Day 10: Finding Yourself

We made it to Day 10, y’all! Ten down, twenty to go – and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m 1/3 of the way through Robert Brewer’s challenge to writers, helping us build a writing platform over 30 days.

Today’s task is not about going to Europe or quitting your job to eat/pray/love. No, this job involves a much more defined search. As in Google.

Day 10: Do a Search on your Name

Starting with Google, then Bing and Yahoo, followed by several other options for extra credit.

It’s handy in times like these to have a unique name – there appears to be only one other Cortney Matz on the internet, and her web presence consists of a Twitter account. I, on the other hand, have fairly saturated the internet with websites, social media profiles, video accounts, and press releases. Google returned about 6 pages of links related to me in some capacity before I started hitting redundancies.

Did you know that your comments on blogs and Facebook pages will appear in searches? I guess it makes sense – they are public forums. I’m glad to say I’ve never posted anything I’m ashamed to see turn up in a search. But still, it’s a little strange to find a story I wrote in 1998 showing on page 4 of my Google search.

For the most part, my results were unsurprising. My website came up first, followed by my LinkedIn profile and Twitter account. Only Bing listed my Scribbles blog, though – and that was nowhere near the top of the list. I guess I have some optimization to do for this puppy!

All three search engines pegged me with MySpace on the first page! MySpace, for crying out loud. An account I started years ago and haven’t done a blessed thing with since. It’s kind of embarrassing if anyone actually clicks through – I only have one friend, and it’s Tom, the came-with-the-account friend.

Like I said, didn’t do anything with it. I guess I should delete it.

Anyone know how long it takes for webprints to disappear…?

Day 8: Get Linked In

More social media! Facebook: check. Twitter: check. LinkedIn… up next.

Day 8: Create a LinkedIn profile

Robert doesn’t have a lot to say about LinkedIn, other than to recommend getting on it, and then he asked for advice from readers. In my experience, LI is one networking site that seems to have a split opinion. Half the people love it and extoll the multitudinous ways for industrious folk to do business by connecting with friends of friends and answering questions about which they have expertise. The other half is there because they feel they should be.

But now what?

I’ve been on LinkedIn for a few years, and have taken the time to fill out my profile pretty completely. I have 129 connections, 5 endorsements for my work, and when I have new episodes of the chocolate show I post links there.

I’ve connected with a few folks I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and had one interesting email from a cable station (which didn’t go anywhere), but otherwise it’s been a pretty dry fount.

I’m sure it is beneficial for the sake of legitimacy to have a profile on LinkedIn. It’s kind of an online resume with accountability from all your connections to back it up. Plus there are lots of professional groups to participate in, and new job opportunities within your network are emailed to you regularly.

All that to say, I’m on the fence.

Any thoughts? Have you played with LinkedIn and found it a helpful tool? Let us discuss.

Join the link!


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Day 7: Facilitate Free Publicity

When God created the world, he rested on the seventh day. That’s sort of what I’m doing with the writing challenge, because all I had to do today was copy and paste.

Behold, I have buttons! Look to your right – just slightly to the right of this post, top of the sidebar. See it? Share buttons! This is today’s accomplishment.

Day 7: Add Share Buttons to your blog or website

Share buttons are basically free PR. Who hasn’t read an article or blog post and posted it on Facebook or emailed it to a friend? Who wouldn’t love to have their article or blog post circulated voluntarily by readers via the world wide web?

I have a love/hate relationship with share buttons. They always turn out looking funky, and some javascript varieties can go berzerk and take over your entire screen. Yet when you have those moments where you think, “This is great, I should pass it on to so-and-so,” the share button is hard to beat for ease and efficiency.

Thank you Robert Brewer, for opening my eyes to the Add This button! SO easy. It literally worked on the first try.

All you do is go to addthis.com and click the ‘Get the Code’ button, choose the format you want (little buttons? big buttons?) and which kind of blog/website you are working with. They’ll walk you through the rest. Once you have your buttons installed, then it’s time to play. If you want to have your mind blown, click the + button. Up pops eleventy-seven options for social media sites on which you may share.

Okay, it’s actually 321 social media sites, but still… who knew there was such a wide world of sharing beyond Facebook, Twitter and Google?

Go get it, you won’t be sorry.

Quick shout-out to new followers, JordanForty, DiniAndrianiPotas (I can’t read a word of your blog, but your photos are lovely!), Ooa Revo, Tali Norfali, Anna, and MonaD’E! I look forward to getting to know you all as we blog together and build our platforms.

Thanks also to Kirk, who suggested adding Share buttons at the end of each blog post… that is a bang-up idea.

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Day 6: Mingle

In case you’re just joining us, I’m a few days into Robert Brewer’s writing challenge, encouraging us to take steps every day for 30 days toward building a platform and developing your following.

It’s been a smashing experience so far, and I’m pretty excited to carry on.

Day 6: Read a Blog and Comment on it

A reasonable suggestion. Where to begin?

Since I blog primarily about stories, fiction, travel, and my personal experience with all those things, it seemed smart to look for other blogs with a similar focus. When I laid eyes on MORFIS, I knew my search was over.

MORFIS is a collection of art, illustrations, photography and design that takes you to another place. Browsing around the virtual gallery, I found myself smiling involuntarily. The imagination spread across the digital pages is really something. I was drawn in.

But it isn’t enough to visit a blog and merely appreciate it. We are to leave evidence of our appreciation.

I was hard pressed to choose, but I settled on a post depicting illustrations by Dan May, a highly detailed fine artist in Chicago. Take a peek at the blog and see what you think – I was quite inspired, and may even come up with some new stories based on what I saw. You can see Dan’s photos (and my comment) here.

Day 4: Get Sociable (Part 2)

Twitter! Who’s on it? Me… and about 175 million others, depending on whether you count spammers.

Today’s challenge has been done already, so I will use the time to write a story. I’m excited about it. Meanwhile, if you haven’t cracked the Twitter code yet, here is the gentle nudge you have been seeking…

Day 4: Create a Twitter account

Once you do, don’t forget to look me up at cortneywrites!

Day 3: Get Sociable Part 1

Four new followers today! Wow, this is so exciting. I just got home from lunch and am jetting out in a few minutes, but I will check you guys out soon. Meanwhile, a big welcome to Daniel Postlethwaite, MarriageCoach1, Madmoiselle Gathou, and Mazhar Qureshi!

Today’s step toward building my writing platform is ostensibly done already… I’ve been on Facebook for a few years now, but as I’m reading Robert’s recommendations, I realize I could crank it up a notch. For one thing, my writing page is seriously neglected. I don’t have time right now, but later tonight or tomorrow I will for-sure beef that up. You can hold me to it!

Day 3: Start a Facebook profile

This is a little sneaky, because there are two other blog posts linked within the one on Facebook… which I don’t have time to read right now, but will come back to. For now let’s skip to the “Most Important Things to Keep in Mind.”

Here are the most important things to keep in mind:

  1. Use your real name. Check!
  2. Complete your profile completely. Hmmm… my profile is pretty bare bones. I don’t like to talk about myself that much, and posting all my likes, dislikes, job history and voting preferences cut pretty close to the Day 1 “Define yourself” challenge/phobia. But I will take this under consideration.
  3. Use your account regularly. I do use my account, but I don’t post often. Robert recommends posting once a day. My last post was May 16 (today is May 20). Not terrible, but there is definite room for improvement.

In the interest of building an online platform for my projects and myself, the two main goals here are to make me easy to find and easy to contact. So I can see how mentioning something about writing and video production on my Facebook profile could be good. Even better, post my email address!

Things that make you say, “Duh.”

I’m curious what you all think of Facebook. There are a lot of privacy concerns flying around, and as I begin to use it more for business building in some ways, I don’t want to kill all the fun. I don’t want to be hyper-vigilant about what photos I post or are posted of me, for instance.

I also wonder if becoming more public with my profile in any way exposes my friends – if someone looks at my profile, do they then see all my friends’ posts on my page? Probably, yes. And depending on what they posted, that could be weird for them.

So… still figuring this out. Any thoughts from my new and beloved readers?