Social Media and Branding

Social media is a way for people to attempt branding: the idea of attaching a name to a product.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when the word “phone” is mentioned?  It would probably be either Apple or Samsung.  What about “Bill Gates”?  Microsoft.  That is the effect of branding.  Essentially, it is making a name nearly synonymous with a product or company, creating its unique identity.  This identity becomes a household name which lends it credibility and thus makes it marketable.

blending

Above is Tom Dickson, the CEO of Blendtec, attempting to blend an iPhone in his famous series “Will it Blend?”.  In his series of YouTube videos, he blends various objects in order to promote his own product, a blender.  Why does he choose an iPhone instead of a block of concrete?  Marketing purposes.  How is that achieved?  The objects he blends are lending credibility to his blender because the objects themselves are reputable and used by many people.  As a result, his videos became extremely popular and Tom Dickson and his company Blendtec became household names.  Blendtec experienced a 700% increase in sales over the course of 3 years, much of it attributed to the blending videos (Dutta 2).

brand

Social media isn’t just a platform for companies to promote their brand — people can also use it to promote themselves.  For example, Justin Bieber was originally an unknown singer who eventually became famous via YouTube when professionals discovered his talent and reached out to him for a real career.  It’s not just because he was at the right place at the right time, but because he offered something unique that suited the needs of whatever company decided to hire him.  It is possible for anyone to receive a job using social media.  It isn’t limited to YouTube — there are many more options such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or anything else that comes in the future.  LinkedIn is a great way for professionals to present their skills to a potential employer in order to brand themselves as an efficient worker.

The most important thing to remember before marketing yourself is to be unique.  Do something no one else has, or have something no one else does.  However, the action or quality must be marketable to the company you expect to work for.  You want to brand yourself.  Make your identity something you wouldn’t regret being a part of, and make it recognizable.

References:

Dutta, S. (2010). What’s your personal social media strategy?. Harvard Business Review, 88(11), 127-130.

Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/10cnW7e

Osborne, B. (n.d.). IPhone 4 meets end via blender, sniper fire, and microwave. November 1, 2014.

Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/13s8LsE

Qualman, E. (2012). Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. John Wiley & Sons.

Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1t97gtb

Your Source For Branding. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2014.

Retrieved from: http://modernobserver.com/marketingcommunications-2/branding/

LinkedIn profiles, how to use them, how to market yourself, how to network

linkedin

LinkedIn is an online social networking site where one can create a professional profile and connect to other people in the workforce.  Essentially, a LinkedIn profile should be like a resume: concise, descriptive, and appealing to potential employers.  Instead of having to physically hand in a resume to each employer, LinkedIn allows for employers to search for candidates instead via LinkedIn.

Naturally, one’s profile must adhere to all the features that make a resume work: a brief showcase of the applicant’s skills, relevant experience, and a unique, personal touch that makes it stand out.  Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is not a good place to include information about hobbies, religious views, and other potentially controversial content (Skeels and Grudin, 2009).  However, there is an enormous assortment of resources available that make it more practical.

One advantage to using LinkedIn over hard-copy resumes is that it features the ability to update an existing profile.  People can edit their profiles when they receive a promotion, accept a new contract, receive an award, or acquire a new experience (Elad, 2014).  As such, it is expected of LinkedIn users to regularly update their profiles.

unique

It is important for a personal profile to stand out among others.  In the picture above, the yellow smiley face draws the most attention because it is the only different one in the sea of unhappy faces.  This is what a LinkedIn profile needs to do.

Now what can people do to distinguish themselves?  Taking advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer is one way.  Creating the profile is merely the first step needed to facilitate building the network that people want to have.  One must also begin adding people to their network — the Facebook equivalent of adding friends.  This can be done by joining relevant groups, which allows prospective employees to talk to people at all levels of a company (Elad, 2014).  As expected, the process requires a bit of dedication because active participation will increase the odds of appealing to employers.  The more they get to know an employee, the more they will develop a sense of trust; eventually the employer may be inclined to reach out for an interview.

One of the best ways to attract an employer’s attention would be to tell them a story: one where the potential employee (the protagonist) comes across a problem that may be relevant to the job being sought, fixes that issue, and most importantly, describes the sequential process in order to fix it along with the skills that were needed in order to do so.  Anything else that qualifies as experience would suffice because it tells the employer that the potential employee is well-qualified and is the right fit for the job.  There are many other methods that will do the trick, so the idea is to be creative and resourceful with LinkedIn.

References:

“4 Reasons to Join LinkedIn If You STILL Haven’t Got Round To It – Brandwatch.” Brandwatch. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Retrieved from: http://www.brandwatch.com/2012/03/9254/

Elad, Joel.  “How to Market Yourself to Your LinkedIn Network.” – For Dummies. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Retrieved from: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-market-yourself-to-your-linkedin-network.html

Skeels, M. M., & Grudin, J. (2009, May). When social networks cross boundaries: a case study of workplace use of facebook and linkedin. InProceedings of the ACM 2009 international conference on Supporting group work (pp. 95-104). ACM.

Retrieved from: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/jgrudin/publications/newwave/socialnetworking2009.pdf

“Unique Is No Longer… Unique.” N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Retrieved from: http://mahoot.com/wp/2013/06/unique-is-no-longer-unique/

Agile tasks lists, what does “done” mean in Agile?

tasklist

The above is an example of an Agile task list.  Task lists are a way for Agile users to plan and track their progress.  Lists are kept in a simple spreadsheet format which tracks the estimated time to complete a task, the actual time it took, and the people responsible for the task (Reichlmayr, 2003).  As with all other Agile strategies, task lists are subject to change and are developed via user stories.  The task list is not merely busy work to be completed, but is rather a way for teams to keep organized by dividing tasks as equally as they can across each sprint.

Being done means that something is finished, or in other words, the end has been reached.  When you are done eating, it can mean that you still have food on your plate that you can’t finish.  When you are done with a test, it can mean that you bubbled C straight down out of frustration.  When your significant other sees you getting a bit too chummy with your attractive neighbor, you are done.  These are all different usages of done.

Ecce Homo

Above is the infamous “restoration” of a painting of Jesus called the Ecce Homo (behold [the] man).  Surely, the painting is done, as well as that person’s artistic career.

In Agile, being done is defined in much more specific terms.  Done means that a project is not haphazardly completed.  The product needs to appear amazing to every member involved and satisfy all the user stories created.  It doesn’t stop there.  The end product then needs to pass one final test: the review phase.  After the entire designing and developing phase, it needs to be tested for potentially unintended, unwanted bugs (Gupta, 2008).  The process is repeated until it is devoid of all the bugs that are found.  Then, it needs to be approved by the product owner and therefore be recognized as a product that is ready for distribution.

For technology-related products, a product can almost never be classified as done.  Even after mass distribution, users may find bugs that the developers failed to spot, or even come up with ideas that would improve the product even more.  Many more user stories will emerge due to, well, more users.  For example, video game developers often create downloadable patches to add onto their games which include new features and bug fixes.  Being done is like being perfect: impossible, but a goal to strive for nonetheless.

References:

Agile Project Management.  20 Aug. 2010.

Retrieved from: https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRADL/_GH

Gupta, Mayank.  Definition of Done: A Reference.  3 Sept. 2008.

Retrieved from: https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2008/september/definition-of-done-a-reference

Neild, Barry.  Ecce Homo ‘restorer’ wants a slice of the royalties.  20 Sept. 2012.

Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/sep/20/ecce-homo-cecilia-gimenez-royalties

Reichlmayr, Thomas.  The Agile Approach in an Undergraduate Software Engineering Course Project.  5 Nov. 2003.

Retrieved from: https://ritdml.rit.edu/bitstream/handle/1850/9853/TReichmlmayrConfProc-11-2003.pdf?sequence=1