Posts Tagged social media

@MsHerr hits 10k tweets… & hands over the keys

Twitter_MsHerr_9953rd tweet

After 26 months on Twitter, I’m fast approaching ten thousand Twitter updates. That’s a lot of characters. It’s a bit of a milestone. Not like turning 18. Or turning 21. Or losing your virginity. But a milestone nevertheless.

@spectagirl suggested 10,000 shots. Indeed momentous, but not quite what I had in mind. @smarti9 started #MsHerr10kWatch2oo9. My friends are often quick to rally behind my endeavors in some fashion or another.

A few hours ago, I was 10 tweets away from 10k. By the time you read this, I’ll be 7 tweets or less from 10k. The build up to that 10,000th tweet has been fun, but also a bit daunting. Suddenly 140 characters has become a much bigger deal than necessary. There is this pressure to be momentous. Funny considering I’m much more likely to miss it completely (despite @smarti9’s 10k watch) and either use it on a reply or post something completely irrelevant.

I’ve decided to hand over the keys to my Twitter account. That means you (and everyone else) will have the opportunity to post as and from @MsHerr for up to 26 hours.

Why am I doing this? This is not the first time I’ve yielded control of my social presence. A year ago, I asked my community to help me select my avatar. My reasons then still hold true today. I believe in the social web. I believe in trusting my friends, connections, and communities. I believe in yielding control. And I’m curious to see what will happen. It could be phenomenal success or it could be an abysmal failure. But why not? Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.

How will it work? I have set up a Ping.fm account linked to @MsHerr and will publish the associated posting email address in my 10,000th tweet. You (and everyone else) can send a tweet to this address, where it will then feed automatically to @MsHerr. My only request is that you sign your tweet with ^@yourtwittername (please replace yourtwittername with your actual twitter name so people can link to you). Ping accepts text updates and photo updates, so feel free to post pics too. If you need a how-to, check out Ping’s posting guides.

My disclaimer: I reserve the right to delete any tweet. If you do not sign your tweet, I will probably delete it. If I feel violated by your tweet, I will probably delete it. After all, this is my account we’re talking about.

That’s it. That’s the deal. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me proud. And remind me why I fell in love with the social web so many months ago.

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two theories regarding social media, human dimensionality and community fragmentation

Social media is at once a new and old field. Those such as Christopher Locke, his fellow authors in The Cluetrain Manifesto (website or book) and others who have been around since the internet’s inception would say the foundations were lain decades ago. Those who have entered the field in the last couple of years are still considered early adopters. Yet there are many more that have yet to realize that those giants known as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook are just the biggest in a seemingly endless stream of social media channels.

Like so many fields in fledgling states, the early adopters are in a mad rush to understand the trend, define the vernacular, explore the potential and forecast the implications. Social media is deconstructing conventional notions of relationship building, information sharing, and personal and brand engagement. The implications will be numerous, diverse and far-reaching.

Some would consider me an early adopter…

I’ve been sitting on two theories for several months. They are theories that I think few people, if any, are talking about. And they are theories the have emerged as what I’ve learned in the relatively short time I’ve been engaged in social media has subconsciously intertwined with the semblance of knowledge gathered during my years as student of architecture (UNM and ASU).

To date, I’ve done nothing to push, publish, or promote my theories, largely because I have felt a bit intimidated by the amount of research that I think will be required to adequately explore them. But time to sit no more. Time to give my thoughts public face. Time to talk less and DO more. (Thanks to @templestark for callin’ me out).

one: social media facilitates the re-piecing of human dimensionality.

Driven largely by our car-dependent culture and the specialization of industry knowledge, we have come to live very fragmented lives. We live in one place, work in a second, and play in a third. We give our time to this group and our money to that one. In each place, neighborhood, district, and organization, we associate with specific groups of people, each representing a niche, and often isolated, community. We project the parts ourselves relevant to each community’s respective cultures, operating within specific norms and talking about specific subjects. We are perceived accordingly and we are encouraged to maintain certain boundaries lest one area leak into another and compromise our standing in both.

With little crossover between our personal, professional, recreational, and hobby interests, most of the people we encounter only experience a small sliver of our personalities. Yet what makes humans so fascinating is the interweaving of likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, skills and knowledge, indulgences and aspirations. These things interweave to create depth, breadth, complexity, and richness. They create dimensionality.

Social media opens the door to the fuller picture of our selves. We may still generally correspond with friends on Facebook, network with colleagues on LinkedIn or Biznik, and share ideas with people of similar passions on any number of niche interest sites, but the barriers to connecting with any one person in any number of communities are dramatically reduced. Time and distance are only nominally relevant. We’re easier to find. We’re easier to observe. We’re easier to engage. Indeed, it almost seems taboo to deny “friendship” in one community when it’s already been granted in another.

Each new request in a subsequent platform, whether online or off, flows from an interest that extends beyond the slivers of our personality toward the greater whole of our dimensionality.

two: solutions to community fragmentation will be found first in our online communities, and if they’re paying attention, urban planners and designers may be able to extrapolate the learnings for application within our physical communities

The fragmentation of our physical, neighborhood, and civic lives has long been a concern for urban planners and community developers. Whole genres, such as New Urbanism, have emerged from the search for design solutions that will help us patch the pieces back together for more cohesive lifestyles. Organizations, research efforts and books are dedicated to identifying causes and posturing solutions. There will be no one right answer, but there does not yet seem to be a satisfactory answer.

The proliferation of social media platforms is trending to a similar fragmentation of online communities. Blogs, videos, networks, bookmarks, games, podcasts and live-streams all provide means to produce, distribute and share content. Even within a single content type, there are a multitude of platforms. Consider YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, Ustream Tv, and many more, all operating in the video space.

Early adopters jostle for beta invites from each new launch. We play with the functionality, features, user interface and mobile capabilities. We play with the other users. We love an application and become loyal users and evangelists. We hate it and they migrate back to another preferred application. Or we fall somewhere in the middle, neither passionate nor dispassionate. Over time, we collect a pocketful of applications we use frequently, as well as a vast network of friends/colleagues/associates unique to each application. We collect fragment communities.

The online world grows, adapts and evolves much faster than the physical world, so while online communities mimic that which has already undermined our physical communities, they will also find solutions much quicker. From inception to prototype to product launch, maturation times drop and results evidence sooner. The quest for solutions has already begun. Feed aggregators and application sharing are only the beginning. Urban planners and designers who take heed now will experience a virtual living lab, and the learnings will be invaluable.


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the best auto-post-follow DM

I’m not a big fan of auto-thanks-for-follow direct messages on Twitter. In part because I’ve received enough of them that each one feels less personal than the last. And in part because I’ve thought about creating one for @PhxArtYC, a rogue account that I created to support the Phoenix Art Museum and the Young Collectors, but I have yet to draft one that feels personal. The bottom line is that an auto-DM can never be personal because automatic is not personal.

This is not to say that they can’t be useful, or even well received. The best auto-post-follow DM I received was from Scott Monty, the head of social media at Ford Motor Company. It was a simple thanks plus “If you ever want to get my attention, just “@” me.”

At the time, I didn’t initially know Scott’s DM was an automated response. I thought I was special. Scott, social media guy for Ford with thousands of followers, had followed me. Little ol’ me. I presume because our names came up in tweet(s) about a poker game with several other notable individuals following the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer in Scottsdale in late October.

I immediately reciprocated Scott’s follow, received said DM, and DM’d my own reply. He responded once more, closing with “Nice hanging with you at the poker table.” In truth, we were on opposite ends of the table, and I don’t recall any one-to-one conversation between us. Hardly a direct connection. But I still thought I was special.

Within a week, I learned that first exchange was an automated response. So much for thinking I was special. Burst bubbles aside, months later, Scott’s message still counts as the best auto-post-follow DM I received for two key reasons.

  1. He didn’t ask me to go to his blog. Or Ford’s site. He didn’t promise to look at my profile or read any of my tweets. He invited conversation with by simply suggested the best way to engage him – not privately via DM, but publicly in open discourse.
  2. He provided context. Context links to meaning. Meaning links to relevance. And by referencing the shared experience of playing in a relatively intimate poker game, he made the sum of the exchange personal.

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building on the small wins

Yesterday I had a small win; I set a new mark for the highest number of visits to my blog, and this time it was [mostly] all me. To be clear, I’m only talking about 89 hits, which is minuscule compared to the blog gods and probably still fractional compared to the blog demigoddess’ handmaidens who at least get all the good gossip. But it’s big for me, because:

  1. I post less than once a week on average. Isn’t one key to traffic providing regular, and somewhat frequent content?
  2. It doubled my good days. Remember, I’m not an blog goddess.
  3. And it was a result of my own efforts.

For comparison, my previous high mark was back in June when Warren Whitlock, co-author of the Twitter Handbook, addressed the importance of selecting the right avatar and linked back to me. I’d bet the Twitter Handbook blog has high readership, so when the link generated over 85% of my 81 hits on a single day, I was ecstatic.

What makes yesterday different, is that yesterday’s traffic flowed from Twitter mostly, but also 43 Things, Gangplank hacknight, and even merciless flirt. This means the traffic was coming from my peoples, and not someone else’s.

So this begs the question, how do you measure your blogging success? Let’s temporarily exclude comments (and assume you occassionaly look at your stats) to focus on traffic. Do you care about incoming traffic? What about outbound traffic as readers explore links you provide? Is it cooler to be drive traffic by your little ol’ self, or by gaining the attention of someone bigger (for the moment at least) than you?

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my anniversary is coming…

It’s a little weird to think about it this way, but it’s so true. It was my first conference in the field (even though it was, in fact, an unconference). It was my introduction to real discussions about how people were participating in, and leveraging, social media. And it was an opportunity to meet Brian Shaler, a Twitter user who had thousands of followers and really amazing jump photos, and the first person I had engaged online that I didn’t first know IRL.

So on a Saturday morning in November, I woke early, dressed in comfy clothing that would help me do anything but stand out, stopped for a venti 8-pump hazelnut mocha, and made my way to what would be my first date with Phoenix’s web tech community.

I’m talking about last year’s PodCamp AZ. I had no idea what an un-conference was so I researched it online before going. I was fascinated by the law of two feet, and I followed it so well that Brent Spore, a key mastermind behind the event, said that I must have gone to every. single. session.

I was such a newb, even the moment I introduced myself to Brian was really awkward. But it was a pivotal moment for me.

It meaning PodCamp.

I learned a lot. I discovered ReadPhoenix. I listened as others talked about managing online reputations and sustaining blogs. And I met several fascinating and very smart people in Phoenix’s social media community that turned me on to other meetups where the learning continues.

We’re only six weeks out from PodCamp AZ 2.0, and I’m really excited. We started planning months ago. We’ve expanded it to two days. We’ve looked beyond social media so we can examine the relevance of all media. We’ve asked the question, “What’s your source?”

Will you be there with us as we talk about the answers?

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social media wh()re

At last count, I had 33 profiles on 30 different social media related sites. I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten a few, and I have 2 profiles on each Twitter, MySpace, and 43 Things. I’ll list and link to them all sooner or later, probably sooner as I’m about to embark on a systematic update of each and every one of them. In the meantime, here’s a very non-interactive roll call.




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rumination: web presence addendums on a resumé?

I’m such a joiner, signing up for accounts across the spectrum of social media platforms, each time motivated by different objectives. I explore functionality, satiate curiosity, actively socialize, or simply squat my handle before someone else snags it. I had 28 profiles at last count, yet few of them see enough activity to be considered active.

Like brain crack, my best-laid plans would see these profiles folded into a larger (as of yet, undrafted) strategy for not only building my personal brand, but also for composing a virtual portfolio of my knowledge base, skill set, and interests. Sites like LinkedIn or Biznik already provide a template for users to network resumé-esqu profiles. But as more companies become wise to less business-centric social networking sites, from MySpace and Facebook to Twitter, they are including an investigation of prospective employees’ comprehensive web presence in their due diligence. This post by John R. Hopkins got me thinking … and has me still thinking … does it behoove the social media savvy job seeker to append their traditional resumé with a “reference list” of the sites where they maintain profiles?

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endnotes on the avatar project & process

The new face of Ms. Herr when online launched Friday afternoon on Twitter.

What started with a friend’s critique of the photographic quality of my then default profile pic and my own feeling that the same pic was ill-suited to serve my growing adoption of both personal and professional networking platforms, led to a strong desire for a new social media avatar. Subsequent conversations on personal branding and web presence cemented a notion that one’s avatar was a tool, an iconographic representation of self, serving to frame perceptions of their unique identity.

Already a fan of his abstract fine art work and his Dog a Day series, I was excited to work with Tyson Crosbie (@tysoncrosbie on Twitter) for my shoot, which in essence, was a conversation traversing a number of subjects during which he captured over 50 moments of self-expression.

Having spent much time discoursing the power of social media to engage audiences in meaningful conversations and crowd-source information, I felt it was important to include my own audience in the image selection process. Tyson posted a soft edit set* of 16 images on Flickr and we asked people to select their favorite. (*Link may take you to set of another individual/subject as Tyson and his clients continue to use this process for soliciting feedback. Selections from my set are currently archived here.)

The crowd-selected image is not the image I would have selected…and I consider this incongruence indicative of a successful process. It is often said that each of us is our own worst critic. How we perceive ourselves, how we hope to be perceived by others, and how we are truly perceived by these others are rarely perfectly aligned. What I believe to be my greatest attributes may not sync with those attributes that draw others to me. And so by yielding the selection of my avatar to a voluntary participant group, what rose to the top was an iconographic representation of self that connects most strongly with others.

Want another perspective? Tyson blogged his thoughts on the relationship between the avatar and personal branding.

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crowd sourcing my avatar selection

The soft edits of my shoot are up! 🙂

The purpose of my shoot was a social media avatar to serve as a visual thread throughout my increasing engagement of online activities and communities. In the true spirit of social media, I want to open up selection of the final image. Consider it an experiment in crowd sourcing the expression of identity.

The soft edit set, posted to Flickr, includes 16 images in their original format. The final avatar will, of course, be cropped to create a unique square composition. But to help me get to that point, I’d be flattered if you would view the set, point out your favorites, and provided critical feedback. Which one(s) most genuinely conveys my character? My aspirations? My human dimensionality? Which one embraces joy as a state of mind? Which one connects?

Photography by Tyson Crosbie.




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avatar: iconographic representation of self

Yesterday I had a shoot with photographer and artist, Tyson Crosbie. The purpose: social media avatar.

There are plenty of people who participate in social media and social networking simply as a way to keep in touch with friends. Regularly uploading new pics from various ad- and misad-ventures. Sharing stories, songs, and videos. Making plans. Adding new friends. And adding apps that allow them to engage these friends. All for fun.

Then there are those, who may do all of the above, but also see social media as an essential tool for building personal brands and online reputations. They aren’t just adding friends, they’re building a network. And very likely, they are building multiple networks across multiple social media platforms, from blogging to Twitter to Facebook to Flickr.

At the core of each platform is the individual user profile with various biographical information including user handle, given name, location, about, web presence, and … profile image. This one image serves as an iconographic representation of self. Avatar.

But how often, even among those building online personal brands, do we truly think about our avatar and what is conveyed when we select it. Don’t most of us just search for one of our favorite pics, crop it square, and click upload? I did. But as I continue a transition from just another girl keeping up with friends on MySpace to Ms. Herr when online, I’ve been realizing that my iconographic representation needs to be much more than just a quick hacked pic.

Soft edits will be posted in the near future for feedback.

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