Brand Myself? Are You Kidding?

It’s 2009 and it’s time to wake up to the new media revolution. With more people spending more time online than ever, it’s time to get our heads out of the “I don’t get it” sand and smell the social network coffee. Here are the stats:

• Social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity ahead
of personal email

• Member communities are visited by 67% of the global online population

• Time spent on member communities is growing at 3 times the overall
internet rate, accounting for almost 10% of all internet time

~PDF, Nielsen Online, March 2009

Teens on Computer

When I talk to people IRL (in real life), I get a range of reactions to social media. Most have an impressive way of masking their ambivalence, nodding their heads in understanding while wishing I’d return to earth from my cyberspace soapbox. Others openly admit they have no clue about Twitter and don’t understand why anyone would use it.

Some people however, like my friend Steven, understand that now is the time to brand themselves online. Steven works for a high-end retailer but craves something more for himself and his career. His goal: to be an online food critic.

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While working full-time, Steven also takes culinary classes. Next year he hopes to close in on his B.A. in Writing & Journalism. Steven knows that by starting a blog now, he becomes an online participant in the food critic world. A blog for Steven will serve as a business card, store front, and reputation-builder, all rolled up into one. An online presence will establish him as a professional long before his final vision is realized. And this is the whole point for people with dreams on the back burner: Get online. Get yourself positioned. And do it now.

D. Armano

D. Armano

In the coming months we will follow Steven on his self-branding journey. What will his blog look like? What kind of content will he post? How will Steven’s personal brand evolve?

For a deeper look into self-branding and its significance on the web, see this 20-minute presentation by social media thinker, David Armano: Brand U.0, VIDEO

Thank you for subscribing to Writing Killer Content. I am especially grateful for all the positive feedback to The Social Media Journey, posted 8/11/09. Let’s continue to explore more of the new media frontier in the coming weeks and months.

Messina Marketing Group
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Tweetup Tour 2009 Hits Chicago

The social media frenzy found its way into the Hyatt Regency Chicago this Tuesday, with over 200 Twitterers chatting away in real space. The event marked the second stop on the Mashable-sponsored, six-city #Hyatt4Good Tweetup Tour. Created as a series of informal meet and greets, the Tour is attracting more and more “followers” as it leaps from New York to Chicago, and now on to Denver, L.A., D.C., and Boston.

Six-city tour visits NYC, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, D.C., and Boston

NYC, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, D.C., Boston.

Contrary to initial suspicions, comments are carrying on in excess of 140 characters. In Chicago, the social media community was well represented by a consortium of tech and media mavericks, designers, entrepreneurs, PR and marketing professionals, and others invested in ideas surrounding social media. Attendees gathered in groups of twos and threes, their excitable banter fittingly matching the exuberance so often found on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Conversations ranged from social media news to business development, to the latest in smartphone applications. What remained consistent, however, was the level of deep interaction so common among Twitterers. After all, it is just this type of open participation that continuously injects the “social” into social media. Several guests showed up with no prior knowledge of the tour, encouraged by friends unable to attend—yet eager to invite others to get out and mingle.

Twitterers convene at Hyatt Regency Chicago, 8/4/09

"Tweeting" in real space—Chicago, 8/4/09.

The event also celebrated the launch of Sevans Strategy, a Chicago-based PR and new media consultancy. Sarah Evans, the company’s president, presented a short video highlighting the profound changes occurring in the world of social media. To conclude the evening, some raffle prizes were announced, followed by Mashable COO, Adam Hirsch, inviting everyone to toast their nearest neighbor—a social media gesture of open exchange if there ever was one.

It’s fair to say the social media movement has entered its adolescence, with events like the Twitterup Tour attracting hundreds into small ballrooms across the country. Next year, it may be thousands. Yet unlike adolescent periods marked by an awkward and self-imposed identity crisis, the social media movement today holds its head high, confident in its own self-awareness, more “social” now than ever before.

Messina Marketing Group