To Be or Not to Be a New Media Strategist [en]

For years now (since I became self-employed, and maybe even before) I’ve been struggling to define myself and what I do. There are two main components to this problem, as I see it:

  • working in a fast-moving, cutting-edge field, where I’m creating my job and job description as I go along, and boldly going where none have gone before (haha)
  • inside that field, having a bit of a “generalist specialist” profile, which means that I do tons of different things which don’t always seem to go together (talk about teenager/education issues online; give strategic advice to startups; install blogs and teach people how to use them; etc)

Now, along my freelancing career, I’ve called myself a bunch of things (non-exhaustive list following):

  • blogging consultant
  • social sofware consultant
  • social media consultant
  • web consultant and commentator
  • 2.0 consultant

More recently, I more or less dropped the whole title thing, going for taglines like “I help you understand the internet better” and even giving up almost entirely before Lift09 and having “Online Person” written on my badge.

So, again: part of the problem is me (and my issues with defining myself) and another is the field in which I am. High tech and social media is a bubbly field. An expression is hot one day and cold the other. Hot in some circles, passé in others.

Take “blogging consultant”: when I started out, there were hardly any blogging consultants around. A year or so later, everybody and his dog who knew how to set up WordPress suddenly started calling themselves that. I remember talking to a friend some years ago: his company had hired a “blogging consultant” and we were both appalled at the kind of advice he was giving and things he was doing.

So at some point, to distance myself from such people (newcomers clearly more intent in blinding their clients with buzzwords), I stopped calling myself a “blogging consultant”.

Basically, it’s been more or less the same problem for all the titles I’ve tried to wear (like clothes).

Now, back to my own issue: the trouble I have explaining and defining what I do. I had a breakthrough conversation with Florian Egger at the Lift09 party (despite the dreadfully loud music during what was supposed to be a “networking lounge” time slot).

Here’s the image I like to use to explain this breakthrough: what I do could be represented by a tree. There are many branches and leaves, and a trunk. Until then, when I was asked what I did, I would talk about the leaves and the branches, but I never managed to pinpoint what the trunk was. It left an impression that what I was doing was ill-defined, scattered.

I have now understood that the trunk of what I do is new media-related strategic consulting, thanks to Florian who made me go through example after example of what I did, concluding each one with “well, that’s strategy too, if you think of it” — and I’d go “no, it’s not strategy… oh, actually, yes, I see what you mean… it is!”

So, that would make me a New Media Strategist. It sounds nice. And it fits. You know, like when you finally find a pair of trousers that seems to have been stitched for you?

And clearly, being able to say “I do strategic consulting” sounds way better than “well, I know a helluvalot of a stuff about the internet, and all this so-called web2.0 stuff, and I’m really good at explaining it and helping people and companies figure out what the hell they’re going to do with it, and how they can use it, and why it’s interesting for them, and I can give talks, do training, help set blogs up, promote stuff online, coach people on more or less anything social-media related, oh, and give advice, of course, people keep coming to me for advice, you know, and a whole lot of other things…”

See what I mean?

I also realised that until then, the services that I had advertised were my “side-services” — my branches. In a way, I’ve always tried to do the strategic/advisory stuff undercover. Not very satisfying!

So now, the question this post is leading to: is “New Media Strategist” already old and loaded? What does it sound like? Is “everybody” calling themselves that nowadays? (I hope I don’t come across as pretentious because I consider I have a tad more expertise on the subject than newcomers in the field who have been blogging for 18 months and tweeting for 6…)

One could argue that titles don’t mean much, specially in today’s hypernetworked world, where connections are the most important thing in life (aside from drinking water… and even that could be subject to debate). Reputation, that’s what counts.

I disagree. I may be well-known and respected amongst my peers, but given the nature of my job, my clients are usually outside (even very far outside) the social media bubble. A title of some sort gives people a starting-point to figure you out.

“Social Media Consultant”, in my opinion, is dead from overuse and abuse. “New Media Strategist” seems better to me (because I “came up” with it during that discussion — of course I’d probably heard or seen it somewhere before, but it didn’t sound like something that is being thrown all over the place on Twitter et al these days). Or “Social Media Strategist”? What about “Social Media” itself… does that sound too much like an empty buzzword today (just like “Web 2.0”, which I never liked and honestly, was a media/marketing buzzword from the start). And then, for me, is the added issue of translating things in French. “New Media Strategist” doesn’t translate well — neither does “Social Media”, actually.

Lots of questions, as you can see.

Do you have trouble defining what you do? What do you put on your business card? What do you do? I’d love to exchange stories. And, of course, hear what you think about “New Media Strategist” — as a title in general, and to describe me… if you know me, of course. 🙂

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Blogger Accreditations for LeWeb Paris [en]

Update: the deadline for requests was 13.10.2008. The form is now closed. Thank you.

I’m pleased to announce that I am in charge of managing blogger accreditations for [the conference LeWeb’08 Paris](http://www.lewebparis.com/) which will take place on December 9-10th.

For the fifth year running, this huge conference organised by GĂ©raldine and LoĂŻc Le Meur will receive 1500 participants from the business, media, and internet worlds to listen to an amazing line-up of speakers — gathered this year around the theme ***love***. Just look at [the programme](http://www.lewebparis.com/schedule.html) to get a taste of what’s in store (listen to the video!) — plus great food, a [startup competition](http://www.lewebparis.com/startup.html), incredible networking, giant screens…

I went to LeWeb in 2006 for the first time, and I have to say I was blown away by what they had managed to put together. If you’ve never been to Le Web, it’s really worth experiencing. And if you have… Well, I probably don’t need to say much more.

This year, maybe you will one of the lucky ones to be invited there, as LeWeb is selecting bloggers, podcasters, and generally “electronic media people” from all over the world to cover the conference.

This selection will be based on:

– their geographical and linguistic location (ever thought of language as an online “place”?)
– their readership and influence
– their motivation and the value they offer the conference by their presence
– when they made their request (yes, there is an element of first come, first served in the selection).

Selected bloggers will be asked to display a badge on their blog upto the conference date and blog about it at least once before mid-November. They will be listed in an official blogroll on the conference site and will be given a “blogger accreditation” to attend the conference and cover it.

Send an e-mail to [email protected]lewebparis.com (I’ll receive it) with Due to the rather large number of people applying, please fill in this form, which will ask you for information like:

– your name
– your URL
– the country you live in
– the language you will be blogging about LeWeb in
– your Twitter username if you have one
– if you’ve attended previous LeWeb conferences, and when
– why we should invite you 🙂 (we know you’re great and you certainly deserve it, but what does LeWeb get out of the deal?)

Bloggers who are also journalists should apply for a regular press pass at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).

Waiting to hear from you, and looking forward to seeing you at LeWeb in a couple of months!

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Quelques pages en français [fr]

[en] I've added some French content to stephanie-booth.com. One page describing my standardized offer for blogging in business (of course, other packs can be negotiated -- this is mainly to help my clients get started). Another detailing private classes I offer individuals (not my main business, but I like doing it and I'm regularly asked to). A description of the "Get Started with Blogging" seminar -- I'm doing it as a workshop at LIFT, but I also plan to organize these regularly here in Lausanne (or elsewhere if there is enough interest).

I'd like to announce a first blogging seminar end of February -- but I'm a bit concerned about how I'll get the word out about it. You see, I'm pretty good at communicating stuff using new media, but I do sometimes feel a bit at loss with more traditional ways of promoting events or business initiatives. Any advice or assistance in that department would be greatly appreciated.

Chers lecteurs francophones (si vous ĂŞtes encore par lĂ !), j’aurais besoin de vous. Dans le cadre de l’opĂ©ration “[mettre vaguement Ă  jour stephanie-booth.com](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/28/quest-ce-que-je-fais-au-juste/)”, j’ai ajoutĂ© un peu de contenu au site francophone. Alors bon, comme d’habitude, c’est un peu brouillon (mais j’ai quand mĂŞme rĂ©flĂ©chi un peu Ă  ce que j’Ă©crivais) et c’est dĂ©jĂ  en ligne. Mais votre avis sur ce que j’ai Ă©crit m’intĂ©resse. Bien? Pas bien? DĂ©tails Ă  corriger? Problèmes de fond? Mauvaise stratĂ©gie? Parfait-y’a-rien-Ă -retoucher?

Vous voyez l’idĂ©e.

Les pages en question sont les suivantes:

– [Blogs et entreprises](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/entreprises/blogs/) — j’essaie de “standardiser” un peu mon offre pour que les clients puissent s’y retrouver. Il y en a pour tous les budgets, et bien sĂ»r, on peut toujours discuter de formules particulières. Mais il me semble qu’offrir 2-3 “packs” est une bonne chose.
– [Cours pour particuliers](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/cours/) — ce n’est pas mon business principal, mais il faut bien que je me rende Ă  l’Ă©vidence, on me demande pour ça. J’essaie d’expliquer dans quel contexte je fournis ce genre de service.
– [Cours d’initiation aux blogs](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/initiation/) pour particuliers — il s’agit de la fameuse [idĂ©e de cours](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/trois-heures-pour-se-mettre-a-bloguer/), que je propose dans deux semaines [sous forme de workshop Ă  LIFT](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging) (si vous allez Ă  LIFT, profitez-en).

Concernant cette dernière offre, j’aimerais fixer une date pour un premier cours Ă  Lausanne toute fin fĂ©vrier, mais j’avoue que ce qui me fait un peu souci, c’est comment communiquer lĂ  autour. Voyez-vous, je suis une spĂ©cialiste de la communication *nouveaux mĂ©dias*, et les personnes Ă  qui s’adresse ce cours ne s’alimentent probablement pas quotidiennement sur les blogs.

Il faudrait recourir Ă  des moyens de promotion plus “traditionnels” que je maĂ®trise mal: annonces, affichettes, mailing-listes un peu “pushy” (oh horreur!), alerter mes contacts journalistes, mon entourage offline, faire passer des infos dans Ă©coles ou entreprises… Tout conseil ou coup de main dans ce domaine serait bienvenu. Merci d’avance.

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Granular Privacy Control (GPC) [en]

[fr] Google Reader permet maintenant à vos contacts GTalk d'avoir un accès facile à vos "shared items" (articles lus dans votre newsreader et que vous avez partagés). Il semblerait que beaucoup de personnes ont mal interprété cette nouvelle fonction, imaginant que leurs éléments partagés étaient privés, et qu'ils sont maintenant devenus publics. Nous voilà encore une fois face au même problème: l'internaute moyen (et même le pas-si-moyen) surestime complètement à quel point les informations qu'il publie ou partage en ligne sont confidentielles. Au risque de me répéter: internet est un espace public.

Cet incident nous montre aussi, à nouveau, à quel point nous avons besoin de pouvoir structurer de façon fine (Granular Privacy Control = GPC) les accès à nos données à l'intérieur d'un réseau social. Facebook est sur la bonne piste avec ses "listes d'amis", mais on ne peut pas encore les utiliser pour gérer les droits d'accès.

In response to [Robert Scoble](http://scobleizer.com)’s post about how [Google Reader needs to implement finer privacy controls](http://scobleizer.com/2007/12/26/google-reader-needs-gpc/). Let’s see what Robert says, first:

> Oh, man, is the Google Reader team under attack for its new social networking features.

> There’s a few ways I could take this.

> 1. I could call people idiots for not understanding the meaning of the word “public.”
> 2. I could call the Google Reader team idiots for not putting GPC into its social networking and sharing features.
> 3. I could call the media idiots for not explaining these features better and for even making it sound like stuff that isn’t shared at all is being shared (which absolutely isn’t true).

> I’m going to take #2: that the Google Reader team screwed up here and needs to implement GPC as soon as possible. What’s GPC? Granular Privacy Controls.

> Here’s how Google screwed up: Google didn’t understand that some users thought that their shared items feeds were private and didn’t know that they were going to be turned totally public. The users who are complaining about this feature assumed that since their feed had a weird URL (here’s mine so you can see that the URL isn’t easy to figure out the way other URLs are) that their feed couldn’t be found by search engines or by people who they didn’t explicitly give the URL to, etc. In other words, that their feed and page would, really, be private, even though it was shared in a public way without a password required or anything like that.

Robert Scoble, Google Reader needs GPC

Wow, I really didn’t think that this feature was going to create trouble. I was personally thrilled to see it implemented. So, here are two thoughts following what Robert wrote:

– I’ve noticed time and time again that you can tell people something is “public” as much as you like, they still don’t really grasp what “public” means. Because things are not “automatically found” on the internet, they still tend to consider public stuff as being “somewhat private”. This is a general “media education” problem (with adults as much as teenagers). So, Robert is completely right to point this out.
– GPC is a very important thing we need much more of online (see my SPSN and Ethics and Privacy posts) but I disagree with Robert when he says that Facebook has it. Facebook isn’t there yet, though they are on “the right path”. I can’t yet use my [friend lists](http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=7831767130) to decide who gets to see what on my profile. That would truly be GPC (in addition to that, their friends list interface is clunky — I need to blog about it, btw).

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