Apr 26 2007
She’s a corporate marketing communications professional who has evolved her blog to become a true Conversation Agent. In a pretty interesting interview, Valeria Maltoni gives some interesting insights into where the blogosphere maybe going, including more collaboration between practitioners, a possible scenario of traditional media leading the charge into new media, and other evolution scenarios. She also offers other bloggers some good tips. Read on for more of Valeria’s insights.
BB: To what do you attribute the success of Conversation Agent?
VM: Success to me means keeping your promises. So in that sense, my online persona followed the principles that have served me well over the years. Integrity, honesty, and good sense of humor wrap around the experience of me in relationships. I love to listen to what others have learned and let them help me expand my thinking through conversations.
We’re all so overwhelmed with information, yet many of us want very much to exchange what we know in meaningful ways. I am aware of that when I blog and think hard about the usefulness of what I write. I also give people a lot of credit â€“ we are definitely smarter than I am â€“ and know that they can often chew more than they bite.
BB: Has Conversation Agent benefited your business?
VM: I work in corporate America, so I also bring that whole dimension and reality check to the conversation in the blogosphere. It benefited my own awareness and sense of direction in business, the ability to figure out what works and learn exponentially through the exposure.
I have now written more than 200 posts, received more than 600 comments and 39 trackbacks and have 537 permanent inbound links (my Technorati ranking is still split between domain URL and Typepad URL, yet the links are unique). This means that I have a much better sense of what resonates, what I am absolutely passionate about, and what catalyzes my thinking and moves people to action.
Professionally, I’m a hybrid for sustainable work: a marketer who loves the power of words and is passionate about communications and a communicator who can sell with the ability to get the right people in the room and make something happen. If I had to distill the essence of what gets me up in the morning, it would be the curiosity to uncover and pursue that space between creative ideas and deals/execution and help people grow and evolve in the process.
BB: What’s the best conversation or blog post you’ve had and why?
VM: My best posts are the ones that get shared and provide a launching pad for deeper conversations and thinking in the blogosphere. Maybe the best posts are comments to posts at other blogs.
But I do have a couple of early favorites, which you can see in my “Timeless” list on the sidebar: ‘Getting your Message Through’, and ‘Communicating Change’ as well as ‘The Truth of Signs’. They are my favorites because they prove what people have been telling me my whole life and career: I am ahead of the times. Maybe my next job will have a think-tank work component to it. My being fascinated by and attuned to what people do and keenly observant of the trends that will stick, make me a better marketer.
BB<: How do you see your blog advancing people and companies in their day-to day efforts?
VM: This dovetails nicely to my last comment. Relationships make the world go around and my posts are all about people grappling with them. Whether the relationship is to a new idea, implementation, pattern I observed, or with each other. Sales and profit are outcomes of all those activities, just like you network is the outcome of reaching out to others.
I post both about small changes in thinking that can shift the way you do things for the better, and mega trends/big picture ideas that can potentially change you personally and thus the way you operate in the economic engine.
BB: What tips would you offer other bloggers?
VM: (1). Be yourself â€“ you are the best original and a masterpiece in progress. I dare you to be who you are, or to become yourself through blogging. When you get ideas for posts, jot them down unfiltered and then ask yourself the same questions your readers would: why? when? how? what? But remember that it still starts with who â€“ you.
(2). Choose mentors online if you need to get a feel for the medium. Better if the style and topics are radically different from yours. The purpose is not to imitate, but to see the possibilities. If you engage your mentors, remember that it takes a while to get noticed from anyone â€“ online and offline. Be patient, remain responsible *and* stay in learning mode. Successful people in the blogosphere tend to be successful because they are also nice, yet because they are successful, they are very busy.
(3). Start fresh every day. It’s a good idea to not take anything for granted, not even amazing statistics. Relationships that take years to build are worthy of having, and we build such strong ties over time by working on them every single moment. To stay fresh plan ahead, squirrel away a couple of timeless pieces whenever you get the chance, so that you will not be tempted to post for the sake of posting.
BB: Do you see social networking as an art or a science?
VM: I see it as an outcome. Having said that, I believe that the building blocks are science, yet the success is more art. You need to be aware of both and respond accordingly.
BB: Time dubbed bloggers person of the year. What’s next for the blogosphere?
VM: More collaboration on projects for practitioners. We’re already seeing some of that in my neck of the blogosphere. I also see the integration of this tool in the future of work; it will be executed initially to help manage time, relationships/dependencies on projects, and feedback from results. There’s an irresistible customer-centric component of information posted on the Internet, and that’s what’s going to add the secret sauce to this environment.
I wrote about it recently posing the question about traditional media. The lines are already blurred. Will traditional media play the role of facilitators of conversations? Like with all great innovations, there is unprecedented opportunity to shape what’s next, as with every other new thing we had, there is also amazing responsibility to be mindful of all of those who may be left behind. The blogosphere can be inclusive, or it can be another way to drive us apart. It’s up to us to choose, which it will be.