Tag Archives: social media

“The Good Side of Social Media”: article from Pubblicita Italia magazine, featuring Tim Brauhn

In case you missed the other posts in the series, I traveled to Italy in June at the behest of the United States Department of State to present a series of lectures about interreligious dialogue, social media, and immigration/integration on the Italian peninsula. It was an incredible tour. The kind fellows at Televisionet.TV even produced a short video (pretty groovy) at one of my stops. I sat down for a quick interview with Andrew Crocioni from Pubblicita Italia magazine. Little did I know, my bearded mug would soon grace the glossy pages of a major Italian publication. Here’s a shot of the spread (only a few pages away from the cover story about Edward Norton):

tim brauhn in pubblicita italia magazine

They even used my crazy beardo pic. Awesome.

I asked Mr. Crocioni for a transcript, which arrived promptly (in Italian), so what follows is the best translation that I could muster. My thanks go out to Andrea and the great crew at Pubblicita Italia for putting this together and making me feel like a really glamorous international star. Read on, friends:


The good side of social [media]

by: Andrea Crocioni

Summary: An interfaith activist and expert on American digital networks, for years Tim Brauhn has been committed to promoting social use of the Internet, convinced that a multiethnic and multicultural society functions only if a dialogue is established between its various components. But can this process really be accelerated thanks to the ‘shortcut’ technology of social media? We talked with him as a guest of the Milan Italo-Moroccan Youth Group.

Blue call-out box: “You have to build a narrative about something shared, a common theme, regardless of the personal past of each person/community.”

Blue call-out box: “Young people can play a crucial role as a bridge between different cultures.”

“Today, social integration also occurs through the intelligent use of technology,” says Tim Brauhn, interfaith activist and expert on American digital networks. He is in Italy as a guest of the Milan Italo-Moroccan Youth Group (CGIM) and the U.S. Embassy in Italy for a number of seminars. A vegetarian, cyclist, big tea drinker, Tim looks like a tireless globetrotter and promoter of the social use of digital networks. He’s an expert in interreligious dialogue and is the Director of Operations for The 1010 Project, a humanitarian agency in Denver, Colorado.

He spoke of recognizing the way that the Catholic minority in the United States was treated (poorly) by the Protestant majority in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Brauhn (himself a Catholic) recognized the discrimination against Muslim communities and other religious minorities in his country, the same ‘ghettoization’ that had happened to his community in the early decades of the last century. It must be remembered, in fact, that some anti-immigrant movements, such as the Know Nothings and the Ku Klux Klan, were also deeply anti-Catholic. Hence his commitment to promoting dialogue and peaceful coexistence between members of different religious faiths. “The most important thing,” says Tim Brauhn, “is to connect people around an idea ‘typical’ of the community, in the broadest sense of the term. You have to build a narrative about something shared, a common theme, regardless of the personal past of each person/community. Also, I think it is import to bring your message to the people wherever they are located, and not vice versa so that both people to come to you.”

According to the American aid worker, therefore, you need to put things on the ‘table’ that can unite, rather than focusing on the differences. “Dialogue can take a variety of forms: questions related to shared values ​​which I mentioned earlier, the cultural elements that are present in the country for a long time, but also on other topical issues that unite us, such as the debt crisis or themes that we know well: environmentalism, road safety … topics on which we all want to have our say, as part of a community. In this context, young people can play a crucial role as a bridge between different cultures.” said Brauhn. In all this technology proves to be not only an amplifier, but an accelerator of the messages. Just think of the Arab Spring that saw the network become the protagonist of the political revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. Seems more complex, however, to be able to use social networks to build a constructive dialogue between different cultural and religious communities on a daily basis. “We must all become the storyteller,” says Brauhn. “Today we have new tools, just think of how they have changed our lives, like Twitter or Facebook, but behind it all there are always stories. We have news, events, feelings, to communicate with new media, but at the center is the narrative, the real driving force able to mobilize the people.”

From this activist American, then, comes a message of hope for the future, even if behind the incredible flow of information that pass through the web and social networks are hidden also many pitfalls. Online we can move virtually without filters, including hundreds of millions of blogs and multimedia content of all sorts are uploaded constantly. YouTube adds over 60 hours of new video every minute, for instance.

“The social networking tools at our disposal facilitate relations between individuals, but in parallel make it easier to transmit negative messages, racist or xenophobic – precisely – for this to be used with a sense of responsibility. Today it is easy to tell a lie, but sooner or later the lie is bound to be discovered, because the network has its own antibodies. The web is a space where you can verify the information in a few minutes. So I say that there can not be limited to passive users, but please be scrupulous in their search for information and checking them.” But in this process of democratization the benefits are still above the critical issues. “Social media has transformed the way journalists network, for instance.” says Brauhn “We went from monologue to dialogue. So when we come to the digital world it is essential to be honest and tell the truth, the only way to establish oneself and become a credible voice. Those who speak the truth will prevail over those who are purveyors of negative messages and discriminatory attitudes. The important thing is to never let these voices prevail, and to take steps to ensure that they remain ‘strangled’ in the great chorus of integration and civil society.”



secret agent man

My State Department Lectures in Italy: Social Networks and Social Narratives In the Digital Era

Update: You can see some photos of me looking terrifying during the talk here, courtesy of Paolo Ricotti of Giornale dei Lavoratori.

I usually finish public presentations with a bit of an endorphin rush and energy for some hours afterward. It would appear that I’ve found a way to extend that feeling: consecutive translation from English to a foreign language.

I’m in Milan in northern Italy traveling as a Speaker and Specialist Grantee on behalf of the United States Department of State’s Bureau of International Information. Whew. I was summoned through my involvement with the Interfaith Youth Core‘s Alumni Speakers Bureau, and sure enough, I’ve already found myself talking quite a bit about interreligious dialogue.

My inaugural presentation on my inaugural day in Italy was held at the headquarters of ACLI (Christian Associations of Italian Workers), a network of organizations committed to work and social development like peacebuilding and entrepreneurship. My handlers from the US Consulate met me and walked me out to a local trattoria for a wonderful lunch. ACLI’s training department head was there, as well as a local imam (the funniest imam in Milan, as he was introduced to me), representatives from Yalla Italia, and some other consular staff. My recommendation: Check out Yalla Italia (with Google Translate installed). They are doing amazing work to publicize and connect the various immigrant communities in Italy. YI and its people totally rock.

I had some wonderful conversations at lunch (so much food) and on the walk to ACLI. As it was told to me, 12.5% of Italy’s GDP comes from businesses run by immigrants. That’s incredible. All the more incredible is Italy’s lack of useful or comprehensive immigration laws. Most immigrants aren’t citizens, which means that they can’t vote, which means that they can’t “elect their own”, which means that their representation stays nonexistent in the Parliament, which means that the immigration laws don’t change. Some of my meetings on this journey will focus on immigration reform and the messaging that goes along with it.

My presentation at ACLI was well-attended, with a wildly diverse audience: NGO folk, independent journalists, young and old people, and civic leaders. I talked a lot about storytelling and social narrative, pausing after every few sentences to wait for my amazing translator to catch up with me. The Q&A was twice as long as the presentation, which I view as a win. It felt that they “got it”.

I faced some tough questions, though, many about the frustration that organizations and individuals feel when using social networks and not seeing immediate return on their time investment. The density and penetration of the social tools that I take for granted in the US are different here. I had a blast, and as I mentioned earlier, I found that consecutive translation, aside from giving me a pause to gather my next (brilliant?) thought also extends the “speaker’s rush”  that I feel. Part of my positivity comes from knowing that I’ve also learned a lot in a short period about the ways that the social web organizes people here. I’ll apply those learnings at my next meeting.

I leave in the morning for Rome and a non-stop schedule that will take me from there to Florence then back to Milan. Hopefully I will be able to check in like this after each meeting. Until then, ciao!

Multitasking? Let’s call it “project management”

Not gonna happen

Multitasker? I call bullshit.

My last post was an accidental review of PBS Frontline’s “Digital Nation”, where some really savvy reporters travel around listening to tech-heads and educators and regular folks trying to figure out, in grand Double Rainbow fashion, what our reliance on technology in daily life really means. I had intended in that post to expand on the larger issues; I found, however, that the only thing that I wanted to talk more about was a subject near and dear to many people: multitasking.

If you ask the people who know me well, they’ll likely say “Oh yeah, Tim’s a crazy multitasker. He keeps, like, 400 tabs open on his browser and is usually running five different programs at once, and using all of them. Let’s not even start in about his tweeting.”

True. I do have a penchant for tabs (at the time of this writing, 23 across two browser windows) and I do tend to run multiple programs, more so that they’re ready and waiting than anything else, of course. What concerns me is that, like some of the interviewees for Digital Nation, people assume that multitasking is somehow equal to multitasking well. Again, I call bullshit.

Digital Nation refers to a Stanford study where researchers made students take some oddly simple tests where the expectations shifted every few seconds. They could track the “switching times” in the subjects. Those who said they rocked at multitasking sucked at multitasking.

I am not ready to give my generation so much credit as to say that our brains’ hardwiring has changed to allow us to truly do many different things at once. There’s a gulf of difference between monitoring a large Twitter stream while checking interesting social news and monitoring a large Twitter stream and writing a complex report. I don’t care what you say – you can’t do it.

Accuse me of being a multitasker. Do it. I dare you.

You’re wrong! Here’s what I’m good at: I can accomplish tasks at seemingly blinding speed because I navigate computers and the web pretty quickly, often together. Once I learn a process I can usually speed it up a bit. I use hotkeys. I start, finish, and package small projects with great efficiency because I know how to constructively cut away and work on another when I get bored or stuck.

What I cannot do well is multitask. Think about the word itself. I cannot type a text message with my left thumb while I scroll through a Wikipedia article looking for the one chunk of text to paste into my new post, which I’m writing at the same time. Oh, and don’t forget the podcast that I’m listening to.

There is a clear dividing line between being able to do the impossible (multitask) and doing something quickly and well. It doesn’t help that most of us are gluttons and try to do far more than we’d normally be able to, anyway.

So I ask us out there, especially my Millennial brethren, what are we really saying when we’re good at multitasking? Imagine walking into a job interview and being asked about it and having the humility to tell them the truth. In one fell swoop, you’re demonstrating integrity and answering a tough question. Now that’s multitasking, damnit.

Photo by Flickr user Thomas Hawk

PBS Frontline – Digital Nation

Jumping Brain by Emilio Garcia
Are our brains changing?

“Over the past 20 years, the net has changed from a thing one does to the way one lives.” – Doug Rushkoff, Digital Nation

I made it a point to sit myself down for 90 full minutes and watch PBS Frontline’s “Digital Nation”. The video played in full-screen so that I couldn’t even see my various notifications pop up. Aside from one stray text message to my girlfriend, I even stayed off the phone. Given the subject matter at hand, I think that this is an entirely commendable thing, given that the digital native- HEY LOOK A FUNNY CAT VIDEO!!1! OMGZADORBZ!!

Ahem. The subject matter of Digital Nation is familiar to us. Is the internet making us stupider or smarter, and depending on how you answer that, which kind of stupider or smarter is it making us? Is multitasking real, and are the Gen Y/Digital Native generations really prepared to make it in a world where talking on the phone, emailing, and IMing all happen at once? Aside from a too-long chapter at the end dealing with our military’s Predator drone fixation (dehumanizing combat through computers), the film really put together all the contemporary issues and laid them out before us, with nifty researchers and thought leaders all weighing in. Note: “Digital Nation” was released in February 2010 – a bazillion tweet-years ago – so even its scope of things is limited.

Is the future of the internet and our life on it scary?

Hells yes it’s scary. I was born near the far end of Gen Y (1983), where we really only dipped our toes into the web-water midway through adolescence. It wasn’t really until my junior/senior year in college that I developed a healthy addiction (not shy about using that word) to all things digital. Some of the Millennials interviewed during the film were the kind that I like to make fun of: folks who “can’t live without” their mobile device, students who have not recently, and probably never will again, read a full book, and game-addicted loners.

That being said, I have had gaming problems in the past, spend far too much time reading online when I should be buried in a book, and just recently took the plunge into smartphoneland. Check out my pre-Droid X post about the Incursion Lifestyle.

But the people in the film seemed to be taking this stuff way too far. They were asked “Are you a kick-ass multitasker?” Naturally, they all responded “YEAH!” because they can tweet, email, chat and read SparkNotes all at the same time. I call bullshit, and so do researcher at Stanford who show that the time that it takes for the brain to switch tracks slows the mind down so far as to make analytic reasoning more difficult.

The bright side of being connected

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, of course. Many of the guests (including the loopy creator of Second Life) extolled the virtues of the connected life. There was surprisingly little chat about the great ways in which the social web has helped us get to know one another. Even though the film has a big section on WoW and Everquest gamers connecting IRL, there was no discussion of the advent of social media and what it means for journalism, disaster response, and activism (sometimes all at once!).

The overarching tenor of the film, for me, seemed to be the idea that we truly are moving towards, if not a fully bifurcated existence, at least one where our internet selves take the place of our real selves very often. All in all, it was a remarkably simplistic overview, perfect for the casual viewer, but not enough to make me either smash my “personal computer” or fully wire up Lawnmower Man style.

I don’t know where it’s all headed. I just hope that we can get along responsibly and with integrity, online and off.

“Jumping brain” courtesy of Flickr user lapolab.

Is brand loyalty really just brand ignorance?

tim brauhn and wine decisions
Decisions, decisions…

Do we make decisions about what to buy or who to support based on rational calculations of value, craftsmanship, and cost, or are we simply ignorant about alternatives? What does Twitter have to do with all of this? Hint: if I don’t mention Twitter, no one will pay attention. :)

Built Ford tough, not like wimpy Chevrolets

Brand loyalism is often seen as both virtue and weakness. Think about people who bought nothing but increasingly-expensive, gas-guzzling General Motors monsters for years. Their loyalty brought pain, not just on themselves, but on the nation as a whole. Meanwhile, some family that bought a Honda fifteen years ago is still driving that Honda (and getting amazing mileage, to boot). Loyalty to a trademark helps create a stable market for that particular trademark, but it’s also less likely to contribute positively to the macroeconomic flows that make sense for our “free market” system. We stay loyal because…well, who knows?

It’s all that I’ve ever known…

Here’s a possibility: We stay loyal to particular brands because of a bad experience with a competitor, or more likely, we have little or no experience of alternatives. I will swear up and down on Breville products, not simply because of their high price and fine craftsmanship, but because I’ve never used a comparable appliance. I’m ignorantly loyal.

Let’s be sure – ignorant does not mean stupid. It simply shows us that we are willfully ignoring other possibilities. We’ll continue to go to the same mechanic that our parents went to even when we know that the chain store down the street might be cheaper. We trust Bill the Mechanic because he’s Bill the Mechanic.

Donate, donate, donate NOW!

Think about which organizations (or political candidates, for that matter) receive your hard-earned dollars in the form of charitable donations. Why do you give to that particular group? I have never sent a check to Oxfam, an absolutely awesome humanitarian agency. I donate to The 1010 Project instead. Why? Any fundraising professional will tell you that one of the most clear indicators of a person’s likelihood to donate is a personal relationship with the organization, either through a person or general proximity. I worked for some time as a fundraiser for The 1010 Project, so I understand this quite clearly. :)

A personal touch

The advent of social media marketing and customer service has, in my opinion, created huge opportunities to increase brand loyalty. In the quintessential example, you take to Twitter/Facebook/blog to bitch about Product X by Company Y, only to have Company Y respond in minutes with an offer to make all things right with your world. You go from being ready to depart from the brand entirely to being glued to them forever for their strong customer service.

I have developed many brand loyalties (if not particular product loyalties, which is a separate conversation) in the past few years. In almost every case, this is because of the personal touch. I drink St. Supery wine because of Rick Bakas and his incessant tweeting about it. I drink mate because of the receptive and socially responsible company Guayaki. I shop at REI because it’s a cooperative and the staff are always ridiculously helpful. My running shoes are Nike because my old roommate Erin refused to run in anything else. I drink GT’s kombucha (when it’s in stores) because…I can’t stop. :)

Why are you loyal to a brand?

PS – For an extra deep dive into economic rationality and stuff, check out Tim Nuccio’s post about brand loyalty.

Living “off” the web – The Incursion Lifestyle

tim with his droid x
I fully expect this to happen.

My Droid X is in the mail. It’s a phone that happens to do internet things in a groovy way. It can also spawn multiple copies of itself that morph into common household appliances. I made up that last part. Having a smartphone (in the Droid’s case, a superphone) will change the way that I use the internet. Here’s how I think this will happen.

We’ve heard that the internet is quickly moving toward a social, semantic, app-driven culture of quick satisfaction and ex nihilo networks of limited temporal convenience that form and dissolve according to the whims of users. That’s a mouthful, but I agree with it almost entirely. Moving backwards…

Networks of Convenience

One of the big ideas in Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations is that networks arise for a common purpose and then either continue or die out. What if ATT users began a campaign to purposefully overload the phone/data lines and shut it down? Even users on other services could play along. It would be like a DDoS attack, but covered by one’s monthly fees. :) Granted, this would be counter-productive for everybody, but it would show the power of quick organizing. When the campaign ended, say at the end of a 24-hour period, folks could go back to being regular iPhone users, and ATT could go back to teh suck.

Apps Rule Everything Around Me

Apps are, by their very nature, tiny bits of useful material. Some mimic certain websites, others carry information meant to replace a given website entirely. Why go to Webster’s dictionary online when you can have the whole thing in the palm of your hand? Apps are often one-off tools; we use them then we pack them away. I check in on Foursquare, tweet something, then upload a photo to Facebook. And I’m done – the phone goes back in my pocket. Apps enter the social web and exit, making incursions, if I may, as they are needed.

What Do You Mean By That?

Our mobiles are going to help us better “teach” the web to learn what we’re about, what we need, what we like, and what we’re up to. Every time we scan a QR code, checkin, or upload a purchase through whatever that website is that does that (I can’t remember), we are building out the trajectories of meaning around us. Somewhere, a machine is crunching those data, trying to figure out the next pattern – and what to sell us on Wednesdays.

Don’t Just Stand There Talking To Me – Talk To Me!

Once I finally get my Droid in hand, I’ll be able to carry on back-channel conversations and substream chat during events (specifically Tweetups and conferences) that I otherwise would have missed. Mobiles and the apps installed on them make it possible to interact on two layers. For the rare occasions when I’ve been able to connect my iPod to a nearby wifi network, this kind of “other-place” is astoundingly fun.


I have a wireless network at my home. I’ve found that when I’m reading books or making crafts or cooking,  having my iPod on hand (next to my phone, of course), makes it very easy for me to quickly drop in and drop out with regards to the web. It’s not simply a question of not wanting to scroll through an entire news article, which I don’t at all mind doing. It’s that I can, through apps and the way that things are now, accomplish what I want quickly.

When we’re out and about using mobiles, we don’t so much live in the internet as we make quick incursions into its various streams. If anything, mobiles have given us oodles of more freedom; I understand that this statement is old hat, but consider it in light of everything that I’ve just said. Mobiles are, by their very nature, contributing to less time spent truly “online”. It almost goes without saying that you’re less likely to follow the next 20 shiny blinky things if your mobile isn’t yet set up for that – someday, undoubtedly, it will be.

Incursions are less likely to contribute to distraction when we’re working. For those of us who have to manage multiple dialogue/creative streams at once, the ability to select when and where and how we dive into the web is freeing indeed.

*** This post is part of the “Blog Every Day Challenge“, which I have undertaken in homage to John Haydon, a captain of social media and inbound marketing for non-profits. A few months back he did the same thing. Granted, all of his posts imparted some kind of value to his readers (and he has many). I’m blogging about the same old stuff. Don’t call it “general interest”, because I think that it goes without saying that humans should generally be interested in what I’m doing. :) ***

Digital Social Contract, Part 1

digital social contract - the internet king
The Internet King

A lot of writers talk the web’s effect on how we communicate and collaborate and all kinds of other things. I’m more concerned with how the web is changing society and what it means for our future togetherness and apartness. Let’s drag up the old term “social contract” and stick the word “digital” in front of it.

I’ll paraphrase the Wikipedia definition: Social contract describes a group of theories that try to explain the ways in which people form states/countries and/or maintain social order. It is implied that people give up some rights to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law.

The most popular social contract theorists (Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau) realized that it was better for a person to be threatened by a stationary bandit (a single king, parliament, ruling body) than by roving bandits (warlords, brigands, renegade counties). Makes sense – we sleep better if we have a short list of possible sources of death. The great thinker Max Weber gave us the notion of a “monopoly on violence” that characterizes modern states. It is more applicable, I think, to describe it as a monopoly of force or power.

People abhorred the “state of nature” before the formation of modern states. Life back then was, as Thomas Hobbes wrote, “nasty brutish, and short”, and to escape it we exchanged certain freedoms and status quos for protection and prosperity. It was simply smarter to be a part of a collective entity than to remain outside of it – you gained more by joining the party than staying outside. What does this mean for our digital lives today?

The basic idea is this: joining the internet/digital party (representing the social contract) is not absolutely necessary, but it’s certainly attractive. This goes for individuals as well as businesses. How many blog entries have you seen that list pros and cons of social media, or approaches for convincing reluctant supervisors to let you open a Twitter account for the company? One of the first big things that corporations learned on the social web was that the brand was no longer entirely in their hands. However, by joining the conversation and recognizing that a greater power is at work, those companies profit.

The same idea goes for us small people, too. Many of us work online in the knowledge economy, but even for those of us who don’t, the internet still provides ample opportunities to network, find new employment, and supplement one’s education. I’ve tried writing about this stuff before, speaking at first of what I used to call the digital contract, then discussing prescriptive analyses of social media and governance. Two other bits worth skimming are some quick thoughts about the modern nature of empire and the diffuse, scattered notion of authority at play in international politics.

So where do we see this going? Will the rush to the intertubes hearken the birth of a new digital contract, or will we return to the state of nature, where status updates fall in the forest with no one to hear?

Making lists of lives to save

We (humans) make lists.

  1. Lots of lists.
  2. We love lists.
  3. We have lists of lists.
  4. There are people who write about lists of lists; we also make lists of those people.

In this respect, the web has been both gift and curse. The immense popularity of Remember the Milk,  Stickies (in many formats), and Evernote makes it clear that we value tools for putting down on “paper” the things that we will do…someday. We make lists for just about everything:

  • Buy lemons
    lists of lists
  • Set up doctor’s appointment
  • Pick up Jenny at airport 8/14
  • Write thank you letter for Jamie
  • Alec’s party
  • WORK OFF THE HOLIDAY POUNDS (still valid in July)

Oftentimes these lists are things that will better our own lives or the lives of others. Here’s an example of the latter:

And so on. Sometimes the banality of our list-driven world hits me very hard, like when I remember that I forgot (remember that I forgot?) to donate to the Red Cross. Oops, I’d better get on that! We make lists of lives to save.

It is all too easy to use lists as a convenient black hole. I once had a colleague who took copious notes, usually in the form of lists, during our department meetings. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that once an important action item made it onto one of his lists, it was effectively dead. His lists were black holes for things that he either didn’t want to do or that weren’t important.

How can we move past list abuse and get some stuff done, yo?

Photo from Flickr user Great Beyond. It’s a pretty funny picture. :)

*** This post is part of the “Blog Every Day Challenge“, which I have undertaken in homage to John Haydon, a captain of social media and inbound marketing for non-profits. A few months back he did the same thing. Granted, all of his posts imparted some kind of value to his readers (and he has many). I’m blogging about the same old stuff. Don’t call it “general interest”, because I think that it goes without saying that humans should generally be interested in what I’m doing. :) ***

7 job interview tips inspired by Twitter

job interview
So…how many followers do you have?

Mark Mann over at Denvelopers asked me to construct an interesting list. At the time, I was deep inside a job search. Inspired by that process and the ways in which I’ve seen Twitter rise to prominence, this is what I came up with.

Keep it short

Whether it’s 140 characters or 140 seconds, make sure that you’re not talking over yourself. Many people aren’t born improvisers, so know your word limit (so to speak). Folks stop listening when your conversation goes over a handful of replies (or complete thoughts).

You never know who’s listening

Phone interviews can be deceiving. You never know who’s in the room with the interviewer. Even face-to-face interviews can spread past direct listeners. A person with ten followers can have a single well-placed tweet end up retweeted by Bill Gates, Britney Spears, or @ShitMyDadSays.

Don’t lie

You know better than that. Whether it’s tweeting your 4SQ checkins or talking big about a subject in which you have knowledge a mile wide and an inch deep, be true to yourself. You will eventually be found out.

Pay attention

If you’re a business, how are you going to be competitive if you don’t know who is talking about you online? It you’re a nonprofit – same thing. Listen to what your interviewers are saying about you or your field and respond accordingly.

You are an expert of your own experience

Everybody is unique, we know this, but you are an expert of your experience. Use this to your advantage. If you were tweeting at the Oscars, you probably know a bit about what was happening there. Let people know about your real-life expertise.

job interview 2
How often do you retweet?

Quality of followers, not quantity

References count. Try to find heavyweights in your community. Don’t have Steve Jobs write you a recommendation for a job at Burger King. Make sure that your possible retweeters (references) are solid voices in your field.

Twitter, like a job interview, is not only a broadcast experience

If you do nothing but talk about yourself all the time, you’re going to pay the price. Start conversations with people, keep existing conversations going and most importantly, ask questions. Having great questions can enable you to talk your way into a comfortable place in a job interview.

I am oddly pleased with this list. What other lessons can we learn from Twitter to apply to the job search scene?

Photos by Flickr user bpsusf.

*** This post is part of the “Blog Every Day Challenge“, which I have undertaken in homage to John Haydon, a captain of social media and inbound marketing for non-profits. A few months back he did the same thing. Granted, all of his posts imparted some kind of value to his readers (and he has many). I’m blogging about the same old stuff. Don’t call it “general interest”, because I think that it goes without saying that humans should generally be interested in what I’m doing. :) ***

Book review: Quick Bites by Rick Bakas

quick bites - social media
This is a real picture of my face and Rick’s book

We have all seen blog posts like these:

10 Strategies to be a Better Blogger

9 Social Media Power Tips

15 Ways to Engage Your Audience Online

744 Beautiful Uses for Bacon

Rick Bakas, the Director of Social Media Marketing at St. Supery Vineyards, has written a book that effectively encapsulates, expands upon, and thoroughly collects all those wayward posts into one easy-to-read format (OK, so that bacon post probably doesn’t exist, but if it did, Rick would write it).

Quick Bites: 75 Savory Tips for Social Media Success is Rick’s attempt to make sense of all the competing lists of “things you ought to do to make social media work”, and he does it swimmingly. He’s a branding expert with years of experience, so it’s not like these are all untested hypotheses; they are strategies that work. All 75 tips are presented with simple descriptions and examples.

I won’t list any of the “quick bites” here – you can buy the book for those – but I will say that if you can imagine the types of things that would appear in such a collection, you’ll find them in Quick Bites. There are more than a few surprises, so don’t expect that you already know it all. Rick’s got a great way of presenting a lot of the more common and common-sense social media strategies in nuanced, multi-dimensional ways.

It’s a pretty quick read, but I think that even those of us familiar with many of the social web’s tools will refer to the tips within for a deeper understanding of the why and the how of online communication. Bingo bango bongo pongo go buy the book.

*** This post is part of the “Blog Every Day Challenge“, which I have undertaken in homage to John Haydon, a captain of social media and inbound marketing for non-profits. A few months back he did the same thing. Granted, all of his posts imparted some kind of value to his readers (and he has many). I’m blogging about the same old stuff. Don’t call it “general interest”, because I think that it goes without saying that humans should generally be interested in what I’m doing. :) ***