Calling Cards as the New Business Cards

I believe there is a business card identity problem. In the modern day most folks do more than one thing. In years past you had a business card from the company you worked for and that was all you needed. Fast forward to today and folks may work for a company, have their own business on the side, be involved in groups and non-profits or even work with other freelancers in a consortium.

In the past few years I’ve become more and more involved in various unconference events, podcasting and social media groups all while running my B2B online printing business. I have business cards for my business, MyLabelNet, my podcast: Morning BrewCast, my social media groups: Social Media Club San Antonio and finally my social media consulting business: Brewing Media

Other than the fact I had to print all these different cards, there was also the need to have some of each one when attending networking functions. I never knew who I was going to encounter and which business or group I would want them to remember. There were many times I was speaking to someone about social media but only had printing cards on me. I had to then take the time to explain that this was my printing business and that the main thing was that my contact info was the same as for my social media business. Would the person remember that the printing business card was for the social media person? I doubt it. I was sending a conflicting message by giving out info that was different that what the person was interested.

So with SXSW coming up, I knew I needed to wrestle the whole business card identity issue to the ground. My solution?

No business cards

I’ve opted to go for a Calling Card. It has my contact information on the front. On the back I have three of the ten business/group/events I am involved in. I figured out that most of what I do could fit into those three categories. It certainly makes it easier to understand who I am.

I am an individual who is involved in all sorts of media. From traditional print media to digital media to social media. My hope is that my calling card will be the answer to the challenge of being someone who wears many hats.

Here are a few of the cards I have used in the past:

jens-business-card-collage

And now here is my new calling card:
jens-biz-card-pic

I invite your comments, suggestions and critiques on my calling card.

The Social Media Snake-Oil Salesman

The Social Media Snake Oil SalemanAs Social Media joins the mainstream there is a disturbing new trend emerging. Someone who three months ago never even heard of Social Media is now calling themselves an expert. Recently I saw a website offering “Social Media Certification”. This was from someone many in the community had never heard of before. We rolled our eyes at the gall of such a product offer. Naturally this “certification” was being offered for a hefty fee.

You may wonder why I consider this disturbing.

I’m all for folks discovering, learning and sharing Social Media. Heck, I’m a huge fan of the whole “Learn, Share, Grow” motto of the UnConference world. I spend a lot of time doing just that. From organizing annual events like Podcamps, Barcamps, Startup Weekends to monthly gatherings like Social Media Club and Social Media Breakfast events in my community. I am a huge advocate for taking the knowledge of the Social Media and Online Tools to the Community at large. The fact that what only a few early adopters used and understood for years has now become part of the general public’s daily media consumption is what I have been promoting since 2005.

What I find disturbing is that at exactly the same time Social Media is becoming widely known, the scammers, spammers and snake-oil salesmen are discovering it, too. For many folks who are just now entering this space, the “Social Media Certification” probably sounds like a good deal. What they don’t know is that the only certification you can receive is by doing social media. You actually have to dig in and participate in the conversation. You must take the time to develop the relationships. Regardless of what kind of “certification” you have in your hand if you don’t take the time to actively participate on the networks, you wasted your hard-earned money.

You may be wondering who to trust in the Social Media realm. How can you tell who is legit and who is a snake-oil salesman? My recommendation is to look at their Social Proof. If you are going to take a course, webinar, workshop or class take a look at the person teaching the session. Do a Social Media Background Check. I recently saw an advertisement for a LinkedIn teaching session. I was curious and searched for the person who was presenting on LinkedIn. Turns out they had joined recently and only had 5 Connections.

Please note that I am not trying to say that someone new to a network doesn’t have something to add to the conversation. Not at all. However, I do take a stand against that person saying they are a Social Media Expert. I’ve been involved in Social Media since it’s inception and even I am hesitant to call myself an expert.

Things are changing every single day. There are constantly things to learn. So before you pay good money to anyone for Social Media education, take the time to conduct your own research. Take a look at their Social Proof. It is easy enough to find out if they are who they say they are on the networks. Google and the networks themselves are your best source of information.

This topic is one which I know we haven’t seen the last of. I welcome your comments and stories.

image from The Voice for School Choice

The Social Media Transition

person who is internet connected to the globeAs San Antonio continues to develop it’s Social Media Community, it’s been interesting to see how things continue to evolve.

Back in 2005 when I was first interested in podcasting and created the San Antonio Podcasting Group, it was difficult to find the podcasting community. Over the last few years, it’s been a pleasure to see the questionable looks I used to get when I talked about podcasting turn into knowing looks.

The same thing has happened with Social Media. A couple of years ago no one knew what I was talking about when I talked about Twitter. Now even CNN uses their tweet stream as part of their daily news.

Social Media Breakfast and Social Media Club host monthly events to discuss how Social Media is transitioning our life, work and communities. Social Media Breakfast held a “Transition of Journalism by Social Media” topic in February. Look for upcoming “Transition Series” topics related to politics, education, non-profits, business and government.

Feel free to drop us a line if you have a topic suggestion you would like covered in the Transition Series.

Web Connected World Image from Techy Talk

Your Social Media Reputation

As someone who is active in the social media arena, I have found participating in the social networks  to be beneficial to both my personal life and my business. So much so that I have been espousing the benefits to several groups in San Antonio. Sharing the benefits of participating on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube to name a few. Most folks have heard of these sites, but don’t realize the importance of participation.

In the real world you develop a reputation for yourself or your business by what you do and how you interact within the community. The online world is no different. You develop a Social Media Reputation or gain “Geek Cred” by how you interact within the community, what you do and don’t do.

I discovered just how important this is when I met Byron Van Arsdale at the San Antonio Professional Coaches Association (SAPCA). He walked up to me and proceeded to tell me the story of how he had come to be there. He had received a flier from SAPCA announcing my presentation and was excited about the topic until he saw the word “guru”. (Note: He was refering to a story in the Express-News which had labeled me a “new media guru” for an article about Podcamp San Antonio: Numero Dos) His opinion of me turned south based on that one word. He reached out to his local network to solicite opinions about this so-called “guru”.

What happened next showed me just how important my network is even when I don’t know what is happening. Read his story to find out how it all turned out. Suffice it to say, the development of my “Geek Cred” and my network made all the difference.

The Social Networking Short-Cut

Social Sites Social Networking is all the rage right now. There are those who have been a part of it in some form or fashion since it’s inception. There are others who are just hearing about it today. I became involved in Social Networking through podcasting in 2005. For me, it was about finding people who were as interested and passionate about podcasting as I was. It turned into more as the online relationships developed. Attending conference events like the New Media Expo and unconference events like Barcamp Austin led me to even more online social networks. It started off as a way to continue the conversation with folks I had met at events.

Over the years it has progressed to first meeting folks online and later meeting them in person at an event.  Even though I was meeting them for the first time, it felt as though I was visiting with an old friend. It was great! I was connecting with folks who had the same interests. It didn’t matter that they lived in Florida, Connecticut or even Canada. Our relationships were as real as any in my own town. More so, because we interacted with one another on a daily basis. I don’t do that with anyone in town with the exception of my family.

So by doing what came natural to me, chatting about stuff that interests me, it turns out I was Social Networking. Who knew?

Fast forward to 2008 and Social Networks are all the buzz. You can’t open a magazine without hearing about Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube and so many more. There is a lot of socializing going on in the Social Networks. So much so that Big Business has started to pay attention. Southwest Airlines, Comcast and Zappo’s are not only on the networks, they are actively participating in them daily. Ford just hired Scott Monty as their Social Media Strategist. Other companies are taking a serious look at Social Networking.

What does this mean for someone who wants to get involved but doesn’t know the first place to start? There are so many networks out there it can make your head spin. Which ones should you join and which ones should you avoid like the plague? Oh sure, there is always the old standard method of trial and terror. It does work. However, it can be time consuming and fraught with Social Media faux pas. If you are a business owner you may not have the time to learn the ropes. And there is a learning curve. There are folks who jump in with both feet and in their excitement proceed to get blocked or ignored.

While Social Networks can be beneficial for your business, organization or group, there is a right way and a wrong way to participate depending on the network. I highly recommend you take the time to learn about each network to see which one best suits your personality, interests and goals. In this case it’s okay to be a bit of a lurker. It’s one way to learn the nuances and ensure your acceptance into the community at large.

Another way to jump into the social media landscape is to participate in one of the unconference-style camp events which happen periodically around the country. They pack informative sessions on podcasting, videoblogging and social media all into one day long event. Here in San Antonio we have PodCamp San Antonio and the upcoming Barcamp San Antonio. Check for an event in your neck of the woods on the various camp wiki’s. Here is the Podcamp Wiki which shows future and past events.

And still another way would be to participate in a workshop or hands-on class. These are meant to be small and intimate affairs where the goal is to not just learn but to do. One of my favorite sayings is, “It’s all about the DOING”. It’s fine and dandy to have plans but if the actual DOING of the plans isn’t carried out then the plan was for naught. This could apply to just about anything but it certainly is applicable when it comes to Social Networking.

You could also hire a Social Media Consultant or Strategist to help you navigate the ever changing landscape that is Social Networking. This would be considered the most personalized method for introduction into the world of Social Networking. Each facet is highly customized to the particular organization. Having a guide to help you maneuver through the nuances of each particular site certainly makes participating less daunting.

Out of the four options I listed above, I consider the last two Social Networking Short-cuts. By hiring a Consultant or participating in a workshop you are able to shorten the learning curve considerably. The margin of error also goes down and your adoption rate goes up putting you on the fast track to Social Media Nirvana. Which is the perfect blend of real world and online world interaction with folks who are passionate about your business, brand, cause or even you.

What will it be like when you share coffee with folks all over the country over a Social Network like Twitter? How much of a boost will your career take once you engage with the LinkedIn community? Who will your dog connect with on Dogster?  Yes, even dogs and cats (Catster) are doing it. So, just how telling is it when dogs and cats have their own Social Network?

In case a workshop is more your style, I have partnered up with Connie Reece and Sheila Scarborough to conduct several workshops on Three Web 2.0 Tools. There are two in July. One is on Friday, July 18th in Austin, TX at the Hilton Garden Inn Northwest.  The other workshop will be held one week later on Friday, July 25th in San Antonio, TX at the San Antonio Technology Center. These workshops will be hands-on and highly interactive. Get ready to roll your sleeves up for an indepth introduction to three of the best ways to start your social media journey.

Regardless of the method chosen to engage in Social Networking, I do believe participation is the key to sucess. I hope you find Social Networking as informative and fun as I have.

Social Media Webinar thru Educating For Success

If you look to the right of my blog you’ll see a section titled, “The things I’m doing, The places I’ll be”. Underneath is a list of events with dates. Some I’m organizing like Barcamp San Antonio and others like “Five Web 2.0 Tools” I’m simply an attendee. Either way these are events I believe in and if you are interested in the whole New Media, Social Networking, Podcamp/Barcamp thing you might want to consider taking a look.

Rhea Perry One of the things coming up this week is a 3-part Social Media webinar series I’ve partnered up with my long-time mentor and friend Rhea Perry to teach.  Rhea is a homeschooling entrepreneurial mom who holds seminars/training courses all over the country teaching parents and their teenagers how to become financially free. She does these events through her company, Educating For Success. Due to the knowledge and training folks have received from these events there are quite a few Dads who have left Corporate America behind.

Educating For Success

I’ve been a member of her Entrepreneurs at Home Yahoo group since 2003, attended a few of her events both in person and virtually. She is an energetic dynamo who has a real passion for helping families gain control of their own financial destiny. For this and many other reasons, I am honored to introduce Social Media to the Entrepreneurs at Home group,

On  June 25th at 3pm CST the first of the 3-part series on Social Media Sites will begin. The second class will be on July 2nd and the last class on July 9th.  Each class will be held on a Wednesday afternoon, recorded and accessible at any time to course participants. If you’ve been wanting to discovery Social Media and wonder how or if you can utilize Social Networking for your business or group then this course is for you. Course participants will not only learn the background of Social Media but interact with one another on  the Social Networking sites. Since I’m a big believer that “doing” is important in the learning process, the first people we will interact with will be fellow Social Sites Class participants.

Since I’m a fan, I highly recommend taking the time to get to know Rhea Perry and discover for yourself the amazing things she is doing to encourage entrepreneurial families. Head on over to the Educating For Sucess site and do take a peak at her blog. She calls her posts “Rheavings” and I think after you’ve read a post or three you’ll understand why ;-D

Live Online Audio Interviews

I struggled a bit with the title of this post. I started to put “Online Radio Shows”, but then thought better of it. I mean, if it’s not actually on the radio is it still a radio show? So then I started to put “Podcast Interview”, but it’s more than that, too.

Since it is going to be live and folks will be able to call in to ask questions that brings it back to being more like a Live Radio Show. So, I opted for “Live Online Audio Interviews”. Sounds kind of generic, but it does seem to be more of an all-encompassing term. I’m curious what your thoughts are on the subject. Am I reading too much into the terminology?

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well, I’m going to be interviewed on two live audio shows this week in anticipation of an online class I’m teach at the end of this month Social Media for Entrepreneurs.   As someone who is an entrepreneur and active in social media, I find business owners often jump into social networking ill-prepared.  Which negates any personal and professional benefits which are possible in the social networking arena.

This is a topic I feel so strongly about that I partnered with Rhea Perry of Educating for Success to teach a 3 week online course. This class is meant to help entrepreneurs, small business owners and organizations navigate the nuances of Social Media.

I’ll be talking about this in more detail tonight.  Join me at 7:00p.m. CST when I speak with Shaine Mata on BlogTalkRadio (<–There goes that radio thing again ;-)  Shaine is a Social Media dynamo in the Rio Grande Valley. Feel free to call in with your questions at (646) 716-8227.

On Thursday, June 19th at 2:00p.m, I’ll be chatting with Leslie aka Springanew on her Homeschooling Open Chat show. Leslie is an entrepreneurial homeschooling mom who does a daily show on TalkShoe. Participation is welcome (724) 444-7444 Call ID: 21854

As you know, I’ve never been one who is at a loss for word. So I’m looking forward to chatting with both Shaine and Leslie about Social Media. Log in and join the fun!

PodCamp San Antonio: Numero Dos – May 3, 2008

Podcamp San Antonio: Numero Dos

In case you were wondering where I’ve been, the title should explain all. PodCamp San Antonio: Numero Dos (that’s 2.0 for the non-Spanish speakers) is happening on Saturday, May 3rd at the El Tropicano Hotel from 9am-5pm.

We had a great time organizing it and had the opportunity to create a wacky but fun 4-part video promo. We follow the Podcast Pickle aka The Pickleman throughout San Antonio while he searches for PodCamp San Antonio: Numero Dos. Luckily he meets lots of friendly folks, sees the sights and has an all around good time.
Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Want to learn about the New Media and Social Networking scene? Have a topic you would like to share? Enjoy the mental grow process? Or just want to hang around folks who are as excited about Podcasting, Blogging, Video Blogging and Social Media as you are?

Then come on down to PodCamp San Antonio: Numero Dos to participate in the Learn, Share, Grow that is PodCamp San Antonio: Numero Dos

Social Networking Tools = Employment?

At the recent Co-Working event held at Firecat Studios the discussion came around to what employers are looking for now in new hires. As a self-employed gal who gladly left Corporate America years ago, normally this type of talk has me going through my grocery list while tuning out. However this time was different. What I found fascinating about this was that one of the new criteria for employment consideration is familiarity with Social Networking Tools. Things like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to name a few.

I had to stop the conversation to make sure I had heard right. You mean the stuff that most folks get into trouble doing at work is now what could get you hired? The answer surprised me. While it isn’t the only criteria used to make an employment choice, it certainly can put an applicant on the short list.

Now let me clarify this point a bit before you go off and amend your resume. It isn’t enough for someone to say they have knowledge of the Social Networking Tools. Nope. Having a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account is all fine and dandy. Sure, signing up is easy. The real test is how you have used the Social Networking Tools.

Do you participate?

For example, if you signed up for Twitter back in March 2007 during SXSW and haven’t used it much since, it might be time to dust off your account and rattle off some tweets. Thought Facebook was for college kids? Not anymore. You’d be surprised at who and what you’ll find there. Wonder about the value of LinkedIn? It’s where you’ll find some of these new hires that not only get it, but love it.

Don’t know where to start? Friend a few folks and get to know the community. Slowly but surely you’ll find yourself not only understanding the value of these tools, but having a good time in the process. Still not sure if this is for you? Well let’s take it one step at a time. You can always start with me.