Spring can really hang you up the most.

In the 6 months since I’ve posted (…), I’ve gotten my very first promotion, suffered through more than one Atlanta snowpocalypse, seen Lady Gaga, and gone on spring break. And started a new blog. At this moment, I’m sitting on my porch during what must be the last beautiful day before summer. This is all to say that there has been neither time nor place to blog on WordPress.

That said, I have been reading a bunch of interesting Internet pieces. Here are some:

  • This salmon recipe has CHANGED. MY. (culinary) LIFE. Cooking sous vide has always seemed more than a bit pretentious and inaccessible to me. It seems so obvious, but of course you don’t need an entire sous vide machine to experiment with the technique. You can literally poach salmon in a regular ol’ plastic bag for ~9 minutes with a deep skillet. I’ve used this method the past 2 nights and have been astounded by the results. One of those things that I can’t believe I didn’t think of before seeing a blog post about it.
  • Good news for my fellow liberal arts majors: here’s why companies are desperate to hire anthropologists. Since I’ve moved into a strategy role at work, I see clearly how important critical analysis skills are. Even in the seemingly soulless world of advertising! When I graduated, I didn’t know how my degree would come into play (or if it ever would). Well, okay, the actual French major hasn’t come to my rescue recently, but the skills I learned at Agnes Scott have proved invaluable in considering consumer motivation on a critical scale.
  • There’s no shortage of thinkpieces about the 1920s, but here’s video footage of NYC’s literary scene during that time. Fabulous.
  • 40 Books That Will Make You Want to Visit France. Enough said.
  • A nice link-filled piece on nostalgia & creativity.

Finally, if you don’t live in Atlanta, there’s a chance you haven’t heard about the impending demise of student programming over at WRAS 88.5 in favor of Georgia Public Broadcasting. While I’ve quietly hoped that Atlanta’s own NPR station (WABE) would incorporate some more talk radio in the afternoons, never in a thousand years would I have thought it would be at the expense of the city’s best radio station.

When I first moved to Atlanta for school in 2006, I was moving away from my then-boyfriend, best friends, and punk community with whom I identified in Tampa. To wit, since I grew up in the suburbs, my refuge from home was the local Borders (RIP). So the first memory I have of WRAS is of a moment that year outside the Borders parking lot in Poncey Highland. I found “I Don’t Care,” a long-running weekly punk show on 88.5, and almost cried at the poignant hurt of missing home and familiarity — but I’d found a parallel in Atlanta. So in a broad-sweeping metaphor, 88.5 brought me home again. I’ve grown a lot in 8 years (!!!), but I’ve remained loyal to 88.5. I wish Georgia State University could say the same.

See you in 6 months!

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!

A new lease/leash on life.

Sometimes you have to check yourself, whether for your privilege or perspective (or both).

Lately I’ve found myself grousing about things that are simultaneously within and outside of my control (time management, budgets, creative ruts). It’s easy to blame a hot summer for mental lethargy, the Internet for procrastination, anyone but yourself for problems that are relatively insignificant … and also, at their essence, solvable. So, it’s crisp in Atlanta: a good season to rediscover optimism, personal accountability, and creative outlets. At the end of the day, I love my job, my work, and the weather.

In short, time to go from this:

to this:

This week I’m alternating between attending this year’s Digital Atlanta and jetting back to our new office. More to follow!

In other news:

 

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:

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.

Digitally curating on a holiday: Emily’s bildungsroman.

Blame the brief hiatus on a flurry of beach AND Internet activity through the past two weeks.

As previously mentioned, I went home to Florida for Mother’s Day, a vacation that (thankfully) did not consist of much more than watching dolphins frolic at sunset, zipping around in a convertible and saving a cell phone from a watery grave with the assistance of a well-timed bag of Vigo rice. So, a vacation that was all-too-brief, as usual, but proved an excellent period of pre-Summit relaxation. As always, my Tumblr is my platform for sharing content in a much more succinct manner; so, if you take issue with my verbosity, head that-a-way!

The Nonprofit Summit, the largest sector event in the Southeast, concluded this past Tuesday — and I have only now caught up on sleep.

Here’s a bit of context, so excuse me if you’ve heard this one before:

As a member of the Marketing & Communications team at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, I began working on branding the Summit in September, and was tasked with developing NonprofitSummit.org. It was the first time the conference had a separate branded identity from its host, GCN, and it was my job to … well, make sure it worked. And it did! So, this experience of building a website, and creating/maintaining all digital content, for a Very Real Big Deal Event was a new one for me; but I knew WordPress, and had all the requisite resources to make the site a hub for all Summit information; so, the rest is history, as they say.

Back to the point: along the way, I was also held responsible for social media content as it pertained to Summit, and here’s where the real American Dream success story comes in: I pitched the idea for maximizing Twitter engagement through live-tweeting and a projected Tweetcast. This is not anything novel at conferences, particularly those geared to social network engagement and digital media, et cetera. But it certainly was new for the Summit and my particular department; as far as I can tell, it was particularly novel for an event geared toward the nonprofit audience. People ate it up! I was so proud of how our audience took the #npsummit hashtag and ran with it — participants tweeted their Summit experiences, asked me questions on Twitter, and our follower count exploded. It all made sense, really, as our Day 1 keynote speaker was Claire Diaz-Ortiz, leader of social innovation at Twitter. So, anyway, a nice little pat on the back to myself and my intrepid colleagues. Here’s a little snap from some of the #npsummit activity:


Enough about me and my shameless, self-promoting ways. All caught up on sleep, what’s a girl to do on a hot Memorial Day but consider Saturday’s excellent foray into lime fish tacos, listen to Nina Simone, and/or scour the Internet for interesting things?

Without further ado, this week’s Interesting Things Worthy of Consideration As Well As Your Respective Thinking Caps:

  • The idea of media “stock and flow.” So, this piece basically consolidates what I’m thinking and feeling about content curation, and how indisputably major the concept of crowd collaboration and group-thinking is becoming, not in the least within the context of contemporary marketing (and web writing, really). I do notice a disproportionate amount of “flow” to “stock” from today’s marketers; and, IMO, that tactic is rife with error. No, the Internet does not need 800 identical listicles on “10 Ways to Fix Your Twitter Strategy”/”100 Reasons Your Resume is Terrible”/”1000 Ways to Market to Millenials.” What the Internet does need: good stock comprised of interesting concepts & ideas that are repurposed through the flow. Anyway, that Snark Market post is just a more articulate way of looking at what I’ve been railing about to my nerdy friends — marketers have got to stop littering the Internet with fluffy pieces of (un?)content constructed entirely for pageviews. This whole content curation thing I’m so obsessed with is based on the tenet that the Internet is … well … a gigantic community, a platform for collaboration and knowledge-sharing and knowledge-building.
  • Furthermore, this piece from Ad Age by Ted McConnell, a digital executive at the Advertising Research Foundation, ties the content marketing  argument together: “Recently, in a room full of advertising brain trustees, one executive said, ‘The ‘new creative’ might be an ecosystem of content.’ Brilliant. The brand lives in the connections, the juxtapositions, the inferences, the feeling of reciprocity. The relationship of content and distribution is not the setting of traps in every hallway, but more like a system of helpful Post-it Notes and handrails that help consumers get where they want to go.” This is everything you need to know about approaching social community management! And then some.
  • Have you considered being your Facebook profile for Halloween? Sorry, I’m not sorry if you’re disturbed by The REALFACE.
  • Okay, THIS is the coolest thing I’ve found on the Internet today. The Listening Machine is a UK-based project that takes 500 Twitter users at random, and generates sounds (really, an entirely unique musical project) based on those users’ emotions as expressed through their posts. The sounds are broadcast live through their website from May to October 2012. From the website: “As a strategically selected cluster of 500 users from around the UK interact, converse and go about their online lives, their messages and emotions are translated into music by a series of automated processes, or algorithms.Collectively, these algorithms reflect the group’s sentiments (positive or negative), topics of conversation (from sports and culture to technology and education), rate of activity, and the rhythms and tone of their speech itself.” The result is listenable and … almost relaxing.