Archive - September, 2010

Reflections and Reviews of Septembers Gone By

At the turn of the calendar, let's revisit some posts from this and past Septembers:
September 2010
September 2009
September 2008
September 2007
September 2006

Inside my head: It's fun for me to travel through the archives, but I also hope that these posts assist both long-time readers and newcomers.  Enjoy – and remember: Blog Posts are Inventory, Blog Sites are Displays

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In the Conversphere – I Am Third

"Will 'They' gain value from this effort?"

or

"How can I make this more valuable for 'Them'?"

That's what goes through my head. When I write a blog post. When I share something from my RSS reader or ReTweet (RT) something, or as I favorite a video.

How will the reader or visitor benefit from my action?

Yes, the thought of how I might gain favor is singing from the bleachers in the back of my head — but the trigger-pulling litmus question is about the value the reader will get.

The reader First.  Who I'm linking to or RTing is Second.

…and I am Third.

 

 

Note: The term "conversphere" is a favorite word of mine, coined by Tony Clark who used to write Success from the Nest. It's a great site with all the archives still available. Might be worth a deep dive sometime.

Evan Carmichael’s Top 50 Social Media Blogs of 2010

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Like most, I enjoy being "awarded" badges by the automated, algorithmic rankings, but it's an even brighter honor when peers recognize your work.

For the third year running, I've been included on Evan Carmichael' Top 50 Social Media Blogs

This list is filled with brilliant folks that consistently share knowledge, experience, and information allowing each of us to get better in the "conversphere."

I've listed them below, along with their RSS feed link and Twitter link (that's a hint!). let the learning continue:

The Curator: Evan Carmichael's The Entrepreneur Blog | RSS | @EvanCarmichael

  1. Mashable | RSS | @mashable
  2. ReadWriteWeb | RSS | @rww
  3. The Next Web | RSS | @TNWsocialmedia
  4. SmartBlogs: Social Media | RSS | @sbosm
  5. Online Social Media | RSS | @osocialmedia
  6. Social Media SEO | RSS | @socialmedia_seo
  7. FastGush | RSS | @fastgush
  8. TwiTip | RSS | @problogger
  9. All FaceBook | RSS | @socialtimes
  10. Chris Brogan | RSS | @chrisbrogan
  11. Chris Pirillo | RSS | @chrispirillo
  12. Jeremiah Owyang | RSS | @jowyang
  13. Danny Brown | RSS | @dannybrown
  14. Wayne Sutton | RSS | @waynesutton
  15. Matt Singley | RSS | @mattsingley
  16. Kyle Lacy | RSS | @kyleplacy
  17. Gwen Bell | RSS | @gwenbell
  18. Chris Garrett | RSS | @chrisgarrett
  19. TopRankBlog | RSS | @toprank
  20. Conversation Agent | RSS | @conversationage
  21. Social Media Globetrotter | RSS | @jacobm
  22. Viper Chill | RSS | @viperchill
  23. Social Media Optimization | RSS | @davidrwilson
  24. Social Media Marketing | RSS | @scottmonty
  25. The Future Buzz | RSS | @AdamSinger
  26. Diva Marketing | RSS | @TobyDiva
  27. Copy Blogger | RSS | @copyblogger
  28. ShoutMeLoud | RSS | @ShoutMeLoud
  29. Kikolani | RSS | @kikolani
  30. ConverStations | RSS | @mikesansone
  31. Brian Solis | RSS | @briansolis
  32. PR Squared | RSS | @tdefren
  33. Blog Herald | RSS | @BlogHerald
  34. Fast Forward Blog | RSS | @ffblog
  35. Neville Hobson | RSS |@jangles
  36. What's Next Blog | RSS | @whatsnext
  37. 901am | RSS | @901am
  38. The Buzz Bin | RSS | @GeofLliving
  39. Social Media Examiner | RSS | @JasonFalls
  40. Social Media Influence | RSS | @socialinfluence
  41. Convince and Convert | RSS | @jaybaer
  42. Soshable | RSS | @soshable
  43. Instigator Blog | RSS | @byosko
  44. Social Media Strategery | RSS | @sradick
  45. One Social Media | RSS | @onesocialmedia
  46. Social Media Club | RSS | @SocialMediaClub
  47. Britopian | RSS | @Britopian
  48. The Brand Builder | RSS | @thebrandbuilder
  49. We Are Social | RSS | @wearesocial
  50. Brass Tack Thinking | RSS | @ambercadabra

Related:

 

0-60 Series: Day 9 – Homework: Posting Practice with Images and Video

0to60In this series, we will cover some of the first 60 days of integrating social media into your overall business strategy.

Are you ready?  Our Two Weeks of Trash Talking (Practice behind the curtain) is almost complete. In a few days, we'll launch your blog softly to the public.

Objective: Apply what we learned during Day 8 – Creative Commons and Using Someone Else's Work in our posts for the next five days. (Here's another good piece on the topic). That means every post from here to Day 14 gets at least an image or a video (or you get pushups:-)).  Coach.

If you followed the links or sites I shared during Day 8, you understand how to embed a video or grab an image. And remember, the images and videos are part of our Give 'em Eye Rests practice

Here's my rule of thumb:

  • Images go top right (and if you use multiple, you can alter right/left).  If you prefer a more full image (filling up you content area width), I'd suggest you place it after the first paragraph.
  • Videos go center (no wrap and within their own paragraph), but again – after the initial paragraph (even if it's only a one-sentence paragraph)

Here's why I suggest it done this way (my opinion – I could be wrong): Humans (and search engines) read left-to-right and top-to-bottom.  Your images and video candy should drive home the point of your message, add to your message, punctuate your point – not interrupt it.

Images at the tippy-top and/or upper left that come before any text? Well, that could be all that the Internet reader (Skim, Scan & Save) needs to skirt through without reading.

So make sure your images are justified right, with the top of the photo aligned with the top of a paragraph. Give it a go on your own, and next time we gather – we'll see how it goes.

If you have trouble with this and you're reading from an email or on the site, send me your questions in reply or comment so we can iron out the kinks.

The Series:

 You can get the full 60 days via email or we can set up individual coaching sessions for you (email me about your interest and we'll have an initial call to find out how it might work for each of us).

Note that during these 60 days, I would have about 20 face-to-face or live conversations (Skype or other form of video/screen sharing). The other days are self-paced — though plenty of homework

 

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Why You Should be Keeping Score of Your RSS Feed Metrics & Use FeedBurner

RSS isn’t dead.  It may be used differently than we had just 4 or 5 years ago, but it’s not dead.  Is RSS ignored? Possibly — but not dead. And we’ll see why in a minute.

I often ask how many folks measure the numbers of their RSS feed. I (way) too often get blank stares in return. C’mon. Really?

Just like the folks at the Storefronts as Conversation Stations the other day, we start by talking about the importance of keeping score.

It’s not an ego thing.  You keep score all day, every day on something: Page Views, Bank Balance, Golf score, followers.  Keeping score is a measurement of where you are in comparison to where you want to be…so it’s okay to keep score.

We’re not talking just number of subscribers (though that’s part of it), but also views, clicks, reach, what type of feed aggregator your readers use most.

I use FeedBurner – and so should you.  It’s free. It’s Google. And the analytics are great (and you can synch it up to your Google Analytics).

Aside from tracking number of subscribers, I am especially interested in the “Item Use” that feed burner tracks.  Let’s take a look at a couple of things:

Feedburner

This shows that on this day (9/13), the RSS items I’ve published (people reading my content from their aggregator) received 1,483 views and 912 clickthroughs. Not where I want to be, but improving.

So, I can take the 1,483 and add that to the 561 page views on the site (as reported by Google for that day) and that’s over 2,000 views of pieces of content I’ve published for the day. Nothing to boast about, but I can track improvement (and decline) by these measurements.

And here’s the best part:  I can measure on an item-by-item basis.  I can see what’s working and what’s not. Here’s one case:

Whistle Stops are a bit I publish each Sunday. I point to great work I’ve seen elsewhere and some of my own stuff that I wrote the week just past.  I don’t have to imagine or wonder if my readership gets value – I just look at the “item use” in my feed stats:

Date Item Views Item Clicks
Sunday, August 29 141 237
Monday, August 30 101 84
Sunday, September 5 88 226
Monday, September 6 123 121
Sunday, September 12 163 298
Monday, September 13 126 75
Sunday, September 19 108 187
Monday, September 20 139 102
Sunday, September 26 139 315
Monday, September 27 107 86
             Totals 1,235 1,731

I’d say someone is gaining value from Whistle Stops. Therefore I keep going with it.

A new “series” I’ve started is the Strong-End Summit, a handful of videos in a theme to motivate or educate folks. I publish these on Friday afternoon so people can stay “working,” but in a way to end their week strong.

Again, wondering if it’s worth my time and their eyeballs, I let the numbers tell me if I should continue with the series..

In the last month of Strong-End Summits (1 each week, 4 posts for the month): 1,046 views; 1,440 clicks. Again, the folks that subscribe to this feed are clicking through on the items they get – so they’re getting some value out of it.

There’s a lot we can discuss on RSS feeds (and we will), but for the purpose of this post I want to encourage (implore?) you to start tracking your RSS feed numbers — and FeedBurner is the tool I always recommend (strongly).

How do you measure your feeds?  Or how can we dive deeper into feed analytics?  Questions?

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Quotes n Notes: Share Your Remarkable

 

Quotesnotes "Whenever I found out anything remarkable, I have thought it my duty to put down my discovery on paper, so that all ingenious people might be informed thereof." – Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

One thing blogging does for many is it improves their awareness and sharpens their message.  I witness this by two statements I hear often:

  1. "…That would be a great blog post (or headline)"
  2. "It's like I recently wrote on my blog…"

Self-Awareness

When we first begin blogging, we occasionally (often?) wonder what to write about. My advice has always been, "Listen to Your Day"  Doesn't matter what business or profession you're in really. Use metaphors or analogies. Create a hypothetical situation based on something that happened to you.

Keep your radar up. You'll begin to recognize opportunity. Then jot your idea down or record it and then write about it.

Sharpen Your Message

Another thing I often suggest to folks is that "We don't know what we know until we articulate it." By writing it, drawing, saying it…whichever.  But once we articulate it, we start to sharpen that message.  And hopefully, that message soon becomes , not just delivered to our customers and clients, but also delivered by our customers and clients as part of the brand message.

And if it's important or remarkable to you, it's important to someone else too. They'll find you.

Related Elsewhere:

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What Can You Do With 5 Years?

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What can you accomplish in 5 years?

Between the ages of 0-5, I learned how to walk, learned how to talk, to go potty, how to wear a mask (Casper the Ghost – my 1st Halloween), rode my first roller coaster (and lost my pancakes), that I preferred French Toast over pancakes (I wonder why), and many, many other things…

Between the ages of 5-10, I learned how to really read for meaning, learned how to throw a ball and swing a bat, learned how to ride a two-wheeled bike, felt a fear of bees, told my first lie ("he did it"), kissed a girl for the 1st time (didn't lose my pancakes), appeared in my first community theater play (Harlan in "Life with Father"), that I loved science, climbing trees, and listening to baseball games on the radio, and many, many other things…

Between the ages of 10-15, I learned what it was like to start over building new friendships (we moved), that some teachers were boring, how to fight (not my choice), found I loved to dance, got my first job (dishwasher), opened my first bank account, said my first cuss word, got turned down by a girl (felt like losing my pancakes — but didn't), owned my first album (Earth, Wind & Fire: Gratitude), and many, many, many, many other things…

Between the ages of 15-20, I learned to drive, learned a 2nd language (Spanish), found I loved architectural drafting, was with a girl in a WOW way (she didn't lose her pancakes), learned to start over with new friends (we moved again), bought a car, wrote my first check, went to real estate school, managed a retail shoe store, and a humoungous list of many other things…

Between now and 5 years from now, I am smarter because of my experiences (successes and mistakes), faster beause of the age we live in, better connected (so the next time I move it will be easier to make new friends) and … I don't eat pancakes any more, so…

…it doesn't matter how young or old we are, if we treat today like the first day of the rest of our life – we can accomplish anything. And if you think about it – what we can do now in a five-year period should be greater than any other five-year period in our personal history.

Take a moment and think of a five-year period in your past. Which 5-year section did you learn the most and live life to the fullest.  And then, starting today – top it!  You can do it…and so can I.

Go get 'em.

(Can someone pass the French Toast, please?)

Post inspired in part by:

Photo on Flickr by bigbirdz

Whistle Stops: 09/26/10

Whistlestops_39_3 Whistle Stops are conversations, eye-openers, or tools representing the brain train discovered while traveling along the Conversphere.  From business to education, life hacks to giving back, these are the posts and links that have in some way grabbed my attention this week!

Elsewhere

Here at ConverStations (in case you missed it)
  • Started to build (finally) The ConverStations Facebook page. More to come…
  • 5 Tools You Must Carry – Capture Your Brilliance -
  • Day 8 of the 0-60 Social Media Training presented some helps on Creative Commons and using others work in your own posts.
  • Adding a new section to Whistle Stops (below): From my Twitter Thoughts. These are out loud thoughts I share on Twitter (not the resources from my RSS).

From my Twitter Thoughts:

  • “Content is King. Community is the Kingdom it serves. Design is Queen – she holds it all together.” (Twitter URL of the tweet)
  • “Content ignites conversation – be it movies, baseball, food, music, books …or the kind we’re producing in Social Media.” (tweet)
  • “Creating how-to video tutorials? Fill silent gaps between the “need-to-know” w/ “nice-to-know” tidbits.” (tweet)
  • “It’s okay to care what others think of you, but don’t allow that to modify your behavior or mission” (tweet)
  • “Give us your content as best you can. Like panning for gold. Gotta go thru the crap to get to the good stuff. Bring it!” (tweet)
  • “There’s no immutable law 4 how one uses Twitter. How many diff uses 4 automobiles? Or genres 4 books? 2 each their own” (tweet)
  • “I still think the best collaboration ever was Hershey & Reese ‘Hey, You got peanut butter on my chocolate’” (tweet)

Enjoy Your Travels:-)

Could Posting to Your Blog More Often Really Increase Your Findability?

Does Geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance?

The Geico video if your reading via RSS.

Disclaimer 1: I am neither a customer or consultant for Geico

Disclaimer 2: Posting more often (and always relevant) is imperative for new blogs.  But even a caveman could figure that out.

Strong-End Summit: Collaborative Sharing – Connections that Count

Friday afternoons are often a bit more relaxed, but relaxed doesn't mean lazy. The Strong-End Summits (videos that will keep brains and hearts afire) are a way to end our week strong and come back refreshed.

Click thru if you don't see the videos -




Dan Robles of The Ingenesist Project: The Last Mile of Social Media


Stand By Me (Playing for Change)

The Mother of All Funk Grooves

Have a strong weekend!

 

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