Tag Archives: Community

Our First Successful Indiegogo Project – Thanks to Community

VloggerFair was a huge success, thanks in no small part to all of you, the community! We wouldn’t have been able to run a live stream for those unable to attend without the support of 611 amazing backers! Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to also record all of the featured vloggers as they spoke and are hard at work editing these. They will be available on our YouTube channel in the very near future.

How Did Successful Funding Happen?

We have a phenomenal community. VloggerFair appealed to each of you in a very direct way, whether you’re a fan of watching our vlog (or the work others are doing) or interested in vlogging yourself. We offered the community something you might want: access to the live stream for thousands who couldn’t join us in person — in exchange for you helping us get what we needed to see our project become a success.

Our First Successful Indiegogo Project - Thanks to Community

While I may be the “personality” that brings people in, this Indiegogo campaign’s focus and goals were honestly more about the community itself in a very direct way. The project helped me create something for you in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

The community has always been the reason I do what I do — every single day. I have been fortunate to have a large group of people with me on this crazy ride for many years, and even more fortunate to continually add to those ranks. Some people will always come and go as their interests change, but to have a large solid community is priceless to me.

So THANK YOU, Community!

I wanted to take just a moment to publicly thank each and every one of our backers, regardless of donation amount. The entire VloggerFair team is already looking ahead to our next event and to other possible things we can do together. Keep your eyes peeled: we’ll let you know as soon as anything is decided.

Photo Credit shoutout goes to Matt Leitholt

With no further ado, here are the usernames of all of our generous backers:

dailydaryl217
DavidBanther
KieranBold
contribute1369943134
baileyjames92
martin.olminkhof
sk48fan
acrobson083
MichaelYoung15
jaapzuetenhorst
jaapzuetenhorst
jas19
nitram1337
lkhoe
john_greythorne
dharrison11
contribute1370689847
DavidHoang
MatthewBlystone
derrickc1884
MichaelBrandhorst
collin.gilley
mats.rosenqvist
eandljanusch
bob.soule
jrluis
roadcollector
gualtieri3
AlexiMartinez
martin.bendheim
walesjs
sven31
kissingapples
dave.carroll1
editorgnome
LeviZouber
bsaid
mdcwave
jrlockhart
a1l13e5x
warriorofhope
TaraHunt
CarlosPacheco
cariad.e
rob_heathcote
tay501
EvonneBenedict
BrianRoberts3
GopakumarSethuraman
DanaCampbell
GeoffreyPugh
ivanccisternas
trainsptr
paddlennature
mathias.zetterstrom
dirkhartwich
EddieBingham1
russellsaisho
DavidClark11
jakeeger
mike60640q
AlbertoRodrguez
jody_querry
tony.jonker
azmohareb
mackeyian
chriscooper084
rafaelcg26
janis15
kentdaigle
xxbo3lixx
littleibrat
HeatherNielsen1
finzisa
kcrharper
ben.fisher1
tracejones
derick2
sonja.wood
tlmayhugh
harris.sarah
allapon
mcjoby890
Stuart77
hugh29
DarrenGator
contribute1370042555
dece207
a.speed
giannisrigas
dstclairjr1
ajlbass
xjiang007
nicolas.dumoulin
csunday
DemianSeiler
rhollis47
bgreenan
paulhopson
shawnshakir
smedranojr
tim.steven88
contribute1370410394
hatvok3
johnwolfmam
fcord0
jaike.jansen
tonyqmartin
TravisPetershagen
terrinakamura
panablend
mpalka
contribute1355789909
ChadKeck
StevenJohnson4
heyster2013
riceeatingflip
pascal.kuehne
csullivan33
csullivan33
racersims
contribute1369771834
towsonualum
SYOTOS.JLD
ryanberkery
guidovanos
matthewdean101
s.husain-90
james.freeman.1997
LauraMcFall
zig2k143
littlebubbamy
heras191
BenKirk
BrianBuckley2
tommyfinton1
kagejohn
jrpmulder
rsv.svensson
contribute1369944428
chelsie.hadden
stewarta
mrod372
owenperkins676
paulmshirey
matt.n.stratman
davidvences
AlexiMartinez
cruzthebest69
oluna72
obiwan5454
coldbrian
speigle71
kenswork
RobertFoley1
dinko.svetic
jeffrey.blackler
kiddsock
anthony.picard
AlexanderPanayotov
aptscholl414
mitchschenk
jcy.navarro
minjesskim
htbjrs
Thor0128
v.djumpah
contribute1370397968
GarrySandwith
lloydnwoods
richdean1989
petluv214
mwilsonii
eliehass
Millionaire2K
eric.oshita
contribute1369951762
impsandmonsters
markmizuno
characterking
contribute1370622675
omardesigns
blogtvmoderationteam
jhaghighi29
AndySiple
arotheram
EricHinojosa1
philippe.frechette
fortinfrederic
big.rooster.r
kennyg.lfc
EddieBingham1
airliat
agabe
christopher59
contribute1369862701
my.shopping
shanevandewalle
mario_fanous
cmoore9688
DavidGood4
markusk28
MarkHyder
hitest
mail.stahre
TorSoya
NicJuli
matthewgmbls
prepre73
will701
dnrizk
marklingwood
mike.linux.nl
queenlover55
pconant2
kappalubbock
bart.blokker
ricardonebel
bruec
mgbalderas
atenedoro1991
mike.lerner
ahlin.fredrik28
ccurran985
maverick.phillips
kim.landwehr
demosg
alexeiantonov.king
zmangutz01
taryllsbaker
telford.elliott
sthomsen2012
tps14334
blizzardo1
theoantonov
fhinojosa81
OmniDragon
MichaelBrotzman
s3xyg1rl2134
saphant
jose_burciaga
sploody57
goldwiser88
mpitt_24
jeffreylevesque75
alex.weston
timoandrews88
halo13245
thatguy0306
Jenfarms
bartlomiejrypel
GeorgeByers
kylelk15
MaeshaMiller
AndrewErhardt
JackalopeSunDance
CurtisCoburn
PeanyTech
contribute1357258056
contribute1358385279
vitolapolla
contribute1358428408
MarkIllingworth
RobertRosenfeld
AaronPurnell
MatthewRappaport
joemartin.tech
MonikaMullins
LukeMcGuire
mt.hilton
DanielShadbolt
robert.disneyfan
peterlolk
contribute1369766650
nalonge
nalonge
pacomacman
Royalrooter33
ThomasHoups
atakanseckin
jpbpalharini
steelfatboy
rickverstijnen
wiitom2
toddandjanelle
vrstvv
GreggHawley
geekgeek23
nfrivero
lawrence.m.geary
ebanfr
contribute1369771949
JosefNetrh
pixelfiendtech
finnamorenathan
ad.w.davies
robert.echten
speedingcheetah
jnewman134
hugo6644493
tektime373
mariofp72
stephane.malo
jameyandrew
GeorgePenrice
robertwildman4
vts30233
orod82
christopherpinon
contribute1369832748
Jordan.para
JohannesBerge
autkest
oliver.robson
conorwalsh4
wrry.ebayk1d
al_bundy_shoedetecti
contribute1369871220
contribute1369871323
ravtoy
contribute1369884150
gageh66
thenxtgeek
themrmalro
smartcomputertech
fleming.carlyj
tracysma
gareth21
rayman451
rayman451
iakashv22
parker_2013
andrew.hayes88
dsmith.1047
TrentDuffy1
oe507
contribute1369954134
ali_arslan_
hyderpotter
jr_mireles
efc12
siamese27
nashdendickerson
nealsmith
nyrican831
johnmcaleese
DrewTomita
bunsees
chriskopp6
netroman28
ch.juhl
tbeckandersen
max.bowden12
RobSnowdon
a_nders94
naotakurix78
patrick3lu
mwng93
joasoe
vcstar5
IsaacAkrouche
garethbaddeley
enricodow1
JackWells
jjb0894
mnoreika96
chouhigh
quiet_riot_rock
jimgreco87
phbechmann
contribute1370077558
JessClosa
etienne.corporaal
paulbarnard
BenSayle
jkmart456
gastal
contribute1370115985
fblade1987
TheOneAndOnly
jmarkcopas
edsynth2
AlbertHin
nuisance48
snazy2000
fiona50
najihahmeswan
cazde2
gadgetguy05
jeannemariepics
scaryalex
thisweekendapple
catbaloo84
jbab91
rutherfordjmr
jdmdina
ross71
NateThibodeau
katie228
timothykhui
ke5pcv
manzi.john
kemi_pa
f3nc3po5t
sqthomas7
jimcruzpr35
anthonyb1808
contribute1370460454
garethross_uk
messaboutz
terrellclark
larawannabe
fraser.max
hippygram
cash082
rfegles1
kgkretchek
yusuf_abdi
apa.101
jamespatterson131
contribute1370616779
AaronOHare
mike_evnas
cyberunlockspro
callum.j.anderson
MaximilianMeyervonde
mtramirez.77
ibg4d
yllib68
eric1carlsoc
carlsonk26
tommy_mang
macarimatt
phillfernandes92
Jay.stratton
chris.bearer
techytrent
meigg1
mathiasolsen95
ericoblue22
PederAadahl
RyanPierson
jkhanis724
msteeves1
musserka
StephenKwo
JohnRamirez3
JenniferEspinoza
IsmaelSalazar
JakeJarvis
TeresaSimpson
emilkaufman1991
yellowlabrador2007
benjamin.moles
owencallum
BrandyBiedenharn
johnedmonds82
Dez9999
DanNorton1
boltontech4
dashel1
wmec908
rebs313
alexrdill
micky2mek
eddhusband
jasnijjer
albin74
jack.salero
bfv10
daniel2548
BrandonSerpa
mikelimo2007
will.breeze1
BrendonWadey
skmat60
Ben-Moyes
mcdcor10
nicholaswwilson
loreburne
lewis30
codybeals4
milton.ferreira.sa
dumpitallhere
jackcrwhitney
czamlen
himrocks1990
mnunez091
PaulWaller
ryasparro
rohit.joshi
krishnakanth007
Quilvio718
mb901
dawalsh4
rhibbard2
matthewredgley
felix.jassiel.rodrig
fish115068
kic.me.plz
landonbig1993
amoslivn
oldaker.adam
imarkovic1995
pcontreras7
ratmith
pepepaco1972
whex5
tony3567
contribute1370110640
aviral.bajpai
theoantonov
MatthewEdwards2
mac.richterj19
natbake.bake7
klvolt
LaurieShelleen
j.tymes
matt.liebetrau
itsuptogod
aaron.dalton
JackSpencer
contribute1370194973
billyurry1
joshuadowney1996
jordan.rodkey
lumiamarco
lilyhaddan
progkix
jahmallgordon
ObsoletePlanet
mshyatt
matthewskrz
addisoncorreia
punisher666
LoganDyer
martha.castaneda
jamabo2001
cowenkraft
datamonger128
rico_montoya_17
wintzen
JackJohnson1
mohamedaligenawi
russell.23
ChrisMcManuels
mkaye610
bradley.lieberg
seymourbiscuits
t.adams.01
cmiller518
edbo_316
dc.brown
bentkwillis
Julian.Ram
MikeAdickes
ztpaint
harsh.patel785
ThaneHamilton
peter26272
DavidWhitney2
crazylikeafox13
HuubVanOverveld
MonikaMullins
snoopyods
05abdallaa
lawrence.m.geary
maddog_64
jeff8307
twistedkyoya
izzabellekoala
michaelkehm316
contribute1369925527
itzBlas
rubenvanerk
stephenminer08
wxtomb
shm451
jonathan.rivera9
mrmepaxton
ttomsmith95
chung341
tal.mattes
wally1916rising
larsen82
kalel332
contribute1370269447
matthewchan1998
johnlikesemail1000
honorwata123
christianupson
barrymurphy82
lop_cop
benjamin.moles
bostondido
electrotek
zach.reborn
mrod372
andrew_donahue
moises.fabela
ldvglssn
rn10950
foufoulides
3breach
mousam.dasgupta123
photoarcher
jonathon.barnes99
SamuelTremblay1
daverondel
cactustweeter

LEGO Community Minifig Set: It Figures for Education

“Who are the people in your neighborhood?” Assuming you leave the house every so often, you’ve likely seen other human beings in public. Have you ever thought about collecting them in a non-creepy way? LEGO is giving you that chance with the LEGO Community Minifig set.

Construction worker? You can put him in your pocket or pretend to be pounding the pavement with your little LEGO jackhammer. Ambulance drivers? They’ll carry just about any injured brick for you on their stretcher. The consummate sportswoman? She’ll wow you with her gigantic trophy (which stands just about as tall as she does).

This is a little LEGO community that was created for the LEGO community (it’s very meta). To be specific, it was really produced for the educational market – in case your child wanted to play make believe without relying too heavily on his or her imagination. LEGO can help bridge that gap with this series of minifigs.

With this set, you’ll also get a mini LEGO fire brigade, grocery shopper, baker and his customer (with pizza and popsicle pieces), farmers, and a few others – including a self-employed businesswoman who has her own LEGO-branded laptop – which happens to be my favorite part of this collection.

Here’s a more complete tour:

Granted, you might find the bundle a bit on the expensive side for 256 pieces – but how much is an education worth? Would you rather have a young mind learn about careers in a book (?!) or have them develop their own mini-town with bricks? I’ve yet to hear of a LEGO-induced paper cut (and I’m not counting an instruction page mis-flip).

If I was disappointed, it was likely with the snowmen – which were given skeleton heads. It’s not like LEGO doesn’t have the ability to create a more snowman-like face… they just didn’t. If you like spooky snowmen, then I guess you’ll be happy with their decision.

If you have your own brick-related video, you can add it to our BrickTrix channel on YouTube. Let’s make our own (new) LEGO community?

You Can’t Buy and Sell Your Friends

Yeah, I’m a self-proclaimed Empire Avenue addict. I can’t pretend to understand it half as much as other community members do, but I’ve certainly learned my way around the system. “EAv” has been an amazing community and conversation accelerator.

One thing Empire Avenue is NOT about? Buying and selling your friends.

As much as I love Empire Avenue, that has to be one of the worst positioning statements for it. I was able to look past it long enough to dig into the site’s value (and, believe me, I’ve already experienced an insane amount of value from the “game”). However, too many people have been turned off by the initial messaging. I’ve made sincere pleas to the team to remove any reference to this phrase. Not only is it offensive – it’s just NOT accurate.

I noted in my extensive list of Empire Avenue tips that it isn’t Facebook – which sounds like a rhetorical assertion, but not when you consider that some users unwittingly treat it as such. I also noted (as did EAv CEO, (e)DUPS, in a recent interview with (e)RLAVIGNE): your friends are most likely bad investments on EAv. 😉

There was a private Facebook thread from (e)MAYHEMSTUDIOS, wherein he uploaded a photo of a t-shirt given to him by Dups. The text reads: “Buy is the new Like.” Of course, this is a direct play on the action of investing in a stock on EAv. It’s pithy, but I’m not sure the implied diametric is accurate (yes, I realize ‘diametric’ is an adjective – but its usage here seems cromulent).

In EAv, Sell is absolutely NOT the new Unlike, Unfriend, or anything of the sort.

I’ve seen a few EAv users take offense when someone sells their shares. They’re certainly entitled to feel however they feel – but that’s NOT necessarily an unfriending action, nor is it necessarily an unliking action. The stock (itself, or its relative value) is NOT the person behind the stock. I’ve maintained and grown my connections with people I’ve met through EAv on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. – even if I never invested in their stock, or even if I once invested in their stock and subsequently diminished that investment.

You may decide never to sell a stock you’ve purchased – that’s cool, too. But if selling wasn’t a part of EAv, they wouldn’t have included the feature. 😉 For me, the gesture of selling is also a gesture of wanting to accelerate engagement.

While I don’t participate in the practice of returning shares-for-shares, some people want that level of reciprocation. Imagine if you had to friend everybody who friended you on Facebook (I tried – it doesn’t work well), follow everybody who followed YOU on Twitter (I tried – it doesn’t work well). EAv is predicated on the model of using your eaves to invest in more stocks. The more eaves you make, the more stocks you can invest in – and I believe that if you aren’t careful about your investments, you may not be able to maximize the amount of stocks you can invest in. This may sound “heartless” to some, but it’s actually JUST the opposite – you SHOULD want to do better to get better to play better to be better.

Whatever your definition of “better” is.

Yes, if you’re someone who seeks investment parity and you’re not receiving it, you’ll likely encounter disappointment at every other turn. When someone drops your shares, it might sting a little – but, I tell ya, it’s fun to watch some people comment in threads about how they regretted that decision after your stock started to perform better. 😉 Lord knows, I’ve made a few mistakes!

You can always return. You can always reinvest. Always!

There are countless ways to engage other EAv players – and other users will likely have different motivations than you. Success, much like “better,” remains relative. Some people want the most shareholders. Some people want the most eaves. Some people want the most achievements. Some people want the highest stock price. Some people want the CEO title. Some people want the most actions. Some people want to maximize business connections. Some people want to discover new content. Some people want to produce the most amount of dividends for their shareholders. Some people want the highest network score. Some people want… different returns on their time.

Nobody (absolutely NOBODY) is doing EAv “wrong” if they’re getting out of it what they want to get out of it.

This morning, I became the first EAv user to pass the 200 share-price mark – which, as (e)JKW just commented on my profile page, is amazing. I responded: “More amazing for you.” For you see, my friends, the true impetus of Empire Avenue (as I see it) is driving value for others, not for yourself. By becoming a top returning stock, I have helped others generate better cash flow which they have turned around and used to invest in other stocks – meeting other people in the process.

Trust me: I understand how community works.

And, while you may disagree, I also believe that the onus is on a user to be a good investment to help the investor do better – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. For example, you could sink all of your eaves into a poor-performing stock and it still won’t perform as well as a good-performing stock. I’ve done my best to show people how to engage to drive up their dividends (which helps EVERYBODY), but blindly reciprocating an action doesn’t always yield true balance.

It’s not that I’m being a jerk about it – it’s just that there are only SO MANY EAVES in a day. 😉 I can’t make ’em appear out of thin air. Yet.

Please don’t ask me to buy you – ask me to help you. I will do my best!

I still comment and participate with people who invest in me – even if I don’t invest in them. They’ll frequently ask me questions, and I’ll openly offer assistance in return (for free, by the way). There are other groups who are just as willing to help you along – [X], #SocialEmpire, TeamZEN, et al. We don’t have to agree on everything to share a common goal: to make Empire Avenue awesome.

Next week, I’m flying across the country to have what will likely be the biggest business meeting of my entire life – and it’s all thanks to meeting someone on Empire Avenue. Still think it’s a waste of time? I don’t.

How Many Followers Do You Have?

For many of you, the entire point of having an online presence is to be seen. Getting as much exposure as you can is the name of the game, but at what price? Too often, I see people focusing so much energy on their number of likes and followers that they seem to have forgotten why the heck they wanted or needed exposure to begin with.

Hat tip to Frills in the Hills for this amazing picture!

These days, you can practically buy followers. There are so many of you out there rabid about counting your community members and seeing how well the numbers tally up. The higher that bottom line is, the happier and more important you feel. When was the last time you stopped to actually interact in any meaningful way with that community, though? Talking with them involves far more than throwing links their way or saying thank you for the #FF or reTweets. Interaction and engagement levels count for much more than a bunch of stupid numbers.

Behind the person or company on the Twitter profile and Facebook page, there needs to be something worth getting involved with. You need to have a kickass product or service – period. Working your tail off to build some mythical “perfect” Facebook Page doesn’t mean squat if what your company stands for is crap. Your social profiles aren’t what make you great… YOU are. Why then does it matter how many people like or follow you?

People who truly enjoy who you are and what you do will follow you, yes. But I guarantee there are a LOT of people out there who simply follow anyone they feel is “important.” This pads the numbers you’re so proud of in a way. The bottom line isn’t a true account of people that care about what you’re doing and saying. I know that it’s impossible to weed through them and tell the difference. I wish I had an answer as to how to figure that part out.

The bottom line is that you have to stop worrying so damn much about how many likes, follows and community members you have. Focus your attention on building a great product or service and THEN go out and engage those people you want to market to. Talk to them. Interact with them. Treat them like people – and not like numbers.

How Does Social Media Apply to You?

I dare you to take five minutes and scan the headlines on Alltop’s Social page. You’re going to see a heck of a lot of articles with words in them that probably don’t make sense to you. Unless you’re in a league with the likes of a Scoble or an Arrington, do you really need to know what your ROI is? Does it matter if you haven’t collected a million followers yet? Who really cares if what you’re doing is “viral” or not? The fact of the matter is that only a small percentage of users need to care about these things. The rest of you out there use social media simply to be social.

Hat tip to C.O.O.K.S Social Media B2B RealTalk for this excellent picture!

Yes, it’s important for companies to have a social media presence. They need to understand the terms floating around and how those words might apply to them. Bloggers have to build communities on Facebook and Twitter in order to continue growing their presence. Even though there are millions of those types of people on social sites, they still account for a fairly small percentage of overall users.

So how does social apply to you? I pray you don’t simply Tweet about your dinner, your cat’s hairball or your ingrown toenail. Even if you happen to be some random individual, social networking sites can still be a substantial part of your life. There are so many ways you can be using these types of communication in order to make your day easier, keep in touch with your family and even to make new friends.

Facebook’s Events feature is a great tool. Use it to plan cookouts, birthday parties or graduation celebrations. You can keep track of the invites and RSVPs, details such as addresses and other important information and even figure out who should bring the potato salad. Events works well for small Tweetups, too, should you ever decide to reach out to those in your community you only know through Twitter.

Having a million ways to share photos online is a HUGE bonus of having a Facebook or Twitter profile. Let’s say you’re on vacation. It’s the kids’ first time meeting Mickey Mouse, but Grandma couldn’t be there. Grab a phone, snap a picture or twelve and immediately post it to your favorite image service. Granny and Aunt Linda and Uncle Harry and cousin Ron can all see what you’re up to instantly. There’s no more developing film and making copies of prints. Gone are the days of having to scan or email snapshots so that the family can share your life. It’s all done literally in real-time these days… thanks to social sites.

How many extended family members are you connected to on Facebook? Think a moment about how often you communicate with them on the site. I’m willing to bet it’s a lot more often than it used to be when you relied on snail mail, telephones or even email. We are actually talking to our family members far away on a much more regular basis due to the ease of connection on these wonderful social pages.

You can use Twitter or LinkedIn to find your dream job. Facebook can be leveraged to maximize the amount of time you spend talking to your friends and family when you’re busy as heck. Each of these types of sites can bring something very crucial to your life, my friends: communication and connections.

What Would Life be Like Without Social Networking?

Someone asked me this earlier on Twitter. You would think it would be simple one to answer. After all, social networking is still in its infancy, right? Wrong! Social networks have been around since before the Internet was actually – well – the Internet. Stop thinking that these words only encompass sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Once you do, many of you will realize that you’ve likely never lived a moment of your life without some form of social networking.

As defined: “A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.” Of course, these networks exist offline, as well. For the sake of this post, we’re going to pretend we are only referring to things found on the Web.

Back in the late 70s through the early 90s, you could connect with others online via a BBS. This is nearly FORTY years ago these things started becoming popular, y’all. The service was used to upload and download software or data, read news and bulletins and exchanging messages with other users. Oh, and there were also games to play against yourself and other members. Hm… this sounds an awful lot like an early version of nearly every social site out there today, doesn’t it?

Social networks are evolving, sure. Sites are coming up with new features and better ways to connect. That supposed innovation comes with a price, though… a huge lack of any form of privacy. We have evolved into a generation of people who claim to care about our privacy yet who continue to post nearly every aspect of our lives online for the world to peruse. We check in and tell others where we are every moment of the day. We send out statuses and messages telling them what we’re doing, who we’re talking to and where we may be headed next. We share nearly everything.

To me, this is the main difference between networks of today and the ones from 30+ years ago. It’s not about the difference in platforms. WE have changed. Yup – Facebook looks slick as hell compared to an old BBS. Twitter is faster and simpler to use. But at the very core of each type of service – where are the true differences – the real innovations?

You should stop asking yourselves what life would be like without social networks. They’ve been around for many more years than you thought, and they aren’t going anywhere. What you should ask yourself, instead, is “How am I going to change the way I use these services throughout my life?”

Stop Doing Follow Friday Wrong

Only two hours into the day on the East coast, the #FF Tweets are already flowing through my stream. I tend to not pay much attention to these, as they seem to be the same every single week. It’s not that I don’t want to find new people to talk to – I do! But you’re doing it all wrong, guys. Those boring demands could end up making me unfollow you, instead.

Fun fact! Follow Friday was originally started by Gnomedex speaker Micah Baldwin.

Don’t send out a message telling me to #FF as many names as you can fit within the 140 character constraint. When you do this, you aren’t adding a single bit of value. Why should I follow Kimmie or Ron or Mary or Blake? What is it about these people that make them so spectacular? Choose instead only one person to promote. Give me their name, and explain to me why I absolutely need to pay attention to what they are saying.

Asking people to send out a #FF with your name attached is even more wrong than spamming me is. Hello? Have you ever paid attention to a single thing any social media expert has ever said? Being this self-serving is going to cause your numbers to drop faster than almost anything else I can think of. The Internet is not all about you, no matter how good or deserving you think you are. If someone out there feels that you have something to say that others need to hear, they will automatically tell their followers – without you begging them to do so.

Along those same lines, what’s up with RT’ing every #FF post which has your name in it? The people who will see this are already following you. They don’t need to be told to do so again. I had hoped the purpose of this was to get your followers to also follow the others mentioned in the same Tweet. Sadly, I asked a bunch of users for clarification. Each and EVERY one of them said they did it to show that someone felt they were worthy of following. In other words, they were showing off. *facepalm*

Lastly and most importantly, remember something my Community Manager Kat once said: “Community isn’t about connecting people to you… it’s about connecting them to each other.” THAT is the sole purpose of Follow Friday: connecting people to each other. This, in turn, creates more conversation in your own neck of the woods. Use your powers to connect users to each other instead of trying to gain more followers for yourself. You’ll be amazed at the results.

I promise.

How Important is Social Networking?

If you were to take time completely away from the Internet, would you really miss out on anything? The mere thought of not keeping a constant eye on your Twitter stream or Facebook wall may give you the shakes, but what exactly is it that might go unnoticed? The world isn’t going to end if you aren’t checking in every moment of the day, my friends. You may even be shocked to know that you’re not going to miss a damn thing, because nothing ever really changes.

Author and speaker CC Chapman recently had some emergency surgery. Upon his return home, he noted that he didn’t really miss much of anything during the week he had been offline. I read the Tweet right after it was sent out, and it’s been in the back of mind since then. His words kept poking at me, gnawing at some part of my brain with the simple honesty behind them.

The people you are following today will still be there a week from now – even if you happen to be offline. Sure, they may say something profound or inspiring. Someone will release a book while another person is hired for a great position at a hot new startup. You’ll find out that a small group is putting together a fundraiser and that a bunch of your friends ate something at some point every day. Are these the things you’re terrified not to read the moment they happen?

Step back and think about what’s truly essential for you to know at the end of the day. The things said within your social communities have some level of importance, yes. The people you are connecting with are definitely worthy of your attention. But if you are building your life or – even worse – your business around what is being said and done on Twitter and Facebook then something needs to change.

While these platforms can be crucial to your brand, they aren’t the be-all and end-all of success. With so many “experts” and “gurus” out there telling you that you have to carry a presence on these sites, it can end up being confusing. Yes, you need to be there. No, your business will not go bankrupt if you are not there every moment of your day. You need to find a balance and remember that you aren’t going to be left in the dust if you happen to take a day – or a week – off.

What Are You Getting out of Social Media?

There are about ten million blog posts that discuss how you are supposed to “do” social media. You’ll find perhaps two million people who label themselves as experts, gurus, and rock stars. These individuals will tell you the right way to use Twitter or Facebook. They’ll help you learn the ropes in order to grow your business. Everything you read is about what you can do for social media. Have you ever wondered, though, what social media is doing for you?

You know that tapping into the power of a social network can help you reach a larger number of people. You’ve realized that your business simply cannot survive without being seen on the various platforms and services. Heck, you even understand that you will eventually gain a lot of “clout” simply by being a good little social media student. Is that seriously all that’s in it for you?

Embracing social networks can help you grow as a person. Meeting people from all over the world will expand your mind. You’ll be able to make connections that you otherwise never would have, which can help you to become a better you. If you aren’t using your Twitter stream and Facebook Wall to learn from others, you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity, my friends.

I’m not going to bother trying to list the things you can gain through these channels. The possibilities are endless, to be honest. I’m not talking about trying to figure out how to speak Chinese through a few tweets. I’m telling you that you can literally change your life by opening yourself up and allowing the world into your mind.

I’ve read tales of people who have had their confidence boosted after becoming active within social networks. We’ve all heard stories of those who were inspired in some way and went out to do amazing things. Every day there are new tidbits floating around the Web that talk about all of you out there who are changing the world. We can each leave our mark for future generations to look back upon. Why can’t we get a jump start through the various social channels that we have available?

Reach out to people who you feel are the movers and shakers in whatever avenue you wish to pursue. Listen more than you talk. Take action when it is necessary, and tell others about it. Participate in conversations. Learn how to be smarter, stronger, and more well-rounded. Let your community help you to become a better you.