Today, Aug. 10, is my “Rez-Day.” A Rez-Day is the anniversary of your initial login-to the popular virtual world Second Life. In thinking about the date, I realized the last year has been a fascinating and busy one for me in the world of social media– not just in Second Life, which for me has waned slightly.
Let’s have a look at the Year in Social Media:
I had been interested in blogs and dabbled in the medium before arriving at Topaz Partners in 2005. Blogs struck me as the perfect answer to the disastrous personal Web pages of the “Geocities” era. Forget design, just give me content…
Also, I was a radio producer for many years before even getting into public relations. That comes into play as well
I think I started checking out Second Life when I heard that larger PR agency Text 100 had opened an office there. I didn’t get into it heavily, though, until after I attended the Podcast Expo and found a lot of Second Lifers, including a client, Russell Holliman of Podcast Ready, were in there and doing interesting things.
I joined that crowd along with colleagues like Adam Zand, and among other things:
- Conducted press interviews
- Attended events, like the launch of the marketing company “Crayon” – and became a regular at their Thursday “coffee with crayon” meeting
- Attended PodCamp Second Life
- Did quite a bit of networking with other marketing folks online.
- Oh, and there was the occasional party, usually attended or hosted by The Diva.
What I learned: A new platform for social interaction can open up things as simple as client meetings to whole new levels
Attending– and being a sponsor of– the first PodCamp was an amazing experience, not just for meeting rockstars like Drew Baron and Joanne Colan of Rocketboom, as well as ex-Rocketboomer and current ABC News video blogger Amanda Congdon, but meeting several other people who have become valuable friends and social media/business associates, including: Chris Brogan, Christopher Penn, Bryan Person, John Wall, CC Chapman and Steve Garfield. Yup, I’m leaving people out, I am sure of it.
The Podcast & Portable Media Expo mentioned above was a continuation of the same thing– but on a national level. When you get to meet Leo Laporte, the Ninja, and Doug Kaye (bear with me if you don’t know these names, they are important in podcasting) on the same weekend, it’s hard not to get excited about podcasting.
What I learned: face to face meetings are still the biggest catalysts of any movement.
I had been blogging at Tech PR Gems, the Topaz Partners PR blog, but several people, particularly Ed Lee, convinced me to re-start this blog for myself. Gischeleman’s blog has started to find a voice in the ensuing months (I think), and it is fun to write. More than that, I like to use it as a lab: what gets traffic? what gets reaction? Can I use the blog to spread viral media? How do I attach this to network?
What I learned: Personal brand is important, no matter how tightly aligned you are with your organization or employer. Plus the more blog posts you write, the more your writing and thinking improves.
I went to school for radio; I spent years producing radio, from news shows to audio drams; why shouldn’t I podcast? When former radio colleague Tim Allik joined me at Topaz, that was the catalyst for actually getting together our own podcast, PRobecast, together. It has come along nicely, improving along the way, and I don’t think this is the last podcast I will be involved with.
Also, commenting on other public relations/marketing podcasts has become a fairly regular habit (see: personal branding, above).
What I learned: Sometimes, just do it, and fix what’s wrong along the way. Plus, participate!
I am including a lot of things under this umbrella, in part because this blog post will get way too long. Last October, some of the people named above got me onto Twitter, and I started using it in earnest some time before the SXSW conference, where Twitter hit the big time. I include this micro-blogging format because I see it as a social network– perhaps intertwined with everything else listed above, as many of the same people appear in each, along with a variety of different people.
Twitter in particular has been a great source of instant discussions, questions, links, news, and–especially– attention. I am paying attention to who is online, they are paying attention to me. It has become quite useful for getting people to this blog, to Tech PR Gems, and even for certain messages for my clients (see my Tech PR Gems post on the topic here).
Facebook has become important as well, though I am still learning to use it– but in a nutshell, people are there, thus so am I.
Let’s see what the next year brings: more media making? More social networks? More blogs? Consolidation? of the Industry? of me? I am looking forward to it.
By the way, I don’t usually drink margaritas in Real life. But Second life is about indulging fantasy, right?