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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

11 Things I've Learned - But Really Shouldn't Talk About

1. I learned that sometimes my favourite part of writing a blog is finding the picture to go with it.

2. I learned there is a lot of listening that needs to be done in social media; and about now, that is just fine with me!

3. The backbone of social media is about relationships built on trust and giving, and not about breaking your own backbone to do it.

4. I learned it’s important to identify your audience, find them on-line and communicate with them through platforms they prefer to use. If those platforms aren’t Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or a Blog - chances are they won't be hearing from me just now.

5. Working in social media is NOT about selling, or self-promotion. It’s about becoming a trusted, respected, and valuable member of a community. If they add silliness, I will have a better chance of being one of the “in” crowd.

6. Social media is about transparency, being yourself, and is driven by the “customer”: not you. This blog post is about as natural and transparent as it gets. Tongue in cheek transparency but transparent nevertheless. Chances are my potential customers would prefer to drive.

7. I have accumulated a vast amount of resources in the form of blogs, listening tools, monitoring tools, social media platforms, and efficiency tools. Now if I could only muster some strength to tunnel may way out from under the pile.

8. I realize that personal branding is important no matter who you are or where you work or don’t work. Even though I was told this, I’d hoped it wasn’t true.

9. I learned how to go about building a personal brand online. And in one blog, I’ve completely dismantled it!

10. I know the importance of social media monitoring and measurement. I figure I need to learn how to actually do it.

11. I learned first-hand about blogging, and more importantly I am beginning to find my voice. This voice is not as pleasing to my ear as I had hoped.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Danger of Making Predictions

The Internet? Bah! Hype alert: Why cyberspace isn't, and will never be, nirvana – Feb. 27, 1995 article in Newsweek by Clifford Stoll

I don’t make predictions.

The other day I was asked how I “imagined” the field of social media changing in the future. Imagined? Did they mean conjure up, presume and prognosticate? Could I claim that my imaginings came to me by divine intervention? There are always problems when making predictions. However, predicting or imagining the future of social media presents a unique set of problems.

Problem #1 - It is next to impossible to make predictions in the face of civilized anarchy. The internet and social media is a wild-west with hardly any rules, policies, common etiquette, legal precedents, or universally accepted paradigms. Some argue this lawlessness is the very nature of social media and any attempt at regulation will lead to its’ mortality. Under these circumstances I cannot predict what will happen in the future. I will however recommend two things. Be nimble. Be quick.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.

Problem #2: It is one thing to predict how the nuts and bolts of technology may change, but it is another thing entirely to predict the change in human nature. Even those who make a living from attempting to make sense of current social media trends while also staying on top of emerging trends find the pace of change staggering. The exponential growth of technology is not only changing how we communicate, but is also directly connected to social change. Did anyone foresee or predict the recent revolutionary change in Egypt and surrounding countries that happened seemingly overnight?

The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

Problem #3: In social media there is no harbinger of change. Often, predictions are based on previous patterns, business models, and statistical likelihoods. People are able to extract patterns and use that information to make accurate predictions. Even a few years ago it was possible to predict what would happen with technology within two to three years. There were always signs. There were always warnings. There were precedents. Now with technology being driven by both users and software, it is impossible to predict what we might be using and also doing just two years from now.

I do believe I just made a prediction.

“We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” — Bill Gates

Friday, April 15, 2011

How to Organize an Unconference in 7 Steps

I recently learned of an interesting concept called an “unconference”. Essentially an unconference is a participant driven “meeting” that bypasses expensive registration and travel fees often associated with traditional conferences. It’s a way for people who have established online relationships, to connect and share knowledge in the real world.

The format can range from formal to informal meet-up’s at local restaurants. Either way, the main purpose is to share knowledge, as well as build and maintain relationships of trust.

Here are 7 tips on how to organize an unconference in your city:

1. Settle on a topic, date, and venue. You can ask a local company, community centre or school to donate the space.

2. Use every possible channel to connect with influential people, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and industry blogs related to the topic.

3. Ask for volunteers to help organize the event. Alternately, the unconference could be very informal and therefore, self-organizing.

4. Use a tool such as Eventbrite for people to sign-up.

5. Send out a news release/social media news release to get publicity which should increase registration.

6. If you’re so inclined, you can secure sponsorships and offer food and beverages.

7. Ask people to participate by presenting on a topic they feel others would benefit from. Presentations do not have to be formal; it could be a simple PowerPoint presentation or a guided discussion about a couple of speaking points.

If your’re not into organizing an unconference, you can always attend one. You can set up a Google News Alert for the words “unconference and Ottawa” for example.

You will find several online resources detailing how to organize an unconference. One of note is, Kaliya Hamlin’s Unconference Blog.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rule #5 - Avoid Extended, Unannounced Lapses in Posting

Not a day goes by that I’m not bothered by the fact that until yesterday, my last blog post was three weeks ago. For someone who is a perfectionist with OCD tendencies, this is nothing short of apocalyptic.

When I first started blogging I assumed it would be easy enough to meet the weekly deadlines. In fact at week six I had posted seven blogs and was ahead of the game. It was then that I decided to take a short break and do other things, like renovate my bathroom.

In the meantime, I continued to scan my RSS feeds. I noticed several blogs with tips and tricks on the art of blogging itself. There were blogs on how to stay motivated when blogging, blogs with ideas about what you can blog about, and even a blog titled “Blog Violently”. Although interesting, I didn’t think I was the type of person who needed reminders about staying on top of my commitments.

Week 10 rolls along; the bathroom is a mess, I’ve been overwhelmed completing major assignments for both of my classes, my psyche is fragile, I’m tired all the time, and I still sit at seven blogs!

I’ve learned a valuable lesson. If I make a commitment to do something using social media as part of my personal brand, it’s important to stay on top of demands on your time, plan ahead and always have a contingency plan. I now appreciate how difficult it must be for those who unfailingly post meaningful, well-written and insightful blogs on a daily basis.

Maintaining that level of commitment is not easy.  What do you think?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Letting Go of the Expectation of Online Privacy: A Moral Dilemma or a Generational Divide?

Let’s face it – there is no such thing as anonymity or privacy online. Accept the fact that you can’t hide behind the username “chipmonkgiggles_23”. Your moves are being tracked, sorted, and stored; under your real name.

Individuals are able to identify who is behind these usernames at the same rate privacy settings on Facebook are declining. On top of that, Google has the memory of an elephant and never forgets.

But does it really matter?

Is the digital generation collectively guilty of not thinking ahead, revealing too much and distributing online content considered by some to be scandalous and morally unacceptable? Or is it possible they know exactly what they are doing; don’t have a problem with it, and have no concept of an expectation of privacy?

There's been much speculation about the negative ramifications on the future of the digital generation due to their lax value system and poor judgement. “Older” people (say anyone over the age of 25?) constitute the generational digital divide by assuming the younger generation should uphold certain standards of comportment and morality when online or suffer the consequence of being unemployable. The older generation have always known it’s important to separate their role of a responsible and virtuous employee, from their role as a weekend warrior.

It seems the more adults insist that it’s unacceptable and inappropriate to share personal information and photos online, the more young people will reveal their private lives on the internet. Can one compare the shock and outrage over the posting of “scandalous” pictures from last week’s party to the vulgarity and indecency of Elvis Presley’s sultry lips and swinging hips? Will the outrage over the changing moral values of the digital generation become accepted as common place and the culture shift documented in the annals of popular culture books?

Mitch Joel sums it up in his book Six Pixels of Separation:
“..as more and more people mature and enter the workforce, we won’t be able to judge the person who has those wild party pictures posted on Flickr negatively because everybody will have them – including you (and then who will you hire?).”