I thought we could have the conversation in the comments section today. I’m curious why you and/or your company is interested in social media. What brought you to the shores of thinking that blogging and podcasting and belonging to social networks was something your company (or you as an individual) needed in your life? What are you hoping to get out of it all? Why do you come here every day to read?
Let’s talk in the comments section today, okay?
Your company has decided to launch a blog, and you’re the lucky blogger. Maybe you’ve even asked for this pleasure, suggested it to the boss yourself. Only now, you have to deliver, and you have to stay consistent. It’s not always easy to keep up a steady blogging pace, and there are days when you might run into a roadblock or two that might keep you from delivering on your schedule. Here are some ideas on how to build and maintain a steady blogging rhythm, be it for your personal blog or your business blog. We’ll cover goals, tasks, tools, and some bonus secrets.
Between books people send me, books I buy, and books I get from my local library system, I’m usually chock full of good reading material. Here’s a selection of books that I’ve either skimmed through once but want to read again fully, or that I intend to do more work with over the coming weeks. Have you read any of these? What did you think? What’s on YOUR summer bookshelf?
Secrets of Great Rainmakers
This post by Shel Israel and this post by Steve Rubel bear reading and examining. There’s something afoot, and it deals with several pieces of economic pie shifting at the same time. In fact, it’s a little strange that Richard Florida’s latest book, Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, is so timely. For a little more trend connection, throw in a little bit of Seth Godin from May (this has stuck with me since then).
If you are an employer, think on this:
I’m checking out a new platform that’s essentially Twitter-like, called Identi.ca. It has the basics: profile, friending, short messages, etc. There are a few things missing ( it’s not very easy to follow back, for instance). But overall, it’s interesting. I also like that you can build credentials around your OpenID account. I can’t wait for services like OAuth to catch up in popularity, but that’s a digression.
What’s really cool about Identi.ca has nothing to do with the site itself (no offense meant to the team building it. It’s neat, and thanks for doing it). What’s neat is that it’s built on an open source platform called Laconi.ca, which is basically Twitter-in-a-box. That’s the nugget, tough guys. It’s a head start on building your own Twitter inside your business, behind the firewall, and that’s something noteworthy.
Today marks the birthday of Liz Strauss, one of the best community people I know out there. She gets it. She loves people more than she loves pretty much everything. And she’s the kind who shares all the damned time. When she published a beautifully written ebook about how to blog, she priced it so that anyone could buy it, not just big businesses (even though I told her to charge more). Why? Because she loves you, dammit. And I love her.
If you’re going to get to know someone over this next year, give Ms. birthday girl a try. Liz is the type of person who takes any idea and brings it ahead about seven notches. She’s full of ideas, a community superstar, and someone who I think has already made more of the web than lots of us will get to in the next five years combined.
Steve Rubel has a thoughtful post about the recent state of Internet social sites. In it, he suggests that users are acting as tenants in a rental property situation, and that it seems we’re all a bit flustered when our properties, like Twitter, have damage. I like the perspective, and I think the conversation should definitely be had. But immediately, I had another analogy come to mind for a slightly different reason. Steve mentioned the difference between “renting” on other people’s services versus “owning” our blogs. For whatever reason, I thought about the way we “shiny object” types are showing up on all these various social platforms, and I thought about strip malls.
A quick digression: I believe that if we ever invent time machines, they will be situated in WalMarts and other big box stores. Why? Because they’re everywhere and look roughly the same. We won’t be as baffled when we shift between locations on the globe.
BatchBlue Software was kind enough to give me a big sized account to try out managing my contacts with their BatchBook product. They let me do five things, if I’m so inclined: manage contacts, keep track of my communications, slice my contacts into lists (remember this one), manage to-do lists, and use their SuperTags to build small custom databases of meta information around my contacts. All of that is relatively neato, and something that lots of us aren’t especially doing well today (how many of you use a spreadsheet somewhere to track your important conversations?)
I should state that I know Michelle Riggen-Ransom (marketing goddess) and Adam Darowski (UX prince) through meetings at various social events, like SXSW, the occasional Tweet-up, etc. When you know the people who make the things you’re using, there’s a whole sense that everything could be customized or something. When I talk to Mario Sundar at LinkedIn, I feel the same kind of thing: like they care about their user base. Well, with BatchBlue, they are passionate about their customer base.
We are governed by many things in our lives: laws (both natural and those created by man and religion), rules (those things that we abide by to maintain a certain level of order), norms (the way most of society acts, including courtesy and manners), and habits (those things that we’ve ingrained in ourselves for one reason or another. Understanding these things more deeply benefits you more than you can imagine, and I’m not talking about social media today. I’m talking about social norms, the way people act, the way YOU act, and what you can do with this knowledge.
Understanding Which Is Which
First, accept and understand that we follow and break human laws all the time. There are several hundred laws written by many hands, for matters of state as well as those of religious leadership. Do you believe that these laws are all there to protect you? Do you believe that they are in your best interest? The answer is often “yes,” or “most of the time.” That’s how we have a functioning society, and in case you’re wondering if I’m pointing you towards anarchy, I’ll save you some reading. No.
TripWolf is a social site for travel, loaded with all kinds of goodies, like map mashups, people-recommended sights to see, friends and “trip gurus” to add for specific places, journal/blogs for your travel experiences, and the ability to meet up with other folks as part of your travel experience. I did a reasonably fast pass through the site and found it loaded with all kinds of information and facets that would make your holiday travel plans a little easier.
The other things I noticed that seem cool are Facebook integration, user-added info (kind of wiki style), geo-locative data (codes everything nicely), pictures (and you can upload yours, of course), and maps. Great maps that you can print, actually.