Sunday, August 4, 2013

Packing for FGS: Version 2.0

I know I'm a tad late on the FGS2013 ambassador prompts, but I didn't know I was heading there until fairly recently. Besides, the packing prompt was an issue I had been struggling with, and until just a few minutes ago, I wasn't quite ready to list what I was bringing.

As usual, my technology list is growing! Yes, I'll be bringing a camera and my iPad....I plan on packing light since portability is key when hopping from session to session while taking notes on the fly. As ever, my Evernote app will be my go-to choice for taking notes throughout the conference. One thing I still have not decided upon - which bag for best portability. I'm leaning towards backpack, but it might be too bulky. My backpack is great when manning a booth with all of the responsibilities, but JUST attending means I can down-size in the bag area - wish me luck!

Now, on to my dilemma, which involves technology, but not in the hardware department. I'm sure most of you will relate to my problem: My online/social media presence has become....well....complicated. I'm not so sure it is a good complexity, but it's there none the less. Here's why:

I have a day-job career that is multi-faceted. I'm a genealogy librarian at a state historical society, which means I speak, write, tweet, blog, photograph, plan events, and socialize, all for my institution - both as myself and as the institution, depending on which account I am signed in to at the time. On the personal side, I own 2 companies - one of which is related to the genealogy/history field. Which means I also speak, write, tweet, blog, photograph, and socialize for these companies as well. Plus, I volunteer for other organizations, I am a board member for a local heritage council trying to save a historic home.....the list is pretty endless these days. However, recently, when making a new connection via introduction, I'm having a hard time just introducing MYSELF. How do I introduce myself in a way that is simple, yet connects people to my pertinent professional information - regardless of which ME they are looking for?
For this year's FGS conference, I have decided to downsize and streamline ME. I took a serious look at what I do via social media, and which social media tools I want people to focus on when they meet me for the first time. I admit to using MANY social media tools, but I have a few main ones that I use more prolifically than others....and I use some tools in a more private manner, thereby not meeting my criteria for publicizing purposes. For example: Facebook and FourSquare are a tad more personal - in fact, FourSquare is off limits unless I know the person very well - even though I don't jump on the privacy paranoia bandwagon, real-time location check-ins are not for the masses! Facebook began as a professional activity years ago while working for the University of Kentucky, so despite its personal vibe, I still watch what I put up there - nothing too crazy since there are MANY former and current colleagues connected through Facebook. However, it's still more personal than I would like, so I don't publicize it as a main connection tool. The Social Media tools I do like to use more for public/professional purposes are: Blogger, Twitter, Linked-in, Google+, Pinterest.

While conducting this internal review, I stumbled upon a site that has been around for years, but has not had a lot of attention:  It is a free place holder for your Social Media presence. After performing a quick exploration of the site, I was hooked on the concept. I was able to place a picture (either small profile or large background), a bio, contact info, educational background....all followed by a series of apps that represented the various Social Media tools I felt best represented me. You can then include links below this section if you feel so inclined. The apps are cool in that visitors can click on one to see recent activity for that tool without navigating away unless they really want to visit the Social Media site directly. Plus, a wonderfully short URL: (Oh, and no log-in necessary to see my page!) I said, the site has been around for a long time, but has recently been bought back by the original creators who are trying to bring it back to a more robust life. Here is where the site really helped with my conference planning. I am already bringing my official day-job business cards because, not only is that a requirement, but also, I will be talking with many potential speakers and experts that may want to participate in our programming, so the professional cards are a must. But....for the informal social/genealogy meetings I have decided to switch from multiple business cards to one Calling Card.

I decided to try Moo out to see how their mini cards looked - and as an experiment - I am taking mini-Moo cards to FGS as a networking debut. Each card will have a lovely photo from my personal collection (rotating about 6 designs) - usually historical in nature - and on the flip-side, I will only have my name, my URL, my Twitter handle, and my e-mail address. It looks rather simple, but should accomplish what I need, in a bright, colorful way. Goodbye busy business cards - hello cheerful calling cards! (Yes, I do understand the irony of calling a card cheerful when the image is that of a cemetery - but seriously - we genealogists must wear our twisted sense of humor with pride!)

Another area of experimentation is happening in the Twitter realm. My library colleague and I were discussing the need for a Twitter handle on the conference badges - especially since many conferences are utilizing hash-tags for social interaction (#FGS2013). That way, when I meet someone new, I can not only see their name, but also their Twitter handle for a quick follow (or recognize them via Twitter handle, which has happened before!). So, as another experiment, I am bringing two options: a card to attach under the badge (same size as a ribbon - custom made ribbons were just too expensive for me), or a sticker to attach to the badge itself. After all, I know I'll be wearing blogger beads - might as well wear something to signify my Twitter use. For my card and sticker, I just made some quick in VistaPrint by using their templates and uploading the official bird logo from Twitter - easy peasy! 
To wrap up my conference packing I will also be bringing: pre-printed return address labels with e-mail and phone listed for easy contact/contest participation in the exhibit hall, beefier iPad case that can be wiped off after heavy conference use, multiple sets of charging chords, gedcom loaded into free genealogy app for research at ACPL (sorry, no endorsements yet, still experimenting with the free family tree apps), paper and digital conference program, and lots of my favorite tea bags with maybe a few travel mugs since I'm driving up and have room to spare - I know tea is not technology related, but it is the juice that keeps my circuits running! See you all soon! Don't forget: #FGS2013


Connie Yen said...

Cheri, I love your ideas about calling cards! See you in a couple of weeks.

Shelley Bishop said...

Great thoughts about social media and networking, Cheri. Definitely gives greater meaning to the typical packing list. I look forward to seeing you at FGS 2013!

Cheri Daniels said...

Thanks ladies! If you see me around, hit me up for a calling card so you can sample their product first hand. Looking forward to catching up and meeting some new folks! Off hand, I will be at the blogger dinner on Tuesday evening and at the social on Wednesday...can't wait!

Brenda Leyndyke said...

I like all your ideas about social media promotion. Many, I had never thought of. See you in Fort Wayne.


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