This is a guest post by Craig Kessler.
I don’t remember when I first found Ari’s blog. I recently moved from New York to the Washington, D.C. metro area to take a job helping with being the community manager of BudgetPulse, a free personal budgeting software web start-up that I knew nothing about and wanted to try something new within the internet industry.
Working in PR, marketing, and customer service for the site, and really knowing nothing about social media or how I could learn and then utilize those skills to be successful at my job, was an intimidating challenge. I didn’t even know what RSS meant and thought Facebook was only useful for finding out what girls really look like after you met them the previous night at a bar. Now I use Facebook all the time to connect with friends and new people I meet. You can connect with me if you would like.
After finally finding out what RSS was and how useful it can be, I began researching blogs in the industry and began following Ari’s blog. I bought a few books on the industry as well and started reading. With knowing nothing going in, I began to self teach myself the basic practices of marketing via online and social media and to begin developing my own personal brand within the industry as well as in the financial niche blog networks I began engaging in for work.
After reading that commenting often was in good practices, I began doing just that. I would comment every day, which seemed like a huge waste of time and would cringe when my parents asked me what I did at work, telling them I would comment on blogs as part of the job description because they would think it’s a fake job.
But the persistence and curiosity on my part to learn paid off, as Ari began to answer my comments and email me personally. When I had a question, I would email him and get a true personal response back, which not only was nice, but helpful. He helped point out some practices I was doing that were wrong and suggestions on how to fix as well as advice overall on the industry and how to learn more. There is so much clutter and noise on the internet that in the beginning it was very overwhelming for me especially since I am learning on the job as I go. He helped filter some of that noise for me, as well as with the help of some other bloggers, and books I have read.
From there I began being active on Twitter with my handle at @CraigKessler. Considering I thought Twitter was stupid–and a time waster at first–I have come a far way and use it regularly offering up articles, but mainly just to interact with others and help out when I can.
Social Media: What’s the Point?
I am asked this question from friends all the time who now see me as a jock converted to a computer dork. While frustrating trying to inform them, it’s also fun as well, even making a believer out of a few.
Interaction is my main focus when utilizing social media tools. Whether personal with having fun, procrastinating, help or for work with customer service, providing updates and information, and more, interaction is my goal when I use social media.
Connecting with others on social media creates a lot of “faux” friends or acquaintances, something that Ari was to me. We had the chance to meet up at a networking happy hour a little while back and that was the first time I met up with someone I have connected with online in person. Now I don’t just consider him some random internet guy, but a friend, and that in a lot of ways is the goal of social media. He even based a blog post about me. Now enough with giving Ari all this “bro” love.
Where to From Here?
Even though I have been involved in social media for a year now, I know I have just hit the tip of the ice berg with my learning. Maybe compared to my friends I know something, but in the space I am still a newbie looking to learn so much more. There are so many tools and networks I don’t know anything about because I don’t prefer them and so many practices and experiences I need to have and learn as well. The exciting thing is, I want to and looking forward to it to both help my work and for myself.
Taking things I have learned from Ari and others have helped me propose changing the purpose of my company’s blog and focus it to a personal feel offering useful information to any users, not just registered users.
What’s the Future?
Communication is the future, and as technology grows so will the ability to communicate and filter who you want to communicate with. For me personally I am looking forward to learning more and to keep up with the ever fast changing pace that we are on. It’s a fun ride, and look forward to where it all is heading.