Talk Nerdy To Me – Nerd Nite Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor’s newest event aims to bring together two of the greatest things about growing up: feeling comfortable in your own skin and the ability to legally enjoy an after-work drink, in moderation. Nerd Nite is a growing global phenomenon that brings together self-proclaimed nerds in a relaxed bar setting where they can share interesting informational nerdy presentations.

3D Printing Example at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor

Photo by ashlieforchione

I had the opportunity to get involved in Nerd Nite Ann Arbor in its early stages. My sister, a developer/nerd, and some of her friends made it their mission to organize the first ever Nerd Nite in Ann Arbor. I went at first to support her; while they had invited nerds they knew, the ‘Bosses’ (Nerd Nite organizers) weren’t sure how many people would actually show. One invited nerd even digitally muttered their uncertainty about the event – there would be girls there, and alcohol. How nerdy could it be?

How very nerdy, indeed. At least 20 people had to be turned away at the door – all the extra standing room only spots were taken well before the first presentation on Nanotechnology. Though some nerds waited in another area of the bar, hoping to catch a glimpse of the next two presentations on 3D Printing (see above photo) and Data Visualization, it was to no avail. No one even left the presentation area for fear of losing their spot.

At the end of the first night, I knew Nerd Night Ann Arbor would be bigger than my sister ever hoped. So, I did what any good sister-nerd with digital marketing know-how would do. I offered to help manage their social media outreach, and get my digital-nerd on. See, while digital and social marketing is a job field I’m pursuing, it is also a passion of mine. Something to get ‘nerdy’ about, as any good-fitting job should be. The facebook page and twitter are already exploding. I’m geeked to see what we can do for the next event this February.

If this post has got you feeling nerdy, geeked out, or put you in touch with your inner poindexter, check out Nerd Nite Ann Arbor or just talk nerdy to me.

Twitter’s Makeover: A New Look for Business Profiles

Twitter recently introduced a feature for business’s called a header image. The concept is similar to a Facebook cover photo. I’m happy that Twitter implemented the idea. I’m a visual person, so I prefer pictures and videos more than text. Its not that I did not like the previous Facebook and Twitter layouts, but I think this style is more appealing to the eye. This photo is great for a business using Twitter for marketing because consumers can learn what the company does almost instantly when viewing a photo. An attractive photo can even reel in potential customers.



In addition to the new header image, Twitter has also enabled a bio section that’s similar to LinkedIn company profiles where you write a brief description about yourself. In other words, “Who are you and what is your position?”. Well, it does not have to be that stern, but can be a creatively carved description about yourself.

You can now also pin the most important content from your updates. For example, I can pin the pictures and updates from LA2M since I love it so much. The best part is that the Android and iOS apps have also been updated to work hand in hand with Twitter 3.4.

It will be interesting to see how Twitter’s new image will affect social media marketing and interesting to see how businesses will use the new features to promote their brands in creative and interactive ways.

To learn how to create a header image check out this helpful PDF from Twitter:

Google+ Project: The Future of Social Networking?

Search engine giant Google launched their very own social networking service on Tuesday. The Google+ Project attempts to take a bite out of, and possibly rip the head off of menacing social networking superstar Facebook. Parasitic social networking sites are rapidly invading Google’s territory, as Facebook and Twitter absorb the traffic once reserved for Google. Social networks cripple Google’s infrastructure by depriving important information from the systems used to enhance Web search and Google AdWords.

Google+ Project surpasses any other social networking attempt made by the company in the past. Standard social sharing is taken to the next level, converting the typical social networking mass communication model into a more personalized small group, real-life communication experience.Users can create separate communication groups between friends, family, acquaintances, ex-boyfriends, frenemies, roommates, running buddies, co-workers, etc., into “Circles.” Circles is a Google+ Project feature uses a drag and drop method and simplifies standard practices used on other social networks to dividing friends, foes and co-workers into individual sharing networks.

The iPhone and Android mobile applications for Google+ are very similar to the web version of Google+, making sharing and communicating easy and fluid. Users won’t have to use four different applications to share information or chat with friends in different ways. The magnitude of Google’s Web and mobile presence is enough to make smaller start-ups and mobile developers quiver in their boots. Add the element of social sharing into the mix and Google could potentially destroy its social networking competitors.

Fusing together content sharing, group video chat, video and photo sharing and a mobile app is an impressive start for Google’s social networking future. Google+ Project combines Internet social sharing habits into one centralized place where messages can be controlled and disseminated in real-life fashion. Google+ Project is still in its field trial period and more innovations and changes are expected. It will be interesting to see if Google’s search engine marketing skills will match their social media marketing abilities.

New York Times: Another Try by Google to Take On Facebook

The Google+ Project

Twitter Keeps it Short and Tweet

There are literally hundreds of social media networking tools available on the web, many of which are free and fairly simple to figure out. While it is debatable which is the ‘best’ utility (as this is fairly opinion based), there is no doubt in my mind that Twitter offers something distinctive in the realm of digital technologies. Twitter can be used as a social networking tool through short, 140 ‘micro-blogs’ or ‘tweets’ as they’re called, that serve as status updates for an individual, organization or company. You can choose whose updates you receive and similarly people can add you and follow your updates. Here is one of the coolest features of the site: the ability to receive updates from your contacts via the Twitter webpage, through Facebook, as an RSS feed, SMS text message or via Instant Messages. Additionally, you can have your Twitter account automatically publish a link to your latest blog posts. You also can control your privacy settings and restrict who receives your tweets.

Twitter allows you to create your own personal profile complete with biography and links to any personal webpages that you may have. You can search all other Twitter profiles to find people in close proximity to you and with similar backgrounds and interests. Twitter is straight to the point; it allows for you to share instant information with a network of contacts in a concise manner.

This image is known as the Fail Whale, an iconic aspect of Twitter.

Many businesses and business-minded individuals alike have put this Web 2.0 tool to good use. Companies such as Whole Foods, CNN and JetBlue all have accounts that provide consumers with relevant-up-to-date information in their respective industry. You can also follow both Democratic and Republican Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates on Twitter- really useful to provide up to date information about their campaigns. 

Twitter is continuing to grow in size and popularity as many businesses are realizing that this tool serves to fill a unique digital niche. Not only can tweets provide up-to-the-second information about products and services offered by your business, but it serves as an interactive forum where a business-consumer dialogue can occur, allowing for maximum success on behalf of all parties. Of course, this interaction is even more beneficial for a business that operates in a primarily digital field (take Ingenex, for example).

Twitter is showing itself to quickly be the way of the future. Because accounts can be created for both individuals and large corporations, the type of information transmitted in a tweet can cover a wide range of meanings and purposes. Corporations can notify followers of potential sales, while individuals can let their contacts know that they’ve just recently posted a blog entry worth checking out. Tweets are short but extremely multi-faceted in terms of use and the type of audience they can potentially reach. I definitely recommend utilizing this social networking tool for both your personal and business needs.

The Real (Digital) World

As a current student at Michigan State University, one subject of intense interest to myself and my fellow students is graduation, and how to prepare for it. Taking those first steps from university to the real world can be intimidating, and many current students are unsure of how to make a smooth transition from co-ed to corporate. How can current college students take charge of their digital personas and put them to work for themselves?

My first piece of advice would be to Google yourself, and look carefully at the results. They might display one of several things:

  1. That article you wrote for the high school paper
  2. Pictures of you from last year’s spring break in Cancun
  3. Nothing at all.

Whatever comes up about you, don’t despair – while high school accomplishments aren’t bad, they aren’t really current and don’t display all of the hard work you’ve been (hopefully) doing in college. While certainly great keepsakes, your spring break pictures don’t really convey a sense of professionalism. If you’re not coming up in search results, maybe you’ve kept a low profile, but isn’t it better to be proactive rather than reactive?

Is this what you want employers to remember about you?

Is this what you want employers to remember about you?

Take charge of your search results! Make a great impression when employers are looking to learn more about you, instead of keeping them in the dark about what a great candidate you would be for that newly-available position. To do this, create some professional profiles for yourself on sites like LinkedIn, Naymz, ZoomInfo, and AboutUs. Make sure that the information you offer up in these profiles is professional and highlights the skills that will help you find the job you want. The Washington Post offers some tips on what to include or keep private on your LinkedIn profile that can be applied to other social media sites.

Part of making the most of your online reputation is keeping some things out of the public eye – for those profiles that are more social than professional, you may want to restrict your privacy settings to make yourself invisible in search results. Facebook offers an option to take yourself out of search engine results, found in the Privacy Settings tab. If you’re proud of your Facebook profile, and think that it passes professional muster, you can also use this feature to create a public search listing for yourself – just make sure your profile isn’t going to keep employers from hiring you.

We’ve all heard about how your digital identity can work against you, but by showcasing your great features in a professional way, you too can feel confident with your online reputation. Social networking doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, so you might as well make sure that your online image makes an excellent impression.

In today’s working world, employers are starting to embrace social networking as a time-saving, financially savvy way to keep their employees connected, according to USA Today, and as a college student or recent grad you will almost be expected to be a social networking guru. Make sure that you exceed the expectations and enhance both your digital and professional reputations.