South by Southwest, SXSW, is a yearly conference in Austin, TX.serving the film, music, and interactice industries. The photo shows the goodies they gave out this year.
Guest Reporter Sheila Scarborough
Hi Successful Bloggers,
To the regret of every geek within 200 miles of Austin, the online media/Internet buzzfest of SXSW Interactive ends tomorrow (although the film and music festivals continue. Party on, Wayne/Garth.)
There have been a number of interesting panels in the last few days, so I want to give you a Roving Reporter peek while you recover from Liz’s Virtual SOBCon.
** From a great David Shipley/Will Schwalbe panel on email disasters, the thought that “email problems are not a tech issue, but an emotional, anthropological and psychological issue. Mistakes are made in this medium by people who really should know better.”
The absence of tone in email encourages misunderstandings, so as an email writer, use more descriptive, clear language….make your emails come alive. It’s just good writing.
The speed of email encourages sloppiness, and since there’s no direct human interaction, you also get “disinhibition” AKA “cluelessness.” That ironically sounds like being drunk!
The medium also gives more opportunity for cowardly actions like firing people via email so that you don’t have to face them.
Good email? Short paragraphs, clear subject lines, good writing (even using emoticons to add flavor) and mostly, mindfulness. Follow the Golden Rule with email and you can’t go wrong.
** Random Twitter comment — “So I’m addicted to World of Warcraft. Drinking wine, twittering and playing WOW on a Saturday nite at SXSW — Help.”
** Gina Trapani of LifeHacker and Penelope Trunk (career advice writer) plus more awesome panelists with freelance entrepreneurship advice: Have an elevator pitch, which is just an answer to the question, “What do you do?” (And make sure that it makes sense; your mother should understand your elevator pitch.)
Networking is making sure that you’re on the radar of people who can hire you for the kind of work that you do. No more, no less. Be about the other person — how can your skills help and serve? Go to meetups, join usergroups. Be a good listener.
I heard this in other panels, too — be a good commenter on blogs and sites; those are often the people who are hired on as writers for those blogs and sites.
Marketing — Trunk said “if you can wait your whole life to be found, then you don’t need to market.” She said that at least in the beginning, freelancers will spend almost 50% of their time marketing. There will be “lots of wasted motion, lots of rejection, but it just takes one or two of those big hits. It’s a skill; to learn how to be crushed and still keep at it.” 🙂
** Some good words this morning from speaker/writer Tim Ferriss — “Life doesn’t improve with 24 hour Internet access and Twitter.”
Other good blurbs from him: “Focus on the critical few and ignore the trivial many.” Ask yourself, “Am I being productive or am I being busy?”
I try to ask myself a variation of that — “Is this the best use of my time right now?”
** I’ll finish with lawyer Dineen Pashoukos Wasylik, who talked about online/blogger legal issues. Her advice:
If you want the legal protections (shield laws) of a reporter or journalist, you have to act like one. Sticking to matters of public concern rather than private matters will help you avoid libel problems. Writing “in my opinion” won’t necessarily protect you from libel; the courts look at context and impact on a possible victim of slander. Retraction of a post doesn’t “unring the bell,” although it may be a very good move and may in fact be all you need to do in most cases.
Copyright exists upon creation of your work; there’s no extra paperwork to file or notation required. Especially when it comes to music, but for other media as well, “giving credit is not the same thing as having permission.” When in doubt, get explicit written permission to use another’s work.
I’ll wrap up here. There was a panel about online magazines/online content that featured editors from Salon.com, mediabistro, the Onion, Nerve/Babble and College Humor, but there was so much useful info I think it needs to roll into tomorrow’s wrap-up guest post.
Farewell from Tejas,
Family Travel blog on BootsnAll
NHRA drag racing on Fast Machines
Thanks Sheila, for all of these. I felt like I was there!
ME “Liz” Strauss
Roving Sheila at SXSW 03 -09-07
Roving Sheila at SXSW 03-10-07
Penelope Trunk says
Hi, Sheila. Fun to read your snippets from Tim Ferriss and David Shipley — I really like both their books and was disappointed to miss their panels.
Sheila at Family Travel says
Hi Penelope, thanks for your comment. I hated to leave out any panelist names or all the great stuff they said, but my 2.0 pen could only scribble so fast!
Thanks for your straightforward advice, online and offline, to freelancers everywhere (and hope you survived the SXSW social scene as well.)