Follow Friday January 7, 2011

Use of social media has exploded and the tools that used to be the domain of young, tech-savvy, early adopters are now an important part of daily life for everybody. So it’s not unusual for someone who participates in social media as a hobby, never mind as a profession, to have hundreds of Facebook friends or Twitter followers. It’s good to have friends but there can be a huge difference in the level of connection in some of those relationships. Some you interact with more than others. Some you never even meet. Even those in your own city. What’s the value in that?

As part of a “resolution” for 2011, I decided to meet, in person, one person from my network (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc) each week. It could be for lunch or just a quick coffee. These meetings don’t have an agenda other than to put a face to a name and create a little more depth in that connection. I want to find out a little bit more about my connections personally and also get a better understanding of what you do. If there are ways we can help each other with personal or professional goals, that’s great. If I can introduce you to a fellow connection who can help you, that’s awesome. Even if neither of those things happens, it’s still time well spent.

Inspired by some long-ago Friday Follow posts by Clark Dever, I decided to publish some information about the person that I met that week to share with other connections. It worked out that this week I was able to meet with more than just one person. So here goes:

Jessica Blackmer Twitter avatar

Jessica Blackmer (@jkblackmer)
I haven’t met Jessica in person yet but she was nice enough to take some time this past week to talk to me about social media. As a Content Developer for Bryant & Stratton College Online Education, Jessica plans, executes and analyzes every aspect of the Online Division’s social media campaigns. You can check out the blog created by Jessica and her team at Jessica is obsessed with reading about, learning about and trying new social media ideas and technologies; particularly mobile technology and where mobile websites and location-based apps are headed.

Paul Gebel Twitter avatar

Paul Gebel (@paulgebel)
Paul and I had been mutually connected for a while on Twitter before I met him (very briefly) at TEDxRochester back in November. Although he’s been to 36 countries and every continent but Antarctica, he’s pleased to call Rochester home. After a distinguished career in the military and an MBA from RIT, Paul started his own business as a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual. While his military service makes veteran’s causes near and dear to his heart, his passion is helping everyone prepare financially for those big moments in life; marriage, buying a house, having a baby, retirement.

James Parrillo Twitter avatar

James Parrillo (@jamesparrillo)
Like Paul, Jim and I had met briefly before, at the recent refreshROC event. The type of work and our philosophies about it are very similar so it was nice to sit down with him and talk shop. Like me, he believes that although clients come to us with a desire for the all the latest bells and whistles, it’s more important to sit down with them and discuss their real goals. Because those two things are not always conducive to one another. Most recently his work has focused on presenting client sites in more visual ways that convey their message in as few words as possible. He believes, “the web is an 80-90% right-brained visual environment and the remaining 10-20% just gets ignored anyway.”