Observations of a Reader

June 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

As a community manager intern, it’s my job to read — a lot. One of my tasks is to peruse through the (thousands) of blogs that use Livefyre and be active in the communities. That means I read, read, read, and comment when I’m interested or invested in a certain topic. It’s fun to introduce yourself, put in your two cents, and read what others are saying on the same topic. It’s also surprisingly refreshing to have someone be excited that you’re involved. I’ve always been on the other side of the fence: the consumer, who jumps with joy when a company notices my meager existence. Now I’m reaching out on behalf of a company, and I still get the same smile on my face when someone is excited or appreciative of the fact that I’m responding to them.

However, since I do read so much, I have been noticing one little thing: the level of writing on most blogs. I’m usually incredibly picky about writing (I am a writing major, after all!). I’ve noticed something that I suppose I’ve always known: anyone, and I mean anyone, can be a blogger. Blogging doesn’t necessarily make you a perfect writer, either. Does that explain the explosion of run-on sentences in blogs? No, not really. I fully support the fact that anyone can be a blogger, but I think a line needs to be drawn. How can we, as bloggers, work on our writing? How can we avoid run-on sentences, improper grammar, and slang? There are a few things to be considered before you address those questions:

  1. Who is your audience? Are they professionals, or is it a community of gamers? Are they relaxed or uptight? If you were to visit your own blog, what would you be looking for? Think about this before you start to write; it’ll drive your tone for most of your blog. If your audience doesn’t mind it, use slang. Write what comes to mind. If you need to be my formal, make a conscious change to do so.
  2. What are you writing? Maybe it would be entertaining to read a blog that addresses classical music with slang, swear words, and wit, but that’s not what most classical music lovers are expecting from a discussion on their favorite kind of music. More often than not, your topic affects how you write, perhaps just as much (or more!) than who your audience is. I’ve run into this in my own blogging experiences. My last internship was at an online wedding boutique, and I was writing daily blog posts for their blog, which was focused on planning a wedding on a budget. My tone was suddenly peppy, hopeful, and energetic. Last semester I blogged from my school’s Career Planning & Resources blog, and my audience was college students — you can bet I cracked some jokes. Did it work out all right? Sure. Right now my blog changes a bit, but my tone stays generally the same: light, and hopefully accessible. I’m putting my thoughts out there, and unless they’re angry thoughts, I’m not trying to beat people over the head with anything. I write about what I like and what I think, so my tone reflects that.
  3. Where do you want to go? Is your blog personal, or is it professional? Is it more of an online portfolio of your work, or is it a fun place to connect and communicate? This will also change how you write and how you view your work. For example, I want my blog to be a place where both professionals and family and friends can come and read about my life. I put the link in my resume and on my LinkedIn page. I also happen to know that my grandma prints out my blog posts (isn’t it cute?) and shows them to her friends. This is a culmination of the questions — it combines audience, subject, and the future. Thinking about where you want to be in a year or two (and how your blog relates to that future vision) will help guide your writing.

So, does this determine if we should all brush up on our writing skills? Is it necessary for us to do so to benefit our blogs? Sure, it can’t hurt us. How much time you want to dedicate to working on your writing itself should depend on what you’re doing with your blog, though. When it all boils down, blogs are forms of communication, our open letters out to the world, and you want to present yourself in the best way possible. Isn’t that true?

Stepping into a Start-Up

June 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m sure most people have seen The Social Network. The protagonists start out as fervent college students working frantically from their dorm rooms, and then they’re in a small office branded with the all-too-familiar Facebook colors and fonts. After that, their workplace explodes into what we imagine successful Internet company offices as today: “campuses,” like the infamous Google offices. They’re breathtaking in size and amenities. Aren’t all Internet start-ups like that?

Yesterday, I saw the much more realistic view of a start-up during my first day as a community manager intern at Livefyre. Needless to say, it’s awesome. The running joke in the office is that we’re all very, very cozy. Once everyone joins us or comes back from vacation, there will be twenty of us in an office that isn’t quite built for that many people. I was seated at the desk of one of the members of the development team, right next to Jordan, the CEO. The other community managers were scattered around the large tables. There were headphones, dual (or triple) monitors, a fully-stocked kitchen, and a conference room with a flat-screen and couches. It was hectic, but it was fun. Everyone was chatting with everyone, gathering around computers, breaking off into groups, and gathering around in the kitchen for lunch.

Livefyre is in a moment of huge growth. I won’t spoil anything until official announcements come out, but there are some great things on the company’s horizon. The company is only going to expand from here, and I’m excited to be stepping in and at just the right time.

Another End of the Year

May 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

Well, it’s that time again. Wasn’t it only a few posts ago when I was talking about my classes for spring semester, study abroad, and internships? Yes, yes it was. I haven’t been blogging as much, and my excuses are few: I was blogging for my school’s Career Planning and Resources blog, Beyond the Elms, as well as taking two upper-level writing courses (the result was a 50 page beginning of a novel and a portfolio of review writing). I was writing a lot. I cross-posted some of my blog posts for Beyond the Elms on here, and I’ll continue to do so. Besides that, though, I hope this summer brings a wave of fresh air to this blog.

At the moment, I’m at my grandparent’s house, enjoying a little bit of time off until I start my internship at Livefyre on Tuesday. I’m excited. Not only do I get to work at a fantastic company in one of my favorite cities, but I’m really intrigued by community management. It’s a broadening field, and if I like my internship I could see it being a definite career possibility after school ends. Am I already thinking that far ahead? It seems so. I’m also scouting out internship opportunities for next summer. My list is small, so if you have any ideas, companies in mind, or know of internship opportunities, let me know!

More will come as the summer unfolds!

A Difficult Sitation

February 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I seem to be having a lot of these lately.

Job/Internship Listings: Look for the Good Ones

February 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Wondering what jobs or internships to hunt for in your field? Looking for a job listing with that oomph? Read my blog post over at CP&R’s Beyond the Elms to find out what to look for.

Scripps College Career Planning & Resources

February 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m a blogger for my school’s Career Planning & Resources office. Mosey over here for my post on hunting for internships online.

40 Extraordinary Things Happening Right Now

January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

I receive daily emails on living your life to the fullest, and the email I received this morning was much needed. I had a rough first week of classes, and my grandfather (who has been sick for quite some time) is ailing. He won’t be alive for long, and it pains me to not be with my family, and him, in this difficult time. All in all, it’s been hard to deal with classes and this family emergency, and I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above the water. This morning’s email, from Marc and Angel Hack Life, made me smile. It’s a great reminder if you’re feeling down. I hope this list makes you all smile, too.

40 Extraordinary Things Happening Right Now

Right now is a phenomenon.  Right now extraordinary things are happening.

Right now…

  1. A soldier of sorts is diligently fighting the fight so you don’t have to.
  2. Someone who suffered from a severe injury last year is back on their feet.
  3. A small group of people are building something that will soon make the impossible possible.
  4. Somewhere on Earth a double rainbow is stretched from one end of the horizon to the other.
  5. One of the next Billboard-chart-topping musical artists is patiently rehearsing in her garage.
  6. A piece of literature is being written that will eventually change your perspective on life.
  7. Young children all over the world are singing and dancing before they even realize there is anything that isn’t music.
  8. A friend is helping a friend rise above thoughts of suicide.
  9. Someone is thinking what you’re thinking, but hasn’t said anything yet either.
  10. Two people in your hometown are falling in love.
  11. Somewhere someone is admiring a breathtaking sunrise, and somewhere else a surreal sunset.
  12. People of various religious backgrounds are in temples, churches, mosques and other places of worship praying, wholeheartedly, for world peace.
  13. Someone who has struggled with their weight for the last several years is standing on a scale and smiling.
  14. Hundreds of cute elderly couples are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
  15. A baby girl just took her first few steps without falling.
  16. Two best friends are laughing so hard they aren’t even making any noise.
  17. A future world leader is in grade school at recess.
  18. Someone is in the process of sincerely forgiving a seemingly unforgivable act.
  19. There’s a kid studying hard somewhere who aspires to get to where you are in life.
  20. A firefighter is running into a burning building to rescue a perfect stranger.
  21. Someone in your vicinity genuinely wants to be your friend.
  22. A young mom is lying in a hospital bed and holding her newborn baby twins for the very first time.
  23. Someone is taking a shower and singing happily at the top of their lungs.
  24. There is someone out there who smiles when they think of a specific moment they once shared with you.
  25. An alcoholic just celebrated one full year of sobriety.
  26. Volunteers in major cities all over the world are working at homeless shelters caring for those who are less fortunate than themselves.
  27. A young man is pulled over on the side of the road helping a young woman change a flat tire.
  28. A high school athlete just broke her own personal record.
  29. Two teenagers just received their very first kiss ever from each other.
  30. A husband and wife who were drowning in debt five years ago proudly hold a balance of zero on their credit cards.
  31. Someone is hugging a friend who desperately needs it.
  32. A new small business owner just wrapped up his first profitable year working for himself.
  33. A grandfather is holding his granddaughter’s hand and they’re both smiling from ear to ear.
  34. Someone just placed their spare change in the charity collection cup at the grocery store.
  35. A small group of friends are sitting around a table sharing funny stories and cheerfully reminiscing about the good old days.
  36. A breast cancer patient just found out her cancer is in complete remission.
  37. Someone out there is missing you and looking forward to your next visit.
  38. Honest people are working for various government entities to help protect your basic human rights and civil liberties.
  39. An emergency room surgeon is in the middle of saving his patient’s life.
  40. Someone is holding the door open for the person behind them.

Right now is a new beginning.  Right now is an opportunity. Do something extraordinary.

Courtesy of Marc and Angel Hack Life

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