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Did These Top Five 2012 New Media Predictions Come True?

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As 2012 comes to a close, I think we can call the biggest prediction (that the world would end) a bust. But what about predictions about blogging, social networking, and other parts of the new media world? Let’s take a look at 2012 predictions and whether or not they came true.

Prediction #1: Photo and video social networks will blossom

Who said it? Jay Baer (who will be speaking at NMX 2013)

Where he said it: this post from Social Media Examiner

Did it come true: Yes

I think we can all agree that Jay was right on the money with this prediction. During 2012, both Pinterest and Instagram grew rapidly, and more and more people started experimenting with creating videos to publish online. Even on established social networks like Facebook, we saw a boost in people using images and video.

The post on Social Media Examiner contains a number of 2012 predictions, as well; some right on the money and others a little off the mark.

Prediction #2: Social television converging with traditional television

Who said it: Elise Moreau

Where she said it: an About.com blog post

Did it come true: Somewhat

While some of her other predictions definitely came true, I think this one is a little farther from what really happened. Social television is still lagging a bit, though it is definitely growing. What we are seeing are apps and websites like Get Glue expanding rapidly, but we still aren’t seeing widespread adoption of smart TVs. Second screen apps like those offered by AMC are also growing, and according to reports, more people are using tablets, computers, and smartphones to browse while watching TV.

So, I’ll say that this prediction came true…somewhat. But I think we still have a pretty far way to go when it comes to social television.

Prediction #3: Google+ becoming a force in 2012

Who said it: Content Marketing Institute

Where it was said: their 2012 predictions slide show

Did it come true: No

It’s not like nobody uses Google+. In fact, lots of people use Google+. But a force? No way. There’s little mainstream adoption; people have stuck to Facebook for the most part. But having a Google+ profile does have other benefits. Namely, Google has remained a search engine powerhouse, so Google+ posts regularly show up in search results. The information you provide also helps Google connect the dots to figure out who you are.

You can definitely be successful on Google+, though. Amanda Blain is going to speak at NMX 2013 about this very topic, in fact. It’s quite a stretch to call this network a force, though.

Prediction #4: Every brand becoming social

Who said it: Eric Wheeler

Where he said it: a blog post for Venture Beat

Did it come true? Yes (for the most part)

While there might be a few holdouts, it’s rare to find a brand that doesn’t have at least one social profile (usually Facebook), and many are on several networks. One of the other points he makes is that social data will become more important to brands, and I definitely think this has come true. While in the past, companies were using social media just because they “had” to, the question today on everyone’s mind is, “Why?” Brands want to see ROI, and without data, it’s impossible to show that.

Prediction #5: Social sharing options everywhere

Who said it: David Armano

Where he said it: a blog post for Harvard Business Review

Did it come true: Yes

It seems like I can’t do anything online without an option popping up inviting me to share. Buy this product? Share it. Sign up for an account? Share it. I’m waiting for the days when they start asking us to share that we’ve just shared something!

But all joking aside, I like it that the Internet is becoming more social. Writes David, “We probably don’t know what we are willing to share until we see the option to do it.” How true is that? I find social sharing notices helpful as reminders to share my activities when they might interest others.

Did you make any social media predictions for 2012? Did they come true or were you surprised? Leave a comment below!

Is New Media Destroying the News? How the Obamacare Ruling Highlighted a Growing Problem in the Media

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Yesterday, several politicians tweeted in celebration that Obamacare (new and controversial health care law in the United States, for those of you who are living in other countries and not paying attention to U.S. news) was repealed. The problem? It was actually upheld by the Supreme Court, not found unconstitutional and repealed. Mashable actually has screenshots of tweets from six politician, and these mistakes were later deleted when the real news about the ruling came out.

But don’t be too hard on these Republicans, no matter what your political persuasion. It’s hard to blame individuals when several media outlets on both sides of the political spectrum, including CNN, Fox, Huffington Post, and TIME all got it wrong too.

This is a growing problem in the United States and around the world – and as much as I love social media, blogging, and other online content, I think it might be new media’s fault.

The Race is On

One of the reasons newspapers are failing is that news reported this day is delayed. I subscribe to The Washington Post, but I have to admit that I rarely read the actual news, except local stuff about arts problems and the like. Op-eds are interesting, but when it comes to straight news stories, almost everything printed in the paper is stuff I already read online the day before. Being so connected means that I see breaking news when it is happening, and I don’t even need to leave Twitter for this information in many cases.

The world of news reporting online is extremely fast, and this need to be first is permeating other news sources as well. Everyone wants to break a story, and you know longer have days or even hours to do that. You have minutes. Sometimes, you have seconds. If you want to be the first source, you have to be incredibly fast or someone will beat you to the punch.

I think that’s what happened here. News sources like Fox and Huffington Post are pressured to try to report on a major news story first, and when that happens, mistakes are going to be made. It’s inexcusable to put speed before quality, especially when it comes to reporting the news. I can forgive a typo or even incomplete information, but it’s a harder pill to swallow when a story is completely wrong simply because it was more important to report first in the hopes of being correct than it was to spend a few minutes doing some fact-checking.

This is certainly not a new problem, as even before the Internet became such an important news outlet there were people who put speed before quality. I am, of course, reminded of the famous Chicago Daily Tribune headline “Dewy Defeats Truman,” which was published in 1948 even though Truman was the real victor in that presidential race. But I think the fast pace of the new media world has made large factual mistakes more commonplace. If you aren’t quick to report on a story, a million no-name bloggers, tweeters, and would-be journalists are already talking about it, and you’re late to the conversation.

A Culture of Not Caring about the Facts

More alarmingly, I think the new media world has created this culture of putting opinions first and facts second. Look at the incorrect tweet issue, for example. A politician, no matter how powerful, is not a news source, so the pressure to be first, as media outlets like CNN might feel, is absent. But just because you don’t have this need to be the first in reporting the news doesn’t mean you don’t have an inner need to post your opinions immediately.

This is, in my opinion, something that has invaded our culture due to new media. We don’t give ourselves time to think. We have this internal feeling of bursting if we don’t tell you want we think right now. Facts be damned.

It’s a problem.

Although several media outlets got it wrong in their struggle to be first on this issue, plenty of sources got it right. Still, the politicians called out by Mashable weren’t the only ones who tweeted incorrectly about the situation. This tells me that one of two things happened:

  1. The tweet was queued up and ready to go as soon as the announcement was made.
  2. The person immediately tweeted after seeing one report about the “repeal” without doing any additional fact-checking.

But why? Why the need to voice an opinion about something so quickly that you barely give yourself time to skim an article about it? At least TIME has a business reasons for being wrong – they were trying to be competitive in their industry where being first matters. But why do we as individuals subconsciously put speed before quality when voicing an opinion?

It’s the same thing that drive people, sometimes 20+ comments deep, to type “FIRST!” on a post by a popular blogger. It’s the need to be important.

Being important feels good. I’ll go back to something comedian Jordan Cooper once shared with me. When you make someone laugh, you feel good, and that’s why humorous posts and videos often go viral. Because you don’t have to create a joke – you just have to be the first person to share the joke with a friend. When you tell someone a joke they’ve never heard before, you feel good, and  you feel important. The same thing is true of a news story. When you’re the first to voice your opinion, when a friend hears it from you first, you feel good, and you feel important.

Social media and blogging has made it hard to get this “fix” of feeling important. Before, you could say to your neighbor “I really don’t agree with the Obamacare ruling,” and they might say, “Oh really? Tell me why you think that.” Now, the answer might be something like, “Yeah, that’s what a lot of people on Facebook have been saying.”

If we don’t express our opinions quickly, our thunder is stolen. At least, that’s what it can feel like subconsciously (or even consciously).

The New Media Monster

So is new media destroying the news? Yes, in some ways, I think it is. We’re smack dab in the middle of a major media shift, and although there have been some definite improvements, the Internet is still an informational free-for-all. I don’t think this is a reason to dislike or avoid new media, but I do think that we all have to start taking more responsibility for what we say online so that we never let the egotistical feeling of wanting to be first overcome the duty we have to be correct.

Five Questions with C.C. Chapman – Interview with Cliff Ravenscraft – BlogWorld TV

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C.C, Chapman will be presenting a hangout session on Monday April 16th.

C.C. Chapman will be at BlogWorld & New Media Expo signing his book, Content Rules.

Today, C.C. Chapman is our featured “Five Questions with” guest in the latest episode of BlogWorld TV. We’ll find out what C.C. is looking forward to at BlogWorld & New Media Expo New York (he’ll be signing his book, Content Rules, there!) and his plans to visit Book Expo America (BEA), which is co-located with BlogWorld.

Cliff Ravenscraft

Cliff Ravenscraft talks about putting together the Podcasting Track at BlogWorld & New Media Expo

In this installment of BlogWorld TV, Jeffrey also talks with Cliff Ravenscraft about his involvement in BlogWorld & New Media Expo, his revamp of the podcasting track, and the new podcast he is producing for BlogWorld, called The Podcast Report. Finally, we’ll hear from Rick Calvert (CEO, BlogWorld & New Media Expo) and Scott Monty (Head of Social Media for Ford). All within this BlogWorld TV episode.

 

 

Is New Media Making Communication Too Casual?

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Earlier today, I saw a tweet from one of my friends to his wife. It simply said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart!” Part of me smiled and felt those warm fuzzies. The other part of me…well…cringed.

Now, since this duo lives together, I can only assume that he said Valentine’s Day to her in person as well, but what if this isn’t the case? Let’s say I don’t love with my significant other – is a Valentine’s Day tweet “enough”? Is a text better? Is an email better? Is a voice mail better? If they all say the same thing – Happy Valentine’s Day – why is one way of communication better than the other?

Helllo, Hello

Let’s switch gears for a moment (I swear we’ll circle back around to the Valentine’s Day tweet at the end), and talk about the last few emails you’ve sent and received. The new media world has created this weird ability to “get to know” someone without ever interacting with them, the same way we’d “get to know” a movie star or other type of celebrity. So, when emailing someone for the first time, it’s always a little awkward.

I get emails all the time that start off with “Hi Allison…” – and not from people I know. From people I’ve never met who have a question or comment. It’s a little awkward when someone is pitching me. Part of me thinks, What the heck? You people don’t know me. What ever happened to Ms. Boyer?

And yet, when I do get emails that call me Ms. Boyer, they feel way to stuffy and part of me things, What the heck? You people couldn’t even do enough research to find out my first name is Allison?

I’m a hard girl to please.

Things are even worse when I have to send an email to someone I don’t know personally, especially when I’ve been reading their blog for years. Do I go with Mr./Mrs./Ms.? Do I use a first name? Should I go with the first-last combo? Oh god, should I even be emailing this person at all?

And there there’s the situation to consider. What if I’m applying for a job? What if I’m a lot older than the other person? What if I’m a lot younger than the other person? What if I know they read my blog or we follow one another on Twitter, but we’ve never actually spoken?

And what if I’m calling instead? Do I ask for the person by first name?

Please tell me that I’m not alone in having a slight panic attack over communicating with people I haven’t met yet.

100 years ago when sending a letter to someone – heck, even 20 years ago – we would have never thought twice about this. No one sent letters to people they didn’t know without using the proper, formal salutation.

I Feel Like I Already Know You!

The reason the email salutation thing is even an issue at all is before new media makes it really easy to get to know everything about a person’s life without ever actually speaking to one another. People make an astonishing amount of information about themselves public. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met someone at a conference or event for the first time and they say, “I feel like I already know you!” And I’m not immune to it – I feel like there are people online that I know pretty intimately, yet they probably don’t even know I exist.

It’s a little creepy, right? It’s also a little sad. We’re substituting actually forming relationship with just reading about a person’s life.

On the other hand, it’s also kind of cool. We’re able to meet people we otherwise would have never gotten to meet without social media and blogs. Some of my best friends are people I’ve met online. That’s pretty awesome.

The problem comes when you forget that people show only the best version of themselves online. I talked a little about this earlier together when I talked about online dating. When you meet someone in person and really get to know them (not just read their blog), the result isn’t always what you were expecting.

New Communication isn’t Bad Communication

It’s human nature to be scare of things that are new. But new media is also very exciting. We have all these new, fast ways of connecting with people that we didn’t have before. A tweet (or Facebook wall message or whatever) doesn’t have to be better or worse than any other form of communication. It’s all about the how and why.

Are you using Facebook to break up with someone because it’s too upsetting to do it in person? Fail. Are you using Facebook to invite someone to your party because it’s the best way to contact lots of people at once and allow them to RSVP? Win.

New media becomes a communication problem when we’re using it to avoid other forms of communication, but these tools can be awesome too.

Too Casual?

So the real question here, the one I asked in the title of this post, is this: is new media making us too casual with one another? And my personal answer to this question is both yes and no.

Yes, because it makes it easy to forget that someone real is behind that avatar. It makes us lazily tweet Happy Valentine’s Day when we should connect with that person in real life, broadcast “Happy Holidays” messages when we should write individual cards (or at least individual emails), and endorse people we “know” without taking the time to learn more about what they’re really like behind the persona they present online.

No, because new media allows us to connect in entirely new ways with more people than would ever be possible without online resources. We can send messages faster, make declarations of love public, and allow lots of people to get to know us via our blogs and profiles.

What do you think? Are new media tools making too casual with communication?

25 Social Media Posts Everyone Should Read

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When I first started writing this post, it was called “25 Social Media Blogs Everyone Should Read.” Then, I realized something. There are a lot of social media blogs out there that are awesome, but not right for everyone’s tastes. After some further work, I realized something else – there are a lot of really smart people out there writing about social media even though they don’t necessarily have social media blogs.

So, instead, I want to present to you 25 Social Media Posts Everyone Should Read. These are posts that make you think, written by some of the smartest minds in our industry, in my opinion. These are the posts that have really affected the way I think and, in some cases, have changed my life. That’s a bold statement to say, I know…but some of them are truly that good.

If you like what you read here, you might also want to check out Brilliant Bloggers, our weekly link round up surrounding more specific new media topics. Also, these posts are in no specific order…except alphabetical!

1. Are Authentic Social Relationships Overrated? by Pam Moore from The Marketing Nut

“Just because we may not have the “same” relationship with each person, doesn’t mean it’s a fake or that either one of us is being un-authentic. We all connect in different ways. We share different onion layers with one another, differeent layers of transparency.

Do I want to see and smell every onion layer of every Twitter contact and Facebook friend? Heck no! Do I want every client to dump their closet of personal skelatons on my table? No! However, do I have existing clients, partners and Twitter friends I share tears of joy, laughter and sorrow with? Absolutely! Are there people I have met on Twitter who live across the globe who I know better than the neighbor across the street? You betcha!”

In the social media world, there’s a lot of talk about authenticity, but this isn’t a cut-and-dry concept. As Pam covers in this post, “authenticity” doesn’t mean the same thing in every social media relationship – and that’s okay, believe it or not. You can find Pam on Twitter @pammktgnut.

2. Definitive Guide to Becoming Likable Online by Glen Allsopp from Viper Chill

“I’m far more likely to link to my best friend in a blog post than a random blogger and I’m far more likely to send my favourite cousin a copy of my new product for free than someone I don’t know.Of course, those are offline relationship examples, but online isn’t really any different.
You don’t talk to people you don’t like. Unless, of course, you love drama.”

Glen is seriously one of the smartest bloggers I know. I have a total blog crush on him, and this post is a prime example of why I enjoy his work so much. It’s where I feel some “rising star” bloggers have gone wrong – have you ever noticed that the truly great, a-list bloggers are all also very likeable? After you check out this post, you can follow Glen on Twitter @viperchill.

3. Do You Really Communicate, or Do You Just Tweet? by Dave Murray from The Way of the Murr

“Do you try to connect, or do you just broadcast?

Are you creating content, or are you just blogging?

Do you tell or show someone what you like, or do you just hit the button?

Are you sharing, or are you yelling?

Are you helping, or are you telling someone what to do?”

Dave Murray is one of the best people I’ve gotten to know through working with BlogWorld Expo, and this is one of my favorite posts from his personal blog. If you get the chance to see Dave speak, do it – you won’t be let down. After checking out his blog, you can follow Dave on Twitter @DaveMurr.

4. How to Lose Friends and Tick Off People on Facebook by Scott Stratten from UnMarketing

“An open letter to all my friends in the social media consultant/guru game,

Please stop.

You’re steering people the wrong way.

You sell yourself as social media consultants, the ones that can show you the way and then fark it up.

I beg of you to stop.”

Scott Stratten’s keynote at BlogWorld 2010 is one of the best I’ve ever seen, online or off, and his blog is more of the same – smart ideas that lots of people are thinking but few have the hutzpa to put into words. He’s also a lot of fun to follow on Twitter too – @UnMarketing.

5. If I Started Today by Chris Brogan from ChrisBrogan.com

“Okay, so you’ve heard from someone that this social media and social networking stuff is great and you should get involved, and it’s really going to help you out. Maybe it will help you in the economic downturn. Maybe you have heard how you can use Twitter for business. But there’s a lot to it all.Where would you start? What would come first? How might you think about getting out there and joining in on the experience?”

To me, this post is invaluable. Chris Brogan is by far one of the most successful people in the new media world, and in this post, he shares with us the advice he’d give himself if he were starting out completely new to the game. Even if you aren’t 100% new yourself, this post can give you some insight as to what you’re doing right and where you need improvement. Chris is on Twitter too @ChrisBrogan.

6.If You’re Not Making Enemies, You’re Doing It Wrong by Adam Singer from The Future Buzz

As strategists we can’t be closed off to a certain approach because it carries certain risks or taboos. Just the opposite, we need to be open to any and all possibilities.

If you are truly passionate about your category your opinions about it will naturally be strong. This will run counter to what others think and that’s perfectly OK. Don’t shy away from it. I’m not saying to be disingenuous or not true to yourself. I’m not saying to lie or make things up. I’m saying to let your raw passion for what you do shine, whether that runs in opposition to others or not.”

I’m not a fan of making enemies for the sake of it. In this post, Adam talks not about going out there and writing posts to intentionally piss off other people, but rather about the need to check your fear at the door when voicing your opinions. I wholeheartedly agree, and to me, this is one of the most important posts out there. In addition to reading Adam’s blog, you can also fin him on Twitter @AdamSinger.

7. It’s Personal – My Thoughts on Communication in This Digital Age by Erika Napoletano from Redhead Writing

“Fans. Admirers. But for those who seek them, Johnny-Come-Latelys/Bandwagoner/Tagalongs. I put out my content and am confident that people will find me through friends who follow me and share my schizz or by stumbling across my blogs. THOSE are the followers I want. I’m violent in my opposition to those who use auto-DMs and sales-pitchy words on Twitter because they’re taking what can possibly be the most *personal* of all social networks and instantly making it as impersonal as possible.’

Erika is another of my favorite bloggers for her dedication to telling it like it is and interesting ideas, and what I really like about this post in particular is that it is not just another rant about the need for us to connect in real life and get away from the computer. Twitter (and other social media platforms) can be personal – but it’s up to us to make it that way. Erika is on Twitter @RedheadWriting.

8. 21 Killer Ways to Increase Your Influence Online by Mars Dorian from Spread Your Influence

“This word becomes so much flak it’s unbelievable. Even inspiring superstars like Will Smith use it. Being delusional means you are seeing something that doesn’t exist (yet). You are fantasizing about a future that yet has to be manifested. It means you are having big goals. Very big goals. And even if you don’t reach them, you will get very far.

How’s that saying ? Reach for the galaxy. Even if you miss, you will land in the sky.”

Every time I read a post by Mars, I feel like I’ve been punched in the face with inspiration. There’s really no other way to describe it. The above quote is just one of Mars’ awesome tips – check out the read at his blog and find him on Twitter @marsdorian.

9. The Medium and the Message by Catherine Caine from Cash and Joy

“You don’t need a Facebook strategy. What you do need is a strategy to spread your message to the right people, which might involve using Facebook.

The same applies to logos, free e-books, fliers, website designs, email autoresponders, prize giveaways, plugins, taglines, social media platforms, gimmicks, competitions, branding and every other marketing activity you complete.”

I love Cash an Joy because Catherine always tells me what I need to hear, but packaged in posts that are interesting to read and often, like this one, accompanied by a story to illustrate the point. After you check out her blog, you can find her on Twitter @CatherineCaine.

10. The Only Two Rules of Twitter by Jordan Cooper from Not a Pro Blog

“Every other day, theres a blog post published somewhere telling you how to use Twitter. Some will show you the correct ways, some will show you what youre doing wrong.

Did you even realize how many rules there are to use such a simple platform? I wasnt even aware there was a police force to regulate how people can use Twitter. In fact, I’m surprised you havent been locked up already for breaking one of the 14,788 bylaws. (trust me, this is the exact number of actionable offenses)

I guess I’m a misinformed idiot. I always believed there were only two fundamental laws of Twitter.”

Okay, I’m cheating a little because this isn’t really a post – it’s a video. But of all the videos Jordan’s recorded and posts he’s written, this is my favorite and the one I most often send to other people when their Twitter practices annoy me. Not that you would ever do something like that…but just in case you need to send it to other people, you better check out the video and find Jordan on Twitter @notaproblog.

11. PSA: Remember, Social Media is Serious Business by Amber Naslund from Brass Tack Thinking

“Do not laugh. Do not use silly hashtags with abandon. Do not have insipid conversations about your dog or share pictures of cats. Do not discuss your weekend plans or your vacation or your interests and hobbies. Do not tweet about your favorite TV show.

Do not taunt Twitter.

 

I’ve been a fan of Amber’s since I saw her speak at BlogWorld 2010 in Las Vegas. I was stoked to hear that she was one of the keynotes for BlogWorld LA 2011, and I’m unashamed to say that I stalk her on Twitter. You can too by following @AmberCadabra after checking out her tongue-in-cheek PSA.

12. The Real Secret to Getting 12K Followers on Twitter by Elizabeth Potts Weinstein from Live Your Truth

If you want twitter to work for you, if you want to develop real relationships with your followers, if you want any of this to actually mean something …  that’s all you have to do — treat people on twitter like you would treat friends in your regular life.

Act like you care about people you know on twitter.

Better yet, actually care about people you know on twitter.

You don’t need a guru or expert or A-list blogger or even me to tell you how to be a human being.

EPW has, in my opinion, a real talent for writing posts that make me feel like I’m having a conversation with her as I’m reading them. This post talks about her Twitter success and all the ridiculous practices that people use (unsuccessfully) on social media. Check out the post and follow Elizabeth on Twitter @ElizabethPW.

13. Social Media is Dead; Love Live Word of Mouth by Pace Smith from Connection Revolution

“You need to be remarkable to get people to make remarks about you. You can’t pay for fake remarkableness anymore, because the only remarks that people listen to these days are remarks that come from trusted sources. To be remarkable, you must be valuable and you must be worth talking about.You need to be authentic to get people to trust you. People have been burned too many times by fake viral marketing campaigns and corporate blogs that preach transparency while actually lying through their teeth.”

Connection Revolution, run by Pace and Kyeli, is a blog filled with awesome writing, and although they don’t specifically cover social media, the topics they do discus have relevance whether you’re connecting with others via Twitter or face-to-face. This post is an older one, but there’s a reason I bookmarked it. Check out out, and then follow Pace on Twitter @PaceSmith (and Kyeli is on Twitter @Kyeli).

14. Social Media is not Going to Save your Business by Brian Solis from BrianSolis.com

“Companies must now be engaging and worthy of connection now and over time. And more importantly, businesses must embrace a culture of change to become adaptive and survive Digital Darwinism.  Social media will not save business, but it will challenge them to evolve, to adapt…to do better.”

 

 

In an age where everyone seems to be embracing quickly-scanned blog content that can be digested easily by the masses, Brian Solis writes longer magazine-quality posts that take time and careful thought to read. Personally, I feel challenged to be a better writer every time I visit his site. This is one of my favorites from a sea of awesome posts he has written. You can find him on Twitter @briansolis.

15. Speak No Evil – Why Trust isn’t a 4 Letter Word in Social Media by Jay Baer from Convince and Convert

“The more companies I talk to, the more I recognize that once they have the official company social outposts humming, organizations want to socialize other parts of the enterprise. This is gratifying, as this is the core premise Amber Naslund and I put forth in The NOW Revolution – that social media is about people not logos, and it’s everyone’s job to represent the company on the social Web.

But there’s a huge obstacle preventing many of these companies from executing on this plan. In short, they don’t trust non-marketers to represent the brand appropriately.”

I’ll be honest; I had a hard time choosing just one of Jay’s posts to highlight here. He’s the kind of blogger that continuously writes posts that make you want to jump from your seat and applaud the computer screen. Not that I’ve ever done that. Okay, maybe once or twice. Check out this post and follow Jay on Twitter @jaybaer.

16. Thoughts on Klout and Psychology by Peter Shankman from Shankman.com

“Here’s the main reason I believe Klout will thrive and dominate: In my opinion, Klout also marks the first time that a company is actively mining us for our activity, and not only don’t we care, but we actually welcome it!

Fact is, we all want to be recognized. It’s one thing to have something assign an “online” number to you, without the added component of offline – The added component is where Klout rules – I have no problem being assigned a number if it means I can cut the line at a hotel and get a room upgrade. I doubt you would, either.”

If you come to BlogWorld Expo this fall in LA, you’ll get to hear Peter Shankman speak in real life as a keynote. For now, check out his blog, including this great post, which talks about Klout and social influence. I really like the examples he gives about how marketers can – and probably will – be using this tool in the future…and why that’s a good thing for all of us! After reading this post, you can also follow Peter on Twitter @petershankman.

17. Time to Change Your Social Media Plan – Are You the Rifle or the Shotgun? by John Paul Aguiar from Money Dummy

“I love Social media and I think every blogger and business owner should have a social media plan in place.

I wrote a post on social media learning at – The 5 Fingers To Social Media Learning

I been doing the social thing online a long time and it has been a HUGE boost to my business and the friendships I have made online have been great.

But when is it to much?
At what point does social media take more then it gives?

When do we have enough social sites to visit?”

I love this post because it asks some of the same questions I ask myself – and John Paul outlines the two approaches he sees to making this all work. Whether you choose the rifle approach or the shotgun approach to social media, check out his blog and follow him on Twitter @JohnAguiar.

18. The Truth Behind Why Social Media “Hates” You by Lisa Barone from Outspoken Media

“Sometimes it feels like social media is out to get you. Like if it’s not actively plotting your demise, it’s certainly giggling at it. You give it everything you’ve got and it never calls, never sends a gift and you’re constantly hearing whispers that it’s out canoodling with your biggest competitors. They’re getting retweets and media mentions, while all you’re seeing is frustration and a boss who wonders if this tweeting is costing everyone more than it’s making. What do you do? I mean, other than break out the bat and beat the world into submission?”

Remember when I told you that I have a blog crush on Glen Allsopp? Well, I regularly cheat on him with Lisa Barone. The Outspoken Media blog is one of my favorites online, not just because Lisa gives great advice, but also because she makes me laugh at the same time. This post is one of my all-time favorites, and after checking it out, head to Twitter to follow Lisa @LisaBarone.

19. Was it Trial by Fire? by Kirsten Wright from Wright Creativity

“Currently, we are the recipe makers, suffering trial by fire with social media. There are ingredients (and lots of them), but no matter if we have the exact same ones as our neighbor, we all combine them a little differently and add little extras of our own. We each develop our own recipe that tastes the best, cooks the smoothest and delivers a very amazing meal to our families. But, just as the first recipe makers didn’t get it right the first time, these social media recipes are constantly shifting, growing and improving.”

In this post, Kirsten touches on one of my core social media beliefs – that this industry is so new that nobody out there can say, with complete certainty, what we should or should not be doing. Check out the rest of Kirsten’s blog for more thought-provoking posts and follow her on Twitter @kirstenwright.

20. 3 Ways to be Nice Online (Or, Everyone Just Wants a Good Nuzzle) by Marian Schembari from MarianLibrarian.com

“Honestly, I’ve been lucky enough to find some amazing, friendly, creative, charming people online. They’re doing spectacularly. So when I come across someone who just doesn’t have an online soul, isn’t particularly nice to people or just doesn’t own their voice, I want to shake them a little and say, “Listen, dude, it’s not going to work unless you make it about your people. BE NICE and you’ll get it back in spades.””

Listen. I get it. For some people, their personal brand is “edgy” and “controversial.” To some extent, that’s my brand. However, there’s a difference between branding yourself as someone who isn’t afraid to speak his/her mind and just being mean. You don’t have to be rude or even unfriendly to get your point across. I think that’s the point Marian makes really well in this post – and the cute pictures of her puppy certainly get the thumbs up from me as well. Marian is on Twitter @MarianSchembari.

21. Why Social Media Purists Won’t Last by Jason Falls from Social Media Explorer

“The social media purists have laid down the law and, so, to participate in social media as a business, you must do things like, “participate in the conversation,” “engage your customers,” and “talk with us not to us.”

I’ve got news for you. In the world of business, all that talk will get you exactly nowhere. Conversations do not ring the cash register. Engagement does not sell more product. Talking with people just means you have to take time to listen which prevents you from spending valuable time selling more product.”

I like Jason Falls for the same reason I like most of the people who have written posts on this list – he’s not afraid to write posts that go against the norm, but he doesn’t do so for the sake of sensationalism and driving traffic. Set aside some time for this post – in addition to the post itself, you have over 1000 comments to read! Afterward, you can find Jason on Twitter @JasonFalls.

22. Why You Need to Focus Less on Social Media by Francisco Rosales from Social Mouths

“The social web will only amplify the fact that your company sucks. But if you focus on your “real” business and on building something that people will not only love to consume but will also help you spread, then your social media will be less of the headache it is today.

Awesome spreads because people love spreading it. Everybody loves talking about Zappos or Apple for a reason.”

Francisco’s post is one that I love so much because it gets to the heart of a problem I seeing running rampant across the Internet – people not delivering on their social media promises. Your business needs to come first. If that isn’t awesome, your social media profiles won’t matter. Francisco definitely delivers on that promise. Do you? Check out Francisco’s blog and follow him on Twitter @socialmouths.

23. You are a Social Media Product by Jay Dolan from The Anti-Social Media

“I recently joined a new social network, Path, and I cannot find a single person I know. I like the idea of Path. I like the limit of 50 friends and its simplicity, but if I cannot find a soul on it, then what’s the point of using Path? I want to share moments with people, not with myself. I do that all day long, and trust me, I get sick of my crazy self.

The goal of any social network is to connect people. If a social network can’t do that, then what’s the point?”

Jay Dolan is hilarious. That annoying kind of hilarious you just want to hate because you can just tell that he’s not even trying to be funny. And as annoyed as you are, you still find yourself snorting milk out your nose when reading his posts – and you don’t even remember drinking milk. Or at least, that’s my experience. Maybe that’s just me…

Anyway, don’t be fooled by the funny. Beneath his humor is a whole boatload of smart, so check out his blog and follow him on Twitter @JayDolan.

24. You Don’t Need ALL the Tools, Just the Right One(s) by Ricardo Bueno from RicardoBueno.com

“How do you manage your time with all of this (new) tech and still have time to focus no what’s important (you know, like those revenue producing activities)?

It starts by defining what you want to accomplish. Then, and only then, can you set out to determine what tool is right for the job. You don’t need all of them, just the ones that are right for you (after all, there’s only so much time in the day)…”

Social media can easily get super overwhelming. In this post, Ricardo talks about how important it is to figure out your own goals and then find the tools that are right for you. After checking out his blog, you can follow him on Twitter @Ribeezie.

25. Your Social Media Goals are Half Way There by Jason Keath from Social Fresh

“Without a compass, a ship is lost.Social media can suck you into a time wasting spiral if you do not navigate toward a specific destination. It is easy to get sidetracked in the distraction heavy world of Youtube and Twitter and Facebook.

Every business knows to set clear goals, and it is no exception.”

 

If you know me at all, you know that setting and reaching goals are topics that I’m passionate about in my personal life. I think this post by Social Fresh’s Jason Keath is super smart because he goes over the two types of goals you business needs if you want to succeed in social media. You can follow Jason on Twitter @JasonKeath.

So there you have it – 25 posts about social media that I consider to be some of the best published across the web. It’s your turn – what are some of the social media posts you’ve read that have changed how you think about things? Or, if you write about social media, what is the post you’re most proud to have authored?

Five Things They Didn’t Tell You About Working from Home

Author:

Working in new media allows you to, in many cases, work out of a home office. I love that aspect of my job – I can make my own schedule, bake cookies while I blog, turn on the TV if I want, take a break to play with my cat during the day, wake up/go to sleep when I feel like it, and more. Of course, there are some not-so-good aspects to working at home too. The “big three” that most people talk about are:

  1. When you work at home, it is easy to get distracted by your family.
  2. Making your own schedule requires tons of discipline so you actually work, not do other stuff all day.
  3. Your family members and friends have a hard time wrapping their mind around the concept that you actually work even though you’re doing so at home.

But that’s not all. When I started working from home as a blogger, I was prepared to deal with distractions, the need for discipline, and people in my life asking for favors. And of course, I was stoked to make my own schedule, living a more flexible life. I was not, however, prepared for everything – good and bad – that comes with being a work-at-homer. Here are the five things no one told me before I started:

The Good

  • You actually make some awesome friends because you’re on social media sites all day.

When I started, I thought that one of the things I would miss the most is not having coworkers in the traditional sense. I’m a girl who likes to chit chat at the water cooler, and working from home would take that away. Except it didn’t. Because I work from home as my own boss, I don’t have to deal with blocked sites or a manager getting angry that I’m “wasting time” – I can be on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Skype, etc. all day. In fact, it’s part of my job! Of course, these can be distractions if you go overboard, but I have to say that I’ve met some of my best friends online. It’s always really rewarding to meet these people face to face at conferences throughout the year, but social media lets us hang out all day too, which is fantastic.

  • People have a ton of respect for you.

Never mind that most of my days include zombies and tacos. I’m a business owner. People are impressed. I didn’t get into freelancing from home because I wanted to show off or impress people, but it certainly is a perk to have the respect of people you meet. It also leads to great conversations. Because you do something off the beaten path, people love to talk about it, which makes great conversation when you’re meeting someone new. If you have a more typical job that people already understand, it’s not as good conversation fodder.

  • You get to work on ridiculous projects.

I put in a lot of time writing about boring topics, but occasionally, I get to write about crazy awesome stuff too. Like right now, my main project has me writing about zombies every day. Most typical jobs don’t give you as much variety, but online, anything can happen. It’s really fun to learn about so many interesting things and meet so many interesting people.

The Bad

  • Every project is the most important project on your schedule.

Working with multiple clients is tough! Everyone assumes that you’re working for them all day, every day, when in reality, you have to juggle multiple important projects. Even if you don’t don’t work with clients and instead just work on your own blog(s), there are always a million things to do, each of them equally important. Do you write posts? Work on your next ebook? Answer reader emails and comments? Spend time promoting? Work in your design? It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not good at prioritizing.

Oh, and let’s not forget that life will come in to mess up your day, demanding that you stop what you’re doing to deal with the situation. For example, yesterday as I was working, this little critter found its way into my house:

Even though I had deadlines and was expected on a conference call, I spent a good 20 minutes trying to avoid screaming as I chased Mr. Slimey around (including up a flight of stairs) before catching him in a Swiffer container.

  • Working from home is expensive.

When you work from home, you’ll save money on gas, but it can also be expensive in other ways. For example, if you’re self employed, you’ll pay more in taxes as well as have to purchase a business license in some areas. For many, this also means playing for your own health insurance and travel to conferences can get pricey if you don’t have an employer sponsoring you. I also pay for faster Internet, have higher utilities bills, and pay more for a larger rental since I want an extra room for a home office. If you work from home with clients or affiliates, you also have to worry about getting paid on time. It’s not a traditional weekly or bi-weekly paycheck situation, so even if you have very reliable clients, you have to plan your budget carefully.

Okay, for you work-at-homers – what are the good and bad things that you didn’t realize about this career path before taking the plunge to self employment from a traditional job?

The New Media Trust Manifesto

Author:

Is this what your employee acts like online? How does that look for your brand?

In the new media world, everything is constantly changing. Sometimes, I feel that in the few hours it takes to write a post, my idea is already out of date. I have strong opinions, but I am never surprised when my opinions change. It’s not a matter of being unable to stand for something; it’s a matter of working in a wonderful, surprising, exciting industry that moves at a crazy pace and makes me all giddy to learn new things.

I say all of this because I want to talk to you about what I’m calling The New Media Trust Manifesto. Manifestos are usually long, grand statements of personal beliefs, often taking years to write and edit, but today this is not the case. I’m calling it a manifesto not because of it’s length, but because it is something that I so strongly believe that I think it will hold true not just tomorrow or next month or even next year. I think that if I live to be 500 years old, this will still be true. This isn’t a claim I make lightly, given my feelings that the new media world is constantly evolving and you have to evolve with it to survive.

The New Media Trust Manifesto is actually pretty simple and can be summarized in a single sentence: Hire the new media professionals you trust, not the ones who are the best for the job on paper.

I’ve written for several blogs over the years (not including the blogs I’ve run or am running myself). Some, like here at the BlogWorld blog, come attached with tons of freedom to choose my own topics and state my own opinions. Other clients give me a step by step list of what they want covered, when they want it covered, and how they want it covered. In every single case, without exception, the results are directly proportionate to the freedom I’ve given.

You might be thinking about hiring a new media professional to run your company’s Twitter account or become one of your bloggers or create ebooks for you. While the thought of giving complete control to someone else might make you shudder a little, having that trust is super important. It’s 100% better to hire someone you trust than someone who looks good on paper.

On paper, I’m not always the best candidate for every job. I’m relatively young and already have a lot on my plate. While I do think I’m a good writer, I’m also a horrible self-editor; proofreading is definitely not my forte and I don’t always catch even typo. I’m not an SEO expert. I’m not a social media expert.

Yet I can promise you this: I will always do the best job I can and I will go out of your way to represent your company well.

This isn’t about hiring me. I’m just using myself as an example. When you’re hiring a new media worker, that’s what you want – someone you can trust to represent your brand, even if they aren’t perfect. Joe Blogger who is an SEO expert and has a million Twitter followers might seem like the perfect candidate for the job, but ask yourself this: do you have to worry about him embarrassing your company? Does his personality fit your brand?

Story time: recently, one of my friends voiced an opinion about a company on Twitter. He didn’t say the company was bad or anything; he simply stated that he wasn’t personally a fan of their products, even though he thinks that others should check them out. In my opinion, that’s actually a good tweet – no product will be right for everyone, but you should be proud if someone who doesn’t like what you produce still thinks it’s high-quality enough to recommend to others who might have different tastes.

Unfortunately, their brand representative didn’t see it that way. He unfollowed my friend, but not only that – he publically announced on Twitter through his personal account AND the company account that he was unfollowing him. I was stunned when I saw that tweet. How utterly embarrassing for the company to have an employee that would overreact like that on Twitter.

Similarly, every year at conferences, there are a lot of people who misrepresent their employers by going out and partying hard. We talked about this on #BWEchat a few weeks ago, actually. If you want to have a few drinks, that’s fine. If you work for yourself and want to get wasted, go for it – you’re representing your own brand and you have the right to do that. But if someone is sponsoring you to be there and you’re dancing on the bar? How embarrassing for that company. Unless you’re representing a liquor company maybe!

And the fact of the matter is this: often times, I think “shame on *company name* for hiring that person” not “shame on that person.”

As a business who is hiring a new media professional, you have lots of tools available to help you determine whether or not you can trust a new employee as a brand representative. Check out their Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profile. Look at the pictures they’ve posted online. Read their personal blog.

If you do some research on me, for example, you’ll find that I’m not by any means timid about voicing my opinions. You’ll also notice that I curse on personal sites/accounts but not when I’m writing for clients, that my hair has pink streaks, and I don’t own a business suit. If you were considering hiring me, these are all factors to take into consideration. For some companies, these things will be positive and for others they will be negative. That’s okay. All I’m saying is that it’s about more than asking for a sample of my writing to see if I’m a competent blogger.

I’d even take this a step farther and say that new media trust needs to extend to every single person you hire, whether they’re managing your Facebook page or doing tasks unrelated to social media. Everyone has the ability to have personal social media accounts, and most do; don’t act surprised if they mention your company. People talk about their jobs online all the time, and while I don’t think it is fair for you to require employees to only say positive things about you when they’re using their personal accounts, there’s a difference between voicing a negative opinion and embarrassing the company.

A good rule of thumb is this: pretend that you had a major company secret that you were announcing next week. Do you trust every single employee you’ve hired to know that secret today?

Another question to ask yourself: Do you trust your employees enough to send them to dinner with a potential investor?

The New Media Trust Manifesto is about hiring people who are an extension of you. Companies that don’t run the risk of hiring people who have the potential of being PR nightmares. Skills can be taught. Tact and maturity are things you either have or you do not.

5 Tips for Elevating Brand Preference via New Media

Author:
MattGentile_HighRes

… by Matt Gentile, Director of PR and Social Media, Century 21 Real Estate LLC

If consumers are already aware of your brand, how do you take it to the next level?  What is necessary to develop a relationship where the consumer chooses your company as their preferred source for valuable information, research and knowledge to help them make an informed purchasing decision? At CENTURY 21, we’re leveraging new media to engage our target audience. Through sponsorships of events like BlogWorld & New Media Expo, Inman Real Estate Connect, and Agent Reboot, the CENTURY 21 Brand is reaching the next generation of home buyers, sellers, agents and entrepreneurs.

Business is about building and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship. It involves the same types of decisions that we make every single day: WIFM – What’s In It for Me?  Whether consciously or sub-consciously, we are always evaluating what is best for ourselves. Today’s consumers, who often check location based services and rating sites like Yelp.com before reading the ‘About Us’ section of a company’s website, want to know more about the products and services they are using. It is important for consumers to know where a company stands on philanthropy and what type of value-add they are going to receive by establishing a relationship with a particular brand or product. Delivering valuable content via mobile and social channels enables the relationship between the brand and the consumer to grow over time.

For some products and services the value-added is easy to identify. For example, I know if I purchase and use an iPad I will be given entrée to an entire culture of like-minded users who are producing leading-edge applications that do everything from destroying building blocks on Angry Birds to informing me of traffic flow on Interstate 80. To ensure we are making the most of our opportunities to engage with the consumer about real estate, the CENTURY 21 System is engaging in a proactive mobile social media strategy through multiple platforms including century21.com, @C21 – Home Matters blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and mobile apps. In order to keep our brand value relevant, we follow these key tenants:

1) Listen – Use new media to listen to your target audience’s wants and needs. Respond where you can with timely, relevant resources and plan to share content via your corporate channels that address this feedback.

2) Keep it fresh – Share content each day that is new and topical. Consumers will come to regard your company as the sources for breaking news in your industry.

3) Make it local – If you live in New York, you don’t want to hear about what’s going on Boulder. Have local representatives and experts offer advice to their own, local communities through your channels.

4) Embrace the new – Did you ever think your company would have a mobile app? Or put QR codes on signs? Whether you planned for it or not, these are the technologies of the future and it’s critical to become educated on how best to offer these convenient upgrades to consumers.

5) Build relationships – Use new media to engage with consumers. Really get to know your audience and the individuals reaching out to you via these new types of media. Your best brand advocate might be a tweet away!

To learn more about how CENTURY 21 is using new media to reach the next generation of home buyers, sellers, agents and entrepreneurs, visit our website, blog, Facebook page or follow our tweets.

Matt Gentile directs public relations and social media content strategy for Century 21 Real Estate LLC, the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization.  In this role, he promotes approximately 7,900 independently owned and operated franchised brokerage offices and 119,000 sales associates in 68 countries and territories worldwide.

 

 

In The New Media World, “Experienced” Doesn’t Always Mean “Better”

Author:

We all have our blogging and social media idols. They’re the people who first got us into this whole crazy new media industry, the ones who taught us what we needed to know to get started. Most of the time, these idols are fixtures in the industry – everyone interested in new media (or your specific niche) knows their names. They’ve among some of the most experienced out there…and to this day, they give great advice.

Maybe we can teach one another, if we're willing to listen.

Sometimes. For some people.

I’m in a weird place in my new media career. I first started blogging (professionally) in 2006. Well, I kept an online journal as early as 1999, but it was completely private – I actually remember that it was really weird if someone who was even a friend of a friend (not my direct friend) requested to view my blog. There was certainly no Twitter or even Facebook, and definitely no talks of branding or monetizations. So really, I’ve been blogging as we know it today since 2006, or about five years. Next to some, that makes me a baby in the new media world. Next to others, I’m a dinosaur. You might be in a similar situation.

In this situation, I come across two extreme groups. The first is made of people who know nothing about the new media world and are looking to me as a mentor of sorts, just like I looked up to people when I first became interested in blogging. It’s scary, but also really cool, because I like to help people and have a lot of opinions to share. The second group…well, they’re a little different. They don’t consider me a valid source of advice because I’m not experienced enough. I’ve only been blogging for five years and I don’t have a massive Twitter following yet, so I must not know what I’m doing.

I wonder, sometimes, if these two groups couldn’t learn a thing or two from one another. Because I don’t know about you, but my personal experiences in the new media world have shown me that being experienced doesn’t always equate to being better at something.

I’m not going to get into the debate about whether or not you should be calling yourself an expert, but what I want you to think about is this: The new media industry is changing at an enormous rate, much faster than most industries. With all this evolution, isn’t it possible that someone who just entered the industry has better ideas than someone who’s been around for awhile? Sometimes, the experience you have can really help you give solid advice. But other times, we’re so set in our ways and what we know that as things change, fresh minds can adapt more readily to new ways of succeeding as a blogger.

One of the things that really bothers me is when people talk in absolutes when giving new media advice, feeling as though they’ve been doing this long enough to do so. I disagree because frankly, I don’t think anyone has been doing this long enough to say, with any amount of certainty, that the advice they’re giving will work for every blogger. You can absolutely say what works for you, but lots of bloggers out there are breaking the rules…and making their millions anyway.

Point in case: one good piece of advice that I commonly see is that you have to define your niche when blogging. If you just blog about your life, you won’t be successful or interesting to your readers. Except the Bloggess has a wonderfully successful site where she just talks about the shenanigans of her daily life. So obviously, although I agree with the importance of defining your audience and niche, it doesn’t always work that way for everyone out there.

Also, as someone with experience, what worked for you might be horrible advice for someone else. People who have tons of experience an are considered a-listers in a niche often have some of the oldest blogs in that niche. When you’re the first of something, the rules are a little different. On top of that, what works for you to bring in the traffic and make money now isn’t going to work for  brand-new blogger necessarily because they don’t have the built-in fanbase or Google ranking you do. So, while you advice might be good for some, it is definitely not good for everyone.

If you’re a new blogger, I encourage you to go out that and read as many blogs as you can, both in your niche and in the blog-about-blogging/internet marketing/social media niche. Then, form your own opinions from what you read, even if they aren’t the popular opinions shared by others. No one ever got famous for being really good at following the directions!

And if you’re an experienced blogger, I encourage you to visit one new blog a week. Just one! Surely, you have time for that. Look at a blog from someone who isn’t super experienced in the industry, and see if there’s something you can learn. If you stop learning, you start becoming irrelevant in your niche.

New Media Shame?

Author:

At BlogWorld and other such conferences, we’re completely immersed in all the geeky new media stuff we know and love. But BlogWorld is only a few days every fall and spring. The rest of the time, we’re scattered across country and around the world where most people don’t understand what we do or why we do it. Perhaps that is partially our fault. For most of us, there’s an element of new media shame in our lives – and until that changes, we’re still going to have a hard time being taken seriously.

In the New Media Closet

Despite the fact that new media is a part of most people’s lives, we still hesitate to admit it. “Oh, yeah…I’ve heard of Farmville,” we say, even as we sneak online during the work day to water our crops. “I’m a writer,” we say, because we’re afraid that blogger doesn’t sound professional enough. “I’m occasionally on Twitter,” we say, though our definition of occasionally might be different than most considering that we average 50 tweets a day.

If you want the best example of new media shame, just look at online dating. I believe it is Match.com’s commercials that report that one in five relationships now start online. One in five! That’s 20%! Yet, people don’t like to talk about it, as though it is somehow shameful to fall in love with something that you’ve met through an online dating site. People lie about how they’ve met, or if they do  admit that they’ve met online, they say so with a  bit of apprehension, nervously hoping that those who are listening don’t freak out. “Oh, how did you and Joe meet?” “Actually…believe it or not, we met online…” This is usually followed by lots of justifying factors. We talked for a long time first. My friends told me to check it up. I signed up as a joke, but it worked out. It’s better than meeting in a bar.

Why do we have to justify it? If we meet someone at the grocery store or through mutual friends or even at the bar, we just say that and everything is fine. Meeting online is still somewhat shameful, though. And I’m not sure why?

This isn’t just about online dating, though. I consider a lot of you out there my good friends, even though we only see one another in person once or twice a year – if at all. There’s an element of shame to the new media world in general, as though it isn’t kosher or we’re doing something wrong. It’s a constant reminder to me that the new media world, even as it is becoming more mainstream, is still on the cutting edge of how we relate to one another, promote products, share news, market ourselves, and more.

Proof of that is perhaps the fact that the words blog, blogger, and blogging still get the red squiggly line in my (albeit older) version of Microsoft Word.

Stand Up, Be Proud

The only way we can change this, make it less shameful to be a part of the new media world, is to stop hiding in the closet. We have to stop considering blog a four-letter word if we want others to give us the same respect. I’m as guilty as the rest of you. When someone asks me what I write, I rarely admit that I’m a blogger unless pressed. In the back of my mind, I always cringe, thinking that people are going to envision me pouring my heart out about what I had for lunch on my LiveJournal.

But here’s the thing – if they are thinking that, their perception isn’t going to change unless I correct them. And I’m the perfect person to do that, just like you are. We are successful business people making money as bloggers and social media marketers. We all have stories about how we’ve helped readers or met really amazing people online, as well as the cool opportunities we’ve received, like interviewing celebrities in our fields or getting free products to review, simply because we have a popular blog or a high Klout score. If we attribute that to blogging and social media, rather than saying we’re writers or website owners or whatever more “acceptable” term we use, the perception of the new media world might start to change.

I’ll start. My name is Allison, and I’m a professional blogger and web content writer. I’ve met past boyfriends through online dating websites. I use Twitter regularly. I like to check-in via Foursquare and Gowalla. Some Saturday nights, I would rather chat with my online friends than go out to the bar. I think online gaming is cool. I have a Facebook app on my phone. Most of my work meetings are via conference call on Skype or webinars on GoToMeeting.

And I love my new media life.

So it’s your turn. Feel free to tell us here, but what is more important is that you get outside of the BlogWorld community and start standing proud as someone who’s immersed in new media. If we all talk about it more with a sense of pride, the perception will start to change. And who knows – you might connect with others who love new media also, but who were also afraid to admit it publicly.

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