Next week is going to be busy: a class and a webinar!

Linkedin Centipedes at 2010 Bay to Breakers.

I have two things coming up next week and decided to share them here!

On Tuesday, I’ll teach a class on LinkedIn for business.

On Thursday, I’ll lead Lunch & Learn Teleseminar: Social Media 101 With Regina Walton – Sponsored by FCN & NAGC.

I’m just excited for both. Check them out!

Now I have to get some lesson and presentation planning in.

Photo courtesy of smi23le on Flickr.

Keeping Technology Simple: August 1, 2011

Photo courtesy of Choconancy, Nancy White, on Flickr.

I was the featured guest on Keeping Technology Simple yesterday. The subtitle for yesterday’s episode was “What’s Your Social Media Strategy?”.

It was fun because Jim Blue interviewed me before. It was good to touch base with someone who talked to me about social media when I was a brand new freelancer vs. now when I’m freelancer who is about two years in.

We talked about a few things. We talked about why I set up my business, what’s changed in the last year, what criteria I use to take on clients, how to learn about the social web and blogging. It’s a short interview, around 30 minutes.

Here it is, so take a listen: Keeping Technology Simple: What is Your Social Media Strategy?

Thanks.

SEO the Bad Way

Courtesy of Dagny Scott, fireflythegreat, on Flickr

Okay, the blog that got me into social media was the blog I started in 2006 when I was living in Seoul and getting a master’s at Ewha Womans University.  I’ve been back in the States since 2009, but when I have time, I still keep it going.  I’ve always moderated the comments…always.

You always get spam comments or comments from people trying to build links back to their sites.  Honestly?  That’s fine if they’ve read my blog and their comment is on the topic.  I’m willing to help someone with a link back to them if they’re contributing to the conversation on my blog.  No worries!  Go ahead, comment and link back to yourself.

However, when you’re just showing up, typing something completely irrelevant in, and hitting submit, well, that’s not contributing to the conversation. That’s just spam.  It’s not getting through.  That’s one big reason I still police the comments on my blog and on my client’s blogs.  Another reason is the one Anil Dash wrote a great blog about this week.  You can set the tone of the discussion on your site, but you have to do that proactively.  Here is that post: If Your Website’s Full of Assholes, It’s Your Fault.  He’s right.

However, the disruptive troll commentor isn’t the topic of this post.  My topic is spam commentor: the SEO firm or site owners who try to cheat on getting links back to whatever sites.

The first two attempts were by a pamella.

I had a feeling right away this was a junk comment.  The writing is just careless and sloppy.  No one writing a dissertation is likely that sloppy.  Also, why would someone comment on a post about a social media class?  It would make more sense if the post was on the post I made when I was back in school about how to get through writer’s block.  Of course, the comment had a link.  It was to some junk dissertation page.  Basically, think of the businesses that give lazy students papers or substantial chunks of probably plagiarized writing for a fee. There was also a link to pamella’s profile.  That led me to a company page that did various things like app development and, surprise, SEO.

I got another comment from wholesaleherbs.

Basically, the same m.o.  However, at least, this time they linked to a page about health care.  However, the sloppy writing was there and the comment really didn’t make a lot of sense.  This time the link was to some retail site selling herbs, vitamins and natural remedies.  And, oh, surprise, the same link back to the same company.

I tell my clients to definitely go to blogs and contribute quality comments.  I DO NOT tell my clients to go to blogs and spam someone’s comment section.  I definitely do not do that for them.  However, I think this company does.  BTW, I know it’s a numbers game.  I catch it, but how many people are bothering to moderate their blog comments?  If you’re not, honestly? You’re part of the problem.

Be careful who you hire.  Run some searches and see what links are coming back to them.  That’s a good way to see exactly how they implement SEO for themselves and for the people who pay them.

A Crazy Week and an odd Twitter Debate

I really wanted to talk about this right after it happened, but I’ve just been busy.  I had my usual level of work.  I also taught a course called Facebook for Business.  It went really well, and, yes, there are more classes in the pipeline.

It’s a lovely Saturday morning, and it’s the perfect time to talk about this.  My conclusion I’ll move here because I talk a lot about the minutia of the debate at the end.  If you’re going to debate someone on Twitter: state your point.  With that said, let me go through the discussion.

Last week I saw an article on Mashable and then shared it on Twitter:

The tweet that started this:

More U.S. Adults Own a Smartphone Than Have a Degree http://on.mash.to/o66otd This headline makes me sad. Y’all ignant! RT @mashable (The text in italics is what I added.)

Reply 1:

@ReginaWalton I know lots of ignorant people with degrees. Credentials mean little to nothing.

My response 1:

I met those people too, but America is a pretty ignorant. I’d not use the few educated fools I’ve met to poo poo education.

Reply 2:

@ReginaWalton Education is not the same as credentials.

My response 2:

2) some credentials like professional ones you can’t get w/out a certain education level (note: avoided foolish ppl, period)

3) I’ve met some amazing people who are wise and educated. I’ve also met wise and uneducated people.

4) societies flourish when they educate their people. The USA is failing in that respect and that needs to change. Fini.

Reply 3:

@ReginaWalton A degree is not the same as education. We have a degree-flooded market, not an educated one.

@ReginaWalton If by “societies” you mean governments, I’d love to see proof. Simply not the case.

My response 3:

the ROK is one. Look at their development and the money they’ve put into their schools as well as their economic dev plans

also societies. antebellum black culture made amazing gains due to a self organized subculture which emphasized education.

Reply 4:

@ReginaWalton society is not the same as gov’t. if we can’t agree on that, unlikely to agree on much else! goodnight. :)

My response 4:

 I was already asleep. ;) Government and society in a homogeneous land like the ROK has more similarities than you think.

Reply 5:

look, if you can’t agree with a dictionary, you’re not going to see my POV. hope you slept well!

This is where I’m thinking “did you really just insult me twice?”  I think this person realized it too, so that last reply was deleted. Shots fired, but taken back. However, I got it because Twitter now sends you an email when people reply to you (so don’t disable those emails; I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.)  I let it slide because this person did have the decency to take it down. Also, for most of this I’m walking home on a hot night and I was moving fast because I needed to go to the bathroom.  I’m also diabetic and my blood sugar was crashing, so that’s why I just went to bed.

Let me walk through this as I saw it evolving.  That tweet from Mashable is my real voice and reflects my opinion. The news makes me sad a little. However, the reality is that even in highly educated societies the number of people using smart phones will eventually eclipse the number of people who have a degree. This is simply because degrees go to a subset of a population. Like TVs, anyone can buy a smart phone if they can afford it.  The second park, the “y’all ignant” thing is more a joke.  I don’t speak that way and was lacing in humor, which, clearly escaped this person’s notice.  (Not a bad thing because online humor often is misinterpreted.)

The first point was good, however, I never said that ignorant people don’t also have degrees.

In both response 1 and 2 I thought that I made express attempts to let this person know I acknowleged their points.  Of course, having a degree does not mean someone is wise or well-informed.  I chose humanties when I was in university because you go to university to learn.  Yes, you also go because it increases your chances for a good job. However, I’ve always had an issue with people who were simply mercenary about their college or university educations.  So again, I think we agree.  A lot of people with degrees aren’t educated.  However, I won’t go as far as attacking education.  What I want to do is improve it or revise it

The points where we seem to agree go ignored. This is why I get the feeling the person just wants to win the argument. Damn actually understanding each other.

When credentials come up, that’s right up my alley.  I have a professional degree: a J.D. (a law degree).  That’s how people enter the profession.  It used to be a system where people would apprentice by working with lawyers over a term of years and then they’d be able to enter the profession.  Now it’s a profession that you enter via getting in and surviving law school.  Then you’ve got to take the bar exam and maintain that status over the years with bar education and other requirements.  This model also applies to other professional degrees like doctors, teachers, social workers, dentists, etc.   Essentially you must have the degree to do the job.

I’m thinking this person is thinking more about cases like business where you can be truly self-made.  Nothing wrong with the self-made person.  Those are inspiring and great stories!

Hell, my parents had very low education levels and managed to move across the country from a rural and very uneducated town to a major city. There they owned a home, had great credit, and were the picture of the American dream complete with a father with stable job and a stay-at-home mom.  However,  my parents also pushed me to get my education and that opened doors for me that wouldn’t have been there but for the degrees I earned.  This is my narrative and what was pushing me during this back and forth on Twitter.  I know both sides: the educated side AND the uneducated side.  I know my parents worked hard and would have gotten so much further had they had the benefit of education.  That’s why they pushed me..

And this person wants proof.  Okay, I bring it. I lived in South Korea for 8 1/2 years. You can’t throw a rock in a small city there without hitting a college or university.  Okay, you can but the first small city I was in had, at least, 4 to 5 nearby colleges and universities.  Another small town I lived in had 3 universities all less then 10 minutes apart.  I KNOW what I’m talking about here and South Korea is an example of development that is studied worldwide now. I also studied it when I got my master’s in international studies at Ewha Womans University.  I know that example is more government than community, so I also talk about an instance of it happening on a community level: antebellum black America.

My impression of this back and forth was this person only pushed back on my points.  However, this person failed on articulating what they were trying to say.  I, honestly, never really got what the point of the discussion was.

If you can see it, please let me know. Thanks.

Social Media 101 – A class for beginners (don’t be a Weiner)

Next week I’m teaching a class called “Social Media 101 – A class for beginners (don’t be a Weiner).”

(Yes, it’s a silly title.  I was feeling playful when I was planning the class. Also, I realized I could do it now or not do it at all as the joke would be passé by the time I taught the class and, ta da, I was right.)

The class will be on June 29th from 7pm to 8:30pm at Hive @ 55 in Manhattan.

It’s a class that is specifically for people who are new to the social web or who have a little experience but want to learn more.  Here is the class description:

This course will cover the basics of the social web. You’ll learn about the big 4 social media sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. You’ll learn the best ways to navigate these sites. You’ll also learn what to watch out for regarding security and privacy.

The goal is for everyone to leave the class with a Twitter account. You’ll follow a few people and send your first tweet. If we have time, we’ll also send retweets and a direct message; even if you don’t send them all during this class, you’ll leave knowing what those terms mean. The price includes handouts.

This class is for people who simply haven’t taken the plunge and want to know the basics of the social media landscape before diving in. What’s required? Please bring a laptop or tablet (iPad or Android tablet) and be ready to learn. This class is a beginner level course. If you’re already doing your thing on the big 4 social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube), this is going to be boring to you.

The plan is I’ll talk for about 30 to 40 minutes but the rest of the we’ll work on getting you a real Twitter account, so you can jump in.  Honestly, even though the concept is basic, I find that people learn best when they’re in it.

I’m really excited because I do miss teaching. I’ve had a chance to do a handful of presentations on the social web and have gotten great feedback.

If you’re in the NYC area and would like to take it, you can sign up here: http://skl.sh/mJPpmE

Also, if you know someone in the NYC area who you think would be interested, I would love it if you shared it with them.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Social Media IS NOT Magic

Photo courtesy of Hryck on Flickr

I’ve just found a lot of people who seem to think that social media is some mysterious and magical thing. That sentiment has inspired me to fire this blog back up.

As someone who works in this very fun field, I get that a lot. I get this will current clients. I get this with possible clients. I also just see it a lot in passing.

The social web is not magic. It’s something that humans have done forever: communicate. I just HATE seeing requests like this:

I am seeking someone who is an expert at this who can take my (whatever it is but redacted because this is a quote) and work your magic.

Look. It’s NOT magic, and, honestly, as much as I love the thought-leaders in this space, we’re all learning as we go. I’m not going to call any of them experts. This is all new and even the people who have expertise are learning and adapting to new tools and resources that are constantly being launched.

It takes knowledge of the tools. It takes knowing how to use them. It takes strategy. It takes trying, measuring, and adjusting, as needed. It takes reading case studies. It takes reading on what people are doing. I’ll also admit it takes sharing what you’re doing (and, yes, I’ve been neglecting that; building a business is HARD.)

However, most important is that a successful social media strategy takes also having GREAT products and/or GREAT content that helps people solve their problems or engages people on an emotional level.

(*Also, before someone wanders in to say people are just using “magic” and similar terms as a figure of speech or play on words and they understand that it takes knowledge and strategy, I’ll agree that maybe that’s the case, for some. However, a lot of people do seem to then there is some mysterious alchemy going on, and that’s not true.)

Sloppy Social Media (Well, really, sloppy blogging)

Honestly, I’m getting a bit tired of the constant stream of opinions delivered to me via social media these days. I know that, while I’m tired of it, it’s not going to stop. I also know that I can just choose to stop reading it. I also realize that there is an irony to even making this a blog post. I’m contributing to the noise that I’m complaining about.

What’s inspiring me is the sloppiness of it all.

There is this pressure to spew info out there on a constant basis. I really think that something has to give because a lot of it is simply noise. It’s this mad scramble to be the first to get the most Facebook mentions, retweets, Diggs, Stumbles, etc. It sounds hauntingly like newspapers way back when fighting to break the story first. Breaking a story can still be a great thing, but news is so ubiquitous now that it’s being rewritten or simply reposted on hundreds of websites within hours if not minutes.

It’s just rare to see some truly thoughtful work and thoughtful perspectives. I’d prefer to see more of that.

What is irking me is quality or, more accurately, a lack of quality. I know that went I’m in a rush to hit the “publish” button the quality of my work suffers. I like to give myself time to check my facts, check my spelling and grammar, dig for more information and see if there is another angle.

What inspired this?

I was reading yet another article on the Facebook privacy mess. There was nothing new to what this blogger wrote. I then get to the end and there was just a glaring typo. I know it happened simply because the pressure to publish fast is huge. The writer would have caught it had she just put the piece aside and come back to it. The problem is when you’re writing for a blog with a news slant, the pressure is on to hit publish quickly.

I won’t link to the post because it’s not that blog post per se that’s irked me. It’s seeing that sort of careless error come up over and over that irks me. The trade off of this great technology is just a lot of bad writing and flimsy reporting going on.

I don’t think anything will slow it down. I just hope that the quality work rises to the top and gets found so that I don’t have to suffer through too much crap.

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