Taming Your Tweets

I was reminded today of how much power our words hold. A simple personal opinion on twitter today really stirred the waters in the creative community. I think the whole thing got out of hand honestly.

Basically we need to put our pride aside and embrace the creative community as a whole. There are no "groups" or "cliques" here at Chat Creative. We are open to anyone interested in connecting with other creative people.

My stance from the beginning of Chat Creative is that this is nothing new. People have been sharing thoughts, ideas and information for hundreds of years. Only with the internet and the recent rise of social networking has our scope of who we can reach broadened. I don't mind promoting others out there with similar ideas, and I hope they would be willing to promote us as well.

So let's put ourselves aside for a second and look at the bigger picture of what we're trying to accomplish. I'm positive that when we do this we will see how we can work together, instead of against.

Defending Your Offense

I am not a huge sports fan, but I love the spirit of camaraderie that is found in a team. It's the need to accomplish something greater than ourselves that drives us to work hard. But sometimes all we see is the negative side of our work, and that really stunts our growth as designers. So what do I mean by "defending your offense"?

1. Know your strengths, but more importantly your weaknesses.

This past weekend as I sat on the sidelines at my wife's roller derby game, I couldn't help but notice how poor their defense was against the other team. Now granted they were playing last years undefeated team, there were still major holes in their strategy. But I didn't connect the dots as to how this relates to us as designers until I watched Joel Beukelman's new video blog, equality for brand and logos alike.

If we are really strong at creating logos, graphics or websites (our offense) and are weak at getting feedback, networking or speaking to clients (defense), then we will almost always end up with just a good (not great) product. And isn't something worth doing, worth doing well? A good way to examine what your strengths and weaknesses are is to make a list for yourself. Here is an example of a list I made.

Defense Offense Strategy

Defense Rating Scale

I know for me it helps to put stuff like this down on paper so I can visualize what I need to work on. If I didn't do this I would just toss the information around in my brain until I became too tired of thinking about it that I would forget. But now I've accomplished two goals; 1. Get my thoughts on paper and 2. Clear up space in my head for more important matters.

2. We need to take the time to build a strategy for success.

Making a list, and actually going by it, will help build a solid foundation for our success. Remember that it's hard to know where we're going if we don't know how to get there. And while it may be difficult to admit our weaknesses, because I know we're all perfect, it will help us create a "game plan" as to how we can improve upon them.

But lists are just the beginning. Getting it down on paper shouldn't be the stopping point. We need to put our words in to action. And that is the best part about this whole thing, we will each have a different plan of action that is unique to our situation. For me, I landed my current job a year and a half ago with just a small amount of knowledge about the web mixed with a willingness to learn, and now I am able to create fully customizable websites in more than one language and style it all up with some sexy css. But this is just the beginning for me. I am by no means close to the top of my game. But I'm here, I'm working at it and I'm loving the challenge.

If you are doing something that isn't fulfilling you, start doing what you love. Do it whenever you can. Paint in the evenings. Wake up an hour early and write in a journal. Stop wishing you had your camera by your side, and take it with you everywhere you go. Just stop wishing you could do more, and actually do it. There is plenty of time in a day to be creative.

3. We need to embrace, and participate, in the community around us.

Social networking has really re-defined what it means to network. I know that may sound redundant, but we are no longer limited to our local design meetups (even though I highly encourage you to do so). The major players like Twitter and Facebook are at our disposal. We are only limited by our imagination as to how we use them.

Twitter adds a whole new depth-of-field that never really existed before. Even though we are limited by 140 characters, it forces us to refine our message and say what really matters. This opposed to other new networks like tumblr or posterous (which are great) that act more like micro-blogs, and then you might as well just post on your blog anyways. But before I get off on a huge tangent, Twitter (when used effectively) is able to expand your network faster than any other service.

But don't get caught up in the hype of trying to outperform everyone around you. There will always be those people who are smarter, faster and stronger. We need to focus on our strategy and play to our strengths... and weaknesses. I like to think of what the tortoise said, "Slow and steady wins the race".

People Not Popularity

I'm back with my second video blog, thanks again to all of you who left a comment, critique or other piece of advice. I value what you have to say and it's helping me get better at this.

Today I wanted to talk about relationships, and how important they are in the realm of social networking. Regardless of how many followers I have on Twitter, because sometimes it can be overwhelming, I am glad to have a group of people to really invest in. And that's what I think we should focus on, people not popularity.

Other links to check out

Why I never want to be an expert by Seth Simonds Who Do You Know? (Part II) by Nate St. Pierre

Twitter Mix CD Design

Twitter mixcd10 Vellum Insert A few weeks ago my fellow twitterer @ableparris posted a tweet asking if anyone was interested in doing a twitter mix cd.


And since I'm a huge lover of music and design I knew this would be a be a fun project to work on. So this weekend I finally had some room to breath, and with a little creative nudge from my friend Alex I got crackin' on my mix cd packaging design.

I wanted to keep things simple and consistent, but I didn't have a clear vision of how I wanted it to look. So as I began rummaging through my old book collection I came across the perfect solution. It was a book of bird illustrations I bought a couple years ago and had forgotten about until just then. It was perfect.

Twitter mixcd10 Album Detail

twitter mixcd10 single album detail

The insert of the packaging is a sleek contrast to the exterior. I created my playlist and overlay templates in Photoshop. Then I printed the playlist on graph paper and used a heavy-stock vellum paper to print the overlay on. The results turned out quite nice for using just an all-in-one printer. But that's just my awesome design skills in effect, well that and the fact that I used the Archer typeface. mmm...

You can view the full set on flickr here.

PS - I have one extra copy to give away. So if you are interested in getting your hands on one of these beauties, and like listening to good music, leave me your best comment below. I'll pick the winner this Friday (the 15th).

Congrats to Garth Humbert (@iamgarth) for winning the extra copy.

33 reasons to follow me on twitter

33 reason to follow Kyle Steed on Twitter

  1. I won't over load your feed with nonsense
  2. Because twittering lowers your cholesterol
  3. My middle name is Andrew
  4. Two words, Twitter Tools
  5. I like to DIGG
  6. I know how to FLOAT
  7. Like Adelle says, Just Tweet It
  8. Or like Dwight says, "Don't think about it, just do it, 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 -1"
  9. I prefer quality over quantity
  10. BEER ME
  11. I'm extremely organized
  12. I'd like to use one of my life-lines
  13. My breath doesn't stink in the morning
  14. I'll be gentle ... promise
  15. You WON'T shoot your eye out
  16. Are you from Tennessee? Because you're the only ten I see!
  17. I always wear my seatbelt
  18. I think "going green" refers to sexual relatioins with the Jolly Green Giant
  19. I won't play games with your heart
  20. I'm a good listener
  21. I found Carmen Sandiego ... but still looking for Waldo
  22. Part of the DFW WordPress meetup
  23. I would rather vote for Ron Paul
  24. I know THIS GUY
  25. Because words like death don't scare me
  26. Willing to share my knowledge about the BARF diet with you
  27. Can offer advice to your intermediate WordPress questions
  28. Enjoys my morning cup of tea
  29. I love to meet new people
  30. I know who killed the electric car
  31. Because you can never have to many friends
  32. It's WAY faster than email
  33. To sum it up, I'm pretty much awesome

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