Find Me On.. Where?!?!

Social Networks

Maybe we have too many social networks.

I mean, think about it. Facebook and twitter. Instagram and Vine. Quora and Google+. Yelp and Foodspotting. And on and on and on.

You need a scorecard just to keep up, and an entire afternoon just to be remotely relevant on any more than one on two.

I’ve read more than one article this week about younger people rejecting Facebook.

And Peter Shankman this week opened up a storm of controversy when he predicted Yelp! would be out of business in two years.*

I think it’s just a matter of time before more people are migrating to something else. Who knows what that is. But if I’m feeling that way, I can promise you, it’s already happening.

I must have more than 100 apps on my iPhone. Truth is, I don’t think I use half of them. And I have no plans to.

So I’m opening this up for discussion, because I am really interested in what you think: which social networks/apps are becoming less relevant? Which should I close out or delete, and which should I keep? Which do you use on a regular basis and why?

I don’t want to hear any brand-bashing. This is not meant to take jabs at anyone. I’m just really interested in what others are thinking.

Leave a comment below!

*This post has been amended to accurately reflect Shankman’s prediction on Yelp. Thanks Peter!

Xbox One Isn’t the Only One


The unveiling of the Xbox One has got my inner geek pretty stoked.

Tear it apart any which way you want, but this new console it represents a terrific leap forward in the way we experience and share media in our homes: music, movies, games and TV. The new functions look very cool, especially the improvements in Kinect. I will be getting my hands one as soon as possible.

It’s probably not the elusive “all in one” box that Microsoft claims it is, but I frankly don’t think we will ever get there, because we really don’t want to. As consumers, (especially us geeks, who thrive on variety and shiny new things that replace and outdo the old ones) we don’t like limiting ourselves to just one platform or one way of doing things. We like to integrate our systems together and make them do unique things that serve our purposes.

The Xbox One is also a good example of how we – as communications professionals and PR people – need to constantly keep up with evolving technology that affects our business.

I was a semi-early adopter of social media, and saw its potential for one-to-one, human connectivity right away. And while I’m better at it than most, I’m far from an uber-user or an expert by my definition of the word.

Part of the reason we fall behind is because things evolve so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. And yet, that’s also part of our business: recognizing the changes afoot and evolving our tactics with them. We need to take time out – hard as it can be – to experiment with these technologies and make them work for us.

Take time to turn off all your inputs and just experiment, at least once a week. Part of keeping up is making sure you do it with the frequency to make it effective.

It’s not you, it’s me. OK, it’s a little bit you.

It's not you, it's me

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This is not going to be popular. But here it goes.

Our lives are busy. If you’re like me, you work while signed into several different social media channels. With a half dozen windows open, email pinging non-stop and posts, updates, videos and IMs flying over the transom like a Nor’easter, it gets to be overwhelming. And then you gotta do that stuff they pay you to do, too.

Your time is valuable. Really, it is very valuable. Whether you’re charging clients hundreds of dollars an hour for your services or you’re trying to carve out some extra time to spend with your family, you can’t afford to waste a minute of your day. Nor would you want to.

That means you have to be a productive as possible. Which means you have to work smarter. And that means you have to kill the clutter. Yes, I am talking about those people who are sucking valuable minutes out of your day. It’s nothing personal. They need to go.

It’s not just the incessant Farmville addicts always asking you to plant a rutabega in their field, or the “haven’t-lived-in-the-same-state-with-you-since-8th-grade-but-here’s-150-identical-pictures-of-people-you’ve-never-met” photo streams. It’s the people who are just hanging out, quite innocently, posting and updating every once in a while, and contributing nothing to the conversation that interests you. You put 50 (or more) of those needless posts together, and you’ve got yourself quite a pile of junk to filter through.

So get rid of ’em. Unfriend. Unfollow. Unsubscribe. Get them out of your feed. Make your social circles resemble your real life more – not less. I would recommend if you haven’t interacted with a person in the last six months, they should go. Yes, that means family. And former fraternity brothers. And co-workers.

Once you’re done, you should see an uptick in your productivity. Your feeds should also get more interesting, and you should be able to be more active with the people with whom you are connected online.

So give it a try. Just don’t expect to be popular.

Do you have Klout?

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We all have influence on others. Perhaps not on the scale of Ming the Merciless, but influence, nonetheless.

Nowhere is that influence more on display than in social media, where we are encouraged to share information, experiences and unsolicited opinions on everything from restaurants and music to the news of the day. And those opinions often result in real actions taken by the people who hear our words.

They go to the movies. Buy a pair of jeans. Maybe even book a vacation or enroll their child in a school. In short, they spend money. (Here’s an earlier post where I talked about making your social media messages actionable.)

And so all my marketing friends sit up and go “We should be able to track this! Put it on a graph and analyze it! Make it work better!”

Enter Klout, which claims to measure your social media influence by analyzing with whom you interact with on facebook, twitter and other social media sites and gives you a grade, your “Klout score.”

Scientific? Hardly.

And being the skeptic, I asked some of my twitter followers (and people whose opinions are far more insightful than mine) to share their perceptions of Klout:

Dave Peck: “@klout is one of the best tools put there to measure influence. Has room for improvement though. For example, I didn’t tweet while on vacation and my score dropped. So I take 48 hrs off and my influence and reach drop? I don’t think so. Oh and @klout rocks they helped me out yesterday really fast ;)” [Dave didn’t elaborate on this last point.]

Monica Guzman: “Checking @klout is like Googling yourself, but a bit more socially acceptable.” [Love it, Monica!]

Amanda Marsh: “Even at 74, the only perk I was able to pick up was the Spotify account.” [Agreed! But I am waiting for those nifty achievement badges, AM!]

Gina LaGuardia: “I do like the freebies. Seriously, though, I’ve had editors of sites to which I f/l content ask me for writers’ scores… [Gina is a terrific writer who works in the higher education” and senior living spaces]

Nathan King: “For some people, their Klout score will be dead-on accurate, for others, not so much. I check it out of curiosity, but don’t change what I do online to try to raise the score. I’d much rather have people judge me on how I conduct myself online and the content I publish, not a score determined by Klout’s algorithm.” [Terrific insight, NK!]

Louise DiCarlo: You’re influential as long as someone doesn’t die – I lost 3 pts dealing w/real life (dad died). [So sorry for your loss, Lu.]

From my perspective, Klout strikes me more like a game than a resource, especially the feature that allows you to dole out +Klout points daily to people to whom you’re connected. And the range of social media networks that can be paired (ie, where Klout draws your score from) are currently limited to facebook, twitter and linkedin. They just recently added foursquare and YouTube, but other sites like Tumblr, Instagram, Gowalla and the new kid on the block, Google+, are no where to be found (yet).

I’d love to see Klout incorporate some kind of point system that earns me things of value, whether in the social media or real world. The next step in social media is getting people to spend real dollars, after all.

What’s YOUR experience with Klout? Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Mashing in Florida.. and a Different Kind of Friday ShareDay

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Mickey Mouse

In a bit of a diversion from our usual Friday ShareDay, I want to share something that I’m experiencing first hand:

The Mashable Connect Conference is in full swing here at Disney World in Orlando, Florida and the creativity and wisdom flowing off the stage is rivaled only by the smarts of my fellow attendees in the audience. (If you want to follow the stream of consciousness, check out the #mashcon list on twitter)


A huge theme we’re all talking about is the perceived conflict in social media between the technological and the human: on its face, social media is something located inside a computer or a smart phone, when in fact the true goal of social media is looking up from the screen to talk to the person in front of you.

Speaker after speaker has approached it in one way or another:

Tumblr’s David Karp spoke about how he allows his community to customize their pages – right down to stripping the Tumblr branding out of the html code of the page;

Michael Lazerow of Buddy Media gave a killer talk on e-commerce, and debunked (in my mind) the necessity of hosting a store on facebook, in favor of getting people to share what they buy on facebook and be rewarded for that behavior;

Mashable Connect

Meetup CEO Scott Heiferman gave an inspired talk about how “content is not king – connection is king” and how getting together with real people in the real world can inspire movements – not unlike the uprising in Egypt;

Josh Koppel of Scroll Motion demo’d his company’s software on the iPad in the form of apps that replace static elementary school textbooks with active apps that also allow delivery of metrics to teachers and parents to trouble shoot where students are getting hung up in their lessons;

And Edelman Digital visionary Steve Rubel finished up the day with his talk on how a new era of social media is dawning, what he calls the age of the “validators.”

Goes without saying that I’ll be incorporating so many of these ideas into my work – and it’s a thrill to be here and learning so much.

How do you use social media to advance your in-person agenda? Get the conversation started with a comment below!

Happy Weekend!