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Archive for the ‘Melanie’s Life’ Category

I’ve been away from my blog for a while as I’ve done a little soul searching to really understand what I’m all about. I’ve been in a little rut at work and have been wondering what is it I truly enjoy about my job — what lights my fire to make me excited about work. I find it a little funny that after doing all of this thinking, I went to my Blackberry — which is where I keep my blog ideas — and found “My top 5 strengths,” an idea suggested by a Twitter post probably at least a month back by @prsarahevans.

Now, I caveat this post by saying that I’m not trying to brag. This post is more about reminding myself then showing off to anyone who reads this. It is a good exercise, and I recommend that you do this too. Please comment below on what your strengths are.

So, with that said, here mine are.

1. I know AP style and use it. When I first started my current job I came on as a publication manager — a new position in charge of running three publications for thee clients. A huge part of running those publications was editing them. Since then (now almost two years later) I have continued showcasing my editing abilities by reviewing press releases, bylines, strategic plan, RFPs and even ad copy. I take pride in my abilities although I am never too proud to say that I have an AP Stylebook next to my desk that is regularly referenced and I know I miss things.

2. I’m great at running things. I am an organizer. I like lists. I like checking things off my lists. I like making one list and then dividing it into smaller lists of things to get done today, tomorrow and at some point down the line. Because of this I have become a strong publication manager — I currently have four publications in production at different stages — and I also am a good event planner. While organization is not the end all be all of these activities, it does help.

3. I can piggy-back on ideas. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most creative one in the office … by far. However, I do think I am good at hearing an idea and developing it more. This is why I love brainstorm sessions. Whether it is two people or 20, hearing ideas and talking them through really allows my brain to turn. And while my idea might not be the one chosen, at least I can keep the conversation going and hopefully spur someone else’s brilliant idea.

4. I choose what I do. I list this as a strength because it really helps me put everything in perspective. When I went to college I ensured myself that I had a few paths to go down. I have a journalism degree. I have a marketing background. I have an event background. I have a math degree — yes, suprising I know. I have my teacher’s certification and can teach fourth graders up through Algebra II and pre-calculus. I’ve got a lot of options, but I hapily say that I’m in a profession that suits me.

5. I’m anxious to mentor and be mentored.Throughout my PR and related careers, I never had a mentor. I was a do-it-yourselfer and a self-starter, so I learned on my own and, probably a little to my detriment, was never big on asking for help or asking questions. Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I am anxious to help my peers and help someone get started on his / her career. I want to share my knowledge, but most of all, I want to grow. People younger and older than me have a lot of experiences I don’t have, and by working more closely with them, hopefully I can further my own development.

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Image Courtesy of The Meeting Institute

Last week was supposed to be our company’s retreat, which had to be postponed because of a rash of influenza that spread throughout the agency’s halls. So instead of attending the retreat I’d rather take pause to talk about the purpose of it here.

It is good every once and a while to take a break from the day-to-day stresses and think about how you can improve yourself, or in this case, the agency. Those times bring opportunity for growth. 

However, it is hard to grow when you don’t know where you are currently at. You have to first pause and breakdown your situation. At last year’s retreat we talked about the four stages of a team — form, storm, norm and perform. By knowing where you are in this cycle you can then discuss how to move to the next one. We all want to be in the perform stage so you have to figure out how you can get there. 

These same thoughts can be applied to my personal growth. Where am I at in my learning cycle? What are my strengths? What am I doing to use those? What are my weaknesses? What am I doing to help overcome or reduce those? 

By knowing where you are at then you can take steps to better yourself in the future.

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I will be the first to admit that Facebook isn’t high on my priority list. I can distinctly remember everyone back in college jumping on board the social media outlet and me just hanging back. 

I am now a Facebook member– feel free to come friend me (search Melanie Thompson, San Antonio) — but as I begin using the outlet I have become quite confused about the number of people whose pages are blocked from the general public. 

To me, social media is about being out there, welcoming conversations — see a related blog by Chris Brogan today. By blocking yourself from the outside I feel that you are doing a disservice to the whole purpose of Web 2.0. It is hard — nay impossible — to carry on a conversation with someone you can’t reach. And by forbidding me to interact with you without becoming your friend, how am I supposed to get true insight into your personality? Or is that in fact the best point of view to your personality.

I look at my Facebook page as another window to the community. Another avenue to spread my point of view, meet new business contacts and expand as a PR professional. To help me do this I have left my Facebook open to the public. 

If your page is blocked, please let me know why. As a Facebook beginner I am interested to hear how this impacts the number of friends you get, the conversations you have, etc. And do you look at your Facebook page as a personal outlet, a business outlet or both?

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The headline of this post might be a little misconceiving. It is my belief that the point of LinkedIn is to connect and either add business partnerships or find a new job. Well, neither of those have happened yet for me. I have, however, found success connecting with my past fellow employees and with people I hope to network with in the future.

I did read an interesting Reuters article today about the economic crisis boosting the usage of LinkedIn as laid-off employees seek jobs.

I’m one of the thankful and lucky ones that still has a job, and I’m at a business with strong ethics and practices that spell success for it (and hopefully for me) for the future. However, I am feeling extra lucky that I have already immersed myself in social media and online recruiting that will keep me “up to date” in the marketplace.

The Reuters article includes an interview with a mid-50s woman who is just getting signed up to LinkedIn. It is good to already be there, know how it works and connecting with friends and employers to create an online network that may come in handy some day. At the very least, I’ve already met people with similar intersts that are simply nice to talk with. So, if you haven’t signed up, go ahead. It may one day be well worth it.

Please feel free to come say hi to me at my LinkedIn profile.

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Well, now we can see the real value of social media.

Guy starts Facebook group about Texas beating OU in early October.

Facebook group now as more than 18,000 members.

Mentions of group on Austin American Statesman Web site (possibly in print).

Signs with 45-35 score on them were plastered across Memorial Stadium at Thursday’s Texas/Texas A&M game. Many of the signs were printed in The Daily Texan, the University of Texas’ student-run newspaper.

Guy who started Facebook group was interviewed live on ESPN talking about the group.

So, what started on Facebook also garnered print, Internet and TV advertising. I didn’t get a chance to listen to radio for the game, but I’m sure it was mentioned there as well. Gotta love the power of social media.

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Maybe it was just me, but I was a little disappointed in the advertisements that came in Thursday’s newspaper. For the past couple of years these ads have played a key role in my Thanksgiving — watching my husband, his family and my family rifle through them and choose things they like. However, this year the excitement was tremendously dialed down. Home Depot was the only store that really got anyone in our family pulling out a pen to circle the items they like. And consequently, my mom, my mother-in-law and myself all spent at least part of Friday morning at Home Depot.  

Maybe it was high expectations. I expected flashy ads and sliced prices in an effort by the stores to get more people out there Friday morning despite the fact that everyone is number crunching right now. But maybe the stores are doing so bad that they can’t afford to cut any more of their prices. Or maybe they expect people to shop on Black Friday no matter what the prices are because we expect them to be cheaper.

Any thoughts? How was your Black Friday shopping?

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The power of social media is helping Longhorn fans to fight for their team this week. With the BCS rankings too close to choose a Big 12 South winner (an expected national title game participant), Longhorn fans have created a Facebook group called “Texas did beat OU 45-35, lest we forget.”

You can read a full blrub about the new group here.

There were 3,800 members when the Bevo Beat blog was posted, and I’m sure that number has grown quickly. But, how many voters for the Harris poll or coaches in the USA Today poll actually are on Facebook? Probably few. However, the purpose of the social network group is not to solely gain members.
The purpose of this social media campaign isn’t to drive people to Facebook. It is to spur action to grab a larger presence on TV on Thursday (i.e., big signs with the OU-Texas score). So, what we may see is something that started on Facebook help shape the game Thursday night, OU’s game Saturday and the rankings on Sunday. Kudos to the power of social media and people’s willingness to use it.  

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