Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

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.


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

Will Twitter or Facebook cause World War III?

Friday, June 10th, 2011

It is amusing to hear some members of the main stream media mention that Twitter could be blamed for so much of the unrest in the Middle East.  These recent outbreaks of violence, demonstrations and the like have been happening in the Middle East for thousands of years – yes there was life before Twitter.  People demonstrate because they are passionate about something.  Twitter and other social media platforms were used to facilitate the assembly, no doubt. Texting also helped.

Just like when you want to meet your friends or kids somewhere you probably text them.  Many folks have cell phones without data plans and still can get text messages.

The point here is that you communicate, you find a way.  Many parents I know ONLY started texting because that was how they could reach their kids.  I have one friend who refuses to carry his cell phone most of the time because he wants to TALK to his kids, not get a random text from one of them asking for money!  He wants to connect to hear their voices as opposed a text that he feels is impersonal.

Yes. Texting allows you to be in one place and communicate with many others. But while you do that what is that person across the table looking at you thinking? How about, “I guess there are others more important than me…”

It is so common to see people in appointments and meetings looking down at their cell phones, disconnecting with where they are to wonder what maybe better or more important, fun, etc.  Feel insignificant yet?

And lots of people, your “friends”  know what is going on in your life because they cruise your Facebook page and you never even know it.  Have you wondered where face to face relationships will be in 10 years?

All this leads to a communication breakdowns, misunderstandings, hurt feelings all because we are not taking the time to ask for clarification of a compressed text message or those dreaded “tweets.  It all is kind of scary to me.  I am taking a page out of one of my friends book and leaving my cell phone in my bag when I am with a customer – whether I am in a meeting with them or at lunch with them.  He always makes me feel like I am on his “Important List” and I have noticed.

What will you do to make people feel like they are on  your “Important List?”



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!

“Everybody” is an expert, yeah right!

Friday, July 10th, 2009

I read a lot of things on line.  If you read my posts very often,  you probably know that all ready.  But something interesting happened to me yesterday and I felt the urge to share it.

I was in a meeting with a person that expressed frustration and confusion with social media and feels overwhelmed.  She starts off with the list, “I know I am supposed to twitter, blog, facebook and I don’t know where to begin and I am embarrassed to admit it to anybody! Everything I read out there online makes me feel really intimidated.  I am so far behind the 8-ball, I don’t even know – what I don’t know.”

She reads lots of blogs and we both agreed how often we’re shocked by blogs and blog comments that are arrogant and hurtful. Almost as if there isn’t a person on the end of that keyboard.

If a person from the “40+ something” generation reads stuff like that, it is intimidating and often discourages them from engaging in a wonderful sharing process that 95% of this whole Social Media “thing” is.

In the Social Media world, I personally believe there ARE NO REAL experts – in fact it is really SO NEW for us NON-TECHIE types, it is okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes.  In fact if you are over 40, my guess is you come from a culture where asking for help isn’t easy.  ESPECIALLY from a complete stranger.  You feel as though you are exposing your inefficiencies and in our day, you could get terminated for that – especially if you are female.  I think half of the jobs I had in the 80’s were kept because I knew how to use a telex, was polite on the phone and could type!

How I got started.  I have had a Twitter Account for a long time now – (longtime in Twitter years is like “dog years” on steriods-2 years in Twitter time is like 20 years because of how fast this Social Media thing is moving!)

I am lucky.  A man that works with us here (@justinrussell) at Sephone, suggested I give Twitter a shot.  The second best suggestion from him was that I follow a guy named @chrisbrogan.  So I did.  Chris Brogan is a thoughtful, information seeker and social media philanthropist in the Social Media world. (My definition, not his – in fact I haven’t even asked him if I can mention him in this post- oops!) Chris is a helper.  His blog is written in a helpful, non boastful way.  I have NEVER met the man and yet I suggest people follow him whether they are in PR, Marketing or anything else.

Chris gets out there-speaks, blogs, does webinars, podcasts and is available.  As far as I am concerned, he is the center of my Social Media – but I think that may embarrass him. He always asks for feedback when he posts something and you know he is listening and reading it all.

A little tip: When you read a blog you don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable, just leave it and don’t go back.  “We” are not their target audience anyway. But keep trying.  Eventually,  you will find the people that are “your experts,” in the meantime, your skin will become thicker and those “other people” wont make you feel so bad, because you are finding your own way, at your own pace, for your own reasons. It is about you, and after all it is what you want to accomplish.

So, “Come on in, the water is fine!” Get your feet wet, find some people like Chris to follow or read if you choose not to have a Twitter Account and know that most of us are finding our way as all this changes at a rapid pace. Social Media does not take a summer vacation!

"It’s the economy, stupid!"

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Is a quote uttered by Bill Clinton in 1992 in his presidential bid against Bush. (The first one!) Here it is 16 years later and we are in the soup again. We are all worried about unemployment and how our businesses will be effected. If you own your own, the sleepless nights become more frequent. Or the time lying awake is longer. (I have lots of experience and I am peri-menopausal !!)

So much we worry about we cannot control, and especially if you are in your 40’s like me, your life is full of demands of work, family, dogs, school, whatever it is, it gets piled on the top of it all.

So let’s think for just a moment of some things you can do to feel empowered rather than to feel helpless.

If you are currently employed and work for someone else, TAKE INVENTORY.

Taking Inventory of those items on the computer you work at in the office, phone numbers, contacts, passwords for any of YOUR OWN social networking sites like linked-in, etc. Often these passwords are saved in your company computer and you may not remember what they are, the computer there just remembers them for you.

DO NOT USE company email addresses as a sole contact mechanism for sites to “confirm password” back to – if you are “downsized” and lose that email address, cannot get into sites to update your profiles, the “password reset” message will go back to the email you provided and it may be that one at your work – in this case you don’t work there anymore!

Make sure your resume is saved off and and deleted from the system and there are no traces of personal information on the company systems-period.

If you have all ready “fallen victim” to the economy ax, then hopefully you did this all ready.

Going forward, one of my new Compadres on Twitter just got downsized himself and one of his recent blog posts reminded me of something. Standard Classified Newspaper Help Wanted Ads are not the way to go. First off let me say, if you don’t have a job, bookmark Dave’s blog because he is very funny and will give you some comic relief, especially if you are in the same boat. If you do have a job, visit anyway. He has a unique perspective, even if he is a cat person!

Nationally, is the most recognized website to look at. More locally in Maine, is one we have as well as some of the newspapers have even decided to have their own (usually under a different name), but you can GOOGLE a term as simple as “Looking for a job in (my state)” and you will be surprised what you will find. For the employer, these sites are often more economical than traditional newspaper classifieds. So all the more reason they are more popular.

Finally, yesterday the Today Show had a segment on 7 Ways to Make Money, How To Give Yourself a Holiday Bonus. Some of the ideas I thought were silly, but some were really good. I thought I would pass on the link as well as a few of these, if anyone missed it. If you are interested in making money with Focus Groups and part of the Twitter community, look for FocusGroups and you will get a tweet everytime they update. If you dont participate in Twitter, here’s another reason you should. Follow Me and I can help!

There is a blog that you can go to for Focus Groups, click here and you will go there, but you have to remember to do that on your own, with Twitter, it tells you automatically.

So take some stock in YOU and take control of what you can, it will give you piece of mind!

Blogging ABC’s

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Sometimes people just think this BLOG thing is a fad and I really cannot blame them for wishing it to be so in some ways. Maybe if you wait long enough it will fade away like that avocado refrigerator you had in your kitchen growing up.

In some areas of the country blogging is a way of life when it comes to stuff going on in your kids school, scout troop, or things that a person might be interested in. My sister-in-law knits. Like REALLY knits. She reads several blogs that she finds are very helpful to her and brings her into this tight community of people that have same interests that she has. Her online “Stitch and Bitch” session.

That really is what blogging is. There is no mystery to it.

I also have a friend with cancer. She blogs with people around the world for support and suggestions on things she is going through and strangers help each other deal with the daily trials of a fight for life.

But how do you start? I wrote something in the Sephone blog about this very thing and there is a demo if you are interested in starting your own and these tools are all free and out there for the world to use. I also read a blog from one of the social media guru Chris Brogan that also had some very interesting perspective.

Personally, I started with the basics. Somebody told me about TWITTER. Here is a very easy way to learn about what is happening in an interest you may have. Twitter is about individual entries or “tweets” (see very non-techie cute) about what’s happening. The question at the top of the screen is “What are you doing? “ People fill it in and it posts to all the people that are following that individual automatically. If you click on the above link, you can go to mine and look at who I follow and see if there is someone on that list that you may want to follow or search for a topic. It is like a bulletin board with lots of links on it from people you choose to follow and if you see something tweeted, that takes you into directions onto other sites that you never heard about or never even thought about searching for.

iVillage is popular and mentioned on the Today Show a lot. It is a lifestyle blog that seems to be clued into young professionals, stay at home moms, families etc. I read it occasionally, but since I have no children and that seems to be central, it isn’t one that I check often.

One of the frustrating things I must say with some of these “social network types .” They are so busy cross-selling you on their latest book, seminar or whatever, it can be a bit much. Also the social networking “gurus” can be a bit intimidating because of the jargon they use. The first thing I say to myself is, “Well obviously they aren’t talking to me!”

But I am talking to you. And if you are a beginner, this advice is for you. Get a twitter account (again free) and try it. You’ll be surprised at what you may learn from complete strangers or the connections you can make around the world.