Achieving Olympic Gold – Helping the Family of Tyler McGill

The above picture is of my friend Jeff McGill and his son Tyler. Jeff is a friend, a fellow thespian, and an all-around good guy. He works hard, stays in shape, does volunteer work and has raised an amazing family. His son Tyler is a swimmer. I don’t mean one of those guys that just hangs around the pool. I mean the real deal, blazing through the water, leaving you in his bubbles, swimmer. So much, that he’s actually qualified to swim in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which is beyond exciting. His times are so close to Michael Phelps’s times, that Olympic gold is truly a possibility this year. There’s only one problem. For Jeff and his family to travel out to London, stay for the entire time necessary and get all the necessary registration done, is expensive. Like, CRAZY expensive. Here’s where we come in. This is an honest to goodness opportunity to help make a real Olympic dream come true. This is a chance to make an impact in one the most amazing opportunities in a young man’s life. An opportunity to make sure his family is right there to celebrate with him, should he obtain an Olympic medal. So we’ve started a donation page on GoFundMe.com. If you’re interested, you can donate as much or as little as you want, anonymously or with your name and a message. I’d really like to see this family watch their son compete for the gold, and I hope you’ll help them get there.

Check out a great interview with Tyler McGill talking about Olympic hopes and encouraging young swimmers:

Thanks for reading.

Now go get your social on!

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What Would You Do If…? Lessons On My Birthday

Facebook page birthday notification July 9
By 7:45, the early risers are on the ball!

I’m currently typing this blog post on Sunday, July 8, 2012. The day before my birthday. Already, I’ve received a couple notifications of people wishing me a happy birthday. By the time you read this, I will likely have received numerous wall posts from friends, family, acquaintances, and people I forgot I was Facebook friends with. I’ll likely get birthday wishes from people who’s “Happy Birthday” post will be the only interaction I’ve had with them on Facebook (or in any other form) in months. No one really remembers birthdays anymore. Why should we? Facebook does it for us. That got me thinking. With so much time and dependence that we all put into Facebook, will we really be ready to handle it’s potential and eventual decline? How will we go back to actually remembering people’s birthdays, peer into their lives, and creep on people if Facebook’s revenue model and waning coolness sends them crashing and burning like so many other internet fads, memes and viral superstars? Younger crowds are already growing weary of the advertising and familial presences on Facebook, according to this article from All Facebook.

Abandoned Playground
MySpace has been referred to the abandoned playground of the Internet. Is Facebook next?

This also got me thinking in terms of business. Sure, right now you must have a presence on Facebook to be where everyone is. Will that be true for the next generation of those with purchasing power? If your business is geared toward a younger audience, do you have a back up plan to be ready to go where they are? Probably not. Many small businesses are still just starting to fully adopt social media into their marketing and business plans. They’ve been told for the last few years that Facebook is the place to be, and now they may start hearing that it’s on the downward slide.

Now I’m not saying that you should be scrambling to figure out what to do and prepare for ‘life after Facebook.’ It’s like the zombie apocalypse. Is it going to happen tomorrow? Not likely, but you should maybe have a plan just in case it does. I think that might be a future blog post.

What do you think? How long does Facebook have to hold the crown of King of Social Media? Who is likely next in line to usurp the crown? Do you have kids or target a younger audience, and have you seen a shift in their focus for networking online and with mobile devices?

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

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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 20, 2012 (American Eagle Day, so do your country proud):

Social Gnome hoard image

  • For those of you who love those infographs, Social Times has put together some interesting demographic information on who is using the various social networks. Some of the data may come as no surprise if you follow this kind of data, but some of the data is still pretty staggering. I especially like the section that outlines how much a user is supposedly worth to the networks. I’ll take my check now, Mr. Zuckerberg.
  • As a blogger, I’m always looking for something to inspire me, something to keep me furiously clicking away at the keys and trying to get that next blog post out (and on time, to boot). Copyblogger provides some words of wisdom, as usual. This time, in an easily printable format that you can put right above your desk. No more excuses. Print it. Live it. Do it. Be a better writer. Just as easily said as done, right?
30 Best Content Curation Resources for Marketers and Business Pros
Clipped from: http://www.b2bmarketinginsider.com (share this clip)
  • Speaking of blogging tips, if you’re having a tough time figuring out what exactly it is that you want to write about, here is a list of 30 Curation Sources from B2B Marketing Insider to help you get started. Some are big news reporting names you’re already familiar with, but there are a few gems in here that I was unfamiliar with, but am definitely checking out. The article provides links and links to Twitter profiles for all 30, so you can jump right in and follow these sources to keep your content fresh and interesting.
  • Anyone who works in social media, or works digitally with clients, will appreciate the humor in this Tumblr blog “What Should We Call Social Media.” If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is a must. Using animated GIFs, this blog expresses exactly what you and I are feeling when clients or their customers do things that drive us up a wall. It also approaches other great themes like “When Klout tells me it believes I’m influential in something I’ve literally NEVER talked about.” It’s a fantastic Tumblr, but be careful it doesn’t drain your day away. You’ve got clients to think about.

Clipped from: redOrbit (share this clip)
  • Great news to all of you Flipboard lovers (like me!). Google+ announced this week that it would finally be opening up its API to allow your Google+ stream to be viewable from your Flipboard dashboard. It was already possible to view your Google+ stream on Google Currents, which was one pull for me, but I’ve been wildly awaiting this announcement. This hopefully means we’ll see many more availabilities opening up (like Hootsuite and maybe Buffer!). Google previous closed-off nature with their API was one thing hurting them in the battle against Facebook. This could be a pretty major turning point for Google+ usage and integration.
  • And finally, for all you music lovers out there, this FREE app is a must-have. Band of the Day is an app for iPad and iPhone that provides a new band or artist recommendation for every day of the year. You can even go back a handful of weeks to see what you may have missed. The app allows you to preview numerous (if not all) songs by the band or artist, reviews, bios, videos and links to purchase the songs as well. It does obviously require an internet or WiFi connection. The user interface is really slick and moves smoothly through all the various screens. There may be a few artists you’re already pretty familiar with, but unless you’re a major indie music aficionado, you’re likely to find tons of music you’ve never heard before. I highly recommend this app, especially on the iPad, to anyone who thirsts for more music in their life.
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? Do you know of any other great music recommending apps out there? Do you use Flipboard, Google Currents, or some other dashboard for all your news gathering? Weigh in below with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

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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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!

Found Tweet Friday


Found Tweet Friday!

May 25th (National Geek Pride Day, as it turns out!)

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:

  • if you’re one of those people that don’t pick up your dog’s shit then I actually hate you and hope you get gum stuck in your hair (This is included because I agree with this statement. Wholeheartedly.)
  • Damn I wanted too go too changes too get a pedi today but I forgot I got too work. (At least there’s consistency…sigh…)
  • Say NO to racism. Be like a panda: They’re black, white, and Asian… but not Mexican… so be like a panda holding a taco. (#twttr4equalityy…we’ve still so far to go.)
  •  hairy bumhole. Nipples come in all shapes and sizes, but hairy bumhole is quite preventable (While a true statement, the mental image that is conjured just makes me dry heave. Ew.)
  • …..so apparently there are bridal uggs, is that weird or is that weird (Sure, weird it ONE word for it. At least the bride would be comfortable. Right? Are Uggs comfortable? I honestly don’t know.)
  • The loose skin at the point of your elbow is often known as a “weenus”….you’re welcome (The more you knooooooow)
  • “WAS IT A CAR OR A CAT I SAW” is the only full English sentence that, when read in reverse, will be the same. #randomfact” (These are the kind of random facts I love. Did you already know this?)
  • I was going to buy a new car today. Turns out I’m short a down payment, a better job, and 400 points on my credit score. So close! (The sad, sad 140 character story. Poor fella.)
  • Impromptu to heal shopping in sweats is priceless. People look at you weird rocking heals in sweats. But hey I got two pairs of sweet heals. (*sigh* The homophone strikes again…)
On an unrelated note, I downloaded the Facebook Camera app that just released yesterday. I may write a full post on it once I play with it a bit more this weekend, but I’d like to hear others’ initial thoughts. I’m a little peeved that it forces you to turn location services on just to access your photo roll. I don’t even have location services allowed on Facebook. The app’s functionality closely resembles Instagram (which would finally resolve the question of why Facebook bought Instagram) but allows you to upload multiple pictures at one time, which is a nice time saving feature. I’m not sure that being able to upload multiple pictures at the same time is worth always having to have location services activated. We’ll see. For those of you who do not have iOS (i.e. Android and Windows phone users) or are not currently in English-speaking countries, you’re not missing a whole lot thus far if you have have Instagram, unless you absolutely feel the need to flood your Timeline with multiple photos at one time.

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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