Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Social Media Mavens

When I attended a BlogHer08 panel and heard Gwen Bell espouse the joys of Twitter, I knew I had found a new mentor. Little did I know how many other amazing women I would meet over the next few days, who have since become a source of inspiration, education and empowerment. So, imagine my thrill at seeing Gwen, along with Laura Fitton, Erin Kotecki Vest, Ann Handley and 46 others honored as the 50 Most Influential Women in Social Media. Many thanks to Ron Hudson for showcasing these great women and introducing me to many more.

And to all my social media mentors, keep up the great work. Yours Truly will be taking notes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Everybody's doing it. You have a few glasses of bubbly as suddenly it seems like a brilliant idea to write your sister an e-mail detailing everything you detest about her new boyfriend. Or you send a Colgate link that co-worker with the really bad breath. Or you compose a sappy love poem to your 8th grade boyfriend you haven't seen in over ten years. Not that Yours Truly has personal experience with this, of course. Purely hypothetical.

But, now everybody's talking about it. With Google's introduction of Mail Goggles, the burning question on everyone's mind- from the NYTimes, to our friends across the pond, to our friends across the office.

So, I'm dying to know: What's the worst e-mail you've regretted sending?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Break Out Your Brand Bib

Open source. What an incredible idea. Collaboration and sharing of resources to reach a greater good. No more "proprietary" models and secret boy's clubs. But, in closing the gap between the information haves & have-not's, certain services are bound to become obsolete. Is advertising one of them? Gasp! Seeing as I have a new baby to support and mortgage to pay, I certainly hope not. But innovations like Federated Media are making it much too easy for companies to control their own campaigns. They let you set goals, browse relevant targeted sites, create your own web banners and track their performance. So, why do you need little ol' me? Should I pack up my Pantone chips and call it a day?

As if I'd give up that easily. Let's be honest. Anyone can post 140 characters. And setting up a blog is as easy as picking a template and clicking a mouse. But, that's not enough to build a brand. The value lies in the relationship. In not only understanding the tools at your disposal, but how your audience wants to recieve your message and why that message is important. It's about understanding what your community wants from you and including them in the conversation. In a way, it's so much easier. Your customer is telling you EXACTLY what they want. Not that merely listening is enough. The business opportunity is taking those insights and turning them into something better for them.

It's a whole new game. And it's harder to quantify or explain with pie charts and ROI. It's a whole lot messier. But, hey, I feed a toddler everyday. I am used to mess. Mess is part of the process. Grab a bib, folks. The fun is just starting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fashion Musings on the Front Tuck

It's Fashion Week in NYC. Here in NOLA...not so much. But, I've noticed lots of fellas sporting the front tuck recently. That "carelessly" tucked in behind the belt look that is simultaneously casual but hip. The best explanation I've found comes from an unlikely source:

Much like how a mullet shows the world your business side in the front, and your party side in the back, the half-tuck tells one story on the right side, but a completely different story on the left. In encapsulates the contradiction that you are: The shy extrovert, the organized slob, the guy who likes to shop at Banana Republic but also likes to fall into the Gap when he’s feeling a little crazy. The half-tuck reassures the ladies that you’re a man who cares about personal grooming, but who, at the same time, couldn’t give a f##k. Who doesn’t like that?

Also known as the "frat tuck" and "half tuck", it's metrosexualizing the South. We are sooo 2006. Watch out, Bryant Park.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I like you. I really like you... Maybe.

There's been lots of discussion over the past few days about "fake following." including a dynamic debate sparked by Gwen Bell. If you haven't heard about this new development, Tech Crunch sums it up
"Users often expect to have their “Follows” reciprocated by their peers, and a failure to do so can lead to bruised egos. But indiscriminate following comes with a price too, as it ultimately leads to an unmanageable amount of noise (and stories you might not care about). Fake Following manages to skirt the issue with a digital white lie."
"Digital white lie?" Oh my. Is that the future? Aside from turning social networks into playground politics, Fake Following creates a disingenuous relationship that negates several valuable features inherent to online social networks. Ahem, soapbox, please...

1. Loss of credibility

When I find a voice online that I truly admire, I'll dig around their blog roll and check out the people they are following. Often, I'll find a new perspective worth keeping an eye on. I trust the people I follow to lead me to other interesting people, based on their curatorial preferences. If you follow everybody, I can't trust that you are leading me toward like-minded people.

2. False sense of self-importance

If you have 3,000 followers, you are likely pretty interesting. If you are only following 30 people, maybe you could be a little arrogant. But that doesn't mean you're not still a pimp and people want to hear what you have to say. If you are following 3,000 people and only 3 are following you back, it should probably tell you something. Truth is you might not be offering valuable content. Maybe you tweet about your lunch or you are a spammer offering free coupons for porn. If I follow you, I am encouraging you to continue posting crap. No offense, just tough love.

3. Nobody is listening

"Is that the social part of social media/networking?" The Simian Downtown Time Analyst suggests that Fake Feed creates a distance from readers. If you are pretending to listen to me, I might expect your response. I hope that you will contribute to the conversation. Inviting me to a party and ignoring me all night isn't cool. Especially if I could have made better plans. So, don't patronize by offering an insincere relationship. Skip the small talk, I'd rather be engaged.

Don't get me wrong, I value the idea of managing content. Tweet Deck is a great way to create groups and streamline your consumption. It allows you to group the people you are following and only review one group's posts at a time. So, you can just look at the "professional" tweets. Or "mommy" tweets, or "people I knew in high school, who sometimes say funny things" tweets, depending on how much time you have, or what you are hoping to find.

Granted, I am not inundated with follower requests. I am a very quiet voice with one pinkie toe in the water. But, if I choose not to follow you, don't take it personally. I am probably just washing my hair. If it is meant to be, I'm sure I will find you and kick myself for not sensing our compatibility sooner. And when I follow you, you'll know it means I like you. Really.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Proud to call it home

Lately I've been pretty impressed with my hometown. First of all, there are Twitterers in my midst. Who knew New Orleans was embracing social media? And not only embracing it, but enthusiastically encouraging it. A chance encounter on Twitter introduced me to @jeskanola, who graciously made me her partner in crime in introducing NetSquared New Orleans, beginning with a Meetup on Tuesday Sept. 9th. Top that with the New Orleans 100 list of innovative local companies and the city's looking pretty good. So back off, Gustav!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pardon my grammar

I am a grammar geek. I keep my AP Style Guide nestled beneath my desk and silently cringe every time someone ends a sentence with a preposition. But, even I can't buy into the gender sensitivity of punctuation.

Over at Salon.com, there is a discussion on the femininity of the semi-colon. Who cares, right? But what irks me is the evolution of the debate and it's underlying implications. To sum up the highlights, when Trevor Butterworth asked celebrated writers and editors about their aversion to the semi-colon, it was implied that Americans are intimidated by its "nuance" and "complexity." Why not just use a period? It's easy. It's the McDonald's combo meal of punctuation. Sure, I buy that.

But, some take great offensive at this "useless" little symbol. Like Mr. Kilpatrick's assertion that "This pathetic hybrid is so shy, so bashful, so gutless, so easily overlooked, that a reader runs right over it.The semicolon is a belly-up guppie in a tank of glorious Siamese fighting fish. It's girly." Girly? Did I miss something?

Why is "pathetic" equated with being "girly." The implication is that femininity is synonymous with feeble, inadequate uselessness. That something deemed nonessential and purposeless is decidedly womanly. Hold on there, Grammar Guy. I think you might be mistaken. Might I suggest you take that girly little semicolon and shove it up your asterisk;) Still bashful?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Daft Punk Olympics

Watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony, I was oddly reminded of the Daft Punk "Around the World" video. So, I pulled it up to show Hubby, and he thinks I'm nutty. No contest, there. But still, the synchronized dancing, crazy lights, bizarre costumes. C'mon, the similarities can not be denied, right? Well, judge for yourself. If anything it was an opportunity to revisit a stellar piece of music video history. Oh, and you are welcome for the earworm. Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I was sitting in my living room this weekend folding laundry, a kind of recurring theme in my life that never seems to end. Surrounded by mounds of clothes, I began feeling overwhelmed at the complete and utter chaos of it all. And not just the my domestic disasters.

Every day I walk into the office, not knowing what the day will bring. I find myself paralyzed trying to decide which hat to wear. The "research the next opportunity and get new business" fedora. The "down to the basics project management" bowler. Or the "strategist extraordinairre" fuzzy black beret. So many choices. And forget about matching shoes. Which you should know is kind of a thing with me. So, I'm uncoordinated and discombobulated and so far from the sassy pulled-together minx I aspire to be.

By Sunday night, clothes were folded, pressed and put away. Exhale. Domestic disaster averted. Now, too bad I can't fold my career clutter into tiny starched squares and shut them away in a drawer. But, it does give me hope that even the most insurmountable chaos is not only manageable, but sometimes even necessary to get to a cleaner better place. How many times have I thrown everything out of the closet into a huge messy pile as the first step to bringing order & organization? It's daunting and labor-intensive, but if you persevere and come out better off on the other end.

So, right now my life is in a big pile in the middle of the room. Time to start sorting.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Inspiration v. Intimidation

So far my readership consists of 3 people. That's including my mom. And suddenly, here I am at BlogHer '08 surrounded by incredibly smart, empowering female bloggers. The women that I want to connect with. So, of course, I am telling all of them about Yours Truly, right? Hell no!

Coming out as a blogger isn't so easy. In fact, it's down-right terrifying! It implies that I am in the game. That I have something to say. That I have value to add. That I am regularly posting engaging and inspiring content. Because these other women are. And they are becoming famous for it. Some rightly so, others not so much.

I started this as a research assignment of sorts. I wanted to find out more about this powerful group of consumers because, well, I'm an ad gal and wanted to learn how to engage these women. And, yes, probably sell them something. But, then I forgot all that. Suddenly, I didn't want anything from this community. Except to be a part of it. Soooo sappy, I know. But true.

It's official. I have drank the Kool-Aid. I am bowled away by women like Gwen Bell, who I only met for maybe 20 seconds, but listened to throughout the weekend and thought, "Hey, she's pretty damn smart." And I haven't been disappointed by her continuously fabulous posts. Appreciating your peeps, love it. And there are so many others that I am now reading, following and fully enjoying.

So, I've started to whisper my blog name. And include it in web comments. And slowly introduce Yours Truly to someone other than my mom. I will do my best to make these other incredible women proud. To add value to the blogosphere in my own little way. And I vow to never ever wear a condom dress. At least not in public.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lady Who Lunches

I've often wondered what it would be like to be independently wealthy. To split my time between martini lunches and shopping sprees at Saks. The biggest decision to make all day would be- shaken or stirred? But, then it hits me. I don't really like martinis. And besides, I am a lady who lunches. Just today I had two Oreos at my desk. Ah, the glamorous life of a Brand Strategist. How could I dream of giving it up?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What you can't tell from my shoes

I have an impossible time deciding what to wear in the morning. But, apparently, I'm not alone. I just read Susan Wagner's post at BlogHer about how hard it can be to project the image you want, particularly when you meet new people and want to impress.

I find it's even harder to decide what that image is. Truth be told, I have a million different quirks, traits, pieces and parts that make up the whole Yours Truly. And each day they fight about who gets to pick today's outfit. The "perfect" outfit which will ultimately project that "perfect" image.

Be it the "devoted, laid-back, way-too-young-to-be-a-mom" image. Wardrobe necessities are funky t-shirt, jeans, pony-tail. Accessories include darling Baby Girl (preferably, clean and not screaming), enviably well-equipped diaper bag, serene expression.

Or, maybe the "ambitious, professional, way-too-young-to-be-so-successful" image. Red heels, pencil skirt and impeccably starched blouse. Accessorized with whimsical eye-wear that displays my oh-so-creative side, well timed statistical factoid delivered with authority and wisdom to pass to young co-workers without a trace of irritation.

And, of course, the "sexy rock-and-roll chick" image. Skinny jeans, razor straight hair and heavy mascara. Add a layer of sarcasm, some pithy quick wit and a killer come-hither pout. Dirty martini on the side.

OK, so, the rock-and-roll thing is a total pipe dream. But, the point is that somewhere inside of me, there is hard-core bad-ass. Right below the neurotic yes-man who is screaming at me to stop it with the hyphens, already! Obviously, I don't want to project her to the world at large. But, I acknowledge that in the end, she's going to poke her anal little head out. Luckily, some days the bad-ass and the executive team up shut her up. Wearing an impeccably starched blouse, skinny jeans and a pony-tail. And they snuck in that last hyphen just to spite her!

Friday, July 11, 2008

WWJD- What Would Joan Do?

I long for folk songstress stardom. Never mind that I can't play the guitar. OK, I don't even own a guitar. But, I sing really well in the car. Is it somehow possible that all these years I have been missing my calling? Is this ad girl destined for something more?

It could be a family affair. Hubby can sing back-up. We'll duet. We'll sit by the pool in the evenings singing ballads to Baby Girl under the stars. I'll grow my hair out. Hubby will wear sandals. We'll eat tabbouleh and drink mulled wine. I think Joan Baez would be proud.

But, she probably wouldn't pay my mortgage. So, I guess I'll keep my day job. At least until I learn to play the guitar. Then, I'll be unstoppable!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My BlogHer debacle

So, I want to go to the BlogHer conference so bad it's killing me. In my ad girl role, I am intrigued by the blogosphere. But, in my Yours Truly world I am dying to get the inside scoop on this fabulous community and become a part of these wonderful women.

I mapped out my plan. I went to the bosses and pleaded my case. "It's a great resource. I'll learn about a new medium. I'll network with the word of mouth mavens that are redefining the advertising world." And what do you know, the powers that be gave in and bought me a ticket to San Fran. Yay...

Until...the conference is sold out. Snap. Oh, but wait, wonderspot is giving away a ticket. Yesss! But I didn't win. Hold on Izzy Mom has a pass. Sweet! Nope. Didn't get it. What's that? Miss 604 can't go...Again, too late.

But I am not giving up hope. I'm twittering and posting and stalking my little heart out. And, in my quest for a BlogHer pass I have discovered some wonderful women and found myself becoming part of the fabulous community.

PS. I am a newbie, hope I linked correctly to the great blogs I have discovered along this yellow brick road.

My new BFF

I have a new best friend and I am giddy with excitement. Passing notes through ichat, talking to the wee hours, annoying any within earshot with our inside jokes. Wait a minute. I am 30 years old. I am a cynic. Why am I about to run out and buy one of those goofy half heart necklaces? And then it hit me. There is a simplicity in true friendship that you don't find very often as an adult. So many relationships are forced or contrived or down right awkward, between work colleagues, clients, potential clients, high school blasts from the past- I have an abundance of superficial relationships. (Hey, I'm in advertising, it's kind of my job.) But, don't get me wrong, I've got a lot of killer people in my circle. Every weekend my husband and I pack the backyard with smart, witty, wonderful folks. And I love jumping from one great story to the next amongst the crowd. But it is rare for me to find a one-on-one gal pal. Without the awkward conversation fillers, or "no you're totally the prettiest" reassurances. Although, she is totally the prettiest. And the funniest. And the smartest. And we're soooo going to rent a limo for prom!

Good Morning Sunshine

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

And so begins my blogging.