Staying Connected When You’re Offline

Last week I went on my first vacation since December. Woof. Definitely well needed and in my mind, well deserved.

I have a plan to visit as many, if not every, baseball stadium in the county. With that in mind, I headed off to Chicago with my Dad in tow. There were plenty of other items on the agenda (eating deep dish pizza, visiting the Bean, heading to the top of Sears Tower) but our trip was planned around Wrigley Field and the Cubs’ home schedule.

Thursday morning I caught up on emails and social media before heading out for a day of sightseeing and tourist attractions. I saw that a key influencer in the communications industry was in Chi-Town for a business meeting and a speech. He asked if anyone was interested in grabbing coffee before he headed back to LGA.

Most of the time, I’m convinced my parents have absolutely no idea what I do for a living. My dad asked if I was posting pictures to Twitter of our carrot cake Wednesday night. He got an A for effort. The only reason he cares about Facebook is because they are now a publicly traded company and he owns shares of Zuck’s stock.

So when I asked if he was cool with me meeting an older guy from the interwebs for some coffee, I was expecting a pretty chilly reaction. Much to my surprise, he asked if this was important to me. It was. Off we went.

I’d like to thank Peter Shankman for sitting down to talk PR (and life) with me. There is nothing comparable to meeting someone you respect and admire for their success, especially when your passions align. I even had the chance to pitch a client’s new product. Now I get to leave the Windy City with great Instagram photos, a stomach full of Chicago hot dogs, and a new connection under my belt to bring back to my office. I’d consider that a successful four-day trip.

What did I learn about this when situation? Maybe it’s not that important to be entirely offline. Disconnecting is always healthy and a way to stay refreshed, but you never want to be so isolated that you miss opportunities that can happen outside of a cubicle. Another important lesson for professionals my age: there are people out there willing to chat with a newly minted graduate. Grow a pair. Put down the cell phone. Nothing beats face to face networking.

Avoid the Cyber-Stalkers: Maintaining Your Internet Privacy

Why Combining Social Media Sites Can Be Hazardous to Your Privacy

Sometimes we don’t realize how much information we are giving away to the creepers of the world by checking in and tweeting and posting our locations.

Tomorrow’s goal: upgrade the privacy levels on ALL of my social media applications.

Chad Ochocinco Takes 200 Strangers Out To Dinner — Daily Intel

Say what you want about his field performance (or lack thereof this season), but Chad Ochocinco/Johnson is one of the FUNNIEST athletes on Twitter. Whether it is giving out tickets to playoff games and taking strangers out for free meals, you’ve got to respect the man for completely breaking down the barrier that used to exist between the athlete and the fan.

Give him a follow. Even if it is just to laugh at the photos he posts of his outfits or nonsense he says about his fiance.

Chad Ochocinco Takes 200 Strangers Out To Dinner — Daily Intel.

MLA is Keeping Up With the Times

Like so many of you, I get most of my news from Twitter.

It is no surprise then that the Modern Language Association has developed a standard method for citing tweets in research papers.

Now you can tell yourself that your procrastinating is actually research!

How Do You Cite a Tweet in an Academic Paper? - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic

Read more: How Do You Cite a Tweet in an Academic Paper? – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic.

What The Hell is So Pinteresting

If you have been on the internet in the last month, which I’m assuming you have since you landed upon my blog, you would have heard about this newest social media platform. Pinterest, the 2011 Crunchie “Best New Start-Up of the Year,” has gone absolutely viral over the last five months, registering more than 7 million unique visitors in December alone. However, unlike Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, an overwhelming majority of Pinterest users seem to be female.

This makes a lot of sense – content seems to focus on decorating imaginary homes, baking imaginary cupcakes and planning imaginary weddings. It is a lot of grown-up women continuing to play dress up in their adult lives. Yet as someone who is entirely challenged in the kitchen, has never once thought about her wedding and cannot DIY anything, Pinterest has sucked me in as well. I use it as a place to brainstorm possible outfit and color combinations for work. I pin motivating quotes that I plan to (one day) post on my office walls. I learn about clever organization tips and tricks and gizmos and gadgets that are out in the tech world.

What makes Pinterest the most effective, to me at least, is to make sure you are following people not in your circle of friends. Otherwise the same content will be generated and repinned over and over. It is the same basic premise of Twitter — you need to follow the news-makers in order to receive the news. This is one of the main reasons I am so excited for brands to break into the Pinterest platform. Halfway through week one of New York Fashion Week, I have already seen this happening. Department stores like Nordstrom and Bergdorf’s have pinned their spring collections and projected fashion trends. In the food spectrum, Whole Foods has boards dedicated to learning how your food grows and different healthy dinner ideas.

In the future, I hope to see brands like Nike and UnderArmour try to entice more male users by showcasing different athletes (both amateur and professional) wearing their products in various events and competitions throughout the world. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London would be great to follow on Pinterest — each sport would receive a board and followers could learn more about the participants. Restaurants would be able to categorize their menus, detailing the ingredients and nutritional values, encouraging people to come eat out even if they are on a diet.

As with any social media platform, Pinterest is not right for every brand. I am not sure I can see news organizations using Pinterest to quickly disseminate information. The companies that will receive the most benefits from Pinterest are product-focused and visually oriented. The potential is definitely there. Until we reach that point, the rest of us will bide our time by laughing at someecards and swooning over baby animals.