Tag Archives: social-network

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?”

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.

How to Help Your Company be Social

Companies everywhere are finally realizing that they need to be social to survive in today’s marketplace. They are scrambling to figure out how to use Twitter and Facebook in order to be where their customers are. Some of them are grasping the advantages of Foursquare. The problem is that many of these brands aren’t doing social the right way. Yes my friends – there is a right – and wrong – way to “do” social media. Big corporations hiring a person or outside company to talk AT consumers are doing it absolutely wrong. Those establishments who talk WITH their community are the ones who are owning the social space.

There are businesses all over my Twitter stream who just can’t seem to figure out the difference between talking at someone and talking with them. Sending out messages about your latest “deal” or sale isn’t enough. Shooting a link or two their way with the hope they will click and buy doesn’t cut it. I don’t care how good your product or service is these days. If you aren’t opening a real dialogue with your patrons, you’re missing the entire point.

It’s great to see corporations such as Comcast and TechSmith really connecting with people. They don’t take the conversation out of the public eye just to shut someone up… they honestly do it to HELP people. However, I feel there is still so much more they could be doing. Creating actual back-and-forth conversations – even on Twitter – is something that each and every one of you needs to be doing.

Ask questions. When you receive answers, don’t just ignore them and congratulate yourself for getting a reply. TALK WITH THEM. Don’t tell people what you’re going to give them or do for them – ask them what they want. Find out how you can make your service better. Discover what the consumers think would make your product stand out from the competitors. Figure out your customer’s lives… what will make things easier for them? What is it you can do to help make their day better? All of this can be done right on social networks, y’all.

Stop counting your numbers and measuring your damn metrics. Quit worrying about that stuff, because it honestly doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think it does. What matters is those people sitting behind their screen attempting to connect with you. Once you’ve established that, the metrics will fall into place all on their own.

How to Use Your Social Network

Normally, using someone isn’t a very nice thing to do. The negative connotations surrounding that word tend to make us shy away from allowing ourselves to remember that it can be a positive thing, as well. Yes, you need to give more than you take and the social space is no exception to the rule. However, there’s nothing wrong with using your network when you need to.

Are you thinking of buying a new product? Use your network! Throw out a quick message on both sites and ask for opinions. The people in your community who have used or owned that item will be quick to tell you the pros – and cons. You’ll get real feedback in real time. What better way could there be to help make a buying decision?

Another way to use your network is to reach out and ask for recommendations the next time you plan pretty much anything. Your contacts will jump at the chance to tell you where the hottest clubs and hotels are, which airlines cost the least to fly on and where you should be eating or shopping. You can get quick advice about anything and everything – including which Elvis impersonator is the best.

Thousands of people are out of work and having difficulties finding a new position. Use those networks, people! Let others know you are on the hunt and ask if they know of openings in your field. Make sure you’ve signed up on LinkedIn and fully filled in your your profile. Give that link out any time you hear of a promising lead or whenever you inquire about an opening someone may know of.

Your network can be used for education research and finding out the latest information about breaking news stories. I suppose these examples wouldn’t be classified as using the people in your community as much as it would be expanding your mind thanks to them. Are you stumped on a homework question? Ask your friends for help. If you have Google’d your fingers to the bone and still cannot find answers you need for a project at work, the people you surround yourself with online may have a clue. When you hear sirens coming from every direction in your neighborhood, a quick hashtag Twitter search will likely yield the fastest results. Quite often, you can find out what’s what on your social network ten times faster than you would via your local news station.

The ways in which you can use your social network are virtually endless. Keep in mind what I said in the beginning: give more than you take. The next time someone asks for help you can offer, don’t ignore it because you are too busy. Take the time to help someone and you’ll be repaid tenfold.

What others ways do you use your social network?

How To Have One Profile

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We have too many profiles on too many social networks. How do people new to our circle know where to find us? We can’t just spam them with all of our links at once. Matthew is taking a look at About.Me this week. The site is a great place to create ONE profile and link to the rest of the places you can be found online.

Your About profile is completely customizable. Add whatever links, feeds and information you choose. You can choose different fonts and colors for each separate section and make the background you feel fits you the best.

Add your email if you wish, move the description box to a better place on the page and even view your stats. The Dashboard will show you the average time spent on your profile, the total views and the number of new visitors. You’ll be able to see how many times your various links were clicked on.

One thing Matt suggests is to link to this new static page in your email signatures. Instead of listing your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, why not just give out one simple link to serve as a landing page?

Do you have an About.Me page yet?

Who Do You Like a Little?

Holy viral new website Batman! Like a Little is a new anonymous flirting website that has taken the Intertubez by storm. In less than six weeks online, the site is already pushing more than twenty million views. According to the team behind the venture: “In just 6 weeks since launch, we have over 20M page views (now over 1M a day and growing fast) and hundreds of thousands of daily uniques. Our virality index is higher than Facebook’s in their fastest growth stage.”

The site works by letting you post flirty little descriptions and comment anonymously (or you can register for an account and log in). Being able to post under anonymity is likely a large reason why the site has become so popular. What keeps people keep coming back to Likealittle is the compulsion to check the discussion around their updates and comments.

Users can also send and receive messages and take down any comments or updates they feel are abusive just by confirming their school email address. To keep up the positive environment, all randomly generated usernames are fruit-based like Apple or Banana. Every time you reply anonymously in a new thread, you’ll be assigned a different fruity handle.

We like to think of the site as a flirting-facilitator platform (or FFP, for advanced users). Basically, the site was made to allow you to compliment and chat about potential crushes you see around you. We are releasing it after 12 years… or was it 12 hours?… of hardcore development, in part to try and help me with my lack of game with women.

This venture is aimed at mostly the college set. What better way to take the social pressure off of meeting someone than by removing looks and physical awkwardness from the equation? Is this something you might be using in the near future?

Jumo Social Network for Social Good

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has launched his eagerly anticipated social network, Jumo. Using the service, you can easily connect with your favorite social causes in one online space. Jumo was designed to let users find, follow and support the causes important to them, and with 3,500 organizations on board at launch, would-be philanthropists should be able to find and follow something of interest upon joining.

Once you sign up using your Facebook Connect ID, you can easily find friends on Jumo. You will then begin shaping your experience by deciding what you’re interested in by selecting the Issues that matter to you. “This is to get a sense of who someone is, what they’re passionate about, what’s meaningful to them,” Hughes says. “It’s the first way to figure out what a person might want to see more of.” Each Issue has a Page you can follow, which will help you discover more organizations over time.

“We’re an open platform where anyone can create a profile or an organization page. You have to be vetted by the IRS to be able to receive any money from anyone on the Jumo platform [via a donation button], but anyone can create a page,” Hughes says. By joining Jumo, a Project can pull all its social streams into one place — Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, blogs, etc. That way, followers can check out a wealth of information on a single organization all in one framework.

Hughes and his team definitely seemed to have figured out exactly what is needed with Jumo. It’s less about focusing about people and more about focusing on organizations that people want to help. Have you figured out which Issues you support yet?

Are You Still Using MySpace?

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Seb asked me in chat recently if I actually use MySpace. I have an account there, yes. I actually even receive tens of visitors there each month. I admit that I really don’t even USE the site. Do you?

From all appearances, it seems as though MySpace has turned into almost a joke. They are working hard to rebrand the site and turn it into something unique that people will want to use again. However, I just don’t see it happening. When they first came up with the customizable pages, everyone loved it. We could make our pages look however we wanted… until it got out of control. Everywhere you look there are blinky things, strange graphics and comment pictures. It’s overload of a very bad kind, and people who actually care about such things seem to be the only ones using the site still.

Everyone I talk to who takes part in social media profile sites is on Facebook. LinkedIn is ranked up there as another site people feel the need to have a complete profile on. If I mention MySpace, I get strange looks or outright cynical snorts.

What are your thoughts? Are you still using MySpace?

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How Much Social Networking is Too Much?

How many social networks do you belong to? How many of those do you actively participate in? With so many options available these days, how do you figure out where you belong? Ah hah! I bet you hadn’t thought of this before. Too often, we rush to join every hot new social media site. We want to be on the cutting edge. We strive to be early adopters. Unfortunately, joining every site out there turns in to nothing more than a nightmare.

There is too much noise on the Internet. Why the hell do we spend so much of our time attempting to sift through the tidbits on a hundred sites to get to the important things that make a difference in our lives? Why are we wasting precious time trying to fit ourselves into proper categories of people?

Figure out what it is YOU want out of a social networking site. Where do you fit? Which site just feels like home when you log in? That is the place where you should hang your proverbial hat. There comes a point where we have to decide enough is enough and eradicate the extra noise. When it becomes impossible to hear and be heard, you know you’ve stretched yourself a little too thin. Pare it down, folks. You don’t need to be everywhere in order to make a difference in this world. You simply need to somewhere.

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Twitter now Boasts Nearly 200 Million Visitors

During the CM Summit today, Twitter COO Dick Costolo informed the gathered crowd that Twitter now has approximately 190 million visitors per month. Collectively, those people send out about 65 million tweets per day. Holy Twitter client – that’s a lot of updates. ““We’re laying down track as fast as we can in front of the train,” says Costolo. These numbers are up slightly from 180 million self-reported unique visitors per month back in April, and 50 million Tweets per day in February.”

The number of visitors to the site is not the same thing as the number of registered users. Costolo reminded us that most users never send out a single tweet (though I cannot imagine that!). Instead, they use the site to consume information and news. It’s also not clear how many of those 65 million tweets come from spam bots and the like.

Twitter is much more than just a place to update your friends and family. It’s honestly the fastest way to find out the latest news – usually while it is happening. For instance, my assistant Kat used Twitter two nights ago to track the deadly and destructive tornadoes that ripped through Illinois. She has family in and near the locations where the damage was the worst, and couldn’t reach them during the storms. She kept her eyes glued to Twitter, finding out information there far quicker than she did on any other source. The local newspaper website (and tv site) didn’t have ANY information about the storms until more than an hour after they happened. However, people living through the catastrophe were live tweeting every moment.

Social networking is about staying connected – with the world. When you open up your mind to the possibilities that are out there and learn to take advantage of them, you’ll find yourself learning new things every moment of every day.

How To Introduce a Child to Social Media

Kids want to grow up a whole lot faster than we feel is good for them. You remember what it’s like, I’m sure: you just know that you’re way more mature than your parents give you credit for. They don’t understand what it’s like. They are too old to truly “get” you. I hear from kids in our community on a regular basis, and many of them say these things. They ask me questions about how they can break into the tech scene and start to “get noticed” online for their efforts. I tend to point them towards places such as Twitter and YouTube. But what happens if the kid in question is truly still a kid? If they’re under the age of 13, they are automatically discluded from sites such as Facebook and many other popular social networking sites.

On Tuesday, the answer for these kids will go out of the beta phase, and be available to the public. Togetherville is aimed at kids aged 10 – 13 and the grownups in their lives. Founder Mandeep Singh Dhillon called Togetherville “the first platform that really integrates young children’s ability to use the Web with their grownups close by.” Anonymity is not allowed on the site. Kids sign up as themselves, without even an avatar to use. Parents control every aspect of the experience, right down to who is allowed to be a child’s friend. The site encourages parents “to create neighborhoods of the real people in their child’s life to be around their kid as they grow up online.”

The free site will let kids play games and watch videos. They can also create and share artwork. The chat feature doesn’t work the same as a normal one would. Kids cannot type something into the chat box. They have to instead choose one of the prescreened “quips” that the staff has come up with. This will reduce the risk of a kid accidentally revealing personal information. Videos that are available have also been screened before being added to the site, and deemed appropriate for the age group.

Another unique feature is that “parents must be Facebook members to sign up their children for the service. Parents sign in with their Facebook user name and password. Children’s information is never sent to Facebook so the only way information about a child can get onto Facebook is if the parent or another adult enters it–just as is the case with offline activities. Parents can also chose to allow adult or teenage Facebook friends to interact with their child but all of the interaction takes place on Togetherville, not on Facebook.”

Let’s face it: today’s kids are the first generation of a world that is revolving more and more around social and digital media. Togetherville is an excellent – and safe – way for adults to introduce the young people in their lives to social media. This site can help give you the tools you need to help your child become adept in the world of social networking.

Ning Services Will Remain Free for Educators

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the disappointing news from the Ning camp. The service had announced that they will be suspending their free service, and only offer paid-for services in the near future. There has been a lot of discussion and rants floating around the web regarding this sad turn of events. However, no group was more outraged than educators.

Today, Ning proved they are listening. The company has signed a letter of intent with a major educational publisher to keep its service free for educators. Thanks to people such as Beth Kanter, the network has realized that there is a serious need to keep the free services in some situations. “We have to ask, ‘what is the cost of free?’” she said. This is in reference to many services and sites like Ning who shut down free versions… often without any warning at all.

The new paid versions will roll out in July. The good news is that the premium package – now called ‘Ning Pro’ – is going to cost a bit less than it did in the past. There will be three levels of paid service: Ning Mini, Ning Plus and the Ning Pro. Costs jump from $3.00 per month to $50.00 per month for the Pro version. The mid-level form will run a user around twenty bucks every thirty days. Ning is also promising new features based on user demand:

We’ll start with many of the things Network Creators have been asking for and extend the service from there. The end of Ning promotional links, leading to a more customized, branded experience for you and your members. An ad free experience and the option to run your own ads — if you like. Easy content export and back-up. The end of Ning ID and ability to add Facebook and Twitter sign-in. API access for a more integrated experience. The ability to charge for membership and accept donations.

I’m happy to see a few of these changes, and am waiting for even more to come about. I know that on our Geeks Ning network, we have a serious need for better ways to deal with unwanted members and spammers. We need more control over how members are managed and removed.

What are your thoughts about this newest development? Are you an educator who makes use of this platform? If so… will you now be sticking with the service, or choosing something different?

Will Yahoo be the Next Twitter?

According to a few published reports today, Yahoo is moving forward with their Twitter-style new service: Yahoo Meme. The company has now purchased the catchy domain name, Me.me, from the .ME domain registry.

Using Meme, people can write short entries and then add photos or videos to their pages, which are called Memes. You can follow other memes and even track entries from those pages on your dashboard. This sounds eerily like many of the other services already available on the Web. I keep waiting for the “next big thing” to come along. Instead, I keep seeing everyone jumping aboard the Twitter bandwagon.

Let’s face it: Twitter is a force to be reckoned with. Everyone wants to be just like them… with the user counts, the page views and the money rolling in. The problem is, though, there are a limited number of things you can DO with a micro-blogging site. If you want to keep it short and sweet, like Twitter does, you can’t add too many features. The beauty of tweeting is keeping it simple.

Instead of trying to copy what Twitter is doing in order to make a few bucks, why aren’t these other companies coming up with something entirely different? Just because we’re all in love with Twitter doesn’t mean we couldn’t possibly love something new. Give me innovation. Give me something different! Put your creativity and passion into developing something that I cannot live without.

Then, and ONLY then, will you ever begin to be able to “compete” with Twitter.

How to Make it Big in Social Media

Everyone has their own idea as to how to be the next big thing in social media. Almost none of those ideas are right. In some ways, it’s almost luck of the draw as to who becomes “famous” on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. In many cases, people find themselves elevated to the rank of “famous” within social media circles with a lot of hard work. It’s not easy to cultivate a following and keep them interested. Trust me on this. I’ve gained followers, and I’ve lost followers. It happens on a daily basis. However, I don’t have a panic attack if someone unfollows me. I just figure I’m not their cup of tea, and go on about my life.

Not everyone can say the same with any degree of truthfulness, though. I know quite a few people who spend more time tracking how well they are doing on Twitter than they do actually sending out tweets. They are so immersed in the “numbers” that they have forgotten what got them their followers and friends in the first place. People don’t follow someone simply because they are “popular”. They follow someone because they are genuinely interested in what the person has to say.

In any case, it’s often humorous to watch someone who has decided they are famous on Twitter or Facebook. I love it when a person has become “too important” for their own good. Call me a meanie, but it’s just plain funny to watch those giant egos burst when they finally realize that they weren’t so important after all. Only then do we ever get to see the real person.

Tremendous News hit the nail on the head with a recent post: 7 Signs You’re Taking Yourself Too Seriously on Social Media.

  • You Actually Posed For A Picture With The Clear Intention Of It Being Your Facebook Or Twitter Profile Picture.
  • For Real-Life Crises, You Seek Advice From Anonymous Internet People.
  • You Have Customized Social Media Clothes.
  • You Think Your Facebook Fans Are Like Real Fans.
  • You Panic When Your Follower/Fan/Friend Growth Stalls.
  • You Think You Have More Influence Than Established Mediums.
  • You Think Because A Celebrity Acknowledges Your Existence, You’re Immediately Friends.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you recognize yourself in any of the above scenarios, it’s time to step away from TweetDeck and get back in touch with reality.