Archive for April, 2009

My blog has moved

Posted on April 22, 2009. Filed under: Where Work meets Life | Tags: , , |

moving-dayWell, this is both sad and happy news.  Only Connect, my first successful blog – in that I’ve actually managed to keep it up and it’s attracted a small following – is moving.

You’ll find me blogging about business communications and social media at my very own domain, www.wordspring.ca.  Things are taking off for me and my clients as we create visibility, credibility and relationships together using the interactive power of the Web.  It’s very exciting! The only sad part is leaving this place behind, like an apartment that I’ve outgrown.   I’ve made some very good memories here.

For those who care about the technical details, it’s still a WordPress blog, only now it’s incorporated with the latest version of my website.  The “page” function of WordPress is one of the things I like best.

So bookmark the new site – add it to your favourite feed reader, comment and recommend it.  I love hearing from my readers, and creating community online.  Here is the link again:

www.wordspring.ca

See you in the new place.

Catherine

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Twitter Cull is On…

Posted on April 10, 2009. Filed under: Where Work meets Life | Tags: , , , |

twitter-bird-deadOh, how this hurts.  I hate breaking up with people.

I am going through my “following” list on Twitter, and deleting one name after another. This involves reviewing my list, avatar after avatar, name after name and bio after bio, and assessing each for whether I want them to continue showing up in my stream or not.  I’m hoping to reduce my list from 1400-odd people I’m following to about half that.

When “Following” doesn’t equal “Friend”
I know that for many power Twitter users, 1400 people to follow seems a drop in the bucket.  Some people who want to build their following to huge numbers play the “following” game to great effect, picking up a hundred or so people each day, hoping to be followed back, then they trim back and add again, growing their list of followers in waves.   They can follow 200o people in less than a month, and as the number of followers they attract gets to about 1800, they can add still more people.   Twitter on “nutritional supplements” is how I think of it.   And if those people are chosen carefully, perhaps it can be a decent strategy for some.   While I love finding interesting new people to follow, this “forced growth” doesn’t seem like the strategy for me right now.

And I’m not “easy”, either
Autofollowing isn’t really doing the job for me, either.  Again, it’s not a strategy I dismiss entirely.  I like reciprocity as much as the next person.  But autofollowing does make me feel like an easy pushover for every marketing guru that comes along hoping to sell me something.  For the most part, it hasn’t enriched the quality of my Twitter experience.  It may have worked for Barack Obama, but even if he wrote his own tweets, I suspect his “people” monitored all the replies and direct messages he received.

Filters help, but can’t do all the work
I’ve got maybe 15% of the people I follow sorted into groups, which makes it easier to follow: local tweeps (for Victoria and Vancouver people) and Don’t Miss (for people both near and far that I’ve made a real connection with).  I could do more, but I feel like I have too many to sort! So I have decided that it’s time to simplify.

So over to my list I go, looking for familiar names and faces to hang onto.  Casually dismissing the spammers.  Agonising over “mom, runner, working from home, social media enthusiast” that I don’t recognize.  Is she using the service?  Is that enough in common to hang onto?  Am I dismissing a future friend or business partner?

Here’s how the cull works:

  • If we have exchanged friendly shout-outs and even confided to each other in direct messages, you’re in.
  • If you live in Victoria BC, you’re probably in.
  • If something about your bio makes me say “oh wait… maybe not this one”.  You’re in.  For now.
  • If you feed me wonderful content on a wonderful basis – news, links, terrific whitepapers and blog articles, you are in.
  • If you are Ashton or Demi… you make me laugh.  You’re in.

The rest of you – well, you can @wordspring me.  Ask me to follow back so we can send direct messages to each other, then give me a little bit of yourself.  It doesn’t have to be much, just 140 characters of  The Real You.  Not your product, not your boss, your publicist or your intern.  Just you.  And I will follow you to the ends of the earth.  Or until Twitter is bought up by Google and the love is gone.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )

Blogging – the “fresh goods” of your business

Posted on April 6, 2009. Filed under: Small business communications | Tags: , , |

eyesOne of my clients (a very worthy organization) has me blogging for them… and you can’t actually get to the page.  I have been blogging in the dark vacuum of space now for a couple of days.

I fully expect the problem to be fixed by the end of today because the right people have been alerted – but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen blogs buried in the clutter of a website.  Another client currently hides the company blog deep in the sub-menus of their website, and updates it very rarely, even though this client is bubbling over daily with great ideas.  What a waste of a wonderful resource!

The way I see it, when you are blogging for a business, or to gain support for a cause, or just to share your ideas, why would you hide it where no one can see it?  Why not have a section on the home page that gives visitors one-click access to your latest helpful hint?  How about putting it right on the navigation bar throughout the site?

Because a blog is designed to be updated on a regular basis,  it can add ongoing freshness to your online presence.  It brings the aroma of fresh-baked goods right onto your site.  That’s attractive – people will go there to see what is new, and they will stay longer if they find news, thoughts, ideas or interactions when they get there.  Hiding your blog in the depths of your site is like having a storefront, and hiding in the back room with a “ring bell for service” sign out front.

Go stand in the middle of your shop, and interact with the people who come in.  Serve them your fresh goods with pride.

On that same note,  I am currently in domain-hosting purgatory, waiting for my blog to be united with the rest of my website.  Once everything transfers over, you – dear reader – will be the first to know.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Twouble comes to my blog

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

OK, much as I love social media and blogging, I’m still learning how to do pretty basic things – like embed a video in a post. So if this doesn’t work, it’s probably my fault. If it does work, stick around for a funny take on Twitter. For what it’s worth, I think Twitter has evolved from the inane status updates they are talking about… somewhat.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Social Media Club – Higher Standards for a Growing Industry

Posted on April 1, 2009. Filed under: Social Media How-Tos, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

socialmediaclublogoLast night, I had the honour of being the speaker at the first meeting of the Social Media Club, Victoria Chapter.  I gave a short talk about how the Internet is really coming full circle, from collaborative groups on Usenets, through the static, brochure-type pages that every business put onto their websites in the rush to “go online”, and now back toward more open networks and interactivity.  Only with a price tag at the end of it, perhaps.  I hope people liked it – it’s easy enough to be the speaker when you helped organize the event!  Regardless, I didn’t start this post to toot my own horn.

I want to point out how useful and important it is to have a forum like Social Media Club for discussing strategies, tactics, “best practices”, smart solutions, slimy ones, product reviews, integration, aggregation, filtering and so on.

Go West, Young Marketer!
We’re at a juncture, it seems, in the social media “industry”.  The early adopters have cut a nice trail through the wilderness, and now the gold rush is on, with all the carpet-baggers, snake-oil salesmen, gurus, wide-eyed disciples and “best-kept secret” sellers jumping right in.    Or at least, that’s how the early adopters see many of the marketers that have appeared overnight on the major sites, especially Facebook and Twitter.

I’m a marketer, or a “connector” anyway, and my entry into this world was, frankly, because I followed the lead of other marketers.  In California, where Social Media Club started, the marketers were some of the first people to say “Hey, let’s meet and figure out some standards for how we work in helping our clients reach their customers using social media.”  They’ve been big advocates of the Social Media Club purpose.  And I am truly thankful, because the coder-ific early adopters are – to a certain extent – right.

LIONs and Tigers and Magpies?
Almost as soon as I landed in Twitter’s birdbath, I was asked if I wanted to “be a magpie” and sell 10% of my tweets (posts, or updates to the uninitiated) to people who want to pitch my followers.  Not long after that, I was told that I could get up to 20,000 “instant” followers by participating in some chain-letter-style Tweetergetter scheme,  if only I retweeted a certain little phrase.

For me, that crosses the boundary into unethical or ill-advised practice.  So does handing over your identity to a ghostwriting tweet – at least without disclosure that you are doing so.  But surely there are 100 wonderful, ethical ways to connect with people who want to buy stuff.  That’s why I’m excited about the Social Media Club.  I want a place to hash through these issues.  I want it to be local, as well as global.  I want the conversations to happen online and in person.   I want to learn, share, and connect.  And I want to take everything I learn and share it with business people, who are desperate to find better ways to listen to and serve their clients, more efficiently and cost-effectively than in traditional media.  (OK, the business people I want to work with are, anyway.  The rest won’t stay in business long anyway.)

So Kristie Wells and Chris Heuer, thank you for a great idea,  and for putting an excellent international framework together.  Rebecca Grant, thanks for being a terrific hostess and point-and-click facilitator.   Paul Holmes, thanks for grabbing my hand in this crazy crack-the-whip game of social media marketing.   Let’s all hold on tight and skate faster!

More Marketers Welcome
Oh, and if you are in communications, marketing, PR, social media, technology or just like this stuff, please join us in the David Strong building (room tba) the fourth Tuesday of each month.  We start promptly at 7 pm.  The coffee’s great.  The conversation even better.  And I really want the industry as a whole to get better, which means I don’t want to be the only marketer in the room.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...