Archive for the ‘social networking’ Category

What Do You Think About Facebook Posts?

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Is there a Facebook YOU and a Real YOU?

There is a woman that I know from a networking group that always tells me how much she loves my Facebook posts. Almost every day that she gets on Facebook, she looks me up to see what funny thing I have to share.  Well it took me back a little.  Here is a professional woman whom I admire immensely, bothers to approach me and tell me what I post starts her day off to a good start.  Stunned.

And for me too, there are those people that I look up to see what kind of snarky, playful fun can be going on because my day isn’t necessarily going the way I wished it was.  As I have written several times in this blog, Facebook is a great escape for people at one point or another during their week.

The Old Fashioned Way

A few years ago I wrote a post about people taking what they see on Facebook at face….VALUE.  And it seems that the same people that use the excuse that they “thought” they knew your life was okay because of what you post on Facebook are probably the same people that wouldn’t call you to find out anyway.  But that is another post for another day.

NEGATIVITY

I have some people that I know in real life, like the ones I see in person often, talk on the phone thumbsupdownto often and they seem like happy normal people.  People that I drink coffee with, have over to my house.  Remember THOSE kinds of people?  Well on a particular day when I was looking for a lift and went to Facebook for my daily dose of fun, I went to one of my friends pages and it was some negative thing about some corporation, I looked again and there was something else until finally after searching for a while, there was something that had nothing to do with the government or something ELSE we have no control over.  I know this person.  I know what a positive loving person they are!  Yet to look at their page, you would think, “Why am I friends with this person?  Which one is real?”

What about the First Amendment?

Now before you get all rabid on me, you are right.  This is an individual’s page and in the spirit of free speech, that page can say whatever they want it to, right?  But I have a dilemma – do I “unfriend” the person because the politics and rampages are just driving me crazy OR do I tell I am going to do it first? And on a philosophical note,  which is my real friend?  The person that I hang out with, laugh and cry with or the person that spews anger through their Wall?

Why Do People Spend So Much Time on Facebook?

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

I thought about giving a bunch of stats on how much time people spend on Facebook, how many pages people look at, how many friends they have.  But then I thought to myself “The amount of time is staggering, who needs to see those numbers again?” Rather than griping and sniping about people being distracted or not getting their work done BECAUSE of Facebook – I say this with tongue in cheek, as humans we CHOOSE to use Facebook as a distraction.

Distraction

From work, from life – to work, to life.  Facebook has it all.  People we LOVE  we can connect to and laugh with because we are stressed or worried. Or to gripe about “that guy” that just stole our lunch again out of the company fridge or “that guy” has left his lunch IN the company fridge TOO LONG.  You can see it all on Facebook and the numbers I am not citing here prove it but you know it all ready, you do it, I do it, we all do it.

What Does This Mean?

Advertisers know about you because Facebook asks you certain questions and tracks your every move so they can make money based on your habits.  Yes. The ads you see are based on this behavior.  AND if you have a business, perhaps this is an option where you should advertise. But what does it REALLY mean in the grand scheme of things?

Connection, Caring, Love, Laughter

We all love to do the things that make us happy and often times we even love to do the things that don’t make us happy. The RUSH of it all, make us mad, fire us up, we cannot get enough of it.  Or if you are me, I cannot get enough of seeing it happen on someone else’s wall, I watch until I cannot take it anymore.  But I do it.  A distraction.  Also someone posts that their dog died, their child is sick, I reach out in support, share comfort. Makes me feel like I am doing something that matters to someone.

We Are Human

If you participate in “Buy Local” then you probably go to some stores with owners that you know.  Or people in your neighborhood at home or work that you would like to know.  Maybe you know them on Facebook, maybe not.  If the store  has stuff you like, you may go there but I find myself going to places because it is the people I like.  I like them, their stories they are part of my life.  I like the connection. I want the connection, don’t you?

Same Old Story Same Ole Song and Dance

I have written several times about using Social Media in addition to cultivating friendships and business relationships.  Not instead of “people to people” connection.  A dirtbag in real life often is a dirtbag on Facebook, it may be harder to spot but eventually the real person is revealed.  It comes down to being a member of the human race, reaching out and wanting connection.  OR DISCONNECTION.  Real life is blowing up and you can run to Facebook for help and support.

But let’s not forget we are people first and not technology.  Besides computers hug funny.

 

Why Tweet?

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Where are we going?

A while ago I wrote a post for the Sephone blog that discussed goals and various social media platforms that are free to use.  There is no right or wrong goal but of course some are better than others and they have to be yours.

When I first set up my Twitter account, it was February of 2008.  My goal at that time was to learn what this “thing” did because as we all know NOW it was part of the revolution in marketing that changed how people pass information around and keep in touch with one another.

Since then, how people behaved on Twitter, how they said things, (shortened URL’s, for example) became the norm of the Twitterverse.  Also how you can stuff the most info into 140 characters and how many external applications that can help those of us that work in this business can use and how we mixed and matched other platforms and used Twitter to spread the word.

Having a Goal is Important

It is easy to get lost in all the nitty gritty details and lose site of what you are trying to accomplish.  When I hear someone say, “I don’t need to know what you had for breakfast.”  I want to scream.  Since everything is so automated these days, scheduling tweets/posts, etc. it is easy to think that there is a live person on the other end of that message and there may not be.  Or there isn’t one right now when you read it or is there?

Examples of my Twitter Goals:

  • My Front Page News: Learn about things that I need to know that I wouldn’t be able to find by myself.
  • Share information that I find interesting or helpful.
  • Keep myself and my company “Top of Mind” with people I know personally and those I may have never met.
  • Get smiles – as a virtual worker my face to face dialogue is somewhat limited, Twitter makes me feel like I am actually talking to people instead of myself (or my dogs!)

Twitter Works for Me

I am not known for my patience.  Short bursts of information with a link to  “More”  is perfect.  I have my phone handy I can see it there easily, or on my ipad or laptop.  If I have a friend or client that has asked me a question about something I can easily pass it on. Also my clients and the media can too, if they tweet.

“Knickers in a Knot”

One of my favorite Canadian friends said once, “Don’t get your knickers in a knot” about some lofty goal that reminds you of your last nightmare strategic planning session.  Just write it down for yourself, perhaps put it in your profile to let followers know how they can help you or for them to know how you can help them.

And TWEET – have fun with it.  Find people to follow and give them something to look at when they decide if they want to follow you!

Me?  I am @ladyotrout or @sephone.  See you in the Twittersphere!

 

 

 

A Routine Doesn’t Always Mean it is ROUTINE

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

People ask me, how do you know all these people?

A Schedule

A lot of what I do each day isn’t seen by everyone at once.  But then i am pretty sure that is that same for all of us in one way or another.  When you are in the Marketing, Public Relations or Social Media fields, there is a certain “roll with the punches” attitude that comes with the territory. But there are certain things that I try really hard to do each day (even weekends) before that day gets away from me.

Challenge One:  Time?

Most of my “sleuth” work begins before many people are just rolling out of bed. (This excludes my early morning radio and TV friends).  I am a light sleeper so often I wake up in the middle of the night and rather that lie in bed with my head spinning of what I could be doing, I get up. Usually grab a water and start reading blogs or collecting information for future content needs.

I also check in of Facebook and LinkedIn and see who I haven’t been in contact for a while (many of my “friends” are business contacts) and see how they are doing.  Since so many people are of the thinking that, “Since I posted it on Facebook, everyone knows about it.”  But the algorithm that Facebook uses for news feeds there is nothing further from the truth.  Since I have recently crested 1,000″ friends” I have realized that many of those I haven’t contacted in a while aren’t in there.  Lesson:  Don’t expect Facebook to make sure you see every post you wished that you saw.

I check in on Twitter, always a helpful source for content that people share as well as what people are doing or what is going on around town/state/region.  I follow a lot of folks that are really “plugged in” and don’t mind sharing what they know.  Twitter is an easy and relatively quick way to get into the groove of things. I share, reply to folks and “retweet” as well.

I check Google+ and sometimes depending on what I have seen on Facebook or Twitter I may post a link there and comment on others information.  I am finding I am using G+ more and more as I develop my circles and share with potential and existing clients the information that I find.

Challenge Two:  Early Morning Meetings

I serve on community Boards as well as attend breakfast networking functions, some as early as 7:00am.  After my middle of the night “work session” I often go back to bed for a few hours but this is impossible on a morning when I have to be up, showered and out the door.  After the meeting or breakfast is over I find wireless someplace  and if I couldn’t get through my “TO DO” list in the wee hours then I finish it up then. Check my multitude of emails.  And sometimes this includes “the old fashioned” type of communication, writing real notes by hand or calling folks for a bit of “one on one.”

There it is in a nutshell.  I try hard to make sure I stay connected with folks, that is the most favorite part of my job.  The “virtual” part of my job has evolved over the years and having somewhat of a routine is really important to me. When no one is standing in your office doorway asking you for something makes this routine important to making sure my network is still MY NETWORK.

 

 

 

 

Forget About “Getting It”

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Over the years I have heard from business connections and friends – even old ones (because of Facebook).  That don’t “GET” some social media application.  Usually this is said in a disparaging tone and if  they  SAT down and learned about it then maybe they would.  Try taking time out of Facebook for ONE day and put that time into the application or platform that you don’t “GET.”

Any platform that is new is a bit uncomfortable at first and some of them are such “Flash In the Pans.”  They are gone before you get a chance to try it out.  In both cases this is frustrating because if you are in business you have limited time to learn new things.

Before you dive in, think of 3 things:

  1. What is my goal in using this new platform?
  2. Who is my target market?
  3. And if my business is a B2B, then who are my target market’s customers?

Let’s use Twitter, for an example:

1. Your goals can be simple.  If you are a sales or maintenance person on the road, it may be helpful for you to know if a business or plant is closing due to weather, water main break, fire or construction delays.  Perhaps your team may not hear about these things through tradition methods? 

Would you  want to communicate with the press?  Would you want the media to come interview you about a topic instead of your competitor? Make it easy on the media to keep connected with you.  We all like good publicity or stories and we don’t have to pay for it, all the better.  And if you haven’t noticed, the media uses Twitter.  So start following them, it is easy and free to do.

2.  Your Target – what are your potential and current customers using to communicate?  Go poke around and punch in a few names that you know.  If there is a customer out there that is unhappy with a product or your service are they making nasty comments about you and you aren’t listening how can you fix it?  Or if they have something going on at their business or plant, spread the word through your network.  Good Will matters.  Using Twitter especially to help someone is a lot more popular than just pushing out “BUY MY STUFF” messages.

3.  Supporting your base: If you got a phone call or text from someone saying,  “I am looking for ________  – do you know where I can buy it? ” When I get calls like that,  I think of who my customers are and go to that database in my head and recommend my customer first.  If I don’t have a customer then I refer them and often times it is someone I have been in contact through a social media platform.  Often it is Twitter.

A platform like Twitter is the new water cooler conversation, before the water cooler,  it was other conversations involving face to face meetings, church, kids activities other networking events.  Twitter is networking, connecting and getting to know a wider audience that you may never been able to reach before.

But back to a goal for a minute:  If you use Facebook then what was your goal there?  Watch out for your kids?  Are they on Twitter?

Follow Me if you like!  @LadyoTrout

What I did on my Winter Vacation

Monday, March 18th, 2013

I took a vacation.  Sort of.  Years ago I never understood the need for a 2 week vacation.  Since we started Sephone more than 11 years ago, vacations are difficult to achieve as the  “completely unplugged” kind. I think you need the first week to decompress then the second week to really enjoy yourself.  My vacation was one week as I said, “Sort of.”

Being a small business owner is a rush.  NO DOUBT about it.  Being part of a small business is too.  You feel like what you do is important and a vital part of  its’ success, because what you do IS vital.  Maine is loaded with small businesses as “Yankees,” (not to be confused with the baseball team), we like to do things our own way and we would rather buckle down and get the job done, treat people like we know they deserve to be treated and be part of their success.

What is my point?

My winter vacation is  normally in the Western Mountains of Maine – aka Sugarloaf Mountain, where I have been rooted since 1967. As I was out and about skiing, shopping and cooking, I connected with a lot of folks that know me.  So, of course I had questions from them and there was a small voice saying, “Hey it’s my vacation…”  But that is squashed down by the realization and privilege it is for people to feel comfortable in asking me questions. They trust me.  It is a great feeling when you think of it.  An honor, truly.

The next couple posts on this blog will be those that folks asked me about while on the chairlift, eating cheeseburger soup or drinking tea at my girlfriend’s kitchen table. Yeah I know, I took notes – on my cell phone actually so I wouldn’t forget. See what I mean about trying to be “unplugged?”  If there is something you would like to know, don’t hesitate to email me.

It also gives me great content for this blog, because if you want to know, chances are many others out there maybe looking for the same answer.  There are countless blogs addressing the various social media and online marketing riddles but finding them is tough and cutting through the “geek speak”  is even more challenging.

How can I help?

We ALL Know “That Guy!”

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

It started when you were a kid.  The person that looked at your paper during tests, the person that wanted “help” with his/her homework, or that person that read the newspaper over your shoulder in an airport.

What do all these people have in common?

Stop Drinking from the toilet!

Stop Drinking from the toilet!

No initiative, no original idea, easier to “steal” from others than to give up anything themselves, because “Hey, let the other guy do all the work or pay for the newspaper.”  I am noticing this is really easy to do when it comes to Social Media. So easy to lurk and be anonymous. So easy to take someone’s thoughts and make them your own. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but some days it really does.  I guess today is one of those days.  Some folks are new to this game, so I understand and they certainly get the benefit of the doubt here. But there are many folks in the “Marketing and Media” profession that are takers and they always have been, if they had gone to the same high school with me they probably would have cheated off my French tests.

Today, they are the people that want to connect with you on Linked In or “Friend you” on Facebook, “Follow” you on Twitter.

Here is a blog post from Chris Brogan that reaffirms really what this is about.  If you are one of the “professionals” that monitors tweets or Facebook content and never provides any help or input to anyone that you are looking at, then this is for you.  Of course Chris does it in such a nicer way that I am feeling right now, he is a grown-up afterall.

I read Chris’s stuff for inspiration for when someone has hurt my feelings, for when I need to learn.  Chris is a “giver” in the “UBER” category.  Not all of us, (which includes me) can do what he does…but we can try.  And in the long run, it does pay off, I truly believe that.

So the next time you are checking out someone’s Facebook page, leave a note.  If you use Twitter, retweet someone’s brilliance or find one of your own. Look around you and see what you can share with the world.

PS. I got this photo from this blog, you may find it as amusing as I did!

Too Dangerous…

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

My niece just got a cell phone.  She is 10 years old.  I have no children, so I am not qualified to comment on whether this is a good idea or not.  When she was a “wee one” of about 3, I would call my brother and he would ask her if she wanted to talk to “Aunt Kelly” she would say, “Too Dangerous.” We thought that was funny.  We thought that she had a sense of humor. Even my brother and sister-in-law thought it was funny.

Well little did I know that because she lived so far away, she didn’t remember me, so I was a STRANGER in her world.  So the whole “STRANGER DANGER” thing took on a whole new meaning. We see them and talk to them often, so I am no longer a stranger to her and we spend summer vacation time together.

For the past few years, she would confiscate her mom or dad’s cell phone and shoot me off a photo or a text message and I would be thinking, “What are they talking about?”  Then I would find out it was my niece and not them.  She is quite versed in using a cell phone – she can text better than they can!

Last Saturday, I got a text message from an unknown number, but from the area code that my brother lives in.  My first text, “Hi Auntie Kelly.”  It is my niece (obviously) she has gotten her first cell phone. Within the next 2 days I must have gotten 10 text messages from her.  Then I thought “Whoops I hope my brother’s package includes unlimited texting.”  (Here’s something that will freak you out – an $18,000/month cell phone bill!)

When you get a cell phone for your kids, it is meant to be a “tool” so you can stay connected, for them it is often considered a “toy.”  Last week,  I posted on our Sephone Blog this article about Facebook Places in relation to “Privacy Settings” .  Then when I started this post, I found this one from safekids.org (which is really a great site for all kinds of things.) In particular, this is about your kids telling too much information or their friends telling too much information on where they are, whom they are with, and at what time.  That may be helpful to you as a parent, but it is also helpful to bullies or predators.  Unfortunately, that is the world we are living in.

Our cell phone people (Central Maine Wireless) are the best.  They actually take the time and really help us make the phones work for what we need them for and everybody is different.  So take the time and make sure you don’t get some whopping bill because your kids usage of the phone may not be the same as yours or maybe things you cannot even imagine are happening BECAUSE of that cell phone. Here is a link that Paul shared with me about features you can apply to the phones you can buy for your kids.

Here is an old post (but a great one) to review when you buy that cell phone or even to use as a learning tool for those that have one all ready.  And have a safe and happy Fall 2010!

Shame on YOU Social Media

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

After I wrote this post for my Daily Rant Blog, I figured it may belong here too.  So I am posting it in two blogs, because it is important.

Over the past few months I have heard some pretty crazy stuff. I have had people get frustrated, sound fearful and make bizarre claims about social media, as if it is the demise of the universe as we know it.

The universe?
No.

Traditional Media?
Maybe… talk to me in 10 years, maybe sooner.

Here are a few random comments and I will keep it to 3:

  1. Social Media is “narcissistic.”
  2. “I don’t want to become like people I know and be on Facebook all day.”
  3. “Twitter freaks me out, I am afraid of it.”

Social Media can help you attain your goals:

  1. Help YOU navigate the vast expanse of information on the internet that increases ten fold every day.
  2. Help YOU find people that think like you and share with them – most of them you may never meet.
  3. Help YOU get your own message out in your voice and on your terms – most often for the cost of little of your time.

Does any of this sound so bad?

Social Media is hardly the Anti-Christ, destroyer of all we know as reasonable today, but it may be the transformer or catalyst that moves us into a next level of how we receive and PARTICIPATE in delivering information.

Here are some other truths:

Social Media allows just about anybody to have an opinion, type it into a computer and let the world see it. Like it or not.

Traditionally,  we were SPOKEN TO, fed or preached to… a writer from our newspaper, a reporter from a TV or radio station, someone that told us the NEWS.

Only sometimes from their perspective, it was really opinion, based on the reporters “take on things.”   It’s amazing how many few GREAT, true journalists were in my life, but even they had to rely on information from others and had to translate it.

If you are my age, you have memories before the 24 hour news cycle of cable TV and pressures related to get stories to the listening public – sometimes before checking facts, making sure that the information is accurate.

What social media does is, it invites YOU to participate.  For example: Did you see a tornado and take a quick amateur video of it?  Did you go to an event that no traditional media reporters was able to attend, but you were there with your camera?

And how about your own business?
You know it best.
You know YOU best.

Social Media helps you control your message and support other marketing/advertising you may be doing, your website, your promotions, it answers the questions the customers ask “Why should I spend my ‘hard earned’ at your company, on your product?”  You get to ask what is important to your customer YOURSELF and answer those questions DIRECTLY and be in control.

It isn’t narcissistic, it is reality.  Yeah you get to “toot your own horn” and what is wrong with that?  If you don’t believe in yourself and what you do, then why bother? Your passion is hard to translate expecting others to do it for you in your way also takes time and energy – why not use that time and energy to make the tools of social media work for YOU!

The impersonal, personal side of our digital times

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

As I typed into my calendar on my laptop this morning the schedule of events I needed to attend in relationship to a recent death of a friend, it seemed weird to type the words “Funeral -(my friends name)” and actually put a “from this time – to that time” and schedule it.

In fact in the past few months, I have had several friends and relatives of friends die and I am feeling as if I may be bad luck or something. I guess it comes with the territory when you have lots of people in your life and you are a “people” person as I admittedly am.

But it brings me back to the biggest fear I have with all this technology around us.

Are we swapping out the greeting card or phone call of support to friends for the Facebook wall view of people you would normally TALK to and CONNECT with?

There is no doubt that Facebook, text messages, etc. have their places in our lives.  They are convenient ways to check in with each other in our all too busy, hustle, bustle world we are in. When I posted my blue mood on my Wall this past Sunday, there was a flurry of people encouraging me and even one surprise guest in my chat box sharing with me a Tao website that I never knew about.  I had no idea how many people checked out my Facebook page and certainly no idea how much those words would mean to me – instantly.

Then it reminded me also, how much I treasure that special note that comes to me in my mailbox (you know the one on your street?), the flowers picked for me out of my friend Marion’s garden that she brought to my office.  The last note I got was from my friend Katy.  I was so touched but her taking the time to buy a card and write me a personal note.

Isn’t that what it is all about anyway?  TIMEConnecting?

We all know time is so precious and the 24 hour day is non-negotiable, but it is “time” that you can share with someone that is truly precious. You are saying, “You matter to me. I care about you.”

So the next time you poke around on Facebook, leave a note behind, just because you see my Wall Post, doesn’t mean I know that you cared enough to think of me and type in my name to see what I have been up to.

Be spontaneous. When you see a friend’s car in the parking lot somewhere – take out a piece of paper (or grab that empty McDonald’s bag in your own car) and write a note and put it under the windshield wiper. Or pick up the phone – WHEN you think of it and even if they arent there, leave a message telling them you were thinking of them. Leave some “footprints” of yourself behind and I promise it will make you feel as warm and as special as it does them!

I promise my next post will be less philosophical and more “brilliant” (ha ha!) and more to the objective of this blog, to be helpful in choosing technology that works for you in your life.  But sometimes technology is just that.  We are humans and we all need hugs, all the gadgets in the world will ever change that!