Category Archives: Social Networking

The Twitter Quandary

I’ve had several posts on how I use Twitter, changed using Twitter, etc. and now I’m in a quandary.

What value is Twitter to me if my tweets can’t extend beyond Twitter?

To me, Twitter is primarily a broadcast and publication channel. An individual can follow me and I’ll mostly provide links to content that I feel stands out in the area of marketing technology. When I do post here, I send those links, and nights and weekends you’ll find lighter content, but typically related to science, nature and technology. When I use Plinky (writing prompt of the day service) I share those.

What I genuinely liked about Twitter was the ability to additionally publish my Tweets to my LinkedIn profile, because they were career related and would be of interest to most of my contacts, and the ability to archive my Tweets on Evernote so I could quickly search for a link to content I might need to access at a later date.

My basic formula was gather content from Google Reader or TrapIt queue it up in Buffer, send to Twitter, trigger on IFTTT, deliver to LinkedIn and Evernote.

Sounds like a lot of work, but most of it was automated.

I was able to archive and deliver the content both to my business contacts and my Twitter followers. Now Twitter has decided to enforce its TOS and IFTTT has removed recipes forwarding Tweets.

Do I look into alternatives? Maybe set up LinkedIn as option 1 and send from their to Twitter and Evernote? Might work, but is it worth the time and energy?

Or do I acknowledge that the value of Twitter for me wasn’t in the Followers as much as it was in the function?

Going to need to noodle on this one for a bit, your thoughts?

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How Many Friends Do You Have?

Since social networks have taken off, there has been a lot written about the number of friends one can realistically have.

Paul Adams put together this incredible slidedeck speaking to the tiers of friendships and identified 150 people in a weak tie zone as a maximum. This is consistent throughout time.

Ironically, when I got my Android phone I wasn’t thinking when I agreed to synch to Gmail contacts and thousands of email addresses were added to my phone contacts.

I decided to clean up those contacts and start over.

In cleaning the list I truly reduced the contacts to people I might want/need  to call. People that I message with through Facebook and Twitter, even if I knew them personally were dropped unless I really considered them a friend or friend of the family that might require me to call them.

The same was true with those on LinkedIn. For the most part, my contacts in LinkedIn are co-workers, former co-workers, and industry professionals. I use this service as a Rolodex, so with a few exceptions, I also dropped individuals I had in LinkedIn.

On Twitter I now have 298 followers, Facebook 584 friends, and LinkedIn 433 contacts.

When I was done cleaning up my address book, and I’m sure I missed some I wanted to include (like the garage I take my car to), amazingly I had 148 contacts in my address book.

Do you know who your 150 ‘real’ weak link friends are?

Slice and Dice Your Twitter Followers with Slices

Not too long ago I came across the Slices app by OneLouder and this week I got an email from them that the Web portal Beta is now open to the public.

OneLouder describes Slices like this:

Slices is the world’s first Twitter experience that lets you browse a Twitter directory by category, easily follow live events, slice your timeline into manageable streams, bookmark favorite accounts, and synchronize with the web.

My Twitter approach continues to evolve. For a while, I only followed those of interest. Now, I put those of interest on Lists and follow them by topic, while I happily follow-back anyone (provided they look to be real people or companies). I use ManageFlitter to monitor who adds me, waits for me to follow them back, and then drop me.

One problem with this approach is that your Twitter stream becomes unmanageable.

Slices allows you to organize the people you follow into a topical slice.

On the app you click in the top left and select “Manage Slices”.

You then put followers into existing slices or create new ones. Unfortunately, the Web Beta does not yet have this functionality so you have to use your phone.

For me this looks like a good way to organize the people I follow, while being able to see posts from those that wouldn’t likely follow me back in Lists. This helps keep my followers to following ratio in good balance.

Am looking forward to seeing how this app works out moving forward, but definitely a promising start for the little I’ve used it to date.

IFTTT: Understanding Recipes

Last week I had an epic fail using If This Then That (IFTTT). The primary reason is I didn’t take the time to fully understand how the recipes work and are structured. The outcome, two tweets were sent from BufferApp to Twitter to WordPress to Linked In in an infinite loop, which I caught after about 50 postings.

IFTTT is actually pretty simple. Channels are media sites you have an account with (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, RSS feeds, etc). You sign-in and authorize IFTTT to access your account. Recipes are simple sets of instructions including a source and destination.

First recipe I set-up was to send my Tweets to Evernote so I would have an archive. To accomplish this I had to add both Twitter and Evernote as channels. When I select Twitter it asked if I wanted to include retweets and replies via a checkbox. Then on the right was a drop down box that included fields based on Twitter. In the main body of the page were fields required to send to Evernote.

You then decide what you want to include in the Note Title, Body, Name of the Notebook you are submitting to, and any Tags for inclusion.

Once you activate the recipe your tweets begin being posted to Evernote.

After setting up Twitter to Evernote, I set up Google Reader to Evernote by using someone else’s recipe (you can then modify if you want). Now whenever I star an item in Reader it is sent to Evernote.

After learning how the recipes worked, I set-up my own to send from Twitter to LinkedIn as a status update (LinkedIn recently killed the ability to send from Twitter). I also set-up an Olympic related recipe that looks for “Wrestling” on ESPN searches and sends an SMS text to my phone when stories are posted.

There are 50 channels to use in your recipes.

You definitely have to think out what you want to accomplish, but the tool itself is pretty straight foward once you take the time to grasp the basic concept.

Would you use this type of service? Do you have any favorite recipes? What would you like to automate?

The Problem with G+

I remain excited about the potential of G+ and a recent traffic announcement by ComScore indicates traffic is up 66% in the past nine months (read the Verge post on this here), but there is a problem: lack of third party integration.

While Google is neatly tying its properties into a great single platform (gmail, drive, reader, etc) I can’t use BufferApp to schedule posts to G+, nor can I use IFTTT.

I don’t see this as a long-term problem. I think it is a case where the product user base grew so fast and a writable API wasn’t available to allow developers to add functionality to existing services.

In BufferApp’s forum I found the request for posting to G+ made as early as early as July of 2011. Co-founder Leo Widrich posted in February of 2012, “Great stuff with G+. It is high up on our list and we are just waiting for Google release their write API for us. We have already gone ahead and built this out partly, hope Google+ gets onto this soon! :)”

The request got over 1,100 votes and 50+ comments from users.

On HootSuite, I can add a G+ Page, but apparently not my personal stream (maybe I’m doing something wrong)?

If Google wants to see its social service explode, it must make it more user friendly for developers and 3rd party services.

What are your thoughts on G+?

 

Wattpad and Writing.com

I’ve always enjoyed writing and recently came across Wattpad, which I thought was a Goodreads competitor, but quickly found it reminded me of Writing.com. Today I came across an article on O’Reilley Radar regarding the Wattpad business plan and decided it was worth the time to create this post.

I had created an account on Writing.com in March  of 2006. It is a community of writers. You can post content to be reviewed, review other’s work, and enter contests or respond to prompts. Today was probably the first time in five years I logged in and the site looks mostly the same as it did then, like it was built and designed in the 1990s. I’m sure the people using it don’t care, as I was, they are probably focused on the utility of the site and getting feedback from the community.

Wattpad on the other hand, is currently styled and according to the article focused on teen writers, contributing content, and once a ‘wealth’ of content was available the site would figure out how to monetize.

Where writing.com is comprised mostly of writers helping one another, Wattpad is closer to a vanity press without the cost of actually publishing. I didn’t take the time to read any of the work, so I can’t speak to quality, but in my lurking I can see why it would appeal to teens. I don’t on the other hand think the approach would work as well with those trying to hone their writing skills, for that they should probably still stick with a local writer’s group or writing.com.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried Wattpad? How is the quality?

LinkedIn Answers Not Worth Investment of My Time

I previously posted on LinkedIn Questions as well as how I use the service, in both instances I  noted my surprise at the low quality of questions asked by the community and whether or not I’d continue to try to answer them.

After feeling I’ve given the service enough time (probably close to two months now), I’ve decided it is simply not worth my time to scan daily the questions and attempt to answer any of value. I’ve answered maybe a dozen after scanning literally hundreds.

My approach to this was to use Google Reader, scan questions, and when there were ones I could make a contribution to, I’d answer them. The feeds were LinkedIn Answers: branding, business analytics, internet marketing, market research and definition, mobile marketing, project management, and technology.

In the interest of time I’m going to remove these feeds, but keep my network activity as that allows me to see who has made changes to profiles, posted articles, and made new connections without having to visit another site.

Have you used this service? Found it of value? Would be interested to hear other’s experience.