My guest lecture at Birmingham City University about managing online profiles and tags

Earlier in the year I gave a guest lecture to students at Dave Harte’s MA Social Media class about running social media projects, with a focus on the 4am Project. Many thanks to Dave for capturing it all on video! I covered quite a lot of ground in the talk; from how I manage multiple online projects and businesses (disciplined diary management and only doing things I’m interested in!) and how I often use tags to bring it all together. Because my work and passions centre around social media and photography I do various work across quite a few websites; professional photography, 4am project, hyperlocal,blogging, events….. What I have done in the last few months is make my portfolio site – an at-a-glance of what I do and my latest news and work. It’s taken quite a while for me to gather everything under one ‘roof’ so to speak, but I’m glad that over the years I’ve kept quite a full, and public, record of my work.


I spoke  with the students about how it’s never too early to start documenting what they are learning, working on and being so early in their career it’s a great time to start getting testimonials. I wish I had started doing that earlier! Not only does keeping a record of what you are doing show potential employers your skills and knowledge, but it’s surprisingly handy for to be able to look back and remember everything you have done! I launched my photography career in 2008 and from day one I kept an online record of my work. From the early days of studying photography, to my 6 months work experience at the Birmingham Post and Mail and getting my work published.



I knew that showing my work online was one of the ways to show people what I could do, and by using tags on twitter and my wordpress blog it helped clients find me and my photographs and in turn they photography services I offered (and that’s what sparked my passion for social media!). I spoke about managing multiple twitter accounts and finding your own voice, and the different ways I have grown my twitter friends and followers – very organically with @karenstrunks compared with being more pro-active with @4amprojectfor example.

Something to be aware of with regards to reputation is that more employers are asking for links online profiles. What does your online profile say about you? I try and build a strong network with reputible contacts. What does who you are following on twitter say about you for example? Are you following people in your industry or you have shared interests with? Are you following a ton of celebrities? This all builds up an image of you in someones mind. You are, in a way, who you connect with.
I spoke about the 4am Project and gave an overview; I started it in 2009 with no experience in launching a global project and no budget, and how I knew I had to harness the power of social media to get it off the ground. Tagging and geo-tagging has played a major role in bringing all the photographs together and ‘4amproject’ has been used in many different ways.
I spoke about the ways in which I found people who would take part, how to re-searched and develop new online relationships and how thorough I was, and still am, in making connections.
The Birmingham Social Media Cafe is  a monthly event that I run. It’s just celebrated it’s 4th Birthday. Here’s a great video from last month’s event. Many thanks to the skilled team at CMA Video!

The Birmingham Social Media Cafe uses the #BSMC tag, which is great for monitoring what people are saying online, getting feedback, creating an archive and tracking stats.
I run my life blog which is where I document the things I do for work/fun/play and how I use it to build the picture of who I am and what I do.
Again it works as a personal document which is useful for keeping track of what I’m up to, but again, it all goes towards building a picture of what I like, dislike and it provides opportunities to build on experience and who I work with.
You can’t talk about managing you online profile without mentioning Linkedin. I used to think it was so boring, but I’m a bit of a convert now. Even if you have no other online profile, get on LinkedIn and fill it out. It googles really well and if nothing else it will give the impressions (maybe to a potential employer) that you are at least on a professional networking site. Though of course I recommend you do use the platform to connect and network. In fact, you might like this recording of a chat with some more BCU students about the benefits of using LinkedIn. There’s also this recording by Alina Stan where I answer the question, what does it take to be a successful social media practioner. 
There! That’s give a good over view of what I spoke about but you’ll have to watch the whole 90 minute video to get all the goodness! It’s perfect for a Saturday night in with a bottle of wine 😀
Say Hello on twitter: @karenstrunks

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