20 February 2010

Sam Danger and my personal branding conundrum

After 6 hours of tick-tacking, I finally managed to get Bethany's blog configured properly last night.  There was a lot of back-and-forth between, Google Apps and Wordpress.  At the end of the day, I think she'd be better off using Blogger, which I must admit I'm partial too.

As I was working with her to help establish her brand I started thinking about how to tackle mine.  Personal branding seems to be a hot topic recently, and I'm actually going to be co-presenting on campus about it in the coming months.

The trouble I'm having is that there's another Sam Venable.  Now normally, this wouldn't be a huge deal.  Except this Sam Venable is a columnist at the Knoxville News Sentinel.  

We even look alike!  The Venable nose is unmistakable (side note: though I'm sure we're not related, I'd be interested to see if we have any shared ancestry).

But the real kicker is this - not only do we kind of look alike and have the same name - he's also a writer.  Of course, the primary difference being he gets paid to do so.

So I've been debating what the best strategy to tackle this is.  How do I differentiate myself from him?  

When I first started writing and created this blog, I thought the best way was to stage myself as the "other" Sam Venable - but the problem is there are probably a few hundred of us elsewhere in the world.  So, if I take the Seth Godin / Gary Vaynerchuk approach, I haven't really found a good niche.  I'm not specific enough, and I'm not positioning myself for success.

Secondly, as I started to contemplate my own domain, I realized that is a bit longer than I want it to be.  How do I concisely describe, differentiate and promote with a URL?

I don't have any answers yet, but I'm working on it.  

19 February 2010

Lunchtime post: I get the Gist

A few weeks back we had an OU alumna, Jackie Reau, on campus to give us an instructional seminar on social media (SM).  Few colleges have delineated a cohesive, intentional strategy for communications via SM - and we're just in the infant stages of our implementation.  But I digress...

I had the opportunity to go to dinner with a few colleagues and Jackie, and she is an absolute blast (read: is as technerdy as I am).  After a few minutes, we started talking about a few different tools we use in our job.  I shared my experience with Tungle and then she mentioned a tool she'd just discovered called Gist.  I'd never heard about it, but early the next morning I was checking it out.

Gist is like a CRM tool for managing your personal networks - think of it as Google Reader for your contacts.  It aggregates your networks from the likes of your Gmail, Outlook, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., and compiles their public information on the web into their interface.  News stories, blog posts, links, pictures, tweets: they all show up in one place.  

Now I know you might be thinking it's a bit creepy, but I find myself using it less for work and more as an extension of how I use other SM / networking tools.  

David writes a blog post?  Boom!  I see it right there on my dashboard, with a snippet and link to get to the full article.  I can send a follow-up note to David, interact with him directly on the blog or connect with him another way.  Gist makes it super easy to connect, and the information it provides is a great conversation starter if you need an excuse.

If you want to learn more about their company, they have a webinar or two posted on their blog you can check out.  They also have some great information on their website.

What tools do you use to manage your networks?