Social media in real life – fun and games with SMCSTL and Filament

Last night I attended the Social Media Club – St. Louis (@smcstl) happy hour in celebration of Social Media Day. The event was held at Filament, an incredible new meeting and conference space in downtown St. Louis from my friend Matt Homann and his partners. The team went all out to create a fun evening while showcasing the talent and approach of the Filament team and their process.

The main gathering space was where most of the conversation happened, and good conversation it was. Putting a bit of twist on the typical SMCSTL member engagement on social media during an event, where people are encouraged – expected, even – to be engaged with their gadgets and online networks, the side rooms were each converted into an “offline” version of a social media tool.

In the LinkedIn room, you were asked to post your resume in haiku-ish fashion; three lines of 5, 7, and 5 words. (You can see mine at Resume in haiku(ish).)  The Instagram room had a wall where you could post your hand-drawn selfie, such as this one by Jessica. And, of course, the Facebook room had a wall where you could post and share.

If you live in St. Louis and are at all interested or involved in social media, you really should check out the Social Media Club – St. Louis Chapter.

And if you live anywhere and are looking for an incredible place to hold your next meeting, conference, retreat, off-site, whatever, definitely check out Filament. Because if you absolutely need to have that meeting, you might as well do it right.

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Do you have a coach? Do you need a coach?

If you ask a competitive athlete if they have / need a coach the answers will likely range from “Yes” to “Of course” to “Are you kidding?”. If you ask a knowledge worker, or concept worker, the same question the answers will likely range from “No” to “Huh?” to “Are you kidding?” Obviously, the “Are you kidding” answer has very different meanings in the two different contexts.

I’ve often wondered why this is: why is it acceptable, expected even, that athletes have and need coaches but considered a luxury if someone has a work/life coach and actually a detriment – a sign of weakness – if someone wants or needs a work/life coach?

The discussion around a recent question on LinkedIn got me thinking about this again:

Q: If you can’t afford a coach, what are you doing to support your professional growth?
A: I love (?) the assumptive nature of this question: that everyone needs a coach;…  Do professionals need coaches? No, certainly not.

The answer I quote above is just part of one response, but nearly all of the answers (so far) seem to dismiss the idea that a professional coach is desirable or needed.  The alternatives range from talk with friends, study the success of others, and read and continue to develop your knowledge on the subject of your job.

Going back to the world of sports, such an approach would be a sure path to the loser’s circle (unless you are Roger Federer, of course).  What is it about our work as professionals in business that makes us different from the work of professionals in sports?

Getting the most from LinkedIn

As I’ve started exploring social media a bit more seriously recently, I’ve taken a fresh look at LinkedIn.  Since I first signed up, more and more people I know have started using LinkedIn as well – or at least they’ve signed up.  I’ve also reconnected with a few folks from way back, so that’s been nice.  But I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to make it work for me.

Tony Karrer has given the question quite a bit of thought and has some good suggestions in his post LinkedIn Connection Approach Rethought.  In this post, he looks at his use of LinkedIn using Christian Mayaud’s ideas on Right Sizing your PANs, FANs, and CANs. *  Interestingly, what Tony found is that the LinkedIn recommended approach of only connecting with FANs and CANs really limits the value of LinkedIn. The true value of LinkedIn, at least for Tony, is in building his PANs.

As I described to Lilia in an interview with her last summer, I got to know quite a few people in the KM field through blogging.  However, with few exceptions I didn’t feel that I knew them well enough to request a connection in LinkedIn.  Reading the summary of my interview and Lilia’s collected thoughts on KM blogs and networking in general have “loosened” me up a bit, so that I am connecting with more “casual acquaintances” than before.  (In fact, I finally connected with Lilia just this week!)

Check out this Common Craft video for an example of a practical use of LinkedIn; thanks to Matt Homann for the link to the video.