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.

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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.

Oh no! Facebook Goes After Seppukoo!

For me, this is more funny than bothersome.  However, I guess if you’re Facebook then hearing about a service that lets people ritually kill off their accounts is something you want to discourage.

It’s so bad that Facebook has issued a cease and desist letter to the folks at Seppukoo.

Here is the info from the Seppukoo homepage:

Seppukoo.com is under attack
Les Liens Invisibles wants to inform everyone that on Dec. 16th, Facebook inc., after it has blocked any attempt of seppukoo from this website and has blocked/deleted all seppukoo.com information into the whole facebook network, has now threatened legal action against us in order to stop the suicide pandemic.Curiously, Facebook lawyers appeal to the user right to privacy to annihilate our facebook unsubscribe service.

The Seppukoo.com staff rejects every false pretence about phishing or malitious use of personal datas and pubblically invites Facebook’s developers to meet us and see in first person what kind of informations we save and how we care of them.

Les Liens Invisibles is now considering all the possibilities to come back ASAP. Thanks to all the people who are supporting us in this moment.

Read the full cease & desist from Facebook.

Updates (Dec. 22nd): “The “Les liens invisibles” group will delete all of the information on the http://www.seppukoo.com website only if the owners of such information request it, but not if facebook does so.”

Read the full reply.

If you want to stay updated, please, subscribe to our newsletter, and we’ll keep you posted.

Here is a video that they’ve provided that walks you through deactivating your account on your own.

However, that’s probably not as satisfying as a ritual suicide. Plus, with using Seppukoo their  “how to” page says you can reactivate your account, “3. reactivate your Facebook account just logging again to Facebook (boo!!!).”  If you can reactivate, what’s the rukus about?

This is the first I’d heard of Seppukoo, so I hope Facebook realizes they’re giving this site press.  I also hope that they don’t decide to go after the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine simply because it cracks me up. Check this out from their FAQs:

What shall I do after I’ve killed myself with the web2.0 suicide machine?

Try calling some friends, take a walk in a park or buy a bottle of wine and start enjoying your real life again. Some Social Suiciders reported that their lives has improved by an approximate average of 25%. Don’t worry, if you feel empty right after you committed suicide. This is a normal reaction which will slowly fade away within the first 24-72 hours.

Social media suicide should be a choice!

Update: January 4, 2010 – Alex over at The Next Web, where I also write, published a post about this. Yep, Facebook has also gone after The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine.

That’s just crappy.

Here is a link to that post: Facebook Bans Ye Olde Web 2.0 Suicide Machine – No Account Killing For You

More links:

Twitter Sociology

This is just exciting because I sat in on Liz Pullen’s seminar during the Social Media Camp at Internet Week New York 2009.  What I didn’t notice was that Jolie O’Dell from Read Write Web posted an interview that she did with her later in the day.  The Social Media Camp is how she got on my social media radar, and I started following her on Twitter after that. I got a link to it today via the @Twitter_Tips stream.

One point in their discussion that I think is very interesting is Twitter trying to distance itself from being defined as a social network.  That’s a bit odd because it is a social network.  It’s a micro-blogging social network. However, with the shift from being able to search bios and follow people who might interest you based on their location or based on their interests or causes they support, you get their suggested users list of celebrities or other notable people.  The problem is with people who have a huge number of followers, Twitter is primarily used as just another broadcast network.  There are many types of broadcast networks.  Honestly, the celebs that I follow I don’t pay much attention to.

This is particularly so regarding the ones who only tweet inspirational quotes. It’s not original. I can and do look up inspirational quotes when I need them. BTW, who made you Gandhi? Following is such a passive sport that, even for the celebrities cut from pretentious cloth, I can do it without much disruption and there is that hope that they’ll say something insightful. Some do from time to time and stay on my list. However, after one too many inane bits of information there are others that are simply not broadcasting anything interesting and I just stop following them.  Again, their follower numbers are so big that it’s no loss to them and there is no loss to be because there wasn’t a conversation or interesting information.

In contrast are the people who have something interesting or informative to say.  I look forward to their tweets.  Also, there is the social network function that comes into play.  I do converse with some people. Most of these people I know.  Others I converse with because we share an interest.  I have juvenile diabetes (insulin dependent or type 1), so I tap into and converse with other diabetics.  I talk to people in NYC.  Of course, I converse with people in the social media field and other bloggers. Those are all social networks that I’m a part of and that Twitter helps me maintain on some level.  It’s a bit disingenuous to ignore that level of social interaction.  Twitter is used for many things including social networking, business promotion, broadcasting, etc.

It’s so interesting that people are smart enough to look at the sociological implications of social media independent of the ROI analysis.  Granted there is, of course, a place for ROI in the context of business.  However, everything ought not be based on profit.  Social media is also fun.  It’s bringing people together in a new way.  It’s interesting to see what people do with it and also how people react.  I’m usually most amused by the Luddites who see social media as a harbinger of all that’s bad with the world. Having sociologists take it serious and analyze it in-depth also validates my like of it and involvement with it.  We all like to be validated from time to time.

Resource:

Tweepsearch – allows you to search Twitter bios.

Social Media: New Year’s Eve Style

Well, at least they’re on it. However, there is no way on this Earth that you’ll catch me in Times Square this New Year’s Eve. It’s already insanely cold out there.  That’s the beauty of social media!

I don’t have to be there. 😉 If you will be there, bring your iPhone!

NewYearsEveWebcast.jpgThe Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment aren’t dropping the ball when it comes to incorporating social media into the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration, as they will offer a six-and-a-half-hour Webcast via TimesSquareNYC.org, Livestream.com/2010, or Facebook.com/TimesSquareNYC, as well as on a special site for iPhone users, The New York TimesGadgetwise reports.

The Webcast will follow five separate story lines and cover the international participants, the history of Times Square through photos, the story behind the bloggers and other information, and viewers will be able to post photos and comment via Twitter and Facebook, according to Gadgetwise.

Addicted to Twitter? How About TwitterPeek!

twitterpeek
Are you just addicted to Twitter? Well, if so, maybe TwitterPeek is for you! This is the world’s first dedicated Twitter device.  What “dedicated” means is it only sends and receives tweets.

Oh…

Um, what?!!!

Okay, I’ve got to say this is probably the most underwhelming product I’ve heard about in awhile. I just love Twitter now that there are a ton of people on it. I joined in 2007.

However, I’m a Blackberry-carrying, ÜberTwitter-addicted, multifunction sort of gal. I’m the person sitting on the bus reading through her tweets, laughing and replying.  It’s better than dealing with the surly mass of humanity that lives in Manhattan. Also, using Twitter while commuting is usually both informative and entertaining because I follow some pretty smart and funny people.

However, a device that only sends and receives tweets?  I’m not too sure about that. One of the things I do a lot is move on to the link sent in a tweet. If you’re using TwitterPeek, you can do that. Also, it only only allows one Twitter account. Um…okay. (Details taken from TwitterPeek’s FAQ page.)

The TwitterPeek folks base their theory that there is a market for this on the Rapleaf’s study that says 65% of tweets are sent from the web.  From that, they conclude that most people are “stuck” using Twitter on the web.

But, but, but…wait! I’m NOT stuck. I’ve got Seesmic Desktop, a free-standing Twitter client, or PowerTwitter, a web-based Twitter client, running when I’m working on my computer, and that’s pretty much all of the time. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a smart phone. It simply means that I’m more likely to tweet when I’m taking a break from work than when I’m sitting in a taxi.  Usually, if I’m in a taxi, I’ve got Google Maps up and running. There has got to be more numbers and research that show a need for a product like TwitterPeek.

The device costs $99, and that includes 6 months of free service.  After that, it’s $7.95 a month or $199 for lifetime service.

That’s another question – is Twitter the IT service for the rest of our lives or in a couple of years will something else have taken its place? (Just the fact that I posed that question should tell you my answer.)

I just don’t know about this one.  I wish them luck (and, hell, by posting this, I’m spreading the word for them.) We’ll see if it takes off.  I know I just don’t have a need for something this basic.

Check out this video of Engadget’s Joshua Topolsky on Jimmy Fallon’s show. Joshua demos the TwittePeek for Fallon and his audience. Their laughter seems to indicate that they’re thinking the same thing I am about this one.  However, maybe there is a demographic out there that really does need this.  If you’re one of those people, I’m glad to have shared this info with you.  Now get yourself to Amazon.com and happy tweeting!

 

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Bloggers Expect to Get Paid for Reviews!

I have to admit that monetizing my blogs has always been something I wasn’t too keen to do.  However, I’m in the minority on that issue.

There have been many people attempting to profit in one way or another from blogging.  There is nothing wrong with that.  In fact, blogging helped me realize that I did want to make my living writing and working on web-related projects.  So don’t misunderstand me. I’ve got no problem with blogs that have ads on them.  I’ve got no problem with bloggers being paid in their area of expertise.  I have no problem with most ways bloggers now make a living from their writing.

However, I do think there is something very wrong with getting paid for reviews UNLESS you disclose that you’ve been paid.  A review gives the impression that it’s an unbiased opinion based on someone trying a product or service.  That’s why reviews by reputable sources are blind reviews.  The business has no idea they’re being sized up.  When money is exchanged for a review there your objectivity is compromised.  I want to know if a reviewer got paid because, if they did, I don’t care about what they have to say. Well, it seems that many bloggers weren’t disclosing that they were being paid. This got so bad that the US government recently passed law requiring bloggers to disclose that they’ve been compensated for a review.

I think this is essential because social media is the new barber shop, hair salon or white picket fence.  People would talk about the butcher or the car shop and let friends know whether to go to these businesses or not.  Now online spots like blogs are the places where people talk and exchange opinions. If you’re a blogger and you’ve built up an audience that trusts you, what you have to say on a product or service has value to them. I know that a few recommendations for places I’ve written about have generated comments and probably customers for a few places.  I didn’t expect to benefit financially.  I just expected to spread the news of a great space, product or service.  However, both bloggers and businesses realized this influence could be used for mutually beneficial profits.

Well, with the economic slow down and this new law, some of the reviewing for pay action has dried up.  I say rightly so.  If a company pays you to review a product or service, it’s a advertisement. You very well might really like the product or service, but I want to know that you’ve been paid to talk up something.  Like it or not, you’re a paid representative when you do that and it needs to be disclosed.

It’s sort of funny to be that some people seem to be genuinely out of sorts that they’re not being readily paid to “recommend” things now.  It’s sort of like the presumptuous blogger who had the nerve to try to blackmail George Smith at BlogHer 2009 to get a pair of Crocs.  What the idiot blogger didn’t realize was as easily as she could bad mouth him, well, duh…he could bad mouth her.  He said as much, and she slinked away. Even if the relation is reversed, it’s the same with being paid to review a product.  Getting paid to talk something up or getting a pair of Crocs to not spread bad stories, is still compensation. Aren’t we glad that George stood up to this woman’s bullying?  I’m also very glad that bloggers are being forced to let people know they’ve been paid to review something.

Here is a piece on the top from MediaBistro’s PRNewser’s blog.  I’m glad they get it.

Blogger Complains Because Companies Want “Free” Reviews

By Joe Ciarallo on Nov 03, 2009 05:01 PM

paid blogging123.jpg

ProBlogger, the popular blog that teaches one how to make a living off blogging, published an interesting guest post from a former beauty/fashion blogger. In the post, the blogger talks about how she was so excited to do “product reviews” and get all sorts of free stuff sent to her by companies.

She even signed an $8,000 deal with, “a large pharmaceutical company to write six posts for them to try educating readers on the benefits of their product…the only thing I had to do was to get the copy reviewed by the pharmaceutical company to ensure that I wasn’t using any medical words in the wrong way.”

But then the economy took a turn for the worse and the blogger’s freebie parade slowed down. What did she learn? People were actually asking her questions like how many unique visitors her site had and to send links of recent, relevant coverage before sending products. That didn’t work out, so the blogger got into another niche, “healthy eating and healthy lifestyles,” which she said worked out much better.

“One company (which manufactures supplements) that contacted me to send products for review also wanted to know how much it would cost to sponsor spots on my site. They actually wanted to pay to have banners on my site and not only receive a free review!” she said.

Um, free review? Companies aren’t supposed to pay publications for product reviews, or to influence them. Although it does happen. This post, in essence, sums up the difference between how media has traditionally worked: build audience/content, sell advertising against said audience/content – versus how it is unfortunately working for some bloggers: the content is the advertising.

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