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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

FriendFeed Fad?

FriendFeed Fad?  Image by Laurent Dieterich

FriendFeed Fad? Image by Laurent Dieterich

Everyone has been talking about FriendFeed these past few weeks, even the pundits.  It’s true, FriendFeed is picking up steam, but will it stick?

For those of you who don’t know, FriendFeed (according to FriendFeed) is a service that makes it easy to share with friends online. It offers a fun and interactive way to discover and discuss information among friends.

Sounds like Twitter, right?  It’s similar, but doesn’t have a 140 character limitation and you can reply in a visible thread to any post.  This tends to generate a more obvious conversation as you can see comments from people who you don’t subscribe to.  It’s known around the social media industry that some of the wisest industry experts are FriendFeed exclusive.

About a week ago, I noted that I had a large number of new FriendFeed requests.  It was odd that these requests outnumbered my Twitter requests because a) I am active on Twitter and seem to get all my traffic there, and b) When was the last time I was on FriendFeed?

I checked it out and noted that everyone on FriendFeed was abuzz about their new influx of followers, too.  Upon further investigation, I saw that there was a new feature: You can now add all of your Twitter friends (who also have FriendFeed account) in the click of a button!  I tested it out, and immediately subscribed to 420 people who also were on my Twitter stream.

It was making sense.

I stuck around FriendFeed for a few days, ignoring Twitter.  I noticed a few key things:

  • The subscription requests kept coming in, but none of those folks seemed to be talking on FriendFeed.  They were just importing their Twitter stream.  Were these people even looking at their FriendFeed accounts?
  • Those who are active on FriendFeed seem to have more informative, high-level discussions about social media.  Bonus: people were participating and adding knowledge to the conversation.  FriendFeed is about the GROUP and what the group thinks.
  • All that nonsense talk like: “I’m at Starbucks, this coffee is goood,” was no where to be found on FriendFeed-only streams. How nice!
  • I didn’t have to babysit FriendFeed like I have to babysit Twitter.  On FriendFeed, I’m not going to miss a beat- I just need to check out “my discussions” and it’s all there.  (I know you can use TweetDeck and other tools on Twitter.)

The verdict?  Michael Arrington wrote a post last month called “FriendFeed is in Danger of Becoming the Coolest Ap No One Uses.” I agree that FriendFeed offers cooler features than Twitter.  But this migration?  It’s fake!  To click a button and add all my friends in 3 seconds is not a commitment on my part that I will be an active member of the community.

The hope, MY hope, is that people will test out FriendFeed and see what they think.  I truly feel like FriendFeed offers higher level, more infomative conversations than any other social media services I’ve tested.  But will it stick?  Time will tell.

Have you been on FriendFeed lately?  Tell me what you think!

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Are you doing what you REALLY want to be doing with your life?  6 months ago, I wasn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked my job.  I valued the experience I was getting at the large and prestigious company I was working for… but I wasn’t REALLY doing what I wanted to be doing.

For me, it took a rather large kick in the booty to get my life going in the direction I wanted: a layoff.

I’ll tell you something that’s weird.  The second I got laid off, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  I knew I was ready to start working for myself, but I ALSO knew that I didn’t  have the strength and courage to walk away from my paycheck.  More importantly, I don’t think I REALLY TRUSTED that I could run my own business.  After all, wasn’t that kind of activity for seasoned experts?  You know, people that have worked for the “man” for 20+ years?

So I took the leap.  I started my own consulting company.  But the biggest challenge for me as been as follows:

Trust yourself.  You know more than you think you do. -Benjamin Spock

trustyourself1Image by NickyFern

I imagine most entrepreneurs jump out of the corporate world because they DO believe in themselves.  And because they believe they can do the work better than anyone else.   Don’t get me wrong, I started my business for the same exact reasons.

But is there something called entrepreneurial doubt?

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last 6 months:

1) Ignore everything anyone has ever said to you that was negative, and non-constructive about your business performance or dreams.

I used to talk about starting my own business with some of my peers prior to my new venture.  I would hear comments such as: “Really?  I wouldn’t do that.  You need like 15 years of experience.”  OR “Who would hire someone for social media related PR?”  Usually negative comments aren’t about you.  They are usually about fear- because you might know something they don’t.  (This past conversation in particular was re-sparked when I read this post this week: here.) Ignore naysayers and move on.

2) Consider every piece of constructive criticism you’ve ever received and strive to improve in those areas.

I’ve often been told that timeliness is not one of my strengths.  Now that I am working on my own, I find that I WANT to be on time.  In fact, I have shown up to work before 7 every day this week.

3) Consider you personal strengths, and figure out how to apply them to your daily tasks.

When working at my prior job, I found myself going home, having fun with social networking, and trying to determine how to apply it to public relations (my job).  I am now running a business where I have the opportunity to combine my skills (public relations) with my passions (social media).  Fun!

4) Consider your personal weaknesses and make improvement of them priorities.

I dislike anything administrative, and I will put it off to the last second, often to the detriment of my other work.  I am now rewarding myself for applying the same enthusiasm to these tasks that I give my more meaty tasks.  I am my boss AND the worker.  Rewarding myself is important!

So here I am, 6 months since being laid off and I have a healthy roster of clients.  I feel VERY blessed to be where I am today, working for myself and doing what I LOVE.  Today I TRUST that not only CAN I run my own business, but I WILL do a great job.

How about you?  Share your stories!  Are you working for yourself, or do you want to?  What made you take the leap?  If you haven’t, what’s stopping you?

As always, thanks for stopping by.

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I pride myself in being willing to learn ANY new social media application or technolgy.  More than that, I genuinely WANT to learn anything social media related.  But honestly, I am not awesome at everything I try out.

This month I stumbled upon one such social media beast.  Maybe you’ve heard of it.  Wikipedia.  Let me preface this blog by saying: I LOVE Wikipedia.  It’s my favorite tool in all the land.  I can find out anything I want to know just by “Wikipedia-ing” it.  But this is where things get scary: ANYONE can edit it.  Let me repeat that: EVERYONE can edit Wikipedia.

wikiart

Why Wikipedia?
I have an amazing client who wanted to be on Wikipedia.  I was forthright with them and said, I can learn how to do it for you, but I am not a programmer, and I have not placed edited a Wikipedia page from scratch before.  (It’s important to be honest, I think.)  They said that was fine, and off I went.

Important things I learned from the get-go:
If you think you’re going to get onto Wikipedia, create an account and just type in the information about your client, click save and be done:

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

No.  That’s not how it works.  Your article will VERY quickly be marked for “speedy deletion” as it will look like spam to either the administrators or spam catcher robots that run Wikipedia-land.  This is not good, because when you try to re-enter your article after following the RIGHT steps, it will already have the scarlet letter A stamped on it as prior, it was “speedily deleted” when you had no idea what you were doing.

So what do I do?

I spoke with Tony over at Airdale Brewing Company who has a fantastic Wikipedia Page.  He gave me the advice that in order to create your own page, you must first become an “autoconfirmed user” of Wikipedia.  This means that you have to contribute to (edit) ten other Wikipedia pages before you can create one of your own.  In part this makes sense.  This proves that you are not a spammer.  This proves that you care about the Wiki community.  And really, this process teaches you HOW to edit.

This was also one of the most humbling experiences ever.  You think you know a LOT about stuff in general?  Yeah, go edit 10 Wiki pages.  I’ll wait.

People already know (and added) a lot of the information you thought you could add, huh?

So needless to say, editing 10 pages took me an embarrassingly long time.  At long last, I finished it.

Editing your page

This is not a place where I can teach you a lot.  I suggest you look at the templates of others.  Read LOTS of articles like this one. But be prepared to fight.  Within 10 minutes of my page going up, it was RE-tagged for speedy deletion.

I can tell you this:

  • My page did not promote my client with links.
  • My page DID include links of their partners in the appropriate external links section.
  • My page DID include many references/news articles.
  • My page DID link to many other places around Wikipedia.

The Good News:
Upon being re-marked for speedy deletion, I sparked a conversation with the administrators. (Whose names are so secret they don’t even know each other.  I’m not making this up.) I have received some helpful advice and it looks like my client’s page will be active shortly.  Ironically Wikipedia’s editing page is acting up right now, so I’ll have to try later.

But it reminds me: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.  And don’t be afraid to share you’re failures with your friends so they can succeed.

What about you?  What Wikipedia advice/stories/lessons do you have to share?  I’d LOVE to hear them.

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Nothing warms my day like an article filled with social media statistics. (I’m being serious.)  I know that 82.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot, but I’m inclined to believe the findings of Ketchum’s recent Traditional Media vs. Online Media report as reported by Mashable.

type1

Bottom line:  more people are getting their news from network news (local and national) and local newspapers than blogs, the Internet or social media sites.

I’m not surprised.  How about you?

Here’s where the good news comes in.  According to Mashable:

– Blogs are now used by 24% of Internet users, up from 13% in 2006

– Social networks are now used by 26% of Internet users, up from 17% in 2006

– Videocasts are now used by 11% of Internet users, up from 6% in 2006

Also growing, RSS feeds and Podcasts.

So what do we do with these statistics?

Blogging:

I am a big proponent of Corporate blogs and suggest that nearly all of my clients start one.  Not only do blogs allow for Corporations to control their own message, but they also have the opportunity to give a corporation a human-feel.  The best Corporations understand how to disseminate their news in a fun-to-read manner.

Sometimes, a Corporation shouldn’t blog.  If a Corporation doesn’t have the ability to post updates consistently, has difficulties with the approvals process, or can not answer comments in a timely manner, I do not suggest blogging.

With the rise and public acceptance of blogs as legitimate news combined with usage of RSS feeds, will we as a society ultimately prefer to receive our news from Corporations themselves?

Social Networking:

Pretty much everyone participates in a social network on a personal level in one way or another.  Even my mom listens to Pandora radio both at home and on her iPhone.  (My mom is not very tech-savvy, but I love her anyway.) What should businesses do to reach the 26% of Internet users partaking?

Social networks are not one size fits all.  In other words, while MySpace might work for a band, LinkedIn might be best for a company looking to focus on expanding their sales efforts.  Likewise, Twitter might be best for a marketing organization.  There are many social networks to choose from and they should be chosen wisely.  It is better to be effective in one social network than participate poorly in many.

For a decently comprehensive list of Social Networks, and to see if your username is available, check here.

Videocasts:

Videocasts (or podcasts with video), are on the rise.  I can’t figure out a reason why I would create one for me YET, though I am starting to find lots of compelling reasons for my clients to create them.  If you are speaking at workshops, trying to have a more personal connection with your followers or just want to take your podcast to the next level, this is a growing area worth considering.

RSS Feeds:

It does surprise me that MORE people don’t use RSS feeds. I subscribe to everything I find interesting and by using RSS feeds, my life is simplified greatly.   I never thought it would be possible that I could read all my news on one page, share from that page, and talk about the news.  If this doesn’t stick as the number one way of receiving our news as a society, I REALLY wonder what will.

Traditional Public Relations:

Most importantly, we can’t yet forget about traditional public relations.  We still need to build relationships with our local newspapers and broadcast journalists and pitch them with compelling, interesting news.   There is no such thing as one size fits all public relations.  Our industry is growing.  I will continue to get all my news online, and in all likelihood, my mom will get three newspapers delivered every morning until the newspapers are cancelled.

Public Relations is about delivering the message to EVERYONE.  And while Social Media is certainly rising, it’s not time to forget where we came from just yet.

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My Dad approached me last week and asked me about my Seven Things post.  He thought maybe I was sharing TOO much.  He asked me:  Do I ever have apprehensions about anything I share on this blog?  Do I worry about posting my picture or my name on the Web?  Perhaps I (we) share TOO much in the age of Social Media.

“Daaaaad,”  I said. “This has been hashed over a million times.  This subject is talked out.”

And then we had the Twitter Phishing scam and Celebrity Hacking fun of 2009.

So MAYBE my dad was right.  Maybe we should talk about this some more.

As far as social media is concerned, do we trust too much?

Many of us, me included, have become far too comfortable handing out our passwords.  We click on link after link on Twitter to see how we rate or to see how exciting our tweets are and we provide our Twitter passwords to obtain the results.  But are these safe places to hand out our passwords?  And why do we so freely type our passwords out?

Dan Tentler speaks about the security risks involved giving passwords in his AtenLabs blog. When typing your password, always look at the URL, and make sure the url matches the site you believe you are on. In the Twitter Phishing scam, folks were taken to a screen that looked like Twitter, but was not actually Twitter.  We should ALL be more careful about looking at our URL’s on a regular basis.

I never share anything I wouldn’t want a future employer or client to read.  I never click on something without looking at the URL first.  And now, I don’t share my password unless I have examined the site I am on. I’m sure I have more to learn about protecting myself online.  But there is no way a little phishing and hacking is gonna scare me away from the social media world.

What do you think?

Should we as a community be more concerned about posting our pictures online?  How about the small bits of personal information that some of us share? Are there ways that hackers and phishers could exploit that information as well?

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The problem:

Honestly, NO ONE in the world could be a more HORRID PR practitioner than Lois Whitman-Hess.   You didn’t hear about her?  Click here, or here.  This is a woman who thinks that just because a reporter is attending a tradeshow, they HAVE to meet with her client.  This is a woman who CALLS 45 reporters at the Wall Street Journal in ONE day.  This is a woman who spams journalists like it’s cool.  This is the kind of PR practitioner that makes bloggers think “PR” is a bad word.

WE GET IT.  There are some REALLY HORRIBLE public relations practitioners out there.

The solution:

Bloggers- I want to ask you a HUGE favor for 2009. HUGE.  I want to see one of you- one of you with the respect of the entire PR industry start a new blog or weekly column.  It will be called: The PHENOMENAL PITCH BLOG or something similar.  In this blog/column, you will call out the most outstanding PR pitches you have heard and call out the individuals who pitched.  This will be the anti-blacklist.  (The White-list.  Generic.  You get the idea.)

The philosophy:

I don’t think people learn from rants.  (Ironic since I am writing one.)  I think people learn best from shining examples of good.  In 2008, we’ve suffered through the economy, and if there is one thing that social media has taught me, it’s that (most of the time) positivity rises to the top while negativity sinks, ignored.   Maybe if we have a list of GREAT PR folks, people will strive to MAKE the list.  Let’s give PR people something to strive toward, not a list of avoid.

What now?

I’m one person.  A PR person, a blogger.  If you agree, if you want to see the PHENOMENAL PITCH BLOG come to life… forward this blog.  Who will do it for us?  For the WHOLE public relations industry?

I would be forever grateful.

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It has been speculated by the new (fabulous) blog Lalawag that Qwitter has possibly gone under.   Article.  Could it be?  (Wahoo!)

For those unfamiliar, Qwitter is/was a Web application that e-mails Twitter users (who sign up) every day notifying them of fellow Tweeps who stop following their micro-feed.   While interesting in theory, what followed was an onslaught of Tweeps complaining about being “Qwit,” threatening to un-follow anyone who un-followed them and really, general high school patheticness on a massive level.

I never signed up for Qwitter, and this is why:

1) Not every person I find valuable is ALSO going to find my tweets valuable.  Should this offend me?  No.  We all have different offerings/services to provide to the greater community.  This is what makes Twitter great.

2) If I Tweet 140 characters, and someone doesn’t like what I have to say and therefore un-follows me, I am not going to change the way I tweet and “who I am online” to please one person.

3) When Twitter started, there might have been an unwritten code that if I follow a person, he/she should follow back. Given the size of Twitter now, those codes are off.  I follow over 500 people, and honestly, my favorite Tweeps are getting lost in the information shuffle.  At some point it’s IMPORTANT to be more selective to serve your business needs.

4) Finally- why?  What did I stand to gain to find out who was quitting my feed and when?  I would rather focus on the positive and learn about my new followers.

Services like Qwitter reinforce the feeling that social media can be just like high school.  If we put the focus on how many people are our friends or who quit today, we lose focus on what we stand to learn today.

I would never wish for a company to go under.  But in hard economic times, I would prefer that social media, and social media tools help us as a community stay in touch with positive forms of networking  and helpful dissemination of relevant information.

What do you think?  As always, I welcome your feedback.

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