If I could point all the 18- to 29-year-olds in the land to one video about how the social media revolution has fundamentally reshaped power relationships and entrepreneurial opportunities, it would be to this 13-minute video riff with Shira Lazar.
I’ve been following Shira’s online pursuits for a couple of years — she posts videos from her Nokia phone at shiralazar.com — but I didn’t meet her until last month’s South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, and came away enormously impressed.
Shira, who’s based in Los Angeles but can often be seen at tech events everywhere, describes herself as “a crossover personality/hyperjournalist” who develops content for the Web and TV. (Hyper in the sense of modern, multifaceted and multimedia, rather than overcaffeinated.) [OK, Shira claims she said “hybrid journalist.” Maybe so. But hyper seems more apropos somehow. Besides, what’s a hybrid journalist? Half reporter, half tomato?]
She offers advice to those just starting out in the workforce or with a Web enterprise who don’t necessarily want to work for a big company: “Find your voice. That’s the most important thing: What makes you stand out?” Start blogging and twittering to develop your personal brand.
She also talks about how traditional news and entertainment media are now embracing this strange new world of social media. “They want to be in our club now. It’s pretty cool.”
Shira has been involved in “two streams” — TV and online — for years. She appears as a guest on Fox News, and she has a travel show that will air this summer while she blogs and vlogs in Chile for a CondeNet site. The online and offline worlds are converging now, and as representatives of traditional media look toward their digital future, they’re discovering trailblazers like Shira, whose natural habitat includes Twitter, Facebook and online communities.
Some nuggets from our talk:
• Shira: “I don’t just report on technology, I use technology to advance conversation.”
• More and more millennials are discovering that you don’t need to be part of a huge company or broadcast network to make a name for yourself. The workplace has become fluid, with young people in particular attaching themselves to one-off projects or events.
• “A lot of us use Twitter professionally to communicate our brand. … We’re transparent and don’t feel the need to hide.” And indeed, young independent journalists like Shira are sharing their personal lives in ways unimaginable to earlier generations of journalists.
• While managing your personal brand and forming business relationships are important, it’s also valuable to become involved in the community and with certain causes, if the motivation is genuine. She mentioned Nike Foundation’s Girl Effect and Twestival‘s charity:water fund-raiser as stellar examples of community activism.
I’m embarrassed that my LP Micro Litepanel fill light was flashing for the first minute or so of the interview (it was so bright outside that I didn’t notice the flashing, due to low batteries).