SMM Countdown – Why LinkedIn Is Essential If You Want Business Or Work

I’m two days away from my social media workshop, and I’m spending this week talking about social media aspects. Instead of linking to my sticky post about the workshop, I’ll link to yesterday’s post where I asked how social are you ready for.

Today I’d like to talk a bit about LinkedIn. I realized in looking back that I’ve never talked about it all that much before, and I think it’s time to rectify that one. After all, I’m of the opinion that if you’re either someone who works for themselves, are looking for work, or already are working and hope to work for some time to come, that it’s essential for you to be on LinkedIn.

Why? Because LinkedIn is the place where true connections can be made with business people from around the world. It’s another opportunity to post something about your business, about your background, no matter what you do. It’s another opportunity for both advertising and networking. It’s another opportunity to talk to business people about topics local and international, talk to people within your industry or people who shares the same interests as you just like direct networking.

It didn’t use to be like that. In the beginning, it was just a place to try to get business links, but it wasn’t overly friendly an application. So I connected to a few people; then what? Then they added things like groups and applications and suddenly it was a more vibrant place.

For instance, something I do at least once a week, if not more often, is to go on LinkedIn and, in the area where I have 120 characters, mention something I’m doing or did earlier in the day. Those messages get out to people who either check in on you from time to time, or through the weekly email that goes out to every person on LinkedIn, but most specifically the people who you’re connected with have the opportunity to see what it is you’re doing. I also belong to a few groups, one for my local chamber of commerce, a couple for consultants in general, and the others having something to do with some of the business ventures I presently do. I have the opportunity to comment on what others have written, as well as create my own topics of discussion.

The best thing, though, are the connections. You can find local people you know and if you know their email address you can connect directly to them if they approve. If you don’t know their email addresses, or those of other people you might seek out for whatever reason, you see people in your network who might be connected to those people, and you can ask for an introduction, of sorts. For instance, according to the site, I have 237 direct connections, which means I have almost 22,000 people I can connect to in within reach via one person, and just under 7.5 million people I could potentially connect with if I branched out to try to meet more people. That’s phenomenal!

The other side of that, however, is that you need balance. That seems to be a theme of mine lately, so let me explain. One, you really only want to connect with people who you either know or who are in industries you’re in; at least initially. That’s because those are the people who will do you the most good. Trying to connect to everyone “just because” not only wastes your time, but if people you try to connect to visit your site and don’t see you connected to enough people who could potentially benefit them later on, they’re going to ignore your request. Like networking in person, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

And two, even though you can do some minor advertising, you have to watch that you don’t go to far. Not only will people on this site object to being sold to, and trust me they will call you out (I haven’t been called out because I know the game, but others have been lambasted and reported for doing it), but you can get kicked out by LinkedIn for doing it. Since this is business and not pleasure, and it’s the best one around, you don’t want that occurring either.

Of course there are other sites which say they’re all about business, and they probably are, but if you remember yesterday’s post (did you follow the link?), to be effective you shouldn’t overdo it because there’s just not enough time to do it all. Of course, if you’re on LinkedIn, you can hook up with me there; just let me know how I know you if we don’t know each other all that well.

No matter what, if you work in some capacity, you need to be on LinkedIn.

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How Social Are You Ready For?

How social are you really ready for? Whether you’re into social media for marketing or pleasure, you have to be careful when determining just what it is you want to do and how you want to do it. Social media can be overwhelming; if you don’t believe me, remember the first time you were in a live chat room, if you ever did that, and how difficult it was holding multiple conversations at once.

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I only did that a few times before I realized how overwhelming it could be. One night I kept up 16 conversations for 2 hours, and I think I rarely blinked; I couldn’t even get to the bathroom! It was fun, but I couldn’t get to anything else I wanted to do.

That’s how social media can be for some people when they overextend. Sometimes one can overextend with just one thing, such as spending hours upon hours on Twitter or Facebook or whatever social media option you’ve chosen. Sometimes you can overextend yourself by trying to get into too many things, then trying to find the time to do them all.

I see that when I read some people’s Twitter posts. Do you know there are over 100 different ways to track Twitter posts now, and that’s not including mobile phone apps? Who has the time to try all these things out? Definitely not me, but some of the younger set does because they seem to be hard to please; yeah, I said it! lol Not that it’s a bad thing, because out of those things they want come new platforms, but it’s a never-ending search for perfection that just isn’t going to happen.

Then there are people looking for new ways to meet people in places other than Twitter or Facebook. That’s not a bad thing except some people sign up for everything, and once they’re there they send requests to all the people they talk to in other places, trying to get them over there as well.

It’s the programs and websites that ask them to do this, but sometimes it’s overwhelming. I get probably 5 or 6 new requests a week for sites and applications I’ve never heard of from someone I may or may not know all that well. I also get repeat requests that I’m not sure the people know are being sent to me because I refuse to join.

The thing is that I’ve figured out my limits, and I’ve figured out my time and strategy for both business and personal use. I’m already pushing those limits while still trying to do other things. Introducing more things into my life that essentially are the same as what I already have isn’t in my best interest.

What do you feel is in your best interest when it comes to social media? Are you satisfied with what you’re doing now? Are you always on the lookout for a better way to do things? And do you feel stressed or satisfied with the amount of time you’re putting into your social media projects, which by the way includes blogging?

The Problem With Editing

As y’all know, I fancy myself as a writer. I think at this point I can qualify that statement with all the different types of things I write and have written. I thought about recounting all the things I write, but then decided it was easier to link you back to a previous post on how much I write. Actually, I’m writing more than what was in this post at the time, which is scary.

However, I wanted to talk about editing for a little bit. There’s always problems with editing, especially when you’re editing something that someone else wrote. Editing really comes down to the issue of what you like and are looking for versus what someone else has said. I find that it’s a fine line sometimes between editing to help someone fix typographical or grammatical errors and changing the entire tenor of what someone has written.

About six weeks ago I helped a friend edit her book. She’d had some other people look at it and I guess they’d made some suggestions here and there. I went at it with a critical eye, first looking for typing errors, then looking for grammatical errors, and finally what I consider errors of omission. Let’s take these in order, because they’re quite different.

Typing errors are more than just misspellings. A typographical error could mean things that are capitalized that shouldn’t be and vice versa. They could mean words that are spelled correctly but not the right word for the sentence, such as when we see people always getting wrong the concept of ‘there’, ‘they’re’, and ‘their’. This is actually the easiest thing to fix because most often the rules are cut and dry.

Grammatical errors are in a way the hardest edits to make. One of the issues with grammatical errors is that you have to take into account the fact that people speak differently depending on where they live, and of course where you live. For instance, most places I’ve lived in, when you went outside to throw the ball around, you were ‘playing catch.’ In downstate New York, and it appears areas of Pennsylvania, they call that ‘having a catch.’ Another example is that when I was younger we would ‘go to lunch’, and now people ‘do lunch’.

Those are small examples, but they become important when you need to make sure a person’s home voice is heard instead of the voice of the editor. There are words I often use when writing something that someone will say “I’d have used this word instead.” My general thought is that “You might have used that word, but I wrote it”, so I tend to stick to my guns. However, if someone used the same word four times in one sentence, suddenly it’s a different issue because the readability of the sentence is in question, whether the writer understood what he or she meant to say. There’s also the issue of writing for your audience to understand you, yet, because it’s how you talk, suddenly throwing in a word like ‘perspicacious’ because it hits your fancy, and now you’re sending people scrambling to look it up because you didn’t think of writing ‘using good judgment’ at the time. If it’s honest and how someone speaks, every once in awhile you just have to leave it alone.

Errors of omission are either difficult or hard, depending on the reader and the types of things they’re used to looking for. At my writer’s group, one of the participants is always looking for more detailed descriptions of people and what they look like, little touches in rooms to help her see it in her mind, and other thing such as what foods smelled like, did mouths water, what kind of sound a car made, etc. That kind of thing doesn’t always enter my mind. What I look for are things that don’t explain something that a writer has put into a story. For instance, a character’s name being mentioned without any explanation before or afterwards as to who that person is or was. Or a tale being told that’s missing so much detail that you wonder why it’s there in the first place.

Something I don’t do all that often on this blog is edit. When I write here, I’m kind of in my own Mozart zone; what I say is what I say, and when I’m done saying it I move on. I do look for typos, but as Sire has shown, every once in awhile I miss a word. This blog is freestyle, and I enjoy it for that reason. I edit much more thoroughly on both my business blog and my finance blog, because the audience for those blogs is much different than this one, and the topics always more serious. When I wrote my first book I edited it 7 times, and I asked a few other people to edit portions of it as well. Remember I helped Guy Kawasaki edit his book Reality Check back in 2008, one of many people he asked for help (talk about feeling honored!). That was one time I didn’t speed read.

Editing is a very important component of writing, but its importance devolves depending on what it is you’re doing and your audience. While no one wants to read a lot of stuff that’s missing simple words over and over so that it gets in the way of easy reading, studies have found that most of us will insert words here and there that are missing so that it’s not a big deal. If you’re writing your own blog, do the best you can with some effort, but don’t hurt yourself. If you’re writing for others, or hoping to make money, that’s a different story altogether. Remember the three critical areas of editing, whether it’s for yourself or for someone else.

Toolbar Overwhelm

I guess it was time for this post. I know I can’t be the only person who is suddenly hating all these toolbars popping up all over the place. It’s almost to the point where you can’t go to any site or blog without having either the upper or lower part of your screen filled with a toolbar that won’t go away. Heck, even my buddy Sire had one (he might still have one, but it’s not coming up anymore & I haven’t seen him talking about it any).

At this point probably everyone has seen either this picture to the right or something like it. These types of toolbars are bad enough because it seems like every piece of software wants to load someone’s toolbar onto your computer. I already have a search engine I used that I specifically loaded myself; why the heck would I want to keep adding other company’s toolbars onto my computer like this?

You go to a news site these days and there’s a toolbar at the top. You go to close it and sometimes it doesn’t close, just reduces itself to this little tab that seems to be saying to you “go on, you know you want to use me; I’ll just be sitting here until you’re ready”. If I closed your toolbar I’m not going to use it; take it away! And, for whatever reason, Firefox’s Adblock Plus can’t block them; what the hey? Guess I have to find some software or plugin that blocks pop-unders, which is kind of what these things are.

Why are most of these sites loading toolbars? It all comes down to money; it always does. Everyone is getting paid to add a toolbar in some fashion. Software companies, if it’s not their toolbar, are getting paid. Blogs that add toolbars get paid if someone actually uses it. I doubt there’s one truly altruistic company out there putting out toolbars. Heck, even Google’s toolbar, which I stopped using, was getting something out of the deal, mainly tracking people who used it, even on their own computers, so they could target advertising towards them based on their surfing habits. I wonder what kind of ads Google sends to those folks who only search for porn all day, since they don’t accept advertising from adult related sites.

Either way, I have to say that I didn’t purchase this 22″ widescreen monitor so someone could invade and fill up my space with a toolbar. Please, if you’re going to use one, at least allow us to be allowed to totally close it and get it out of the way.

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Topic Related Spam

Have you noticed that there’s a new and more sophisticated spam that’s out lately? It’s interesting because it’s actually related to the topic in some fashion, to the degree in which you just might leave it alone because it looks like the real thing.

Only it’s not the real thing. You know it for a couple of reasons. One, it’s mostly a one line item, although I did get one that actually had 3 lines strung together. Second, there’s the little squiggly at the end of the message, which I just figured out where it is. Here’s an example:

my grandfather is also a baby boomer and he is also a war veteran~`”

Here’s another one that was actually on a post of mine on writing articles:

sometimes article writing too much time and effort, specially when you are writing lots of stuff~–

Anyway, all of this stuff is spam, and you need to be leery of it. Sometimes it comes with a link in the message, though neither of these did. They do come with some interesting links as the home domain name, though. The first message came from a site that I assume sells USB related items. The second came from something related to male reproductive systems; hey, that’s actually what it said! lol

I’m also starting to see this on a lot of other blogs, and people are responding to this stuff. Yes, it’s tricky. Sometimes it even comes with an image. But let’s be realistic folks If the picture is of a pretty girl but the name says “David”, it’s fake. Also, if the email address and the domain name don’t quite match up, there’s the strong possibility that it’s fake as well. The first one above for the USB stuff was sent from an email address with “brownies” as the domain name. The reproductive system one was sent from something called “kimber.”

I put it out there in case y’all have been receiving the same sort of stuff and either letting it pass or wondering about it just a bit. It’s spam; kill it.

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