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Archive for April, 2009

Finding Twitter Friends Using Google

April 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Check out this cool Vid

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Dream Big

April 13, 2009 Leave a comment

DREAM BIG!

meLet nothing hold you back from
exploring your wildest fantasies,
wishes, and aspirations.
Don’t be afraid to dream big
and to follow your dreams
wherever they may lead you.
Open your eyes to their beauty;
open your mind to their magic;
open your heart to their possibilities.

Dream Big.
Whether they are in color
or in black and white,
whether they are big or small,
easily attainable or almost impossible,
look to your dreams,
and make them become reality.
Wishes and hopes are nothing
until you take the first step
towards making them something!

Dream Big,
Because only by dreaming,
will you ever discover
who you are, what you want,
and what you can do.
Don’t be afraid to take risks,
to become involved,
to make commitment.
Do whatever it takes to make
your dreams come true.
Always believe in miracles,
and always believe in you!

Me and my 13yr old daughter Tylia

Happy Easter

April 12, 2009 Leave a comment

easter_00301

Five Reasons Twitter is an Essential Social Media Tool

April 3, 2009 1 comment

1.) Twitter is about the conversation.

Sure, you can have conversation on blogs, on Facebook and on some other social media sites, but it’s a different kind of conversation with Twitter. The best way I can think to describe it is to give real world analogies. With blogs, you’re on stage speaking to a crowd. Sure, there’s Q&A via your comments, but you run the show. With Facebook, you have insight into each person via their profiles, but you’re mostly communicating one on one.

Twitter is sort of like a giant dinner party. There are tons of conversations going on and you can easily join one, or you can start a new one. If you start a new one, others can easily join in. You can even carry on multiple conversations at once. It’s total conversational freedom.

2.) You can use Twitter to promote your social bookmarking submissions.

Spend any amount of time on Twitter and you’ll see folks asking for help voting up a submission at Digg, Sphinn, StumbleUpon and a variety of other sites. With Twitter, you can get a feel for who uses which sites, you can keep tabs on who tends to respond when you ask for votes and you can pitch in to help other people’s submissions do better. Twitter can be a great way to promote your activity and accounts with social bookmarking sites.

3.) Twitter can boost your blog.

It’s a no brainer that you can send out a tweet with a link to your latest blog post. (In fact, many Twitter users now claim they rely more heavily on tweets than RSS feeds for finding good content.) Using Twitter to boost your blog doesn’t end there. Twitter is a great source of blog topics. You can pick up other posts and expand on them, get ideas from the conversations you’re having and discover new authors to add to your feed reader.

4.) Twitter is networking gold.

Listen to anyone talk about building links, launching a viral campaign or getting bloggers to cover your products and you’ll hear them mention the importance of relationships. PR firms are struggling to learn how to pitch people who aren’t trained journalists. The truth is, it’s quite simple. Respect them as a person and offer something of value. Make a connection. You don’t have to be their best friend, but you do need to make an effort to build a relationship.

Since most Twitter users share a combo of business and personal information, it can be a great way to learn a little something about your pitch target. Twitter has taught me who likes Trader Joe’s Black Licorice (Wendy Piersall), who goes nuts for Honey crisp Apples (Martin Bowling), who has dogs (David Wallace) and who spends two mornings a week working from Panera (oh, that’s me!.) Besides, if you find someone new you like, you can quickly look them on up Facebook or LinkedIn, add them to your network and learn even more about them.

5.) The Power of the Re-Tweet equals Viral Gold

It’s been said that blogs can take an idea and spread it from New York to Tokyo in minutes. If that’s true, then it’s also true Twitter can do it in seconds. It takes very little time to blog something. It takes less time to email something. It takes even less time to tweet it. Send something interesting out into Twitter and folks will pick it up and repost to their own list of followers in seconds. Suddenly your own network grows infinitely.

Time and time again, I’ve seen breaking news come across Twitter before I saw it anywhere else. I don’t have to check my feed reader, don’t have to wait for the news to break in on television, don’t even have to wait for a phone call. The second one person on Twitter hears the news, it spreads like wild fire.

In an Ideal World…

Now I wouldn’t really suggest someone rely ONLY on Twitter in terms of social media activities, but I do think there’s value in dedicating time to it. I have accounts on Facebook, Flickr and a wide range of social bookmarking sites, but Twitter is the only one of those services I use daily. In fact, Twitter is generally what prompts me to go and use the other ones. It’s sort of my central repository of social media activity.

Five Reasons Twitter is an Essential Social Media Tool

April 3, 2009 1 comment

1.) Twitter is about the conversation.

Sure, you can have conversation on blogs, on Facebook and on some other social media sites, but it’s a different kind of conversation with Twitter. The best way I can think to describe it is to give real world analogies. With blogs, you’re on stage speaking to a crowd. Sure, there’s Q&A via your comments, but you run the show. With Facebook, you have insight into each person via their profiles, but you’re mostly communicating one on one.

Twitter is sort of like a giant dinner party. There are tons of conversations going on and you can easily join one, or you can start a new one. If you start a new one, others can easily join in. You can even carry on multiple conversations at once. It’s total conversational freedom.

2.) You can use Twitter to promote your social bookmarking submissions.

Spend any amount of time on Twitter and you’ll see folks asking for help voting up a submission at Digg, Sphinn, StumbleUpon and a variety of other sites. With Twitter, you can get a feel for who uses which sites, you can keep tabs on who tends to respond when you ask for votes and you can pitch in to help other people’s submissions do better. Twitter can be a great way to promote your activity and accounts with social bookmarking sites.

3.) Twitter can boost your blog.

It’s a no brainer that you can send out a tweet with a link to your latest blog post. (In fact, many Twitter users now claim they rely more heavily on tweets than RSS feeds for finding good content.) Using Twitter to boost your blog doesn’t end there. Twitter is a great source of blog topics. You can pick up other posts and expand on them, get ideas from the conversations you’re having and discover new authors to add to your feed reader.

4.) Twitter is networking gold.

Listen to anyone talk about building links, launching a viral campaign or getting bloggers to cover your products and you’ll hear them mention the importance of relationships. PR firms are struggling to learn how to pitch people who aren’t trained journalists. The truth is, it’s quite simple. Respect them as a person and offer something of value. Make a connection. You don’t have to be their best friend, but you do need to make an effort to build a relationship.

Since most Twitter users share a combo of business and personal information, it can be a great way to learn a little something about your pitch target. Twitter has taught me who likes Trader Joe’s Black Licorice (Wendy Piersall), who goes nuts for Honey crisp Apples (Martin Bowling), who has dogs (David Wallace) and who spends two mornings a week working from Panera (oh, that’s me!.) Besides, if you find someone new you like, you can quickly look them on up Facebook or LinkedIn, add them to your network and learn even more about them.

5.) The Power of the Re-Tweet equals Viral Gold

It’s been said that blogs can take an idea and spread it from New York to Tokyo in minutes. If that’s true, then it’s also true Twitter can do it in seconds. It takes very little time to blog something. It takes less time to email something. It takes even less time to tweet it. Send something interesting out into Twitter and folks will pick it up and repost to their own list of followers in seconds. Suddenly your own network grows infinitely.

Time and time again, I’ve seen breaking news come across Twitter before I saw it anywhere else. I don’t have to check my feed reader, don’t have to wait for the news to break in on television, don’t even have to wait for a phone call. The second one person on Twitter hears the news, it spreads like wild fire.

In an Ideal World…

Now I wouldn’t really suggest someone rely ONLY on Twitter in terms of social media activities, but I do think there’s value in dedicating time to it. I have accounts on Facebook, Flickr and a wide range of social bookmarking sites, but Twitter is the only one of those services I use daily. In fact, Twitter is generally what prompts me to go and use the other ones. It’s sort of my central repository of social media activity.

13 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing is Worth Your Time

April 1, 2009 Leave a comment

social mediaWhen comparing social media traffic to other forms of traffic, such as search engine, the numbers typically are going to look rather bleak. While you’ll hopefully see a spike in number of visitors and pageviews, that will often be accompanied by higher bounce rates, lower pageviews per visitor, and a lower average time on the site. With stats like this many bloggers wonder if social media traffic is even worth the time and effort.

Despite the tendency of many social media visitors to quickly exit your site and move on to the next one, there are still some very convincing reasons why you should care about social media and why it is worth your time.

1. It’s Free
Unless you’re paying for a consultant or a link bait specialist (both can be good options), marketing your website with social media is free. It will cost you some time, but that pales in comparison to the value of the traffic that you can get in return. There are countless ways to market a website or blog. Just about all of them involve spending money (which isn’t a bad thing), and of the ones that don’t involve money, the vast majority of them are a complete waste of time. I’ve never tried any other type of free marketing that brought even 1% of the results I’ve gotten with social media at my primary blog. Most bloggers are on a tight, or non-existent, budget when it comes to marketing. If this is the case, social media is for you.

2. Quick Results
Building a successful website takes a considerable amount of time and effort. Search engine rankings, for instance, can take years to build in a competitive niche. On the other hand, with social media you can develop content and be seen by thousands of visitors within the same day. For this reason, social media is a great option for getting a new website or blog noticed right away .

3. It’s Flexible
There are so many different social media websites that just about every imaginable niche is covered in one way or another. There are social news sites, bookmarking sites, and general networking sites. Whatever your needs and your audience, there should be an option to use social media for your benefit.

Also, you’re not stuck to using the same social media sites over and over. If you’re not getting results in one place there’s usually other options that you can try out.

4. It Gets Easier with Time
If you’re new to blogging and social media and you feel like everyone else is getting traffic but you, understand that it takes some time and effort, but it will get easier. Once you have established a bit of a reader base and you’ve hopefully attracted some social media users to your blog, it will be much easier for you to get votes and ultimately get more exposure. The more you use social media the more you will understand about how it works and how users will respond.

5. It Will Lead to Other Valuable Sources of Traffic
Although visitors from social media sites may be less responsive than other types of visitors, success with social media will likely increase the number of inbound links you receive. Links will boost your search engine rankings and they’ll also drive click-through traffic your way. Both are generally high quality traffic sources.

6. Building Links with Social Media is Safer than Buying Links
If you plan to cut out the need for social media by purchasing links from other sites, you’re running the risk of being penalized or banned by Google. For some, this is a risk worth taking, but in most cases I would strongly discourage taking this chance. Personally, I focus on building links for my primary blog through the combination of content and social media.

7. Social Media Users are Predictable
The whole concept or link bait or Digg bait wouldn’t even be possible if social media users were unpredictable. But the truth is you can usually have a good idea of what is likely to draw a response and what is not. This will come with time, and of course there is no 100% guarantee. However, once you know a social media audience pretty well, you can cater content to their preferences with a pretty high success rate. What you learn about social media can easily be duplicated to your other blogs or to serving clients.

8. It Doesn’t Require as Much Time as You Might Think

Personally, I use social media every day, but on a very limited basis. If you think that you have to spend all day on Digg or Stumbling pages to get some results of your own, you may be surprised. With the right approach you can get fantastic results with just a few hours per week on social media sites. To be a top Digg user you’ll need more time than that, but being a top Digg user isn’t necessary to draw social media traffic.

9. Branding Through Social Media is Possible
One of the great benefits to the exposure that you can get through social media is the result it has on the branding of your blog. Branding is key to building a success blog in the long-term, and social media is an excellent, free option for helping visitors to see your blog in a particular light. (For more, see my post at ProBlogger A Blogger’s Guide to Branding with Social Media.)

10. Links Can Help Your Search Engine Rankings Rise Quickly
Earlier I mentioned to social media can provide instant results. Well, in addition to sending loads of traffic directly, the links that result from social media success can get your new posts ranking very well with search engines almost immediately. It’s not uncommon for me to see a very respectable number of visitors from Google searches to a brand new post that just drew a lot of links through social media. While it will take a while to build search engine rankings as a whole, it is possible to create specific posts to rank well right away.

11. It Allows You to Leverage Your Existing Traffic
Do you already have a solid blog with a steady flow of traffic? If so, chances are you could leverage that traffic to draw even more visitors with social media. You may want to use voting buttons on your posts or ask some of your readers and friends to give you a vote occasionally.

12. Some Visitors Will Be Targeted

The biggest knock on social media traffic is that it’s not targeted, and that is typically true. However, visitors from niche social media sites can be very highly targeted, and on top of that, a portion of visitors from general news sites will be targeted as well. For example, if you get 25,000 visitors from a post on the Digg front page, maybe only 5,000 of them will have much of an interest in your site. Still, that’s a quick 5,000 visitors that you wouldn’t have had without social media. Just because a smaller percentage of the visitors will stick doesn’t mean that they are irrelevant.

13. The Future of the Internet is Social
Social media and social networking aren’t going away any time soon. The major players and the types of social sites may change of the course of time, but this is a trend that online marketers need to adjust to. Without finding ways to build a website or blog through social media you could be left behind by your competitors.