I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining the JSI Capital Advisors Blog team to write about USF and telecom regulatory issues! I am very excited about this new opportunity! There will be no shortage of USF Reform drama, controversy and excitement in the following months, and I am proud to be representing the rural telecom industry in yet another forum.
A LinkedIn Success Story
A few weeks ago when the LinkedIn IPO swept Wall Street and the tech industry by storm, I was a little skeptical and initially thought "oh great, another tech bubble." I've been a LinkedIn member for over 3 years and had only managed to accumulate a total of 4 connections—two of which were my father. I was actually required to join LinkedIn for a Technology Entrepreneurship Leadership and Management class a few years ago, where the professor hoped the students would utilize it to increase professional contacts. Anyway, I was never really able to figure out how to use LinkedIn to my advantage, largely due to the fact that I did not have direct contact with many of the people in the telecom industry that I wanted to "connect with" on LinkedIn, and I wasn't entirely sure if it was good business etiquette to just randomly send connection requests to strangers. After the IPO madness, I decided to give LinkedIn another shot. Thanks to the creepy yet powerful Google Gmail sync option, everyone I have ever e-mailed from email@example.com (who is also a LinkedIn member) was almost instantly added as a potential connection, which I thought was really cool. Google privacy invasion issues aside, this was definitely one time I was happy that the Google elephant never forgets.
As many of you may know, I've been on a path of aggressive self-promotion for Rural TeleCommentary over the last few months. I'm very pleased with the success I've had with Twitter so far, and I figured I should at least try to take advantage of LinkedIn to reach a wider audience of readers for Rural TeleCommentary. So, I updated my profile, downloaded the mobile app, and got to work on building my connections and joining groups. One of the groups that immediately caught my eye was the USF Forum, managed by Bill King of JSI Capital Advisors. This forum contains discussions on many of the topics I have been addressing on Rural TeleCommentary, so I jumped at the chance to contribute to the forum. Since then, I have managed to boost my LinkedIn connections from 4 to almost 70 in less than two weeks (including some very high-profile names), and I've definitely had success in bringing new readers to Rural TeleCommentary.
In addition to gaining new readers for Rural TeleCommentary and the wonderful opportunity to write for JSI, I also caught the attention of the FCC, and I have been invited to meet informally with someone from the Pricing Policy Division of the Wireline Competition Bureau
So the moral of this story is: LinkedIn definitely proved that its inflated stock value may be appropriate because it certainly brought me some amazing opportunities in just 2 weeks of aggressive use! I will not underestimate the power of social media anymore—you may remember that I had reservations about using Twitter at first too, but now I love it and use it as a primary source for daily telecom news and views because I can get articles and reports from a very wide spectrum of the industry in one spot without having to individually check dozens of websites each day. I have definitely learned that if you want to increase your visibility for your career or personal projects, you really have to just GO FOR IT with social networking. I "went for it," and I am extremely pleased with the results so far!
Look for my first article on the JSI Capital Advisors Blog ("The Monitor") sometime next week! I will be writing approximately 2-3 articles per week for JSI and hopefully keep up my goal of 2 articles per week on Rural TeleCommentary as well. Additionally, I will be initiating and participating in thought-provoking discussions and debates on the LinkedIn USF Forum, so please join that group if you have not done so yet! I look forward to "seeing" you there! I am hoping that my involvement with JSI and the USF Forum will provide me with insightful information for my Master's Thesis, which is finally starting to accelerate a little. My advisor at CU is pushing me to look at the USF Reform question from a perspective where I may not be happy with my conclusions—for example, the conclusion that RLECs should consolidate in order to remain viable competitors to large carriers. It is sure to be a challenging project, this is for sure!
It has definitely been a great week!