About Me

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Tracey Holden-Quinn has developed and written content for communications plans and websites, social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogs. She is experienced with conducting needs analysis, establishing goals, recommending and scheduling tactics and strategies, and evaluating results.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Does this look infected to you?

I‘ve done a lot of navel gazing while pondering my personal brand.  I’m almost certain that my navel is not infected.

What I’m not certain about is whether or not there is a place for humour in one’s personal online brand.  Is it possible to leave cyber breadcrumbs of playfulness without damaging your professional brand? 

We all know that the cornerstone of social media is building relationships/friendships that are based on honesty, transparency and integrity.  What if you’re the kind of person who uses humour to engage others? 

Personally I find that clean, sometimes self-deprecating humour shows a warm and trusting side.  And no, it is NOT an indication of low self-esteem or major depressive disorder thank you very much Wikipedia!

Depending on your audience, humour can also be used to get a point across.  If any of you are philosophy majors please hold your nose, and forgive me for what follows. Aristotle believed that three things were needed in order to be persuasive; logos (logical appeal), ethos (authority) and pathos (appeal to emo...  

 It’s usually important to be mindful of all three modes of persuasion, however, is this always necessary when establishing your personal brand? I think that we can favour the use pathos /humour to engage and strengthen our relationships.  

Dan Shawbel wrote a blog titled A Sense of Humor is Worth Big Money in the Workplace.   He admits that companies don’t want “goofballs” dealing with upset clients or flying a plane, but a sense of levity isn’t about being silly.  It’s more about lightening up a workplace, a presentation or a relationship to enhance communication.  I firmly believe that humour can also help diffuse a tense situation.

What do you think?  Is it okay to use humour in your personal brand?  Will it affect your chances of getting a job or will it propel you forward as Dan Shawbel states?

One should take good care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life as laughter.Joseph Addison

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Machiavelli's Thoughts on Social Media

I am reading a book called “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene. One wonders why it's a national bestseller ( no mention of what nation) with laws like #13 - Pose as a friend, work as a spy, or Law 7 – Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit, and finally who could forget Law 21 -Play a sucker to catch a sucker - seem dumber than your mark. A sane person would not  buy the book after flipping through the table of contents, but it was recommended to me via the Facebook app - “I’m Reading”.

After I got past the baseness of the laws and lurid examples, I realized the content becomes most amusing when taken seriously. Believe it or not there are practical applications and pearls of wisdom in each law.

So what does this have to do with social media? Laws like #45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once. Greene used an example of ecclesiastical reforms in the early 1500’s, which of course included pillaring and bloodshed.

Greene astutely points out however, that “Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic and will lead to revolt....make a show of respecting old ways of doing things...which will make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.”

Words of wisdom for those of us in social media who spend a lot of time managing change and making sure our companies understand both the new tools and new relationships.

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things” – Niccolo Machiavelli, 1469-1527

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why did you leave me? When did you leave me? Where was I when this happened?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about break-ups.

Social Media is about building honest, transparent relationships, but in the words of Jay Baer, "Clicking a “like” button one time isn’t exactly a blood oath...We are smothering our very best customers, asking them to hang out with us in every digital clubhouse we can devise. And the reality is, they just aren’t that into us."

We are on the precipice of a social media "revolution" while at the same time incurring the wrath of an audience scorned. Social Media practitioners could be killing their relationships with the very best of intentions. Some of us suffer from tunnel vision and use as many platforms, posts, or tweets as possible to express our feelings to our audience. We simply don’t want them to forget us! We need them to know that we think about them all the time.

How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways. On second thought, no.

 Over posting has been proven to drive Facebook fans away according to a study by ExactTarget and CoTweet. We are lucky if our consumers “unlike” us, as then we have a heads up that all is not well in our relationship. However, as Jay Baer points out, "consumers are cheating behind our backs and committing attention infidelity right under our noses." How? Deleting, ignoring, filtering, or going away all together and leaving behind ghost town accounts. Well, I never...

I for one vow that I will never take my Social Media relationships for granted; to always be honest and respect the fact that my audience does have other relationships and sometimes it's not all about me.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No more pencils, no more books....

Right now there is a student in New Brunswick who can keyboard 60 words per minute – in Grade 2.  A classmate wrote about a video, 21st Century Education in New Brunswick that predicts blackboards, desks, grades, textbooks and report cards may be obsolete in 10 years.  They go even further to say “today’s pen and paper have changed”.

True, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Today’s curriculum content will be irrelevant before the child graduates, however it’s not about what they are learning it’s about how they are learning.   I believe that children need to be taught to put a traditional pencil to a traditional piece of lined paper well before introducing a keyboard or SM (Social Media) instructional techniques. I’m not a teacher or a parent.  Societal norms dictate that my cats don’t count. I did however work in public relations at a private school for 10 years.

 At this school there is a time and place for technology and SM, but first and foremost students learn how to write using their cute little hands.  A foreign concept I know. 

The students are taught cursive writing as early as SK. (No this is not a Montessori School).  Why?  It has been scientifically proven to not only assist in eliminating issues such as letter reversals and poor attention, but it teaches them how to learn.   

Young kids are easily distracted.  That is their shtick. They are busy paving the pathways between their left and right brain hemispheres.  This is how information is processed. Using the actual hand and not a keyboard, exercises the neurons that facilitates the travel and speed of information between the two hemispheres.  The right- hand/left-brain connection and vice-versa is physical and visceral. The brain is being trained how to efficiently absorb, make sense of, learn, and eventually retain information.  No wonder they go to bed so early!

Having said all this, the use of computers and SM in the classroom can't be ignored and in my opinion must be part of the curriculum.  I say this as I throw a dash of salt over my left shoulder.  Or is it my right?  Never mind.

Let’s do  the next generation a favour and give them the opportunity to develop healthy and well- defined pathways in their brains before adding keyboarding speed to the grade 1 marking rubric.