Stuck in early 2000 web experience. Need 2010 web training in Chicago
September 24, 2010 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Need to get up to par in 2010 web training--social media, mobile devices, SEO/SEM...where in Chicago can I get this minus a degree?

I've been stuck in late 90s/early 2000s web experience--copywriting, project management, basic HTML. I know key terms, what needs to be done but anything 2010 such as SEM, mobile apps, and social media...I have no formal experience. I successfully SEOed my DH's business site (and other sites) But no one cared. I know FB, Twitter, Digg, etc. and their value, but since I haven't formally done it here at this company (earlier proposals were rejected by gun-shy co.) then no one cared. And mobile apps--I don't know anything beyond popular devices. But the ins and outs and implementing apps? Nope.

So the short of it is I have been pigeon-holed into a late 90s/early 2000 job experience so no moving up or out for me. And I don't want to go back as a full-time copywriter. I really, really love the variety of my job but it seems this job only exists here.

I want that to change.

I need recommendations on where to get training in Chicago (I'll probably have to fund it myself).

Do I need a degree? (by god I have a BA/MA and not looking forward to school, even if co pays 90%. I don't have the extra 10% to fund).

In general, how do I keep up with trends and getting experience if where I work won't move forward until 5+ years too late?
posted by stormpooper to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Not affiliated, but was scheduled to go:

From website:

Connect with your Customers — Learn How to Use All Dimensions of Search
Marketers and search engine optimization professionals attend SES Chicago each year to network and learn about topics such as PPC management, keyword research, SEO, social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, multiple site issues, video optimization, site optimization, usability and more.

The conference offers 70+ sessions, intensive training workshops, and an expo floor packed with companies that can help you grow your business. While you're at it, network with peers and leading industry vendors.
posted by edman at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2010

Well, start off by reading, I guess. There are more blogs on these topics than you can shake a stick at, follow people on Twitter. Your challenge will be more about filtering out people who are self-proclaimed gurus or ninjas or rockstars to find those who are getting results.

There are even books on this now. I lean towards more "pop"-sociology stuff, so I enjoy Clay Shirky but just start looking and you'll find what fits more your style.

Join "professional" organizations - is there a local social media club chapter in Chicago? Philadephia has a great group called PANMA (philadelphia area new media association).

Attend conferences -- any sort of unconference will cover some of this information, at least for someone who is starting out and they're usually very low cost or even free. Some keywords - BarCamp, SocialMediaCamp, PodCamp, 140char, the SEM/SEO related stuff is generally more expensive because people who do it charge lots of money.

As for getting experience, start off small. Are there side projects you could take on for small (really small) businesses that are just venturing into these areas? One great group/organization I like is NetSquared, which is a group that works at the intersection of technology and nonprofits. Maybe you already volunteer with an organization? Offer to manage their twitter account, facebook page, youtube channel, etc.
posted by polexa at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some good starting points via Mashable - 40+ Web Design and Development Resources for Beginners
posted by doorsfan at 1:15 PM on September 24, 2010

  1. Don't try to become a social media expert. There are so many blowhards out there now. Just know enough to recognize one of them. Gatorade is putting a lot of money toward social media, and "it's unclear yet whether tracking social media sells more sports drinks." The point being that it probably works, but let the people with the big bucks figure out how.
  2. Check out Gary's Guide.
  3. Check out a SEO Meetup in Chicago.
  4. Like polexa said, try doing whatever you want to learn. If you're trying to figure out mobile apps, then work on creating a mobile app.

posted by tenaciousd at 8:17 PM on September 24, 2010

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