My Social Media Experiment

Just three short months ago I created this blog as part of a class project for Management 691 (or “Entrepreneurial Psychology”) at the University of Nevada, Reno with Dr. Bret Simmons. In 2007 I took an “Organizational Management and Behavior” class with Dr. Simmons, who at the time, did not have a blog. Shortly thereafter he began blogging to discuss and clarify concepts relating to his field of study, and ever since then has become an industry resource for professionals who are passionate about management and leadership. He has built a true network of professional contacts across the globe and has sourced a variety of speaking engagements through his blog – I couldn’t think of a better qualified professor to be teaching this course!

For a introduction to blogging, please click here for an article covering three tips for beginning bloggers brought to you directly from Dr. Simmons, or you can watch the video below:

What I Set Out to Accomplish

The purpose of the class was to define and create a personal brand relative to our career through the use of social media. This entailed creating a blog and engaging with other bloggers, subscribing to dozens of industry news feeds via Google Reader, setting up accounts on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, and Yelp (among others), creating multiple videos, tweeting a minimum of three times per day, and reading both Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy, and Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard.

Initially we were reminded that no one would read our blogs except for maybe our moms. (Seth Godin truly sums it up best in this 90 second video clip about blogging.) Needless to say, at first I was skeptical about blogging, but at the same time I was curious.

Throughout the semester we had a range of guest speakers who were quite knowledgeable about social media who shed some light on the importance of the topic. Speakers included the above-mentioned Erik Deckers via Skype, the community marketing director for Boston Children’s Hospital Sarah Mahoney, former ski resort marketing director turned social media consultant Milena Regos, residential realtor Ron Bell (whose YouTube channel has received over a million views), and a few notable business and journalism students at UNR who are excelling at the use of social media such as Rachel Sa-onoy, Nicole Rose Dion, and Diana Mamlieva.

What I Produced

For me, the most difficult part of the whole class was coming up a value proposition and a direction for my blog. Since marketing blogs are a dime a dozen, I decided to focus on not marketing first, but rather on topics of interest to me that I could easily relate back to marketing. And instead of just being a “how to” blog, I decided that while understanding how to be a better marketer for all practical purposes is important, it’s also just as–if not more–important to understand the box from within which one is operating.

For more detailed info regarding the project, click here to watch a short video presentation.

What I Have Learned

First and foremost, blogging has enabled me to discover and clarify thoughts and concepts about marketing in a way that I would have never been able to do so before. What began as a simple idea, has transformed into a multi-layered analysis of a very dynamic concept. Along the way the content has been amended and clarified as I have received comments to my blog, morphing simple self-reflection into an engaging conversation with the world at large.

Over the past three months I was surprised to see subscriptions to my blog pop up from locations such as Russia, Turkey, and Pakistan to New York, Illinois, California and Nevada. I hadn’t considered the global reach of the Internet, or that my topic would have any interest to individuals in other countries.

To date I have written 25 posts, which I have shared through Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and sometimes Facebook. While the majority of page views have come from LinkedIn, most of the shares have occured via Twitter. I was surprised at the quality of the people who found my content on Twitter and have since become followers, ranging from marketing executives and PR professionals to business consultants and business owners.

Another unforseen byproduct of hosting a blog was the quality of off-line conversations that have ensued with professionals in my industry since starting the blog.  To date my web site has seen about 1,200 visitors. I’ve corresponded with book authors, marketing executives, journalists, professional bloggers, marketing professors, students, and CEOs.

In short, the blog has been a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to maintaining it in the future and using it as a platform to share and develop ideas.

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