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 July 2, 2012 (Did you know July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month? Also, the best month of the year!)

Social Gnome hoard image

  • Last week I had an article about Google+ coming to Flipboard, and this week it’s all about the New York Times. I’m very happy to see Flipboard getting the attention it deserves. It’s a really slick app with a great interface, and I was concerned about its well-being when I wrote my post about Google Currents and the threat it posed. This deal with the NY Times should really drive more traffic to Flipboard, and get those who potentially never used the app to check it out and fall in love with it, as many of us have. Flipboard is available for iOS devices, Kindle, and Android devices.
  • Gojee, an up and coming recipe sharing platform, looks to be getting funded up to attract some of the food-loving Pinterest crowd. Any Pinterest user will tell you that that their feed is full of boards from kitchen queens, culinary kings, expert foodies and wish lists of the less experienced (mine is simply titled Food I Want In My Face). Gojee is described as the “Twitter for food” and could potentially couple well with the multitude of recipe sharing buzz that Pinterest has created in the last year or so.
  • The plight of the small business owner is a constant struggle to stay relevant and visible in the shadow of the big guys. Although a strong online presence helps, sometimes it can feel like a hopeless battle, especially trying to keep up with all the changes that Google is doing. Here is a great article from Entrepreneur.com discussing some things to do to try to make yourself visible in Google’s eyes (and therefore everyone else’s).
  • In what will likely be a pretty important decision, a court judge ruled that Tweets are public (same as if they were shouted out in the street) and therefore should not be accompanied with any expectation of privacy. The court has ordered Twitter to turn over months worth of tweets by an Occupy Wall Street protester in order to prove that he was aware of the police orders that he was blatantly disregarding. Check out the whole article.
  • Finally, summertime is now in full swing. The fireworks really make it feel official (along with the sweltering heat, depending on where you are in the country or the world). Entrepreneur columnist Teri Evans provides some summer reading picks from multimillionaire entrepreneurs. There’s a few I’ve already heard of (and a couple standby classics), as well as a couple I might have to add to my list.
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? How do YOU feel about the ruling on privacy of tweets on Twitter? Do you use Flipboard, and if not, will you use it to keep up on New York Times articles? 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!

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!

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!

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!

Today…it just hit me

Path Screenshot of my run
The craziest part of this screen capture is the ultra low battery level

In almost every bio I use on social media sites, I typically describe myself as a “self professed social media nerd” (sometimes geek, depending on my mood). Aside from my constant social media addiction, I also like to run. When I run, I use the Nike+ GPS app to track my runs and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Path (I know, some people hate it, but I’m damn proud of surpassing my goals and I’m gonna boast about it!). This past weekend, I forgot my headphones. Ugh. Now instead of the distraction of pulsing beats and moving rhythm, I was going to have to listen to…nature. Not exactly motivating, but I carried on undeterred.

Without my distraction, as would be expected, I started paying a little more attention to what was going on around me. I saw a family of four: the dad fishing, the mother, son and daughter dipping their toes in the water. I noticed people walking their pets. I noticed people lazily lounging in the shade and on benches. One thing that every one of these people had in common, was they had their noses buried in a smartphone. I could’ve ran up carrying a giant sized, Warcraft style battle axe and attacked the guy walking his dog, and he’d have been none the wiser. As a matter of fact, had I not changed direction, we would definitely have collided. There was a couple walking side by side, not saying a word to each other, but both furiously texting away. And the family? The only one not on a phone was the dad, who had his hands full with his fishing rod. Now I’ve caught some flak from my girlfriend on more than one occasion for pulling out my phone to check-in on foursquare (I’m hooked on the gamification of trying to accrue mayorships and beat my friends in points) and logging a funny quote from the evening immediately on Facebook. I still manage, however, to find times to disconnect. I truly think we still need to do that.

Photo from TED.com

In her TED talk, “Connected, but not alone?”, Sherry Turkle discusses how this constant connectivity not only changes what we do, but also who we are. It changes the way that we relate to others, but also the way we relate to ourselves. It’s a very interesting and definitely worth a watch. The generation that is growing up with this technology may develop an inability to actually relate to other people, especially face to face, and not develop the crucial communication skills they need to form real relationships. She makes the case that people may eventually prefer digital connection, or even connection to a digital device or robot, to real human interaction. Interesting and terrifying.

On that happy and joyful note I leave you to think about this. Also, if anyone out there is using Path, send me a friend request. I literally only actually know 3 people on there, and I have one more person that added me and I excitedly accepted. I’d be willing to add randos if I know we have something in common. Thanks for reading. Now it’s your turn. What do you think about our constant connectivity and how it affects our relationships? I’d love to collect people’s thoughts into a follow-up blog next week, quoting some highlights, so please give your feedback below!

Now go get your social on!

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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!