May 15, 2010

Why Personal & Professional Profiles Must Be Like Church & State

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:07 pm by R

Our forefathers in their great wisdom saw fit to separate church and state so as to divide two volatile and sometimes conflicting arenas. Such is the case with personal and professional information in social media.

This is why God invented professional networks like LinkedIn and (ridiculously difficult) privacy settings on Facebook so that you could segregate the professional from the personal and put up firewalls where the professional might peer over into the personal. But there are some places where the only protection and privacy you have is your own good judgement.

Because of this, I’d like to post some Emily Post-esque advice for those of you who exist in that delicate gray area where personal and professional collide.

  1. Where’s my personal space? — Figure this out, then lock that area down! Set privacy that makes sense, and don’t compromise on who gets in this area…not even once!
  2. What goes in my professional space? — Do you blog professionally? Cool. That can go in your professional space. Does your Twitter stay professional? Awesome, that can go in your professional space. Do you support a religious or political group and make statements in support of them — hold it. In the same way that it’s dangerous to bring up religion or politics at dinner parties, it’s also dangerous to bring them up in social media where professional connections can see…and judge.
  3. If my boss saw this would I blush (or get fired)? — This is the first question you should ask yourself before posting anything, anywhere. There are ways…just know there are ways…Google has a long memory. Plus, who knows what changes Facebook will make to privacy and if you don’t catch that change and personal information that could potentially effect you professionally becomes available, well, it might not be pretty.
  4. Do the people I let in my network know me well enough to know what I mean? This is a complex question, but one you just have to ask. Whether in a personal or professional setting, you need to know your audience. And you need to know if they know you well enough to understand a sarcastic joke or personal position on a topic. This applies to both areas. There’s no icon — or better yet , font — for sarcasm, so the crowd you communicate with needs to be one who  gets you. If not, it’s better to monitor yourself and your content for things that may be taken the wrong way and could leave you in a bad position.

There are a lot of potholes on the social media highway and, give recent trends, they’ll only get bigger. As with so many things in the social space, you have  to be your own best advocate and protector when it comes to maintaining privacy and also your personal and professional brands.



May 2, 2010

The Magic of Magazines

Posted in Media at 5:13 pm by R

Have you seen this ad?

The text reads:

We surf the Internet. We swim in magazines.

The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping. The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you. The Internet is impulsive. Magazines are immersive. And both media are growing.

Barely noticed amidst the thunderous Internet clamor i s the simple fact that magazine readership has risen over the past five years. Even in the age of the Internet, even among the groups one would assume are most singularly hooked on digital media, the appeal of magazines is growing.

Think of it this way: during the 12-year life of Google, magazine readership actually increased 11 percent.

What it proves, once again, is that a new medium doesn’t necessarily displace and existing one. Just as movies didn’t kill radio. Just as TV didn’t kill movies. An established medium can continue to flourish so long as it continues to offer a unique experience. And, as reader loyalty and growth demonstrate, magazines do.

Which is why people aren’t giving up swimming, just because they also enjoy surfing.

I LOVE this campaign! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! For a few months I’ve been opening up my magazines and reading this ad with a big smile on my face!

For a couple of years this blog has covered the contracting print industry. And what I have never said is how terribly afraid I was that my beloved magazines would eventually fade away into Internet oblivion.

I love this ad because it’s true. Though I get my headlines from Tweets and e-newsletters, nothing makes me so happy (or my mailman so sad) as MAGAZINE DAY! I can’t wait to dig in and flip through the pages. It’s the smell, the colors, the info! I love swimming in all of it.

Magazines are, as the ad states, a unique experience. The blend of consumable, useful tidbits, paired with rich content in a format that feels comfortable, like a friend.

Just to exemplify how dedicated I am to the magazine experience, let me introduce you to some of my (and my equally devoted husband’s) magazine friends — and by friends I mean subscriptions:

(Note that all these great publications have fantastic websites as well.)

Not only do my husband and I love to read magazines and feel that we are enriched by their presence in our home, but we LOVE to give great magazines as gifts. Honestly, it’s the gift that keeps on giving every month. When a dear friend got engaged, I immediately celebrated her pending nuptials with a subscription to Martha Stewart Weddings. Christmas gifts — easy breezy. Hard-to-buy-for types are easily remedied with a subscription to a magazine related to a personal interest. While Apple iPhone owners chime “There’s an app for that,” when it comes to the holidays I gleefully say “There’s a magazine for that!”

The Internet might give us unlimited monthly access to unlimited amounts of information, but magazines give us the value of a unique, reliable and regular experience.

Might I add, as my hubby and I contemplate doing some remodeling to our home, I’m quickly discovering a whole new world of magazines to swim in as I immerse myself in flooring selections, finishes, faucets, paint ideas and more!

Magazines, in short, are magic.