Buzz, Brilliance and Blogging: Week ending June 16

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.



Twitter has been hard at work trying to take the advertising world by storm. And they’re promoting what they’re doing through traditional media. Of course, more and more people are using hashtags outside of the Twitter bubble, so you might find TagsInAction useful for tracking what people are saying elsewhere on the web

Twitter is doing its best lately to create a unique user experience for each of us - one that is tailored to our interests. This is in Twitter’s best interest as it will get more and more people coming back to use this tool, which is good news for advertisers. Twitter wants increased interactions from its users, which is why they’ve launched expanded tweets as well

The latest research from ComScore about Facebook advertising must feel so validating for Facebook. To hear that their product works when so many have doubted is nice. I must admit that I notice ads far more on Facebook now than I have before. They’re hoping that Facebook Exchange ads will boost their advertising usefulness even further.

Reddit is serious about spam. So serious, in fact, that they’ve banned certain reputable sites because they were tied to spam activity.  



One of the biggest objections to social media is lack of time to produce content. It’s nice to know that there are ways to do so easily and quickly - now get on that!

Do you use ads on Facebook? Do you know if you’re selecting the right options? This article from Social Fresh may help you.

This week Lara and I might have taken some small steps toward podcasting. We’re pretty excited about it, because it’s a growing content stream and even Apple is recognizing that it needs its own home. I think our experience at Podcasters Across Borders last weekend inspired us to get moving on this as we’ve been talking about it for quite some time.

This is one of my favorite posts this week - and I have shared it several times - because it so eloquently lays it out there that automation doesn’t mean a machine is generating content for you. As I said to someone this week, there is still a human behind it, even if I don’t happen to be online at the time it posts.

There’s a lot of talk about authenticity and being real/genuine in social media. The idea is that if people know who you are and what you’re about, they can trust you. It’s an unspoken agreemen; Mitch Joel calls it a contract.


Anyone who has ever blogged was new to blogging once. It can seem daunting to get started, but it doesn’t have to be, and there are lots of very experienced bloggers willing to help you.

Do you need blog post ideas? Problogger has a few for you - and this list is evergreen so you can refer to it over and over again.

App of the Week

In honor of my favorite post this week (the one about automation by Jason Falls), I am going to nominate Buffer as my pick for this week. It beats Hootsuite by a landslide for ease of scheduling and allows you to link to your account for additional metric tracking. You can customize the times to tweet/post updates so that your feed isn’t overwhelmed. I have to say, though, the times selected automatically by Buffer were right on for me.

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending January 21

This week was a whirlwind of "social lobbying" with the end result being the derailment - for now - of SOPA and PIPA. Please note this is the second week in a row that I've introduced you to what will likely become our newest buzzword. This new practice reminds me of a scene in Horton Hears a Who (the movie with Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell) when the Mayor's assistant is giving him a run-down of his schedule. He's got to to meet with the Who Centennial Committee and then needs to go for a Who root canal. The Mayor replies, "You know, sticking Who in front of everything doesn't make it hurt less. It just wastes time!" Replace "Who" with "social" and the quote still works amazingly well.


Before I get into the SOPA/PIPA story, if you're not familiar with what's going on, you should read/watch this.

The Internet was in an uproar this week as many sites protested SOPA/PIPA with site blackouts. The symbolic gesture was intended to convey how the Web might look should SOPA/PIPA pass. While many were supportive of the move, others questioned the wisdom of teaming up with corporate entities, criticism of sites that didn't go black - including Facebook. While some were coining new buzzwords (see above), others questioned whether the massive Internet-based uprising could be labeled activism. In a commentary that I find quite an interesting perspective, Mark Schaefer asks if we became lemmings to a new meme this week.

Of all of these stories, Mark's was the most startling. Did I read SOPA/PIPA? No. Do I think everyone who speaks out against them should have read them? No. Sure, that's the ideal world situation, but we don't live in an ideal world. Would I call myself an "activist" against SOPA/PIPA? Absolutely not. Claims that SOPA is going to change the way civic discourse happens are not realistic, but I cynically believe that most issues won't inspire this kind of response. This is an issue that touches a pretty vocal group of people with lots of connections. For once, people made an effort to be informed on an issue, spoke out about it and SOPA/PIPA have been dropped - for now. These bills - or something like them - will come up again. Hopefully, people will remember the warnings from this Chinese blogger who speaks from personal experience living in a country with similar legislation. Then again, apparently we don't need SOPA or PIPA to break the Web.

In other news this week, Facebook has launched additional frictionless sharing apps, including Pinterest - and the world rejoiced for the first time about frictionless sharing. Are you still unsure how to use Pinterest? This might help. And just in case you thought you don't need another network to jump in to, first consider Pinterest traffic to your site.

Interestingly, it's being reported this week that "friending" strangers might just give you a more stimulating Facebook experience. I can honestly say this is true of my own experience. Mind you, the average Facebook user is primarily interested in their friends and family and that's it!

Google+ has 90K users now and is on track to reach 400 million by the end of this year. That's really incredible and hopefully more people will start to use it.

The story that has me scratching my head is about teens sharing passwords as a sign of affection. Have passwords become the new letter jacket?


Reading Amber Naslund's blog this week has hit me at just the right place, but this piece about taking back attention is one I paid extra attention to as it goes so perfectly with my three words - particularly time and focus.

There's no end to the theories around when to tweet, facebook and more. Dan Zarella posted an infographic that turns a lot of those theories upside down and suggests (gasp!) that you post when fewer people are on because they're less likely to miss your content. It's an interesting theory and certainly worth testing out.

Spin Sucks always has an interesting take on the social media/PR disasters that come around from time to time. But this week, one guest poster - Jay Dolan - challenged readers to stop fearing failure and start achieving the kind of brilliance people want to talk about instead of the disasters that always take center stage. Of course, we're not likely to stop talking about these disasters since we can all learn a thing or two from them.

Some people think they have to sign up for every social network under the sun, but that's not a very good idea. It can be fun to check them all out, but making a commitment to any social network needs to be about giving value to other users and finding how to get value for yourself or your business. Not all social tools are equal.

I love sharing good news, especially as follow-up to an awareness campaign to help someone. So in case you hadn't heard yet, Amit Gupta, who was searching via social media for a bone marrow donor in the fall, has found a match. I wonder how many cancer patients will benefit from Amit's campaign. Hopefully, there's cause for celebration for many more today as well.


This past week, I talked about the 5 Ws of Twitter, attempting to answer the question of who, what, when, where and why you should tweet. Later in the week, I announced what the next #MediaMeshBBC book will be.

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 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!