Too Many Facebook Friends?

Do you have too many Facebook friends? Rather, do you have so many that there are people you’re not sure why you’re following anymore, whether they’re updating or not?

I ask this because I’m often reading where people have said that they’re about to start whittling down their Facebook connections because of whatever reason they decide to pick on. It got me to thinking that maybe I should take a look at some of the more than 550 people I’m connected to there to see if I should be paring my list.

First, why would one want to pare their list? Lots of reasons; I’ll name some here. One, just too many people, such that you miss the stream of people you really care about. Two, you might not like some of the updates you see from certain people. Three, you may never even talk to or hear from someone you’re connected to. Four, they might not even be active on Facebook anymore; what’s the point? Five, you have some folks still connected you that you have now decided you don’t want seeing any of your updates anymore. I think that’s enough for my purposes right now.

I decided I was going to pare my list down as well; I certainly know there’s a lot of people on there that I added for some reason or another that maybe I don’t need to be connected to anymore. I went looking for something like what Twitter has to help me out; you know, Friend or Follow or maybe Twit Cleaner, but I couldn’t find a single thing. This meant that I would have to do it manually, looking at names, looking at their accounts, and decide that way instead.

You know what? That turns out to be way harder than I could have imagined. I didn’t want to just drop someone whose name I didn’t recognize because they might be subscribed to my Facebook business page (by the way, why aren’t YOU subscribed to my Facebook business page?) and that would be insulting to them. That and they might have connected with me because they’re friends of someone else I know better, and I don’t want to insult them either.

I looked up some names I didn’t know and saw that they were current on the site, and they weren’t putting out anything that was irritating me. I decided to leave them, just in case. I saw people whose pictures I recognized for some reason, even if I couldn’t ever remember seeing them saying anything in my stream or to me. And I actually found a few people who fit my criteria for deleting; nothing new on the site, few friends, etc.

That was kind of the problem; after almost 45 minutes (I’m surprised I stayed that long) I’d found only 3 people that I decided I no longer needed to be connected to. I think I’d only looked at 15 accounts; at more than 550 people, throwing out the at least 100 people I know very well, I realized that would be 30 hours worth of time that I’d never get back; no thank you.

I’m a lot more judgmental these days in who I’ll add to my Facebook account, but that won’t help me for my past connections. Actually, I have to admit that I was surprised that I didn’t see the names of a few people I know I’d connected with; did they up and drop me first or leave Facebook without saying anything? One of those people was supposed to be my college roommate my junior year, then he ended up not coming back. He reached out to be first, then totally disappeared; his name no longer even appears on Facebook, which I’d thought people had said was hard to do.

No matter. I’m sticking with the people I’m connected to, whether they care or not. However, if anyone finds a program that works like the two I mentioned works with Twitter, please let me know and I might revisit it. Right now, too much work. 🙂

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Check Your Blog Commenting System

More than a year ago I wrote a post titled Is Your Comment Process In Error? In that post, I talked about two things that are irksome in regards to commenting on other people’s blogs. One of those things was when people write posts and immediately close comments. The other point is still a gripe I have, that being people who have comments open, you leave a comment, and then you never hear back from those folks.

via Flickr

Today I’m only talking about the second one because it’s hit me that even after more than a year that there are still a lot of people who aren’t recognizing that people aren’t seeing that their comments are being responded to. This isn’t a problem like what we deal with on systems like Blogspot,, Typepad or many other blog services which some of you know I absolutely hate. In this case, folks don’t have anything extra on their blog such as a checkbox where we can decide if we want return messages, and the blog owners, who are being good by responding to comments, don’t know that no one is seeing those comments, hence they’ll never get any return comments from those folks.

I made an assumption that some people would add the threaded comments plugin if they had a WordPress blog, but I realized that there’s no way for me to know. I also thought about it and wondered what people that didn’t use WordPress (who could that be?) wouldn’t have access to the plugin. Finally I said “Heck, if people don’t know people aren’t getting responses, then why would they even think about it at all?”

Therefore, this is a brief educational pause to all of you that have noticed that you never, and I mean ever, get anyone to return to your post if they’ve left a comment you haven’t responded to. There’s actually one things you should be paying attention to, one thing you need to do, and I’m going to help you out right now.

The first is to ask yourself if you get email notification that someone has written a comment on your blog. If the only time you know there’s a comment is when someone writes you to tell you they left one, or you have to go to your blog and that’s when you see comments, then your comments probably aren’t working.

The second is if you’re unsure if it’s working or not, then you need to do a test. Even though I knew it was working on all my blogs, I still did a test with the last 3 blogs just to make sure. This is really simple. What you do is go onto your blog site and write a short comment on one of your posts. Sign in using a different email address than what’s associated with the site; you don’t have to put in a url because you’ll be trashing the comment pretty quickly.

You leave a comment, then check your email to see if you got notification of the comment. Whether you do or not, go into your admin panel, look at your own comment, and reply to it. You don’t have to write a lot; just write something like “test” on your original comment and your reply. Then check your email once more to see if you’ve received a response. If not, then you know that no one else has been receiving your replies either.

At that point you can either check all of your settings to see if you’ve missed something, add the plugin I’ve recommended above, or find something else that can help you monitor comments while giving people the option of receiving comments or not. This is a very proactive way of making sure people are getting your replies, and that helps build community. After all, people love knowing you cared about their comments, and if you’ve been doing that but they don’t know, it’s the same as not doing it at all.

And there you go; another blogging tip from Mitch! 😉

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Does Blog Traffic Drop Over The Christmas Holiday?

Most years I find that the number of blog posts that other bloggers put out goes down during the Christmas holiday. I figure that’s because many of them are traveling or have guests showing up, and thus they have other things to do. However, I’ve also wondered if people have a belief that there will be less traffic to their blogs during the holiday because they themselves aren’t online as much.

Or are they? I decided to do a little research project because, as you know, I get curious sometimes. I wondered if the traffic on my blog dropped during Christmas or not. So I went into Google Analytics to take a look back at things.

I ran into an immediate problem. I noticed that indeed my traffic drastically dropped, but the last two years Christmas has been on a Friday and Saturday, when blog traffic traditionally drops. So, was it Christmas or the weekend that caused the drop?

Luckily, I started this blog in December 2007 (oh yeah, its 4 year anniversary was on the 12th; missed it!), which means I had December 2008, when Christmas was on a Thursday, to look at. And it seems that even though I wasn’t a world breaker with traffic back then, I had more traffic on Christmas Day that week than any other day; interesting I must say.

But I didn’t let it go with just this blog. I have my business blog, which I started in 2005, that I could go back to. I could only go back so far since the original host had crashed and I had to locate and re-post lots of articles, but I could still go back to Christmas 2006, 2007 and 2008. Throwing out 2006 because I wasn’t writing much back then, I thought I could see traffic numbers for 2007 and 2008.

Turns out I hadn’t added Analytics in 2007, so I had to start with 2008. And my traffic was abysmal across the board back then, so the numbers are dismally consistent. The same goes for 2009, but 2010, strangely enough, shows that even though Christmas was on a Saturday, and my traffic wasn’t as high then as it is now, it showed up upswing from the previous couple of days.

My main point is that the drop in blog traffic might not have to do with the holiday at all. It might have to do with a lack of new content, or it might have to do with lousy content. As I look back on this blog in 2008 and 2009 I didn’t have a post on Christmas Day, and last year my post was only videos of the Muppets Christmas special with John Denver from many years ago. So, was it my fault that I didn’t have much traffic on Christmas Day?

Why not take a shot? This year I’m going to have a regular post showing up on Christmas Day. Remember folks, you can always write your posts ahead of time and schedule it to show up whenever you want it to. Why not see if it’s the post instead of the holiday. That is, if you care. I have to experiment; it wouldn’t be me not to do it, right? I’ll follow up in a week or so after the holiday to see how it all went. Wish me luck!

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Disappointed By Your Videos Viewer Count?

Early this past year I did my first video and popped it up on YouTube, then onto this blog. It was very short and just an introduction, and I knew I had to get better at it. To date I think I’ve done 9 videos, and I think my last one wasn’t all that bad, even if it wasn’t totally for the masses.

However, I have to say that I was kind of shocked when I looked at the numbers of people YouTube said had seen it. Actually, for the longest while it showed only one person had seen it, and I was surprised by that because a number of people had told me they had looked at it. Today it’s up to 4 views, which is still way down. Then I looked at the numbers for my other videos and only one of them seems to have kind of popped. What’s strange is that another video of mine only shows 4 views, yet I know more people than that viewed it because I put it up on Facebook and it was probably one of the most commented on posts I’ve ever had, if not number one.

Then I started to realize something. If you post your video anywhere else YouTube can’t count it. I started doing some research about it and it seems to be true based on a number of people writing about it. Even Google, in its own subversive way, indicates that those numbers won’t show.

Well what the hey? How are we supposed to know how effective our videos are if we can’t get an accurate count? Are we supposed to drive everyone to YouTube instead of our own sites just so we can find out how many people are really viewing our submissions?

Although I’d already been thinking about this for a couple of weeks, it was a post on Adrienne Smith’s site titled How To Get More Views On Your YouTube Videos that got me to think about writing on the topic. I asked a question about the post, where she’s promoting a guy named Paul Wolfe that’s put together something telling us how to get more visitors to our YouTube site. Her response to me was that getting people to your YouTube page could help get more visitors to your blog or website.

Love Adrienne but frankly, seeing the numbers I do, I’m not sure that’s going to occur any time soon. To date I have 13 subscribers to my page, and to be truthful I didn’t learn until the beginning of November that one could subscribe to a YouTube page; shows how little I’ve paid attention to the video aspects of social media other than one’s webpage. I’m not sure how many of those people have turned around and visited any of my blogs, and to be truthful I’m not realizing that I’ve missed out because I’ve never given the URL on any of my videos to this point, and seeing I’ve done videos for 3 different sites that’s a major thing to overlook.

Now that makes 2 questions I have no answers to; how many people have visited my site(s) because they’ve seen a video and how many people are watching my videos when I post them elsewhere. Man, I hate not knowing stuff like this, but there seems to be no way around it.

Do I decide to stop doing videos then? No, that’s not the answer. Do I stop posting videos on my blogs? No, I don’t think that’s the answer either. I think if one wishes to get some kind of idea on how a video might have performed one has to look at other analytics. In this case I went to Google Analytics to take a look at this post on my business blog celebrating Post #900 there.

I only wrote 2 paragraphs on that post and then popped in the video. According to Analytics, people have spent an average of 4 minutes and 54 seconds on that page. I know almost no one needs that long to read 2 paragraphs, so this tells me that there had to be a good number of people watching the video, based on the number of people that actually visited based on those same analytics. The video is just over twice as long as the time on that post; no, I’m not about to dig deeper. lol

This is one of those times where the numbers one gets aren’t even close to accurate, but you have to be prepared to push past it. If I didn’t have other ways of checking my statistics, I’d think no one cares about my videos and would stop making them. Course, it’s not like I’m getting Bieber numbers, but maybe one day… 😎

And I wish I could figure out how to get YouTube to stop on a picture without my having that goofy expression on my face all the time!

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Not Following Opposing Views; Good Or Bad?

I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately. I tend to have certain criteria that I employ when I’m deciding who I’m going to follow on Twitter or on Facebook. I wrote a little bit about it when I posted an article titled Why I Don’t Want To Follow Some Twitter Folks some time ago. I didn’t address some other things, though I easily could, and I may mention them as I write this post.

by Ben Jordan via Flickr

See, what I recognize is that I refuse to follow anyone whose views I pretty much know I’m not going to support. So, being liberal, I don’t follow anyone I already know is conservative or Republican because they’ve put it in their profile. I also go back through a bunch of messages before I add anyone on both Twitter or Facebook, and if I see that they support a different political view than mine, I won’t even bother.

The same kind of thing goes for religion for the most part. If I see someone always quoting Bible verses or other religious quotes, or talking about their religion in some way all the time, I’m not following. I just don’t want to hear it. In this case I do have some friends who consider religion an important part of their lives, so that’s somewhat different. I can say that because I think I only have one friend that’s a Republican (I have 2 others who’s registered as Republicans, but they’re really not).

There’s always this 800-pound gorilla in the room that says if we can’t talk about our differences then we’ll never come together to get things done. I believe that can be true in many circumstances, but I think the past almost 3 years have proven that it’s not going to work anymore when it comes to politics. Let’s face it; the Republicans have shot down everything President Obama has put forward with the only intention to get him out of office in 2012. They would rather hurt everyone in America so they can call him a failed president; this isn’t just my opinion, as I could find quotes from some prominent Republican leaders to prove the point.

Government has always been about negotiation; almost no one got entirely what they wanted, but we got things passed without this much animosity. Now, with all the animosity, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are just some things people can’t talk about, and if that’s the case then I’m not the one who’s going to get into a shouting match with anyone. I’m the guy who wrote a post on de-stressing one’s life after all. There’s civil debate, and then there’s ranting and ignorance that I’m just not going to deal with. Yeah, I’m going to share some ignorance, stunned that this is in, of all places, Boston:

I’ve reached this point in my life where I believe in two separate things, and I’m not necessarily happy about it. Those two separate things, which actually blends into one, are that there are communications that are important enough to have, even if it breeds controversy, in a working environment, while in one’s personal life they should decide what level of peace they’d like in their life.

As someone who does leadership training I tend to believe that people need to learn how to communicate with each other at work, even having opposing views, because work is about the company and not individuals. That and I do have that book to the left side on leadership that I wrote after all.

But when it comes to your own time and your own peace of mind… well, let’s just say that I avoid people like in that video at all costs because there will never be a civil discussion with anyone who can’t accept any real facts. It’s kind of like the debate between favorite music, only much more vicious.

Still, I’m going to put it out here as a question or two. Do you find yourself hanging more with people you agree with? Do you try to bring peace into your life or find yourself always arguing with people because you enjoy it or feel it’s necessary? And are your criteria lax or tight when it comes to who you’ll follow in social media?

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