Category Archives: Social media

What Part of the Word Publishing Don’t You Understand?

Warning: this is probably just a waste of time, but still, I was curious, then fascinated, as I read Investigative Journalist Claims Her Public Tweets Aren’t ‘Publishable;’ Threatens To Sue Blogger Who Does Exactly That on Techdirt. 

Lawsuit over published tweets

My first reaction:

It’s publishing. Look up the definition. Published and not publishable are opposites. 

It’s an interesting story, though, followed by some lively comments. 

One note that might be relevant: I visited the Twitter account in question. It’s locked. Does locking the account make it not published? I don’t know. 

Still, can I say something in public and sue you for quoting me? Seems oddly illogical. 

7 Reasons I’m Loving Rebelmouse

I’m loving Rebelmouse* and if you’re running a business, and acknowledging the importance of social media, you will too. Its main benefit is pulling all of your favorite content into one simple and automatically updated, always, page. Your favorite content might be your favorite  or most relevant business content, for example, or simply your own.

But the best way to explain is with examples, so here are some real examples. These are not necessarily the best examples. They are just the ones I’ve done myself, for me or companies I work with, and integrated into my own online presence or those of these other companies.

  1. Sharing collected and curated content . Take a look at That’s me there. It’s what I like, what I highlight, an automatic collection that updates every time I tweet, post to Facebook, or LinkedIn10 reasons you need Rebelmouse, or Google+, or post on one of the blogs I write for (including this one).Let me emphasize: it’s automatic. It’s collecting what I collect. For some more examples of the same thing, I collect the online presence of Eugene Social at; and for social media business plans at For all of these various business pages, the content comes automatically. I set them up once, set them to record streams from the various social media platforms, and they are always up to date. So the ease of use is sensational.
  2. Rebelmouse embedded in WordPress siteCurated and collected items for the home page of a business site. It’s an automatic, always-updated home page. Using one of my businesses as an example again, take a look at the front page of my social media business plan site at It looks almost like the pure rebelmouse version above, but with an important difference: it’s the front page of a complete website, with a main menu navigation to my pages on speaking, consulting, and so on.What this means in simple business terms is: easy, automatic, and always updating. When we tweet, our page updates. When we post, our page updates. I’m also doing this on my main personal site at

    I’m using a Rebelmouse WordPress plugin to do my sites. There are other options available, including embed code.

  3. Rebelmouse setting RSS feedsCollecting all my blog posts on multiple blogs. I blog in about half a dozen places, usually 5-10 posts per week, more than 3,000 since I started in 2007. You can see where on the sidebar on this blog. But more to the point, I have an automatic collection of all my blog posts, from eight different me-specific RSS feeds, at To put this in perspective, from 2008 to 2010 we had somebody at Palo Alto Software doing data entry into a database to keep track of my posts, for business reasons. Now we’ve got the RSS feeds set into the Rebelmouse page … the illustration here shows you a condensed (which explains tear marks) view of my settings for that page, which include RSS feeds to catch just my posts on the various major blogs. (And yes, you can’t read the details there, but I hope you get the idea).
  4. A customized front page for a blog. For our social media business plans site,, the front page of out blog is a Rebelmouse page, embedded in WordPress, set to display all of our recent blog posts at once, each as a tile … a lot like the illustration for point 2 above, except in that case, our user clicked the “blog” link and the tiles showing are exclusively our blog posts.
  5. A collected group affinity social media site. I have a Rebelmouse page set to collect my personal social media along with the streams of each of our five grown-up children. For those of you who follow those things, we have a Klout score or 306 between six people. Our family site is mostly Twitter now. We might add Facebook later. It’s much more for us than for public consumption, but in case you’re curious, that is at
  6. Collecting related items for business planning. I’m working with friends on several new business plans. We set up a Rebelmouse page, shared it between ourselves, and from then on as we browse the web we have an easy instant click to put a new web page into our collection. We use it for background, competition, ideas, etc. I won’t she examples because these are for business plans: not strictly confidential, but hidden like needles in haystacks. And I want to leave them that way.
  7. Collecting ideas for future blog posts. If you’re curious, you could go to to see what I’m thinking of writing about in the near future. It’s not too different from my main public page, and it is public, but it’s focused on what I want to write.

And this was before an interesting new Rebelmouse navigation, announced today, to incorporate a new navigation menu into a Rebelmouse page. I posted about that on my blog.

*Disclosure: Bias. I’m involved with Rebelmouse. Google either Paul Berry or Megan Berry and you’ll see why. 

I Can Find Research to Prove Anything

One of these days I’m going to start a new consulting company based on the sad truth that in today’s world a good search turns up nice-looking data to prove anything. 

For example, you want eggs to be bad for you? We’ll find research to prove it. No? You want eggs to be good for you? We’ll find research to prove that. 

3 silly reasons to quite social media

Yesterday over at I posted 3 Silly Reasons to Quit Social Media in 2013, quoting a post on offering the following:

… a UK study from the fall found that over 50% of social media users evaluated their participation in social networking as having an overall negative effect on their lives. Specifically, they singled out the blow to their self-esteem that comes from comparing themselves to peers on Facebook and Twitter as the biggest downfall. 

In defense of the author of that post, she’s obviously making fun. Another reason is blood pressure. She says there’s bad behavior in social media that will make your blood pressure rise. 

And negative, or contrarian headlines, like 3 reasons you should quite social media, get more readers. I understand. When it’s surprising, I’m more likely to click. 

But seriously: When something starts with “a study found that…” do you pay attention?

I used to, back in the old days, before the Internet, when information was hard to find. These days I don’t have the same respect for “a study found that” because there are studies to find anything you want to say. No matter how preposterous.  

Facts? Truth? 

True Story: Social Media Morality Tale

The Chronicle of Higher reported last week on this news item on a social media director getting caught lying about her resume and exposed via social media: 

… social-media director quit her post on Monday after it was alleged that she had lied about graduating from college on her résumé—an assertion that, ironically, first bubbled up on social media.

Somebody went to the trouble of getting her resume from public documents and paying to have it verified (or not) by the National Student Clearing house; then posting the proof over a Reddit site:

According to The Michigan Daily, a recent thread in the university’s Reddit community alleged that [she] had not graduated from Chicago’s Columbia College despite claiming a degree on her résumé and job application. The user making the allegations, who signed the message as a “Concerned Taxpayer,” posted [three] images as evidence, asserting that they had been obtained through public-records requests.

So there we have both transparency and authenticity in the new post-social-media landscape. We talk about it. We write about it. Lying is more likely than ever to come out. 

The story here isn’t just about social media. This is also about people, revenge, and karma. The real story hidden here is the what-did-who-do-to-whom story behind the scenes. Clearly “concerned taxpayer” spent time and money on a quest. Why? Jealousy? Getting even for something? Relationships gone bad. There’s a story there. Right? What motivates a person to go exploring in the resume and job situation of another? 

Live by authenticity, die (or lose a job) by authenticity. No way out. But damn! That’s a nasty piece of social media behavior. Was it justified? All for good? We’ll probably never know. 

Old Chinese proverb: “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself.” 

(Based on my previous post on my other blog at

Can Research Make You Dumber?

(Reposted with permission from my social media business plans blog)

Can research make you dumber? It can if you believe it.

I just read Can Facebook Make You Fat and Poor? on Mashable. It’s a post by David Mielach, of BusinessNewsDaily.

In particular, the researchers found that social media users were more likely to binge eat and have a higher body-mass index. Frequent Facebook users also were more likely to have certain financial problems, including a lower credit score and higher levels of debt.

But wait. It says the research was based on the responses of 541 Facebook users in the United States. So what does that really mean? What does this research really mean? And to be fair, I haven’t gone into the actual research. I’m just commenting on the coverage. Maybe they did everything right and avoided the problems I see. And maybe not.

First, who’s in the sample? Is it Facebook users, really, or Facebook users who answer surveys? Those are different sets of people. Is it balanced for age, demographic, technology, geography?

Maybe people who answer surveys have less self control, which is part of the reason they answer surveys. And maybe people who answer surveys have less money, caused perhaps by the behavior that finds time to answer surveys. Maybe they are just younger, on average, and that causes the money difference.

Research depends on the sample. So that’s a good reason to be skeptical.

So maybe what it really shows isn’t about Facebook users but rather about people who answer surveys. Maybe they — survey answerers have less self control so they couldn’t resist taking the survey really know is that people who answer surveys on Facebook have less self control — that’s why they took their time to answer the survey. And maybe people who answer surveys have less money — because they waste their time answering surveys.

And there is that whole issue of causation and correlation: Could we just as easily say living in a large house makes you rich, or attending college makes you young? That’s as logical as saying Facebook users have less self control and less money. Right?

Here’s a direct quote from the research:

These results are concerning given the increased time people spend using social networks, as well as the worldwide proliferation of access to social networks anywhere, anytime via smartphones and other gadgets. Given that self-control is important for maintaining social order and personal well-being, this subtle effect could have widespread impact.

So now it’s widespread impact. The emphasis above is mine. Wow: Is this looking for a news lead, or rather reaching out, stretching to the ultimate, to look for a news lead? Or what?

I’m not saying that information is bad. Misinformation is.

I’m not saying that research is bad. Believing it is. Question the research, question the assumptions, look through it, and then take what’s valuable in it. Never just believe it.

Q&A: Who Do I Follow For Business Twitter

(Note: This is my post from, where I posted it yesterday. I was asked to repost it here.) 

Here’s another good question I received from my Ask-me form on my website: 

If I’m trying to build my Twitter presence to support my [omitted] business, who should I follow? How do I find them? How to decide? 

I’m happy to answer that one because I think it could be useful to a lot of people starting to look at real-world business use of Twitter. Following in Twitter is important for several reasons:

  1. Who you follow determines what you see. Your Twitter stream is the collection of tweets from the accounts you follow. 
  2. Who you follow is who you are. Other people can see how you follow. That means they see what you like, believe in, care about, listen to, and so forth. c
  3. Who you follow is who’s likely to follow you back. For most businesses, following is the best way to be followed. About a third of your follows will follow you back — more if your tweets are interesting, less if they aren’t.   

So, with that as background, here’s who I think you should follow for your business twitter account, in order of strategy value:

  1. Leaders. The influencers you respect, want, and need. The people, businesses, and organizations you’d like to have knowing and liking and trusting you. It’s hard to generalize so think strategically for your specific business. For example, a restaurant would want local media, local organizations, hotels, food blogs, night out blogs, restaurant guides, travel guides, reviewers, and local people who comment on restaurants and have followings. The chamber of commerce, restaurant association, chefs’ schools, local university groups might be good targets too.
  2. Media, writers, bloggers, and experts in your field. Authors whose work you like and respect. People who you’d like to see writing about you. Our sample restaurant would look for food, dining, restaurant, travel media. 
  3. Social media stars who turn up in keyword searches. Search the web, search Twitter, using important keywords. The restaurant example might search for #dining, #gourmet, #organic, #vegetarian, #chefs, #fastfood, #slowfood, #meals, for example. And if it is located in Eugene, OR then it would search for #eugene and #oregon too. See who tweets with those hashtags. See what content they tweet. Decide whether you are compatible with them. 
  4. Local organizations, groups, and institutions. The schools, universities, community colleges, public theater, development groups. 
  5. Some general news and bloggers and information sources on idea, places, topics, and people that interest you. This is just because you want to see what they’re offering. They’re not strategic. 
  6. Friends, family, and compatible business associates. 

The So-Called Arrogance of Gen Y Social Media Managers

Last Friday NextGen Journal published Cathryn Sloane’s Why Every Social Media Manager Should be Under 25. Her main point was:

We spent our adolescence growing up with social media. … we learned to use social media socially before professionally, rather than vice versa or simultaneously.  To many people in the generations above us, Facebook and Twitter are just the latest ways of getting messages out there to the public, that also happen to be the best.

That generated thousands of Facebook shares, hundreds of Tweets and hundreds of angry comments. NextGen founder Conner Toohill responded Saturday, and 47-year-old guest author Mark Story posted a rebuttal on Sunday. 

It reminds me of something I saw three months ago. It was a job listing for a programming job that — the listing, in print — specified that applicants should be no older than 30. I found that shockingly stupid because it’s first of all illegal (age discrimination) and secondly, well, stupid. Discrimination is stupid. 

However, there is a huge difference between explicit discrimination is a job listing and Cathryn Sloane’s published opinion. She’s not hiring. She’s just making a point. And she’s arguing for the underdog in the situation too. So if she had just toned it down a bit, perhaps suggesting that younger people shouldn’t be ruled out for their youth, or that age and experience are different qualifiers in the context of social media, I might actually agree with her. 

What I believe, firmly, is that the 25-year-old should not be excluded from leadership because she isn’t old enough. And, furthermore, that the 40-year-old shouldn’t be excluded because she’s too old. Do you agree? With both statements? 

I really like three points that Connor Toohill makes in his A Response to Cathryn Sloane’s Article on Saturday.

First, he’s not apologizing for publishing Cathryn’s post. And he shouldn’t: 

In a time when 1 in 2 recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, those sentiments are understandable. You may disagree — some members of our Editorial staff happen to disagree. But we don’t consider it a mistake to showcase Cathryn’s honest opinion, informed by her own experience as a recent graduate and shared by many other young Americans. We consider it as part of our mission.

Second, he objects to the nastiness in some of the responses: 

Secondly, for those who disagree with Cathryn’s premise: we respect your opinions. Critics have already penned a number of compelling responses, and the comment section contains dozens of interesting rebuttals.  What’s unfortunate, though, is the amount of vitriol and hate contained as well. We’re referring to personal insults, direct badgering of Cathryn via her social media accounts, and allegations that this one opinion will preclude her from full employment. As one social media professional Tweeted yesterday, ‘I agree with some criticisms of Cathryn Sloane’s @nextgenjournal article, but it’s starting to look like adults cyber-bullying a kid.’ Criticism and disagreement are absolutely legitimate and encouraged, but savage attacks are out of line.

Third, he objects to the idea that opinions gain importance with age: 

One final point to address: many comments, Tweets and criticisms seemed to convey the idea that a given person’s opinions are worthless absent years of direct work experience. They referred to not just Cathryn, but our entire generation as arrogant, entitled, naïve and ignorant. They reflected back on their own days of ‘thinking they knew everything,’ and proclaimed that maybe, one day, Cathryn and other young people will finally see the light. … The implicit premise of those criticisms is ageist in its own way: they condemn the opinions and ideas of all young people as ‘not worth listening to.’ In the process, they utterly and completely ignore the many advantages that young people bring into any given situation: an energy and idealism, a sense of innovation and willingness to try new things, and a broader focus, among others.”

Mark Story in his rebuttal, makes another valid point. Addressing Cathryn, he writes: 

You confused familiarity with using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter with the ability to turn that into offering actionable, solid communications advice for internal or external clients.  There is a BIG difference between posting Facebook Timeline updates and telling General Motors what to do with their own social media presence in the midst of a crisis.

Hmmm … I’m sticking with what I posted here six months ago in age vs. experience not always obvious.  

At least with my generation, the baby boomers, we were all just one big vague hippy-long-hair-freedom stereotype and we didn’t mind it. But with Gen Y, all this stuff about entitlement and selfishness, jeez, what a drag. … She’s 25 now, classic Gen Y, and might seem impatient with managers who don’t understand Facebook and Twitter. She’s been working with Facebook from the very beginning, and adapted Twitter in 2007. She’s taken social media as instinct, commonplace, something obvious. But the world around her thinks she’s demanding too much too soon. Does that make sense?

Young people, Gen Y, and, for that matter, you 40-somethings too: Go for it. Fight the stereotypes. Demand change. Full speed ahead. 

10 Signs You’re Too Deep in Social Media

Lists like these are fun, and, by the way, I’ve been told that lists of 3, 5, and 10 are particularly good as blog headlines. My title here is taken directly from Rohit Bhargava’s 10 Signs You May Have An Unhealthy Relationship With Social Media on his Influential Marketing Blog. 

Here’s the complete list:  

  1. You receive an audible alert on your phone anytime anything happens. 
  2. Your business card says “guru” and you are NOT speaking about spirituality to large groups in India. (Rohit adds that no, he is not saying that because he’s Indian, but because it needs saying. I agree. And I believe him.)
  3. You use social media terms as verbs. (I should tweet this)
  4. You believe there is nothing wrong with spllng wrds without vwls. 
  5. You answer questions with “you should read my blog post about that.” 
  6. You check your Klout score, um, ever. 
  7. You are a “mayor” of anything. (A reference to Foursquare, I believe, but what would I know?)
  8. You use the “like” button to make a statement. 
  9. You use social media as a justification for being unreasonable. (Rohit cites demanding hotel upgrades because of Klout scores.)
  10. You freaked out for 70 minutes while Twitter went down. 

My favorite is the last one, which reminds me that Twitter was down for more than an hour one morning (PDT) last week. 

And I’ll confess to numbers 3, 5, 6, and — just a little bit, mildly — 10. That seems like a lot to me. 

Whoops! New PR, New World

Oh dear. Those nasty activists. It looked at first like PR gone bad. me thinking it was dumb of Shell Oil to send a press release huffing and puffing about “activists” making fun of it. It looked like a press release. Curse you, activists! And like that. Shell is supposedly considering suing. The press release says: 

“These people have gone to great lengths to mislead the public about the age and reliability of our Arctic vessels, and otherwise damage Shell’s credibility,” said Smith. “Shell can obviously not allow this sort of misinformation to proliferate, and we are taking the firmest legal measures against the perpetrators of this campaign.”

It talks about an evil social media campaign using the hashtag #shellfail and other supposed sins. It also links to the offending website,

So I went to visit the website, which is serious spoof. How clever of these “activists,” I thought, and how dumb of Shell Oil. And a nice spoof, even a collection of funny ads and a make-an-add game going on too. 

But there’s the rub. I went back to the press release to discover that the email with the supposed press release is also a spoof, by the same activists. So Shell’s not as dumb as this campaign makes it look. But, on the other hand, the campaign is smart, clever, and effective. Brave new world. 

Here’s a picture of the email press release supposedly from Shell Oil:

I can’t work up any sympathy at all for an oil company drilling in the arctic. But also, wow, these are very effective tactics. No?