Category Archives: Marketing

I Want Your [insert social network here] Login!

Employers Without A Clue

Reading several articles and seeing numerous Facebook posts about this situation:  You’re looking for a job.  Maybe you have aced the initial resume screen, phone screen and are in the face-to-face interview.  Maybe you’re not quite that far in the process yet.  It doesn’t matter.  What does matter is you know employers are searching you out on your social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, LinkeIN, YouTube, [insert social network of the day here].  What you may not know, is they are asking for your login credentials these days.

Say What?

Yes.  Read the articles: CBS Money Watch, Boston Globe, Information Week.

Say What?

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Overly Complicated?

It's Complicated
Image by Or Hiltch via Flickr

Is it really as complicated as you think?

Sometimes we see things from the wrong perspective.  We think they are complex, complicated and wicked to learn, use to do.  We see them as something unattainable, something that will always be either just out of reach, or a million miles away.  Sometimes we stop and think to ourselves, “That will never happen…”, or “I could never do that…”  Is it really that complex, that complicated or that wicked?  Many times they are not, and we all need to learn that about ourselves, the things we do, the thing we would like to accomplish, use or do.

I think we all sometimes just need to step back and re-evaluate how we are peering into our path.  How we perceive the obstacles on that path, and where we ultimately want that path to take us (whether it involves a turn, a new path or more).  Sometimes, we have to brave where the is no visible path – and with the right support behind us – our group of people, whether online or offline, that are our backing, the pushers pushing us to excel – we can build a path.  Our own path.

Does it need to be complicated?

Sometimes, and being a web programmer by trade I see this alot (and have even been guilty of it myself), we over complicate things.  We make them harder than it should be.  It’s nothing with our perspective or outlook, but in our natural habits.  We add steps, layers and side trails – not out of the fear of failure or other things pertaining to our paths and such, but out of a necessity to be thorough to the point of complications.

Why?  We all have off moments, and sometimes that is all it is.  A moment of clouded clarity, or no clarity at all.  Other times it’s the best we know at the time, and we just haven’t honed out skills to work, create and be lean, mean machines at what we are doing.  Finally, sometimes we just do it to see if we can – which can work against us, or for us, depending on what the outcome should be and what the outcome ends up being.

How about we make things uncomplicated?

Let’s face our fears, let’s build that new path, let’s learn about who we are, what we can do, should do and want to do.  Then, let’s get out there and do it.  No more complications from us not pushing forward, okay.  How about we try to maintain clarity – yes sometimes we just need to slow down or stop to gain that clarity – and that’s okay.  Your competitors (if your applying to a business mentality) aren’t going to get that far ahead of you if you stop or slow down to renew the clarity.  Think about it, they won’t get any farther ahead than you staying in a cloudy state for a longer period of time, now will they.  And that clarity may give your business just the edge it needs.

In our personal lives – let’s slow down and find that clarity – to interact well, live well and take more moments to cherish those around us.  Those who are helping us on our paths deserve nothing but our best in return for what they do for us.  Let’s give them that, shall we?

Why not.

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Old West Meets High Tech

Professional Bull Riders
Image via Wikipedia

What do Cowboys, Computers, the Web and Social Media all have in common?

They are joining forces to bring high-tech into the daily happenings of the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series. Through the use of social media, the web and computers (and by computers I mean desktops, laptops, netbooks, smartphones and more) they are expanding their reach into new markets, new genres and opening up the sport to a much wider audience than ever before.

The 2009 season has seen quite a few changes at the PBR – from the main web site (http://www.pbrnow.com) getting a complete face lift early on, to the event information pages being completely redone to provide more information and better timed, to using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to not only communicate with fans, but provide more pertinent information even faster, the PBR has expanded its high-tech offerings to the world at large in the digital age.

You can follow @teampbr on Twitter to get behind the scenes photos in real-time from the events, including the currently happening PBR World Finals. They also provide some scores as they happen in real-time, along with photos of riders, bulls, opening ceremonies and more. They also run some trivia and other fun items during the events to engage followers even more. The same can be said for their MySpace and Facebook pages, with information going out faster and through more outlets than ever before.

One of the late offerings of 2009, which debuted two events prior to the PBR World Finals, was the addition of the Live Event Center. What the Live Event Center brings to the fans is a real-time, live updated ride-by-ride scoring system viewable in their web browser. Within seconds of a rider either riding a bull or bucking off, fans have the ability to see the rider score, buck-off-time if the rider bucked off and in all cases the bull’s score. The fans now have the ability to see the scores and other information at times they cannot watch it on television or the broadcast is delayed rather than live.

Additionally, one of the staff writers, Keith Ryan Cartwright, is “live blogging” – sending updates every few rides with information about the riders, their rides, the bulls, their bucks and behind the scenes text commentary with the riders, and others. This has been placed on to the live score page, so that visitors not only can see the scores, but then get a flight-by-flight “blog” update of all the action that gives some perspectives behind the scores. So now visitors to the PBR site can not only get live scores, flight-by-flight commentary, but they can follow the @teamPBR team and get some photos from in arena as well as other updates in regards to the rides, riders, bulls, bull fighters and more.

If that were not enough, for the debut of the 2009 PBR World Finals, visitors to http://www.pbrnow.com can click on the live photo page and get a very special treat. Andy and Matt from Bull Stock Media, the official photographers and stock provider to the PBR, are posting real-time live in-arena photos. These are in-your-face photos of the bulls, the riders, the rides – all the dirt, grime and hustle that makes the PBR THE Toughest Sport on Dirt. The photos are posted from the start of the show, including the rider introductions, the bull introductions, during the presenting of the American Flag, all the way through to the round winner circle, and eventually at the close of the 2009 World Finals World Champion ceremony.

Combine all of that with a mobile powered web site with the latest news and feature stories, http://mobull.pbrnow.com, blogs from some of the best in the businesses, including 9-time World Champion Ty Murray, and a complete online Audio podcast and Video archive located at http://pbr.tv – it is easy to see how the Toughest Sport on Dirt is fast becoming a high-tech sport – reaching new fans, new avenues and generating more content for viewers than ever before.

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Who Is In Your VAN (Value Added Network)?

Swedish Mini van
Image by MGSpiller via Flickr

Who is in your VAN?

No, I am not talking your grocery-getter mini-van, or your creepy stalker van, or any other gasoline powered vehicle of the boxy van type. I am talking about your Value Added Network. Say what?

We seem to spend so much time these days building networks of all types. Whether it is a computer network, a social network, a family network or what ever type of network – we are fervently trying to connect all the various pieces of our lives together. The people, the places, the things, the ideas – trying to connect it, make sense of it and build our lives from it.

Maybe, just maybe, in our quest to build our networks – online, offline, within social circles and outside the social sphere of our lives we have failed to cue into what should be the most important part of our network – our Value Added Network. So, what exactly is a Value Added Network? I will explain my view of it below.

Value Added Network – the portion of our network that we either directly receive value from, or directly provide value to.

That’s a pretty broad definition if you ask me, so let’s break it down a bit. In any given network we possess, use or a part of, there are any given number of nodes, people, places, things or ideas. These nodes, people, places, things and ideas all have the ability to either give, take or destroy value to our network. This can happen any number of ways – which I might explore in another post later – but will touch on here.

Let’s examine the three things that can happen. Give – this does not mean a physical object, material object, or even any object at all. We can receive value from our network in many forms. We might get an uplifting note on a day we are struggling, which is good because it may improve our outlook and allow us to do something spectacular that day. We might get a small bonus or token from a client, customer or friend…just something to let us know we matter. We might get help from someone on a project, maybe an idea from them that helps us solve a problem. We might setup a new connection that we find is a wealth of information that we can personally apply to our activities and enrich those around and give back. Speaking of giving – we must do our part back to our network. If you can give an encouraging word, do so. If you can give some ideas, help or other resources, do so. Likewise maybe you can give someone an object, something material or whatever that enriches their life within their network, and within yours since they are a part of it.

Taking – yes there are those items, people and places that simply take and never provide any value back. We do have to be careful of these. Why? Sometimes it is wonderful to give, have it taken and not have any expectations in return. However, sometimes people, places and things simply take all they can, and we willingly give all we can and run to the ragged edge because of it. How? Take the highly addictive games we play on our computers. How many hours can we spend doing that? At what point to we cross the boundary and it becomes a time waster? What about the days we spend several hours doing activities that take away from things we really should be doing? Maybe we spend 2 hours being sidetracked on a web site, in a store, driving aimlessly when we really need direction. See how it can run our network dry? Sometimes we become the taker – simply consuming the people, places, things and ideas around us – needlessly, endlessly, ferociously, and selfishly. If you find your self doing this – STOP. It will better your network and those whose network you are drying up.

Destruction. It happens to us all. Those things which simply have no good outcome. There are things in our networks out to destroy out networks – whether it is a person, a piece of equipment, a place – they are there. The sole purpose is to disrupt as much as possible. If it is a person, it might be jealousy, anger, hate or malice that is driving this destruction. If it is something, say a computer or office equipment, maybe it is old and needs replaced, maybe it is malfunctioning, maybe it was no good to begin with. Either way, this destruction can not only destroy and dwindle our networks, but also destroy and dwindle ourselves.

So what is a VAN? A value added network is ensuring that what we spend the most amount of time with in any of our given networks is that which provides a harmonious balance between giving, receiving and realization that we can each give and take as much as it takes if we have built the proper network of people, places, things and ideas. It is merely the idea that we want to give and take, and get rid of that which is not balanced – if we are taking too much, out to destroy or not giving enough and are out of balance, we have a limited value from our network. If those items in our network are taking too much, out to destroy or not giving enough, again it is a limited value network. However, when we can find that balance, we have our value added network – the proper balance of give and take…whether it is interaction with people, places, things or ideas – they all can effect our network equally, just as we can equally effect them.

Your thoughts? Have you evaluated your networks recently? What did you find? Did you find any of the things discussed? Do you agree or disagree with the analogy? Share below in the comments!!

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Does YOUR Business NEED Social Media?

I remember back in the early days of the web, it was truly amazing. I also remember many discussions that not ALL businesses needed to be on the web. It was true, not all of them needed to be on the web at that point in time – it wasn’t mature enough. That has changed considerably, but I wonder if it has yet matured enough to quantify businesses being on the web.

That brings me to social media. Does YOUR Business NEED social media? Chances are, with the infancy of this new paradigm, you may not. You may not need to be interacting on every social network, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and others. There may not be much that you can accomplish right now. Besides, launching a complete social media plan and then executing it is not easy, just read Chris Brogan’s thoughts on the subject.

However, there are two things that you should do, right now.

  1. Protect Your Brand/Business/Name: Simple enough – go out and register your brands, your business name and your trademarks on the various social tools so that some unscrupulous would-be wanna-be doesn’t do it for the sheer fact you haven’t yet. This also keeps the said wanna-be from causing damages by impersonating you, your business or your brand. Even if you don’t use these accounts right now, just like a domain name, protect who you are.
  2. Social Search Your Brand/Business/Name: This one can’t be said enough. If you are not actively searching through Google, Google Blog Search, Twitter Search, on Facebook, MySpace and the other plethora of social networks and social media tools, you are causing damage to your business, your brand and your name. You will have no idea that your product was a trending topic on Twitter, and that 95% of what is being Tweeted is NOT in your favor. Cleaning up this fall out is messy at best, and disastrous with long-term, if not permanent, damage.

There you have it, protect your business, your brand, your name and become proactive. If you should happen to notice chatter in the socialsphere, you have the accounts already in place, with which you can respond.

What if some damaging comments are made, and you find out that some 17-year old registered your preferred name, your brand name or business name and you now have to be ambiguous on your identity until you get that resolved?

What if that 17-year old (or 33 year old) who impersonated you responded to the chatter?