Becoming Professional: A Blog

Archive for September 2010

Twitter Logos and companies

Image by The Next Web

The book I’ve been groggily making my way through every morning for the past month or so (I’m a slow reader) has been Twitterville by Shel Israel. I’ve already handed a copy to a gentleman in a book store cafe with express orders to buy it, and as soon as I’m done writing and publishing this post I’ll be dropping off my personal copy to a former coworker. Can you tell I recommend it?

This book combines a very engaging writing style with colorful case studies.  Israel adds a personal touch by telling the case study stories from the perspective of the key players, having done interviews to bring the reader these people’s own words. He then makes the stories even more personal by adding his own views or experiences. For instance, even the story of how Twitter started and was first adopted by the business community is engaging in a chapter entitled “Dell’s Paralel Avenues.” Israel doesn’t just describe how Dell first started to use Twitter as a way of moving closeout and refurbished computers, he tells of how Ricardo Guerrero, the gentleman responsible for starting Dell’s presence on Twitter, was very confused when he got his first Twitter account after being introduced to it at the SXSW 2007 conference. Israel then makes it more intimate by interjecting his own personal story of confusion. The first Tweet he ever posted was “Well here I am. What happens now?” This personal flair continues throughout the book.

Of course Israel also covers Twitter best practices. When there is debate, he continues the personal touch by stating his preferences up front. When discussing whether or not a company should use a “logo tweeter” (a logo avatar without a disclaimer of who exactly is tweeting) or a spokesperson tweeter, Israel is obviously pro-spokesperson. (I take the discussion further by applying it to personal accounts here). But he is balanced and fair in discussing why businesses would opt with a logo account rather than his preferred method. He does this by using interviews again, this time with the people behind the logos. In other words, he lets the practitioners speak for themselves, letting him remain openly biased, letting the reader come to her own conclusions, and creating a more interesting read than a simple case study.Twitterville by Shel Israel

And it’s not just a business book. It’s practically a sociology book. With his background in journalism, Israel is able to describe how Twitter is changing the field by allowing citizens to keep each other informed or even informing the professional media, as when Janis Krums tweeted about the Miracle on the Hudson, complete with a TwitPic of the plane in the middle of the river. Krums then appeared as a guest on various television news/talk shows. Israel calls this type of exchange “braided journalism.” Not stopping there, the book then goes on to cover governments using Twitter to get in direct contact with their constituents, like when the British city of Newcastle used Twitter to announce a snow day for the schools and handling resident complaints. And that’s not even beginning to touch on the wonderful chapter on fund-raising on Twitter. If you ever need to raise money, Israel has some great tips – like using the ChipIn widget, which makes it easy to collect donations and let followers keep score on your progress.

Twitterville is a great introduction to Twitter, the type that just gets better if you aren’t a beginner at all, or if your an expert. I chock it up to Israel’s wonderful writing style, but the content doesn’t hurt, either. I highly recommend you pick it up. Today.

Also, please spend less than 5 minutes of your time taking this survey: Avatar – Identity vs. Perception. John Antonios and I are studying whether or not avatars show what we want them to show about ourselves. We’re hoping for 500 respondents, so please help us get there!

getting a visa

By kalleboo (Karl Baron)

If you’re new to this blog, you might now know that I am moving to the UK in about a week for a Masters in Digital Marketing from the Hult International Business School. I’ll be there for a full year(12 months). There is only one way to do that legally: Get a Visa. This is the second post in the Getting a Visa blog series where we explore the insanity of legal immigration. Today’s contribution is about paper work.

I got my UK Student Visa a little bit ago. My estimation of the process? My God, how many trees must I kill? You guessed it, it is amazingly bureaucratic.

Of course, the Visa process will be different depending on the Visa you are after and the country. The UK has at least 4 different types of student Visas alone. Just figuring out which type of papers to fill out was something of a head ache. When you start reading the appendices you start wishing you were staying at home. Still, in comparison to getting a French Visa, it wasn’t so bad.

I had to take a day-trip to L.A. for my French Visa, and just a drive downtown for fingerprinting to get the UK Visa. In the “going inordinately out of my way” category, the UK Visa was nothing. Perhaps that’s why in the “read that form over 50 times and still be worried you miss-understood a crazily detailed question that will derail your entire application” category, it was off the charts. I can’t tell you how often I reread the same two forms. They asked for everything, including the details from all old, legally destroyed passports. Luckily my father never throws any important document away and I had my childhood passport on hand. Doubly lucky since they wanted me to include it with the application I mailed to LA.

UK Visa Process

Old photo of the Tower of London

This seems to be a standard with the UK, at least. As Johnny Smith’s account illustrates, they do ask for a lot of details in their paperwork. But other than that, the UK Visa application is smooth sailing. Now, just imagine what this would be like if it was highly rated on the “going inordinately out of your way” category as well. Yeah, makes it seem less rosy, doesn’t it?

The key with paperwork seems to be that you have to have all your information on hand, and to give yourself lots of time to fill it out, in case you accidentally are missing something. It helps to have someone you can ask questions, of, too. While filling out my UK paperwork, I constantly got confused about what a word meant, or if I was affected by some passage or other. This is why I love my school. Hult helped me out a ton by designating a gentleman to answer all my questions about the visa process and by providing a step by step guide to filling out the forms. With all the things they’ve done for me, please don’t get annoyed if I keep singing the praises of my school!

As always, what are your thoughts or experiences in getting a Visa? Any particularly easy experiences? And if something was hard, what made it difficult?

Also, please spend less than 5 minutes of your time taking this survey: Avatar – Identity vs. Perception. John Antonios and I are studying whether or not avatars show what we want them to show about ourselves. We’re hoping for 500 respondents, so please help us get there!

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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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