Buzz, Brilliance and Blogging: Week ending July 7

Every week I compile a list of the noteworthy social media news (Buzz), balanced with valuable commentary (Brilliance) and some good advice about Blogging as well. The links that follow are to sites and blogs that I read on a regular basis - consider them recommended reading for you too. Or you can just come back here each week for biggest news and best advice.



Here’s a look back at the first year with Google+. It’s not exactly news, but it’s interesting to look at it’s evolution. It’s also interesting to see that some enthusiastic early adopters aren’t quite as enamored anymore. I feel like saying, “I told you so” to the “not a Facebook killer” part.

LinkedIn and Twitter have broken up and I could not be happier! The fact is that Twitter broke things off, but you know what? LinkedIn should be doing the happy dance. These days when I log in (except for one enterprising contact who has hacked their way into keeping tweets in their feed), I found LinkedIn pleasant enough that I want to go back in soon - probably even tomorrow! There’s the same amount of signal, but it’s not being overpowered by the noise.

Twitter’s recent changes to the API (short form for application programming interface) access have lead some to be very concerned about the possibility of third-party apps being cut off. No one should take this lightly. Personally, I rarely use twitter.com and I don’t like the mobile apps that Twitter has built (they aren’t even installed on my devices anymore). Should third-party apps be cut off, I will probably limit my use of twitter pretty drastically. The latest speculation involves a leaked photo of what may be the next iteration of the Twitter for iPhone app and what it may mean based on recent events.

If Twitter starts limiting third party apps, eventually the service may get some real competition. We don’t want the ability to microblog to go away. Otherwise, how else would anyone retweet boneheaded things people tweet? What’s amazing is how many of the pictures are still up after this account retweeted them.

Finally, Twitter promised this week to REVOLUTIONIZE SEARCH! What they did was add search features that exist in a lot of other places already. While they’ve done some good things with this latest update, revolutionary isn’t a word I’d use to describe it. I wouldn’t yawn, either. I rarely use twitter.com, so I’m basically just indifferent about it. 

Facebook has been busy dealing with the email fiasco and coming up with an explanation. If you’re one of the ones who syncs your phone contacts with Facebook, here’s how to fix the email address problem.


I read somewhere that email is your biggest social network and that resonated with me. Just think about how many contacts you’re emailing all the time! That calls for some solid strategy for email use as a sales tool.

We’re inundated with information all the time now, regardless of where we are, thanks to smartphones. This influx of data has given many reason to believe that it’s ruining productivity. But, what if that isn’t always true? Here’s another side to think about. There is a case to be made for using tools at our disposal more efficiently as well. Being more aware of productivity killers is essential as well.

Seeing a brand use social media successfully is exciting. Seeing a Canadian brand highlighted that has numerous fans and detractors is even more interesting. Check out this post about what Rogers is doing to transform relations with its critics.

This is a long article, but well worth the read if you have any struggles at all with establishing (or maintaining) your social media marketing process.


After you’ve been blogging for a while, you may start to feel burnt out. Taking a break may be your first instinct, but you might want to try one of these other ideas first.

What are your blogging tenets? Have you ever thought about it? These three - patience, strength and belief - are definitely essential. In particular, when it comes to business blogs, do your writer(s) truly believe in what they’re saying? Lack of belief in something will be noticed by the audience.

There is one risk to blogging valuable content that bloggers will likely never win the war against, but it’s good to be aware of and do what you can to fight back. The scariest part of this is that the content is being used to support “expertise” in social media. Vet the people you’re working with very carefully. They may not be what they seem.

What are the secrets to success in blogging? Here’s one attempt to pinpoint some triggers. I think success cannot be defined by any particular formula, but there is some good advice in here.

App of the Week: I’m just getting into Springpad over the last week, but I’ve been wanting to check it out for quite a while. With Web, iOS and Android apps, this is a powerful tool with a beautiful interface that I’m quickly growing to rely on for notes and tasks. Or at least I’m working on developing the habit. :) If you’re an Evernote user already, you might be interested in reading this overview of how Springpad differs (it has more). If I have time this week, I’m going to check out Ping and report back next week.

The process of curating content - where, how and why

This picture may seem funny, but this genuinely happens more often than I like to admit.Every once in a while, I get asked how I find so much good content to use for reference - particularly because of the weekly post I do here on The Media Mesh summarizing the week’s top news and general brilliance. What I do with the Buzz and Brilliance is content curation.

What is content curation?

This definition from econtentmag.com sums it up well:

Content Curation is the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter.

We’re all content curators. Check out your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Blog feeds if you don’t believe me. (You DO share stuff that isn’t your own, correct?)

Today on Twitter, @PamInOttawa asked:

I started by throwing out a couple of ideas that came to mind - Alltop and Facebook Interest Lists. But Pam came back at me and asked what my process is, which isn’t easy to explain in 140 characters, so I said I’d write a blog post. I don’t use Alltop, though I think it’s a really interesting tool (and seeing it again today has piqued my interest). I haven’t really jumped into using interest lists much, though they show up in my Facebook newsfeed and I really like the idea of them, too.

RSS is Alive and Well

My process is far more basic and lives mostly in Google Reader. I keep hearing that RSS is dead, but I rely on mine to keep up with reading all 161 blogs I’m subscribed to. Within Google Reader, I’ve set up folders by subject, from General topics where things like Lifehacker reside to Social Media where I get my SM fix every day. I also read blogs about blogging, business, technology, photography, web design, SEO and my free-time fun blogs are the ones that are about everyday life. I try to read through the unread posts daily so it doesn’t get too overwhelming, but in a pinch, I can weed through well over 1,000 in an hour or two.

How do you find blogs to follow?

When I first started subscribing to blogs, I subscribed to a few big names first. Then I checked out their blog rolls and subscribed to everyone they listed. I visited each of those blogs and checked out their blog rolls if they had them, though I did get pickier about who and what I chose to follow. I wanted a good mix of news stories, commentary and general business insight. I’ve achieved that balance to my satisfaction, though I’m constantly tweaking what I read - subscribing to new content and unsubscribing blogs that I’m not getting as much from. Chris Penn once wrote about finding five new blogs to subscribe to every month and I’ve been doing just that ever since. I even subscribe to more than five occasionally.

I find new blogs and content from Twitter. When I see one that’s really good, I’ll favorite the tweet or clip the article to Evernote. How I decide depends on how I want to use that content. Sometimes I want it for reference - that always goes to Evernote, in the applicable notebook with tags to help me find it later. I clip stuff all the time because it’s triggered a blog post idea. It sits in my Evernote until the idea fizzles out or I get around to writing it up. I have dozens of post ideas and the list keeps growing.

If something catches my eye on Twitter when I’m short on time, I will favorite the tweet. I have If This Then That set up to send all of these tweets to Evernote as well. Twitter Favorites are a bookmarking tool for me that can mean anything from idle curiosity when I have no time to genuine interest with intent to act.

What do you do with all that content?

At the end of each week, I take all the posts I’ve starred in Google Reader and sort them. A handful go into the Buzz and Brilliance. A handful I’ve starred to go back and comment, Stumble or Pin. A handful I star to clip to Evernote. A handful get tagged into topics I collect right in Google Reader for reference later. Anything that’s leftover after I’ve finished those tasks gets unstarred and I’m reset for the next week of reading.

It’s an involved process, but I’m learning so much every single week and part of the learning is streamlining the overall process as I go. The Buzz and Brilliance now takes me half the time it did when I started it, but I can get through more content now. It’s all about learning to spot the good stuff quickly and efficiently.

Most of all - be nosey and ask these questions when you want to find more content:


  • Who do the people you respect follow?
  • Who are the experts in your field of interest learning from?
  • What blogs and websites do they quote or link to regularly?


The beauty of social media is that you don’t even need to ask. You can just observe and get the answers.

What tools do you use to curate content or generate ideas for content?

New Year, New Challenges, New Goals

I feel like I missed the New Year's post bandwagon now that we're on day five, but I'm going to ignore that and post anyway. I recently passed the four-month mark for The Media Mesh and I'm really proud of the consistency I've been able to achieve in that time. It's not easy with all the other things I have going on, but this blog is just one step among many on the path to a larger goal.

I've had a certain vision for 2012 a for quite a while now, but I realized recently that my vision isn't going to come to fruition. That's the way life goes sometimes and that's okay. I've been scrambling (mentally) to re-evaluate and re-assess what I want to do this year and how I can do it without compromising various areas of my life. This realization is so recent that I'm not there yet, and that leads perfectly into my first of three words that will define 2012 for me.

We all have busy lives and when life throws a curve ball at you that busyness can suddenly seem incredibly overwhelming. That's exactly what happened to me. So that means that I have to give myself more time to achieve the things I want to do. It also means I need to use my time more wisely. It's a precious commodity, so I don't want to waste a moment. That doesn't mean curtailing downtime. It simply means I don't have the option of not focusing on the task or activity at hand - whether that's writing a blog, spending time with my family or spending time relaxing.

I'm stealing this one from Lara, because I have similar challenges. As new and amazing opportunities come my way, I am often tempted to jump right in without first asking myself whether I'm being realistic about time constraints or if the opportunity is helpful to my long-term goals. I recently made the decision not to pursue a potentially lucrative opportunity because I knew I couldn't devote the time and effort to it that was required. Additionally, it was pretty far off the path I'm on and I wasn't willing to compromise on that. I feel absolutely no regret about this decision.

2012 may not shape up quite the way I thought it would, but that doesn't mean I can't continue to move in the direction I want to go. There are so many things I can work on this year that may help me six months, a year from now or whenever I'm able to focus more concentrated time on the long-term plan. Being proactive with laying that foundation should make the progress faster when I finally start to move forward.

I can't help but feel excitement about 2012. Something about this new year has me feeling optimistic and motivated more so than in previous years. Part of the excitement is around seeing what's going to happen in social media. I'm looking forward to discussing the state of social media in July when we do our second annual Social Capital Conference in Ottawa. In the meantime, I hope I'll continue to provide opportunities for great discussion here at The Media Mesh.

There are dozens of post ideas floating around in my brain and in Evernote, but I'm going to ask all of you out there to tell me what you're interested in learning about social media. Is there a particular tool you want to know more about? Do you have questions about best practices? Tell me what you want to know - anything at all - and I'll try to cover it to the best of my ability. This blog is only useful if the content is useful to the readers, so I welcome your input.

To all of you who have been with me for the last four months, I thank you and hope you stick around for a long time to come!

Happy New Year!

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending December 10

The Buzz

This has been the week of re-design, from Twitter, to StumbleUpon to Facebook - even if Facebook's rollout is only in New Zealand so far. I did see some changes on my own profile, so I don't think it will be too long before we get the new Facebook Timeline too. So far, what I've seen of the new designs is fantastic - that includes all three tools.

In other Facebook news, we've seen changes to events, a countersuit against Timelines.com and they added a subscribe button that is going to compete directly with Twitter's follow button. Subscriptions are finally causing a bit of a stir as we all realize that the potential for spamming our friends is high (and happening). I used to keep my Facebook pretty personal, but that line between personal and professional is blurring more and more. Subscriptions aren't necessarily the answer, but Pages aren't perfect. This filter that Josh Constine suggests seems like a good compromise. The problem is that all of your friends are default subscribers. How does one solve that?

Despite wide claims to the contrary, it seems that the vast majority of Facebook users have no problem with the data they're sharing on the social network.

Foursquare now has 15 million users, which is good news since Facebook purchased Gowalla this week. I, however, must agree with Chris Pirillo that location services aren't really delivering value.

Google+ has added facial recognition and greater Gmail integration into its burgeoning social network. And - thankfully - the facial recognition feature is opt-in.

For those who like Klout (or who are at least willing to continue using it), they've launched a new feature this week that I think is pretty nice. Now you can add a topic if their system doesn't automatically pick it up.

The Brilliance

Klout has remained a steady presence in my stream since the big algorithm change at the end of October, despite little news coming out about the tool. I've been actively avoiding the subject. This week a bunch of big names have been throwing around their views about Klout after Liz Strauss shared why she opted out. Jason Falls doesn't want to hear about people quitting anymore - I suspect from his strong words he feels it's a narcissistic move based on falling numbers. Christopher Penn encourages people to make the choice based on principle rather than numbers. Mark Shaeffer is seeing too many people criticizing Klout over privacy who don't pay nearly as much attention to the much bigger offenders - like Facebook. I think there are good points from all of them. I haven't seen the line crossed yet that really bothers me. Even opting in minors is something that can happen because of the data they have access to being incomplete. I don't care if people opt out, but if it's about the number, I agree with Jason - please don't tell me.

I had a conversation this week about whether to date blog posts. This is a new trend in blogging that is supposed to keep your content relevant for longer, increase shares and decrease bounce rates. That's all good in theory, but as Shel Holtz points out, some of that content is time-sensitive (like the Buzz and Brilliance posts I do weekly). I do like the happy medium of putting a date in the copy, but even some commentary that may be seemingly timeless can become outdated as tools and practices change.

SEO can strike fear into just about any novice and many veteran bloggers, but it's something we all need to learn if building an audience is a goal. Learning from others' mistakes can be a good starting point.

After reading this post earlier this week, I have once again started discontinuing the practice of automated posts to Facebook. Despite my desire to have posts go up as quickly as possible, I see the advantages of manually sharing with an engaging question or comment. I think the same applies to twitter, though to a lesser extent since I re-share over there manually.

What's the best way to learn how to use a tool well? By checking out what others are doing. Sometimes they're doing really poorly and you can learn from that. Others have developed best practices that stand out.

I love reading stories about how people use technology to do a better job and this one about Evernote use to be a better blogger is no exception. It's a great tool; try it out!

More reading opportunities are coming up - this one is free. I've heard nothing but good about Julien Smith's Flinch, release on Kindle as part of the Domino Project.

I passed this along on a couple of networks this week because it's fun. How many of these warning signs apply to you?

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending November 19

While most people are still talking about the battle between Facebook and Google+ (that I still maintain is ridiculous) I am beginning to think there is a battle - of who gets the most news stories of the week. And, quite frankly, with the numerous different products Google has, Facebook is likely always going to be the winner. They're always the big news of the week, so I'm going to start with someone else for once.

One of my favorite tools to help me organize content and ideas is Evernote. It's become invaluable to me, from the ability to easily clip pages on the web from my browser to accessing my notes anywhere - web, desktop, iPad, iPhone (and they're on the other major mobile platforms as well). My Evernote notes even get searched when I search google, which is great for me to be able to access content I already have on topics I'm searching. This week, Evernote launched a new browser plugin, Clearly. It's a great way to clean up busy web pages to consume the more important content. The downside is that it cleans up web pages to consume the content. No ads, no links within the post. This is even more stripped down than RSS feeds. It is easy to toggle back and forth from Clearly to the live version of the site, so visitors won't entirely miss what you're delivering if they use Clearly, but it will give (in many ways) a much nicer Web experience.

I've been doing some experimenting in a Facebook group on posts that get engagement. What I'm finding is that the easier the question, the better engagement I get across the board. It's given me some insight into why updates from brands are ignoredMari Smith has put together a great list of tips to help generate better sharing. There is no better indication of an engaged audience than when they want to share your content with their friends and followers. Better engagement from brands will reduce un-likes/follows regardless of the platform.

Speaking of engagement, do you know the difference between engagement and social media optimization? Mashable defines both and explains how adopting appropriate strategies in both areas will benefit you with increased, targeted readership. As other research suggests, engagement begets engagement - though it's not all equal. Maybe there are other ways engagement would improve for brands on Facebook, but friending a brand is going to be a tough sell.

If you have thoughts on ways to improve Facebook pages, you'll be happy to know that Facebook wants your feedback! I'd encourage you - if you're interested - to read on AllFacebook.com about the latest changes to the Facebook Events, Photos and Jobvite.

The introduction of Google+ brand pages means that there is a whole new round of comparison stories. The overwhelming majority (that I've seen) are ho-hum about the Google+ introduction. Many have said businesses don't need to have a G+ page yet...I tend to agree. But there are plenty of compelling reasons why you'd want to start a G+ brand page as well. This isn't any huge surprise since Facebook has about 5 years on Google+ in the page stakes. Not to mention a hefty lead in the user department with 750million (and counting) more users to attract.

By the way, if you're still an individual unsure about Google+, don't worry. It's not for everyone.

QR Codes are by no means mainstream or even "popular" by today's standards. But they're gaining traction and it doesn't look like they're going to fade away any time soon given the diverse and creative ways that businesses are finding to use them.

For over a year, Digg has been taking a dive (I've pretty much ignored my Digg account for two years) and - more and more - Reddit is flying high. I thought about joining Reddit a year or so ago, but decided against it. I'm changing my mind - look for a post about it in the coming weeks. Of course, just as with StumbleUpon, Reddit is what I would term as a secondary network. Not meant to take a great deal of time or replace Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. Having recently read some other interesting stories from Kenna McHugh lately, my interest is officially piqued.

Foursquare has incorporated new badges that highlight users' expertise in various areas. I hardly need to point out that this will be incredibly useful for people to build proof of authority - particularly for anyone in food and retail, but other topics that are well-supported with location-based information as well. With their recent re-design as well, I have a renewed interest in what will come in the next little while from Foursquare. I think they could be answering users' requests in such a way that is creating a robust, (unbeatable?) tool.

As soon as I saw the title of this 12 Most post, I knew my RSS reader was likely about to get another boost. Thankfully, it's a small boost. I was already following most of them. For the record, anytime I get recommendations like this with a great reason, I'm likely to subscribe. My one complaint about this piece is that there were no links to the blogs, because that would have been really useful.

To me, it's a dangerous practice to definitively say someone is doing social media "wrong". I think that requires proof, such as lack of growth, effectiveness in the network they're building. So, when I saw Mathew Ingram's post earlier this week, I was curious about what he had to say about the use of Twitter by media companies and Adam Singer did a good job of pointing out that social media use just isn't that black and white. On the other hand, sometimes we see people suggest practices that don't have solid logic behind them, so questioning the practice is valuable.

One use of Twitter than we CAN definitively say is just wrong is spam. And it's been getting worse lately. TweetSmarter has some info about it and steps Twitter is taking to alleviate the pain for all of us.

Wendy's recently ran a twitter campaign that netted a secondary account 33,000 followers in just one month. While it's impressive, I'd love to know specifics about their tactics before I would say it's a great idea. If they aren't using methods that are measurable, it's impossible to say how effective such a campaign will be on their bottom line. However, it is a very creative way to gamify social media use and create greater brand awareness as well. General best practice would say that splitting accounts isn't a good idea, but maybe Wendy's has come up with a clever way to benefit from having secondary twitter feeds.

On a final merry note, I cannot believe how tempted I am by this Twitter-sourced ornament! Have a great week!