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Why I do the social media thing

I love to tease my business partner, “You’re not social.” 

Let me be clear…we are equally ‘unsocial.’ As an INTJ, I spend time thinking about what I want to say and write.  It is not spontaneous soul puke.

For me, it’s not about being social.  It’s about learning.  (Note…while my business partner my not be active on social media, he is ALWAYS learning.  Heck, just today he spun up another AWS instance for a new product he’s trying.)

As I tell friends and clients, in the world of information technology you need to reinvent yourself every 7 years or so, or you’ll be obsolete.  Evolve or perish.  It is a very simple perspective.

“I haven’t had time to keep up, the company didn’t let me,” is a lament occasionally heard…typically from someone who has just been put aside, laid off, or is otherwise in trouble.  The harsh truth is personal growth and development, in fact, evolution, is in the hands of the individual.  If you don’t go to occasional professional society meetings (like Society for Information Management, or Project Management Institute) or read one of the many freebie journals (such as Computerworld or Information Week), or take an old PC carcass and load Linux on it….if you don’t continue learning, you will perish.

So what does this have to do with my being social?

Well, I want to keep learning.  While I had a CompuServe account back in the late 80s, and got on the AOL bandwagon in the early 90s.  Online chats were boring.

According to Webster, the word Blog was first used in 1999.  It reminded me of Captains Log, so I avoided lest I be categorized as “one of those.”

Then twitter (March 2006), Facebook (February 2004), and others came on the scene.  I got accounts, and found the two very interesting.  Twitter seemed good for online ranting, and some humor.  Facebook got you in touch with college friends you hadn’t stayed in touch with (perhaps for good reason) for decades.  Neither seemed imperative.

My business partner and I formed Curriculotta as a vehicle for IT people.  This site provides a community for sharing best practices and interesting stories. The name comes from the word curriculum - the subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college. And our intent is to do a lotta them.

Last spring, I started to do some blogging in the Westborough Patch.  Patch was new, and encouraging people to blog.  Doing some research, I discovered the rich uncle behind Patch is AOL, so there was a natural affinity for me (however vicarious.) 

Last summer I was on vacation for the first time in five years, and by the 3rd day was bored.  This whole social thing fascinated me…and I wanted to learn more.  I wanted to crystalize it in a tangible way.

As I poked around on the internet from my vacation spot, I came across Sarah Storer.  OK, so my Mom says I can’t lie, and I won’t here.  What I came across was The Naked Redhead.  Whatever I say now can be misinterpreted….   As I poked around…er,…explored….ah…researched….(fill in a PC verb) The Naked Redhead, I was fascinated as she clearly had a “fun” following and was certainly corporate to a point.  Discovering she was also from Ohio cinched the deal…I asked for her help reviewing my social content and making recommendations (One Tough love, pull no punches coaching session).  It turns out Sarah knows her stuff on social media, and days later we were having a Skype session where she taught me.

She taught me about some tools (Curriculotta is WordPress and I am not a huge fan, Sarah suggest SquareSpace and I haven’t looked back.)  For feedback, it’s Disqus.  It’s kept clean by Akismet.  Mail via MailChimp.  And to make posts…..Hootsuite.

For crying out loud…there was a systems integration effort BEFORE any content got written.  My buddy Anne Marie Legge pitched in.  And most of these tools cost money…not a lot of money, but they are not free.

 Sarah coached me to drop movie reviews (probably just as well since Cameron Diaz hates me for an article I did) and focus on IT, Fatherhood, and Restaurant reviews.  Sorry, Cameron, still number 4 on Google.


Sarah encouraged me to launch the garylkelley.com blog (because people like to follow people.)  She suggested I drop Patch, which I did not do because I really believe my restaurant reviews (still in Patch) are best shared there.

I’ve also enlisted the help of Kerrie Kennedy at Intente to make my website pop.  I don’t have the “style” gene, and clearly she has the eye.

Other people I’ve now met (virtually) on this journey include:

  • Mary Jo Kurtz @ herself – she is wildly understanding, and encouraging
  • Erika Napoletano @ Redhead Writing – I wish my writing were as edgy as hers, although I can’t bring myself to drop the f-bomb in my writing (those of you who know me well know I have dropped it verbally more than once)

Each one of these people have encouraged me tremendously…and my not even know it.  If they read this, I hope they sense my appreciation.

I know clients of Harvard Partners read this stuff.  My of them comment on it, and some re-tweet my stuff.  To this day, a RT is a treat.  Am I making money on it?  I would say a qualified yes…   in the sense it builds credibility with our clients.  By making it “mine,” I am able to set the tone I want and that helps me.

So, am I at the apex in social media?  Far from it.  So much more to learn!

I’d like to explore video more.  I may not have the face for video, but am fascinated by it.  It does seem to take a lot of time to prepare and edit.  Sarah has suggested using it for a rant…so one day when I am really pissed look out.

I have had a friend or two express interest in blogging, and have given a novice’s advice on how to do so.  It does take time.  Up until last year, I also ran a successful lawn care service.  I sold it because it had become so “real” I didn’t have the time for it AND my real job.  It takes time to produce three blog posts a week, and there are times I am just not in the mood.  That said, I know myself well enough to know if I don’t keep with it, I will cease learning…and then perish.  Trust me, there are other things I can find amusing at 5:34PM on a Sunday evening.

So I am unsocial.  And every day work to become more social….to continue my personal growth and development.

What do you do to stay current and relevant?