A brief (yet complete) Monday link round-up.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve:

  • traveled to freezing Michigan without more layers than 1 thrift store cashmere sweater (not smart);
  • came up with a seriously half-baked Halloween costume at the last minute (middling smart), and
  • cooked what is arguably the most superb vegetable barley soup on this earth (SMART).

While I wish I’d had more time to find interesting things on the Internet, most of my energy has been focused on work for clients. C’est la vie!Here’s a more organized (than usual) list of things I’ve found recently:

  1. Freemium Access from the New Yorker:  “Never in the history of the modern world has there been a better time to be a cheapskate. All you need is a connection or two—a mother, a father-in-law, a brother, someone else’s brother, some mystery uploader in Estonia—and you’re flush with all the news or moving images or music that you could possibly consume.”
  2. Those of us who think the Pumpkin Spice Latte™ is disgusting are growing in number! Throw some cinnamon in your coffee and get on your way if you’re looking for a real fall flavor fix. That said, I did enjoy this piece from The Awl on the PSL, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and the white ladies that love both of those things.
  3. On advertising and the ‘altar’ of creativity: “Our profession is full of people who mindlessly spew their recipes for brand success, but sadly most of what the poseurs say (and do) is total garbage.”
  4. M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the myth of/nostalgia around French food.
  5. Speaking of the French. Flaubert to Maupassant: “You complain about fucking being ‘monotonous’. There’s a simple remedy: cut it out for a bit.” Well, alright.

Back to the week!

Serenity now, insanity later.

The last two weeks I’ve worked from home as a result of an office move, and it is making me stir-crazy.

Over the past year etc. I’ve been lucky enough to be trusted with some flexible scheduling — it doesn’t hurt that the very nature of my job is mobile and always-on. Usually, it’s great. On my flex day, I hang out in my jim-jamz, make some eggs in a leisurely brunchlike fashion, break up my to-do list with dish cleaning or a walk. Usually, I relish a day of relative solitude and quiet in the comfort of my own home.

Needless to say, ~2 weeks of nothing but relative solitude and quiet has made me a little nuts. Patience is a virtue, in any case, and I am trying to settle down, appreciate the first signs of autumn weather, not talk aloud to myself too much.

Coincidentally, these 2 weeks have been some of my busiest “at” work in a couple of months. Between the imminent launch of a campaign for which I sort of … fell into being a Creative Director; the imminent launch of another campaign for which I’m the social media creative lead; writing ads and attending last-minute new business presentations (this is the short list), it’s probably for the best that I’m not wasting ~valuable time~ commuting. Whew. Who has time for leisurely eggs? Who has time for a dishwashing break?? Well, at least I can conscript my boyfriend to the latter. Lean in!

Enough of my #humblebrag. Here are some juicy Internet bits:

I can’t stand the rain.

Another week, another post! Backpats for this petite but no less significant an accomplishment!

cmparis

(2008)

This week’s post is inspired by Ann Peebles’ 1974 hit, which is helping in this rainy Atlanta summer.* I will take that over “Heatwave!” any day. It was nice last night to be out in Atlanta in August, wanting a sweater. I’d just returned from my agency’s headquarters in Hilton Head, SC, where I sweated and huffed and puffed but was able to celebrate a year with the company in a more formal way. Then I freaked out some squares on I-16 screaming along to X on the way home to Atlanta. Deal with it!

(This post is also a tiny bit about growing up without realizing it. At the time of its occurrence, I didn’t necessarily ~cherish~ my adolescence in the way that is culturally popular; I was never the kid who didn’t want to grow up. Now that I am considered in some circles (… my parents, maybe?) to be An Adult, I’m finding myself struggling with a case of Impostor Syndrome. It’s almost as though I cannot believe I have fooled enough people into thinking that I can take care of myself; perhaps more pressingly, that I could be considered any kind of expert on anything. I haven’t moved past a kindergarten-era fear of beets, people. I drink PBR when there are “better” options available. It’s a learning process, every day, these concepts of ability and competency and heroic confidence.)

In short, sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. But, as the French might say, “Aucune réussite n’est si petite qu’on ne puisse la fêter.” 😉 I’ll write more in coming weeks about how I’m going back to France in January (not ForEver, unfortunately … at least, yet).

Without further ado, some bits of a curated Internet:

*Even if you just know this song as a sample (particularly in one of my favorite music videos of all time), it is so, so good.

Heatwave! Heatwave!!

Blame it on the insanely insane hot weather here in Atlanta, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic on this blazing Monday afternoon. (A lot of that, to be honest, is due to being in an air-conditioned office building and no longer cooped up in my rather stagnant, un-AC’d house.)

What’s been cool on the Internet this week?

  • Who’s Your City?: “Too many places…market themselves as if they are some sort of mini-Brooklyn instead of as who they really are at heart.” I think this lends an interesting perspective to Creative Cities/Class/Economy theories, in which urban renewal/economic development can be reflected by the number of creative entrepreneurs in a metropolitan area (while we’re boiling things down). (LOL.) Should we be relying on sheer numbers of hipsters to define the brand perception of where we live? If so, is Atlanta defined by bearded twentysomethings in East Atlanta Village? Or rappers? Is it gross to say “brand perception” in regards to cities? Questions!
  • Speaking of the Creative X theories, this article on “The Fall of the Creative Class” has been making it around my Internet circles. There are lots of good points to be read here, even if I don’t necessarily agree with all/most of them. I mostly squinched up my face while reading the article because the whole thing smacked of privilege and inconvenience. Which is always an enthralling angle.
  • Why Weird Experiences Boost Creativity: “With your brain re-shuffled, you’ll be in a better position to be creative.”
  • So, I’m someone looking to build a career in social media listening and community-building. This article at Get Sponge discusses how great community managers aren’t necessarily those who’d call themselves “experts” (where’s your self-awareness?), but people who understand how to adapt to needs, grow, and perform accordingly. You do your best work when you’re empowered to be creative and do great things! That’s that.
  • You’ve likely heard about the passing of Nora Ephron this past week. I loved this snippet of hers. What does it say about navel-gazing and blogging and storytelling? Food for thought. (H/T The Awl)

Stay cool, y’all!

Life in the Ebony Tower and Internet things of note.

There has been no shortage of excitement in the Equitable building.  As of Friday, my supervisor has left our organization for a new position, so the past week has been something of a scramble to ensure that nothing will explode this morning. So far, so good.

In the midst of the scramble, I created the inaugural social media strategy for my place of work, all by my lonesome (maybe someday I’ll obtain the clearance to post it to my kraftwerk page). This kind of exercise is of clear mutual benefit for me and the organization; now that it’s done, I’m pleased with what I’ve written — even if I won’t be around to see my words and ideas in action. The process showed me that crafting digital strategy combines the things I’m good at doing (writing lists, conceptualizing, pontificating on the Internet) with the things I really like doing (talking about social media, taking charge of projects, stretching my brain to solve creative problems; also, writing lists). Identifying this intersection of interest and ability seems pretty instrumental to growing up and figuring things out. The job hunt is going as well as it can at this juncture; as I round out the last month here on the 15th floor, I’m eager not to jinx things. So, on track, then.

That’s all my news fit to print.

Internet things that have recently grabbed my attention: 

  • “Art Boot Camp” will run at Atlanta’s MINT Gallery through July. From what I gather, it’s a month’s worth of thinking about art with artists, without the pre-requisite of an art history major — if you have an interest in the visual arts, it’s a way to expand your horizons and learn about cool things! For free! I’m thinking of registering to get myself out of my summer rut of métro, boulot, dodo … into doing meaningful things that make me think differently (and more creatively).
  • Facebook: The Psychology and Creativity of Sharing. It must be nice to attend an awards ceremony over on the ol’ Croisette. So what have I learned from reading the debriefs from Cannes Lions, the “world’s biggest” advertising awards show? According to Facebook’s head of brand design, a lot of what we can take away from the “why” of social sharing is more genuine insight into human behavior and interaction (it is, unsurprisingly, capricious and guided by emotion). “Building stuff around people rather than content offers a better experience … Our research indicates that the theory of ‘influence and influencers’ is false.”
  • What does a dog day (literally) feel like? Okay, this is kind of strange but has interesting implications: a camera that “records images according to changes in the animal’s feelings.” I’m really conflicted as to how I feel about this, leaning towards “this kind of technology is too too” over “I’m really interested to find out what my dog is thinking.” In the interest of disclosure, I will note to the reading audience that I created a Horsebook account for my horse during the one summer I lived in New Haven (I regret nothing). Still!
  • Why Spotify Didn’t Exist in the ’80s.”
  • How Chris Mohney Creates the Storyboard of Tumblr.” I’ve gone from using my main Tumblr as more-or-less a dumping ground for cat GIFs and pictures of macarons (yes, I know) to making it more personally edited; in turn, using the platform has become a lot more personally interesting. IDK. LOL. I miss Tumblarity every day.
  • I’m always looking for new train commute reading. I found this infographic that details what you should read based on your favorite TV shows. So far, these titles are on my 2012 summer reading list: Middlesex; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; The Basque History of the World. Open to further recommendations!

Happy Monday!

On qualifications, job applications, and a certain job posting.

If you’re familiar with my blog content territory as of late, you’ll know I’m looking for a new job. I’m not going to spend time complaining about writing cover letters or the job market (I don’t believe in beating horses, dead or alive). Additionally, “job hunt advice” posts have become about as novel a concept as sliced bread — that kind of status quo content fits in nicely with the stock-and-flow concept I mentioned in my last post.

Anyway.

So, the job application process. The act itself is nothing particularly exciting, or even all that interesting, but I’m choosing to (contrary to my nature?) take a positive outlook on the process. Twitter followers of mine may have seen the checklist my boss and I drew up for rounding out my professional lifeplan:

Now, the “retire rich” part is, perhaps, a moot point (hi Dad hope you’re not reading this). But making a checklist like this has actually made me consider my strengths, my personality as it would apply to my potential hireability, where I can work to improve my skills. All of this introspection, coupled with a ver-r-ry private survey I’ve been conducting on the language of job postings, assessing their expectations versus my reality, how to get my application to stand out without resorting to document borders or animated cats. This study is, as of yet, inconclusive.

An interesting job posting comes from BFG Communications, a Hilton Head-based agency looking for a digital content manager in its Atlanta office. All applications must be submitted via Twitter. So, they’re not looking for resume screencaps, or link to a LinkedIn profile … only fewer than 140 characters to show your worth as a potential content manager. Makes sense, for an agency that’s ostensibly searching for creativity, ingenuity, possibly a modicum of insouciance in its job candidates.

Could I go so far to say that any socially-minded agency taking the traditional route of resume-cover-letter-rinse-and-repeat … is out of touch? Would you believe I’ve now spent entire weeks considering what the ideal, stand-out application would be? I can’t say how many job postings have stuck in my head for that. long. I did some research on previous “winners” of this type of social media job application “contest.” It’s clear there’s no One True Path to Winning. Which I think is great — there’s no Platonic ideal of a Content Manager, or a Community Manager, or even a Blog Editor (as far as I can tell, anyway). We all write about different things, have differing opinions on the Oxford comma (mine: FOR), have differing strengths on different digital platforms. The Internet! It’s the great melting-pot.

So here’s where the smarm comes in. Y’all know I don’t normally post things like this, but considering the top image, entitled EMILYS 12 STEP PROGRAM TO GET RICH QUICK coupled with BFG’s search for a Digital Content Manager (wouldn’t you think that’d be right up my alley?), I thought I’d list a few reasons I think I should be hired for such a post, at least per the qualifications listed by BFG.

  • An understanding and passion for the social media universe.” I am well-connected … well, at least on the Internet. I carefully update this blog, my personal Tumblr, my photography Tumblr (minus presently broken cameras); Facebook; Twitter; Foursquare; Google Plus (yeah!); Pinterest accounts on the regular (and, of course, this is not an exhaustive list), and am constantly searching out new and interesting ways to create, and curate, web content.
  • Excellent creative writing and communications skills.” You’ve gotten this far. I talk a lot, I write a lot. Sometimes, I do both at the same time.
  • Familiarity with best-in-class examples of brands in social media.” Community engagement is all about knowing how to approach conversation with your audience, engaging, and providing insight of value. So this is a broad qualification, and I’m going to address it in a specific example. My current favorite story of a brand using social (multi-) media in an interesting, provocative, perhaps unexpected way: Jaguar in Mad Men.
  • Combo: “Ability to juggle multiple projects in a fast paced environment./Attention to detail./Ability to work within tight deadlines.” I work best under pressure, with lots of jobs to do. If I am not given jobs, I create jobs; I hate being bored. Ask anyone I’ve worked with — I am able to produce excellent work, across platforms, for different audiences, under aggressive timelines. Additionally, I am manic about immaculate editing. My #1 enemy is a typo. Right next to sloppy kerning.
  • Impeccable spelling & grammar.” See above.
  • Basic Photoshop knowledge/Audio/video skills a plus./Creativity.” I was once a Digital Design & Media Fellow, and helped students create visual aspects to their ePortfolios using Photoshop, but also created materials for promotional use with InDesign and Illustrator. I’m a writer, but I get visual literacy. Additionally, I co-hosted a live-streaming TV show (gone but not forgotten, “Phancy Pheast”) with my friend Neil on the best cat videos on the Internet. Creativity is a nebulous quality, but I’d say I’m a fairly creative person.
  • Familiarity with HTML and back end publishing operations.” Check out what I did for the Nonprofit Summit — the largest nonprofit sector event in the Southeast. I’m also comfortable using HTML to build mass email marketing campaigns, and can appreciate the efficient beauty of a closed tag.
  • Bachelor’s in Journalism, Communications, English or related field.” Will French do? I wrote 50 pages in French for my undergrad thesis. This means, among other things, that I’m fluent, am an excellent translator of francophone spam emails, and can communicate across a limited scope of Romance languages.
  • Unlisted qualification: Forever I love Atlanta: Li’l Scrappy says it best. I’ve lived here for a hot minute now, and love every day of it. (Well, nearly every day.) (August is still awful.)

Those are the things I’m good at, and I’m stickin’ to ’em. This is the longest blog post I’ve ever written; if you know me, you know I love a good checklist. So, hire me! I’m yours. If you possibly need more information, you can check out my resume and a couple of samples of my work.

I only SORT of wrote a blog post about Girls.

So, I’ve hit the “two months left” mark in my job contract and I feel like I’m running out of juice.

This past week has been a flurry of anxious activity, from twisting my knee in the effort to make my morning train and consequently doing a lot of research on the necessity of stitches (I concluded they were, at that juncture, unnecessary; the whole incident could be illuminating as to the state of my awkward inadequacy at being a Self-Sufficient Grown-Up Who Understands How to Take Care of Herself), to moodily looking up jobs whilst sitting on the bed in the dark, growling to Twitter and my significant other about feeling simultaneously un-and over-qualified for my line of work … how romantic. How typical. How boring!

Believe me, there is a  significant effort going on to not make this blog turn into yet another broad, pointless thinkpiece on the intellectual state of Generation Y/ME/Millenials/etc., even if it doesn’t always seem that way. And while I definitely think most Internet ruminations on the new TV show Girls are not all that captivating, this one at the Billfold resonated with me. Consider this snippet:

All I know is I can feel it around me, this sense that we all want to be young and dumb forever. I have a suspicion that we think being a mess equals being young equals being vital.

I’ve talked before about being really into digital community-building, my experiences with it and how it changes the way we talk about basic issues and all that. Now, the personal crisis of growing up and trying to assert your independence while wanting to relive 21-year old youthful abandon over and over is not an issue specific to my generation. Conceivably, anyone who has ever been 24 has, regardless of their [left intentionally blank] status, gone through some semi-existential crisis in the effort to “make sense of it all.” The pivotal difference between every single generation going through the exact same thing is that we can broadcast that angst and build almost intangible communities around it. We can build communities around being tired of playing drunk louches day and night, and we can inspire others to try to live more meaningfully (and not in the sense of #YOLO — which, quick segue, is an acronym I only recently figured out and use way more often than is cool, lol irony etc). “You Only Live Once,” but you should probably try to live more responsibly/meaningfully, in the interests of self-sustainability and just being a happier human.

As for my own, personal commands for getting out of the Hot Mess Rut: try not to spend every paycheck on the dumbest things ($10! Just save $10 a month and you’ll be better off); admire the just-blooming magnolias; stop recklessly rushing because you’ll inevitably twist your knee and be the bloody pariah on MARTA; write that weekly blog post because your brain will rot otherwise; write more and more and more because you won’t get better just thinking about it; generally pay more attention to social and environmental surroundings.

Also, yesterday, I became a very minor local celebrity as I was one of Atlanta Magazine’s Tweets of the Day. To  celebrate, I went to an impromptu barbecue where I ate veggie kebobs and enjoyed Atlanta springtime. So, there’s that, and there’s something great about just sitting on a back deck when it’s nearly May.

Web items  that are tangentially related to this blog post; or, things I’ve found interesting this week:

  • Transformational Entrepreneurship: “To successfully make the transition to the new socioeconomic era of the information age, we need to learn to focus the enormous power and efficiency of capitalism on the world’s most important problems.” (Long, but worth it.)
  • Salon: No Sympathy for the Creative Class. Recommendation: read this if you are in the intended target market of Girls and want to get bummed out super quickly.
  • I’ve been posting on my Tumblr more lately, having finally found a groove that differentiates its content from this blog’s. So, here are some Tumblr tips that I did not write myself.
  • A look at digital urbanism, and its success in Boston. And to think, this time last year I could have been living and working in Boston. Ah, youthful abandon.
  • Say no to social media interns. Did you know that I could not agree more with this article? “Businesses who truly care about ROI will entrust the digital face of their business to someone who will be meticulous and exacting by giving them a monetary stake in that product. ” THIS THIS THIS. If your social media marketing is important enough to your business that you’re actively seeking someone out to do it for you, pay them for their work.

So, now it’s the freakin’ weekend and baby I’m about to have me some fun, etc etc.