Has Social Media Lost it’s Sexy?


Every so often I see a tweet or Facebook post that is along the lines of someone “quitting social media” for a period of time. It almost seems they’ve become fatigued with the heavy lifting of sharing, posting, and the commenting that’s necessary to stay relevant in social media. Relevant being a key word.

If you are anything like me, there are long periods where I do great and then there are times when I have extreme peaks and valleys.  At any period of time you can catch me racing – posting here, tweeting there, engaging with people through blog comments over there….and then…it drops.  Let me tell you *in Bill Cosby voice*– Do as I say and not as I do.

That is the wrong way to stay RELEVANT.

Our lives are busy and sometimes being active in social media is at the back of our minds and for most of us thats ok. For us trailblazers, we must show the way.  Personal branding content sources such as this blog and conferences like BrandCamp 2010 are VERY important for this space. It pushes forward use cases for social media and personal branding using the internet. We are the social authority! Scary? Nah.

Is IT still sexy?
Yes.  Social Media as we know it – social networking, blogging, location-based services, and real-time-publishing is definitely still evolving.  Meanwhile, us who champion the social media cause, we have significant jobs to do.  For our personal benefit and for the community.  In order to maintain the social media sexy, we need to be consistent and challenge ourselves to pump out GREAT content.

The Internet is still a teenager, at around 15 years old, it is just coming into its own.

Entrepreneur’s, large organizations, individuals, you are all welcome – join the party.  We will be rocking for a while.

Personal Branding Interview @JasonFalls: Developing a Social Media Strategy

Jason Falls is a thought leader in the new media space and I had an opportunity to talk with him recently about social media strategy.

Social Media Explorer is the online home and blog of Social Media Explorer LLC, which is my consulting company. I’ve been called all sorts of things by folks around the social media, public relations, marketing and communications industries. I shy away from self-aggrandizement.

I see myself as a social media educator, a social media strategist and a public relations professional. I help companies understand the social web and show them how engaging consumers online can help their business. I’m also a writer, both of blogs and other materials, and try to spend much of my spare time doing that.

If I have a unique perspective it would be the result of having lead a national advertising agency’s Interactive and social media efforts, working with Fortune 100 brands as a social media strategist and serving as an independent consultant in the social media industry. I have advised major, regional and niche brands including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek bourbons, NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, Humana, Gary C. Johnson Law Offices, Purely Products, SHPS, Sun Tan City, Mighty Dog, Louisville Slugger, Bionic Gloves, The National Center for Family Literacy and WeSeed.com.

SocialMediaExplorer.com, the blog, gets a fair amount of recognition, of which I’m very grateful. The most notable of which is probably listing in the top 20 or so (it changes daily sometimes) of the Advertising Age Power 150 Blogs. For a few weeks in 2009, I was actually ranked No. 1. (Not sure why.)

Nuggets from our Interview

  • Social Media strategy:  Start with the end in mind.
  • Social Media strategy is about setting measurable goals.
  • Make your social media goals singular.
  • After the goals are established then you can focus on tactics of how to get their.

How to Follow Jason

Twitter:  @JasonFalls

Blog:  www.SocialMediaExplorer.com

Personal Branding Interview: @BrianSolis How to Engage in the New Web

Brian Solis is one of my virtual mentors.  I follow his work online in the new web and I think he is one of the smartest in the space.  I had the pleasure of interviewing him and to talk briefly about his latest book, “Engage”

Brian Solis is Principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning New Media marketing and branding agency in Silicon Valley. Solis is globally recognized for his views and insights on the convergence of PR, Traditional Media and Social Media. Considered one of the original thought leaders who paved the way for Social Media and PR 2.0, Solis is co-founder of the Social Media Club and is an original member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup.

Nuggets from our Interview

  • Engage was written to help companies build, cultivate, and measure success in the new web.
  • Engage is a book designed to scale with you as you grow whether you are a small business, non-profit or being a part of an enterprise organization.”
  • Champions effect change.
  • Being an expert doesn’t engender change being a champion does


“Who I am today and who I want to be tomorrow are separated by the things I do today.” – Brian Solis

How to Follow Brian

Twitter:  @BrianSolis

Blog:  www.BrianSolis.com

When Free Sucks: Google are you Listening? #WhenFreeSucks


I have been singing the praises of Google for years.  I have talked about the brilliance of their FREE model.  When Chris Anderson’s book, ‘FREE’ came out I purchased the book the first week.  Whenever I needed to search for anything on the net I would always go to Google.com.  Then the unthinkable happens, all of my videos were deleted from my YouTube account which is owned by Google. (Note:  All of my videos were in total compliance with their terms of service.)

In an instant my YouTube account with over 13,000 views was deleted. In my mind Google is a great company so I knew they are going to respond swiftly when I contacted them about this simple mistake they made.  I have entered questions into their online forum, emailed questions to YouTube, and called the Google office only to get totally ignored.  I can’t begin to explain to you the level of frustration that I felt because I have gotten ZERO response from one of my favorite Brand.  Over the years I have put a great deal of trust into ‘FREE’ resources like YouTube.  I now understand there is always a tradeoff to ‘FREE’ and one of the main reasons is:

  • No Customer Service: Humans don’t typically service other humans that don’t pay.

The Impact to your Personal Brand and Dependence on Google

How dependent is your business on Google?  I am really starting to re-think how I build my personal brand with Google and other FREE tools.

Some of the Many Google Services that I use

  • YouTube Videos
  • Gmail account emails
  • Google Docs
  • Google Calendars
  • Google Checkout

If your account is temporarily or permanently compromised what is the impact to your personal brand/business?  I walked away from my FREE experience saying I would rather have a paid service that I could hold someone accountable.

Tips for Managing you Personal Brand with FREE

  • Own Your Hub: As a personal brand you need to own the main hub of their online activity. (i.e. www.ChrisBrogan.com)
  • Back-up Everything: Anything in FREE services needs to be backed up:  videos, documents, important emails, etc.
  • Re-Evaluate your Dependence on FREE: Re-Evaluate everything that you have in FREE social networking sites or other FREE services you use.
  • Carefully Select Account Managers: If you have a third party managing any of your social network accounts be very careful.  Your reputation can be compromised and your account suspended or deleted because of inappropriate activity (anything that violates their Terms of Service)

Blog Post on FREE Services and Frustrations

I write this blog post to get you thinking and planning so that you can be proactive in managing your online personal brand.  It is also validates to me that nothing in life is FREE there is always a cost.  It is just a matter of who is paying, when they pay and how much.  Does this mean to stop using Google or other FREE services like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter?  The answer is no but you have to manage your dependence.

Would you be willing to pay for a services that are currently FREE (i.e. YouTube) for customer service and the ability to hold someone accountable?

(Photo Credit: Google Logo Render by mark knol)

Age of Conversation 3 – Social Thinkers, Marketers, and Creatives Announced

Age of Conversation #AoC3

The “Age of Conversation 3: It’s time to get busy” authors were announced today. It is a collaborative book that brought together over 200 of the world’s leading social thinkers, marketers, and creatives in its third edition. It is an honor to be one of the featured authors to add a chapter and be a part of history.
The brain children behind this project are bloggers Drew McLellan (Iowa) and Gavin Heaton (Australia) who put in countless hours coordinating and managing this project.

Very soon you will be able to purchase it directly from Amazon or a number of other online book stores.

Book Cover Design: Chris Wilson (@freshpeel)
Follow the conversation in Twitter by following the hashtag: #aoc3

List of Authors

Adam Joseph Priyanka Sachar Mark Earls
Cory Coley-Christakos Stefan Erschwendner Paul Hebert
Jeff De Cagna Thomas Clifford Phil Gerbyshak
Jon Burg Toby Bloomberg Shambhu Neil Vineberg
Joseph Jaffe Uwe Hook Steve Roesler
Michael E. Rubin anibal casso Steve Woodruff
Steve Sponder Becky Carroll Tim Tyler
Chris Wilson Beth Harte Tinu Abayomi-Paul
Dan Schawbel Carol Bodensteiner Trey Pennington
David Weinfeld Dan Sitter Vanessa DiMauro
Ed Brenegar David Zinger Brett T. T. Macfarlane
Efrain Mendicuti Deb Brown Brian Reich
Gaurav Mishra Dennis Deery C.B. Whittemore
Gordon Whitehead Heather Rast Cam Beck
Hajj E. Flemings Joan Endicott Cathryn Hrudicka
Jeroen Verkroost Karen D. Swim Christopher Morris
Joe Pulizzi Leah Otto Corentin Monot
Karalee Evans Leigh Durst David Berkowitz
Kevin Jessop Lesley Lambert Duane Brown
Peter Korchnak Mark Price Dustin Jacobsen
Piet Wulleman Mike Maddaloni Ernie Mosteller
Scott Townsend Nick Burcher Frank Stiefler
Steve Olenski Rich Nadworny John Rosen
Tim Jackson Suzanne Hull Len Kendall
Amber Naslund Wayne Buckhanan Mark McGuinness
Caroline Melberg Andy Drish Oleksandr Skorokhod
Claire Grinton Angela Maiers Paul Williams
Gary Cohen Armando Alves Sam Ismail
Gautam Ramdurai B.J. Smith Tamera Kremer
Eaon Pritchard Brendan Tripp Adelino de Almeida
Jacob Morgan Casey Hibbard Andy Hunter
Julian Cole Debra Helwig Anjali Ramachandran
Jye Smith Drew McLellan Craig Wilson
Karin Hermans Emily Reed David Petherick
Katie Harris Gavin Heaton Dennis Price
Mark Levy George Jenkins Doug Mitchell
Mark W. Schaefer Helge Tenno Douglas Hanna
Marshall Sponder James Stevens Ian Lurie
Ryan Hanser Jenny Meade Jeff Larche
Sacha Tueni and Katherine Maher David Svet Jessica Hagy
Simon Payn Joanne Austin-Olsen Mark Avnet
Stanley Johnson Marilyn Pratt Mark Hancock
Steve Kellogg Michelle Beckham-Corbin Michelle Chmielewski
Amy Mengel Veronique Rabuteau Peter Komendowski
Andrea Vascellari Timothy L Johnson Phil Osborne
Beth Wampler Amy Jussel Rick Liebling
Eric Brody Arun Rajagopal Dr Letitia Wright
Hugh de Winton David Koopmans Aki Spicer
Jeff Wallace Don Frederiksen Charles Sipe
Katie McIntyre James G Lindberg & Sandra Renshaw David Reich
Lynae Johnson Jasmin Tragas Deborah Chaddock Brown
Mike O’Toole Jeanne Dininni Iqbal Mohammed
Morriss M. Partee Katie Chatfield Jeff Cutler
Pete Jones Riku Vassinen Jeff Garrison
Kevin Dugan Tiphereth Gloria Mike Sansone
Lori Magno Valerie Simon Nettie Hartsock
Mark Goren Peter Salvitti

Personal Branding with Skype

Skype Social Media Workshop with Hajj E. FlemingsOn Saturday, February 27th I had the opportunity to teach a social media session, “Closing the Digital Divide” for @PowerOrgMATH who conducted an on-site workshop for students and parents in the Columbus Ohio area. One of the best parts of this session is that I was able to participate from Michigan via Skype . Based upon my positive experience I thought I would post a blog about ‘Personal Branding with Skype’.

Historically I haven’t been a heavy Skype user.  My recent usage of this tool has exposed me to the significant personal branding opportunities. The power of this tool is not that it gives you that cool Jetson type feel, but its ability to connect people in different locations while providing a face-to-face interaction real-time.

Understand it is a free tool  and you are only as good as your internet connection and hardware.

Skype Basic Set-Up
To get started download the free-of-charge Skype software.  You will need to set-up a profile, have access to an internet connection and some basic hardware:  laptop/desktop computer/mobile device, web cam, headset, and recording software (the recording software is only required for recording audio and/or video).

Skype Profile

Hajj E. Flemings Skype Profile
•    Skype Handle - I recommend establishing a Skype handle (which is your number or contact) using a name that is consistent with your other social network profiles.  (My Skype handle is ‘HajjFlemings’ which is my real name).
•    Avatar – Use the consistent avatar that you used across all of your social networks (actual photo).
•    Bio – Brief bio that should be consistent with your other social networks.

If you are a high profile person, celebrity, or have stalker concerns use a Skype handle and profile that is appropriate and safe for you.


Web Cams –  Only required if video is being enabled.  One of the best web cams is the  Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000.

Headset –The headset is strongly recommended for recording purposes.  The biggest  factor that will go into the type of headset you will need is the type of device you will using (desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone).  I would recommend you doing some research.  I personally have a Plantronics.

Recording Software – The personal branding value is maximized when the video functionally is ultiized.  To record you have to download a third party application.
I have listed a few different options.

•    Vodburner (PC Only)
•    Call Recorder for Macs
•    Screenflow – Screenflow is a screencasting software that can be used to capture the video is a cool application that a friend of mind Henry Balanon swears by.

Personal Branding Value:

In the example I used I was able to extend my reach to a group of educators that were outside of  my network with no cost to me except my time.

Products that can be produced from Skype
•    Audio Podcasts
•    Video Podcasts
•    Video Interviews
•    Workshop Presentations

Value Provided By Using Skype
•    Extend your network
•    Extend your reach
•    Reinforces your relevance in the new media space.
•    Its FREE!!! It saves you money and time.
•    Sharable content if recorded, uploaded and linked to.

I hope this short blog post opened up your eyes to the possibilities of using Skype as a personal branding tool.  Please share your thoughts in the comments section about how you have used Skype as a personal branding tool.

2010 Personal Branding Predictions: Top-10 (A New Decade)

The year 2010 is the beginning of a new decade and it is going to be an exciting time that is influenced by social and technological change. The world as we knew it in the last decade will be radically different with more influential female voices.

I am excited to share my personal branding predictions for 2010 and the drivers behind them. As a country the U.S. has outsourced it soul (manufacturing and technological expertise) to other countries leaving creativity and intellectual capital as our centers of excellence. My predictions center around the creativity of human capital and the growing need for character and personal responsibility.

Top-10 Personal Branding Predictions for 2010

1. The Rise of Digital Personalities – With the rise of social search (Bing and Google search engines) brands will be directly impacted and forced to participate in the real-time conversation that is happening online.  Personal brands will have to be active to be relevant which will provide an opportunity for their digital personalities (online component of your personal brand) to gain in influence.

2. Growth of Female Personal Brands – Males have long dominated or been the voice of the social media space.  I believe that you will start to see the growth of female influence in social media and personal branding.   The demographic data shows there are larger numbers of women online in Twitter, Facebook, and the other major social networks.  It is a great time to be female and to be web 2.0 savvy.   (Note: In Twitter and Facebook women outpace men (Twitter: Women – 60% and Men 40% and Facebook: Women – 57% and Men 43%).  Female centric groups mommy bloggers, Blogher.com, etc. will become more influential and prominent.). Twitter List of Influential Women in Social Media Women

3. Sports Industry and Athletes seek Personal Brand Strategist – Some of the most interesting personal branding stories (Tiger Woods, ESPN and Michael Beasley) in 2009 were been centered around athletes and the sports industry.  Athletes and their agents will start to identify social media and personal branding strategist to manage their online personal brands.  The social media policies that impact the human capital of sports teams, commentators, and other personnel will evolve as well.

4. The Focus on Character will Increase – The importance of character gains momentum, the Tiger Woods saga reinforces the importance of character in personal and corporate brands alike.  Facebook and Twitter will continue to be character references and will grow in importance in validating social behavior.

5. Education Influenced by Personal Branding – Personal branding and social tools will continue to impact the learning environment.  The subject of personal branding will continue to evolve on college campuses.  Workshops and classes alike will continue to grow on college campuses, like Michigan Technological Universities ENT3976 Personal Brand Management.

6. Privacy is Dead – The concept of privacy will go the way of the dinosaur, in other words it is dead.  With geo tagging, status updates, social search anyone can identity where you are at and what you are doing at all times.  Your online habits will communicate to an employer, potential business partner, or sports team everything they need to know about you as a person.  Your life will exist in a stream.

7. Mobile Influence on Personal Brands – The hub of the personal brand will center around mobile devices like iPhone and the Android phone.  These devices currently constitute 75% of the smartphone web traffic.  The growing number of apps, social search, and the ease of content upload will stimulate personal brand interaction thru their devices.

8.Identifying your Inner Genius – Identifying your passion will be critical.  With increase in unemployment, job downsizing, and workload increase people will be forced to identify what they truly love doing and what they were created to do.  Success has was defined by high profile, high-paying jobs as those opportunities start to reduce people will be forced to think about what they love doing and will tap into their inner Genius.

9. Corporate and Personal Brand ConflictSocial media polices (David Armano six trends of social media 2010) and graying lines between corporate and personal brands will require individuals to navigate their activity in social networks more carefully whether their on the clock or off.  The person and the corporation will have to be responsible in managing and monitoring online personal brand activity, this will be a hot topic.

10. Developing your Personal Brand with Full-time Job (Grustle) – Personal brands will be developed after hours or as entrepreneurial projects.  With the decrease in employer loyalty people will start to focus on developing their personal brand passively while maintaining a 9-to-5 job, known as the GRUSTLE.

Brand Camp Video #2: Social Media & You: Tips for Success in your Career (Scott Monty)

I’m pleased to bring you the second video from the 2008 Brand Camp University Personal Branding 2.0 Conference, with Scott Monty Director of Social Media at Ford talking about Social Media & You: Tips for Success in your Career.  His presentation includes his now famous quote “What happens in Vegas – Stays in Google.”  He has some excellent information to share.  Sit back and enjoy.

Thanks to Portage Media Solutions for producing the video.

Nine Personal Branding Predictions for 2009

2009 Personal Branding Predictions

It is 2009 and the Internet is buzzing with experts providing their predictions and trends for the year.  I wanted to provide my thoughts on personal branding to help set the tone for an exciting year.


1. Creative Economy:  Creativity will be to the information age what manufacturing was to the industrial age.  Individuals dependence on being a company man working 30-years at one company or until death do you part will cease to exist.  The integration of creativity into business ideas and career will become a necessity and not an option.  As a personal brand you will need to think creatively in developing strategic partnerships and ways to stand out.  After everybody has updated their Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages, established a blog, added followers, and followed all the same tips what is next?  Creativity.
2. Purpose/Mission:  People will start to seek opportunities or careers that give them greater satisfaction that they have a true passion for.  This is primarily due to the instability in the economy and the reduction of jobs that were more lucrative in good economic times.  High paying low education jobs are a thing of the past.  People will now look at opportunities that align with how they are wired and what they were designed to do.
3. ‘Personal Branding’ Term Commoditized:  The term ‘Personal Branding’ will become more commoditized and genericized.  The term has significance and value when implemented, but I believe the term itself will be overused and misused.
4. Traditional Journalist Become Commodities:  The voice and influence of bloggers and social media experts increase.  Newspapers are losing money with traditional newspaper printing and are looking for ways to compete with the new media.  Traditional journalist will have to integrate social media and effectively establish their personal brand.
5. Personal Branding Experts Commodization:  With the increase of social media gurus the line between personal branding experts and social media experts is blurring.  The personal branding industry will become oversaturated and the cream will rise to the top.  Those of us in the personal branding industry will have to work harder to cut through the noise.
6. Establish ‘Blue Movement’:  The need to develop the ‘Blue Movement is critical.   ‘American Made’ needs to be established as the new luxury product. The ‘Green Movement’ has been very successful because big business have bought into it can the same be done with the ‘Blue Movement’?
7. Twitter Relevance Increases:  Twitter will gain relevance as a search and primary news source. Business opportunities with strategist business models and usages will continue to be developed.
8. Personal Brands being Healthy:  Being healthy is just as importance as your ranking in Google.  You can have all the money and influence in the world but without good health you have nothing.  Being fit spiritually, mentally, and physically is critical. Learn to have balance and think holistically because you are the sum total of all your parts.
9. Passion Becomes King:  People doing what they love.  Passion is the fuel that drives you to do what others are not willing to do.  We all have the same 24-hours but passionate people find out how to get more out of their time and produce higher quality results.

I want to challenge and inspire you to shine in 2009.  Have an awesome year and share your predictions for 2009 in the comments section of this blog post.

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