Amber Mac is one of those new media whizzes I’ve always wanted to chat with. She has managed to excel in a relatively competitive field, and still remain very relevant and well-versed in the ever-changing landscape of social media and technology.
I started off the interview with a relatively simple question: how do I get better at social media?
GETTING FAMILIAR WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Before reporting on it, Amber Mac recommends that everyone immerse themselves in the industry of their choice for a few years. She did this herself in Silicon Valley before starting to report on technology and social media.
Amber also suggests honing online skills by using different social networks; instead of simply deferring to Facebook or Twitter, use two to three in a significant way. Build communities through multiple networks, and reach out and connect with people in your industry. This coincides well with the advice of focusing in on a few networks and really making sure you laser in on them and crush it on each one.
WHICH OPPORTUNITIES TO TAKE (AND WHICH TO WALK AWAY FROM)
I’ve heard from friends about the issue of picking between opportunities, and deciding which one is most valuable. When I asked Amber Mac about one of the most challenging parts of her job, she said that it was having many jobs and knowing where to draw the line and how to balance all of those and the rest of her life. She sounded like someone who knew which opportunities to take, so I decided to pick her brain on it. She gave me three criteria:
- Financial. Does it make financial sense for you to take this opportunity?
- Time. Do you have time to do a great job on this specific project or task?
- Opportunity. Does it open up other doors for you? Credentials?
Also, if there’s an opportunity that does pop up and your plate’s full, Amber suggests trying to recommend someone for the project. “Not only does that help the person who is reaching out to you for work, but it also helps people in your own network get ahead,” she explains.
TRENDS IN SOCIAL MEDIA RIGHT NOW
“One of the biggest trends we’re seeing in social media right now is that there are a lot of smaller networks popping up. It’s not necessarily about the massive networks like Facebook anymore, but about smaller networks, more intimate networks, and tighter connections with people,” says Amber. “Path may be one example of a social network that is changing up the social network landscape in this day and age.
Amber also highlights apps like Gabi, which allow you to get very specific analytics about your social network. “It allows you to make more sense, I think, of your own personal analytics. That’s kind of an exciting trend right now: being able to further segment, analyze, and interpret information from your social network.”
It’s true: social networks like SimplyUs, Pair, and Path are making things a lot more intimate with the inner circles of friends. I also found it interesting how analytics are starting to play into not only business and marketing, but personal lifestyle. The Quantified Self movement has been a strong example of this, as has Wolfram’s keystroke experiment.
While her observations in social media are relatively interesting, I find the advice and criteria on opportunity cost to be the substance that jumped out at me the most. Thanks for the advice, Amber!
If you want to hear Amber share her expertise live, you can catch her at Jugnoo’s Social Mix on July 26.