Lena West of xynoMedia

Once again, the guest speaker provided valuable first-hand advice for the class as we progress in honing our personal brand and building the website. As CEO of xynoMedia, and recently named one of AlleyCat News’ “25 Women of Silicon Valley”, Lena West is poised on the frontier of social media. Before I go on, I would like to define social media as West explained it: whereas social networking is defined as a social media tool, social media is the entire set of tools people and businesses use online to market themselves and establish a connection with their audience.311d849

On the most basic level, xynoMedia formulates a strategic approach for companies to engage with customers through social media platforms, efficiently navigating the new world of blogs, podcasts, online communities and social networking sites. West noted that businesses can be a bit “dorky” about social media, often focusing on pushing their message for profit rather than more effectively crowdsourcing. I thought it was very interesting to learn how she determines which social media will work for each corporate identity. As an example of using the wrong tools, West mentioned a California client who steadfastly insisted on launching a blog despite West’s assertions that her audience, mainly financial executives, did not have the time to sit down and read it. As she predicted, the blog went nowhere. On the other hand, creating a podcast that was tailored specifically to the needs of the client’s audience, allowing them to connect with her, know her voice and trust her expertise, was a great success. This example was wonderful because it laid bare the workings behind examining one’s goals, identifying an audience and utilizing social media to suit that audience. I found this advice to be extremely helpful to me as I focus on deciding whom my audience is and how I should tailor my social media presence to fit that identity.

Throughout the second half of the presentation, West focused on providing tips and advice to the class based on her experience. These are invaluable not only because of her position as CEO of a social media company, which she built herself, but also because she is not much older than us. She mentioned the importance of understanding how social media works on the back end, for instance having a working knowledge of WordPress, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and other tools. This is something I will definitely explore because I would consider my lack of experience in that field to be a drawback, but I believe that this class has been helpful in making me more comfortable with coding (HTML and CSS).

In the competitive job market, whatever you can do to enhance your application is key, so I plan on taking the time to build my skill set in the basics of social media and keep up to date with trade publications. I would also like to take the time to investigate some of the other sites West mentioned, such as automattic.com and Crain’s New York Business. Furthermore, West reiterated what Reginald Ponder emphasized about making sure your brand fits your identity. She said the biggest mistake when it comes to managing one’s persona would be including content that is entirely inappropriate, such as photos on Facebook that do not reflect the brand of a responsible and professional aspiring journalist. As an employer, she attests to the fact that she checks social networks routinely before hiring people and although I scanned my Facebook after talking with Ponder, I plan on doing a onceover again as I will be applying to internships in the coming weeks. Perhaps the best advice West offered was that it is not enough to just be good at what you do, you have to know your stuff inside out, be a self-starter and confident in who you are and never stop trying to improve yourself. In my opinion, West appears to be a great example of someone who takes her own advice and she is an individual whom I count as a role model as I enter to work force in just a few years.


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