Daily Archives: December 19, 2013

How I Attracted 1329 Followers on Twitter


 

The other day, a friend introduced me to a copywriter interested in content strategy. He paid for my sidecar; I gave him some encouragement.

Later he emailed and said that he noticed that I tweet a lot and have a lot of followers. Did I have any advice on how to build an audience?

Simple question, but It took me seven days to answer — and not just because part of me wants to explain that 1300 followers is no big whoop.

Mostly because while I have a Twitter philosophy, it’s often vague, and I definitely don’t have a formula.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Here’s what I told him

• Tweet about stuff you’re interested in. Be interesting as you talk about your interests.

• Follow people who interest you, for whatever reason, and don’t expect them to follow back. Some will. Many won’t. Don’t assume it means anything.

Converse! Tweet directly at and respond to people; don’t expect that they’ll respond to you.

• Spread the love. Retweet. Share interesting links. Fave things.

• Don’t expect quick results. I sort of know how I ended up with 1300+ followers, but I have no idea how to get to 13,000, or even how I’d quickly add another 1300. And while I can’t help but notice the number, and enviously compare it to other Twitterites, it doesn’t really matter.

• There’s no one you have to follow. There’s no clique you have to follow. I follow a blend of web professionals (especially content and UX focused), film critics, culture commentators, people I got to know on social media before Twitter, Seattleites, and a few famous people and joke accounts.I tinker with the portfolio of people I follow every few months, trying to keep the number under 400.

• Don’t be afraid to unfollow people. The only reason you need is that you don’t find them interesting. Expect that people will unfollow you, and that most of the time, it’s not personal. (And when it’s personal, who cares?)

• Don’t crosspost the same stuff to Twitter and Facebook. Don’t just slap the same post into both slots. They’re two different audiences. Respect that. Personally, I use Facebook mostly for family and people I know offline; on Twitter, a few real-world friends follow me, but the audience is mostly people I know through Twitter. (And about 7 times larger.)

• Decide what your Twitter stream is going to be. Put a strategy behind it. Want to do be a major link sharer? Groovy. Want to make it all about your personal life? Awesome. Want to share the occasional personal item but focus on professional stuff? That works. (I am by nature a dilettante, so I’m probably never going to appeal to people who want me to tweet about any one topic 90% of the time.)

• See how your plan is working out for you. Change it up when necessary.

Twitter

Twitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

• Write as well as you can for the format. It’s a casual communications channel, but that doesn’t mean sloppy. I don’t sweat over every character in every tweet, but clarity’s a good thing.

• You don’t have to tweet every notion that crosses your mind. You also don’t have to censor yourself too much.

• Evolve your writing style. Not necessarily in an I’ve-crunched-my-follower-numbers sort of way, but the way everyone does over time.

• Don’t pay much attention to people who tell you you’re tweeting wrong. They decided to follow you, and they can decide to unfollow you. Let some of them drift away.

• Block and report spammers. Keeps things a little nicer for all of us.

After all that, though, I have to confess: I have no idea why anyone follows me. I don’t mean that I’m unworthy of being followed, but long ago I decided I was mostly going to tweet for me. That means that followers get a weird collection of content links, maxims, parenting thoughts, pop culture stuff, trivia stuff,and a hint of self promotion.

It’s nice to find that 1300 other people have decided to share that wavelength, for however long they care to do so.

View story at Medium.com

 

 

 

The Power of Pinterest to Promote Your Business


 

With over twenty eight million visits a day, Pinterest is now ranked as the forty-eighth most visited website in the world. No wonder it’s become a social media marketing darling.

What is Pinterest? Think Twitter for images. Pinterest is a virtual pin-board of images from across the web curated entirely by its users. Pinterest enables its users to share their pin-boards, comprised of photos, drawings, and sketches from individuals and big brands alike. Users can show their love for Pins (photos) by Liking them, and using the “Pin It” button to save pins to their own pin boards. It’s sort of like bookmarking the pins you like.

English: Red Pinterest logo

English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to see how brands are using Pinterest, and get some inspiration for your own brand at the same time, check out Moleskine and Lowes. Mashable recently published an article that lists Pinterest brands with the most followers, most comments, most Likes, and most re-pins.


Ramp is a full service agency making smart, focused marketing easy for business owners. Founded by @shelleymayer http://www.ramped.ca

 

 

Written by

Ramp is a full service agency making smart, focused marketing easy for business owners. Founded by @shelleymayer

 

 

 

Web sites are like restaurants


It’s all about the hospitality

 

If you have a bad experience at a restaurant, do you go back?

No. Not unless they have something on the menu that you can’t get anywhere else.


The term “user experience” has only been applied professionally to Web sites for maybe the last decade. It had other names before that, like “human factors” or “human computer interaction”, but it wasn’t a primary ingredient for success.

How do you explain the value of the user experience to someone not innately familiar with the term? Web sites are like restaurants.

Everyone has eaten in a restaurant, so everyone can form an opinion of that restaurant, and that opinion usually dictates whether or not they will go back. If the experience is stellar, they will tell their friends to try it too. If the experience is terrible, they will advise their friends to avoid it.

Sound familiar? If you are a Web professional, you know this is how Web sites organically gain visitors. Or lose them.

Michigan State University School of Hospitalit...

Michigan State University School of Hospitality Business (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The restaurant industry has a term for this: hospitality. People go to school to learn how to do it well.

hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

If you run a Web site, you want visitors to your site. Just like if you ran a restaurant.

These visitors have come for something you are serving. Just like a Web site.

You don’t know their names, and you don’t know their expectations. They may look at your home page and leave. Just like people who look at a posted menu and choose to dine elsewhere.

If you are lucky enough to have them stick around, you had better make sure their experience is delightful, otherwise they won’t come back. And they certainly won’t tell their friends about you, either.

See what I did there? Can you even tell if I’m talking about a restaurant or a Web site?


Let’s use the fundamental principles of the hospitality industry to examine what we are doing right or wrong when it comes to designing a Web site experience. As you’ll see in subsequent stories, it’s easy to find analogies between the two.

If you find this approach intriguing, click the Recommend button below so that others can discover it too.

 

 

Written by

Web professional since 1994, M.S. Engineering and an M.B.A., PokéDad, and Scion FR-S aficionado.

 

 

 

Crazy is as crazy does.


Why you can never plan for a Social Media Crisis.

 

If you work in Social Media and you’ve never dealt with a crisis of any scale, start praying to Steve Jobs you never have to.

Invariably one will rear its head at 3am, on a weekend, when you’re hungover or unwell, on leave (or when the entire senior management is) or when the only device you’re near is a smartphone (which if you’ve ever managed a crisis on, you’ll know is good for hitting the ban button… and that’s about it). If you’re really lucky you’ll strike one when the stars are aligned, and all of the above is occurring.

In a previous lifetime, I worked for a big youth travel company. In 2 years with them I contended with volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, riots, fires, tornados, death (sadly), a crash… and my personal ‘favourite’, getting a Facebook-approved campaign shut down when they changed their promo guidelines midway through. Restarting voting 3 times was awesome (bet those individuals’ friends loved being spammed not once, not twice, but thrice!). So was rebuilding the app out of the Facebook environment and 4am conference calls with developers. (A few things I learned from that campaign… 1. Never trust Facebook when they say something’s approved. 2. Always ask when medication was last taken if someone suggests a voting mechanic for your next campaign. And 3. You can still make the Facebook Studio gallery of awesome campaigns even when they shut you down!).

I also help look after a community of grown woman who like a particular boy band. I’ve seen what hormones can do. Throw thousands of women and the odd guy together and sometimes it’s just not pretty.

So here’s where I debunk the greatest myth around Social Media of all time. Take particular note.

You don’t need a plan when a crisis happens. No, really.

Sure, you need a vague idea. Like how to get in touch with your CEO when they’re snuggled up in bed with their tartan slippers watching re-runs of Mork & Mindy. Or what template you should start filling in to write an update for crisis type #51. Yes you need a sixth sense to spot when a simple question about apples is about to turn into Chernobyl, and it goes without saying only sensible people should be anywhere near your Social Networks if the proverbial is hitting the fan.

But as much as you think you know about crisis management, there will come a time when you may as well take that plan, set fire to it and watch the ashes drift to earth as you reminisce about how many hours it took you to write it in the first place when you had a long list to China of other things you had to do.

Why don’t you need a plan?

Because some people are crazy. Not just batshit crazy. Or “Leave Britney Alone” crazy. (OK, and even boy band crazy). I mean warp factor 9, off the scale “not even a mental illness could explain it” crazy.

And when you have that level of crazy, and that level of crazy is creating a crisis, you have little to no chance of being able to stick to a plan.

You can’t reason with crazy. Crazy is deluded. Crazy is irrational. Crazy has crazy friends in all corners of the planet who know jack about your brand and where you’re based, and in many cases even less about the crazy cause they’re promoting. Crazy are conspiracy theorists. Crazy think they’ve made their own laws on behalf of every being on the planet (if I were only kidding on this point). Crazy don’t recognise real laws and try to bamboozle you with legal definitions with key points and parts of words highlighted in CAPS (because saying it in CAPS doesn’t mean the same thing as if you typed it normally). Crazy will threaten to come after you if you don’t agree with their movement and will post your contact details on any crazy forum they have.

Most importantly, crazy will say the dumbest shit even Stephen Hawking couldn’t comprehend. And even if you think you’ve understood it, invariably any response you might want to make will prompt even dumber shit that makes you wonder how they’re able to breathe without medical intervention. But you should feel the love in the room because they’ll sign it off with love and blessings.

That’s why you can never be the good little Social Media boy (or girl) scout you thought you were.

And THAT’s why if you ever see crazy coming, run. Put up a “Back in a week” sign, cash in your savings and book the next flight out. Because there is a giant rip in their tin foil hat, and several crop circles have already been carved into their brain.

I now work for a small corporate that shouldn’t have even been a blip on the radar 5 miles offshore. But crazy had a way of finding us. And if they can find us, you can bet they can find you.

So here’s some hindsight advice… turn it into your ‘plan’ if you will…

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

  • Remember this phrase (lock it away in your brain until you need it). “Mumbo jumbo word salad”. If anything looks like the very definition of this, congratulations, crazy just found you too.
  • Hide it. Delete it. Ban the user. They’ll cry foul but if you give in, they’ll be in your bed before you know it and you’ll be waking up to them pissing the bed.
  • Don’t respond. Even if it’s to have a right of reply. Fight the urge.
  • They will post. And post. And post. As fast as you’re deleting or banning, there’s a new post. Blogs and videos and photos and love and light. Emails and letters too. If they can’t post, they’ll get their crazy friends to post. Or they’ll create a new profile. You might even get thanked for supporting or agreeing with their bollocksy cause.
  • Use the Facebook word filter. You will need it! (Bless the good lord Zuckerberg for that feature)
  • Do not follow the links they post. Your head will explode with ‘knowledge’ that shouldn’t be taking up space in your brain cavity (and that’s why I’m not inflicting you with the ‘cause’ we experienced).
  • Don’t believe a word of the drivel. Laws they say they’ve created are not law. Not in the US where they originate. And certainly not anywhere else in the world. If you work for a bank or government or police enforcement, you and every other regime have not been foreclosed. They’re still operating just as before. The same terms and contracts and laws apply, and there is no magic pot of $10 billion for every being on the planet they’ll tell you there is.
  • Screencap anything and everything that is or could be volatile.
  • Don’t give them your name. Ever. First, last. It doesn’t matter. Once they have your name, they can find you.
  • Don’t ever discount a full moon. If you see one in the sky, get inside and under your covers, turn off your phone and HIDE! That’s when they all come out to play.
  • Do not dismiss these people as everyday crazy. Sure, some are harmless, however some are not. Crazy do not function like normal people so if you are, or feel, threatened, use all available avenues to ensure your safety. Tell your boss. Contact the Police. Get in touch with the Social Networks directly (if you can find a contact, use it).
  • And lastly, swearing helps. Unless you work with a mormon, in which case try to swear quietly.

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Further Reading

How to (successfully) manage social media during a crisis

 — 

To thine own self be true. And to thine own brand.

What inner city kids know about social media, and why we should listen

 — 

Teenagers know a lot more about privacy than we think, so what are they trying to tell us when they post?

Uh Oh. SpaghettiOs.

 — 

How not to sink your brand reputation on Social Media

 

Written by

Kiwi. Digital Specialist. Moderator for New Kids on the Block. Please leave a message after the beep.

Updated December 8, 2013

 

 

TALENT HIDES


icstarg 10aTechBash – Part 1

By Loop Lonagan,

as told to John Jonelis –

I feel the bite o’ Christmas in the air. It’s da season o’ giving. I’m here at TechBash coverin’ fer Da May Report but I ain’t never seen no event like this before. Right away, I gets hit with pounding music, flashing lights and maybe a couple thousand er more people. Place is fulla bigshots—I never seen so many C-level execs at one party—mosta them CIOs o’ big corporations. And the food and open flowing bar. I mean, this is a HUGE party that puts Dennis Koslowski and Tyco to shame—but this one’s legit. Lemme tell you about it: Continue reading

.. work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity…


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t reckon that it is possible to have an economy without money…

 

Besides, even in the 24th century alternative-future of the Star Trek series, which the quote below is taken from, the concept of money does exist, though it is not exactly same with the one we have in our century. But it is not the idea anyways. It is about why you (and me) are working, and why I don’t like the idea of working for money, or to pay your bills or mortgage. I know these are necessary, at least in the century, or era, that we are living in, but what I also think is that, these should be by product, not the main purpose, of why you are getting up in the morning and going to work. There should be something that is more humanitarian for you (and me) and for the whole society, dare I say, for the whole humanity.

A derivative collage from two other files - ca...

A derivative collage from two other files – captain Jean-Luc Picard in his quarter on the USS Enterprise-D (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the quote from Captain Jean-Luc Picard:

The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century… The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity.”

Still, we don’t have replicators… yet.

 

Written by

Expert on seeing the glass half full, LJC member, server side developer. interested in technology, society, and anything in between.

 

 

 

Datameer Raises $19M As Market For Hadoop And Big Data Analytics Hits An Inflection Point


Posted 3 hours ago by (@alexwilliams)

The data analytics market is starting to boom. Hadoop distributions from big data companies like Cloudera have matured and are becoming more useful as they allow for better ways to perform real-time data processing by using cheap commodity hardware in clusters to spread data and then retrieve it for analysis. Customers are building data hubs that use Hadoop with data analytics on top to provide a cheaper alternative to data warehouse technologies.

keep reading -> http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/18/datameeer-raises-19m-as-market-for-hadoop-and-big-data-analytics-hits-an-inflection-point/

 

Why Quantity Should be Your Priority


The Key to Higher Quality is Higher Quantity

 

When Kobe was developing his jumper he’d spend his offseason making 2,000 shots a day. Not taking. Making. 

— Chad Ridgeway, Bleacher Report

I was recently reminded of a simple general principle to operate by, especially for those of us in the early phases of mastery or wanting to expose ourselves to high-growth opportunities:

Quantity trumps quality.

Let me elaborate: quantity should be a higher priority than quality, because it leads to higher quality. The shorter path to maximized quality is in maximized quantity, and executing on the feedback after each finished product. (Some may say that this is a less refined form of deliberate practise.)

As David Bayles and Ted Orland write in Art and Fear:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.

All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: 50 pounds of pots rated an “A”, 40 pounds a “B”, and so on.

Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

It’s easy to get caught up in analysis paralysis.

For example, I’d recently watched a Vice magazine clip with Kanye West, who says he would rather spend more time focusing on 14 tracks rather than spreading them across 40. But even in 2007, when the interview was conducted, West’s skills and vision for music production were already on a much higher level than the majority of people are with anything.

Image representing bgC3 as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Lock yourself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers. That’s a different world like Cree Summer’s. I deserve to do these numbers!

— Kanye West, Spaceship

In his song Spaceship, West claims that early on in his career, he made 5 beats everyday for 3 summers. That means the majority of his learning was done through a quantitative measure.

This “quota” type is a very tangible goal that has been applied, to much success, outside the domain of music and athletics.


A young lady named Karen Cheng learned to dance in a year. Did she spend hours deciding on the perfect dance or studying the perfect models?

Nope. She simply told herself she would dance everyday. Comparing Day 1 to Day 365 is absolutely remarkable. She also filmed her progress; this opened up the opportunity to gain feedback from other dancers. As some dude named Bill Gates once said:

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.

This isn’t the first time Karen developed a skill through structured process and quantity. While she was a project manager for Microsoft, she realized she wanted to become a designer. She details how she became a full-time designer at Exec in this post; essentially, she would rush home after work everyday to master the design skills necessary to land a design gig.

[Sidebar: Karen’s writing is dope. She’s on Medium as well.]

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase


A young lady named Jennifer Dewalt wanted to learn how to build a website. Did she spend years looking for the perfect one to model?

Nope. She simply paid for a co-working space and took a stab at building 180 websites in 180 days. I’m under the impression that she spends the majority of her day on this initiative, and so doesn’t have another job to answer to. (Keep in mind that this option still is much more frugal than paying thousands in tuition for “hacker school” AND leaving your job to do it.)

The co-working space was a great call, as it removes a lot of distraction. In case you need more leverage, find a friend to be an accountability partner or use Stickk and punish yourself for not meeting your goals.


…if you’re just starting off or entering into that phase, you’ve gotta know it’s totally normal and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on deadline, so every week, or every month, you know you’re going to finish one story. 

You create the deadline. It’s best to have somebody who’s going to be waiting for work from you; somebody who’s expecting it from you, even if it’s not somebody who pays you, but you’re in a situation where you have to churn out the work.

It’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap, and the work that you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.

As Ira Glass so famously put it, the best way to refine your craft is to create a huge volume of work. Not to create the most perfect piece you can, but to create many pieces of work.


Don’t get stuck trying to get it right the first time. Instead, start making one or two things everyday.

You’ll eventually figure out how to get feedback and improve (I’ve got a post coming up on that in a few days, follow me on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss it!), but the internet is a great source of advice and exposure to better work (which you can compare your own to).

If you’re writing, write 2 crappy pages per day or structure out 1-2 pitches for articles per day. If you’re designing, do one of Cheng’s tasks in sequence daily, or build a website everyday like Dewalt. If you’re picking up an instrument, practise a piece of music 12x (or 5x if you’re short on time) before putting it down for the day.

Once we have something to focus on and maximize, it’s easy to rally the resources necessary to do it. So make it easy. Name a quantity right now, and aim for it daily. Keep your eyes peeled for feedback sources. Watch yourself grow, improve, and produce higher quality work naturally.


Herbert Lui is exploring the intersection of art and entrepreneurship. You can connect with him on Twitter. He is the author of a free guide to building credibility online.

Image by: Angelonfire

 

Further Reading

Cut the bullshit and make time to write

 — 

“Write 500 of the shittiest words you can think of. Write 500 collective crimes against language. Just write something.”

National Novel Writing Month

 — 

This article made me think of this. I’m determined to strongly consider doing it this year.

Create something every day

 — 

Why I made this my rule for living, and what happens when you decide to make things all the time

 

 

Written by

I share stories. Follow me on Twitter: @herbertlui.

 

 

 

White House review panel proposes curbs on some NSA programs


By Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:21pm EST

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington December 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) – A White House-appointed panel on Wednesday proposed curbs on some key National Security Agency surveillance operations, recommending limits on a program to collect records of billions of telephone calls and new tests before Washington spies on foreign leaders.

keep reading -> http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/19/us-usa-surveillance-obama-idUSBRE9BG1AQ20131219

 

Hey Uber, Lyft Is Growing Faster Than You


Posted 9 hours ago by (@kimmaicutler)

Uber’s revenue numbers, which were leaked to Gawker just a few weeks ago, look bold at roughly $20 million per week.

But there isn’t necessarily a definitive market winner yet in the peer-to-peer space, as the entire field is on a rising tide. Lyft, which started peer-to-peer ride-sharing after Uber’s black cars on demand, is seeing its revenues grow at a rate of about 6 percent every single week, according to raw data and revenue dashboards that Lyft co-founder John Zimmer shared exclusively with TechCrunch.

keep reading -> http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/18/uber-lyft/