“If you can’t explain it to your grandma, don’t post it.”
Marisa Lather went to college during a time when social media classes were not taught and Facebook still require an e-mail ending in .edu, but that didn’t keep her from becoming a whiz at it all. An English degree and a few years later, she’s now the Marketing Director for Microgrid Solar, and even runs her own fashion blog (currently in a transition mode). She monitors what she posts based on what she would look for in a possible new hire, and tries to keep her personal life separate from her work life. With two Facebook accounts, it helps her narrow down what she wants to be seen by certain audiences. It’s not as an attempt to hide anything, but you have to fight for your privacy as much as you can now.
Facebook pages is one the most popular page to pop up when you Google somebody’s name. Lather gave us some tips on how to control the content that is put on our Facebook page. “Everything you put out about yourself is your brand. Take control of that now,” she advised. Lather even told us to watch what our friends are putting online about us too. Just being tagged in one photo whether your face is visible or not, can still show up in Google image searches.
“Whatever you post, let there be intention behind it,” Lather told us. Stay clear of the drinking, illegal behavior, and provocative photos. She also advised us to get a quarterly reminder on our phones to go through and double check all of our privacy settings on our Facebook pages and other social media sites. The settings are constantly changing, and sometimes we think what we are posting cannot be seen, until we find out the hard way.
You can avoid that by monitoring what you post, and going back on old posts and deleting what you think was inappropriate or against what you’re aiming for your brand. Most importantly, don’t use Facebook to vent. She said, “Vent to real friends, not Facebook friends.” You’ll never know if the person, organization, or company saw you bad mouthing them. Also, not only bad mouthing shows any red flags to employers, but even the way you talk. No text talking allowed, use proper grammar and English. You never know who will see what you say. Once it’s online, there’s no going back.
Creating the best, “You” online
We may be proud of the “selfie” we just took, but what really can make us stand out online is using a professional photo as your profile photo. Even adding a website to your Twitter or Facebook page, can show credibility, and by having a blog, it adds SEO points toward our name. When you put up an appropriate title, be sure to add your name to the title of the photo, so that adds more SEO points, and it will pop up in searches.
Finding the perfect username for our Twitter and Blogs pages can also help with defining our brand. Using a creative name and background conveys professional qualifications. Don’t use a name or put up any photo that could be misinterpreted. Lather’s fashion blog used to be called, “VanillaInVogue,” and although ‘Vanilla’ was a nickname, she changed it because Vanilla can be associated as plain and boring, and that’s not what she wants her brand to be known as. Also, if you take a photo that could be misinterpreted, use an app to put text over the photo explaining what is it, so what you’re doing is flat out there.
One thing employers dislike the most is lying about qualifications you have. Be sure to make sure anything you put on your LinkedIn profile, or any other profile, is telling the truth. You want to meet the expectations that the employer has for you, and if there was a qualification you had that got you hired, you want to prove you can do it. Make sure you have a well written bio that explains everything you are, and again, using proper grammar and English is also needed in this area. Your creativity can shine through what you can come up with in 140 characters on a Twitter bio.
Getting Your Blog Big
As far as blogging is concerned, make online friends. By others seeing you have friends that aren’t your friends outside of the computer world, make them comfortable enough to communicate with you. The more friends you make, the easier it is to help each other succeed at more visitors, and influence in the blogging community. Once you can prove you have influence, you can then ask ad agencies if they would be interested in paying you to do an ad for their product/company.
Important Lesson of the Day -Manipulate Public Persona
You ultimately have the power of what people can find about you on the web. Even apps like SnapChat that are appealing because the picture only lasts a few seconds and goes away, stores all the pictures you send somewhere. Lather gave the statistic that 30% of teens are using SnapChat, texting, and more to sext. Those don’t go away forever. With enough digging, you can find it somewhere. Depending how long it can take, it will be worth going back through every photo and every Facebook post you have ever been tagged in, uploaded, or shared, and delete anything you might find as a red flag. Not only is it never too late to start your brand, but it’s never too late to create a new, ‘you’ online.
“No blog is a little blog.”
Words from the Jessica Leitch herself. Although she’s one math class away from two degrees, her skills have proven that you don’t always need a degree to be a hired professional. While she has had numerous jobs whether that was working for a radio station, or at Switch -they all have led up to her becoming the Community Manager and Event Coordinator for ALIVE Magazine in St. Louis. By blogging, she was able to have proof that she knew what she was doing, and she had a foot in the content world. “No blog is a little blog,” is what she told us when asked if our starter blogs could even help us get hired.
“Forcing myself to blog allowed me to get the job, post review.” While in #pbandjterm herself, blogging wasn’t quite her thing -mostly because of the 500 word limit. Leitch said she was a woman of many words, but not on paper. Her blog is heavily based on images and video which helps makes her page appealing to look at. Through her blog, friends who have taken pictures of her outfits or have recorded a video idea she had, all found jobs after she published her posts. “Blogging takes time,” she told us right before she said that it takes two to three years for your blog to gain an audience. “You’re investing your time and energy into something that won’t make you money.”
Networking Gets You Jobs and Staying On Top Keeps Them
“St. Louis is really tiny.” Good networking, and knowing the other influential social media folk in the city, helped her get every job after she left the radio station. Leitch even landed a gig on the board of the Social Media Club in St. Louis. They hold events that offer great networking experience in the St. Louis area, no matter what you’re looking to get in to. Leitch is one busy woman juggling a few jobs, but as Community Manager for ALIVE Magazine, she said, “Your time is no longer your own.”
Part of keeping up with Twitter, Facebook, etc. is investing a lot of time in to what you’re doing. She keeps up with what each of her networks are saying, and tries to respond back to any tweets or messages as quickly as possible, so the response doesn’t become outdated before it is even sent. She tries to keep her personal fashion blog updated as well, because she has followers that are always waiting for her next post. It shows that you care about your reader and audience.
Never Say No and Be Your Own Content Creator
“Just saying yes is the best way at trying new things,” coming from Leitch who once landed an airplane because she didn’t say no. By always saying ‘yes,‘ you are allowing yourself to gain new experiences and you will create connections along the way. It also opens you to experience that you would never get if you stayed inside and stared at a computer screen for hours. You might not always want to agree to things that don’t interest you, but doing so makes you cultured.
When it comes to your blog, just being honest helps you succeed. “I’m very genuine with what I put up and what I’m doing. I’m not hiding anything.” Her blog was the reason she got hired at Switch, was because they liked her blog and what she was posting. In the introductory e-mail sent to the employees, a link to her blog was featured. Nervous at first at the thought of 150 employees looking at her life, she got over it because her blog represents who she is, and what she likes. There was nothing to hide.
Having the successful blog, she does look at other ones for inspiration, but still likes to be original. During the early years of cityinajar.com, she used images from Pinterest, but as her brand grew, she realized, “Original content is better than curated content.” While curated content isn’t all that bad, it’s still a way to keep your brand your own, by designing and making entirely your own. Leitch’s blog is also a creative outlet away from all the social media and blogging she already does for work.
Although she is headed in the right direction, Letich says she still doesn’t know what she wants to do. Her interests vary from fashion, content creation, design and styling, and video. “I think that’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do,” Leitch reminded the class. She is the perfect example that you can pursue all of the things you love most.
Starting From Scratch
Just the though of trying to figure out what angle I wanted my personal brand to be narrowed down was extremely terrifying. Within only a few days, I’ve learned that it is not as hard as I thought it was. The exercise in class when we had to come up with five words,really made me think what I want to be known for and it created a nice ease to a direction I wanted to take myself. My five words were: curious/open-minded (the two go hand in hand), trustworthy, motivated, fearless, and energetic. This is what I want to stand for and I believe they are some of my strongest attributes.However, with the exercise, we also had to pick one word which describes what we want to work on. This take any thought at all, I immediately picked the word, “cultured.”
Right now, my love for the world is more wanderlust than a mission. I’ve never been out of the country and my first time is going to be to a resort in Mexico, which I’m extremely excited for, but the world I really have a passion for seeing are the small villages in Africa, or the slums of India, the forests of Russia, and more… generally places people do not want to normally visit. If I am going to create the best brand for myself, and my desires lie in the oceans, lands, and atmospheres of the Earth, I want to be trusted enough to know what I am talking about.
Everyone Has a Brand, Some On Purpose and Some By Default
Whether you realize it or not, you already have created a persona for yourself based on what you post online. Think about it, you have those friends on Facebook who always post clever statuses/pictures, and some who post more human relations stories -those people are associating themselves with a personality they want to be known by (even if it is subconsciously). If you know what you want people to know you by, flaunt it. Besides, always going with the default options for anything is boring. In the video above, Irish motivational speaker, Connor Cunneen, says, “Your behavior creates your brand. How you behave is what people say about you, and what people say about you is what your brand is.” Exactly.
Let’s think on a larger scale. Apple, is what most people associate with being innovative, the future, and edgy. I would think they are getting their brand across how they are intending. They come out with products so often, because they want to be the first and the ones that are breaking limits for technology. That’s their behavior that I’m picking up from them. An exercise Cunneen demonstrated, had the audience write three words they want people to say about them after they have interacted with them. I really enjoyed how he challenged them to keep that paper with them at all times, as a friendly reminder to stay faithful to their brand. He brought the personal brand to a whole new level by trying to get people to actually live the brand they want to be.
Pump Out the Right Content
Every site has a curator. The curator’s job is to decide what’s important enough to be shared with everyone. If you run your own social media accounts, you’re the curator. The key is to not over share. The more you share, the less of a focus you will have and people don’t like clutter of information they don’t care about. Think in terms of Facebook. We all have those friends that share every picture they laugh at, or every story they cry at, and in reality, we don’t want to see that all. I know when I see my news feed being conquered, I go to their profile and take them out of my news feed or un-friend them. Don’t be that guy.
RSS Will Murder My Brain
I’m not familiar with RSS, the only site with that format I know is Reddit. Even then, I try not to read some feeds because it’s too confusing, and all over the place. We had to set up an account for feedly.com which is what we are using to organize media we want to know. I don’t have much to say on this topic, because I’m overwhelmed with confusion… get back to me next week.
Consume All the Things!
When it comes to my phone, most of my apps are social media apps. Some like Twitter, are used to just stay updated with news from all over the world and St. Louis region. Usually that is the only content I collect from Twitter because I try not to follow accounts that aren’t going to give me any useful information. I also have Instagram, but it does not generate too much content for me, other than pretty pictures. As far as some local news stations, they only post the fun things happening around the news room for the day. If I did not need a phone to have the app, I probably would strictly access it through the web.
I of course have the other popular apps like Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, and Buzzfeed. One app I spend a lot of time on is Vine. It provides my daily laugh, but I am also very attracted to creative pieces using stop-motion. I’ve actually had a Vine make it on the popular page with almost 3,000 likes and over 600 shares, and it was a stop-motion engagement announcement. There are some big Vine accounts I follow who are paid to make ads for companies, and they are either so creative and/or funny, that I don’t realize I am watching an ad. I’ve also noticed that paid ads on Twitter are using stop-motion Vines, so I think a big new advertising medium is beginning it’s revolution.
I absolutely do not have and will not have Facebook on my phone. I only post as often as I do on it to remind friends and family that I’m not dead. It’s also easier to keep up that way than to send a mass e-mail, text message, or letter. Sounds awful, but that’s kind of how it is these days. I don’t consider Facebook as any content collector for me. I’ve recently invested a lot of time on Buzzfeed, as I mentioned, I have the app. I like it because it tells a story with silly gifs, but they do actually have interesting stories. It’s the perfect site to share content because everyone can relate to something on that site. The same goes for Pinterest. I joke that I’m addicted to Pinterest, when in reality, my mom is more of an addict -which says a lot. She’s a woman in her mid sixties who signed up on Facebook for a week and refused to add any of her family. The only thing she uses the computer for is: e-mailing, playing Sudoku, and Pinterest. That’s how you know Pinterest will be around for a very long time.
Hey! Make Your Own Content
Going into the field of Journalism, specifically broadcast, the core of my job is creating content. If I cannot create quality content, then I will never be able to be a journalist. However, this applies for most career choices. It’s all about making something unique enough to be shared a million and two times. I personally want to cover wars, but any global news is good. Since I’m aiming for such a large medium of work, I have a lot of content that can be created. On my personal time I’m very interested in women’s rights, so for a personal blog, that would be my niche.
Flowing off that topic of choice, there is a lot to say. There can be talk about rape culture, and how some think it’s the woman’s fault based on her clothing choice, to something as big as women gaining the right to vote in another country. There will always be a topic. Plus, just browsing the web, it seems like more and more women are speaking out about women’s rights, and it’s something that really get us fired up as a group. For example, women still make less than men do in the workplace… this is 2014 people!
Professionally as I stated, I am more geared towards war zones and global news. The content I hope to provide is video and pictures of what is happening, that will hopefully strike a chord in the viewer. Video and pictures is what has allowed the world to know what life is like in other places. They can also create wanderlust in the traveler’s. Besides, in this day in age, it’s way too hard to get someone to read or watch anything without some unusual visuals.
Being the Voice of the Voiceless Women
Mentioned before, the niche I hope to succeed at is telling stories about what’s happening to women all over. At first since I don’t quite have the funds yet to travel all over the world, my blog posts will most likely consist my whole take on certain issues based on different articles I have read. The ultimate goal is to have all work be 100% my contribution, and maybe other blogs will quote me. I chose this as a niche because it’s something I never get tired of talking about, and I have a real big passion for these type of stories.
I want to be available on all platforms so I can reach every audience. Obviously a blog would be my starting point and from there I would like to have a Vine account that uses stop-motion to tell a quick fact (I don’t think a longer YouTube video would keep others informed), a Twitter account to post what recent work I’ve done, and visuals from infographics, to videos, and pictures. If I do a news story on a topic women-related, I would share that on my social media accounts.
I look to a few blogs that talk about this topic already, and it’s important to have a few inspirations that can help you get started. Don’t copy everything they do, but pay close attention to what is helping their blog run smoothly. Plus, some of the blogs I look at, post stories I would never talk about, but I keep my eye on them because they do have some diamonds in there.
No matter what you decided to talk about, over everything else, just put time into your content, and it will flow from there.
Who am I to the Internet?
When I Google my first and last name, the results are about as boring as when you had to sit in the hair salon as a kid while your mom got her hair done. The only profile that shows up that is linked directly to me, is my LinkedIn profile, which I hardly have set up. Other than that, there are a few pictures from my old MySpace account, but I was also between the ages of 13-16 in them, so I’m not too worried. I do not mind the results, but I know if I am trying to impress an employer, I should definitely work on that kind of footprint I leave behind professionally. Rather than trying to narrow down what I do want employers to find on a Google search, it is easier to say what I do not want them to find.
First of all, my Facebook page, not because of questionable material, but because I do not really associate a Facebook profile with being professional. Besides, they would mostly find a bunch of cat photos, and wannabe clever statuses anyway. I would like them to find a better Twitter profile for myself. Again, not that I’m tweeting anything racy, I’m just not tweeting anything important. How are they supposed to rely on me to know how to manage my own Twitter account, if all I’m tweeting about is what I did for the day? I would create a separate Twitter page, but I’m already at 417 followers, and I’m afraid I would not get them all to follow the new account. Maybe a goal for this J-Term course could be learning how to professionalize (did I make up a word?) my Twittersphere and get it in the top results when you Google my name. There’s not much else I really don’t want an employer finding, because I’m pretty confident in my other profiles.
What is my calling?
Bombs exploding behind me, and doing a stand-up in the middle of a war-zone is my dream. I’ve noticed every reporter has some sort of topic they like to report on, whether it is crime, sketchy business men, or whatever, and I have some strong calling and passion for wanting to be a war correspondent/world news reporter. I have known that I was meant to be a reporter when I was 10 years old, and I first really watched the news, which was on September 11, 2001. I may not remember how I felt too much, but I will never forget the news clips and all the different anchors and reporters I saw that day. What will be the biggest day in history in my entire life, and I remember it by newscasts. How powerful is that? There’s something that’s really appealing about being the storyteller, and when you are there reporter, you have made yourself a part of history. What a dream!
Sure in high school I may have been interested in interior design or business, but my heart always went back to reporting. Being pretty passionate about the field, I have a lot of respect for a lot of anchors. Barbara Walters, Anderson Cooper, Diane Sawyer, Robyn Roberts, are a few of the names that come to mind. I also really like the reporter, Amber Lyon. She may not be as much of a household name as the others, but I really like what she stands for and I like how to always reports the stories not otherwise talked about. Looking at my dreams and inspirations, I really just want to fix what’s wrong with the media, and make the viewers think on a higher level.
I want to be the helping hand for others
I know Journalism is a competitive field, and sometimes it feels like people are only helpful to you in hopes of being a great connection for them in the future -which can be kind of bittersweet (nice they think you will make it, but also sad because you’re not cool enough to just like as a person). Working at LUTV, there is a lot of opportunity to help fellow students who haven’t had their hands in the same jar quite as long as you. Since I’ve been mastering all of these skills for about four years now, it is safe to say I have it all mostly mastered. I mostly get asked to read over a script they wrote, or especially with editing. I genuinely do love helping fellow peers, because I want everyone to have had the same opportunities when they go to apply for a job, and I also really want students to have taken those opportunities before it’s too late.
I have a couple of friends who are studying broadcast journalism as well, at other colleges, and they text me asking if I can help them make a demo reel, or they will ask me advice on how to act on air (which is one of the biggest compliments, because I personally think it is my weakest spot, mostly because I’m highly critical of myself). I think it would be rude and manipulative if I tried to keep all of the knowledge about the field in my brain. Sure I know they are competition, but that does not mean I have to let out the claws. I know, if someone is coming to me, they trust me, and that is so empowering as a hopeful journalist.
Why this J-Term course will be so important to me
I would lie if I said I didn’t cry sometimes at the though of never being able to report, but I cry because I care. In only a few months, I will finally earn my degree, and be thrown out into the world. How scary is that? I’ve made a home of this University for four years, and once I leave this place, I have to be polished and as close to perfection as I possibly could be. Thousands of other broadcast journalism majors all over the country will be graduating at the same time and will be fighting for the same job as I. #PBandJTerm (the short-cut/hashtag is so hip, so I’m not spelling it out) I believe, will help me stand-out amongst all other applications. Hopefully my resume and demo reel will too, but just to be the cherry on top of a sweet, sweet, hot-fudge sundae, the station will see my online presence as an individual, and will fully put their trust in me as a pick.
I am not entirely sure what we will be doing in this class, but I know it will always be interesting. I am not actually sure how many universities even have a class like this one. Sure it might be a small topic covered in one of the lessons in another major class, but it’s not focusing on it directly for three weeks, at three hours at a time. I have full faith in what I am going to learn, because it will be an area of expertise I am weak at.