Social Networking

I hit the 10,000 Twitter Follower Mark Today!

Since it’s a Friday and hardly anyone reads blog posts between Thursday and Sunday anymore, I don’t mind putting out a horribly self-promotional post: Today I finally got 10,000 Twitter followers.

10000 Twitter followers

Maybe that’s an achievement, but I’ll let you in on a secret: I only did it to show how easy it is to do.

See, when people hire me to do social media marketing for them, they always talk about how they want a “lot of followers.” It’s the one metric that seems to make sense to everyone. “If I have a lot of followers by the end of this, then things must have worked out. I now have a larger audience, so I’m pretty sure to make some money out of all of this!”

But as I’ve said for years and years, a follower count isn’t any measure of success. When I can get 10,000 followers just by being dopey – about 7000 of those followers only happening in the last six months, when I decided to do this experiment – it isn’t an accomplishment worth much. I certainly don’t feel like there are 10,000 individuals “listening to me,” when I know a number of them are bots, or feeds, or companies that don’t read their followers.

There are a lot of really cool people I have met as a result of Twitter, but I certainly don’t feel like selling any SEO consulting work to them. I’d much rather discuss Dadaism. (If you were in on that yesterday – how fun was that? I’ll have to post about all that next week.)

Bottom line: The number of followers you get still isn’t a measure of success, it’s just an ego boost if you have a fragile, fragile ego. If you’re someone like me who is brimming with confidence and power, however… it’s no where near as good as, you know – actually brimming with confidence and power.

I so recommend that over just having a lot of Twitter followers.

Welcome to the Facebook party, Tupperware – what the hell took you so long?

I admit I’m pretty snarky. When a company’s marketing is slightly off kilter, or completely off balance, or just plain stupid, I have to chime in.

Then there are times, like today, where I am so completely taken aback by what is before me I literally stagger trying to think of what to goof on first.

Last week, the New York Times did a story on Tupperware starting a social media campaign. Well, we’ve heard of companies doing this before – so what’s different here?

NOTHING! Not a single, solitary thing! Tupperware wanted to jazz up their brand’s image, so they decided to sprinkle a little magic social media dust on it and watch as it turns into The Dougie.

So how does The New York Times have space enough to write such a non-story about a company finally finding social media? Wasn’t anything else going on? It’s not like US Special forces shot Osama Bin Laden in the eye or anything… oh wait! US Special Forces DID shoot Osama Bin Laden in the eye! I’m pretty sure that effected the economy somewhat, didn’t it, New York Times!?! Even a little bit more than yet another company finding social media? Even if they did it about three years too late?

Just to make things worse, the NYT article didn’t include a link to Tupperware’s Facebook page. Perhaps they did this so they could say, “this isn’t an advertorial.” That’s a bad piece of luck for Tupperware, though. If you do a search for “Tupperware” on Facebook, you get a number of pages – none of them, apparently, Tupperware’s.

Because they got to the game so late, their own brand and several versions of it were snatched up by more enterprising people. If you want to get to Tupperware’s own profiles, either on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll need to use the button on their corporate site.

In other words, if you want to do them the favor of following their profiles, you need to leave Twitter or Facebook, then go to their site, then press the buttons that take you back to Twitter or Facebook.

The purpose of either of these sites is ostensibly to get you to follow a link from them to their website. So there’s not only added steps involved in becoming a fan, but one of them requires getting people to do something they weren’t planning on doing anyway. Yikes.

Oh! Something else – here’s a great blurb from the aforementioned article:

“The goal is to find ‘more disruptive methods’ to dispel perceptions that ‘we are your mother’s Tupperware,’ said Rick Goings, chairman and chief executive of Tupperware Brands in Orlando, Fla.”

To prove this point, today they posted this:

"Tupperware is Made for MOM's!"

So this isn’t your mother’s Tupperware – it’s just that Tupperware was made for Mom’s. That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Finally, after their unprecedented NYT article, the number of people who have Liked their page is 8611 as of this writing. A nearly 100 year old, world-famous company, with a write up in the New York Times, only has some 8600 fans.

And don’t get me started on their Twitter account! There, the name is TupperwareUS – not TupperwareUSCA, which may be confusing to people who know of one and are trying to find the other. But we’ve all got to make a stand against Canada some time, and Tupperware seems to be making it on Twitter. Facebook is for US and CA, but Twitter will just be for the US. I guess. I’m not sure. It’s all a little too poorly thought out for me to get all at once.

But again, great success – because they now have 186 followers on Twitter.
Welcome to the party, Tupperware – you’ve got a LOT to learn.

Yes, I unfollowed you – now shut up!

I unfollow a lot of people on Twitter in an average week. Sometimes it’s because of something they post. Other times it’s because they use an auto posting service. And sometimes it’s just because I followed them without really looking at who they are.

I do this pruning a lot. On social networks, you aren’t what you say, but who you connect yourself with. No one would listen to Guy Kawasaki if he only followed porn stars.

As a result, something I’ve been seeing a lot lately are tweets from people I’ve unfollowed that look like this:

Butthurt from being Unfollowed

I believe the idea behind this is to “shame” the three of us who unfollowed Naresh. Services that do these kinds of tweets – fllwrs.com is one, and I think Qwitter is another – actually have a good premise. Their real job is telling their users who unfollowed them, and which post may have sent them packing.

Posting tweets about it is part of their package, however, and it totally works against people like Naresh when they do this.

First, my profile is getting a mention – which is always good. It’s another opportunity to be discovered by other users. Even if it is in the context of, “This jerk unfollowed me! Boo hoo,” I get just that much more growth in my social footprint.

Second, this kind of post would make most people ask, “why did you get unfollowed? Are you a bore? Are all of your posts NSFW? Do you constantly post quotes from the Bible?” Usually, things that are rejected by people aren’t popular with others – on the basis of having been dumped. (“If that guy doesn’t like it, I probably won’t either.”)

Finally, whenever I see one of these posts in my “Mentions” tab, it pisses me off. Frankly, it’s my choice to unfollow you for whatever reason I want to, just as it is your choice to return the favor by unfollowing me. Being childish in public doesn’t help anything, and does not convince me I should change my mind.

Instead, it makes me block you. I can’t trust I won’t hear more about your heartache later, so I make sure I won’t by shutting you off completely. If enough people block a single profile, Twitter may decide the profile is spam and ultimately delete the account.

So while you started with being pissy about my getting rid of you, you could end with Twitter itself getting rid of you.

What I love about.me

If you’re digitally hip, you’ve likely heard of this site before – about.me.

But if you’re normal, you haven’t. Normal people don’t care about things like this. They just care about e-mail and Facebook at best. Twitter is one of those dumb things you hate because you can’t get into it. QR codes seem designed to make you feel inadequate because you can’t even install Angry Birds onto your phone without throwing it across the room, much less a QR scanner.

The truth is, though, that’s why about.me is such a perfect site for the technically challenged: It is an online business card that introduces you to anyone who lands on it. It’s less of a “social networking” site than it is a social networking Hamburger Helper – it accentuates what you’re doing, but doesn’t add anything to the content.

Okay, bad metaphor. Moving on…

I'm an SEO, a blogger and a zombie killer.

About.me works because it’s easy to get, easy to use, easy to understand. AOL recently bought them, I think because they see the potential behind the online business card and want to grab it up before it becomes expensive.

If you’re a tech geek, it’s great because you can show the various profiles you have on other sites like WordPress, Twitter, Flickr, Linkedin, whatever.

For the luddites in the audience, (see how the word “luddite” is underlined and/or colored differently depending on your browser preferences? That’s because it’s a link – if you’re a luddite, you can click on it to find out what you are!) about.me is easy to use and easy to understand. You simply plug in the URLs of the sites you’re on and like into the profile when you sign up. When you need to add a page link to yourself somewhere, if you don’t have a blog or site of your own, you can leave your about.me page in it’s place.

This is my own about.me page. This took about 10 minutes to sign up, and as you can see it has links to a LOT of different profiles on the web. While it gives me a lot of options for modifying the look, the majority of the screen is whatever picture I want to upload to it. I like that too – it means I get to dominate the look of my page. Where Facebook dictates the entire look of the page, and WordPress practically requires a Master’s degree in tedious coding to make it pretty, all about.me needs is a picture.

Finally, it’s a lot less obnoxious sharing an about.me page than it is a lead gen form or a blog on social media profiles. Sure, you don’t get all the traffic from your profile link to your blog – that’s a strike against it. But if you’re more into sharing your real life with people, you look less like a desperate marketer and more like an actual, real life person.

Check it out – it’s very cool stuff.

There is no Facebook Phone – but wouldn’t it be great if there was?

Reports of Facebook building a phone with their own proprietary OS (like Apple and Google before them) are untrue. It’s a rumor that’s been floating around a lot lately, particularly after another story was released this week that they were not only developing one, but that HTC was due to launch it.

Facebook phone

Well, so what? A lot of rumors get floated around all these Internets – we’re all used to it by now. But given Facebook’s new messaging platform, which includes SMS updates and a @facebook.com e-mail address, doesn’t a phone actually make a lot of sense for them?

The Apple phone made sense when it was launched, as it is an extension of the user’s Apple computer experience. Android was an extension of people’s Google experience.

But Facebook, which is frankly in the business of content developed by all of your friends, would make the most sense as a phone provider. A phone that’s an extension of the interaction with your own contacts? And is tied into this messaging nexus they’ve rolled out? Why not?

It would make particular sense for a company whose value is in the billions, but doesn’t have any discernible income. There have been rumors of charging people to use Facebook even longer than the phone rumor – but that would never happen, as they know people would leave the site in droves. The biggest revelation of the Internet revolution is that we want everything free, and there’s enough of us we can demand it.

A phone, on the other hand, requires payment just to get it working. The site itself could remain free, as a vestigial attachment that’s a little easier to use when you’re not on the go. All of the jazzy stuff, however, could happen on your phone – wherever you go. The “Facebook experience” would then be truly opened up to the rest of the world – and things like Facebook Places might actually make sense.

All of the Facebook apps available for all the existing phones are fine, but what if that app was the entire operation system for your phone? You’d not only have a contact list already in place, but multiple options for contacting them – phone, text, chat, e-mail, post, comment… even a “Like” if you’re particularly lazy, I guess.

Certainly Facebook has to do something if they want to keep themselves from withering away in the next 10 years. People didn’t think that could ever happen to Yahoo!, and it did. People didn’t think it could happen to Google either, but with the right eyes you can see they’re in the middle of it already.

Expanding their market to devices their users already use, with content their users already want, would be a no-brainer.

A new Twitter follower tool: Followers4.me

Wow – it’s been nearly a month since I posted something here. Between the holidays, work, and starting a business, I’ve been wrecked. God that makes me sound old!

But now that the holidays are over, and I’ve inserted my gratuitous SEO link to my other site, I think I’m ready to get back to business.

One thing I’ve been working on a bit lately is my Twitter follower count. Anyone who’s read more than a few of my posts will know I’ve always had a dim view of people obsessed with followers. It’s usually the sign of someone just trying to inflate their ego by rounding up a few thousand people so you can point to them and scream, “they LIKE me!” like some kind of digital Sally Fields.

But I recently did some work for the site, Followers4.me – a Twitter follower tool that helps you build your following in a fun way. That got me interested.

The premise is relatively simple: When you sign up with Followers4.me, you start with 100 “coins.” You use these coins as exchanges with other users on the site for their follow.

So let’s say you start out offering 5 of these coins to anyone who follows you. With your initial 100 coins, you can get 20 new followers, and in turn they can get more coins to do the same thing themselves. If you want more coins, you can go follow others, get other people to sign up, or just buy them with real money.

In short, they’ve taken the follow/follow back politics of Twitter and turned them into an exchange game. Maybe you go on and follow everyone, and collect a bunch of coins. Great, but then you have too many people you’re following without anyone following back. Okay, so you up your reward for followers. You get more, but that runs out your coin… you end up managing bids for new followers as much as you do followers, but since the coins aren’t real money, (unless you’ve paid for them,) and Twitter followers themselves aren’t worth anything, (unless you have a strategy to monetize them,) it really does feel like a game of Go Fish.

This is a new way of looking at social media that feels like it started with Foursquare: You’re doing something anyway, so there will be rewards for your work. For Foursquare it’s badges that do nothing. Here, it’s coins – but at least they have a value. Either way, making a game out of social activity breathes new life into all of this socializing we do.

8 Types of Twitter Bios that Piss Me Off

Your Twitter bio is the first thing people see when they’re notified by e-mail that they have a new follower. What you say about yourself in that first 160 characters makes or breaks people’s decission to follow you or not.

Twittiots

So I made a list of the things people put in their Twitter bios that are turn offs. If you’re guilty of any of these things, look at your bio again and try to think of a more creative, interesting write up. Because all of these are done by a LOT of people, and they don’t entice anyone.

1) Your family.
“I’m a loving Father,” “happily married, parent” “I have 3 wonderful kids”

It is neither mathematically nor philisophically possible for me to care any less that you spawned. Unless your Twitter account is going to be all about your kids, it has no place here.

And if your Twitter account IS all about your kids, I really have no place for you either.

2) Your resume.
“Social Media Manager & Marketing Virtual Assistant providing services for High Level Business Owners.” (yawn)

You may care, but no one else does that you’re an SEO, or a PHP designer, CEO of your company or a collecter of rare, classic German pornography. Well, scratch that last one – that is actually a little interesting.

3) Sales pitches.
“For over 14 years the experienced and friendly team at [company] has been offering impartial and well-informed advice to thousands of holidaymakers”

Telling people off the bat that they should buy what you sell lets them know that all of your tweets will be equally antagonistic and silly. Profiles with these bios are usually just publishing information from a feed, without any real “author” writing anything. Companies that want to use social but not actually talk to anyone are big on this too.

4) Trying to appeal to everyone
“I am interested in everything,” “always discovering, always creating something,” “Never shy away from an opportunity!”

Cut the chatter, Red 2. You’re wasting your bio trying to be all things to all people. If you’re boring here, your tweets are probably boring too.

5) Including a URL
“Co-founder of http://www.crap site.com – the company behind http://www.another crap site.com, author (http://www.yet another crap site.com), blogger & passionate about project management”

You get ONE URL on your page! It’s even clickable! If you put a bunch more in your bio, no one can click on them, and no one would bother if they could. We aren’t here to help you get more traffic.

6) Hubris
“Social Media Expert, Professional Blogger,” “social media enthusiast,” “I’m The King of straightforward information about franchising”

Who are you trying to impress?

This used to be a bigger problem, until there was a backlash of people saying, “people who say they’re social media experts only show they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Since then, these people have taken to calling themselves, “social media junkies” or “really interested in social media.” But it’s all the same thing: “This thing you’re doing on Twitter? Well, I’m doing it too! But I do it better! Please give me a job!”

7) Nothing at all.
“”

This is just lazy. Sit down for a few minutes and think something up! Even if it’s nothing more than a, “I’ll have something to say later.” As long as you actually DO put something more creative in there later.

8 ) Your book
“Family 1st! but after that, Businessman, @winelibrary, @Vaynermedia, Author of Crush IT and a dude that Loves the hustle, people and the @nyjets”

There’s actually a lot of things in this bio that piss me off. Other Twitter profiles you should go to, family, hubris, meaningless chatter about “hustle” – but also an ad for a book. There are about another 1,000 of these author-types every day. If you were a writer of any note, we’d already know about it. You wouldn’t have to inform us in your bio, Gary.

9) “I follow back”

(I know I said, “8 types of Twitter bios that piss me off,” but I remembered this and kind of got on a roll.)

This is self-explanatory. People tell you they’ll follow you back if you follow them. Again, it’s desperate, and only appeals to those who are on Twitter just to build up more followers. That fact alone tells you they don’t post anything more than posts to their articles, sales, and a truck load of positive, airy, meaningless quotes.

But so you don’t think I’m just grouchy, here’s…

10 of the best Twitter bios EVER

@antifuchs I hack on things for people.
@jephjacques Surprisingly conservative for someone who has sex with dolphins.
@wytukaze I RAGE UNCONTROLLABLY
@tinydoctor I’m a Pentecostal Atheist putting on a tent show revival, speaking in tongues and witnessing to the Word of not god but the Mammon of my counterfeits of meaning
@tommyismyname I blog. I beatbox. I get the asses in the seats.
@virgiltexas i prefer my earlier work
@ISaidDont Seriously, don’t. And don’t touch my stuff either.
@grempz always fall asleep with your makeup on face down in the pillow so when you wake up you have something beautiful to kiss
@GorillaSushi Internet jealousy is measured in precise units, called butthertz.
@Giania I am full of vitriol & nonsense and will probably give you shit if I think you’re trying to sell me something. :D

Extra special thanks to @Giania, as most of these come from her list Rad Dudes.