Want To See A Photo Of My Cat?

Want To See A Photo Of My Cat?The Austin Lounge Lizards, a group I have followed for a number of years, wrote a song called “Old Blevins,” that tells the tale of a guy who retreated from a domestic squabble to a bar only to be trapped next to Old Blevins, an incoherent, non-stop yakker, a situation that is similar to what takes place electronically on Facebook daily.
Just like Facebook, Old Blevins grabbed the fellow’s attention and wouldn’t let go as the song relates:

I could tell he had some wisdom to impart
Some story that was etched and burned and stamped
Upon his heart
Then his eyes began to glisten
‘Cause he could see that I would listen
We sat there at that bar ’til nearly three
And this is what Old Blevins said to me
He said “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
In Tijuana blah blah blah back in 1963
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
You should have been there blah blah blah”
Is what Old Blevins said to me
I sat there and I listened to his words
As they flapped around my head like little birds

Had he gone plumb ’round the bend
Or could I just not comprehend
His lips were writing lines I could not read
When suddenly, it all came clear to me
As he said “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
Then crazy hippies blah blah blah blah no effect on me
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
The great depression blah blah blah”
And he would not leave me be

If I was sitting next to Old Blevins at the Green Turtle, Dog Star, etc. and he pulled out photos of his cat, today’s lunch plate, a nephew, his long-dead parents, a recent trip to Upper Montclair, New Jersey, his girlfriend’s cleavage (No, wait, that’s ok), said a prayer, handed me a tofu recipe, and then asked me what kind of vegetable or dog I most represent it probably wouldn’t take me long to begin edging a few stools away from what I figure is a guy who has had a few too many or is an unhinged, narcissistic loon. And so would most of you.

If that’s the case then why do we sit and stare at exactly the same stuff on our cell phones, lap tops, iPads, etc. as this river of nonsense flows through Facebook to us from our “friends?”

And speaking of friends, I noticed the other day that I have almost 300 of these friends on my Facebook page. I have no idea how that happened as there are no more than five people who I would actually call friends, people who if I got arrested, would probably be in the cell next to me. But in order to communicate on the Internet in real time via Facebook with people you know, who have been introduced to you, or who requested that you “friend” them, you have to accept their request or reach out and ask them to be a “friend” and the numbers quickly add up. I scrolled through my list of almost 300 “friends” and discovered that there are many that I’ve never met, some I don’t recall, and others I’d just as soon forget. In other words these are not 300 who would fight to their death at Thermopylae on my behalf much less make bail for me.

Now I understand that folks who are entertainers, own a restaurant, a shop, or a tourist attraction, want to attract as many “friends” as possible, as it’s good for business. But why do I care about people that I have absolutely nothing in common with or are total strangers? And why do they want me to look at pictures of their cat, show me what they are eating for lunch, and insist I forward a religious or political message to others? If these people knocked on my front door with these same requests I’d find that disturbing and I’d probably call my neighbors to warn them after contacting the authorities.

And the darn thing can actually be vicious and dangerous as last week a 16-year-old student from Poinciana, a town just south of Orlando, was arrested on attempted murder charges after he stabbed a classmate over a Facebook posting.

So I’ve been rethinking this Facebook stuff and I’m considering going back to the old fashioned “face-to-face-have-a-cup-of-coffee-or-beer-conversation” and written forms of communication where no one has ever shown me a picture of their cat or attempted to stab me for my comments, no matter how disagreeable they think I may be or how silly my observations.

And if I do, it is more than likely that this final verse of the Lounge Lizards’ song will apply to me:

And my memories of that evening fuel an inner mounting fear
That I might become Old Blevins anywhere that they sell beer
And I’ll say “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
I don’t remember blah blah blah blah blah blah
Mistakes were made
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
How ’bout them Redskins?’ blah blah blah
Like Old Blevins used to say

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Social Media 3 Ways We Could Be Connecting in the Future

Social Media 3 Ways We Could Be Connecting in the FutureContributed by: David Ingram

As social media changes and technology moves forward at supersonic speeds, the way in which we connect, converse and engage is going to change. Social media sites that now look utterly dominant will fall, just as other technology companies have in the past. If there’s one constant in the world of technology; it’s that the consumer moves faster than the companies making it.

Where do we go from here?
Currently social media is a place – note this important term. It’s your Facebook wall, your Twitter feed or your LinkedIn profile. Much as the value of computers was only universally understood with the advent of the internet, so too the world of social media is awaiting a quantum leap in importance.

Of course, if I knew where the next big thing was coming from, I’d be unlikely to tell anyone, but here are a few theories from some of the more reputable sources.

3 years from now
E-commerce through social media is what both business and social media companies have been working towards for the last half decade. It’s coming, to be sure.

With Amazon.com now taking 33% of all internet product searches (up from 18% in 2009), versus Google’s 13%, as well as hard entry into the tablet market and extensive plans in place for proprietary content, e-commerce sites could dominate in 3 years. Expect Xbox-style points currencies from Apple, Amazon and Facebook, as well as ways to socialise the whole online shopping experience.

5 years from now
Project Glass, Google’s Heads Up Display (HUD) technology will be ripe for the consumer market in around five years. Due for consumer release at the end of 2013, in five years they’ll be as ubiquitous as smartphones are now. This means voice, sign and eye commands as well as instant uploads to your social media site of choice.

Video will become increasingly important as mobile streaming becomes the de facto method of updating your feeds. Mobile traffic counted for over half of all video data transfer in 2011, so it’s clear that there is a desire, but not yet the ease to live stream video at will.

10 years from now
Tablet technology in ten years will have developed to the point of thin, flexible devices, such as contact lenses or roll-away laptops, allowing for complete integration with your environment. Ideas that were once considered science fiction, should as SIGHT, may just become a reality.

Indeed, Google is already working on a contact lens version of Project Glass, and there are a number of roll-away OLED screens in development by almost every major screen manufacturer.

Augmented reality advertising and social media as a genuine space – as opposed to place – will mean that we don’t go somewhere to update feeds or anything as clumsy as that, our social media experience will be all around us.

While the technology for all of these things is in place, and nothing mentioned above is beyond the possible, the direction of social media is something that is defined by the consumer, albeit with a heavy guiding hand from the prevailing leaders in the industry.

David IngramEven the most reputable social media trend analysts have a hard time predicting months ahead, so a decade is far too long a time to predict. However, you can be sure that the rampant integration of social media into all aspects of life will continue at pace.

David Ingram is a Blogger with a passion for social media, travel and technology. By day he works as a Copywriter for Hunters Leeds (www.huntersnet.co.uk/offices/leeds), and by night he writes for numerous websites across the globe.

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SearchAmelia Discusses Website or Social Media

SearchAmelia Discusses Website or Social MediaSponsors, advertisers, writers and other contributers of SeachAmelia.com are invited to our FREE Social Gatherings that are held from time to time.

Our February SearchAmelia Social Gathering, held at Amelia Hotel at the Beach, turned out to be an intimate evening catching up with one another over good food and adult beverages.

About an hour into the evening Han presented a brief program, Website or Social Media?; here is what you missed:

If you were only allowed to take you business online using either a website or a Facebook page, which would you choose?

Social media is evolving quickly but the originals in the industry included names you may remember such as Classmates.com, Geocities, SixDegrees and a few others. The next “generation” of social media began in 2002 with Friendster, followed by MySpace, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and Stumbleupon. It is interesting to note that Skype, who began in 2005, now has 700 million users.

Yahoo 360 launched in June of 2005, and then closed its services on July 13, 2009. Google Buzz launched February 2010 and was discontinued December 15, 2022, in favor of Google+. If you had spent the majority of your time and advertising dollars over the years building relationships on MySpace or Google Buzz, you would not be a happy camper!

Can it happen to Facebook? Of course it can!

There are new kids on the block who are avoiding the mistakes of the previous generation of Social Media. Names you should get familiar with such as Formspring, Thrillis and Pinterest. Pinterest is already driving more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined!

You must be in control by owning your own website. Having your own website becomes the nucleus, where Social Media send their referrals to. All other Social Media are just network outposts. You need to own your domain name (URL), have it hosted with a reputable server, and maintained, upgraded and updated by you. Meaningful conversations and transactions are going to happen on your site, at your home base, where you are in control.

If you missed our February meeting, we have another one scheduled for March 21, 2012. Details will come to your inbox soon.

If you would like to be notified of our next Social Gathering, and are not a current sponsor of SearchAmelia, please call Lawrence at (904) 583-1010.

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Promote Yourself

Promote YourselfWhether you are looking for a new job, a new direction for your career, or to be recognized as a subject matter expert, you need to promote yourself.

The government offered fresh data this month showing that the job market is gradually improving, but there still aren’t enough jobs to go around. To set yourself apart from the many other applicants, you must not only be the best at what you do, but you must also engage in self-promotion so that potential employers will recognize your strengths, interests, experience, and expertise.

Self promotion includes the things you say or do to make people notice you and become aware of your abilities and value. Think about self promotion as if you were a new product coming to market with no promotion in the mass media. Since no one knows about this new product, it disappears from the market. Failure to promote the product resulted in its failure. The importance of self-promotion is brought home when you consider that 55-80 percent of all jobs are filled through social connections, not “help wanted” advertisements.

Fortunately, social media on the internet is a simple and free resource you can use for self-promotion. You can make contacts, build your reputation, and even be seen as a subject matter expert in your particular area of expertise in a relatively short time. The sheer magnitude of the numbers of people using social media demonstrates its importance. Consider the “top three”:

    Facebook – With more than 500 million users, Facebook is now used by 1 in every 13 people on earth, with more than 250 million logging in every day. Nearly 72 percent of all US internet users are on Facebook.
    Twitter – Twitter recently announce it has over 100 million active users worldwide. Twitter also revealed that is now processing 230 million tweets a day, a number that has increased 110% since the start of 2011.
    LinkedIn – LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the internet with more than 120 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. Professionals are joining LinkedIn at a rate faster than two new members per second. There were nearly 2 billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have proven to be viable avenues for making contacts and connections that are vital to career success. In addition to these sites, you may choose to create your own blog or comment on blogs maintained by others, and participate in forums. Rather than jumping into every social media option at once, think about your goals and evaluate the various social media sites. Make your selection based upon what works best for you. For instance, if you are seeking employment, then you will want to start with LinkedIn so that your professional profile will be found by other professionals who may be searching for someone with just your talents.

Twitter is a microblogging site where posts are limited to 140 characters. There are many reasons to use Twitter. You can locate people, as quick questions and receive answers in an instant, learn about new trends in the industry, find articles posted on others’ blogs, and more.

Facebook is by far the most “fun” of the three. It is great for meeting people, tracing people from your past, playing games, and posting pictures.

The first secret to self-promotion is that what you do is not actually about you, but about the people with whom you are communicating. You may think this is opposite to your goal, but it is not. Your purpose for participating in social media is to attract followers, friends, and connections. You do that by being interested in, and helping, other people.

In addition, be personal and demonstrate that you are human. Post photos of yourself to show your personality, but not photos of you drinking, partying “hearty”, or doing something that would make your mother blush. You want your online story to promote your best attributes. Remember that future employers are searching social networking sites for information before they make a hiring decision.

The importance of self-promotion cannot be underestimated when your goal is career success. Social media sites are a perfect avenue for self-promotion and there is no denying they are now a major part of our lives. If you have not already done so, it is time to explore social media to learn what it can do for your future. Get out there and promote yourself!

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Community Forum on Social Media

Community Forum on Social MediaThe newly designated and expanded Arts And Culture Nassau, formerly the Fernandina Beach Arts Council, will hold a Social Media Community Forum on Saturday, November 5, on the FSCJ campus at the Betty P. Cook Nassau Center, Building A, Nassau Room, 76346 William Burgess Road in Yulee, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.

The event, which will be free and open to the public, will feature a presentation on using social media to promote the arts by Deanna Gartenbush, Media Consultant.

Gartenbush is a Public Relations professional and an alumnus from the University of Florida. Her area of expertise includes Non-Profit Organizations with medical and hospital backgrounds. She specializes in creating Social Media Marketing for her clients, who are primarily involved with Grassroots, Community Outreach and Brand Marketing campaigns.

The forum’s agenda will focus on ways that local arts organizations can effectively and efficiently use social media outlets to showcase their programs.

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Facebook’s Search for Relevancy May Embarrass You

Beware how Facebook spreads your interests across the internet.

Facebook may be the 800 million pound gorilla in cyberspace, but the Social giant’s share of the search engine market is almost non-existent. As a matter of fact, it’s not even worth measuring compared to search leaders Google and Bing. This means that Facebook is leaving a lot of gold nuggets on the table, considering that Social Search is the future of all marketing and communication. Growing a College Kid’s dream into a serious company, Zuckerberg and his advisors must have been a bit frustrated with this shortcoming, having 800 million users, yet are a non-entity in the search market? The reason: private data.

Since day one, Facebook has had a lot of data, but it has been mostly private. You could only see a person’s wall posts, for example, if you were friends with them. The limitations of private data made Facebook a weak search engine and subsequently resulted in very little usage.
Last week Facebook made a string of announcements that makes it clear Facebook is making it a priority to solve this problem. Facebook has made changes to users’ profiles to empower users with different sharing options. Now, on a message by message basis, users can select if they want an update to be shared with only one person, all of their friends, or the entire PUBLIC. That last option is huge. It makes the available pool of data and results available for Facebook search much greater.  For Facebook, to stand any chance in the battle for search engine usage, it has to encourage more users to share public data. And that’s what Zuckerberg tried to get across during his “show” in San Francisco, by implying that personal data should be available, after all we have nothing to hide. Or do we?

More ‘Likes’ Are Critical to Leveraging Facebook for SEO

One of the best default functions of Facebook is that data for business pages is public and open to everyone by default. However, there is more to leveraging Facebook for SEO beyond simply creating a Facebook Business Page.
Social search is really about more personalized search engine results. By analyzing information that your friends, followers, and connections have looked at online, search engines can not only provide better recommendations for a keyword you entered, but it can also tell you that a certain connection found this content valuable.
Because search in the future will be personalized and results will be based on social recommendations, it is important to start building reach today. Sure, all businesses want more people to like their Facebook page. These Likes are worth far more than vanity in a popularity contest between you and your competitors. Likes are also your pathway to getting more people to see and recommend your content. More importantly, in the world of social search, Likes are the new inbound links and will help search engines recommend your content to more people attracting new visitors and leads to your website.

Social Search Is Only Getting Started

Social search is young. It can’t even crawl yet. A lot is going to change as Google, Bing, Microsoft, Twitter, and companies that we haven’t even heard of yet battle in the years to come. One thing that won’t change is that search is only going to continue to get more personal. Social media will be the major source of data that drives search personalization.

Learn how your Facebook use can embarrass you.

In general I would say I don’t hide much of who I am and what I stand for, quite in contrast to my younger years. With the arrival of the internet in the rearview mirror almost 2 decades ago, I realized that privacy was a thing of the past and it would be better to dust off the skeletons in the closet and open the door ajar. There is a parallel between a fugitive hiding in a big city and people burying their privacy in an onslaught of information. The shear quantity of information available is a natural protection barrier until you stick your head out of the cornfield. And the new Facebook has a feature that may just do that for you unwittingly. Yesterday Pete Cashmore gave a clear warning on Mashable you will want to familiarize yourself with.

If you don’t have the time to read his entire essay, here is in a nutshell what you’re facing. Going through Yahoo News this morning I clicked on a picture of Demi Moore, being in the news now that her husband Ashton Kutcher has taken over Charlie Sheen’s role in the CBS hit series “Two and a Half Men”.  Rumors of a split between the two are imminent, kind of like Will Smith and Jada with a reference. Three clicks later I’m looking at pictures of Demi Moore in bikini on a Jacksonville beach while filming the 1997 blockbuster G.I. Jane.

Here is the clincher, if I would have left my Facebook “add to timeline app” on, my Facebook friends and the rest of the world would know what I was reading and looking at this morning. In my case quite innocent, because I never knew that G.I. Jane was filmed in Jacksonville (my keyword), but you and the world out there may have thought I was just another “dirty old man.”

Panhandle Tourism used Social Media to Counteract Bad Press

Sunrise over Amelia Island Beach

Sunrise over Amelia Island Beach

Panhandle residents and business owners fought the bad press sensationalism in the news coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak last year with posting factual information and pictures on social media daily and with help of internet technology.

And as a result, the after Labor Day assessment of this year’ summer season in Northwest Florida’s Gulfcoast is positive.
Last year after the massive oil leak disaster, the tourist-dependent and usually highly-popular beaches in Florida’s Panhandle were virtually deserted. If anyone wanted a hotel or condo unit, big discounts were available. There was no waiting in restaurants because diners were scarce. We received a lot of visitors here on Northeast Florida’s First Coast as a result of the unfair and sensational media coverage the Panhandle received, according to many locals.
But this year all that has changed.

• Business is up almost one-third at Oaseas Resorts in Panama City Beach. “We’re feeling a whole lot better this year than last year,” Marty McDaniel, CEO, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

• Because demand has returned, prices have also returned to pre-oil spill days. Some hotel owners say rates are up 15 to 20 percent this year compared to 2010 and about equal to what they were in 2009.

• Miniature golf courses, go-cart tracks and other popular attractions are also jammed.

• Some restaurants are quoting an hour and 45 minute wait for a table.

The memory of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill that fouled Gulf of Mexico waters and coughed up tarballs onto adjacent beaches is still vivid along the Panhandle. A double blow to the economy came with the lingering impact of the recession.
But mostly there was the bad publicity: tarballs on the beaches?
Even the area’s major cities such as Panama City and Destin, though little impacted by the oil spill, still saw drastic drops in tourist numbers.

BP gave the Marketing Money

BP, in an effort to mitigate damages, gave Florida and the other Gulf states millions of dollars in marketing money. In Panama City, tourist stakeholders posted daily video of its beaches and posted updated photos on digital billboards and social media in cities throughout the southeast. It turned out to be a lesson to others with similar impacts.

“We’ve never tried to hide the impacts from the oil spill because, by telling visitors and potential visitors what was going on, we felt that was important to reassure them. If they came to Panama City beach, they would understand what their vacation experience would be,” said Dan Rowe, the head of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.
 “The weather was still good and the beaches were open, but people stayed away.”

It’s an experience that left many in Panama City bitter with the national news media. Many residents feel the news coverage was unfair and far too sensational. One of the biggest challenges, business leaders reported, has been overcoming a perception that local beaches were coated in oil last year.
Local hoteliers and tourist officials used Facebook and other social media to effectively get the word out to tourists that many beaches were entirely free of oil and tarballs.

As for other impacted areas: in Alabama, one million fewer visitors hit the beaches last year than before the spill. In Mississippi, fewer visitors meant gaming revenue at the state’s 30 casinos fell by $130 million.
But in all these areas, tourism officials now say, visitors appear to be coming back, mainly because media coverage has moved to other hotspots in the world and the Nation and the Power of the Internet and Social Media.

It will be interesting to get a glimpse of the numbers for 2011 versus 2010 here on Amelia Island, and possibly extrapolate the numbers that will tell the story of how many visitors came to our island as a result of the Gulf Oil Leak disaster.

The Museum of Me Experience

Find yourself in the Museum

In recent weeks I have been working on developing, redesigning and updating a substantial number of websites. Many of our clients understand the power of a good internet presence, would love to learn more about social media strategies and how to manage their time inside of the essentials…and some just want to have a business card or flyer on the world wide web, where they can send potential business interests to for reference.

Although I prefer not to stand on a soapbox to stress the importance of staying up with the progress of technology and the vigilance needed to protect your privacy, it is very clear that most people don’t know about nor understand the current advancements of technology.

Many have embraced Facebook as their virtual friendship base online, not knowing that behind the “monster”, a universe of other social media are entering the scene. Just when most people are slowly starting to adopt Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as the triumvirate of social regimen, others niche sites such as Posterous, Tumblr, Foursquare, Qik etc. are crawling out of the bushes.

To give you a quick overview on relevancy of social media sites ( I admit that there is some subjectivity involved in this) here is what’s showing on today’s Social Media Monitors:

What Happened to…?

Bebo: Launched in January 2005, Bebo was particularly popular outside of America and appealed to a younger audience. The social network hoped to distinguish itself from rival social networks through its development of original content. AOL acquired Bebo in March 2008 for $850 million, but sold it for less than $10 million just two years later. Since their purchase, Criterion Capital Partners has revamped and re-launched Bebo with new features.

Flickr: The popular photo and video sharing site launched out of Vancouver in 2004. Acquired by Yahoo! just one year later, Flickr grew into an online home for more than 51 million users and 5 billion images. But as Facebook and mobile photo services like Twitpic and Yfrog add options to the photo-sharing market, Flickr has seen a decline in their audience over the past two years. The site is far from dead, however, as accounts like The Official White House Photostream continue to drive traffic to Flickr.
In some ways, it’s returned to the purest version of itself – that is, a hub for photography enthusiasts. It never became the corporate marketing “outpost” some originally imagined.

StumbleUpon: The StumbleUpon toolbar is an in-browser “engine” that helps users discover new Websites and rate them based on their preferences. The service was founded in 2001 and grew to more than 2 million users before being sold to eBay in 2007. The founders have since reacquired the company and increased the service’s user base to nearly 13 million.
StumbleUpon has surged ahead of Facebook to account for 43% of all social media site referral traffic. The community remains prominent in the field of social bookmarking (along with sites like Reddit and Digg).

Digg: Digg is the original social news Website. It allows users to submit and “vote up” stories that interest them. A darling of the early Web 2.0 community, Digg repeatedly decided against selling, preferring to remain independent. Though it raised additional funding and released numerous new features, Digg has hemorrhaged users and talent, including founder and Silicon Valley superstar Kevin Rose, who left in March 2011. As services like Twitter help users consume news more efficiently, this downward trend is likely to continue.

Delicious: Delicious, a social bookmarking Website, was founded in 2003 and acquired by Yahoo! just two years later. Its easy interface and cloud-based approach to bookmarking made it one of the most popular online services of its time. After considerable drama surrounding its fate, Delicious was recently purchased and will become part of AVOS, an Internet venture started by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. It’s unclear what will become of Delicious, though it has a sizable community pulling for it.

The Future is licking its chops

While all the social sites mentioned above have merits, most of them will perish or conform in the near future to the growing transparency in user appreciation.
Facebook is obviously big enough these days to stay on the forefront for quite a while longer. One fascinating application of all the information gathered in your personal Facebook account can be experienced on an Intel powered website called Museum of Me. Try it, you’ll be amazed (or disgusted) about the power of exposure. I tested it on myself and was quite pleased and intrigued. When you open the website, be sure to be logged into your Facebook account or else you will be prompted. After that the magic unfolds.

Video is growing by leaps and bounds, especially Live Video
Ustream, Livestream, Justin.tv, Qik, Vimeo and the slow rollout of youTube Live all point  towards the future of video on the internet. Some people may think it’s invasive, but I can see Jeannie at Lashem-n-Leavem or Vickie at Tangles Hair Salon, setting up a live camera on Justin.tv and show a customer’s circle of friends exactly what is going on. Honestly I have seen more boring shows on TV then watching my wife getting her hair done.

Then there are business enterprise social communication tools like Yammer and Chatter which apparently greatly increases corporate productivity, considering that more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies were using Yammer by the end of 2010.

Other high rolling social media sites are Social Question and Answer portals such as Quora and Focus. People have questions, and Quora and Focus are two of the top sites for both individuals and businesses to get answers. LinkedIn Answers and Facebook Questions are also part of this booming sector.

Obviously social gaming is huge…but since I do not engage in that sector, I can only give you the names of some of the top players such as the new Empire Avenue: a stock market simulation social game network. If that sounds like a mouthful, here’s a simpler explanation: It’s an online community where members buy (using faux currency, called “Eaves”) and sell virtual stock in real people and companies. The game makes use of all of the tried-and-true forms of social currency – badges, status tiers, shout-outs – to create a “sticky” community. It has been described as “FarmVille for professionals.”
Speaking of Zynga’s Farmville: it is said that one of the reasons Google+ was a brainchild partially based on the fact that many Facebook users consider game invites annoying (I am one of them; don’t invite me to games…please). Whether that differentiator is sufficient for Google+ to lure people away from the familiar blue halls of Facebook is, of course, anyone’s guess. Google however seems serious this time.

And the latest group of Social Media that are making it big are the deal-of-the-day Websites like Groupon and Living Social which feature discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. Groupon is the market leader in this popular economy driven sector, whereas LivingSocial offers more deals focused on travel and hospitality. Also LivingSocial’s daily deal “experiences” can be shared with friends for additional benefits.

Tomorrow I’ll highlight why blogposts (outposts) and content websites are continuing to grow exponentially and how you can organize yourself inside of the massive amount of information through a directional RSS Feed.

Two Really Quick Facebook Tips

Two Really Quick Facebook TipsFacebook Tip #1: If your business has a Fan Page and you want people to “Like” it, it is a good idea to “Like” the pages of your friends, customers, family and sponsors. Remember, people like to do business with people they like… pun intended!

Now, here’s another quick tip for Facebook users:

Recently Facebook made some changes and suddenly I was no longer receiving updates from friends and pages that I like. Even though you are allowed to have something like 5,000 friends, Facebook likely did this to save a bit of space.

Someone posted a comment about the changes, (and I apologize, but I can’t for the life of me remember who it was) so I went snooping around in my account and sure enough, I had to change a setting on my account to see all of the posts from my friends and pages.

Here is the easy fix so you too, can once again read the status and comments of all of your Facebook buddies:

    -Click on the drop down menu next to “Most Recent” (a little blue arrow pointing downwards).
    -Scroll to the bottom of the menu and click on “Edit Options”.
    -The very first option says, “Show posts from:”
    -Open that menu, then highlight and click on “All of your friends and pages”.
    -Click “Save” at the bottom and you are done!

Do other issues or questions regarding social networking have you puzzled? Drop me an email at Judie@SearchAmelia.com and I will try to help you out! We may even address your concerns in an upcoming article.

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Move Over Facebook Diaspora is the New Kid in Town

Move Over Facebook Diaspora is the New Kid in Town

Diaspora, the New Kid in Town

September 15th is the target date for Diaspora, a new social network, to be open-sourced. What started as a summer project for four NYU students, may become a competitor for Facebook. Only Diaspora knows which of your messages goes to your drinking buddies and which ones go to your co-workers.

Wikipedia describes a diaspora (from the Greek, a scattering [of seeds])is the movement or migration of a group of people away from an established or ancestral homeland, which in this age of technology age that homeland may be Facebook.

Privacy changes on Facebook earlier this year created controversy when some users began to revolt because of the social group’s privacy issues. Enter four college students who decided to create an open source alternative to Facebook instead of interning or taking on temporary jobs for the summer. What started as a goal to raise $10,000 for the project, became a successful fund raiser exceeding $100,00 in donations. It has been reported that even Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, donated to the project.

Occassional blog updates have been published over the summer and the Diaspora team, Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy, recently stated in an announcement, “We have Diaspora working, we like it, and it will be open sourced on September 15th”.

These computer science students are not stopping with the completion of the summer project, “Ilya and Raphael are taking leave from NYU, and we will continue to develop and maintain Diaspora as a long term project.”

Diaspora will be a network of separate computers called “seeds”. Once set up, your seed will aggregate all of your information, your tweets, your facebook profiles etc. Diaspora makes those services easier to use and now you will have better control of your data. According to their website you can, “Upload an image to Flickr and your seed can automatically generate a tweet from the caption and link.”

For a more indepth explanation of Diaspora take a look at their fundraising pitch, it puts their project into an easy-to-read explaination. I am excited to see this new software and will follow up with a review once I’ve had the oportunity to give it a test drive.

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Digital Detox is the Wrong Prescription

This happens when Idiots get a hold of Statistics

Twitter and Facebook are not my thing as a means to have people get a grip on my personal life. However engaging people in social media to create value for others and myself is very much my thing. It’s a passion that creates ever widening and rising platforms of ideas and commitments.

A couple of days ago I read this article in the Financial Times from a contributing writer who found himself “cured” from Twitter and Facebook. The title of the article I think was Digital Detox. The writer in the article stated that he would reach the end of a 10-hour day and felt he had achieved almost nothing except for chasing his tail around the internet. Classic case of a unorganized mind I thought. I hoped he did not aimlessly spend too many hours of his time searching on porn sites, the poor soul. He obviously went into the whole internet machinery without a clear plan. But rather than accepting that his approach was flawed, he borrowed a lame excuse from a piece of pseudo scientific research that was recently published by Lila Davachi, a New York University neuroscientist.

Ms. Davachi studied ‘no less’ than 16 men and women, aged 22 to 34, by scanning their brains while they looked at three different pictures: an object, a face and a mountain scene. After viewing the photos, and while their brains were still being scanned, the participants were asked to lie still, rest and let their minds wander. When they were shown the pictures again, they were better able to remember them than they were before they took a rest – the daydreaming had improved their recall. Duh?? Based on this piece of kindergarten science her conclusion was that if you are not giving yourself a break, you are hindering your brain’s ability to consolidate memories and experiences. Bravo. What a discovery!

The writer of the FT article could now blame his failure on the Internet and Social Media as “his gluttony for digital media came at a price: a severe impact on cognitive function, in particular memory”.

Are you overwhelmed by Facebook and Twitter?

Even though the title peaked my interest for a moment, because sometimes I too feel overwhelmed by the amount of time and effort it takes to stay up to date in Cyberspace, my next thought about him was “loser”. You copped out. You followed the popular “in your face” trend without realizing that there is a message behind the madness. You didn’t quite get the expanse of what was given to you with respect to creating value. And so instead of following the calling, you declared defeat and went back glorifying the “good old days”, which upon closer examination never turn out to be quite as good as we thought.
The reason why I bring this up is because here in our daily functioning on Amelia Island and in Nassau County we often invite people to free workshops about social media and networking. We often hear that people complain of not having the time to engage themselves in what really is going to define their business in the very near future. And that is dangerous for their business success.

Success comes with value creation

Success requires knowledge, discipline, preparation, perseverance and preferably a long term vision. And…success only comes as the result of value creation. Whatever you create needs to represent a value to someone in order to be successful. We cannot make you do your share of social engagement. We can only warn you that if you don’t get engaged, you will lose. We can also teach you how to do the bare minimum to get away with AND we can teach you how to outsource social engagement in a believable and affordable manner. But if none of that convinces you to get active, your current competitor will beat you to the customer or a not even formatted future competitor will recognize your weakness and take over your business.

The phenomenon of social media is just now being scratched on the surface, but let me ask you a question: Do you think the medieval Crusades would have happened if there would have been telephone and TV at the time? Do you think South African Apartheid and Mandela in prison would have lasted as long as it did, if the internet would have been around? Do you think Dubai would have the tallest building on earth and Disney World would have 30 million visitors a year? Do you think the Oil Spill coverage and movement would have been as forceful as it is? And the whopper you may or may not like: Do you think Obama would have become President of the United States without social media engagement?

What social media are doing is creating new dimensions of engagement, politically and commercially. I think the power of social media will also give a new dimension to the value of team work, local, national and global as we can now:

• Build a network of experts, from around the world if so needed, and make it available for hire or for free, depending on the cause.

• Build a network of researchers and generate tested information useful to others.

• Build a network of market leaders and/or communities and represent them to advertisers, marketers and markets or recruiters.

We recently suggested a number of Consignment Shops on Amelia Island to join forces in a Campaign called Consign Amelia. If done right and open for creativity, the network creates an impact that is more than the sum of the individuals. Bars, restaurants, shops, attractions, they can all do the same and build a network with special features.

As Search Amelia we are directly or indirectly involved in initiatives, charities and services such as Micah’s Place, Joy to the Children, Warrior Vacations, European American Business Cub, Muscular Dystrophy, the Family Nurturing Center of Florida, The Amelia Island Blues Festival, the PEG Channel and some that I’m undoubtedly forgetting. All these organizations and charities are looking for funding to generate awareness and opportunity and increasingly we witness their fundraisers to be disappointing because their are only so many people and so much funding. But as a network of charities and service clubs with an internet social media power there is another dimension added.

I have been told that there are some 370 real estate professionals here in Nassau County all selling the same supply to almost the same demand. A well defined network of these professionals can use social media to expand the demand into new areas, territories and social groups, generating sales in combination with exposure.

Getting people and organizations in sync is the main project of our times

We spent half a day, mostly seven days a week in the bastions of cyberspace where people from every corner of the globe contribute, test and exchange ideas, create partnerships and business  solutions.
We often say, don’t waste your time re-inventing the wheel, just figure out what else you can use it for.
Our advice is to use a Critical Production Mode as your daily guide to accomplish creativity and business objectives without getting lost in Cyberspace. If you have a plan, you have time to do what needs to be done, successfully. But saying No to social media will put an end to your business. Guaranteed. Digital Detoxification is absolutely the wrong prescription at this stage of the game.

Workshop

On Monday June 28 we are organizing a Social Media Workshop for anyone who wants to learn and participate in tomorrow’s success. We will publish place and time later this week, but suggest you keep that evening open in your agenda. It is going to be worth it.

Is social media a Fad, part 2 [VIDEO]

Is social media a Fad?

Without social Media your business may have a tough time

Social Media is gearing up to new standards. The amount of helper programs that came to market is sheer staggering in the last 4 months and is in an ever growing upward spiral.

Twitter Business center in testing

Twitter Business center in testing - click to enlarge

Twitter started experimenting with Twitter business Center and large scale roll-out is expected within the next 30 days. Signing-up to services can now be done on a large scale via your Twitter or Facebook accounts. Digg is to follow soon. Ning and Google buzz are closing in on providing the same functionality.

Hootsuite just released a new version allowing wordpress bloggers to update their website from their mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and an Andriod version is under way on the fly at any location in the world with all bells and whistles from photo-uploads, to tweet control and facebook push notification to insta video publishing.

Reddit is revamping, Digg is revamping, stumble-upon is revamping and the list seems to grow by the day. Facebook, if it where a country would have the 3rd largest population after China and India with over 500 million users.

Foursquare (a people finder and city explorer via GPS) just surpassed 40 million subscribers (or log-ins) and the Rumor mill is in overdrive in that Facebook is keen to adding a missing link to their service which is exactly Foursquare’s offering of geo-location adoption, something Facebook sorely misses in the “friends” section.

Even IBM got into the game. The corporate behemoth of the 20th century opened their eyes seeing that the Social Media cake was being sliced and diced without any “IBM taste” and entered the arena with a Social Media Analytics tool called Modeler Pro .

LinkedIn launched a slew spanking brand new features allowing small businesses to take maximum advantage of the LinkedIn services: “Crowdsource” solutions is one of the more amazing ways of finding resources and talent that can help you building the tools you need. The key to success is called outsourcing while sharing recommendations of project descriptions via trusted resources on LinkedIn. Peer talent is than suggesting solutions and outsourcing recommendations. The new service seems to have become quite popular in the last couple of weeks.

And the list goes on and if you don’t believe that Social Media will keep in you in business,  check the following updated video (version 2010):

Got an Idea on how to instantly create 100,000 jobs

From Twtter Terror to Twitter God

From Twtter Terror to Twitter God

Based on the “Tools of Terror” to “a weapon that also needs to be used by the revolution” turn of events in Hugo Chavez’s opinion about Twitter and the subsequent hiring of 200 twitter staffers outputting 50,000 messages so far got me to think on how we can create instantaneous 100,000 or so jobs.

We got 545 capitol reps and if each of them would take twitter as serious as Hugo Chavez, the country would be a heck of a lot better of.

  • One, we would get all the gossip straight from DC delivered in micro messages.
  • Two, the politicians would be able to hide their incompetence behind misinterpretations by the twitter staff.
  • Three, Washington would become an “Open Book” using understandable language.
  • Four, it would create an immediate platform of voter approval or disapproval.

and all of this would then create another million of so jobs at all the media outlets to keep up with the “wielding” through the gossip from DC.

Now isn’t that a plan? Seems to work for Chavez. Wait until he gets onto Facebook. He’ll have to hire about 500 people…

Head Blogger for Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

When I opened my electronic mail this morning I was greeted with this notice from one of the major job hunting websites:

Job Description: ATTENTION: Public Relations Rock Stars, Bloggers & Social Media Moguls! – Work for Alicia Keys!”

“What?” I asked aloud! “Work for Alicia Keys?” I continued to read.

“Yes, THE Alicia Keys! This is an Opportunity of a Lifetime!”

No kidding! How fascinating this opportunity could be for someone! I read the ad further and followed along to her websites and realized this is a woman who understands that social media has taken a firm grasp of day to day life. Here is the rest of that help wanted post:

“Alicia Keys’s voice has reached millions, but she needs your help to blast it into the blogosphere! If you have what it takes, you could be the Head Blogger for the new site www.IAAS.com. The goal of IAAS.com (I Am A Superwoman) is to create an online community connecting, inspiring, and broadcasting important topics related to women. You will be the main voice of the website aiming to motivate and encourage women all over the globe! This is an opportunity to turn your creative writing, blogging, and social media skills into a promising career within the Arts & Entertainment industry.

Her Grammy Award-winning resume speaks for itself. Does yours? We’re looking for a head blogger and social media expert with the following skills:

Experience creating, writing, and editing a blog, website, and/or print publication

A poised, passionate, and unique voice able to creatively express yourself

A background in Public Relations, Marketing / Web Marketing, Media Relations, Communications, Journalism, Writing, Digital Media, Internet Canvassing, and/or Social Media

Experience using web development tools and software such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft on Demand, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, WordPress, LiveJournal, and Digital Media Platforms

Actively lead, manage, and influence peers in developing creative media content

A thirst for Arts & Entertainment, pop culture, current events, politics, and networking

A demonstrated ability to motivate and encourage women through the discussion of women’s issues.

Do You Have What it Takes?

To be considered, you must meet all of the following criteria:

2-3 years of related work experience

A Bachelors Degree or equivalent experience

Must be authorized to work in the United States. Unable to sponsor or transfer H1 visas at this time

Must be available for frequent domestic and international travel. Must have valid passport, and must complete any additional paperwork necessary for government travel clearances.

Final candidates will be interviewed in New York City as part of a news segment on a national TV network morning show on or about May 17-20, 2010, and in London, UK at the Black Ball on or about May 27, 2010. Candidates must be able to travel to and participate in the interviews.

Submit to a thorough background and reference check

This is a permanent, full-time position. Career contractors will not be considered.

Must be willing and able to report to work in New York City, NY. Relocation costs not covered by employer.
Restrictions against blogging for other sources may apply (to be determined at employer’s discretion).

Make it Happen – Apply Now!

Our search begins on April 6, 2010. Here’s what you MUST do to be considered and how the selection process will work:

Upload or create your resume on Monster.com including a cover letter. Candidates will also be asked for links to their social media space and/or current blogs as demonstration(s) of their writing and marketing abilities. Candidates’ existing blogs and/or social media space will be evaluated according to a.) the uniqueness of written voice, b.) creativity of the site design & subject matter, and c.) how well subject matter directly addresses IAAS’s ideology.

Make sure that your resume is searchable (i.e., Public) on Monster.com so that we can search for and view your resume (note: Confidential or Private resumes will not be considered)

The selection process will go through three phases:

All eligible candidates will be evaluated by Monster’s 6Sense search technology.

If you are selected for the first round of interviews, you will be notified on or about May 6, 2010. Final candidates’ interview performances and written works will be evaluated by a panel of social media experts, and Alicia Key’s Advisory Board. (Other details and directions on subsequent interviewing rounds will follow for the identified final candidates.)

Three final candidates will be flown to the UK Black Ball in London where they interview with Alicia Keys on or about May 27, 2010.

The Head Blogger for Alicia Keys’s www.IAAS.com will be announced on National television the week of June 21st.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Work for a global entertainment icon with the ability to reach and inspire millions. Post your resume on Monster.com today!”

Good luck!

Are You Using the Right Social Media for your Business?

Social Media and the Risk of Wasting Your Time

Social Media and the Risk of Wasting Your Time

The best explanation I have heard so far about Social Media classification is the following: Twitter is a cocktail party, Facebook is a Reunion and LinkedIn is a professional conference. In understandable language we can picture the base value of these tools for our business. Once you become more familiar with these three frontrunners, which can easily be expanded to a long list of less popular but often more niche market oriented tools, you will learn diverse ways to target markets on Facebook more cost effectively than Google Adwords and Pay per Click. You will also find more accurate conversion opportunities on LinkedIn and Twitter without spending 4 hours or more daily on social sites.

Search Amelia’s Free Monday Night Lectures

During our first two free social media seminars in recent weeks we often heard the remark of not having time to do all this social work on a daily basis. Yet many people have been told and expect to make tons of money by using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as marketing tools.
Yet at the current level, the vast majority of people are NOT making money with social media and are just wasting their time and that leaves the question:

What are they doing wrong?

To get you on the path of profitable social media use, I have identified the most important pitfalls that lead to wasting time with social media. Here are they with some qualified solutions:

Business Model
Contrary to popular belief a social media in itself, is not a business model. Building a following is great, but until you figure out how to make money with that following, you are spinning your wheels.

Here is what you need to do:
•    Identify the exact product or service you want to sell through social media and focus on that exclusively
•    Exactly pinpoint and profile your perfect customer
•    Develop a system that combines closing sales on the phone, on the Web, or face to face

Social Media Strategy
You do need a strategy that spells out actions and timelines for using social media to achieve specific business goals. Without it, you will get lost in irrelevance to your bottomline

Here is what you need to do:
•    First identify your top three goals with social media (lead generation, find partners and affiliates, solidify existing relationships).
•    Set hard time frames for achieving these goals.

Selecting the Right Tools
It’s easy to make the mistake of using the wrong tool. Some businesses work better on LinkedIn, some are better on Facebook and some are better on Twitter. Remember what I said in the opening: Twitter is a cocktail party, Facebook is a Reunion and LinkedIn is a professional conference. There are different levels of trust here.

Here is what you need to do:
•    Spend a couple of hours on all of the major social media websites. Type in keywords that pertain to your business and see what happens
•    Contact a number of your customers or prospects and ask them which one of these websites they visit most frequently.

Social Network Etiquette
There is a difference between a second hand car salesman and a previously owned car sales consultant. Be pushy and the social media will discard of you faster than you can say: I didn’t mean it. If you are making too many posts, sending too many messages, and ignoring standard social networking etiquette, you will be avoided as the plague. Learn the rules and how to follow them.

Here is what you need to do:
•    Be decent, be honest, be relevant, be nice. Learn the rules of the particular site you are on. Know that Facebook can ban you for posting unauthorized commercial communications.
•    Learn about the limitations of the site you are on. Twitter limits the number of direct messages you can send to 250 a day. In my personal opinion that would constitute 4-5 hours on Twitter alone, never mind the idea of producing something helpful and intelligent.

The Big Burn Out
It’s called social media fatigue and it happens when you are spending way too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn — often not all of it business-related. You will burn out a. from sheer exhaustion or b. from lack of results. A social media hoarder quickly becomes fanatic.

Here is what you need to do:
•    Put a time limit on your daily social media activities. 20 to 30 minutes should be enough to produce the results you’re looking for. If you need more time, assign someone else. Your assistant, secretary, sales man, wife, child. No matter. Delegate and supervise the consistency of the message.
•    Dedicate all of that time to activities that could generate business for you.

Measure Your Results
The internet is all about being able to measure results. I always say that the internet allows you to fail fast, so you can get up fast and restart something different fast. If you elect to forgo that huge advantage, you may as well go back to the 20th century
If you don’t measure against your objectives, you don’t know what’s working and what time you’re wasting.

Here is what you need to do:
•    Set very specific measurable goals. For example, you might want to get 10 new prospects a week and turn four of them into a new customer. Or if you’re working on your website’s hit counter or ranking, work on increasing visitor time spent on the site, conversion, discount or anything that can be measured as a success.
•    Start measuring your results daily — and keep refining your strategy until you get it right.

One of the best known examples of someone who profited from social media is Gary Vaynerchuk, the super star of Wine Library TV. Gary effectively leveraged the power of social media to explode the sales and profits of his family’s almost defunct wine business 5 years ago. 850,000 Twitter followers later the business skyrocketed from $4 million a year to $60 million year.  In the process he and his brother formed a social media consultancy company and are now advising dozens of corporate entities on successful social media strategies.
His approach is simple but steady, spend 50% of your daily allotted internet time on content and 50% on promoting the content.
You can do that too. If you’re interested in learning how, than you’ll be happy to know that SearchAmelia is organizing its 3rd Free Social Media Lecture for Monday, March 1 from 6-8pm at Fernandeli’s on 8th Street in town.

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