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Kickoff to Social Media Summer! Blogging Like Crazy with #SoMePGH

Kickoff to Social Media Summer! Blogging Like Crazy with #SoMePGH

I got a comprehensive hours report yesterday, and lets just say I could probably take off the entire month of June and I’d still be at/around target. It’s been that kind of spring. So when I say I need a break, I mean I NEED A BREAK.  Good thing one is right around the corner (OMG LEAVING FOR AUSTIN ON WEDNESDAY)

Today I had “vacation light” by playing hooky from work and spending the day at the ever-awesome Visit Pittsburgh Like, Tweet & Be Social! Social Media conference.  This is my second year in attending, and although it is geared toward marketing professionals, hobbyist bloggers are equally welcomed.

The big takeaway today was AUTHENTICITY.  Be true to yourself. Be true to your voice. Be true to your message. If you are genuine, your content will be compelling, and readers will become advocates.  They will naturally want to share your work, and your reader base will grow.  Also, everyone seemed to be SUPER excited about Vine.  I have heard of it, but didn’t think much about it, and because of how excited everyone was today about it, I’m excited to try it out.

The opening keynote was an inspirational presentation by the brilliant women behind eatPGH. It was fascinating to hear how they followed their interests and their hearts, collaborated so skillfully with goal in mind, and had great success.  It was so obvious that they blog for the love of it (not for the fame of it), and because their humor and passion are so apparent, readers come to them. During a break I had a few minutes to meet Sarah Sudar, and we chatted about the things we like best: food and Pittsburgh.  I couldn’t help but gush about my excitement over my trip to Austin for BlogHer Food next week and to The Big Summer Potluck later in the summer.  Such a food enthusiast herself, she totally understood my excitement.

The eatPGH ladies and their "PUBLISHED!" cake

The eatPGH ladies and their “PUBLISHED!” cake

I also attended a very insightful workshop on personal branding by Aire Plichta of Modcloth.  The key takeaway, again, was authenticity.  Personal branding is not about creating an image and projecting it out to the world.  A brand, instead, is the perceived amalgamation of all the thoughts, images and experiences you share with the world.  Being true to yourself will generate a genuine brand.

The SEO workshop by eyeflow I attended was also fantastically helpful.  The theme was “Old SEO vs. New SEO” because apparently Google’s SEO algorithm has changed significantly.  I never knew much about the “Old SEO” to begin with, so any SEO help is a plus for me.  The driving theme of this talk was QUALITY.  Quality writing, that interests readers, and that readers feel inspired to share with their own contacts, is what gives you high SEO marks.  Three high-quality posts a week is worth far more than 7 mediocre posts.

Fuelin Up Proper

Fuelin Up Proper (any event that includes “snacktime” is a winner in my book)

I also enjoyed listening to a talk by Visit Pittsburgh representatives about social media frustrations and how to work with them.  I’ve faced a frustration lately– instead of promoting my BeezusKiddo posts on my personal facebook site, I’ve only been promoting them on the BeezusKiddo page on facebook.  As a result my site hits have gone way down, and I think it’s because facebook’s algorithm is pushing out my personal page status updates to way more newsfeeds than it is pushing out the updates from the BeezusKiddo site.  I was afraid it would be duplicative and annoying, but I am going to promote the posts on both facebook pages for a while and see how that goes.  When I asked the panel about this, the consensus was that it probably won’t be duplicative (if no one is seeing the BeezusKiddo page updates anyway, promoting on my personal page isn’t going to get the BeezusKiddo page sites on the newsfeed).

The conference wrapped up with a closing session by Belinda Yeager Carter, who eloquently summed up the themes of the day (AUTHENTICITY! AUTHENTICITY! AUTHENTICITY!) and shared innovative thoughts about the brand/social media integrative experience, and possible things we might see with social media on the horizon.

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Social media is more of my hobby than my business, but events like this get me so excited to work harder to make this blog better.  I work really hard to try and make this blog the best it can be, and I love learning new skills to make it even better.  With the two food conferences coming up and PennWomen in October, the next several months will be so full of growth.  I am incredibly excited.  Despite my nerves about approaching people I don’t know, I confidently marched up to some new people and proposed some new collaborations that could be very exciting.  I met new people, learned new things, and can’t WAIT for my next conference!  (Good thing I’m feeling inspired, because my next Legal Intelligencer article is due Monday! Boy do those deadlines come up fast!!)

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Social Media and Imaginary Friendships

Does social media make you feel more connected or more isolated?

For me, it’s hard to tell.  I’ve made some in-real-life friendships that were started by social media.  I can even thank social media for my marriage– a mutual friend introduced Mr. Beez to my blog, and he got to know me well online before we met in person (single ladies, take note: if he’s interested in you, he should be reading what you write.  If he doesn’t care to read what you have to say, move on!)  I’ve learned about so many cool events and creative people online, without the internet I’d have a much quieter existence.

In contrast, there are times when social media makes me feel very alone.  When I see friends post fun events they’re at online, and I’m not there, I feel a twinge of exclusion (even despite the rational part of my brain saying that you can’t be invited to everything, all the time, by everybody).  Or sometimes, when I meet a blogger I’ve been reading for a while in real life, and assume they know as much about me as I know about them, only to learn they’ve never heard of my blog (how can I even expect to know that I’m there, if I’m not leaving a comment).  Although such minor occurrences, they’re a splash of cold water reminding me that there is a difference between life online and life out in life, and the interactions between the two aren’t the same.

The most surreal online/real life dichotomy I experienced was when I made the mistake of reading internet messageboards on pregnancy and parenting issues.  There is only one thing more absolutely insane than the comments sections on local news sites, and those are pregnancy/parenting messageboards.  The shrieking hysteria of those boards quickly convinced me that my family and friends were all judging me fiercely, were out to derail all of my best efforts about my child, and that if strayed from the learned advice of those messageboards and succumbed to the foolish persuasion of my family or those know-nothing doctors, then I wasn’t acting in my baby’s best interests (this is why now I offer my pregnant friends this sage advice: DO NOT READ THE INTERNET WHILE PREGNANT.)  To put it mildly, while pregnant, the internet made me crazy and at times drove a wedge between me and my not-as-crazy husband.  This, for sure, was isolating.

If yinz internet friends are up for some in-real-life hanging out, I’ve got these cool events on my calendar this week:

February’s DoughRaiser and TweetUp at Uno’s Chicago Grill, benefiting Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank  Grab a slice of pizza, chat with some tweeps, and raise some cash for the Food Bank.  What’s not to love?

After Hours @ the Library!  (this event has sold out, but there’s another one coming up in May)  Cocktails and snacks and music in the library? Sign me up!

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Creative Mornings Pittsburgh’s breakfast talk with Mike Capsambelis of Awesome Pittsburgh This breakfast talk series has been a smashing success. The tickets go FAST, so you need to get to your computer quickly when they become available. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to chat with energetic and creative people, and is a bright way to kick off a Friday morning.

So where do you weigh in? Does social media make you feel more connected? Or does it make you feel isolated?

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Party Night that Just Won’t Stop with @HaitianFam1st and @GracePotter

What a NIGHT last night was.  I spent most of the day making the final preparations for the much-anticipated Haitian Families First Back to School Party.  The sponsors, food, drink and prizes came together perfectly! The Standard Band totally rocked the house.  Bill Peduto even found a minute in his nonstop mayoral campaign to stop by!

I felt especially honored by all the awesome support of my friends.  The members of The Standard Band all have day jobs, and that means they took several hours out of their workdays to do all the setup and prep for their performance.  I am so grateful that they could do that!  (PS– they are an awesome fun band, and are playing March 15 at Jergel’s!) My friends also came together to donate huge wine basket and other great things for the auction.

We all had a great time and raised a whole heap of cash for this truly grassroots organization that is doing great work.

Of course, the night didn’t stop there! After the party, my friend @nncypttr and I enjoyed an evening with the divine Grace Potter.

I knew of course that Grace has unparalleled pipes, but didn’t know that her musical talent goes far beyond singing.  She showed herself to be a jane-of-all-trades with all things musical, mastering the drums, guitar and more throughout the show.  She is quite the musical powerhouse, and had such cheerful energy.  What a show!

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Today! Today! Today! Party time with .@HaitianFam1st !!

Today is the day! It’s the Haitian Families First Back to School Party!
I’m excited for all this to come together. Great sponsors have stepped up, we’ll be rockin out with The Standard Band and we’ve got really awesome gift baskets to raffle off. I feel especially blessed to have AWESOME friends who put together a HUGE wine basket (16 bottles!!) for the raffle auction!
Now I just have to tie up a few loose ends, and shuttle like 3 car loads worth of stuff to Bricolage, and then it’s time to PARTY!! See yinz all tonight!!

http://www.facebook.com/events/126838940812866/?ref=25

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A Morning Full of Happiness with Creative Mornings .@Pittsburgh_cm

I don’t know what it is about today, but it’s starting out great!  I had a good workout last night, followed by a good glass of wine and a good sleep.  I woke up happy and well rested.  And even better– Baby Beez woke up in this amazingly happy and friendly mood!  She is so cheerful today, it’s awesome!  The day looks to be a great one– I’ve got lunch plans with a friend, a party tonight, and I’ve got a steady amount of work to do but not so much that I’m pulling my hair out and losing my mind.

Even though the event was a couple weeks ago, my happiness this morning made it a perfect day for my recap of the Creative Mornings Pittsburgh breakfast talk with David Newell aka Mr. McFeely from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

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The theme for the morning was “Happiness,” and it was clear that happiness is something that Mr. McFeely knows well (yes, I know that’s not his real name, but I can’t help calling him that, and I don’t think he’d mind anyway). Providence has smiled on Mr. McFeely, he found his way into his career with Mr. Rogers by a series of happy coincidences. In Mr. Rogers he then found a true inspiration, friend and mentor. Most of his talk was about Mr. McFeely’s path in life and his memories of working with Mr. Rogers. It was clear that his career and his life has been full to the brim with joy.
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Mr. McFeely was wonderfully generous with his time.  He signed autographs and took pictures with everyone after his talk, and even offered to mail out autographs to anyone who wanted one but could not stay.  He was friendly and chatty and loved meeting everyone. 

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In a world so often full of dead-end careers and disappointments, it is inspirational to hear people who have found genuine satisfaction in their paths.  The path to fulfillment is never a straight one– there are plenty of unexpected bumps and unaticipated tangents– but a positive attitude and a willingness to take a little risk here and there is a constant theme in such positive stories.

Hope you all have a happy day!