What does a Twitter ‘favorite’ mean to you?

I love Twitter. With my oft short attention span (which I blame partly on the vast barrage of information/distractions/GIFs that social media throws at me), the 140 character limit is a fun way to engage in quick conversations. It’s also led to some amazing digital and real-life dialogues with people I’d never have imagined (more on that in an upcoming post). Alas, there are still things that I don’t understand. One of them is Twitter’s favorite button.

Favorited Tweet on Twitter

They like me! They really like me!

Not too long ago, I read an article speculating that Twitter planned to either lose or completely overhaul the functionality of the Favorite option. That’s either still in the works, or was complete heresay. Regardless, favoriting seems to hold different meanings to different people I’ve asked, and thus I often don’t know how to respond when someone favorites a tweet. Twitter describes this function as such:

Favoriting a Tweet can let the original poster know that you liked their Tweet, or you can save the Tweet for later.

That seems to be a general consensus. It’s the equivalent of the ‘Like’ button on Facebook. It can also be a list of people you want to catch back up with, but aren’t sure you want to follow just yet. It’s also a less public high-five than retweeting, so it works if the content isn’t quite what you’d like to present to your audience. Still others use it as a curation collection tool, putting together tweets they enjoyed to share later. How do you use the Favorite button?

As a follow up question, do you feel obliged to do anything else after someone favorites your tweet? Reply with a thanks? Does it encourage you to check out their account, potentially to follow them? Or has it become so blase that you hardly even recognize a favorited tweet? Do you favorite tweets as some nefarious, reverse psychology method of trying to get them to notice YOU, and follow you (you sneaky, sneaky devil, you!).

Tell me what you you think. What’s the voodoo that you do when it comes to Twitter and favorting? Also, if you want to see some of the other stuff I don’t understand about Twitter, check out the ridiculous business in my formerly weekly Found Tweet Friday posts and my post on Twitter spammers stealing your tweets.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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Twitter Spammers Are Stealing Your Tweets

Twitter, followers, tweets, spam, fake, accounts

Never tastes as good as you hope it will…

With each technology that advances our culture, there is the inevitable down side. With the telephone came bad telemarketing and phone scams, with the television came crappy infomercials (and in my opinion, reality TV), and with the internet came spam. Each of these has advanced in their own way, and the typical scheme has been to sell you something. Twitter spam is becoming it’s own beast and seems to serve multiple functions. Some are pretty obvious, like the:

“Hey @robzie81, how would you like 1,000 followers in 5 minutes? Click here —> http://bit.ly/clickforgarbage”

Or one of my recent favorites:

“@robzie81 Someone is spreading vicious rumors about you http://bit.ly/clickitstupid”

These ones get the delete pretty quickly, but there are some that I’ve seen becoming pervasive in the Twittersphere that are a different breed. They’re Twitter accounts, obviously made by people who’s first language is not English, with stock images as their avatar and occasionally very poorly written bios. These accounts typically have a handful of followers, likely from their own circle, pretty legit sounding names, and the content of the tweets is typically flush with keywords. Some are copy/pasted from other users’ tweets, with any @ references removed and thus making them make no sense, like:

“Can’t wait for my training session with #itsbeentoolong”

Something seems out of place there, doesn’t it? I also come across some other copy/pasted versions that seem legit at first, until you see them show up 30 times in a search, word for word. Examples:

“Dear shaving commercials, stop shaving hairless legs. If you want impress us, please shave a gorilla.”
“I’m so hungry! “Didn’t you just eat?” “Yeah… So?””
“My poor school :( I have lost everything in my classroom. Floods up to my waist took over everything. God help us. :(“
“I wasn’t that drunk ‘Dude, you were in my closet yelling “where the heck is narnia”‘

There are some tweets that are poorly written, but are obviously targeted to show up in business searches. Keywords for everything from spas and salons, gyms and restaurants are planted in tweets like the below:

“It’s my lucky day..I buy new bikini with 50% off :)”
“hello friends…,is there anyone ever try acai berry, i heard it’s good for diet and health”
“I am thinking about getting a 1971 Ford Pinto for a new car”
“Oh no, my dog pee on my pillow again…twice this week grrr…”
“On early call out for a military exercise, one of my colleagues used this excuse: I had to round up a group of Giraffes on the motorway (…”

Twitter, tweet, business, keywords, spam

Hm. Do we see a trend developing in this search stream?

My guess is that these accounts directly relate to the first example I mentioned: Paid Twitter followers. This then leads me to my final point, and please excuse my use of all caps, but: NEVER PAY FOR TWITTER FOLLOWERS. The likelihood that your account will be followed by the garbage accounts above is pretty high, and they will do nothing for you. Organically building your Twitter presence will get you real followers (and the occasional bot that will follow you, but what can you do?) and will create a community of conversation that will actually be useful to you. Take the time to put out interesting, relevant content, follow other people and businesses that you find interesting and they will often return the favor if they find your content worthwhile.

What other kind of Twitter spam have you seen, besides the notorious bikini-clad porn accounts? Any other creative things you’ve seen? Have any of you bought into the ‘pay for followers’ scheme already, and if so, what kind of followers did you see?

Let me know below with your comments. Also, be sure to check out some of the best/worst REAL Twitter users have to offer by checking out my weekly post, Found Tweet Friday.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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That Social Media Mojo

For a while, I lost my mojo. I became disillusioned with the overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t keep up with blogging, social networking and my job, and I didn’t think blogging was getting me anywhere. I didn’t think anyone cared, wasn’t sure if anyone was reading and I felt like I was just pumping out my content to no one. So, I stopped. I haven’t written a blog post for weeks. I wanted to, but then I would just get flustered and tell myself that it didn’t matter anyway. I considered deleting my blog, but I didn’t. I’m glad that I didn’t.

I received a comment out of the blue this week on a post I did a couple months ago. It was an engaging comment and in the end the person thanked me for writing the post. This small gesture reminded me why I blog. I don’t do it for constant comments, retweets on Twitter or raving fans. I do it so I can connect with people who are interested in the same things I am. I do it to share information with those who are seeking it. The glory of the internet is that posts just float out there, and can show up again when people are looking for them.

I sometimes look at the big names in blogging, the social media pros, and I wonder how the hell they have time to still have a life. I realized it’s because they don’t try to do everything. They focus on the things that are most important to them, keep the peripheral in mind without completely fragmenting their focus, and thus are able to have time to do other things. I’ve wanted to be so “engaged” that my focus has been in too many directions. I haven’t been able to give anything enough attention, because I was trying to focus on everything. And so, just in time for Halloween, I’m coming back from the dead.

blog, blogging, blogger, zombie, social media

The horror! The humanity! The blogging!

Also, I’m currently reading a pre-published copy of Chris Brogan and  Julien Smith’s “The Impact Equation” (affiliate link) and I’m already telling you to pick it up when it hits on 10/25. You’ll love it, and be inspired by it. These guys are no b.s. about how to make an impact, and it’s not the same old crap you hear everywhere else.

How do you keep your social media mojo going? What inspires you to blog, even if you’re not getting the engagement you wish you were?

Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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3 Tips for Doing Twitter Outreach Without Being a Creep

By now you’ve probably heard that social media does not follow the Field of Dreams mantra: “If you build it, they will come.” (I know, for all you die hard Field of Dreams fans, that’s not the factually accurate quote. But that’s what it has become in pop culture so bear with me.) Simply setting up your social media profiles and waiting for people to come swarming to them will just not happen. You have to give them a reason to come to your page. You have to seek them out by knowing your business, knowing your customers, and knowing your community. One great way to seek out potential customers is by doing Twitter outreach. I’m not going to go through the use of Twitter’s search features here. Those articles have already been written by much more knowledgeable bloggers to varying degrees. I did recently write a guest post for Main Street Hub, a social media management company that focuses on local businesses, in which I discuss three tips for doing Twitter outreach without coming across as a creep or spambot. Twitter is fraught with both, so differentiating yourself from them is critical. You can read the post here:

What are your thoughts on Twitter outreach? Have you been reached out to or poached successfully? What did the person do that worked, or didn’t? Do you have any more tips to add? Let me know below with your comments. Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on! Follow this blog on Google Currents! Download the app in your app store or marketplace and click here to subscribe.

LinkedIn’s Profile Facelift, and a Feature You May Not Know About

As many of you have probably heard or seen, LinkedIn announced that it is giving profiles a facelift and working on making the site better equipped for social interaction. This surely is in part due to the split from Twitter. If you haven’t seen the changes on your profile and mobile apps already, you will soon. It’s cleaner, clearer and an undeniable upgrade. Here is a great article outlining some of the major changes and discussing how they may effect you. Perhaps it’s time to spruce things up a bit on your profile.

While checking out my shiny new page, I noticed that LinkedIn is focusing even more on the important stuff. As you scroll down my page, you see my summary, experience, publications, and projects. In that order. This means that as people are viewing your previous experience, they are likely to see your Projects too. Are you using this great, but highly undervalued feature on LinkedIn? I’ve included a video below explaining how to add one, and the great benefits that come along with creating Projects (like strengthening and increasing your connections). I guest posted about this on Entrepreneur Magazine columnist Starr Hall’s blog a couple months ago, but I feel it bears mentioning again.


What are your thoughts on this feature? What do you think of LinkedIn’s new profile pages? Do you have any speculation as to what’s coming next for the professional network? Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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Rise of the Social Homepages

Time is becoming a very precious thing indeed. Trying to keep up on blogs, social networks, news, friends, family, work, and having non-computer related experiences create a life of constant pull on our attention. This constant pull in a gazillion different directions is exactly why I think these “Social homepages” are becoming more and more relevant. I’ve only joined two so far, and each has some functionalities that they can boast. Basically, they connect all of your social status updates and put them in a visual ‘homepage’ where one can visit and see everything that you’re sharing. The key here is the visual element. Photos you take, images pulled from links, videos; all these create a visually engaging aesthetic that will save your friends and followers time from visiting all of your networks. Let’s take a look at them.

Social networks all in one place

RebelMouse was created by by the former CTO of The Huffington Post, Paul Berry. It’s still in beta but is receiving a huge amount of buzz. Features have already been added from when I first received my invite. You can now embed your RebelMouse into your website or blog, thus making all your social updates visible from either. This is huge because your customers, potential clients, or friends don’t have to leave the place you’re putting your best work, as well as your products or services. You also have the ability to highlight certain posts that you want to stay stationary and maintain good real estate on your page, which I love!  As of right now, RebelMouse allows you to pull updates from Facebook profiles and pages, Twitter (you’ll need to use either to create your account) and just recently, Instagram. In an interview on July 9th, Paul Berry states that more networks are coming, such as Google+ and Tumblr. You can also manually add stories, which I imagine people who fully embrace their RebelMouse page as a homepage will be doing often. You can create separate RebelMouse pages for Facebook pages of which you are an admin, which is a great advantage to admins of multiple pages that aren’t really related. You can view others in your Facebook or Twitter networks that are using RebelMouse and follow their pages. Since it’s still in public beta, I can’t wait to see what new things come out of this already-popular platform.

glos.si for social networks

I was actually reached out to on Twitter by glos.si’s co-founder Sandy Lin while tweeting about RebelMouse (good poaching!). Since I dug RebelMouse, I figured it was worth a look, and I set up my own glos.si page. The first thing I noticed was that glos.si takes the same approach that Klout does and connects just about every social network under the sun. The designers to a great job of helping users show off their networks by listing them with icons in the profile heading. This is nice, just in case followers want to go and focus solely on a single network. glos.si uses the same idea I mention above for RebelMouse of creating something visually engaging, with your Foursquare updates staying stationary on the right and your other updates visually represented in tiled columns to the left. The option to change your view between images, articles, videos and everything makes reading pages a breeze. You also get to choose a background image, thus creating an even more personalized experience. The site uses a pretty cool randomized search to allow you to connect with other glos.si users not already in your other networks. As for connecting with friends using glos.si, you can only search Facebook and Twitter. One feature that I find really cool is the Newsstand feature. This creates a glos.si page of updates from everyone you follow, saving you even more time.

RebelMouse is already a slick platform with a very believable promise that there’s more to come. glos.si has a great interface already, and is strides ahead of RebelMouse since it was started back in September last year. Once RebelMouse comes of out beta, these two will certainly be in head to head competition. I’ll be interested to see where the two of them go.

Are you using either of these sites? Are there other “social homepage” sites that you’ve come across? Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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Brand Your Instagram Photos Using Over App

Over App

Taken with Instagram, text added with Over

A couple weeks ago, Chris Brogan tweeted about an app he was digging and shared a Google Hangout he had with a guy named Aaron Marshall. The app was called Over, and it allows you to add text over pictures on your iPhone (for the time being) using a really slick interface. You can then post your edited photos to Facebook (profile not page, yet), Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr (having issues getting mine to show up though) or send the image via email. I’ve yet to have Chris Brogan steer me wrong, so I checked out the app myself. Seemed like a fun way to spice up photos and I really enjoy the use of a scrolling wheel to go through all of your options. Later, I read a blog post shared by Valerie Deveza reminding bloggers that you can (and should) easily use your own, royalty-free images in your blog posts. This saves time scouring for usable images (and potential distractions of perusing the internet) and any concern of copyright infringement. Then. It hit me.

Over App

Taken with Instagram, text added with Over

A fantastic use for Over is to “brand” your photos that you take on your iPhone. If you already use Instagram or Facebook Camera, take your pictures and add your filters as normal. Open Over and load the picture in, add your company name, website, your name, message, etc, choose a font (more are available for individual purchase) and suddenly, the photo is officially yours. Also, if you’re a fan of Paper by 53 for the iPad (of which I am a raving fan), you can doodle your image, email it to yourself or screen capture it, add your text with Over, and suddenly it becomes branded as well. (Conversely, you could write out your company’s name/info in Paper if you have a steady hand, but I know many professionals whose handwriting is pretty atrocious.) Either way, you’ll get to show off your creative side and never worry if you’re going to receive a cease and desist letter for an image you’re using. Even with proper credit, you just can’t be too sure when using others’ intellectual property.

Fifty-Three, Yelp, Over App

Drawn with Paper by 53, text added with Over

The best part about using Over with the apps I’ve discussed is that you don’t have to go and buy (or illegally download) any expensive software. Over and Paper may cost you a few bucks, then you’re off to writing your blog safely, further engaging your creativity and artistic side. Just think. You could even create your own memes!

What are your thoughts on this approach? Are you using any other text-overlay apps that you’re hooked on? Are you already using your own images in your blog posts?

Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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Why the Olympics could be bad for your business

Olympics London 2012

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The 2012 Summer Olympics are approaching quickly. Soon status updates and tweets will be flooding timelines and feeds with the latest stories, winners, broken records, upsets and national pride. What could possibly be wrong with that, you ask? Well, if you’re trying to still garner any attention during the Olympics, you may find your attempts getting buried and ignored by distracted potential customers (y’know, even more than they already are.) I read an article in Inc. Magazine about a company called Elemental that will be providing the technology to live stream the Olympics events to mobile devices. What could possibly be more distracting than that? It has also been said that this Olympics will be remembered as the first truly Social Olympics, Facebook has partnered with NBC to promote coverage, and athletes are being held to strict regulations. So what are you to do?

You’re going to have to get involved. That’s right, you need to do a couple things to keep yourself relevant while those Olympians are fighting for the gold, and the attention of your customers:

  1. Inject yourself into the conversation –  Let’s be honest. McDonald’s unhealthy double quarter pounder and large fries have nothing to do with the rigorous healthy regimen that Olympic athletes must hold themselves to. But will McDonald’s find a way to remain relevant and advertise using the Olympics as a backdrop? You better believe it. Find a story and run with it. Keep up on athletes (maybe some from a relatively local area) and support them, report on their victories or upsets, engage your customers in what is important to them in the moment. Find ways to subtly but interestingly insert your product or service. Do you sell sports equipment? Talk about those pro goggles or amazing new running shoes an athlete is wearing. Do you specialize in childcare? Get the kids involved in the stories of athletes rise to glory and the importance of staying fit. Do you sell electronics? Um, guys, they’re streaming the Olympics live on mobile devices. We have those mobile devices. Don’t be overbearing, just be relevant. If you can be clever without coming across as a slimy salesperson, even better.Twitter hashtags trending topics
  2. Follow the hashtags – Honestly, I hate trending topics. I find that they’re either things I could care less about or just outright stupid. However, when huge things happen, they trend. (For example, at the time of typing this, two trending topics are #SongsThatGiveYouGoosebumps and Is Pregnant. Insert long Napoleon Dynamite sigh here.) Being someone who is on Twitter for good parts of the day reaching out to customers, I can tell you that general Twitter users love easily shareable hashtags (especially the 10ThingsYadaYadaYada kind). The Olympics has an official hashtag (#London2012), so watching that is important. Maybe even create your own, just be sure to check that it doesn’t already exist. Again, use these to find out what conversations are going on and join them. Are people tweeting about that hometown favorite who lost by 5 tenths of a second? Lament right along with them. Is an up and coming swimmer talking about that speedo that Tyler McGill is wearing? If you’re a sports shop, do you sell those? Be creative and be interesting so you won’t be forgotten.

I know it’s not a simple as it sounds. You’re busy and this is another thing on your plate. As a small or local business, community is everything, and national pride is a unifier not to be scoffed at. It really could pay off for you to do these two things.

What do you think? Do you already have any plans to compete with the increased social traffic of the Olympics? Are you the type of person who gets excited about the games? Do you plan to try to live stream it to your mobile device and keep up on the results?

Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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Achieving Olympic Gold – Helping the Family of Tyler McGill

The above picture is of my friend Jeff McGill and his son Tyler. Jeff is a friend, a fellow thespian, and an all-around good guy. He works hard, stays in shape, does volunteer work and has raised an amazing family. His son Tyler is a swimmer. I don’t mean one of those guys that just hangs around the pool. I mean the real deal, blazing through the water, leaving you in his bubbles, swimmer. So much, that he’s actually qualified to swim in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which is beyond exciting. His times are so close to Michael Phelps’s times, that Olympic gold is truly a possibility this year. There’s only one problem. For Jeff and his family to travel out to London, stay for the entire time necessary and get all the necessary registration done, is expensive. Like, CRAZY expensive. Here’s where we come in. This is an honest to goodness opportunity to help make a real Olympic dream come true. This is a chance to make an impact in one the most amazing opportunities in a young man’s life. An opportunity to make sure his family is right there to celebrate with him, should he obtain an Olympic medal. So we’ve started a donation page on GoFundMe.com. If you’re interested, you can donate as much or as little as you want, anonymously or with your name and a message. I’d really like to see this family watch their son compete for the gold, and I hope you’ll help them get there.

Check out a great interview with Tyler McGill talking about Olympic hopes and encouraging young swimmers:

Thanks for reading.

Now go get your social on!

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What Would You Do If…? Lessons On My Birthday

Facebook page birthday notification July 9

By 7:45, the early risers are on the ball!

I’m currently typing this blog post on Sunday, July 8, 2012. The day before my birthday. Already, I’ve received a couple notifications of people wishing me a happy birthday. By the time you read this, I will likely have received numerous wall posts from friends, family, acquaintances, and people I forgot I was Facebook friends with. I’ll likely get birthday wishes from people who’s “Happy Birthday” post will be the only interaction I’ve had with them on Facebook (or in any other form) in months. No one really remembers birthdays anymore. Why should we? Facebook does it for us. That got me thinking. With so much time and dependence that we all put into Facebook, will we really be ready to handle it’s potential and eventual decline? How will we go back to actually remembering people’s birthdays, peer into their lives, and creep on people if Facebook’s revenue model and waning coolness sends them crashing and burning like so many other internet fads, memes and viral superstars? Younger crowds are already growing weary of the advertising and familial presences on Facebook, according to this article from All Facebook.

Abandoned Playground

MySpace has been referred to the abandoned playground of the Internet. Is Facebook next?

This also got me thinking in terms of business. Sure, right now you must have a presence on Facebook to be where everyone is. Will that be true for the next generation of those with purchasing power? If your business is geared toward a younger audience, do you have a back up plan to be ready to go where they are? Probably not. Many small businesses are still just starting to fully adopt social media into their marketing and business plans. They’ve been told for the last few years that Facebook is the place to be, and now they may start hearing that it’s on the downward slide.

Now I’m not saying that you should be scrambling to figure out what to do and prepare for ‘life after Facebook.’ It’s like the zombie apocalypse. Is it going to happen tomorrow? Not likely, but you should maybe have a plan just in case it does. I think that might be a future blog post.

What do you think? How long does Facebook have to hold the crown of King of Social Media? Who is likely next in line to usurp the crown? Do you have kids or target a younger audience, and have you seen a shift in their focus for networking online and with mobile devices?

Let me know below with your comments. Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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