If you spend much time on social media sites I’m sure you’re already familiar with Shana Albert, although you may know her as TheNanny. Shana is a “power user” at sites like StumbleUpon and Sphinn. She also shares her extensive knowledge at her blog Social Desire. Thankfully, Shana was willing to answer some questions for this interview.
What do you do for a living?
I always cringe when I hear people ask me this question. I never know what to say. Most people can tell what they do for a living in under 10 seconds, but for me I always need to explain. Recently, I have started to say I am an Internet Entrepreneur. I realize that is very vague and usually still requires an explanation, but at least it gives me a Job Title to start with.
The reason why it is difficult to explain is because my job has evolved over the years. In 2001 I was a Webmaster. In 2003 I designed my own Preschool Curriculums and developed an eCommerce Website to sell them. In 2006 I started my first blog and it was in 2007-2008 that I added Social Media Specialist to my lists of things I do for a living. It’s difficult to say all of that when people ask me what I do for a living…… Internet Entrepreneur is my way of explaining everything and nothing all at once.
How does social media impact you on a professional and personal level?
In so many ways. And, many of these ways actually are intertwined between professional and personal.
The Social Media activities I participate in on a daily basis is a pleasure for me. I truly, truly enjoy it all. I love the people I work with/network with online. The people are not only my Colleagues, but my friends as well.
I also love writing about Social Media and I get to do a lot of that on my blog Social Desire and on Collective-Throughts. I enjoy Social Media so much that it is sometimes difficult to explain to people what is professional and what is personal to me. It is kind of like a person who works outside their home full-time, but loves the social aspect of working outside their home. Doing what I do is both social for me as well as work. Does that make sense?
I love what I do and I adore the people I work with…. How many people can actually say that honestly?
How did you get started with social media?
I have an eCommerce website where I have designed and sell my own Preschool Curriculum . It is 5 years old and I appeared #1 for the term “Preschool Curriculum” for the first 3 years. Then, all of a sudden I began dropping in the serps. I was so busy running my Preschool Curriculum eCommerce website that I put SEO on the back burner. And, I began paying for that stupidity by slowly jumping down to as low as #17 for the term “Preschool Curriculum”.
I made a point to learn what was new with SEO and what I needed to do to return to my much appreciated #1 position. Anyway, I read about blogs and how this Social Media activity can be a great idea to add to a static website. It’s a great way to have original content added to the website often. Not only do readers/viewers love to see updated content on a website, but so does Google. So, that was my first taste of Social Media. Then, in the Summer of 2007 I discovered StumbleUpon and Sphinn. My Social Media activities grew much more in the last year still. And, I am also happy to say that as of the answering of these interview questions my Preschool Curriculum eCommerce site, ABC Home Preschool, is appearing #1 for the key phrase “Preschool Curriculum” in Google. So, I credit that to Social Media and making sure I always remember never to put SEO on the back burner.
How much time do you typically spend on social media sites?
A lot!! Seriously, more than most people think. I love human interaction…. I need it. I always have my social networking sites open, Im’s open, Microblogging open. Even when I’m doing quiet work. So, unless I’m sleeping I’m working within Social Media…. Probably around 19 hours a day on the average.
Do you currently do any work as a social media consultant?
Yes, I do…. Among my other internet duties. I’m also a Web Designer, Webmaster, Blogger, eCommerce Entrepreneur. I just love working within the internet, and as I mentioned in one of my earlier responses, what has happened to me is more of an “evolution”. I have evolved as the internet has changed. So, I was once a quiet Webmaster and I am now a Social Media Specialist who happens to be a Webmaster as well.
What is your most basic advice for new bloggers looking to draw traffic from social media?
My most basic advice is “Converse”. Social Media is all about Conversation, so make sure to join in the conversation through Social Networking and Comments. Add social networking buttons to make it easy for others to join in the conversation…. This way it makes it easy for readers to bookmark your site and/or vote for your site. Spend time networking in your blog’s niche on Social Networking sites like MyBlogLog, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and other Social Networking sites in your specific niche. Comment on other blogs that write in your niche.
Just be real and genuine about what you write about and who you network with…. that is the most basic Social Media tip, but one of the most important I can think of.
As an influential user, do you get a lot of requests to submit/vote for other people’s content?
Yes, I get some…. But not as much as I use to oddly enough. I’m not sure what that is about. But, when I first entered different social networking communities I use to get asked a lot to vote on this & that. But, more recently I only seem to receive a few here and there.
How has social media impacted you in terms of name recognition and branding?
It has been an amazing experience for me. It has only been a little over a year that I have been using Social Media at this extreme level (other than blogging) and I think other than Fran Drescher people online recognize me as “TheNanny“.
Do you use any tools or services to aggregate info or organize everything that you’re exposed to online throughout the day?
UGH!! I’m so bad at this!!
Not really…. I kind of have my own ridiculous system. I can’t explain it even if I tried. And, trust me…. If I tried to explain it I think you all would think I was crazy!!
I’m terribly bad with change, so my system that I came up with myself has worked since I began this Social Media journey and it is pretty much what I’m using today. I have made some alterations to it as I add more Social Media activities. And, I recently started to use FriendFeed a little more to have some organization to my craze.
I’m extremely organized. However, looking at my life, my desk or my computer…. You would never think so. But, it works for me, so I’m sticking to it.
Thanks Shana for taking the time out to do this interview.