.  In any workplace where you might find yourself after graduation, there are going to be a variety of people from a variety of educational backgrounds.  This event mimicked the real world much more than the traditional classroom.  And guess what?  The students loved it! The results were A-MA-ZING!  And they talked about how much they learned from each other!  And they are still talking about it!  Point made.

Environment. The majority of this weekend’s event took place in the COLAB space.  For those who have never been to the 4th floor of The Warehouse, you need to schedule a visit (or ask for a tour…however that works).  This place is really something to behold.  Yes, it is an old industrial warehouse…but they don’t call it the COLAB Playhouse for nothing!  In addition to it being a state-of-the-art design space, it is bright, welcoming, colorful and FUN.  There is a huge sailfish on one wall, what looks like a new Vespa, a foosball table, half-wall partitions made of corrugated cardboard-ish stuff that is really a piece of artwork, and many many beanbags and soft cubes upon which to sit.  In short, this is an amazing space to work in.  Most of the students involved in the charrette had never been to COLAB before and thought it was just really, really cool.  They also thought it might be a little distracting…so much going on in terms of color and texture….that maybe they wouldn’t be able to concentrate.  But they were all pleasantly surprised that this space actually enhanced their experience.  I heard more than one of them say that even when you are doing something else, like playing foosball, you’re still thinking about why you’re here.  I see this as another takeaway for how we educate students.  Why the sterile, all one neutral color classrooms?  Does anyone (well maybe someone) decorate their home like this?  I would say that based on the experience of the 36 students I spent the weekend with, we need to at least take out a can of bright-colored paint and go to town.   What’s wrong with being comfortable while you’re learning?  I’m not saying every classroom should have a foosball table front and center.  But I am saying that we need to look at the way our classroom environments affect learning and creativity.  And in today’s information economy, we all need to be creative.

Alumni. Yes, I may be biased being the Alumni queen of Career Services and all, but I must point out how much was added to the atmosphere of the event by the alumni presence.  The alums added that elusive real-world connection to what the students were working on.  They offered their expertise on panels.  They mingled and circulated and had meals with the students, offering advice and guidance (and maybe even the stray job offer).  And though I won’t name names, certain alums added, how shall I say, an energy level heretofore unseen on a Saturday morning.  Students always love interacting with alums, and vice versa.  If I’m not mistaken, Syracuse University has about 190K living alums; that’s a huge untapped pool of experience and talent from which to draw.  From my work with SU alumni, I have found that there is an amazing love of this place by its former students.  They stay in touch, they network, they help each other, and they want to give back when they can.  One of the ways the University can leverage that love is by inviting alums to participate in events like this, asking them to come and speak on campus, meet with student and Greek organizations and present in classrooms.  I understand that sometimes it’s hard to fit in a guest speaker because of the demands of the curriculum.  But professors have a great deal of pull with their students.  If offered extra credit for attending a lecture by an alum, many students will jump at the chance.  And they are learning while doing.  SU alumni are the ultimate career connection for our students, and we should be offering them these connections as often as possible, whether on campus, through social media or at remote location events.  The real-life experience and fresh perspectives on the work world and the job search that, especially, young alums can offer is what many students crave knowledge of and stress out about not having access to.  The cost to incorporate more alumni into the student experience is minimal, but the benefit to all parties can be great.

These are just some of the takeaways from an incredible weekend of learning, connecting and collaborating.  And I didn’t mention one thing about social media, which was the subject of the weekend.  Because while we were all surrounded by a social media bubble this weekend, it was really the people and the place they created inside that bubble that made it special.

I invite your comments; whether or not you were inside the bubble.  ~ Kelly Lux

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2010 in Social Media, Uncategorized

 

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Succeeding with Social Media

Today’s guest post is by Leland Strott, NEW ’08

I first got into social media thanks to classes I took my senior year at Syracuse – Web Journalism and New Media Business. I signed up for them thinking they would supplement my Magazine Journalism career. Now, hardly a year later, social media is my passion and my main career interest! I work in Baltimore, Maryland, and two of my current jobs – an internship at an advertising firm and a part time social media position at a local sports network – were set up because of online interactions. My obsession with Twitter and social media have really paid off for me!

Even if you don’t want to tweet professionally, social media can connect you to a job in your chosen career field.  I’m a firm believer that sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are a tremendous benefit to the job hunt by building a professional community. Beyond that, blogs and other networking sites can help you establish a presence in your field. Here are a few tips for doing so:

On Twitter:
– Build a professional network. Follow experts and companies in your chosen field, especially those in the locations you want to work in.  It’s beneficial to read articles they post, and catch up on any news they mention to see what issues are important to them, which means they should also be important to you.  But don’t just follow their tweets – make your presence known by joining in conversations with them. Regular engagement is the key to establishing a more meaningful relationship, the kind of relationship that will get you a job!
– Go to Tweetups – it’s a good way to make a real connection with professionals around you.  Once you’ve established an online connection with local professionals, networking events like Tweetups are a great opportunity to cement those relationships.

Blogs:
– Set up a blog to write about your career field and professional topics, to showcase your ideas, or provide examples of work you’ve done before. This is equivalent to a portfolio, and it can show potential employers how knowledgeable (and therefore valuable!) you are.  Use a blog to fully develop ideas you may discuss on Twitter, for example, and you can send the link to show off your thoughts.

Networking sites:
– On sites like LinkedIn and Brazen Careerist, join groups related to your career field and interests. Chime in on discussion boards and start conversations. It’s a common theme, but getting your name and ideas out there will help you get noticed.
– Don’t be afraid to request connections with people whose careers you admire – take initiative and send them a message to see how they got where they are.  The worst they can do is ignore you, and at best, they could become a valuable career connection.

Last but not least:
– Make it known that you’re looking for employment. If you’ve taken the time establish yourself as a valuable member of your field, there’s a greater chance that people you have connections with will think of you first when there’s an opening in their companies. If you make a good impression online, don’t be surprised to see job offers even if you’re not looking!

Leland Strott, a native of Baltimore, MD, graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 2008 with a degree in Magazine Journalism. She is currently back in her hometown, interning and working part time while she completes a Master’s degree in social media from Birmingham City University. She hopes to turn her passion for social media into a full-time job in advertising or marketing.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2010 in Networking, Social Media

 

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