This is the 2nd of a series of posts responding to a collection of articles in the Houston Chronicle, and on one of its blogs.
There is a new blog on the Houston Chronicle website. It purports to have as its focus social media activities and issues in Houston, or as its writers, Alison Sutton and Dwight Silverman, write “what gets Houston talking on the Web?”
The blog, Word of Mouth, debuted on February 27th and has not had a post since. No sign why, but this can’t be promising. Or maybe they have been pre-occupied, as this quote might show: “Dwight pioneered the social frontier at the Chron years ago, and about nine months ago, I came aboard to bring a marketing angle to the effort. Since then, we have had many a conversation around “engagement,” “brand ambassadors,” “content marketing” and other buzz phrases that ultimately make us cringe.
Be that as it may, this first effort WAS interesting. They have puzzled over a question: Is Houston a social city?
“How are Houston businesses capitalizing on social media? Are they reaching their customers there?” Are they even socially connected with each other? They are on a “quest to find how we, as a news organization, and you, as a city, can use social media tools to our collective benefit.”
By the looks of things they may have gotten lost on their quest.
For most of my blogging life (a decade) using social media has not been easy. Some tools I’ve mastered decently, others I’m now learning and, still others I have no interest in using. As a bike blogger and pet blogger I found that reaching out to fellow bloggers was doable, while reaching out to businesses, shelters, rescues, and the like, usually depended on their being familiar with social media and then having a clue what a blog was so they would not think I was some spammer in a tech center in India or someplace.
I didn’t have any success reaching out to cat rescues and shelters, in Orange County, not even when I sent a flyer in the mail introducing my blog. I’d go into a pet store and discover no-one who worked there had a clue. I did meet a couple of fellow cat bloggers in Los Angeles, at a couple of events, and the OC Register newspaper had an online pet page and blog that called my cat blog a "Blog we dig".
In recent years a website, blog and community has appeared among pet bloggers with the intent to help spread the word about pet blogging and to help in the process of social networking and learning how to do it more and better.
For the first time, thanks to a sponsor's generosity, I will be attending the annual Blog Paws Social Media Conference, in May, in Va. My aim is not just to meet people, face to face, whom I know online, but to network, and learn things that will help me as a writer and as a user of social media.
In the aftermath of having my speaker proposal, for the conference, turned down, a friend encouraged me to start a daily blog that is my effort to educate myself, and my fellow pet bloggers, and start a dialogue in its comments.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CRITTER BLOGGERS: A 365 Day Project - A pet blogger explores the mysteries of social media one day at a time
At some point this evening I will post my 36th entry.
Before I moved here, last September, there already were a few pet bloggers in Houston and surrounding areas, 3 of whom I knew as fellow cat bloggers, and who knew each other. I don’t know how well they were known by the rescue and shelter community in Harris County, but I aim to try to discover how active in social media this community is, and how we can work together on behalf of cats in the area.
A few months ago I attended the Houston Cat Club Charity Cat Show, with one of those cat bloggers, Lawrence Simon, an early cat blogger and promoter of cat blogging, since 2004, (He even wrote a cat blog for the Houston Chronicle for a couple of years) and covered it on my cat blog (8 part series). I met a lot of people, collected a lot of flyers, and passed out a lot of my business cards. Some were familiar with the pet blogging world, others were not.
I have yet to hear a peep from anyone I gave my card to.
A lot has happened with me, creatively and personally, since then, but I have kept those flyers, fully intending to begin to reach out.
I know that there is an active community, from magazines and newspaper columnists, to clubs, shelters and rescues, many of whom are social media savvy to one degree or another; it’s just a matter of my being able to connect with them.