Interaction Across Social Media Platforms

I recently received an interesting comment on my 10 Thoughts for Friday post. I mentioned in the post that I respond to invites from people on LinkedIn with a short message asking them to clarify why they’re connecting with me. My wording:

Hi x, 

Thank you for the invitation to connect on LinkedIn! I wanted to check in and see what you were interested in connecting about since I don’t believe we’ve met in person.  

Thank you and take care,

Cristina

Vicki commented on the post and urged me to accept the LinkedIn contacts, stating that “Nearly never will you be connected to by a weirdo – and if you are, it doesn’t reflect on you. LinkedIn is simply about building your network, sharing ideas, and making new business acquaintances…” In contrast, her thoughts were to be more cautious with Facebook and Twitter: “this is where I might use your response, to vet your new connections.” Lastly she said “You want your FB friends to actually be friends (or, I do).”

All of this got me thinking about how different individuals interact across social media platforms, their actions often based on assumptions or past experiences. Although there are very few formal rules governing our social media interactions, people have formed divergent ideas of etiquette- some platform by platform and others about social media as a whole.

Here is how I approach each platform and why:

  • LinkedIn: By now, you know my philosophy on LinkedIn. I accept people I know and follow up with those I don’t know. But there’s a reason that I don’t readily accept everyone: I actually had a weird experience with LinkedIn that changed my perspective a bit. I was added by an individual who was connected to others that I know and trust. Turns out, he wanted me to join his iffy business venture. I don’t think I would have been so trusting if I hadn’t seen that others I knew were connected to him. Hence my reasoning for being more cautious in accepting invites. There are also features on LinkedIn that lend themselves to keeping a curated network. You can ask contacts to connect you to their contacts. If people in the chain don’t know each other in real life, it dilutes the effectiveness of this feature because they are unable to vouch for each other. For more on my LinkedIn philosophy, see my post To Connect or Not to Connect: The Rules of LinkedIn.
  • Twitter: My love affair with Twitter is well-known. I see it as the most open of all the social networks. I welcome any and all follows that are not porn bots 🙂  Unless you have a closed account, you can’t control who follows you, so I don’t think it reflects on you (in contrast to LinkedIn, for example, where you have to make a decision whether to accept or reject a connection). As for who I follow: if I am interested in the content of the tweets, I will follow the person. I see Twitter as more about content than relationships (in contrast again to LinkedIn).
  • Foursquare: I sometimes get requests from strangers on FourSquare, which I decline. I share the check-ins that I want others to see on Twitter, but I prefer only my friends to see some, so I think it’s important to keep this network closed.
  • Facebook: As Vicki said, Facebook is for your real friends. 100% agreed! As I said in my comment to her, I see it as the only place on the internet where I can be my 22 (almost 23!) year old self. One thing that makes it slightly more complicated: Raleigh networking is very casual, so sometimes the line between friend and acquaintance blurs. In the past year, I’ve begun accepting business contacts, which I have mixed feelings about.
  • Pinterest: I’m not sharing anything particularly personal, so I’m flattered when people follow my boards. I follow boards of friends and other people that I stumble upon 🙂
  • Blog: The more the merrier!

Clearly, I approach each social media platform differently. I think it’s important to do so because they all have unique missions and features that make them more fitting for one kind of relationship over another (i.e. LinkedIn provides more value to business relationships than friendships). If I were to approach each platform in the same way, I may as well just be using one, right?

Where do you stand? Why? Do you approach social media as a whole or platform by platform? 

Thank you to Vicki for prompting such an interesting discussion!

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Determining Your Workplace Priorities

I’ve been thinking recently about the factors that I value most in a job. Below are some factors that I take into consideration. For each one, I make sure to ask myself several questions, “How will this work?” “Does it matter to me?” and “How much does it matter to me?”

 

Flexibility: Will you be able to take time off, set your own hours, and work from home occasionally? Can you work less than full-time? Can you pursue other projects on the side? To what extent do these factors affect your feelings about a potential workplace?

I value my flexibility as a virtual worker immensely. I love being able to work from home or Starbucks occasionally and take long weekends when I want, knowing I can make up my hours on weeknights or the following weekend. Most importantly, I love working part-time, owning a business on the side, and having time for my blog, Change the Triangle, and my social life.

Work/Life Balance: Along the same lines, are you expected to stay until 8 or 9pm or are you allowed to bolt at (or before) 5pm? Does the employer encourage you to have a healthy work/life balance or give your life over to the company? Either way, does it matter to you?

I don’t really have a work/life balance struggle since I work virtually. If I were to work full-time from an office, I would want the ability to maintain a healthy outside life. I feel like I lose a lot of my productivity when I’m forced to keep crazy hours and sacrifice healthy eating and exercising (that being said, I love the adrenaline of occasional late nights and firm deadlines).

Income and benefits: Will you be paid on a salary, hourly wage, or commission or a combination? Will you receive full benefits like a 401k and medical and dental? Do you have a back-up plan if you won’t receive benefits (like the ability to be on a family member’s plan)?

It’s important for me to have a solid income but if I were to pit financials against other factors, it would absolutely rank lower than some others.

Mental and emotional stimulation: Is the job mentally and emotionally challenging for you? Does it help you grow as a person? Again, are these priorities for you or are you fine taking a job that doesn’t propel you forward?

This is incredibly important for me. I can’t stay passionate for a job that doesn’t push me, challenge me, and help me grow. For me, there’s a time and place for doing work that you’re familiar and comfortable with, but tackling new exciting projects is a priority.

Physical surroundings: Think about the location and aesthetics of your workplace. Do you need a chic, elegant office or is a sparse cubicle fine with you? Does the office’s proximity to your home and local resources matter? If you will work virtually, will you work from your bed, a home office, Starbucks, a coworking space, a Regus office suite, or a combination?

My surroundings are somewhat important to me. I value natural lighting, comfortable chairs, and easy access to water, bathrooms, and coffee 🙂 For me, The Raleigh Forum is the perfect blend of comfy but chic. I don’t think I would feel comfortable in a super fancy office. A short commute is very important to me. Additionally, I like working in an office that has restaurants, coffee shops, and activities within walking distance. As a virtual worker, I also value having access to a coworking space because working from home 24/7 makes me stir-crazy!

Office setting: Do you want fun office amenities like a ping pong table and free beer on Fridays or are these superfluous for you? Do you prefer business formal, business casual, or Silicon Valley attire?

I love having a laid-back, fun office. When I worked at The Washington Diplomat, I felt more productive when I was able to take short darts breaks throughout the day! That being said, I don’t need crazy amenities like pony or helicopter rides 🙂 Business casual or office casual attire is the perfect fit for me- cute flats or kitten heels, a skirt or jeans, a cute top, and a blazer.

Coworkers & boss: How important is it for you to have good relationships with your coworkers and boss? Do you want them to be friends or just 9-5 acquaintances? Does their age, gender, and other factors matter to you?

Having solid relationships with my coworkers is important to me. I love feeling comfortable with my coworkers but I don’t expect my social life to revolve around them.

Autonomy: Along the same lines, does the job and your boss offer you autonomy and freedom? Will you make your own decisions or follow the instructions of a superior?

Autonomy is key for me. I feel most productive when I’m self-directed, passionate, and in control. That’s not to say I can’t take direction or I don’t value having a boss and coworkers that I can use as resources!

Security: In a rocky economy, job security is harder to come by. Are you comfortable with having a less secure job (like at a start-up) a or do you strive for a more secure career (tenure, anyone?)? What can you do to increase your job security (like signing a 2 year contract)?

I feel comfortable with the ambiguity of both owning my own business and working at a maturing start-up. For me, job security is a nice perk but not mandatory.

Company values & ethics: Is corporate social responsibility a part of the company’s mission? Do they do well by their direct and indirect stakeholders, including employees, the public, and the environment?

This is a big factor for me. I want to believe in the mission and values of the company that I work for. I strive to work for companies that not only do the right thing in the community but also internally (such as promoting a healthy work/life balance- see above).

What other priorities do you take into account? Which priorities are the most and least important to you when choosing a job?

My Morning Internet Routine

  • Catch up on blogs on Google Reader {just the ones in my “Favorites” folder}
  • Go over my agenda for the day on my Google Calendar
  • Browse Twitter for interesting news and any mentions
  • Write/finish/schedule blog posts
  • Check my blog stats; see where traffic is coming from
  • Check LinkedIn; respond to invitations
  • Check my Google Alerts for my name, The Raleigh Forum, LivingSocial careers, and social recruiting news

What is your regular morning internet routine? 

Who Should You Consider When Making a Career Decision?

Some people will tell you that the only thing that matters when making a career decision is you. I disagree- which may seem like it contradicts what I said here, but I promise it doesn’t!

I do believe that, ultimately, making yourself happy is the most important outcome of all. But here are some other entities you should consider- partially because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it will affect you now or in the future.

  • Family: Your family is ultimately affected by your career decisions- either directly or indirectly- be it because of changing finances, relocation, or having to deal with your emotions. At my age, family isn’t generally a huge consideration except if you are in business with a family member, like I am with my sister. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have to consider how any career decision I make will affect her.
  • Coworkers: Your current coworkers will undoubtedly be affected by any career move you make, especially if you decide to leave without sufficient notice or during a particularly busy time. Even if you don’t have strong ties to your coworkers, consider how their perceptions and opinions may affect you in the future- like if they are asked for a recommendation by your future employer…
  • Future employer: Before making a career move, it’s important to think about how your future employer will view your decision. Do you come across as flaky and unable to commit if you leave your job before two years? Does closing your business represent giving up or making the responsible choice? All important questions to ask yourself.
  • Community: In a perfect world, the opinion of distant others wouldn’t carry much weight. But particularly in a small community, news travels fast and the grapevine is always hard at work. Unfortunately, thinking about how your career decision will be perceived by those around you is critical.

What other people should be considered before making a career decision? Do you disagree about any of the above? 

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how to efficiently monitor content on the web

1) Google Reader: I use Google Reader as both as professional and personal (read: blog) resource. I subscribe to interesting blogs and websites, then check in 1-2 times per day to read up on my new content. High on my list: Lifehacker, The Kitchn, The Everygirl, and a billion lifestyle/cooking blogs (including all the blog girls!). I love that you can star posts to refer back to at a later time. You can also create folders to group subscriptions by topic (e.g. design, fashion, cooking, work, etc).

2) Google Alerts: I mentioned awhile back how important it is to monitor the internet for references to yourself. But you can also use Google Alerts to search for miscellaneous content across the web- I have an alert set up for “social recruiting” and one for “Boolean AND recruiting” so I can stay up-to-date on the recruiting field. The best part? You can have all Google Alert content sent directly to your Google Reader (see above!).

3) Twitter: I’m obsessed with Twitter and everyone knows it! Without harping on all the benefits, I’ll leave you with two tips: use lists to filter content by user (I have a ton set up but don’t actually use them often). In addition, save searches and check them regularly (I have “The Raleigh Forum, “Raleigh coworking,” and “#socialrecruiting,” among others).

4) LinkedIn: LinkedIn Today is daily news based on your profile details and interests- I always find one or two interesting articles when I browse! Yet another incentive to keep your profile up-to-date…

Staying on top of news and content in my fields (yes, that’s plural!), in addition to browsing interesting content just for the heck of it, is an important part of my daily routine. I love having a little system in place to do it effectively.

How do you efficiently and effectively monitor for interesting content on the internet?

Source: weheartit.com via Debbie on Pinterest

confessions of a {junior} recruiter, part iii

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For part i, click here and for part ii, click here!

  • Attach the right version of your resume! I recently saw a resume that had sections highlighted in yellow and notes throughout. Turns out it was feedback on how to improve the resume!
  • No need to write things like “So and so’s Amazing Resume.” Your amazing resume should speak for itself.
  • Have a profile on LinkedIn, Jobfox, or Visual CV {like I mentioned way back when}? Or a cool site like Christine Hall‘s? Fantastic! I would love to see it (assuming the rest of your application is decent). But don’t make me go to a link just to see your resume. We use a standardized online system for a reason. And before you argue that I’m just too lazy to follow a link, I promise that’s not it!
  • “Worked on a start-up but stopped when investment ran out”: So you took someone’s money, used it for your project, and then quit when the initial capital ran out? That doesn’t give me much confidence in your ability to innovate and persevere, I gotta say!
  • Referring to yourself in third person or as “Ms” or “Mr” is strange…
  • Feel free to thank me for spending time on your resume but don’t apologize for wasting my time! Edited: On the other, no need to thank me for spending my “precious” time on your resume. I’m not that in demand!
  • No dates found anywhere on your resume? It makes me think you’re covering up a spotty work history.
  • Telling me about your work history in the military then talking about our “critically important work?” Let’s call a spade a spade- we’re offering Daily Deals, not providing the solution for world peace. EDITED: Along the same lines, don’t tell me in your cover letter that your passion is to become a fair trade organic farmer or the director of a human rights organization. More power to you, but that’s not exactly what we do.

As I write these “confessions,” I wonder if it makes me sound pretentious or negative. My intention is certainly not to be either of those things! I intend to pass on {hopefully} valuable insight that I’ve gleaned from reading literally thousands of resumes. And I hope you get as much of a kick out of the crazy ones as I do 🙂 On that note, if you have any specific recruiting questions, don’t hesitate to ask me! If I can’t answer it, I’ll try to find someone who can!

*As always, the views expressed above are my own. They do not represent the views of my employer.

personal positioning

I was thinking the other day about what I say when people ask me what I do. I don’t say “I do a lot. You mean for a living?” because, while it’s true, I’m not that snarky 🙂

I’m equally proud and excited about being the co-owner of The Raleigh Forum and being a Junior Recruiting Coordinator at LivingSocial,  but the title I lead with is dependent on the group or person I’m speaking to.

It’s relatively easy to gauge what the person I’m speaking to would be most interested in. An entrepreneur in Raleigh? They’re much more likely to care about The Forum. An account executive seeking a job in DC? They’ll think they’ve hit gold when I mention the words “recruiting” and “LivingSocial” in the same sentence, but “coworking” likely won’t mean much to them. A portfolio careerist? They’ll probably love chatting about how to balance multiple jobs!

So is the way I present myself to these people sneaky and self-serving? I don’t think so. Is it lying by omission? Again, I don’t think so- I’d happily supply my other title if it seemed relevant.

Think of it in terms of a marketing campaign: if Kool-Aid markets the product to kids as a fun summer drink and simultaneously markets it to young adults as a delicious mixer, are they being sneaky? Nope- they just understand their target markets.

There are a few phrases that come to my mind: target marketing, positioning, and personal branding, but I like my made-up phrase: personal positioning.

And my made-up definition (edited from positioning on Wikipedia):  the process by which individuals create the most relevant image or identity for themselves in the minds of their target market.

To take it back to recruiting (since, you know, I’m a Junior Recruiting Coordinator haha): You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) submit a generic cover letter and resume, right? Nope- you customize your work experience to showcase your job-specific skills in order to capture the recruiter’s attention! In just the same way I present my titles in order to grab the attention of the person or people I’m speaking to…

Boo-yah!

Anyone else out there with multiple titles who thinks about personal positioning? 

personal branding + reputation management

If you follow The Raleigh Forum’s blog, you’ll know that we regularly host brown bag lunches on topics that are relevant to our members.

We recently held one on personal branding and reputation management with Morgan Siem {known by her user name morgansiem! See below for more on that}, so I thought I’d share some takeaways.

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  • Personal branding is all about striking a balance between TMI and “whitewashing” {read: being boring}; this balance is strongly tied to your industry
  • Branding is important for consistency, recognizability, and identity 
  • Oftentimes local success {especially in downtown Raleigh} is based largely on your personality, which re-emphasizes the need to blur the lines between business and personal
  • Don’t just think about how your brand affects you- also consider how it affects your clients, members, customers, etc
  • Consistency is important: use similar colors, fonts, pictures, tone, etc across social media outlets
  • Own the first page of Google. When you search my name, you get my LinkedIn, my Twitter, Quora, blog, Google+, GW Bites, etc
  • Use the same name across platforms. If it’s a common name, brand a new one. Make sure that it can carry you into the next stage of life (i.e. using your business name or company affiliation isn’t necessarily a good thing). My most common user name (cmroman) could use some work
  • Link your profiles as much as possible. One thing I’ve done is link my blog to my LinkedIn. Only blog posts tagged with “LinkedIn” go to LinkedIn though. This gives you control over the content that is shared to that audience
  • Especially locally, your name should precede your resume. Make people be able to find you and know you before meeting you
  • Creative resumes like DoYouBuzz? or Vizualize.Me are great for personal branding, especially in creative professionals. Remember though- they are a supplement to a traditional resume. If an employer asks for a resume, include both, not just your super sleek infographic! More on that in another blog post!
  • Think of three words to brand yourself and portray these qualities throughout your online and offline presence
  • If you have a bad reputation online, work against it: start a blog. Build your LinkedIn page. Fill out your Google profile. All these things push negative results lower in searches
  • Think about how you would want someone to describe you behind your back; work toward having that be the message you portray
  • Set up your Gravatar {global avatar}, which uses a universal picture for different websites
  • Set up Google Alerts for your name, your business name, and other variations
  • Buy the domain tied to your real name or online user name {cmroman.com- done!}
  • Get business cards that tie into your brand
  • Reserve your about.me page
  • Search KnowEm.com to find up and coming social media platforms and reserve your brand name on them

For more on personal branding, click here, here, and here! For Holly Bazemore’s recap of the brown bag, click here.

Thank you Morgan!

Was this helpful? Do you have any other advice?

not yet an expert

When I look around at different blogs and Twitter accounts, it seems like everyone is an expert at something.

I have a lot of interests that pull me in different directions. I love to cook but I’m not a trained chef like Jenna and I’m not dedicated enough to log my daily food intake like Kath.

I run a coworking space but I’m not as knowledgeable as Angel or the folks at Shareable.

I own a business with my sister but I don’t have as much experience in sister entrepreneurship as Katherine and Sophie or Sarah and Jenifer or Sabina and Lorraine or Kate and her sister.

I love social enterprise but I don’t stay quite as up-to-date on the field as Grant or Ryan.

I’m immersed in the recruiting field but I don’t understand the ins and outs like Amybeth or Laurie.

But you know what? That’s all okay. Because I’m 22 and I don’t need to be an expert in anything yet. But more importantly, I never need to be an expert in any one thing.

ask and you shall receive

When it comes to getting what you want, there seems to be two different schools of thought:

And…


I am whole-heartedly in the “Ask and you shall receive” camp. Though I have no doubt I could come up with examples to the contrary if I was pressed, I find that most of my examples of success are direct results of proactively asking for something.

Somebody told me that people who ask for things are pushy and rude. Guy Whose Name I Can’t Remember- I disagree. I think people who ask for what they want (in a polite and respectful way, of course) are daring and deserving of positive outcomes.

I didn’t get an internship with The Washington Diplomat because I waited for them to approach me. When my sister wanted to volunteer with local non-profits, she didn’t wait for someone to start a volunteer group; she created Change the Triangle.

And I think this policy applies to everyday life as well. When I had a less-than-pleasant (that’s an understatement) experience with a vet, I asked for- and got- my money back. Let me tell you, they certainly weren’t sitting there waiting to deposit money into my bank account, but they did it because they knew it was the right thing.

If my order from Starbucks isn’t correct, I send it back. Not to be obnoxious, but because if I don’t vocalize my feelings, no one is waiting there to guess them.

Which leads me to a topic for another post- if you are willing to broadcast negative feedback, you should go out of your way to give positive feedback.

Do you have a good example of a time that you asked and received or had good things come to you because you waited?