Long Live e-Reading

The day has come. The day where I ditch flipping the pages for flicking the screen. Highlighters have been replaced with the tap of a finger to mark my place.

Yep. I am now an e-reader convert.

I was always one of those people, a purist if you will, that refused to get on the e-reader wagon. I considered them a waste of money (“It’s not quite a computer, and a little obnoxious for a book – what a waste.”), but more than anything I saw the rise of the digital book trend to be an end of the experience one has when reading.

You see, reading is so much more to me than the flip of a page. It’s a break from the norm, a chance to escape the everyday, and being that being on the Internet constantly is almost essential for my line of work, it’s always been nice to close the laptop and pick up a book.

Reading Technology

Was it not for my Kindle Fire Christmas present this past year, I can pretty much guarantee you I’d still be arguing that which I have above. That books are king, the e-reading business is going to kill off the already dying printing industry, we’re all becoming much too dependent on technology, yadda yadda. But now that I am the owner of one of these devil devices, I can tell you that having an e-reader doesn’t really affect any of the aforementioned arguments.

Sure, the printing industry is suffering quite a bit, but I hold out hope that things will take a turn for the better. My marketing instincts always steer my advice to clients and non- alike that an integrated marketing approach will help not only save the industry from going under, but keep it treading water and, eventually, more than stay afloat. Having a support system that encourages both online and offline customers will bring more revenue to the printing sector, and costs will be cut thanks to having a wider online audience. That may be a somewhat naive comment to make, but one must recognize there is value in that thinking.

And as for the argument of technology taking over, well, yes, there are more and more devices each day that take us away from traditional print, from writing our thoughts out and directing them towards the keyboard instead. However, what technology is helping us achieve should justify our greater adoption of tech devices. In this case, I may be shying away from print and finding myself clinging to the Kindle Fire more, but that’s just it – I am reading more than ever.

There are reports out there that due to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, whatevz.com (not a network, but I felt another “yadda” would cheapen this post), have shortened our attention spans so much that we can’t stand to read something for more than a few minutes. Online video views are higher than ever, but people don’t particularly like to watch anything longer than 1-2 minutes. I work in social media – I am absolutely one of those people I’ve just described. But now I have access to a mini-library in the form of a portable tablet, and I’ll tell you, I find myself getting lost in the virtual pages for hours at a time. I am now skipping catching up on Hulu or continuing on my hunt for the world’s next best animated GIF to see what Peeta Mellark is up to, or pondering which I wish I’d known when I was 20. It may not be the preferred medium of college professors, authors, heads of The New York Times, but no one can knock the end result. E-readers can very well get us back into books. How can you be against that?

I am an e-reader convert.

Why aren’t you?

Down with the Auto- Era

Back in September of last year I wrote a post explaining how people use Twitter in the worst ways possible. I normal prefer to provide constructive criticism to those seeking guidance in online media, but these 7 items are some that I consider rookie mistakes. My hopes were that once many had learned that each was a social media faux pas, they would learn from the mistakes and change their Twitter approaches for the better.

Twitter

These "no-nos" are a Twitter FAIL.

As one might expect, there are still many more people “doing Twitter” all wrong, and these individuals outnumber those who have really grasped the platform. Hey, I guess that’s why there are consultants like myself available to help train people in the social space for the better, right?*

At the time I wrote my “rant” post if you will, I figured that would be that, and I would continue blogging about better business and social media approaches. As I look through blogs, fan pages, and Twitter profiles all day long, I come up with inspiration for new posts and the time (I have the jam-packed moleskine to prove it), but there is one aspect of my Twitter post that I’ve been dying to revisit in order to elaborate on. Care to humor me with this?

Here’s the one point that still greatly irks me:

the obsession with the auto (insert Twitter verb here)

Why must we automate such actions as direct messages and follow-backs on Twitter? How does this make sense for anyone to do? When you allow for a computer or some automated service to take the reigns of your Twitter account, do you not see how you are devaluing your reputation on the web? Your professional reputation? If you can’t even take on the task of deciding which individuals you would like to follow, why do you even bother creating your own tweets? Why not just sign up for a service that creates what they deem “relevant tweets to your following” and believe me, those services exist.

Don't check that box - just don't.

I haven’t even gotten started on the auto-DM. I’m honestly afraid to go in full rant mode for this one, so I will keep this part brief: if you can’t tailor a direct message that is personal to the given Twitter user, don’t bother sending one at all. The whole point of taking the conversation from the public space on the newsfeed to the privacy between you and the other individual is to have a one-on-one conversation. When you opt to send  someone a generic message, it essentially tells this person, whether new friend, client, or other, that you don’t care.

Twitter interactions already take place with at least two devices standing between individuals in a conversation, so there is no need to add even more to this equation. If you really want to build a following, and build relationships via this platform, then start abiding by the definition of the prefix auto- and do it yourself. Take your Twitter account back and let the automated systems continue being used by those not in the know.

How do you feel about the “auto- era”?

*Shameless self-promotion. I admit, it might’ve been too easy.

7 Ways You’re Doing it Wrong – on Twitter that is.

twitterI will be the first to admit that I am no expert when it comes to social media. I think it’s hard for anyone to claim that title for themselves. This field is so dynamic that each day we are all learning something new.

I can, however, tell you that I know some people have just got it allwrong. There are tweeps I see each and every day on my feed that are sending tweets that just irk me. So in my passive-aggressive manner I have decided to create a little list of what I just LOVE to see on Twitter everyday (please tell me the sarcasm is easy to sense here):

  1. People telling me how much money I can make if I sign up for their services.
  2. Users that link everything back to their website(s).
  3. People claiming to be experts on engagement, yet never actually talk to anyone else.
  4. Those that call themselves a “guru.” Todd Schnick said it before me, but it never hurts to remind everyone of this faux pas.
  5. An entire tweet stream filled with inspirational quotes rather than ever saying anything original.
  6. Auto DM me as soon as I follow them back – as MarketerMikeE says, Don’t Auto DM me, bro!
  7. People that still have the default cloud background. Okay, now I’m just being petty.

This list could go on & on. Twitter is such a valuable tool for creating and supporting an online presence. If you misuse it in one of the ways listed above, there is a good chance you are eliminating possibilities everyday of creating connections, and engaging in meaningful conversation. And if you’re in this for business reasons, you can be sure you’re turning away potential customers each time you do it.

So, I’ve listed my 7. What would you add to this list?

We Need a Break

If you haven’t caught on from my previous post, social media is a huge part of my everyday life. I will read any Chris Brogan or Brian Solis blog post out there. Mashable is my home page at work so each Monday morning I can catch up on all things web-related that happened over the weekend. This field is my passion, my hobby, and slowly, it’s becoming my life.

As much as I live and breathe this field of marketing, I’ve come to realize that even those who are considered “celebrities” in this realm, the individuals that are constantly in the public eye for their social media efforts, all do one very important thing: they each step away from the computer every once in awhile.

Brian Solis, a public relations executive, aut...

Even he takes a break every once in awhile.

Labor Day Weekend was the perfect opportunity for me to take a break from the Macbook and out into life. I mean, that is why we reserve this holiday. I got outside, enjoyed some amazing Georgia fresh air (if you’ve never gotten the chance, to feel it, you’re missing out), and relaxed. And I have to say…it was pretty great.

Although I didn’t do as much as I would’ve liked, and I scored a pretty sweet sunburn, I got to catch up with friends, sleep way too much, and just enjoy life sans the fast-paced and hectic work demands. It was lovely. This break from the interwebs was exactly what I needed.

Now I’m ready to get back to the grind that is the work week feeling more refreshed than ever. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s only a 4-day week!

A girl can dream, can’t she?

So, I’ve done it. I beat the odds & landed a job. Not a dead-end job – a career. I start Monday so I’m trying to enjoy as much bad daytime TV as possible in the morning & wasting my afternoons at the Jittery Joe’s near my apartment.

Though I’ve yet to begin my career (in online marketing – so excited) I’ve already started daydreaming about where my money will go. I’m being reasonable; I know I’ve got to pay off my one credit card (how I managed to only have one & survive, I’ll never know) & I’ll begin paying off my student loans later this year, I just want to reward myself with something special. It will be my welcome to adulthood & the workforce.

Here are some ideas:

#1: Rosetta Stone

I’ve been asked in so many interviews recently, “What are your future goals?” I’m sure they’re referring to career plans, but every time I’m asked I just think about how I’ve always wanted to be conversational in French. I studied the language both in high school & college, but I’ve only retained a few basic phrases. Maybe learning the language would help me towards another future goal: travel outside of the continental U.S.!

#2: A dog!

how cute!

I’ve always been a dog person & I’ve been looking for the right excuse to finally get one. I figure I’ll soon be leaving Athens to live on my own, why not? It can get lonely & who could say no to that little face? I’m aware, my “arguments” aren’t all that convincing. A dog is an investment, not just a frivolous purchase. But who could say no to that face?

#3: A fancy schmancy camera

I’ll be the first to admit that I have no artistic talent whatsoever. This, however, does not mean that I can’t appreciate a nice picture. I am currently happy with my Samsung digital camera but I’m ready for quality pictures. I’ve posted the picture of the Holga as though I know anything about what qualifies as a “good” camera, but at $70 this camera could definitely be a option.

Of course, these are all just ideas. I’m not terribly serious about any of them, but it’s nice to get excited about finally having some disposable income. My next realistic purchase will probably be work clothes, possibly even apartment shopping. For now, I’ll just keep dreaming.

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”

-E. L. Doctorow

I’m a brand new blogger, & I believe this quotation sums up my situation perfectly.

I’m in love with all things social media, & I read Mashable and other social media blogs religiously. What I’ve learned from my immersion into the social media realm is that no matter how much I read about blogging, social networking, and microblogging, I cannot fully appreciate these new forms of media until I’ve given them all a try.

The issue that has kept me from taking the plunge & finally starting this was exactly the direction I would take: will I write about social media? my entrance into the “real” world following graduation? blogs I enjoy? absolutely nothing in particular?

I intend to do all these things. I’ve got a great deal to learn, both about blogging & growing up, but I’ve got to start somewhere. Earning my B.B.A. is what I consider my step into the latter. Now I begin my exploration into the former.

Wish me luck.

I Tweet, You Tweet.

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