Christmas and Winter Solstice are over and Boxing Day and Kwanza halfway gone. Hanukka's well into its second half. All that remains this holiday season is the celebration of the coming of 2009, which is traditionally a day where many look back in order to more-clearly look forward [and bloggers are made happy by the gimme that end-of-the-year lists are by way of making opinionated introspection simple and fun].
I learned a lot this year, and I plan on applying all of this new wisdom to 2009. I don't need to point out that we're on our way into an economically tight time, so as we try to make our operations as lean and effective as possible, these are the first suggestions that immediately come to mind.
Trim the fat.
With regard to maintaining a social media presence, there are two schools of thought regarding how expansive one should be.
Some, especially early adopter types, believe that the most-important element of maintaining a web-based personality is to create a large, overarching, expansive presence that is impossible to ignore or miss. These folks believe that it is important to maintain an active Twitter space, friendly Facebook account, professional LinkedIn page, enthusiastic activity on Digg, regular blog posts, thrice as regular blog comments, etc.
I do believe that casting a wide net is important, but with all I have going on, I find that, as I become more-invested in a couple of effective presences/techniques, the others go neglected and fall by the wayside, making it easy to forget entirely. When this happens, it becomes easy to allow, say, an outdated MySpace page to sit, gathering spam comments and broadcasting out-of-date information about you. For this reason, I'm leaving my former MySpace self behind, and making sure that all of my information elsewhere is up to snuff. I'd rather move forward with a well-groomed collection of individual personalities than to cast a large, disorganized, and somewhat mismanaged net.
Embrace the old school.
This year, I've gotten some really great coverage by "old media." Most recently, a local newspaper called The Maine Switch published a great write-up that got read by thousands of people in Southern Maine, which is particularly helpful considering this is a part of the country I largely market my services too. Sure, many people are getting their news online, but many of them are getting it by linking old-fashioned media. Fortunately, old-fashioned media types are rather enthusiastic about what's going on in the realm of new media tactics, and they're often pretty approachable if you've got something they should be paying attention to. When trying to get press for your services or organization, this is important to keep in mind, and remember to leverage how what you're doing is unique when approaching potential story-scribes.
Further, its important to reach out to old-fashioned media, anyhow, as keeping your discussion/conversation/efforts to the 2.0 crowd really limits your audience. Make sure you're getting seen by the paper-and-coffee in the mornign crowd as often as you are by your fellow Tweeps (I hate that word).
I've already forgotten where I heard this (I'm also going to concentrate more on listening this year too), but someone referred to 2009 as a year of human intervention into our beloved connective technologies. We've seen how grassroots tactics properly married with online organizing can bring major political change to the fore, and 2009 will be a year where thousands of people and organizations experiment with making that happen. Herein, it's important to, if your objective or aim is organization or connectivity, to make sure that you're not too heavily reliant on perfecting your social media approach while simultaneously overshadowing your offline game. So you've mastered the top 10 tips with regard to being a good Twitter citizen? Awesome. Now make sure that you'd master the same test in a room full of actual people.
Think. Appreciate. Express. Repeat.
Somewhat related - A funny thing about the social media space is that for many folks, its the first opportunity to, well, be social since high school or college. Because of trends set forth by those social environs, many of the characters the the former space are formed by habits and behaviors we learned in the latter. There are the popular kids, the good humored/nature quiet ones, the bullies, etc. And because of how intensely we remember our high school/college experiences, who was good/likable and who was bad/difficul to stomach (why do you think Peggy Sue Got Married and Romy and Michelle were such popular movies?), it's certainly important to remember what made our interactions good and bad from that particular time so that we don't fall into old traps regarding how we treat each other (and are perceived as a result). It would terrible to realize that after all of this time designing our Twitter profiles and properly utilizing hash-tags that everyone still thinks of us as shallow, loud-mouthed know-it-all assbags. Or that we're so tactless about our organize-at-all-costs approach makes us come off more like Tracy Flick than Tom Hayden. Audit your behavior on social media sites, as hard as it is to do so, and figure out if you're being the person that you loved in high school / college / at the office (are you JIm or Dwight?), or if you're leaving a bit to be desired. If you find that the latter is true, as we know by way of any high school movie ever made, it's never too late for a coming-of-age personality makeover.
That's all for now, but I expect some more to roll out of me before we count down on January 31st.