3 Steps to Being Taken Seriously on LinkedIn

3 Steps to Being Taken Seriously on LinkedIn

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LinkedIn came a little late to the party with their news feed.   The Facebook-style, personalized news feed didn’t show up
on LinkedIn until about 8 months ago (years after Twitter and Facebook were letting users push updates ad infinitum).  This may have been for good reason, as LinkedIn is a different type of social network more geared toward professional networking and communication.

For one reason or another, the LinkedIn timeline seems to have become a little chaotic.   Not so much because people are actively posting lots of different things on there, but because of automation, especially with respect to Twitter.

If you want to keep a high quality of content on your LinkedIn stream, there aren’t any content filters or content grouping algorithms (e.g., Facebook’s “Chris Boivin and 5 other people shared a link…” content grouping feature that keeps you from seeing the same video of the sneezing baby panda 6 times on the page).  All you can do is leave people on, or hide them.  Here are three quick and easy steps to avoid being hidden or ignored:

(1) Take control of Twitter

In an attempt to spread the Twitter brand and hallmarks (hashtags (#), short links (t.co), @replies) throughout the ether, Twitter lets users automatically copy their tweets to LinkedIn.  How great, right?  What a time saver!  Well, if you look at LinkedIn timelines, you’ll see that people (not you, right?) might have forgotten that their tweets are going there.  Or that EVERY ONE of their tweets are going there.  And that’s ALL that they’re sending there.

When on LinkedIn, you are usually in a business/networking frame of mind, so endless streams of retweeted clever quips, movie theatre check-ins, aged-looking photos of lunches, etc. seem to interrupt the LinkedIn news feed.   And if that’s all that you’re sending there, you’re probably going to be hidden.  (Furthermore when you port your tweets to LinkedIn, only those that have Twitter accounts can respond.  Generally there are fewer social networkers on Twitter than LinkedIn, so you’re setting yourself up for a dead feedback loop.)

The #in and #li hashtags to the rescue!  If your tweets are not private, you can link your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts but ONLY send things to LinkedIn by adding the #in or #li hashtag to the tweet.  Click here to link your accounts and make sure you keep the “Send only those tweets with the hashtag #li or #in to LinkedIn” checked.  Now that’s cool!  And responsible.  And will keep you on the news feed.

(2) Reconsider “Bullhorn Reach” and other recruiter automation services

There are many different automation feed services out there today.  People are busy and trying to get the most out of their social media presence.  There are two problems with these services.

First, they’re not perfect.  They often post and repost the same content at different times of the day in order to keep them in front of readers at “opportune” times.  That can be noisy and frustrating – I see a post about a job, I get excited, but I see that it’s the same job that I’ve already seen 5 times (the job that I’m not qualified for or interested in).   Grr.

Second, they eliminate the humanity of social media.  There are dozens of job search sites out there.   If I want to see listings, I’ll go to indeed.com or look on LinkedIn’s job listings.  If someone has a job that they’re looking to fill, I’d much rather they put out the call in a genuine status update on LinkedIn, thereby inviting me to start a conversation.  Posting one after another update from the same posting service is distracting and it seems to send a message like “Hey, you’re not important enough for me to take a few seconds and write my own updates for, but I still want you to trust your career success with me!”  That doesn’t fly.

Take the time to talk with people on LinkedIn.  Write a quick update to let people know you’re looking for someone with a certain skill or that you’re looking to help people find their next career opportunity.  The Internet should not be an excuse to replace humanity with robotic interactions.  It’s “social” media for a reason.

(3) Participate – don’t precipitate – in LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn Groups are wonderful vehicles for meeting others with the same professional or social interests, discussing issues, solving problems, doing research and learning about events.  Posting and responding in these forums is one of the best ways to truly enjoy LinkedIn and it also helps keep you high in LinkedIn’s search and display algorithms (you’ll show up more in people’s searches and more often be recommended as a connection for others who might know you).  For those that receive email updates about group activity, your name will be in front of them more often as well.

That’s all well and good, but be careful about dominating groups, reposting events and announcements, and posting off-topic content.  You may not think people are paying attention, but when your name comes up over and over again posting innocuous open questions in groups (especially in more than one group), or your posting for an event shows up every other post, and especially when you post self-serving articles (like this one 😉 in groups that are specifically for other topics, you stick out like a sore thumb.   And then, people start to skip right past your posts, and you even might be filtered out by group administrators (and in my opinion, the best groups are the ones that have someone managing posts – not necessarily approving every post, but paying attention to group member activity and putting controls in place where possible).

Use good judgement when posting and respect group parameters (stick to the group topic/area of interest, try to match the rate or volume of postings in the particular group, and give more than you take (i.e., respond to other participants more than you post your own things)).

Hopefully, these observations ring true and some of the guidelines I’m suggesting make you a more productive and valuable LinkedIn member, leading to more quality interactions, strong relationships and more useful information as you navigate the network.

Thanks for listening!  Look forward to hearing your feedback!

 

4 Things That Will Enhance Your Running Experience

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… or at least they enhance my running experience and I think they’d be good for you, too!

I’m still a novice runner; I actually don’t even truly “run”, I am still doing jogging/walking intervals.  Today I ran a 5K route with a jog 6 minutes/walk 1 minute interval.  And I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I ever have!  Here are the things that I’ve done or added recently that made this the best run to date:

1. Professional Shoe Fitting at Jacksonville Running Company

You know how everybody is like an a**hole because they all have opinions and advice (or something like that)?  Well, the one piece of advice that I finally took was to get a professional shoe fitting.  I’d been using some old cross trainers and while they basically protected my feet from the elements I did find it a little taxing to run in them.

So I went to Jacksonville Running Company and Bobby, the Training/Events Manager, took the time to learn about my running experience and plans, measured my feet, do a couple of computer/video analyses and let me try on and try out (actually jog with) several pairs of shoes until I had one that was just right.  Not only did he walk through all the analysis, he explained everything along the way without making me feel ignorant as a new runner or overwhelmed by information.

I love my shoes I (a great pair of Brooks shoes which are highly rated for heavier men)!  Wide enough for my feet but not too loose, good support for my high arches and very stable.  As I was at the store there were two other customers who each received the same personal attention as I.  This is a great store, great staff, and an extremely valuable service.  Highly recommended!  While there I also picked up…

2. Yurbuds Sport Earphones

These ingenious “twist-lock” earbuds are designed to stay in your ear and pipe the music right where it should go without letting sweat or moisture in.

Not only are Yurbuds fantastic earphones out of the box, the little twist lock earbud covers easily slip off and slip on to other earbuds.  I love that feature because I like to use my iPhone’s earbuds with the mic and remote (great to be able to adjust volume, use Siri or take/end a call while on the bike or on the run).  I slip the twist-lock piece on and I get the same benefits as the native Yurbuds headset.

Since I’m hell-bent on using my iPhone, might as well use a great app to track and time my runs…

3. Track with the iMapMyFitness App

The iMapMyFitness app is one of the best apps I’ve found to log and record workouts.  I used to use the one by the company with the swoosh logo but it had a couple of shortcomings (only for running, voice feedback is buggy, poor GPS responsiveness).  The app is great at recording workouts using GPS tracking (includes linear and elevation measurements), and it works for cycling or running.  You can also log swimming workouts, gym workouts, adventure workouts, and so on.

This goes to the App Store, but also available for Android

Another great feature is the “stats” view.  While you’re running or riding you can view your workout map or you can switch to view a screen of 4 stats (time, speed,  and a host of others that you can set, including ones that interact with other devices like ANT+ heart rate monitors).

You can also pre-map routes on the website for the app.  And you can connect w/ friends who use the app, and then see them while they’re on their workouts.  And… you can post your runs to Facebook and twitter, including a link to the map of your run/ride…  So many great features and the app is free! (There’s an advanced, ad-free $1.99 version of the app that I’m going to upgrade to, but the free version is really fantastic and the ads are very unobtrusive. )

Listening to music while on the run or ride is great, but you do need to be aware of what’s going on around you. While the Yurbuds still allow ambient noise, you never know who or what might trip you up on a run, so just in case…

4. Get a Road ID (www.roadid.com)

Road ID is a nice little piece of insurance.  For less than $30 you can get a wristband (or dog tag, like I have) that has your name, emergency contact info and even a code that First Responders can use to look up a full personal profile in the event that something happens to you on the trail or road or ocean.   RoadID is one of the most professional, engaging, quality service organizations I’ve encountered.  They are amazing communicators and really know how to anticipate your questions and make sure that when you buy your ID it’s an effortless and satisfying process.

Go to www.roadID.com today and get one for you and/or a runner, cyclist, swimmer or outdoorsy type that you love.  It’s the best money you can spend for a little peace of mind while braving the great outdoors.

So there are 4 things that I think can make your running (or cycling or outdoor activity) a little more comfortable, enjoyable, productive and safe.  They’re definitely doing the trick for me so far.  If you have any experiences with any of the above to share, my readers and I would love to hear them!

Thanks for listening!

 

Valet Parking for Park and King?

Valet Parking for Park and King?

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In the revitalized Riverside neighborhood at Park Street and King Street, there is a lot of consternation about current and potential parking problems. There are many thriving restaurants in the area, led by the success of Kickbacks Gastropub (go there if you haven’t – it’s an awesome place: delicious food, tons of different beers and eclectic design), and this means more people who need to park their cars in the commercial and residential space.

While parking is not an overwhelming problem now, Kickbacks is planning on opening a new restaurant that will seat about 250 more people in the area (with maybe the best Dr. Seussian name ever: “Goozlepipe and Guttyworks”). Many residents and groups, including the Riverside Avondale Preservation Society (RAP) are protesting the expansion, largely because the area can not support another wave of parked cars on a regular basis.

So here’s my ill-formed idea on how to help the parking situation and raise funds to support a long-term solution:  valet parking!

1. Lot between College St. and the railroad tracks

The first hurdle I see is: Where will the valets park the cars?  There appears to be some paved (possibly not maintained, but partially paved) land just a couple blocks east of Kickbacks on College Street next to the train tracks.  It would take some money to secure the area and possibly do a little resurfacing, but it looks like several cars could be parked there and it wouldn’t be so far away that it would take too long to retrieve the cars if…

2. Bicycling valets

The lot I’m suggesting is a little too far for valets to efficiently run back and forth from the King St. area, but cycling valets could get back and forth pretty effortlessly.  Cycling is immensely popular in Jax and I’m sure one of the area cycle shops could donate some bikes for the cause.  And that also opens up the possibility of…

3. Bicycle rickshaws

They have those bicycle rickshaws around the Jags’ stadium, why not put some in the Park/King area to get people to remote lots or from one part of the area to another?

The rickshaws and the valet service would not be free, but small fees for the services would provide funding to offset some of the costs involved (and I’m sure there are businesses and passionate residents that might donate to help fund such a solution if it were found to be feasible), and eventually support some type of parking structure for the area.

What do you think?  Got something better?  Look forward to hearing your comments!

You’d Think Cycling, Swimming and Running Would Be Enough Triathlon Training…

You’d Think Cycling, Swimming and Running Would Be Enough Triathlon Training…

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… but I’m finding that strength training is equally important.  Yesterday I raked the lawn for a few hours and I woke up very sore today.  I was still able to do my swim workout ok, but am pretty sure that I’m going to be hurting tomorrow and I have a 20 mile bike ride ahead.

It’s easy to think that you’re getting all you need when you’re practicing the three events in the triathlon, even when most triathlon training sites and articles say that you should add some strength training (here’s a good one about off-season training that includes the strength training recommendation: http://www.markallenonline.com/maoArticles.aspx?AID=12).

I could certainly understand that strength training would help because you do need to use many muscles in each event.  Abdominal muscles are used to maintain good form in biking, running and swimming.  When biking, your arm muscles are needed to support you on your handlebars and absorb shock from rougher terrain.

But perhaps more importantly, being in better physical condition overall helps you perform in and recover from other types of activities.  Like raking, mowing the lawn, taking out garbage, walking with your wife, playing with the dogs, moving furniture…  It’s better to do everything you can to fit other activities into your life and not limit yourself to just doing the minimal amount of training (even when it feels like an insane amount of training).

I’m going to try to add in some strength training – weights, calisthenics (does anyone remember what those are?), yoga, Wii fitness games – and build muscle wherever possible so I can stay in the best condition possible for the Tri Jax Challenge!

Love to hear your questions, comments, suggestions!  Thanks so much for listening!

 

– Chris

 

 

Ok, now I see that cycling cadence is important

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So, yesterday on my bike ride I tried something different.  I’d been reading about cycling cadence – sort of equivalent to the amount of “spin” at which you are pedaling – and how maintaining a higher cadence is ideal because you burn fat (rather than muscle energy), fatigue slower and recover quickly.

Resistance Builds Strength, Doesn’t It?

The thing is, it doesn’t feel natural.  Everything your body learns about exercise is that the greater the resistance you feel the better workout you’re getting.  When lifting weights the larger the weight, the larger the resistance, the more you feel like you’re building muscle.  And when it comes to propulsion exercise like running, the harder your push against the resistance of gravity and wind, the faster you travel.

Higher Cadence Gives You More Gears

Then again, I suppose that proper cadence is closer to the “light weights/high reps” type of workout.  If you really want to learn more about the finer points of cadence, this is the article I read (and the site www.beginnertriathlete.com is full of great info for swimmers, cyclists and runners).

80RPM Down, 8-15RPM to Go!

So, using my CycleOps PowerTap (hey, you never know, maybe I’ll get a kickback if I mention the little computer by name), I watched my cadence and kept it to a minimum of 80RPM.  It felt like I was pedaling way too fast for a mile or so but then I started to get into it and realize how much gear I had left to go.  Before I was pedaling harder and slower, and while I could get my speed up in short bursts I ran out of places to go.  This time I was able to sustain speeds of 21mph or more for a while and it really wasn’t very difficult.  I went further faster, got a great workout and felt better than ever after I finished.

I’m looking forward to my next ride and trying to get the cadence up a little more.  The article I referenced above says that a cadence of 88-95RPM is ideal.  It might take a few rides to get in that range consistently, but I know I can get there.

Six weeks to go until the Tri-Jax Challenge!  Hope my documentation of my training will help you out or at least make for some interesting reading.  Thanks for listening!

3 “Dont’s” to Build a Utopian Social Universe

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Imagine a world where you can expand your knowledge of culture, science, art, finance, marketing, and any subject you can think of exponentially at virtually no cost. You would have enough information to make the best decisions possible about everything and you would contribute your knowledge and opinions to improve the world for hundreds, thousands, millions of others.

Wait… doesn’t that exist today? Isn’t that what all this “social media” we hear about is supposed to do?

Well, yes. Supposed to is the operative phrase. So why might it not be creating and nourishing that information utopia?

It’s because you’re polite. Cut it out. Your politeness is killing your potential to gain from one of the most exciting developments in social connectivity in recent history.

Consider this. You and I are friends IRL (in real life). We know many of the same people. We’ve worked together and/or gone to school together and maybe live in the same city.

What is our potential for learning new things from one another?

Sure, it exists, but it’s infinitesimally smaller than the tremendous opportunity to learn from those whom we’ve never met, with different backgrounds and different experiences.

But it’s polite to accept friendship requests from your IRL friends and intrusive to have strangers ‘friend’ you, so you stick to your comfort zone, learn nothing, and your social media universe increases so slow that it’s almost stopped.

So, here’s the thing. I think social networks are fantastic. I think that the opportunity to gain information, have fun, build relationships and share what you know and what you like are all wonderful and accessible in this online world. But if we’re not bold and break these conventions and expectations of reciprocation, we’re shooting ourselves in the collective feet.

1. Don’t follow me

Don’t follow me because I follow you. Follow me if I truly provide content that you find interesting and valuable. Do your research on me before you click follow or add me to your circles. Go follow someone who is contributing to the conversation, like I do.

2. Don’t recommend people follow others

If you don’t feel that someone is genuinely providing valuable content in the given network, don’t suggest others follow them – EVEN IF THEY SUGGESTED PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU! Yes, they’re very nice to suggest that others follow you, but that doesn’t necessarily make them follow-worthy.

Exception: there are some people out there that may not provide much original or interesting content themselves, but they are experts at recommending good people to follow. Those folks might be worth sharing if you feel that their value as a maven is good for others. So, if after you’ve looked at many people who the maven has suggested and find a lot of value in them, go ahead and throw them a recommendation.

3. Don’t use all networks the same way

The rules and observations above are primarily around content-sharing networks like Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr. These same rules probably don’t apply to Facebook or LinkedIn. For me, Facebook is about friends and family. I’ve had a few valuable expansions, but beyond friends and family I still apply the principles of “liking” or “subscribing” only to those people/businesses/entities that add to the conversation. I don’t fall for the “Like my page!” requests without serious research.

LinkedIn is a professional network for me and I generally don’t link to anyone for whom I can’t honestly provide a recommendation. If I can’t at least say “Oh, yeah! Jenny is nice, I worked with her on this project.” or something along those lines, Jenny won’t be part of my network (sorry, Jenny, it is what it is).

I hope that you find this useful! Please share your comments and, well, if you do find it useful, follow this blog because more is coming soon! Thanks for stopping by!

– Chris

Put my knowledge to work for you!

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Hello!  I’m Chris Boivin.  I want to put my knowledge to work for you.  Intrigued?  Here’s a little about me.

I am an experienced, educated marketing and communications professional with technical expertise. I founded and led a chapter of the largest marketing association in North America, directed marketing technology activities in North America’s largest consumer packaged goods brokerage, managed projects for a major health insurance company and led operational communications for a global research firm.  My ability to communicate clearly and concisely and to solve problems creatively and logically is a unique blend of assets that enable me to help companies manage change, increase efficiency and expand capabilities.

If you have questions, suggestions or feedback, feel free to contact me anytime at chris@chrisboivinknows.com

You can learn more about my experience on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisboivin

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay classy, Internet!