What’s In A Facebook Friend?

I recently went through my Facebook friends and de-friended a number of people.” Something I like to call the “Friend Purge.” Now before you start thinking I’m a cold hearted you-know-what, let me explain myself.

On Twitter, many of us base who we follow on the content and value they provide to us. So why is it not the same on Facebook? What sort of value are we getting from our Facebook friends? I’m not necessarily talking blog posts and industry happenings, but rather what is happening in people’s lives. If we’re not getting any value from our Facebook friends, what is the incentive.

Think about it this way. When I first joined Facebook waaay back in 2006, the whole point of it (at least to the people I talked to) was how many friends you could get. After freshman orientation at Canisius, I got bombarded with friend requests of other incoming Canisius freshmen, my orientation teammates, and so on. In the hopes of making some new friends before the first day, and of course having a ton of “friends” in my Canisius network, I added all of them. Then I moved into Canisius, made a ton of new friends (in real life mind you), and didn’t even meet half of the people who requested me the summer before (not even in 4 years of college). What is the value in having friends like that?

Then you have the people from high school, grade school, etc. who request you simply because you went to school together. Never mind the fact that you never talked in high school or didn’t get along. We friend these people and then get bombarded with information from them on our news feeds, which keeps us from seeing posts and information from people we care about. On Twitter, we are always cautious of spam mushing up in our feed, because it prevents us from seeing the amazing content that people put out there. While the content shared on Facebook is of a different nature, why should it be any different?

What are your thoughts? Do value and Facebook belong in the same sentence? How do you determine who becomes a Facebook friend? What prompts you to “de-friend” someone? What is more important to you on Facebook – staying in touch with friends or having a large number of friends?

What To Do With The Advice You’re Given

We all seek out advice for many different things. Relationships, clothes, food – we want the opinions of our friends and colleagues. As a recent graduate and job seeker, most of the advice I’ve been seeking lately is related to my job search. What should I include on my resume? How should I format this cover letter? Should I mention that I have experience in A to help set myself apart?

I’ve had the pleasure to go on a number of informational interviews this summer and talk to other professionals in other cities. All have been so willing to offer their advice and suggestions, which I could not be more thankful for. However, I find myself drowning in a sea of very useful advice, which differs from professional to professional while I try and fight against the current of my personal thoughts and strategies.

There are a few reasons why I feel so conflicted. I know I hate it when I give someone advice and my suggestions are ignored. I feel as if they didn’t listen at all and that I wasted my time in talking with them. I don’t want the professionals, who take time out of their busy schedules to talk with me, to feel like I’m wasting their time by not accepting their advice. I genuinely want their suggestions and appreciate all of the advice I have received, even if I may not have taken it. However, I often find myself feeling guilty if I choose not to follow through on a suggestion.

In my opinion, it all comes down to what you are comfortable with and what ultimately works for you and what you feel comfortable with. In my experience, professionals have offered more than one suggestion on any given topic. I always make a few changes to whatever they critique, after all, they know way more about finding a job than I do. If I have to decline advice, I respectfully explain why I would like to keep something the same and continuously thank them for their suggestions.

To those seeking advice: How do you deal with different suggestions? Do you aim to please and accept all suggestions, or mix and match to create something that works for you?

To those giving advice: How do you feel when your suggestions aren’t accepted?

“Never give up the struggle boys”

4th of July weekend, one of the best weekends of summer. The peak of the season. We all head out of town, fire up the grills and enjoy the sunshine and fireworks.

My family always had another tradition for the 4th of July. Every year on the 4th, we would all sit together as a family and watch Johnny Tremain. And that isn’t a joke. No matter how nice it was outside, the entire family would be in the living room listening to Sam Adams and crew sing “Sons of Liberty” (my favorite part of the movie!)

We watched this movie every year for the purpose of reminding ourselves why we even celebrate. We’ve all taken American History (I hope!) and know the background of the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and so on and so forth, however I think that it is easily forgotten among all of the other festivities that go on on throughout the weekend.

This year the 4th of July is going to hold a lot more weight. My younger brother is currently stationed in Afghanistan and won’t be home to cook out and watch the fireworks with everyone. For as long as I can remember, he wanted to join the Army and as soon as he graduated high school, that’s what he did. While I’ve always considered myself to be pretty patriotic, I never really realized how much our soldiers sacrifice, until it hit home.

Last year, I discovered a great organization called Soldiers’ Angels. Their motto “May No Soldier Go Unloved.” Through the organization you can “adopt a soldier” which means making the commitment to send a letter once a week and a care package at least once a month. They also organize numerous projects and coordinate a number of different teams for those who may not be able to make the commitment to adopt. I’ve been a volunteer since March 2009, I’ve adopted 2 soldiers and been a member of the letter writing team.

My favorite part about Soldiers’ Angels is that it lets all the Soldiers out there know that there are people thinking of them and supporting them. It gives me the opportunity to show my support for all of the sacrifices that they make so that I can sit at my computer and write about whatever the heck I like, read what I want, say what I want, and ultimately do what I want (with limits of course).

When we celebrate the 4th of July, we’re not just celebrating what happened 200+ years ago. We’re celebrating every day since then that we’ve lived in a free country, all thanks to the brave men and women who put everything on the line for our freedom.

If you only do one thing this weekend – Thank a Soldier. Buy them lunch or a drink. Whatever you do, show them how much they’re appreciated.

I highly recommend adopting a Soldier through Soldiers’ Angels. Its really a great and rewarding experience. Follow the stories of Why We Celebrate on Twitter and Facebook all weekend long!

To any soldiers reading this, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for everything you do. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

The Tribe Social Deck

I wrote a post awhile ago about why I love both Baseball and PR. Well, last week, I was able to experience the fusion of baseball and another of my favorite things, social media. On Wednesday, June 16, I was invited to sit in the Tribe Social Deck at Progressive Field. For those of you who have never heard of the Tribe Social Deck, it is the Cleveland Indians way of integrating the game, fans and social media into the ballpark experience.

The Cleveland Indians are the first major league team to incorporate social media into the ballpark experience like this. The deck is equipped with Wi-Fi and attendees are welcome to tweet, blog, Facebook and share their experience. The Indians Website describes the social deck as “your own private section for networking, social media and baseball.” What a great combination!

I had the privilege of sharing the social deck with @bobaber @DSampies @JoeG2001 @mattkittle and @MikeAmmo and we were the lucky group of Social Deck attendees to catch the first ever home run hit to the Deck (Thank you Shelley Duncan!). We also had the opportunity to chat with the people behind the Tribe Social Deck and the @tribetalk account, Curtis Danburg and Rob Campbell. We joked, enjoyed the weather and the game, signed the famous home run ball with our Twitter handles, attempted to get the Swarm badge on FourSquare, with no success, and ultimately had a great time (despite the fact that the Indians lost 8-4).

#theball that made Tribe Social Deck history!

So why is this a big deal?

I constantly hear conversations and read articles about the need for brands to engage with their audience. Content is great, but engagement is better. At least that’s what I hear whenever the topic comes up on Twitter.

What else comes up in the online conversation often? The fact that making connections online is only step one. You have to move from Twitter, to email, to Skype, etc. with a face-to-face meeting being the ultimate end result. It’s why we plan Tweet-ups, Skype chats and coffee dates with those that we engage with online the most.

And the Tribe Social Deck does both beautifully. The brand (@tribetalk) engages directly with the fans not only online, but offline as well and also allows participants to take the conversation offline and connect with individuals who share a common interest face-to-face.

It will be interesting to see how many other teams and/or leagues adopt something like this in the future and what their individual takes on it will be. I have to give the Cleveland Indians a big kudos for this idea and I’m glad that I was able to be a part of it!

I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts about the Tribe Social Deck. Whether you’ve sat in on a game (or more!) or just have a thought about the incorporation of social media and sports – I would love to hear from you!

How To Use Twitter

In my Public Relations Case Studies final a couple of weeks ago a friend said to me: “Hey, Blonde Experience,” yes she really said that, “I feel like I should be on Twitter, but I have absolutely no idea how to use it. I think you should write a blog post about it.”

Brilliant idea! I’m a huge advocate for Twitter, ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you I’m “obsessed.” I’ve gotten a number of my friends to hop on the website throughout the year and given them the best Twitter lessons I can, but there is still more to learn. So, I decided to put together a how-to use Twitter guide on my blog.

Now, I know there are a ton of blog posts already out there educating people on the correct way to use Twitter, so I thought instead of re-writing what people have already written, I would just share those posts with everyone. Of course, I do offer my own personal suggestions as to how I use Twitter, but those come at the end.

Let’s start off with a PowerPoint created by Heather Whaling (@prtini). This is a great slideshow that goes over a lot of the Twitter basics, what a hashtag is, how to @ reply and some other Twitter lingo. Perfect for beginners.

Next, is Mashable’s Twitter Guidebook. They also go over the basics and give tips for how to build your community and use it for business if you should ever need that. (I only say that because this is aimed at my friends who will use it mostly for personal use).

The next few articles contain other tidbits of information about Twitter and how to get the most out of it. One is about using Twitter in a job search (written by yours truly), but is still relevant even if that isn’t your main aim and one using Twitter for business. Again, even if you’re not tweeting from a business standpoint, there is a lot of good advice in there.

This article from Twitter Journalism is one of a series of posts where the author talks about their experience with Twitter and the value they ended up finding. This could be you!

Now for my suggestions – and I’ll do my best not to repeat too much of what the previous articles stated.

  1. You have to be willing to put time into it! My friends constantly tell me I’m obsessed with Twitter because I tweet so often. However, to get any real benefit from Twitter you have to tweet more than once a day – don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation or respond to a tweet, even if you don’t know the person. You’d be amazed at how willing the folks on Twitter are to help out and talk to you.
  2. Participate in Twitter chats. I think this is where I have found most of my Twitter success and “met” most of the people I talk to on Twitter. There is a comprehensive list here. Find one that suits your interests and just jump in!
  3. In addition to Twitter chats, follow hashtags that interest you. I realize not everyone is a PR student. However, if you’re interested in fashion, follow tweets with the #fashion hashtag. Someone might tweet something interesting that you respond too and *poof* a Twitter friendship is born.
  4. Download a desktop client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic. These are great ways to keep everything organized and follow those hashtags like I mentioned before. You can set up columns so you see those exact tweets, way easier than doing everything from the website.
  5. Share! Did you find an article you thought was interesting? Share it! There are plenty of URL shorteners out there so a long URL won’t eat up your entire 140 characters (@rebeccadenison breaks them down here). If you have a blog share your posts on Twitter too. It’s a great way to gain readership and followers who are interested in the same things you are, which leads to good conversations and so on.

And that’s it! Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions regarding how to use Twitter (Follow me: @stephmajercik)! And to my established Twitter friends, what other advice would you offer to those new to the network? Share your links and thoughts in the comments below!

A Sentimental Feeling

On Saturday, May 22 I walked across the stage at Canisius College’s Undergraduate Graduation Ceremony to receive my Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, German and European Studies. Now, I am officially a college graduate and moved back home to Cleveland.

Now, I enjoyed every second at Canisius, well almost every second and like many college grads, I can’t help but feel a little bit lost and overwhelmed with the thought that my studies are over and that I may never see some of my friends again. While I feel ready for life after college, I can’t help but feel a little sentimental. I won’t lie to you. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to walk across that stage on Saturday, I wanted to stay just a little longer. This is a position I’d been in a few times before, wanting to hold onto that moment and stop time, but not being able too.

High School Graduation

I had the time of my life in high school. I had awesome friends, was involved in great extracurriculars and really just had a blast in those four years. When I graduated, I was not looking forward to college. To be honest, I really wasn’t all that excited about going to Canisius. I was convinced I wouldn’t make any friends and couldn’t wait for my first break so I could go home and hang out with my high school friends. Boy was I wrong. I wasn’t there for an hour before I made a handful of new friends and realized it wouldn’t be so bad. I embraced the new and moved on.

Coming Home from Study Abroad

The next time I felt lost and unsure about the future was when I had to head home from my study abroad semester in Dortmund, Germany in 2008. My last few days in Germany I sulked around hating every minute that ticked by knowing I’d eventually have to board the plane back home. And then I arrived home and felt completely lost. No one understood what I had been through. After a week of being at home, I would mention Germany and someone would say “We’ve already heard that story” or “Steph, you’re not in Germany anymore.” And this was all before I even went back to school. Readjusting was the hardest thing I ever had to do, however after a few weeks I was back in the swing of things and loving it. I continue to keep in touch through Facebook and e-mail with my friends from abroad and have been lucky enough to see some of them again.

In both of these instances, I didn’t want to move on. I wanted to hit pause and stay in those places forever, but I couldn’t do that. I had no choice but to suck it up and take the next thing life threw at me and I am all the better for it. I could have sat at my computer my entire freshman year and only talk to my friends from home, but I didn’t. I put myself out there, met new people and had a blast doing it. And when I came back from Germany I could have done the same thing, but I readjusted back to American life, found new things to do and moved on. Do I still keep in contact with friends from high school and study abroad, of course – but I don’t dwell on it.

I’m sure there’s a number of recent college grads out there grappling with this feeling, but know that it will get better. Embrace the future, but don’t dwell on the past.

So What’s Next for Me?

Well, I’m currently back home in Cleveland and I plan on making the most of my summer, setting up informational interviews with professionals in the area and traveling to those cities where I would like to relocate to for the same reasons.

To all the 2010 grads out there, just remember that it will all work out. We will make it to the next step and end up where we are supposed to be! Congratulations to all – We did it!

To all the former graduates – what advice do you have for new grads as they try to adjust to the realization of what comes next? I’d love your input!

A Review: Relocating for an Entry-Level Job

This is the second of three reviews of Heather Huhman’s e-books. I was asked to give these reviews after being featured on Heather Huhman’s blog in the first #HAPPO day.

What a better time to write a review on Heather Huhman’s e-book about relocating for an entry-level job than graduation time for the Class of 2010. I was really excited to read this book mainly because I am planning on relocating at some point after my graduation.

The book starts off listing the top 15 cities for entry-level jobs from New York City to Washington, D.C. and details facts such as population, common occupations, average salaries and rent. Some of the information was very valuable, such as the rent and common occupations. Stats such as the population I could have done without, but I can see where that would be valuable for some people.

Heather then offers a number of tips for how to go about relocating. One option is to move without a job, an extremely risky move, but if you have enough money to survive for a few months go ahead. Other tips (many of which I plan to utilize this summer) such as planning short trips full of informational interviews (including what questions to ask!), making sure you’re active on social media sites, applying for internships, utilizing the alumni network from your university, and building relationships with local recruiters.

Most importantly, you have to make sure you let potential employers know that you want to relocate and that you’re going to do so at your own expense. Many companies won’t pay for you to move there, so make it clear that you’re willing to do it on your own. Make sure that you have a plan and have done your research regarding the cost of living and moving costs.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was a quick and easy read and is very easy to go back and reference when you need it. Some of the information was common sense, at least for me, but still important to remember. For any of 2010 graduates (or even college juniors) I highly recommend you check out this book, it will really help you in the long run!

You can purchase “Relocating for an Entry-Level Job: Why You Probably Have to & How to Do It” here. For more valuable entry-level career advice, make sure you’re following Heather Huhman on Twitter (@heatherhuhman) and check out her website www.heatherhuhman.com.