Category Archives: Uncategorized

3-ways to get started in social media

I speak to a lot of people who are interested in social media.  As this is rapidly just becoming the way we use the Internet getting “into the game” is a lot easier than you think.  For those looking to incorporate social media into their business strategy, here are a few easy to follow steps help you take the plunge (many books have been written on this subject so these quick tips are just the tip of the iceberg – pardon the pun):
  1. Identify your target buyer – create a buyer persona, a biography of the person you want to sell to.  Give them a name and write a few paragraphs about them focusing on (a) the problem they have that needs solving, (b) what would be appealing to this buyer and how we can find them online, and (c) the solution you have for them.  This can be done on paper with pen or Word.  We’ll use this to craft our marketing strategies.
  2. Brainstorm ideas for your blog categories (ex/ body work, medicine, posture, etc.).  These are like chapters of a book and you will usually choose 1 of them to categorize your posts.  Categories are also helpful to navigation and give depth to your blog.
  3. Start drafting your first 10 posts.  It may be helpful to think of them as a theme – so for example, start with the theme of posture.  You can easily come up with 5 posts about posture: (a) importance of posture (worst cast scenario if not fixed, benefits, etc.), (b) how to have good posture, (c) ways of paying attention to your posture (20 minute reminder, etc.), (d) what to do when your posture is terrible (extreme measures), (e) how good posture improves health, work, etc.  This is only an example, but the point is you can think of a single theme that fits in a category, come up with a bunch of posts about that theme, and then just start writing.  The beauty of a blog is you can have these posts as drafts for weeks as you develop others and work through your ideas.

Like I said above, these are three quick and easy strategies that I use whenever starting or rethinking about one of my blogs.  There are much more qualified people than me talking about this stuff at sites like CopyBlogger and ProBlogger (both EXCELLENT resources).

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Kippa Man: Making Me the First Custom Apple Logo Kippa in Israel

Skullcaps, lids, yarlmakes, or kippas, whatever you call the head covering we observant Jews wear, one thing is for certain: if custom, knitted ones (“sroogies”) are your thing there is no better place than Kippa Man to get yours made. Located conveniently in the Shuk in Jerusalem, they have tons of pre-made designs to choose from including sports teams, cartoon characters, and company logos like Nike, Coke, and Pepsi. But as I walked into the shop today I noticed something was missing.

The iPhone hit Israel in December of 2009, and we have been experiencing the slow yet enthusiastic adoption typical of Apple launches. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am an Apple nut, a customer evangelist if you will, who takes pride in his affiliation. What better way to display that pride than with a custom kippa made by the best?

The lady at Kippa Man (didn’t catch her name today) was pretty excited about this one. “Do you think other people will want it?” she asked in a light Israeli accent. I told her that people would go crazy over it, and she’d be able to say she was the first to do it in Israel because I had looked and not found it anywhere else. I also told her that I’d proudly wear it at Legal Tech in two weeks, a major technology conference in NYC for legal professionals. This made her more excited an she promised to have it ready by next week.  What happened next was interesting.

She quoted a price which I thought was high for a custom kippa.  “You wear big ones,” she said.  “The are more expensive than the little ones.”  She was right.  I do like my kippas on the big side.  They are more comfortable, stay on your head better, don’t require clips, and cover my disappearing hair.  Knowing that Wonder Woman would kill me if I paid that much for a kippa the inner business man in me came out.  “Tell you what,” I said, “I’m so excited about this kippa that I want to blog about it.  I want to show it to everyone I know who loves Apple and have them come to you for one.  With the iPhone blowing up in Israel there is sure to be interest.  We brand this as a Kippa Man original and I think you’ve got a winner.”  Through my entire speech I could feel her excitement, and it was true; I meant every word.  It surprised me not to see more kippas with logos from passion brands like Apple, Windows, Nokia (Israelis LOVE their Nokias), and others.

In any case we came to an acceptable price range (she couldn’t give me exact b/c she won’t know until they make it), and I walked outside the store.  I posted a check in at Kippa Man on Gowalla (location based service) citing my forthcoming kippa, snapped a shot of the store front (see above), and headed home to start work.  Not sure how the kippa will come out, but if it looks anything like the other work I’ve seen Kippa Man do I’m sure it will be awesome.  Look for me at Legal Tech.

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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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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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    What to Do When Your iPhone Only Works on Speakerphone?!?!?

    So at first I thought it might be pocket lint.  You know, a nice good ball of blue and white lint that got stuck in the earphone jack, but after troubleshooting with the help of many websites and YouTube videos (like the one below), I realized we had a bigger problem here than I thought.  What am I talking about you ask?  My wife’s iPhone, that wonderful little device that we love for so many reasons (many of them having nothing to do with the phone part) stopped working properly a couple of months ago.  Her earpiece went dead and she could only hear people talking if she put her phone on speakerphone.

    After a little research I found out that this problem is quite common.  The phone gets stuck in “earphone mode” and thinks that earphones are plugged into it, hence it sends no sound to the earpiece.  Here are the few solutions that I came across in my attempts to fix this annoying issue:

    1. Plug and unplug your iPhone headphones (repeat 7 or 8 times as needed)

    2. Clean your iPhone headphone jack with the stick part of a Qtip (cut with a scissor) and dipped in Windex

    3. Adjust your proximity sensor settings

    4. Turn your phone of and on; make sure Bluetooth is off; restore factory settings

    5. Restore firmware and reboot the phone (most drastic)

    Even after trying all of these “solutions” my wife’s phone is still stuck in earphone mode.  Even #5 didn’t work (I thought maybe b/c the phone is jail broken/unlocked that restoring the IPSW would help – nope).  Is the speaker just broken?  Do I need to return the phone to Apple (that means a trip to the US b/c the two Apple stores here in Israel don’t even have iPhones yet)?  Does anyone have any other suggestions?

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    Taking Control of Your System Start Up

    This is not a topic I really know about.  How often do you hear someone start with that?  The reason I am even including this short post is to show the value of blogging.

    While at the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Annual Meeting in Boston a friend and colleague of mine, Eugene Weitz, former corporate counsel at Alcatel Lucent walked up to my booth between sessions.  He said, “just got out of a session you would have liked.”

    “Yeah,” I asked, “what about?”

    “Lawyer-tech stuff,” he said.

    “What did they discuss.” I asked.

    “Different tools, using them in practice.  The most interesting thing I saw was about taking control of your system start up,” he said.  “He gave a bunch of programs, some of which I may check out.”

    “You should blog about that,” I said.  Eugene recently started an exclusive blog on Martindale-Hubbell Connected called In the House: The Impact of Technology on the 21st Century Lawyer.

    “I don’t know,” he said, explaining that he didn’t have expertise in the tools or anything like that.  And it is this last point that inspired this blog post.  I told him that readers don’t always want the expert opinion.  The beauty of blogging is that whoever reads your stuff reads it to get your take on things.  To show him that anyone could write about system start up, I found this link all about it, posted by someone who does know about the subject.  I drafted this post as my testimony that what makes this whole blogging thing interesting is getting different perspectives on the same information.  Believe me, this post is much more about how we share and connect as human beings than it is about system start up.  In any case, there you have it.

     

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    Where Do They Find the Time?

    Clay Shirkey, author of “Here Comes Everybody,” posted this great article in 2008 explaining the phenomenon of social media.  It’s not a primer about Facebook or why people should use Linkedin or how lawyers can benefit from being on Martindale-Hubbell Connected (shameless plug), rather he talks about how traditional media folks still don’t really get it.  Sure, they understand that these tools and being in these spaces can help their projects move forward (I don’t think there is an HBO show out there without a blog), but the question in their minds remains: where do people find the time?

    Shirkey goes on to talk about television, the great distraction.  He said if you then take the creation of something as vast as Wikipedia and look at it as a unit as of 2008, all of the content, edits, pages, and comments crowd-sourced on Wikipedia had taken 100 million thought hours to create.  Where do people find the time?  The thought hour surplus from watching television in the United States in a single year: 200 Billion thought hours (“that’s 2000 Wikipedia projects per year”).  Imagine if we could harness the power of those wasted hours, “unwinding” in front of meaningless stories crafted to capture our attention towards a bit of advertising that most people cut out via TIVO (don’t worry – they’ll still get you via product placement and in-show ads – ever wonder why so many people in movies and on TV have Apple computers?).

    It reminds me of an R.A. Lafferty short story that I once read called, “Polity and Customs of the Camiroi,” where a board of education visits a distant advanced civilization called “Camiroi.”  In this culture, children are working on advanced nuclear physics and other such topics by the first grade (to any Lafferty devotee who may read this: I’m paraphrasing here, so please don’t roast me if I got the grade level wrong at which kids learn advanced nuclear physics.  As I am comfortably typing this in bed, I am too lazy to dig through the book case for my copy of Lafferty to confirm this – if you wish to do so please leave a comment).  The point is that this fictional society placed such a value on time that they race their young through trivial lessons such as finger painting, making cute little crafts, and teaching them colors so they can get to really useful knowledge like applied sciences and quantum theory at an early age.  They bring to mind what might be possible if we took the 200 billion thought hours in America each year and applied them to problems like solving the energy crisis, space and time travel, and fixing the inability of people to merge properly to avoid unneeded traffic (to solve this last one would mean the true evolution of the human race as a species in the universe).

    So how does this apply to community management?  After all, it was on a community management message board that I first got the link to the Shirkey article that started this little post.  Speaking from my experience, one of the primary things I hear from lawyers (my target audience) is that to participate in an online community seems time consuming.  As people who primarily get paid by the hour (and sometimes the minute) they do not know how they can spend time creating content and reacting to other peer created content online.  Let’s look at Shirkey again with a dash of David Allen (author of Getting Things Done).

    Where do you spend most of your time as a lawyer?  Is it in research (not if you have a huge team of paralegals), talking on the phone with clients, gathering intelligence, writing, golfing, loafing?  I think how specifically you can answer that question (and if you have something like Time Matters software tracking your every move it should be easy) you can then answer the second question: where is your time not being optimally spent?  If you could find a better way of doing existing tasks that would free up your to do more high value tasks, that would be valuable to you and your clients.  For example, if you needed to find out about a particular issue for something you were writing at the end of the week, putting a key question out there on a message board read by other thought leaders on the issue would enable you to have a conversation about it rather than just looking up the results on a search engine and forming a singular conclusion.

    The point is that before something becomes normal to us it seems like a big undertaking.  There is no denying that online communities and social media will change the way we do everything.  Just like email did for communications, this new way of interacting will find its way into the everyday business of doing business.  Just like online legal research enhanced the information presented in law books (some even argue turning them into into glorified paper weights and office decoration), community media will replace solitary search, information gathering, and cold calling.  Time will tell whether as a profession we be innovative with this technology and integrate it to our work flows, or remain cautiously on the sideline, accepting it only after many years have gone by bringing something new to weary of.

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