Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Is Facebook Going To Lose Social Media Consultants Clients?

During my normal perusal of Twitter, I noticed something from Chris Brogan. His tweet was about possibly deleting his Facebook profile. It caught my attention and clicked on the link that brought me to his website.

He had written a quick post about the ads on Facebook. Basically he had seen a couple of inappropriate ads talking about women cheating and sexual encounters. I personally haven't seen any inappropriate ads on Facebook, but the reason I bring this up is a comment that I saw.

The comment was from Pete Codella, someone I hadn't heard of before but works in public relations and consults about social media. He said...
Chris - I couldn't agree with you more. I’ve also noticed some very distasteful ads on Facebook lately. It makes it increasingly difficult for me to be a proponent of using Facebook as part of a company’s online marketing and positioning strategy.

For someone who does consulting on social media or someone who is looking to do that for a living (me!) it's something that they need think about. Business are looking to get into the social media networks and if ads like those are riddled through Facebook, it might be hard to choose that network.

Facebook is such a big network that this one group of advertisements might be overlooked and seen as an anomaly, but who want their business associated with these ads? Facebook needs to be careful or they might lose those profiles and social media consultants might shy away and use other networks to promote their clients. It's just another thing to consider.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Non-Blogging Tips To Make You A Better Blogger

Well I am sitting in my living room with the wood stove burning and a blizzard outside and I got to thinking about some things I could do to make me a better blogger. So here are some non-blogging tips to become a better blogger.

Image courtesy of sean dreilinger

Adapt and evolve.
Being able to go with the flow and change when it's not working is an important trait to have in any one's life, but it is extremely important as a blogger. Recognizing trends and following them without totally immersing yourself in them will keep you up to date but allow you to diversify.

Just about everyone who runs a blog and a lot of people who run business and websites now have a Twitter profile. And if you don't have a Facebook page or at least doing some kind of social networking you are being left in the dust. The ability to adapt and evolve will make you a better blogger by connecting you with more people, which brings me to another tip.

Connect with as many people as you can.
I talked about Twitter and social networking sites above, but with them you are able to connect with so many more people than even just a couple of years ago. It use to be just your friends and the people you knew from high school that you were connected to online. But now we can connect with bloggers all over the world.

You know the saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know." It has always been true and continues to be true. Networking is a great way to get information and social networking websites make this easier. You can receive tips from a blogger in India or even find a job from someone Twitter that you might have never received because of the connection you have had online.

Sharing is caring.
Once you have your Twitter account or social network profile, make sure to give to the people following you or the people you are friends with. Giving little tips and sharing websites of others is a great way of portraying yourself as an expert. Every once in a while you can give links to your site, but shameless self promotion will lead to lots of unfollows and losing friends.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Twitter Desktop Clients

I've been off the computer for awhile now which means I've been off Twitter and haven't been blogging. I don't want to make this one of those "I'm sorry I haven't posted in a long time, but I promise I will post again soon," posts. Life just got in the way and my computer is broken.

Today I want to talk about Twitter and some of the desktop clients. What is a desktop client? Basically it's a third party application that allows you to receive your twitter updates without using the twitter.com website.

TweetDeck - website/download
TweetDeck feeds you up to the second tweets from the people you are following with a little beep and alert. It's much easier than being on the twitter website and pressing the refresh button. I have it downloaded on my computer and miss it on my girlfriends computer which I'm using now. You can put people in groups, resize the program, and get all the updates from twitter while you were sleeping.

Twirl - website/download
Twirl claims itself as "the social software client." Once I get my computer back i will download this program and test it out, but until then I will forward you to Rajeev @ mintblogger.com and his guide to Twirl. One feature that Twirl has that TweetDeck doesn't is the ability to connect to other social media sites other than Twitter.

If you would like to look at other Twitter desktop applications, check out the Twitter Downloads page. There are some others that look pretty cool.

What client do you use? Or do you just use the website? Leave a comment below.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook?

I've been without my computer for the last five days or so because of a busted power cord. So I have been using my girlfriends computer which doesn't have TweetDeck. Not having TweetDeck has left me out of the loop on Twitter. It's been weird so I have been forced to use the actual Twitter website and refresh the page.

Well this morning, Twitter has been...well...all a-twitter about a certain article. Even Newsweek tweeted about it. The article is entitled The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook.

But is it really the ultimate? It's probably very close. The article was written by Tamar Weinberg who is a social media consultant. She contributes to Mashable and other online publications and is a former contributor to Life Hacker, so hey, she has some clout.

She focuses mainly on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn but the information really can be used for any social networking site. Make sure to read the article and use the information, because everything you do online is there for every one to see.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is Microblogging Realy Micro Blogging?

I wasn't a fan of microblogging or Twitter when I first heard about them, but I have come around. My problem with microblogging now is the word. Obviously the messages we send on Twitter-like services (something I will be posting about soon) are considerd micro, but are they really "blog-like?"

I've linked this site before, but Microblink shares news on all the microblogging news. Mike Templeton of microblink.com defined microblogging a month ago. Here is what he defines it as...
microblogging [mahy-kroh-blŏg-ing] verb
A small-scale form of blogging, generally made up of short, succinct messages, used by both consumers and businesses to share news, post status updates and carry on conversations.

It is definitely small-scale messages to share news, post status updates, and carry on conversations. But these short messages are basically instant messages sent to the people you are either friends with or are following you.

If you look at Wikipedia's definition of blogging you will see that basically sharing news is the only thing the two definitions have in common.
A blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.

Now I really like the definition Mike Templeton and the team from Microblink.com came up with, but I think the term microblogging still needs some work. I'm just really sure which direction that work needs to head.

Do you have any ideas? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment below.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Write Better Blog Posts With These 5 Tips

Writing better blog posts is something all of us strive to do. Not only will better written posts help convey the information to our reader better, but it will make our blog better and in turn bring more readers. So here are a few simple tips to help you write better blog posts.

Write shorter more concise articles.
Most readers won't read every word you write. They will scan the first sentence and generally the last sentence in paragraphs, so if you write smaller paragraphs with more information in them, the readers will in turn come away with a better understanding of what you wrote about.

Use interesting titles with keywords. Think newspaper headlines.
In most blogging platforms the title is used in creating the page your article will be posted on. Not only will the title attract the readers to that article when you first write it, but if they search through the archive it will grab their attention then. Well written titles will bring readers to that post for months to come.

Keywords will help in tagging the post in a certain category and also allow search engines to crawl it so people will find that article when searching for certain keywords.

Do not use simple generic words like "the" to start your titles.
If you start using "the" as the first word in your titles, your articles will get lost in the archives with all the other articles titled the same. Keywords will help, but try and pay a little more attention to the title as it will be the first thing readers see.

Use bold headlines to break up your posts and bring attention to certain parts.
Take for example this article. There are bold headlines basically giving you a one sentence summary of the paragraph below it. This way readers could essentially just read the bold headlines and still get just about all the information. It also breaks up the post so it feels like it's not just a bunch of words.

Write articles with both internal and external links.
Putting a lot of links into your post will cram as much information as you can into each one. Links to your own articles will, or internal links, will intertwine your posts and will help new readers to your blog find other relevant information. External links will give readers another perspective and even more information. And by linking others and sending traffic to other sites, hopefully they will link back to your articles too.
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Update On 30 Day Blogging Challenge

Well the 30 blogging challenge is a week in and I've seen some good results already. My traffic has grown a little bit, even on the weekends.

I have found a little trouble writing a post every day. I'm not sure if it's some of the distractions surronding me lately or what but I'm trying to write a quality post every day. It's also hard with all of the other blogs about blogging out there to find something new to write about, but I'm working on it. Another regular post about everything blog will be posted tomorrow.
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blogs Are Being Sold Left And Right

One of the reasons people start to blog is to get their thoughts feelings out and possibly help others with relevant information. Another reason is to make money.

There are some that blog professionaly and there are some that just earn extra income from it. Most of the time bloggers earn money from advertisements but there are many other income streams that bloggers can and do earn money from.

One of the most popular ones as of late is selling their established blogs. There are a couple of different reasons for selling their blogs. First, they have no time to update the blog anymore. Many factors can suck up the extra time most of us use to post on our blogs including a new baby, a new job, or many other things. Secondly they hope to make some money off the articles they have written, the traffic their blog gets, or even the readers that follow their blog.

Now selling websites is not a new thing but selling blogs has become very popular. Ever since a blog sold for $15 million everyone has tried to cash in on this.

Personally I would find it hard to sell all the things I have written and a site I had worked so hard on. I would probably just hire a staff and continue my blog running if I wanted to start a new project. If you are planning on selling your blog just give it some good thought.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Bloggers To Follow On Twitter

Twitter has become an amazing tool and recently I have started using it a lot more than Plurk. I no longer feel that Plurk is superior especially with the amount of people on Twitter. You can follow me on Twitter here.

It has become more of a small messaging service, SMS, but more of a small news delivering service. I follow some prominent bloggers and they share a lot of information and interesting sites. Here a few of the bloggers that you should follow...





You may notice that I left off some the most popular ones including Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and Jeremy Schoemaker of Shoemoney. I don't have them on here because most of the tweets are either from their RSS feed or meaningless chatter.

If you are interested in more information about Twitter check out Darren Rowse's blog about it, TwiTip or this article from Lost Art Of Blogging, Twitter: Why It’s So Great And How To Effectively Use It.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nine Must Read Articles For Bloggers

Todays post isn't really a post, but more of links to articles that just about everyone should read. All but one of the articles I will post today are from one site, the other is from Chris Brogan.

The site that most of the articles are coming from is useit.com - usable information technology, a site by Dr. Jakob Nielsen a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group. He has been called a guru, a king, a leader, a czar, an expert, and a pioneer in web usability. He writes a bi-weekly column called Alertbox where he focuses on web usability. Alertbox has been going strong since 1995.

How Users Read On The Web
This is an article from 1997 where Dr. Nielsen states that users don't read on the web, they scan. I've talked about formatting posts before and just about every other professional blogger or someone blogs about blogging will you that readers scan. With so many people saying it, why not do it?

He also talks about smaller paragraphs, relevant sub-headings, bold keywords, and fewer words. Most readers won't read the whole paragraph nor the whole article, but scan through the first couple of paragraphs and look for links and bold words. Format your posts accordingly.

Using Link Titles to Help Users Predict Where They Are Going
Link titles are something that had just been invented when Dr. Nielsen wrote this article in 1998, but holds true today. He talks about the title= feature with links and how this will help a user learn more about the link they may want to click on.

The example above is from his site and is a great example of how to use the title= feature. Although he does state not to do it on every link as a user clicking on a link that says Home or About Me is pretty sure on where they are headed.

Microcontent: How to Write Headlines, Page Titles, and Subject Lines
Blog posts are generally seen just by their title as a link and unless the title tells a reader exactly what they will read about, they won't click it. He talks about staying away from "cute" and "clever" headlines that might trick the reader as they will just close the page anyways.

Another important point he stresses is not to start titles with "the" or "a" because these articles can get lost in your archives. There could be 10 or 15 articles that start with "the" and your readers will get lost and not know which ones to read. Start the title with something about the article, something with relevance.

Deep Linking is Good Linking
Just like the title of his article says, linking your articles from within your other articles is a good thing. Don't get carried away though, as Google might penalize you.

Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes
A must read for anyone that has a blog or wants to start one. Some of them top ten are found through the articles he has written and I've posted about, but this list simplifies them into one nice neat package.

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content
Another must read article from Dr. Nielsen for anyone who has a website or blog. Read the article and format your posts accordingly.

Write Articles, Not Blog Postings
This might seem as inconsistent with his article about writing shorter posts but if you read the whole thing, you will understand what he means. This article is a little longer than all the others but it has a lot of good information and is another must read.

How Little Do Users Read?
Like his article about how readers read, this one talks about how little they actually do read. There is research, comparisons, and graphs. Once again another must read.

The last article is from Chris Brogan
His post is titled 40 ways to deliver killer blog content. Chris is another person that can be called a leader, an expert, and a guru on the web and if you aren't reading his blog, then you are missing out on a ton of content.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

12 Social Network Aggregators And Services

I've talked about social networks and the importance of them and the need of creating an online social persona. I've also gave you a huge list of social networks that you can join. There are millions of people online who have joined multiple social network sites and like everything else in the world, they want all their information to be compiled into one service. In comes social network aggregators.

There are many different ways compile all your social networking profiles together including a browser, a desktop application, an online application, and an instant messaging like application. I have compiled a lot of them here.

Power.com connects "all your friends in just one place." In reality they connect your friends from only a few different places: MySpace, hi5, Facebook, Orkut, and MSN. So if most of your friends are within those social networks, than this site will be great for you.

HelloTxt seems to be popular and I have seen some Twitter updates using it. "HelloTxt lets you update your status and read your friends' status across all main microblogging and social networks all at once." When they say all, they mean just about all. If a social network isn't there, don't worry because it probably will be soon. Updating your status on all your online profile is easy with this service.

When Facebook came out with their news feed that showed you everything your friends did, in my fraternity at college we called the stalker feed. FriendFeed reminds me of this except this could actually be useful. Instead of reading about what that hot girl in class said on some other chicks photo you get updates on what your friends upload to the web. Whether it's pictures, videos, music, or news, you will know what your friends are doing.

You and Me Online is another place to add all your friends. What started as a clubbing/party site evolved into a popular social network site. It allows you to add some of the most popular social networks and see what your friends are doing.

Gathera is a little different than the other online applications. This is more like an instant messaging service that allows you to check your email, your social networks, and chat with your friends in one nice little application. I haven't used it but the flash intro on their website shows you what their application looks like and it seems like people would like Gathera.

Spokeo claims it's a friend finder/tracker that brings your friends updates from all over the web. But the way they are seeming to advertise it on their site is as a stalker program. Finding "truly mouth-watering news about friends and coworkers" doesn't sound like a service I want to join. "Uncover personal photos, videos, and secrets...GUARANTEED." They even have an "hr" section where they can research on potential candidate across the 41 networks Spokeo supports. Your profile should be private to those you aren't friends with so this service can't find the "juicy" news it is looking for.

Secondbrain is a different kind of service. Instead of just updating you with your friends status, this service allows you to import all your content from many different services, browse and search for more content, categorize your content, share it, and then "find people through content, and content through people." What kind of content can you import? All your content from bookmarking sites, social bookmarking and news sites, all the blogging platforms, online document sites, picture and video sharing sites, and others. If you have content all over the Internet, than this service will help compile it into one place.

8hands is a similar service to the rest of these, except for the fact that it's a desktop application. "Get notifications of new comments, messages, friend requests, videos, feeds and more - in real time! IM and share online content with your friends: Just drag and drop your YouTube videos, Flickr pics and more into our easy to use chat window. Receive summaries and statistics on your social networking activities.
Easily access your community locations from a single entry point." And if that's not enough, they have a mobile version so you will never be left out of anything thats happening with your friends on the web.

Flock Browser
The Flock Browser is powered by Mozilla and is very social media friendly. You can email, blog, share pictures, and micro-blog through this browser easily. I haven't used it yet, but I plan on downloading it and writing a review of it, so look for that soon.

"Profilactic is a social media aggregator/lifestreaming service that pulls together just about everything you and your friends create online." Create a profile, aggregate your social networks, and people can watch all of them on your lifestream through Profilactic. With over 190 social networks currently supported, this service has the potential to become very popular.

Ex.plode.Us is basically a search engine for social networks. You can search through multiple networks at once for friends with the same interests. Check it out and see if you can find any new friends.

Broadband Mechanics
Broadband Mechanics has built a platform for you to create your social networking site. The software is called PeopleAggregator. Check out their site if you would like to start your own for your specific niche.

Mashable.com also has a post about 20 ways to aggregate your social network profiles. Most of them I have talked about here, but there are a few I didn't.

For me, I do not use a social aggregator for the same reason I don't use news/blog/feed aggregators. I have a few different profiles but would rather login to them. The Flock Browser is interesting though and I will download it to try it out and some point.

If you enjoyed this post please comment or show some love and submit it to Digg or Reddit or some other social bookmarking site.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Linkbaiting: Good Or Bad?

A controversial topic in the blogosphere is whether or not linkbaiting is a good or bad thing. We will cover a couple different topics about linkbaiting and then try and decide on whether or not you should do it.

First, what is linkbait? Linkbait is what bloggers and other Internet users call posts that are written for the sole purpose of receiving a digg or stumble. But since the word linkbait has negative connotations should we continue to call stuff linkbait, and is that word even relevant?

Obviously we all want lots of traffic and Digg and StumbleUpon can provide it, but is writing posts specifically for the purpose of being bookmarked or added to social media sites the right thing to do?

We all should be writing posts full of content that anyone would be happy to bookmark, but if those posts are few and far between than linkbaiting is a problem. On the other hand if you write every post chaulked full of content that is worth of being social media bookmarked than linkbaiting really isn't a bad thing.

Most blogs about blogging have written about linkbaiting but Darren Rowse from ProBlogger has a few posts on it. Take a look at his 20 linkbaiting techniques and his introduction to linkbaiting.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Brand Your Business And Website, Now

For your business or blog or site to survive, it needs to have a brand. This brand needs to be recognizable every where and by every one that sees it. There are four ways to create a brand and I will detail them below.

Image courtesy of BiggerPictureImages.com

If you ever been to a NASCAR event or watched one on TV, you have most likely seen all the names and logos on the cars going around the track. Most of them are small but you can still make out the company because of the brand. It's a very powerful thing.

The first way to brand your site is with a logo.

Image courtesy of bijoubaby

Logo's are very powerful. I'm sure you know what the logo is above, it's Pepsi. This logo is recognized throughout the world without even a name attached to it. A lot of logos have the company name with it but if your logo can stand alone, then it's even better. There are others as identifiable as the Pepsi logo including the Nike swoosh and the Mac apple. If you can create a simple logo like those that can be identified as your business or site, then you have a very strong logo.

Another way to brand your business or website is the name.

Image courtesy of boback

Every one knows what Coca-Cola makes. Their name is synonymous with their logo, because it is their logo. You don't just have to see their logo, but if you hear Coca-Cola you know what the logo is and what someone is talking about. When I says ProBlogger you most likely know what I'm talking about. The same with Google or Microsoft.

The third way to brand your site or business is with your name.

This way to brand your business might be a little harder but if you can do this, you will always be known for it. When I say Darren Rowse, most of you will think of his site ProBlogger, Digital Photography School, and now more recently TwiTip. Other big names are Chris Brogan for his social media prowess or Seth Godin for his take on marketing and blogging.

There can be disadvantages to doing this though. Your name will always be linked to the site or business you create, especially if you are on the Internet. So be careful before choosing this way of branding. If you ever plan on selling your business or website, it might be difficult because it is named after you. And it could be bad if they then change it to something bad or distasteful.

The fourth way to brand something is with a mascot or caricature.

It's not new but something I am seeing frequently are cartoon characters on a lot of sites. Mascots are popular in sports venues but it seems that Internet has caught on and blogs have started using them to brand their site. From The Net Fool to SlyVisions to The University Kid to the super affiliate Zac Johnson to John Cow. The cartoon characters are every where. Once your caricature is on your site and you start creating social network profiles, you can use that as your avatar which will further the reach of your brand.
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30 Day Blogging Challenge

I have been neglecting this blog far more than I'd like to. My stats were decent when I was posting every day but have dropped a lot since I have taken a week off a couple different times. So as have today, December 1st, I will be taking the 30 day blogging challenge. I will be posting every day from now until the last day of December.

Image courtesy of Marcos Vasconcelos Photography

I like to think of this 30 day challenge as a marathon because it will be difficult to write 30 quality posts in 30 days especially with a new puppy and my job as a basketball coach, but I am going to try. Once the challenge is over I will be reviewing all of the stats and write a post about it.
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