December 12th, 2009


Radio, movies, and virtual ink ...

Now, as those of you who took the initiative and checked in on The Job Stalker blog without my having to suggest you click on the graphic over there ===> will be aware, I'm running down to the Tribune Tower tomorrow morning to be interviewed on WGN-AM as part of their "ChicagoNow" show. I'm slated to be on from 11:00 to 11:30 talking about the blog ... woot!

I was off at an event hosted by The Windy Citizen last night that featured a big chunk of the blogging and "independent media" community. The event, while remarkably well attended (given the single-digit temperatures and several other concurrent functions running against it), was a bit difficult for networking due to the lay-out of the room (the back room at a bar with a lot of tables, couches, etc.), so I didn't walk away with a bunch of cards, but I've gotten mentions in several blogs and Twitter feeds since, so it wasn't a bad outing, plus it looks like I'm getting interviewed for a couple of more blogs in the next couple of days. La di dah! The more virtual ink I get the higher my profile, the closer I get to a job that I'll be happy with.

One of my projects for the weekend is to get set up with either Tweet Deck or Hoot Suite ... I'm still using the web interface with Twitter, and I'm really at my practical maximum (at over 450) of people that I can realistically read on an every-post/every-day basis. If I can get a system set where I can sort out the "courtesy re-follows" (and I frequently won't re-follow somebody simply because "they post too much", which is sad) from the folks I know, or who have can't-miss info, it will pull back on the hours I currently spend churning through the Twitter feed!

I did something tonight that I probably haven't done in, literally, years ... I actually watched a video straight through! I have no idea how people can manage to chunk the time out of a 24-hour day to devote 2-3 hours to watching a movie (a football game, yes, a moive, no). The Wife had gotten Julie & Julia from the RedBox at the grocery store, largely for my benefit, and Streep really nailed the Julia Child role. Julia had been a good friend of my Mother (along with most of the "leading lights" of the food/cookbook world back in the 60's, 70's, and 80's), and I had the pleasure of meeting her on several occasions (and even Paul at one party). The movie was remarkably well done, and I kept thinking (and commenting to The Girls who were watching it with me) how much my Mom would have liked it.

Frankly, it's a testimony to the movie that, with one pause for a bathroom break, I actually watched it straight through ... my usual interface with movies not seen in a theater is catching 15-20 minutes on TV or watching a half an hour of a video before giving up on it for more "pressing" things on the schedule (for instance I still need to finish reading a book that I already have an author interview done on, so that I can get the review written and up before Monday so I can run the interview in Monday's blog ... I could have maybe gotten another 1/4-1/3 done with that if I'd read instead of watched the movie). So it's a slightly biased "two thumbs up" from me on that flick!

Anyway, I need to get to sleep so I don't sound like a zombie on the radio tomorrow ...

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A question about Twitter ...

O.K., so anybody regularly reading this space (and I know there are a few of you who do), will be aware that I've been spending hellacious amounts of time on Twitter, having embraced it as my main research tool in my current job search.

I was an "early adopter" of Twitter, but a late "convert", somewhat tracing the usage arc of the system (going from the folks who text their friends with meaningless crap all day in the early months, to the current "firehose" of information in nearly real-time). Until relatively recently, I had a pretty trim "follow" list, just certain people in certain industries who wrote certain types of Tweets that I found useful/fascinating. However, over the past few months, my list has grown five-fold, and it's gotten to the point that my somewhat obsessive habit of reading every post, every day, has become a HUGE time sink.

I was just reading an otherwise very interesting post from a gal over there which included this:
I went out and followed thousands of people who shared interests with me. Many of them followed me back. Six months of doing that and I had gone from 4,000 followers to 20,000 followers. I’ve also met a ton of new friends.
Now, I currently follow (and am followed by) 400-500 folks on Twitter, which is getting to be more than I can possibly keep up with. What I don't get is how one can even TELL that thousands of Twitterers "share interests" with you, since it would be realistically impossible to READ that many posts on a regular basis, let alone tens of thousands! How can you find "friends" in that crowd?

I have become very lax in even looking at people who follow me on Twitter (I get an e-mail telling me when somebody does, but I've not even opened those for the past few weeks, not having time left over from my current Twitter reading to "get around to it", and having a dread of adding in MORE reading ... and I'm not up to 500 people yet!

What I'm trying to figure out is HOW one can have a "meaningful engagement" with thousands of people without actually READING what they're saying ... how does this work??? I've asked a couple of folks who have five or six figure follow lists, and they tend to say that they read their DM's (direct messages, which I almost never get), and their @ mentions (places where they've been name-checked in other people's tweets, like "@BTRIPP") and nothing else. To me, that would be almost like NOT FOLLOWING anybody ... they're not "engaging" with the other people, they're not interacting, they don't even SEE it unless "it's about them".

Now, I realize that a LOT of these people are trying to make their living pretty much on Twitter, and having five, six, or even seven-figure sets of "followers" is essential to drive volume to whatever it is they're selling. But I find it frustrating to either dismiss or ignore folks who are (for whatever reason) "reaching out" to follow me just because I can't take much more data flow!

I, frankly, would very much LIKE to have some feedback from the Twitterverse on this, but when I started posting about it, the 140-character limit was making it impossible to even adequately frame the question, so I'm doing this post here and will do a link to this.

I've been putting off setting up something like TweetDeck or HootSuite because of my typically lengthy "comfort curve" with new systems, those would let me "sort" folks into categories that would allow me to pay various degrees of attention (i.e., read ALL job listings, occasionally look at what's coming in from "courtesy re-follows", etc.) to various Tweets, but it still leaves the issue of engagement and interaction hanging.

Anybody with particular insights on all this want to opine on it for me?

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Breaker, breaker ... can you hear me?

Why, yes you CAN ... or at least the podcast of my radio interview this morning on WGN-AM's "ChicagoNow" show! Click on the screen capture over there ===> for the links and all.

It was sort of cool to be in the studio of a major radio outlet. I was on the radio all through college ("The Sound Of Punk In The Fox River Valley" ... heh!) and really wanted to go into radio or TV when I got out of school, but after a summer of intently beating the bushes trying to land a gig, I ended up taking up the standing offer to just join the family's PR firm full time (I'd been working all through college at the agency, so it was an easy transition). For those who've gone over the Ning site and seen my stumbling attempts at V-blogs, I still have the urge, but haven't been able to lock it down into a system that I'm able to keep running on a predictable cycle.

I've done some guesting on friends Blog Talk Radio shows, but today's junket down to the Tribune Tower (to the WGN-AM studios on the ground floor) was a gas. If the opportunity arose I could definitely see my doing radio again ... although the gig that ChicagoNow show host Bill Leff has is certainly a challenge (they have a 4 hour show and run through 8 bloggers from the ChicagoNow site in rapid-fire succession, and he has to keep it focused and fresh over and over again!).

I really hadn't intended to do any The Job Stalker posts on the weekends, but I figured I'd make an exception for something like this ... so, get with the clicky-clicky to hear me "doing some media"!

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