Posts tagged ‘advice’

Online Voice – Part 4 – What can you do to find your voice?

Note: This is the 4th part in the series I’m writing on “Finding Your Online Voice” (in part to prepare for my Northern Voice talk) .  To find the other posts, click here.

As Isabella Mori pointed out nicely in her comment, it’s the “how” of “being yourself” that’s troublesome.

Truly, “Be Yourself!” is a tall and painfully vague order. I remember this advice from when I was young(er, er) and just starting to date.  And before job interviews.  And auditions.  And. And. And.

And therein lies the problem.   Sometimes who you are, really, is not readily apparent to you.  Sure, you have a vague idea, but do you really know?  (For instance, recently, at a friend’s wedding, the groom made a toast and described me as having a very big heart.  Sure, he was drinking at the time, but descriptions like that floor me.)

We all have an image of ourselves.  Further, there are things we want to project and aspects we are uncomfortable showing.  And some traits which we come to value more over time.  For instance, my sense of humor has only recently been any public use to me at all.  Being funny isn’t something we tend to encourage in women.  One of my friend’s remarked (quite profoundly, I think) that if you saw two people on a date, and it was the man who was laughing at what the woman said, it would strike you as odd.  Women aren’t the ones expected to be funny.  (To that effect, there’s a recent article that talks about this in the latest Scientific Mind.)  I am also aware that being caustic has implications in how people perceive me.  I occasionally have to make an effort not to censor myself too much to avoid those judgments.

We are frequently encouraged to stifle our personalities and silence our voices.  It’s certainly been the case with some aspects of my personality and my experiences.  In fact, I think for many of us, who we are, is to some extent not who we were supposed to be.

So we want to write smarter, have people believe we are [insert characteristic here (upbeat, professional, charming, together etc.)]  I tried a few times to be be poised, because I think women who are, are lovely.  I can’t hack it though, and it becomes really painful…

Now, how do we get to who we really are… Of course, write, write, write (Oh, noes…).  Also, ask your friends what they think of you.  No, really.  Just tell them to tell you the stuff they like.

With regards to suggestions, let’s begin from there:

  1. Ask your friends how they would describe you. Try this: Your best friend meets a new co-worker that she thinks would gel perfectly with you.  She says, “Oh! You have to meet my friend!” He says, “Really?! Why?”  She responds, “well, she’s just like you, she’s _____. “ What would your friend say here?  Use any many adjectives as you can.  This will give you some idea of your positive (or, at least, enjoyable ) traits.
  2. Read other blogs. You’ll learn what you like, what inspires you and, as Dave Taylor notes in this brilliant tip: “One of the best ways to learn your blogging voice is to read a lot of other bloggers and ask yourself whether you’re comfortable with their writing style, whether they seem to be a friend chatting with you or some self-important twit pontificating, and which you find most appealing. Then be inspired by that and try to create a writing persona that matches what you believe are the best practices.”
  3. Did you particularly enjoy writing a specific post? Or feel proud of it? Look at why: is it more “like you”?  Did you enjoy the way you approached it?  Sometimes it’s that one post in which you find your voice.
  4. If you are interesting in writing  content that is more intimate, more revealing, take a look at Isabella’s book recommendations and this blog post on “Blogging Yourself Home“.  (With respect to journaling privately, I also enjoyed her post on “using your negative voice“.)
  5. Even if you don’t consider yourself “a writer”, you can find the authentic “you”.  To make the process less daunting, take Matt Crowe’s advice on how to finding your voice as a blogger: “Think about what do you absolutely love doing more than anything else in life and blog about that.”
  6. Jean Berg-Sarauer also suggests journaling:  “When you let yourself write about anything you want with no intention of ever showing your words to another living soul, it feels safe to be real. And the more you let your authentic voice come out in your private journal, the easier it will get to bring it out for your readers.”
  7. Additionally Jean advises that bloggers let their writing suck on initial drafts – to be cleaned up later.  I understand how difficult it is to allow yourself to do so, but she’s right, it really helps.   You can forget about proper spelling and grammar for a moment, and give yourself permission to leave  blanks when you can’t find the words (trust me, getting stuck on trying to find that elusive word can be time-consuming and inspiration killing).  You might feel like a dolt during the process (“Wow, I can’t even formulate sentences…  What an idiot,” but allowing yourself to just write without censoring, just as it pours out of you can be very eye-opening – and freeing.

Note: I’ll be posting the slides for my talk tomorrow on this blog, and on Slideshare.

May 6, 2010 at 10:30 am 4 comments

Experts Weigh-in with Social Media Lessons

At a recent meeting I attended, someone mentioned posting a video online and another person said: “And then we’ll just use social media to make it go viral”.

I’ve been reflecting lately about what I’ve learned about social media in the past few years.  One is: social media doesn’t quite work that way. You don’t post a video and everyone flocks to see it because it’s on the interweb.  Even significant promotion doesn’t mean it will take off like a rocket.

Your video/product has to be good. And, if that’s the case, then you have to have real connections, people you engage with, give to and who are receptive (to you or the product). And you have to have a promotion plan beyond just uploading/putting it out there.  (Certainly there are exceptions.)

I asked a few extraordinary people to impart their social media “lesson” (for instance, something they discovered through their experience or how they’ve learned to explain it to their clients).

Here’s what they said:


Darren Barefoot

Capulet Communications
Writer, marketer and technologist. Co-author of “Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook
The mistake that most organizations make is starting with the tools.  They say “the competition has a Twitter account, so we need one too!”  The tools should come last, not first.  They should think through where their audience is online, what their objectives are, what strategies they should apply and then, finally, which tools or platforms to use (or whether they should create new ones).
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Also, when marketing on the web, there are no magic beans.
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Ari Herzog

Ari Herzog & Associates
Online media strategist and elected city councilor.
Social media is not new.  It was born long before Tim O’Reilly coined the Web 2.0 term and long before computers were born.  I frequently attribute Canadian marketer Kneale Mann who once wrote about prehistoric cave paintings as one of the earliest indicators of social media.  The hunter-gatherer tribes painted on the walls and orally told stories about the hunt, people asked questions, and conversations were sparked.  The wall paintings and the stories were media and the people asking questions were being social.  Has anything truly changed?  The lesson for organizations in 2010, thus, is to not view social media as a vanguard concept but as a tested, tried, and true means of sharing.  The key is in sharing.  If you’re not sharing, you’re not being social.
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Kate Trgovac

LintBucket Media
Social media and digital marketer
When I’m working with clients, I have to remind myself that while social media may be my business, it isn’t theirs. They aren’t going to engage in social media all day.  And they don’t need to know every last little detail about it.  They want tools that will help them build their business. And if they are going to invest time and money in social media, it darn well better have a business return.  And so every time I suggest a tactic, I’m keenly aware that they will be giving up time they spend on traditional marketing channels.  I make sure we talk through the potential risks and rewards of social media programs and set realistic expectations – and determine if social media is actually the most appropriate channel for accomplishing their marketing objectives.  Because believe it or not, sometimes social media marketing ISN’T the answer.
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Jordan Behan

Director of Marketing at Strutta and Bootup Labs
Videophile and technology advocate
You have to understand the value and purpose behind a social media marketing strategy before you start.  Too many times, people try to recreate the “magic” they’ve witnessed elsewhere, and completely miss the point.  There is no magic, no voodoo, no perfect formula.  “Social media” as the kids call it, is nothing more than an ever-changing set of software tools that help you have conversations with more people than you can in person.  The value is in the connections you make and the things you learn.
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Monique Trottier
BoxCar Marketing

Technologist, Online Marketer, Strategist.
Talking to clients about social media is always an exercise in metaphors for me: Social networking is a digital cocktail party.  LinkedIn is a business conference.  Twitter is your individual headline news ticker.  YouTube is your private tv station. In many ways the metaphors are silly and don’t fully explain the platform, but the point is that social media is nothing new.  Social media is simply a set of tools that let us do things that are harder to do in real life, such as keeping up to date on what all of our colleagues, friends and family members are doing, exchanging business contacts and making friend-of-a-friend introductions.
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The skeptical comments I often hear from clients are, “why do people spend time on this?” and “how can I benefit?”  Any active social media user knows that these are the wrong questions.  The answer is that people spend time on this stuff because it improves their ability to network offline, to gather information quickly and to establish relationships and to stay in touch.
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The basis of a good social strategy is answering the questions, “what are my clients doing online,” “what makes their chosen social networks attractive to them,” “what social failure or real life challenge does this network solve,” and “how can I participate here in a way that adds value, that establishes a closer relationship to my customers, that let’s me stay in touch with their needs, and that, ultimately, is a reciprocal relationship?”
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Jacob Share

Share Select Media
Job Search Expert and Professional Blogging Consultant

One of my favorite lessons from using social media is that giving freely is a terrific way to meet someone, whether to just get their attention or even to become friends with them.  For example, I became friends with someone very cool because he dugg a JobMob article and I made the effort to thank him, which he didn’t expect but appreciated.
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Elena Yunusov

Communicable
Communications Specialist


This time around, HoHoTO was to me the manifestation of the good in people, the generosity and the potential of social media to break down barriers and let people be part of social change in such fun and joyfully informal way.  I can’t imagine 15 random near-strangers would ever come together offline (you know, in ‘real’ life) to organize an event like HoHoTO within days, if not for social media.  We hardly knew each other pre-HoHoTO! And even if we did, I doubt we could get the word out and hundreds of people on board – virtually with no cost other than our time – the way we did.  I was managing tens of volunteers for this HoHoTO, and we kept in touch and coordinated schedules via twitter, email and google docs.  When we met, I felt like we skipped a great many layers of ‘introduction’ and ‘getting to know each other’ – we were like old friends, on fire, and ready to rock it: for HoHoTO, for the Daily Bread.  For humanity.  Social media is a whole new way of connecting, and I love it.

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I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your experience with social media.  Please comment below or feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to contribute your insightful tip to a future post on the topic.

For more tips, you might want to take a look at the 3 Case Studies on my presentation: “Facebook, YouTube, Twitter: Oh My!”  (See slides 58 to 83.)

And a final note: Reading Mark Dykeman‘s post “How to start 2010 by doing better work” inspired me to put together this one.

Experts Weigh-in With Social Media Lessons” by Monica Hamburg

Post url:  http://monicahamburg.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/ experts-weigh-in-with-social-media-lessons

Jordan Behan, Director of Marketing at Strutta and Bootup Labs
Videophile and technology advocate.

You have to understand the value and purpose behind a social media marketing strategy before you start. Too many times, people try to recreate the “magic” they’ve witnessed elsewhere, and completely miss the point. There is no magic, no voodoo, no perfect formula. “Social media” as the kids call it, is nothing more than an ever-changing set of software tools that help you have conversations with more people than you can in person. The value is in the connections you make and the things you learn.

Share

January 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm 12 comments


Monica Hamburg – Who Am I?

Good question (I wonder this all the time).
Linkedin profile is: here.
Find out more here.

Our Twitter for Business Workshops

I also offer Social Media Audits and a Twitter for Business Workshop (along with other services). For more information click here.

"The Twitter workshop opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing business. Terrific advice on how to best use twitter to create new business."

- Steve Rosenberg , Founder and Instructor, Pull Focus Films

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