Tag Archives: career

Rest in Peace, Social Media Ninjas

July 14, 2011

23 Comments

Ninja

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Seth W.

Let’s get this straight – a few years ago, you read The Cluetrain Manifesto or Groundswell or one of the other hundred social media books out there, you started reading Mashable, you created a Twitter account, and you developed a bunch of presentations you used internally to help get buy-in from your organization’s senior leadership for your social media ideas. It’s now two or three years later, and you’ve become the organizational “expert,” “guru,” or “subject matter expert” in social media, your social media blog receives a lot of traffic, you’ve championed the use of Enterprise 2.0 tools internally, and you’re managing your organization’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Everything’s going according to plan, right?

Eh….not quite.

Here’s the thing – over the last few years, you’ve probably gotten a few raises, won some awards, maybe you’ve even been promoted one or two times. I hope you’ve enjoyed your rise to the top because I’m here to tell you that the end is near. If you’ve ridden the wave of social media and branded yourself as the social media “guru,” “ninja,” or “specialist,” I hope you’ve got a backup plan in place because what once set you apart from the crowd now just lumps you right in there with millions of other people with the same skills, the same experience, and the same knowledge. A few years ago, you were innovative. You were cutting-edge. You were forward-thinking. You were one of a few pioneers in a new way of thinking about communicating. Just a few short years later, and you’re now normal. You’re just doing what’s expected. You’re one of many. Social media specialists are the new normal. Oh, you were the Social Media Director for a political campaign? Congratulations – so were the other 30 people who interviewed for this position. What else have you done? What other skills do you have? People with social media skills and experience on their resume aren’t hard to find anymore. It’s those people who don’t anything about social media who stand out now.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the end.  Instead trying to be a social media ninja, try being a communications specialist. Try being a knowledge management professional. Try being a recruiter. Try being an information technology professional. Because guess what – THAT’S what you are doing. Instead of talking about how you have thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook fans, talk about what those fans have helped you accomplish. Instead of talking about the number of blog subscribers you have, talk about how much revenue that blog helped generate for your organization. Instead of talking about the number of members of your Yammer network, talk about how that community has positively impacted your organization’s workforce. Start talking about social media for what it is – a set of tools that people with real professions use to do their jobs. Don’t try to be an expert at using a hammer. Try to be the master builder who can use the hammer, the saw, and the screwdriver to build a house.

When everyone’s a specialist, no one’s a specialist. What makes you stand out now?

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The Two Things You Need to be Successful When Using Social Media

May 13, 2011

5 Comments

People ask me how all the time, “what’s the best way to use social media successfully?” I’m going to tell them (and you) a little secret – you need to have two things, and they won’t cost you a thing.

No, I’m not going to tell you that you have to create a Facebook fan page or that you just totally have to use WordPress for your blog. I’m not saying that you need to get celebrities and other “influentials” to retweet you or to hire some social media gurus to get you thousands of fans. No, the two things you need to be successful in using social media are inexpensive and available to everyone, yet are very difficult to attain: loads of self-confidence and extreme self-awareness.

big finish

Are you confident in your abilities? Are are acutely aware of your strengths and weaknesses? You better be!

Seems pretty simple right? Be confident. Know your strengths and weaknesses. OK, that’s do-able. No expensive training to take, no conferences to attend, no certifications to go and get, no books to read – what’s so difficult about this again?

Well, here’s the thing – a lot of people SAY they have self-confidence and that they’re pretty self-aware, but you’re probably not one of them. Oh, you might be totally sure of yourself when you’re talking to the people in your office but what about when your audience isn’t your Luddite boss, but a conference room full of other social media “experts?” Hearing negative feedback from your boss is one thing, hearing “you suck!” from another blogger is another.

Self-confidence and self-awareness can’t be achieved just by reading, attending conferences, or subscribing to blogs – it actually takes some honest introspection and humility. For example, are you confident and self-aware enough to handle these situations?

  • You might be used to seeing your boss mark up that report you’ve been working on, but what are you going to do when hundreds of people pick apart your blog post? Can you listen to that feedback, internalize it, and adapt?
  • At the same time, are you confident enough in your writing and opinions to stand up for what you believe and defend it?
  • Are you comfortable having an argument with someone in front of thousands of people? Can you remain calm, cool, and collected in the face of immaturity and uninformed opinions?
  • What are you going to do when your first 2, 6, 8, or 10 blog posts get a total of 30 visits? Keep plugging away? Adapt your writing style? Quit?
  • It’s easy to be confident when you’re the expert in the room, but what happens when you’re in a room full of other social media experts? Are you confident enough in what you know and aware of what you don’t know to have actual conversations with the authors of the books and blogs you’ve been reading?
  • Remember that the brand on your business card may give you some instant credibility when you first start out, but are you ready to deal with both the good and the bad? What are you going to do when people start attacking you on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter because they have an issue not with you personally, but with your company?
  • I know your officemates loved that blog post you wrote on your intranet a few weeks ago, but you and I both know you just paraphrased a chapter out of Chris Brogan’s latest book and called it a blog post. Are you comfortable enough in your own skin to attribute that or would you let your colleagues think you’re the “thought leader” behind it?
  • Are you comfortable asking for help or do you view it as a sign of weakness?
  • You’ll meet people much much smarter than you, people with more experience than you. Are you humble enough to admit that and learn from them?
  • You’ll be wrong…a lot…and everyone will know it. How do you feel about that?
  • Do you have visions of being the next social media A-lister? If you do, tell me what you absolutely suck at. Is it video blogging? Is it recording podcasts? Is it editing your own posts? Managing your time? Regularly commenting on other people’s blogs? What areas of social media do you struggle with and why? If you can’t easily answer this question, go back to the top and start over. You’re not awesome at everything, trust me.

The answers to these questions can’t be found in a book or blog post. Even the so-called experts’ advice for how to deal with these situations will be all over the map.  The answers will be different for everyone, depending on their own strengths and weaknesses, and that’s kind of the point. Are you confident in what you know? Are you willing to admit what you don’t? Until you’re able to develop that self-confidence and self-awareness, you’ll always find yourself struggling with how to best use social media.

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Gov 2.0 Jobs, Moves, and Opportunities

January 27, 2010

124 Comments

 

Image Courtesy of Flickr User Ben Zvan

Inspired by Jeremiah Owyang’s excellent “On the Move” series of blog postings meant to track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions in the social media community, I wanted to to start this semi-regular (maybe once every other month?) post series focused on the jobs and people within our Government. One of the things that always annoyed me about federal job postings is that they’re not promoted all that well outside of the federal government. Due to the rules and restrictions the government faces regarding recruiting, they essentially have to make the posting available to everyone and hope the right people find it, and then apply.  The newly redesigned USAJobs.gov site is a move in the right direction, but there’s still a lot more that can be done. I’m hoping to use this series to help publicize some of the openings specifically of interest to the Gov 2.0 community, congratulate those of us on new career moves, and help connect potential candidates to new positions too.

Gov 2.0 Job Opportunity Spotlight

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Director, New Media and Web Communications: Be responsible for the overall direction and management of Department new media communications, products and strategy.  The Director, New Media and Web Communications has specific responsibility for training and guiding Department Web Managers and for overseeing implementation of web policies and procedures. Open until Feb. 3.
  • National Academy of Public Administration, Analyst: The Analyst position is mid-level role, requiring an advanced degree and 3-5 years experience. Analysts are part of an integrated project team and engage in every aspect of our work, including project planning, primary and secondary research and analysis, and preparation and delivery of final recommendations. Analysts assist in coordinating, planning and facilitating joint meetings of Academy staff, our Panel members and client organizations. Strong organizational, analytical and communication skills are key to successful performance in this position. Open until filled
  • U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, Public Communications Specialist: Based in Warren, Michigan, the candidate will provide communications support to include media coordination and public relations to anticipate and resolve inquiries from defense, national, congressional and local media. Will assess potential controversial issues having national and/or international impact and develop communication strategies to maintain program messaging, to include authoring speeches/press releases, organizing press conferences and media site visits, organizing press interviews with senior Army and PEO leadership, coordinate release of news releases and answering multiple media inquires on wide range of organizational subjects. Maintains and executes organization’s social media strategy. Manage organization’s website content. Coordinate with Army social media office to include updating and organizing content on popular web-based Social Media and networking sites. Open until Jan. 29

Gov 2.0 Moves and Promotions

Congratulations also go out to the following #gov20 champions and I wish them the best of luck in their new positions:

How to connect with others (or get a job):
I hope that this list of resources grows from its meager beginnings and evolves into a comprehensive resource for Government 2.0 jobs across the country so if you know of any other resources I don’t have listed here, please add them in the comments and I’ll make sure they get added to future posts in the series.

Submit an announcement
If you know folks that are moving up in the #gov20 industry, fill out this form.

U.S. Government Job Resources

If you have any other suggestions on how to make these posts more valuable, drop a comment below!

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