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 July 19, 2012 (“Get to know our customers” Day. Find out something new about those who keep you in business.)

Social Gnome hoard image

  • This could be a game changer for this year’s election. USA Today reports that the state of Washington will be the first state to allow voters to register via Facebook. If ever there was a way to make registering to vote more accessible to the general public, this is the way to do it. Facebook users will be able to register to vote through an app on the secretary of state’s Facebook page, and they’ll even be able to share the app on their timeline for friends to see. This is going to be the new ‘I voted’ sticker for the digital age. Kudos to the state of Washington for taking the initiative on this and force feeding democracy on those too busy to register to vote because they’re clicking ‘Like’ on the latest meme.
  • I. Love. Lists. I use lists for everything. I use Evernote to organize lists of blog ideas. I use the notepad function on my iPhone to make lists of movies to see or places around Austin to check out. When I saw this headline on Twitter, I got uber excited. Lifehacker provides the Five Best To-Do List Managers apps. I will be checking these out myself to see which works the best for me, but the prospect of using some the listed features to organize my many to-dos has me tingling with delight. What? I like lists…
  • Jay Baer offers up a really interesting post discussing the difference between Social Media Influencers and Brand Advocates. He makes some very interesting points both in how each can be useful in their own way, and how very different they can be from each other. For those of you who prefer a more visual approach, the post includes a great infographic. For those of you who have a little bit of a nerdy streak, there’s even a dig at Aquaman. Who doesn’t love a good dig at Aquaman? I’d also like to take this moment to thank Jay for introducing me to Curate.Us, which allows me to quickly clip visual snippets from sources and place them in my blog posts as you see here. It’s such a useful tool.
  • As long as Stumbleupon.com continues to find me crazy weird things like this, things I would have never found  on my own, I will continue to let it eat up valuable resources from my time. (It is a great way to stay occupied on the bus ride home from work though.) Since I found this on Stumbleupon, and there really aren’t any other links or info on the page, I can’t tell you much about who made it or where it came from. You may find yourself fiddling around with it regardless. Who doesn’t love taking 15 seconds to drag the mouse and create unique melodies? I submit that there are very few people on that list.
  • Here’s an really interesting dynamic chart following the changes in how we consume music over that last 30 years. It’s really interesting to simply watch the trends from one technology to the next. I’d love to see the jump in just the two years after the chart stops. Once again, I found this on Stumbleupon, so I don’t know who exactly created it or where they are pulling their data from, but it appears relatively accurate, or at least it makes sense. From the web address, it appears to be coming from digitalmusicnews.com.
  • Lastly, Stanford of Pushing Social shares an interesting analogy with regards to why you may not be getting the interaction you want or hope for in your blog. It seems a pretty simple concept that he discusses, but one that still so few seem to grasp in this digital world of “look at me, look at me!” Stanford always writes great stuff and is quickly becoming one of my favorite go-to people for blogging advice. Pushing Social is worth following for bloggers of any caliber to find quick, to-the-point advice that you can put to use. This one is a quick read, and worth checking to make sure you’re not THAT guy that he points out in the post.
  • Last minute addition to wrench your heart a bit. Thursday night, at the midnight premiere of the Dark Knight Rises, a man in a gas mask wearing all black decided to throw tear gas and open fire into the crowd. At the time of writing this, 12 are dead and many more wounded, some of them being children. I simply don’t understand it. 24-year old James Holmes has not given a motive yet, but that doesn’t matter. People were excited about a movie and he ruined their lives. Unbelievable.
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? What do you think about the ability to register to vote on Facebook? Would you like to see more social integration into important parts of our society as we know it?  Are you a list-maker yourself, and do you already use any of the apps Lifehacker spotlights? Weigh in below with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

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In the Company of You – Having a Personal Brand

Personal brand: The Not-So Secret Identity?

This topic has been sitting in my Evernote folder for a while now. I recently listened to a podcast on Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation: The Twist Image Podcast, and he had a guest by the name of Ben Casnocha. Ben is the coauthor of a book called The Startup of You (along with Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn). The podcast was very interesting and I may have to check out the book too. One topic that they touched on while discussing The Startup of You was personal branding. The internet has allowed for anyone to be an author, anyone to be a content creator, and as such, many have ‘branded’ themselves. People are no longer necessarily identifying themselves as merely an employee of a company, but as brand of their own, leasing their talent to a company for however long they are there (as Mitch and Ben put it in the podcast). It is also discussed in the podcast as to whether this is actually a good thing for businesses or not.

I can honestly say that I have my own personal brand, which occasionally collides with what I do at Main Street Hub. I have my personal blog, which I treat more as a blog discussing small business and social media, because those are the things that interest me. There’s also occasionally funny things (Found Tweet Friday) I find and interesting music or apps that I come across. I also come equipped with my presence on just about all social networks (and the many connections that come from them). At the end of the day, all of that belongs to me and not the company. Ask any social media expert, however, and they’ll tell you that companies should encourage their employees to blog and have a presence on social media. Could this hurt your company? Will it cause your employees to focus more on themselves than your company’s image? Personally, I don’t think that’s the case in most instances.

If you’re hiring the right kind of people, then their personal brand is an extension of them that can be leveraged for the business, as long as they’re interested and invested in the business themselves. Do my blog and social media presence get occasionally leveraged for use with my company? Sure. I tweet about things going on at work (we even have our own hashtag). I ‘Like’ and share things my company posts. I post Instagram pictures from crazy things happening at my group’s desk. I even link to my company and let readers know what we do. Not because the company asks me to, but because it’s relevant to what I’m interested in. As a matter of fact, I got Main Street Hub’s attention initially by tweeting articles about social media and small business and @tagging them on Twitter. Like “Hey guys, I read this and its relevant to your business. I found it interesting and you might too!” With a little perseverance, I landed the job and now my extracurricular social media activities occasionally merge with what I do for Main Street Hub.

Personal brand is only going to become more prevalent as this generation, which already use Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, Instagram and Twitter to amass numerous followers and fans, grows into the next workforce. They are going to come fully equipped with a social standing and personal brand, and companies will have to know how to reconcile that. Simply put, embrace it, treat your employees with respect, and perhaps their personal brand will mesh with your company’s professional presence.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel you have a personal brand outside of your company? Have you used or leveraged your presence to procure a job? Or, as a business owner, did you take social media presence into account when finding or hiring an employee? I’d love to hear some comments below, and perhaps later I can gather the responses and do a follow up post. Thanks for reading.

Now go get your social on!

Klout Perks – Does the bribery work?

Me, when I received Klout perks in the mail…

Ask most accomplished digital marketers about Klout and the vast majority of them will scoff. “Klout scores don’t mean anything.” “The scoring system is flawed and ridiculous.” These are the kind of responses you’ll likely hear. And they’re right. Once you’ve received your first “Klout thinks you’re influential in [something you’ve never, ever talked about],” you’ll know that there isn’t a whole lot of deep science behind the ranking system. So the question remains: Why is Klout still around? The answer is twofold.

My score on Klout as an Influencer
My Klout score…

One, we are a culture that loves an easily identifiable number, whether it actually holds any real validity or not. We love ratings, star systems, and any easy way to rank people, things, or anything we can assign a value. Especially in these times of overbearing multitasking in our business and personal lives, the easier we can dismiss that which isn’t important, the quicker we can get on to our next task at hand.

This is about how I look when I hear FREE

Two, we are a culture that loves free stuff, regardless of whether we need it or not. I’m most guilty of this myself. I’ll admit that the real and only reason I continue to monitor Klout is that I love to get free stuff and revel in the possibility of gaining early access to beta testing apps and networks. The only fuel behind why I’d ever fret over my score is the concern that I’d fall under some unknown threshold and miss out on some Perk not yet known to me.

I received my first physical perk in the mail a few weeks ago. It was some iced tea samples for a big brand. They gave me a pretty ridiculous amount of samples, which is kind of nice, but it’s going to take me so long to get through them I’m not sure if and when I’ll ever have to buy any of it. The tea was alright, a little too sweet for me, but I’ll drink it throughout the summer. I received my second physical perk this week. It was a sneak peek at the new season of a TV show. Here’s the thing. I don’t have cable, so I won’t be able to watch it once it airs anyway. I also misread the Perk, not realizing that it was season 2, so I’d be lost to start with. Did the fact that I received these two items turn me into a brand advocate? No. If the right thing came along, however, it just might, and I think that’s what brands are banking on. For example, in a post a couple weeks ago, I talked about a Klout Perk for Learni.st, a Pinterest style network that allows you the share and learn things within your community, which I received early access to. I dug the network and the idea behind it, and I actually have even invited a few people to sign up for it while they’re in live beta testing. The creators of Learni.st answered and acknowledged all of my questions, checked out my blog post when I wrote about it, and were excited to have me participating. In this instance, I became an advocate for their product because I liked it and actually felt like I was part of an exclusive group. I didn’t feel so exclusive drinking a glass of tea from a brand I was already well familiar with and I knew was quite established. That’s where I think the power in these Klout Perks really lies. Creating loyalties with brands you may have never heard of, or up-and-coming startups and apps where the feedback of a real and invested community can take a company and its designers to the next level of innovation and creativity.

So, what do you think? Does ‘rewarding’ those with Klout scores above a certain threshold really get a brand anywhere? Do you feel that being rewarded with a freebie would get you behind a brand, or does it take something a little more for you to become an advocate?

Let me know below with your comments. Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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