Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ascent of the social-media climbers

By Beth Teitell
Globe Staff 


After Valentina Monte accepts a date, the Boston University junior quickly goes online to see how many Twitter followers her suitor has. She checks her own follower count three times a day. When she meets someone who admits to following more people than follow him, she judges. “That means you’re a loser.’’



So when her Klout score hit an impressive 59 out of 100 recently, making it almost as high as Jay Leno’s score of 65, she was ecstatic. “I felt worthy.’’

Klout score? Learn it or, as Monte would say, be judged. Klout.com is one of a number of new status-measuring tools aimed at making social networking more like high school than it already is. Sites such as Klout and PeerIndex.net take public information from Twitter, and sometimes Facebook and LinkedIn, to determine a person’s influence on social media. Anyone can check her score or a rival’s by going to one of the sites and putting in her Twitter handle.

The companies use secret algorithms that go beyond simple numbers of followers — which can be bought in bulk — or friends or fans, and count retweets, the number of links clicked, and even how influential one’s followers are, among other indicators.

“A credit score for your reputation,’’ is how Dave Wieneke, director of digital marketing at Sokolove Law, in Boston, describes the Klout score.

Although many don’t know enough to worry about their Klout scores, for those keeping track, it can be one more ego boost or slap. “There’s a lot of emotion around this,’’ said Mark Schaefer, author of the “Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time.’’ “Generally it comes from people who have a low Klout score.’’

Garth Holsinger, vice president of global sales and business development at the San Francisco-based Klout, sees the desperation on a daily basis. “People call and say, ‘I work in social media, and I’m going to lose my job if my score doesn’t rise.’ We get celebrity managers asking how they can get their clients’ scores higher. We get people who are literally crying because their Klout score went down.’’

The stakes may only rise, Klout-wise. The company, which was founded in 2008, recently raised $8.5 million in new funding and said it plans to measure influence in more social networks — and beyond, to capture industry leaders who don’t bother tweeting or friending people.

Schaefer, an adjunct professor of marketing at Rutgers University, said the new score-keeping tools create a “disturbing’’ social media caste system that he dislikes. But, he adds, “from a marketer’s standpoint, they’re a dream.’’

Read The Rest Of The Boston Globe Article

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

9 Steps to Getting Hired in Today’s Digital World

Step 1: Analyze Your Online Presence
Search for yourself in Google. What do you find? Is there anything unprofessional? Are there any search results for other individuals who share your name that could potentially harm your job search?
Recommended resource: Vizibility
Comb through your social networking profiles. Take down anything that would be inappropriate for an employer to see, including photos, videos, notes, wall posts, offensive language, etc. Don’t rely on privacy settings to protect your content—clean it up!
Recommended resource: MyWebCareer
Step 2: Get Your Marketing Documents in Shape
Think of your cover letter, resume and other documents during your job search as marketing documents. What are they marketing? You.
Your cover letter is the first thing a hiring manager will see. It should be more personable than your resume. Use it to convey your passion and interest for the job and to concisely state why you are a good match. Always make it about what you can do for the company—and customize each cover letter in your job search.
Your resume is the driving force in landing you an interview with the hiring manager. It should be concise, tailored to the job opening, and convey how your skills and expertise fit the job description. Only include experience that directly relates to the open position.
Your business cards make you look like a professional. They also come in handy while networking. Be sure to include on them your name, title or area of expertise, e-mail address, phone number(s) and website or blog address.
Step 3: Join & Engage in Professional & Social Networking Communities
It’s often not what you know but who you know (and who knows you) that lands you the job. During and before your job search, join professional and social networking communities in order to meet new people, build mutually beneficial relationships and strengthen connections with contacts.
Step 4: Create an Online Portfolio
In today’s online world of personal brands, you need to stand out by having your own website to showcase your work. No matter what your field, a portfolio can help you land a job if it’s done correctly.
Find out if your personal domain name is for sale and buy it. Begin building a portfolio on a site that you’re comfortable using – make sure to include an “about me” page, excellent portfolio pieces, and a “contact me” page.
Step 5: Start a Blog
Blogging is a great activity to boost your job search and increase your visibility. Not only are most employers impressed when you have a blog, but you become easier to find online and build up your professional network in the process.
Important steps in starting a blog:
  • Choose a blogging software
  • Decide on a topic
  • Create a blogging plan
  • Think about how you’ll publicize your content
  • Start writing!

Friday, February 18, 2011

'Are You There God? It's Me, Jobless'

Shira Hirschman Weiss

Last Thursday, the Labor Department released data stating that the number of new unemployment applications is at its lowest since July 2008. While this indicates the economy is picking up speed, the news can either be a beacon of hope or salt rubbed into wounds for the presently unemployed. Faith is in a precarious perch for the religious and jobless. While some become despondent from repeated rejection and thwarted efforts, others cling to faith and turn fervently to prayer.

Deirdre McEachern is a career coach who says she sees clients "whose faith has been enhanced and re-affirmed by the job hunt." One of those clients, Jennifer Bindhammer, was a flight attendant with United in September 2011. "She came to me in early 2002 re-evaluating her life," explains McEachern. "We worked together for several months and in the process she reconnected strongly with her personal faith. Once she deciphered her life purpose, she felt as if God was opening doors for her -- helpful coincidences kept appearing -- like the sign she spotted on a subway platform advertising an MBA program." This literal and figurative 'sign' led the flight attendant to pursue her MBA.

In the process of contemplating the switch to a corporate profession, Bindhammer -- no stranger to the friendly skies -- turned to the heavens. "I enjoyed flying and I enjoyed my job, she writes in a testimonial, "It just wasn't the challenge that I wanted it to be, and realized that I needed to be challenged. When I thought about changing careers, I prayed about it -- I actively prayed."

Bindhammer followed her passion, received her MBA and kept praying. She is now working with an international air transport consultancy that focuses on aviation.

While the former flight attendant's faith was reaffirmed, Fiona (not her real name) reflects on how she sunk into a deep depression when she was laid off from a Public Relations start-up during the late 90s "dot bomb" era. She stopped praying and began spending Friday nights at local bars instead of the synagogue. She could have benefitted from an organization like Project Ezrah, had it been around at the time. The North Jersey based organization was founded in 2001 to aid members of the Jewish community (and now helps Jews and non-Jews alike) who were suffering from the hardships of unemployment.

Rabbi Yossie Stern, Executive Director of Project Ezrah, has seen individuals like Fiona who have been turned off to the synagogue experience, who are angry with God, and who are depressed about their situation to the point of losing faith. His organization has put together programs to help those who feel despondent. Notably, it developed initiatives to professionally retrain unemployed baby boomers.

"When your brother is impoverished, you have to be able to empower him to be self sufficient," he explains, "The highest form of charity is being able to afford someone a job, to help him achieve the same sense of self-esteem and quality of life that you have." His organization provides a wide range of services including a popular job board, career counseling services, financial counseling, mental health counseling, job training, and "in the box and out of the box services. We try to provide it all," Stern says. There is also a LinkedIn group that includes seminars on how to use social networking to find a career and much more. "We empower people to network, which is the best way to find employment."

Fiona eventually found her way back to a public relations career and to the synagogue, but admits that she felt at odds with her faith when things were uncertain: "I didn't feel it was God's fault," she explains, "It was related to a sudden, dark depression, which came about from my unemployment." And which, she admits, also may have been related to the fact that she was in a bad relationship at the time. "When life is unstable, it contributes to the instability of unemployment." Rabbi Stern stresses that it is critical that spouses be encouraging and not place blame due to unemployment. He emphasizes that a support system and building of confidence is essential to one's job hunt.

While Fiona received counseling for her depression, she realized she needed to make significant efforts to find a new job. "The Hebrew word Hishtadlut kept flashing through my head," she says. Hishtadlut means that one must make their own efforts. It relates to the universal concept of "God only helps those who help themselves."

Read the rest of the Huffington Post article

Social Media 101, 202, 303: Self-guided training

By Cassandra Nicholson


These three sessions deal with a social media basic introduction, tips for journalists to use social media as a research tool, and strategies for cutting through the clutter of social media.
The free Webinar series, “Social Media 101, 202 and 303,” was originally held Feb. 8-10, 2011. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find self-guided training links.
Robin J. Phillips, Web managing editor at BusinessJournalism.org, presented these three Webinars. Each session provided tips for business journalists in need of jump-starting their social media initiatives, both personally and professionally. The sessions are designed to help someone with a specific level of experience with social media. But feel free to take any one or all three.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA 101: The basics for social media newbies
  • SOCIAL MEDIA 202: Tips for reporters about using social media sites as research tools
  • SOCIAL MEDIA 303: Filtering to contain the clutter
SOCIAL MEDIA 101:
How do you get started? Should you create both a personal and a professional account on Facebook? On Twitter? Can you join LinkedIn if you aren’t looking for a job? How do you find people to follow? How do you get people to follow you?
Don’t worry about it. Phillips will walk you through the basics of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. She’ll help you get started.
SOCIAL MEDIA 202: How social media can make you a better business journalist.
So you have a LinkedIn page and have been on Facebook and Twitter since the election. What now? Phillips will show you ways to:
  • turn social media tools into databases to help find local stories and sources,
  • distribute your content and track whether people are reading your links,
  • connect with your community,
  • find out what real-time conversation is happening about issues on your beat,
  • take part in that conversation, and
  • use Twitter lists to help you track what people are saying.
This session will also cover ethics, standards of practice and practical tips on using sources that you find on the Web.
SOCIAL MEDIA 303: Cutting through the clutter.
Most everyone hits a point where the information coming in on social media tools begins to feel overwhelming. It can become difficult to know what information is important, what’s worth spending time on, what links are worth clicking on, what articles worth reading.
Phillips will show you tools that help filter, ways to set up keyword searches, tactics for juggling your social media profiles.

Links To The Trainings

Thursday, February 17, 2011

9 ways to reconnect with LinkedIn pals who change jobs

By Joan



When your LinkedIn connections change jobs, that’s the perfect time to reconnect.
But you might not always be aware of the fact that a guy you know left one company and joined another, or that a former co-worker was laid off from her job in corporate and started her own business.
That’s why I love the helpful photo chart that LinkedIn emailed me this morning with the subject line, “Joan, 245 connections changed jobs in 2010.  Did you reconnect?”
Chart showing photos of Joan Stewart's LinkedIn connections who've changed jobs
That got me thinking, how can I use this chart?
Here are nine ways to reconnect:
  1. Send one of your connections a personal email on LinkedIn acknowledging their job change and wishing them well in their new position this year.
       
  2. Write a recommendation for one or more people whose work you admire. But before you write it, email them, tell them what you want to do and ask if there’s a particular aspect of their work they’d like you to comment on. A keynote speaker, for example, might want you to comment on his excellent platform skills and his value to audiences and meeting planners.
      
  3. Reconnect by asking about their favorite LinkedIn groups.
      
  4. If you see that they use the Amazon reading app on their profile, ask a question about one of the books they’re reading, or a book they want to read.
     
  5. Offer to help them—for free. Everybody’s sick to death of being blasted by free commercials. So encourage your connections to call on you if they need help with (fill in the blank). Offering free advice positiions you as helpful, approachable and smart.
     
  6. Comment on something you see in her profile and ask her a question about it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

10 Ways to Enhance Your Facebook Clout

JD Lasica


Most people use Facebook for personal reasons: to maintain contacts, stay in touch with friends who live far away or to stay on top of one’s social life. Only 15 percent of us use it to maintain professional or work contacts, according to a 2010 survey by ExactTarget. Some people turn to professional networking sites like LinkedIn or A Small World for professional networking.
But for many of us, our professional and personal lives intersect and blend in deep ways — and this is the new multidimensional public identity we display to the world. That mashup of the professional + the personal is likely to grow, as Facebook rolls out new communications features and now lets you segment your friends into lists and groups, like family, co-workers or professional colleagues.
How can you get more mileage out of your Facebook presence? As it routinely does, Facebook declined requests to comment about how its EdgeRank ranking system for news feeds works. So a parlor game of sorts has emerged — a distant cousin of Kremlinology that combines rigorous analysis with a fair amount of guesswork. Whether you call it Facebookology or News Feed Optimization or “building edge,” it’s more art than science.
Let’s play, shall we? Here are our recommendations on how to become more visible in your friends’ feeds — helping you gain greater traction, influence and clout on Facebook:

1. Find the right vehicle for your professional voice

On Facebook, you need to find the right balance of business and personal and decide what works for you. Several of my friends have created Pages for themselves — not their businesses, but their personal brands. For example, nonprofit strategist Beth Kanter has a Profile page and a public figure Page for her writing and work in the field, while Chris Brogan manages to do both on his Profile page. Note that personal Profiles are limited to 5,000 friends while Pages have no limit. You should decide what’s right for you. If you use Facebook for personal interactions with your family, you’ll want to create a separate Page for your professional identity. Remember: Creating a second personal account violates Facebook’s Terms of Service and, if you represent a business, nonprofit or organization, you should be reaching out to people with your Facebook Page, not your personal Profile.

2. Segment smarter

FB-friends-lists-feeds
You needn’t be captive to Facebook’s two main news feeds, Top News and Most Recent. Create Facebook Friend Lists and browse updates from contacts you target in your industry or sector. Create a Friend List by following these steps, then head over to the Most Recent link (pictured above), click it, then click the down arrow to reveal the feeds of the lists you’ve created. (Can this be any more well-hidden?) Your Friend List updates will appear with most recent posts at the top — a subset of your Most Recent feed. Although Facebook’s Home page remembers whether you chose Top News or Most Recent on your previous visit, it doesn’t remember the Friend List you chose, so you must choose it each time you load the Most Recent view.

3. Choose quality over quantity

One or two strong Facebook updates per day is better than a half dozen scattershot updates that fly by and don’t have the staying power to attract people’s feedback. One social media “expert” at a recent Barcamp said you need to have at least 20 updates a day per Page to get into a News Feed — that’s patently false (though it may be good advice for Twitter). Dan Zarrella, author of “The Facebook Marketing Book,” even suggests that posting just once every other day may get the best results. You want your updates to be sticky so that you jump-start conversations. Quality doesn’t mean an essay-length post. Save that for your blog — and write a short update linking to it. Or if you don’t have a blog, you can write a Facebook Note. Be selective about what you post: Don’t post a status update every time you mow the lawn. Include links to stories that are interesting, remarkable, sexy, funny or newsworthy, and include an image if possible. By stoking user engagement, Facebook will reward you for making people spend more time on Facebook.

4. Say it with the right media

Here’s the most important secret about building up more authority on Facebook: A lot of it has to do with what tools you choose. Upload videos, check in with Facebook Places, share some photos — hitting the Like button isn’t enough. It appears that Facebook assigns the most weight, or value, to these kinds of content types, roughly in this order:
embedding videos on Facebook
To embed a video on Facebook, enter the url, attach, then add a description and share.

  1. Video. Facebook puts its finger on the scale whenever you share a video that you’ve uploaded to Facebook. With Facebook members sharing than 10 million videos a month (as of mid-2010), the company believes that multimedia increases engagement and time spent on the site. With options to record video with a webcam or upload a video from your computer, Facebook makes it super-easy to post a video. YouTube viewing is robust as well. A YouTube group product manager wrote the other day: “over 150 years worth of YouTube video is watched on Facebook every day.” (See above for how to embed a Vimeo or YouTube video on Facebook.) Does sharing a link to a YouTube video or embedding a YouTube video bump up your visibility? Yes. Does it count as much as uploading a video to Facebook? Nobody outside of Facebook knows — and Facebook isn’t saying.
  2. Facebook Places updates. If you’re a mobile power jock, you already have gotten into the habit of checking in with Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places. You can use Places on touch.facebook.com or the Facebook app for iPhone, Android, CrackBerry and other smartphones. Facebook sometimes tweaks its algorithm to give more weight to updates in its newer services, and so it’s now awarding extra juice to members using geolocation updates — a wise business decision given our increasingly mobile society. Chad Wittman, founder of social media management firm SBN, says, “Facebook Places definitely has a heavier weight than competitors” such as Foursquare and Gowalla, whose members’ check-ins carry little weight on Facebook.
  3. Photos and photo tagging. The next best way to elevate your Facebook juju is to upload photos to the site. Facebook members today upload more than 4 billion photos per month, making Facebook by far the largest photo sharing site on the Web. Does cross-posting to Facebook using an app like Posterous, Tumblr or Flickr bump up members’ visibility as much as uploading photos directly? Probably not. Says Facebook strategist Wittman: “We see more interaction with true Facebook applications such as Photos. We definitely see a bigger EdgeRank value for Facebook Photo uploads as opposed to Flickr uploads. Photo albums most likely experience on average higher EdgeRank values due to three times more exposure on the feed — three thumbnails vs. one.” One thing’s for certain: Adding a photo tag will immediately get your photo noticed, assuming the person is one of your friends or you have her email address.
  4. Share. Fascinating as you are, it’s not all about you. Use the Share button to share interesting updates from friends and Pages you follow. But don’t overdo it, and be sure to add your own personal twist or insightful, provocative observations. “An object created in Facebook — that is, sharing another user’s update — should weigh at least equally to, if not greater than, linking externally,” Wittman says.
  5. Link. Use the Link option to share content from the open Web, adding your own distinctive take on the subject, of course. According to an experiment by the Daily Beast, there was no practical difference in results between directing users to an external site vs. embedding YouTube videos on your Facebook Page. So Facebook doesn’t reward people just for staying within its walled garden. But does Facebook prefer links that you share directly on the site over links posted via third-party apps like Tweetdeck, Ping.fm and HootSuite? Facebook won’t say! But Wittman draws this conclusion: “Recently I’ve started to believe that links posted via third party apps inherently have lower weight. I just don’t see how they couldn’t. One thing naturally working against third party apps is the Top News feed auto-hiding updates in close proximity to each other from the same app. I find this to be direct evidence that the Top News feed ultimately punishes third party apps.”
  6.  Status updates & Wall posts. What riveting things are you up to? Be sure to let your friends know.
  7. Comments. If items you post attract comments from a few friends, it raises your visibility overall, particularly mutual friends. Comment in a helpful, friendly, engaging way. Add value. Just remember, it’s a process — you build up authority a little bit at a time, not overnight.
  8. Likes. Like away — it’s an incredibly powerful tool. Use it for news articles on outside sites that sport a Like button, on updates, even comments. Using lots of Likes doesn’t mean you’ll appear in others’ news feeds, but it will begin to solidify your reputation as a peer and supporter. Don’t be stingy about passing out Likes in your own comment threads. When you Like the comments of the people who chime in on your postings, you potentially draw them back to the thread (by sending them a notification), helping to keep it alive and growing, and you also encourage them to comment on your postings in the future. Adds Dave Awl, author of Facebook Me! (new second edition): “Although I can’t prove this, my sense is that Likes in the comment thread count as edges [EdgeRank juice] for the posting itself — so passing out those warm fuzzies may also be an easy way to add edges.” AllFacebook reported in July that 65 million Facebook users Like something every day, and the numbers have doubtless mushroomed since then. By the way, you’re ostensibly limited to a total of 500 Likes, though Facebook doesn’t enforce this rule.

5. Interact!

It’s not all about creating great content. Facebook rewards interaction. If there are certain friends or brands you’d like to see appear in your Top News feed, post comments on their Profile or Page and Like their updates and soon you’ll see their updates appear in your feed, regardless of whether they respond. To lure them into interacting — so that your updates appear in their Top News feed — use a wide range of conversational techniques: Educate, inform, entertain, be funny and engaging, say “thank you.” Be patient, this can take some time to show results.

Tips 6 - 10 and Complete B2C Article

How To Avoid the Resume Black Hole

By Alison Doyle

One of the things I hear, over and over again, from job seekers is that it feels like their resume is getting sucked into a black hole when they apply for jobs online.
They take the time to search for jobs, follow the application instructions, and wait - and wait -  and wait.  They don't hear a word back from companies and their applications seems to be lost in a resume black hole.  In some cases, we're talking about hundreds of resumes submitted without a single response from an employer.
What to do to keep your resume out of that black hole and, hopefully, get it reviewed by the hiring manager?  These tips will help get  your resume, as least,  a fighting chance of being considered for a job.
  • Use resume keywords that match the skills listed in the job description, so your application has a shot at making it to the top of the pile.
  • Take the time to write a custom cover letter that specifies why you are a strong candidate for the job.
  • Use job search words to find appropriate jobs to apply to. The better a match, the better your chances are.
  • Apply direct - bypass the job boards and apply directly where companies are hiring.
  • Use SimplyHired to see who you are connected with at a company before you apply.
  • Check LinkedIn for job postings (and check the Groups you belong to, as well) and to find connections at companies.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

15 Twitter tips for beginners – updated

Tom Raftery


I wrote a post a couple of years back called 15 Twitter tips for beginners which, though two years old, still has useful information for Twitter users – especially if you make sure to read all the comments as well.
Needless to say, things have moved on considerably in the intervening period – bear in mind that post was written over a year before the launch of the iPad and seven months before version 1.0 of Android was released!
So here’s a quick updated version of the tips:
  1. Start off easy by posting a few innocuous posts introducing yourself and your interests, “I’m Tom, a Social Media and Sustainability expert”, “I recently moved to Seville, anyone on here from Seville?”, – that kind of thing. Then be sure to mention why you’re using Twitter, e.g. “I hope to learn more about cleantech”, or whatever it is you are hoping to get from it.
  2. Then build up your network. Start with friends who you know to be on Twitter. Start following them. But also look at the list of people they are following. You may know some of them too, if so, follow them as well.
  3. If you precede someone’s username with the @ symbol in a post on Twitter (i.e. “@tomraftery how is it going?”) then your post appears in the @Mentions tab on their Twitter page. This works whether they are following you or not. When you @reply to someone, and they see you appear in their @Mentions tab, they are likely to check out your profile and posts and may decide to follow you. This is a very powerful way to build up your network with people who don’t necessarily know you but with whom you want to connect.
  4. Check out the TwitterGrader page for your area, for instance, if you are based in Andalucia, in the south of Spain, like me, check the TwitterGrader page for Andalucia and you’ll find some interesting people you may want to connect to, to get into the local scene.
  5. Follow some of the people there, check who they are following and talking to (@ replying to) and consider following them too.
  6. Sidenote: if you precede someone’s username with “d ” (i.e. “d tomraftery how is it going?”) this sends a private message only to them – called a direct message or DM. You can only send DMs to people who have chosen to follow you.
  7. Also, don’t be shy about asking your friends to pimp you to their followers!
  8. Then, using Twitter:
  9. On the computer use either Seesmic Desktop or TweetDeck for posting/reading posts. I prefer TweetDeck. Having said that, the Twitter web interface is still prob the best for checking people’s profiles and seeing who they follow.
  10. On the iPad /iPhone I use the Twitter iPhone client; On Android, I’m told Tweetdeck is best; and on Blackberry I hear Seesmic, Tweetcaster and Socialscope are good (though Socialscope is still in private beta) and

5 Ways You Look Out-of-Date in Your Job Search

by Susan P. Joyce


For most of us, a job search, fortunately, is NOT something we do often enough to be really proficient.  So, when the time comes to job search, we must look at what is effective now – not what we did when we last hunted for a job 2, 5, or 15 years ago.

Effective job search methods have changed a great deal since 2007 because recruiting methods have changed dramatically with the widespread use of the Internet and search engines and, particularly in the last 2 years, with the growth of social media.

If job seekers don’t understand how “the new system” works, they can look out-of-date and less desirable as potential employees.  These are the 5 major ways that job seekers can look out of date. 






Whether over 50, under 30, or in the middle, job seekers risk looking out-of-date by:
  1. Being a ”missing person”!
    I know several older job seekers who are proud to be invisible in Google.  You search on their name, and you may find other people (eek!), but you don’t find them.  When I warn them of this lack of visibility, each has said to me, ”I am protecting my privacy.”  But, they are invisible, which makes them “missing people.”  And that is most definitely NOT good!
    Particularly for people looking for positions in marketing or sales, a lack of positive online visibility demonstrates a lack of understanding of current, effective marketing methods.
    A missing person is a “nobody.” In the 21st century, people often assume that only someone who is 100% off-line, who demonstrably does not understand the Internet, is invisible.  And who would want to hire someone who is obviously out of touch?  So, the employers move on in search of people more up-to-date in their understanding of how the business world works today.  Opportunities lost!
  2. Ignoring the power of the Internet to connect with old friends and former colleagues.
    People often hire someone they already know, at least a little, or someone known to someone they know – in other words, someone in their personal network because hiring someone who doesn’t work out is so expensive. The Internet offers many tools for staying connected, and for re-connecting, with people you liked and respected from your past – Google/Bing, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
    Employer “alumni groups” are wonderful for helping job seekers find former colleagues, coworkers, bosses, etc.  You find them on LinkedIn, in Job-Hunt’s Employer Alumni Networking Directory which lists over 250 groups, and by Googling “[employer name] alumni group.”
  3. Having a poor LinkedIn Profile.
    LinkedIn offers people with jobs - and also job seekers – wonderful opportunities to network.  For someone who is employed, they may be more effective in their jobs as a result of the connections they make, the visibility they have, and the information they learn through LinkedIn. 
    For job seekers, LinkedIn offers an opportunity both to showcase their accomplishments and also to demonstrate their understanding of how business is done now. So, use that showcase – list major accomplishments in the “Summary” section, put a description, not just a job title, in the “Professional Headline” section.  Find more ideas and excellent advice in Job-Hunt’s LinkedIn for Job Search section.
    Recruiters love to search through LinkedIn to find potential employees with the right set of skills and experience, offering job seekers a wonderful opportunity to be found, without the effort of finding and applying for jobs. And, the good news about a good LinkedIn Profile is that it eliminates the “inivisibility” problem. 




Friday, February 11, 2011

Are you prepared to interview? Probably not!

by Matt Berndt

Some topics are timeless – How to Prepare for an Interview is one of these timeless topics.  Following is an updated version of a blog I posted about a year ago.  Why the update?  I’ve discussed this topic at least five times in the past week alone in career advising sessions. ‘Tis the season; so, if you are getting ready to interview – pay attention; you’re probably not as prepared as you think!
I’ve seen the shocked look many times:  A lost and forlorn “how could this have happened” expression right after they tanked an interview:
“How could it have gone so badly?  I really wanted that position.  I have everything they were looking for!” 
So, I ask:  “What did you do to prepare for the interview?”  or “How much time did you spend getting ready for the interview?”
The most typical responses: “Huh? Prepare?” and “I read the job description, I thought I was prepared.  All I had to do was talk about myself.”
When interviewing candidates, most employers really want to know four things:
  1. Why you want the job - show them you understand the position for which you are interviewing.  It will prove your interest.
  2. Why you believe you are qualified for the job  - give them examples that illustrate/prove you have the qualifications they are seeking.  Don’t make them take your word for it.  Give them evidence.
  3. Why you want to work for them  - demonstrate that you understand their company; who they are; what they do; and help them seek how and why you will fit into their culture.  Don’t just claim that you are a perfect fit, show them you understand their world.
  4. Why you want to work in their field, profession or industry  - show them that you have some knowledge about their world.  Let them see that, at least on some level, you understand the good, bad and ugly of their profession.  Show them you’re not wearing rose-colored glasses.
Employer can and will ask any number and variety of questions to arrive at answers within these core topics. The success or failure of your interview will boil down to how well you address these topics through your responses.
The reality is that most people do a poor job of addressing these topics.  Think about it, if you can’t answer these questions for an employer, how are they supposed to figure it out?
Well,wait a minute! You are the foremost authority on you, right?  After all, you have lived with you longer than has anyone else.  You know everything you have ever done, right?  Who better to talk about you than you? Maybe your mom and dad, but they can’t (better not!) go to the interview with you.  It’s your job to find your job, not Mom or Dad’s job (or my job) to do that for you, so you better be prepared to put your best and most relevant foot forward in an interview
So, why do so many people mess up interviews?  They don’t prepare.  If you really want a job or an internship, prove it by preparing for the interview!
Where does this preparation begin?

Set Realistic Expectations

First off, expecting you can walk out of any interview with the job offer is an unrealistic expectation.  Don’t set yourself up to be disappointed.  Do set expectations.  At the end of an interview you should be able to say:
  • I told them everything they needed to hear about my qualifications in order to consider me as a candidate.  Never leave an interview saying “I should have mentioned . . . . .”
  • I got answers to all of my important questions about the job and organization. Never leave an interview saying “I should have asked . . . . .”
These are realistic expectations.  They are challenging, yes, but they are expectations you can meet. And, you will meet these expectations if you do your homework.

Do Your Homework

You know that one question you hope they won’t ask?  Guess what? They’ll probably ask it, so be prepared to answer it and every other question they might ask.
Research the company; know what it does; where it operates; its market position; its competition.  Who do you know who works there and what do they have to say?  What have you read about the company in the news? What is going on in that industry?  What are the trends?
In doing your homework, don’t just depend on the company website for information; seek out multiple sources of information.
Research the job itself – how well do your qualifications and interests match with what they are seeking in candidates?  What examples can you offer to illustrate your qualifications and capabilities (don’t make them take your word for it)?  Who do you know that has done that same job or worked with that company? What advice do they have?
Research the people with whom you will be interviewing.  Can you find them on LinkedIn? On association boards? In industry magazines, newspapers or websites? What impact are they having on the profession?  The more you know, the better prepared you will be the more credibility you will have with the interviewer.
In order to come across as a credible candidate, you have to demonstrate some level of knowledge about the industry and field you claim you want to enter.

Dress the Part

You cannot wear the uniform until you are on the team!  Even if the general workplace attire at a company is casual, do not show up to an interview dressed casually.  Show them that extra level of respect by dressing up for the interview.  Doing so conveys a “this is important to me” message.  Jeans, flip-flops and an old polo shirt sends a “yeah, whatever” message.
Be smart about this, though.  Dressing the part does not necessarily mean a dark blue banker’s suit, white shirt and wingtip shoes, guys!  If you do your homework, you should be able to get a feel for the company culture; dress to the high end of that culture.  If you are not sure, ask.  Remember, if you are overdressed you can always get more casual.  Just loosen or lose the tie and jacket.  Try looking more professional when you’re wearing your best cargo shorts and t-shirt – it ain’t gonna happen!

Rehearse your Part

Think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.  If you want employers to believe you are skilled in managing people, what examples are you going to share to illustrate your abilities?  They want writing skills and you believe you are a strong writer – what examples are you going to use to defend your position?  You think you are a “people person” – what does that even mean and why is it a good thing?  Examples from your experience inside and outside the classroom will make your qualifications real.  Rehearse the answers you want to give so you will know where you want your examples to begin and end.  This strategy will keep you on message and help prevent you from giving rambling answers.
BTW – Please, please never tell anyone you are a “people person” – unless, of course,  you want them to snicker behind your back!

More Tips And Complete HireStandards Article  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

LinkedIn reveals best time to ask for a promotion

Do you think you deserve a promotion? A LinkedIn survey reveals when the best month to do it and career coach Phyllis Reardon gives you tips on how to prepare for your big pitch.
By: Nestor E. Arellano



f you didn't get promoted last month, don't lose heart – you still have eight more months this year to convince your boss that you've been working smart and hard, according to LinkedIn.
The online social networking site that focuses on career-based connections recently released a survey that indicates January, September and April are the top three months for professionals in Canada to get promoted within their company.
The global survey tracked promotion trends in companies of all sizes in the information technology and sciences, higher education, management consulting, and retail industries. By analyzing more than 90 million LinkedIn member's career histories, the site was able to observe the evolution of labour market trends and discover some “surprising, interesting or simply fun insights,” according to Monica Rogati, senior research analyst for analytics at LinkedIn in San Francisco.
For decades, January has been the top month for promotions, but the month is losing its claim to fame as more promotions are starting to be given out evenly throughout the year, Rogati said in a recent blog. “During the 1990s, 22 per cent of the promotions occurred in January, but in the most recent decade that number decreased to 16 per cent.”


The LinkedIn analyst attributes the trend to the rise of so-called millennials (individuals born in the 1980 and 1990s) in the workforce.
Compared to their parent's generation – the baby boomers – their promotions are less concentrated in January and instead spread more evenly throughout the year, according to LinkedIn's findings.
What's behind the shift? “Perhaps millennials have outlandish expectations of the workplace and are asking for promotions throughout the year,” said Rogati.
LinkedIn is also looking into the following possibilities:
  • Do baby boomers hold more senior positions that are budgeted on a yearly cycle compared to the more junior positions held by millennials?
  • Could it be that millennials are over-represented in industries where fast career progression is the norm? If so, is it a matter of correlation or causation?
  • Are titles split across more “levels” these days? Has the labor market adapted to a workforce that demands more frequent incentives and feels a constant need to level up?
If you have any insights you'd like to share with LinkedIn, you can answer their poll here.

Read Complete Article

HOW TO: Use Career Branding to Bring Jobs to You

First of all, career branding is not the same as personal branding. Personal branding is everywhere, and people are starting to develop their personal brands with earnest. But what about career branding? What’s the difference between the two? It’s really quite simple. Personal branding is all about you, what you do, and the type of person you are and portray. A career brand is part of your personal brand, focused on highlighting your current and past professional accomplishments.
Finding a job in this market is harder than it ever has been. Gone are the days of merely looking for jobs on boards. Job searching has evolved into a two-way stream of conversations, connections, and ideas with individuals from around the world.
To pass the competition, you must impress employers with your online presence, your résumé, and in person. To do this, you need to present the unique value you bring to the table. Think of it like this: You are the “product,” and your potential employer is the “target audience.” Your message must compel the target audience to purchase the product. A successful career brand does just that.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Make Your Brand Sizzle
Determine what special “features” you have to offer that your competitors don’t. This could be any and all of your skills, work experience, and even volunteer experience—it’s all valuable. As a leader in your industry, you have a unique blend of qualifications, talents, expertise, and accomplishments to offer a potential employer.
Use the Right Mediums
Showcase these strong points where recruiters and hiring managers can see—LinkedIn, and increasingly Facebook and Twitter, are great networks for this. Engage in discussions with employers—start by asking questions. Your involvement shows initiative and won’t be overlooked.

Read The Complete Career Rocketeer Article


Guest Expert:
Greg Coyle is the co-founder and Director of Product Development at MyWebCareer. For the past year, Greg and his co-founders at MyWebCareer have been working on developing online tools for career professionals that enable you to discover, evaluate, and monitor your professional online brand. You can visit the beta at www.mywebcareer.com and get your free, personalized Career Score.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

10 Things Seth Godin Taught Me about Social Media Marketing

With Seth Godin about to appear on stage in Orange County in just a few weeks time, there is a buzz around here about what new insights he will provide to us in 2011.  And the event, in line with what Seth preaches about holding BIG events, is set to be HUGE – he will be speaking at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, a location that is host to the likes of Natalie Cole and the Vienna Philharmonic.  In my eyes, but more importantly the eyes of the event organizer and friend Bryan Elliott, Seth Godin deserves to be on a similar stage.  And Bryan made it happen.  The greater Orange County community made it happen.  We are all making it happen!
From a social media perspective, I have found a lot of great takeaways from Seth.  The funny thing is that he never blogs or writes specifically about social media marketing, but his thoughts are so applicable to the situations that many of us social media practitioners face on a daily basis.
What have I learned from Seth Godin’s blog posts which, like Twitter, are so short and concise yet full of such deep insight?  I went through my favorite blog posts from Seth over the last 12 months and chose those which I felt were gems in this respect.
If you live in Southern California and are looking for a free ticket to see Seth, keep reading for a chance to win ;-)

1. Social Media and Experimentation
Sure, go ahead and test what’s testable. But the real victories come when you have the guts to launch the untestable. – A Culture of Testing
You can do all of the planning you want in social media, but the problem is that you are dealing with people here and hopefully trying to socialize with them.  And the social landscape changes with every tweet.  Without some experimenting and doing things untestable you might not achieve a real victory.
2. Building Your Tribe (Through Social Media)
The magic of the tribe is that you can build it incrementally, that day by day you can earn the asset that will allow you to bring your work to people who want it. Or you can skip that and wait to get picked. Picked to be on Oprah or American Idol or at the cash register at Borders.
Getting picked is great. Building a tribe is reliable, it’s hard work and it’s worth doing. – No Knight, No Shining Armor
Anyone who has read the classic Seth Godin book Tribes understands the potential for social media to help provide the infrastructure to create a tribe, and that ideally community managers are building “tribes” of fans.  While Seth’s quote was aimed at authors who wanted to get rich quick, his point is similar to what I wrote about in Why Social Media for Business is Like a Marathon.  Building a tribe in social media will take time, but it can help you create a true platform of fans that will reward you over the weeks, months, and even years.
3. Content is the New Search Engine Optimization
I resist the temptation to optimize this blog for traffic and yield. I’d rather force myself to improve it by having the guts to write better posts instead. – The Non-Optimized Life
Too many people focus on SEO without focusing on content marketing.  If social media is the new SEO, your content is what should separate you from your competition.
4. Embrace Social Media and Become a Leader, Not a Follower
Every brand, every organization and every individual is either running away from something or running toward something (or working hard to stand still).
Are you chasing or being chased? Are you leading or following? Are you fleeing or climbing? – Running Away vs. Running Toward
Almost every social media strategy consulting client I work with will be a pioneer in their industry in social media if they implement according to plan.  Why?  Because most of the competition is either fleeing from social media or doing the bare minimum to try to show that they are “relevant.”  Guess what competition?  It’s not working!
5. Engage with Your Customers, and You Shall Increase Your Engagement
The customers you fire and those you pay attention to all send signals to the rest of the group. – Train Your Customers
In social media, you truly get what you deserve.  Treat your customers right and they will spread thanks and praises about you through their tweets and comments.  Ignore them when they try to engage with you and that message will be sent to all of their tribes.  Do something insensitive and, well, just ask Kenneth Cole what happened.

Tips 6 - 10 And Complete B2C Article

Why you should use LinkedIn BEFORE graduation

Working in the Career Center at my university, I have found many peers have never heard about LinkedIn, let alone used it. Many students don’t see its value and think waiting until after graduation to join will work.
However, joining LinkedIn before graduation can benefit students during their college and professional careers.
LinkedIn offers an easy way to break the professional networking ice.
Each social networking tool out there — from Facebook to YouTube — has its own unique purpose. For LinkedIn, that purpose is meeting, networking and communicating with other professionals with whom you’ve got something in common. Many students don’t want to feel left out of the social loop by not using Facebook. Similarly, not using LinkedIn means students will be left out of the professional loop.
LinkedIn contains fewer 18 to 24 year olds than other social networking sites.
The average age for the LinkedIn audience is 45. To college students, this might seem intimidating. However, this means joining LinkedIn gives students and younger professionals an edge over their similarly aged peers who have comparable experiences.
LinkedIn makes it easier to find internships or jobs while in school.
One day while browsing LinkedIn I noticed one of my connections (a former professor) knew someone who worked in my field within my somewhat small hometown. I asked my connection to introduce us. One thing led to another and after some conversations, I landed a (paid!) freelance summer gig at a couple of local newspapers. If it weren’t for LinkedIn, I never would have known that common connection existed and, most likely, would never have gotten the job.
LinkedIn helps students build and maintain professional networks efficiently and effectively.
While it’s always good to ask contacts for a business card, if you forget, you can go home and look them up on LinkedIn. I did this at a conference I went to last year. I met some wonderful students but none of us had business cards. Instead, we knew names and connected with each other on LinkedIn after the conference.

Read The Rest Of The Article

Ruth A. Harper, an Integrated Marketing Communications graduate student at St. Bonaventure University, has a LinkedIn profile. She also blogs and tweets.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

LinkedIn Tips for Job Hunters - Basic To Advanced

It’s been called “Facebook for grownups” and “the world’s biggest networking group.”
LinkedIn is both of those — and more.
Used correctly, LinkedIn can be one of the most valuable weapons in your job-search arsenal.
To get the latest and best tips, I interviewed Rob Mendez, an expert on LinkedIn and other social media, who helps job hunters via his CareerNetworkMinistry.com web site.
Here’s what we talked about.
“First, you have to figure out your target audience and your goal with LinkedIn,” advises Mendez. “Use LinkedIn to network with as many people as possible, because it is not about who you know; it is about who other people know.”
He urges job seekers to make connections at companies they want to work for.
“If you can’t find someone to champion you at an employer, you may have a hard time competing.”
Another tip: Know that first impressions count for a lot on LinkedIn.
“If someone searching LinkedIn and you pop up, they quickly see three things: your name, your picture, and your headline,” says Mendez.
Your name, photo, and headline should be compelling enough to cause someone to click through and view your profile. Otherwise, people will move on to someone else.
How can you make these three items stand out effectively?
For a start, your name can repel more people than it attracts, so play it safe there.
“Some people include an e-mail address as part of their name, or numbers or special characters, in the hopes of being different. Yes, they stand out, but in an annoying way. LinkedIn is a professional network, so make sure your name looks professional,” advises Mendez.
What about your photo? Again, the more professional looking, the better.
“It does not have to be taken at a studio. It should a headshot of you dressed up nicely. Not a body shot, not wearing sunglasses, not at the beach,” says Mendez, who recalls one profile picture of a man in a hammock.
“If I am looking to hire someone, do I really want him working for me, based on this picture?”
What about the headline section of your profile? In a nutshell, make the most compelling claim or promise you can about yourself.
“If I search LinkedIn for a realtor, for example, I can find a thousand of them. The results will include headlines like, ‘realtor, realtor, realtor, real estate agent,’ etc. Then, one profile has this headline ‘I’ll sell your house within 30 days guaranteed or I will buy it for cash, even if it is a bad economy.’ That person just got my attention,” says Mendez.

More Tips and Complete Article @ LinkedIn Tips for Job Hunters

7 Tips for Using Your LinkedIn Profile to Land Great Projects

LinkedIn may not have the name recognition of Facebook or the popularity of Twitter, but what it does have is the reputation as one of the most effective social networking services for freelancers. Boasting more than 80 million users and counting, LinkedIn has something for everyone, from writers to designers, from podcaster to vbloggers.
Thanks to LinkedIn’s huge, active network of professionals, many seeking the perfect freelancers for projects of all shapes and sizes, you should make your LinkedIn presence just as important as your Twitter account, and probably even more so than your Facebook profile. In fact, LinkedIn can mean all the difference between you seeking out work, and having the work come to you.

Land Great Projects Using LinkedIn

Here’s how to land solid projects with your LinkedIn profile:
  1. Build your profile to 100% completion. A complete LinkedIn profile is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. It carries the same weight as a college degree does by showing that you stuck things out to the finish line, rather than going in, signing up, and getting out when the going gets rough (or boring). As a freelancer, that’s the worst reputation to have. Period. To start, make use of the basics such as the summary and experience fields, as well as new features like the Skills and Publications sections. According to LinkedIn itself, a completed profile increases your chance of successful networking by 15 percent, meaning you have a greater chance of establishing connections, generating leads, and finding gigs that pay well.
  2. Pick a custom URL. If you’ve ever used LinkedIn (or Facebook for that matter), you’ve seen the person with a URL that looks something like: www.facebook.com/8297328Z028BZ. In other words, their URL is complete gibberish, and anyone who lacks a photographic memory would never, ever remember it. Instead of going down this road, you should personalize your URL to reflect what you do. You could change your URL to include your name, for example: www.linkedin/joeshmoe, but a better idea is to set it up so that it shows exactly what you do for a living and what you’re looking for. A LinkedIn URL like www.linkedin.com/freelanceeditor4hire will grab more attention than one that simply lists a name.
  3. Add lots of apps. Apps have become a huge part of the social networking universe, and LinkedIn has jumped on this train by adding more and more on frequent basis. With LinkedIn’s present set of apps, you can share presentations with SlideShare, show pictures of where you’ve traveled via Flickr, and even cross-promote your blog through the BlogLink app. The BlogLink app connects your blog to your LinkedIn site, so that any time you blog, posts are automatically published to your LinkedIn profile. In a nutshell, installing applications is a great way to make your profile stand out and gives you exciting ways to share content.
  4. Build an army of connections. If you’re stuck with just a few dozen LinkedIn connections, a group that may or may not include family members, it’s time you kicked things up a notch. Connections not only show that you’re active on LinkedIn, but they give the appearance–at least in the Web world–that you’re the person pressing palms and passing out business cards at the cocktail party and not the sullen person parked by the door. When building your connection pool, size matters, but remember that quality is also a major consideration. If you need to enlarge your pool by including your local dog groomer or cable repairman, you’ll probably need to uncouple yourself from them as you build up more connections with people working in your general field.

Monday, February 7, 2011

LinkedIn Search Updates – this is really powerful!

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Shar

Friday, February 4, 2011

The best networking email you'll get all year

Experts and coaches remind us daily about the importance of keeping in touch with your network. If you're like me, LinkedIn just handed you the perfect alibi on a silver platter.
By Jodi Glickman, contributor



Did you get an email last month from your friends at LinkedIn with the following subject: "Jodi, 86 of your connections changed jobs in 2010"?
If you did, it is quite possibly the best networking opportunity email you'll receive all year. Experts and coaches remind us daily about theimportance of staying in touch with and taking full advantage of our networks -- but the challenge is not in knowing that we need to reach out, it's knowing how and when to reach out. If you're like me, LinkedIn just handed you the perfect alibi on a silver platter.
Here are three ways to take that email and put it to good use:
1. Congratulations!
I talk a lot about TOUs or "thinking of you's" -- TOUs are a great way to stay connected to your network. Wishing someone a happy holiday, congratulating them on a favorite team's sports win (Packers / Steelers anyone?) or congratulating a former classmate or colleague on a new job is a great way to ping someone in your network.
2010 was a year of big change. Take a minute to click through that infographic (I just love clicking on the faces and being directed to their profiles) and find out where you're friends and colleagues have gone.
What are they doing now? Was it a promotion, a lateral move or a new direction altogether? Whatever the case may be, send a quick note to say congratulations. It's a fast and easy way to reach out and share some well wishes.
Andrea, hello and congratulations!! I see that you've taken on a management role with Doctors without Borders, that's amazing!  I hope you're enjoying your stint in Niger and I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I was thinking of you.  I'll look forward to touching base when you're back in the states next year.  Best, Jodi
2. Great to see what you've been up to
There's also probably a subset of people in that email who you haven't connected with in ages. Reaching out after losing touch is always hard -- everyone has friends and colleagues we admire who have fallen off our radar. Consider this email as a reset button on those relationships -- it gives you a perfect excuse to reach out today and congratulate a friend or colleague on that new job or comment on their recent activity:
Michael, how are you?  It's been ages since we've spoken but I just wanted to reach out to say hello. I noticed that you recently left Deloitte so I wanted to touch base and see how things are going.  I'm actually in the process of launching a start-up; I'd love to tell you more about it….

Read The Rest Of The Fortune Article

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ten Things I Learned from Two Months on Foursquare

By Sree Sreenivasan
DNAinfo Contributing Editor


I tell my students there's no need to jump onto a new social-media service until you know it can fit into your workflow and your life. What I mean is that there are so many new things coming at you all the time that it's impossible to keep up, and you shouldn't feel any obligation to try everything right away. Wait until you can be sure it makes sense for how you work and live.


Take Foursquare, the geolocation service. Even though I make a living, in part, by doing all this social media stuff, I avoided using Foursquare as long as I could. I mean a guy has only got so much time he can use for virtual relationships before he jeopardizes his real-life relationships.


So I've been teaching social media by focusing on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, skipping Foursquare.


But over the last two months, I have been testing Foursquare and am now convinced it has real potential for journalism, for businesses and everyday folks. Like all technology, it may not be appropriate for everyone, but we should all at least be familiar with it.
Here's what I've learned:


• FOURSQUARE'S STATS ARE IMPRESSIVE: Foursquare launched officially in March 2009, and has seen dramatic growth since. It had about 250,000 users by the end of 2009; surpassed 3 million users in August 2010; and crossed 6 million in January 2011.
There have been more than 381 million check-ins, from all countries on Earth (North Korea was the last to have a check-in). It had just two employees (co-founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai) for the first eight months of its existence; a year ago, it had seven employees. Today, the Cooper Square-based company has about 50 employees (26 of them engineers). You can see more stats in a Foursquare blog post, "Our year of 3,400% growth."
While there's been talk of buyout offers and a $250 million valuation, Selvadurai denied that figure at a Manhattan event last week.


• FOURSQUARE IS MORE THAN JUST A GAME. IT'S BUSINESS: Even though it's built around a game - check-in at locations to earn points and compete with friends and strangers, it's much more ambitious than that. Visit a place often enough and you can be its "mayor," and there are starting to be benefits of that beyond just bragging rights.
A recent example, I was with my kids at a restaurant and we were going to order dessert, but we saw that restaurant's Foursquare page showed a incentive to get ice cream at a nearby Ben & Jerry's — and that's what we did.


Foursquare encourages people to try new places, especially restaurants and bars. Even at restaurants you know well, Foursquare's "tips" section can give you suggestions for new dishes to try.


Companies, brands and others who want to connect with consumers are using Foursquare in interesting ways. Some examples: History Channel offers historical background when you check into certain locations; celebrities use it to connect with their fans and followers;  Sports Authority puts your name in a prize drawing for checking-in; Jimmy Choo creates a scavenger hunt in London with clues via check-in.


Everything is local, so Foursquare can work well whether a company has one location or thousands of locations.


• FOURSQUARE IS JUST GETTING STARTED: I like to say that Twitter is where the general web was in 1996 in terms of its potential, usage and scope. But geolocation is even further behind. It's just getting started and those who can learn how to use it well will get a headstart on the rest. And that can have serious business implications, especially for industries such as travel, food, entertainment, sports, museums and more.


• THE FOURSQUARE EXPERIENCE CAN BE IMPROVED: Because it's still early, there are ways in which Foursquare can improve the user experience.
Since anyone can create venues, there's a proliferation of locations that leads to confusion about which ones are official venues and which ones are not. For example, a search for "JFK" brings up 50 venues in the system - many of them overlapping. People have limited time to use this, so creating "verified venues" and deleting incorrect ones has to be a priority for Foursquare. There's system for an owner to claim a venue, but it's far too complicated and cumbersome.


Its Nearby Specials feature has tremendous potential, but needs to be used more often by local merchants to lure foot traffic. That requires training and encourage by Foursquare (here's a link to the 167 items in the Foursquare for Business FAQ).


Its Tips feature — users leaving suggestions for things to try at particular venues ­— is terrific, and users should be rewarded for leaving them. While it's an international service, during an week-plus stay in Jamaica, I couldn't find any places to check-in to (might have been trouble with the GPS system). The service works better on iPhone and Android than it does on Blackberry — something thatc is true of a lot of Web 2.0 services.
A note to businesses, event organizers, etc: Please put your venue's Foursquare name into your physical signage, virtual invitations, etc. Just as it's now useful to announce a Twitter hashtag before an event, announce your Foursquare name, too.
And a note to users: Please avoid connecting your Foursquare check-ins to your Twitter or Facebook accounts. Most of the time it just comes across as you showing off the good time you're having while the rest of us are sitting at home. Unless you are sharing useful info — discounts or special deals — it gets really irritating.


• GEOLOCATION IS HERE TO STAY: The idea of sharing not just what you are doing, but where you are doing it means that geolocation services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, etc., are going to be the next social-media frontier. Facebook and its 500-million-user empire launched Facebook Places last year and while it hasn't drowned out Foursquare yet, you should never count out Facebook.


Does co-founder Selvadurai worry about Facebook Places? He told a gathering in New York last week that I attended, "We know there is room in the market for more than one service. We knew that others were going to do this." Why will Foursquare succeed in the long run? According to him: "better tools and better data."


• FOURSQUARE HAS USES I HADN'T THOUGHT OF:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Race to Create a Web of Reputation




One of the big issues with the ongoing explosion of social media, whether it’s blogging or Twitter or Facebook, is a lack of effective ways to filter the signal from the noise — in other words, to figure out who we should pay attention to. Facebook relies on your existing social graph, while Twitter uses its own internal algorithms to suggest people you should follow, and LinkedIn uses your professional status and co-workers or contacts as the benchmark. But the race continues to try and measure online reputation in an effective way. Should it be based on activity? Number of followers? A ranking system in which people can vote on you? All of the above?
One of the latest to jump into this race is Mixtent, which launched today with a voting-based system that uses data from your LinkedIn profile once you log in with your credentials (and will also pull in your Facebook info if you connect that as well). The company says it is “building a professional reputation graph on top of the main social and professional networks” in order to help people hire others and get hired themselves. If Mixtent looks a little familiar, that’s because it appears to be almost identical to a LinkedIn-based game known as Cube Duel that got some attention a couple of weeks ago, in which users vote for co-workers and can “unlock” various badges, and so on.

In trying to measure who has the highest reputation among your co-workers, and therefore who is best qualified to either recommend you or be recommended themselves, Mixtent is going after the same kind of market that other startups such as Honestly (formerly known as Unvarnished), Namesake and BranchOut are aiming at — namely, the professional end of the social web, in which people are looking to network for jobs. In the same way that Mixtent is based on the LinkedIn network, BranchOut uses Facebook as a platform, and leverages all of the people you are connected to via your social graph who might work (or used to work) at other companies.
One issue for BranchOut that I wrote about when the service first launched is that Facebook is primarily personal, and so the overlap between that part of your life and the professional side is haphazard at best, and useless at worst. In a similar way, the game-like aspect of Mixtent might not jibe well with the more professional aspects of LinkedIn for some users. Honestly, meanwhile, is trying to create a reputation-based network that achieves the same thing as LinkedIn or BranchOut — a way of measuring a person’s skills within a certain professional context — but allows for anonymous (and therefore theoretically more honest) input about the people who are being ranked.

Read The Rest Of The GIGAOM Article

5 Smart Ways to Use Twitter in Your Job Search