Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

I have lots of friends, followers and connections on various Social Networking sites. Too many? Well, I’ll let the Social Media gurus tell me that. I like keeping up with people. Seeing where they have been, what they done, seen, etc. I like hearing what people have learned, tried and failed at. To me, Social Media is a way to extend a group of friends/acquaintances far beyond my town, business or vacation trip locations, etc. I value my Twitter, Facebook and other peeps, except for “those people”. #fb

“Which people?” you ask.

Oh, you know, “those people”. The people that post that one topic, over and over again. It may be a great topic, like their business, political or religious beliefs, famous quotes from famous people, etc. One topic, posted by “those people,” over and over again.

We’ve all met “those people,” in real life, too. The person who only talks about 1 topic the entire time. You try to change the subject, but somehow, they find a way to bend the subject change back to the topic they were on, and it continues, for all time. Being passionate about something is great. It drives us to better ourselves, our families, and sometimes our planet. However, there is balance.

Balance. Not too far “this way,” or too far “that way”. Balance.

Getting back to my Social Networking connections. I can give people a few infractions of “Buy my stuff!” “Listen to my show!” or “Never sit with your back to the door. Abraham Lincoln”. I use Social Networking sites to promote my projects, as well as my friend’s projects, so I know I toe and cross the line at times, but I try to keep it balanced. Be yourself first, then express your passion, second.

I love to catch up with friends. They tell me how they are doing; their job, family, pets, almost winning the lottery, etc, etc, then they mention a new venture they are involved in. That’s great. A full picture approach. I’m always interested in the person. Sometimes mundane information about the child that put raisins up their nose, the dog that barks the Love Boat theme, the long overtime hours someone is working. I like it. That helps me connect with the person. I know them better now. A person sharing their life (even mundane) information, helps me connect on an emotional level. I care at that point. When I care, I let my guard down to listen completely to more. That “more” is their passion.

When someone walks up and asks you for money, you normally pull back. “I don’t know this person,” “What will they do with the money,” etc, are the things that cause us to be wary. Becoming emotionally connected (even reconnecting) makes us more interested in someone’s passion. When we emotionally connect, we now trust, then we listen and care, too.

I have blocked some Social Networking folks for the business posts, over and over again. Perhaps they don’t feel that their life (even the small segment they feel comfortable sharing with the Social Networking group) isn’t interesting. I have news for them – it is.

Your life matters, and is important and is interesting to me and others.

You, are not just your beliefs, business, or political thoughts. You are the day to day events in your life. The grumbling at traffic. The wandering to find where your car was parked. The dinner you created from “what’s in the cupboard”. The laughing so hard it hurt, after you realized that singing the songs from the commercials with your children might bother the neighbors. The good, the bad, and the ordinary, because what’s ordinary to you, may be a dream for someone else.

Blog You. Post You. Tweet You. You will see people start to connect with you on deeper levels that aren’t just about your business or beliefs, but about you.

Once they know you, they will gladly hear what else you have to say.


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201 twitter list.jpgAs individuals start the dividing their Twitter Following sections into lists, companies specialising in social media are going even deeper and one – SimplyZesty have decided to split up Twitter users by country starting with England and Ireland. Currently limited by the amount of users you can have in one list (500 at the minute) this isn’t going to be terribly useful until Twitter changes the rules.

Will they?

In principle – it would be useful to have companies methodically creating Twitter directories i.e. plunging into the millions of Twitter users and creating massive reference lists so you don’t have to.

However, will Twitter increase the number of people allowed on a single list? It has done quite well out of setting limits on things – characters in an update, to take an obvious example.

A list of say, 6 million people – perhaps the number of Twitterers in any given large country – would be too big to be useful for any individual user. Though, the information on Trending topics etc could be usefully split by location and thus might be of use to advertisers.

It seems SimplyZesty have found a way to automate adding people to lists, which you’d need – otherwise some phenomenal manhours would be involved in filing all of Twitter’s millions of users.

And for everyone who’s still got their profile location set to Tehran… or nowhere, they’d end up being wrongly listed.

A lot more of these stories coming soon I imagine: Twitter lists ain’t going away.

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Twitter lists eh? Setting those up is going to take hours isn’t it? Should I be that bothered?

194 twitter list.jpg

Yes you should be bothered. This is Twitter’s biggest update since the damn site launched and it should make the whole experience a lot better. A whole lot better.

How much better?

You may have noticed that there’s a lot of stuff going on Twitter and even the site’s biggest fans will admit that not all tweets are useful. And even if lots of them are useful, sometimes they get lost in the rapid fast-flowing torrent that you get if you follow more than 50 people. So, the Twitter reasoning goes, split the stream up into useful little lists and it all gets more manageable.

Of course if the respected technology journalist you put on your Technology Journalist list tweets about their lunch, you will still hear what they had for lunch, but you won’t see Stephen Fry’s lunch updates mixed in there. He’ll be on your Celebs list. You see. So: Twitter lists won’t make Twitter the perfect source for targeted up to date information but they will make it a better place.

In theory your Twitter feed could already be a carefully selected list, but in practise with so many interesting people – why the hell would you limit yourself to following 20 people. Not the point of Twitter.

So how many lists can I have?
Each account can create up to 20 lists, and each list can include up to 500 users. You can make your list public – in which case other people can use it as a useful resource or make it private, in which case you are less likely to risk upsetting people with your defintions of them.

You can of course group the people you follow in any combination you want and give it any name you want. You don’t even have to follow people to put them on your lists.

Twitter list faux-pas?

The obvious… be a little careful with the public lists. You know, ideally don’t make: “Annoying People I follow only out of sheer politeness” a public list. Even the “funny people” list could get a little contentious as friends and acquaintances start to wonder why you don’t find them funny.

Listiquette questions are already buzzing around the twittersphere:
Is anyone going to be upset if I add them to my twitter list “Things I would sleep on?” from rumorator
Oh. I see. I’m not on your “Funny” Twitter List. No, I’m not hurt. Do I look hurt? Am I holding this gun right? from angryczeck

So it makes the tweet stream easier to manage – any other uses?

1. Other people’s lists are great for browsing and finding out new people you are interested in
2. Embed a Twitter list into your website and provide a flow of focussed real-time information into your website. Use the Lists API: the Huffington Post already are.
3. You can keep tabs on a much greater number of people than you could previously handle

How do I go about setting up a list?

1. Log onto web Twitter.
2. Go to the Lists option on the home page and click Create New List
3. Name your new list and set it to public or private
4. Add people to your list, either by going to their profile and adding them to your list or by bulk adding from other people’s Following Lists.

If you want to use Twitter lists professionally consider a service like TLists (recommended on Twitter’s blog).

The problem is that most people use Twitter in multiple clients – say Tweetdeck or Hootsuite on their computer, and a whole range of different apps on their phones. To date only Seesmic has adopted lists, of course the others will follow, but the full usefulness of lists won’t be felt till you can get them across all the platforms you use Twitter on.

Wait till your Twitter client of preference adopts them: Tweetdeck, according to their blog are masterminding some update to incorporate lists. Surely smartphone twitter apps will follow too. Be sure to check your phone’s app updates.

How do I find good lists?

Look at the lists of the people on your lists (if that doesn’t make your head explode). Or check Listorious a directory of good twitter lists.

Parting tip: remember to take regular breaks and drink plenty of water. Twitter lists make Twitter easier in some ways – they also just pave the way to making Twitter even more vast and complicated than it already is…

“Exploring lists is dangerous. Now have dozens more people to follow and around 50 Twitter windows open. Oh oh.” Mikewhills http://bit.ly/3hZWAR

Okay, time to tweet this story. We’ll release a few Shiny lists shortly.

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In a post at the Viral Garden blog, Mack Collier discusses why so many companies struggle to launch and maintain active online communities. To find success, you’ll need more than a message board and good intentions, he says. Here’s some of his advice:

  • Communities grow and thrive when you offer members something of value. “[They] do not form around the idea of being monetized,” he says. “Want to make money off your community? Fine, but you can’t monetize something that doesn’t exist.”
  • They don’t materialize out of thin air. “One of the biggest myths about online community building is ‘if you build it, they will come,'” says Collier. He suggests reaching out to your target audience and explaining why they’ll benefit from participation.
  • They benefit from the enthusiastic support of key participants. Some members will take a natural lead—identify these evangelists and show your appreciation. “Empower them to promote your community to others,” he says. “Showcase their contributions. And above all else, say thank you.”

Don’t take anything for granted, and have a clear purpose. “[B]efore you start your online community-building effort,” advises Collier, “think about where you are, and where you want to be. Is the goal to make money, or is the goal to create a group of happy people?”

Source: Viral Garden. Click here for the full post.

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Twitter is killing blogging, according to an article by the editor of TechGuardian Charles Arthur. Blogs are withering off the face of the internet and it’s the fault of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, he claims.

His article follows up a New York Times story ‘Blogs falling in an empty forest‘ which flashed some statistics from a 2008 Technorati survey: only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the search engine tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That works out as 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned.

Arthur backs up the stats with some anecdotal evidence about dried-up blog feeds, as the tech web-logs he follows curl up and die.

Why? Because it’s easier to tweet, he thinks. Tweeting is shorter, and we are lazy.

It’s an opinion backed up by a quick twitterview conducted with popular London blogger: www.themanwhofellasleep.com now @themanwhofell – who has just called shots on his website and directs followers to his twitterfeed. Why is Twitter better?

They are very different beasts” he responded “- it’s like comparing texting with phone calls. Personally I like Twitter because I’m lazy.” – Fair enough.

So by way of explanation, I’ve pulled out photoshop out and done a few, errr, ‘illustrations’ of the 5 reasons Tweets are doing better than Blogs.

1. Easier to write

1. Easier to write

It’s 11.30pm, it’s been a hard day at work and your eyes hurt, do you really want to turn your laptop on and make yourself write two paragraphs of something witty and insightful? If you do, congratulations, you’re a great person, but wouldn’t it be easier just pick up your smartphone, open the twitter app and tweet out something nice and simple like… “It’s 11.30pm and my eyes hurt. Ow. I’m going to bed.” Yes. It would be easier. Initially people thought it was hard that tweets were short – “how can I fit everything I want to say into 140 characters?” – anyone who’s on Twitter will know that it’s worryingly easy.

2. Easier to Read

2. Easier to Read

Did I mention that tweets are only 140 characters? That means they are short and that means they are easier to read. Even when they are written in garbled txt tlk.

3. People Reply

3. People Reply

You do get comments on blogs and blog-followers etc, but people reply a lot more on twitter because the site is set up to be conversational. Blogs are a bit more like someone standing up and giving a speech for 10 minutes and then asking “any questions?” at the end. It’s nice to get replies, it’s like someone is listening to your ramblings. This is encouraging.

4. Everyones There

4. Everyone's There

Oprah, Shaq, NY Hudson River crash, wild fires in Australia, Iranian democracy fighters, the world is on Twitter. With Twitter, you’re in the cascading waterfall of information flow, but with a start-up amateur blog, unless you have a following from somewhere else, you begin in a quiet backwater and it’s not that easy for people to find you.

5. Less Personally Revealing

5. Less Personally Revealing

Not all blogs are personal, but a lot of them are, and for a blogger, baring your soul to a random audience every night can get wearing … and sometimes land you in hot water if people start to figure out who you are. Because Twitter is more conversational, and often about sharing links and thoughts, rather than being like a diary it takes less personal effort. And thanks to incidents like the Times revealing the identity of police blogger Nightjack, you can’t take it for granted that your anonymous insider-scoop blog will stay anonymous.



Win for Twitter? maybe. But I don’t think long-form blogging will die. People will still want to write things longer than 140 characters.

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