Archive for November, 2009

I Can Haz Skillz. Will Work.

November 11, 2009

I don’t like asking for help. I think there is way too much self-promotion going on on Twitter anyway, and I hate adding to the noise. I did it once when I was asking for your help and votes for my “Very Goode Job” social media campaign, where in the end votes, connections and good will of the community didn’t seem to matter (hmm, this was a social media job, right?). So after that experience, and seeing how many people “go to the well” too many times, I knew that it would be a while before I asked my network, my community for help. Well, that moment seems to have come sooner than expected. I’m back on the job market, and unfortunately it’s right before the holidays in a shaky economy – I am famous for my impeccable timing.

So what does looking for a job mean? Typically, and to most people, it means hunting the usual suspects: Classifieds, Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com, etc. I believe that the truly amazing jobs aren’t the ones that you find in ads. They are the jobs that you get referred to by your network, by people who know your skills, work ethic, passions, outlook on life and a chosen profession / industry. Besides, by the time that a job makes it to the job boards, it’s oftentimes “yesterday’s news”. Sometimes, even before posting a job online, the hiring manager already pretty much knows whom he / she will hire. Some other times, the hiring manager is only posting online to cross the legal t’s and dot the i’s. In short, basing a search on job boards is inefficient, lopsided, low ROI, energy sucking, bad use of your time. I am not saying that I won’t visit job boards. If I come across something amazing, I will certainly reach out to people I know for an introduction to the hiring manager. But I am starting with you, my network, my friends and colleagues, and asking you to introduce me to potential opportunities.

I work in, and want to keep working in, the online marketing and social media space – strategy, as well as execution. Since it’s social media, I am going to rely on my social networks and in-person networking to zero in on that amazing opportunity. Those of you who know me, know that I’ve been focusing on community management. Why community management? It’s an amazing field, albeit fairly nascent, for which I have a lot of passion, and which I think is well positioned for an exploding growth trajectory. Daniel Pink in his book “A Whole New Mind” corroborates Thomas Friedman’s notion of job fungibility – anything that’s not high-touch, experiential, or based on humanness and empathy (taking huge liberties in paraphrasing here), is going to be either automated or shipped off to China / India. I think community management is the future breed of of this high-touch human empathy, adapted to the age of social web. Community management, and social media in general, takes us back to the human tenets that are as old as humanity: community, relationships, trust, reputation. Social media, in some ways, strips you down to the core of who you are, back to your humanness. A little while ago, we hid behind email, chatrooms, anonymous avatars, and each man was an island. Now we are an archipelago. Now we come to each other as we are, asking for and giving acceptance, our lives and humanness exposed, celebrating community, openness, communication and ideas.

Why do I want to do all this? Because I love people, I love connecting with and helping people, have always been an “open book” (which is why the new social and very public means of communication don’t daunt me), and the times in my career when I was the happiest was when I could help a client, resolve conflict, and put my heart and soul into that communication. I also spend my day buried in my laptop, reading blogs, blogging, discovering new tools, chatting, exchanging ideas. I love the space, and I want to keep learning and apply what I’m learning to my clients’ and employer’s goals of engaging, growing and nurturing communities. Although forums have been around longer than I’ve been alive, and online community moderation is nothing new, the community manager of today is so much more: in addition to internal community management on your site, you are using social tools, going to events, monitoring online chatter, participating in discussions on external communities, reaching out to other communities, bloggers and partners to build programs together, and the list goes on. As Rachel Happe puts it so eloquently, “The Iceberg Effect of Community Management”, only a small percentage of what a CM does is actually seen externally. Sometimes it’s a thankless job, but for the people who love engagement, social media, being the voice of the brand, and really making a difference in an authentic way, this is the right job, and I think I’m the right person for this job. I want to do all of the above: external relationship building, internal community nurturing, branding and outreach in online and social channels, content and programming, monitoring and participating, etc.

I’m going to be very public with my job search, and hope to be able to update all of you on any great new developments, challenges, roadblocks, trials and tribulations. I am excited about the future, and I will not settle for anything short of spectacular, and I hope that all of you will keep me in check and won’t let me succumb to the pressures of just taking a job for the sake of taking a job (yes, the need for food and shelter has the ability to derail even the most brilliant of plans). I have settled in the past, and this time I’m going to make sure it’s different. If you like what I’ve done in the past, know me online or offline, like my thoughts, or just think I’m a good fit, I ask that you please send me introductions to opportunities. Community management and social media jobs aren’t always called that, which is why I’ve gone into detail above as far as what it means to me, and what I want to do. Sometimes, we are brand ambassadors, sometimes we are evangelists, sometimes we are listeners, sometimes we are social media marketers. I am not getting into specifics of my past experiences here; there are better places for it: LinkedIn, VisualCV and my “catch-all” site of social media goodies.