Join Us for the #u30pro One Year Anniversary Chat

Photo cred: Theresa Thompson

Tonight will be the One Year Anniversary of the very first #u30pro chat.

Oh the memories.  Chats with 10 people attending.  Launching the digest.  Scott joining the team.  It’s been a really exciting year for the community.

Tonight we’re going to bring back a crowd-favorite topic: Networking.  We discussed this topic almost a year ago and we’re ready to hit it up with the full force of what the chat has become today.

In just a year a lot has changed in the networking discussion.  The job market is different, starting a blog does always do what it used to, and new tools are coming out every day.  The discussion will be sure to come out with some valuable insights into networking in 2010 and beyond.

So, thank you for making the #u30pro community into what it is today.  It’s been an amazing experience for Lauren, Scott and myself.  We have some big plans for the next year, including a website, more meetups (the first one with Brazen Careerist was lots of fun last night) and more.

We hope you’ll join us tonight at 8pm est for the One Year Anniversary chat on Networking.

Using Seesmic Desktop to Manage Streams of Information

This week, our #u30pro chat is on “managing your information streams” so I figured I’d share a little bit about how I manage my twitter streams to consume, and share content.

Whether you’re a casual twitter user, or you tweet more than you speak, I highly recommend trying out a desktop client like Seesmic Desktop (the app I use) or the other big option, Tweetdeck.

I never really grasped the value in twitter until I started using some 3rd Party Apps. If you don’t want to download a client, try out Hootsuite.  I use it to schedule my tweets.

My stream is bigger than your stream.

I currently have 5 accounts that I manage using Seesmic:

  1. My personal twitter account.
  2. My personal facebook account.
  3. The Scribnia twitter account.
  4. The Scribnia facebook page.
  5. The #u30pro twitter account.

So any time I post a message, I can check off any number of these accounts, and the message will go out to each one I check off.

As you can see from the scroll bar at the bottom of that image, I have quite a few columns in there.  Let me go through them:

1. The Basics

The first 2 columns are where I view all the basic tweets. I’ll use the first column to click through the home feeds for each account and my direct messages.  The second column is where I see all my replies (for all accounts).

2. The Groups

Ok you caught me, I don’t keep a close eye on all 1000 people that I follow.  I do check up on each feed several times a day, but there are some people I want to make sure I don’t miss.

I have 4 groups:

  1. Focus. These are people that I don’t know too well yet, but I want to interact with them more often and get to know them better.  I keep this group to 20 or less people to make sure I am in fact, focusing on them.
  2. Twitter’s Finest. I’ve maintained this group for well over a year now.  It’s the people I know, and trust.  The people I don’t want to miss.
  3. Blogging Tips. This is a feed of people that share a lot of blogging tip content.  I use this group to find good content to share with the Scribnia community.
  4. Scribnia Community. These people are Scribnia’s most active and supportive members.  I use this group to be sure to I’m interacting with the people who have helped us grow.

3. The Searches

I won’t get too into detail for these ones because they tend to change pretty often.  A few keywords that I keep all the time:

  • Scribnia: to keep an eye out for mentions.
  • #u30pro: to see what content our community is sharing throughout the week
  • #blogchat: my other favorite chat that provides some solid content throughout the week

I keep a number of search columns open.  I experiment with different keywords such as “looking for new blogs” or “help blogging” that will allow me to find people in Scribnia’s potential audience to help on twitter.

I’ll also keep tabs on mentions of competitors, and random chats that I come across.

So…

That’s how I organize my streams of information.

How do you organize your streams of information? If you’re around, please join us tomorrow night (8pm est) for a #u30pro chat on managing your streams of information, on (and off) the clock.

Join the Discussion: Building your Network vs. Enhancing Current Relationships

Photo cred: D. Sharon Pruitt

One year ago, I was just graduating college.  I had only really been networking for a few months, so it was still very new to me.

Every day, I’d meet someone new, who would introduce me to someone else, and so on…  Before I knew it, I had a healthy sized network of trusted professionals that I could turn to.  Many of them have became close friends over time.  Others not so much.

The problem is that all connections, even those connections that you have become so close with, can fall out of touch over time.  There are a number of reasons for this happening…

  1. We all have jobs to do which means less time to “catch up”.
  2. As our networks grow, we can’t commit as much time to keeping up with current connections.
  3. The worst reason but one that needs to be addressed: You just don’t need those people as much as you used to.
  4. Sometimes you just go different ways.  It happens with friends too.

It happens, but I don’t like it.  I feel terrible some days when I see someone cross my twitter feed and realize how long it’s been since I’ve spoken to them.

I understand that it happens…but I also feel like I can do more to enhance my current connections, instead of focusing only on expanding my network.

Have you faced this dilemna?  Please, share your thoughts in a comment.

You can also join us for a full discussion on this topic at the #u30pro chat on Thursday (May 27th) at 8pm est on twitter.

The Forgotten Art of Research

Photo cred: Troy Holden

Research.

It’s an art.  One that we practice for many years, but forcefully forget.

It’s something that was drilled into us since the first day of school.  If we wanted to learn something, we had to read about it in a boring, overpriced textbook.  We would then have to take a test, write a paper, or do something to prove that we actually did the research.

It sucked.

It sucked so much that the second that diploma is handed to you, you feel a huge sigh of relief knowing that you’ll never be forced to study again.  You can now spend the rest of your days reading what you want, and learn by doing.

Research is still valuable long after you graduate but you avoid it because it feels like homework.

The professionals and entrepreneurs that really go far are the ones taking in as much information as possible related to their topic.  If you want to be great at your job, you have to research the crap out of it.  Read books, blog posts, case studies…do anything you can to make yourself more savvy and get an edge.

BUT…relying on blogs or twitter to learn everything won’t cut it.

Bloggers don’t dig deep enough…and twitter lacks any depth whatsoever.  Google the term “research”.  The number 1 result is Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is the cliff notes for the cliff notes.  They can all be great research tools but will only teach you so much.

Don’t forget about research.  It takes time and commitment.  It’s not easy to find the right information.  In the end though, it will pay off.

When was the last time you really researched something?  Has the art of research been forgotten?

If you have any good research tools or practices, share them in the comments.

Are Young Professionals Forgetting to be Young?

Photo cred: Davo

Yet another interesting discussion sparked by the bright minds in #u30pro.  My friend Jon Klar shared,

“I think social media is making it much easier to grow up too fast. Young professionals need to remember to be young while they can”.

Social media platforms have allowed me to tap into so many resources that wouldn’t have been available to me otherwise.  I learn new things from thought leaders, I connect and engage with professionals that I never would have had access to, I’ve developed mentorships, I’ve shared my own ideas with a large audience and the list of benefits goes on...

…but is it a double-edged sword?

I’m 22 but I don’t feel like it. My ’09 graduation feels like it was a lifetime ago.

I now work full time, run #u30pro, maintain my blog, engage with my network regularly and more…  I have more things going on since I graduated about 7 months ago than many people I know who have been working for years.  Without social media, I wouldn’t have so many opportunities, but I also wouldn’t have so many responsibilities.

I don’t think I’d have it any other way.  I’m in a phase of my life where I am very career focused and I’ve set many high goals for myself.  I realize that I have to make some sacrifices in order to achieve those goals.

…and I’m still enjoying my personal life.  I still go out on weekends.  I still hang out with my friends regularly. I still get my share of video game time in there.

And when I look at many of my old high school buddies and what they’re doing, I don’t feel envious of the extra time they have to “be young”…I feel lucky to be gaining so much experience so quickly. I feel like I’m spending my time wisely.

In 10 years, will I look back at my 20’s and wish I spent less time building my career?

Am I growing up too fast? Are you?

(Perspective of those who have been there and done that are welcome and appreciated)

Don’t Judge People By Their Generation

Photo cred: Ian Atwater

I read this the other day: “[Millennials] are relatively laid back—until they feel they have been wronged… and then may quickly apply pressure to make big changes fast. They expect transparency and accountability, just as it is expected of them in the marketplace.”

I read generalizations of Millennials like this one pretty much every day.  Millennials are lazy…inspired…entitled…tech savvy…etc etc…

I have yet to read a description of the Millennial generation that was based on any sort of reliable statistics.  EVERY one of these generalizations are based on a limited point of view based on biased research or on personal experience and fail to take into account a number of aspects, namely socioeconomic status.

When marketers talk about millenials with these unfounded generalizations, they’re contributing to a highly inaccurate conception of an entire generation.

Even wikipedia makes unfounded generalizations, and describes Millennials based on studies performed solely in colleges.

My high school featured a very diverse range of lifestyles and socioeconomic statuses. A majority of the Millennials that I grew up with, do not fall under any of the stereotypes that marketers constantly apply to them.  With that personal experience, I’ve seen first hand how inaccurate the typical millennial classification really is.  I won’t base my argument on personal experience though…

Here are some stats from 2008 pulled from the United States Department of Labor:

  • 68.6 percent of 2008 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities
  • 56.8 percent of the nation’s 16- to 24-year-olds, or 21.3 million young people, were either enrolled in high school (9.7 million) or in college (11.7 million).
  • “…about 6 in 10 recent high school graduates who were enrolled in college attended 4-year institutions.”

My class year (2005) had some similar stats, with 68.6% of high school grads enrolling in college. Many high school graduates go right into the labor force.

The false generalizations we hear about all the time are based on the Millennials that get their college degree or are in the process of doing so.  The fact is, by basing your characterization of Millennials on this segment of the larger population, you’re making highly inaccurate assumptions.

Generations are too vast and diverse to justifiably apply characteristics to the entire population.

Tell a millennial that works 50-60 hour work weeks doing construction in the winter that he’s entitled.  Or maybe tell the millennial facing jail time for selling drugs that they were “pampered” by their parents.  I know a people in both situations.  Do they represent the millennial generation? No, but they’re certainly a part of it, and shouldn’t be neglected when discussing the traits of our generation.

Thanks to Lisa Grimm, Dave Folkens and Chuck Hemann for their help in refining this post.