Megan McQ’s Musings

Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Last week, I attended Blog Potomac, an industry ‘unconference’ in the DC area. I had the opportunity to hear from several industry thought-leaders in different areas of corporate communication.


One of the most thought-provoking topics of the day regarded the concept of “personal branding,” an online strategy for an individual to consistently position their ‘unique brand’ across social media platforms.

There have been several emerging “personal brand experts” on the Internet that help individuals understand how to market themselves online. Traditionally, these ‘experts’ encourage others to brand themselves as experts in specific industries–specifically ones that companies are desperate for more knowledge in.

But I find a lot of issue in this matter. While these “personal branding experts” eschew the ideology that an individual needs to “pursue their passion” to become an “expert”, I think a lot of individuals are pressured into following the mainstream or forcing a passion that will help advance their career.

But I wholeheartedly agree with one of the speakers, Liz Strauss, who lightly addressed the issue of personal branding during her portion of the conference. While this is not an exact quotation, she said in response to personal branding that:

“Do not lay an ‘idea’ of who you are on top of your image. Live who you are.”

I believe that this ideology parallels one of the quotations I strive to adhere to. The quotation is from Frederick Douglass, one of the leaders of the abolitionist movement in the US:

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

I believe that companies may need to be wary of “experts.” Especially those who claim to be ‘experts’ in social media.

For example, While I subscribe to well over 50 blogs which I try to read every day (amassing to 1,000+ blog posts weekly), I would never refer to myself as an ‘expert.’ This decision is primarily due to the nature of our business. By the time I finish reading my blog posts in the morning, the information is already obsolete.

The exponential rate at which my industry moves is one of the reasons I’m so drawn to it. While we understand our theories of transparency and authenticity (disclaimer: oversimplification), our industry trends and tactics evolve so quickly that the title ‘expert’ is in and of itself an indicator that one would be obsolete. For example, by the time one takes the time necessary to brand oneself as an ‘expert’ in a particular aspect of social media, they have already fallen behind the curve.



Posted on: May 12, 2009

A couple of months ago, I came across Wordle, a word cloud generator. Word clouds create images using words (profound, I know). The larger the word indicates the more times it has been used throughout a particular area of text.

Wordle has a variety of options that allow for the creation of beautiful, unique word clouds. For example, users can cut and paste a section of text or use a URL to generate the text of their cloud. Colors, fonts and direction of text are other options that may be used.

I think the best element of this program is that it looks at the entire text to create the tag cloud. This function differs from most blog tag clouds because typically tag clouds only generate from the ‘tags’ of a blog post, not the entirety of the text within the post itself.

I told myself that I would use Wordle on my blog a number of times to visually represent what I write about. Admittedly, I went a little overboard and created three Wordle tag clouds this time. I hope you can see why!

I may also make a word cloud for one of my favorite songs or poems and update this post later. I’d love to see links to your Wordles, or if you know of another word/tag generator, please comment below!  Thanks! Now, without further adieu:




All images created by the web application are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

This past February, The NYT wrote an article that covered a ‘viral’ communication trend on Facebook. Millions of users wrote notes in their pages that told their friends ’25 Random Things you Didn’t know About me.’

While I am finally going to attempt to uncover ’25 Random Things you Didn’t know About me,’ I think it’s more important to explain why I put ‘viral’ in ‘these parentheses thinggys.’

The ’25 Random Things’ conversation trend was definitely viral. However, there are viral marketing companies that promise viral marketing campaigns-which is a complete myth. I believe that you can create online marketing campaigns that go viral, not create viral marketing campaigns.

In other words, the ‘viral’ element of an online marketing campaign is a secondary outcome to a campaign. If the content of a campaign isn’t buzz worthy to online constituencies, then it simply won’t go viral. Any company that specializes in ‘viral campaigns’ should definitely be met with a cautious eye.

Over time, I plan on exploring recent case studies that demonstrate how online marketing can go wrong if not planned carefully. But since I know you’re incredibly curious about my ’25 Random Things,’ I’ll continue to debunk and explore the hot topic of ‘viral marketing’ soon. Until then…

1. E-A-G-L-E-S!  EAGLES! eagles

2. I value human connection. I enjoy talking to random people and hearing their stories, I’ve learned some of the most fascinating things.

3. I’m left-handed, but I play all of my sports right-handed.

4. I like customer service; something about helping and connecting with people is something that gives me a lot of pleasure and meaning. This is probably due to the fact that I am very intuitive and can tell what someone needs (a majority of the time) without them having to articulate it.

5. My Myers-Briggs letters are ENFP, although I’ve taken the test several times and sometimes get different results such as ENFJ.nocats

6. I’m allergic to cats. Just thought I’d throw that one out there.

7. I like to be creative. I don’t know in what capacity, per se. While I like developing strategy and persuasive ways to present and create said strategy, I think this is due to the fact that I like to ‘think outside the box’. I am in envy of those who can express themselves creatively, through art forms (photography, dancing, etc.), and I think it is a shame that our society does not value them more.

8. I believe that knowledge is power.

9. I make a mean tomato soup…from a can.tomato1

10. I was on the policy debate team in undergrad, I learned a lot about the art of persuasion and found a passion for the law. It was incredibly difficult and extremely rewarding.

11. I’m a middle child.

12. I tore my ACL when I was a senior in high school. We still went on to go undefeated and win states, but it still changed my life forever (one of those pivotal moments). I was unable to play volleyball in college and it was as much as a set back as an opportunity. I didn’t touch a ball for four years, but I am trying to get back into the sport and play several times a week.

13. I’ve broken my left wrist two times. Ow.

14. I’m horrible with learning new languages–but I still would like to learn Spanish or Mandrain Chinese.

15. I have an off-beat sense of humor.

16. Ben Folds is my hero.benfolds2

17. So is Mozart.

18. And Mahler.

19. I used to sing in a professional children’s chorus, I was the youngest member when I started and I was in it for 6 years. We performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and actually performed a mass at the Basilica in Rome. As a result, I know 15x more about Mozart than the popular music of today.

20. I socialize with people 3-4 years older than I am, and always have.

21. I’m quite an epistemological person.

22. I like mayo on my french fries.

23. I really like the theory of globalization and its implications on our society.


24. I’m obsessed with my chapstick, it’s called ‘Chap Ice’ and I never go anywhere without at least one. I actually bought 50 direct from the manufacturer one time because I was having trouble finding them.

25. My alma mater is James Madison, I will always bleed purple.

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