Friday, January 27, 2012

What I've been up to

Moving in! Slowly. We've been bringing boxes and more boxes over from my parents' place to our new home. And then we've been unpacking and trying to find the perfect space for all that stuff.

Also, I've been busy with my Science Olympiad team. I'm coaching food science, which is baking, only baking where you write it up as an experiment, measure each ingredient to the nearest gram or milliliter, as well as each and every cookie in the batch. And then we assess the cookies on a sensory scale, weigh them to determine the percentage of moisture lost during baking and we might even test the density.

But wait, there's more!

We calculate the calories per serving and test other foods for the presence of protein, starches and reducing sugars. And then there's this whole viscosity thing.

Sound fun? It is. And my varsity team earned a medal at their first competition! I was so proud of them (and more than a little relieved that I hadn't been leading them astray because it turns out that cookies are very 2007 and for this year's competition cupcakes are the thing to bake).

I bake muffins and cookies, but what do I know from cupcakes? Ask me in a few months and I'll give you a mouthful. Literally. Each batch makes about 25 and we'll be experimenting with several different recipe combos.

Monday, January 02, 2012

How Will Social Media Moms Fare in 2012? Here Are My Predictions

I cut back on my "brands and bloggers" post in 2011partly because client work, family needs, and our new-to-us house (plus the related blog, of course) kept me busy. Also? I'm tired of the repetitive conversation about blogs and brands.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a flurry of posts about whether bloggers should ever write for free. I'd already chimed in about working for free in April, reiterating what I'd already said in 2010.


(For the record, I pretty much agree with these smart women.)

Still, I did step on my soap box a handful of times in 2011. I spoke on the topic of Social Media Moms and Money at Blissdom 2011 and Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago. I also had the privilege of participating on a brand/blogger panel at the Social Media Masters Summit (and I'll be a panelist at the January Publicity Club of Chicago meeting). And dishing with the Blogging Angels was a highlight of my social media year.

On this blog, the post about Blogger Behavior at Trade Shows was one of the most widely-shared pieces I've ever written.

And in September when a very vanilla social media influencer list came out, I published a more diverse list of leading social media moms.

Amy Oztan took the blogger-brand conversation in a new direction with her post on the Blogger Pledge, but the posts about the importance of making The Lists (or not) left me feeling more tired than wired.

So what piques my interest in the year ahead? (Besides finally moving into my house, I mean.) New conversations, new trends.

10 predictions for social media moms in 2012

1. Niche blogging will continue to grow, along with related niche community sites, targeted ad networks and conferences.

2. New social media sites will continue to pop up like weeds. Some of them will thrive (I'm looking at you, Pinterest), others will experience stunted growth after a strong start (you still hanging out on G+?) and the remainder are distant memories (Empire Avenue, anyone?).

3. Given the growing number of ways to be social and the pressure to be online, always, I suspect that many bloggers will burn out, or make drastic cutbacks in order to avoid doing so. In the last quarter of 2011, many mom bloggers deleted their Klout accounts, while others such as Sweetney pretty much quit Twitter altogether. Perhaps the future of blogging conferences is unplugged?

4. Back to Twitter...Twitter has changed, have you? As the general population adopts Twitter, many users seek to keep up with sports broadcasts, TV shows, and their favorite celebrities (whose Tweets may be coming from a publicist, anyway). Many everyday folks (as opposed to heavy users of social media) seek to connect with brands on Twitter to receive special deals and quick customer service. Will the die-hard social media type who helped make Twitter what it is today move on?

5. Vlogging will be bigger than ever in 2012. If you haven't added video blogs to your bag of social media tricks, it's time to get cracking! Danielle Smith, Jessica Bern and Jendi Pagano offer great advice to get you started.  Building up a presence on YouTube give readers a new way to connect with you, provides a chance for brands to see you in action, and brings your content to a new audience (albeit one with a lot of stupid comments). A robust video channel expands your social media footprint anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand views each month.

6. In 2012, we'll see a growth in small, low-key, but impactful, real-life brand events. Brands will connect with local influencers to hold gatherings in intimate locations, like the host's home or a favorite local restaurant.

7. It's possible that this year we'll see both the rise and fall of mombloggers. Long-time influencers in the social media space will continue to develop well-compensated partnerships with brands. However, people identified as key influencers may not even have a YouTube channel or (gasp!) a blog. They might just be very active on Facebook, or perhaps they regularly interact on the brand's Facebook page. Does this mean that content will no longer be king by the end of 2012?

8. Flash your stats! Back in the digital dinosaur days (circa 2008) social media moms shared their stats with an awkward reluctance. Nowadays, many bloggers readily flash seductive peeks at their stats via sleek media kits, but brands will increasingly want to verify those numbers before securing major partnerships.

9. That said, brands sometimes look for talent over traffic. In 2012, there will still be companies that partner with bloggers for reasons that go beyond trying to tap into that person's community.

10. The annoying "spray and pray" broadcast pitching from brands to bloggers will continue to be a thorn in side of many a blogger. Nobody handles these pitches with more aplomb than The Bloggess. Learn from her. But before you unleash your fury on a lowly intern, keep in mind that just a couple of years from now,  she could be the person who hires bloggers for a big campaign. 

How do you think the space will shift during the coming year?