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Social Media Club- in Your City?



What is Social Media Club?

In cities across America, people are gathering at least once a month (for free) to learn about and discuss “the purpose of sharing best practices, establishing ethics and standards, and promoting media literacy around the emerging area of Social Media. This is the beginning of a global conversation about building an organization and a community where the many diverse groups of people who care about social media can come together to discover, connect, share, and learn.”

Benn & I went to our first SMC meeting early this year and have been to every one since. We have met some of the industry’s biggest and brightest names in social media and new technology and are always amazed at their generosity with sharing their knowledge. Social Media Club gatherings attract bloggers, website designers, coders, media insiders, programmers, graphic designers, and more and the wealth of insight is simply astounding.

Why Get Involved?

I find that surrounding myself with people more advanced than I tends to be more challenging, humbling and most of all, inspiring than being the tech genius in the room (which I am far from being but do stand out when people haven’t heard of blogs, twitter, etc). In Austin where technology is still one of the biggest industries locally, it is not hard to find people that aim to improve upon and learn about social media. Advancing your business by being on the forefront of technology only improves your practice and this is one exceedingly awesome way to do it.

How to Get Involved?

Several cities already have people leading Social Media Club meetings but there are many many cities missing. I suggest either getting involved in the pre-existing SMC in your city or getting in touch with @someone to learn how easy it is to bring SMC to your town! Visit the SMC wiki for the most information, the blog to learn current events or message me on Twitter or message Connie Reece, Austin’s SMC Queen if you’d like an introduction to anyone involved in SMC!


The following cities already have SMC:

Austin, TX
Boston, MA
Dallas, TX
Louisville, KY
Minneapolis, MN
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Seattle, WA
St. Louis, MO
Research Triangle, NC
Washington DC

The following cities are working on their chapters and need involvement:

Atlanta, GA
Ann Arbor/Detroit, Michigan
Birmingham, AL
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Denver, CO
Des Moines, IA
Houston, TX
Kansas City, MO
Las Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA
New Orleans, LA
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Rochester, NY
San Diego, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
South Florida, FL
Tampa Bay, FL

If you’re already involved in SMC, tell us how it has helped YOU! If you’re not, let us know if you’ll be pioneering SMC in your hood!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Bill Lublin

    June 10, 2008 at 5:30 am

    Hooray – there is an SMC in Philadelphia – Will I have to do any math to enter a comment at their meeting? 😉

  2. Eric Blackwell

    June 10, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Interesting Lani…thanks …looking into it a bit further!

  3. Dru Bloomfield

    June 10, 2008 at 7:08 am

    I’ve been going to the SMC’s in Phoenix for the past several months. I love connecting with all the people, ideas, and energy that fly around the room. The next one is this Thursday night, June 12th.

  4. Paula Henry

    June 10, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Looks like Indianapolis needs a social media club – doesn’t surprise me…. Once I acknowledge this, does it make me responsible to do something about it? Mmmm…

  5. Laura

    June 10, 2008 at 8:59 am

    HI Lani!

    Can’t wait to hit up the next meeting. I actually found you on Twitter from your messages during the last meeting. 🙂


  6. Shailesh Ghimire

    June 10, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Hey is this is great! I’m glad there is already one in Phoenix. Looking forward to going to their next meeting! Thanks for the heads up.

  7. Ken Smith

    June 10, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Interesting, will have to see how close they are to getting the one in Chicago off the ground.

  8. Rudy from

    June 10, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Awesome Lani.

    I haven’t been to this one but I do frequent lots of local business and technology gatherings in the tri-state area. These types of local gatherings provide invaluable networking opportunities. Everyone should be taking advantage of them in their hometown.

    I missed a great one last night here in NYC – the mydealbook event. As a father of 3, I got priorities ya know 😉

    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  9. Sam Chapman

    June 10, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    I’m glad I found this blog. I had no clue about a social media club in Austin and really need to check it out. Thanks!

  10. Kristie Wells

    June 10, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Lani, thank you so much for writing about SMC. We are fortunate to have some very active chapters (Boston, Austin, Phoenix, Paris) and are working to help others cities launch and/or grow to expand the sharing of knowledge across the world. Lofty goal, but I think one we can, and are, accomplishing.

    We have been pushing the company forward slowly, almost at a turtle’s pace, wishing to get infrastructure in place that will really help the cities communicate with one another and expect that to [finally] launch this Fall. Until then, it is managed wholly by the wiki and through the SMC main website, More antiquated than we like, but better than nothing I say.

    If you are interested in helping launch SMC in your city, shoot me an email at kristiewells [at] gmail [dot] com and I can rally some folks around it to help you. /looks at Paula and Ken (smile)


  11. Jennifer Wilson - Agent Solutions

    June 10, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Nope… Can’t find a Social Media Club in my area. Maybe it’s time Calgary had one. 😉

  12. Kit Mueller

    June 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    We’re working on getting one off of the ground, here in Chicago.

    Any / all help is welcome / appreciated.

    – Kit
    312.636.8409 – mobile

  13. Ken Smith

    June 10, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Kit giving you a call now.

  14. Ricardo Bueno

    June 11, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Mid last year I got involved with some local bloggers who held bi-weekly “office hours” (that’s what they called their little gathering…). The meetings were never anything short of insightful! Frankly, I think there’s always something new that you can learn…

    I’ll give SMC in Los Angeles a look since I’m local to the area. Dustin Luther, Jeff Turner, Irina Netchaev & other local bloggers hosted our very own Tweet-up not too long ago…maybe I”ll give them a nudge and see if we can head on over.

  15. Connie Reece

    June 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Lani, thanks so much for writing about the great work Social Media Club is doing. The knowledge shared is just phenomenal and it’s great having the opportunity to meet peers and industry leaders. I’ll look forward to seeing you and Been soon. I don’t even know what the program committee has cooked up for the next event here in Austin, but I’m sure it will be good.

  16. Tampa Real Estate

    April 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Lani,

    This sounds extremely fun and worthwhile. I’m researching it further. Thanks!!

    Rick Durand

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Social Media

How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.



Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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Social Media

This LinkedIn graphic shows you where your profile is lacking

(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn has the ability to insure your visibility, and this new infographic breaks down where you should put the most effort.




LinkedIn is a must-have in the professional world. However, this social media platform can be incredibly overwhelming as there are a lot of moving pieces.

Luckily, there is a fancy graphic that details everything you need to know to create the perfect LinkedIn profile. Let’s dive in!

As we know, it is important to use your real name and an appropriate headshot. A banner photo that fits your personal brand (e.g. fits the theme of your profession/industry) is a good idea to add.

Adding your location and a detailed list of work-related projects are both underutilized, yet key pieces of information that people will look for. Other key pieces come in the form of recommendations; connections aren’t just about numbers, endorse them and hopefully they will return the favor!

Fill in every and all sections that you can, and re-read for any errors (get a second set of eyes if there’s one available). Use the profile strength meter to get a second option on your profile and find out what sections could use a little more help.

There are some settings you can enable to get the most out of LinkedIn. Turn on “career interests” to let recruiters know that you are open to job offers, turn on “career advice” to participate in an advice platform that helps you connect with other leaders in your field, turn your profile privacy off from private in order to see who is viewing your profile.

The infographic also offers some stats and words to avoid. Let’s start with stats: 65% of employers want to see relevant work experience, 91 percent of employers prefer that candidates have work experience, and 68% of LinkedIn members use the site to reconnect with past colleagues.

Now, let’s talk vocab. The infographic urges users to avoid the following words: specialized, experienced, skilled, leadership, passionate, expert, motivated, creative, strategic, focused.

That was educational, huh? Speaking of education – be sure to list your highest level of academia. People who list their education appear in searches up to 17 times more often than those who do not. And, much like when you applied to college, your past education wasn’t all that you should have included – certificates (and licenses) and volunteer work help set you apart from the rest.

Don’t be afraid to ask your connections, colleagues, etc. for recommendations. And, don’t be afraid to list your accomplishments.

Finally, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. You’re already using the site, right? Use it to your advantage! Finish your profile by completing the all-star rating checklist: industry and location, skills (minimum of three), profile photo, at least 50 connections, current position (with description), two past positions, and education.

When all of this is complete, continue using LinkedIn on a daily basis. Update your profile when necessary, share content, and keep your name popping up on peoples’ timelines. (And, be sure to check out the rest of Leisure Jobs’ super helpful infographic that details other bits, like how to properly size photos!)

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Social Media

This Twitter tool hopes to fight misinformation, but how effective is it?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Birdwatch is a new tool from Twitter in the fight against misinformation… in theory. But it could be overkill.



Twitter welcome screen open on large phone with stylus.

Social media has proven to be a blanket breeding ground for misinformation, and Twitter is most certainly not exempt from this rule. While we’ve seen hit-or-miss attempts from the notorious bird app to quell the spread of misinformation, their latest effort seems more streamlined—albeit a little overboard.

Birdwatch is a forthcoming feature from Twitter that will allegedly help users report misleading content. According to The Verge, Twitter has yet to release definitive details about the service. However, from leaked information, Birdwatch will serve the purpose of reporting misinformation, voting on whether or not it is truly misleading, and attaching notes to pertinent tweets.

Such a feature is still months away, so it appears that the upcoming election will take place before Birdwatch is officially rolled out.

There are a lot of positive sides to welcoming community feedback in a retaliation against false information, be it political in nature or otherwise. Fostering a sense of community responsibility, giving community members the option to report at their discretion, and including an option for a detailed response rather than a preset list of problems are all proactive ideas to implement, in theory.

Of course, that theory goes out the window the second you mention Twitter’s name.

The glaring issue with applying a community feedback patch to the rampant issue of misinformation on social media is simple: The misinformation comes from the community. A far cry from Twitter’s fact-checking warnings that appeared on relevant tweets earlier this year, Birdwatch—given what we know now—has every excuse to be more biased than any prior efforts.

Furthermore, the pure existence of misinformation on Twitter often results from the knee-jerk, short response format that tweets take. As such, expecting a lengthy form and vote application to fix the problem seems misguided. Simply reporting a tweet for being inaccurate or fostering harassment is already more of an involved process than most people are likely to partake in, so Birdwatch might be overdoing it.

As always, any effort from Twitter—or any social media company, for that matter—to crack down on the spread of misinformation is largely appreciated. Birdwatch, for all of its potential issues, is certainly a step in the right direction. Let’s just hope it’s an accessible step.

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