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5 Methods To Participate In Digital That Lead To Personal Growth

In Personal Development on June 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

This is the 2nd of two follow-up posts to #MakeItCount: How You Can Change The Digital Landscape. The 1st follow-up entry is: 5 Communities to Begin Your Digital Research and Participation. Below are 5 ways to participate in digital that lead to personal growth:

  1. Socialize. Join social networks to witness [and partake] in the value of sharing and distribution of information. On a very basic level: conversation will open up doors for you. Here, I would like to focus on Twitter. I follow people that are related to new media and popular culture. Yesterday I mentioned delving deeper into a news culture. Enter Twitter. Follow the guys and gals that make it happen, not just the organization itself. Just search a contributors name on Google. Here’s an example query for one of my Twitter crushes: Tim Carmody The Verge Twitter Account. Twitter is a great resource to aggregate content as a news source specifically tailored to your needs.
  2. Give Praise. This simply means to join the blogging conversation. Once you find your niche, start commenting. You do not need to be a kiss-ass but comments are gold for writers. Share your perspective and ask questions—just make sure it’s relevant. When posting comments be sure to provide an identity marker. Most blog platforms allow you to link your name to a website or social network account. A final note: if you haven’t started blogging, it’s a good idea to start.
  3. Subscribe. After you have found your sweet spot, subscribe to your favorite material. It’s conveniently sent to your inbox so you don’t have to go looking for it each day or however often you browse sources. This also increases your exposure to a different medium in how people connect digitally. Again, Copyblogger has great info on this.
  4. Network. Begin building your online presence with services like LinkedIn or Instagram. Focus on your brand when connecting with people. This does not mean promote yourself. This means connect with others, especially with mutual interest. Building a digital identity puts a “face” to your work, progress, and goals.
  5. Help Others. This is a form of paying your dues. Building a portfolio of content featured on prominent websites and organizations in your industry is a huge plus. I am building my portfolio by guest posting and blogging (“free”) for larger organizations. These are [in a way] like freelance internships. And it shows you are savvy in establishing business contacts, communicating clearly, and you have the talent to be featured for an established business.

Summary of the content featured above:
These five methods seem like they are promoting others, and not your personal brand, but it is quite the opposite. Money isn’t the only currency available to promote yourself. Larry Stybel, writing for HBR, offers further insight in How to Get a Job Without Experience. Surrounding yourself with people who are successful and making it count is a reflection on you and your character. Please share your methods that have brought you both success and failure in the comments section. There’s room to grow from experience in both ends of the spectrum.

#MakeItCount: How You Can Change The Digital Landscape

In Business & Marketing on June 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I ate breakfast on my balcony today and saw the “double-yellow” lines on my street had been redone. (And the street recently paved!) I noticed, however, that these lines did not meet at the white crosswalk lane. And I thought: huh, that’s funny. The next question is fairly easy to think of, but not obvious to address: why didn’t they draw the double-yellow to the white crosswalk?

Answer: because they aren’t finished yet. They will be touching up the white crosswalks as well, which are currently cracked–prime for development and change.

The same can be said for social media and the Internet, but we’re not always as conscious about these things as we are in real life. The information pool and wealth of knowledge is much greater and more subtle. It’s not as simple to identify the “pothole” (keep thinking: social). Staring at the computer screen won’t give you answer, like observing the road does. So how can we “predict” change and see what’s coming next? (On the horizon.)

Participation in Digital
To “understand” the digital frontier, you must participate. An interactive experience gives you the opportunity to explore the current landscape and discover other users’ passions, thoughts, and desires in digital [to promote your own]. Blogs, webinars, conversations, posting—as stated: participation, first. To be knowledgeable is to marshal potential resources in your favor to push digital culture forward. And to innovate, it’s important to develop strong creative and strategic thinking. This is seldom learned by following a rigid set of instructions, like a technical manual. So enjoy drafting your own syllabus.

Example:
I am a writer seeking introductions in content management to promote a brand, mission or company. I attend @Radian6 webinars regularly, and connect with people like @ginidietrich, founder and CEO at Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. I will be guest blogging for them in July! (I am very excited.)

Wrestling with Uncertainty
Discovering outlets I’m interested in has proven to be a great tool in directing my attention and how I can get there—to apply my skills and expertise to new media. Your passion and development is to be determined along the way. Don’t let this uncertainty intimidate you. Or if you already know exactly what you wish to do, your execution should be that much easier.

The beauty of innovation is: you don’t have to do it alone. We need a lot of fingers and toes to count the number of people looking for what’s next in digital. And the big guys at corporations don’t even know.

Developing Valuable Connections, with Mutual Interest
Find like-minded people and groups to learn and develop with, together. Organizations like Radian6 and Arment Dietrich are two of many places I look for quality information. Don’t be afraid to make leaps and connect with people. A beautiful network of connections awaits you. Consider Twitter, Facebook, Quora, niche forums and threads, etc. You just have to get out there and go.

Susan Chun, who recently announced her own blog’s obituary, Smudged Text, writes: “Twitter is like a virtual water cooler where you can share interesting links with interesting people.” (Twitter is the reason I am blogging less.) I’m discussing collaboration with Sue, now, which I am very excited about. Remember: Information exchange is at an all-time high. It’s important to choose wisely, as not to spread your jam too thin, but also Make It Count:

Don’t forget the Medium
The digital landscape’s workflow must also be considered. Humans are not the only members in the process. Workflow systems now incorporate man and machine, as I like to call it “manchine”. Knowing how these devices work is also a must. I am currently learning HTML, CSS, and Google Webmaster Tools to name a few. A carpenter can’t build something great or discover use without insight into how their trade and resources operate. Observation is paramount.

Summary

  • Participate, to gain knowledge and insight into the user experience and collaborate with current professionals.
  • Workflow analysis, to facilitate the growth of new ideas and create a strategy. Remember: it’s not concrete; you may need to adjust along the way.
  • Observation, to identify existing structures and resources.

Above all:

#MAKE IT COUNT

Are you pursuing a career in new media or involving the Internet? What are you looking for? If you have insight into strategies or inspiration, share your ways! How do you spend your time online? What’s worked for you and what has not?

Stay hungry, and you will make sure you get fed.