Archive | June, 2010
Stop Worrying and Shamelessly Promote Your Articles

Stop Worrying and Shamelessly Promote Your Articles

I suck at writing headlines.  It takes me forever to summarize my posts in a few words.  The headlines I usually come up with have little or no SEO value.  My only redeeming factor is that the titles I do come up with are often funny and memorable.

With my weaknesses in mind, I began an experiment recently using The Anti-Social Media’s Twitter.  I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but it was more fun scientific that way.  With that in mind, let’s break down this experiment 6th grade scientific method style.

Hypothesis:  I believe I am a crappy headline writer. I intend to prove this realization by posting the same article on Twitter twice in the same day with different headlines to see what gets more page views.

Method: I posted my articles to Twitter using the original headline in the morning around 9 am EST.  In the afternoon, I’d post under a different headline.  As a control, I’d reposted some articles using the original headline.

Results:  Results were varied. One post spread rapidly under the the different title.  Other posts stayed relatively the same as others.  All pages that were reposted to Twitter had more views than if they had only been posted once.

Conclusion:  I’m not sure if I proved I am a crappy headline writer from this experiment.  All of the posts that were reposted got more views, regardless of headline.  This increase may be a result of people not seeing the original posts in the morning, especially for my readers in different timezones than me.

Besides one post, different headlines didn’t seem to have a huge effect.  I’m just going to trust my instincts on this one for now and keep using my original titles.  Hopefully I’ll get better at titling as I keep writing more.

Overall though, posting just once didn’t seem to be enough, so clearly putting the same thing out there twice is worthwhile.  If that’s the case, how can I repost an article without alienating my followers.  The last thing I want to do is make my followers feel like I’m spreading the same content over and over.  Here are some ground rules I came up with.

  • Only promote and repost the article on the day that I published it.  If it doesn’t catch on today, it’s not going to catch on tomorrow.
  • Separate the new posts from the reposts with the tag “New Post!” in front.  This gives readers a visual cue as to what is new content.
  • If the readers and followers start complain incessantly, quit reposting.  You’ve got bigger fish to fry.

I want to know if you’ve experimented with reposting articles on Twitter.  Was it successful?  Was it sexy?  Was it a complete failure?  Let me know how your science project turns out.

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Likejacking, or How Will They Break Facebook Next?

Likejacking, or How Will They Break Facebook Next?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times.  I hate the like button on Facebook.  It’s bland, its meaning is too spread out to have decent value, and now, thanks to the skilled hackers of the world, you can infect your computer with viruses from it.

It’s really a sad state of affairs, where Facebook has come to.

When Facebook first introduced apps, many of them were very cool and very useful.  Sure, not every app was designed to make the place better or increase your productivity (SuperPoke, anyone), but apps had a purpose besides serving you a thousand advertisments.

Then we got shovelware.  Thousands of crappy surveys to figure out which Golden Girl you are (Dorothy), what Opera you are (Don Giovanni), hell there are probably even surveys to figure out what your favorite color is because you can’t figure that out for yourself (Black like my soul).  We also got all those apps that messed up you and your friends’ accounts.

A part of me could accept those crappy apps.  It was pretty obvious they were malicious, and they were easy enough to avoid if you had any sensibility about you online.

With Likejacking you are screwed.  Seemingly normal links lead to viruses that will continue to spread on Facebook.  We’re lucky that the viruses don’t do anything but make more crap for people to like at the moment, otherwise a bunch of people would be screwed.

Now I can’t trust what my friends like on Facebook.  Isn’t the whole point of the Open Graph to bring things my friends like to me?  If I can’t trust what they like, what’s the point?

Facebook, get your act together.  Start reigning in crappy apps.  Make the Like button work safely.  If security holes like this keep popping up, next time there’s a quit Facebook day more than 30,000 people will leave.

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Social Media Serendipity

Social Media Serendipity

I believe there is a firm equation between work and results. Good work with persistence gets better results. I know this equation isn’t exact, but it holds true often enough.  For example, the more I practice playing piano, the more I become a better pianist.   Thankfully for everyone, I realized I wasn’t going to be a great pianist and quit practicing to focus on criticizing social media.

The more I work in social media though, the more I notice an additional factor to this  success equation. It’s a strange, unpredictable factor that happens more when you work harder, but isn’t always there because you tried hard.  You can’t predict when it happens, though you can sometimes give it a good guess.

I call this factor serendipity.

I love serendipity. When it happens, it is magical. Your post suddenly explodes in ways you couldn’t predict. In an instant, the words you sweated out in your home office spread across the entire globe to all sorts of people.  It’s like Andy Warhol manifested and granted you your fifteen minutes of internet fame.

The trouble with serendipity though, is you never know exactly when it will happen.  You want it to happen all the time, and when it does happen, you’ll think, “Really?  People like that? I wrote that in a pinch to get something out the door!”

The only thing I can pin down about serendipity though is the more you work, the better your chances are for it.  I can’t count on any post here making it big, but the more I work to make better posts, and the more better posts I make, the more serendipity I make for myself.

You can’t count on serendipity happening to you, but you can increase your chances of it happening.  Get to work, and let fortune smile upon you.

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When Should You Blog?

It’s easy to get caught up blogging for blogging’s sake.  You have an audience and you want to appease them.  They are like Pac-Man, endlessly devouring content, fruit, ghosts or whatever else gets in their way.  You want your content to be in that line up, but you have no plans to stick to any sort of a regular schedule.

  • When you have an idea - This is the easiest time to blog.  When an idea is fresh in your head and the words pour out of you, writing is a joy.  Take  advantage of these moments.  If you can’t get to your computer right then, jot the idea down somewhere, a post it, a notebook, on your phone so you can come back to it.  I’ve lost many good ideas by not writing them down.  You all can do better than I.
  • When you think you have something to say - If you have a point you want to clarify, or something you want to rant about, write about it.  Take the moment and pour out your thoughts.  When you read them over, if they make no sense, try to edit.  If it still doesn’t work, save it for a later day, or scrap it. 
  • When your thoughts take more than five sentences - Perhaps you are writing a blog comment or a tweet and it starts turning into a short novel.  Before you start working up a sweat, consider posting it on your own blog.  You can still link to it in the comment you are leaving, and make a great point without hijacking someone’s comment section.  It’s win-win for everyone.
  • When you have a solid argument - We all know a lot about something.  My expertise is in fixing crappy social media.  I write in such a way that explains why people get annoyed online and how to make it better for them.  When I see a post that makes me angry, and I know I can counterpoint that post, I go for it.  You can do the same thing.  A point to remember, when arguing, don’t be an ass.
  • Whenever you feel like it - Sometimes you just want to write. Other times it’s the last thing in the world you want to do.  Listen to your heart.  If you want to blog, do it. 

After you’ve written the post, always consider the moment to post it.  You can post immediately.  You can save it for later.  You can throw it all away.  Either way, stop blogging just because you can, and start blogging with purpose.

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