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Archive for the ‘social networks’ Category

now holding open community office hours

Posted by Ms. Herr on 11.18.2009

Ms. Herr offers open community office hoursLong, long ago in a land far, far away… Or rather longer ago than I want to admit to <sound effect: cough cough>April</cough> in pretty much the geographic location I am today, I had the idea of holding open community office hours. At the time, I was unemployed underemployed and yet somehow extremely busy. My weeks were marked by coffee and lunch dates with people who had heard from someone who had heard from someone that I was the person to talk to about whatever it was that they needed help with. My dates would pick my brain, asking questions about social media, community events or business startup ideas.

I could have ranted about how these meetups were essentially free consulting sessions, how they didn’t yield either contract work or employment offers, or how my dates would then run off to implement things we talked about while I still had to scrape together money to pay my gas bill if I wanted to keep taking hot showers. But for the most part, I was enjoying myself for four key reasons:

  1. I love social media.
  2. I love the local Phoenix social-web-tech community I’ve become immersed in.
  3. I love meeting and talking to new people, many of whom seem to find me though this very same social-web-tech community.
  4. And I love coffee.

From something that was naturally occurring, and something that I was enjoying, came the idea to give in and hold open community office hours. Akin to a college professor’s office hours, these are times when people could join me at a local coffee shop or eatery to talk about anything that interests them, whether it be social media, current events or name ideas for the family’s new goldfish.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Every week, I’ll choose 1-2 days to hold office hours, typically in the mornings before the workday kicks off.
  2. I’ll publish the dates, times, and location of these office hours on this public Google calendar.
  3. If you plan to join me, you’ll drop me an email at heather lynne herr at gmail dot com with “office hours” somewhere in the subject line. (I guarantee there will be mornings when that email verification that someone is expecting me will be the only thing that ensures I don’t sleep in an extra hour.)
  4. We’ll meet, chat, and enjoy some good coffee and/or noms.

One very important do not:

  1. Do not come with the intention of talking about anything that you want a NDA, written or verbal, to discuss. I am by default a very open person and I don’t want the pressure of keeping your secrets.

I’m kicking things off this Friday, November 20th at Liberty Market. If you want to join me, holla!

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Posted in community, events, marketing & advertising, social networks, the biz side | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

have a say in what others say about you

Posted by Ms. Herr on 09.4.2009

Originally posted to the Terralever blog on September 3, 2009 as:

Businesses Using Social Media to Stay on Top of their Brands

It’s all around us and it’s here to stay. Businesses and brands on our favorite social media platforms hoping to be friended, followed and faned by existing and potential customers who will then go and share branded content with their own friends, followers and fans. Social media networks make this sharing easy. Comment, like, retweet, favorite, or star something, and others will see it. It’s that word of mouse marketing.

The good news for businesses and brands is that over half of participants in social media networks are currently connected with a brand and 46% have spoken positively about a brand.

The question for companies, then, is how are you influencing these mentions? Are they unsolicited references to your product or service? Or are they the effect of others sharing the content you’ve published online? Consider the most mentioned brands on Twitter are Starbucks, Google, BBC, Apple and AIG. All are big name brands, but only the first three have a Twitter presence. Apple and AIG do not, and in the case of AIG, mentions were more often criticisms of company operations as they came to light during the financial crises than any sort of messaging initiated by or on behalf of the company.

On July 22nd, social media channels were abuzz with the announcement that Amazon bought Zappos. News of the announcement was quickly followed by links to a letter from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh to employees explaining foreseeable affects of acquisition, and to a video of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talking about both companies and his views on entrepreneurship. Amazon and Zappos are both incredibly active in social media; Amazon is the sixth most mentioned brand on Twitter. That engagement from both companies helped shape conversation about the acquisition. The video received over 35,000 views from site embeds occurring on that same day. The letter inspired hundreds of blogs and reblogs, and thousands of tweets.

When the information you’ve created is what’s being shared, then you have more opportunity to have your voice reflected the stories others tell about you.

*If you’d like to leave a comment, please feel free to do so here and/or on the original post on the Terralever blog.

Posted in blogging, marketing & advertising, social networks | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

endnotes: @MsHerr avatar version 2.0

Posted by Ms. Herr on 08.29.2009

Over the past two weeks, many that I know, and a few that I don’t commented on the soft edit set for my next avatar. I said I’d crowd-source the selection, and that the image that rose to the surface during the soft edit process would be the image I moved forward with. But in the end, I’ve chosen another image for very specific reasons.

The portrait with the most votes bears a lot of resemblance in expression to my first crowd-sourced avatar. They share an uninhibited smile, a joyful disposition, and a welcoming air. Perhaps there’s even a hint of mischievousness. These qualities may be some of the best loved by those who know me. They set both friend and stranger at ease, in essence, opening them to me.

crowd-selected avatars

crowd-selected avatars*

I take comfort that these qualities are so continuous in my character that they reveal a corresponding continuity in my photo shoots. However, as I plan to keep my previous avatar in rotation, and perhaps even primary, I’d rather not have two avatars so similar.

On a more technical note, cropping and image size also had a significant impact on my selection. Many individuals addressed cropping issues in the evaluation of the jump photos. No one mentioned it with the profile on the swings, wherein my hand would likely get cut off entirely. And no one addressed image size. Consider that social profiles and applications display images fairly small. Twitter’s web interface displays images at a mere 48×48 pixels. When you scale down many of the top images from my soft edit set, something gets lost. In the jump photos, it’s the fact that I’m jumping and it’s most of my distinguishing features except for my hair. In the crowd-selected image, it’s my eyes. With one of my words, touch, being so much about connection, and with so much of that connection flowing from great eye contact, I could not justify that loss.

selected images from soft edit set

selected images from soft edit set*

That brings us to my final selection, the image that was liked by most who commented, voted top by a handful, and caused the one who didn’t know me want to. Thank you to all who participated. Your feedback was insightful and had a great deal of influence on what is now @MsHerr avatar version 2 point oh.

MsHerr avatar

*All photography by Tyson Crosbie. I love him. He’s awesome!

Posted in self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

crowd-sourcing my avatar selection, version 2.0

Posted by Ms. Herr on 08.14.2009

Four hundred sixty some odd days ago, I sat down for a portrait session with Tyson Crosbie. Of the hundred or so shots that were taken, a soft edit set of 16 images were uploaded to Flickr and opened for comments. I asked a public, comprised of my online communities of friends and followers, to tell me which image they most connected with as a representation of Ms. Herr.

And I’m at it again.

Seven days ago, Tyson and I got together to capture a new body of images. In his process, a session is driven by three words chosen by the subject as articulating what they want the final portrait to portray.

MHwo_avatar_touch joy rogue

These are my words, chosen after significant personal reflection, chosen because they distill not only who I am, but also how I aspire to engage the world around me.

The soft edit set for this session will go went live on Flickr today. Comments will be open for people to select their favorite(s) and provide critical feedback. Which one(s) most genuinely conveys my character? My aspirations? My human dimensionality? Which one captures my words? Which one connects?

I hope you’ll help me choose.

Posted in self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

@MsHerr hits 10k tweets… & hands over the keys

Posted by Ms. Herr on 07.21.2009

Twitter_MsHerr_9953rd tweet

After 26 months on Twitter, I’m fast approaching ten thousand Twitter updates. That’s a lot of characters. It’s a bit of a milestone. Not like turning 18. Or turning 21. Or losing your virginity. But a milestone nevertheless.

@spectagirl suggested 10,000 shots. Indeed momentous, but not quite what I had in mind. @smarti9 started #MsHerr10kWatch2oo9. My friends are often quick to rally behind my endeavors in some fashion or another.

A few hours ago, I was 10 tweets away from 10k. By the time you read this, I’ll be 7 tweets or less from 10k. The build up to that 10,000th tweet has been fun, but also a bit daunting. Suddenly 140 characters has become a much bigger deal than necessary. There is this pressure to be momentous. Funny considering I’m much more likely to miss it completely (despite @smarti9’s 10k watch) and either use it on a reply or post something completely irrelevant.

I’ve decided to hand over the keys to my Twitter account. That means you (and everyone else) will have the opportunity to post as and from @MsHerr for up to 26 hours.

Why am I doing this? This is not the first time I’ve yielded control of my social presence. A year ago, I asked my community to help me select my avatar. My reasons then still hold true today. I believe in the social web. I believe in trusting my friends, connections, and communities. I believe in yielding control. And I’m curious to see what will happen. It could be phenomenal success or it could be an abysmal failure. But why not? Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.

How will it work? I have set up a Ping.fm account linked to @MsHerr and will publish the associated posting email address in my 10,000th tweet. You (and everyone else) can send a tweet to this address, where it will then feed automatically to @MsHerr. My only request is that you sign your tweet with ^@yourtwittername (please replace yourtwittername with your actual twitter name so people can link to you). Ping accepts text updates and photo updates, so feel free to post pics too. If you need a how-to, check out Ping’s posting guides.

My disclaimer: I reserve the right to delete any tweet. If you do not sign your tweet, I will probably delete it. If I feel violated by your tweet, I will probably delete it. After all, this is my account we’re talking about.

That’s it. That’s the deal Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me proud. And remind me why I fell in love with the social web so many months ago.

Posted in blogging, geekery, self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

#snapshoot Twitter-Interactive wrap up

Posted by Ms. Herr on 02.24.2009

It’s been only five days, but it still feels like yesterday that I was on set with Mark Wallace for the Twitter-Interactive photo shoot at Loft 19 Studios. It was a crazy amazing day!

On set with Mark Wallace. (photo credit: Danno)

Mark Wallace of SnapFactory was given the opportunity to test out the new equipment by Profoto, makers of high-end photography lighting equipment. Mark is an avid Twitterer, and conceived a live-tweeted photo shoot that allowing readers to not only follow the behind-the-scenes action, but ask questions about any aspect of the shoot, from concept to technical details. The interactive approach is such a natural fit as Mark already produces the Digital Photography 1 on 1 video series where he answers viewer-submitted questions.

Call time was 8:00am, and with only 9 hours scheduled for the shoot, all time was prime time. We had our share of challenges, from the hair, makeup, and wardrobe team getting stuck in morning traffic, to memory card failure, to the constant evaporation of time. Consider that we had four models, each with several wardrobe changes, and three sets. Add in the live uploads of behind-the-scenes photos to Flickr and the steady conversation with those following on Twitter, and you’ve got a whirlwind day.

Loft 19 was a truly amazing space to work in. The first thing that strikes you is scale. It’s a large studio offering incredible freedom for designing sets. The cyclorama is beautiful. The amenities are icing on the cake, with two lounges, ample wardrobe/hair/makeup space, and even an espresso machine which definitely got a workout while we where there.

There were so many cool parts to this project, but star of the equipment show was the Profoto Pro-8a Air which enables super fast flash cycling. The Pro-8s can generate up to 20 flashes per second. Mark shot at 10 frames per second, still incredible given typical recycle times on a flash can be up to 1 second. This clip (opens new window) only hints at the Pro-8s capability, and be sure to listen for shutter sounds as the video couldn’t capture each flash cycle.

Profoto Pro-8 Air Sneak Peek

Profoto Pro-8 Air Sneak Peek from Mark Wallace on Vimeo.

Be sure to check out the Flickr photostream, and watch the SnapFactory blog as Mark will be posting a series of recaps about various aspects of the shoot. If you have any questions, ask. Mark is great about sharing his knowledge with others.

Many thanks to the team of people who contributed time and resources that made this event possible: Mark Wallace, Diane Wallace, and SnapFactory, Loft 19 Studios and Floyd Bannister, the models of The Agency Arizona, Erin Markis, Heather Blaine, Danno, and Jeff Caroli.

Posted in art stuff, blogging, events, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

yours truly, on the job as reporter for a Twitter-Interactive photo shoot

Posted by Ms. Herr on 02.18.2009

I’ve been buzzin’ with excitement since Tuesday when I landed an awesome gig assisting Mark Wallace for an all-day Twitter-Interactive photo shoot Thursday … that’s tomorrow … where he tests out the Profoto Pro-8 Air packs.

Let me rewind and start from the beginning. I’m gonna go fast, so hold on…

I met Mark and Diane Wallace at Twestival Phoenix one week ago. I’d had a little conversation with Diane previously on Twitter, but Twestival was the first in-person meeting and the first conversation not limited to 140 characters. Over the weekend, we rectified any follows and follow-backs that were not already in effect over our many multiple accounts. Mark inquired about the #getmetosxsw project I’d just launched, and I checked out Mark’s portfolio, Diane’s portfolio, and the SnapFactory site. Mark generously offered to reach out through his connections to help me get to SXSW, and I stumbled across a blog post about a photo shoot where Mark would be live-tweeting the behind-the-scenes story of trying out some new equipment. I got a little click happy with the links, discovering Mark tried live-tweeting another photo shoot and mused it might work better if he had a reporter to tweet on his behalf. I asked to be that reporter. Mark talked it over with the team. And if haven’t figured it out by now, they brought me on board!

<insert emphatic YESSSSS!!! here>

Tomorrow morning, we’ll meet at Loft 19 Studios at 7:00am (Arizona time) for setup, model call-time, etc. The shoot will run from 9:00am-5:00pm. Mark will shoot fashion, Diane will do makeup, Erin will style wardrobe, and Danno and Jeff will shoot behind-the-scenes footage. And me? I’ll be tweeting the whole thing: the setup, the technical details, the styling, the models, the drama. I’ll be taking your questions for Mark and the team, then posting their answers.

Check out the SnapFactory blog to meet the team and meet the models. Mark tells a great story and has a wealth of prep coverage, including the model fittings.

To catch tomorrow’s live action, follow @jmarkwallace on Twitter (I’ll be tweeting as him), watch for the #snapshoot updates on Twitter Search, and most definitely tweet in with your questions and thoughts.

Posted in art stuff, blogging, events, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

two theories regarding social media, human dimensionality and community fragmentation

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.13.2009

Social media is at once a new and old field. Those such as Christopher Locke, his fellow authors in The Cluetrain Manifesto (website or book) and others who have been around since the internet’s inception would say the foundations were lain decades ago. Those who have entered the field in the last couple of years are still considered early adopters. Yet there are many more that have yet to realize that those giants known as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook are just the biggest in a seemingly endless stream of social media channels.

Like so many fields in fledgling states, the early adopters are in a mad rush to understand the trend, define the vernacular, explore the potential and forecast the implications. Social media is deconstructing conventional notions of relationship building, information sharing, and personal and brand engagement. The implications will be numerous, diverse and far-reaching.

Some would consider me an early adopter…

I’ve been sitting on two theories for several months. They are theories that I think few people, if any, are talking about. And they are theories the have emerged as what I’ve learned in the relatively short time I’ve been engaged in social media has subconsciously intertwined with the semblance of knowledge gathered during my years as student of architecture (UNM and ASU).

To date, I’ve done nothing to push, publish, or promote my theories, largely because I have felt a bit intimidated by the amount of research that I think will be required to adequately explore them. But time to sit no more. Time to give my thoughts public face. Time to talk less and DO more. (Thanks to @templestark for callin’ me out).

one: social media facilitates the re-piecing of human dimensionality.

Driven largely by our car-dependent culture and the specialization of industry knowledge, we have come to live very fragmented lives. We live in one place, work in a second, and play in a third. We give our time to this group and our money to that one. In each place, neighborhood, district, and organization, we associate with specific groups of people, each representing a niche, and often isolated, community. We project the parts ourselves relevant to each community’s respective cultures, operating within specific norms and talking about specific subjects. We are perceived accordingly and we are encouraged to maintain certain boundaries lest one area leak into another and compromise our standing in both.

With little crossover between our personal, professional, recreational, and hobby interests, most of the people we encounter only experience a small sliver of our personalities. Yet what makes humans so fascinating is the interweaving of likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, skills and knowledge, indulgences and aspirations. These things interweave to create depth, breadth, complexity, and richness. They create dimensionality.

Social media opens the door to the fuller picture of our selves. We may still generally correspond with friends on Facebook, network with colleagues on LinkedIn or Biznik, and share ideas with people of similar passions on any number of niche interest sites, but the barriers to connecting with any one person in any number of communities are dramatically reduced. Time and distance are only nominally relevant. We’re easier to find. We’re easier to observe. We’re easier to engage. Indeed, it almost seems taboo to deny “friendship” in one community when it’s already been granted in another.

Each new request in a subsequent platform, whether online or off, flows from an interest that extends beyond the slivers of our personality toward the greater whole of our dimensionality.

two: solutions to community fragmentation will be found first in our online communities, and if they’re paying attention, urban planners and designers may be able to extrapolate the learnings for application within our physical communities

The fragmentation of our physical, neighborhood, and civic lives has long been a concern for urban planners and community developers. Whole genres, such as New Urbanism, have emerged from the search for design solutions that will help us patch the pieces back together for more cohesive lifestyles. Organizations, research efforts and books are dedicated to identifying causes and posturing solutions. There will be no one right answer, but there does not yet seem to be a satisfactory answer.

The proliferation of social media platforms is trending to a similar fragmentation of online communities. Blogs, videos, networks, bookmarks, games, podcasts and live-streams all provide means to produce, distribute and share content. Even within a single content type, there are a multitude of platforms. Consider YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, Ustream Tv, and many more, all operating in the video space.

Early adopters jostle for beta invites from each new launch. We play with the functionality, features, user interface and mobile capabilities. We play with the other users. We love an application and become loyal users and evangelists. We hate it and they migrate back to another preferred application. Or we fall somewhere in the middle, neither passionate nor dispassionate. Over time, we collect a pocketful of applications we use frequently, as well as a vast network of friends/colleagues/associates unique to each application. We collect fragment communities.

The online world grows, adapts and evolves much faster than the physical world, so while online communities mimic that which has already undermined our physical communities, they will also find solutions much quicker. From inception to prototype to product launch, maturation times drop and results evidence sooner. The quest for solutions has already begun. Feed aggregators and application sharing are only the beginning. Urban planners and designers who take heed now will experience a virtual living lab, and the learnings will be invaluable.

Posted in blogging, community, human dimensionality, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

a few considerations before starting that 2nd, or 3rd, Twitter account

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.6.2009

“Who should I follow?” It’s a question every new Twitter user asks. But it’s also a question that established users continue to grapple with. As our following counts escalate, so do the challenges of keeping up with it all. The questions may shift to more narrow focuses such as follow etiquette, data quantity and filtration practices, but the root question is the same.

There is a worthwhile conversation emerging on this subject on Tomas Carrillo’s blog. I highly encourage you to read both his original post and the comment string before continuing with the rest of this post.

Tomas is leaning toward creating a second account so that he can manage his professional and personal interests separately. For many, this can appear an attractive solution.

The jump into multiple accounts is a critical step with a variety of implications. The benefits will vary depending on your goals, but there are some ramifications, for both user and reader, that are easy to overlook.

  1. Compartmentalizing business, personal, and niche identities as separate entities forces others who may be interested in the multiple sides of you to follow multiple streams. It’s easy to think others might only be interested in the _blank_ side of you, or that you’re only interested in the _blank_ side of others, but that’s rarely true. Being one-dimensional is usually considered a character weakness.
  2. Maintaining multiple accounts is likely to increase your overall time investment on Twitter. Just as you are forcing a reader interested in the multiple sides of you to read multiple streams, there will be individuals you engage both professionally and personally. On which account do you then follow them? More often than not, you’ll probably choose to follow them on each of your accounts, increasing the redundancy of your feeds.
  3. One account is likely to become favored, while another will become neglected. While your time invested on Twitter increases, time available in a day remains static, making it less feasible to devote equal and adequate attention to each account.
  4. You may undermine your brand. Whether you are a company or an individual, your brand is the unique composition that emerges from a variety of facets, from history to aspirations, from deep-seated values to social connections. As you siphon off certain facets for promotion in other channels, you risk the overall richness of the fuller brand. This risk is greater for freelancers and sole entrepreneurs. Your business is most likely an extension of yourself, and as such, your professional and personal lives are mutually reinforcing.

Using multiple Twitter accounts to separate interests is a growing trend, but in general, it’s something I would advise against. The exception may be for highly niche interests. For example, I maintain @PhxArtYC to provide updates on events at the Phoenix Art Museum. And consider Francine Hardaway who tweets as @Earth911 which is dedicated to environmental and recycling content.

Unless there is a need separate a niche interest from your personal brand, keep a single stream and show of all the different sides of you.

Posted in blogging, marketing & advertising, self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

the best auto-post-follow DM

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.5.2009

I’m not a big fan of auto-thanks-for-follow direct messages on Twitter. In part because I’ve received enough of them that each one feels less personal than the last. And in part because I’ve thought about creating one for @PhxArtYC, a rogue account that I created to support the Phoenix Art Museum and the Young Collectors, but I have yet to draft one that feels personal. The bottom line is that an auto-DM can never be personal because automatic is not personal.

This is not to say that they can’t be useful, or even well received. The best auto-post-follow DM I received was from Scott Monty, the head of social media at Ford Motor Company. It was a simple thanks plus “If you ever want to get my attention, just “@” me.”

At the time, I didn’t initially know Scott’s DM was an automated response. I thought I was special. Scott, social media guy for Ford with thousands of followers, had followed me. Little ol’ me. I presume because our names came up in tweet(s) about a poker game with several other notable individuals following the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer in Scottsdale in late October.

I immediately reciprocated Scott’s follow, received said DM, and DM’d my own reply. He responded once more, closing with “Nice hanging with you at the poker table.” In truth, we were on opposite ends of the table, and I don’t recall any one-to-one conversation between us. Hardly a direct connection. But I still thought I was special.

Within a week, I learned that first exchange was an automated response. So much for thinking I was special. Burst bubbles aside, months later, Scott’s message still counts as the best auto-post-follow DM I received for two key reasons.

  1. He didn’t ask me to go to his blog. Or Ford’s site. He didn’t promise to look at my profile or read any of my tweets. He invited conversation with by simply suggested the best way to engage him – not privately via DM, but publicly in open discourse.
  2. He provided context. Context links to meaning. Meaning links to relevance. And by referencing the shared experience of playing in a relatively intimate poker game, he made the sum of the exchange personal.

Posted in social networks | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »