At a Glance ‘Blogging’ & ‘Micro-blogging’ (tweeting)

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“The Joys of Tweeting!”

‘Tweeting’, -it’s for ‘everyone’!

I recently found a good article on Adweek’s Social Times featuring Passion Digital’s 23 Best Practices (for Twitter users), circa 2014, that still apply a year later. I mean seriously, I “am” one of those ‘older’ folks who balked at a Twitter account and professed that I don’t know that many people in mid-life as I once did during my social clubbing years to benefit from using Twitter. When I stepped out of that very fun lifestyle, I lost 90% of my friends, which makes tweeting for me a non-issue. After all, who would I send these tweets to, and who cares about my perspective opinions on anything? I’m old! “Hahaha!” 😉

Tweeting as ‘micro-blogging’

I learned quite a bit from reading Mark Schaefer’s, “The Tao of Twitter” and was so inspired by the concept of tweeting (or ‘micro-blogging’) that I also bought his other book on ‘blogging’, too, “Born to Blog”! Both are great reads, and I highly recommend both his books. But, I felt kind of stupid having to read a book on what the benefits tweeting were and how to do it when kids half my age are doing so without having read a book, first! ‘Embarrassing’, or what? :-/

Tweeting @ a glance…

After reading Schaefer’s book on Twitter, I still felt that I needed to explore tweeting more for technique’s sake, now that I had the Tao ‘theory’ mastered. That’s why I am sharing the following info-graphic with you, “Passion Digital’s 23 Best Practices” (for Twitter users), before I continue on in discussing the joys of ‘blogging’ (below). I found it rather entertaining with a much more condensed, user-friendly version for us ‘tweet-ing’ beginners, and I hope you do, too…  “Enjoy!” 🙂

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“Blah, Blah, Blah”… -“B-B-B-Blogging!”

Twitter is like a calling card. Facebook is like a phone call. But, Blogging is like a full-fledged conversation!
Twitter is like a calling card. Facebook is like a phone call. But Blogging, is like a full-fledged conversation!

Blogging, -for real! …So, get real! 

I’m only a beginner blogger but I wanted to find out more about blogging, so I looked for a best practices guide for that too, and I stumbled across Stephanie Ling’s article “SEO Starter Guide:10 Blogging Best Practices” from last year (2014) on “Powered by Search” about SEO (Search Engine Optimization, and how your website can be seen by people who want to look you up using a Web/Internet search engine like Google, for example). I discovered after reading it, that all blogging takes is a little bit of that old-fashioned common sense and some manners, really. I know, right? Who knew?

Blogging by the Numbers:

  1. Quality Over Quantity. The content that you write as a blogger, is very important, so it has to be of high quality, be credible and customized for your site’s theme, or message. When creating content think of the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your content should be designed to be informative, to be able to teach the audience on your message, while the other 20% can be related more to products/services, and promotion thereof.
  2. But, Quantity still Matters. So, post well, regularly and often to maintain your audience. How often? As often as you’d want to be found, actually! It is important to consistently publish content where your blog or website contains fresh content to look at. Because, the more recent and relevant the content, your audience will maintain interest.
  3. The Right Words are Key. Ever hear of a ‘key word’ search? Neither did I until I began looking for jobs and was stunned that no one actually reads my resume, and that  they only find me by doing a ‘key word’ search online! Shocker! -Seriously! That is the same way to look at your blog, by using the key words that can be recognized by varied and numerous search engines. Also, check spelling, grammar etc., to deter away from the audience becoming too distracted by the smallest of details, because they will notice!
  4. Less is More. …and I’m not just talking about ‘perfume or make-up’, dahling! Keeping your site ‘clean’ is a way not to overwhelm your audience with too much information. Be generous with menus and links, use title separations and easy to glance at graphics and images. After all, blogs should be informative but not take too much of an effort to look at or read through. I’m not saying people are lazy, but… -I’m just sayin’!
  5. Keep URLs Short & Sweet! Remember not everyone is familiar with URLs and the longer the link, the more likely your audience won’t feel inclined to ‘share’ your content with anyone. Using links instead of long URL addresses is a way for people to share your site/content on social media. If you can, use specifically designed social media buttons that lead to popular social media sites for ease of sharing for your audience. Remember, they aren’t lazy, but…
  6. Make the Most of Your ‘Meta-tags’. We’re talking HTML here, folks. “Ugh!” I know, right? So, this is the ‘not-so-fun’ part of blogging! I won’t go into too much detail here, because not all bloggers use HTML code language when using the online sites like WordPress or Wix, for their blogs. But, this is covered in greater detail in this article, under best practice #6.
  7. Put a ‘Face’ to a ‘Name’. A photo of the blogger (you!) and a byline describing (you!) goes a long way in making your blog more credible and humanistic. Because, let’s face it, -you are not a ‘bot’, right? So, you want your audience to feel as if they are able to relate to you. Also, a display of authorship promotes respectability, and many people trust bloggers opinions, advice, etc. Therefore, you want to convey that what you write is not only compelling, but, also true, because you have ‘integrity’ as a blogger. Or at least that’s the goal!
  8. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words… “It is!” Seriously, which blog would you read? A ‘wall of words continuum’ or a blog with a lot of “fun” things to look at like, “media, video, graphics, images, audio, interactivity, etc…???” …”Exactly!” However, don’t overwhelm your audience either, as 1-4 images is plenty of “fun” things, on average.
  9. Sharing is Caring. Keep the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory in mind for this step, where we are able to interact with anyone on this planet in connecting with 6 people, or less. The power of social media is increasing exponentially, and… “Dude! You want to ride that rad wave, riiight?” So sharing content has never been more important, or popular. Take advantage of social media ‘sharing’ and make your site content as easy to share as possible. Installing custom buttons is a must now! Again, -just sayin’! 😉
  10. Treat Others the Way You Would Like to be Treated. I’m not trying to lay all “10 Commandments” on you, but… there is a certain etiquette to blogging that will either ‘make’ or ‘break’ your message, reputation and perhaps your following, -in a heartbeat! So, be kind, watch your tone and reciprocate/interact often by responding to your audience. Be patient, explain and educate, and… -have ‘fun’ in doing so! People tend to like ‘fun’ stuff, so be ‘fun’, upbeat and positive, but also develop your own recognizable voice, too. Also, if you want your sources to link to you, you also need to link to them, as well, while you promote each other’s sites.

Blogging is a 2-way street, so if your audience senses even for a moment that they named a 1-way street after you, your blog will not garner the attention that you seek. Because you also need to be an active participant. Blogging is a commitment. So if you’re not in it for the long haul, and give it the full attention it deserves, you may want to rethink why you want to blog in the first place.

Blogging is a written full length conversation without the luxury of a face-to-face interaction. So you’d better be writing about what you enjoy to fully benefit from this experience.

If you lack social grace, then, better to buy a ‘Miss Manners’ book of etiquette and brush up on how to ‘re-connect’ with people. Because, ‘blogging’ is very much a ‘people business’. Again… -just sayin’!

“Good luck & don’t forget to have ‘fun’ blogging!”

“F” Words that can Undermine a Brand from Going Social

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‘F’ Words to avoid…

Come on! You know we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. Whether it be our first time at doing something like jumping off of a diving board, or skiing down a mountain, it’s that  moment right before you take that step out into something that you have never done before. Then it hits you… the ‘Fear’. It’s those weird, uneasy ‘Feelings’ of uncertainly, or total loss of confidence, whether you are actually able to do something or not, and if you do… will you ‘Fail’? It’s at that point when you feel yourself stepping back, changing your mind and not wanting to go through with it… “Oh! oops! My bad! Oh! Let’s just ‘Forgetaboutit!’ Sorry! Never-mind! …I changed my mind.” <sigh!> “Oh, ‘F‘ words, how I hate you so!” :-\

It’s kind of a similar concept when it comes to exposing your brand out on social media… without a plan. It’s really not a matter of venturing out on social networking or not, it’ not about that decision at all, actually. Because, the answer is that just about every company no matter how large or small needs a Web presence and needs people to talk about them, that’s how you will be promoted on the 21st century marketplace. Remember shopping malls? That is so 20th century!

Going, going, gone!

Brick and mortar stores, renting retail space, weekly circular print advertising for what you sell has slowly been becoming extinct. Everything has been transitioning to digital for the past 10-15 years now and everything is now online that you could ever desire, and at your fingertips, too. Ok, so the bad news is that those enormous mega malls are now on the endangered species list, but the good news is that we’re saving more trees gravitating away from printing anything on paper anymore. I know, right? Sad. What’s really sad is that I haven’t read a newspaper in, well… I don’t know for how many years now.

Brand2Don’t Play Games with Your Brand!

All joking aside, when it comes down to brand recognition and putting it all out there for the world to see, it’s going to take some serious planning, and if you need help in doing so, that would be a wise decision on your part. Because, once anything is ‘out there’ on social media, on the Internet, it’s a done deal. People see your brand, they begin to talk about you and your brand, and if your brand is ‘hot’, it will take off like a wildfire. So the last thing you want to do is venture out onto Twitter, Facebook, begin a blog, or have a customized website designed and launched, without a ‘plan’. You will definitely need a plan, actually ‘many plans’. Your brand is nothing to play games with and social media is fun and games for many, but for business, it can be a ‘powerful tool’, and something with that much power, needs a plan before you jump into the vast enormous sea of social media.

Be Smart with Online Branding:

The 5 smartest ways to take charge of your brand online, are ‘key’ for complete social media success:

  1. Get your brand name (and user perception) right from the start. Like having an easy to remember name that will be easy to search for online, easy for customers to remember and easy for them to talk about. Something simple, yet catchy.
  2. Be Everywhere! Follow the old marketing ‘rule of 7’ which is the concept of having customers hear your marketing message (or being exposed to your brand) at least 7 times before doing business with you. Be a brand that no one forgets, where it sticks in their minds.
  3. Involve Your Users. Research has proven that 89% of users will feel more loyal to a brand if they are invited to take part in a group! Social media is a people business and that involves human emotional interaction, where trust and respect are the crucial elements for success.
  4. Focus on the User Experience. UXD (user experience design) is a very hot high growth area for business right now, because the focus is totally on the user’s personal experience with regard to interaction with a company because it breeds ‘loyalty’. Yes, I know, right? Who knew “loyalty” in business would become fashionable again!
  5. Customer Support. Nothing is more powerful than “quality customer support”. It literally can make or break a brand ‘fast’! It forms either a positive or negative opinion after only a single encounter. Unfortunately, it’s the negative talk about your brand that will travel the fastest and the quickest, so strive to maintain positivity! 😉
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Some Fun Facts About Brands and Social Media

Literally doing ‘Cartwheels’ over Target’s app!

Cartwheel

An app to really get excited about! 

I love this app!

There is an app that is highly used at Target stores that I only found out about within the past year, it’s a Target app called ‘Cartwheel’. Target employees excitedly told me about this app while I was browsing the 75% off clearance rack, late last summer. It allows customers to scan Target items for an additional 15% – 20% discount off, including already discounted merchandise. I saved nearly 90% off with the clearance price and the Cartwheel discount combined! “Wow!” This is an awesome app, and it saved me a lot of money! Thank you, Target! 😀

How it works                        

After downloading the Cartwheel app from either Google Play for Android mobile smartphones, or the Apple app Store for iPhones, it is a convenient, “Choose” – “Scan” – “Save” process. ‘Choose’ from hundreds of offers in every category, ‘Scan’ the printed or mobile barcode at the point of purchase and checkout and ‘Save’ on discounted and non-discounted items. Yes.  It is that easy! Gotta love Target!

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Morphing into a social media mobile app

As with many retailers Target isn’t in the business of creating a social media page of it own. Therefore, on the Cartwheel site customers are able to choose which social media page they would like to sign into to start saving: Facebook, Google+, or Target (where either Facebook or Google+ would provide a ‘fun’ social media experience to share with others). It also doesn’t hurt that Facebook recently gained recognition as the single most largest social media site on the planet according to a recent statista.com article!

The Cartwheel by Target Facebook page is a highly stylized shopping page and clearly advertises the over 1,000,000+ members strong! Facebook allows you to “Send to Mobile” from their site and edit accordingly. It also includes a video on how to download and use Cartwheel:

Cartwheel can also earn points and discounts on Target’s REDcard and can be combined with store and manufacturer coupons using the same scanning method into the Cartwheel app, where the savings continue to add up for Target customers.

I usually don’t get this excited over an app, because I’m only beginning to use a Smartphone now in mid-life. But, “omg!” this app is so easy to use, it ties into social media to be able to share with your friends and it’s a’ no-brainer’ to download.

“So easy a ‘dog’ could do it? …-WOOF!”

If you’re not downloading the Target Cartwheel app (Android or Apple) and actively using it, -you should be. Because this is going to save you some ‘serious’ money & savings on your next shopping trip to Target, folks.

This is coupon clipping, -21st century style! Believe me it’s so simple, -you ‘want’ this and you can ‘do’ this! Now ‘this’, is an amazing app, and apparently many people think so, too… -just look at the savings:

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“Happy shopping!” 😉

An ‘Upwardly Mobile’ Social Media App

Keek mobile app available for free on Google Android and Apple iOS
Keek mobile app available for free on Google Android and Apple iOS

Gaining in Popularity

If you like using Twitter and watching YouTube and Vine, then you’re going to love ‘Keek’! It’s a video messaging service app (application) designed for mobile phones. It’s a video version of Twitter that is used to record and share video status updates of up to 36 seconds, which can be share directly with other Keek users, or posted to Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and a Keek.com personal profile web page and is compatible on both Google Android and Apple iOS mobile devices.

Video updates are a high growth area on mobile phone technology and are driven by the demand in micro mobile video apps, primarily for Apple IOS and Android phones. Keek enables users to conveniently send quick and short video messages using their mobile phones.

A ‘Micro Video’ App for Smartphones

These video updates invite others to record short video messages using their video camera phones to share with others. Each 36 second micro video that is recorded is called a ‘video status update’. This is how Keek compares to Twitter that uses a 140 character tweet format and often referred to as a ‘micro blog’. Keek is considered a ‘micro-video’ app and a visual social network for smartphones.

How it works

Keek is a short video version of what Twitter is for words and text. It gives the user the capability to record and share video status updates of up to only 36 seconds. Keek users of this app record their video message by looking into their phone’s camera and talking, or recording whatever they want.

Get the App!  

Then they are able to click and post a video status update called a ‘keek’, then forward their Keek to post onto Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or your personal page directly on Keek.com. Then, users can follow and comment on each other’s material posted onto Keek.com. Keek also has a lot of Twitter-like features, such as @mentions in its comments on video updates.

Professional Networking: Facebook or LinkedIn?

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Is Facebook or LinkedIn the better option?

In My Humble Opinion

I’ve been using LinkedIn to showcase my professional work history, resume and portfolio for years, and I have used Facebook for about the same length of time, perhaps longer, for my personal recreational entertainment and centralized personal communications, for a lot longer. But, I have to admit, I never once thought to use Facebook on a ‘professional’ level, as I use LinkedIn.

I’ve become quite skilled with using LinkedIn after all of these years. I’ve even gained a status as an ‘expert’ user, when I began to add my multimedia creations and my writing samples. I felt so proud. I felt like some kind of ‘power user’, or something. I always wanted to learn how to fully utilize LinkedIn to better promote my skills to potential employers. Recently, I was satisfied to finally reach that much coveted goal.

So, which is better, Facebook or LinkedIn?

Oh, No! Not ‘Options’!… -Again!

Seriously, doesn’t everyone have a LinkedIn account, and isn’t it always after you’ve completely mastered using a site, when a plethora of other ‘wanna-be-the-next-coolest-thing’ sites have to jump into the fray, like a bunch of little hyperactive puppies, and ruin everything, giving people “options”? …”sigh!”

It gently ‘forces’ you to pensively opt into creating yet another profile in cyberspace for fear that potential employers will stop looking at LinkedIn! “What? I’m no longer on the professionally “cool” site anymore? OMG! NO! Say it ain’t SO!!!”… “sigh!” Yes. It’s frustrating even for the most experienced ‘social media’ followers, too.

It’s true. Especially for us older folks (yes, I am over that proverbial hill, too) who diligently try to keep up with all of the technical and social media online trends. This is no easy task, and a little confusing too, actually! To even complicate matters further, my favorite social media site for all my leisurely online play time is going all ‘professional’ on me, now? “Whaaaaat!?!?!?!” (sigh!). Where’s that “unfriend” button, just when you need it most? By the way, Zuck, (Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO) we’re still awaiting development on that, too!

Will I have to create a professional profile on ‘Facebook for Professionals’, as soon as possible? What if employers all gravitate over to use Facebook as the new standard for seeking out new talent? Where does that leave me if I don’t join Facebook Professional? I would really hate to be in an interview and be asked why I am not using the latest and greatest mode of business social media to profile my skills. That could be a make or break moment for consideration for a great position, or at a reputable company. Really social media has ‘that’ much power? …”Wow!” …”Unlike!”

What makes Facebook for Professionals better than LinkedIn, or vise-versa?

The Facts

Well, LinkedIn is one of the largest sites at 300 million users worldwide and has a large ‘active’ following. Whereas, Facebook has a much larger following than LinkedIn, but are attempting to capitalize off of their 900 million (not always active; not always serious) casual users. Which leads me to believe that the old adage of quality over quantity applies here. LinkedIn has a longstanding reputation as a serious business site for employers to seek qualified employees and for employees to gain credibility in being proficient users of social media.

I’m not suggesting that Facebook would not be a serious contender in this area. I’m simply saying to ‘proceed with caution’. Facebook is new to this social media arena, which means they need time to cultivate an audience and a ‘following’. Then there is the concern that since so many people ‘play’ on Facebook, could this actually be an effective and reputable outlet for displaying one’s career aspirations publicly? As a loyal LinkedIn member, how’s does Facebook intend to compete with LinkedIn’s online profile holders, where users are 40 times more likely to receive job opportunities simply by having a profile on LinkedIn?

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                Facebook and LinkedIn by the numbers.

In Defense of Facebook

In their defense, Facebook is on the right track and they almost always have to keep seeking different ways to maintain social media competitiveness, social interest and mass appeal for their own survival. That’s just the nature of social media and technology in general, in today’s modern society. We, as a society, are fickle with a short attention span, too. So, all that is subject to change at a moment’s notice.

Facebook’s strategy is on point and perfectly timed to earn some serious business credibility as they maneuver away from all that Facebook “fun” and “escapism” from reality that we all really, really, really enjoy! Perhaps their intention is to make business more “fun”? “Great strategy, Zuck!” 😉 <wink!>

The ‘Next Great Site’ Syndrome… 

Social media itself isn’t going anywhere anytime soon either. In fact, it’s here to stay. You haven’t seen anything yet! It’s only in its infancy right now, but… -“no worries” there’ll be plenty of time to agonize over the tidal wave of sites giving us options and agony over which site to join and which to forfeit.

It all equates to trends. What’s hot, and what’s not, and that is where our boredom drives each wave to our personal social media shores. That’s right, our fickleness, our boredom and our addiction for the next ‘latest and greatest’ thing is just what is driving us to be inundated with so many site choices presented to us, constantly!

The one important thing that will separate the legitimate sites from the “wanna-be’s” will inevitably be the usability factor. The total and most simplified user experience. How easy is it to join the site, to set up an account, to create a profile, to add media, to customize, to maintain it, to communicate using it, to broadcast it, also, is it secure and interactive? Is it guaranteed to gain in popularity? Also who, if anyone is actually using it? Not everyone is proficient with technology. I know. I know. …”Shocker!”.

But, seriously, these sites have to be simplistic, fast and easy with overwhelming mass appeal. If that can be achieved, then, “hey, Facebook”… we can have some real “fun”! 😉 <wink!>

#facebook #linkedIn

Welcome to Chapter 2

If you feel like you’re over the hill or starting over in life, as I am, then this blog may appeal to you. I’m currently entering that 2nd chapter in my life, so I hope to have a little “fun” by sharing my tech stories and experiences with you, because anyone can learn about technology and social media. Feel free to join in.