It’s Not That I Don’t Like You…

So I’m driving home from work thinking about all the clever, witty, insightful and informative things I could write to you oh blogosphere… Then I remembered, damn I haven’t blogged in like 3 months. Snap! I should probably explain to the ‘sphere and anyone that subscribes to this blog (all 3 of you, honestly – I appreciate you) why I have been so absent.

I could write to you the laundry list of excuses I’ve (cleverly) come up with to explain my lack of blogging. I work too much, I watch too much TV, my fingers were cut off in an act of Chinese terrorism… But I’ll spare you. I’m lazy. I would rather turn on the Bachelorette and sit on the couch with a bowl of cereal than take 15 minutes to say what up to y’all. It’s not that I don’t like you or blogging for that fact, I’m just a bum.

So, I’m sorry blogosphere. I’m sorry readers. I’m sorry for taking such long hiatuses between posts. I’m sorry for depriving you of posts to not care about on a more regular basis. Blame it on me.

How Foursquare Makes Me A Better Person

foursquare badge buttonsSo there I was sitting in my corner being anti foursquare. I’ll admit, I was pouting because I didn’t understand what to do or know how to assign value to this tool. I call myself a social media lover (not guru, queen or any other grandly delusional title) but I enjoy social media and spend a good portion of my day utilizing it for both business and pleasure. Yet, here I was missing the boat on this craze.

It all changed when I changed… to iPhone. I’ll spare you the harp music, clouds rolling in, sun-shining-brighter-than-ever-before analogies that correspond with my switching to the iPhone… (But let me just say, I heard some pretty lovely harp music and saw some pretty freakin’ bright rays of sun the moment I touched this phone.) So, I guess to be accurate it was about four days into my iPhone love affair when some dude (@audette) rolls in talking about his new obsession with foursquare. I sheepishly admitted to not really being in to it and then thought wow, I can’t let this dude one-up me in social media – I better give this thing a shot.

So here I am, two days later (yea it only takes about one afternoon to become thoroughly addicted to the phenomenon that is foursquare), finding myself showing up to venues two minutes early so I can check-in, adding venues I frequent so I can make a run for mayor, diligently trying to oust @Audette as mayor of AudetteMedia Headquarters and pretty much finding any and every excuse I can to run errands so I can check-in at my favorite places.

It’s not only a fun, new social media obsession. I am a better person because of foursquare. Foursquare has made me:

1. Early to work and other activities – I find myself needing to be early everywhere to “check-in” and subsequently look like the go-getter at gym class, workaholic at the office or lunch-rush-beater that I am in fact not.

2.    Social – I get pretty stoked to see other people that might be in the same location as me. I want to meet them, exchange witty banter about how we both use foursquare and become lifelong friends.

3.    An insider – foursquare, or rather foursquare users, give me tips about the places I’m visiting. They might tell me to order one type of coffee over another, or how to find a good deal. They might tell me to avoid the lunch special because it’s gross. I wouldn’t know any of this without foursquare and I am now more valuable to myself and others because of it.

4.    That much closer to a becoming a social media guru – I wasn’t using foursquare, I was pouting in the corner with no badges or mayor titles to speak of, and now I am checking in at multiple venues throughout the day, communicating with other foursquare users and blogging about it here. I don’t know everything about social media, and I won’t claim to, but I know a lot… maybe more than you, and I feel that much closer to being a “social media guru” for having branched out to try something I was scoffing at, just to realize I look like an idiot for scoffing. Try foursquare. It’s good.

I’m Awesome… At The Numbers Game

Pigs racing You have 14,000 Twitter followers? Wow, that’s awesome. You blog twelve times a week? Wow, that’s awesome. Your Facebook page has 7,000 fans? Wow, that’s like totally awesome.

So many bloggers, business owners and general internet dwellers out there are playing the numbers game. The more I tweet, the more I automate, the more I push myself on people the greater gain I will get in return. While a lot of followers, participation and fans of your stuff is great and all, you’re nowhere without engaging them.

Are you sitting there, reading this and thinking “but my marketing/social media/branding manager said I need to reach X amount of followers by X date”? Yeah, I know lots of people out there are running to get to a finish line where the numbers tell their success story. The problem with this is at the end of the race your trophy is just filled with a bunch of people who know a big fat nothing about you… And you kind of look like a pig.

What you need to do is make a plan. If your plan includes participating in social media, in any way, whether it be for your business, personal use or whatever, then decide to do unto others as you wish them to do unto you. Or however that goes. We all hate the teeth whitening tweeters, auto DMers, nonsensical bloggers and annoying Facebookers. So don’t be one of them.

Get out there and really communicate what you’re all about. Be open, transparent and oh snap, real. Be authentically awesome. Because if I don’t think you’re awesome just for having a butt load of followers or hammering my Google reader with posts you’ve written in seven minutes while eating your bagel, the people you think you’re engaging probably don’t care either.

Don’t get me wrong, those of you that do a lot with real, quality output I’m proud of you. We should all be like you. But if you can’t commit to quality engagement online, step back and reevaluate why you’re there in the first place. Your 600 followers will appreciate your funny, informative, original tweets much more than 10,500 spammers ever would.

Love Fest: Chromemance

What was that you said? I couldn’t quite hear you over my screamin’ browser speed…

Google Chrome

I am smack dab in the middle of a full blown romance with Google Chrome. I’m currently operating Chromium OS, the open-source project behind the Google Chrome browser and I’m searching with unbeatable speed, pages are loading before I can blink my eyes and the plug-ins, minimal browser interface and seamless video streaming is a dream.

Between Firefox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, and now Chrome how is one to choose a browser? Well a.) don’t choose IE… Although as recently as two years ago, almost half of you people poking around the interwebs used Internet Explorer 6.0—the slowest, jankiest, most security-flawed browser on the market. Phew, now that that’s off my chest – I’m gonna say you’re left with Firefox, Safari and Chrome to choose from (Opera – Who? What is that? Who cares? Oh that’s right no one’s really cared since 1996). Nevermind the PC vs. Mac browser debate… And since Safari is a Mac-based browser let’s just skip right over that one too.

All these browser programmers have been competing for speed, stability and intuition for quite some time. Firefox by Mozilla is constantly updating and improving and without a doubt it’s a fantastic browser. Great for speed, great for stability and a pretty intuitive interface (not to mention great add-ons, applications and powerful tools.) Firefox is flexible and the perfect back-up browser.

On to the love affair…

Chrome is addictively fast… I find myself opening new web pages to see how quickly they will load and drooling over the speed at which I can transition between tabs and windows. Chrome is the first browser to keep its processes separated – each tab is given individualized access to your computer’s resources. What?! That means that if one open tab encounters an error, the rest of your browsing session remains intact – that’s right! No more “Oops, this is embarrassing – Please wait while we restore the 24 tabs and 6 important projects you had open” messages.

With Chrome you can Google (that is the new term for “search” right?) right from the address bar. It’s the best way to navigate the web. Chrome will give you search results right in the search bar with drop downs to pretty much everything you might have been looking for. With Chrome you can sync your bookmarks directly from whatever sub-par browser you are using now and Chrome even offers Greasemonkey scripts and sweet add-ons.

In a nutshell: Google Chrome is better than your browser and you should probably get on it right now. Let your own love affair begin…

Top Social Media Moments of 2009

Balloon Boy – The balloon hoax heard round the world. I remember right where I was, October 15th 2009 – a day that will live in infamy, I was attending a WebCam (cool conference, lame name) session when the tweets began to swirl about the boy who floated away from his home in a home-made balloon. The event attracted world-wide attention and made us all tweet “WTF?!”

tweets about balloon boy hoax

@shitmydadsays – My dad says messed up shit all the time. It’s good to know someone else’s does too. By tweeting otherwise useless, but hilarious things that come out of the mouth of a 73-year-old man, @shitmydadsays has effectively entertained nearly 1 million followers in 2009.

shit my dad says twitter profileWhopper Sacrifice – Ditch 10 friends get a free whopper? Don’t mind if I do! The promotion caught on and tens of thousands of Facebook users rapidly ditched their so-called “friends” for free burger coupons. Crispin Porter + Bogusky, representing Burger King, really stepped it up when removed friends got a message stating you’ve “been sacrificed for a Whopper”. The promotion has since been killed, but it sure fired up the first part of 2009 for social media.

whopper sacrifice facebook Celebrity obituaries – I found out about Michael Jackson’s death on Twitter. I saw Facebook updates informing me Farrah Fawcett had passed away. And I learned that Brittany Murphy died from Twitter reports… Along with the rest of a pool of other celebs that passed in 2009. Twitter has reported the deaths and given friends, family, fans and fellow celebs a place to publicly mourn. Not to mention online streaming video of Michael Jackson’s funeral… But I won’t get into that one.

Susan Boyle – YouTube helped thrust Susan Boyle, an unemployed church volunteer, into the limelight with a video of her singing on Britain’s Got Talent. She went on to sell records, get a high profile makeover and even be featured on Access Hollywood. FTW!

Ashton Kutcher breaks 1 million followers – After a highly publicized race with CNN actor Ashton Kutcher became the first Twitter member to reach 1 million followers. How or why this happened I will never know. When was the last time Ashton Kutcher did anything worth following? #truckerhatsareover

Ashton Kutcher's twitter profile

Dominos FAIL – This is how Dominos rolls: They put snot in their sandwiches. And fart on the salami. And we all saw it streaming across YouTube. I bet hiring the high college student picking his nose in the interview isn’t looking like such a bright decision now, eh?

Hudson plane crash – The TwitPics, Tweets and Facebook updates heard round the world. Sarasota resident Janis Krums snapped and tweeted a photo of the miracle landing of a plane into the Hudson River “There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.”

Hudson River plane crash

The United States of Obama – The Obama election campaign was arguably the best social media campaign of 2009. While they didn’t invent anything new, they did pioneer the social media for politics movement. By bolting together social networking applications, both niche and mainstream under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get the vote.

Obama twitter wins election

Social Media Isn’t A Fad

Watch Out 2010, Social Media Marketing Is Here To Stay

large man wearing a fanny packSocial media isn’t the fanny pack fad of online marketing. Although, those were pretty cool… A purse that buckles around the waste and wait, guys can sport it too? Radical. Well,  come 1997 this was pretty much obsolete. Not so much the case for social media.

When many of businesses think of social media marketing they consider the “big 3.” Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. While this is a great place to start, there are so many options for social media marketing available these days that can, and will, help your business. And you really should be trying it.

When launching a social media marketing campaign or wondering if this is something right for your goals consider the following…

1.    What do you hope to accomplish with social media? Do you plan to address customer service issues? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you have a bad reputation that needs mending? Social media can help in all of these areas and many more.

If you want to address customer service issues I say hook yourself up on Twitter. Start reaching out to potential customers and apologizing for the fact that customers order flowers from you and they continually end up delivered 2 weeks past the date specified, or if you’re @hotwire manage all the hundreds of amazing promotions you get from unsuspecting customers every day by responding to them. (PS – offering people free/cheap sh*t will always get you positive feedback. So do it.)

If you want to build brand awareness hit the big 3 and then hit up KnowEm.com to check hundreds of popular social networking sites for the username you want. That way you’ve claimed it, it’s yours and you can be the guy that sits on the name googleguy for months before you even update. And then when you do update, those sites will show up in search results for “googleguy” or what have you. Pretty awesome.

If you have a bad rep floating around out there pretty much do anything you can to put that fire out now. The big 3, KnowEm, put up videos with cute puppies playing and tag your brand name in the upper right corner and include your name at the end of the video title (anything about “cute puppies” is gonna get a butt load of views) – and be active in all of it. Save your face now before it’s too ugly to recognize later.

2.    What do you have to offer? This is a big one. Do you have stellar, short videos that people want to watch? High quality images? Great unique content? An employee to answer customer questions? Funny stories?

You name it, there’s a place for it in social media marketing.

social media logosIf you have video – We all know YouTube is the way to go. But check out Flickr, Vimeo and Qik – all front-runners and new guys worth knowing.

If you have images – Start with Flickr. Flickr allows you to upload photos (and video!), join groups, connect with friends, and share information. Then check out Kontain, PhotoBucket, and Fotki.

Special Kontain callout – This site rocks and is especially stellar if you have high-quality original images to share with blurbs about them! Set up a profile (complete with followed links!), upload images/videos and you’re off.

If you have great, unique (funny is an added bonus) content – Set yourself up with a profile on Digg and StumbleUpon, make some contacts and start spreading that goodness. Helps if you’re on Twitter and you can get some of your peeps to shout you a holler.

3.    Just do it. I think some famous brand might have said that one time? But the time really is now.

Social media marketing isn’t a fad – it’s becoming an important and integral part of online marketing and a boat you don’t want to miss. By rolling your eyes at the idea of marketing through Twitter, Kontain or any of the other social media sites you may just be hearing about, you could be opening the door to a big advantage for your competitors. As online marketing grows and steps into the future, so should your marketing plan. And it should include social media.

Your Most Annoying Facebook Friends

We all have them, the Facebook “friends” we wish we could “unfriend” because their status updates, event invitations, group suggestions, application announcements (or a hefty combo deal including all of the above) are just too much to take.

Introducing your 7 Most Annoying Facebook Friends

7. Work Out Updater Wendy – Wendy “ran 3.5 miles in 33 minutes and felt good.” Wendy “ran 2.22 miles in 19 minutes and felt good.” Wendy “ran 4.5 miles in 50 minutes and felt good. in the rain.” Wow, Wendy good job. Not only are you inconsistent with your mile pace, now I feel like a jack for not running this morning before work.

emotionally unstable facebook status6. Emotionally Unstable Emily – Not to discount or ignore Emily’s feelings… But come on. “Emily has the worst life ever. Boyfriend broke up with me, I can’t find my car keys and my job sucks. FML.” Alright pull yourself together. No one wants to read you blubbering on about your “terrible life.” If you’re that upset, call a real friend. Your Facebook “friends” have no sympathy. Or at least I don’t.

5. Play-by-play of My Day Paul – 7:18 am Paul “Good morning, off to work.” 12:25 pm Paul “Having a sandwich for lunch.” 5:01 pm Paul “Leaving work, heading home for some dinner.” 6:15 pm Paul “Having spaghetti for dinner.” 9:44 pm Paul “Off to bed.” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Wow! How fascinating! Bore someone else with your life, Paul… Not one of your 378 Facebook friends cares if you’re listening to music, waiting for the bus or laying in bed.

4. Bad Grammar Billy – Billy “Can any one give me some tips on how 2 right a good resume? I need a job!” Welp, Billy. You’re SOL. With that grammar, punctuation, spelling catastrophe I just read I think you need a GED before we can even think about getting you a job. Go back to school, learn how to write properly and then get back to me about writing a quality resume.

3. Stalker Steve – So Steve and I are out with a group of friends and he starts a conversation by saying, “Wow looks like you had a lot of fun at that Oregon vs. Cal game, crazy!” Hmm… Stevey, you have never sent me a message, written on my wall or even shown up in my Facebook news feed. I didn’t even remember we were “friends” on Facebook? So, how is hiding in the shadows of Facebook and reading my updates? Engage once in awhile buddy, you’re creeping me out.

facebook quiz fail

2. Application-happy Amy – No, I don’t want to join your Mafia. No, I don’t want to play Farmville with you. No, I don’t want to take your “Single Ladies, Should He Put a Ring On It” quiz and I certainly don’t want to be a fish keeper in your Happy Aquarium. Not only do I not want to join you in these sure-to-be spam, nonsensical games but I’d appreciate it if you would stop playing them so they would stop showing up in my Live Feed. Thanks.

1. Aunt Milly – While Aunt Milly might be great for baking holiday cookies, sending birthday cards and always showing up for Easter dinner, she doesn’t belong in your Facebook feed.

Dear Aunt Milly,

Please understand that when addressing me on Facebook via my “wall” you do not need a salutation. Your name, appearing right next to a rather sizable picture of your face, appears each time you write to me. Therefor, writing ‘Love, your Auntie Milly’ is unnecessary. Not only can I see that it is in fact you writing me a message about eating my daily vitamins, but all my friends do as well.

Also, when you are writing to me to remind me to eat my vitamins, please post this in a message directed to me or on my wall if you must. Updating your own status with a message to me is futile. Not only will I not see it, but your entire list of friends will be utterly confused. The whole Facebook world doesn’t need this message so click on the name of the person you wish to speak with and “Write something…” in the Wall portion of their profile.

Thanks.

PS – if these tasks seem like more than you can take on with the Internet right now, please cancel your Facebook account. Or better yet, just stop logging in. It will save us all a lot of hassle. See you at Christmas.