Ms. Herr when online

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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

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 »

social media connections are human connections

Posted by Ms. Herr on 10.21.2009

Terralever celebrating the Spirit of Enterprise Award, October 2009

Terralever celebrating the Spirit of Enterprise Award, October 2009

I spend my 9-to-5s with the great team of people that make up Terralever, an interactive marketing agency based out of Tempe, Arizona. Recently, the passing of one of our founding and managing partners quickly and dramatically altered life as we knew it. After a week passed and after the funerary services, as we returned to our daily tasks and project deliverables, I kept thinking about the company’s blog. How could we, how should we, go from our last post that announced Andy’s death to a new one covering user interface design or email marketing? What was that post in between, the one in which we, in front of the world, transition from loss to business as usual, knowing there really would be nothing usual about it?

I am touched that Terralever allowed me to author that post. And I am thankful for Courtney Crane, Marketing Manager for Terralever, and great friend to Andy, for helping me find the right words.

Originally posted to the Terralever blog on October 13, 2009 as:

Social Media Connections are Human Connections

As many of you know, Terralever recently suffered a great loss with the passing of Andy Richter, managing partner, colleague, friend, and mentor. We have mourned and we have laughed as we continue to remember great times spent with a man whose passion for living was infectious.

Shortly before we learned of Andy’s passing, I discovered that my friend and his wife were expecting a baby via a biweekly web comic. Life cycled within mere hours. As the day continued, and news of Andy’s passing spread, the outpouring of support, expressed through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and personal emails, was overwhelming. The loss was not just our own, Andy’s family or those closest to him, but one felt throughout Phoenix and the greater entrepreneurial and internet marketing communities. Each post brought home with new meaning that which I already believed, that social media, however digital it may be, is still human.

Sons and daughters are born, cancerous diseases are fought, promotions are celebrated, wedding vows are exchanged, and losses are mourned. Life is shared as it happens.

News channels will continue to publish the latest headlines, brands to focus on building communities of impassioned evangelists, and retailers to announce their hot new sale. Indeed, our role as an interactive marketing agency is to help our clients navigate opportunities to best leverage their online activities. It is my hope that as we do so, we always remember that social media is where humans connect with one another in meaningful ways.

We cherish the knowledge, guidance and passion that Andy brought to us each day. We are thankful for the gracious support of the community since his passing. Both are inspiration for us as we move forward together.

*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, community | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

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 »

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 »

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 »

building on the small wins

Posted by Ms. Herr on 10.21.2008

Yesterday I had a small win; I set a new mark for the highest number of visits to my blog, and this time it was [mostly] all me. To be clear, I’m only talking about 89 hits, which is minuscule compared to the blog gods and probably still fractional compared to the blog demigoddess’ handmaidens who at least get all the good gossip. But it’s big for me, because:

  1. I post less than once a week on average. Isn’t one key to traffic providing regular, and somewhat frequent content?
  2. It doubled my good days. Remember, I’m not an blog goddess.
  3. And it was a result of my own efforts.

For comparison, my previous high mark was back in June when Warren Whitlock, co-author of the Twitter Handbook, addressed the importance of selecting the right avatar and linked back to me. I’d bet the Twitter Handbook blog has high readership, so when the link generated over 85% of my 81 hits on a single day, I was ecstatic.

What makes yesterday different, is that yesterday’s traffic flowed from Twitter mostly, but also 43 Things, Gangplank hacknight, and even merciless flirt. This means the traffic was coming from my peoples, and not someone else’s.

So this begs the question, how do you measure your blogging success? Let’s temporarily exclude comments (and assume you occassionaly look at your stats) to focus on traffic. Do you care about incoming traffic? What about outbound traffic as readers explore links you provide? Is it cooler to be drive traffic by your little ol’ self, or by gaining the attention of someone bigger (for the moment at least) than you?

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

my anniversary is coming…

Posted by Ms. Herr on 09.23.2008

It’s a little weird to think about it this way, but it’s so true. It was my first conference in the field (even though it was, in fact, an unconference). It was my introduction to real discussions about how people were participating in, and leveraging, social media. And it was an opportunity to meet Brian Shaler, a Twitter user who had thousands of followers and really amazing jump photos, and the first person I had engaged online that I didn’t first know IRL.

So on a Saturday morning in November, I woke early, dressed in comfy clothing that would help me do anything but stand out, stopped for a venti 8-pump hazelnut mocha, and made my way to what would be my first date with Phoenix’s web tech community.

I’m talking about last year’s PodCamp AZ. I had no idea what an un-conference was so I researched it online before going. I was fascinated by the law of two feet, and I followed it so well that Brent Spore, a key mastermind behind the event, said that I must have gone to every. single. session.

I was such a newb, even the moment I introduced myself to Brian was really awkward. But it was a pivotal moment for me.

It meaning PodCamp.

I learned a lot. I discovered ReadPhoenix. I listened as others talked about managing online reputations and sustaining blogs. And I met several fascinating and very smart people in Phoenix’s social media community that turned me on to other meetups where the learning continues.

We’re only six weeks out from PodCamp AZ 2.0, and I’m really excited. We started planning months ago. We’ve expanded it to two days. We’ve looked beyond social media so we can examine the relevance of all media. We’ve asked the question, “What’s your source?”

Will you be there with us as we talk about the answers?

Posted in blogging, events, social networks | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

social media wh()re

Posted by Ms. Herr on 09.22.2008

At last count, I had 33 profiles on 30 different social media related sites. I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten a few, and I have 2 profiles on each Twitter, MySpace, and 43 Things. I’ll list and link to them all sooner or later, probably sooner as I’m about to embark on a systematic update of each and every one of them. In the meantime, here’s a very non-interactive roll call.

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