Spreading the “Good News” and Building the Church of Social Media

My good friend Emma was recently working at the AUSA (Association of the United States Army) annual meeting where she promoted the Army.mil site and shared with attendees how they are using social media to disseminate their message. In a recent conversation, she told me that the phrase “We’re just helping spread the good news about Twitter’s impact” kept coming out of her mouth; she had even managed to sign some attendees up for Twitter on the spot so that they could follow the Army’s updates (@USArmy).

Spreading the good news. If you’re familiar with Christianity, the Bible commonly refers to “Good News” as the message of Jesus Christ. Followers were and are still instructed to share with others this Good News because it is important for life.

We can relate this idea to spreading the “good news” of Social Media. I’m a huge advocate for Twitter, blogging, and social media in general. I tell my friends to join Twitter all the time, especially those on the verge of graduation and those in the professional world. I was “converted” last spring by my friend Carla (and Twitter guru @carlastephanie ) of Life Before Noon. Since then, I’ve worked dutifully as a disciple to win over new converts (go with me on this analogy…).

Why is it so important that other people use Twitter, blog, and engage in social media? Personally, I believe it legitimizes those of us who actively engage in these activities. For example, if you come across a new band that you really like, you typically tell others about them in the hopes that they’ll tell other people and eventually, this band will be selling records and climbing the charts. They are only successful if people know about them and engage in their music.

Similarly, Twitter and social media becomes very important once people realize its necessity. Having been a skeptic before, I know that people out there think it is an unnecessary waste of time (I know I did at one point), but once I “saw the light” (so to speak), I wanted to tell everyone about it and how it can improve their lives or professions.

I was having coffee with my friend who is a graphic designer/photographer (check out his Flickr site) last week and I mentioned Twitter and my blog. He asked me why they were so important, why I was so into social media. I explained to him how social media has helped me begin to develop my personal brand, make valuable contacts, and has given me an outlet to learn new things.

A week later…he’s started a blog and is on Twitter (@DannyJackson). Send him some messages and congratulate him on joining the community of Social Media.

Do you think it is necessary to spread the “good news” of social media? Why?

Charting the Detour

Since my last post about deciding what sort of job to get after ending my internship with Live Nation, and completely freaking out because I don’t have a salary, benefits, or a 401k (are those even important anymore?), I found a job as a server at, Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Cafe.

Now, those who know me best, know that there are somethings I wasn’t born to do. When contemplating what my next move ought to be after ending my internship, I mentioned becoming a nanny. My dear friend Emma flat out told me it was a bad idea. She just kind shook her head and said, “That’s not you.” And she was right, I don’t think I’m very good w/kids or have the patience required for such a feat (thankfully, I still have lots of time before having to have my own!).

So, I got a job at a Rio Grande, where they only hire one in thirty people who come in for an application. Having never been a server, I was surprised I made it through the interviews, but apparently, my “ability to communicate” was the deciding factor that got me the job. Much like the nannying proposition, serving wasn’t really me. I’m clumsy, kinda quirky, and more useful collaborating on a team about marketing proposals than making sure your enchiladas come with green sauce instead of beef sauce.

Regardless, I decided to accept the offer and attend a two week training session that was anything but a walk in the park (only two of the four new hires made it through training). We endured three written menu memorization tests, uniform inspections, and late hours learning to roll silverware and learning table numbers.

I’m not going to lie- becoming a server was h-a-r-d. Physically, it is tiring, mentally it is overwhelming, and emotionally, its draining, because subconsciously, I feel as though I’ve failed- A college graduate working as a waitress. Whenever I drove to the restaurant, I would become overwhelmed and pray that I’d get cut early- I was acting as though this was the hardest thing I had ever faced (not true)!

Feeling this way put a lot of doubt, and surprisingly, arrogance in my demeanor. I began to position myself as someone who thought they were “too good” to be working in a restaurant, and the reality is- I am lucky to have been hired and to have an income in these rough economic times.

Today’s shift started out like all the others, I was nervous and less than thrilled to be there. But then I thought about it…how was I going to get better and feel more comfortable if I continued to allow my disappointment and unease of not being in a permanent position continue to keep me down. So, I decided to “be there, 100%”.

The night started out really slow. I had three tables in two hours, and the first two tables were each single individuals dining alone. While I wasn’t attending to my guests, I forced myself out of my comfort zone and assisted other servers, helped the kitchen manager prepare accompaniments for the entrees, and took it upon myself to get out onto the floor and check-up on tables that didn’t even belong to me.

Towards the end of the night, things were pretty steady and I had a consistent flow of three tables. I was ringing in orders, processing checks, serving food and providing my best hospitality. At one point I was carrying a tray back with two big fajita platters and some side dishes, when I hear a voice behind me say, “Great work girl, keep it up!” I peak back and its a fellow server, who knew I had not started the night out in best of moods. As I approached the kitchen, I pass my floor manager and he also responds with a “good work, girl!”

I felt like I was approaching the end of a marathon and had a nice support team cheering me on. And while, yes, I really hope to be out of this job soon and on to something more permanent, in that moment, I felt contentment for the first time.

Yesterday, Carla of Life Before Noon wrote about how she isn’t supposed to be in grad school, that it wasn’t a part of her life plan. I wholeheartedly agree in her sentiments- I’ve always had a deliberate “life plan” and as I mentioned in my last post– this plan is WAY off track. Carla ends her post with some very simple, but very important reminders. She says:

Life is not a plan.

You make your own opportunities.

Do what you want to do.

Under one rule: Live with passion.

While waiting tables wasn’t on the initial life plan, it’s where life is right now I’m going to be there 100% as I continue to navigate this journey to the next big thig.

If someone asks me what I’m doing with my life again…

My life is 100% unlike what I thought it would be a year ago and I’m still working on deciding if I’m OK with this. 

I spent the summer of 2007 in New York City interning with Universal Music Group. Besides having a fabulous internship and learing about an industry that I absolutely love, I was living “on my own” in the city. By living on my own, of course, I mean I was housed at Columbia University with about 400 interns from all over the country (clearly, a recipe for an amazing summer).

At the end of that summer and throughout my senior year in college, I was determined to move back to the city. New York City embodied a mix of the diverse cultures I had experienced throughout my childhood while living and traveling overseas and throughout America. New York offered a geographic location that was indpendent of my family, but still only four hours away. New York, as they say, offered coutless opprotunities. Come spring semester of my senior year, my resume and cover letters were polished, I was ready to get a job in New York.

….and then I realized how “hard” it was, and that I really didn’t know what I wanted to do.

Continue reading If someone asks me what I’m doing with my life again…

Information Overload

“Today, ideas and discussions are broadcast not at a prescribed time on a specific channel via a single medium, but all the time, on millions of forums, discussion groups, blogs and social networks. And they occupy a growing piece of our consciousness, thanks to RSS feeds, Twitter messages, mailing list and newsletter subscriptions, instant messaging, e-mail and Web surfing. ”  Information Overload: Is it Time for a Data Diet? Computer World August 25, 2008

As a recent college graduate with a PR degree and some savvy experience in the Music Industry under my belt, I strive to stay informed of what’s taking place in my fields of interest, and in the world around me.

Like most, I have a daily routine in which I gather this information:

Continue reading Information Overload

Held Hostage by Gen Y

Having navigated myself through an internship at the worlds largest record label and currently one with the worlds largest live events promoter, I’ve come to learn the ins-and-outs of how interact with music industry Exec’s.
Some will kill you if you even look at them.
…well, not really. But you certainly learn quick who to avoid eye contact with, and who to ask for a recommendation, etc. 

I’ve noticed a funny dynamic between my generation and the older generation that primarily comprises many executive positions in the industry. Older exec’s often have to rely on us Gen Y’ers because of our savvy technology skills. 

Continue reading Held Hostage by Gen Y

Finding Music on MySpace

At 22 years old, I haven’t established my self as a sound expert on anything particular quite yet, but there are a few things I believe I have a strong knack for. Finding, listening, and sharing new music is a staple in my life.

I often take credit for many of my friends choices in music and favorite bands. Daily I’m sending messages with MySpace links, YouTube clips, and news articles regarding an artist to band. Having performed for many years of my childhood in dance classes, piano lesson, church musicals and choirs, jump rope and other sports teams (yes, jump rope team!), and high school theater, I know how good it feels to perform.

With that in mind, I want to help other people attain that feeling. The easiest way I know how to do that is by telling others about their music, art, talent, etc.

Normally, If I’m looking for today’s most popular and current music, I’ll venture over to MySpace. What I like about MySpace is that when you are on an artist’s page that you like,  you can normally find artists of similar style in their top friends list.

So, for example:
I discovered an artist named Tyler James last winter. I loved his music- it’s labled “indy/folk/pop” on MysSpace, but really, its awesome, raw and true music. After discovering him, I looked at his “top friends” on his MySpace page and found a lot of great artists with a similar style and sound.

Some new favorites I found from Tyler James’s page include:

Paper Route
Andy Davis
Katie Herzig
Erin McCarley

If you’re in the mood for some summer-y (embrace it, it’s almost over!) music, check out Jack Johnson
and his “top friends.” They bring some of the best drive-with-your-windows-down-sun-in-your-face
type of music.

Money Mark
Matt Costa
G. Love & the Special Sauce

 

It’s Up-Hill from Here!

 

Today, while perusing the Gawker Blog, I came across a post that perfectly speaks to my life’s current situation:

How Things Work: How the Hell Do You Get a Job In Media In This Town?

Being hot on the job hunt myself, this post confirmed everything I’d been experiencing thus far:
Getting a job in Media in NYC is hard, especially if you’re right of of college.

Out of the 150 (and counting) comments to this blog, the overall concensus was this:
pay your dues, temp, get to know the right people, pay your dues, temp, get to know the right people.

My favorite however was by user, Mitchel_Stevens:

“Claim you’re an expert in “New Media.” No one knows what the fuck it is anyway”

…and that there is quite truthful.

For the next few days, I will be registering with temp agencies, sending my resume to a million places, and praying for the opportunity to “pay my dues.”

Wish me luck!