Friday, September 10, 2010

Hello New Visitors!

Just wanted to say hello quick to anyone visiting the blog for the first time, either because of the Minnesota Blogger Conference or for other reasons. I know this blog isn't much to look at right now, but I appreciate the visit nonetheless, and I look forward to meeting you and reading your blogs as well.

(cross-posted at Blank Fortune, my miscellaneous, whatever-is-on-my-mind blog)

Friday, September 3, 2010

A (Mostly) Good Month

I was pretty good about posting regularly for the past month or so, and I have a lot going on in the next couple of weeks, so my posting is going to be a bit more sporadic again. I want to get the Newbie's Guide underway (and think of a better name for it), and doing that is going to require more time and planning for each post than I usually put into these, so I'd rather take more time and do it right.

I'm still going to try to post at least a time or two a week, though, and will post other stuff besides the guide to break things up a bit.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Do Your Homework

It should really go without saying, but I'm always surprised by how much people don't know about the organizations that they work for (in any capacity).

I'm not talking about digging up dirt or finding out things that you don't actually have a right to know. I'm referring to current events that affect your employer, or things they've done that are in the news. Additionally, this could encompass the organization's history or initiatives and partnerships that they're currently involved with.

There are quite a few ways that you can learn these things. Most companies have internal websites where news and other information about the company is posted, in addition to what is available on their external sites. Additionally, you can search for the organization's name in Google News or another news aggregator website to find articles, pictures, and video involving the company and their activities. You can also do this to find information on competitors, the industry as a whole, and trends that may affect them. And of course, there are the social media platforms that companies are increasingly taking advantage of, like Facebook and Twitter. Odds are good that your company has some kind of presence there by now (and if not, it needs one, yesterday).

Why keep track of all this? Well, for one, it can help you do your job better. For example, I've been able to learn about flooding shutting down a facility before the official communication from the company was received. Another example are the multiple times I've found about about problems with products before official recalls were issued, allowing me and my coworkers to brace ourselves for the increased workload. But another reason is that it makes others see you as a resource and someone who knows what's what with the business, and someone who is capable of thinking strategically and using new information to good effect. It will impress those you work with and those you work for if you know what's going on.

I'm sure there are ways of learning about a company, organization, or industry that I would never even think of on my own. They don't call it the Information Age for nothing -- with more ways to learn and keep tabs on the world than ever before, there's no excuse to not be informed.