Category Archives: Technology use

Who am I today?

I have the following profile pictures: IM (Yahoo, AOL, MSN), Twitter, LinkedIn my blog, my Facebook page, my MySpace page. There’s probably more, I just can’t think of them right now.

I just updated my Twitter picture. But that leaves all my other pictures the same. I need a tool that updates “who I am today” on all my profiles. I want to be wildly different EVERY day. I wish.

This isn’t a facetious idea. Teenagers today certainly try on new personas almost every day. They experiment with hair, clothes, looks, expressions. This would be a great way to show everyone “who I am today.”

Using Social Media to Change the World

I am reading this article “Using Social Media to Change the World” about how you can expand your base of donors and supporters for just about anything. I have recent experience of this. I am participating in a sponsorship hike for one of my favorite organizations, Girl Ventures — a group that helps inner city adolescent girls experience the great outdoors in the summer.

I posted a link on my Facebook, and emailed a link to my friends, using “Sponsor Me” an app on Facebook. Within a day or two, I had raised $450. I can assure you, I’d never have raised for than 50 bucks ‘the old way.’ (If you want to participate, please do!)

This article has some great ideas, but one of the problems I encountered is that I wanted an app that I could post anywhere that promoted my particular cause. For example, with Facebook Causes, you have to use the Causes they have listed already. And mine wasn’t.

Nonetheless, even though I work way way more than four hours a week, I feel I can still take advantage of some of the ideas here.

Twitter — shiny new toy

So Ashton’s got a million followers. Oprah introduced legions to Twitter. It’s not a shiny new toy any more. It’s time to write about how it will mature. The more I use Twitter, the more I love it. But time will come when it will mature into a feature that’s embedded universally and then I wonder who will visit

Twitter’s wonderful open API strategy has ensured only the Twitter newbies actually visit But they’re going to have to face up to paying for all that lovely iron and clever folks in their office at some point. I wonder how? Will we all be so addicted by then that we’ll pay up $1/month to stay on the service? Certainly businesses/brands will pay way more than that. I’m just waiting for Facebook to charge us for fan pages. And we’ll cough up, because we know we’ll have to.

The art (and science) of re-tweeting

Dan Zarrella has written an interesting post about what makes a tweet more likely to get re-tweeted. There’s lots of fun data in there, as well as an impressive algorithm or two, but here’s the crux of the advice:

  • Ask your followers to re-tweet you
  • Be timely with breaking “new” news
  • Offer something for free
  • Tweet about Twitter
  • Make a list (perhaps he means “top 10 something”?)
  • People like to re-tweet blog posts

Dan says you’re more likely to get re-tweeted if you say “please” in your tweet. Really. And also if you include a link, which it seems that most tweets do. He also says that most re-tweets occur around lunch time.

I’m going to experiment with the advice and see if they work. There are some good tools for tracking re-tweets and trends on Twitter, including:

  1. Retweetradar
  2. Retweetlist, and
  3. Tweetmeme

Are you parents on Facebook?

I’m loving this YouTube video asking two kids “Are your parents on Facebook?” Absolutely LOVE the second guy. Talking about his mother: “She also has a Twitter. I don’t have a Twitter. Which makes me even more embarrassed.” I probably embarrass my children endlessly. But they’ll get over it.

Here’s the deal parents: drop the excuses and fear. Just get onto Facebook and try it out. If it makes you feel better, tell your kids they have to friend you if they want to keep using Facebook.

But in return, you must promise not to post on their Wall. If you want to communicate with them, send them private messages or IM them. You are embarrassing enough without saying cringing things on your Walls. So just don’t do it.

I am friends with my teenage children on Facebook. “Friends” I should say. In real life I am their Mother. A totally different kettle of fish.

Yes, I am worried about just how much time they spend on there. And yes, I do hope they understand that a “friend” on Facebook is a totally different thing than a “friend” in real life.

The content on Facebook is, in the vast majority, harmless. And social networking online represents an inevitable tsunami of change. Get in there and help them sort it out.

Here’s another tip: use OpenDNS in your house if, during the week, your kids are clearly spending too much time chatting and hanging on Facebook and procrastinating about homework. Ouch, it hurts. Time on Facebook is a privilege, not a right. And as such, you should be able to take it away if you need to.

The changing consumer experience

Very interesting report put out by Razorfish (been around a while, right? wasn’t sure they still were, but apparently they are). Called The Changing Consumer Experience. You can get it here for free.

Here are some of the interesting trends the article points out. They seem obvious, but as they say: it they were really that obvious more people would be paying attention to them. And they’re not.

  1. Content becomes advertising — content is an acquisition vehicle.
  2. Distribution is becoming more complex — today’s widget may be tomorrow’s TV set.
  3. Consumers increasingly customizing their digital experience around their own personal, niche interests.
  4. Video is the Internet star and online video consumption is exploding — nearly all professionally produced.
  5. Consumers prefer multiple digital destinations rather than a ‘one-stop’ destination — preferring to customize using tools like RSS.
  6. There’s a significant and inexorable trend towards using social media platforms for commercial goals.

The article makes some interesting points about using Facebook:

  • People want to feel special — put customers at the center; make them feel like a part-owner
  • Embrace the network: Communities get a brand’s message across faster, and with greater authenticity, than traditional media ever could
  • Make it interactive and participatory: find ways for users to interact

The emphasis here is on building a lasting, valuable relationship with customers. Giving them a voice. Responding to their desire to engage.

Stephen Fry — he’s keeping it real on Twitter

I just started following Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) on Twitter. Reading through his Tweets, I feel that he actually is writing the Tweets himself. That sounds disingenuous. It’s not meant to be.

When I follow well-known people on Twitter, they just don’t seem to be that person at all. Most notable this week: the F.A.B. Sir Richard Branson (@richardbranson). It’s not him. It must be some PR hack. Come on Sir Dick. You’re so good at this.

Well done Stephen Fry for making it real. Love it.

Twitter — Fool’s Gold?

Everyone has drunk the Twitter Kool Aid it seems. And more people are jumping onto the bandwagon today, hoping not to miss out on the ride — let’s hope it’s not a ride right over a cliff. I am intrigued by the one-to-many, micro-blog practice. I am finding it invaluable for watching what people are doing with, and saying about, the Photobucket brand.

But at some point, the whole thing becomes such an overwhelming mess and I want to just shut the computer and walk away. Tweets combining fascinating facts with an enormous load of drivel. You have to find the interesting facts and suffer the drivel.

Brands can use Twitter to monitor what people say. And to talk back. News organizations can push a micro-summary of interesting news for busy people on the go. (Though I still like my RSS Google Reader better.) But personally? I still like my Facebook status, shared with friends.

I just read the article “All That Twitters May Not Be Gold, Analysts Say” in the New York Times. I think Twitter faces a significant challenge finding a way to charge for their service without losing their mojo. Maybe people will just become so hooked on using the service that they’ll pay to keep the drug coming.