Continuing our series of behind-the-scenes insights from our SMX Advanced programming team, today we have a Q&A with Michelle Robbins, Third Door Media’s Technology Director, and the operations whiz behind Search Engine Land, Sphinn and our other web sites.
You are the Technology Director at Third Door Media. Tell us what that means.
Michelle Robbins: Primarily, I manage all of the company’s web properties: Search Engine Land, Sphinn, Search Marketing Expo, and Search Marketing Now. I oversee, direct and implement any development initiatives related to the sites. On the back end, I develop custom applications used internally and manage the other systems used throughout the organization.
What did you do before joining the Third Door Media team? How long have you worked in search marketing?
I’ve been working in search marketing for about 11 years now. Prior to joining Third Door Media, I was a consultant for eight years, working with clients on site development and online marketing strategy.
What social media sites do you use and follow?
As the admin, I of course spend a lot of time at our social media site for internet marketers, Sphinn. But Twitter is an always-on, running in the background site I monitor and am active in using (@MichelleRobbins). I also use Facebook and LinkedIn, and there are a number of newer social sites and services that I’m following, but use to a much lesser extent (Naymz, TripIt, etc.).
With the technology of social media evolving so rapidly, how do you keep up with it all?
That’s probably the biggest challenge I confront. Social media and the myriad related technologies, applications, and services are constantly changing, so in addition to staying current with tech news sources and blogs, I rely heavily on signals from my own network—especially those most active in the social media space. Tracking their conversations about tools and services helps to narrow the field—and my attention—to things actually being used and gaining traction, vs. trying to keep up with and demo every new widget that gets released.
Your job requires an amazing attention to detail. How do you stay focused? What do you do to unwind?
I have a lot of lists :-) That’s the big trick for me—organizing and prioritizing projects is key to keeping my production schedule on track. I usually unwind by rollerblading at the beach, but every now and again I’ll do a road trip—I find a nice drive with great music is extremely relaxing.
What are you most looking forward to about your session at SMX Advanced? Can you give us a sneak preview of what will be covered?
I’m really looking forward to being able to discuss the issues and problems that, at some point, affect everyone that has a web site. Search marketing conferences have not traditionally focused on the technical issues that, if not properly planned and implemented, can render a well constructed and executed marketing campaign useless. Getting to the front page of Digg does you no good if your site is down.
My session will focus on technical planning for social media campaigns. As these become more frequent and integrated into an overall marketing campaign, making sure your site’s architecture and platforms are optimized; and that your hosting environment is properly managed and sufficient to handle such spikes in traffic, is critical.
I miss (the new) Battlestar Galactica. Best. Show. Ever.
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