Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 Personal Year in Review: Blogging, News, Videos, Local and Social Media

2012 Social Media Blog Year in Review.jpgLast year I wrote my first end of year blog post. I view these type of posts as a good chance to look back over the year and see what I accomplish, but also what I had difficulty with.

Some people reflect too much and that prevents action. I am on the other extreme. Thus, I try to fight against my natural impulse to just barrel ahead with posts like this.

To keep this from being totally self indulgent experience, I will be publishing additional blog posts in the coming weeks that talk about what I learned this year, including tips and tricks, in four different areas.

Here is my year in review…

Blog Post Types and Frequency

One of my focuses this year was to blog more consistently. While I didn’t achieve my goal of blogging once a week, I did do 80 blog posts over the last year. While most of my posts were text focused, I feel like I better incorporated video and images this year into my blogging. I am not a professional graphic artist or videographer, but I do feel that like writing, the ability to use these mediums is an increasingly important part of being able to express ideas and reach people.

Blogging as News

This year LLsocial became a venue to publish actual news. I am grateful to have worked with many friends who are reporters. They were instrumental in helping me navigate this field.

My final point on last year’s year in review post proved to forshadow the year to come.

Joined Pinterest and found my collecting impulse reignited.

My February story on Pinterest using Skimlinks to monetize links was picked up by the New York Times and then pretty much the rest of Internet. This blog got 30,000 unique visitors in one day, and it was great to see the site actually stayed up. My other reporting on Pinterest continues to get picked up by leading online publications across the web.

The most extensively research piece I ever published, Search Secrets, may have led to Google taking action to temporarily remove an entire SEO agency’s website from Google. The story was featured as a “Must Read” by AllThingsD as well as getting extensive coverage and debate in the SEO community.

It resulted in me being the target of threats and ad hominem attacks, but also led me to better research the SEO space. The research for the Search Secrets piece and subsequent observation of the SEO industry has made me better consider how my social and content work figures into the SEO space, and for that I am grateful. A variety of SEO tools have been added to my daily use, and I plan to blog about some of them in the coming year.

I also produced news stories that where picked up by other publications around Kickstarter, Twitter, Facebook and many around Pinterest.

Video

My friend Patrick Conroy helped me learn some of the basics of creating videos. It is always helpful to be able to learn from someone who already is using a medium, so I am very grateful.

I did some screen-casting to supplement blog posts, interviewed the Clipboard CEO as well as a doing Pinterest video series with Lauren Orsini. Lauren and I created 30 videos over five episodes, but we stopped doing our show due to other commitments. Video takes some getting used to, but I am glad to have the experience and knowledge in my “tool box”.

Infographics

Pinterest infographicI created three infographics in 2012. All of them revolved around Pinterest. In all cases I used Piktochart to create them. This is a very intuitive tool that can help you create high quality infographics with your data. It is template based, but if you have design skills you can supplement their existing image options.

My Pinterest image size infographic has over 2000 Pins/Repins and generated half a dozen high quality links back to the site. Beyond that, I think it was plain useful. Ironically, this first infographic was likely my best one. The two subsequent ones where a bit of a stretch in terms of how useful they were, but they still got a good reception and took much less time to create than the first one.

@free

While @free was a top focus in 2011, it suffered a bit in 2012. Last year I regretted creating a custom text marketing service, and this year I continued to let the text service flounder. @free is still doing sponsorships, but the number of sponsorships didn’t keep pace with last year.

I have learned that reach alone is not a business model. Ad based revenue is not enough unless you reach a scale that is fairly substantial or is very specific to a niche. I have learned a considerable amount running @free, but most important was trying various business models. When you start with the premise that everything is free, it can be difficult to monetize.

I am still committed to sharing free offers, but it doesn’t appear that @free will be my sole focus and or my primary income. It is hard to say, but I believe it to be a realistic side project/hobby that generates respectable income.

That said, there were a number of small successes. @free took off on Pinterest with close to 10,000 followers in less than a year. We maintained our reach on Twitter and expanded our highlighting of free iOS apps.

Perhaps our biggest success came with our new site BdayFreeDay which shares free birthday offers. The site was developed by Philsquare, and achieved a half million unique visitors in its first year. Keep an eye out for a blog post in the couple weeks that covers the details of this site’s success, and how you can leverage what I learned.

Social Media Club of Lawrence

June was the second anniversary of the Social Media Club of Lawrence. I was the Program Chair this year. I organized and came up with unique topics for over 40+ weekly, in-person meetings. I had some ambitious ideas for the club, and I think we did make some improvements, but I found that most of our members were happy with weekly Wednesday meetings. I plan to continue to part of the group, and will be interested to see where the club is at in June and a year from now.

Client Work

Most of my client work is done in the Enterprise B2B space. As much I would like to talk about our successes (and yes, provide clients with some high quality links from my blog for SEO purposes 😉 ), the nature of these industries is that agencies don’t really talk about clients’ work publicly.

I will say that I have got to work with some great companies, and I am excited about not only working with companies who are looking to get started on thought leadership and social media , but also companies who already have of history of success in this area. Working with companies that already produce high-quality, consistent content, has allowed me to do more specialized and detailed work.

The amount of client work in the second half of 2012 has resulted in fewer blog posts, but I am hopeful that some of this experience can transfer to meaningful blog posts in 2013.

Thanks so much for reading the blog this year. If you have any topics you want covered in 2013 or have any questions related to your own projects, please feel free to post a comment here or contact me.

 

Tech pundits (and the rest of us) need to stop being dirty old men.

Several tech pundits, who I generally respect, have decided they need to put their spin on Snapchat, and their spin is largely wrong and obviously not influenced by talking with active users of the service.

After seeing and responding to tweets by @JoshuaTopolsky and @Jason today, I had got to point where I had to write on this issue.

Just like many of the mainstream tech journalists couldn’t understand, and still don’t understand the appeal of Pinterest, they now can’t wrap their minds around posting a picture that will be gone in 12 seconds. These writers will shoot down someone who doesn’t understand the intricacies of their own beat, but they are fine putting a one word label on SnapChat: sexting.

Everything doesn’t needs to be permanent

The holidays presented opportunities to talk to active Snapchat users, and while I wouldn’t expect them to  talk about their own unsavory use, they wouldn’t mind expressing gossip around Snapchat or anything else. And there wasn’t any. Many of their friends are using the service, and they are using it at a rate that is similar to sending texts. Snapchat lets them document their life with quick (2-3 seconds to share) photos, and they do it all the time.

Some journalists have done a good job explaining these motivations including actual talking to users.

A piece by J.J. Colao was one of the first to document the motivation for SnapChat use:

 Snapchat then, is an effort to bring that fun back into the digital world. Users can take the ugliest, silliest, most compromising photos they want, usually in the form of a “selfy” or a self-taken picture of oneself. After sending them to friends, those photos then disappear, forever, in 1-10 seconds. It’s private, instant and fleeting, more an extension of texting than a social network rival to Instagram. “The main reason that people use Snapchat is that the content is so much better,” Spiegel says. “It’s funny to see your friend when they just woke up in the morning.”

Jordan Crook wrote in TechCrunch about his sister’s use.

My sister was 14 when the iPhone came out, first got on Facebook at age 13. Unlike myself, her friends have had smartphones (and have been taking pictures with them) throughout their entire high school (and now college) career. And many of them are now documented neatly on her Timeline.

The pressure to maintain an appropriate, attractive presence on the Internet has weighed on me since college. It’s been with her for her entire life.

This is the difference between the people writing about Snapchat and the people using it.

My sister is one of the biggest Snapchat users I know, and the pictures she sends me of herself are awful. That’s not the usual for her. She’s 19, and will force our family to stand in 100-degree weather for hours to get the perfect shot of her smile.

The snaps she sends me could be called ugly — her on the porch, in the dark, with a goofy look on her face. If she was posting this on Facebook, or Instagram, or even sending it to me on MMS, it wouldn’t be the same picture. It wouldn’t be so ugly.

But there’s an intimacy that comes with Snapchat that makes those pictures safe, and much more enjoyable than seeing yet another perfect picture of my sister on Facebook. I see her as she really is.

Did we not learn from, “Who wants to read what you had for breakfast”?

Twitter makes no sense until it does. But even Twitter is not about creating long term content. Do you really think that many people are going back and reading your tweets from an hour ago? Or that even a popular tweet will be read in a couple days? Twitter continues to be about the moment, and Snapchat is an extension of that idea.

Get outside of your own head.

I get where the labeling pundits are coming from. I barely have time to tweet and having the time to create a full blog post seems like a luxury. But I am not a tween or teenager. If I am going to take the time to take a picture or  write something, I want the value of it for myself and others to last more than 12 seconds. But that doesn’t mean I am going to force my own lifestyle assumptions on the younger generation. They have time; they have technology.

The fact that Facebook’s Poke app is falling down the app charts almost as fast as it went up in nothing new. New generations want their own service. They want to differentiate. They sure as hell don’t want their new thing to be associated with Facebook. The early adopter and the adult Facebook crowd don’t have time for Snapchat, and I think the kids are more than fine with that.

A use case is not THE use case.

Snapchat is used for sexting. So is SMS (where the term comes from), email, Twitter and Facebook. Jason Calicanus wrote a whole blog post about the dangers of Snapchat and sharing nude pictures. Yeah, it isn’t smart to share revealing pictures that can be captured permanently, but this behavior will happen with or without  Snapchat. There needs to be education around the topic. But when Calicanus claims the only use case for Snapchat is sexting, that is flat out wrong, and it clouds the water for any real discussion. The number of pictures being shared on SnapChat leads to every indication that this more of a fun, life blogging app.

I don’t have the time for frequent Snapchat use and likely never will, but I am not yet the old man who blindly yells from his porch, “KIDS THESE DAYS”. Nor am I the person who can only think of one use case (that happens to be sexual) and then put that motivations on millions of kids using this app.

 

 

 

 

 

Complete guide to the image sizes you need to create new social network accounts.

I saw this infographic at just the right time. I had been tasked by a client with putting together all the requirements for creating accounts on a variety of social networks. LunaMetrics put together a graphic that shows all the different images sizes you need to create accounts and post to a variety of social networks.

Included are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

Have a look:

Designed by Lunametrics

Thanks to Ben A. Smith for tweeting about this.