Why I’ve Never FF’d On Twitter

If you’re on Twitter for any significant time, you know about FF, or Follow Friday. It wasn’t something that existed when I first joined Twitter, but months later it started up. People saw it as a way to help highlight people they follow, but it also promoted themselves because it was an excuse to put out a lot of posts without really saying anything.

I have to say that it’s nice being recognized on Fridays by a lot of people. However, at this point it’s lost its effectiveness. I have some people I’m connected to that do the FF thing every single day, forgetting it was originally only for Fridays. I have some people I really don’t know who do it all the time, and some of those folks aren’t even following me. And what also happens is that people will see their name on one of these lists, and they forward it as their own FF, and now you’re getting messages with your name on the same list over and over.

I never got into participating in the FF when it started. At first I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t a part of it. In retrospect, I think I saw what was coming and I didn’t want to start it and then have to decide it was time to stop.

I also think that it’s a strange thing to recommend that someone follow another person on Twitter without those people actually saying something that’s worth following. Whereas I think it’s nice that some people will send out my Twitter handle as someone to follow, the truth of the matter is that I don’t think I’m putting out ground breaking tweets that really deserve the kudos. I mean, all my blog posts go out, and I’ll share news links of stories that I like. And every once in awhile I will retweet blog posts that I like.

Ground breaking? Nope, not me. And not many people either. For instance, just what has Charlie Sheen said that deserves over 2 million people suddenly following him on Twitter? How are some of these individuals ending up with more followers than news services, which really do put out some pretty good information?

There are some thought leaders worth following, none of which I’m going to mention here because everyone has their own thought leaders that they like. I only follow a few of them, and only one of those people follows me. And I’m okay with that because in this case I want to be aware of what they’re saying enough to not worry that they may never engage me on Twitter. Strangely enough, every one of them has engaged me at least once on their blogs, so it’s all good.

Think about this concept of FF to see if it’s really in your best interest, or in the best interest of the people you’re recommending. Instead of a blanket FF, why not recommend one person at a time that you like and say why? Trust me, that will go a long way, and be much better, because it will stand out and really look more like a personal recommendation from you to your friends and followers. Of course, still check out everyone to see if what they have to offer works for you.

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Hyperbole And A Half

What the heck does that mean? I have absolutely no idea. Luckily, I don’t have to have any idea. I just have to highlight this new blog I’ve discovered through someone on Twitter, and has jumped into my top 5 favorite blogs of all time.

Of course it’s called Hyperbole And A Half, and I’m sorry to say that looking at the About page doesn’t tell us anything new. But it doesn’t have to because it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in, well, probably years on a blog.

What makes it so funny? We start with this post titled Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts. The blog is a mixture of macabre funny story and pictures drawn by the author. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet except to know that it’s produced by a female, and I think she’s married.

It doesn’t matter; it’s funny as sin! I was laughing out loud, and brought tears to my eyes. The images are so great and flow with the story perfectly. The posts are long, but mainly because of the images; I was going to print it out for my wife and it would have been 24 pages long; that wasn’t happening. So I popped the link on her computer and I could hear her laughing pretty early into the story, as she’s not a speed reader, even though the images help move things along.

This lady has violated everything I said I didn’t like with Blogger blogs. She has it ranked well because of, well, her instead of Google. The post I’m highlighting above has more than 2,000 comments; are you kidding me? Almost all of her posts have more than 1,000 comments. And so far, they’ve all been funny, and that’s enough for me. I don’t know if any of them are true or not; I figure the latest one about Wolves probably isn’t true, but the dog story… that sounds about right.

She’s definitely an artist, and she has a “store” page where she shows a couple of her items, then has a link to her actual sales page where, if you hover over any of the images, they kind of come to life; try it out. I’d never heard of Zazzle, but it looks like a neat way to sell your stuff.

Trust me; go check out this story, and try to tell me you didn’t laugh out loud; if you didn’t, you’re not a dog person.

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Are You Ready For “Controversial”?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post based off a blog post I read where the person was talking about the concept of “high quality content” without actually explaining what it was, a pet peeve of mine. Well, this one isn’t quite a pet peeve, but it’s something that, once again, I see recommended often, and I think it’s a horrible recommendation.


by Enokson

That recommendation, as you have already guessed by the title, is to write controversial posts. Though I hate that as a recommendation, the truth is that I’ve written a couple of those in my day on this blog. I wrote a random thoughts post where I touched upon crime, hate, physical abuse and President Obama, among other things. I wrote a post where I said President Obama called Rush Limbaugh a racist (he didn’t, as I explained in the post). I’ve gone after writing groups like Helium, busted on a guy because he saw himself as better than everyone else and got called on it, and I’ve tackled the subject of health care a couple of times.

Still, it’s not always the best way for everyone to go. Controversy doesn’t always get the desired effect you think it might, and sometimes you just might be unleashing the demons from Pandora’s Box and not have the ability to get them back under control again. That plus you risk being labeled if you don’t get your message right the first time out and could end up with a mess like our friend Rummuser ran into, for which he wrote apology for after the fact, but possibly still lost a reader in the process.

Controversy obviously sells; look at what it’s done for Charlie Sheen and all the Twitter followers, over a million in 24 hours. But it can also take away. For instance, there’s a guy whose name I forget that used to be big on the blogosphere and even stopped by here to comment every once in awhile. His blog was very controversial, highlighted by his video posts going after this person and that person, using lots of colorful language. It was all fun and games until he suddenly started losing contracts because some of his clients discovered his blog, didn’t quite like his style, and decided to stop doing business with him. We’re talking six figure contracts suddenly drying up, and he immediately stopped blogging and removed every single video he’d produced.

Then there was a guy who supposedly built his blog on the backs of top bloggers by bashing every single one of them as harshly as he could. His blog grew greatly, and Darren Rowse, one of the people he attacked, grudgingly admitted it was an interesting strategy of success. Then one day the guy stopped, and when Darren was able to reach him to find out why, the guy said that he had hoped to get business from his blog by being seen as an expert in a particular area, yet all anyone could see was him as the angry blogger and no one wanted to work with him. So again, he shut down his blog in hopes of reinventing himself once time passed.

Even I had a brief encounter via a post on my business blog where someone thought I was writing directly about her, complained to her manager, who contacted someone I was contracted with to do work, who then called me and asked me if I’d change it. I said absolutely not, then asked him if he’d read it, to which he replied no. Then I read him the first two paragraphs and he said it wasn’t bad, and was actually true and positive, yet still asked me if I could be more circumspect when I wrote blog posts while we were actively working with a client. I told him that if it ever happened again he needed to go read the post before calling me about it because many of my posts I write in advance, and it’s not my problem if one person thinks it’s about them in that regard.

I’ve always been ready to back up my position on something I have to say. I also say my piece in non-threatening ways; I choose my words carefully, even when I’m mad. I’ve had people take something I said in the wrong way, and I’m ready to defend that as well. I don’t head lightly into controversy, and it’s not the thrust of this blog. I’d never want to make it the thrust of this blog. But I won’t step away from something if it irks me.

Still, I’d never recommend that someone be controversial just for the sake of being that way. If you have something to say, something that’s really bothering you, then by all means share it, get it off your chest like I did with my writing post and video, and move on. Otherwise, don’t make controversy your norm; you might not like how it all turns out.

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Twitter Mix Of Sociability And Business

Tuesday night I found myself on a Twitter chat that I’d never participated in before. The hashtag for the chat is #SMmanners, and basically they talk about how people interact with each other through social media.


Social Networking
by Ron Magnes

One of the things we talked about was how people decide who to follow and if they participate in trying to be sociable with others. It seems I was a big hit when I stated that I only follow people who show that they will talk to others every once in awhile. I also stated that if you reach out to someone here and there and they don’t respond, not only are they missing a great opportunity to make a positive impact but I tend to drop those people after a couple of attempts and move on with life. I say I guess I made an impact because that one hour session ended up giving me 20 more people who decided to follow me regularly on Twitter.

Y’all have seen me talk about the need to talk to people on Twitter because true social media isn’t a one way street. There hasn’t been one person who’s commented on this blog and said they love following people who only post links, quotations, or retweets all the time. No one pays any attention to those people after awhile because they’re not really offering them anything new. No one pays any attention to someone whose only activity on Twitter is to post sales messages.

One of the reasons we have blogs is to get our points of view out. We hope that sometimes we’ll get people to comment on what we have to say, and if we’re smart we respond to people who stop by and take the time to comment. It’s known as courtesy, but it’s also the point of social media.

Of course, there’s the influence factor of it all as well. No matter what I write on a blog, if someone stops by and reads what I have to say, whether they agree or not, I’ve affected some kind of influence on the reader. If the person comments, it means my influence was stronger enough to elicit a response. If I comment back I have gained just a bit more influence, whether I’m in agreement with the commenter or not. Of course positive influence always works best long term, but many people who recommend that you be controversial in your posts have found that affecting people negatively can sometimes boost your ratings as well.

How does all of this affect your business? You want people to get to know you. If all you do is put out, put out, and put out, and you don’t respond to people who reach out to you, you’re not going to get any business if that’s your ultimate goal. There are multiple ways to reach people, but you have to be willing to give them something back if they respond. That’s the true essence of social media.

And that’s part of what I’ll be telling a group of people next Monday night at a presentation I’m doing for a local library on the business of social media. Yup, I’m staying busy. 🙂
 

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Coming To Grips With “It Just Doesn’t Work Anymore”

I’ve had this file for, well, 9 years now. It was a package called All Icons, and that’s just what it was. No matter what computer I had it on, if I wanted to change the icon of programs to something cool or silly, I could direct myself to that folder, go through a lot of categories, pick what I wanted and that was that. It had science fiction, cartoons, music, sports, and tons of other things; very neat indeed.


by Amanda Tetrault

Except it turned out not to be compatible with Vista, and it’s not compatible with Windows 7 either. I was holding onto the folder because there were so many things in there. I learned there was a program I could have used to convert them to something that could be used, but I’d have to do each one individually. Thousands of icon files individually; nope, wasn’t going there.

So, I finally dumped it; sent it to the recycle bin. And that got me thinking about how we all find things we like, use them a lot, then one day, not by our own hands, we learn that we can’t use those things anymore. Someone, most notably Microsoft I have to say, has taken it from us and forced us to go elsewhere for that process; weasels!

I’ve had programs that helped me fix other people’s computers, files that helped me edit images, and files that let me download other stuff suddenly go “Captain Dunsel” (in Star Trek, the term is used to describe a part serving no useful purpose) on me. Frankly, the first time it happened was back in the early 90’s when I had a program called IBM Writing Assistant that was my first writing program that suddenly didn’t work when I upgraded to Windows 3.1. That irked me because I’d also had this really cool football program that worked great with my double floppy system (man, talk about going way back) that I could no longer play either; sigh…

Right now I’m going through the sad process of thinking that the time might be nigh for Google Desktop. One of my most popular posts was telling people how to index Google Desktop with Thunderbird, Mozilla’s great mail client. However, seems that only worked on XP. It doesn’t work on Vista or Windows 7, even if one upgraded to the Desktop 64-bit version, since the old version wasn’t compatible with Vista. I’ve gone through a major series of tricks, and will probably try a couple more things, but if it doesn’t end up working to the point where I can search my email, I’ll probably uninstall it and just use Windows Search, which finds everything else on my computer just fine. And I think Google is going to end up discontinuing it anyway because the rumor is they’re no longer partnering with Mozilla

Well, I talked earlier in the year about decluttering my online life; guess it’s time to declutter my computer as well, which supposedly has more than 670,000 files on it; not by the end of the week it won’t. Obsolescence can’t rule my life anymore.

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