Always Get Better

Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Tweeting with Buffer

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Glen Canyon Bridge & Dam, Page, ArizonaI continue to have an on and off relationship with Twitter. It’s been fun to talk with other developers and reach people directly, but a huge part of the network is sorting through the signal-to-noise echo chamber. It doesn’t make sense to sit on Twitter all day trying to respond to everything; work needs to be done too!

Then there’s my reading. I read a lot. And I run into all kinds of cool stuff I want to share, and Twitter is the most natural place to share it, but of course that always ends up with Saturdays where I dump four dozen links in the span of a few hours… I hate it when other people do that, so rather than spamming everyone who follows me I’ve pretty much stopped sharing.

Until now.

Buffer to Spread Around the Outbursts
I found an app called Buffer ( that sits in front of your twitter account and collects your tweets into a “buffer”, then sends them out on a schedule. So you can have a backlog of messages filter out slowly over a day instead of shoving them all out at once.

So my workflow with Twitter now is to monitor it (using Growl, of course) and have conversations where I can. I’ve met some incredible people using Twitter and made more than a few fun connections, and hope to keep building that over time. Whenever I read something interesting I’ll drop it into Buffer, and anyone who is interested can see those links without getting spammed all at once. I think it’s win-win.

Present in More Time Zones
At first night times were lonely when I came out west, since 9pm for me is midnight for friends back home, it got pretty quiet fast. I’ve since made more friends on the west coast, but I came away with a fresh appreciation of how easy it is to get disconnected from our core tribes because of time zones.

Since I started using Buffer I’ve noticed more activity from my contacts in Europe and Australia. Of course I’m asleep when Buffer sends out one of my stored tweets at 3am, but sometimes it’s sparked conversations I’m able to pick up when I wake up in the morning. Although there is a high latency in those communications, I feel more connected than ever to some old friends who I might not have otherwise interacted with so frequently.

In the End, Connections Matter Most
The strongest takeaway theme that seems to be cropping up again and again lately has been the difference between technology and communication. It’s very easy, especially coming from a technical background, to fall in love with a design, a language, a piece of software. The magic comes from the conversations that get enabled by these advances. There’s no reason to put up a web site or build an application if it doesn’t solve some problem – if we build something for the sake of doing it, are we building something that will last?

Command and Control Social Media

Friday, April 8th, 2011

From a branding perspective, social media is about joining the conversation rather than trying to constantly send out broadcasts. Any idea worth discussing is already being talked about – if you ignore social media you aren’t just failing to get your message out into the wild; you are, in fact, allowing your voice to be absent from the existing discussion. There is a seismic shift occurring in the way brands and their respective owners are thinking about engaging their target audience. It isn’t good enough to just get the message out anymore – more attention is being placed into measuring the effectiveness of that message.

This isn’t a new idea; in fact, people have been talking about brands for as long as brands have existed. It’s well known that behind every customer who speaks up about their disappointment or service problem are ten others who simply switched to a different supplier. Figuring out what people are saying “on the street” and reacting to improve based on customer expectations isn’t a new concept; Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere are only tools that make this much easier – they did not invent the conversation. So what’s the big deal?

The difference we are seeing today is the easy access to information that was not present before. Employees at all levels of the organization have access to the same outside data, the same instant feedback to everything being done. Ofttimes the worker at the lowest level has more sense of customer feelings than does the decision-making upper management – this has always been true, of course, so why the sudden magnification?

I believe we are seeing a generational change in business and mindset that is putting people ahead of function. Call it Generation X (over-workers to a fault) passing the torch over to Generation Y (family-focused individuals). In the next several years we are going to see a greater focus toward grassroots-based marketing efforts and a continuation of the trend toward niche-based services alongside the dismantling of mainstream distribution channels.

How to control this? Don’t. Service the customer and listen to their feedback. The same ingredients that have always made businesses successful are still in place: the difference is it is now easier than ever to hear the feedback faster.

How to Hire a Social Media Expert

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I am seeing an alarming trend on my beloved Facebook. Several of my friends (ok, I haven’t really kept tabs on them for years) have become “social media experts”. You can tell who is pushing at this stuff because they start tweeting dozens of times per hour, washing out all relevant contact from your home feed. They start using @reply and #hashtags and linking to other “social media experts” blog postings about the importance of Social Media and oh-goodness-your-company-doesn’t-understand-this-like-I-do-but-I-guarantee-results-for-you!

Honestly, this kind of behaviour has become textbook newbie behaviour.

The Buzz Bin has put together a list of ways to vet would-be social media experts.

I swear if I ever see ‘social media guru’ on someone’s resume, I will not hire them.

279 Days to Overnight Success

Monday, November 16th, 2009
Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

Chris Guillebeau offers his e-book 279 Days to Overnight Success for free on his blog. This is a great piece of writing that debunks the popular myths about “making it” blogging.

  1. Don’t rely on Google/Adsense as a “get-rich-quick” vehicle – they aren’t
  2. You don’t need millions of visitors and command of Digg to do well
  3. You will have to work hard
  4. Overnight success means ‘months or years’, not ‘days’

See for yourself – download it today.

When You Focus on Getting Better

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

It seems like correcting Seth Godin is a favourite pastime enjoyed by folks online. Sorry to break from the group, but I happen to think he is a deep well of relevant information.

This week he brought up the idea of upsides versus downsides – how much effort do businesses put into minimizing their downside versus the time they put into offering the best user experience?

One of the primary examples from the post is that of a hospital spending a huge amount of time doing paperwork to prevent litigation and prevent people from getting worse when their primary goal (and reason for existing) should be improving the lives of the patients coming through their doors.

The hospital example was interesting and timely because in “real life” the Jewish General Hospital recently came out and said it has been able to improve patient care (upside) by reducing errors (downside) through its new(ish) full disclosure policy. This ties in nicely with Seth’s article because it proves that it is possible for even large organizations to let go of the status quo and achieve new levels of excellence.

In the case of the Jewish General Hospital, it seems paradoxical but by admitting and dealing with errors, the hospital is actually less likely to be sued and face costly litigation. In essence, they have found a way to improve patient care, cut costs, and foster an open corporate culture. Way to go!

Everything Sounds Better With Spin

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
little monkey
Creative Commons License photo credit: michelb

You have to shake your head every time someone goes off about “netbooks”, those wonderful, tiny, cute computers that don’t cost very much. When you look at them, what do you really see? How about a crappy laptop that can barely run Windows. The thing is cheap in more ways than one – but somehow marketers have been able to spin that as a good thing and make big profits off useless hardware without needing to develop anything new.

This Brave New World Seems Just Like the Old

Anything sounds better with a little bit of spin – Web 1.0 is clunky, slow, ugly. Web 2.0 is a designer’s dream, sexy, with new technology. Well, no. The technology isn’t new at all – the web is the same. The only difference is enough marketers held onto the “Web 2.0” buzz phrase and shouted it repeatedly long enough that it became accepted as fact.

What’s So Social About Media?

There was never anything truly “new” about New Media. There’s nothing earth shattering about Social Media either. Call it a new paradigm all you want, there is nothing different between it and “old” media: the goal is to communicate our message to as many people as possible. How others perceive your brand and how you react to that feedback is not something new and alien – it’s just a lot faster now than it used to be. Your audience is your focus group. Traditional roles haven’t changed one bit – their owners have.

Twitter Won’t Overtake Facebook

Monday, April 6th, 2009

I started writing this entry before Facebook switched to its new look. At the time there were a lot of people praising Twitter and predicting that it would soon replace Facebook as the network of choice for connecting the Internet’s middle class together; that coveted position on the totem pole between the MySpace Ghetto and LinkedIn (the professional’s pick).

Facebook's New Look

Facebook's New Look

Why Facebook Rocked

I’ve been a Facebook user for about three years so I’ve now lived through two major design changes. The first changed the layout from a bumbling mishmash of functionality into a surgical-sterile work-flow that made the side understandable and useful (to me). Facebook’s strength was the separation between users – everyone had their own “space” but fit together uniformly and professionally. It was a nice, grown-up place to be online.

What Happened?

Now Facebook looks rather generic. The focus is fully on users’ tweets status updates and I can’t tell where my profile ends and my friends’ begin. The layout still looks soothing and professional, but the service isn’t as useful to me anymore. The “Facebook” distinction is gone – I’d rather mashup my own Flickr and Twitter feeds instead of have Facebook duplicate the same functionality and sell my data to every bidder.

Will Twitter Conquer?

If you told me two months ago that Twitter would overtake Facebook, I would have laughed at you. Now Facebook has lowered its ambitions to the one-trick pony of social media / friend feed updates.

The two services weren’t in the same leauge before – Facebook was a massive profile site that I could use to connect to my real-world contacts while Twitter was and is essentially a public IM service. Now the two are basically identical in my circle.

I don’t mean to be a Facebook-hater. I still log in and give it a good effort; I just don’t connect to it anymore. Maybe the next update will bring the site more in-line with my usage and I can enjoy the service again.