Amanda Laird

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

March 24th is Ada Lovelace Day, the international day of blogging, to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology. Ada Lovelace is often noted as the first computer programmer. She wrote the first computer algorithm in 1842, and believed in the strong role that computers and technology would play in society far ahead of her time. Today is a day to celebrate not only her achievements, but the achievements of every woman in technology and science around the world. I believe women bring a valuable outlook to the technology field, viewing and solving problems in different ways from our male counterparts. The diversity of solutions created by active participation from both men and women enables the advancement and flourishing of science and technology.

Today I am thankful to be surrounded by so many brilliant women, who continue to create, invent, blog and inspire others to get involved each and every day.

Cheers to some women who inspire me on a daily basis:

Jen Evans: Founder and Chief Strategist at Sequentia Environics (where I work) – inspiring and amazingly brilliant!

Candice Faktor: Doing amazing things to push the envelope and keep the media industry churning – Managing Director of Corporate Development and Innovation, Torstar Digital.

Ashleigh Gardner: A digital publishing force to be reckoned with – Digital Publisher, Dundurn Press.

Sarah Prevette: Founder and CEO of Sprouter – persevered towards her dream of helping entrepreneurs connect and being featured one day in Wired Magazine.

Jess Bennett: Inspired Toronto blogger for Sift, Dust & Toss about food, health and nutrition – named best new Canadian blog of 2009.

Amanda Laird: Toronto food blogger for Mise En Place, community manager and communications specialist at CNW Group.

Which women inspire you?

On Personal Branding

The following is a post by my friend Amanda Laird: Earlier this week I participated as a mentor at Humber College’s Personal Brand Camp. During the event, I heard many students express that they were apprehensive about, if not confused by, building an online presence.

Before we go any further, let me give you a little background on my online presence. I started writing online in 1997 as a way to connect with other young writers and artists (let’s just say my high school had more sports teams than poetry clubs). After college I realized that the skills I acquired building websites in my parents' basement were transferable to the real world. My knowledge of and passion for online communication set me apart from other job candidates, and so my personal brand was born.

I started to wonder if the exercise of forcing students to create an online presence was futile. Making them get online isn’t going to do them any good; in fact I think it might even be counter-productive. If students are keen on getting involved in social media, by all means encourage them to do so—in a smart way; it will go a long way in helping them create a personal brand. But if they’re not, don’t force them. If a student doesn’t want to blog, their blog is going to be lame, and how is that going to set them apart in the job market?

Here are a few tips that Rayanne Langdon, my Personal Brand Camp partner-in-crime and I shared with those students who were interested in getting online, but weren’t sure where to start.

Be where you want to be. If you’re not comfortable with being online, don’t be online. What makes the Internet awesome is the passion that drives people to tweet, to blog, to engage in social media. If, to you, being online means tweeting and not blogging, or blogging and not tweeting, go for it!

Be your fabulous, funny, smart, creative, passionate self, and the personal brand stuff will come on its own. Being authentic will set you apart in a job interview and online.  Unfortunately, if yourself is an asshole, you might be in trouble.

Be passionate. While I am certainly passionate about my work, I’ll leave writing about PR to the Dave Fleets and Martin Waxmans of the world. I write about home cooking because that’s what I love; not only am I better at it, my “personal brand” is better for it, too.

Be nice. This one’s easy. If you can help someone online (and in real life), do it. And don’t do it because you think you’ll get something out of it. Do it because being nice is a good thing.

Be smart. I’m all for sharing online, but you’ve got to give yourself some guiding principles. I’m friends with my dad and my boss on Facebook, so I generally don’t post anything I wouldn’t share with them over coffee. And now, as my professional and personal lives blend together, I even give my actions a second thought. I don’t spend too many nights dancing on tables with lampshades on my head anymore. (But man, those were good days.) You never know where those pictures will end up.

A personal brand isn’t a limiting checklist. Sage advice from a wise man. People aren’t one-dimensional, so there is no reason to limit yourself online. Have multiple interests? Have multiple blogs! Contribute guest posts to other blogs or segment your website into sections with posts on various topics. Your online presence is just that: yours. Do it your way.

Amanda Laird is a Communications Specialist at CNW Group, a gig she got through this very blog.  Her personal brand is about home cooking, complaining about the TTC, and the odd smart thought about PR. Find her online at mise en place or @amandalaird.

Like CNW Group? Show your love on Facebook.

cnwfacebook That's right, folks. CNW Group now has a Facebook page where you can show your love for Canada's number one newswire or sign up to hear about upcoming events, like our Breakfast with the Media series.

I didn't have much to do with this, but I know that CNW Group's all-star Communications Coordinators Jessica Sine and Amanda Laird have great plans for it.

In the meantime, do you have any other great examples of brands/companies using Facebook pages?


(as usual, this and all other posts on BlogCampaigning reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily those of CNW Group)