Wired and Well-Mannered, Day 3

Just an update to let you know how the experiment is going: Bridget and I did a segment with our radio partners at WLRN-Miami Herald News that aired this morning:

Poked on WLRN

Anyways, as soon as it aired, of course, my cell phone started going off. I couldn't bear to put my phone in the trunk as I had previously suggested, but I had stuck it in my purse, instead of keeping it out, to avoid texting temptation. Since I was at a light, and in the car by myself, I did answer the phone. Is that cheating to talk on the phone?

Lots of colleagues and folks on Twitter are talking about the experiment. If you're doing it, let us know how it's going?

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Can you be wired and well-mannered?

We attended a conference last week in Orlando that centered on ubiquitous computing -- basically, the idea that the next generation of technology will be built upon devices you typically carry with you. (Here's the story that Bridget wrote about it.) We saw technology that use phones to test air quality around you, record medical information or even help maintain a long-distance relationship. Organizers call it the ``post desktop'' model of human and computer interaction.

That got us thinking about how attached we are already to our cellphones and how badly we behave. We're so obsessed with informing and checking in with the rest of the world that we forget about the people right in front of us.

You don't have to convince us about how great technology is -- but as Poked columnists, we also we want to do our part to remember the importance of balancing that with the way we treat others.

Bridget realized this during the conference while we were at dinner -- so much so, that when I said something funny, she asked permission to immediately share it with her brother, via text. Before you say how lame this sounds, think about the last time you've had an impulse to do the same.

It goes beyond manners at the dinner table. Why we have lost the ability to be patient about sharing information? And at what expense are we doing this? Those who text while driving are risking lives -- we'll admit that we've sneaked in a quick reply or read a text behind the wheel, and we're not proud of it.

Don't assume that our standards of behavior have fallen so far that people don't care if you're flipping through your e-mails during a meeting or checking fantasy football stats while you're waiting for dinner to be served.

So this week we're proposing a call to action to reform this atrocious behavior and giving you a challenge to put down the phone.

Before sitting down to dinner, put your ringer to silent and don't glance at it at the table.

And especially ignore that phone in the car. If it's too hard to resist the urge to text someone back, stick the phone in the trunk.

Try to see if you can make it for one week, and let us know how it goes. We'll let you know how well this experiment goes for us. Hopefully we can all try to train ourselves to be have better manners -- and sense -- while wired.

Oh, and if you're curious about the conference, check out this video I did with Bridget about it:

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Listen before you type

People tell us all the time that they want to get started on sites like Twitter, but they don't know what to say -- or do.

So here's some advice for them, as well as to others already immersed in the world of social media: Use your ears.

That's the one thing that stood out when I spoke with Peter Shankman recently. He's a New York advertising and marketing executive who runs one of the few organizations that has made money from social media. Shankman likes to say he thinks social media isn't a broadcast platform. It's not just a way for you to shout, or scream your opinions to the world; it's a two-way street that involves engaging people. There's a reason we use the word interactive.

That's a lesson many people who use social media probably don't do frequently enough. But it's also essential for people who are just getting started.

"The first thing people have to do when they get on social media is to listen,'' he said. "The concept of talking will come next.''

That's what Shankman did when he started a site called Help a Reporter Out (helpareporter.com), which connects reporters to sources. Within a year, it went from a Facebook group to a company that made $1 million in advertising revenue, Shankman told a group of local public relations executives.

It helps to think of social media as the process of listening then talking, then doing more listening.

For example: You're a small-business owner who has thought about opening a Twitter account. Sign up. Fill out the profile, making sure you've added an appropriate photo.

At this point, most people start hawking: Buy my product! Visit my store! Instead, start following people with similar interests. When you find something that deserves repeating, retweet the message. Join in on conversations and offer valuable commentary.

Use it as a platform to showcase your expertise -- not just to push out links to your business. And, make sure you're asking your customers or clients what they want.

People are increasingly getting their information from social media networks. That's why you want to be part of the conversation, and why it's so important to be engaging while you're there.

Here's more of my interview with Peter:

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How to use social media to rule the world

The folks at South Florida American Marketing Association invited to me to their meeting today with speaker Peter Shankman, founder of Help A Reporter Out, a web site dedicated to linking people to journalists looking for sources. His other life is as a marketing and social consultant.

SkyDiverSpeaks1 Personally, I'm indebted to Peter (also known as @skydiver on Twitter) for telling a roomful of PR folks that that the best way to reach reporters is to be brief and be good. In that spirit, here's a recap of his talk today, which was a great introduction for people who may not know much about social media, as well as some insight for folks who are already pretty familiar with this world.

His basic point was social media is just a tool like any other -- just because you have it doesn't mean you'll be good at using it unless you learn how to use it. Learning social media isn't just about pushing out information -- it's about using it to listen to others. Here are a few of his principles, which are really applicable not just to business people but everyone using social media:

   TRANSPARENCY: The world we live in now basically requires this. Shankman made a point of saying companies, people, whoever is in charge of a Facebook page, Twitter account, or whatever social media you are using, needs to be honest about who's in charge. In other words, if you have the summer intern in charge of sending out tweets for the company, you should say so.

If you try to hide something, especially online, he points out there's always some 15-year-old kid out there who is dying to prove you wrong.

RELEVANCE: Given the information overflow out there, be as relevant as possible. Make sure you make an effort to find out what people want and how they want it. Our standards for customer service and relationships are so low these days, it's not hard to exceed people's expectations.

BREVITY: Shankman said the attention span these days of teenagers is about 140-characters, or 2.7 seconds. We're all inundated with information, so don't just be good -- be brief about it.

TOP OF THE MIND: Given all of this, it's important to remember to do things that keep yourself engaged with other people. He estimates that people really stay connected with just about 3 percent of their entire social network. If you make a point to listen, be relevant, smart and brief, you can stay connected to folks.

For me, his talk all came down to this: People today who are the best at using and sharing information will rule the world. And so many more people have a shot at that these days using social media to do it.

p.s. Thanks to @fsutoby, otherwise known as Tilson Communication's Toby Srebnik, for the picture of Peter.

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Link Visual CV to your LinkedIn profile

With more people than ever out there looking for work, the free online resume site VisualCV recently announced a little bit of help -- you can now add a button to your resume that takes visitors directly to your LinkedIn profile.

Visual CV grab

VisualCV has a straightforward step-by-step guide to how to do it, but basically, it's just logging into your LinkedIn profile, picking which button you want and then adding to your resume. Seems silly that I never did it before, but you can of course do the reverse, and add your VisualCV to your LinkedIn Profile.

It's the whole point of social networking, right? This is a nice way to cross platforms. And with all the cutbacks going on these days, it seems like it can't hurt to be as accessible as possible.

According to the folks at VisualCV, the site currently has about 105,000 resumes right now. Does anyone else have other resume sites they like to use? Or are you just using your LinkedIn profile as your online resume?

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Following people following me, via Google, Twitter and VisualCV

Just got an email from VisualCV reminding me they're about to celebrate their one-year birthday.

There are a gazillion free resumes sites out there, and I can't remember how I found the folks, except that I stumbled across the site last summer when I had to update my resume for a conference. It allows you to create a resume and embed audio, video, pdfs, etc. Especially handy for a multiHall & Oates - Private eyes copymedia journalist such as myself.

One cool feature is it lets you see how many people have viewed your resume - as well as how they find it, which is most often via a Google search. Now, I have a fairly unusual name (I love it, and thanks, Mom and Dad!), so when you Google my name, the Visual CV site is the first to pop up.

Since I've been more active on Twitter in the past two weeks, the amount of people Googling my name -- and viewing that first link, the Visual CV, has really jumped. Sometimes, when I sent out a tweet, you can track within minutes the spike of my name being Googled and the hit on my VisualCV. I don't link my Twitter account to my VisualCV page, either.

Just another example of not just the power of Twitter, but how much people really are out there using Google to check you out.

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