Tag Archives: social media

What Do You Have to Say?

The key to remember, is writing gets easier.

I’ve written right around 100 blog posts so far for this site (I have two others that I play with but this is the ‘flagship’). I am by no means a writing expert but by nature of my work and my interest marketing, technology and social media, I end up reading about writing and specifically how to write a successful blog quite a bit.

This post was originally inspired by a series that Chris Brogan published on how to write a book (links below) With that said…

Writing gets easier the more you write.
You have to find a groove and find your voice and the only way to do that is to write and write some more and eventually it becomes easier.

Specifically for a blog, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Whether its for fun or for work, it takes time. You shouldn’t expect hundreds of visitors after your first post, maybe even after your first year, or even five years. In fact, you’ll probably be incredibly disappointed after you’re first ‘masterpiece’ of a post is published….because no one showed up. Where is everyone?

Chris Brogan is actually a great example of what NOT to expect. He posts every day. He has hundreds of followers and he makes lots of money. This doesn’t happen right away. It may not happen at all but what you can take from Chris and others like him are simple rules to write by. I highly recommend reading the series of posts he wrote on the discipline of writing and what works for him. And if you want a good book on writing in general, I loved Chuck Wendig’s 500 Ways To Be A Better Writer

Here are two posts from Chris Brogan on writing a book.
Finding Time

Put Forth The Effort
In his posts one of the key points he tries to hit home with is, It’s all about putting forth the effort. The biggest obstacle I face, like most people, is sitting down to actually write. Topics come from all sorts of places so if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find them. Once you have a topic in mind, sitting down and putting your thoughts on paper (or keyboard) is the hardest part.

Another point that Chris talks about is making a habit of writing. That means setting a schedule and sticking to it. For me, its posting on Thursdays. I make myself post each week, which doesn’t sound that hard, but things get in the way. Writers block sets in. You can’t find your voice. You’re going on vacation…all of a sudden it’s late Wednesday night (or worse, Thursday morning) and you’ve got nothing. All of those may be good excuses but if you let yourself skip one week/one day/ one month whatever you’re schedule is, you’re more likely to skip next time you run into something that just came up.

Something else to remember about keeping your schedule is how you make yourself available to write. Truth be told, a lot of my ideas hit me around 8:00 in the morning when I sit down at my desk, open my email and check some headlines. Maybe that’s when my brain is most open to ideas and not so cluttered with what needs to get done that morning, but it’s a time when my ideas seem to hit me. Being that I’m at work, I don’t open WordPress to start writing a new post. Instead I’ll send myself a quick email or use Google documents to jot down some quick notes on what I was thinking so that I don’t forget.

Regardless of how you save your ideas and keep notes (Evernote is another good one), doing it makes writing so much easier. If you have something to help guide you and get started, sitting down and finishing becomes a much less daunting task. I very rarely actually write my posts in WordPress. They are all usually copied and pasted from my doc and then edited in WordPress.

This isn’t anything new or ground breaking. It’s repeated by numerous writers and bloggers over and over again…and again here, but it’s a good reminder.

Set Realistic Goals
Something else that goes along with this is to set realistic goals. One of the more noteworthy people who have preached this is Seth Godin. He’s written numerous posts about keeping a schedule and not breaking the routine. He also talks about not setting yourself up for failure. So don’t start writing and think that you’ll put something out there every day (unless you really have the time, effort and ability to write daily), make it realistic and work your way up to the goal. Start writing once a week or once a month, whatever makes the most sense. Then if it becomes easier, increase the frequency. Never decrease or you’ll end up looking back to a several month gap since your last post and by then it’ll feel too late to start up again.

The last thing I’ll mention that has helped me tremendously for keeping this thing going and hopefully continuing to stay on schedule is simply to keep writing. The more you write, the easier it becomes. No matter what you’re writing, for fun or for work, the more time you spend finding your voice, the easier it becomes to use it.

If you’re interested in this topic, check out some additional books and articles that I’ve found extremely helpful and motivating below. If you have any of your own, please leave them in the comments section below.

The Heckler

Acknowledging the lizard brain

Do the work – Steven Pressfield

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Poke the Box

500 Ways To Be A Better Writer

Did Google create a better Facebook?

Facebook has been rolling out change after change in the last few months, coincidentally all of these changes seem to be spawned by the release of Google Plus. Is that odd timing or did Facebook realize that having a major motion picture about your founder is not enough to keep people happy.

When Google Plus launched, they had a feature set that blew Facebook out of the water, most notably was the video chat function that users had been begging for for years. The only problem was that Facebook had and still has the audience. Its not easy to move your social habits from one platform to the other when all your friends are still using the platform you left.

Facebook seems to have realized that they were falling behind when it came to features. To try and keep their audience happy they went into a spree of new updates with Facebook places, photos and their team-up with Skype for video chat. They also included a redesign of their site that left most users with an awful taste in their mouth. This UI mistake and the recent opening of Google + to everyone (with or without an invite) could lead to more users jumping ship to G+, or at least trying it out. That only bodes well for Google.

Facebook hasn’t stopped though. They’ve already started working on a new feature called, ‘gestures’ where users can instead of ‘liking’ something, click a ‘watched’, ‘read’ or ‘listened’ button to help increase user interaction and reduce the anxiety of promoting something with a ‘like’. Odds are that Facebook won’t go the route of MySpace and more than likely will correct their mistake and launch a UI fix and even more features to solidify their stronghold in the social media market. Regardless of how they end up, Google needs to start promoting their product if they want to stay in the race. In the meantime, I think we can all thank Google for a better Facebook.

Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness | A Book Review

Zarrella's Hierarchy of ContagiousnessThis isn’t a book that jumps out at you and screams “You need to read this!” In fact, when The Domino Project released this, I was less than excited…I mean come on, does Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness:The Science, Design and Engineering of Contagious Ideas scream anything but highschool text book to you? well, it’s not and fortunatly for me, I found myself in the right place with time to kill and I started reading. The interesting part of this book is that once you do start reading, its fascinating. Almost…Contagious!

I say that jokingly but this is really a book that could appeal, even in a small way to almost anyone. Why you ask? Have you ever wondered why no one is liking your Facebook posts? What about your tweets, are they getting retweeted? Are you going to +1 this article (please do so at the bottom if you don’t mind). And what about the times dozens of people are commenting on your posts…why did that happen but not the link that you thought was most interesting?

All of those questions are explained, with scientific data to back it up, in this book. There is even a list of words that will almost guarantee that you don’t get liked or retweeted if you include them in your post. There is also a list of keywords that will help you to get liked or retweeted and things you can do to improve the likelyhood of getting your message shared with your peers (don’t forget to share this at the bottom)

Zarrella’s studies provide an interesting and quick look at the science behind social media’s sharability. It’s also a quick enough read that you won’t get bogged down in stats and equations.

Where Does Google Plus fit in?

Google Plus

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard all about Google+ and you’ve probably also read all about how great it is. I’d have to agree, I think Google+ is great. I also love Twitter and I use it a lot. The problem I’m finding myself in is that I also use Facebook, but I’ve never been a huge fan of it ever since I graduated from college (even though I constantly find myself checking my wall on my phone). This is primarily a result, not of Facebook but of the vast amount of people who use Facebook (which of course is the real value of any social network).

Now that Google+ has been released into the wild and millions of users are flocking to it, how do I incorporate this new social network into my social media world? More specifically, how to manage all of my audiences? Before Google+ I’ve been pretty consistent about keeping my personal (Facebook) and professional (Twitter) lives separate with a few exceptions and overlap. Now with Google+ jumping into the mix, how can I maintain a separation of my ‘lives’ AND maintain the audience for both (and in the future, all three?) networks without annoying the handful of people who follow me on both (and potentially all three).

What I mean is that I don’t want to blanket all networks with the exact same posts, every time I post. I’ve never been a fan of sharing everything to both (or all) networks with no regards for the audience. My Facebook friends are quite different from my Twitter followers and the message typically doesn’t resonate with both audiences. But even when it does, the people who do follow you on both networks could easily get annoyed from seeing the same things over and over no matter which platform they were looking at. So with respect to the many audiences, how can we fit in this third network?

Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter

The easy solution, like many people have done and endlessly argued is to simply abandon Facebook. This sounds great as I don’t really feel connected to Facebook like I do Twitter, but the Facebook audience is not automatically transferred to Google+ and most likely won’t for a long time (I’m thinking specifically about certain non-tech-friendly people who use Facebook constantly). Those people still need to be reached.

The thought of a 3rd network to manage seems exhausting and even more confusing in trying to decide which articles/updates/opinions/posts to share with each group. Google+ allows you to group all of your friends and followers into Circles, but there isn’t an app to post updates to certain circles to your Facebook friends (unless you want everything emailed to them). So you’re left managing three separate networks

So how are you incorporating the ‘Facebook killer’ into your social media world? let me know, cause I could use some help.

The Value of Personal Branding

Personal Branding For Reid Hoffman it’s about $1.7 billion!

When I started writing this it was originally about what everyone needs to do to create or improve their own personal brand. Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter etc… but then I started thinking about this a little deeper and thought more about how to create a personal brand…doesn’t that include a blog or personal website of some sort? A place to house all of your branding materials?

And why have a blog? Vanity? Big mouth? Boredom? Branding? And what is the real value of creating a personal brand. For most people it probably isn’t a $1.7 billion dollar payday, but it could mean a promotion or that next great gig.

It amazes me how many people don’t have blogs/websites in today’s technologically centered and social media driven world. Especially considering the rough job market, why wouldn’t you take a couple hours and create a free page dedicated to YOU!

Consider the value of having your website (Your ‘version’ of you) showing up in the search results when someone, maybe a recruiter or would-be employer searches for you (and they will). Sure your Facebook page and Linked in pages will show up somewhere. But what else? Are your wall posts enough to give the full picture of you? Can I really get to know who you are, or better yet can I get those warm and fuzzies for you to bring you in for an interview based on your Facebook posts or Tweets? Maybe..but wouldn’t it be better to house all of that data in one place, to create a central hub for your personal achievements, industry knowledge and anything else that’s worth mentioning.

Sure a personal website or blog isn’t a requirement or even necessity but wouldn’t that extra effort go a long way when that recruiter stumbles upon your site. Your representation of yourself which you’ve spent your personal time building. How about that bio? Get the old ‘Tell me about yourself’ question out of the way here and get your foot in the door.

People always ask, why do you have a blog and does anyone read it? Some do, maybe not like Seth Godin or even Hugh Macleod, but ask again in five years and that answer might change not to mention what impact those past five years might have. I also think about how long those two guys have been consistently putting out content. In Hughes book, Evil Plans, he mentions that he first got started back in 2000! That’s 11 years blogging, a lot of hard work no doubt but it seems to have paid off for them.

If you love or hate my personal branding, let me know in the comments. If you’re interested in starting your own branding, check out the links listed below.