The month of April is a weird one. The house has a strange quietness to it, as scholars are busy wrapping up projects, coordinating jobs and contracts, determining where "home" will be after departure dates, and having the last "dinners" and "epic nights out".
As many of our work and projects are winding down, I have found myself in just the opposite situation - winding up! After becoming a member last month of the Canadian Women in Communications (CWC) in Canada, I applied to participate in an awesome professional development program, designed to be a "boot camp" for social media junkies. As soon as I saw the program offered, I quickly put together an application, got my references and essays finished, and hoped for the best! A few weeks later, I heard back that I was one of 15 women in Canada picked to participate- I was thrilled!
So now, every Tuesday night for four weeks, I bunker down in my room, ensure the lighting in my room is decent (after all, I'm on camera for the whole class!) and log in to join classmates in Toronto and other web locations across Canada! We just finished week two (half way!) and have two more weeks left. Even though I am physically in Montreal, I am feeling right at home attending class every Tues night (virtually) at the RTA Ryerson School of Media and Communications. It is an incredible opportunity to meet women working in media and communications across Canada – I was surprised at how easy and painless the experience has been!
So this week's topic -
Understanding your digital footprint, and how to increase your social impact online was the focus of week #2 of the Canadian Women in Communications, Social Media Career Accelerator Program (#CWCSM). After being selected to be a member of the group, Canadian Women in Communications, I applied and was accepted into a professional development seminar program, focused on increasing expertise in social media tools and trends! As you can imagine, I was super pumped!
Following an engaging discussion about different strategies to better navigate twitter, including an in-depth look at Tweet Deck – an application developed by Twitter to help “super users” better connect and collaborate online- we dove into exploring our individual digital footprint, and understanding how increase our presence online. After running through some key tips and tricks – aka Twitter 101 – we uncovered some pretty cool tools that I have not had the chance to explore. Check them out below!
Personas: This is a cool invention out of the MIT media lab. Basically, the tool reflects how the internet sees you. Or simply put, what your “social” ranking is. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity. Use the tool to find out how relevant you (and the content you are posting) is online
Google + Profiles: Other than the Google employees that have filled this out, or early gmail adopters. Although I have been a long time gmail subscriber, I have not yet gotten around to filling this out. Perhaps it has something to do with laziness and not wanting to migrate my facebook information into yet another place. The only advantage to Google+ profile completion in my humble opinion? The option of hosting a Google hangout – basically a very cool video call with up to 10 friends.
About.me and Flavours.me: After religiously updating facebook, twitter, linkedin, and recently pinterest (hey – it is nice to post pics and cool links that interest me, without the annoying advertisements inserted, like facebook), I had avoided posting another profile on another online profile site. I was pleasantly surprised when I logged in and chose to set up an account with about.me – I was greeted with a refreshing interface and a set of cool designs to create my personal interface. For those people with a creative background, this is a great addition to linkedin. You can also (of course) link back to all of your other social media channels.
Class was filled with some interesting discussions about these tools, and other tips and tricks to increase your social “impact”, how to conduct a good search for keywords and blogs/trends that are relevant. As we shared between colleagues in the class best practices for writing for a specific audience or market segment in our respective job areas, we concluded class reviewing a few short examples of individuals who have created interesting blogs/projects online.
I would encourage you to check out two specific examples: The Happiness Project (made famous by partnering with Canadian retail hero Lululemon – a memoir of the year Reid Hoffman spent exploring and “test-driving” the lessons from popular culture about how to be “happier”. Another great example shared was a project by Jonathan Harris “We Feel Fine”, made famous through his Ted Talk on the subject. Each individual has effectively demonstrated the power of connection and collaboration with other individuals, using simple media tools.
As we embark onto our third week of the program, I am curious to see what topics individuals are researching, related to social media. As I think of my own “social relevance”, and questions my colleagues and clients have related to the value-add of using these social media tools, I can’t help but wonder what the next best trick or tool of the trade will be. Or if facebook will ever lose those annoying ads, as part of its timeline feature.