Saturday, May 3, 2008

Social Media Meets Social Responsibility

Find out about how social media can help your socially responsible organization or your business. People, planet, profit--they don't have to be separate from each other!

read more | digg story

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Looking for new content?

We've officially moved to
New content on social media, marketing and Silicon Valley can be found at this new address. In addition, the RSS feed should still be the same:

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We're Moving

I've finally succumbed to the URL recommendation that I've heard a number of times. As in, "Do you have your own URL?"
"Err...I have a blogspot URL."

Well, it's no longer going to be at blogspot because I'm importing to Wordpress soon.
You might even call it spring cleaning for blogs.

I decided Wordpress would be the best place for my blog because it has the ability to create additional pages. I could do things in HTML and the like, but it's much simpler to get content up when I want it rather than spend a lot of time developing HTML coding.

I also got some new business cards printed. Nothing much, just a 100 cards.

So change, here I come. *sigh* I will be a little bit sad to move away from this address but it will be easier to find me.

So come check out my new home at:
Update:I'm having trouble directing my DNS and my e-mail server to the same place, so please read:

Blog writing - The Long and Short of It

When blogs started to get popular and hit the mainstream media, there was (and still is) talk about how blogging is a very different experience from traditional journalism. Both genres of writing are supposed to be very short and concise.

The difference is traditional journalism often tends to give summaries of events. It's the long camera view of an event seen from afar. Here is an example from today's Wall Street Journal "What's News" column:

Bush will propose stopping growth in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025 and signal he is open to legislative action to curb power-plant pollution.

The internet influenced the writing format very differently. It started with personal home pages, based on individual hobbies and interests, and then blogging just became another form of expressing individual interests. It suggests more of people's reactions to events and favorite hobbies rather than the cold, hard facts. Wouldn't it be interesting to see the perspective of a politician involved with this speech? Let's suppose that George Dubya is a blogger. What if he wrote this instead:
"I was in the White House gardens and for some reason or another, I started to cough and could not stop. That is when I realized that it is just about time we need to truly make a commitment to stopping greenhouse gas emissions."

This would be the short, honed-in camera shot of blogging.We can all relate to pain, like incessant coughing or discomfort, which makes the experience more relevant to the reader, even if they aren't big on politics. It's also a very effective tactic in spoken presentations that are being given to a wide audience. There's been some research done that people remember things better if it ties in to their memories or are being entertained while being taught or convinced of something.

In PR, I've been warned about being careful when speaking to bloggers because they have to be treated differently from the mainstream media. I wasn't sure why exactly, but since posting my own posts online, it seems more apparent to me. Any conversation that I have with someone can potentially turn into a blogpost, but I'm usually fairly scrupulous about this. It's happened before, though, with PR agents who have written e-mails to bloggers, which have resulted in rants about PR people.

Bottom line: Anyone's interaction can turn into a story, which is both the coolness and caveat of new media.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Repetitive Wrist Injury

Well every once in a while a blogger has to take a break. I am writing this with two pens punching the keys one by one, which means it takes quite a long time to write a sentece. :)

So I'll be back on tomorrow with some of the origins of blog-writing...stay tuned.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Tatiana Project for Social Media and Generation Gaps

The power of blogs and commenting. A comment on Beth Kanter's blog last week yielded a couple of new conversations with other bloggers.

Now the Tatiana Senior Project has reached my virtual doorstep via my Facebook mailbox.

Hi, Clara!
How are you?

My name is Tatiana and I am currently a senior at the University of Tampa. You have recently commented on Beth Kanter's blog post that featured my project on the impact of the internet marketing of social media and its users.

You have a very interesting and unique perspective on this issue and I was wondering if your could share it on my blog and contribute to my project.

Tatiana's personal branding strategy is impressive. She has a regular blog and a project that communicate the online phenomenon about individual self-marketing, thoughtful research and writing.

Young people today, like Tatiana, are very cognizant of the web, and you could even say they definitely use it more intelligently than those of us who were weaned off of early AOL IM, chat or even intra net BBS green-type systems with MS DOS commands. I used to think I was of the privileged technology generation, able to code simple HTML on Geocities, but now it's really changing beyond that.

I would even go so far as to say that Tatiana's peers and college students are smarter about using the web than those of us who got used to the web tech in the 90s.

The differences between Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Me
In my peer group, some have heard of wikis, but most think of Wikipedia. Others may have a Facebook profile but avoid it like the plague because of spammy apps. Some use IM to communicate incessantly, but others don't. This is the group most likely to possess "information fatigue," because generically speaking, I've observed that we don't digest information as well as the younger crowd.

Too much internet information doesn't sit well with us, because we did grow up with our parents reading the local brand newspapers and magazines. My dad has stacks of the National Geographic and the San Jose Mercury that he refused to throw away.

We're a little bit harder to reach online. I still have friends who are very active on LiveJournal with very private profiles available to only a select few, while I prefer Facebook or IM. (More on social media hierarchies and usage soon.)

How Internet Media and Professional Profiles has Evolved
Gone are the days when profile surveys are sent in the form of email-chain-letter-forwards between friends. This evolved to LinkedIn professional profiles, then of course there were HR crises on MySpace where your boss finds your drunken pictures (thus giving social networks a bad rep). Now all that has moved outwards where some are pro-actively taking a stand on which pages show up on Google through blogs and the form of online portfolios. Now we've almost made the full circle to Geocities homepages, but instead of focusing on our hobbies or interest, like dogs, or random pictures and animated gifs, the web 2.0 era has a strong interest in aesthetic, design and professional image.

This means we've got a powerful advertising vehicle on our hands that could be tackled...or not. The questions to ask are: Which Audience and Which Type of Media?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

On Writing & Creativity

Unless you want to be a "hack"...
Strong writers and bloggers need cross-training just like good athletes do. In otherwords, non-fiction writers need to know creative writing techniques to keep fit and creative writers have to be versatile. Staying in a comfort zone is an easy way for people to stagnate. Nowadays, change is the name of the game.

There are a few things that can help you get out of a writing rut:

1. Take the pressure off and just write. I write for B2B and if fear creeps in that I won't write something spectacular, it is harder to write anything at all. Have a writing practice aside from your "usual" (be it blog, freelancing or otherwise) and if the writing is full of spelling errors, not the best content, not meant for an audience, then it's OK. The goal is to change habits and innovate. And, an interesting idea might come out of flow-of-consciousness writing.

2. Change your writing style. You may have a really distinctive voice that has been developed over the years. How about changing it? Have fun with simpler words if you like jargon, or write with new vocabulary if you write simply. Try writing a paragraph using only alliteration, only metaphor, etc.

2. Paint a verbal picture with pen and paper. Go outside or someplace new, pick a focal point and get out the old pen & paper. Write what you see in very minute detail. Scribbling furiously on paper will change some of your habits and force you to think differently. Go back to your computer and rewrite what you wrote. You may skip words, details, and you'll notice that you get a different perspective than when you wrote with pen and paper.

3. The short and long of it: Pick something to write about. Write a bunch of long sentences stringed together. Write short sentences. Write a long sentence and a short sentence. Look at how that changes the tone.

A short sentence: Stop right there!
A long sentence: She stopped when the policeman cut her off in her tracks.

4. Another exercise in succintness for effect: Try writing haikus.
Each line should represent a visual concept. And if you write a line that is too long, that's OK too. The editing process will help to get you to where you want to go.
Roses in sunlight
Dew iced over from morning
It's a new day.

Also, it's better to expect OK writing on first attempts rather than a masterpiece. You don't want to set yourself up for disappointment, and it's the editing (or even deletion in exchange for innovation) process that takes you one step closer to perfection.