Almost Everything But the Tweet – Conquering Twitter (verbal elements)

Almost Everything But the Tweet – Conquering Twitter (verbal elements)

Verbal elements? Twitter is, of course, utterly verbal. It’s just about all text. But not all of that text is tweets.

Almost Everything But the Tweet - Conquering Twitter (verbal elements)

One piece is the profile. There isn’t a lot of space here. The good news is that this verbiage is searchable. If you want to make it clear that your company is green, you can put that here. Separate short messages with delimiters like pipes (|) or asterisks (*). Don’t use semi-colons as they can end up being converted to code. This is an easy section to change, so consider changing it as needed, perhaps as special events come up.

Another area is the site URL. In order to be better able to track traffic coming in from Twitter, how about using a unique URL here, say, That page could contain a customized welcome message to Twitter users. This is another readily editable area of Twitter, so why not switch it up as circumstances change?

Your location is another verbal area. Of course it need not be a real place, but for a commercial Twitter account you can’t get too whimsical here. However, if you’ve got a multi-state presence (and want to get that across but not create separate Twitter accounts for each state), there’s nothing wrong with making your location something like United States or New England or Great Lakes Region.

Another area is the name behind the account. This is a searchable field. A company can add a tiny bit of additional information here, such as the general company location. Hence the user name could be Your Company but the name behind it could be Your Company, Cleveland.

Yet another area is the name(s) of list(s) that your company uses to follow others. Does a company need Twitter lists? Not necessarily, but you can still use them to make certain accounts stand out. What about lists like customers or distributors? Perhaps not very imaginative, but these could prove useful in the future if Twitter ever makes it possible to send certain tweets only to certain lists.

Finally, although it is an issue to change it, the user name is another nugget of non-tweet verbiage. Instead of changing it, what about creating a few accounts to cover different eventualities? Able2Know does this rather well. Able2know has split off a few feeds as follows:

A tweeter can follow any or all of these and see a different slice of that site. The individual user names for the accounts make it abundantly clear which cut of the site you’re following.

What do you want to get across? What image do you wish to project? Peripheral information can support or obfuscate your message. Choose what you really want to say.

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Almost Everything But the Tweet – Conquering Twitter (offsite connections)

Almost Everything But the Tweet – Conquering Twitter (offsite connections)

Offsite connections. Because Twitter is so bare bones, any number of applications have

offsite connections
Twitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

sprung up around it in order to help you manage it and become as great as you can be. Try Twellow (many thanks to Bobbie Carlton for this particular tip). This is essentially the Yellow Pages of Twitter. Put your company name here. You’ll have a bit more space to describe your site versus what Twitter gives you, so use that space wisely. Since most of the people checking you out on Twellow are also going to search for you on Twitter (probably after seeing your Twellow profile), make sure that your information is supportive and bolstering, but not redundant vis a vis your Twitter profile. Another idea is CrowdLens, my friend Nick Ashley’s app. CrowdLens is designed to help remove redundancy (all that retweeting!) from your Twitter stream. CrowdLens can sometimes be slow. Here are some more sites to check out:

  • Social Oomph (formerly Tweet Later) – time tweets and gather simple metrics on shortened urls. You can set up more than one account this way.
  • Hoot Suite – a tweet scheduling service whereby you can track stats and import your lists.
  • Tweet Stats – a graph of, among other things, daily aggregate tweets, your most popular hours to tweet and who you retweet.
  • Idek – a url-shortening service that tracks metrics.
  • Twitter Reach – exposure and reach information, such as impressions and mentionings of any topic, word, phrase, userid or hashtag.

As Twitter continues to mature as a business tool, I predict that more and more of these off-site services will spring up. The most successful one will, in my opinion, combine the best features of all, coupled with ease of use and an ability to show trends over time.

offsite connections

Almost Everything But the Tweet – Conquering Twitter (metrics and timing)

Almost Everything But the Tweet – Conquering Twitter (metrics and timing)

Metrics and timing. When you tweet may not seem to matter too much. In particular, if you don’t tweet too terribly often, your tweets will still be out there, so why bother to even care about timing?

metrics and timing

Not so fast.

According to The Science of Retweets, Twitter users tend to follow some recognizable patterns. First thing Monday morning is prime time for retweeting; so is five o’clock on a Friday afternoon. And that makes sense, as tweeters are either settling into the work week or are just about to start the weekend. Weekend tweeting is another animal as well. Noon is another good time for retweeting — people are at lunch or are about to go.

Plus there’s also the matter of accounts (often for job sites) that pump out a good dozen tweets, one right after another. These have little individual impact and seem only to be useful for later searching.

Timed tweeting seems almost counterintuitive. But for a business to use Twitter effectively, the tweets should be planned anyway. Why not plan not only their content but also their timing?

Here’s where services like Tweet DeckSocial Oomph (formerly Tweet Later) and Hoot Suite can provide some assistance. By scheduling the most important tweets for the very start and end (and middle) of each business day, you can add to their impact. Separating out your tweets can also get them all out there while simultaneously preventing a flood of tweets which many users are generally just going to ignore.

Another positive upshot to spacing out your tweets is giving you content that can be used later. For Social Media platforms, it’s easy to initially attack them with an enormous amount of enthusiasm and then taper off or even fizzle out entirely. If you regularly spit out twenty tweets per day, you’ll be tweeting 100 times during any given work week. Even your most dedicated followers are probably not going to read every single one. Plus, you’re setting yourself up for burnout.

Instead, how about scheduling only two tweets per day (say, at 9:00 and 5:00 PM in the time zone where you have the greatest market share)? That way, you’ll have more people reading and no one will feel overwhelmed. Plus your 100 tweets will work for a little over a month or even two, if you are judicious and don’t tweet on the weekends.

So long as your tweets aren’t intimately tied to a specific time (e. g. announcements of an upcoming event), it shouldn’t matter. And, if they are, you might want to consider splitting them over several Twitter accounts. Perhaps open up one for just events in Seattle, for example.

Now, what about metrics?

Unfortunately, Twitter itself doesn’t do much, so you’ll have to cobble things together yourself and use off-Twitter resources. One idea is to use a URL-shortening service that tracks basic metrics, such as Social Oomph or Idek. You may not get much more data from them than click count, but it’s still something. Hoot Suite provides .owly link metrics, with two free reports.

Another idea is to use a unique URL for the site URL in your profile, say, If you’ve got Google Analytics set up, you can track when that page is used for landings to your site, and its bounce rate. For commercial ventures, you might even make up a coupon code and tweet about it, or use your Twitter landing page as a means of communicating certain special offers available only to Twitter users.

Your number of followers, and the ratio of followers to who you are following, is all well and good, but it’s hard to say what you’re measuring. On Twitter, as on much of the web, popularity tends to breed even more popularity. And, it doesn’t really mean much if you have a number of purely spammy sites following you. They aren’t reading your tweets, anyway, so what’s the point?

This dilutes any idea of what these numbers might provide regarding influence, but if for some reason you really want to be followed by a bunch of spammers, just place the term weight loss into your profile and never block the spammers. In fact, follow them back, and you can get even more of them.

It hardly seems a worthwhile trophy to be followed by the biggest-ever village of spammers, eh?

Some sites, such as Audiense, show number of followers and their influence and activity. You can see which inactive people you follow (so you can drop them), which famous people follow you, etc. Some of these are admittedly vanity metrics, but they are helpful.

Tweet Stats demonstrates, among other things, a graph of daily aggregate tweets, your most popular hours to tweet and who you retweet. Twitter Reach reveals exposure and reach, e. g. impressions and mentions of any topic, be it a word, a phrase, a userid or a hashtag.

In conclusion, keep up with Twitter, but don’t overwhelm your followers with floods of content, and measure your influence as well as you can, both using your own and external tools. If you can adjust your tweets to better serve your followers, your true influence will surely rise.

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… And Facebook for All — Your Home Page

… And Facebook for All — Your Home Page

Your Home Page. Log into Facebook, and it’s the first thing you see. It’s your Home Page. Here’s what’s in it (NOTE: Facebook is constantly A/B testing. Features move around, change, are renamed and resized, or disappear all the time. These are rolled out in stages; your neighbor may have a different-looking Home Page from yours. This is 100% normal). Column One (left side, top):

Your Home Page
Facebook (Photo credit: Scott Beale)
  • Groups
  • Pages
  • Friends
  • Create Group
  • A small list of your most recently accessed games

Column Two (center):

  • Status messages on friends’ pages
  • Other friend activities

Column Three (right, top):

  • Events
  • Friends’ Birthdays
  • People You May Know
  • Targeted Advertisements
  • A list of friends available on chat

Let’s start with Column One:


This is a list of the groups you have joined.


These are pages you are following.


Pretty obviously, this is a way to access your entire list of friends.

Create Group

Groups can be created for any reason, including to support a beloved entertainment figure, promote your business or just complain about people wearing Crocs. I’ll get into the specifics later in this series.

A small list of your most recently accessed games

These will rotate as you access more games, depending upon recency.

Now for Column Two:

Status messages on friends’ pages

This is the actual News Feed itself (also access in Column One). You can comment on others’ statuses (statii?) or posted links.

Other friend activities

You are served everyone’s activities. Facebook can be a tsunami of data. A lot is aggregated; you are usually shown that six people joined a group, rather than separate messages on all half-dozen.

And Column Three:


A way to see the calendar. If you’ve got upcoming events and you haven’t RSVP’d, they’ll show up here, but you can jettison them by clicking the x on the right side. Note that you’ll be invited to all sorts of stuff, including sponsored activities and openings by commercial ventures. RSVP’ing is not strictly necessary but, as an event organizer, I have to say it’s appreciated so as to at least get a handle on head count (and know who not to expect). You need not RSVP for commercial store openings or whatnot.

Friends’ Birthdays

Whether they’ve made the year apparent is their own business. But if they’ve got the month and day up on Facebook, birthdays will show up here, and with a little lead time (a day or so) if there aren’t a lot of people listed for a particular day. Of course you’re under no obligation to wish people a Happy Birthday, but it is kind of nice.

People You May Know

This is based upon some sort of an algorithm whereby Facebook is looking at things like your current friends list, their friends, your location and possibly also your school(s) and workplace(s), although I’m skeptical that the latter are included at this time. If there are any mutual friends, those are listed as well, although if the number of mutuals is very large, then just the number is listed. Facebook does not always get this right, or it gets it wrong in interesting ways, e. g. I’ve been told I “may know” the spouse of someone I went to High School with. Well, unless I went to High School with the spouse (this is all over 30 years ago), then there isn’t much of a likelihood there.

Targeted Advertisements

Well, they’re as targeted as Facebook can make them. This is apparently based on your click activity, your likes, your friends’ likes and whenever you click on an ad to get rid of it. Again, sometimes Facebook can get this wrong in rather spectacular ways; for example, when I wrote this post originally, it was showing me an ad for Toyota and I have neither owned nor contemplated owning one, ever.

A list of friends available on chat

It should go without saying that you should never click on links from chatters you don’t know well — and you’re under no obligation whatsoever to answer anyone’s instigated chat.

A big part of the Facebook experience is not only playing games but also sharing them with others, or sharing status or links. The way you see and can participate in this sharing is via your Home Page. It is, essentially, a bulletin board between you and your pals.

Next: Your Account Settings

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… And Facebook for All Your Account Settings

… And Facebook for All – Your Account Settings Explained

… And Facebook for All – Your Account Settings – in Facebook, how to do you change your account settings? When you pull down on the Account section of Facebook, you currently see a few choices:

Your Account Settings
… And Facebook for All – Your Account Settings

Edit Friends

A list is presented of your friends. If you have separate friend lists (say, for work or school), those lists are on the left. Facebook does move these sorts of settings around. By the time you read this blog post, this feature could potentially have been moved.

You can add friends to various lists, remove them, or delete them from your list altogether. There are also suggested names to be added to various lists (assuming you’ve selected a list, versus all of your friends). The default here is not only to show the entire list of friends, but to put the ones you’ve interacted with most recently up at the top.

Manage Pages

If you manage pages — and you may very well have that as a task if you are using Facebook for your business — here is a link straight to each page and how to change it. Simply click “Go to Page” and you are transported to the correct page in question. I’ll get into the specifics of what you can do from there later in this series.

Account Settings

This is a part of Facebook that always seems to be changing. It is entirely possible that, by the time you read this blog post, these instructions will be obsolete. I’ll keep everything at a high level and won’t get into too many specifics. It is divided as follows:

  • Settings
  • Networks
  • Notifications
  • Mobile
  • Language
  • Payments


This section is currently divided as follows:

  • Name – your real name
  • Username
  • Email – self-explanatory
  • Password – self-explanatory
  • Linked Accounts – you can put more than one account together
  • Security Question – self-explanatory
  • Privacy – control the information you put out there. But do keep in mind: if something is truly personal, the Internet is an awfully foolish place to put it in.
  • Account Security – you can add some form of extra protection
  • Download Your Information – save your photos, etc. to a ZIP file
  • Deactivate Account – self-explanatory


You can join networks, such as identifying yourself with an employer or a school you’ve attended.


Control settings for notifications such as when someone tags you in a photo. I think that the default settings are pretty excessive. I like to know if someone wants to add me as a friend, and when I’ve been tagged in a photograph. Other than that, I’ll just check when I’m online. Obviously, my preferences need not be identical to yours.


Activate a phone and register for Facebook text messages here.


Set a primary language or translate Facebook into other languages from here. There’s currently a rather extensive list, including some languages not written with a Western alphabet.


Track your credits balance, credits purchase history, payment methods and preferred currency here.

Privacy Settings

Control some aspects of the sharing experience here, including who can see your photographs, religious and political views, etc.

Help Center

This area is undoubtedly going to continue to evolve as questions come up and the increasingly complicated Facebook system breaks in all sorts of interesting and as-yet unexpected ways. You can even ask a question, and the most common questions are listed. Unsurprisingly, these include topics such as how to delete your account or change your name.

Log Out

Pretty self-explanatory. Click here and you’ll be logged out of Facebook.

Next: Company Pages

Your Account Settings

… And Facebook for All — Your Profile Page, Part II

… And Facebook for All — Your Profile Page, Part II

Your Profile Page, Part II.

If you’re a member of Facebook, you’ve seen it dozens, if not hundreds, of times — it’s your Profile Page.

... And Facebook for All -- Your Profile Page, Part II

Let’s talk some more about your Profile. Here’s mine.

In addition to the basic tabs at the top, it also contains:

  • A space for your profile picture
  • Information on any mutual friends you might share with anyone peeking at your profile
  • A small subgroup of your friends
  • Your Likes
  • Your Photos
  • Your Links
  • A share button, and,
  • On the right side, there are advertisements

NOTE: Facebook is continually A/B testing, and so buttons and features move, change, are resized, added, or can disappear altogether. Your neighbor can sometimes see a rather different version of Facebook versus yours. This is normal.

Let’s look at these in order.

A space for your profile picture

No one is stopping you from putting up a picture that is not, actually, of you. I’ve seen dogs on Facebook, scenery, people’s children and cartoon characters. It’s a place to be somewhat expressive, but recognize that, if you’re using Facebook at all for your business (or if you’re simply looking for work), you’ll need to tone this down. If you want to go fairly conservative (which I personally think is best but opinions differ), go with a head shot or a head and shoulders shot that’s fairly recent. And, do make sure you’re smiling.

Mutual Friends

If someone surfs in and finds your Profile Page, they’ll probably be drawn to whether you’re really the person they’re looking for, and whether you have any acquaintances in common. If you’ve got a somewhat common name (e. g. Gregory Cole), then it’s really going to help out people if they see anyone who you know is in common with whoever they know. One way I’ve used this information has been in locating High School friends, as we tend to have the same mutual friends. If I see that Jane Smith is also friends with John Jones and Dave Brown (names are made up, of course), then I realize, aha! Chances are good that Jane and I attended High School together — although sometimes it just means that Jane is a local (if John and Dave stayed in the area after graduation) or that she’s a younger or older sibling of my classmates. Hence it’s an imperfect system.

A small subgroup of friends

This is six friends (fewer, if you have fewer than six friends, of course). It used to be you had control over this, but not anymore.

Your Likes

Whenever you click “Like” on a group or page, it can show up here. A few show up at a time, and they rotate. To take something out of rotation, un-“Like” it. Much older and inactive pages and groups show up less, as Facebook follows social signals in this area, too. E. g. pages and groups that appear to be inactive or even downright abandoned are going to lose precious visibility time and space to groups and pages that are up to date and lively.

Your Photos

This has mainly already been covered, but note that here is where your profile picture is going to show up in all its glory, and bigger than on your Home Page. Therefore, make sure it looks good here as well as on your Home Page. If you’re going to use Facebook for business (or if you’re looking for work), make sure this is a flattering photograph that clearly shows your face. It need not be full-length (and, if it is, it’ll be smaller on the Home Page, but here it’s all visible) and, for God’s sake, smile!

Plus, photographs also show up on your wall if you upload them and agree to publish them to your wall.

Your Links

Put a link in your status, or post it to your wall, and it will be converted to something clickable. If it comes from Youtube, it’ll even embed the video. Like most things on Facebook, any link can be commented on or “Liked”.

A share button

Actually, there are several of these. Pretty much everything on Facebook can be shared in one manner or another, and even off Facebook.

Bottom line: your Profile Page is your face to the world. It is clickable, shareable and somewhat searchable. Don’t want people to know something about you? Don’t put it on your Profile Page.

Next: Your Home Page

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… And Facebook for All — Your Profile Page, Part I

… And Facebook for All — Your Profile Page, Part I

Your Profile Page, Part 1.

If you’re a member of Facebook, you’ve seen it dozens, if not hundreds, of times — it’s your Profile Page.

And Facebook for All -- Your Profile Page, Part I
Profile shown on Thefacebook in 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is also a Home Page, but I’ll cover that in the next segment. Right now, let’s just concentrate on your Profile. Here’s mine.

At minimum, the Profile page consists of the following tabs (you can add more tabs):

  • Wall
  • Info and,
  • Photos

It also contains:

  • A space for your profile picture
  • Information on any mutual friends you might share with anyone peeking at your profile
  • A small subgroup of your friends
  • Your Likes
  • Your Photos
  • Your Links
  • A share button, and,
  • On the right side, there are advertisements

NOTE: Facebook is the biggest A/B tester on the planet. They are constantly moving things around in order to try for an improved user experience. This means you may see buttons moved, resized, renamed, or even eliminated. It also means your neighbor might see an entirely different configuration.

Let’s start with the tabs.


Up at the top, you can put in your status. There doesn’t seem to be a true limit to how long a status message can be, but after a few lines, it’s excessive. People put all sorts of nonsense in here — including not only statements of their adoration for celebrities but also mundane minutiae such as the scintillating fact that they’re about to go pick up the dry cleaning. If you want to use Facebook at all for your business, your status messages should really be short, somewhat on point and inoffensive (this is also true if you are looking for work and are not using Facebook for any of that — potential employers are watching!).

Below is the wall itself, where friends can post replies to your status (they can also reply directly to the status), send you greetings, send you game requests, etc. You can always delete or hide these messages, which can be a good idea if they are becoming something you’d rather not share with others. People routinely answer all sorts of dumb questions about me (e. g. Do you think Janet Gershen-Siegel has kissed a boy? Gee, I’ve been married since 1992. You make the call.) and I usually just hide or delete those. You can also hide notifications from various applications so, if everyone you know is playing Farmville, and you don’t care about it, right-click on any Farmville notification and select the hide Farmville notifications button. However, be aware that there are any number of similar or satellite applications (gifts, new gifts or whatever), so you may be doing a rather similar task more than once. Still, understand that you don’t need to ask people to stop sending you requests. Just block the app.


You can add any number of tidbits here. At minimum, you should at least list your marital/dating status, your birth date (the year is optional) and your current city and/or home town. This will draw people in and make it easier for them to find you, particularly if you have a rather common name. You want friends and business associates to figure out that they want you, the Mary Lou in Hicksville, New York, versus the Mary Lou in Mars, Pennsylvania.

Marital status isn’t strictly necessary (and I’ve found it doesn’t stop guys from sometimes hitting on me — eek), but I personally think it’s a nice thing to include. However, of course, no one can force you to do this and naturally it is illegal in the United States for a potential employer to demand this information. Birth date is kind of nice to have, partly as an identifier and partly to give another piece of information out that’s just pleasant to see. It’s a minor revelation (particularly if you only give out the month and day) and is essentially harmless. And the same is true there — a United States employer cannot legally ask for the year, although employees do have to be of a certain age in order to work full-time at all. Still, if you get that far along in a job application, an employer won’t be using Facebook to confirm your age — the employer will be using official governmental records like your birth certificate for that.

Adding your birth date also means the inevitable onslaught of Facebook birthday greetings.

Biography is optional and, if you are using Facebook for business, keep it short, on point and unoffensive. Work history is also not necessary but it can be helpful if you need for people to find you (are you the Mary Lou in Hicksville who worked at AIG, or at the Dairy Queen?). Plus that can add to the networking vibe but keep in mind that Facebook for networking is a poor substitute for LinkedIn. Educational information is equally helpful for identifying you. Graduation years are not necessary. Likes and interests will show up in part by your typing in here and also by you “liking” various pages. Keep in mind that this can be found, so “liking” a page with a profane name is going to be something that can be picked up by potential employers and clients.


These are pretty self-explanatory. Any photographs that you add, or that are added by others but you’re tagged in them, are going to show up here. You can collect photos into albums, of course. Also, if a photograph is unflattering, compromising or just plain not of you, you can always untag yourself. My parents are not on Facebook, but my cousins are, so there have been times when my mother’s photograph has been tagged with my name so that I will be able to find it. I don’t mind this (plus my profile has enough photographs of me that it’s pretty obvious that I’m not her), but you might. So, if this is happening, talk to whoever’s doing this. There are other ways of sharing photographs and albums which might suit your needs better.

Next: More of Your Profile Page

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Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, a Book Review

Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff is one of those books where you realize, aha! I am learning something big.

At least, that’s the idea.

Cover of Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
Cover of Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

The most important piece is the Social Technographics profile. Online people can be divvied up as follows:

  • Creators – these are people who make original content. Bloggers, article writers, website creators and maintainers and people who upload audio and video all belong to this group. It’s a good 18% of the United States, as of the writing of the book (2008). I do everything on that list except upload audio, so that puts the Creator stamp right in my wheelhouse.
  • Critics – these are people who react to what’s been created by the Creators. They comment on blogs and forums. They produce ratings and reviews. They edit wikis. They encompass a good 25% of the US. But I do all of those things, too. So am I a Critic, instead?
  • Collectors – these are people who save URLs and tags on Social Bookmarking sites (things like delicious). They vote on Digg. They use RSS. They are about 12% of America. Hey, I do all of those things, too! Am I now a Collector?
  • Joiners – these are people who participate in and maintain profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook. They’re a good 25% of the US and, you guessed it, I do these things, too.
  • Spectators – these are people who are also called Lurkers. They read but don’t comment, categorize or classify. I am occasionally like this, but usually not. This tribe is 48% of the United States. And,
  • Inactives – these are people who just plain don’t participate. It does beg the question, though, since they are online — what do they do? They might just be paying bills and reading email, or doing sudoku puzzles, I suppose. They are 41% of America.

If you look at the percentages and add them up, you get over 100%. Hence, it’s obvious (and as I have proven by using myself as a test case), most people don’t fit quite so neatly into one slot or another. Many of us wear many different hats. And some of that may be a function of being a Creator. If you want to promote your website and/or blog, you often need to be a part of a forum or a social networking site, and you generally want to help promote your own work by social bookmarking it, or at least seeing if others have. Hence you’re also doing a bit of lurking (er, spectating). About the only thing you aren’t is Inactive.

And what of people who aren’t online at all? They are the ultimate in Inactivity.

Now, what does this all mean? These profiles can be understood in terms of demographics. Hence if you are an American woman in your forties, your social technographics profile is such that you’re more likely to be a Spectator than anything else (73%), as of the writing of this blog entry (October of 2010).

You can also look (for this is a tool created by Forrester, based upon extensive research) at what companies are like, when it comes to social technographics. For companies purchasing hardware (which is what my company, Neuron Robotics LLC, actually does), the biggest chunk are Spectators: 68%. But there is also a fairly large chunk of Critics, 38%.

Essentially what this is saying is, typical hardware purchasing companies are going to relate best to reading (although not commenting upon) blogs and participating in forum communities. The next biggest group is Creators, 31%, although I suspect that consumers of robotics products might skew more heavily into the Creator realm – many people who are interested in robotics actually build them.

The book then provides case studies of how various companies tapped into the groundswell, either by creating a wiki, or opening up a community, or starting to blog. If companies matched their customers’ (or employees’) social technographics profiles well, and the companies began these ventures clear-eyed and without an intent to deceive and double talk, they prospered. If not, well….

One major element that was not stressed very much, and probably should have been, is that any number of these ventures takes money. They take time, too, of course, but it certainly helps if a company has the wherewithal to dedicate an employee to evangelizing a wiki, or hire a Community Manager or allow its employees to devote less of their time to selling or meetings (or analysis or scheduling or auditing or whatever said employees generally do) and set aside a portion of their day, week or month to blogging.

In the world of startups, of course, there are people (such as myself) who are dedicated to blogging. However, we’re also dedicated to any number of things — in my case, marketing, tweeting, PR and even assisting with business decisions. Such is the nature of a startup, of course. You wear almost as many hats as a Creator does.

Is this book worth it? Absolutely.



Giving Your LinkedIn Profile A Facelift

Giving Your LinkedIn Profile A Facelift

Dahling, you need a facelift! This post is a riff on 6 Tips for giving your LinkedIn profile a facelift.

I liked this article and recognize that it was designed to be a straightforward beginner’s set of tips, but there is more that could be done. There usually is.

Use a Profile Photograph

Linkedin Profile Facelift
Linkedin Chocolates (Photo credit: nan palmero)

I absolutely agree. I realize there are people who are shy or who feel that they don’t photograph well. But the truth is, most of us on LinkedIn don’t care. Unless you are looking for a modeling or an acting gig, your appearance does not and should not matter, so long as you are neat and presentable, and are in business attire. Head shots and  images up to about the middle of your chest are best. You don’t need a full-length body shot.

I also think that keeping a picture off your profile because you don’t want to reveal your race, gender or age is somewhat wrongheaded. After all, what are you going to do if you actually get an interview with a company (and not necessarily directly through LinkedIn)? Send a proxy in your stead, a la Cyrano de Bergerac? That’s kinda silly, dontcha think? As for me, people online are going to figure out that I am female, they will get a pretty good handle on my age and my religion and if they look a bit, they’ll even see pictures of me when I weighed nearly 350 pounds. And I embrace those things and don’t try to hide them. Your ideas may differ, but I don’t, personally, see the value in hiding such things. And if an employer is going to pass me by because I’m no longer 21, or not Asian, or too short or whatever, then I don’t want to work for that employer, anyway.

Use a Vanity URL

On LinkedIn, you can get them to make you a specific URL for your profile, rather than just accept the computer-generated one. Not surprisingly, I’m on board with this idea as well. This happens to be mine. You can get a bit of an SEO bounce if you use a vanity URL. It is easy and it is free, and it is considerably more memorable. Plus, if you wish, it’s a good thing to put on a business card or a resume, or even into a signature line in email.

Use a Headline

Personally, I find these weird, but that may be just me. For me, just my job title seems to be fine, as it evokes (currently) not only what I do but the industry I am in right now. I’ve always, personally, found that titles like Terrific Social Media Manager or Experienced Fry Cook just seem odd. But that may be me. Try it — but I’d recommend doing so as a more or less controlled experiment. If it’s not working after, say, six months, I recommend rethinking it.

Update your email settings

If you’re open to receiving job openings, make sure that you’re set up that way. And if not, make sure that’s properly reflected as well. People aren’t necessarily going to follow your requirements in this area, but some will, and it can be an indirect means of indicating you might be interested in making a move if the timing and the circumstances were right.

Make Your Profile Public

Personally, I think that the only time your profile should be private is in the first five seconds after you’ve created it. Then again, I have had an online persona since 1997, and find it easy to share a lot of things.

Of course not everyone feels this way, but it seems to be kind of useless to have a LinkedIn profile if you don’t want to share it with anyone. Networking, which is what LinkedIn is all about, is, in part, about going outside your comfort zone and meeting new people. This is not like Facebook where, potentially, the pictures of you drinking in 1963 could come back to haunt you. This is a gathering of professionals. Any employer who is upset by you having an online presence on LinkedIn is not only not with the times but is being thoroughly unrealistic. Employees look for better opportunities all the time. It is a wise employer who recognizes that and accepts it. Denying someone access to LinkedIn, or being upset by an employee’s presence therein, is misplaced.

So go out there and fix your profile!

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