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May 2009

10 Things I Learned From Twitter

Author:

t-is-for-twitter

It’s no secret I harbor a Twitter addiction. Though I’m not yet at the intervention stage, my love for microblogging has stolen away hours of my time. Lest you think this is just a frivolous type of addiction, let me assure you it’s far from being harmful. In fact, Twitter is a learning experience. Don’t believe me? Let me share some of the things I learned from Twitter since joining two years ago.

1. The majority of my followers share my affection for caffeinated beverages. You might not find this sort of thing important, but I’ve learned about some great blends, places to find them at a discount and which coffee shops have WiFi. Tell me again this isn’t a useful tool.

2. Despite everyone’s admitted hatred of DM spam plenty of people are still doing it. This leads me to believe some of the protesters are taking part themselves, and also, that the newbies aren’t reading the manual.

3. Jim Turner and Rick Calvert are in Hawaii and they didn’t take me. Think of the inspired blogging that would have resulted after a trip to the islands and a few Mai Tais.

4. Despite the current unemployment rate, there are a lot of jobs available. Job hunters are well advised to use Twitter as a job seeking tool. Don’t see anything that applies? Let the Twittersphere know you’re unemployed and watch the job offers come your way.

5. Crowdsourcing rocks! Twitter saves hours of tedious research. When I have a question, I give it a Tweet and watch the experts weigh in. Beats waiting a week for all the profnets to come through.

6. There are a lot of good deeds being done on Twitter. Twitterers have raised funds for a blogger who lost her home in a fire, helped spread the word about missing children, raised awareness for various charitable organizations and more.

7. Publicists? We don’t need no stinking publicists! Twitter is a free publicity tool. Use it wisely though. There’s a fine line between shameless self promotion or spam. (Hmmm….maybe I should propose that as a BlogWorld session!)

8. People really do care what I’m having for dinner. And after I announce my choice they send me links for recipes and ideas for accompaniments. I now know the best wines to pair with Mac & Cheese (Chardonnay or Pinot Noir). There are a lot of open invitations out there for people who want to drop by Chez Ng for a bite, so I better clean.

9. Breaking news. It was from Twitter I learned we had a new President. I also learned about the Mumbai terrorist attacks, a plane crash, a movie star’s death and other breaking news. In fact, I have read news on Twitter an hour or two before it hit the networks.

10. Despite all the celebrity bashing going on, folks are following them anyway. Even the bashers.

What have you learned from Twitter?

The Importance of Following Directions When Applying for a Blogging Job

Author:

helpwanted

Last weekend I posted an ad for a blogger. The requirements were simple and I didn’t ask applicants to bend over backwards or turn over their first borns. This isn’t the first time I hired a blogger and knew the more rules and regs posted in my ad, the less likely I was to receive what I asked for. So I made it simple this time.

The requirements were:

  • Know how to blog
  • Make me laugh
  • Samples of your writing
  • Tell me some of your ideas for this blog

Maybe half of the people who applied provided the above. Some bloggers provided a paragraph about themselves and that was it, while others invited me to Google them. A few even told me they had no clue about how to blog. I ask you, would you tell a potential client you don’t know how to do the job? Not a very good strategy.

This isn’t the first time I’ve placed ads for bloggers or writers. Each time I do, I’m surprised at how many applicants either didn’t read the directions or didn’t choose to follow. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of qualified candidates to choose from. I just wish others cared enough about the opportunity to provide what was requested.

There’s a reason we ask for what we do.

Rate Quotes

I know so many bloggers and writers don’t want to give rate quotes because they’re afraid of either bidding too low and not getting what the job is worth, or bidding too high and risk losing the job because it doesn’t match the client’s budget. The reason many employers ask for rates isn’t because they’re looking for the low bid, it’s because they want to pay a fair price. By not knowing what a blogger charges, they risk insulting him by not presenting a fair offer. Plus the Internet is filled with low payng gigs, they can look at these and think they’re the norm.

Samples

When a potential client asks for writing samples, it’s because she wants to be sure your writing style matches her vision. She also wants to see that you can string together a sentence without too many errors and that you know a little bit about the subject matter. Unless this client asks for previously published samples, you can send in something you wrote that wasn’t published. Just make sure the topic is relevant. Sending in samples about grilling burgers to someone with a blog for vegans probably isn’t a smart idea.

Experience

Some blog gigs are entry level. Many networks have everything already set up for their bloggers and aren’t necessarily looking for experience as much as they’re looking to pay a low wage. Corporate clients and businesses and individuals who hire bloggers tend to be more generous with the pay. They expect to know your stuff in return. Not too many clients want to hold a blogger’s hand while he learns how to use the platform. They’re hiring bloggers to build traffic and create buzz and community. Bloggers who can’t do this for them are useless.

Read. Apply. Repeat

Before applying for any blogging opportunity take the time to read the ad all the way through. Make sure you’re truly a good fit. Blogs are personal and your potential client doesn’t want a generic, cookie cutter blogger. Don’t hit the send button before making sure you followed all the instructions, samples are attached and your copy is clean and error free.

If you ever wondered why you didn’t get a gig you felt was perfect for you, it could be in the application. Follow directions, give the employer what he asks for, and watch your client list grow.

Twitter Turning to Television: Reality TweeVee?

Author:

failwhale I’m going to be straight up front and honest with this little gem of news:  I’m a bit terrified.  Rumors are surfacing that Twitter is in talks to develop a television series.  Yes, you heard me right, Twitter wants to be on TV.  In a word, wow.

If all goes according to their perceived plan, Twitter will be pairing up with Brillstein Entertainment and Reveille Entertainment to produce a new television show that, by the sounds of it, will combine their instant and real-time service with reality television.  According to reports:

“…the concept consists of “putting ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format.”

Again, Wow.  So we’re going to have yet another reality television show to keep track of, with yet another social networking method to keep track of it.  Before long we’ll see Survivor contestants tweeting, people on those Real World shows engaged in intense Twitter Battles and the Top Chef’s getting their challenges via Tweets.  Yikes.

What are your thoughts on this?  Is it a good thing that Twitter is going this mainstream, this involved and this “real.”  Will a television series based on this actually work?  I know it’s going to be completely dependent on what actually happens in the upcoming show, but for now it’s just a bit scary that it’s happening at all.  What’s next, “Facebook:  The Movie?”

Time will tell, and we’ll all be waiting to see what goes down.

Ashton Kutcher Threatens to Stop Tweeting – Do We Care?

Author:
@aplusk

@aplusk

Dear Ashton Kutcher,

I have news for you. There was a Twittersphere long before you went on national television begging for followers, and there will be a Twitter long after.

Your threatening to stop Tweeting if Twitter turns into a reality television show is akin to the many Twitterers who threatened to stop Tweeting if celebrities (that would be you) took over Twitter with their million plus follower accounts.  We don’t care.

I mean, you go on CNN, you go on Oprah, you’re in the headlines for weeks for being the first Twitterer with one million followers, and you worry about Twitter being a sell out because of a rumored television show? What’s the matter Ashton, did John & Kate steal away your headlines this week?

You say you’re against a Twitter television show because you don’t want to be stalked. Yet you’re on television drumming up a following. You even post pictures of your wife’s butt. If you’re so interested in your safety and privacy, I’m thinking you might want to spend a little less time online? You’re a celebrity, Ashton. We find you pimping cameras, taking over the CNN building, and punking unsuspecting celebrities, and now, after all this time, you’re worried someone may stalk you because of a rumored reality television show that would be “putting ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format.” Heck, TMZ does this on a daily basis.

Go ahead Ashton. Stop Tweeting. Then come back a week later and see if anyone noticed.

I’m thinking no.

Sincerely,

Someone who thinks maybe you should stop for a while so more important topics can make the headlines.

BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2009 Registration Is Now Open

Author:

That’s right BlogWorld & New Media Expo registration is finally open and we need a few guinea pigs to test it out and make sure everything is working right.  If you are reading this post you probably just saw our tweet.  So here is how it works. Here is a link to the 2009 BlogWorld registration info page. You should see these description-of-reg-packages-on-web-5-18-09 descriptions and prices for the different pacakges available this year.

You can then select the “attendee registration” button at the top left of this screen to take you to the attendee registration page. That link should take you here.  If you attended the show last year just enter your email address and ask it to send you your password from last year and log in. If you didn’t attend last year (boy did you miss out) then enter in your email address and pick a password.

The attendee registration system is going to ask you several demographic questions. Please fill these out accurately. We need this information for several reasons, one of them is giving us the information we need to create the best possible conference for you!

After you have entered your demographic info and selected your registration package you will be asked for your payment information and any coupon Code if you have it.

Since you are willing to be our guinea pig and test our registration system out for us; here is your discount code TWTTEST. This will give you 50% off of any 2009 BlogWorld Registration.

This code will only work for the first five people who register and they will go fast so register right now!

*****Update Wednesday 8 am PST***Even after adding 10 additional codes they are all gone. So for the next five people to register use TWEET40. This will give you a 40% discount of off any BlogWorld registration package.

*****

Please leave a comment in this post to let us know how the registration worked or didn’t work for you. Let us know any problems you had or any questions you may have about the event, the registration packages or the conference.

Thank you for your help!

Blog on!
Rick

BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2009 Registration Is Now Open

Author:

That’s right BlogWorld & New Media Expo registration is finally open and we need a few guinea pigs to test it out and make sure everything is working right.  If you are reading this post you probably just saw our tweet.  So here is how it works. Here is a link to the 2009 BlogWorld registration info page. You should see these description-of-reg-packages-on-web-5-18-09 descriptions and prices for the different pacakges available this year.

You can then select the “attendee registration” button at the top left of this screen to take you to the attendee registration page. That link should take you here.  If you attended the show last year just enter your email address and ask it to send you your password from last year and log in. If you didn’t attend last year (boy did you miss out) then enter in your email address and pick a password.

The attendee registration system is going to ask you several demographic questions. Please fill these out accurately. We need this information for several reasons, one of them is giving us the information we need to create the best possible conference for you!

After you have entered your demographic info and selected your registration package you will be asked for your payment information and any coupon Code if you have it.

Since you are willing to be our guinea pig and test our registration system out for us; here is your discount code TWTTEST. This will give you 50% off of any 2009 BlogWorld Registration.

This code will only work for the first five people who register and they will go fast so register right now!

*****Update Wednesday 8 am PST***Even after adding 10 additional codes they are all gone. So for the next five people to register use TWEET40. This will give you a 40% discount of off any BlogWorld registration package.

*****

Please leave a comment in this post to let us know how the registration worked or didn’t work for you. Let us know any problems you had or any questions you may have about the event, the registration packages or the conference.

Thank you for your help!

Blog on!
Rick

Are Businesses Confused by Social Media?

Author:

community-outreach1

Many businesses are jumping on the social media bandwagon, but do they know what it is or why it’s necessary? I see advertisements every day for community managers and social media specialists but the description for each ad varies remarkably. No two jobs are similar.

When it comes to business, there’s no mistaking where you would place an accountant, sales manager or copywriter, but I’m experiencing much confusion when it comes to placing social media personnel. Businesses don’t know if they should put them with the editorial team, the customer support team, the public relations and marketing teams, or with sales. In fact, many businesses are of the mistaken impression that social media is only Twitter and Facebook and only opening these opportunities to interns.

As many of you know, I’ve been combing the social networks in a search for social media definitions. I’d love to learn your take. What department should social media personnel report to in a business? Should it fall under one umbrella, or should the resident social media person or team wear several different hats.

Discuss…

Facebook Fielding $200 Million Bid For 2% Stake

Author:

facebook Looks like Facebook is still bringing in some substantial appraisals for just how much it’s worth.  While we’re still a bit unsure if it’s actually Worth the money they are claiming it is worth, a Russian company just offered Facebook and its head honchos $200 million for only 2% of the company.  That means, for all you  non-Math fans, that their estimating that Facebook is worth about $10 billion dollars.

According to various reports coming in:

“Digital Sky Technologies, run by the investor Yuri Milner, invests in Internet businesses and owns Russia’s largest web site, Mail.ru…Digital Sky also offered to buy $100 million to $150 million of Facebook common stock at a $6.5 billion valuation…”

The offer, if accepted, would mark the first time since 2007 that Facebook has accepted a financial offer like this.  Two years ago they sold a 1.6% stake in the company to Microsoft, which at the time valued the social networking giant at $15 billion.

The question many are left asking, however, is whether or not Facebook is really worth this kind of money.  Given the fact that many users each day, week and month are ditching the service and turning to Twitter, is $10 billion an overshot?  Are they worth anything CLOSE to that?  There have been rumblings that Facebook is having a bit of a problem with money, and if so, we could see them accepting offers like this with a lot more frequency.  First, however, they’d have to say yes to this one.  Time will tell if they do or not.

Bloggers Have Mad Skills – Pay them Accordingly!

Author:

work-via-stock-xchnge1

I have a bone to pick. Something’s sticking in my craw and I need to get it out. Lately I’m coming across ad after ad for bloggers – yet no one is willing to pay for the work. Instead they’re offering “exposure” and “internships.” Hello? I’m exposed every time I walk out my front door, thank you very much, and internships offer something besides toiling away for nothing for Joe No Name. Bloggers have skills. Mad skills. Their pay should be reflective of all the work they do.

Let me break it down for the people who think bloggers should be happy to work for the glory.

Writing - Bloggers are passionate about their topics. They have to be in order to write about the same thing day in and day out. The reason businesses and individuals hire bloggers is because they don’t have the time or inclination to do so themselves. However, it’s not an “easy” job. A blogger must stay on top of all the current trends, technology and research, and write about it in a manner representative of his or her client. Bloggers don’t necessarily write off the top of their heads. There’s research to conduct, books, articles and blog posts to read, and experts to interview. Though blog posts have a casual tone, they are written in a professional manner. This alone warrants a decent pay check.

Coding -Yeah we have to know a little HTML or other coding necessary to embed images, videos and have our blog posts formatted in a manner befitting the content. Yes, a lot networks and content portals handle this sort of thing on their own. However, many clients want a blogger who can work on his own without having to call in the techies every five minutes.

Web Design – Many bloggers handle template design and other design elements for their clients’ blogs. This takes a bit of skill. Not everyone knows the best places to place widgets and ads. Not everyone can create an eye pleasing header or clean sidebar.

Community Management - Most clients are looking for bloggers because they want to create a community to help create buzz around a product or service. This means bloggers are expected to moderate and respond to posts. They answer questions, soothe tempers and keep the conversation flowing.

Public Relations/Marketing – If you’re expecting your bloggers to promote their content, this should be reflected in the pay. Building up relationships and networking is a job in itself, let alone for a blogger who is doing it for the glory.

SEO- SEO is a learned skill. It doesn’t come naturally. Knowing how to catapult a blog to number one on the search engines is something that should be handsomely rewarded.

Tell me again why bloggers aren’t worthy of pay?

What are some of the mad skills you have as a blogger?

Facebook as Terrorist Recruiting Tool?

Author:

Could this be a big ‘uh oh’ for Facebook?  For now it doesn’t look like it, but this recent bout of news does raise some questions as to exactly how Facebook is going to begin addressing some of the more questionable uses of their social networking site.

We all know they were quick to address and shut down two Holocaust groups that sprouted up on their site and were, according to Facebook, spreading hate.  The question is, how is Facebook going to go about addressing the recent news that terrorists might be using their site and service as a recruiting tool to find like-minded individuals.  Can you say Yikes?

According to news that is filtering out of the Middle East:

“Terror groups are turning to Israeli citizens on Facebook and other social networking sites and offering bribes in exchange for information, the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] said on Monday afternoon in a warning issued to the public.”

In addition to trying to uncover information, it appears many people that are suspected in terrorist organizations are tracking other websites and forums in which ex-soldiers frequent, trying to find people willing to divulge information or find new members.  The bottom line is, this is scary and it does raise questions about how Facebook can walk the delicate line between preserving its users privacy and not allowing itself to be used for subversive activities.

How CAN they walk this line?  It’s one thing to deny and shut down groups that are outwardly and publicly announcing their beliefs, but another story entirely when all of this is going on behind the scenes through personal messages and very quiet recruitment.  How should they address this?

Sound off…

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