Mainstream media not as negative as The People

As Americans approach the polls in less than 24 hours, many are just thankful that the circus will be over. In this election and others, many have complained about negative advertisements and media coverage. However, a recent Pew Internet study shows that individual Americans may be just as much to blame as the media. That’s because now that we, the people, have the power via social media to say anything and everything we want, we are being just as negative – or rather, more negative – than the media and candidates themselves.

Throughout this election cycle, I have heard numerous Facebook and Twitter friends complain about how annoying it is to see friends talking about politics via social networks. At first, my thought was that we should be proud and glad that we can speak our opinions regarding politics, whether in person, in print or online. In some places, speaking ill of leaders, whether in person or digitally, could result in harsh punishment. However, after doing some thinking and after seeing this study, I realized people are probably most frustrated with the negativity that is on our social networks rather than the actual political discussion. But we can’t shut off all discussion just because others want to ruin it. Instead, we need to look at ourselves, at the reasons why we use social networking sites and the people we are looking to reach through them.

For myself, I use social networking sites to communicate with friends, family, acquaintances and others. It is fun and laid-back, but that does not mean it should be rude, offensive or hurtful toward others. I am looking for honest, intelligent, and sometimes entertaining information and updates, and people looking for the same things are going to reach me.

It’s too late to change the discourse of the 2012 political campaign season. But perhaps for the next election, we can all be a little more civil online. We can have informed discussions  on politics — both online and in person — without being negative or hateful. We can agree to disagree, and we can agree that hatefulness is not the answer.

And we can realize that if we can’t be civil with our friends and acquaintances on social networking sites, how can we expect the media and the candidates to be civil during a campaign? It’s on us to do better next time.

With that being said, it’s time to go vote! No matter who you choose, it’s important to participate. We owe it to those who came before us and to those who do not have the same privilege we are able to enjoy.

Happy Election Day!


Connecting digitally on Brazen Careerist’s Network Roulette

Whether you’re settled into a comfortable, fitting career or whether you’re hunting wildly (as I am) for your dream job, you can learn a lot from Brazen Careerist, a social networking site that provides professionals an opportunity to connect with each other in a casual, fun environment. The site recognizes the importance of and establishes the bridge between personal and professional life.

I joined Brazen about a year ago, and while I don’t use it as much as Twitter or Facebook, I do enjoy using it to engage like-minded professionals in stimulating, timely conversation.

One of the most useful features I’ve used on the site is the Network Roulette. Basically, this is a professional version of Chat Roulette, without video. You register for the event, which takes place on your computer at a designated date and time.


Before logging in, you should make sure your profile and resume are updated. Also, you have the option to answer these questions: What are you seeking? What are you providing? For example, during the blogging Network Roulette I participated in earlier this week, I said I am seeking opportunities to guest blog about social media, marketing and journalism, and I’m providing advice on these topics. Having this information immediately available makes it easier to find out if you should continue talking to this person. Plus, it lets you get to the meat of the conversation right away.

After logging in to the chat and filling out the brief introductory information, you’re matched with another participant in something reminisicent of a private chat room. You’ll have three to five minutes to talk to the person, and then you can “follow” them or ask for further contact information to continue the conversation afterward. The idea is to meet as many people as possible and then to get deeper into conversation with them at a later time.

If you’re a little confused about Brazen Careerist and Network Roulette at this point, no worries. Here’s a list of ways certain groups of people can use the site and that particular tool.

  • Students & Job Seekers: Whether you’re seeking an internship, a post-graduation job or just want to prepare yourself early (a great idea, by the way), you can use this time in your life to build your network as much as possible. But it’s more than just talking to people initially — make sure you follow-up with people you meet via Network Roulette to establish long-lasting relationships that benefit both parties in the long run.
  • College professors and career center staff: With job-seeking students, you likely stress the importance of networking (especially with alumni) frequently. While arranging in-person networking events between students and alumni are ideal, they can be challenge in today’s hectic world. However, Brazen works with colleges to establish Network Roulette events for colleges, which provides an easy way for alumni and students to connect with each other digitally.
  • Employers: Career fairs are great for meeting potential employees, but they can be costly and challenging to organize, and results aren’t guaranteed. While Brazen doesn’t guarantee results, either, the event is at least less costly and less time-consuming, making it a more effective way to find potential job candidates.
  • Life-long Learners: Life is a journey, and people help you enjoy it. On Network Roulette, you can find and connect with people who have similar interests. Rather than resorting to articles or other resources, you can use the people you meet on Brazen to learn more about certain topics.

What other groups might find Network Roulette useful? What do you think of Brazen’s Network Roulette concept?

Hark! Explaining Social Media Through Christmas Carols

Because it’s “that time of year” (an expression I hate but still use), I decided to take a break from the Smart Shopping for a Smartphone series to talk about something I love most about the month of December: Christmas carols.

The musical aspect of Christmas songs new and old certainly are lovable. However, after listening to a few tunes with my newly trained social media ear, I realized many of the lessons, even the religious ones, could apply to social media.

Rather than choose my own personal top five, I sought the top five or 10 most popular (historically) Christmas songs and came up with:

1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Takeaway: Listen! People are talking. Continue reading “Hark! Explaining Social Media Through Christmas Carols”

Does journalist = marketer (and vice versa)?

Being a journalist-slash-marketer may seem like a paradox, but in today’s world, journalists must be marketers and marketers must be journalists.

Luckily, large newspapers like The New York Times are realizing this, as shown in an article about the Times‘ increased use of social media and two-way communication tools. In the article, the author writes USA Today, the Times and The Wall Street Journal are all still trying to grasp social media by asking itself following questions:

Should social media belong to a designated editor, to the whole staff or both?

Is a staff evangelist for social media ever finished with her work?

And what happens when the next big thing bubbles up?

Continue reading “Does journalist = marketer (and vice versa)?”

Don’t Let Big Biz Have All the (Social Media) Success!

In his article  “Why Big Brands Are Dominating Social Media,” Brian Sheehan raises valid points, saying although we always talk about social media tools being free to use, they do take tons of time to manage, and, as the saying goes, time is money. While Pepsi or Ford or other big brands don’t have to necessarily pay a ton of money for social media tools, they are able to pay a ton of money to employees who manage the conversations taking place through the tools.

It would seem big business brands have outdone small businesses again. While this may be true for right now, small businesses don’t have to sit back while big businesses have all the fun.

Instead,  small businesses can have just as much success, if not more success, on social media by thinking on a smaller, local community level and adding a dab of creativity. Continue reading “Don’t Let Big Biz Have All the (Social Media) Success!”

Lessons Learned: Student Brings Integration & Access to Marketing Classroom

Social media and technology like Twitter, smartphones and Skype can bring new experiences in some of the most seemingly unlikely places, like the university classroom.

My IMC classmate and friend Eddie Perry recently had one of those life-changing social media moments that involved our New Media class, in which we read the book “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business” by Erik Qualman. Continue reading “Lessons Learned: Student Brings Integration & Access to Marketing Classroom”

Tips on Using LinkedIn Ethically & Effectively

Professional networking can be a nerve-racking process, especially for recent graduates with little real-world experience. Many adults young and old want to stand out but are shy or nervous in a networking setting. They have to fight that introverted feeling to really build up their networks.

For Gen Y’ers (like myself) who grew up communicating through AOL Instant Messenger and Facebook, in-person networking may be especially stressful. In fact, if you think about it, we’ve used these digital tools to communicate on so many levels, from breaking up or getting together with a significant other to sharing a baby’s birth or engagement to finding a job. So, it would seem LinkedIn would be the perfect tool for current and soon-to-be professionals. Using LinkedIn, they can build their professional networks without even leaving change from their PJ’s or leaving their bedrooms!

LinkedIn logo

But, while LinkedIn certainly has its uses, will Gen Y be able to use it effectively and ethically? Here are three LinkedIn features and tips ethically minded Millennials may want to keep in mind on LinkedIn.

1. Recommendations

Are LinkedIn recommendations useful? It depends how users obtain them; if they follow similar ethical procedures you would follow for offline recommendations, then they’re probably quite useful. For example, would you ever ask a best friend with no professional affiliation with you to write you a letter of recommendation? Maybe, but you’d be more likely to ask a former supervisor who loved a project you worked on under him as an intern. The dilemma on LinkedIn, though, is that often a person viewing your profile won’t know that you and your best friend agreed to give each other stellar recommendations to look good. Because giving recommendations on LinkedIn is so seemingly simple, why wouldn’t you ask your BFF or mom or boyfriend?

Hopefully, you would consider that it’s unfair to employers who obviously won’t know about that “agreement.” Continue reading “Tips on Using LinkedIn Ethically & Effectively”