Archive for January, 2010

My Top 25 Before 25

A little while ago, I asked y’all how you measure personal success, and your responses were overwhelmingly helpful! So I decided to take a moment and share my goals with you. I’ve come up with my top 25 goals that I’d like to achieve before I’m 25 years old. Because I’m such an organization freak, they’re broken down into categories. 🙂

Personal Goals:

  1. Adopt a dog to be the start of my new, grown-up family.
  2. Run a second triathlon, this time with my dad, and walk/run a half-marathon with my two best friends (who I did the first triathlon with).
  3. Make my old friendships a priority by setting up phone and Skype dates with my friends and family who I can’t see on a regular basis.
  4. Nurture new Chicago friendships and have a Chicago friend family that can be relied on much like my oldest and dearest friends.
  5. Volunteer at PAWS Chicago at least once each week and find a way to give back to UNC, too.

Professional Goals:

  1. Improve my understanding of social media channels and how Edelman is using them.
  2. Ask questions early and often, and be willing to turn in a project late if it means doing it right the first time around.
  3. Seek out new and different projects where I can help out and learn more about measurement and social media.
  4. Read and absorb anything and everything about social media measurement in order to broaden my skills and to better help clients.
  5. Become the go-to measurement guru in the Edelman Digital Chicago office.

Blog Goals:

  1. Claim my own domain name and begin learning (and using!) HTML coding.
  2. Write blog posts each week about something that I love or am passionate about.
  3. Become a regular contributor on a group blog or a guest post-er on more social media nuts’ blogs.
  4. Find a way to keep DR. WHAW? a regular feature without committing to posting it every single day (with my schedule, I can’t seem to make this work every day).
  5. Increase reader engagement as marked by number of comments, return readers and Tweets.

Chicago Goals:

  1. Move to an apartment in Lakeview.
  2. Attend Lollapalooza in the summer.
  3. Try a Chicago-style hot dog and a sandwich from Lucky’s.
  4. Take the architectural boat tour.
  5. See the Boston Red Sox play at Wrigley Field (I know this may not even be possible but definitely worth a shot).

Travel Goals:

  1. Visit Washington, D.C., for the first time and do all of the typical touristy things.
  2. Visit my older sister in Amherst, Massachusetts, and my younger sister at the University of Minnesota.
  3. Visit Austin, Texas, to attend the SXSW conference in 2011 and find some old friends.
  4. Visit my mom’s parents in Kentucky and see my cousin wrestle in a state tournament (it will happen, Sean!).
  5. Travel to the ACC or NCAA tournament to watch the Tar Heels play their way into history again.

So there you have it. I know that some of these are lame and some may be quite difficult to achieve before I’m 25. Still, I believe these are all quite reasonable (and measurable!) goals for me. Just having written this list has made me happier, and really, isn’t that the real goal?

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January 29, 2010 at 7:16 AM 6 comments

Calling all DR. WHAW fans!

So I’ve come to a decision:

I cannot keep up with DR. WHAW? all by myself.

I haven’t thoroughly planned this out just yet, but I have realized that in order for DR. WHAW to be consistent (and daily), I need some help. Since there were many of you who were glad to see this daily feature return, albeit briefly, I am hoping that there are some out there willing to help me keep DR. WHAW a nightly staple.

Ideally, I’d like to have one or two regular contributors who are willing to help me out a couple nights a week to make sure that DR. WHAW doesn’t fall by the wayside. You don’t necessarily have to love measurement, you just have to be willing to share what you Didn’t Read While Hard At Work. I prefer that you pick one general topic or passion and highlight it, but hey! I’m flexible!

If you would like to help me out in this venture, please send me the following information to denison.rebecca[at]gmail[dot]com:

1. Your Name

2. Previous blogging or writing experience (Twitter handle is OK, too!)

3. Why you want to write for DR. WHAW?

Also feel free to reach out if you have any questions! I hope to hear back from at least a few of you soon! 🙂

January 26, 2010 at 1:42 AM Leave a comment

Brainstorming vs. crowdsourcing – where do you see the most value?

In the past, I have been a proponent of crowdsourcing as a good tool for just about anything, and I even would consider it a replacement for good ol’ fashioned brainstorming.

But lately, I’ve realized that each method definitely has a time and a place. Crowdsourcing can be a great tool when you’re just starting out on a project or you have a brand-new interest. When there’s something you need to work on but honestly have no idea where to start, I think crowdsourcing with the right people is absolutely you’re best bet.

For a project for which you have research or background information, though, brainstorming with others who have this information seems to make far more sense. Sometimes you need people with diverse backgrounds to help kick something off or give you a new view on something. But there are also times when you need a more specialized and trained view.

When do crowdsource and when do you brainstorm? Do you make the distinction?

I know that I am making a pretty hasty generalization here, but I’ve found that sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to look to a crowd. Even though they may have varied and wide expertise, without all of the information, their wisdom would almost be wasted. At the same time, brainstorming can be dangerous when you know too much because you may struggle to see outside your own narrow mindset.

It’s a tricky question, but I’m pretty confident that there must be a clear distinction between when these two different methods should be used. What do you think? Where do you stand?

January 25, 2010 at 8:37 AM 11 comments

Are you really measuring what you want?

In July, I switched my social media mindset to take on a more professional tone. At this time, I set some goals for myself and decided that I would track my own progress and growth. However, at the same time, I knew what my ideal results would be, and in hindsight, I let this affect how I measured. While it’s always important to understand your goals and ideal results, sometimes we get too focused on these and lose sight of the truth.

Think about it. When you measure, are you thinking of the true results or your end goals?

I am guilty of focusing too much on the end goal. During my first month of blogging and Tweeting, I measured myself based upon the number of followers I gained. During the next month, though, I focused more on the number of @replies I got on Twitter, that is, I focused on how many people were responding or talking to me. But why the change?

Simple. I had far more total @replies than increase in followers during my second month. Is this accurate? Technically, yes. But does it really show the whole picture? Does it honestly track my progress? Of course not.

It’s such an easy trap to fall into. It’s easy to track the metrics which paint the best picture instead of consistently using the same metrics to measure your real progress. Catering to true goals and date, not to results, it the key.

This is not to say that sometimes mid-way through a campaign or program you can’t change your metrics or focus. Sometimes we realize after getting started that there are metrics we hadn’t considered which are much better suited to our needs. In this case, switch! Just be sure to retroactively asses your entire progress and not just recent weeks.

As measurement is becoming thrust on more and more of us, I beg you to think about whether you are truly measuring what you mean to be? Or are you just looking for the results you want?

January 22, 2010 at 8:31 AM 6 comments

DR. WHAW? – January 19, 2010

Very much delayed, and I wish I could explain the reason why! You’ll just have to trust me on this. I was held up by a HUGE monitoring project this week, and I’m thrilled to be so busy. But still, I wanted to share what I Didn’t Read While Hard At Work on Tuesday.

DR. WHAW? – January 19, 2010

1. How Relationships Improve Sales by Chris Brogan — OK. I try not to include posts from the “big guys” too often because their content already gets plenty of exposure without my help. But in this case I wanted to make an exception. It’s a couple weeks old, but I love that this gives a good reason why relationships actually do affect the bottom line, which is what most executives these days are worried about. This is the reason we measure social media and engagement. It really does matter!

2. ROI Measurement: The 4th Stage of Social Media Maturity by Matt Carter — Recently a report was released which, among other things, outline what it called the Social Media Maturity Road Map. I loved this blog post because it highlighted where this report was completely (and disappointingly) lacking: measurement. I am so impressed to see others who share my passion for measurement and insist that it belongs in the discussion.

3. 100 Ways To Measure Social Media by Rodger Johnson — 100?! Can you believe it? This is a pretty good list of 100 ways to measure social media, and I would say it is by no means a comprehensive list. My goodness. You should definitely consult this list the next time you’re stumped as to how you can effectively measure a social media campaign, but also let’s all take a moment to appreciate how far measurement has come in so little time.

4. Simple Social Media Measurement Matrix by Sandra Fathi — This is kind of a cool concept! Sandra has created a matrix for social media that explains what metrics to look for based on what network you’re focusing on. I like this mostly because I think it’s a good way to organize all the different social networks out there, but I don’t think this has to be your absolute guide. Metrics change as projects do, but this structure is a good tool to use.

5. What ROI measurement system do you use by Henry Alzamora — This one I thought was just darn cool because measurement, particularly related to social media, is cropping up everywhere for me these days. Even on LinkedIn! Maybe I’ve missed it before, but I thought it was really neat that someone had started a discussion about measurement (ROI!) on a group on LinkedIn. Awesome!

6. Concrete Social Media Measurement Will Come by Scott Gulbransen — I love this. We’re not quite there yet. As much as I’d love to believe that measurement is ready to take on the world, it’s definitely not true. Not just yet. And this is a great post because it calls that out, but it also gives hope that there will be concrete measures for social media one day.

7. The Great Social Media  Measurement & Analytics Fallacy by Matt Carter — I know, I know! Two posts from the same author. This doesn’t happen! But I think that Matt Carter earned two spots today. I get in the habit of forgetting that measurement (and measurers) can be flawed, too. I love this analytical look at measuring engagement because it calls into questions some assumptions that we make. What do you think about this? Where do you stand?

Better late than never, eh?

January 21, 2010 at 2:06 PM 2 comments

Your audience is the entire world, so show your entire self

Last week on the #u30pro Twitter chat, I remember someone mentioning that our audience in now global, and that really struck me. (SIDE NOTE: Does anyone remember who that was?)

We were talking about how much of yourself you should share online, and whether it’s appropriate to share facts about your personal life as well as professional when blogging or Tweeting. And we were all pretty much in agreement that there was a balance that needed to be struck between professional and personal.

And then someone said that it was silly to not show your whole self because your audience is essentially the whole world. In a time when anyone can use Google or Twitter or Facebook to find you and your thoughts, it seems silly not to share your whole self.

I would never argue that you need to give out all of your information, I still urge you to be safe online. I do, however, urge you to let your entire personality shine through in your online interactions. More and more people are making important connections online, but how strong will those connections be if they’re based only on superficial or professional information?

My closest friends from work and other places are those that I know way more about than just their professional acumen. And it’s these outside connections and personal touches that make me think of them first when a new opportunity arises. I am way more likely to recommend a person or share a job opening with someone who I know as a friend and not just a colleague.

If that does not convince you, think about this: when you work in an office, you don’t stick to shop-talk all day long, right? You talk about your family and weekend plans with those who sit near you, and you develop personal relationships along with work relationships. And which of your coworkers are you more likely to recommend? The ones you have only had professional experience with? Or those who you know inside and out?

If you truly intend to make strong and meaningful connections online and use social media as a networking tool, it may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s important to let your entire personality show through all of your interactions.

What do you think? Is it wise to hide part of who you are online? Do you think it’s best to dive in and show your whole self? Share your thoughts!

January 20, 2010 at 8:37 AM 6 comments

How do you measure personal success?

Now that I am settled into my new job as mini measurement guru at Edelman Digital, I think it’s about time I thought through some serious personal and professional goals. Because it’s the age of crowdsourcing I figure the best way to start the process is by asking y’all for advice!

For those of you who have written out professional or personal goals, how do you start? Do you have a timeline for your goals? I know that many of the answers may be, “it depends.” But what I’m trying to get at, I guess, is what is really reasonable?

Growing up during this time and with this technology, I have started to wonder whether the goals I have imagined for myself are completely outdated anymore or if they’re still unreachable. And being a measurement nerd, I know that I will want to be able to measure milestones as I go, and I will want to be able to analyze trends. Is that too much? Is that too in depth for my personal life?

At what point do goals stop being helpful and start becoming a burden and weight on my mind? I would love to hear personal experience with personal or professional goals that you have or have not reached. How did you go about setting them? How did you track or measure your progress? At what point did you declare your goal achieved or not?

Please share your comments and ideas with me. I know that I will probably evolve my own methods as I go, but y’all are a smart bunch and will provide a great jumping off point.

January 18, 2010 at 12:41 PM 9 comments

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