I’m finishing a slide deck for a case study I’m presenting in my Strategic Social Media class tomorrow. It’s about six successful social media entrepreneurs (Julia Roy, Amy Martin, Sarah Evans, Stefanie Michaels, Sarah Austin, and Felicia Day), how they were portrayed in the Vanity Fair article “America’s Tweethearts,” and the way that they’ve created successful personal brands in the fluid ecosystem that is social media.

This may be my favorite slide deck yet. I’ll post to Slideshare when it’s complete. Here’s a preview.

Posted via web from Angela Seits


The first social media presentation I ever viewed was “What the F**K is Social Media?” created by Marta Kagan. It not only expanded my understanding of social media itself but it also showed me what an impact a visual PowerPoint presentation can have. Now, one year later, part two of the presentation is just as relevant.

The questions I hear the most from organizations are, “Why should we spend time on social media?” “Why would anyone want to “friend” our company or be a “fan” of our page?” and “Who’s going to do it? I don’t have time.”

If you are one of the many practitioners still trying to explain why companies should participate in social media, check out these presentations for great statistics and reminders to avoid “broadcasting” and to initiate  authentic dialogue. It’s a great primer before your next social media discussion.

Bring It On


I’m gearing up for my busiest event-season ever and since I know I have quite a few followers who are interested in event-planning,  I thought I would share what I’m working on. If you don’t hear from me very often this summer, it’s because I’m somewhere in Springfield, Oregon giving directions over a walkie-talkie and living off of Clif bars and Diet Coke (not clients). Come visit!

teen-rock-bandTeen Battle of the Bands – For all of those teen garage bands out there, this first annual event is going to be a great way to tap into the undiscovered talent of local high school students in my area.  I’ll be working to reach them through Facebook, MySpace, and a customized sign-up booth at their schools.

kidjam-girlKidJam Festival – This is my 6th year planning this event and each year it becomes larger and more complex. The KidJam is a popular summer festival for kids and families of all ages and features carnival activities, children’s performers and yummy fair food. The event is promoted with a great media package and is usually attended by upwards of 6,000 people.

pet-paradePets Parade – As you can image, the pet-lover community is huge and pet-owners love opportunities to show off their “babies.” I’m in the process of looking for a community group to organize a parade of pets (still looking for an event name!) and a sponsor to provide delicious treats. I’m looking forward to seeing costumed animals takeover downtown.

farm-marketLunchbox Concerts – In addition to producing four evening summer concerts, I’m also running a daytime summer concert series at the local Farmers’ Market. Our mobile stage will feature local performers that range from Hawaiian to Bluegrass and are certain to give the new Farmers’ Market some feel-good ambiance.

camping1Family Campout Event – After attending the NRPA Environmental Summit last May, a colleague and I were inspired to get more families outdoors. We’re planning an organized family campout at a 250-acre living history farm that will give families the chance to learn skills in putting up a tent, fire-building and wilderness first aid in a safe environment within city limits. It’s a first-year event, so we’ll be trying to figure out sponsors and promotion as well as logistics.

rockband2-picRockBand2 Tournament – this event is the personal highlight of my event season. As an avid RockBand2 (and Guitar Hero) player, I’m thrilled to plan this competition for adults.  We’re holding this event at a community theater and eliminating players tournament-style based on how high they score on a set of songs. Costumes will be highly encouraged and a popular rock band could possibly make a guest appearance.

Cross your fingers for me.  If you have any ideas for promoting these events, I’d love to hear them!

Photo from Gawker

Facebook Busts Intern

Following the recent uproar about Facebook’s change to their Terms of Service has made me concerned about a few things: First, many people had never read the TOS before. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, it’s common practice to  accept a user agreement without so much as skimming the fine print. But it’s an irresponsible habit that many of us have developed and Chris Brogan is right — it’s time to: Wake up to how you share on the Web. We  should all think critically about the content we  share and consider what copyrights or privacy we  give up before  posting content online.

Which brings me to my second concern: We often fail to read the Terms of Service because we assume the best of a social media site and its users. If you’re naturally cynical  like some (I said, SOME)  in the Gen X camp, you probably assume the worst. I’m guessing that Millennials have a much different perspective.

Sites like Facebook are digital hangouts as trusted and familiar as our childhood homes. We have an optimistic, and perhaps naive, belief that a site will use our information responsibly. Some of us even fool ourselves into thinking that what we post on Facebook will remain private with the right privacy settings in place.

Well, I’m sorry to say it, but we should have seen it coming and not because Facebook is some evil corporation.

The viral nature of social media depends upon loss of privacy and loss of ownership through sharing. For this reason, I (half) believe Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation that the change in the user agreement was made to account for the photos and messages that would be stored in a friend’s inbox long after a user decides to delete their account. In fact, we would be smart to account for duel-ownership among our friends. For example, just because your privacy settings keep your boss from viewing your party pics, it doesn’t mean that your friends share your concerns.

Mark Zuckerberg would like you to believe that unlike some of your friends, Facebook does share your concern for retaining privacy and ownership. Unfortunately, Facebook is about as reliable as the Facebook friends you’ve accumulated after meeting them once, whose last name you can’t remember or never knew. Again, not because Facebook is evil but because they’re struggling to establish a working business model.

Free services like Facebook and Twitter have to pay the bills somehow. We  trust that sites like Facebook will  always be there and we can just come and go as we please without having to contribute anything in return. As a result, the business model of Facebook may depend upon users waiving all of their rights to privacy and ownership in order for Facebook to profit by selling user data and  sharing content freely with Facebook Connect-enabled partners. It’s a monetization strategy generated from necessity. Users don’t want to pay for the service and advertising revenue is not providing a steady revenue-stream either. What’s Facebook to do?

I’m not suggesting that Facebook intends to directly profit from your family photos but what about third-party sites? The user agreement clearly states that Facebook is not responsible for the actions of third-party developers and Connect-enabled sites. Suddenly, it becomes clear that it’s not just Facebook you should worry about, it’s every random company behind the hundreds of widgets and applications you allow to access your information daily.

For this reason, I think there are only two safe strategies for sharing content on the Web:

Don’t post anything you intend to retain ownership of or share freely with this quote in mind, There is no end to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

My Kinda Words


newspaper-photoSocially Minded has moved to a new location here on WordPress and with the new locale comes a different approach. If you were following my posts on Blogger (imported here) you know that I took a short hiatus to redefine my blogging strategy.

I started blogging in the summer of 2008 and after about seven months, I hit a wall. It wasn’t because I ran out of things to say  – like most people, I’ve always got something on my mind. And it’s true that I was (and still am) extremely busy but that wasn’t it either.

I realized the problem was a matter of “voice.” I was trying too hard to sound the way I imagined a professional PR blogger should sound and losing touch with my voice was stifling my creativity. What started out as a project to engage in social media and explore new ideas became “managing my digital resume.”

For me, the problem with viewing a blog as a digital resume, a branding strategy, or a definitive writing sample for a future employer is two-fold:

1) Just like a resume, the blog becomes stillborn. It doesn’t grow and it doesn’t engage.

2.) If I have to think about carefully crafting every word and making sure that every post adheres to AP Style, I’ll never keep up a regular posting schedule.

Here’s why: Blogging is a different medium to me than more formal types of writing – it’s much more liberating and it allows me to experiment. When I blog, my intention is not to represent myself as a journalist or an “authority” on PR and social media. My intention is to share my thoughts – about PR, social media, research, people – and engage in conversations.

I’ve definitely written some posts that I feel are authentically me such as “Three Things I Wish I had Learned Sooner,” “PR Events – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” and “The Real Me Online.” These posts ring true because they share a little bit of who I am at the moment: a twenty-something professional navigating both my career and social media with youthful enthusiasm and a writer’s curiosity.

With that said, I look forward to having more fun with Socially Minded and offering a perspective that is more uniquely “me.”  I plan to post twice per week as often as possible and I will mix it up between the random, entertaining  stuff and the more serious research I enjoy. Please share your thoughts along the way  – I’d love to learn from you too!

I am taking a short hiatus from Socially Minded in order to fulfill one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2009 – to redesign my blog in a way that encourages me to share more of who I am and what I’m passionate about. I’ve had a great time blogging about social media, events and PR this past year but I’ve had a hard time keeping a regular posting schedule. When I come back with new posts, I’ll let you know how often I’ll be adding my voice to the blogosphere.

Thanks for following these past months. Talk to you soon (at the end of January)!

According to Matthew Arnold, “Journalism is literature in a hurry.” As someone studying public relations with an undergraduate degree in English literature, I certainly relate to this statement. I remember taking my first class in the introductory Journalism sequence and being shocked to discover that the style of writing that would have earned an A+ in my upper-division English classes could barely pass for a B. I didn’t know AP Style, my sentences were always too long and my word choices too grandiose. I still face the challenge of achieving brevity in my writing today.

Although there is certainly an important value to communicating in concise, easy to understand language when writing for newspapers, magazines, and Web sites, it does concern me that readers are increasingly demanding that content be kept brief and to the point. People are spending more time online reading information, but the style of reading has shifted from delving into long, complex passages to scanning short passages and images.

Tufts University developmental psychologist Maryanne Wolf suggests “that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts ‘eficiency’ and ‘immediacy’ above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace.” The invention of the printing press allowed us to massively distribute works of literature and the invention of the Internet has allowed us to distribute works on a much more global scale and at a lower cost. The question is — what kind of content are we distributing and what is the thought process through which we take in this new kind of information?

A quick survey of blogs, Web sites and various Web platforms shows that content is usually brief in nature. Perhaps what is most significant is the way that online readers engage with the Web — even when stumbling upon long prose, readers tend to scan passages, quickly jumping from link to link to access information. Unlike the experience of sitting down to read a singular novel, online readers generally do not intend to read from only one site or to engage with only one topic on the Web. Online content is designed in a manner that propels readers from one site to another, making the term Web very fitting when one thinks about how content is connected.

Easy access to the most up-to-date information has an enormous value and should not be discredited; however, there is also something to be said for the process of digging for information and taking the time to discover it line by line. The ability to concentrate on long passages of prose also seems to improve the ability to hold more in-depth discussions. Perhaps it is simply a matter of style, but I have noticed that the discourse in English literature classes tends to be more philisophical and sustained for longer periods on one topic whereas discussions in a Journalism course are more likely to be objective and rapidly-changing from one subject to another.

A tendency to explore a range of topics and take in small, disjointed pieces of information is not something to be concerned about; the inability to extend a thought-process beyond that, however, is of concern. Due to the fact that communication mediums can influence us as much as we influence them, we should consider what impact the Web has on our minds.

In my next post, I’ll explore how the Web is influencing my brain and discuss the Atlantic Monthly article ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?’ by Nicholas Carr. Until then, I’d love to hear — do you think the Web has altered the way you think?