140+ Tweet Feed: May 1-8

beyondwords on Twitter

Job Opportunities & Resources

  • Author Susan Orlean is looking for a webmaster/designer. You should be comfortable with editing HTML, CSS, Movable Type, etc. and have the design sense to help promote her upcoming book.
  • Dart Container in Mason, MI is hiring a Communications Manager. Interested candidates should have at least three years of experience with electronic, print, broadcast, and platform presentations.
  • Do you have an appetite for programming? Food52, a NYC startup 100% dedicated to supporting, connecting, and celebrating home cooks, is looking for a developer.
  • Volt Workforce Solution is hiring a technical writer with experience in the automotive manufacturing industry.
  • The Fox Is Black is looking for new writers who want to write every weekday about art, design, food, film, and culture. Check out the blog to see if you’re a good fit.
  • Love social media? Radian6 is hiring a Social Strategist who can help shape the vision and direction for how customers can adopt the group’s social media monitoring software platform.
  • Digitas is looking for a community manager to be the social voice for the brand’s interactions with the public.
  • Poke is looking for a new copywriter to join their team. The digital agency describes its people as smart, creative, nerdy, and nice—and this job ad speaks to that perfectly.
  • Can your CV talk?: Check out the creative way an intern used a QR code on a resume.

Recommended Reading

  • How I…: Author (and former literary agent) Nathan Bransford shares his writing and editing processes.
  • Your GPA Doesn’t (Really) Matter: Stressing out about how you’ll be graded by employers? Becky Johns shares what matters when it comes to professional success.

Tools & Resources

  • Don’t Fear the Internet: Jessica Hische and Russ Maschmeyer have teamed up on this site for non-web designers. If you want to learn basic HTML and CSS, their short tutorial videos can help.

What is 140+ Tweet Feed? It’s where we share our top tweets every week — news, tips, resources, and articles about professional writing, editing, and design — in more than 140 characters. Let us know about other great links on Twitter or in the comments.

In the Workplace with Tim Gasper

Name: Tim Gasper
Title: Keepstream co-founder, The Appconomy contributor
Website/Blog: http://keepstream.com
Location: Austin, TX

Tell us about your educational/professional background.
Technology has always been a huge passion of mine, but it took me a while before I really knew which angle I would take to get involved in tech. I went to Case Western Reserve University for Engineering and Physics, but as most college students do, my interests evolved. I ended up graduating with degrees in Economics and Marketing.

More importantly though, the last two years of college I was involved with a startup project. Our first idea was spawned at Startup Weekend, a great event where you go from idea to prototype in a single weekend. The goal is to force you to take the initial step toward becoming a real company — because often that first step is the hardest. The company was called CorkShare at the time, and it was my first experience as an entrepreneur. I was only 19, and I learned more than any class I could have ever taken in college. It taught me to set my own agenda, be accountable to myself, and to do the work that actually impacts your business’s bottom line.

In between college and working on Keepstream and freelance full time, I spent a year working at Hyland Software. They are a business software company for streamlining business processes and helping organizations go paperless by using electronic or scanned documents instead of paper. I was a Software Product Evangelist, becoming an expert on the product and creating a lot of content collateral. A strong focus of the position was on doing presentations, both in person and via online webinars.

Tell us about your current job.
Over the course of three years, CorkShare morphed into Keepstream, where as Co-founder and CMO I do marketing, business development, and community engagement. Keepstream is a social media curation tool that helps organize tweets, Facebook posts, and website bookmarks into shareable, embeddable collection pages. Collections are useful for bloggers, marketers, or just about anyone who wants to curate the chatter from a conference or event, a news headline, or a hashtag chat. Working with startups this long has been hugely rewarding because of how dynamic it is. At any minute I may be working on a different project, whether it’s talking to potential customers, creating marketing collateral, or pitching bloggers and journalists.

I am also a contributor to The Appconomy, where I blog about mobile apps, companies, and trends. The Appconomy’s mission is to serve as your trusted, original source of best practices, profiles, features, and commentary covering the rapid transition to the mobile, app-based economy, aka the appconomy. In addition, I contribute articles to the Austin Examiner on the Austin technology scene and interesting technology trends.

What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day is usually split about half and half between my freelance activities and my startup work. I like to start early because I’m a coffee addict — my morning joe is my most productive time block and is when most of my heavy duty writing gets done. This represents mostly freelance work. After my morning writing is done, I’ll usually go for a workout.

My co-founders are night owls, so after all this we’re ready to head to the Keepstream office where I’ll wrap up any additional freelance, and then focus on whatever project is most urgent for Keepstream. As of writing this we are preparing to do fundraising, so I’m focusing mostly on drumming up customer interest in preparation for a stronger investor pitch. I usually have a couple meetings with a Keepstream user or potential customer, or coordinating with my freelance employers. Throughout the day I use Boxcar (for notifications) and HootSuite (for conversations and sharing) for social media community engagement.

I usually stay in the office until relatively late. That means not much free time, but the work I do is fun and engaging, which makes the long hours extremely engaging and rewarding.

What kinds of documents do you produce?
I produce a lot of varying work. Examples include blog articles, white papers, web copy, software tutorial videos, fact sheets, presentation slide decks, spreadsheets for tracking initiatives, marketing or business plans, etc.

What communication skills are needed for your job?
First thing that comes to mind is dealing with massive amounts of email, both inbound and outbound. Thank God for Gmail! I have to be quick, to the point, and well organized. I have to work with a lot of different people in a relatively informal way, so I have to clearly communicate expectations, be very transparent about progress, and place a lot of trust into delegation and accountability. In general, I have to be an effective writer and speaker across many mediums and be comfortable regardless of context, whether it’s online, a coffee shop one-on-one, a networking event, or the boardroom.

How did you prepare for your job?
My preparation came mostly from working with other people, both in school and professionally. I did a lot of extracurriculars in school such as the event programming board, marketing club, economics honor society, and others. Writing and communications skills came mostly from school and these extracurriculars. Also, all the jobs I took on during and after school happened to require me to be heavily involved with writing and content creation. You learn by doing.

List three of your favorite professional resources/references/tools and tell us why they’re your favorite.
HootSuite: I love any chance I can get to profess my love for HootSuite. Overall, I think it’s the best free social media dashboard and analytics tool out there.

Gobbledygook Grader: Great tool by HubSpot for making sure your writing isn’t full of useless jargon. It also tells you what education level your article targets so you can either smarten it up or dumb it down depending on your audience. David Meerman Scott, who wrote the awesome book The New Rules of Marketing and PR, helped create the tool. He uses the word “gobbledygook” to describe what the rest of us call buzzwords or fluff.

AP Styleguide: It’s the go-to guide for writing style and etiquette for me, especially regarding journalistic formats.

I won’t consider it one of my three, but my company Keepstream gets an honorable mention. It’s a great way to incorporate tweets or other social content into your blog posts and websites. Plus we’ll be moving into a lot of analytics soon that will be super useful to Social Media Managers, PR agencies, and writers… so stay tuned. :)

How do you stay up to date in your field?
RSS and blogs are still the best way to stay up to date in my opinion. I use Twitter for conversations and running into information serendipitously, but I use Google Reader to bring in a consistent flow of good blog articles around Marketing, Technology, and Social Media Measurement. A couple blogs I really like include:

How would you define professional writing?
Good question. I don’t think I’m the best person to answer this question, but I think you can look at it in two ways. One, is writing your primary activity? And two, do you make money from writing? I think the first question gets a little closer to the matter, because I’m sure there are many professional writers with an engaged audience out for more than just making cash. The more you write, the better you are at it, and the cooler your job title, I suppose the more serious people will take you when you say you are a professional writer.

Do you have any tips to share with other professional writers/editors/designers?
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before — write regularly. Or if you design, design regularly. It’s the only way to keep your skills sharp and your audience engaged. Also, expose yourself to a lot of newness. New news, new people, new places, new ideas. It spurs creativity and gives you interesting content and perspective. Newness can also mean variety. I’ve noticed that some of the best writers and designers I’ve met have built up experience in many sizes, formats, and mediums.

Behance ProSite now available

Looking for an easy way to get your portfolio online? Behance, the world’s leading platform for creative professionals, just launched ProSite.

ProSite lets you create a customized personal portfolio site that syncs with your Behance Network projects. There’s no programming required, and you have unlimited hosting and project space. Take a tour and browse samples to see if the new platform is a good fit for your online portfolio needs.

In the Workplace with Alissa Walker

Name: Alissa Walker
Title: Freelance writer
Website/Blog: Gelatobaby
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Photo by Cicilia Teng

Tell us about your educational/professional background.
My whole life I actually wanted to be in advertising. It’s kind of sick, but I was obsessed with television ads, even though I didn’t watch a lot of TV (maybe that’s why). So I set a very direct course to an advertising degree, which meant I went through the journalism school at the University of Colorado, followed by the advertising program at The Portfolio Center in Atlanta. I was dead set on being either a copywriter or an art director. But something changed once I finished school, I realized I had really fallen in love with writing, and maybe not the ad-making part so much. When I got out of school I tried to get those choice advertising jobs but in 2000 they just didn’t exist anymore due to the dot-com bubble bursting. I took a few freelancing gigs and hated it. So I took a day job at a production studio and tried to write. Well that never works, so three years later I found myself on a trip to Europe all by myself (and eating a lot of gelato), and realizing that if I wanted to write, I had to get serious about it. So I started my totally-serious, writing-only freelance career. Soon after that I got a job as an editor of the design blog UnBeige and my career just took off. That was seven years ago and I’ve never looked back. I love being a writer, I love telling stories, and I love being freelance.

Tell us about your current job.
Right now I’m a freelance writer for several publications. I contribute regularly to GOOD; Fast Company’s new design site, Co.Design; the public radio show DnA: Design and Architecture; and write occasionally for a few others like Dwell, AFAR, and Sunset. I have been writing a blog about design, cities, walking, Los Angeles, and gelato since 2006 named Gelatobaby. I produce and program a lot of events and conferences, including events and parties here in LA for GOOD, as well as the monthly design event design east of La Brea. I’ll be speaking and moderating several panels at the upcoming Dwell on Design conference in June, and I’m also putting together an emerging designer mini-conference for AIGA’s national design conference in Phoenix in the fall. I’m also working on a book of essays about Los Angeles.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up around 6:00am and start to sift through the emails which have accumulated in the night. Then I usually start on my toughest or most important writing assignment first thing in the morning when my brain is sharpest. A few days a week I head into the office at GOOD (here in LA) for meetings, but otherwise I’m here at my desk pretty much all day. I also do a lot of field reporting for local stories so I’m often out and about a few days a week, riding my bike or public transportation to various places around Los Angeles. I stop and make a really great lunch with my boyfriend, the graphic designer Keith Scharwath, who also works from our house. I usually work on the weekends, too.

What kinds of documents do you produce?
I would say a vast majority of the pieces I write are blog posts. This is a dramatic shift from only a few years ago when I was producing maybe 75% print pieces and 25% blog. Now the print pieces are definitely the exception. But I actually really prefer writing online pieces: the immediacy is so great, and the ability to share and comment make the story better.

What communication skills are needed for your job?
Freelancers in general need to be very clear about their availability and be able to manage expectations, things I’d say I’m not so talented at. I often take on far more than I can feasibly do and then work far more than is humanly possible. Although I’m not sure it’s a requirement, I am very vigilant about answering emails right away. Again, not sure if that’s necessarily a good thing but it’s something I feel strongly about.

How did you prepare for your job?
I think I took a very roundabout path to my current career (and I say current because it could all change soon!) so I’ve ended up drawing upon many skills that I’ve used throughout my lifetime. One thing that sticks out is my experiences performing in theater and show choirs when I was younger. Public speaking has become a big part of my job and I don’t think I would have been able to do it if I hadn’t been onstage so much as a teenager.

List three of your favorite professional resources/references/tools and tell us why they’re your favorite.
The first and foremost is UPOD, a writers’ group started by my friend David Hochman. Here journalists from around the world share information and advice with each other. It’s awesome. And I have to say Twitter is #2: It’s where I get most of my story ideas, and where I’m able to share what I write with an enthusiastic audience. #3 would be my Leica D-LUX 4 camera. I love taking photos and writing about the way I experience Los Angeles on my blog.

How do you stay up to date in your field?
As I mentioned, Twitter is a pretty great tool, as is just reading the blogs of my friends, who are all geniuses in their fields.

How would you define professional writing?
Professional writing is the ability to take an important story and turn it into an unforgettable experience that your enthusiastic readers can’t help but share with their friends.

Do you have any tips to share with other professional writers/editors/designers?
Never, ever, ever take a job for the money. Just when I think I’ve learned this lesson, I fall back in the hole and end up hating myself, the publication, the world. Only pick the jobs and assignments that are going to make you proud.

In the Workplace, Spring 2011 Edition

Spring has finally arrived, and to celebrate, beyondwords will be showcasing the talent of professional writers, editors, and designers in the next edition of our “In the Workplace” series.

Our featured professionals will give us a glimpse into the work they do, from how they create and communicate in their job to how they define professional writing.

The Spring series will kick off tomorrow, April 27. Until then, get inspired by browsing our past features of young professionals.

Giving credit

Sharing is awesome—and so is giving credit where credit is due. For help in citing sources, check out these two handy flowcharts.

Photo Credit by Pia Jane Bijkerk, Yvette Van Boven, and Erin Loechner (via frolic!)

See Something? Cite Something. by The System and Caldwell (via Rosscott, Inc.)

Starbucks celebrates 40 years with a new look

Starbucks turned 40 today and to celebrate, they began rolling out the rest of their rebrand—sans the company name.

Here’s what Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO, said about the Siren-focused identity.

As we continue to connect with more customers around the world in innovative ways, our brand is also evolving to address the changing global market. Our new logo, which customers will see in stores beginning today, reflects this evolution by honoring our deep coffee heritage while allowing us to grow in exciting new ways.

This isn’t the first time we’ve looked at Starbucks’ branding strategy. From the first signs that the brand was being watered down to the decision to debrand select stores, Starbucks has been struggling to get back to its roots. The new focus on the Siren speaks to that effort while relying on customers to make the connection between the logo, the company, and where it all began. The question raised by the new look: can the nameless logo bring strength back to the Starbucks name? I’m looking forward to the answer.

The Elements of Content Strategy

Content strategy is the web’s hottest new thing. But where did it come from? Why does it matter? And what does the content renaissance mean for you? Content strategist and editor Erin Kissane tackles these questions in the latest A Book Apart publication, The Elements of Content Strategy. From basic principles to tools and techniques, this brief guide is great for both experienced content strategists and those making the transition from other fields.

We’re giving away a copy of this book to one of our readers. Simply leave a comment telling us your format preference (paperback or ebook). We’ll draw a name at random on Friday, March 11 at 5pm EST. In the meantime, be sure to head over to the A Book Apart site to read an excerpt and check out the other fantastic publications.

Update: The winner is Lori, congratulations! Thank you to everyone who commented. Be sure to enter our next giveaway in May.

140+ Tweet Feed: February 26-March 6

beyondwords on Twitter

Job Opportunities & Resources

  • Media Molecule is looking for an experienced Graphics Programmer. If interested, please send a showreel or demo of your recent work; those who just supply a CV will not be considered.
  • Want to work for Skype? Join the Communications team as PR Manager. Applicants should be experienced in all aspects of media relations and have exceptionally strong writing skills.
  • Ragan Communications is looking for a copy editor to join their team in Chicago. Experience with both online content and print publications is required, along with an understanding of social media.
  • Hobie Cat Company, designer and manufacturer of sailboats, kayaks, and other watersports products, is bringing their design activities in-house and need a web designer to join the team. Advanced design skills are required, and a personal interest in watersports or other outdoor activities is a plus.

What is 140+ Tweet Feed? It’s where we share our top tweets every week — news, tips, resources, and articles about professional writing, editing, and design — in more than 140 characters. Let us know about other great links on Twitter or in the comments.

Write for Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and this year’s theme is “Our History is our Strength.” The Writing Women Back Into History project is a great way for writers to get involved and celebrate. 1000memories has partnered with the National Women’s History Project and the Internet Archive to remember the contributions of women in history—those whose lives shaped and were shaped by history.

You can join the project by writing about the significant women in your life—describing their lives, sharing photos, and writing stories in their memory. All women who are named will be added to the Internet Archive to ensure that they will be remembered in the future. For more information, visit the project’s site.