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Archive for May, 2009

I love social media. Chances are, since you are here, you probably love social media too. However, there is certainly a downside to social media and social networking that cannot be ignored.

Yesterday, there was a story on television about Twitter (so what else is new right?). Someone tweeted that Patrick Swayze had died. If you know anything about Swayze’s recent health struggles with cancer, you realize this story was believeable and sad, but it was untrue! Reportedly the story began on a radio station, was picked up by a German television station, was tweeted and spread like wildfire. This makes Twitter sound like a dysfunctional game of Telephone.

roethlisbergerAlong the same lines, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback (my sports boyfriend ūüėČ Go Steelers!) Ben Roethlisberger, had to clear up the rumor that he is fighting skin cancer. Someone posted a status update on Facebook¬†under Roethlisberger’s name stating that he had been diagnosed with skin cancer. Although there are accounts under his name on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, none actually belong to the quarterback.

“There’s no truth to it. I don’t have any of that stuff,” the Steelers quarterback proclaimed Wednesday.

(Read the rest of the article here even though they spelled his last name wrong until the middle of the article. )

 

What do these stories mean to social media and social networking? Do they hurt the credibility of bloggers or companies on Twitter? Is Twitter anything more than a high tech version¬†of Telephone? Should we believe anythingthat we read? Undoubtedly, we have to remember that many blogs, Facebook accounts and Tweets belong to regular people. They aren’t journalists who are required to research (then again, the article I posted spelled a name wrong!). For some reason people will pose as celebrities and tell lies, or people will report it wrong (did you know the AP Wire posted a story last night with the wrong winner of American Idol?!). To err is human and mistakes are to be expected.

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Awhile back, I was inspired by a Tweet from @katiebailey

¬†The more you learn, the more you realize what you don’t know.

Unemployment gives you a lot of time to research, read and learn. This can be a great thing. You have the ability to stay on top of your field and learn new things. This can also add to the overwhelmed feeling that already comes with job hunting.

As I connect with more people on Twitter and LinkedIn, discover more blogs and create more connections, I begin noticing how much I don’t know. One Twitter link leads to an informative blog, that blog leads to another blog and an hour later my eyes hurt and I’m getting a headache from information overload. My computer time always snowballs from 30 minutes to 3 hours.

If I’m not learning a new tip or trick for job hunting, I’m learning of a new social media tool that I need to become involved in. The amount of information available to learn seems never-ending. To me, this is both a blessing and a curse.

I love that social media, marketing, PR and communications are constantly evolving. I love knowing that learning doesn’t stop after your walk across a stage and receive a degree. I hate that overwhelmed, inadequate feeling I get sometimes after reading one too many blogs/tweets/articles/etc.

Nonetheless, I will continue to realize how much I don’t know. I will continue to be a sponge, soaking up all the information that I can find, making all the connections that I can and hopefully finding that perfect job.

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adviceSo far on my blog I have offered a little advice and stated my opinion. Now I am asking for something back.

¬†I have no idea how many people (if any) read this blog. I’m hoping at least one or two and I’m hoping these readers (yeah, that would be you!) come out of¬†hiding and contribute. Maybe asking for comments is against proper blog¬†etiquette (though somehow I doubt Miss Manners has rules for blogging) but I’m taking a chance and potentially rebelling against the status quo (and pretending that the status quo song from High School¬†Musical¬†didn’t just pop into my head.)

But I digress…

I would like some job hunting advice. I know the basics, I’ve done the basics (you know, all that stuff I talked about here) and I’m still hunting. I’m hoping to find some insight, something that I’ve missed or just hadn’t thought of.

As we already know, I’m on all the social networking sites. I have profiles on CareerBuilder, Monster, and get daily emails from Simply Hired. I check the local big companies (Aflac, TSYS, Auburn University, etc) several times a week. I have written and re-written my resume more times than I can count. I have a VisualCV, a blog, and a Twitter account.

Maybe it’s just the economy or maybe it’s just the areas I’m looking in (Columbus, GA and Auburn, AL). Maybe I should blog more or connect with more people on Twitter, or contribute more to those social networking sites I’m a part of. What do you think? Other than the same ol’ stay positive, keep on trying, be confident advice, what can you tell me?

I don’t want to sound desperate here because I’m not. Sure, it’s been nearly 6 weeks since I was laid off and yes, I was job hunting even before then. However, I’m still not feeling desperate or depressed or pessimistic. I simply want to be sure that I am doing everything. You see, when you are unemployed and finding a job is your full time job, you need to do it right! I just want to see what else I could be doing.

So what do you think? More in-person networking? (I’m thinking this would be good… but where? In a small town area, where can I go? What should I look for?) More followups with potential employers? (I always worry I’ll bug the crap out of people who are already busy enough) More blogging and Twitter and social media and social networking and patience? Please advise.

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As a communication major at Auburn I took several pubic relations classes. In a couple of those classes we had to create fake press releases, fake VNRs and even an entire fake press kit as a final project. It was great experience and definitely helped us learn by doing.

Then I came across a blog on PROpenMic. What not to do if you’re a PR student. This blog was written by Brian Camen, a PR professional who first published the¬†story on his blog here

Basically, when Camen was randomly googling himself, he came across an interview… with him… but not really. A student had created an interview, claiming it was with Camen and then changing the name. The answers matched up with Camen’s information on his About Me page on his blog and information from PROpenMic and Twitter.

I have to question and wonder¬†what exactly happened here. Did the student pretend to interview Camen for an interview assignment? Was it suppose to be fake like those press releases and other projects I did? It’s hard to say.

Still, it got me thinking. A couple of the press releases that I wrote were about real companies with real professionals’ names. I have these releases included on my VisualCVas press release writing experience. I wonder if those professionals would mind? Now, I should add that I state on my VisualCVthat the press releases are fake and created for a class. I also do not have quotes from any of the professionals in the releases. In addition, I’m pretty sure my releases don’t show up in a¬†Google search (or maybe they do, but not on the first few pages).

So where do we draw the line? Should students write fictional assignments with real names? Should everything be made up? Should students have to ask permission before writing? If so, should it be for everything or just to get quotes? Do we just need to make sure we state that it’s fake? In the age of Internet, Google and social media, is it too risky to compromise a professional’s reputation with false information?

I would really like ideas and opinions on this – looking forward to some comments!

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My inspiration came from this post. The subject tackled there is how to stop being forgettable during a sales pitch. The subject here is not being forgettable during the job search (or after).

I have often felt¬†very forgettable. I’m not sure if it’s my shy, timid demeanor, a physical trait, or something else that I’m missing. I never paid much attention to this fact. I would just re-introduce myself to people, pretend I didn’t remember them either, feel temporarily embarrassed and just let it pass. Until I started job hunting…

You simply cannot afford to be forgettable when you’re looking for a job, especially not now, not in this competitive market. When I first started interviewing, I was completely myself. It didn’t take long for me to learn that maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Not to say you should create an alternate ego for interviews, you can still be yourself, but you should be the best possible version of yourself.

Initially, I am a shy person. I’m also humble, to a fault. Neither of these traits are beneficial when meeting a potential employer. I have learned to be more outgoing, more excited and more boisterous about my accomplishments. I feel like interviewers are finally seeing the real me, instead of the guarded, shy me who normally takes control when I’m around strangers. I may not have a job yet, but I have made connections. I have gotten a lot of good feedback and no longer feel like interviewers are forgetting who I¬†am once decision time roles around.

These are traits that will follow me to my next job. I know that this is the new professional me. This is Danielle2.0
I know that I will have to remember to be sure of myself, make the effort to be more outgoing and make sure that I settle into my new position quickly. The job search has helped me realize who I want to be professionally and the traits that will help me be successful.

Of course, I’m also using the Internet to ensure I’m not forgotten. I make sure potential employers have my Linkedin, VisualCV and blog links. In the days of Web2.0, an Internet presence is almost a job requirement. There is some debate, but I include my picture on those first two links. Although it may put me at risk for discrimination, I think it’s a good idea to get my face in their head. (Plus, do I really want to work for a company that doesn’t hire me because of how I look?)

Whether you are job hunting or happily employed, it’s important to make sure you are not forgettable. For interviewers, employers or clients, you need to make a lasting impression.

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