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Taking a Break!!

Image Courtesy of Flickr user of Dnorman

Image Courtesy of Flickr user of Dnorman

I’m finally doing it – I’m taking a much needed vacation.  Starting on Wednesday morning, May 13th, I’ll be jumping on a plane for Hawaii where I will trade in my shirt and tie for a lei and a margarita.  That’s where I’ll remain until I rejoin my place in the  government consulting workforce after Memorial Day.

Other than my honeymoon in October 2006, this will only be my second vacation of longer than 3-4 days in the six years since I started working at Booz Allen.  It’s not that I haven’t been able to, or haven’t been able to afford it, I’ve just always relied more on long weekends rather than going away for weeks at a time – I just feel like I don’t get as behind on work when I do that, and I’d almost rather just hang out and rest rather than running around worrying about travel logistics and cramming everything that I want to do in one week.

However, thanks to Booz Allen, I’ll be taking a much-needed two week break away from the hundreds of emails, tweets, Yams, blogs, white papers, and proposals that have slowly taken over so much of my free time.  I’ll still have my phone with me but will not be checking or responding to emails until I return to the mainland.  Thanks to the wonderful members of my team, I know that I don’t have to worry about something falling between the cracks because they’ve got the skills, the experience, and the passion to continue on even without me there.  In fact, while I’m out, look for a guest blog post here from Michael Dumlao on social media, the swine flu, and Crisis 2.0.

So, while I’m out of the office over these next two weeks, don’t be afraid to reach out to any of the members of my team. However, if you really need to get to a hold of me, you can always leave me a message here (thanks AwayFind!) – although I can”t promise how quickly I’ll respond.

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Why Start Another Social Media Blog???

Photo courtesy of Le Syndicaliste under Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Le Syndicaliste under Creative Commons license

That’s actually a great question, and one that I struggled with for a long time before I actually bit the bullet and created this site. You see, the current state of the social media blogosphere is very much like an echo chamber, in that a bunch of social media evangelists, strategists, gurus, and other experts are talking to and amongst one another. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but as Jonathan Trenn states in this post, that’s no longer enough. It’s great that there’s a vibrant community of these experts (check my blogroll on the right for a list of these experts, all much more established than I) actively sharing ideas and experiences. However, this has led to an almost stale conversation in the social media blogosphere where we’re preaching to the choir. So, of course, I’m starting…a social media blog!!!

Seem a little counter-intuitive? On its face, I’ll admit that it is – what could I possibly offer you, my blog reader, that is unique? What content will this blog have that you won’t be find anywhere else? That’s a tough question and one in which I hope that you will call me on if I start getting stale. For now though, here’s a list of reasons of why I hope this blog will prove valuable to you.

1. A majority of my posts will focus on Enterprise 2.0 – exploring the use of social media behind the corporate/organizational firewall. I’ve found that there are a ton of resources about the principles of social media and how those principles can be applied externally. I’ll write a little about that stuff as well, but I will try to stay focused on how social media can improve internal collaboration, communication, and information sharing behind the firewall.

2. I work for a large Government contractor and all of my clients are in the public sector (read my Legal-ese page for the obligatory disclaimers regarding content you find here). I think I bring a unique perspective on the challenges that government agencies face in bringing social media to their organization. Check out Mark Drapeau’s excellent series of Government 2.0 postings on Mashable for more information on this area of social media. As one of my firm’s Social Media leads, I’m responsible for working with our clients to figure out how they can use social media to benefit their organization. Much of my writing will dive deeper into this area – how and why is our government using social media internally?

3. Two months ago, my company officially deployed a platform of social media applications behind our firewall, including tools like blogs, forums, a wiki, social bookmarking, and social networking. In addition to serving as one of our social media leads, I’m also an advisor to the team responsible for developing, evangelizing, and teaching these tools to our internal staff. I’m able to write from first-hand experience about the benefits and obstacles of deploying social media to an organization with more than 15,000 employees located across the world. What’s worked? What hasn’t? Why?

There are many other reasons why you should read this blog, and hopefully those will become more apparent as I write more, but for now, I’ll stick to those three and hope you come back for more!

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