My last hurrah (for the moment anyway)

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They say it ain’t over til the fat lady sings….well she’s singing and so my SMDL journey is almost at an end!

What are my thoughts having now immersed myself in all things social and media over the last 8 weeks? How do I feel about social media and what will I continue to do (or not?!)

Well apart from finding out that my Lego skills are still there (mostly thanks to my daughter!) during our Lego Serious Play session, it has been a really interesting journey.

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My top 5 take aways are…

1. I would like to blog but I’m a bit scared to and I need a good topic area first (all the ones that come to mind right now are taken or just overdone!)

2. My social media fears are mostly in my own head – I will always encounter randomness or receive comments I wasn’t expecting but in ten minutes or so…they’re old news…literally

3. Social Media has a lot to offer – it’s not just a scary space where I have to feel vulnerable. It can generate opportunities, fun, ideas, good conversations, job offers, solutions and much much more…

4. Social Media is something I need to jump on in a professional context before I get left wayyyyy behind. It’s a necessity not a choice.

5. I’m enjoying the general increased interaction with others…more than I thought I would!

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So what am I actually going to do?

The first thing is to just take some time to reflect a little and also to sort my social media life out. I need to get up and running on Hootsuite and think about the bits of social media I enjoy and just stop worrying about the bits I don’t like or feel uncomfortable with.

From a professional perspective I hope to incorporate social media in a small way and grow it so that it is embedded in our processes and doesn’t just feel like a fad or too much too soon.

To ease those moments of insanity, I’m going to look at Flickr to remind myself that there is more out there in the world to discover.

So thanks SMDL for helping me to discover the joys of social media. I’m a moderate social media convert – not a resident but definitely a confident and engaged, more frequent visitor.

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PS – really going to miss the refreshers…

 

photo credit: reuvenim via photopin cc

photo credit: Maria via photopin cc

photo credit: vic via flickr  cc

photo credit: Darren Johnson via flickr cc

My new addiction

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What many of you will not know is that my secret sin is playing games on my phone, kindle, Wii, PC…yep – I’m a bit of a geek like that…I have no real preference on the device, it just can’t be a shoot-em up…it’s gotta be time management or build-a-city type stuff… Like I said, I’m a geek. And my secret is out…

But this week I found something that may be even more of a time sucking activity than my original sin – and it’s name is Flickr.

I know – luckily my new addiction isn’t going to cause me too much actual harm except that I can see countless hours slipping away ahead of me…yep – just looking at pictures!

Photography is something I love to look at and I always wish I had the skills and time to take such wonderful pictures like those I’ve been viewing this week on Flickr.

Just a few minutes on Flickr and I’ve seen places in the world I’ve never heard of and felt a range of emotions looking at pictures of people or things in new ways. And I’ve found a ton of pictures I want to look at again and again and wish were on my walls at home.

So whilst I’ve been a social media-phobe on the whole, I am really enjoying that fact that people have taken the time to share these amazing images. It’s something that has brightened up my day and reminds me how wonderful the world can be…

See below a couple of my faves from today’s viewing…

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OK, so enough of the gush but hopefully my point has been made – I might be buying into this ‘sharing is caring’ thing…

top photo credit: pillowhead designs via photopin cc
Landscape photo credit: Raffaele Camardella via Flickr  cc
Road in Scotland photo credit: Nat Urazmetova via Flickr cc

Google Plus What Exactly?

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So Google Plus has totally passed me by – that was – until Wednesday.

This week at CJBS on the SMDL, Google was where we focused our attention. Prior to this programme I really objected to having to sign up to Google to do everything, so basically, if I had to sign up to something, I often just didn’t bother. I was annoyed about having to create another password – password fatigue is very much alive and well in my house…and I just didn’t like the monopoly that Google (and Apple) have. Something about the way you have to go through these companies to do stuff really irritates me.

But if I wanted to pass the SMDL, I had to sign up to Google so I bit the bullet (I was always a swot) and signed up.

And actually, I think my life is now going to change…

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Why I hear you cry?

Because I really LOVE Google Docs…I mean – it’s so useful and easy and I just want to know why we aren’t using it in the office already? It would make life so much easier and I am a fan of anything that allows you to get to your info without having to go through some sort of VPN…

As a regular ‘teleworker’, I have used a variety of different VPNs at different companies over the last few years and they have all been slightly dodgy for one reason or another. But Googledocs is amazeballs…I am an instant convert…

And looking back at that last paragraph, I realise that this is the first time in the last few weeks of social media exploration that I have gushed about something…so maybe my scepticism is starting to erode…how much more will this happen over the last 2 weeks of the SMDL?

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Time will tell. But I get the sneaking suspicion that I am a secret social media fan…at least in part.

Social Media and your professional brand

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The last time I was seriously job hunting (a few years ago now), social media was still not really a force I needed to worry about. I was on Linked In but not in a serious way – I was still just enjoying it as a kind of professional facebook and a way of finding out what had happened to ex-colleagues.

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Fast forward a few years and my husband started looking for a new role. Starting out in the usual way by contacting recruiters and scanning job pages, it became apparent that the job market had changed quite a lot in the last few years. Networking was now a key skill and social media seems to be a big part of that change. Not only is it a way to tap into new roles, it’s also a way for potential employees to check out what kind of person you are.

So, as I listened to Karen Siegfried’s latest podcast for the CJBS Social Media Driving Licence this week, what she said really resonated with what my husband’s recent experience had been. Your online ‘brand’ and ‘presence’ were key tools in setting yourself up for success in the job market and their influence should not be underestimated. Employees were now expecting to see a Linked In profile and were using this as a way to understand candidates on a deeper level than the traditional CV could offer. An online presence was expected and so care should be taken to ensure that your presence was professional! (no drunken facebook photos!)

My husband, was lucky enough to find a great new role but his experience has left me wondering how to make the most of social media in my own professional life and work out how best to keep a balance between professional and private if everything is open to viewing. The SMDL is helping with this although I’m still working out what my professional niche and social media comfort level is.

 

 

Finding Feedly a bit Fiddly…

…at least that was my first impression.

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Feedly seemed the most useful and straightforward thing to use from this week’s session on curation tools. I was quite looking forward to having a go, so I duly sat down this afternoon to play around so I could then write this post all about it…

And it really is a useful tool – especially if you like to read the same blog / website each week – it’s great to have the ability to put all your interests in one place so you can find them easily and visit them whenever you like!

It was intuitive and easy to start – I’ve got a little list of things already setup and ticking along quite nicely. It’s certainly going to make my life easier, not only in a work context but also for the stuff I like to do outside of the office – now I can just go to Feedly and see it in one place from one window! Hurrah for that!

However, I do have  two small gripes and it may be that I just haven’t discovered something about Feedly yet but here’s a first time user’s thoughts – this is the bit I found fiddly…

1.  The search function didn’t work as well as I had hoped – I’m too used to whizzy google I think.

2. I’m clearly a recipe page hoarder – it’s not the blogs that I follow for recipes – it’s quite literally a recipe from one site and another one from somewhere else and I want to keep these all in one place. My favourties list is hideously long… I’m not sure Feedly can solve this for me as it links to websites so you can see the latest posting / news, not some recipe from Apr 2011.

So for the moment, Feedly is not the complete social media panacea I was hoping for…but it’s definitely quite close. The search continues!

 

Guess you had to be there…

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Turns out that if you want to get down with the cool kids, you should be live tweeting at events…

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to join the cool kids at the live tweet-a-thon this week for week four of the CJBS social media driving licence. I had to read about it afterwards and ask my fellow peeps what they thought about their experience.

So how was it for the cool kids?

Sounds like live tweeting was fun even if the multitasking aspect made some people’s brains hurt…and that it was a skill that would take time to get better at.

So how did I feel about it?

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Well – apart from feeling a bit left out – the overwhelming feeling I had was that ‘you probably had to be there’ to really make sense of it all.

Looking back at the tweets made during the session, I got a flavour of what the event was about but not the nitty gritty. I’m not sure that reading tweets afterwards was helpful to someone who hadn’t experienced the event at the same time. It was all slightly random.

So live tweeting seems to be a useful record of an event for those attending it and also enhances the experience of those people at the event. I’m not sure it’s that helpful for those who weren’t there at the time.

Braving the twittersphere

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I just had my 5 year twitterversary…and despite 5 years technically in the twittersphere (I had a handle), I know very little about it. I had only tweeted about 3 times until a year ago and had 0 followers.

So what was the thing that pushed me into learning a bit more about twitter? I’ll tell you – as I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to find out! In a word:

“Commuting”

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Yep – the access to accurate and up to date information about how my train was running was a revelation and something not available anywhere else! Twitter has become my commuting saviour. Hallelujah…

So once I started using twitter in this small and unglamourous way, my curiosity grew and I started following more people. I found out that Eurovision was even more hilarious when accompanied by witty tweets on Twitter. I wanted to read what others were thinking about events as they happened. I started to learn about things that were happening much more quickly…

Turns out Twitter is really useful and interesting after all!

So, am I convert? Ummm – not quite yet. I definitely like to have a look at twitter most days but I have two problems I need to resolve:

loud-speaker-310849_1501. Noise

I have not yet spent enough time working out how to cut the noise and just read the bits I’m actually interested in. I’m overwhelmed with tweets in my feed – it’s becoming a blur of stuff…

 

animals-30788_1502. Scaredy Cat

Yep – I admit it – I’m a serial retweeter. I don’t tend to tweet any of my own thoughts. I’m a scaredy cat. And even though there are 5 million tweets a day to hide amongst, I’m still seriously nervous about sharing what I’m thinking…gulp!

So what’s my plan? Well – I need to think about what I want to get out of Twitter and then find a way to make that happen. I need to put some time aside to make Twitter work for me…even if I don’t pluck up the courage to ever say much, it’s here to stay – 230 million people can’t be wrong!