Found Tweet Friday


Found Tweet Friday!

June 15th, 2012 (National Flip Flop Day, according to Tropical Smoothie Cafe! Yeah!)

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:

  • Guy stopped me as I was picking up dog poop and offered to “take care of that for me.” Thank you, sir, for redefining creepy. (I was just trying to be helpful. Sheesh, can’t even offer to pick up poop these days…)
  • dam ppl running around naked eating bitches face off the world is really comin to an end ! (Actually, I contend that this sentence structure is the reason the world is really coming to an end)
  • My mom thinks LOL stands for “lots of love” she just texted me “Your grandfather just died. LOL.” (Never gets old…haha)
  • OK, good news, finally: my blood test results came back fine, I don’t have typhoid problems or diabeetus or Stanky AIDS Malaria or such (Just, all the things. All the things are wrong.)
  • Going to lunch with my mom sister and my sisters fetus (So, at what stage do you stop calling it a fetus?)
  • My skull sweating, a pistol to it. The tool clicks. BLAST. My face opens like Spring sun hitting a tulip (I always get a little freaked out when I see tweets like this…)
  • Saw a ribbon car magnet this morning that said “Support Zombies”. Awesome. (They’re people too, right?)
  • i think all your makeup is weighing you down while you’re running on that treadmill. at the gym.. again, at the gym.. you’re at the gym. (I find myself making this statement all the time)
  • Ken Dodd’s dad’s dog ‘s dead. (Inadvertent tongue twister?)
  • My realtor sucks. How hard is it to find me a house with a giant mega fun ball pit in the goddamn living room? (Maybe someone should help this guy with managing expectations…)

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 robzaleski1@gmail.com

Now go get your social on!

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The Social Gnome’s Hoard – 4 New Reasons to Monitor Online Reviews

This week we’re discussing the recently increased importance of monitoring and maintaining your presence on review sites, particularly Yelp and Google Places (now called Google+ Local).

June 13, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Yelp rating system
The slow, painful decline from red to yellow
  • Siri uses Yelp to search locally – When your potential customers hit that button on their iPhone and tell Siri asks what she can help them with, Siri then asks her friend Yelp for the highest rated results in that category in your geographic area. This is applicable whether you’re a restaurant, doctor, lawyer, plumber, auto repair shop, anything. You need to make sure you’re looking as clean as you can on Yelp, or Siri may not recommend you. Yes, you are now catering your hard work on your company’s image to a digital assistant. Get used to it and move forward, because this stuff is only getting more complicated.
Google+ Local Austin recommendation
I agree, Mandola’s is delicious.
  • Google loves Google+ – Google has integrated it’s search even more fully into its social network, last week unveiling Google+ Local. Companies’ reviews on Zagat and Google Places are now merged, using the Zagat scoring system, out of 30 points, and allowing rating of multiple facets of a business. Companies can no longer have an abandoned Google Places page. They will now have to create a Google+ business page, or spruce up their Google Places page now that it has ported over and become a Google+ business page. This gives you some great options, visually, but a more social search for customer equals a more complicated job for businesses.
Screenshot from Apple.com
Apple.com explains iOS6 features
  • Apple just rocked your world – The unveiling of new iOS6 features from Apple announced the dropping of Google Maps and the addition of Apple Maps. Once again, Apple is lending preference to Yelp to assist users in navigating the best spots in the very slick looking, and exceedingly functional, Apple maps. Local restaurants, take note that Apple in also utilizing Open Table to allow users to make reservations with Siri. Let the confusion begin.
Visual.Ly infographic on food critiquing
Visual.Ly shows you how much we’re all critics
  • Everybody’s a criticVisual.Ly makes a great infographic that culminates our innate needs to have our opinions heard. From quick shout outs, epic tales of a dinner gone wrong, or outright rude chastising of a business owner for not caring enough, we love to have our opinions heard. Although there are numerous platforms out there that cater to this desire to be heard, Yelp furthers the addiction even more by rewarding those who share their opinions the most (awarding them a coveted Elite status) and Google just made it super easy for Google+ users to share their experiences very, very publicly.
UPDATE As an addendum, Bing is also pushing the local search functionality. Guess what resource Bing will be utilizing for finding local businesses. Yelp. Bing has been making major strides in order to compete with Google and the social nature of Google+ Local. It seems Bing is bringing Yelp along with it.
The push to make the local experience completely interactive has grown so exponentially in the last couple of years, it’s difficult to imagine where we’ll be in a couple more. Social search has grown by leaps and bounds in a very short amount of time. One thing is clear, the phrase “Evolve or die” could not be written any clearer. Local business owners simply can not ignore the growing need to be involved in the social digital sphere. Word of mouth is still king, but that king sits on the throne made of Yelp and Google+ Local.

I recommend you give at least a moment’s look at Main Street Hub. We handle your online reviews for you. We make sure your customers are heard, acknowledged, appeased and thanked. The time is now. Take your reviews by the horns and lead them in a direction that helps your business grow in this ever changing climate of fickle customers who have been handed megaphones to share their experiences. Tell Main Street Hub that Rob Z sent you. Thanks for reading.

Now go get your social on!

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Interview with Sociabell CEO Yoni Ram

Social search is garnering quite a bit of hype now that Google is further integrating Google+ into every aspect of the search engine, and with Microsoft and FUSE Labs gaining traction on their social + search experiment So.cl. In light of this, I decided to revisit Sociabell, the social search app for Facebook that allows you to search all networks and search engines directly from Facebook’s search bar. Sociabell’s CEO, Yoni Ram, was kind enough to spend some time answering some interview questions for me about Sociabell.

Sociabell social search app for Facebook

  • What inspired you to start Sociabell? 

During a surf trip in Costa Rica, I arrived at an Internet Café. As always, I opened my Facebook account to get updated and chat with my friends. I also had to search for a place to stay, and find some local restaurants, bars, surf spots, etc. I constantly moved back and forth between Facebook, Google, and other sites. It was time consuming. The clock on the Internet Café kept ticking, and I felt that there must be a better way for Facebook users to search the web. If Facebook is my “home base”, the website that is always open, and it already has a search box, why can’t I search Google, YouTube, and more directly from there?

In the development process we came up with our second main feature: Social Search – with one click you can share your search query from Facebook search box to the News Feed, and let your friends help you find what you’re searching for. It can be “a good restaurant”, “a boutique Hotel in NY”, or “an idea for a birthday gift”. We discovered that people are also using the Social Search to express their thoughts, feelings and opinions, for example: “Dan is searching for peace and love” or “Alice is searching for someone to stop Joseph Kony!”.

  • The integration we’re seeing from Google+ and Microsoft is a strong indication that social + search is gaining serious traction. What are you doing to maintain relevancy and differentiate Sociabell?

While Google and Microsoft start to offer different combinations of social and search, our goal is to provide a better search experience for Facebook users, specifically for those who see Facebook as their “home base”. In the future, when Facebook rolls out their new search, we will continue to develop Sociabell to offer Facebook users an enhanced search experience. Our unique position – being between the two giants Facebook and Google, lets us provide Facebook users with capabilities that Facebook is not likely to offer (e.g. searching Google and YouTube directly from Facebook’s search box). As one of our users wrote us: “Finally, one search box that does it all!”.

  • What plans do you have for improvements to functionality and design of Sociabell? What can we expect to see next?

As we see so far, we are really onto something. Our users love Sociabell and get pretty addicted to it. We receive very positive feedback, with many ideas and requests for new features. We are constantly exploring new ways to evolve our product, and our current focus is on allowing customization and personalization of the search panel.

It sounds like Sociabell has a respectable leader heading it in the right direction to handle the current trend in social media. I can’t wait to see the personalization options that Mr. Ram mentions. Facebook has been almost rapid-firing new features lately, so we’ll see where and when they finally land on a social search option to compete with the likes of Google and Microsoft. Perhaps Sociabell will receive a call from Facebook accountants offering to buy their already well-integrated app and save Facebook the development time.

If you haven’t already added Sociabell to your Facebook apps, it’s definitely worth it. It’s free, and they respect your privacy (a rare aspect in the social and search world these days). Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Mr. Yoni Ram for participating in this interview. Check out this video, highlighting Sociabell’s functionality. 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 June 7, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Image courtesy of PushingSocial.com
  • Stanford at Pushing Social offers up some Essential Tools for the Savvy Blogger in a recent post. He even breaks it into three sections: Research, Writing, and Promotion. I’m happy to see that Buffer made his list for the Research and Curation portion. I’m a huge fan of Buffer (if you haven’t been using this amazing curation tool – which integrates seamlessly with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for the web – then be sure to check it out here). I’m surprised to see that Evernote didn’t make his list for Planning, the tools that did are top notch.
Image clipped from Seaquence.org
  • You guys, this has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve found on Stumbleupon.com. Seaquence.org has put together this digital music maker of sorts and, as the site puts it, “Adopting a biological metaphor, you can create and combine musical lifeforms resulting in an organic, dynamic composition.” The interface is really easy to use and you can add multiple “organisms” to add depth and variation. You can also donate to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts from their homepage. If you search for Seaquence on YouTube, you’ll even find some video clips that people have put together showing off their run at making biological music. It’s cool. Check it out. If you make any videos yourself, let me know and I’ll share them with my readers!
Klout.com
  • I’ll be honest, I use Klout because I love free stuff. Whereas so far I’ve gained early access to a couple up and coming social networks like Learni.st and LoveIt, I actually received my first physical Klout perk in the mail last week. I mean, it wasn’t a new car or a digital device to test drive, but I was still excited about free goodies in the mail. I got my Lipton Tea & Honey samples (Pineapple Mango) in a huge envelope. They gave me quite a few. The stuff is pretty good, but a lot sweeter than I typically go for. Also, 8oz of water is not enough. I filled an entire drinking glass and it was still flavorful. Not bad. It’s good on a hot Austin day, but too sweet to drink tons of it. (Disclaimer: I was given a free product or sample because I’m a Klout influencer. I am under no obligation to received the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.)
Photo by Marcus Kwan
(aperturismo on Flickr)
  • Facebook is throwing around the idea of dropping or removing the minimum age restriction for usage. Currently, the minimum age is 13, according to Facebook’s terms. Of course, some parents have helped their uber-social tween get Facebook accounts anyway, but there are some interesting ideas being tossed out there. One of the big concerns, according to the Washington Post, is the collection of data from and targeted advertising to children. Another idea being considered is having parents’ accounts have an administrator-like control over a child’s account. This, of course, could be a point of contention as a child turns into a teen, but could be a genius move for Facebook. Not only would it allow millions of kids to create accounts, but it would thereby force any parents of those kids to have an account, use it more often to monitor their child’s usage, and interact with Facebook more than they may have previously. We’ll see where the dart finally lands on this issue, but it will be interesting nonetheless.
Promote your blog with Social Media
Image from SocialMediaExaminer.com
  • Some of these tips from Social Media Examiner, if you’re even a slightly experienced blogger, may be common sense. However, this post offers up some really great tips and ideas for using the various outlets at your disposal for promoting your blog. In my case, I share a link to my blog posts on my Google+ profile all the time, but it never occurred to me to paste the entire text into the status update (since Google’s character limit is ridiculously huge0. Not only does this mean people can read your post without leaving Google+, it also is better for SEO!
  •  And finally, this music video by a band called Driver Friendly was shared with me by my friend and coworker Calli. She’s a great local music guru for me and she actually used to listen to these guys when they were first getting their start. I have to credit them for making a great music video, a tribute to Tom Hanks movies is a pretty unique theme. It was even Tweeted by Tom Hanks himself, which is amazing for a small band. Check out their nicely produced video and check them out on Spotify or iTunes if you like their music.

So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? Can you name all the Tom Hanks movies in the music video? Let me know with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

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Can’t Keep Up? Which New Social Networks to Consider or Ignore (Part 3)

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve begun dabbling in other social networks, just to see what kind of things are popping up now that Facebook had its less-than-stellar IPO. Although I still see Facebook hanging around for quite a while, there are definitely some others that may be worth noting.

Path not Pinterest
Path – The mobile-only network

Path

You can’t talk about emerging social networks without bringing up Path. I won’t spend too much time discussing this one, as I’ve actually already written a blog post reviewing it here. There are still some aspects of Path that could bear improvement, and for me it’s still not quite engaging, since I haven’t succumbed to adding a bunch of randos yet. I think it sorely needs some sort of way to search out common interests for those of us who don’t have a bunch of friends on it. Otherwise, it’s a great mobile app with a fluid interface. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s worth a look, especially if you’re heavily involved in the mobile sphere.

Another network that just came to my attention as emerging is Social Dashboard. I came across this article thanks to Repost.us, and I have requested to be accepted as a beta tester. For now, you can read up on this “socially conscious” network (or is it a browser? Not sure yet). The big deal with this network is that there’s a major focus on respecting user privacy, not profiting from user information, and streamlining with other networks. Sounds interesting and I hope to get more information to share soon!

5 years ago Facebook replaced MySpace. 2 years ago the movie “Social Network” exposed Facebook’s beginnings. Today, Facebook’s User Agreement permits them to sell your behaviors to the highest bidder. Social Dashboard is being developed as the next leading social network. Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB…

Continue reading “Can’t Keep Up? Which New Social Networks to Consider or Ignore (Part 3)”

People Doing Great Things

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

Normally on Fridays, I do my Found Tweet Friday post. Today, however, I wanted to do a special edition of the Social Gnome’s Hoard (since the holiday just completely screwed up my schedule for the week!). I want to call attention to some people that I think deserve some recognition, because I think they’re doing some great stuff in their respective segments. So make sure you check out the people below and give them some kudos for the heart and soul they’re putting into their work.

Week of June 1, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Apostrophe Now Lindsey Markel
Check out Apostrophe Now’s Facebook Page
  • Apostrophe Now is an editing & proofreading freelance project recently started by my good friend Lindsey Markel. She’s extremely smart, funny, a creative fiction writer, blogger and eclectic spirit. She has also done copy editing work for a major education technology company (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to name drop, so I’ll err on the side of caution) as well as done some great publicity work for the  non-profit Celebration Company at The Station Theatre in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (a place I used to call home). She’s now offering her copy editing skills to those wanting to clean up their resume as they go out into this tough job market. Every little bit helps out there. Check out her page for some expert advice and an edge that may help you get noticed.
Eye Social ASL (American Sign Language) challenge from Anne Reuss
Click here to see if you’re up to the challenge!
  •  I happened across Anne Reuss and her blog eyeSocial by chance, and we began talking about a post she wrote on the bond between siblings. It was a great dialogue that we had and I decided to keep up on what she was doing. Then I discovered this portion of her blog, and I realized she was doing even greater things than I thought. Anne has set forth a challenge. You see, she is deaf, but works in social media. With the constant influx of startups and new businesses, she found that she was constantly having to spell out in ASL (American Sign Language) the names of all these businesses. So she challenged owners of startups and other social media experts to come up with signs in ASL for these businesses. This unique proposition has caught the attention and participation of many people already. Are you up to the challenge?
Check out what Mike and Dave the penguin are up to!
  • The Social Penguin is one of my favorite blogs to follow, and I’ve even guest posted there a few times. Mike McGrail is very active in the world of social media and has some amazing insights. The link above takes you to a great post providing 5 tips on how to drive traffic to your blog (and couldn’t we all use more traffic to our blogs?). He has also been my go-to guy for what great apps I absolutely need to have. As a matter of fact, he just turned people on to a handful of great apps in one of his most recent posts My 6 Essential Apps for Life. It will change your life, or at least the way your organize it digitally.
Check out more images like this!
  • I can’t say I have an eye for capturing beauty. Occasionally, I can fumble an Instagram picture with just the right perspectives, but it’s a rare occurrence. Nicole at wave parade, however, has that eye uniquely focused on making blog posts that are simply put: visually stunning. Often one of few words, she lets the images she puts together tell the story for her, and you’ll still be able to get it. I met Nicole through social media elite Starr Hall, who I’ve also guest blogged for a couple times. Nicole has a similar enthusiasm, and I think she’s going to be one worth watching, wherever she goes.

There you have it. Some people and blogs you may have never heard of, but are certainly worth your time, should you be interested in their content. Who are people that you admire or that you think are doing important and wonderful things? Chime in below! Next week, I’ll be back to a normal schedule, I promise. Until then.

Now go get your social on!

Can’t Keep Up? Which New Social Networks to Consider or Ignore (Part 2)

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve begun dabbling in other social networks, just to see what kind of things are popping up now that Facebook had its less-than-stellar IPO. Although I still see Facebook hanging around for quite a while, there are definitely some others that may be worth noting. A couple I’ve been invited to as Klout perks (and I’m a sucker for free stuff and exclusive access) and a couple are already establishing themselves well.

LoveIt touts that it is “your personalized visual community where you can easily share everything that interests you, find people who have similar tastes and discover new things you may not have found otherwise.” That’s all well and good, but I haven’t been able to find a single thing that distinguishes it from Pinterest other than the cute squirrel logo. I came across LoveIt as a Klout perk, gaining early access to it. Once I signed up, It was immediately evident that it was going to be a Pinterest-type site. I gave it a chance though, and began actively searching for things that differentiated it from its predecessor. Now, I understand taking an idea and trying to improve on it with new features or better functionality, but this is not the case. LoveIt is exactly like Pinterest. I can’t find any distinguishing characteristics. If I’m missing something, let me know. Otherwise, if you already have Pinterest, skip this one folks. It’s not worth starting your boards all over again. Sorry LoveIt, you’re just not original enough for me to love it.

Image from Learni.st

Learni.st is another social network that bears similarity to Pinterest. This one, however, makes certain to distinguish itself from its predecessor both in improved functionality and cause. Learni.st is meant to be a learning community. As their help board puts it “Use Learnist to share what you know. Create a Learn Board on a subject you understand and add ‘learnings’ by pointing to existing web videos, blogs, images and documents. Anything.” The site cleverly has an entire section of Learn Boards dedicated solely to the user experience, complete with FAQs, problem reporting, feedback and terms of service. Learni.st is currently in live beta, where you can sign up and use some of the site’s primary functions. You can get full access if someone invites you (see below if you’d like me to send you an invitation to get started!).

There are a handful of key distinguishing factors that I think make Learni.st pretty cool:

  • Your interaction is more than just liking or re-adding (i.e. repinning) a post. You can actually check off that you’ve ‘learned’ it, and your profile will keep track of your learning progress in specific categories. In this way, you can actually visually build up your credibility in a category by showing how many blogs you’ve read, videos you’ve watched or articles you’ve perused. You can also check up on others’ progress on their profile and see if they’re a resident expert, or still have some work to put in.
  • If someone has a Learn Board that interests you, you can follow and like that board. Even better, if you have something you think would make a great addition to that board, you can suggest a learning for that user. Suddenly boards can become community projects, which enriches the experience of other visitors to that board.
  • Let’s face it. Some sites just aren’t pin friendly. Either the images don’t come up to select, or the ones that do come up are rubbish (or ads for something unrelated). Learni.st lets you get around that by allowing you to directly link to an image URL or upload your own images. I’ve found it nice to use a grabbing or snipping tool to capture something from the page and save it to my computer, then upload the image to represent my learning. You may even be able to use Curate.us to create an image, although I haven’t tried that yet.
  • As is becoming a standard, you can add an applet to your bookmarks bar, allowing you to ‘Learn It!’ whenever you’re browsing the web. I really dig that ability. Streamlining is key.
A snip of what the Learni.st interface looks like

The team at Learni.st are obviously still working out some bugs, since it is in beta, but they have been amazingly quick to respond, and the turnaround and communication is unparalleled. This is a great set of people, with an awesome mission, and brilliant customer service. I’ll be using Learni.st for a while. I want to see this one launch.

There are a couple areas of potential improvement. An on-site notification of interaction (likes, follows, comments, etc) would be great. To my knowledge, there is not anything set up aside for email notifications. Also, tagging people in comments would be nice, especially if you want to recommend that someone checks out the board. This may help with inter-board traffic, which will enhance the social feature a bit more.
Are you using Learni.st already? Do you want to check it out with full functionality? If you leave a comment below and email me at robzaleski1@gmail.com (if you’re not comfortable tossing your email address in a comment), I will send you an invitation for full access! Watch for part 3 of this series next week.

Now go get your social on!

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