Finding my voice … again

The more time on spend writing and posting on the web, the more I come to realize what I have to say is one voice in a symphony of millions.  I’m ok with that relative obscurity. I’ve found many opportunities to express myself online and am fortunate to have met so many interesting people along the way.  I know I’m not alone.  There are thousands of bloggers  having thousands of conversations every day.

Over the past year, I’ve been thinking about where I want to have those conversations, where I want to join in a community and keeping it all real. What part of my voice should SPEAK UP and be heard? Do I continue to write here about social media, arts administration and marketing? Do I go gangbusters on my newest blog – Sing of Happy?  Do I write for other blogs like the Coastal Sound Music tour blog and the Reinventing M Network? Do I rejenvate the website where I firsted “blogged” with hardcoded HTML photo sharing back in 1998? Do I start over and finally put AngelaCrocker.com into action?  Its very likely I’ll do some of the above but to tell you the truth, I’m undecided. 

Quite by accident, I stumbled across the Parent Bloggers Unite (#PBUYVR) meetup that’s happening Friday evening at 6Pack Beach in Richmond.   Many of my favourite writers will be there – Rebecca Coleman, Meghan Simington and Kerry Sauriol among others as well as some new-to-me bloggers I’m looking forward to meeting. [Shout out to Eschelle Westwood and Raj Thandhi.] 

I feel good about my decision to go to this meetup and I’m looking forward to some new perspectives on blogging and taking another step on the journey to find my own voice…again.

Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

With over 100 million professionals on LinkedIn and a new member joining every second (yes – every second!), LinkedIn is a valuable social network for both professionals and businesses. Last week I sat in on Social Media Success Summit webinar called “How to Use LinkedIn to Enhance and Grow Your Business” by Mario Sundar, LinkedIn’s in-house social media guy.

In his presentation, Mario shared some tips on the key things you must do to represent your professional identity and emphasized the importance of focusing on relationships, after all it’s a social networking community.

Take a moment to log-in to your LinkedIn account and then keep reading. Have you done these things?

  1. Include a photo that’s recognizable as you.
  2. Make your connections public (not private) so people can find you.
  3. Update your specialties regularly. What’s true about you today may not be the same as when you signed up for LinkedIn.
  4. Mario also recommended syncing your Twitter, blog and Slideshare accounts to share your expertise widely. (However, I firmly believe you should NOT autofeed your tweets to your LinkedIn status update. It’s ok to share your Twitter link just not every tweet, please.)

To manage your relationships on LinkedIn and offline as well, take some time to do the following:

  1. Synchronize your real world connections to LinkedIn. If your computer is a PC and you use Outlook look for the Outlook plug-in that lets you sync your LinkedIn contacts with your address book.
  2. Use your LinkedIn address book as your relationships in-box. Whenever you can note news and updates from your contacts and comment or connect as appropriate.
  3. Transfer business cards via Card Munch, a card reading app that translates a photo of a business card into a digital contact file. (I discovered this app a couple of weeks ago and I LOVE it! Super easy to use, pretty accurate and zippity do da fast.)
  4. Organize your contacts and add notes to categorize them. Help jog your own memory so you know when you met people and why you want to stay in touch.

One last tip, update LinkedIn profile constantly. Share new information, comment in a group, post a link – whatever you’ve got going on that’s relevant to your community should be shared on LinkedIn. Every time you make a change you’ll show up in the newsfeed of your connections.

Tweetup: Defined

Have you ever been to a Tweetup?

As you’ve probably discovered by now, Twitter is full of “tw” lingo – tweets, tweeps, twitterverse, Twitpic, & so on. Tweetup is one of my favourites because it’s a chance to connect offline. A tweetup is simply a gathering of Twitter users in the real world as opposed to a tweetchat which is a gathering of Twitter users online.

The name is a mash up between Twitter.com and Meetup.com, a site used to organize events. Tweetups are organized on Twitter when someone announces a time, place and topic. For many tweetups, you simply show up while others have a more formal registration process through Meetup, Eventbrite, or some other online registration system.

The Nanaimo Family Literacy Day Tweetup brought book lovers & readers together.

Photo Credit: WendyD.ca

Most tweetups are open to anyone who wants to come. If you see a tweetup announced that interests you then plan to attend. Sometimes the organizer will ask you to RSVP to ensure enough food, etc. but often it’s a cash bar or BYOC (buy your own coffee) arrangement. Keep an eye out for any registration links as some tweetup organizers charge admission (usually a modest amount) to cover the costs.

Tweetups are a great way to meet people in your community who share your interests. Before the event start following the tweetup’s hashtag so you can get acquainted with others who will be attending. You’ll discover some new people to follow and may get a few new followers yourself.

Once you’re at the event be sure to live tweet some of your experience. But don’t spend all your time tweeting, after all you’re there to interact with people not their avatars.

After the event, pop back on to Twitter and have another look at the hashtag. Follow any folks you got to talk to and retweet any gems from the tweet stream. And be sure to @mention folks you met to continue the conversation.