Cliquish: Influencer Networking Event

A few weeks ago, a friend and colleague sent me info on a networking event and panel – “So you want to be an Influencer” featuring a variety of veteran and up-and-coming influencers who were going to share their experiences and insights.

I decided it would be fun and interesting to attend and put myself out there in a scenario that was a bit unknown. Not going to lie, I was pretty sure I would be walking into an event where I was the oldest (by a decade plus) and would stick out like a sore thumb. But I decided, in my third decade, to step out of my comfort and just go for it.

Arriving at the event, I was greeted by a variety of faces, women of all ages, interests, race and ethnicity. It was refreshing to talk to so many different women who are passionate about sharing their interests and lives with others in a very public platform.

The panel was a slice of the social world from Ms. Danti, a make-up maven and PhD student, who has been in the game before there was a game to an 18-year old YouTuber, who started blogging in middle school and took off last summer when she made daily relationship challenge videos with her boyfriend. (Apparently this is a huge area of interest for younger girls.)

Loved hearing each of their journeys, tips and perspective. While they were very different, the one common denominator was their desire to connect with people through authentic content and giving others a glimpse into their lives and passion. There’s a lot of power in being vulnerable and opening yourself up to others. And I connected instantly with that part of each of their journeys.

I was reminded that networking is such a powerful tool and got to know a lot of new ladies, and even left with a new friend – a fellow Mama Bear of three, who is also Hispanic and loves sharing her journey of motherhood and passion for fashion.

If nothing else, there is always value in putting yourself out there, meeting new people, talking about common interests and making connections.

This event solidified why I do this. I enjoy having a creative outlet that is all mine, not dictated by others, and the ability to share with people the things I love. If I can make someone smile, try something new or even step out of their own comfort zone, then it’s the cherry on top!




What Social Media Means to Me

In honor of social media day, I decided to write a quick post about what social media means to me. I was always on the Facebook bandwagon and have had an account since it premiered in 2004, but in the last year or so I’ve really gotten into social media – learning more about it and participating in more platforms.

I resisted Twitter for a long time and now I can’t imagine not being able to tweet. I have to thank Deirdre Breakenridge who was a speaker at our local FPRA chapter meeting and really got me thinking about Twitter. I decided to look into it and gave it a try. I have met so many interesting PR professionals through Twitter, made connections with people in my own community, made great friends (shout out to Niki Pocock!) and have learned so much from 140 character postings.

A lot of people who are not fans of social media argue that these types of platforms make it easy for people to disconnect with reality, staying away from connecting with people in the “real world.” But I must say, Twitter, LinkedIn, Brazen Careerist, Foursquare, Facebook – all of these sites have allowed me to connect with a much larger network than would have been possible without them. Even locally, I have met so many people through Twitter and then turned that into lunch meetings, face to face conversations, new business and new friendships. If anyone thinks social media is not powerful…think again!

Starting this blog also has been an amazing experience. I love being able to share my thoughts and ideas with a global audience and connect with other people through my posts. My blog and Twitter lead me to find Brazen Careerist a career focused social networking site that connects professionals and allows us to discuss countless topics. It’s amazing what you can discover and who you can meet through social media.

For me, social media has been a new education and a place for me to share information and insights with others. It has given me an online voice and has helped build my personal brand. I’m excited to see what new networks and ideas emerge in the coming months or year…I love that it’s so fast and transformative that you can’t keep up. Social media keeps you on your toes and for that I’m grateful.

So what does social media mean to you?

Your “online” persona vs. the “real” you: Does it add up?

I’ve recently been invited to speak to a group about “brand management,” but instead of presenting on big companies and recognizable brands like Nike, Target and Apple…it got me thinking about your personal brand. I don’t think enough people consider what they’re saying and the first impressions they are making online.

I’ve seen many a Facebook status update and tweet with TMI. By TMI I mean way too much info…too personal, too whiny, too rude – basically grounds for losing a job or a friend. Certainly unbecoming. Unfortunately, the things you do online coupled with how you present yourself “in person” become your personal brand. Everything you put out there: pictures, status updates, tweets, blogs, comments and even other people’s comments become part of your personal brand.

You may think that some things are private, but when it comes down to it…is there even a difference between your personal and professional brand? Have you Googled yourself lately to see what comes up? You are a combination of the real you (the person your family, loved ones and close friends know), the professional you (your work ethic, creativity, drive) and the online you (your profiles, social resumes, blog posts, pictures, etc.) – when you put all together is it all adding up to who you really are?

If someone doesn’t know you and Googles your name, are you proud of what they find or are you crossing your fingers they’re not that savvy and quit searching? At the end of the day, are you making a statement about who you are or misrepresenting yourself? Have you updated or deleted information to clean up your act? How do you feel about your personal brand? Would you invest in you?