Digital You

Wi-Fi Created in Pittsburgh?

Wednesday, 05 October 2011 02:40 PM Written by
That's the story according to a Carnegie Mellon Professor, Alex Hills who created Wi-Fi on CMU's campus in 1993 and never looked back.  You can read more about how his invention came to be in today's Pop-City and in his new book Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio.  I couldn't pass up sharing this amazing innovation's start with you.  AlexHills_book_cover

How Do You Start A Blog?

Sunday, 18 September 2011 09:58 AM Written by

Blogging is fairly easy if you like to write. If you don’t like to write, but MUST have a blog presence, don’t worry, there are ways around the writing part to help ease your workload.

5 Steps to Starting a Blog

Platform - Select a content management system that is right for you. There are free ones and ones you pay for. You can host your own site, which typically costs around $5.95 per month or you can have a harder-to-find URL (ex: NAMEyouCHOOSE.blogspot.com) that is hosted for you, free to use and setup (ex: blogger.com).

URL - Select a username that is in line with your personal brand and what you want to communicate.  Ideally, you can blog under your vanity URL (your name).  If you have a common name you can pick a URL that is a combo of your name and niche (ex: johnsmithcutlery or use your middle initial if it’s something that you do in written communications already).  If you’re going to blog about a topic that ties into your expertise then choose that (ex: TheLiminalStage.com) 

Topic - Decide what you are going to write about.  Leave yourself some latitude when deciding your topic or topics. For example if you’re going to only write about various kinds of poison ivy it may be difficult for you to sit down and write a post after a while. Instead, you can write about plants and vegetation that agitate the human body.  Still a niche topic but it can give you much more latitude when writing on your blog.

Design – Design your blogsite.  Pick a color that communicates a little more about who you are and what you stand for (see www. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDohoPavchc). Add a professional photograph of yourself. Pick a font that is your style – there are serif and san serif fonts. If you’re really futuristic and cutting edge then pick a font for your header that represents that.  (A header is the top of your web/blog site). If you’re willing to pay for design the services the options are nearly limitless.

Intro – Write an introductory post. I like to make them “sticky” – meaning they will stay at the top no matter how many posts you write.  That way if a new reader joins your growing community they will no what you’re all about, what you’re writing about and what your intentions are right there at the top of your blog.   The best way to describe the intro post is if your blog were a book what would you write in the introduction?

Find Your Writing Voice
Once you’ve conceived and build your home on the World Wide Web, then you’re ready to start writing posts.  In order to continue to communicate your personal brand you need to identify your writing voice.  Your writing voice is just like your speaking voice.  In the same way you may speak to your friends a little differently then your clients, colleagues or boss your writing voice fluctuates too.  But each voice – speaking or blogging – is you, the real you. So tap into your internal voice and unleash your speaking voice. 

The next post will help you find your writing voice.

Facebook Tips & Entrepreneur Overload

Monday, 12 September 2011 11:25 PM Written by

It's that time of year again - adjusting to new schedules, kids back in school, getting back into a more regimented routine. I would love to hear how many entrepreneurs manager their work, life balance. How are you managing the enormous amount of work that lands on and in your laptop? How do you manage keeping up on the latest trends in your business and, at the same time, attract new clients and execute on your sold work?

These are challenges faced by entrepreneurs everywhere and with the speed of content moving on the Internet, its a challenge that needs to be managed.

How can I help you, through this column to manage social media, digital marketing and building your brand online?

For starters here are a few great articles I read recently regarding Facebook marketing.  Mashable released this report today entitled How Consumers Interact with Brands on Facebook. Check out the Slideshare report close to the bottom of the page for excellent social media stats.  

Mitch Joel, a strong and rational voice on the web, wrote a post called The Fleeting Value of Content. The post talks about the lifespan of a Tweet, vs. a Facebook post or a blog post. It's literally hours.  But don't get discouraged there are lots of great reasons to post valuable content on the web.

Last but not least I want to let you know about the upcoming, online, live, Facebook Marketing Conference from Social Media Examiner.  The cost of the month long event is 50% off until this Thursday (that was not an affiliate link) which brings the cost to under $300 for some super high-level speakers. I've taken part in a previous social media conference and it was phenomonal.  So if you are the do-it-yourself type and want to master Facebook, don't miss this event.  

Tips to Make Your Google Profile More Personal

Monday, 29 August 2011 12:24 PM Written by

Are you using Google+ yet?  What do you think of it so far?

I’m in there playing around, but I’m not too active yet.  I did learn two great tips that I wanted to pass along, however.GoogleImage

In the first tip I'll teach you to add your image to your Google search results.  See an example by clicking here.  Notice how my smiling face is right next to the search results?  It makes it more noticeable and personal.  Here’s how you can do that….

Who Are YOU

Here is an excerpt from Google or, click these words “instructions from Google” to get started.

“You’ll need to create a Google Profile. (If you use a Google product such as Gmail, you already have one.) The more useful information you can add to it, the better: a rich profile is a great way to share information with users, and it also gives Google the information we need to better surface your content and +1's in search results.

Make sure that your profile picture is a good, clear headshot of yourself—otherwise, it won’t be eligible to appear as a thumbnail in search results.

When Google detects content you've marked as yours, we'll list that content on the +1 tab of your Google Profile, along with any other content you've +1'd.  (If you haven't +1'd any content yet, just click this button and you're good to go.) Once you've clicked at least one +1 button, make your +1 tab public, as follows:

  1. Go to http://profiles.google.com/me/plusones.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Check the Show this tab on my profile checkbox.”

Google+ Vanity URL

Here's the second tip that will help you create a vanity URL for your Google+ account.

  1. Go to http://gplus.to/
  2. Select your “nickname” (mine is RachelGogos)
  3. Add in your Google+ ID number. TIP: add in your ID number only.  Don’t add in the entire http:// address just the simple ID number. (To get your ID number click on your Google+ profile and notice the number in the URL).
  4. Click “ADD”
  5. Voila, you have your vanity Google+ URL.  Mine is gplus.to/RachelGogos

If you’re stuck, send your questions along in the comments.

 

Can Labels Influence Your Personal Brand?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 01:30 AM Written by

Much of my work focuses on the topic of personal branding, which often intersects with digital media.  This particular post is only about personal branding, but I wanted to share it with you Positive_Labels because I think it's relevant to our day-to-day lives and I love to pass along helpful nuggets of information.  

I started reading a book recently by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka called Raising Your Spirited Child.  The book is especially written for parents of children who are more persistent, more sensitive, more energetic, more intense, more perceptive, etc… I had the good fortune of attending a live lecture with Sheedy, about her book and during our time together she asked the parent-filled audience to shout out adjectives that described their children.  The audience shouted out all sorts of words, including some four-letter ones.  What happened next was really interesting. She “reframed” every negative word on the screen into a positive one.  For example, “persistent” became “focused” and “whiner” became “go-getter.”

This got me to thinking about the damage labeling can lead to in the workplace, a school and on the web. We could damage our peers, colleagues, friends, spouses and even worse, our children. How much do labels communicated during early child hood influence our personal brands and who we become?  That led me to thinking about how early do we actually cultivate our personal brands? What is the impact of others’ labels on our personal brands during our adult years?  Could it cost a job promotion?

We each look at life, our environment and our immediate circle of influencers through our own lenses. Those lenses might be rose-colored, they might be dusty, broken or damaged. They might also be crystal clear but communicated to someone else who has imperfection in their lenses. We can’t control how others’ see or perceive things, we can’t control how others hear things, but we can control what we say and how we label others.  So think twice before you associate a particular brand attribute to someone – it can cost him or her.

How Social Media Can Harm Your "Hirability"

Monday, 25 July 2011 05:19 PM Written by

I read a GREAT, must-read article late last night on the NewYorkTimes.com entitled, "Social Media History Becomes a New Job Hurdle."

Turns out there is a new cyber-detective in town and he is being hired to scope out job prospects before an in-person job interview.  The company is called Social Intelligence.  Social Intelligence scrubs the web for any content you may have posted that could harm your ability to get a new job, for the potential employer.

Did you read my inaugural post for this column, A Very Public Valentine? If not, please do, but the basic premise is - if you want a comment, video, message, photo image to never be visible to the masses then NEVER post it ANYwhere on the web.  Never, ever, ever.

To hammer this home a bit more TechCrunch reported today that Facebook had a glitch that inadvertently revealed private thumbnail videos for nearly a week!  

Glitches happen all the time and it would be a shame if a comment you posted on someone else’s blog or a seemingly private Facebook group you joined deterred you from getting your dream job or any job for that matter.

Have you had any sticky social media moments in your life? If yes, give us an overview in the comments – but don’t share too much!

Optimistic News for Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 11:39 PM Written by

Okay people, I just read some really big news in the web world – WordPress just passed a huge milestone – it now has 50,000,000 blogs on the web.  Half are self-hosted (including mine).  That means 50 million websites on the World Wide Web are built on the same platform or with the same ingredients.  According to an article I read in Adweek that’s approximately 14% of all the sites on the web.  Screen_shot_2011-07-13_at_11.48.18_PMYou can read the full announcement in Adweek.

What’s In It For You?

What does this mean for the average person (small biz owner, careerist, job searcher, medium size biz owner and even large, consultant, non-profit executive director, fundraiser, etc…)? It means that WordPress is really popular and therefore, a powerful content management system (a tool for you to house and manage your content on the web).  It’s fairly easy to maintain and it definitely empowers the site’s owner.  It also means that this platform has made it easier and cheaper to build your online home or headquarters and to build your brand online.

Here’s an interview with Matt Mullenweg, creator and founder of WordPress from Meme Burn.

The YOU Start-Up

In an unrelated article in the New York Times yesterday, Thomas L. Friedman wrote on op-ed entitled, The Start-Up of You.  In his article Friedman talks about our economy, the glum unemployment figures and the optimistic job market.  Yes, that’s right, optimistic job market.

It’s optimistic because we now have the ability to create jobs, careers and companies. We’re living in innovative times and those who can think critically, predict and make trends, are comfortable with risk and can adapt will be highly successful.

Living in Optimism

Depending on how you look at it, this is really an empowering time we live in and the web has truly leveled the playing field.  With very little money someone can start a company, build a team, grow a business and on and on….but, you need some imagination, tenacity, persistence and a unique value proposition in order to stand out from the herd.

Mind_of_an_EntrepreneurTools like WordPress, Facebook and Twitter give us incredible marketing power for very little money.  To use Facebook and Twitter is free – it’s just time consuming ­­– and to host a website can cost as little as $5 and change per month.  These tools also give us the ability to network with people that it used to be difficult to have direct access to – venture capitalists, CEO’s, founders of other successful companies around the world, celebrities and the media.

My favorite section of the article is something that Reid Garrett Hoffman, LinkedIn founder, said. 

“To begin with that means ditching a grand life plan. Entrepreneurs don’t write a 100-page business plan and execute it one time; they’re always experimenting and adapting based on what they learn.

It also means using your network to pull in information and intelligence about where the growth opportunities are — and then investing in yourself to build skills that will allow you to take advantage of those opportunities. You can’t just say, ‘I have a college degree, I have a right to a job, now someone else should figure out how to hire and train me.’  You have to know which industries are working and what is happening inside them and then find a way to add value in a way no one else can. For entrepreneurs it’s differentiate or die — that now goes for all of us.”

What are you doing to differentiate yourself? How are you staying ahead of the curve? How are you going to get noticed on the web?  In a future post I’m going to share some of my favorite personality laden sites and tips on how to get noticed online so stay tuned.

Given the day and date I thought I would touch upon the topic of freedom. Many aspire to own their own business but it's hard to leave your secure, benefit providing "day job" to test the waters of free, free, freedom from an employer. So how can you taste "freedom" before taking the plunge?  Statue_of_Liberty

1. Solidify your idea, product or concept for a new business by discussing it with peers, industry experts and a sound business network (local or online).

2. Write a strategic plan, even if it's simple one. Identify your target audience, your competitors and how you differ from them, set goals, milestones and identify next steps – including how to market or sell your idea, what your pricing structure will be, what's your overhead and breakeven points – just to name a few.

3. Set up listening stations on Twitter and observe your competition and target market – what are you hearing and learning?

4. Set up a free site for yourself to test the waters and start building your list. There are lots of free or super cheap tools on the web to assist you with this. Blogger.com, Typepad.com, WordPress.com, Feedburner.com and Mail Chimp for list building among others.

5. Create compelling content for your site. Remember, your site is your first impression to an audience that may not be able to connect with you in person, unless you own a brick and mortar company. Create the best site you can with the budget you have available. The look should speak to your target market and the content should be as interesting and compelling as possible to keep the attention span of the user. Also, make it simple for your user to navigate from one page to another. I've actually seen some sites have a "what to do on this page" heading on it!

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