Everyone Needs a Social Card

I’m doing my best these days to go out and network as much as possible. It never ceases to amaze me the people I meet here in San Francisco and everywhere else I travel. One day I might meet the guy who created some iPhone app I cannot live without, the next day it’s the owner of French champagne house or while I’m eating dinner at Ristorante Ideale with my parents and I meet an awesome couple visiting from Toronto.

In all of these situations I am left wanting to connect with these interesting and sometimes inspiring people. Problem is, I always realize I want a card to hand them when it’s too late. This is where a business card comes in handy. But instead of handing out your business card why not hand out a social card? That’s what I decided to make today.

This simple card gets across what I feel are the most important take-aways. First of all my name is big and bold on the front of the card. I don’t list my profession or position but I do list the three things people pay me to do, photography, marketing and public relations. That’s really all anyone needs to know about what I do. Remember this is a social card, not a business card.

On the back I give a few more specific details like my email, phone number, Twitter handle and of course, this website’s address. I could have linked Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and probably a dozen other sites but for me, these are what were important.

It’s simple, clean, easy to read and effective. Business cards, or in this case, social cards, are cheap too. I ordered 250 of these cards on heavy stock paper for $39 and they should be ready for me tomorrow. If I printed them online it would have been half the price or less!

So make yourself a social card, even if you already have a business card. It’s a solid way to make networking outside of work that much more effective. Plus if you are in-between jobs, planning on switching jobs or don’t want people to know where you work, this card fills the business card void.

Here are a few tutorials on how to make a business card without the expensive designer, as long as you have the expensive software.

I can’t find the tutorial I used to design my card but the ones above are pretty solid.

I’ve got KIXEYE in my crosshairs

Very few people who read this blog, and even most of my friends, have no idea what it is that I actually do for a living. I kind of like this, it makes me artificially mysterious. The fact that I flew around 150,000 miles last year only increases the rumors that I’m a covert agent, rumors I may have spread myself. Here’s what most people think I do:

  • Photographer – because I studied it in college, have had gallery shows and some know that I shot for the New York Times as well as a few national magazines.
  • Videographer – because I have reviewed video equipment, regularly yell at Final Cut and its render times on Twitter and because videography is big in my family.
  • Marketing – because I did work for a marketing agency back in Missouri and I’ve been known to kvetch about horrible marketing campaigns I see online.
  • Public Relations – because it is known that I represent a few non-profits and it’s what just about everyone in my family does or has done at some point in their lives.
  • Internet Celebrity – because, well I’m still trying to figure this one out.
  • Technology/Gadget blogger – because of this site, though I hardly make a living off of it. It pays for itself, like a hobby that breaks even. I’d love to make it more profitable but that hasn’t happened for me, yet.

In reality, it’s a little bit of all of the above. I do marketing and public relations for food commodity boards, resort communities, restaurants and chefs. In the past I’ve also done this sort of work for political campaigns, pharmaceutical companies and the military, among others.

But now that I’m in San Francisco, I’m looking at other options, especially options that put me in the heart of the technology sector. It’s always been a dream of mine to work for one of these companies. As a kid I wanted to work along side Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. These days it’s the small, scrappy startups and the cutting edge companies that catch my eye. KIXEYE is the latest to enrapture me.

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We’re having a Seattle Tweetup!

I arrived from Texas and Orlando into San Francisco around midnight last night. Eight and a half hours later I was back at the airport but this time headed to Seattle. And this time for the sole purpose of having a great time going on adventures in the Emerald City.

The great people from the Seattle Department of Tourism and Klout have provided Ryan and I, along with Aaron and his friend, a free, all-expense trip to Seattle to explore the city and share our experiences with everyone we know. It’s called Two Days in Seattle. Ryan and I have already arrived at the Silver Cloud Hotel and Aaron is on his way!

Tomorrow night we’re hoping to get a group of people together for a meetup. Aaron’s got the details on his blog post here, but I’ll paste them below as well. Hope to see you all there!

Saturday, July 21st 7:30pm
Grim’s, Butterfly Lounge & The Woods
1512 11th Avenue, Seattle, CA 98122

We’ll also be doing dinner ahead of the meetup. If you want to join, just shoot me or Aaron a tweet and we’ll let you know where and when! Can’t wait to meet and explore your city.

You’re welcome to RSVP to the Facebook event. Follow the hashtag #2DaysinSeattle and the @2DaysinSeattle account to keep up with what we’re doing up here. Also you can follow Aaron (what you aren’t already?!) on Twitter.

2011 Central Florida Blogger Conference

The convention I attended while in Orlando was the Central Florida Blogger Conference. I went to this convention looking at it with two different perspectives. First, I was there to connect with local Floridian bloggers on behalf of clients and secondly I was there to see what the rest of the world is saying about social media outside of the Mashable sphere.

Someone caught a shot of me deep in thought

The conference was designed to cover to audiences, the n00b blogger who was still debating Blogger vs WordPress to the professional and marketing audience. I didn’t attend any of the introductory sessions seeing as I have been blogging since 2001 and that I do this sort of work for a living.

The speaker selection was done keeping in the central Florida theme as I’m pretty sure each came from the area. Not only did this cut down on costs, it provided the visitors to the conference a more realistic scope of possibility and networking. That being said, I found almost all the topics to be much more elementary and top level than what would be beneficial to me.

Sketch artist captures the conference keynote

More often than not, I was providing asides, alternatives or more efficient/economical solutions to bloggers’ problems. At each table and each session, people gathered around me to ask my opinion, to repeat what I suggested to the speaker during the question and answer period and even to drop me their business card.

I was called a “Social Media Guru” in a bit on National Public Radio last year, a title I lament. Calling yourself an expert, guru, ninja or sansei in a field of marketing that is constantly changing is ridiculous. Never will I call myself any of those things, and if for some reason I do, please refer me to this post.

Pleasantly, only one person was referred to as a “ninja” during the entire conference. That is still one too many but far fewer than I expected.

All that being said, it is clear that there are still people, organizations and companies out there that lack the education on what social media is, what it isn’t and how it will or will not work for them. Luckily for them there are people like me who are more than happy to teach them the right way to do things.

That is the audience this conference was aimed at, those getting into blogging and social media. The amount of information gleaned by n00bs at this conference was pretty immense and invaluable. I just hope they listened carefully and took notes!

Nevertheless, the conference didn’t provide me with too much new education but I did leave with a few memory joggers, friendly reminders and suggestions. I’ll share them with you right here.

  • Don’t just talk about what you want to do, do it
  • Content is king but only when you’re able to match quality with quantity
  • Every blog needs a media page with a digital press kit
  • Fiverr.com is an awesome resource for cheap help
  • SWAG (stuff we all get) is 50% of the time SWAL (stuff we all lament)

The best part of the convention was easily the people I met, especially those that I met in my last session which was aimed at marketing, public relations and advertising professionals. We were given the opportunity to have totally open and honest dialog with not only other professionals but the bloggers we want to work with. Both parties understanding the needs and abilities of the each other is essential in a successful partnership.

Also, hear the food was terrific.

Big Wheel Truck catered the event

I look forward to my next blogger/social media conference now that I have this one under my belt. While I have presented at similar types of venues, I have never been an audience member, as surprising as that is for me.

Would I recommend the Central Florida Blogger Conference to a blogger or someone new to the world of social media? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to someone who has already accomplished quite a bit in this industry? Probably not, unless there are a few more workshops for people like me. Luckily, next year there should be more for people like me and those who went to the conference last year.

From the conversations we had at my last session, which was directed at marketing and PR people, the convention will continue to grow and become more advanced in the future. It will grow with its audience which is great..

Perhaps the follow-up mixer would make everything copacetic. Alcohol and networking go hand in hand you know!

Apple is Killing it in the Mac App Store

Of the top ten highest grossing applications in Apple’s Mac App Store, nine are made by Apple. Looks like the App Store for non-mobile was a great idea after all. Also, I predict that with the release of Lion, Apple will hold all ten, top ten grossing apps. Brilliant.

Resolutions and Revelations

I decided that one of my New Years resolutions…

Let’s stop there really quick. Yearly resolutions are about 90% total bull. I know that. I know that you are far more likely to be unsuccessful at a “resolution” if you put arbitrary timelines, start dates etc. But I digress…

I made a few including the following:

  • Post here more often.
  • Thinking positively.
  • Workout like I did when Max was my gym buddy.
  • Make more money doing what I want to do, not just making money to make it.
  • Take more photographs.

I realized tonight that I’ve put photography onto a back burner. I have stopped introducing myself as, “I’m Justin… yeah, I’m a photographer” and instead say, “I’m Justin… I help companies utilize social and new media systems and networks to reach customers, create transparency, build trust, gain respect and increase revenue.”

“I’m a photographer” isn’t nearly as big mouthful.

So in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, I will post here more often with a new photo every day. I promise it won’t turn into one of those annoying 365 photo blogs. Just a simple photo everyday of something that caught my eye. Whether the photo be from my nice camera or my iPhone camera (which is actually a pretty nice camera…)

I’d like to further challenge myself to taking each of the photos from the same place. Can I make 365 unique and interesting photos from my courtyard? How awesome would that be? If I miss a day, I miss a day. Giving up because one day I didn’t do what I wanted to do is insanity. It’s an excuse to give up. I will miss a day but, I will think positively, I won’t let it, let me down.

So, let this be the first one. The Image above is the night view from my courtyard. It is the view I see every night as I do the dishes. I’m totally ok with doing the dishes when that is what I get to see while I do it.

Columbia Missouri #GeekLunch

It only seemed appropriate that I made my 1,600th post on the blog something relevant, important and fun.  And that would be #GeekLunch, a phenomenon not unique to Columbia but still kick ass.

Several weeks ago I joined my new, social-media-addict friends Colby (@ColbyWG) and Sam (@SJOgborn) at Main Squeeze Cafe (@MainSqueezed) for a nerd lunch.  We chit chatted about social media, new media, media media, technology, marketing, etc etc.  It’s been something I have wanted to do for the last couple of years and I finally have friends here that are as obsessed as I am.

Oh and now that Colby has a sweet new digital camera, we have yet another thing to nerd out over.

Last week we met up at Shakespeare’s Pizza (@ShakesPizza) adding Zach (@DJ_Z), Zack Luye (@ZackLuye), Amy DiFrancesco (@adifran) Zoey Larson (@ZoeyLarsen) and Adam (@artvandelay300) to the meet up.

There, I got to touch, and play with, my very first Google Nexus One, thanks Adam!

Conversation ranged from Colby nearly face planting on Elm Street to the, at the time, upcoming SXSW in Austin to Google, the iPad and who knows what else anymore.  I do remember that the pizza was great and the company awesome.

It’s simple events like this that make living in Columbia feel not quite as isolating, especially compared to when I lived in the new media mecca of San Francisco.  I look forward to the next #GeekLunch, hoping to expand not only the number of people who join but also how often we meet up.

If you live in Columbia and want to join in on the fun, send me a message on twitter or leave a comment on the blog.  We’d love to have ya!

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