Posts Tagged social networking

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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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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