It’s that time of year again … time for some back to school
shopping! Growing up, I loved picking out my first-day-of-school outfit. I’d
set it out well before classes began to ensure I was kicking off the year with
just the right look. Only my best friends had seen me for the past three months
so here was my opportunity to dazzle my classmates with the “new” Lesley.
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you to
answer the question, "What are you doing?" by sending short text
messages up to 140 characters in length, called "tweets," to your
friends, or "followers."
Beyond the “What are you doing?” prompt, Twitter offers a
variety of opportunities to enhance both your professional and personal life.
Whether you’re a business professional embarking upon a new career, a student
looking to connect with experts in your field or just someone who’s relocating
to a new area, Twitter has the potential to help you build your brand, meet
your goals and develop new relationships. I can say this with confidence
because Twitter has helped me accomplish these goals!
If you’re job hunting
or making a career transition… Twitter can help you identify which companies are hiring,
who has recently left their position and what actions successful job seekers
are taking in order to get hired. You can also utilize hashtags such as
#hiring, #job and #HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out), to name a few, to quickly identify
potential job opportunities and help refine your Twitter job search. (To learn
more about hashtags, visit Twitter’s Help Center).
If you’re breaking into a new field, you can connect with
professional organizations that can offer expertise regarding your transition.
You can even seek advice from other Twitter users who have made a similar
career change. This is a perfect time to take advantage of Twitter lists, which
can help you organize who you follow by allowing you to create lists based upon specific topics and categories.
If you’re a student… Twitter allows you to interact with experts in your field—both
young and seasoned professionals—as well as classmates, university alumni and
As a student, a great way to stand out from the masses and strike
up conversations with like-minded people is through Twitter chats. There are more
than 130 chats on Twitter and they cover nearly every subject imaginable, from
blogging and small business advice to gardening and wedding planning. Chats
like #prstudchat, #collegechat and #u30pro are geared specifically towards students
and young professionals.
If you’ve recently
relocated… No matter what your career aspirations are, Twitter is a
remarkable resource for anyone who’s recently relocated or is considering relocation
to a new city or state. By reaching out to users within a specific geographic
area, you can identify not only the best places to work, but also where to
live, eat, play, shop and more. By connecting with your online network, you’re
building new relationships that often carry into your “real life” that will
make settling into your new location a bit easier.
How are you using
Twitter? Aside from simply answering the question, “What are you
doing?” Twitter is an invaluable resource for business professionals and
students to job search, seek advice, network and even transition to a new geographic
Personally, I wrote this post from first-hand experience. I
found my job at Balcom Agency, valuable professional organizations, great friends,
former classmates, amazing restaurants, a cute place to get my hair done, even
the perfect home to rent all thanks to Twitter. Tell us, how has Twitter helped
While my mom
has taught me oodles of invaluable lessons throughout my life – especially on
the topics of practicality and self-sufficiency – she isn’t one to “give
advice.” She’s more of a “lead by example” type of gal.
mom’s mom, Grandma Pat, was in fact an advice-giver. A tall redheaded who spent
35 years as a hairdresser at an eclectic L.A. salon, she fed me tidbits of
useful information like only a grandma could! Here are a few gems:
Never ever dye your hair black. She’d seen too many teenaged blondes come in to the salon
to fix the mess they’d created with a box of dye from the drugstore.
Coffee solves everything. Coffee was to Grandma Pat what cheesecake was to The Golden
Girls. I’d like to think I inherited my love for lattes, cappuccinos and plain
old, freshly ground coffee from her.
Wear this, you’re a “Summer.” I should wear colors that are the most flattering on my skin
tone, like pastels. She was an autumn, so those shades were out for her.
You’ve got a nice butt – but don’t let it get too big. Had anyone else said it, I would’ve
been offended, but I’d like to think she was just giving an honest,
chatting with my mom about this post, she reminded me of a great piece of
advice she’d given me: Don’t get married near your birthday. You’ll always end
up with a 2-in-1 celebration. Good call, Mom!
While I would never have considered myself a spontaneous person, a few weekends ago I decided to get as wild as a 27-year-old with a full-time job and a doting chocolate lab can get. I took a road trip to Austin for 24 hours of South by Southwest Interactive without a badge! Luckily, my coworker Lauren, also badgeless, was willing to join me on my adventure. All in all, I considered the trip a success, so below I’ve listed some highlights and tips from our impromptu crashing of SXSWi.
We’re on the Guest List (Have at least one activity planned before you get there.)
Luckily, we knew we’d be given the red carpet treatment (i.e. we could get in without a badge) at deviantART’s Sunday afternoon get-together at Frank. Thanks to my childhood friend, deviantART’s vice president of marketing, Heidi Chambers, we had a chance to mingle with members of the company’s online art community, chat with deviantART’s co-founders and enjoy a topnotch Moscow Mule, or two.
SMCFW Pride (Reach out to who you know.)
About a dozen Social Media Club of Fort Worth members were in Austin for the festival, which made for a successful last minute, mini tweetup at Maggie Mae’s. Having our established hashtag, #SMCFW, helped us quickly communicate and plan via Twitter and represent DFW in the state’s capitol.
Check-ins Galore (Proof that social services tools are useful for stalking.)
In addition to earning our “SXSW Virgin” Foursquare badges, our use of location-based check-in services (e.g. Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places) made it easy for us to see where festival attendees were spending their time and therefore, where we should be headed!
GroupMe (Because everyone knows how to text.)
GroupMe is an app that helped Lauren and I keep in touch with our fellow B-Team members. With one simple text, we were able to communicate with our six-person party and stay posted on plans.
Dream Big (Even if you don’t have a badge, you can get stuff for free.)
Lauren had three goals, which I quickly adopted. #1 Meet Conan O’Brien. #2 Get a shirt for free. #3 Get something else for free. While goal #1 didn’t pan out, #2 and #3 were easily conquered. Our favorites – a free shirt from blogads.com and a free koozie from HootSuite’s own mascot, Owly.
Just a Teaser (I’ll be back!)
More than anything, this experience has served as a preview of what I hope to be experiencing March 9-13, 2012. From the speakers and panelists to the networking and chance to run into Conan – I’m giddy about all that SXSWi has to offer.
Perhaps it's because my mom owns a personalized stationery business, or maybe it's because I've had a pen pal ever since I could write. Whatever the reason may be, I love hand-written notes. So after more than a quarter century of receiving (and forever keeping) some pretty phenomenal hand-written pieces, I share with you a few of my favorites.
This is a thank you note sent to me from Aimi, a Japanese exchange student who lived with our family when I was in 10th grade.
For my 19th birthday, my neighbors in the San Diego State dorms made me a Saturday Night Live-inspired birthday card, complete with illustrations.
My mom has beautiful handwriting, and she mailed my significant other and me The Barbecue Bible, along with a personal greeting.
Each of these may not have cost much money to buy (or make) or have even taken much time to write, but I'll always love revisiting the memories they represent.