Geek of the Week: Matt Wilson

This week’s Geek of the Week is Matt Wilson, who has the special honor of being our first male Geek of the Week.

Matt is the kind of geek that wears many hats (or capes, depending on the situation). Sometimes he’s an analytics geek (his profession), sometimes he’s a techie geek (taking things apart), and other times he’s a gamer geek (D&D, anyone?).

We think it will be obvious pretty quickly why we chose Matt: he’s smart, personable, funny and OMG: so geeky. He’s also been a longtime supporter of the Geek Girls Guide, encouraging us and cheering us on from day one. So we love him for that. Also? He’s the dad to two young girls, and he takes a lot of pride in encouraging them to take stuff apart and in making sure they embrace a little danger now and then. Fathers raising geeky girls? Gotta love that.

In this podcast, Matt explains his role as Manager of Digital Analytics at General Mills, talks about his early aspirations to be a doctor, and how he ended up doing web-related stuff for a living.

With so much to talk about, we found ourselves wrapping up after a whopping 45 minutes! He did leave us with a few final words of advice including, “Get yourself right, then focus on your skills, and then on your network. Don’t specialize too much. Being versatile is a great asset, and at the end of the day knowing business in general is better than knowing only how to optimize a web page for search.”

Thank you again to Matt for joining us and being our first manly Geek of the Week. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

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Are you a geek? Do you know a geek? Is there someone you’d like to hear from? Drop us a line at [email protected].com or leave us a comment on our Facebook page!

Since today is Matt’s birthday we had to include a little birthday surprise!

Geek of the Week: Gini Dietrich

This week’s Geek of the Week is Gini Dietrich. Gini is the CEO of the digital PR agency, Arment Dietrich, and the author of Spin Sucks. One of the top rated communication professionals on the social networks, Gini was recently named the number one PR person, according to Klout and TechCrunch, on the channels, and number one on Twitter, according to TweetLevel.

Gini started in the traditional public relations world, but quickly shifted her focus to digital, which lead her to Twitter. Now she has over 11,000 followers, most of whom she follows back and interacts with! The “red bull” question: what’s your take on following and unfollowing?

In addition to Spin Sucks, Gini is also active on the speaker circuit, delivering 2-3 sessions a month on average. But being such an influential person doesn’t mean she thinks she knows it all, in fact she’s got a lot of people who influence her, from Writing Roads to Elizabeth Edwards. Bottom line: Gini strives to be humble and transparent, and values those who are, too.

Gini is smart, funny and engaging — we hope you agree that she’s a fantastic Geek of the Week.

(For those of you who don’t know what she’s talking about when she mentions Summer of Dresses, check out the website here.)

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Are you a geek? Do you know a geek? Is there someone you’d like to hear from? Drop us a line at [email protected] or leave us a comment on our Facebook page!

Podcast #19: The Follow/Unfollow Debate

In podcast #19, we talk about what effect being plugged in with technology can have on our productivity. We also touch on the subject of Twitter follows. Should you follow back everyone who follows you? Does the number of people you follow say something about how engaged you are with them?

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Podcast Summary

First, we have to welcome Nancy back from her summer vacation; things weren’t the same around here without her. During her time away, she noted that she got a lot more work around her home, which got us thinking: does being plugged in affect your productivity?

Then came the dusty muffin discussion…if you’re unfamiliar you can watch the Betty White SNL clip here.

In the latter half of the podcast, we argue about discuss the question: how many people should you follow? Does following more people mean that you’re more engaged, or does it mean you’re stretched too thin? Does not following everyone back mean you think you’re some kind of celebrity?

There are a million different ways to look at this question, and a million opinions about which approach to Twitter is the right one. What do you think? We want to hear from you!

Geek of the Week: Jen Kramer

This week’s Geek of the Week is Jen Kramer. Jen is a Joomla geek who’s been building websites for nearly a decade, but her geek roots actually go back to the 70’s when she learned BASIC while sitting on her computer programming grandmother’s lap. You heard that right: her grandma was a coder. We can’t get over how geek-tastic that is.

Jen has a broad knowledge of what it takes to make a “quality website,” but she’s also a fan of open source tools, like Joomla, because you can have a say in what it does or what’s included in the next release. We also LOVE the analogy she used for how to describe “free” open source tools to clients: there’s a difference between free beer and a free puppy. Get it? Listen to the podcast for more!

As a Joomla expert she recently published a book called, “Joomla! Start to Finish: How to Plan, Execute, and Maintain Your Web Site” and is a featured presenter on Lynda.com with presentations ranging from Joomla specifics to general website planning & strategy. Now, if all those things don’t keep her busy enough Jen also leads the Joomla! User Group New England.

Here’s a big thank you to Jen for spending time with us and being our Geek of the Week!

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Geek of the Week: Charlene Jaszewski

This week’s geek is Charlene Jaszewski (@theredheadsaid). Charlene is a self-proclaimed geek hybrid, crossing gadget geek and content/usability geek; claiming the geek started before it was even cool to be a geek.

In her professional life Charlene is a freelance content strategist and developer who can be found at KickStartStrategy.com. As a freelancer she spends her days making things simple for the average user and telling you how to make your website more friendly to your users. Before heading up her own company she spent some time doing something really geeky, writing user manuals, which she credits much of her ability to speak for the average user.

In addition to her company she writes a blog called The Red Head Said, which she admits is a bit more snarky than her company’s blog, but it’s her voice and she’s not willing to change it! Lucky for us she brought that same voice and enthusiasm to the podcast, letting us both enjoy and join the conversation, rather than lead an interview!

We also wanted to add another special thank you in here for Charlene and her flexibilty, as you know even geeks can have techinical difficulties, and this podcast was no exception! As they say, third time’s a charm! Thanks Charlene!

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Geek of the Week: Erica Mayer

This week’s geek is Erica Mayer (@ericamayer). Erica recently used her skills and connections to raise $11,111 in less than 3 months for Charity Water. She credits the campaign as opening her eyes to a whole new generation of giving, and says, “It just shows you you don’t know what you’re capable of until you have to do it yourself.”

In addition to talking about saving lives (555 of them!) she gives us a walk through her daily tasks as a Preditor (Producer and Editor) at WCCO, tells us what ROI means to her, drops the #jmu612 hastag, and explains her infamous “Puke Rainbows” slogan. Whew! We still wonder when this girl sleeps, especially with the annoucement of yet another project.

It was a pleasure to meet and talk with Erica; she’s got a knack for being inspiring without being too “head in the clouds.” We also have plans to stop by her office with a video camera so we can show you exactly what a Preditor gets to do all day! Doesn’t it sound fun?

We also have to give her a shout-out for being so accommodating. We had an unfortunate incident with the original audio file, and Erica graciously came back to record a new session with us. Thank you, Erica!

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*Note: While recording this, we mistakenly thought this was our 15th podcast, but it’s really our 16th. See if your ears can detect our very subtle audio correction. (Thank you, Jon Tester.)

Also, we know our audio still isn’t perfect — Meghan is a little quiet on this one while Nancy and Erica’s levels were kind of high. But, we’ll keep getting better y’all! We are still learning how to be audio geeks.

Are you a geek? Do you know a geek? Is there someone you’d like to hear from? Drop us a line at [email protected] or leave us a comment on our Facebook page!

Podcast #15: Phones & Online Bullies

In our 15th podcast we couldn’t decide whether to talk phones or bullies. Luckily, Gossip Girl solved all our problems and we talked about them both!

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Summary

First off all, we’re sorry it took us so long to actually write (or talk) about the Palm Pre & the Palm Pixi, but as women of our word we finally got around to it. Overall we’re both married to our iPhones, but at the end of the day there were some things (like real keys, tethering, and the ability to run multiple apps) that really got us excited about these phones. They’re definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for a new phone and want to avoid the horror known as AT&T.

Also, when we recorded this last week we joked that because we now have the 3GS, it’s certain that a 4G will be coming soon. Well, guess what was announced yesterday? AUUUUGGH!

Moving onward, let’s crush cyber bullies! There is much gnashing of teeth about the problem of kids using technology to bully each other. It’s a serious problem, and one that we have a few thoughts around. But, how about this: has anyone noticed how poorly many adults behave online? There are some comments even on this blog that display some pretty poor manners. So, how about we all clean up our act and remember that on the other side of the screen there’s a person with feelings.

Okay. Now, let’s hug.

Hit us up with questions in the comments, or over on our Facebook page.

Geek of the Week: Sarah Evans

The Geek Girls are excited to bring you the first Geek of the Week, which will be a new series in which we feature someone who’s well, a geek. These people can be self proclaimed geeks, people using technology to further their career, or seriously geeky geeks who make rockets and other geeky things.

It’s important to know that while the we can validate that the people we feature are in fact geeks (because they say so or someone else says so or their geekiness cannot be denied), it doesn’t mean we’re endorsing them over the other geeks out there. We love all geeks, but there are only so many weeks in a year.

Now, to start us off, for this week’s geek I interviewed Sarah Evans (@PRSarahEvans). Sarah is a PR Geek with cred to back her up like, over 40,000 followers on Twitter, a Vanity Fair article (America’s Tweethearts) and numerous of her own articles featured on the social media giant Mashable.

Sarah tells us about how she got to where she is today, including some work with myself back before the 40,000 followers, and where she thinks she’s going in the future. She also tells us about her personal motto, and gives some advice for other geeks out there that want to kick up their geek skills.

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Are you a geek? Do you know a geek? Is there someone you’d like to hear from? Drop us a line at [email protected] or leave us a comment on our Facebook page and we’ll see what we can do.

Podcast #13: Facebook Privacy

Lucky number 13! In our 13th podcast we take a look at a topic that never seems to go out of style: Facebook privacy. What do the changes mean to you? What are Facebook’s goals? Can you trust Facebook?

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Summary

Seriously, by the time we post this there will probably be a new set of Facebook designs and rules — at least that’s what it feels like. In this podcast, we take a look at some of the changes Facebook has made recently, what they mean to you, what they mean to Facebook, and ask the question, “Can Facebook be trusted?”

If we could stress one take-away from this podcast it would be — every time Facebook makes an update, you should revisit your privacy settings. Read them. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Don’t end up in an uncomfortable situation simply because you didn’t take the time to inform yourself.

Other Resources

Meghan referenced a Clay Shirky video, which you can watch here. It’s about 45 minutes, but worth it: Clay Shirky: It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure.

A couple of interesting articles on this same topic were circulating on Twitter last week as well:

What do you think? Are we on the money, or full of crap? Was this podcast interesting? We felt like we were being boring, but we sure hope we weren’t!

Hit us up with questions in the comments, or over on our Facebook page (if you dare!).

Podcast #12: Social Graces

In our 12th podcast we answer a question from our Men’s Auxiliary about social media etiquette. Namely, how to approach people in real life when you really only know them through Twitter.

*Note: The audio on this podcast is a little wonky. Meghan tried a new setting on the mic, it’s not a good setting, it won’t happen again. Thanks for sticking it out!

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Summary

We received a question from a Men’s Auxiliary member about social etiquette and how to cross the line from a digital connection to a face-to-face connection.

I am a college student and an emerging graphic designer. On Twitter I follow several members of the Twin Cities design community and for a number of reasons:  I’ve either met them, found out they are employed at a firm I admire, or just because I want to get to know better the community I am starting to join. Through Twitter I see their faces everyday, know what they’re thinking, doing, what they like, hate etc. The other night at Artcrank I saw and approached one of these members of the design community to talk, and I did so casually using their first name. I guess I struck the person off guard as I instantly knew they had no idea who I was or why I was so friendly. I had initiated a conversation with someone I knew a lot about, but who knew nothing about me, and in that awkward moment it dawned on me that we had never actually met face to face and this person wasn’t one of my twitter followers. So I guess I was a stranger, but only I. 

My question is, have either of you heard of, or experienced yourself, the false sense of camaraderie that Twitter provokes? As a student, not yet employed, I had a jolting awakening that following people on twitter doesn’t mean they see what I am up to, and in regards to potential employers and bosses (people that can throw some weight around) that “first impression experience” has still yet to happen.

Your thoughts?

Thanks,
From the men’s auxiliary,
Kyle

What do you think? Does that explain it? Hit us up with questions in the comments, or over on our Facebook page.