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 May 23, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Today we’ll start with some great blogging tips that I’ve come across from blogging masterminds across the web.

Christopher S Penn, Awaken Your Superhero
Photo from ChristopherSPenn.com
  • In his blog post “Closing techniques are for content creators, too” Christopher S. Penn discusses methods for closing your blog post and encouraging engagement. Simply stating “Comment below” or “What are your thoughts” are not enough to get real engagement. You will see my slyly changing my tune thanks to this brilliant marketer.
A simple plan for writing one powerful piece of content per week
Photo clipped from Copyblogger.com
  • Another great piece of blogging advice that I cam across this week was courtesy of Pamela Wilson’s article on Copyblogger titled “A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week.” If you’re pressed for time and can’t come up with something brilliant every day like, say, Mitch Joel, then this article offers some insight on how to come up with something worthwhile on a weekly basis. Definitely worth a read if you blog but are short on time.
Six Sinister Blog Time Wasters from Pushing Social
Photo from PushingSocial.com
  • Speaking of those who are pressed for time, Stanford at Pushing Social provides a list of “Six Sinister Blog Time Wasters” to help you in streamlining your blogging process. Some of them are so delightfully simple, you’ll wonder why you weren’t doing them already. Probably because you were too busy worrying about other things on you to-do list. Worthwhile tips for bloggers of any skill level.

Hubspot.com blog post on Google's Knowledge Graph

  •  Hubspot delivers a blog post about the most recent change to Google’s search engine: Incorporating what it calls the Knowledge Graph. This upgrade is meant to make Google search more human-like. It will be looking at your search terms not as a string of characters, but actually in relation to what the words mean and what they are related to. It is concurrently creepy and brilliant, but should provide better results as well as better suggestions.
BuzzFeed Ways to use items
Image from Buzzfeed.com
  • On a non-business note, Buzzfeed had a great post on “35 Lifechanging ways to use everyday objects.” Some of these you’ve likely heard of before, but there were a few in here that even surprised me. Did you know that eating marshmallows can help soothe a sore throat? Could there BE a better remedy? I submit that there can NOT.
Is Google+ engagement equivalent to a ghost town?
Photo from FastCompany.com
  • Ladies and gentlemen, there is a lot of hate out there for Google+. It is tough to be a raving proponent of it when they are articles like this. Fast Company likens Google+ engagement to a ghost town in the article by Austin Carr “New Google+ Study Revelas Minimal Social Activity, Weak User Engagement.” Now, I love Google+. Sure, I’m not as directly connected to it as I am with Facebook and Twitter, but I really don’t understand these statistics. Maybe I just follow really active users, but let me tell you: when I have my Social Media Contacts circle selected for my feed, it’s all I can do to keep up with the stream. Videos and blog posts and articles and funny pictures galore. If there’s no engagement, I’m not seeing it. I’ve been known, on more than one occasion, to mute posts because I get tired of getting updates on all the responses. I simply think that Google+ is where all the cool kids are hanging out, and the others just don’t get it. Yeah, I said it.
Your Favorite Martian song Douchebag
Image from YouTube.com – YourFavoriteMartian
  • Finally, on a little more of a personal note. I would like to dedicate this video, by the hilariously sarcastic and satirical Your Favorite Martian, to some of my neighbors. Those cat-calling tools who shout at every woman that passes by their nasty apartment, begging them to “Come in and party” with them. This song and video, “Douchebag,” goes out to you. You’ve certainly earned it. (Warning, if you watch any of the other videos by Your Favorite Martian, some of them may be offensive to people. You’ve been informed.)
  • Have you seen the Google Doodle for today, May 23? It’s an interactive synthesizer in honor of Robert Moog’s 78th birthday. He is the inventor of the Moog synthesizer and is responsible, inadvertently, for things like techno, dub-step, and Flock of Seagulls (though I don’t think we can thank him for the accompanying hairstyles). Play with it. It’s really cool and allows you to record. Let the synthesizer geniuses go crazy! https://www.google.com/

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? Were you surprised by any of the 35 uses of everyday objects? Let me know with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

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Could Sociabell be Facebook’s Google+ Killer?

By now you’ve certainly heard about Google’s increasing involvement of Google+ into search.  You may have also heard of the social + search experiment from Microsoft and FUSE Labs called So.cl. Guy Kawasaki dedicates a chapter to social search functionality in Google+  in his book “What the Plus?” (If you haven’t bought this ebook yet, you seriously must. Even if you think you know Google+, Guy knows it better than you. And it’s $3.). Combining the realms of social networking and search is the next evolution in the way we interact online. The most important part of this feature is that you remain engaged with the your social network while searching. Facebook’s search function is severely lacking in this way.

Enter: Sociabell. I found out about Sociabell in one of Social Media Examiner’s This Week In Social Media columns.

Sociabell’s web page highlights its interconnectivity to all things social

Sociabell is a browser add-on for Facebook users who use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. The completely free add-on turns Facebook’s search bar into a social search. When you type a query into the search bar, you will see the standard drop down options that you get from Facebook: people you are friends with, pages you ‘Like’, relevant apps and an option to see more results. What Sociabell does is add another box to the right of Facebook’s standard options and allows you to jump right to other social networks: Twitter,  Craigslist, Google, Yahoo, Bing, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia, Amazon and Google recommended results (but notice, no Google+). You also have the option to share your search with your friends, which creates a post and allows them to answer your question or recommend a site to find what you’re looking for. When you click on one of the above mentioned social outlets, the results automatically open in another tab, thus allowing you to maintain your presence on Facebook. Although, if you’re like me, you would normally just open another tab to Google something anyway, but allowing you to do it through Facebook’s user interface means you are less likely to navigate away. Sociabell states on its page that the add-on collects no personal data, but it’s not clear to me whether your search through Facebook’s search bar is still being tracked by Facebook. My guess is yes.

This is what Sociabell turns your Facebook search bar into

Sociabell is not currently supported on mobile and the Safari add-on is in the works. Friends only see what you are searching for if you share you search, so you don’t have to worry about Sociabell throwing under the search engine bus. If Google+ is clinging to the social search function as one of their big selling points over Facebook, then this is something that deserves their attention. Facebook should also take notice of Sociabell, since they’re in the “buying up useful things” mode of thinking anyway. The biggest concern that the developers at Sociabell have is Facebook taking their idea and actually finding a way to integrate it into the functionality of Facebook itself. As of right now, this browser add-on is pretty slick, and if I’m Google+, I’ve got my eye on what’s going on here.

Have you heard of Sociabell? Are you using it? Does the idea of being able to search all of your networks from Facebook appeal to you? Chime in below!

Now go get your social on!