Buzz, Brilliance and Blogging: Week ending June 2

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 a taste of what stuck out to me.

Last week’s video experiment wasn’t bad, but Lara and I have decided to go in a different direction with our weekly recap post. Stay tuned…!



I’m truly excited about some of the news out of Facebook this week. Page admins have far more control over page management now with the new admin roles and scheduling that Facebook introduced this week. For those of us working with clients concerned about page ownership and timing of posts, this makes our job much easier. Let’s not forget the rollout of promoted posts on pages. This is all good stuff!

Twitter changed the layout and information contained in notification emails for new followers. The rollout is starting already and the new look/additional information is a welcome change. That doesn’t mean I’ll be turning on email notifications, though. 

While some think the social media bubble has popped, others are embracing it for new and interesting reasons. For the first time ever, MTV is asking Twitter to decide who will win an award at the VMAs. Does that sound like a bubble popping to you? Me neither.

Speaking of interesting uses of social media, Starbucks and Foursquare are partnering up on a campaign to give back based on check-ins. $1 for every Starbucks check-in will go to (RED) to fight AIDS. Foursquare benefits from additional users with social conscience and Starbucks will a rash of free advertising. And (RED) gets money. Win. Win. Win.

Google is beefing up its video functionality on Google+ by offering captions and subtitles. One can’t help but wondering why they aren’t working on tighter YouTube integration instead. 

They’re also working on some Event functionality in Google+ with integration for Google Calendar and that would be Ah. Maze. Zing!


I’m always eager to jump right in to any new tool that comes out. I think there is value in doing so and I think I can quickly assess whether something is worth devoting time to or if I should let it sit for a while. Knowing these things is my job. For others - and even for some who work in social media - it may be better to give the latest and greatest new tools a pass.

While you’re giving the new tools up, why not consider a break from the old tools. Sometimes a break helps you refocus. Businesses can’t all take a week off, but a day or two won’t hurt anything. 


One secret to increasing traffic? Make your content more sharable. 

Do you include an image in your blog posts? You should. Even if you have videos - always add an image.

Eye tracking technology is really cool. It can help you with web strategy, too.

Will you use all the new Facebook features? Scheduling, admin roles and promoted posts?

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 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 of September 19

Last week was a more balanced week for buzz and brilliance. This week has been all buzz about Facebook. Mostly. Sort of - this might be a long post. :) So, let's jump right in.

Facebook's 4th f8 came on the heels of updates to Facebook that left users with very mixed reactions. The updates included the ability to subscribe to other users' public posts, the one move that I admittedly liked but also wondered if it fit the one-to-one relationship building that Facebook was built on. Apparently, I'm not alone in this line of thinking. But that doesn't mean the subscribe button is a bad thing - some like its potential. One update that I think is a great enhancement, but I may not use much is the smart lists. Why? Mostly because I don't do much filtering of content and I'm stingy about the data I enter into Facebook. Therefore, several of the built-in smart lists aren't even available to me. And let's not forget the two most controversial changes - the top stories and the ticker. The top stories I'm going to tolerate for a while without complaint. The ticker...well, I like it. But if you're desperately wishing it would just go away, here's how you can make that happen.

Personally, I didn't find the changes made a huge difference to my user experience; it was comfortable progress. I still knew where to find everything. Was that that all Facebook had up its sleeve this week? Not a chance. Here's the short, sweet story of f8 announcements, but read on if you want a quick overview and more in-depth coverage.

It's hard to know where to begin with the f8 announcements there was so much happening. The keynote started with Andy Samberg "hijacking" the stage and poking a bit of fun at Zuckerberg.

As exciting as these changes are, some believe Facebook still has some work to do. But so do users. Check your privacy settings, think about what you're posting. In amongst all the #f8 tweets, I spotted this tweet that says, "Make no mistake. Your timeline is now your new resume. Don't populate it with stuff you don't want people to see." Wise words that were reinforced by All Facebook. With all this talk of OpenGraph, some are worried that this is the new Beacon.

The biggest disappointment of The Week of Facebook is the lack of change in mobile apps. Despite that, Facebook raised the bar this week, giving Google+ some incentive to bring their A-game.

Speaking of Google+ - it's officially open to everyone. If you want to get started on G+, here are a few tips from Christopher Penn. And while you're at it, keep this in mind. Fortunately for Google, they didn't stop at opening up Google+. They also added 9 new features that are packed with potential. They're still under fire for their stance on names and I'm wondering if they'll ever relent. Finally, you can now link your Google+ profile to Klout!

Another big announcement from Google is the roll out of Wallet. My guess is this is another of those tools that Canada is just going to have to wait to use. Other Google news includes their announcement that AdWords will reward mobile-optimized sites. Just a little something to think about if your site isn't mobile-friendly yet. Google search now has a preview when you hover over search results. I spotted it today before I read about it and it's not too bad - it will save me clicking on the wrong site occasionally, no doubt.

Foursquare achieved the milestone of a billion check-ins this week and made some changes that will protect the exact location of your home. I can guarantee you that I still won't be checking in at my home any time soon (a.k.a. ever). I share a lot online, but that's way beyond my comfort zone.

Fail Whale Winner

The most outrageous story I've seen in a long time is one I clued in to when I saw Peter Shankman tweet about it this morning. He sees it as a lesson about passwords; I see it as a lesson about letting others tweet under your name, as well as some seriously lacking exit procedures. TechCrunch thinks this story is funny. And now it appears that a second ghosttweeter has gone rogue. It's not funny - it's sad that someone who claims to be an "internet sales and marketing professional" could be caught so completely blind by something like this - especially after tweeting quite frequently about how to use social media. Incorporating an exit checklist would probably benefit him if he's going to fire staff in the future. For instigating a most spectacular #fail, he wins the fail whale this week.

Last, but not least, I wanted to share that women are the dominant force in social media, according to a study reported by Mashable.

What is it about social media that is so attractive to women? Anyone have a theory?

And - any thoughts on the news that came out this week? Who's dying to see the new Facebook roll out NOW??
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What is it and why should I care: check in apps

Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C... Image via CrunchBase

What is it?

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website based on software for mobile devices. This service is available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by running the application and selecting from a list of venues that the application locates nearby. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”. ~Wikipedia

There are many check-in apps, foursquare is just one of the most well known ones.  Facebook is now being widely used, and there is another check-in app called Get Glue that is more entertainment based.

There is also a game component to foursquare. You friend people on foursquare much the way you do on Facebook, and they can then compete against you for badges, leaderboards, etc. by getting points for check-ins.

Why should you care?

The biggest thing I hear with regards to these check-in apps is that people don’t want others to know where they are; that it’s too personal.

I agree with that. I don’t think that people should be checking in everywhere and anywhere that they are. So - why should you check in?

1 - check in if you are really pleased with the service somewhere.  By checking in and commenting (or sharing through your other networks), you are telling others that you recommend the service. It’s a nice thing to do.

2 - some companies will give you a discount for checking in, some for every 5 or 10 checkins and some for being mayor (the person who has most often checked-in to a location becomes the mayor).  Maybe you wouldn’t be inclined to tell everyone you were having dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory… unless you got 15% off your bill for it.

Which brings us to the next point, how should businesses use check-in apps.

1- If you have a physical location, make sure that your location is entered into as many check-in apps as possible. If someone wants to check in, make it easy for them.

2 - Offer an incentive - if you offer a discount people will be more inclined to check in than if you don’t.  This is great and cheap publicity for your business. The options for the discount are limitless.

Here are some ideas:

- 15% at a restaurant for checking in

- a draw for $100 gift certificate from everyone who checks in to your establishment over the course of a month

- a free ticket to the next event drawn from everyone who checks in to this year’s event

- a free massage for every 10 check ins at a spa

- free coffee or dessert for the mayor
The more businesses offer incentives the more people will check in to places - it’s a two way street and I believe that this will take off more and more in the coming months and years.

Do you use a check-in app? Which one? Do you use it for your business?

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