LinkedIn’s “Projects” feature

LinkedIn Improve Profile button
Improve my LinkedIn profile? How can I resist?

I dig LinkedIn. I enjoy the idea of a completely separate network where I can focus on professional connections, sharing ideas among other industry professionals, and not have to worry about boring my friends or receiving requests for anything ending in -ville. I have denied numerous requests to join people’s Branch Out app requests on Facebook simply on the premise that I already have a LinkedIn profile. Now Branch Out has reached 25 million, but I’m still standing my ground. I’m not doing it.

And speaking of LinkedIn, I just wrote a guest post on Starr Hall’s blog (online columnist for and event speaker extraordinaire) on how to use the little-utilized Projects feature to create great connections with collaborators on LinkedIn. I also made a video tutorial, for you visual folks. It will walk you through how to add Projects to your profile and how to use it as a starting point to create or enhance your connections on LinkedIn while highlighting work you’ve done. I think everyone using LinkedIn should have at least one Project on their profile.

Check it out here:

I’d love to hear your thoughts there or here. Are you already using Projects? Is this news to you? What other ways do you see this feature as useful?

Now go get your social on!

Found Tweet Friday

Found Tweet Friday!

I’m starting a new section of my blog that will contain a little lighter fare, and be a little less on the marketing messages side. I’m calling it Found Tweet Friday. Read on friends!

Welcome to the Redlight District of Twitter

I spend a good part of my day using Twitter to find potential customers for my clients. I use the Twitter search function and locate people talking about relevant things that could translate to needs my clients’ products or services could fulfill. During this digging through the nonsense, the marketing messages, the slang and abbreviated hashtags, I find some pretty ridiculous tweets. Many that make my jaw drop. It never ceases to amaze me how many people forget that their tweets are completely public while they treat their Twitter conversations as if they were private. Some of those are simply too offensive or gross (not to mention misogynistic and lewd) for me to bother posting, but below are a collection of this week’s gems that I just had to share. My occasional commentary will be the parenthetical portions. Enjoy!

****Warning: Some content may be inappropriate for young or easily offended readers****

Found tweets:
– potatoes have skin. i have skin therefore im a potato. (Twitter logic at its finest)
– I just gave a dude a bro hug and my lips touched his earlobe and now I want to quit the earth
– I don’t know who invented the Root Beer Float, but I’d shake that fuckers hand! (I’m actually inclined to agree)
– Hoes wanna assassinate my character but I ain’t acting
– Just found a full can of snuff in my truck #winning (It’s the little things that make Twitter-goers happy)
– Dear men, Actually our dream isn’t finding the perfect guy, it’s being able to eat without getting fat. Sincerely, women. (All this time, we men were completely led astray!)
– Katy Perry: blue hair, Nicki Minaj: pink hair, Rihanna red hair Lady Gaga: green hair THE FUCKING POWER RANGERS ARE BACK! (Go Go Power Rangers!)
– Listening to The Black Keys makes me want to fist pump, bop my head, and proclaim, “Fuck yeah! I’m white!”
– I Would Jus love It If It Wass juss Mhe && Him Talkinn Butt Yhuu knoo Kant have thatt Kuss HOES Dhese dayss ! (If I could see past the grammar and spelling, I’d feel kinda sad for this woman)
– First world problems of the social media consultant (part 2): They ALWAYS come to mow the grass during live Webinars. (thanks @jaybaer for this one)
– it smells like a turd covered in burnt hair #sexpanther (I don’t know how those two are related, and I don’t want to know)
– i am a FEMALE. Fe=Iron. Male=Man. Therefore, i am Iron man. (She used the periodic table. Your argument is invalid)
– I’m learning how to make a girl cum off a massage at my barber. Haha.
– A car full of hipsters just pulled up beside me in the forks parking lot. Its a Volvo. I feel like they’re our families’ soul mates.
– passed out face down butt naked w/the door wide open last night, bet my bro enjoyed that (Where? WHERE was his bro’s @ reply to this??)

There you are folks! I will try to keep this going on a weekly basis. Obviously, some weeks will be less interesting than others, but I hope you enjoy it. Also, if you ever see any great ones worth pointing out, send them to me at

Now go get your social on!

The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of April 16, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

—The genius behind Likeable, Dave Kerpen, offers up a video of the Top 11 Professionals to follow on Twitter. You may be surprised at who’s on the list. via Mashable (video)

—Since I wrote a review of the mobile app Path a couple of weeks ago, I’m really interested in the amount of buzz that it’s getting now that Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram. There are many back and forth points being made on if Path has enough interest and user base to be the next big buyout. Here are a couple interesting articles on Path’s current situation. Via Social Times  and GigaOm

—If you haven’t taken 11 minutes out of your day and watched Caine’s Arcade, do it. Now. You don’t have to thank me, but you will probably want to, because you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m not gonna lie. I kinda teared up. I had to hold it together since I was at work…

—Pressure is mounting in opposition to CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act). The Electronic Frontier Foundation posted a collection of tweets with the hashtags #CISPA and #CongressTMI. Some are serious, some are hilarious.

—We all know that link building is important to SEO, but some links can actually do HARM to your site’s rankings. Seomoz provides some great insight, as usual.

—A friend, Jake, showed me this little gem. Sure you’ve got Facebook friends, but what about Enemies? EnemyGraph is a Facebook app that allows you to basically do the opposite of friending people, and connect with those who share your hatred. Strange, but you know you’re intrigued.

—How about an iPhone app that can ‘sense’ when you’ve hit full sleep mode, and makes sounds to influence your dreaming patterns? Yes, between this and holographic Tupac, we have in fact achieved the future everyone thought was only science fiction. The Social Penguin Blog explores the app developed by Professor Richard Wiseman.

—For one of the funniest and greatest guerrilla marketing stunts you’ve ever seen, watch this video. Thanks to Chris Brogan for sharing this via Google+.

—Finally, Facebook is apparently competing with the potential reanimation of MySpace by offering a “listen button” on musician pages. It is interesting that they use whatever music playing app you already have set up with Facebook. Good tie-in for app creators.  I wonder if podcasters will start hosting their podcasts on Facebook as well? Techcrunch provides the article.

So there you are! Some good reading material for today. See what’s in store next week in the Hoard from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Now go get your social on!

CISPA and Internet Privacy

SOPA and PIPA have come and gone. Protectors of internet freedom rejoiced a major victory when these two fell by the wayside. However, the anti-piracy brigade isn’t done yet: Enter CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, text here). CISPA would be an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947, adding a section that addresses “cyber threats” and “cyber security” measures.

I will start this post by stating that I am NOT an expert in digital public policy. I often rely on outside sources to help me understand the legal jargon that most proposed bills entail. Also, to be fair, I get it. Piracy is bad. Those producing music, tv shows and movies are not getting some of their pieces of the pie because it is being shared for free somewhere online. Advertisers’ money is not being well spent when people aren’t going through the standard legal channels to view their media. My biggest concern is that, in writing these bills and their following amendments, there ALWAYS has to be something put in the wording that allows for things that make the rest of us uncomfortable. There is always some phrase or paragraph that just sounds like those drafting it decided to see how much they could get away with, as long as no one was paying attention.

Image from Wikipedia

For CISPA, there is quite a bit of vagueness that has many people unsettled. Although the bill claims to not be targeted at shutting down or censoring websites, the wording is vague and seems as though it could be easily malleable to fit unintended needs. I am also concerned with another part. There is a section which I am interpreting that “As long as the entity reports a cyber threat or cyber security risk, it does not need to be reported to the general public.” I could be misinterpreting the underlined section below:

(C) if shared with the Federal Government—
‘‘(i) shall be exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code;
‘‘(ii) shall be considered proprietary information and shall not be disclosed to an entity outside of the Federal Government except as authorized by the entity sharing such information; and
‘‘(iii) shall not be used by the Federal Government for regulatory purposes.

It sounds to me that reporting this is up to the discretion of the entity as long as the government knows about it. If a company’s security is breached, and they have sensitive information about their customers, they don’t have to tell us? Is that right?

What is also scary about CISPA is that it actually has support from some key online players, namely Microsoft and Facebook. Scary fact number two is that Anonymous has begun digital attacks on some of the bill’s other supporters, most recently Boeing, among others. Would they have the audacity to hack Microsoft and Facebook? That could lead to some pretty serious repercussions for the rest of us in terms of social media marketing.

What are your thoughts on CISPA? Do you translate the above section differently than I do? Do you think Anonymous will attack Microsoft and Facebook next? Chime in below.

Also, for anyone interested in signing a petition agains CISPA, here is a link to one from FreePress.

Now go get your social on!

Mobile App Review – Path

I use the Nike + GPS app to record my sad attempts at running. It’s nice to have the occasional, “Hey, you didn’t suck as much as last time” motivational shout-outs that it provides at times. Recently, I went to record one of my runs and the app asked me if I wanted to share my run on Path. I saw the below icon, and thought it would be great because, in my post-run haze, I mistakenly thought the icon looked similar to the Pinterest icon. I actually was thinking, if it was associated with Pinterest and would be posting my runs in an album, that would be awesome! It is NOT associated with Pinterest, by the way.

Path not Pinterest
Red and white 'P' does not a Pinterest make...

San Francisco-based 
Path launched in 2010 and, according to its website, the privately held company has a base of about 2 million users. The website goes on to explain that it allows you to keep a personal journal, “or Path”, of your life and should help you authentically express yourself and share your personal life with loved ones Path has a healthy following on Facebook  and on Twitter, as well as over 300 followers on LinkedIn so their online presence and following is pretty well established. It floats dangerously close to Facebook in certain aesthetic aspects. Most notably, Path allows you a “profile picture” and a “cover picture” with the profile picture showing up in a bubble in the lower left corner of the cover picture (example of mine here) on your profile. They may catch flak for that, if they haven’t already.  The feed also resembles Facebook quite a bit, but there isn’t a whole lot of variation available for a feed, I suppose. One area that Path ventures away from Facebook is that is is focused almost exclusively as a mobile interface, rather than on your computer. You can make changes to your profile settings on your Mac or PC, but your feed and your ability to post anything are exclusively on your mobile device. This stems from Path’s focus on being a modern journal for a modern age. It is meant to be with you wherever you go. It has yet to be seen whether a lack of a computer interface will help or hinder Path’s future.My first impression of this app was not a good one. It messed up while registering my account, and reloaded the page, then told me that my email and phone number already existed. I gave up on it until I returned home from my run and saw the email for my registered account. I then decided to give it another go. It got better.

Those facts aside, there are actually some pretty slick features that this app has which make me glad that I moved forward with setting it up.

  1. The creators of Path were smart to allow integration with the other heavy hitters, rather than simply try to compete with them. All of your posts are shareable on Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare. This integration is likely a key success factor for Path.
  2. You have the option to share music that you are currently listening to. When you click the button to do this, Path automatically checks your music player to see what your ARE listening to. It then makes suggestions to post so that you don’t have to search for your song and artist. Occasionally though, if you have a more obscure artist or album, Path can’t find it. I’d be interested to know where they pull their music database from. It does an admirable job for most popular artists, however.
  3. As with most social sites, you can post who are you with (once you’ve found friends on Path), where you are (if you have location services turned on), upload pictures and post comments. You won’t feel too lost using Path if you are already using some of the other major social sites.
  4. Another function, albeit a little bit of a strange one, is the ability to tell friends when you’ve gone to bed and when you wake up. I’m not really sure that I see the use of this outside of people knowing that they can’t bother you because you’ve already gone to bed. I’d love to find out if there is a specific point that Path creators were trying to achieve by adding this feature. If there were a first thing to go in a major overhaul, it would likely be this feature.
  5. All of the above options come from a really cool little pop-up menu in the bottom left corner of your screen. It’s a pretty slick, smooth interface with multiple buttons popping up and going back to being hidden with the touch of a little + or x.
  6. As you scroll through the timeline of events, a little clock pops up to show you the time of each item’s posting. It moves along as you scroll and the little hands furiously move to the next “time stamp” of each post. It’s a fun little feature, actually.
  7. Path offers emoticons that you can add to posts of your own or those of friends. You can add a smiley, frown, wink and surprised face. There is also a little heart option. I would liken this to the ‘Like’ button on Facebook.
  8. The way that Path integrates with Nike + GPS is probably one of the most solid functions Path brings to the table for me, and likely where it can gain an even stronger footing. Once you finish a run while using the Nike app, you can post to your social networks via sharing options within the app (Facebook, Twitter and Path). On Path, a map of your run (example of my own here) gets posted showing your route, your mileage and length of time right on the map! I could see this being a good way to get a bunch of your workout/health nut friends together in one social space and be able to share, cheer each other on, and keep motivated while avoiding the inevitable groans from your Facebook friends (if you post your workouts/runs on your Facebook Timeline.) If you see that a friend is on a run, you can actually click their Path and send them a cheer. And who doesn’t like a little encouragement every now and then?

Overall, I think Path has potential for stay power if they keep the momentum up, and I will likely continue to use it just to see where it may go. I’m interested to see in what ways it “learns” from my activity, which the website claims it will do. I am likely going to have to invite friends so that it becomes fun because, out of my numerous email and Facebook contacts, I’ve found ONE person using Path. I think adding a small bio section and the ability to search other users by interest or location would be greatly helpful in allowing users to add worthwhile connections rather than random. I would love to find other people around Austin using Path.

Being still pretty much in its youth, time will tell whether this becomes the next big thing in social, or if Path simply falls by the wayside as so many do. I can’t say I’m not rooting for it to stay around a little longer though. 

Have you already heard of Path? Are you using it? If not, do you think having a place to share your exercise goals is worth another social network? Chime in!

Now go get your social on!

What the Gym Taught Me About CRM

First off, I’m finally settled into my new place in Austin, TX. I love it here. The company I work for – Main Street Hub, shameless plug –  totally rocks and takes great care of its customers’ social media presence (and great care of its employees). I was able to experience some of the SXSW madness right outside the front door, which was epic. Things are pretty awesome. Now, on to the business at hand.

What the Gym Taught Me About Customer Relationship Management

Going to the gym has its ups and downs. You typically have plenty of options for machines, free weights, treadmills, yadda yadda. Sometimes, simply being amongst others who are pushing themselves can inspire you to work harder (kind of a form of social proof, if you will). If you are like me, you usually end up finding that one machine that works really well, and always bee-line for it when you see it available. Because, y’know, the other one creaks or doesn’t measure your heart rate, or simply looks like it will break mid-stride and impale you. I don’t wanna die at the gym, do you?

So anyway, one thing that really irks me, and this has happened numerous times, is when I go to claim a machine or bench, and some meathead comes up to me and says, “Hey man. I was using that.” Um, no. No, you were not. You were too busy stroking your ego in front of that mirror on the other side of the gym, flexing and grunting. This machine is mine now. You can have it when I’m done, maybe. *Side note: I usually concede if the guy is a big, scary, aggressive type. Remember that time when I said I don’t want to die at the gym?

Now, here is where I make my tie-in. Gym machines are to people as customers are to businesses. They build you up, make you stronger, and if you abandon them, someone else will gladly make use of them.

This is your customer. All alone…Photo by Ambro

It is 6 to 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one. Imagine how much more that figure inflates when a customer feels abandoned or ignored by your company and has been wooed by your competitor. Social media allows you many opportunities to keep up with your customers. You can keep an eye out for good or bad sentiment and react accordingly; and the point is exactly that – react. Show your customers that you care about their opinions (the good AND the bad) and they will not only respect you all the more for it, you may actually improve their initial sentiment. Use review and recommendation sites, such as Yelp!, Google Places, and foursquare, to maintain your image. Also, use them to check up on your competitors and claim their ignored equipment. When you see bad reviews of your competitors, reach out to those people (steal their machine!). Suddenly, you look like the friendly gym owner who says, “It’s ok, buddy. I’m someone who would love to pay attention to you. Let me show you.”

On that note, however, don’t be a peacock. Don’t strut your stuff once you feel good about your reputation.  Be careful not to get so caught up in your own affairs that your customers become secondary. Don’t be that guy flexing in the mirror because, as I mentioned, you are then no longer paying attention to your machine. And I’m going to come steal it!

Do you have any success stories, either stealing customers or maintaining your customer base? Share your stories below.

Now go get your social on!

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