Learning to network

February 20, 2009

How to create the best profile picture

Filed under: career, Publishing, Self-marketing, Social Media — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 3:37 pm

Having done plenty of work on the written elements of my personal brand, its now time to take a look at … well … how I can look my best? Because online networking is so common nowadays it really helps to publish a picture wherever you write, which aims to serve two primary purposes:

  • People who know you recognise you instantly
  • People who don’t know you yet begin to get a great impression of you

And actually, these two things can meet together in a third, combined purpose

  • People who know you remember you in a positive way

We are so used to picking up visual signals when we deal with people that a tiny static image next to something we write can have a tremendous impact on the way that people feel about us when we read it. This is why it is so important to get your profile picture looking as good as you possibly can.

There are two elements to getting a great profile picture – having the right image, and publishing it well. There are actually two great articles on the Personal Branding Blog that can help you do this:

  1. To get yourself the ideal picture to start with, have a look at 11 Rules for Best Personal Branding Results with Avatars
  2. Once you have captured the best of you in a file, here are precise “mechanical” instructions for how to prepare that file for upload so you look the best you can on all the popular social media sites: The 2009 Personal Avatar Size Reference Guide
    . And even better, it explains a tool you can use to do all the hard work for you!

December 4, 2008

Growing by blogging

Filed under: career, Learning, Manage my network, Publishing, Self-marketing, Social Media — Tags: , , , , , — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 5:15 pm

Inspired by a discussion with Karin H. on her 1 plus 1 makes 3 blog about using blogging to grow, I started to think about all the things you can grow with a blog:

  1. To grow your own personal understand of a subject.
  2. According to Yogi Tea “To learn, read. To know, write. To master, teach” – in other words the act of writing what you have learned consolidates it in your own knowledge. And of course in blogging the fact you share it with others is simply an act of generosity

  3. To grow your own personal awareness of the world
  4. This starts from the similar point 1 above, except that it leads blogging from monologue into dialogue. Your participation in the blogosphere, groups and lists means that you are interacting with the topic of your attention, and with other sharing similar interests, so your growth of understanding is accelerated.

  5. To grow a community of like-minded individuals
  6. This extends from point 2 to focus exclusively on a given topical area, and many people share the podium instead of one. This either becomes a group blog or it could be based on other media such as mail lists.

  7. To grow your own individual career
  8. Rather than focussing on self-education under point 2, this becomes more informative and the conversations exploratory.  This is of course the art of personal branding, where you turn yourself into a thought leader in your chosen subject by sharing your wisdom (at least that which you’re prepared to give away for free) and nurturing communications with people in your same field

  9. To grow your own business
  10. This could be similar to 1 or 2, but the objective is more commercially oriented.

  11. To grow the market’s awareness of your business proposition
  12. Like the personal branding in point 4, this is the commercial branding that helps get your message out.

  13. To grow a community around loyal customers and interested prospects
  14. Perhaps this is the true way forward for growing your business by blogging. You give your prospects free information to help them make their choice. This encourages you to distinguish yourself by making your proposition more enticing or even “remarkable”. And at the same time you nurture a community that includes existing customers as well as potential customers, who can all give you very direct feedback about what they want, what they have liked, and what they would love more of.

Of course all this potential for growth relies on people making time to share their ideas with others, so there is a cost. But if you think about the nature of the relationships you can build within the micro-communities that form around you, that sounds like an excellent investment in your future.

February 18, 2008

Web 2.0 is just the inter-network of people

Filed under: Publishing, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:35 pm

It suddenly dawned on me the other morning, what this latest “revolution” is really about…

The internet, fuelled by the world wide web, ushered in a communications revolution,
as connections between computers all over the planet allowed them to share information

The current snowballing of social media that is often branded Web 2.0 is merely
the internet moving from technology towards people.

Instead of gaining collective value by connecting up the world computers,
we are beginning to gain colossal value instead by connecting up the people themselves.

We are beginning to share the value of relationships, in just the same way that we previously
shared the value of information, and it is empowering and enriching us as we go

January 13, 2008

The blogging dynamic

Filed under: Publishing, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 4:07 pm

Blogging has a very different dynamic from other types of publishing media, owing to several factors, but the most important in my eyes are:
1) Posts are usually short to medium length, but are fairly regular. This churn has meant that people turn to feeds and aggregators to
manage the dribbled snippets of disparate information, but it gives blogs a more casual, conversational characteristic
2) What turns individual blogs into the blogosphere is the community that builds up with interaction between the streams of stuttered
conversation, that whispers and rumours travel, as well as knowledge and information being shared and relayed.
3) The mechanisms that have become common in blog tools and services encourage and feed off this interconnectedness. Links (posting references to others’ posts, tracking back, and commenting) are a powerful source of SEO, if that is your main goal. However, even for the casual non-commercial blogger, connections are a source of inspiration and readership too. Reading other people’s blogs and commenting
on them or blogging about them builds not only your knowledge and that of your readers, but builds a network around you, albeit more transient than the one you have in LinkedIn – this comes back to making sure you do it regularly.
Different media suit different structures.

You can use the passing flow of time in your blog to help you rework material. In a traditional static form that you build up in documents or wikis, you avoid repetition. However in a blog it is relevant to rework something you posted six months ago, because you will have a different view and you can recompose your work in various ways.

You can use this to translate your ideas into chunks that you publish consecutively – like chapters of a book delivered in weekly inserts in a magazine. Not only will it help you reorganise it but you might get a different response if people read it in a different shape.

January 4, 2008

Understanding your readers

Filed under: Publishing, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 8:53 pm

Incoming links shows which paths readers could use to arrive at your blog, and indicates your level of support from your blogging community. However if you want to know how they are arriving, and which are the most common ways they click through to you you need to track referrals.

Once again, your blogging software is lilkely to have some information, but you can improve your statistical information gathering by including some scripts in your pages from one of the following tools:

  • AWStats (Advanced Web Stats)
  • MyBlogLog
  • Google Analytics
  • StatCounter
  • 103bees

The first two seem to be the most respected – although Google is one of the most common, some suggest that their statistics may be subject to some bias. Other tools are available but some are tied to services (like AdSense) and others involve payment (like the good but rather costly Overture).

January 3, 2008

Understanding your community

Filed under: Publishing, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:08 am

If you want to know who is linking in to your blog, then the first place you can look is in your own blogging system. Many, such as WordPress have a dashboard with statistics including incoming links. If you still want to know more then you can use one (or more) of the following tools:

Feedburner (http://www.feedburner.com/)
GetClicky (http://www.getclicky.com/)
Google Analytics (https://www.google.com/analytics/home/)
Lijit (http://www.lijit.com/)
MyBlogLog (http://www.mybloglog.com/)
Sitemeter (http://www.sitemeter.com/)
StatCounter (http://www.statcounter.com/)
Technorati (http://www.technorati.com/)

Thanks to Dennis McDonald (http://www.ddmcd.com) for providing this list.

Comments from fellow LinkedIn Bloggers suggest that Technorati is no longer providing a complete picture of incoming links.

October 28, 2007

Your terms of reference can cover all your networking activities

Filed under: Manage my network, Publishing, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 2:04 am

One of the things that I realised very early on in my blogging experience, is that its important to stay focussed (especially when you put pen to paper “creatively”). Encouraged by the value of having clear terms of reference set out for my professional engagements, I decided that having such clearly mandated objective was a very positive way of keeping my blogging on track, and consistent for readers too.

Recent articles from Dennis McDonald have enforced this idea, but shown that they can also extend to other parts of our online social interaction. Rather than explicit guidelines about what is in or out of scope for a particular blog, he shows what kind of interactions he encourages in each of his online social channels A Map of My Online Networking Tools: Part 1. Naturally, these two definitions can start to overlap, giving a list of which channel is preferred for what, and what are the typical constraints you would put on communications in any of these channels. I’m not saying you need to formalise all of these definitions in writing, but if you decide to yourself what is acceptable and encouraged and where, it can help you stay focussed in this world of increasing choice, where there are myriad tools for any given task you might have, and where our time becomes increasingly precious.

September 10, 2007

Networking through journalism – interview your targets

Filed under: career, Publishing, Self-marketing, think positive — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 8:31 am

If you have a good idea for a paper or a publication then you can use this as an opportunity for networking

In order to complete your research, it often helps to conduct some interviews with subject matter experts – people in the field who have concrete experience. As you interview people, you are beginning to understand their needs, and this is often an important aspect of building a networking relationship. This means that as a networker, you can benefit from the implicit relationship that comes from interviewing.

Of course it helps if your research topic is close to your career path, but in an ideal world it should be anyway.

A potential issue with this is that, as a relatively unknown writer you might not be able to attract prestigious interviewees – but then this is all part of your self-development as a writer and/or networker. You need to start with people who are close enough to you, and where possible develop further relationships through them. As you continue your reputation will spread, and so will your ability to draw interest from a wider group of professionals.

In all cases, a crucial factor will be the topic you choose – the more exciting or relevant it is, the more people you will attract to be involved. And naturally if you are enthusiastic about the topic, more people will be drawn by your passion in the subject – both contributors to the writing stage, and later your readers too!

Does that sound like a win-win strategy to you?

May 29, 2007

Realising the value – THE END of the beginning

On the 19th February my online business networking paid off.

Well, by the time the invoice got sorted it was much later than that, but the point is that an ex-colleague of an ex-colleague to asked meet me, then offered me a busy role that kind of didn’t allow time for learning to network.

Well, I have still carried on networking when feasible, but I have not had time for the luxury of researching and reporting on the topic. However I have learned so much by sharing this experience that I am determined to apply many of the publishing and marketing skills on something that is close enough to my day job to make it compatible and feasible


Look me up on




February 16, 2007

Its not just about SEO, its also a good habit

Filed under: Publishing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 12:28 am

Frequently we bemoan commercialisation, because it dilutes principles that we hold in high regard. Chasing the dollar, we say, makes us focus on vulgar distortions, loosing the original beauty of our intentions. Well, in some cases the opposite is actually true.

I found this article interesting not because I want to improve the SEO ranking of my content, but because it suggests doing things that you should be doing anyway. Because search engines rank content that is well constructed, simply, relevant and clearly marked up, they favour pages that are well put together.


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