Facebook: Are Your Friends Trusted Sources or Naggy Noisemakers?

People have been worrying for a long time about mixing business and pleasure on Facebook. Much of the conversation centers around how much of their personal lives people want to reveal to colleagues and bosses. But lately I’ve been interested in the flip side of this. How and how much should people talk about their businesses, their work, or their causes on Facebook or other social networking sites?

The answer depends on how interesting your work, your business and your causes are to your friends. If what you post is interesting or useful, your friends will view you as a trusted source, someone they turn to for inside information, much like a personal news service. But if it’s all self-promotional blather, your friends will vote with their mice by either silencing you (using the handy Facebook “hide” feature), or worse, hitting the “unfriend” button on the bottom left of the page.

It’s one thing to see friends promoting their own interests, but now companies are paying people with large social networks to tout their brands on Twitter. {Read the rest on Yahoo!}

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Do you need an avatar

If you spend any amount of time online, you’ve probably needed to post a head shot or other image of yourself. If you’re lazy, you leave the photo area blank or go with a random photo you have lying around. But some folks are adopting avatars, those tiny cartoon-y images which are becoming increasingly common.

During the election, Obamicons (avatars in the style of the iconic Shepard Fairy Obama poster) were flooding the Web thanks to a free program offered on Paste Magazine’s website. Now, during the “Mad Men” frenzy, images like the one here are cropping up, courtesy of the “MadMenYourself” campaign on the show’s site.

So, why would you want one of these avatars? I’ve been talking to lots of folks who use them, and here’s what I’ve learned: {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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How to stay in touch without stalking

Have you ever been in this situation? You meet someone new, have an instant rapport and a feeling that the two of you would be able to help each other. You know you want to stay in touch or at least stay on the other person’s radar. But you have no idea when you’ll run into the person again and don’t want to rely on chance.

This issue comes up all the time. It happens when you want to keep up with people who might be helpful in a job search or when you want to let prior clients that you’re around and available for work.

So how do you stay in touch without looking like a stalker or someone who is just lurking around waiting for something to happen?

Here are a few ideas:

Write a newsletter. This idea works for anyone who wants to reach out to their contacts on a regular or irregular basis without picking up the phone. I send an email newsletter to my mailing list roughly four times a year. And each time I do, I get several inquiries and bookings within a few days of sending it out. I also get a lot of hellos from people I’m happy to hear from. The key to writing a good newsletter is to give your readers something useful rather than using it solely as a self-promotion vehicle. The “Casnocha Beat,” a periodic newsletter sent by Ben Casnocha, a blogger/author/speaker, always leaves me with something juicy to think about. He includes an “estimated read time” at the top, a clever way to convince you it’s only a small investment to read it. Colleen Wainwright, a communications consultant who goes by the name “Communicatrix,” sends a newsletter that does a good job of reminding people of her services while giving volumes of helpful stuff. (It’s no surprise that she wrote an excellent post on how to write a bulletproof newsletter.) {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Who’s Finding Jobs Now?

While headlines continue to report on the grim state of the job market, people are getting hired every day. This ongoing series will bring you snapshots of who’s getting hired now with the back-stories of how they’re snagging the jobs.

This week’s job successes include a nonprofit manager who made a move when it seemed like no one was hiring, an engineer who tweeted his way to a new gig, and an event planner who created a full-time position out of two part-time jobs to bring in extra cash during her slow season.

Dan Zarrella, Boston, Mass
– From one job in online marketing to another position within the same industry.

Time searching:
About a month


Techniques:
Enhancing and promoting his “personal brand.” Networking on Twitter.

His story: When Zarella got laid off in December from a position at an online marketing firm, he took an approach that is becoming increasingly common — he immediately worked on enhancing his personal brand and made himself more known in the community where he wanted to find his next job. (For a quickie course on personal branding, read Dan Schawbel’s excellent new book, “Me 2.0″) He tells his job search story — on the blog of HubSpot.com, where he eventually got hired.  Even before he lost his job, Zarrella had the foundations of a good personal brand in place. He already had a personal blog, on which he identifies himself with the clever moniker “The Social Media and Viral Marketing Scientist.” He also used the extra time he had to develop some online tools related to Twitter, the microblogging site that is an essential networking zone for people in technology-related businesses. “Rather than trying to interrupt people in my space with advertisements about myself, I created things that people wanted to use and let them come to me,” he wrote about the experience.  He also posted on Twitter that he was looking for a new job and asked people who was hiring in the Boston area. A few people responded to his messages and directed him to Hubspot, where he saw that there were openings and submitted his resume according to the usual procedures. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Facebook: It’s a Whole New World

Just when those of us who use Facebook professionally were getting up to speed on profiles vs. pages, and friends vs. fans, Facebook has gone and changed all the rules. I haven’t yet had time to sort it all out, and the redesign won’t take effect until March 11, but since I recently had a two-part guest post about Facebook Fan pages, I wanted to make to do a quick follow-up. Sounds like we should all see how this shakes out before deciding on a Facebook strategy.
Read more »

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5 tips from Catherine Kaputa, a personal branding expert, on how individuals can emulate the successful branding strategies of products and companies.

Slash Careerists Gathering on Facebook

This is a guest post by Vanessa Carr, who has been working with me on Facebook and some other technology projects

There has been a great response to Marci’s call for slashes on her Slash ‘/’ Careers group on Facebook.

One stand-out site was that of Katreen Hardt, an actress/freelance journalist living in Germany. Katreen boldly foregrounds her slash identity on her homepage with a colorful grid of images—half popular magazine covers for issues to which she’s contributed writing and half stills from movies she’s acted in (which include Henry Fool and The Book of Life—beneath an equally bold title: Katreen Hardt, Freelance journalist and actress.

Katreen homepage screenshot

Part of what is effective about her site is its simplicity. From the homepage, you can navigate to one of four sections: about (bio), portfolio (writing), showreel (acting), and contact. On her about page, Katreen summarizes each of her slash components, highlighting a few of her most significant accomplishments.

Read more »

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Creating buzz around your ideas (NYT.com)


Yesterday, my Shifting Careers column at The New York Times online focused on ways to create buzz about your ideas. Based on the flood of reader emails I’ve been getting, I’m not the only one interested in this subject. If you have any tips to share — especially ideas for those who are uncomfortable about self-promotion and/or who can’t afford outside p.r. help, please share them in the comments. (There’s no way to comment on the NYT website yet, so leave your comments on the blog.)

Here’s the article, “Tools and Tips to Create Buzz Around Your Ideas.”

Note: Through some weird URL glitch, the link to the 360 Profiler mentioned in the first paragraph was published incorrectly. If you want to try the tool, click here.

UPDATE:
Just stumbled on this article on Forbes.com “The Single Greatest Marketing Tool” that does a good job of explaining public relations — from both a do-it-yourself and a hire-an-expert perspective.

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Pondering the future of publishing, in San Jose


I spent the past few days in San Jose at the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference , a techie-meets-publishing idea extravaganza.

My dear friend, Sarah Milstein, is one of the conference chairs, and she and Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, opened the event with an amusing romp through publishing innovations from the beginning of recorded time. (Sumerian tablets were nifty, but not too portable.) One of the highlights of their talk was a hysterical video called “Medieval Tech Support,” which has been making its way around publishing offices for some time.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.

The video captures the tone of the conference perfectly: new technology has always been a little scary for users; over time, we adapt and see its value.

I got a chance to speak with Wired editor and “Long Tail” author Chris Anderson in a panel about how publishers and authors can be better partners on book promotion. Some of the subjects we hit upon included:

  • how to reconcile what might appear to be the misaligned interests of publishers and authors (e.g. Chris’s interest is promoting the Chris Anderson brand, which now includes earning income from speaking as well as from selling books, whereas his publisher might be primarily focused on selling books.) Upon further discussion, it became clear that these interests might not be misaligned.
  • techniques for partnering and sharing innovative ideas with other authors and in the greater publishing community (what I am starting to call “Author School”).
  • the need for all writers to become adept at self-promotion (for which we were properly challenged when an audience member questioned the wisdom of applying this same standard to fiction writers.)

It was a provocative discussion, the kind that left me with as many questions as answers.

Chris also talked about his latest slash, Booktour.com, a site he’s founded along with Adam Goldstein (who I coincidentally profiled in my book way back when Adam was a mere high school student/author/software developer) and Kevin Smokler (author/founder of Virtual Book Tour) where authors can list their upcoming events and potential audience members can search for events in their areas. Booktour would have been a godsend for me these past few months, but I plan to use it going forward for all my events. If you’re an author doing events, get there pronto. The site is still in Beta mode. I believe the official launch is next week.

Below is a small writeup about the panel on Mediabistro’s GalleyCat:

Tools of Change: Chris Anderson Will Take Your Call

Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson teamed up with NYT online career columnist Marci Alboher for a Tools of Change panel on getting more out of marketing with authors, and opened with a whammy: “All authors are underserved by the book industry,” he said of current marketing and publicity efforts. For the next half hour or so, the two discussed ways to change that situation, including building up an author’s “word-of-mouth in the permalink world” and giving authors the tools to become their own best marketers. “We need to destigmatize small success,” Anderson said, referrign to the disappointment some writers still feel when their book gets mentioned on a blog rather than in a newspaper’s book review section. And we need to look to the long term; “if an author is the best expert I can find for a topic in my column,” Alboher said, “I don’t care if the book’s three years old.”

In response to a query from the audience, Anderson made a bold promise, which he said when I introduced myself afterwards I can pass on to you: He’s willing to do a free conference call with any publisher who wants to discuss these marketing issues and bring their authors into the conversation. “As long as I don’t have to get on a plane,” he quipped.

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Outing your slashes — Let’s talk about it.

As I go around speaking about the slash way of life, one theme that repeatedly dominates the conversation is whether, when and how to reveal your various identities. Of course, with any complex question, the answer is, “It depends.” Generally I find that people are more comfortable when they can be open about their various identities. The easiest cases are when one slash fuels the other — for me, writing and coaching other writers works that way. But when slashes have the potential to clash — like when you’ve got a corporate job and you’re starting your own business on the side, it’s a more delicate dance.

I am working on a longer article on this subject and want to hear your thoughts about openness and transparency in a slash life. I’m looking for examples of when it’s been helpful and when it’s been a disaster. I’m also looking for innovative approaches to bios/websites/blogs/business cards that reveal multiple identities. Send them my way and I’ll probably blog about them.

Malcolm Gladwell, one of the most well respected journalists around, does a great job of explaining how he is both a legitimate journalist and a highly paid public speaker on his
website.

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