If you are laid off, here's how to socially network

I’m getting a LOT of chats from people who have been laid off. Most of the time I find that they just aren’t presenting a good face to me for me to help them find a new job.

If you are laid off, here’s what you need to do:

1. Your blog is your resume. You need one and it needs to have 100 posts on it about what you want to be known for.
2. Remove all LOLCats from your blog.
3. Remove all friends from your facebook and twitter accounts that will embarrass you. We do look. If we see photos of people getting drunk with you that is a bad sign. Get rid of them. They will NOT help you get a job.
4. Demonstrate you are “clued in.” This means removing ANYTHING that says you are a “social media expert” from your Twitter account. There is no such thing and even if there were there’s no job in it for you. Chris Brogan already has that job and he’s not giving it up.
5. Demonstrate you have kids and hobbies, but they should be 1% of your public persona, not 99%. Look at my blog here. You’ll see my son’s photo on Flickr once in a while. But mostly I talk about the tech industry, cause that’s the job I want to have: talking to geeks and innovators.
6. Put what job you want into your blog’s header. Visit Joel Spolsky’s blog. He’s “on software.” That’s a major hint that if he were looking for a job that he is totally, 100%, thinking about software. If you want a job as a chef, you better have a blog that looks like you love cooking, like this.
7. Get rid of the LOLCats. Do not argue me on Twitter about this. Google finds Twitters. Do you want your future potential boss noticing that you post LOLCats all day long? Believe me, you do not. It will NOT help you.
8. Post something that teaches me something about what you want to do every day. If you want to drive a cab, you better go out and take pictures of cabs. Think about cabs. Put suggestions for cabbies up. Interview cabbies. You better have a blog that is nothing but cabs. Cabs. Cabs. Cabs all the time.
9. Do not beg for links. If you did the above, you can Twitter me and say “check out my great software blog” though. Include @scobleizer in the tweet so I’ll see it. I’m an egotistical baaahhhsssttttaarrrrddd so I read all Twitter replies that include my @scobleizer name in them. Hint: I haven’t met a blogger yet who is not an egotistical baaahhhhsssttttaaarrrdddd. Take advantage of it. But no begging.
10. If you want to be a plumber, look for other plumbers to add to Twitter, friendfeed, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Remove all others. Be 100% focused on what you want to do.
11. On Twitter ou can tell me what you had for lunch, but only after you posted 20 great items about what you want to do. Look at Tim O’Reilly’s tweet stream. Very little noise. Just great stuff that will make you think (he wants a job as a thinker, so do you get it yet?)
12. Invite influentials out to lunch. Getting a job is now your profession. If you were a salesperson, how would you get sales? You would take people out to lunch who can either buy what you’re selling, or influence others who can buy. That means take other bloggers (but only if they cover what you want to do) out to lunch. That means taking lots of industry executives out to lunch.
13. Send out resumes. Make sure yours is up to date and top notch on LinkedIn and other sites where employers look for employees. Craig’s List. Monster. Etc.
14. Go to industry events. I have a list of tech industry events up on Upcoming.org. If you want to be a plumber, go to where contractors go. Etc. Etc. Make sure you have clear business cards. Include your photo. Include your Twitter and LinkedIn addresses. Your cell phone. Your blog address. And the same line that’s at the top of your blog. Joel’s should say “on software.” Yours should say what you love to do. Hand them out, ask for theirs. Make notes on theirs. Email them later with your LinkedIn and blog URLs and say “you’ll find lots of good stuff about xxxxxxxx industry on my blog.”
15. When you meet someone who can hire and who you want to work for. Follow them on Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Their blog. Stalk them without being “creepy.” Learn everything you can about them. Build a friendfeed room with all their stuff. That way when they say on Twitter “I have a job opening” you can be the first one to Tweet back.
16. Tell others where the jobs are. One thing I learned in college is by helping other people get jobs you’ll get remembered. So, retweet jobs messages (if they are relevant to your professional friends and to you). Blog about job openings. Help people get jobs. Hold lunches for people who are jobless. Some of them will get jobs and they’ll remember you and invite you along.
17. Do what you want to do. Let’s assume you’ll be laid off for a year. Are you going to lay around on the couch waiting for a call? No. You will do exactly what you want to do. Want to be an engineer at a great startup? Go and volunteer to work there for free. Make sure you do a blog post about every day you do what you’re doing for free. Say “I could do this for you, call…”
18. Do some work on SEO. Make it possible for people to find you. THINK about how people would search for someone with your expertise and skills. Here’s how, Visit the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Do a search on a word that you think represents best what you want to do. I just did one for “Electrical Engineering” and it brought up a ton of great info about what people are searching for. Include those terms in your blog. And, even better, blog about those things!
19. UPDATE: Mark Trapp added to remove any hint that you hated your old job from all your online things.

Good luck. It sucks. I know that. I was laid off last time and, who knows, might be laid off again, but if you’re doing all this stuff and you aren’t finding a job, let me know. You know where to find me.

Got any other ideas? Post them here or on my friendfeed.

UPDATE: you can still get a job even after weird photos and other things are posted about you. I have naked pictures of me out there on the Internet (and that’s been true for the past three jobs I’ve gotten). They still wanted to hire me. So, all of these rules can be broken, but break them carefully! 🙂

My First FlipCamHD video

I was at the Monster party at CES hanging out with the executives there (they sponsored a talk I did with Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk about how bloggers can survive and thrive in this crappy economy). A guy handed me a little bag. Inside was a business card and a Flip MinoHD. Turned around and it was Jonathan Kaplan, CEO of puredigital which makes the FlipCams.

I don’t accept gifts of more than $100 so will give this away as soon as I get one of my own but I did use the device to shoot some video of Diana Ross and I put it up on Facebook, which now supports HD video (I did a video with Chris Putnam who runs the Facebook video team where he explains what they did). The quality you see online (if you sign in) is pretty damn close to what I see on my screen here.

More HD videos ahead, especially as I go to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland at the end of the month.

UPDATE: my friend Chris Pirillo did a review of all three and likes the Creative Vado better.

Are you ready for virtual actors in movies?

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One of the most interesting conversations I had at the Consumer Electronics Show last week was with Charlie Boswell of AMD. He works with movie companies to implement the data centers that they need to build movies of the future and he told me about this new technology, called “Light Stage” which lets movie companies capture human actors and then change their images into software-controlled “virtual actors.”

Until now this technology looked cheesy. But no longer. You probably have already seen virtual actors in movies and haven’t realized it (all done with Light Stage).

Here’s the two videos so you can see how movies are changing.

1. Charlie Boswell, who has the coolest job at AMD, working with movie studios to make special effects where he talks to me about what he’s working on and tells me about Light Stage. If you are into movies, he talks to me about a bunch of movie houses and how they are using technology.
2. Jules Orbach, CEO of Light Stage/OTOY, showing me some clips of what these virtual actors can do. He was also up on stage during the AMD keynote and Barron’s Online has a live blog of that. On stage AMD and OTOY announced they were working on the fastest supercomputer ever.

Anyway, it’s interesting to see how technology continues to change our movies. Boswell blows my mind when he says this technology will soon be affordable for everyone (soon being years, not decades).

Are you ready?

Are trade shows dead? My answer might surprise you

Harry McCracken, who used to be the lead editor over at PC World, notes that CES is getting smaller. 22% smaller this year.

I will predict it will be even smaller next year. Why? Because I know many of the marketers at the world’s largest tech companies and they say they are going to downsize their booths next year.

But, I’m also hearing enough people say that they are getting good value out of their investments here so they will increase in size or stay the same.

So, I was wrong to say that CES is going to die. It’s pretty clear that won’t happen.

On the other hand? MacWorld is in the midst of a death spiral. No one I know expects that show to be around in two years. They should have rebranded it iPhone World. That might have saved it. Now? I don’t know if it is savable. IDG is welcome to call me and tell me why it’ll be a strong show, but with Apple and other key vendors pulling out that sure looks dead.

Walking around Broadcom’s booth at CES also taught me a lesson. That the CES show is going back to its roots: interactions between tech companies and the buyers. That’s something that can only efficiently happen in a tradeshow: getting all those people to visit your company’s headquarters just won’t happen.

So, tradeshows won’t disappear. But they will definitely be smaller for a while. By the way the taxi drivers I talked to in Vegas said every trade show this year had smaller audiences than the previous years. Vegas is getting slammed by the downturn (the airport on Sunday was empty, I haven’t seen that in Vegas since the 1980s).

Enjoy this video from Broadcom’s booth
, they show me the chip that will be in the next cell phones coming next year.

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Smartphone competition: It's too late for Nokia and Microsoft, but not too late for Palm in USA

Everyone is still talking cell phones. Just visit TechMeme today and you’ll see lots of news from HTC, I’ve already seen some claims that it has a “Palm killer.” Hint: it’s not about the device, it’s about the software you put onto it. Haven’t we learned that yet? Remember when I told you two years ago that the iPhone is a better device than what Nokia had? Remember how many people argued with me? They were wrong. Just like they are wrong to say that Palm doesn’t have a shot here. Heck, when I saw Walt Mossberg last week, the Wall Street Journal’s top tech writer, he said Palm has a shot.

But, sorry, Nokia, Palm caught the last train out of town. They made it to the station 30 seconds before the doors closed.

You didn’t make it and there are no more trains for the USA market.

Why do I say that?

Because in the USA there are only these major carriers:


AT&T? Gone. Apple has them sewn up. Verizon? RIM has them sewn up. I met with RIM’s director of marketing at CES and he was smiling. That should give you a hint. Sprint? Palm has them in the Palm of their hands now. T-Mobile? Google’s Android is their key smart phone.

So, what does this mean? All the US carriers now have their SmartPhone choices. All the trains have left the station.

Who is out in this game? Microsoft and Nokia.

So, what do Microsoft and Nokia have to do to get back in the game?

Do something so unbelieveable that it causes everyone in the world to want one.

Hint: I have friends who’ve seen the new Microsoft OS. I’ve seen the new Nokia OS, just a month ago. They don’t have it. The game is afoot and Nokia and Microsoft are left at the station.

Am I wrong? Argue with me.

Please note that I’m only talking about the US market. Nokia and Microsoft will do just fine in other markets because their offerings are better for those markets (lower cost, or have stylus’s which are demanded in China, for instance, or have all-you-can-eat music subscription services which are demanded by Europeans). But in USA? Sorry Nokia and Microsoft, it’s going to be a tough year.

Oh, and Laptop Magazine has some good videos of the Palm Pre in action. I can’t wait to get one of these devices and compare it to my Nokias and my iPhone.

During tough economic times be careful with skimping on photographys

I’m talking to companies who use photography in marketing and other materials here:

When I worked at PodTech we made a mistake: we used a photograph from a photographer who was shooting at one of our parties without his permission on a sign. It’s an easy mistake to make. You’re surfing around at Flickr, see a cool photo, and want to use it on a brochure, on a sign, on a blog, or something. It’s very easy for normal people to get confused by the licensing. Just because it has a Creative Commons logo on it does NOT mean you can use it in commercial contexts.

I’m sure that lots of you are under even more pressure now to do marketing without paying much for it. Be careful, because if you use the wrong photo off of Flickr you’ll get hit with a bill for thousands of dollars, like we were, and you might face some really nasty PR on blogs like we did.

So, what should you do instead of surfing Flickr or SmugMug? Use a stock photography agency.

“But, Scoble, aren’t those really expensive?”

Not anymore. Shutterstock’s online stock photo agency, for instance, will sell you five images for $50. What’s the advantage of using those images instead of trying to use images off of Flickr, even ones that are public domain? (All my images, for instance, are totally in the public domain — you are welcome to use them for free and without attribution. My gift to you from Fast Company magazine). There’s two advantages:

1. Every image there was checked for quality by a human being. They look at 100,000 images a week and have more than five million images in their library.
2. Every image has “all you can eat” licensing so you can use that image on your blog, on your business cards, on your marketing materials, on your signs, everywhere.

They also pay all the photographers. Some of the photographers on the site are making $10s of thousands per month, although I just was talking with Shutterstock’s president, Adam Riggs, and he told me that if you are a good photographer, with a portfolio of about 500 images, you’ll probably make around $50 to $100 a month. That isn’t a whole lot, but can help pay for equipment and other stuff and as you improve and get better images that companies need you’ll increase your pay. One difference about Shutterstock is that it is a lot easier to get images accepted into their system than on other, older, stock agency sites who usually only deal with professionals with big names.

Most people who submit to microstock sites submit to more than one. For example, Lee Torrens reports his November 2008 earnings at $615.26 per month which is his combined income from submitting to several microstock agencies.

Anyway, is it worth using images from Flickr to save $50? I don’t think so. Don’t make the same mistake we made at Podtech.