How to Use Snapchat

Being an old fart (late 40's), I struggled at first to understand the value of Snapchat. Just the same as there are some sound frequencies only young(er) people can hear, I think Snapchat is one of those applications only younger people will get right away. Us old farts have to work at it.

My initial impression

The UI feels disjointed.  It's not intuitive at all to me.  Perhaps they'll add a lot more features (or not) in the future.  I was trying to understand its value. Why do 100+ Million people use this thing?  Unlike all of the other major social applications, this thing feel like it's for a bunch of kids who overshare everything, trying to be the next Kim Kardashian.  I even went so far as to follow Gary Vaynerchuk on Snapchat to try to understand how he's leveraging it.

My revised impression

Recently, I started really thinking about how to communicate my message to others. I want to tell my story, in the hope it helps others.  Last night, I had an ah-ha moment.  Let's compare Snapchat to my blog or to Twitter.  For my blog, people come to me looking for help in the areas of project management, Agile, and Kanban.  I've even been contacted by a few people dealing with ADD/ADHD or looking to do meetups or unconferences.  I used to blog every day but now it's more like once a week or month.  Still, I'm very happy to share what I've learned in all of those domains.  Unfortunately, most of the conversations come from the comments.  That's good but there can be a delay and we can lose context in time.  On my Twitter account, I have several active conversations weekly.  I search specific topics and see if I can help anyone.  I may also retweet or like something every day or share a photo from Instagram.

My ah-ha moment

The secret to Snapchat is in the exchange of value.  First, let's consider there is an investment to telling your story through YouTube videos, blog posts, and even Twitter posts or snaps.  What you're hoping for is you're going to get a return on your investment, by way of subscribers, followers, or likes.  Some people want even more than that.  Some may want a lead or a deal, in order to create more content.  With Snapchat, they have lowered the bar (time investment) so low, you have to change the way you're thinking about this.  They want you to share your story.  They want you to share everything.  But, they want you to limit your story to 10 seconds or less. They don't want you to overproduce (edit) what you are posting.  You can't even upload a picture or video. Currently, you have to create a snap right from your camera.  The whole system is position to share a story with as little effort as possible.

You're not being narcissistic or self-absorbed

I originally thought that Snapchat was for kids who just like to look at themselves or believe they are "special".  I honestly don't think they care.  So, why should we?  They see it as a tool that allows them to share their stories and equally enjoy stories.  If they don't get to it within 24 hours, the snap expires and they don't feel compelled to stress out over it.  In my world, if I see I'm running behind on reading blog posts or podcasts, I start to stress out a little. I feel compelled to binge on them because they don't go away. Snapchat just took the 10 independent blogs or podcasts that I subscribe to, which could take hours a day to keep up with, and forced them to only last 10 seconds at a time and then expire in 24 hours.

How to leverage Snapchat

It's just a matter of time that the demographic of people using Snapchat is going to shift from kids in their teens and early twenties, to people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Until it hits critical mass, I believe it's a bit of a land grab.  People should start getting really good at telling a visual story 10 seconds at a time.  If you follow someone on Snapchat, you're going to have the behind-the-curtain look into their life.  If you're following people on Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and even Twitter, you get a much more scripted and polished persona.  Snapchat will provide a level of authenticity not present in current media.  It will also help steer people to those other platforms, one 10-second snap at a time.

How to snap with me

  1. Download Snapchat on your phone.
  2. Open Snapchat.
  3. Choose to add me as a friend.  You can add by username (derekhuether) or by snapcode (ghost image below)
  4. If you're over 20 years old, I would recommend you Google "How to use Snapchat".
  5. After two people follow each other, it's easy to have a private chat.  I could post a video and then you could send me a private message, asking me a question.

    Snapchat: derekhuether

Free High Quality Hand Drawings

While trying to locate some graphics for a recent blog post, I received a notification from Twitter that an account called Pictofigo had followed me.  Curious about who they were, I checked out the Pictofigo website. This was exactly what I was looking for!  Pictofigo provides high quality freehand drawings for project managers, presenters, and web designers in an easy and efficient way. It is 100% free but I would recommend making a donation to keep them motivated.  If I was an adviser to their organization, I would recommend they establish a paid tier and start charging for their product.  With just 172 drawings (graphics) in their database, I would love to see their product offerings grow.

The graphics remind me a lot of a very cool tool called Balsamiq.  You can use Balsamiq to create mockups of websites or applications.  I haven't personally used Balsamiq so maybe I'll contact them to see if I can do a review of their product.  In the meantime, you can go to Pictofigo now and get some graphics.

Graphic: Pictofigo

Green Eggs and Ham are…

Green Eggs And HamLast night I read Green Eggs and Ham to my Son.  Because nothing is sacred in my world of blogging and project management, I drew a parallel between Sam and myself. If you don't know the story, Sam offers Green Eggs and Ham to an unnamed character.  This character adamantly states he does not like them.

Sam looks for different opportunities and scenarios where the character may enjoy the green eggs and ham.  Every time, he's dismissed.  I will not eat them here or there.  I will not eat them anywhere!

Still, Sam persists.

You do not like them.  So you say.  Try them!  Try them!  And you may.  Try them and you may, I say.

The character finally laments and tries the green eggs and ham.  Guess what?  He likes them.  He likes them a lot!  All of a sudden, he realized all of the scenarios Sam recommended really are perfect opportunities to enjoy green eggs and ham.

So, what are green eggs and ham?  I think they are ideas and opportunities. Yes, the same ones your colleagues had that got shot down.  The same ones you had but were also dismissed.  It's Agile, Scrum, Kanban, or some other approach the customer has never tried before, therefore, they don't even want to try it.

Next time someone has an idea or opportunity, try it!  Try it! And you may.  Deliver value in that way.

Image courtesy of themouseforless

If you liked this post, check out Compassion is the “Killer App” over at the Guerrilla Project Management website.

I also recommend reading Chug, Chug, Vroom, and Expectancy Theory, a blog post by Todd Williams, who explains its applicability in The Little Engine That Could.

Washington DC #PMOT Tweetup

The other night, I enjoyed the company of three awesome people who use the Twitter hashtag #pmot (project managers on Twitter).

It was nice to hear why someone else would blog about project management, why they would engage others on Twitter, or who they thought was interesting in the project management community.

We talked; we laughed; we shared stories.  What I found most intriguing was we weren't all that different.

If you ever get a chance to attend a Tweetup, I say go for it!  It's not like one of those swarmy networking events where someone you've never met walks up to you and hands you a business card.  These are people you've interacted with before.  You all have a similar interest.  You're not there to sell anything.  You go, have a few drinks, and enjoy the company.  It was really nice to shake their hands, making that direct connection.  Though I enjoying singing praises of people on #FollowFriday or tweeting back and forth, it doesn't top meeting them in person.

I hope I didn't talk to much.  I get so excited, I sometimes can't help myself.  Next time, I won't drink the pot of coffee and will just listen.  Thank you Joseph, Jhaymee, and Michiko for a wonderful night.  And thank you again, Joseph, for picking up the tab!

Image courtesy of Michiko's iPhone :-)

Why writing a guest post can be hard

PM StudentI have to admit, doing a guest post for PMStudent was harder than I thought it would be.  I've been wanting to do it for a while but haven't because I couldn't think of the perfect topic and then wound up posting all of those topics on my own site.  What would be good enough for this guest post?  Clearly, the answer was whatever is good enough to post on my own site!   I've done a guest post before, writing about the challenges to task prioritization at the Personal Kanban website.  Still, pondering a topic and writing about it are two very different challenges.   I finally followed through and completed my guest post.  After I let go of my anxiety, it was really quite easy. I've been following Josh Nankivel, and his PMStudent blog, since I first logged onto Twitter and started PM blogging.  Josh is an excellent resource for anyone in the PM industry. Particularly, he is passionate about helping new and aspiring project managers succeed.  It shows!  Since I aspire to do the same thing, you can understand my trepidation in choosing a topic for my guest post on his blog.

My topic of choice was on "Contract type: Here’s the best one…"

Unfortunately, there is no ONE best type of contract because the risk the vendor and customer share is determined by the contract type.  The best thing to do is understand who bares the risks or benefits of each.  Being I don't know if you (the reader) are a vendor, a customer, or a project manager, I offered an objective description of each contract type to help shed some light on the subject.

Please check out Josh's blog and let me know what you think of the post.  Scathing reviews are welcome.  OK, that's a lie. No scathing reviews, please.  I hope this is the first of many guest posts I will be doing.  If you want me to write something for your site, please send me an email or direct message me on Twitter.

Now that I published some information on the PMStudent site, I think I'm going to add a little more content and provide it for download, as an informative product.