Archive for May 2010
Just a note that I will be out of the blogosphere for the next few days. If you nip over to my resume, you’ll see that I’m the current PR Manager for the Phoenix Comicon. Well, the convention is this weekend!
I’ll be back after the convention with a sum-up blog post. Look forward to it!
As always, Tuesday brings three websites or articles I thought were interesting from the previous week. Enjoy!
How the U.S. Engages the World with Social Media - As a political junkie, international relations spectator, and (of course) a social media hound, I found this article very interesting, indeed!
Career Advice for New Grads in 140 Characters (More or Less) – Good advice from new grads for new grads. If you look at the bottom, you’ll see me!
5 Ways to Get Free Stuff On Twitter – Usually the third article is something funny. But this time it’s how to get free stuff on Twitter, which I think is just plain fun!
Who all has ever read a newsletter? I mean a tried-and-true, got-it-in-the-mail newsletter? I may have touched one, once. I think I may have even read a few articles from it. But I’ve read plenty of blogs or e-newsletters. The funny thing is, isn’t the digital version exactly the same as the original?
My bubbie (Polish/Yiddish/Jewish version of saying “grandma”) told me of her amateur printer’s club. She writes a story, mails it in, and a month or so later gets it, and a bunch of other people’s stories, mailed back to her. I mean snail-mail here. She swears by the tactility of holding her newsletter. Also, the only computer in her house is a laptop my father brings with him when he visits her, so even if the younger members of the club made a royal ruckus to get rid of the physical newsletter, called a “bundle,” and just go digital, she still couldn’t participate. She’s not alone either. There are a few members of her club that don’t own computers. (Don’t freak out. Yes, there are still people like that out there.)
And there is a digital component already. Many of the younger members just e-mail the newsletter around. Personally, I think they should all just have a mutual blogroll or a group on LiveJournal. The little stories they send back and forth and print for their newsletters are really just blog posts. In fact, this article, yeah, the one you are reading right now, will probably be Bubbie’s entry for this next round of stories, edited slightly. I suppose I’ll get the thrill of seeing my name in print.
If you are like me, then when I said that a blog and a physical newsletter are the same thing, you probably went, “Nuhuh! I can add to my blog all the time, I can comment on other blogs and respond to comments on mine. Completely different!”
I said that to Bubbie. Her response? She explained to me that that is exactly what she does with her newsletter, only via the mail. She writes responses to other stories, which get included in the bundle. The authors can reply to her in the next bundle. As for the time-factor, she told me she can send in stories as often as she wants and not be limited in number. Of course, it is at the speed of the US Postal Service.
What really got me, however, was that online or offline, e-mailed or blogroll, this amateur printers association would probably look just the same. The only difference is that the elderly folk, like Bubbie, wouldn’t be able to participate with computers. I almost have to ask who would win in a situation without the “bundles.” Probably the computer manufactuerers.
This week I have a list of How To’s for you. As always these are some of the articles I’ve enjoyed over the past week or so. I didn’t see anything that made me laugh out load this week, so I’m going back in time to a panel of a web comic I enjoy. You don’t need to know what was going on in the story to enjoy the joke.
How to Send a Thank You Note – Exactly what it sounds like. A few tips on when and how to tell someone thank you with a personalized note.
How to Become a Social Media Expert – The step-by-step of what you need to do to work in social media. While I’m not fond of the term “expert” since it implies that you know everything… labels aside, it’s a good list.
How to Work with Recruiters – A little video from an executive recruitement agency about, well, working with recruiters. I know an executive recruiter, so this piqued my fancy. It’s nice to know about this industry, even if you’re entry-level.
He’s Not Reacting Well – “I can has wands!”
How will anyone ever know you want or need something if you don’t ask? Well, obviously, they’d have to be telepathic.
Barring telepathy, you have to tell people what you are looking for. Another way of putting it is, don’t be shy. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the opportunity to request advance coppies of Tony Hsieh’s new book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. I had a choice. I could either not put myself forward because I know, I’m a small blogger and only a few of my posts are book reviews or even business centric. Or I could put myself forward anyway, shrug, and understand that the worst that could happen is they say “No.”
Well, yesterday, a resounding” Yes” arrived at my door:
The lesson here is ask or you wont get anything. Sometimes you get what you are looking for, sometimes not. As the publicist for the Phoenix Comicon, it’s my responsability to line up interviews for the convention’s celebrity guests. This includes Stan Lee, yes, Stan “The Man” Lee himself. I, of course, get lots of requests for interviews with Mr. Lee. Tons. Requests are flying in from places as big as the largest radio in town to a small podcast that caters to niche markets. Will they all get interviews? Umm, no. Do I think any less of them all for asking? Of course not! I encourage it. Ask away! What’s the worst that will happen? I’ll say, “No”?
This is also true of job interviews. One of the biggest mistakes people make in interviews is not “asking for the job.” This isn’t begging and saying, “please, oh please, hire me.” This is summing up the interview as you leave and telling the interviewer that you are really interested in the position and think you’re perfect for the job. What’s the worst the interviewer will say, “No”?
It is Tuesday, which means here are 3 things I found interesting or useful over the past week. Enjoy!
The 10 Commandements of Twitter – Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networks, but how do you use it? A lot of folk think that it is for announcing what you ate for breakfast. Well, no one cares what you ate for breakfast. This article, though, tells you what to do with the service.
Internet World debate pitches Gen X against Gen Y at work – This little article discusses things that could help companies take advantage of the different capabilities of Gen Y, or the MySpace Generation as we sometimes get called (I never liked that site much, though). Brief and thought provoking.
Star Wars Trilogy Summed up in 2-Minutes, with LEGO - Every week, I endeavor to bring you a laugh with something funny that I found on the net. Well, if you don’t laugh at this, you’re an android… or just not geeky enough.
The experience of trying to get to graduate school has taught me many lessons I hope others can learn from. I’m currently going though the process. I already got in. Now I just need to get there. It’s like seeing a door wide open but realizing there’s a really big chasm between you and it.
That chasm’s called “Loans, Airfare, and Housing.” Getting in wasn’t so hard, actually. I took my GMATs and filled out applications. The school I wanted actually approached me with an offer, and it’s been lovely working with the recruiting agents. It’s Hult International Business School, if you’re curious. I’ll be going to the Masters in Digital Marketing program.
If I ever get there. First off, any graduate school attendee who isn’t the heir of the richest man in the world, or that man himself, needs loans. In my case, I can’t turn to the federal government and instead have to look to the State of Massachusettes. Banks of the private variety wont lend to me because my school is smaller and newer and the companies don’t have a relationship with it yet. I’m still looking, but it seems I’ll have to borrow from Uncle Massachusettes. So lesson number one: don’t wait until the last minute to try and get your loan from your bank. They might not have one for you.
Next, where are you going? Are you going to the local graduate school? Then skip this paragraph. If you’re going to have to move, where will you live? Is there student housing? Are you too old for that and want an apartment? How will you find it? Most schools have a list of prefered housing providers or complexes they own or are working with. But again, don’t wait until the last minute. I am trying to move to London, and already housing is getting sold out for the next school year. Luckily, I got in to a nice dorm early enough. Since I’m going to a big city in Europe where there is a tradition of student housing, I will be going “dorm.” I’ll have a bedroom to myself, but share my bathroom and kitchen with a hallway of 5 women. Interesting to note: in Europe grad students often live this way, so all Americans thinking I’m too old for this, well, when in Rome…
Airfare. We all know it will be expensive, but just how much of a hit is up for debate. In my case, a big hit. Again, Europe. I went ahead and tried to go through a student ticket provider. I wont name them because it was not a good experience signing up but I have hopes for the future. I don’t want them to put me on the black list. Anyway, they asked for proof of student-hood. I haven’t paid my tuition yet and don’t have a class schedule… I didn’t even have a letter saying I had been accepted. I had plenty of informal e-mails, but no letter. It’s a small school. The packet will arrive eventually.
I wound up having to ask my recruiter for a document, which he e-mailed me. In Word format. No problem, right? I uplaoded it into the ticket service’s website, just like they told me to. It was late at night after work. I was trying to get a last minute workout in before bed. My BlackBerry buzzed. The verification service said that my document was in “copy paste” format and they couldn’t accept it. Huh? First off, I had never heard of a simple word .doc called “copy paste” format. I made a jpg out of the words and put them in a document and sent it in again. Then I went back to my workout. … My BlackBerry went off. Still no good. I needed the header. So again, I went to my original Word document, print screen and copy to get a jpg of the header and the words and past into a word document. … It’s a go! I have my cheaper airfare! Of course, I couldn’t have written up the entire document myself with no school involved and made a jpg of it. That’s impossible.
So yes, be forewarned that getting to graduate school is a saga, even after you get in. I will update this saga with new lessons as they are learned.
Every week I endeavor to provide three links to interesting stuff on the Internet. Sometimes they are new. Sometimes they are new to me. And sometimes they’re just plain cool.
This week, I have social media, Gen Y, and a mobile home commercial so honest, it hurts. I mean, it. Physical pain from laughter.
Social Media Expert? Yah, right! – There are lots of people in the social media space. Which shade of “expert” art you?
How to Market to Gen Y – I always find it facinating how the older generations think of me and my generation. And the names we get.
Epic and Honest Mobile Home Commercial – We all know that honest is good for advertising, but how much is too much? Is there such a thing as too much honest that circles back aroung to irresistable?
I’ve been known to advocate volunteering as a handy way to gain experience. And it is. I volunteer for the Phoenix Comicon. It’s a pop-culture and general “geek” convention. I handle their PR. I am unpaid except for the experience I’m getting.
It’s pretty amazing how much experience I’ve actually gotten through the Comicon. I’m the leader of a team of 7 or so people (department boundaries are fluid, but I’m all for claiming the maximum). At the age of 22, this is practically unheard of. It’s not as though I’m leading a club who’s main purpose is to help the homeless. I’m leading a team of individuals in providing a professional service to an organization that is predicting 10,000 attendees at this year’s event. I’m organizing interviews for the top local news and talk shows with celebrities like Stan Lee (the link is there if you need it). Small Fry? I think not.
Still, how much is this experience worth? I work my bum off for the convention. And I am no where near finished doing what is on my to-do list. After sending out press releases and organizing celebrity interviews, I have to contend with training my staff (I have two interns) and organizing ticket give-aways through partner media. By the time I’ve answered my in-box I have already spent 1 hour on the “Con,” as it is affectionately known.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, at first. But bear in mind I spend much of my time reading other blogs, crafting this one, staying active on Twitter and Linked In, mastering Facebook Fan Page design, getting a hang of face-to-face networking by participating in professional events, reading business litterature, writing a fantasy novel, getting ready for grad school, practicing my music, going to actual work-work, and lastly, keeping myself healthy. And that doesn’t begin to tackle keeping myself and my home in good order. You might say I do too much, but I can’t choose a single thing I can live without. They all go into making me happy with myself or progressing my career. Con is also part of that.
So how do I ballance the need for experience with the other draws on my time? I need to earn money as well as work on the convention and if I try to get everything done in a day for the Con, I’d have to leave early or answer Con e-mail at work. Not good when work itself has a lot of stress and problems to handle. If I can’t get rid of some of the things on this list, then it seems I should have a talk with Father Time about a daylight extension.
The problem is that working on the Con has given me experiences I can take back to the office and use there. I remember a movie I saw once, a comedy, where the main character was trying to get a job, but all jobs required experience first. It’s a beautiful catch 22. What I’m going through is also representative of a true problem in our economy and society. This economy has seen an uptick in unpaid internships and volunteering, as this article about Chicagoans illustrates. It’s even become an issue big enough for laws to be suggested and discussed that will limit the abuse of unpaid internships, as this New York Times article describes. Young people need the experience, but we also need the confidence to claim our dues and… and ramen is not good for you.
That’s the flip side of these unpaid volunteering and intern experiences. Ramen, one of the cheapest food products out there, is not healthy. And we already eat a lot of it.