Archive | August, 2010
Facebook Places – So your 500 “Friends” can stalk…

Facebook Places - So your 500 “Friends” can stalk…

Facebook Places - So your 500 “Friends” can stalk you.  You “like” this.

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Want to be a Great Blogger? Start Reading.

For every great blog post I read, I see at least ten terrible ones that could have been awesome.  The people who write these posts sit down and write without regard to the actual language they are writing in.  I don’t mean they start writing in English and it turns out to be German by the end of the article, but rather they don’t consider the nuances and construction of the writing in a way that will make the writing work.

Looking at it this way: if you want to be great blogger, you need to know all about it.  And because blogging is a form of writing, you need to become a master at writing.  The easiest way to do this is to start reading everything you can.

Everyone I know who is a great writer and thinker is also a great reader.  They consume lots of information from a variety of sources to supplement their thinking.  They have a burning desire to know more.  They go Fahrenheit 451 with that desire and fuel it with books, articles, blog posts, and whatever else they can get their greedy hands on.

The more you read, the more you understand writing.  If you’re reading all the time and looking at the words, sentences and paragraphs through a writers eyes, you tune into how the language works together as a whole.  You’ll start asking questions about the writing

  • “How does this article work to support its thesis?”
  • “This was a good point, why does this argument fall flat?”
  • “Does that first sentence and paragraph draw readers in?”

Those questions may sound a bit like elementary school, but many writers hear this advice from grade school onward and never take it seriously.  Find the articles, books, and blog posts you love and look at them as a writer.  Deconstruct the language and the grammar.  What makes them work?

When you begin reading with a writer’s eye, your writing will begin to transform and improve.  Go read through this post again.  Find what works, what sucks, and what could be salvaged.  Learn to read like a writer, and your writing will pay off immediately.

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Obsessing Over Analytics

I’m trying to become better at using analytics tools like Google Analytics.  I love to obsess over numbers, even though I am generally terrible at interpreting them.  I’m planning on eventually making my own common sense analytics tool that tells you what the hell all those numbers actually mean.  I’m planning on doing that after I get famous blogging.

However, since I’ve been following my numbers a bit more closely, I’ve noticed a couple of strange and wonderful things.  Granted with these tools, you’re supposed to look at trends so you can figure out when you’re marketing campaign kicked in and what’s working with your tweets and stuff like that.  I don’t like that.  I like to pick apart to useless, nitty gritty details.

Here are my favorite things I’ve noticed with my analytics:

  • I’m big in Estonia - I have no idea why, but for some reason, the country I get the most traffic from after the United States is Estonia.  I can speak 5 languages to some extent, but Estonian isn’t one of them, so I can’t figure out what makes me so cool to them.  My best guess is the Estonians hate Facebook just as much as I do.
  • AOL - Someone keeps searching for my site using the AOL search engine.  Dude or Dudette: It’s 2010.  We have Google and Bing now.  Your life will improve if you step away from AOL.  Also, my site looks better off of dialup.
  • Let’s all ride the Galeon - Until I Googled it, I had no idea that Galeon is a web browser for GNOME based on the Gecko layout engine (the same engine in Mozilla browsers).  Galeon is only available on Linux setups with GNOME, and development stopped 5 years ago.  However, some of my readers some so dedicated to that browser (and my website) they are the 6th most popular browser behind Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE, and the Blackberry broswer.  Galeon users, I salute you!

Do you read through your analytics obsessively?  Are you looking at the trends or the nitty gritty details.  I want to know what numbers get you excited.

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I’m Caving in and Being a Hypocrite

Editor’s Note: When I was publishing the post for tomorrow, tumblr somehow managed to overwrite today’s post.  I am sorry to those who commented on this post that their words are now lost in cyber space.  I cannot express how frustrated I am with tumblr beyond saying I plan to move this blog off of it soon, and I am sorry I lost those comments.

A while back, I posted that I hate sharing buttons.  I still do, but I recently added Twitter’s new tweet button to my site.  Why?

I’m greedy and I want more traffic.  That’s it.  Nothing more.

The vast majority (about 40%) of my monthly traffic comes from Twitter.  I’d love to enhance that percentage.  This button makes it easy to do so.

One of my biggest complaints with most websites is sharing buttons do not look integrated with the site.  I’ve been able to get it in a way I like it.  Also, Twitter makes it pretty easy to customize that look of that button, and I may go ahead and do that to make it even more integrated with jagged lines and angry red numbers.

Does this mean everyone needs a tweet button?  No.  Does this mean you should still have a crap ton of sharing buttons on your website?  Hell no.  My decision is a calculated risk to draw more traffic and I hope my audience doesn’t hate me for it.  I still think many sites are littered with too many of those buttons.

It’s better to figure out where your website’s traffic is coming from and get more of those people than to cast the net wide and pray you get who you want.  I may be selling out some, but I’m doing it in a cold and calculated way.

Now, when start putting banner ads all over my site and every other word is an affiliate link, then you can start raising hell.

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Social Media and Religion

There are two areas that turn me off instantly online: Politics and Religion.  And since I’ve addressed what drives me nuts about politics, it’s time to explain religion.

It unsettles me when people start tweeting and updating about their relationship with the almighty.  I don’t need to know that information.  It doesn’t do anything for me.  I’m not even sure if it does anything at all for the person who shares it.

I’ve seen everything from “Have a blessed day!” to people tweet entire church sermons.  That was weird.  It was like tweeting a speech from a conference, but there was the unspoken, omnipotent third party in the middle of our conversation.

Here’s what I suggest about approaching religion on social media.  These don’t just apply to religion, but any controversial topic.

  • Consider your job - If you tie your job in anyway to your personal social media accounts, you should already be keeping your tongue tied a lot.  Do your coworkers or clients need to know about your beliefs?  Obviously, clergy may ignore this rule completely, but the rest of us who work in social media need to think about this more.
  • Consider your audience - If you have 50 followers who are mostly friends from the real world, they probably already know more about you than you put online.  If you have 1,000 followers, you may want give it much more thought before you say something that could anger a good chunk of them.
  • Consider Yourself - Part of growing up is realizing when you need to keep something to yourself.  There are multitudes of other ways to express your faith without sharing it with the entire internet.  Stop and think if that tweet will give you actual spiritual satisfaction.

I want to know what you think.  Do you talk about your faith online publicly and where?Do you consider your job or anything, or do you just go for it?  This is your chance to save my social media soul from an eternity in Myspace.

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You Don’t Own Social Media - They Do

You Don’t Own Social Media - They Do:

A while back I submitted an idea I had to South by Southwest Interactive about how we don’t actually own our social media content.  The idea is now in the panel picker, where good ideas go to be torn apart by the mob.

I’d appreciate it if you took the time to go to the SXSW panel picker site, sign-up, and click the little thumbs up for my presentation.  While you’re there, browse around for other ideas you might like and vote for them to.  There are hundreds of awesome panels that are vying for votes.

There are probably also terrible panels.  Feel free to vote those down, including mine if you think it’s that bad.  Use your voice to pick idea worth sharing to the world.

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Make Your Social Media Count Today

In possible the best idea I’ve had since starting the Anti-Social Media, I took a vacation.  This vacation may have actually made me anti-social media, as I am now bored and disgusted with all the crap I see online.

You can’t imagine how mundane your tweets and Facebook updates look after escaping to somewhere wonderful with people who matter.  It’s like seeing the best in the world, and then turning around and seeing a cesspool of mindless drivel.  It puts everything into a perspective that makes much more sense.

You all matter to someone.  Whether that someone is in the room, across town, or your cat, you matter.  The point is, you matter beyond the content you spew out online.

The trouble is we don’t use social media for anything that really matters.  We use social media to sell stuff, to get people to “like” us, to try and develop a relationship with a faceless brand.  It’s not working to make anything that much better.

Let’s start with something simple.  Today, take one connection and make it matter more.  Start a conversation with one person on e-mail or another private medium.  Share your knowledge.  Say something funny.  Get to know that person better.

Bringing that one smile will be worth it.  Make your social media count today.

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On vacation – back tomorrow.

On vacation - back tomorrow.

On vacation - back tomorrow.

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