Monthly Archives: December 2009

From Social Pollination: 3 Goals and 3 Words for 2010

Monica O’brien has some exciting things going for 2010.  As the newly minted author of the book Social Pollination: Escape the Hype of Social Media and Join the Companies Winning at It, and the regular author of her blog, Social Pollination: Small Biz.  Big Buzz,  she delivers a fresh take to online.  As a new reader of her blog, I left my first comment today and wanted to share it with any readers here.  Please feel free to continue the thread, commenting on your 3 Goals for 2010, either here on Monica’s blog.

Monica: great post.  I recently discovered your work through Joseph Yi (editor’s note: author of a great blog Welcome to LA and author of one of the funniest posts I ever read on Brazen Careerist) who I connected with on Brazen Careerist.  You laid out three very important goals for yourself that I can identify with (1) home/job, (2) creating, and (3) ways to challenge the status quo.  Here’s my take:

(1) Home/job: sounds like you and your husband are ready for a change.  My wife and I made a huge leap in 2009, moving our family from New Jersey to Jerusalem, Israel.  It has been a lifelong dream for her and a recent obsession of mine to move here.  The ideal of raising our children in the Holy Land and connecting with our spiritual roots still persists despite the difficulty of uprooting your entire life across an ocean to an alien culture.  We’ve taken our knocks and are adjusting.  For 2010 I’m resolved to view Israel like the Wild West.  Businesses here are just starting to integrate some of the more established online behaviors we are used to in the US and I’m seeing more opportunities here for an English speaking lawyer who works in this space (I am the lead community manager for a network of 25K lawyers and growing – another thing to do in 2010 is find a better term for “community manager” … I’ve been thinking either “janitor” or “party host” not sure though ; D).  As for home, we have a lease in the city for 2 years which gives us time to find a neighborhood and buy a house.  By the end of this year we want a neighborhood picked out.

(2) Creating – awesome to see you are writing fiction.  I wrote a novel 4 years ago, think if Harry Potter did kung fu, but quickly grew to hate it over the years.  My creative project for 2010 is to write my blog to book called Lurkers Anonymous: Strategies for Dealing with Invisibility on the Web.  My first post went up today so I guess I am already started (!

(3) Ways to Challenge the Status Quo – this is an interesting one.  I wish you luck on the job search (your blog is proof enough that you would kick a**), and have found that being a “purple cow” in the corporate creameries is a fun way to love what you do.  I work for a major corporation in the legal world (if we were in the beverage industry think Coke v. Pepsi) and LOVE my work.  Just this year I moved into Web Strategy and find I can make a real difference by challenging the company to do things a bit differently.  Pursuing disruptive strategies like getting to know our detractors better and finding out why they hate us, giving away lots more for free, and starting a revolution in the way we communicate are just a few of the general categories of things I am hoping to do.  On the concrete side of things, I am starting a series on You Tube called Tech Talks where I interview different people in the tech, social media, and legal worlds to get unique perspectives on a host of topics.  We do everything via Skype video and I just did my first piece with Chris Boudreaux from  It should be posting in the next week, and I already have some more calls planned.

Thanks for the great topic, and I’m looking forward to reading more from you in 2010.  Happy New Year!

I boiled down Monica’s 3-words to 3-categories.  Not sure this is what she was looking for (I think she wanted 3 NEW words), but it worked for me.  So what about you?  Where are your goals in 2010?  What would you like to see change?  Who do you want to agitate in the New Year?


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How to Create a Meaningful Following on Twitter

Getting Twitter followers is an interesting game.  SEO experts will say that the follow method is key, but in my experience this is a step above spamming.  In fact, many people of Twitter look more to the Follow v. Followed ratio as an indication of someone’s value than how many people they have amassed.  The best way to build a following is by tweeting useful information and links, highlighting the work of others who are in your industry, and engaging in conversation.

From Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s book Trust Agents (a must read for anyone working online):

1. Have a username that is similar to your name or a nickname you use elsewhere, so people recognize it.
2. Have actual content on your page!  Don’t add people until you have several dozen messages sent through the service.
3. Make sure you already have as many people as possible following you.  We know this shouldn’t matter, but it does, sorry.  People like following important people.
4. Never let your following/followed-by ration reach more than 1 (i.e., follow less than 100 people if you’re being followed by 101).  This is a common rule of thumb people use to detect spammers.
5. @ people often, and respond to other user’s comments.  Participation encourages inclusion.
6. When you follow others, send them an @ message at the same time (e.g., @chrisbrogan or @julien when messaging us), so they’ll see a message to them at the top of your page if they look at it.”

These tips should help you in your climb on the Twitter charts.  It is important to keep in mind however that quality is better than quantity (even in SEO retail).  Providing value for followers by tweeting discounts, exclusive purchase opportunities (limited edition buys for Twitter followers), and tips on how-to (fill in the blank) are stuff of gold.  This is the “social” part of media that has become all the rage in 2009 and will continue to evolve in the future.

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Filed under social media, Uncategorized

The Death of “Social Media” (“Augmented Reality” is Next)

Many sites have been predicting the death of the term “social media” as a trend to watch in 2010.  Adam Singer on Future Buzz has a great post about how the genericizing of the term “social media” as a buzz word in 2009 and 2010 will dilute its meaning of any substance so that eventually it describes just what we do online.  Intrigued by this thought, I left the following comment on his post and encourage you to add to the conversation there:

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the term “social media” for a while now, and have tried to come up with a better term.  It’s not just about semantics.  When I tell people that I am a community manager for a large professional network of lawyers they say, “oh – so you’re a webmaster?”

“No,” I say, “I’m a community manager – we have a team that deals with code and development.  I’m more the people, engagement, and business development side of things.”

“Hmm,” they say, looking at me suspiciously and thinking that I just dropped a load of crap on them, until I say, “I work in social media.” Then they’re like, “oh, right, like Twitter and stuff.”  Tired of the conversation, at this point I’ll say, “yeah, something like that.”

I will not mourn the death of the term “social media” as a buzz word among popular culture, but it does come in handy for the reason stated above, as well as, doing searches and Google alerts for things I want to read about.  If I used as generic a term as “online” I would have to filter through even more junk than I already do (I read mabye 15 – 20% of the 150+ articles I pick up in RSS per day searching for the term “social media.”)  I agree with you that it is risky to name a business after a buzz word (anyone out there still called “Web Surfers”or “Super Information Highway Cruisers”?), but as with my own blog, putting the term “social media” in the subtitle helps with traffic and orientation for new visitors.  Of course, if your post is right and the term social media comes to mean anything online, well then I’m back to square one.

So what do you and others think the term to describe augmented reality, specialized online social networking, community and content sharing should be?

Terms like “information super highway,” “cyber (insert here),” “world wide web,” were aliases we used to describe what eventually became the generic term “online.”  Does “social media” describe something else or will it eventually come to be what we know and expect as “online”?  Is there any differentiation between e-commerce, gaming, cloud computing, and “online” or do these terms describe a distinct aspect of “online” that has validity even after they have become integrated into our general expectations?  I would dare to say that the term “augmented reality,” which we are going to hear thrown around A LOT in 2010 is going to suffer an even quicker death than the term “social media.”  As Adam notes in his blog, the demise of social media is perhaps a long way off.  Business is just starting to hit milestones in adoption (see Pepsi to Skip Super Bowl Ads in Favor of $20M Social Media Campaign) and as I hinted to in my comment to him, the term is genericizing b/c it is how people are coming to understand this functionality of the web.

So what do you think we should call “social media”?  If not “social media” then what search terms should we use to find out about this kind of activity on the web?  What are the buzz words of yesteryear that have died and what can we learn from them?

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Filed under social media, Technology

Social Media Policy: How Law Firms Add Trust to Your Business Online

I recently gave this presentation to a law firm’s corporate clients in Tel Aviv.  It discusses the need for businesses to partner with law firms to craft a custom social policy, engage employees in continuing policy adherence and revision, and protect against litigation.  You can view and comment here or click through to Slide Share to download.

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Filed under Legal, social media

Trend Spottings 2010 Social Media Predictions

I enjoyed this slide show so much from Trend Spotting, I’ve decided to post it here on my blog.  This is an example of using my blog like a scrapbook.  Where are my scissors?

The topic categories cited were:

  • Mobile – when am I not on my iPhone?
  • Location – augmented reality and location based services
  • Transparency – companies being real and making mistakes
  • Measurement – what metrics can determine the ROI?  Is it about members, retention, engagement, etc.?
  • Privacy – velvet rope communities, personal privacy
  • ROI – how will business see money back on investments?  How will individuals see value for their time?

Look for my post about augmented reality coming soon.

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Turing Test In Action? SiteGround Web Hosting Sign Up Experience

I am finally taking the next step in this social media thing and trying to build a site for what I’m doing here.  After going on Aardvark and asking what the best hosting sites are for my needs, I got a few answers: Go Daddy, Rockethost, Bluehost, and Rochenhost.  None of them really had everything I was looking for, Drupal seemed to complicated for what I wanted to do, and so I tried a Google search.  What came up was a site called SiteGround offering a $20 per year deal for hosting, free domain, and other perks (usually domain hosting alone costs $16).  The cool part was their security verification process and it made me think of Alan Turing.

Turing was the first to officially and practically ask the question: “can machines think?”  From his seminar paper in 1950 Computing Machinery and Intelligence,  the entire school of thought about artificial intelligence has flourished.  His experiment was simple – sort of – put a human in one room and a machine in the other and see if the machine could fool the human into thinking it was talking to another human.

Fast forward to December 24, 2009 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!) and my experience with SiteGround.  They told me that my identity would need to be validated by a customer service rep through an internet chat window.  Interesting, I thought, and this is how the chat went:

Turns out that Valentin was in fact a real person!  He called me thirty seconds after confirming my Israeli cell phone number.  I now need to send him a photo of my American driver license to verify my identity.  Despite the pain in the a*** that validating can be, I feel confident in SiteGround as my new host given the responsiveness and customer service effectiveness I experienced.  What hosting services are you using?  Anyone out there on SiteGround?  Any tips for setting up my first website?

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How to Listen on the Web

Social media makes everybody …

A NEWS STUDIO – sites like Daily Me allow republishing of personalized news

A MOVIE STUDIO – “You Tube Video Lands $30 Million Movie Deal

A PUBLISHING COMPANY – social publishing

A GOSSIP COLUMN Perez Hilton became one of the most read columnists in Hollywood.

With everyone contributing something on the web, attention becomes our most sought after commodity.  How is anyone supposed to listen with all this chatter?  The way I do it is pretty simple.  Between Google Reader and Alerts, my iPhone, and Twitter I can keep a pretty good tabs on all the things I want to hear.  This is my abbreviated step-by-step guide to filtering out the noise.

Get a Google Reader account.

This will allow you to aggregate subscription content from webistes through RSS feeds usually by clicking the little icon that looks like this:

You will then get updates whenever the site content changes.  The best way to use your RSS Reader is to scan the headlines for anything that looks like something you want to digest.  Star items that you want to come back to or email them to yourself (there are other applications for reading RSS items later, such as Readitlater or Instapaper, but I want everything in one place).  Google Reader keeps starred items in a separate folder for you.  Using this method will allow you to get through your RSS inbox rather quickly, keeping it from piling up.  If you’re anything like me you get about 400 updates per day – reading everything is not an option and stopping to read while you are doing your sorting will only result in more pile up.

Get a Google Alerts account.

RSS subscriptions are great for keeping up with the sites you know about, but what about those sites you don’t know about?  To listen on the web you need to be able to customize what content gets fed to you.  Enter Google Alerts, step 2 of setting up your listening post.  Simply type in the term you want to receive alerts about, change the preferences to receive updates in your Google Reader, and you are done.  Anytime that term or terms hit Google’s index you will be sent an RSS alert.  You can customize alerts for immediate delivery or daily digest.

NOOB quick tip: put terms like “social media” or other multiple word searches in “quotation marks” so that Alerts look for the full term.

Get an iPhone

We are not going into the details of getting an iPhone, but the takeaway here is that having a mobile device to read your feeds makes filtering, maintaining, and digesting the information much easier.  I will check and filter feeds while walking the dog, waiting in line, and sitting on the bus.  The app I use to read my feeds is called MobileRSS, a totally free reader that has a lot of functionality.  My favorite feature is the ability to send feed items to Twitter, Email, or other places with 1-click.  This allows me and my network to follow up on items of interest that I find.  For example, after seeing and scanning Martin Reed’s post Online Community Metrics: numbers you need to pay attention to, I emailed the item to my team from MobileRSS.  While I filtered the rest of my RSS list and then came back to the post to read it in depth, other team members had set up a meeting to discuss metrics in our community, drafted an agenda, and looked forward to discussing the issue.  We recently had a productive meeting and figured out some new strategies based on this golden nugget from my listening post.

A Word About Twitter

Besides Google alerts, I also use Tweetdeck to listen.  Tweetdeck is a 3rd party application that lets you maintain columns which monitor Twitter.  The columns can watch your network’s activity, mentions about you, direct messages, Twitter trends, or any topic you specify in search.  The usefulness here is when I’m working on Twitter related items and don’t want to keep checking my Google Reader.  Since I have Tweetdeck open anyway to send messages for the company, I can simultaneously monitor Twitter for chatter about our company or any subject I am interested in.  We will have to see how Google Real-time Search changes the usefulness of Tweetdeck, but for now I find it to be a good tool in the box.

So there you have it: the ways I listen on the web.  What are your methods?  Do you use any of these tools or something different (ex/ Net Vibes)?  Does your company use a service like Radian6 to professionally monitor?

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    Filed under Productivity, social media, Uncategorized