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March 2012

10 Crazy Things Bloggers Do To Sabotage Themselves


Listen all of y'all, it's SABOTAGE!

The phrase, “I am my own worst enemy,” applies to bloggers more often than not. If you aren’t getting the traffic you want, most of the time you have no one to blame but yourself. Want to see more readers, more engagement, and more sales? Stop sabotaging yourself! You might not realize it, but a little more care with your actions can make a huge difference. Here are the ten crazy things bloggers do to sabotage themselves:

1. Have Bad About Pages

I can’t tell you how many times I’m on a blog, click the “About” page to read more, and am utterly disappointed. First and foremost, your about page should include your name. Even if you talk in the first person, you can say, “Hi, I’m Jane Doe. Welcome to my blog!” Your bio doesn’t have to be three miles long, but it should tell me what makes you qualified to blog about the topic at hand, as well as what to expect from your blog (which is fine to put on a separate “About the Blog” page, but it needs to be somewhere). If you don’t tell me who you are, I don’t feel a connection with you and I probably won’t be back again.

2. Post Apologies for Not Writing

Haven’t written in a while? That’s okay. Don’t make your first post back an entire post apologizing for not writing and promising to write more. It’s wasting my time. I’m there for actual content. Funny thing is, most bloggers who do that end up writing a series of “I’m sorry” posts because they just disappear again after a few days. If you must, apologize in the first lined of your post, but then jump back into the content I’m there to read.

3. Say, “It’s a labor of love.”

If you blog for fun, go ahead and say that your blog is a labor of love. But if you’re trying to make money this way, calling it a labor of love only sabotaged your money-making efforts. Calling it that solidifies in your mind and in the mind of everyone else that it’s not making money and probably is never going to make money. Instead, start calling it a business. You can still be passionate about and love your business! But you need to be the first person to acknowledge it as such if you want others to take you seriously as well.

4. Not Use Maintenance Mode

If you have to update your blog, download a maintenance mode plug in and use it. If I visit for the first time and it’s a wreck, I probably won’t come back. I have no way of knowing that it’s not usually like that.

5. Hide Social Media Links

Don’t make me Google to find you on Twitter or other social media sites. Proudly display these buttons on your blog, preferably on your sidebar or in the navigation bar. I’m not going to hunt you down in most cases.

6. Use Twitter as a Place to Vent

Twitter is such a casual atmosphere that we often forget just who is watching us. We all get emotional from time to time, and occasionally Twitter becomes a place to vent about those emotions, whether we’re excited, sad, or angry. But if that’s the norm for you on Twitter, you’re probably going to attract the wrong people and lose the followers you really do want. Try to think of Twitter as a professional networking event. You might vent a little to friends occasionally, but keep in mind that everyone else can overhear you.

7. Post Without Categories or Tags

Categories and tags have been around since the dawn of blogging. Or at least it feels that way. If you don’t categorize and tag your posts, you’re not only missing out on valuable Google juice, but you’re also making your blog a lot harder for readers to navigate. It only takes a few minutes to add these to a post, so there’s really no good reason not to do it, yet I constantly run across blogs that are uncategorized with no tags.

8. Give Out Their Phone Number and Address

What are you nuts? There are tons of creepy people online. Don’t give out your personal information! I see people do this all the time and I makes me shudder. If you want people to be able to contact you, get a business number and a P.O box. Giving out your address is especially scary. I’ve dealt with a crazy stalker before and it’s no fun. Protect yourselves, people!

9. Beg for Shares

Occasionally, it is okay to ask people to share your work. For example, yesterday, a friend DM’ed me and asked for a retweet on her latest post about searching for a new job. I was happy to do that. We’re friends. But if we’ve never talked before, please don’t DM me and ask me for a RT. At the most, DM me and ask me to read your post IF (and only if) it is super relevant to my interests. I’ll RT it if I want. And even if we are friends, only ask me to RT something that’s super important to you. If you DM me every single post, I’m probably going to unfriend you, and I certainly won’t share your work.

Along those same lines, if you add “Please RT” every single time you’re sharing something, it’s obnoxious. Only use that for special announcements. Otherwise, I’m actually more likely not to retweet because I find you annoying.

10. Post on a “When I Feel Like It” Schedule

Lastly, the biggest thing bloggers are doing to sabotage themselves, in my opinion, is following the advice to “only blog when you have something to say.” That’s great advice in theory, but bloggers are taking it to mean “I only have to blog a few times a month.” Here’s the thing: If you don’t have something intelligent to say about your blog’s topic on a regular basis, why are you even blogging at all? The “when I feel like it” schedule is just lazy. You shouldn’t force posts when you honestly don’t feel passionate about a topic, but if you aren’t posting regularly, you’re won’t have the success you could have. This doesn’t mean you have to post every day – but be consistent and make sure you don’t go so long between posts that people forget who you are.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

001 The Podcast Report – What Is BlogWorld & Where Does Podcasting Fit In?


Hey everyone, Cliff Ravenscraft here. Earlier this month, I accepted an offer to join the BlogWorld & New Media Expo team to help build an amazing Podcasting Track at the conference for the podcasting community.

I want to welcome you to the very first episode of The Podcast Report, a podcast devoted to the Podcasting Track of BlogWorld & New Media Expo. I thought the best way to promote the podcasting track for this conference would be through a podcast devoted to it. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Over the past several weeks, I have been on the phone, or Skype, with no less than 60 individual podcasters. I’ve heard many stories about the experiences people have had with the previous Podcasting Expo put on by the Bourquin Brothers. Many have also shared their thoughts on how things have gone since BlogWorld & New Media Expo purchased the rights of that conference.

In this inaugural episode of The Podcast Report, I interview Rick Calvert, CEO & Co-Founder of BlogWorld & New Media Expo. The purpose is to bring everyone up to speed on the history of the podcasting community and it’s industry conference. Below, I have listed some of the things that Rick and I discussed in this episode.

  • How did BlogWorld & New Media Expo get started?
  • History of the Bourquin Brothers Podcast Expo.
  • How and why BlogWorld purchased the Podcast Expo.
  • The rocky history of the Podcasting Track at BlogWorld & New Media Expo.
  • The debate over the term “Podcasting.”
  • The commitment to the Podcasting Community moving forward!
  • Major Announcement: Name Change Coming To BlogWorld!!!!

Future episodes of this podcast will help you get a feel for the type of sessions that are coming to #BWENY and I plan to produce an episode of The Podcast Report each week until the conference this June.

I hope that you enjoy this podcast, that you will subscribe to it, and that you will tell every podcaster you know about it. Please leave me any comments or feedback that you have in the comments section below! I hope to see you at the event!

Register For BlogWorld Today!
If you are serious about your podcasting efforts, I highly recommend that you attend the leading podcast industry conference. If you haven’t registered yet, click here to get registered today. Use promo code GSPN10 for 10% off!

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New Media News Break: Pinterest Spammers, Teen Opera Stars, Hunger Game Racists, and More


It’s Wednesday afternoon, and I think we all need a little break to get through the work week. Here are some of the top new media news stories you may have missed this week:

Daily Dot runs a Tell-All Interview with a Self-Proclaimed Pinterest Spammer

Pinterest is quickly become a hot spot for content creators of all kinds – but there’s a dark side too. In an interview with Daily Dot, a Pinterest user going by the name Steve admits to making $1000+ a day by filling the boards with affiliate links.. Steve’s operation is massive, but the interview raises questions for all Pinterest users about when self-promotion and affiliate links become spam.

Teens’ Stunning Performance Goes Viral

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this video where teens Charlotte and Jonathan surprise the audience on Britain’s Got Talent. The video’s gone viral because it is so emotional, which is a lesson to all content creators out there who have hopes of going viral. You don’t always have to be funny or cute. You just have to elicit some strong emotion.

I’ve seen a little buzz on Facebook that his schlumpy look is a marketing ploy to make him the underdog, the type of person people want to like. He has definitely been seen in finer duds in other homemade videos of him performing, which are on YouTube. Perhaps that’s another lesson for all of us, though – good content is only half the battle. You also have to market yourself well.

Google to Get into the Comment Game

Online publishers will soon have another comment system choice – Google is reportedly building a new platform. Reports say it will be similar to the Facebook commenting system, as well as rival Disqus, LiveFyre, and Intense Debate. Do we really need another commenting system? Probably not. But I think this will up the Google+ game, and it’s also going to be interesting to see how this will factor into search. If your SEO improves ten folds by using Google’s system, I can see a lot of bloggers making the switch.

Racist Fans Hate the Hunger Games Movie

Twitter has be buzzing with tweets about The Hunger Games, and not all of them have been applauding the movie. As Jezebel reports, there’s a group of fans upset that the characters on screen didn’t look like the characters they pictured in their heads when reading the book…mostly surrounding the fact that a few of the important characters were portrayed by black actors. In a few instances, the author even described the characters as black, but fans still glazed over when reading those sections and pictured them as white instead.

It’s an interesting conversation, but what’s even more interesting is seeing how the Hunger Games community is dealing with trolls. A lot of fans are fiercely protective of the books and the movie, so I’ve yet to see the author or any of the actors speak out on the topic. Moral of the story: Moderate, but create such good content that your fans go to bat for you.

Live Tweeting Banned by the U.S. Supreme Court

Lawyers may want to live tweet the healthcare hearings going on in the Supreme Court right now, but releasing information to the public has been banned. This ban is actually upholding a current rule that electronic devices aren’t allowed in the courtroom (or the overflow “lawyers lounge”), though this didn’t stop senior counselor Casey Mattox from trying, according to Reuters. He was eventually stopped, even though he was actually leaving the room and sending emails to his staff who were then updating Twitter from their offices in Arizona.

The ban does make sense in some respect – it’s not only to decrease distractions but also to limit media and public influence over what lawyers are saying while court is in session. Traditionally, audio is released – but only after arguments are over. On the other hand, this perfect demonstrates the “need it now” attitude that people have about information. Are you filling that need with timely updates?

Pottermore Break the Mold

Harry Potter can now be enjoyed in all sorts of digital-y goodness thanks to Pottermore, a new ebook store controlled by Team Rowling. This marks the first time a writer and her publishing team have essentially given retailers the middle finger and instead taken control of their own digital publishing. Amazon and Barnes & Nobel have both bent knee and actually send users away from their own sites to buy Rowling’s books directly for her. Apple, however, is still holding out. How will this affect other authors wanting to get in on the digital game? Is anyone else popular enough to do what Rowling is doing? Wired has a great feature story posted on their site all about Pottermore’s rule breaking model.

Teen Expelled Over Tweet

Indiana high school senior Austin Carroll was recently expelled and will have to finish out his final year at an alternative school thanks to a tweet that he says was posted on his own computer from home outside of school hours. The tweet used the f-word several times and school officials say that their system shows that the tweet was made during school. Regardless, should a student’s Twitter account be reason for expulsion? Big brother is watching, apparently. In any case, it is a reminder to all of us to be careful that our tweets represent us well. You may not have to worry about being expelled, but you do have to worry about losing readers/listeners/viewers.

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

How to monetize your blog’s images [video interview]


BlogWorld & New Media Expo has teamed up with Influence People to bring you an informative video series for content creators. CEO Murray Newlands and VigLink CEO Oliver Roup discuss how to monetize your blog’s images.

In this episode, Newlands and Roup interview Rey Flemings and Chaas Edwards, two of the image monetization field’s brightest minds, making money off their blog’s images, what images to use, and how to do it effectively. What they say might surprise you:


  • The content and services of interactive images are sponsorable…
  • Images on blogs from most niches can be monetized as long as the image is in-context…
  • Interactive images > non-interactive images…

Future of Publishing brought to you by BlogWorld and sponsored by VigLink.

How to Quickly Watermark Every Photo for Your Blog


One of the struggles for bloggers who like using their own photographs is that people aren’t afraid to steal them for use on their own blog. Watermarking your photos won’t stop everyone, of course, but it is a measure you can take to deter others as well as ensure that you’re still getting credit, even when your picture is taken without your consent.

I personally never watermarked pictures in the past because…well…it always seemed like such a hassle. Then, I found this video on how to set up a action in Photoshop to add a watermark quickly and to batches of photos, rather than going through the steps of doing each one individually. Genius! Hope it helps you guys too:


Of course, it should go without saying, but don’t watermark images you don’t own. Also, if you want the picture without the watermark as well, make sure you also save a copy in another folder – once that image is on there, it can be difficult to remove.

Thanks to Bethany Gilbert from Capturing Your Market for posting this video on YouTube and making my life so much easier in less than four minutes.

Why Going Viral Might Not Matter Anymore


People talk a lot about creating content that “goes viral.” There’s no one definition of what viral really means in terms of raw numbers, but typically something viral causes a huge traffic spike. For some blogs, that’s 10,000 hits. For others, it’s a million.

Regardless of traffic goals, I think some companies and content creators are putting too much focus on the goal of going viral. I would even argue that creating viral content doesn’t matter as much as it once did. Let’s explore viral content a bit with a few mini case studies.

Funneling the Traffic

One of the problems I see often with so-called viral content is that people can’t even tell you who created it. A good example? The petite lap giraffe commercials. You may still remember them from last year when these commercials were being promoted like crazy both online and through traditional television appearances.

This time last year, hundreds of thousands of people even signed up on their mock site to say, “I want a petite lap giraffe too!” It was a very cute idea.

But can you tell me the company being advertised in these commercials?

I would venture to guess that most people cannot. I know I couldn’t without looking it up. The answer is DirecTV. Now, maybe when these videos first created a craze more people could answer that question correctly, but to be honest, I’m not sure I would have been able to…and I loved those commercials.

My point is, going viral doesn’t matter if people don’t know or care who you are. Your viral content should funnel them to some sort of action – clicking through to other videos, subscribing to your mailing list, becoming a fan of your blog, buying a product. Spreading a single video or other piece of content is not enough if the action ends there – and with most viral content, that’s the case.

In other words, if you don’t see a sales spike (or subscriber spike if that’s your goal) along with your traffic spike, viral content doesn’t really matter.

Confusing the Audience

Often, the lack of sales or other action on the users’ parts is because viral content attacks the wrong market. In order to make something “go viral” you usually have to think outside the box. The content has to be funny, unique, original, emotional or somehow otherwise worth sharing. Being useful isn’t enough.”Viral” only happens when people need to share your content because they want to be the first to show their friends.

The problem is, most content that fits this bill gets away from your brand/blog’s goal or purpose, at least a bit.

Earlier this year, I had a call with a potential client who wanted me to produce content for his blog, with the aim of everything I did having super viral potential. Now, you all know as well as I do that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. So, I tried to get that across to the client, to tell him that I could focus on topics with the potential to be very popular, but I couldn’t guarantee that anything would go viral.

His response? “Add more cats. People love cats. That sh*t goes viral in a second.”

Erm. Okay, great. Only…his blog has nothing to do with cats. He went on to talk about how a funny cat video at least once or twice a month would be optimal, and while I agreed that this would certainly be popular if marketed correctly, I couldn’t seem to get through to him that it wouldn’t really help his blog or ultimately his business, which had to do with finance.

When you move away from your content too much for the sake of creating something that will go viral, what’s the point? People who view a cute cat video aren’t going to want to read a financial blog (most of the time at least). It’s too far of a leap. Now, maybe I can do some spin-off posts using that idea, like “What your pet can teach you about budgeting” or whatnot…but there has to be that tie-in. Otherwise, you’ll confuse anyone in your audience who does choose to check out the rest of your site. People who follow-up with the makers of viral content expect more of the same. If you don’t deliver, they don’t stick around.

Viral for All the Wrong Reasons

Viral content also doesn’t make sense if you don’t go viral “correctly” – and that’s hard to control. A good example – anyone want to guess what post Technorati crowned as the most popular (most linked) in 2011? It was a post from Netflix called “Explanation and Some Reflection” in which Netflix admitted their attempts to restructure the company were a mistake. Most bloggers would be ecstatic to have the most popular blog post of the year…but unfortunately, I’m willing to guess that most of the links back to that post were critical. It went viral for all the wrong reasons.

Now, I don’t think Netflix COE Reed Hastings wrote this post in order to drum up some traffic. It was damage control for the company. But what I do see a lot of content creators doing is publishing posts that are extremely controversial for the sake of controversy. They call out popular bloggers or experts in their field, trying to bait them into a reaction. They slam stuff everyone likes. They voice opinions they don’t believe in order to get people to click.

Be controversial…but be genuine too. If not, you’ll go viral for all the wrong reasons, and unfortunately, negativity toward a company or blog is something people remember. You didn’t remember who made petite lap giraffes popular, but I bet you remember which company’s CEO went on an infamous hunt in Africa and tweeted pictures of himself with dead animals.

Going viral isn’t always a good thing, no matter what kind of traffic spikes you see. Again, you need to focus on your end goals, whether that goal is to make sales, get subscribers, build a brand, or something else. If your viral content isn’t helping you achieve these goals, the traffic doesn’t matter.

It’s an ROI Game

I know people cringe when they have to talk about ROI, but that’s really the game here. Viral content isn’t something, in most cases, that you throw together. It’s usually stuff that takes a lot of work. So are you getting a return on investment for your work?

Traffic is not a return. That’s where a lot of people go wrong. Traffic is just the middle man on the way to the real return – your goal. That’s what you need to be measuring, not the crazy traffic spikes you’re seeing.

To give an example, let’s say I spend 10 hours creating a funny video for BlogWorld that goes viral. I use a special link code and determine that the 100,000 hits I got on the video translated into 100 tickets sales for our event. Now let’s say I instead write 10 posts that take me an hour each to write, and each gets about 5,000 hits and leads to 20 ticket sales (because the content is more relevant to the type of people willing to buy tickets than a funny video is). Those ten posts combined netted more ticket sales for BlogWorld. It was a better use of my time, even if the video traffic was nice and flashy.

Or course, it’s not always so cut and dry. Maybe the 100 video sales were people who had never heard of BlogWorld before, while most of the 200 post sales were people who were going to eventually buy tickets anyway. Or maybe some of the video traffic led to fans who weren’t ready to buy today, but who will consider future BlogWorld events.

The point is, study your stats beyond traffic. It’s find to hope your content goes viral, but it might not matter was much as you think. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race after all.

Effie Trinket’s Guide to Blogging


Are you caught up in The Hunger Games Craze just like I am? I remember picking up the first book on a whim back in 2008 before the hype started, and I stayed up all night reading it. Although I love the books, I am no less obsessed with the movies; I saw the movie opening day, and am unashamed to admit I’m already planning to go again.

One of my favorite characters is Effie Trinket. For those of you who haven’t read the books or seen the movies, Effie is a character who lives in the well-off “capitol” which is surrounded by starving “districts.” She’s a comic relief of sorts, saying outlandishly trivial things when the kids in her care are preparing to fight to the death for all to see. It’s not that she doesn’t care. Effie just doesn’t understand.

I feel like the same can be said of bloggers to an extent – most bloggers have good intentions, but. So I thought today it would be really fun to write a guide to blogging as if from the world of Panem by Effie Trinket. And okay, maybe I have a few things to say myself, which I put in italics.


Effie says: As a blogger, you are a public figure and it is important to always act with perfect social grace. When writing posts, be sure not to offend, get personal, or act in a way unbecoming of your position. Furthermore, bloggers should always remember that their poor behavior will not only reflect on them, but also on those around you. Manners are important, above all!

Allison says: Okay, manners might be a little important, but as a blogger, one of your roles is to write posts that truly help your readers, whether that “help” comes from teaching them how to do something or showing them a new way of looking at something. Don’t be controversial for the sake of traffic, but don’t shy away from the tough topics because you’re afraid of offended someone. Manners will only get you so far as a blogger, so respect those around you, but don’t be so PC that your blog is boring.

“I just love that.”

Effie says: Be emotional and blog about things that are personal to you. Your readers don’t know what’s good for them, so it’s up to you to tell them. Create what sings in your heart; then, just sit back and wait for the praise of your adoring followers.

Allison says: The line above, “I just love that,” is from a scene where Effie shows a movie to the poor people of the outlying district that talks about how great the Capitol is and how important the Hunger Games are to their heritage. She’s emotional about it, but what she doesn’t realize is that it’s a slap in the audience’s face. They’re getting ready to sacrifice two of their children. Now, it’s not that I don’t think you should avoid being personal on your blog. On the contrary, I think you should tell your story. Evoking emotions is a good thing! But make sure your audience can relate to the story you’re telling. Know your audience, rather than just barreling ahead and doing whatever you want. Your readers matter.

“I don’t even think they can have dessert…and you can!”

Effie says: Look on the bright side of everything! No matter how unfair a situation might seem, there are good things happening. You should be happy! As a blogger, focus on these good things, rather than dwelling on the bad things happening on your blog. If you look hard enough, you can find positivity in the most dire of situations.

Allison says: I’m all for positive thinking, but focusing on dessert when you’re facing an upcoming battle to the grave is just silly. Bloggers sometimes get wrapped up the things that are going well, but ignoring your blog’s problems isn’t the way to go. You have to discover these problems and attack them full force. Even if you think your blog is pretty great, there’s probably *something* you could be doing better. Don’t be complacent.

Happy Hunger Blogging Games, everyone! May the odds stats be ever in your favor!”

Picture credit.

#BWEChat Returns Today With a New Day and Time


If you’re a regular to our weekly #BWEChat Twitter chats, you may have noticed we were missing for the past two weeks. That’s because most of the BlogWorld team was either traveling to or from, attending or recovering from SXSW. We’re back and better than ever with a new focus, and a new day and time. In order to better serve our community, #BWEChat now takes place every Thursday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EST.  In a BlogWorld community survey most polled said an afternoon time is more convenient, and we aim to please.

We also have a new focus. Our chats, will remain informative and engaging, but will also preview the sessions featured at BlogWorld NewYork. Each week, a featured speaker will share tips having to do with his or her BlogWorld session. We also hope for, and expect input from the BlogWorld community.

Chris Garrett will be today’s guest. Chris, who is leading a workshop at BlogWorldNY where he’ll critique attendees blogs, is going to discuss blog functionality. He’ll share some of his favorite ways to keep a blog running smoothly in order to offer readers a user friendly experience.

Next week, March 29th, Nate Riggs will be by to talk about writing list posts and on April 5th, Lauren Vargas will open up her community manager toolkit. Stay tuned for updates for future #BWEChats.

As always, Hashtracking will provide the trasncripts for our chats.

Can’t wait to see you all at #BWEChat. It’s a truly interactive experience and we want to hear from you.

Happy Birthday, Twitter! What Do You Love About This Network?


Today, Twitter officially turns six years old. It’s no longer the no kid on the block or the baby of social media. My favorite thing about Twitter is being able to talk to people from all over the world, getting new perspectives and interesting ideas. It’s like a chat room for the entire human race! I also love how quick and easy it is to get started using. I hate when platforms have huge learning curves.

We asked you – What’s your favorite thing about Twitter? Here are your answers:

@mikestenger: The people.

@Wheelze359: the fact that I have another way to meet and communicate with other people from around the world. I love it. 🙂

@jwitcraft:  The people I meet from here. 🙂

Anjanette Potter (via Facebook): It’s a chance to meet connect w/ people from areas you may not get to visit on a regular basis. #AdamsRib

@RecoveryPodcast: Being able to reach out to other people to connect & network like I wouldn’t be able to do in person in 20 years.

@steveplunkett: someone brought back IRC and made everyone use it #happybdaytwitter

@LindsayDianne: 24/7 support, like minded people, one on one connections with brands. 🙂

@ainsliehunter: great way to keep up with new ideas, content + friends in my busy life between work, family and online jobs

@MackCollier: Twitter = Social texting. I love how it allows me to have ‘real-time’ conversations with individuals or groups.

@ahockley: The ability to lurk and sometimes jump into others’ conversations can be of value when I can add something useful 🙂

@onreact_com: It’s concise.

Sarah Arrow (via Facebook): Great and varied conversations 🙂

@katzni: Ability to connect with people with similar interests that I never would have met elsewhere. A close 2nd would be that I’ve learned to be concise in my thoughts 🙂

@kyeli: Being simply, easily connected to my favorite people. The short, sweet, delightful conversations that spring up. (:

@PaceSmith: Connecting with people I care about. My friends live mainly on the Internet, and Twitter helps me feel connected and loved.

@andrewghayes: Spontaneity. Serendipity. You never know what you’ll find.

Your turn: Leave a comment telling us what do you love about twitter!

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