Spoiler alert: I survived!
Yesterday, I spoke on my first panel ever. I didn’t throw up or pass out, so I consider it a success (even though I was literally shaking pretty much until I sat down at the table.)
But apparently I didn’t smile. Oops.
Wait! Yes, I did!
The panel was a part of Social Media Weekend at Columbia Journalism School. I’ve thought pretty seriously at certain points about applying to school there, so being asked to participate on a panel there was a huge honor. One of my former coworkers, Dimitra, had recommended me for the panel, and I am incredibly thankful that she thought of me.
My panel was Social Media for Bloggers: How Social Media Lets the Individuals Compete Against the Big Brands, Plus Lessons Both Can Learn From Each Other. Since my job is to do social media strategy for big brands (Woman’s Day and ELLE are two of the magazines at my company), I spoke from both perspectives.
It was so rewarding and flattering to be asked to speak because of my experience as a blogger. I mean, I write about my workouts and what I eat. While, yes, I started this blog to teach myself more about social media so that I could use those skills at work, I started this blog for fun. That it’s opened so many opportunities for me is still hard to believe sometimes.
On the panel with me were:
- Liz Borod Wright, the editor/publisher of Travelogged.com, a travel blog (she was the moderator)
- Margit Detweiler, president of Gyrate Media, a content strategy and editorial development firm
- Ashley Allen, the general manager of 24/7 Wall Street
- Dave Brown, a social media specialist at Etsy and blogger at Holiday Matinee and lover of high fives (so yes, we definitely high-fived after the panel. Because, I, too believe in celebrating achievements with high fives.)
(From L-R: Dave, Margit, Ashley, Liz.)
Liz had sent out 12 questions in advance, and I dutifully wrote out answers for all of the questions and practiced them with my boss in advance. I think we actually only got through half of them, but the panel flowed really well. While there were probably about 70 people in the audience, I found a few friendly faces in the crowd and mostly spoke to them.
I spoke a lot about the importance of really being involved in the community of your niche. I didn’t set out to try to do that, but as I continued participating in the Tumblr and health blogging communities, I realized that I was a part of something bigger and I found lots of people I could learn from and call friends.
Someone asked how to figure out what you want to blog about. I told her that she’d know when it was something she couldn’t help but blog about. I started a few blogs before starting the one you’re reading right now, but they were because I felt like I should have a blog, and so I didn’t keep up with them.
Talking about yourself with a picture of yourself and your blog on a screen is really a little too meta for me.
We talked about everyone’s favorite social media tools: Twitter, obviously; Tumblr; Instagr.am; Pinterest (who wants to send me an invite?), and then we talked about the ones that will make your life easier: HootSuite, Tweetdeck, CoTweet, etc. Personally, I use a huge mix–Twitter for iPhone on my phone, Tweetdeck to monitor both personal and professional at work, HootSuite to actually update work accounts at work (I don’t ever want to tweet from the wrong account) and Tweetie on my laptop at home.
We also talked about frequency of pushing your links out to Twitter/Facebook, etc. While there’s some people who put lots of hashtags in their tweets and tweet the same link a few times in a day, I don’t. That’s not for me. I’m pretty sure it would piss off the people who follow me, and I don’t want to alienate them. I’d much rather have less traffic than be the person that pisses off my friends on Twitter.
I can’t believe it’s over already. And that I freaked out all week. It really was kind of fun once we got started, and I met so many amazing people. Margit and I took the train home together and gabbed the entire way, and I met lots of great people after the panel.
Thanks to everyone who came (especially the friendly faces in the crowd that smiled at me while I was talking), thanks to the awesome other panelists, and thanks to everyone who gave me advice on speaking, especially my boss, Caitlin, Tina and Katy, who suggested giving someone my camera to have them take pictures. Thanks Holiday! And thanks to my parents, for always believing in me.
With my super-sensitive stomach, I was really nervous about eating before the panel, so I just had a bagel with sunflower butter after the race and then a chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar right before I went on. After the panel, I was starving, so I stopped at a deli on my way home and got a chicken, pepper, mozzarella wrap on a sundried tomato tortilla. Meh.
And then I met my friends at McSorley’s for Beer Marathon. You drink one beer for each “mile.” The beers are pretty small–I’d say maybe an eight-ounce beer. I got my first DNF. I only got about 4 “miles” in before I decided to stop.
After a few beers and a HUGE day yesterday, I slept like a baby last night.