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SXSWi: A Geekie, Gadget Girl’s DREAM!

The South by Southwest Festival officially ended yesterday in Austin, Texas.  I was in Austin for  SXSW® Interactive which featured five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology and tons of exciting networking events.  This year’s festival brought out record crowds for the interactive, film and music tracks drawing in web developers and designers, bloggers, mobile innovators, content producers, programmers, widget inventors, new media entrepreneurs and social media consultants from around the world. The five-day interactive festival showcased the latest ideas, the brightest minds and the coolest innovations of the future.  Yet, I couldn’t help be a little jealous when the energy changed as SXSW kicked off with the music track, bringing in thousands of artists that totally changed the energy to something that was just magical to watch.

My old music days aside, SXSW Interactive met all my expectations and in some cases surpassed them.  I was able to meet many of the geeky, techie folks I’ve been communicating with online over the past year.  Clearly one of the highlights for me was meeting Dave Grossman, one of the founding members of Amplify, which has become an addiction of mine.  Mostly I was able to learn, engage and connect with so many people on a variety of subjects from app development and monetizing your blog to privacy issues and protecting copyrighted material on the Internet.  But if I had to sum up my SXSWi experience in just five takeaways it would be this:

  1. Some of the hottest apps and tools are made at SXSWi.  Last year Twitter was the buzz during SXSWi and now they are getting over 17 million hits per day.  This year Foursquare was the favored app and they received 300,000 hits the first day of SXSWi alone.  If you have a product, SXSWi is the place to roll it out and if you have an iPhone you will be able to get the coolest apps around.  By the way, The Foursquare guys were the coolest, nicest fellas.
  2. SXSWi puts the “social” in “social networking”.  You have to get from behind your keyboard, unplug from your computer and move away from your laptop long enough to actually engage face-to-face with people to get the real SXSWi experience.
  3. Privacy remains a hot topic for the technology community.  One thing I will walk away with, however, is fact that how much information you do or do not share online is up to each individual and under the users control.
  4. There is still a place for good story telling online and it is the foundation for communication.  However, online, good stories are a three-way street; they include the storyteller, the audience and in third place, a shared experience together.
  5. Don’t be afraid of negative responses.  People are going to talk about you anyway so you might as well know what they are saying.  Then ask yourself, are you willing to change when you get feedback, be it negative or positive?

Good story telling, seeking feedback, talking to people face-to-face and taking control of your privacy… not something you would expect to hear from a group of people who live, work and play online, as I do.  How refreshing to know that the human element is not dead in Social Media.  In fact, we need humanity in order survive in the digital space.  I would have never drawn this conclusion before SXSWi but I’m glad to know the humans are still in running the show and are still in control.  Let’s see what next year brings!

Teaching VISTAs how to use Social Media tools

Virtual workshops… real social change.

Working for Campaign Consultation, Inc. as a TA (Technical Assistant) Provider for AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) I produce a monthly online “webshop” to teach VISTAs how to use various Social Media tools in their service or for their organization.  Social Media Monday (SMM) webshops are offered each month to provide members, sponsors, community leaders, alumni, and others with hands-on access to social media applications and an opportunity to learn how to strategically use these tools to create social change.

In addition to lending my technology expertise, I book a variety of guest with on-the-ground experience. Each month, we aim to give VISTAs a specific set of skills to assist them in their role and in their social change efforts.  Want to learn more about our Social Media Monday webshops?  Visit the VISTA Campus and login as a guest to see archives of past webshops and to see what is coming up in the months ahead.

Tweeting for United We Serve

How do you get the word out about nearly 200 AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers In Service To America) being sworn in by the Mayor of New York City?  Well, you tweet it live on Twitter, of course.  As a Social Media Specialist for Campaign Consultation, Inc. and while representing our client, the Corporation for National and Community Service, we were there first hand as history was being made to tweet events as they unfolded.  VISTA PSO SessionUnited We Serve, President Obama’s call to service initiative, marked July 27-August 2, 2009 as Education Week, highlighting the countless Americans who roll up their sleeves to read with a child, volunteer at a library, organize a book drive, and strengthen education and learning in other ways.

On July 30, 2009, 193 VISTAs rose to President Obama’s call and took place in one of the many Education Week activities when New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Corporation for National and Community Service Acting CEO Nicola Goren swore in the newly formed NYC CivicCorp with VISTA members from 25 states and 19 countries on Thursday, July 28, 2009.

NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Corp for Nat'l Community Service Acting CEO Nicola Goren
NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Corp for Nat'l Community Service Acting CEO Nicola Goren

The VISTAs hail from all five NYC boroughs and range in age from 21 to 72. The program, the first as part of United We Serve, runs from the second week of August through 2010.  The swearing in also marked the launch of @VISTAbuzz, the Twitter account designed to engage, involve and invoke interest in current VISTA members and VISTA alumni.
Tweeting 2 crowd
Follow @VISTAbuzz for updates as the Social Media Plan begins for this group of unique individuals who have been fighting against poverty since 1964.  This week, Mayor Bloomberg and nearly 200 NYC CivicCorps VISTAs have responded to United We Serve, President Obama’s call to service, challenging all Americans to engage in sustained, meaningful community service.  Continue to look for us on-line as we continue to grow the VISTA brand in the digital space.

VISTAs at swearing in at NYC City Hall
VISTAs at swearing in at NYC City Hall
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Corporation for National and Community Service Acting CEO Nicola Goren
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and to his right Corporation for National and Community Service Acting CEO Nicola Goren
Reporting events to Twitter
Reporting events to Twitter

program

Michelle

Tweeting outside

Is your Brand ready for the 21st Century?

I recently spoke at the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) 2009 Professional Development Workshop to senior woman administrators, athletics, coaches, and Athletic Directors on the benefits of Social Media and the new age marketing techniques. Our agenda:

Speaking on Social Networking
Speaking on Social Networking

“THE FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW:  Are You Multimedia Ready? – Building Your Brand For the 21st Century”.  With technology advancing at lightning speeds, developing and marketing your own personal brand is more important than ever to maintain and thrive in today’s fast paced environment. From networking both on-line and off-line, to community platforms and professional organizations, to presentation and writing skills, today’s professional must multi-itask more than ever to create positive and lasting exposure for themselves as well as their organizations. With access to information available 24/7, building your own brand now moves past the walls of your traditional job. It also includes defining and presenting yourselves within your community as well as on the career front.

A 21st Century Success Path focuses on:
– Professional and Social Networking
– Developing strong writing and presentation skills
– Joining and becoming involved in relevant professional organizations
– Multitasking for maximum benefits
– Establishing a strong community consciousness

Let me know how I can help your business build it’s brand and forge ahead in the 21st Century!

Award
Presented an award

With Coaches

Video Content is King in the Social Media

On location
On location

How we watch television and videos has changed forever.  Be it via your computer, on a mobile devise, or on IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) video content is King and it is impacting Social Media as well.

Several digital platforms allow a company, corporation or video community to create their own broadcast channel.  You can stream LIVE to your social video community and bring programming to the masses in real time.  Or you can develop your own channel on an  IPTV site with everything from sports and entertainment programming to your favorite church sermon.

In the field producing Mason Institute of MD, Inc. video
In the field producing Mason Institute of MD, Inc. video

As a broadcast producer with several years of television experience, I’ve come to realize the importance of video in the digital space and have begun to incorporate video production in my client’s Social Media campaigns.  Below is a link to a video I produced for a marketing campaign I developed for the Mason Institute of Maryland, Inc. (MIMI).  It is designed to promote, recruit, raise awareness and invoke interest in the masonry field at the middle school level and up.  In addition to setting up the MIMI MySpace and Facebook pages I casted the actors, wrote the script, oversaw the production and produced a recruitment video for my client.  I am currently working on their blog, YouTube and Twitter account as part of their on-line branding presence.

Please click on the logo below to see the video that also “lives” on the MIMI social media spaces.

Mason Institute of Marland, Inc. VIDEO
Mason Institute of Maryland, Inc. VIDEO

If you have problems with the link cut and past the URL and add it to your browers http://www.gearshift.tv/video/masonryinstitute.wmv

If you teach them… they will come… lesson on how to use Twitter

An invitiation to learn "how to" tweet on Twitter
An invitation to learn "how to" tweet on Twitter

Busy professionals love the digital space.  So it stands to reason that on-line Universities offering advanced degrees are becoming increasingly popular.  Walden University is one such on-line university offering accredited on-line masters and doctoral degrees in everything from education, psychology, and health and human services to master’s programs in engineering and IT.  Adding even more prestige to Walden University is the fact that it is under the umbrella of Laureate International Universities, a leading global network of accredited campus-based and on-line universities.

But even with this impressive on-line menu and the strong global backing, Walden University, like many companies, is still learning how to navigate their way through the New Media space.  Last week, my client, Alumni Relations Manager, Shannon Mouton, and I presented to various members of the Digital and Marketing teams on how to use the social networking site Twitter.  There were the usual questions such as “how do I join”, “do I have to use my real name” and “what will I say” to more thought provoking business specific questions such as “if someone sends us a message about the company who should answer them” and “do we have someone who can monitor our Twitter account full-time”?  These are the kinds of questions businesses need to consider before they launch into a digital campaign.  Here are a few things to consider:
1.    What are your goals in the New Media Space?
2.    Who is your target audience?
3.    What is your mission statement or online “voice”?
4.    What will your New Media campaign encompass?
5.    Who will be the administrator of your sites, social networks and blogs?
Businesses recognize the need to be in the Social Media Space and the benefits of both instant and viral marketing.  The way we do business is changing.  Are you ready?

We are off to the races… live Tweeting!

Tweeting every detail of the NASCAR race
Tweeting every detail of the NASCAR race

One of the aspects of creating a brand presence for clients is developing a Social Media strategy.  It can be anything from setting up a client’s Social Networking page, creating a viral marketing campaign, to live Tweeting an event as a marketing or promotional tool.

Patering with Richard Montgomery of Rixstar Studios we introduced the value of social media to WHUR-FM, sponsor of NASCAR driver Marc Davis.  Davis, a 19-year-old from Silver Spring, MD is NASCAR’s only African American owner/driver. He made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series owner/driver entry at Bristol in March.  During one of his qualifying races in Virginia I did a three-day Twitter campaign live tweeting from the NASCAR cockpit.  Rick and I developed a campaign designed to drive attention to the race and to Marc Davis before, during and ultimatly, after the race.  Our efforts were successful enough to create a buzz and ultimately got the racer a write up in the Washington Post.

This is the power of Social Media and developing your brand!

(Marc Davis photo courtesy Of Harry Davis)
(Marc Davis photo courtesy of Harry Davis)

See what the Washington Post has to say about Marc Davis

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/22/AR2009052203425.html

The WHUR-FM Car #39
Moments before the race I sneak in a picture with the Marc Davis WHUR-FM Car #39
A moment before the race
I share a moment before the race with Marc Davis
Marc Davis creats the crowd
Marc Davis greets the crowd just before the race
Rick of Rixstar Productions
Richard of Rixstar Studios is always ready with camera in hand to document event

Designing Your On-line Brand Identity

daniellericks.com/production
daniellericks.com/production

One of the hottest topics these days is how to develop your on-in presence.  The critical first step in any on-line identity campaign is defining your authentic personal brand or rather, how you want to be represented to the world. Keep in mind this is not about painting a picture of how you think you should be represented but rather it’s a look into your most authentic self. In order to do this you must be clear about what you want to communicate before making a bunch of digital fingerprints that will be difficult to remove when you change your mind.

The next step is to draft a design brief and share it with your designer for input. A design that you feel proud to represent your personal brand is usually the result of a collaborative effort among you, your personal brand coach and your designer. This blog will be dedicated to how you can go about step one and two in a world where you may be over whelmed with the choices and short on time.  So, come back often as we attempt to show you how to brand yourself on line and increase awareness about yourself and your brand.