Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My name is Tracy and I'm a Microsoft Graduate...

Last night I went to the Social Media Club of Seattle networking event and met a number of great people. I discovered four things throughout the evening:
  1. I gave myself a new title: Microsoft Graduate.
  2. I recognize people more by their Twitter handles than their name.
  3. Don't misrepresent yourself. Duh, but it's shocking when someone suggests it.
  4. I still adore my long-time friend Tim.

#1: My name is Tracy and I'm a Microsoft Graduate

I don't know where it came just came out! And oh, did I have a good laugh...and so did Shannon, the person I was talking with. Like so many people, humor is one of the things I use to get through challenging times and to make the people I'm connecting with more comfortable with me and whatever my story is.

What I discovered in that brief moment is that humor and a snappy "title", if you will, differentiated me just a bit. Less than 24 hours later, Shannon and I are connected on Facebook and included in the friend request was "Microsoft Graduate". He remembered me and I'm still laughing at my new "title".

#2: Oh, I'm following you; you're [@insert handle].

I was chatting with Joshua Wong of Column Break and didn't recognize his name, but I did recognize his Twitter handle. I'd just started following him a few days prior when I was reading Seattle Social Media Profiles. Quite a few of them were there last night--I'll meet you next time. PROMISE! And by the way, Joshua, I'm really glad to know your real name and attach a face to it.

So what does the fact that I recognize Twitter handles more than names say about me? Am I spending too much time online? Too much networking? Too much focus on following the Twitterati, Facebook, and my daily RSS feed reads? It's all of the above. It's a direction I want to take, so I'm spending a ton of time online doing my homework and engaging with the community. I'm in the market for a new opportunity, so I am networking. And every day I'm expanding my knowledge of social media practices and tools, so there's LOTS of reading to be had. Join in...the water is nice!

#3: Don't misrepresent yourself...not even a little

I was talking with a guy about why we were attending, had we ever been to the event before, and what we do. During the brief chat, I mentioned that I was there for a number of reasons including job hunting, networking, but also hoping to pick up nuggets of goodness about social media. I'd indicated that I'm in marketing and looking for roles that included a heavy dose of social media, but that I wasn't an expert . His reply was to say the least shocking...he said that I had to call myself an expert. To use one of my all-time favorite sitcom quotes: "whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

No, no, no, no...don't misrepresent yourself. If you're a novice or just learning say so. Be honest about your knowledge base, what you've read, what you've planned, what tools you've used, etc. But good heavens, don't call yourself and expert, if you're not. Brian Solis of PR 2.0 had a great post about experts vs. authorities recently: Social Media is Rife with Experts, but Starved of Authorities. It's a really good read.

If you call yourself an expert now when you're not, you've just chipped away a bit at, if not utterly destroyed, the opportunity for one day calling yourself and expert.

#4: Tim! It's been years and we picked up right where we left off

It's been easily 15 years since I last crossed paths with my friend Tim Carter of Social Networking Lifestyle. We connected on Facebook and Twitter well over a year ago, but person! Our friendly banter was like a day hadn't gone by and it was awesome. He's been in the social media world a bit longer than me, so it was a welcome experience to be introduced to a few other local social media people. Thanks, Tim. I really appreciate it. I'll see you online and at the next SMC Seattle!

Have a fantastic and safe Fourth of July weekend!


  1. It was great meeting you last night at the event, Tracy! I love how you had the Microsoft Tag pinned to you. It was really unique and it's so cool to see someone using new technology to introduce themself.

    Hope to see you at more social media events! :)

  2. Tracy - Found your blog from your book list on LinkedIn and want to say good luck to you here. One thing that is coming out of this economy is that people are helping and encouraging each other everywhere. You are destined to find something better! Check out Keith Ferrazzi's books too.

    Have a great 4th of July!

  3. Thanks for coming Tracy and great recap blog post. I'd love to know who the guy was that told you to call yourself an expert, so I could blacklist him. JK

    Even the most experienced social media guru's I know don't call themselves that.

    Hope to see you at future events.

    Kevin Urie
    SMC Seattle President

  4. @Joshua--thanks! It was great to meet you too. I'm glad you liked my use of Tag--it's a fun product and conversation piece.
    @Mary--thank you very much. I'm so glad to have been found from my reading list on! Very cool. Yes, what I've found is that most people are more than willing to help and pay it forward.
    @Kevin--oh, no...blacklisted? Please say it isn't so! Ha ha. ;) Agreed that even the most experienced people don't call themselves experts. Next time I bump into this guy at SMCSeattle or anywhere else, I'll continue to educate him a bit. I remember his name, so I'll keep an eye out. Thanks for reading and I'll be sure to find you at the next social and introduce myself!