Becoming Professional: A Blog

Archive for April 2010

Every week I endeavor to bring you two useful links and a funny one. Here you go!

Women Can Make More Money – Yes we can! I find it interesting how women undertake the task of negotiating their pay. In many cases, they don’t. This articles discusses in a brief and easy format this tendency of women not to negotiate with men.

Sample Interview Questions – Because you can never have enough of these. Practice, Practice, Practice…

Octopus Steals My Video Camera and Swims Off with It (While It’s Recording) – It’s exactly what the title says, and it is your funny for this week. At one point in time, I wanted to be a marine biologist, so when I saw this, I just loved it. I think you’ll enjoy it, too, even if you never wanted to swim with the fishies.

I finally managed to finish another book: Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research. For they who are considering this book, here’s the quick review: Wonderful. Buy Now.

Though I can’t imagine there are very many who are just considering buying this book at this point in time. I’m a little late on the pick up, here. This book has been critically acclaimed by august personages of the business world. It won the Berry-AMA Book Prize for the best book in marketing in 2009. It was published in 2008. It is currently 2010. I would have read it earlier but I’d been trying to knock out these other book reviews. Now I’m wishing I hadn’t waited.

This book is truly phenomenal. It combines well-developped research and case studies with an engaging writing style. It helped me wipe the sleepies out of my eyes when I was trying to wake up even earlier than usual (While reading this book I switched from waking up at 6 am to 5 am in order to work-out in the mornings).

Unfortunately, because it is currently 2010 and the book was published in 2008, some of the information is a bit behind the times. Not that it is useless, but more like when Levi’s is posting the Facebook “Like” button in its online store, perhaps the idea of ratings and reviews on a website isn’t quite so novel anymore. Still, it is inspirational to read the stories of how companies just got into this world of the groundswell. Though the great giants of business, like Levi’s, are playing ball with a gusto, smaller and medium size companies, like the one I currently work for, are still trying to figure out the rules. They don’t have enough time to develop a full team to figure out how to win at this game while managing inventory.

This book is still awesome and wonderful, even if I’m a bit late reading it. Through my search of previous reviews, I know this book has been used in many a classroom. Since I’m pretty fresh out of the college myself, I distinctly remember the hefty tomes I was forced to carry. I wish that my professors had made this one of their integral texts, instead. This book’s size, weight, and cost alone make it superior. I got a hardback, like most students would have had to. It cost me $30. I wish my other textbooks were that cheap! And it is roughly half the size of my other texts, perhaps a quarter. I would, however, go so far to say that it is full of 4 times the useful information. Useful defined here as present and accessible, because no matter how much info is in those gigantic bricks, if a student uses it more like a pillow than a book, it’s not useful.

What makes it such a good read is all the good data and examples. The book tells the story of how Dell went from “Dell Hell” to the happy blogging state it’s in now. Every chance Li and Bernoff got, they personified the struggle to make a company active in the groundswell by dropping it down from impersonal company to very personal person. They name the people who came up with the ideas and implement them. For instance, they describe Tormod Askildsen, the LEGO Group’s senior director of business development, and his plan for energizing the adult Lego enthusiasts who account for a large percentage of Lego’s business. They even discuss what happens to a business once it accepts the groundswell and how the role the reader might play in that change.

But it isn’t all anecdotal. Forrester Research is a research firm, after all, and they give tips on how to use demographics to engage your customers, even on how to rank a customer’s participation in the groundswell. I am a big fan of their graphs and have started to use these theories already in my own work.

Which brings me to my conclusion: excellent writing style. The examples and the data are woven together seemlessly so I forgot I was reading a business book and just enjoyed the learning.

Every week I want to provide you some links that amused or helped me from the previous week. Here’s this week’s three:

How to Build Engaging One-of-a-Kind Facebook Fan Pages – If you have a small business or want to market yourself, this will help you. I’m a a social media marketer. It’s a passion, a hobby, and a job. So when I came across this article when I was just beginning to figure out the genre, it was a godsend.  

How 5 Brands Are Mastering the Game of Foursquare – Because I love Foursquare and you should, too! Well, actually, it’s a really useful tool for businesses, and this article provides some excellent examples of how it can be used.

What Happens After You Save the Princess? – I want to include a funny link every week. This one takes you past saving the princess in an old video game. So click and watch this little video. What’s a princess who’s been locked up in a tower like?

I am in my early twenties and female. This is important. Recently it was suggested to me that I write a post about finding inspiration for blog posts because young people often have problems finding the inspiration for blogging. That post will come, but that comment jogged another thought in my head. Why don’t young people blog more?
According to Technorati’s 2009 State of the Blogosphere, only 7% of bloggers were between 18 and 24 years-of-age. There’s a big leap between 7% and 25%, the percentage of bloggers between 25 and 34 years-of-age. Why?
For those visual learners out there, here’s the Technorati graph:

In order to find this answer, I asked a Linked In Question and punted it out to my Twitter Followers. Basically it was an open-ended survey to which I got 15 good responses. They all had a variety of opinions and different experiences motivating those opinions.

Now, a disclaimer: What I’m reporting here are not word for word responses. I’m reporting on the subjective understanding I walked away with from the Linked In Answers and Tweets.

Let’s start first with the most popular answer:

Lack of something to say, wisdom.

I can understand this. Out of my 15 responses, 7 said that this was a reason young people don’t blog- they don’t have anything they feel they can add to the conversation. The general consensus is that with age comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes something to add to the blogosphere. I, obviously, don’t agree with this. I’m blogging and I’m fairly certain all I can add is my commentary on what I see, and since I’m pretty much shiny-new and most people blogging are not, my commentary is hopefully enlightening. Still, if I was on the outside looking in, a young person just contemplating blogging, I can see this concern floating in my head.

The second most popular answer was:

Millennials don’t have a long enough attention span to blog.

This made me pause. I know I have ADD. My tag-line is “Hyperactivity that Works,” after all. (Blog site rebranding in process. Just wait and see!) But I blog. Let’s, then, analyze the responders. Seven individuals mentioned attention span or dedication in their responses. The respondants were both young and old. Out of the people I could guess the ages of, only three of my total respondants were in the 18-24 age bracket. Two of them mentioned attention spans or dedication. The rest were older, though I wont say how old (Linked In isn’t Facebook. It doesn’t have a birthdate field). Their reasoning? With all of the stuff we’re doing, young people just don’t have the necessary dedication to sit down and craft a blog. Apparently most people in this younger age bracket start off with high-flying ideas and then get bogged down in the details. Thus the comment on attention span. They quit shortly after starting the blog and then move on.

After these two common points, all my respondents started mentioning various other points and their commonalities became scattered. For instance, four said that young people use Twitter and Facebook instead of blogging. Two mentioned that yong people are just too busy–not that we get bored with it but that we don’t have enough time to blog. Two responses mentioned that young people aren’t interested in blogging because they’re too busy with being young and aren’t interested in the intellectual pursuit.

The reason I found the most insightful, though, was actually given by a young person and just this one person. He said that young people are addicted to the consumption of what the internet has to offer, not the creation of that offering. Well put and interesting. My thoughts? I agree with the most common reasons I’ve highlighted. I think that young people feel they don’t have enough to say of value and that the work that goes in to making something of value is a too burdensome for most.

Welcome to the beginning of the week. Start your week off right with some interesting reading. Here’s some articles that I gathered from around the web. Every week I try to provide 3 good things for you to look at. This week it’s four. Enjoy my excess!

Many Marketing and Communications Professors Are Criminals – Yes they are. They assign homework! On a more serious note, they don’t teach social media, and that’s a crime that deserves a hefty fine, at the very lease. This post by David Meerman Scott throws all that into perspective in his engaging writing style. If you haven’t yet, check out his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. This book is perhaps the best introduction to the online world I’ve read yet. Go here for my Sleepy-Eyed Book Review.

Ignore Foursquare at Your Peril – An Analysis of Potential – Anyone who follows me on Twitter or is my friend on Facebook knows I’m a Foursquare user. Okay, obsessed might be more accurate. But here’s why: “There are three primary benefits: awareness via virality and social proof; loyalty and rewards; and market research.” Of course that’s just a brief quote; the article goes in to more detail. Check out my blog post Who’s Looking at Your Geolocation for more of my thoughts on Foursquare and it’s competitor Gowala.

11 Thngs Bette Davis had to say about social media… kinduv. – I would have been named after Bette but then my name would have been Bette Davids and my mother thought that was a bit too much. Naturally, when I saw this article, I had to read it. The quotes are deliciously quote-able and the article itself is a fun read.

Pie – Not everything can be serious, so here’s a fun one. Make Pie with numbers. Yes, it has something to do with Greek.

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As a newbie starting out in this jungle of a world, I have relied on the help of those more experience jungle explorers. No, I don’t just mean reading books, though you should do that. I mean literally asking for advice and help. People want to help you, if you just ask them to.

Simple truth: people like to feel important. Tactical truth: asking for an interview makes people feel important.

One of the best ways of getting their help is to ask for an informational interview. I do not mean a job interview here. This is the type of interview where you are in the driver’s seat.

Find someone you admire, someone who perhaps has the position you want. Figure out how you can meet her. Is she a member of your local American Medical Association? Go to a meeting. (You don’t have to buy a membership. You can get a guest pass of sorts). Strike up a conversation. Give the person your 30 second commercial and chat for a bit. Then ask if you could have a cup of coffee some time and ask her about her career.

Then meet up. Be sure to do your homework first. Know everything you can about the person you’re interviewing before the interview. And research your industry, too. If all you know is what’s on wikipedia, do more research. The person you’ll be interviewing is giving up her valuable time to chat with you. Don’t make her list off the basics about herself and the field. That’s just annoying. Instead ask questions that really matter to you, like how to prepare for interviews, how to manage a career, what training to pursue, what common mistakes they’ve seen, how to meet other important people. Don’t ask for a job, though. As I said up at the top, this is not that type of interview.

At the same time, don’t be surprised if you get forwarded the names of hiring managers. Be sure to go into this interview very openly, stating that this is to help you mold and shape your career and not part of a job search, per se. The reason is that some of the people you would like to interview believe that informational interviews should just be about finding the names of hiring managers and how to get a job at their company. You don’t want to annoy these people, who can still be valuable allies, and you don’t want to put off the folk who thought you just wanted to ask about career planning.

I have learned a lot through this tactic. I’ve learned about how careers get started and run. I’ve learned that golf isn’t the only way to network–hiking anyone? SCUBA anyone? I’ve learned that flexibility is key. I’ve learned that the suit does not make the man. And I’ve learned that success is defined by a smile.

Give it a go. The worst that will happen is you’ll have had a good cup of coffee.

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Jesse James, not the tatooed one, a comic book shop owner in my home town, told me once that every person must have three things that he will always be true to in order to lead a happy, successful life and career. It’s a personal brand summed up in three ideas. Think of it like your mission statement. Here’s mine:

  1. Honor: If I say I will do something, it’s already done.
  2. Dedication: I dedicate myself to what I do. 100%
  3. Fun: I endeavor to find the fun in everything. If I have to put it there, I will.

Jesse told me some other ideas people have chosen to build their lives around: Family, Innovation, God, Learning, Knowledge… you name it. What are your three?

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog ( and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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