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Wet Paint (I’m blogging again)

August 17, 2011

So after not writing here for a long time I’ve determined that the topics that are burning holes in my head that I’ve been really itching to write about don’t have any place on the blogs I write for regularly. (All work related of course)

So with that in mind I think I’ll give this sad looking little blog an overhaul, and get to writing again.

Over the next few weeks you might see some mess as I rework the blog and get back in the swing of things, but just ignore the mess and keep your eyes posted for updates.

Stepping up to the plate | A lesson in leadership

February 2, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to write here… and recent events drove me back to the root of my social media comfort zone, sharing my story with others.

A good friend of mine, my partner in crime, and the leader of my team at work recently was removed from his post… the wide range of feelings that hit me ran  through my head so fast I got dizzy. My gut reaction was pure confusion, I was stunned, but I that emotion quickly subsided.

I had to approach the way I did everything differently from that moment on. I use the following analogy a lot when explaining my personality type and the role I feel most comfortable filling on a team: (pretext – I was in marching band for 8 years, they were some of the best years of my life, and they showed me a few valuable life lessons)

In the marching band I played snare drum, literally the pulse of the band. I was center snare, so without me the band didn’t move, it didn’t march, it didn’t play, it did nothing. It was my job to lead the drum line, we led the band, the band led the fans. The only two people I took visual orders from during a performance were the Drum Major and the Director. The Drum Major was the commander of our troops, I was his Lieutenant. Without me, he had no way to manage his troops, without me he had no direct power over the band. I was always the leaders right hand man, the go-to-guy, the lead by example work horse. I was never the Drum Major.

I filled a similar role at work, I was the lead by example team member. But when I got moved up into the newly vacated team leader position I had to change everything. I was now the Drum Major, I now how to lead by action and example.

I had to step up to the plate and take the first pitch of a new game… my team was watching, eyes glued to my every move to determine if I was qualified for my new position. The pitcher wound up and delivered a fast-moving curve ball, I knocked it out of the park.

To use this analogy is really quite fitting, in little league baseball I had a total of 3 hits in 5 seasons. I was an all-star left fielder but couldn’t hit a pitch to save my life. But ironically, all three of my hits came in tournaments and all three of them either won a game or saved us from losing. I guess I had it in me the whole time and never knew it.

The moral of the story is that sometimes leadership is thrust upon you, much like greatness is thrust upon people. I didn’t think I had what it took to be a leader of my team at work, but now I know I do. I thought I would never hit that ball in little league but I did when the game was on the line.

Einstein said it best, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”     I’m living those words right now…

HOW TO Use Links Without Re-Directing Your Blog Traffic

November 30, 2010

You’ve slaved over the keyboard for hours writing the perfect blog. You took the time to make it keyword rich and have the perfect set of tags. You’ve carefully selected a picture to draw in the attention of your readers. You proofed and re-proofed… and even added a couple of GREAT links to other blogs and sites to help boost your blogs overall SEO value.

All your hard work pays off… you’ve got a new reader. They’re really enjoying their first taste of your blog, reading a post when their eyes pass over a hyperlink built into your blog. Honoring the human instinct to be curious, they click the hyperlink… and BAM. They never set eyes on your blog again.

If you’re positioning hyperlinks in the body of your blog and not setting them to open up in a new window you’re essentially inviting them in the front door then pushing them out the back door and locking it behind them. You’ve earned your reader’s attention somehow, but if you aren’t making sure that your content stays in front of them… you’re failing as a blogger.

If you’re blog theme allows it, make sure that you’re setting your hyperlinks up to open in a new window. This not only allows your reader the experience of accessing information you obviously saw fit to share with them, but also gives them the chance to quickly go back to your blog without any additional work. In my WordPress theme it’s as simple as checking a box. I’ll even set links that are directing traffic further into my blog by jumping to a previous post to open up a new window. Take a moment if you aren’t already familiar with the hyperlink options on your blog and see what steps you need to take to ensure you aren’t re-directing your traffic away from your blog.

What else do you do to keep traffic on your blog focused on your content?

Do You Like Me? Or Do You Like Me-Like Me?

November 28, 2010

Clicking “Like” on a blog or facebook post is one thing. Actually taking the time to stop and read what someone is saying is a completely different story.

It might seem simple but a single click doesn’t in my book count as an interaction. It counts more along the lines of a digital guest book. When you click the “Like Button” what you’re really conveying is that you want everyone else in your network to know that you were there. You’re broadcasting the message that you saw whatever content is up for consumption.

Next time you feel inclined to click the like button after power skimming the title of a post that seems interesting, stop yourself and ask, “If this was my blog… would I want someone to click or would I want someone to comment?”

How do you feel…? Is the one click appreciate good enough? Or is a real conversational interaction worth more than a thumbs up icon?

The Target Down Range

November 23, 2010

I wanted to name this post, “Life through the scope.” But I figured not many people would be able to relate to how life feels right now. Fate has dealt me an interesting opportunity, before me lays a rifle with one round in it. Down range is my target, it’s hit or go home… and I’m feeling the stress.

My bullet isn’t made up of a metal jacket, there’s no firing cap or gun powder. My bullet is my up entirely of skill and determination. My target isn’t a paper outline of an enemy, it’s a clear pathway to the next step of my career. I’ have one chance to line up the sights, steady my pulse, stare down the scope at my target, and peel off my single shot.

Missing means that I’m out of ammo, I’ve expended all my options, and I’m at the mercy of the other shooters on the range. I’m not willing to put my fat on the hopes that someone else misses their target. I’ve been well-trained by my superiors, my trusty rifle is at my side, and my spotter has my back. Time to take the shot…

Guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to see if I hit my mark..

What To Do When The Lake Freezes

November 20, 2010

I’m a fishermen. Have been for a while now…

I live in Ohio, land of cold and ice during most months that have more than 2 weeks in them. (Sarcasm is great isn’t it)

So what’s a guy to do when the lake freezes over? Well if you’re like some social media users, when one platform turns the least bit cold you leave and migrate to warmer waters. But if you’re a true fisherman you stay… cut a hole through the ice, and catch the whopper!

My point is simple, don’t tuck your tail and run at the first sign of a cold front! Once you’ve committed to the social media lake of your choice, wether it be Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or a Blog…. stick with it until you hit a home run!

The Social Media Sleeper Cell

November 18, 2010

A sleeper cell is a unit meant to infiltrate and wait… wait for the exact moment when the order comes down to activate their cell and carry out their orders. In the military a sleeper cell might have orders to go deep under cover and then strike strategically at the heart of an organization… In the real world, my world, the social media world, the sleeper cell is much less exciting.

Everyday I see untapped potential, in people who don’t even realize they have it. As a member of a Human Business Team that operates on multiple levels and platforms to achieve a unified goal, it’s partially my job to keep an eye open for the next big players that could better our team.

I’ve always been an observant individual, noticing slight patterns and picking up on hints that people don’t even realize they’re sending. But some of the potential I see in my generation is incredible, people who if given the opportunity to grow would be launched into the social media spotlight.

It might be easier to notice these people if they wore highlighter yellow shirts that said “POTENTIAL BLOG AUTHOR” or if they had Sims style icons floating over their heads that lit up when you scrolled over them. But they don’t… they’re just average guys and girls.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you have to keep an eye out for the sleeper cell. Of course in the military the members of a cell would never knowingly draw attention to themselves. In the social media world the members of the sleeper cell don’t draw attention because they don’t realize they have potential.

You have to seek them out. You have to activate the social media sleeper cell.