Thursday, September 22, 2011

Facebook Timeline and the Implications for Millennials

Facebook Timeline preview from

Welcome to Timeline.  Mark Zuckerberg, at the f8 Developer conference, said “We’re more than what we did recently” as he went on to announce timeline profile pages.

If you want the idea in under 2 minutes, watch the official Facebook video.  Facebook has created what appears to be a beautiful mosaic that really takes a profile and focuses it into three areas: applications, self expression, and a users story. And they do this, all on one page. The idea, according to Zuckerberg was to more or less move from telling the story of your life in the last 15 minutes and actually captures the whole of your life. Audacious? Yes. Intriguing? Most certainly.

On one hand are the obvious privacy concerns. Many say privacy is dead and we should get over it, but I think I’m of a unique age group that has comfortably lived adult lives pre-facebook and after Facebook burst onto the scene. Privacy, in several aspects, still means something to us even if at times it’s difficult to see just how.

On the other hand, I am fascinated by the potential this has for changing the way we interact through social media. Whether privacy is dead or not I hope is a topic of debate for sometime to come, but there is no denying social media, in one form or another, is here to stay.

So what should tech savy (and career savy) millennials do in response to this roll out by Facebook?

Think about your biography
Because more or less, that's what this is. A biography.  No one likes a story where at the end, you knew there was so much more to it. If you decide to utilize this feature, go all in. Make it interesting. Make it uniquely you so that when friends go to your page, they do feel as though they've entered your virtual home. That doesn’t mean make stuff up, but work with what you’ve got- photos, interests, and everything else to really be strategic about how you present yourself in the world of social media.

About those friends of yours...
They're really the only people who should be able to see what you're up to Facebook. It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t have some sort of privacy settings on their Facebook profile. In this day and age, there’s no excuse. Protect your profile.

Clean up your act 
There’s the old “don’t have anything on your profile you wouldn’t want your mom to see. Go a step further and think of your  (future) son or daughter.  An even easier rule: if you have to pause to think about whether or not something should stay a part of your profile, it’s time to take it down.

Talk to your friends
If there’s photos floating out there, tagged or not, that you feel could cause you embarrassment, talk to your friends and see if they’ll take them down.  Have one friend always posting things you rather not be a part of your Facebook story- it’s time to have that conversation or cut off their posting privileges.

Face to face is never bad
I don’t know which is more awkward, grandparents on Facebook or teens who don’t know how to interact in person. As we grow more accustomed to communication through social media, the true value of your abilities to connect with people face to face increases. Platforms like Facebook can and should more fully enable our online conversations to serve as an impetus for more meaningful interactions offline. As we communicate more and more over status updates and texts, your ability to communicate in more traditional formats will help you stand out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Framing the Story: Spike Lee Remembers 9/11 and Martin Luther King Jr.

How do you remember 9/11? What was your personal story of that day? What are some of the stories that still resonate with you?

The LA Times had an article a few weeks ago that really captured the essence of good storytelling.

Day of terror in New York: Pages from a reporter's 9/11 journal is a series of reflections by Los Angeles Times writer Geraldine Baum on the journal entries she scrawled in her journal on that day.

As I was reading the paper a few weeks ago, I came across this line and felt my heart in my throat as though experiencing the moment myself:

"In the months after Sept. 11, Walter was preoccupied with trying to find who led him and his co-workers to a stairwell, saving all their lives. Finally, he was able to identify "our hero" — Pablo Ortiz, a Port Authority employee who had died helping others. A photograph of Ortiz's family hangs on Walter's office wall."

But also noteworthy is what is unfolding in terms of how companies are remembering 9/11 via their commercials today. Sitting here watching football on the first Sunday of the NFL, I’ve been more intrigued with the commercials taking place between snaps than the game itself.

I wrote a few weeks back about a Chevrolet commercial for the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial put together by Spike Lee. The result, as you can see below, was powerful. And he’s at it again. I’ve seen this new State Farm commercial he's directed now 4-5 times today and it moves me each time. In  short, a group of school children sing Empire State of Mind while traveling through parts of New York, ending up at a local fire station to serenade a group of fire fighters.

I don’t know if State Farm will sell any more home or auto insurance based off this ad. I don’t really care about their motivation for making the spot. It’s a fitting tribute to the men and women who lost their lives. It says something about the resilience of New York, of America, really of humanity to never forget but carry on living.

Watch the spots below. I hope like me, you’ll be happy that two powerful spots like these are reaching a larger audience, and framing the story of two important events in a way any of us who believe in the power of storytelling are happy to see. If you like the version of the song, you can purchase it on Itunes and State Farm says that all proceeds will go to a national firefighters fund.

Chevrolet MLK Commercial

State Farm Empire State of Mind

Interviews and Extras in their own words (on State Farm Youtube site)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Moving Beyond Generation Limbo, the Lost Generation, etc...

“What it’s like for 20-somethings to go looking for meaningful work- and not find it.” Welcome to the Lost Generation. The other day The New York Times came up for another name for us: Generation Limbo.

So what’s a well-educated 20-something to do? About 14 percent of people who graduated between 2006 and 2010 are unemployed. A greater chunk work in dead-end jobs that pay little more than the rent- if even that. Indeed living at home with mom and dad have less to do with laziness and everything to do with graduating college, prepared for a world that isn’t yet prepared for you.

But the real danger goes beyond the obvious financial woes and dilemmas. Long term unemployment or lack of meaningful employment can give rise to a way of thinking that internalizes the problem as less to do with an economic crisis and more to do with personal shortcomings.

So what can be done in times like these to avoid both the financial and emotional toll caused by lack of meaningful employment?

Consider moving.

Maybe it’s time for a scenery change, and nothing says employment with that change of scenery like Minneapolis, Houston, or Washington D.C. according to Forbes Magazine’s “America’s Best Cities for YoungProfessionals.” Good Magazine just released their own guide of best cities forthe young and broke, with cities like Austin and Philly making the list.  

Keep a schedule

Going to bed late, waking up late, and passing 72 hours in your pajamas is enticing for all of about 72 hours. After that, you’ll need something to stay positive. Set a schedule. Work out regularly. Schedule time for job searching and cover letter writing. Pencil in informational interviews, and be deliberate in scheduling time to grab lunch or coffee with friends and acquaintances who can help you on your search (and maybe pick up the tab for lunch or dinner).

Countless studies show that it becomes increasingly difficult to transition from a job that requires no degree to one that does. So while working for pay is ideal, if you can afford to volunteer part time or full time in a field more closely alligned with your career goals, look into it. Is there the possibility your volunteer work will lead to full time work? Check into it with an organization you've always wanted to work for.
Go back to school
If you were planning to go back to get an advanced degree anyway, well, there’s no time like the present. Depending on what you’re planning to study, there might also be great scholarship opportunities, usually based upon academic potential. So in your schedule, provide significant time to study for the GRE or GMAT.
Teach English Abroad
Always wanted to study abroad but never got around to it? In a way, now is your chance. Teach abroad, experience a new culture, hopefully even save up a little money, and add international experience (and maybe new language skills) to your resume. WorldTeach and JET are the names most people have heard of, but check out Matador Notebook for other leads.
Reach out to your Alma Mater
Call the career development office at your alma mater and see what sort of assistance they can provide. No longer live in the area where you completed your undergraduate degree? If you went to a Jesuit university, I know you can usually contact a career center at a local Jesuit university or college to gain access to the reciprocal services they offer to students and alumni of other Jesuit schools. Didn’t go to a Jesuit university? Call your school’s career center and see if they have any similar partnerships.
Looking for more advice?
Brooklyn based blogger Allison Jones has some great easy to follow advice in a blog post on Brazen Careerist.
And finally, going back to where we all started, keep a positive outlook, however trying that becomes. These trying times are no indiciation of your ability or work ethic. In the words of James Carville- “it’s the economy, stupid!”