Saturday, February 28th, 2009
Carolyn Tann-Starr on Social Networking
Every second a digital wave of infinite possibilities oscillates through the Internet. My question to you is are you going to embrace the technology or are you going to ignore blogging as a viable part of your business plan?
It was recently reported that Facebook registered over 1.2 billion visits, MySpace over 800 million and Twitter over 54 million during January of 2009. In the interim of 31 days a tremendous amount of information exchanged minds on a global scale, digitally dancing across hard drives, PDAs, cell phones and any mechanism accessible to access the Internet that a user could get their Web 2.0 on.
Virtual peeps became brick and mortar buddies overnight and new business relationships were born. Some relationships bloomed over time while others were birthed in the twinkling of a virtual eye with something as simple as a memorable quip, a fascinating e-mail, an unusual photograph, awesome art or a quick, quirky little film.
It doesn't take much to get the conversation party started when you play nice in cyberspace. All it takes is a single post for a photo-journalist to get discovered or Granny to amass a huge following. Language is no longer a barrier. There are several on-line translators to choose from if you want to tweet in other languages, find out why your name is on a foreign site or answer foreign e-mail. You follow who you like and people follow you if they like you. I routinely get e-mail from Japan, Korea and China regarding my on-line tour of homes videos. They have been embedded on websites in 19 countries along with a few other Club Chaos productions.
Here's a recent example of how social media can open doors for you when you are least expecting it: I relocated a family from another country who moved to NY. I have an Outside Blog Minion Report interview scheduled through Facebook with George Hartman, a comic book artist who is about to write and ink his next project. I have a guest blog to create for a major international firm because of my activities on Active Rain in the Club Chaos, Donald Trump Fans and the Seth Godin Fan Club groups. I got a behind the scenes tour of Trump University and participated in a Trump U podcast on Real Estate Investing and Social Media. I have video-blogs and podcasts to host regarding AR members interviews, not to mention several professionals I met fooling around on-line in Twitter and from hosting Skype par-tays with a little help and a lot of laughter from my friends. Third party introductions can be priceless when you have interesting peeps LinkedIn with other interesting people (LOL). You don't need a lot of superficial friends to benefit from social networking, you just need a handful of really good ones who care about you and who you genuinely care about.
Cyberlebrity is about personality. I like to think of it as the coming out party for the Anti-famous to be discovered (LOL). If a writer is transparent and honest about their work, readers will begin to follow them if they like what they are reading. One stellar post, fun comment or a pithy micro-blog later you are out there for all the world to see, floating through the digital divide to be esteemed or eschewed by those who decide to be for or against you. If you want to build your readership you have to write consistently.
Writing consistently and diligently is not for everyone. A blog is a business tool, can be lots of fun, but a posting schedule must be respected for the writer to gain the rewards inherent in cultivating and growing a fan base. If done correctly, you can become a Social Media Diva the likes of Kelley Koehler (Tucson, AZ), Lani Rosales (Austin, TX), Ines Hegedus-Garcia (Miami, FL), Poppy Dinsey (London, UK), Missy Caulk (Ann Arbor, MI) and Kim Wood (Chester County, PA). Want to know more about some of my favorite writers? Click this link to AgentGenius.com. If you want to meet more of my faves, then check out ClubChaosAgents.com
The Active Rain Group Club Chaos is a pretty unique group of writers. We are not your average set of bloggers and our little cyber family has 570 siblings. Wanna know just how unique we can be? Try Chris Elizabeth Griffith, TLW, Lenn Harley, Amanda Hall, Melody Botting, Richard Weisser, Jason Crouch, Lizette Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth Weintraub, Nelya Calev, Cheryl Johnson, Margaret Rome, Josef Katz, Steve Shatsky, Susan Mangigian, Paul Slaybaugh, Debe Maxwell, ERCG, Deb Brooks, Jeremy Blanton and Sheldon Neal.
Why people become excellent friends can be quite the mystery, but we have a lot of fun together. We pick and chose each other for so many different reasons the variables are just too wide on the friendship spectrum to speculate. I love my friends and enjoy my readers. Some of my readers have become friends. For me, it was never about about universal appeal, it was always about being uniquely different and enjoying the creative quirkiness of others. Those are the type of people I gravitate towards and look forward to discovering. My friends and readers make blogging fun. :-)
What you decide to do with and to your cyber-real-estate is entirely up to you. Your website is a valuable piece of intellectual property. It's your portal into the digital divide, reflects your cyber-mind and is the ultimate key to reaching people who are otherwise inaccessible. It's where you bring the intangible into tangible form. It's where you are free to create something from nothing and reap the benefits of doing a job well done, or suffer the consequences of being irresponsible with your freedom of speech. It's where your family and friends meet you on-line. It's where people accept, reject, embrace and advance you.
If you are going to write (1) decide at what level, (2) how often and (3) be careful regarding how far you are willing to go. I do not know about you, but I would love to eventually get my press pass, travel and cover real estate assignments. Being a freelance life style photo-journalist can be a very useful gig if you are a Realtor (LOL). To do that, however, one would have to set the stage now rather than later. It would require a migration to print and landing some stellar brick and mortar writing projects. If you can not produce newspaper and magazine articles as original tear sheets from a distributed publication with a steady circulation, you will never be able to embrace the "freedom of the press" clause or protect your sources if you ever write anything really interesting based upon an industry tip.
One must "be the press" in order to trigger the constitutional protection. I do not know about where you live, but here's what the City of New York says about getting a press pass: On-line NYPD Press Credential Application: "Press Identification Cards are issued to full-time members of the press who do not hold the Working Press Cards but do have a need for an official Police Department identification card in order to fulfill their various assignments of crossing police lines at the scene of a "non-emergency" news event such as a parade, theater premiere, etc.. Press Identification cards will not be granted to individuals who are employed in the business, advertising or circulation departments."
Next relevant quote:
"First time and renewal applicants must include the following items with their application, should any items be omitted the application will be returned.
1. A cover letter from the applicant’s News Director/Editor requesting credentials for the individual. (If numerous applications are being filed one letter with all the applicants names will suffice.)
2. Three (3) tear sheets attributed to the applicant for print media.
3. Radio and television applicants must submit a VHS tape or audio tape of their work. (This tape will be returned)
4. Organizations applying for the first time should contact D.C.P.I. for assistance.
5. Independently employed applicants must submit a reference letter from at least TWO agencies that have recently hired them on a freelance basis and the "Company Name" box on the application should be filled in with "self employed." All documented work must be within the previous six months and must demonstrate a need for credentials."
You should Google you own areas and see what the requirements are. Each locality has different rules and some of you may already qualify. Are you documenting your work? Are you syndicating your work? Are you promoting your blog and creating new opportunities to become a professional writer? Are you going hyper-local with your events coverage and sending the file as a press release to all of the newspapers in your area so they can pick up your work and quote you? With the economy stretched thin and a recession looming across the current and future horizons, can you really not afford to take the steps necessary to monetize your blog and create multiple streams of revenue for your business?
Every social media account you own represents a golden opportunity for you to shine as a writer if you don't mind investing in yourself and the people associating with you. Keep writing about what interests you. You never know who may be reading...
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