Monthly Archives: April 2012

Restaurant Observation

Three? Really?

This is going to be short and sweet, because it’s just something I’ve noticed and I’m not sure why it happens. And that makes me want to write it down and put it out to the interwebs.

Why do appetizers in restaurants always come in odd numbers?! It’s oddly frustrating. And puts undue stress on the couple (or group) that is eating said appetizer. Who gets the last one? Do we split it?

Examples:

My restaurant’s shrimp cocktail – 5 shrimp

Pomodoro caprese from an Italian restaurant I went to Friday night – 3 tomato and mozzarella stacks

Butternut squash aracini from the Tavern in Salem – 3 arancini

It’s fine with things you can cut in half. But shrimp?! I don’t eat shrimp, but I feel cutting one shrimp in half is extremely awkward.

One restaurant that did get it right: the 99’s Outrageous Potato Skins. They give you 8. Rock on.

The Art of Social Media

Social media. It’s quite the hot topic these days. It’s also something I’m very passionate about. Gen Y’ers are thriving on it. Gen X’ers are hopping on the wagon, too, a la your mom on Facebook. It’s also causing some huge debates. Where has the art of conversation gone? Why can’t people just, god forbid, pick up the phone and callĀ someone? What’s with all this texting and Tweeting and FaceBooking? Well, friends, I’m here to – once again – help you understand it all.

I’m not saying I’m a social media expert by any means. I’m just throwing my opinion out there, as usual, and you can do with it what you will.

I feel as though people misunderstand the point of social media. It’s not meant to replace face-to-face communication; although some people may use it that way. I think it’s meant to augment it. There is so much technology available today that allows us to instantly share pieces of our everyday life, for better or for worse. We can snap a picture of our dog on our phone and immediately share it on Facebook and Twitter, and almost as soon after get comments and shares on our content. It’s a very faced paced way of communicating, and many people don’t (or won’t) grasp the scope of how beneficial it can be.

For example, I got my current part-time job because of this blog and my presence on Twitter. I also didn’t have any skeletons in my Google searches, which is a big help. But my boss was able to see my personality through my social profiles before she even met me. The other side of this, though, is that you create a personal brand, whether you like it or not. Putting content out on a social channel may not seem like a big deal, but you have to remember that anyone can find you. This includes potential employers. If you’re in high school, this obviously isn’t’ as important as if you’re a recent grad or even in your mid-20s, but it’s definitely something to consider. How do you want to present yourself to the world? Sure, posting that picture of yourself drunkenly passed out in a trash can at 3am seemed funny at the time, but unless you’re careful (and have your privacy settings in check), that could go everywhere you don’t want it to be.

Connecting with people is another pro for social media. Think about how easily you can find people you went to kindergarten with using a simple search tool on Facebook. You can share personal milestones with friends and family. Let Aunt Susie know you ran the Boston Marathon yesterday and finished…she doesn’t have to know the time. And she just as easily give you kudos back. Of course, nothing beats face to face visits, or even phone calls, but when you’re super busy, like me, its an extremely helpful tool to have around.

Overall, I feel social media is going to become a bigger part of our lives than anyone knows right now. We are such a mobile society that we can’t help but use it – we just need to make sure we keep it in check and don’t let it completely take over our lives.

Networking is Hard.

And I discovered I’m awful at it.

Oh, right. I’ve been gone for a while. Sorry about that. I got a job in social media (yay!); but it’s part time so I’m also still working as a waitress (not so yay). Needless to say, I’ve been kind of busy. But I’m back.

So anyway, I went to a social media networking event today called Bridging The Gap (#btg12 on Twitter) which was an awesome experience. I learned a lot, and I met some cool people. But not as many as I’d like. But I think today was a good learning experience, and of course, I want you to learn along with me. So, networking advice I took out of today follows.

1. Have business cards
This is probably the most important thing you can bring with you. I got mine yesterday. For $30. They’re not the best quality, but for instant printing at Staples, I’ll take it. Okay, it was 4 hours. But that’s still better than waiting a week for super shiny ones. And they did the trick.

But I’m not in a business, you might say. Get them anyway. You can get networking cards specifically. They have all your information, and its a fast way to give your info to someone else. Pretty key in making connections.

2. Have your elevator pitch ready.

If you haven’t worked in sales or marketing, an elevator pitch is your 30 story you tell to someone about who you are and what you do. Basically what you would tell someone if you only had an elevator ride to talk to them. Personally, I try to avoid all contact with people in elevators, but that’s neither here nor there. If you want to make your rounds and talk to as many people as possible, you want to make sure you know what you wanna say and that it’s short and sweet.

3. Don’t be afraid to start conversations

This is where I struggled today. People have name tags with their names and where they work. Even if you go up to them and say “Oh, you work at such and such? What do you do there?” People loooove to talk about themselves, so if you open with a question, you’ll get the interaction you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself, either. That’s what you’re there for.

Finally, exchange cards and follow up with the person. Email them, follow them on Twitter, connect with them on linkedin. You never know where you’re next job opportunity might come from.

If anyone has any other networking tips, share them with me in the comments or on Twitter: @marymallard

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