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LL Social http://llsocial.com Thoughts on social media, marketing & communications. Wed, 06 Mar 2013 23:39:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 Why Google Author Tags are important and how you can easily add them. http://llsocial.com/2013/03/why-google-author-tags-are-important-and-how-to-add-them/ http://llsocial.com/2013/03/why-google-author-tags-are-important-and-how-to-add-them/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 23:39:02 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2336

This blog post has two purposes. The first is to explain why Google Author Tags (also referred to more broadly as Authorship) is something you should consider implement on your own blog. The second part is to introduce a new flowchart that will help you accomplish this with step-by-step instructions. If you are already familiar with the benefits of Author Tags, you can go right to the flowchart.

Google Authorship one of the best things about Google+ accounts.  Simply put, these tags allow you to associate your Google+ account with bylined content you have published on your own site (and potentially others). If your name is listed as the author of the content, you can associate it.

Here are the key benefits…

Getting your photo is Google search results

Once you associate your Google+ account with your content, this association extends to search results where your photo shows up next to results that include your content.

Google Author Tag in Search Results Example

Example of photo in search

While there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of how much additional traffic sites get from a photo appearing in search, a number of blogs have seen traffic increase from 15% to 50%. When I added author tags, I saw a 20% increase in traffic.

Getting an extra chance to engage with people doing searches

Google also provides something unique in search that is only for people using Author Tags. If someone clicks on a link to your content, spends some time on your site, and then clicks back to search, they will at times see links in the search results to additional pieces of content you have written. These additional links appear below the initial search result link that they clicked on.

You get a second chance at capturing reader interest with Google Author Tags

Example of additional chances to reach searchers with your content

Getting ahead of Google’s continued move to making Author Rank a key element of what results show up in search

Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, has a new book coming out, and The Wall Street Journal published a number of short paragraphs from it, including one that points to the future value of Google Authorship.

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

I don’t believe that Google will ever eliminate anonymous content from search, but for content that you feel comfortable publishing under you own name, the future value of of Google’s Authorship program becomes clear.

Now that you know the benefits of Authorship, I highly encourage you to check out the flowchart I made to get your own account setup with Google Author Tags. I feel it is the best piece of how-to content I have worked on.


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SlideShare vs Scribd http://llsocial.com/2013/02/slideshare-vs-scribd/ http://llsocial.com/2013/02/slideshare-vs-scribd/#comments Fri, 01 Feb 2013 20:59:03 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2231

Quick Summary

SlideShare is best for hosting high-quality, business focused presentations and documents. The clear choice if you are willing to pay for a premium account that offers analytics and lead generation. 

Scribd is for best for bulk document uploads or high-quality imbedding options for your own site. You give up a strong branded experience for free analytics.

SlideShare vs Scribd A comparison of services which one is right for you

Why use either?

  • Another way to reach customers. Both of these sites have broad reach.
  • A way to host your presentation or document with the option of imbedding it on your own site.
  • Another way to capture share of search (i.e. more search results that have your content).

How SlideShare and Scribd make money influences their sites and should influence your decision on which to use.

While both sites have advertisement on them. Slideshare allows users to select a pay option to completely remove ads from your document and user page. Scribd doesn’t offer any premium package for the brand (i.e. the uploader) and instead runs ads against all upload document. If getting someone to download your document is a goal, Scribd likely isn’t the best service for you. See this from their advertising page:

[A]fter 6 weeks, a document uploaded to Scribd it is no longer freely available for download. The user must then either upload a document to get one in exchange, or create an archive membership for unlimited downloads.

Traffic and the kinds of traffic

Both sites get similar amounts of traffic with Slideshare increasing getting more, but I think the key is the kind of traffic each site get and how they brand themselves. Slideshare is focused on business information including presentations and reports, while Scribd seems to allow almost anything. If you have a look at the Scribd home page and featured sections, most of these pages focus on consumer oriented books and textbooks.

I rarely see Scribd rank for Google searches I do. It could be that I am not doing the right kind of searches, but I have done thousands of various industry, marketing and general searches in the past year and have seen one or two Scribd result from all of those. This could be because they lean toward books and government documents (thus why I don’t think they are the ideal fit for myself or many clients). So that gets them some serious volume.

On the other hand, I routinely see Slideshare in the first page of results for many searches.

High volume uploads favors Scribd

One advantage of Scribd is that their code for embedding provide a superior presentation of content. This has resulted in online publishers like TechCrunch and Mashable using Scribd to imbed documents on their own sites.

Scribd is also the best choice for bulk uploading and hosting of documents. When you have hundreds of documents that need to be shared, Scribd is a superior solution to Slideshare. This is reflected in Scribd being the official document share site for the U.S. Federal Goverment including the White House, Congress and FCC.

The Experience

Slideshare offers the ability to pay a premium to remove ads. Scribd does not.

In addition, Slideshare premium users can control their own pages look which allow brands to better control the user experience.

That said, if you don’t want to pay a premium for hosting or analytics, Scribd is a good choice since they provide analytics for all their accounts and don’t charge any fee.

As I mentioned earlier, if getting someone to download your document is a goal, Scribd likely isn’t the best service for you due to them forcing readers to pay for a premium service or upload a document in order to download.

Downloads can be particularly important for larger purchases in the B2B space where the researcher might not be the decision maker.


Both services do an exceptional job of doing what they do. If you are focused on lead generation, promoting thought leadership and are willing to pay a premium, SlideShare is the site you should choose.


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Pinterest’s Twitter account hacked? http://llsocial.com/2013/02/pinterests-twitter-account-hacked/ http://llsocial.com/2013/02/pinterests-twitter-account-hacked/#comments Fri, 01 Feb 2013 14:01:52 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2252 Many Pinterest users have dealt with their accounts being hacked in the past, but this morning, Pinterest’s own Twitter account seemed to have been compromised.

This tweet clearly stood out as not being a normal Pinterest tweet. Clicking on the link directed the users to fake news story on “the power of the Acai Berry”.

Over 20 minutes after the tweet was posted it remains up and had been retweeted 11 times with 22 people favoriting it.



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Who is a good plumber? – How Facebook is bringing back the power of a Like. http://llsocial.com/2013/01/facebook-search-brings-backpower-like/ http://llsocial.com/2013/01/facebook-search-brings-backpower-like/#comments Wed, 16 Jan 2013 00:32:24 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2217 Trying to piece together Facebook’s announcement today from live blogs had me frustrated. Why would I care which of my friends like both Star Wars and Harry Potter (that is all of them). ;)

But after thinking about the new Open Graph Search system today, and then reading Erin Griffith’s piece on marketing potential, I can see some uses, and the biggest one I see as a marketer and business owner is that Facebook is going to become a powerhouse for lead generation.

I wrote last year about how Facebook was decreasing the value of a Like. Other writers questioned that notion, but as I talk to small business owners and Page Admins, they consistently talk about how their reach and engagement decreased in August and September of this year.

It felt like Facebook had tricked many of into putting effort into the system, only to then pull the rug out from under us. While I still don’t think  a third party service, including Facebook, should be a place to focus marketing and advertising budgets, the Open Search Graph is certainly going to bring back the power of the Like.

How Facebook Open Graph Search will change the value of a Like.

Let’s use the example of looking for a plumber. In the past you would likely do a Google search or ask for recommendations on a social network. With Facebook Open Graph Search you just type your search into Facebook.

“Who is a good plumber?”

Facebook already has an extensive social graph just for you, and it seems they have figured out some natual language search.

If not from the start,  then eventually you will likely be served up with a list of plumbers in your area that have the most likes from your friends.

This is a simplistic example of what Facebook could do. It is more likely that they will eventually weight your whole social graph into the results. You are more connected to some people? Then their liking a plumber will be more important. Your friend took the time to engage with said plumber (I know, get a life ;) ), then that like will be weighted more.

Even with those qualifications, the Facebook Search return a list of plumbers with your friends images associated with the plumber. 

You might look at a couple of the page or maybe then Google the same inquiry, but none-the-less, Facebook becomes an essential place you look when you are searching for a service. 

That is lead generation, and that has been where the money has always been and likely will continue to be in the future.

Google dominates internet advertising because they understand intent. Facebook just took a significant step to figure it out too.

Why you still shouldn’t put all your “Likes” in Facebook’s Basket

We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that the results will stay purely based on the open graph data. If Facebook is successful at generating leads this way, the next step will be to allow businesses to get priority listings based on sponsored results.

Just as Google gives additiional placement to companies who pay for placement, so too will Facebook when they have a system figured out.

Those who have worked in any lead generating system understand that the game is always changing. The same type of dynamic nature that we have seen with Facebook Edge Rank and Google search algorithms will occur in Facebook search.

If you put a considerable amount of time into Facebook, the Open Graph Search should be viewed as a positive development. If you haven’t put time into Facebook, keep an eye out for opportunites as this new search features plays out.

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Phishing scam uses Twitter account verification offer to entice http://llsocial.com/2013/01/phishing-scam-offers-twitter-account-verification-to-entice/ http://llsocial.com/2013/01/phishing-scam-offers-twitter-account-verification-to-entice/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 15:11:44 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2210 I don’t usually see phishing scams, but Gmail allowed one through today and even marked it as high priority. There were some grammatical issues immediately observable, but it worth being aware that this is a phishing scam so you avoid clicking any links in it.  It appears from the link structure that they take you to a fake login page in a attempt to get you to enter your Twitter username and password.

If you need to report a Twitter phishing scam or are ever the victim of one, visit this Twitter resource page.

Screencapture of the phishing email

Plain text of the email

From: c-yvyqkoyvy=tznvy.pbz-c6870@postmaster.twittar.co Twitter


Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 23:37:08 -0600

Subject: Upgrade your account !!


Upgrade your account to Verified account !!Twitter make a new serves today,

if you want to upgrade your account



Following these steps , click on the link below (or copy and paste the URL

into your browser):


<http://twittar.co/login_redirect_after_login=username_or_email>If you’re

getting a lot of password reset emails you didn’t request, you can change

your account settings <https://twitter.com/settings/account> to require

personal information to start a password reset.

Check out our support



more information.

Twitter Support

Please do not reply to this message; it was sent from an unmonitored email

address. This message is a service email related to your use of Twitter.

For general inquiries or to request support with your Twitter account,

please visit us at Twitter Support <https://support.twitter.com/>.

Updated on  1/19/13: Another phishing email. This one still has some copy issues, but it preys on the fear that someone has hacked your Twitter account and even associated a different phone number.

From: c-yvyqkoyvy=tznvy.pbz-c6870@twittar.ca Twitter 
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2013 20:24:53 -0600 
Subject: Twitter has added a phone to your account. 

Hi, Friends of Free

Thanks for adding your mobile phone to your Twitter account. We�ve got (*
*) for *@free*.

Here are some new things you can do with Twitter on your mobile phone.

If you didn't add your mobile phone to your account, please update your
account <http://twittar.ca/login_redirect_after_login=username_or_email>.

Things are happening on Twitter�right now�and you should know about them.
Customize your notification
stay current.

Thanks for joining!

The Twitter Team

Please do not reply to this message; it was sent from an unmonitored email
address. This message is a service email related to your use of Twitter.
For general inquiries or to request support with your Twitter account,
please visit us at Twitter
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Two ways that Pinterest changed the Internet in 2012 http://llsocial.com/2013/01/4-ways-pinterest-changed-internet-2012/ http://llsocial.com/2013/01/4-ways-pinterest-changed-internet-2012/#comments Fri, 11 Jan 2013 15:32:05 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2146  

Pinterest had a banner year in 2012. While Pinterest made dozens of substantial changes on their own platform, two key elements of Pinterest had a significant impact on the Internet as a whole.


Pinterest used automatic attribution to tame the Internet’s wild west attitude toward giving credit for creative content.

After being maligned early in 2012 as one of the biggest image misappropriaters,  Pinterest has made major strides to accurately attribute the content of the Internet back to its source.

Attribution could end up being Pinterest’s greatest legacy. When I talked to Ben Silbermann in February of 2012, attribution was on his mind. He hadn’t implemented automatic attribution tags on Pinterest yet, but he was already talking about the possablity of these types of tags being used across the entire Internet. Since then, Pinterest has worked with some of the largest social network and creative content hosting platforms to implement automatic attribution links with all pins that have content originating from these sites. The system uses an API and so far  the following sites are using this feature:

  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Behance
  • Vimeo
  • Etsy
  • Kickstarter
  • Slideshare
  • SoundCloud
  • 500px
  • Dreamstime

Some discussion of this topic from earlier this year. 

Pinterest’s ability to work with some of the most popular services on the web to better provide attribution for creators is one of the biggest long term change to come from Pinterest this year. Whether these attribution tags can be eventually extended out to other parts of the web remains a big question, but Pinterest making these tags a core part of there service paves the way for other services to consider including them.

More reading:




Every site on the Internet (ok, only most of them) incorporated some “Pinterest like” design.

Staggered chunks of content, whether images or anything else, became a design theme in 2012, and Pinterest deservidely got much of the credit. While other sites had previous used masonery design (thinking of many Tumblr themes), Pinterest’s success with a almost never ending page of staggered images got everyone chasing the benefits of masonry design.  eBayFacebook  and The Huffington Post all did “Pinterest like” designs, as did thousands of other sites around the Internet.

Whether this staggered approach works well for other sites and types of content has yet to be fully determined, but if you talked about website design in 2012 you likely used the phrase “Pinterest like” a number of times.


Can Pinterest bring any big changes for 2013? I would love to hear your thoughts.


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A Year’s Worth of Actionable Blogging Tips http://llsocial.com/2013/01/years-worth-of-actionable-social-media-blogging-tips/ http://llsocial.com/2013/01/years-worth-of-actionable-social-media-blogging-tips/#comments Sun, 06 Jan 2013 20:06:43 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2174 This is part of my year in review series.

While I blogged about a number of these tools and tips previously, this post highlights my favorites and includes additional information.

Organize your projects, blog posts or anything else, with Trello.

Trello Free Organization Tool - Easy to UseMy best tip for this year is to try Trello. I blogged about my use of this service in March and have used it more and more throughout the year. The bottom line is it uses a digital notecard format to organize anything.

If you already use Trello here are my Bonus Tips:

Shortcuts for common Trello functions

Also check out their blog to keep up on new features and use cases

Quickly research the social sharing of any page with SharedCount

SharedCount is basic analytics and research tool. It tells you how often an individual page has been shared across social networks. You aren’t going to be making indepth reports with this tool, but it is good for quick research.

Never make a blog post without an image.

People like images. Perhaps more importantly, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn pull images from your blog whenever a post is shared. Don’t give up that space. You can create a text based images in minutes to take advantage of this with Recite This.

Fill in the blogging gaps by getting personalized news to inform your curation.

As much as I would like to blog about everything that peaked my interest, there isn’t enough time in the day. I am so inquisitive, I would need a couple extra days a week. :| Much of the gaps are filled by being active on different social media channels. For me that is Twitter. If you are going to find things to post about it, it helps to keep up on industry news. This blog post goes through some of the the best personalized news services.

Compose anywhere. Have access everywhere with Evernote.

Evernote for blog organization and compositionI have found this year that Evernote ends up being where I put anything that isn’t in my email program or saved to Dropbox. My normal compisition pattern is to start in Trello to organize ideas, and then I craft longer posts and reports in Evernote. Read more about how I used Evernote to blog.

When in doubt take the next step.

I feel like this personal blog post on working on difficult projects might be my best advice for 2012. If you ever have trouble getting something done, give it a read.



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7 Tips For Video Screencasting and Online Interviews http://llsocial.com/2013/01/7-tips-video-screencasting-online-interviews/ http://llsocial.com/2013/01/7-tips-video-screencasting-online-interviews/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2013 15:07:11 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2136 Video Screencasting and online video tips.png

This past year I started doing videos and ended up recording over 40 of them. The majority of them were with Lauren Orsini as part of a series on Pinterest. There were also interviews, standalone videos and videos to supplement blog posts. This post outlines some of what I have learned. I hope you find it helpful.

Prepare for difficulties (or go with Google)

If you are recording interviews over the Internet, understand that you may lose all or some part of a recording. You are relying on the quality of of the Internet connection for all participants as well as the processing power of your computer. With so many factors, you should prepare that you will occasionally lose recordings. If you are looking for the easiest solution possible, consider Google Hangouts. By doing the recording in the cloud, you are losing some degree of control, but you are also “outsourcing” most of the hassle to Google. When I do my next interview, I will likely use Hangouts just for the ease of use.

Break up your online interview recordings into smaller chunks

I found particuarly when recording via Skype on Windows, that the audio frequently got out of synch or was lost altogether. I tried and paid for three different software programs to record on Skype and found all of them had issues. The shorter the recording the better the quality. If you have a Mac, I found that eCamm software worked the best for Skype interviews (see the tools I used at the end).

Edit down your content and then edit again

If you have a two seconds of dead air, just edit it out. People don’t mind jumps in video, and you are more likely to keep people engaged. When recording conversation (assuming you have permission as the editor) edit out some of the content. I am not saying to remove the personality in your videos, but if you end up running long on a point or repeating yourself, just edit it down.

Just be who you are

If you try to get all geared up to be on video, it comes through as over the top and fake. If you are excited and knowledgable about the subject, you just need to convey that information like you were talking to a friend.

Protect your computer resources when editing or recording video

When you are editing video, close all the other programs that you might have open (especially browers). Video editing software takes tremedous resources, and you will get done faster if you just have your editing software open. If you get bored while a video is rendering, pull out your phone for entertainment so you keep computer resources focused on video. If you are doing an interview, try to keep your notes in “small-footprint” text editing program. If you need to have browser windows open, keep them to a minimum.

It helps to be first to cover a topic.

Some of my more popular videos were essentially tours on online services I liked. The demand for video is high, but so is the amount of video being created. In order to stand out, show people how a new product works via screencasts. If it is a product that you think is good, other people will be interested and search out videos about that product. My RebelMouse walkthrough video was one of the first to give an overview of the product and ended up being one of my most popular videos.

Recommended Basic Video Tools

ecamm Call Recorder

This is what I ended up using to record most of the Pin The News series. I only had it fail to record once, and that might have been user error on my part. If you want to record a Skype interview on a Mac, this is the one to go with. It costs $19.95.


Snagit is my go-to software for doing static screen captures, and I also used it for screen casting. I found that if I recorded more than 5 mintues the audio would degrade, so I kept the videos short. Snagit claims that recent updates have eliminated this issue, but I would do some test before you try to record a full video.

Sony Vegas Pro

I started my video editing using this software. While it worked for me, it was likely more options then I needed so the learning curve was pretty steep.


When I switched to a Mac, I really appreciated the intuitiveness of iMovie. Like most editing programs, it is resource intense. It also is light on features, but if video isn’t your primary venue for creating content, this software is likely enough to get the job done.
Have you created videos? If you have any tips, please feel free to share them in the comments.
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2012 Personal Year in Review: Blogging, News, Videos, Local and Social Media http://llsocial.com/2012/12/2012-year-review-blogging-news-videos-local-social-media/ http://llsocial.com/2012/12/2012-year-review-blogging-news-videos-local-social-media/#comments Mon, 31 Dec 2012 16:03:03 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2119 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.


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”.


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.


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.


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Tech pundits (and the rest of us) need to stop being dirty old men. http://llsocial.com/2012/12/tech-pundits-need-to-stop-being-dirty-old-men/ http://llsocial.com/2012/12/tech-pundits-need-to-stop-being-dirty-old-men/#comments Thu, 27 Dec 2012 17:03:48 +0000 http://llsocial.com/?p=2095 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.






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