Tag: facebook (page 1 of 2)

Twitter Spam

Image from BusinessGrow.com

I was followed by a gardening site right after I tweeted about my own garden recently.


Maybe not.

The reason I am quick to say that it may not be spam is because they simply followed me.  Didn’t send me a direct message promoting their site, or pushing me to their Facebook account.  They just subtly let me know that they’re out there.  No in-my-face marketing.  And you know what, when I need help, I’ll likely refer back to their site.

Drive-by spammer?

I saw this acted out in real life while driving through my neighborhood.

I saw a professional landscaper stop and help a couple that was trying to get their tiller started.  Apparently they were having a tough time, and this guy knew what he was doing.  He was being generous.  Not to get business.  Not so he could drop off his business card, and subtly drop hints that he was the best landscaper in town.  But just because he had a bit of expertise and a few minutes to help this older couple figure their tiller out.

Social media is the same way.  You’ve got an expertise.  Maybe you’re a landscaper.  Maybe you’re a mom.  Maybe you’re a theologian or a comedian or a runner.  You’ve got some expertise in something.

That’s your angle.

Use that as your platform.  Give away your knowledge, stories, insights, failures, and successes.  Because somebody else wants to know what you know.  Your words will be priceless to them.

And in their time of need, you know where they’ll turn first?


And when they turn to Google, they’ll find you. You’ll be that guy that drove by at exactly the right time.

So tweet, blog, facebook, and share with the world your expertise.

We need you.

When you begin to see social media (and life as a whole) as a way to be generous with your gifts, passions, and expertise, we all benefit.  You included.



Why I un-linked Twitter and Facebook

I’ve been on Twitter now for nearly 3 years.  On day 2, I linked them.

So what I said on Twitter, I also said on Facebook.  Why would I not do that…it’s a no-brainer, right?

Killing two birds with one stone.  With one text message, blasting the exact same message on Twitter and Facebook…it seemed that this was a great idea!

But over time, I’ve realized that it wasn’t.  It actually could have damaged my brand if I’d kept them connected much longer.

“Oh…who cares about my ‘brand’?” you ask.

“Everybody that follows you on Twitter and Facebook do.”  If they don’t care about your brand (who you are as a person/organization as represented online), they’ll quit following you.  It’s as simple as that.

Here’s why I un-linked Twitter and Facebook

  • People on Facebook get angry. Especially when you post all of the time.  They’ll block you…then start dropping passive/aggressive things like this in a conversation they have with you in person, “Can you believe how often some people post to Facebook?!?”  My response: “Yeah…it’s hard to believe…”  And inside I’m thinking, “If you only knew how much I decided not to post…”
  • People on Twitter (largely) don’t mind how often you post. There’s an over-the-top level where you can wear people out, but I don’t think I’ve reached that level yet.
  • People on Facebook don’t understand Twitter lingo. The whole RT, @replies, and #hashtags don’t translate well into Facebook.
  • Facebook became more personal. For me, it seemed to be more about sharing pictures, stuff that’s happening in my family, and things going on locally here in Clarksville.  I’ve seen more and more trivial things posted on Facebook.  That’s not a slam…just an observation.
  • Twitter became more business/sharing-focused. For me, I began seeing Twitter as a way to share thoughts, ideas, resources, and other sites and articles.

At the end of the day, Twitter is more about sharing and giving.  Facebook is more about connecting people to my personal life.  And, from time to time, those mesh.  But most of the time, I’ll keep my thoughts separate.

What about you…have you connected Twitter and Facebook?

Or decided to un-connect them?


How to use Social Media to drive Blog Traffic

Ever wondered how you can use Facebook or Twitter to drive traffic back to your blog or website?

If this is the question you’re asking, then I hate to burst your bubble, but you’re asking the wrong question.  You’re starting off on the wrong foot with your approach to social media.  Because social media is about giving, not getting.  And when you approach an outpost (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as a means to an end, social media folks can sniff you out a mile away.  And they’ll quit following you.

But I do think that, utilized well, social media outposts can help drive traffic to your blog.  And providing potential readers/customers (depending on the goal of your site) with information on how to better reach your site can be a great form of customer service.  But how do you use them to effectively drive traffic to your site?

What you should do

  1. Remember: social media is about giving, not getting. Be generous with ideas, quotes, stories, and praise of others.  If you’re using outposts as a means to simply drive traffic flow to your blog or website, your voice becomes a noise that people will tune out.
  2. Post about other things. It’s okay to alert people that you have a new post…but make sure you don’t do that twice (or more) before you update with something other-than your own site.  Don’t be a social media robot, only telling people about your awesome site.  Let us know you’re a real person.
  3. Alert potential readers whether this is a new post or a re-post. Most people don’t mind clicking on a re-post, especially if they haven’t read it already.  But it’s common courtesy to let people know that this post isn’t hot off the press.
  4. Follow-up: if it’s more than 1 day old, it’s not a new post. Social media is rapidly changing and growing.  And if something is more than a day old, it’s hardly considered new.
  5. Use a leading question or statement. Make it a bit provocative.  If all you say is, “New post! Check it out! http://…” then I’m less inclined to click through.  Give me a reason to click the link.
  6. Use a link shortener. It allows you to add in that leading, provocative question, because you’ll have more characters to use.
  7. Read and respond to your followers. Everywhere you post updates, comments, thoughts, and replies, you’re branding yourself.  Because everywhere you do this, you have to login.  And when you leave quality responses, it encourages others to read your posts.
  8. Share.  Share.  Share. Have I mentioned that social media is more about giving than getting?  Your generosity and encouragement encourages the same in others.

What you should not do

  1. Don’t just talk about your site. If all of your updates are links back to your site, it feels like you’re not entering the conversation, but that all you care about is padding your own site’s stats.  It smacks of self-centeredness.  And, like I said above, nobody likes a social media robot.
  2. Don’t post an outpost update more than twice, linking back to the same blog post. It may sound confusing, I know.  But all I mean is that if you post the same link on Facebook or Twitter more than twice, you’re going to drive traffic away from your site.  At least in the long-run.  I think it’s fine to post twice, but if you do it more, you seem to be reaching.
  3. Don’t be a sneaky ninja. Posting two completely different thoughts on Twitter that each link back to the same blog post, causing me to click through twice…not cool, my friend.  Nobody likes being duped.

Have you found that social media outposts drive traffic to your site?

Have you found yourself frustrated by those who publicize their site too much?


Why bloggers love blogging

I love blogging.

In fact, to date, I’ve written 347 blog posts.

Given that there are over 133 million blogs, and that 1 in 5 update their blog daily, it’s apparent that many, many people throughout the world like blogging as well.  I’m guessing you’re one of them.

And I think I just might have an idea why.

10 Reasons Why Bloggers love Blogging

1. The immediacy of the feedback. Within 30 minutes, you can get Retweeted.  Mentioned.  Get a Facebook “like.”  Facebook comments.  Comments on your blog.  Replies to comments on your blog…all of which immediately tell you whether your post was a success or a flop.

2. The quickness of publishing. Have an idea?  Watch a video?  A quote move you?  Throw it up on the blog…right now.  No need to wait on a publisher to review and edit.  No need to wait on a webmaster to get back in front of their desk to push your post live.  You can publish right now.

3. The freedom. Since it’s your blog, you can publish what you want, when you want, how often you want, with the consistency and length you want.  You can include pictures, videos, and links…or not.  Your choice.

4. The design. What you write can look cool on a page.  That’s motivating.

5. The platform. Many of us don’t have the chance to communicate with mass numbers of people every week.  Yet God has gifted us to do so.  Blogs give us that chance.

6. Work out our thoughts publicly. Instead of sitting in your office and stewing over thoughts and ideas on your own, blogging gives you a chance to work those thoughts out loud.  And I, for one, find great value in extroverting my ideas.

7. The interaction. Iron sharpens iron.  I think somebody said that.

8. Global reach. Instead of just sharpening your iron in a conversation with one or two friends, blogs give you the chance to sharpen it with hundreds, or even thousands, of people around the world.

9. Sharing. So much of the value of social media is found in sharing ideas, insights, and wisdom with others.  Successful bloggers give away more than they ever get.

10. The challenge. Blogging isn’t easy.  Condensing the content.  Focusing it.  Consistently posting high quality content.  It’s a challenge, but one that bloggers love.

Why do you love blogging?  What did I miss?


Why? Why? Why?

I’m going to start posting more consistently on the topic of social media.  Because I use it.  And so do you.

How do I know?

You’re reading this blog right now.

You also likely use other forms of social media (platforms thriving on interaction around user-generated content), like

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Ping.fm
  • MySpace
  • Wikipedia
  • Yahoo!Answers
  • FourSquare
  • Gowalla
  • LinkedIn
  • Spoke
  • Google Reader
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Flickr
  • StumbleUpon
  • Posterous
  • PostRank

I wish I had all of the answers, but I often find myself with more and more questions when it comes to success in social media:

  • Why do some blog posts take off, and get thousands of hits?
  • Why do others, some of my favorites, fall flat on their face?
  • Why do the seemingly meaningless status updates get the most comments?
  • Why do the posts I take the most time crafting sometimes get no traction, and the ones I put together on a whim go viral?
  • Why do I sometimes get loads of comments and no retweets?
  • Why do I sometimes get loads of retweets and no comments?
  • Why do I think it’s cool to check-in using FourSquare…but nobody else seems to think so?
  • Why do some people I know and connect with off-line quit following me on-line?
  • What’s the next social media trend?
  • What’s next for my blog?

It’s questions like these that I wrestle with.  They keep me moving forward, pursuing continued effectiveness online, and with my local ministry here in Clarksville.  If I’m not moving towards an increasing effectiveness, it’s time for me to quit.

What social media questions are you wrestling with?

How do you measure effectiveness on your social media platforms?


A Social Network Christmas

What would it look like if Mary and Joseph had Jesus in the age of Facebook?

(HT: Greg Atkinson)

Merry Christmas!


Scheduling Updates

Ever wonder how some people always seem to be online?  They’re posting updates to Twitter and/or Facebook all throughout the day, even into the night!  I’ve got 2 explanations for that.

1. They’re online all of the time.


2. They’ve learned how to schedule their updates.

If you fall into the first category, then please, please, please…get off of your computer, call a friend, and share a face-to-face conversation.

I am often asked, “How do you have time to always be on Twitter/Facebook?”  My answer: “I don’t.”  Part of my strategy is scheduling my updates to go live throughout the day.  Keep reading to find out which I use, and how to schedule out your updates.

There are many programs out there to schedule your updates (Twuffer, Future Tweets, Tweetdeck, Tweetlater, Social Oomph, Sendible…just to name a few), but the best that I’ve found (by far) is HootSuite.  

Here’s why I like Hootsuite:

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s really easy to use.
  3. You can manage multiple social network accounts (including Facebook, Facebook Page, Twitter, FourSquare, MySpace, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, and WordPress).
  4. It supports Twitter lists.  Which means you can put certain followers into lists, and see their updates first.
  5. URL shortening.  It shortens your links so they’re not 3 lines long.
  6. Scheduling is incredibly simple.
  7. You can use it on your phone (iPhone or Android) and your desktop, and have them sync lists and settings.

How do you schedule updates?

  1. Sign up for an account at Hootsuite.
  2. Add your social networks (if it doesn’t prompt you automatically, simply click the picture of the owl in the top left corner of the screen.  Scroll down to “Setting” and click on “Social Networks.”  At the top of the middle column, click “Add Social Network.” Your social networking options will be on the left side of the new popup box.).  Remember, you can add multiple accounts, and update them all from Hootsuite.
  3. Indicate which social network you’d like to post to by clicking your avatar (right beside the status bar at the top of the screen)
  4. Type your status.
  5. Click the icon below your status that looks like a calendar (it should have the number “30” in the middle of the icon, and when you hover your mouse over it, it should say, “Schedule Message”)
  6. Choose the date and time you’d like to post your update, and click “Okay”.
  7. Click the “Schedule” button, on the bottom right corner of your status update.

Now, you can schedule out your updates so they don’t all happen at one time on one day.  In fact, the way I often update my accounts is this way, sitting down for 5 minutes and typing out (and scheduling) lots of updates at one time.  This saves me the time and hassle of logging back onto Twitter or Facebook (or both) to update my status regularly.  It frees me up, and keeps me from being tied down to my computer and/or phone.

What do you think?  Is this do-able?

Do you feel deceived that I (and others) use scheduling, and don’t post everything live?


Twitter vs Facebook

I have found great benefit in social media.  I’ve written about social networking HERE.  Primarily, I use Twitter (you can follow me HERE) and Facebook (you can follow me HERE) when it comes to sharing short bits of information.  Right now, though I find great benefit in both, I much prefer Twitter to Facebook.  Why?

5 Reasons I prefer Twitter over Facebook:

1. It’s quicker. Facebook takes a lot of time.  When you read a status update, especially one that you like, you feel the need to read all of the comments.  Then you find a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while, and you click on their page.  And find a status update…and the cycle continues.  Facebook can quickly become a never-ending pit of time-wasting.

2. It’s more information-driven. I’m a “learner” (according to Strengths Finder), so I love gathering information.  Twitter is a great tool to share news and ideas quickly and efficiently (especially because it’s limited to 140 characters).

3. There’s no Farmville. Or Mobster.  Or Cafe World.  Or Treasure Isle.  I just can’t get myself excited about that stuff.

4. There’s no poking. I’ve been poked by somebody.  Seriously.  I just looked at my Facebook page.  And I have no idea what that means, why they poked me, or what I should do in return.

5. With Twitter, you can reach well beyond your circle of friends. On Facebook, for us to interact, you have to accept my friend request before I can see anything that you’ve shared.  Facebook seems to me to be designed for you to interact with people that you personally know.  Twitter is built for interaction with a broader audience.

What about you?  Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?


The end of email?

Email in InboxI’m a small groups pastor, and the major way I communicate with small group leaders outside of Sunday morning is via email.  I’d love to be able to have coffee with all of them regularly (because they’re some of my favorite people), but it’s just not possible.  With the fast-paced nature of our society, and our group leaders in particular, combined with my own personally busy schedule, the ability to communicate important information to multiple people at once is essential.

When I communicate via email, much of the information I send out is never read.  In fact, one of the guys on staff (who will remain unnamed) told me that if my email is more than one line long, he won’t read it!  I could get upset about this, take it personally, and require group leaders to read the weekly (though it’s more like bi-weekly) emails.  But you and I both know that that approach would not lead to increased reading and response to this important information.

I’ve tried vastly shortening my emails.  Now, instead of a devotion before the “important” stuff, I start with “Here are the vitals you and your group need to know…”  I give them a list of a few major things, and that’s it.  But still, the emails are not being read.  Why?

Why my emails (and yours) aren’t being read:

1. Their inbox is already full of other important information.  My email is 1 of 1000 that they “have” to read.

2. It takes thought to read emails.  Reading my emails is not always mindless, because they need to read and process the information for their group.

3. My emails are boring.  Since I’ve pared them down to only vital information, they’re pretty boring.  Concise? Yes.  Thrilling? Not even by a long shot.

4. “I’ll read it later.”


So are we seeing the end of email?  Maybe.  Email is boring and lifeless.  It’s often filled with spam, and forwards that we don’t want to read.  We get mass emails and “reply all” messages that don’t pertain to us, and our inbox rarely reaches zero.  The rest of the world has taken massive leaps forward in terms of communicating, yet email still seems to lag behind in black & white letters and numbers.

I’ve begun utilizing Twitter and Facebook to communicate with my team.  Both of these platforms integrate networking with information sharing.  Communication moves from the mere passing of information into the realm of knowing somebody better.  I put a face with a name in Facebook.  I get a snapshot of a person’s life (at least what they want the public world to see) in Twitter.  That’s where lots of the group leaders at Grace Community Church “hang out,” so that’s where I’m going to communicate.

I have recently begun using The Flip video camera.  I’ve really liked the ease of use, because I can throw it in my bag and have it ready to catch the many things that my wife and I don’t want to miss our son doing.  In addition to family videos, I’ve begun using it to shoot some videos for our small groups.  I have a lower quality version, but there are even some new, HD models of the Flip available.  At the end of the day, I’d sacrifice video quality for ease of use.  Based on the response of my small group leaders, they’d much prefer watching me yack on a video than reading it.

Is email dead?  I think it’s being quickly outpaced by lots of other mediums.

How do you communicate?  What medium to you prefer?  Maybe, more importantly, which mediums do “your people” prefer?

Here’s the video I sent to my small group leaders.  It’s not the best video you’ve ever seen, but I know that more people watched it than normally read my emails:

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