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After an interesting dialogue with Scott Hepburn recently about selling and merging Twitter accounts (he actually posted his Twitter account on Craig’s List earlier this week), I got to thinking, as the CEO of my Twitter account, blog and professional life, do I need a board of directors to advise me, bounce ideas off and keep me in check?
Just like a “real” CEO, I need counsel and a reality check from time to time. And I definitely need guidance around how to proceed in certain situations–advice on a potential career move, discussions around how to approach a challenge with a client or ideas/best practices to integrate into a PR/communications plan I’m putting together. I need a cadre of savvy counselors who can guide me on my journey, just like a CEO.
Turns out, I already have it. Informally, at least.
For me, it’s a combination of former managers, mentors, colleagues and people I just really respect and trust. I’m not going to call out my board members by name, but rest-assured I call on them regularly for advice and help. Of course, I collaborate and get thoughts from my entire network of colleagues, friends and family as well (including folks I’ve met on Twitter), but I really rely on my board–those folks I’ve come to truly know and trust–for the big-picture thinking and savvy advice.
What about you? Do you have an informal board of directors? How often do you meet with them? If not, do you have a plan to start something similar in 2009? Why or why not?
About a month ago when I started engaging more actively on Twitter, one of the first folks I met was David Mullen. Man, was I lucky.
I’m not going to lie. It’s really tough to balance work and family alone most of the time without even tossing hobbies and social media stuff in the mix. Twitter doesn’t really take up that much time for me since I quickly dip in and out throughout the day. Blogging, on the other hand, does require some decent time.
There was only one way to add blogging to the plate and not sacrifice time with my wife and daughters. The vast majority of work done on my blog falls between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. after everyone else in the house is asleep. It’s wreaked a bit of havoc on my sleep schedule, especially since our youngest girl wakes up around 6 a.m. every day, but you do what you’ve got to do. Actually, the great thing about that was that it made me decide very quickly if I was serious about blogging or not.
2-I heard you mention at some point that you started your blog six months ago. Since then, you’ve evolved into a social media luminary online. Any advice for those aspiring to position themselves as authorities in different disciplines online?
You’re way too kind. I’ll leave the luminary title to Chris Brogan, Amber Naslund and a few other fine folks. My advice would be to blog about what you know and love, and find an angle on it that’s a bit different from everyone else.
For example, I’m passionate about social media, but there are a LOT of already established bloggers who tackle that topic with much more background in the space than me. What I know really well is PR and integrated marketing. I write about social media from time-to-time on my blog, but the majority of time is spent on PR and integrated communications generally.
What I noticed about other PR bloggers is that many write about PR industry news and such. What I’ve done to have a different voice is regularly challenge the way we PR types do business to make sure we’re doing things because they are the right way to do them, not simply because it’s the way it’s always been done. Challenging our profession in a positive way led to a lot of great comments on my posts, even early on, and solid growth in readers and subscribers.
3-You’re a pretty savvy “Twittizen.” Who are your “must follows”? Who do you make sure to check in with regularly? And whose blogs do you make a point of reading and commenting on each day?
Ah, you’re going to make me name names… There are so many great folks I follow and I know I’m going to leave some off. But here are some of my “must follows,” for various reasons. By the way, I’m leaving off the obvious A-listers (though a couple of these are inches away from that status). Those folks are pretty easy to find on Twitter.
@ambercadabra, @bethharte, @shannonpaul, @scottmeis, @sonnygill, @kellyecrane, @scotthepburn, @abneedles, @bradmays, @cubanaLAF, @evanspatrick, @rockstarjen, @dannybrown, @prjack, @susanisk, @researchgoddess and, of course, one of my new favorites @arikhanson.
I don’t get to read as many blogs as I’d like or comment nearly as often as I should, but my must-read blogs right now are Amber Naslund, Shannon Paul, Chris Brogan, Danny Brown, Leo Bottary, Todd Defren, Jason Falls and Mack Collier. On the personal side, I also follow Desiring God , The Just Life, and The Resurgence. There are others that I read regularly, but these are the ones I read most often. I also get pointed to a lot of great posts by my Twitter peeps.
4-In your day job at Mullen, how have you been counseling clients who want to get into the social media space because “everyone else is jumping in?” How are you advising these folks to be prudent and strategic in their decision-making instead of taking the “me too” approach? Any best practices to offer?
I ask them a lot of questions during the first discussion that not only provide me with insight about their motivations, but also require them to stop and think about why they’re interested. After getting all the answers out in the open, it’s usually obvious to everyone if we’re looking at social media tools as a strategic addition to our overall communications or if we’ve come down with Shiny Object Syndrome. It sounds simple, but asking the right questions – even if you already know the answer to some of them – can change a conversation.
5-Lastly, you mentioned the other day you paid off your second car and that you now have no payments. Nice. So, I’m guessing that means you won’t be in the market for a new car anytime soon. However, if you were, what would be yo
ur dream automobile?
We are definitely NOT in the market for a new one car anytime soon! But if I could pick any set of wheels, it would either be a 1957 Chevy Truck, a 1956 Porsche 356 or an Aston Martin Vantage. Which car would depend on how I felt that day and whether or not my wife was with me.
I’ll admit, I’m a relative rookie when it comes to Twitter. I just started really participating and engaging a few weeks ago. But, in that short amount of time, I feel like I’ve learned as much or more than I have during entire college courses. Or, even some of my post-grad classes for that matter. Hey, Chris Brogan said it best–maybe you don’t have to go back to school to hone certain key skills you need for your dream job today.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been informally compiling a list of Minnesota-based PR and communications professionals who author blogs or are engaging on Twitter. Lately, I’ve found myself asking “Gee, I wonder if X is on Twitter.” Or, “What other MN-based blogs can I link to or follow and learn from?”