Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to the future and beyond!

 Social Media 30 Day Experiment Week #3
The year 2010 and even scarier than could be imagined?
Advances have been made since 1985, and we are now all connected in 2010.
Mitch Joel makes reference to 'Back to the Future', in his book - Six Pixels of Separation.  He references to 15 years ago, how different online was, with modems and dialup speeds and the WWW just beginning - and if we could ' go back to the future', knowing what we know now about Google, and fact that "you would have focused a lot more of your time and energy on the online space if you had known then what you know now."

This statement struck me, since I have been involved with the internet for at least 16 years. I also provided Tech Support for a local Internet Service Provider, evolving from the Bulletin Boards and providing Internet Access to the masses. It was exciting and new. In beginning there was only text. The day that images were parsed in our browsers was cause for shouting. It did take about 15 minutes to fully paint in some of these images - but it was worth it!!  Did we ever think it would develop or get as big as it has? Yes. But ..

I expected everyone to be connected. And did expect it to grow with faster and easier ways to connect, and more information to be available at our finger tips. The wireless world yes - But.. I could not have imagined the impact of wireless and mobile.

I was, and still am 'always online' and focused to the online world - but spent most of my time promoting getting connected. Back to the Future, I definitely would use to my advantage and invent Google or at least would have bought those RIM shares in 1996.

I promoted and encouraged businesses to 'get on the internet', by registering a domain name and creating a website. Getting noticed by the search engines, and market your business with your attached. People could then search for your website, bookmark the website, and voila you would be ahead of others.

Social Media? Yes we had that - email, chat programs - Pow Wow was one I used first, newsgroups, forums, mailing lists and Internet Relay Chats - IRC.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Social Media 30 Day Experiment Day 7 - Twitter to the Rescue!

Sewer Backup and Social Media - how do these go together?

This is just a quick post this evening, due to I am feeling under the weather 
- more in depth discussion to continue as soon as possible.

The Story:

Social Media Background 
As I have been experimenting with adding people to follow through Twitter, Facebook and looking at all options of connecting last week, some of these were local politicians, and city personnel, and others that are responsible for our city. Just wondering if they were able to be connected with, and how they might be using Social Media. I had found some on Twitter, and others not - such as the Mayor of Kitchener. The councillors however appeared to be on Twitter, and publish email addresses, and other contact information.  

The Emergency
My daughter - M, who lives in a townhouse unit in Kitchener, at my house very distraught. Once again there had been a flood as she called it - "and it smells like sh*t!". Which of course it would, due to be actually the sewer backing up in the townhouse complex, due to a plug somewhere. This was the 3rd time in a week, that had happened. Previously it had been dealt with twice, with the city involved to assist with the plumbing and sewer pipes being cleaned. The carpets had been shampooed. And then it happened again. Cats were trapped as they hid in crawl spaces in basement, and of course howled.
Other tenants were standing on the street. Where oh where was the landlord, property manager, and maintenance people?? 

My daughter informed me that no one could get an answer at any of the emergency contact numbers they had been supplied. The landlord seemed to be MIA.

I called another number for her and did get someone that claimed it was being dealt with. I requested that he please have someone report the details to the tenants - who were outside and justifiably very upset. I was not confident he would, but was also told to try and track the landlord down again.

Twitter to the Rescue
As time progressed, and my daughter was able to locate the landlord, but he said he could not get any assistance from maintenance or city crew. It was time to use Twitter and connect to the councillor for this area of the city. I located and tweeted:
Tweet - Assistance required please.  And added details and address of complex.
Result - he responded almost immediately  with phone number to call him at, so he could assist.

Wow I was impressed! And sorta smug  with relatives standing by - told you so.

My daughter and her co-tenants in the meantime had been able to connect with the required personnel and all was being taken care of with additional attention to the plumbing and sewer system.
I was able to update the councillor via email and twitter, and thank him for his response and availabilityl

Morale of the Story

 Yes Social Media can be useful to the 'average person' - anyone with a toilet in this case would benefit or living close to the plumbing and sewer system attached. With having local politicians and others able to be found via Twitter, email address ( was a bit harder to find ), Facebook - we can immediately connect to these people outside of business hours.

Since I am the only person in my immediate and extended family that is using Twitter, I am being asked - ' hey twitter for me' - person or business that they are trying to gain assistance from quickly  - and  without staying in a queue on phone, or getting voicemail etc. 

Or information about the what is happening in the city, such as the Kitchener Blues Festival  - they rely on my connection via Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other connections online.

Or when they want to know if Herrles Country Market is still open, and what varieties of corn they are selling this week ...

Get Darleen to Twitter!  
It's a start..


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Social Media Experiment Day 2 - Twitter Newbie.

This thing called Twitter and gathering followers
Ok, so what is this thing called Twitter? Seems easy enough, I tweet others receive, I follow, others follow me - happy family But, how do I get these followers, that will then Retweet my wonderful Tweets, to the Twitterland, and thereby I will become known within the Twitter community, and beyond?

Twitter Applications
I tested Twitter's use and applications to begin with.
Installed Tweetdeck on MAC, so is running in background with 'tweet' notification, when tweets received. Works nicely, and can integrate with Facebook and other apps, such as LinkedIN, Foursquare, MySpace and Buzz.  I don't like using for Facebook actually, although can connect via Facebook if I desire, and also view multiple Twitter accounts.
Twitter is easy to use for basic use, and there is Twitter Support  , which does have some useful advice.
There are many Twitter help sites, blogs and Youtube videos that will help you get started, and also for advanced users wanting to learn more about Marketing and heavy duty Tweeting.
I also use Twitter on my Blackberry Bold 9700, and this is where the real fun begins. I upgraded to Twitter for Blackberry, and find it highly superior to other Twitter applications available.

Sites I have used:
Things Not to do on Twitter
Top 20 Sites to Improve Your Twitter Experience
The Grandma Mary Show - Twitter Tutorials

Getting Connected to Tweeps

I confess that to begin with I just started adding people to Follow, from blogs I follow, and sites I came across with a twitter link. I ended up with about 40 followers, many spam. I admit to be lost then as to who and how to add more followers, so that could have worthwhile communications - other than just receiving promotions, blog updates and links to great information, but not necessarily what I was looking for, in my network of Followers.

Next approach, was to search for others in my geographical area, which I did by using the hashtags #kitchener, #KW, #Waterloo - and I did find several people in my area, that I Followed, and most became a Follower of mine. This increased my numbers of Followers, but did not really meet too many like-minded individuals. Although met some people, that have enlightened me very much.

I proceeded to do searches for my areas of interest - Blogging, Cooking, Social Media, Canada, Female Bloggers,  Happiness, Empty Nesters,  and then thought about Fibromyalgia, since I am a long-time sufferer - and this caused an explosion of Tweeps and Twitters. I have started some real hones conversations, with help from and to many of this group.

I also  started promoting my blogs on Twitter, as well as just Facebook friends. This increased my followers again.

BUT - the how to attract followers on Twitter, was best discovered myself, when I began treating Twitter for what it is - a social networking application. What do we do socially in the 'real world', when we want to meet new people and gather friends? We mingle.
 Again, as stated in my previous post Social Networking = Interacting online.

This is what I have learned so far, in how to attract Followers:
1) You need to communicate to others to gather followers - on blogs, twitter, fb etc
2) Join contests that promote each others blogs and leave twitter name and email address - twitter hops
3) Find like-minded people and  Reply or Retweet their tweets
4) Offer assistance (free) and encourage others with their quests and pursuits
5) Promote others and make sure that when their followers click on your name, they find your twitter account, FB, email and blog/website url
6) Communicate daily on twitter and FB, or blog - does not need to be every day but consistent
7) Be there - BB helps to always be online and respod quickly to others, communicate and always be available
- create a presence, curiosity, openness, and caring positive attitude, which others can trust.
Truly care about others, and your Twitter Following and Followers.
I have gained over 200 Followers
- still to be determined if are correct Followers and correspond with Following group.

Mingle - work the crowd, getting to know who is there, and letting others get to know you.
Not much different than a party you attend, where you don't know anyone.

Practical Uses for the 'average person', non business and non blogger?
Coming tomorrow along with Facebook and other Social Media apps discussion.

But - yes you may definitely find Twitter useful, and connect to others in the world - that you would have never connected with, if not for Twitter.

Is it a necessity? Most likely not. It can be useful for special events, support help and community events. So .. it depends, on who you are and what information you are interested in obtaining and people you wish to connect. University students may find uses more so than seniors - but it is an individual preference.

For promoting one self for blogging, I have so far found it very useful and enlightening.

I will further discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Twitter as we go forward.
I am twittered out tonight.

What are your findings with Twitter for the 'average person' ?
How do you use Twitter?
Is it a necessity?



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Social Media 30 Day Experiment - Day 1

Evaluation of Social Media begins


To begin with I will evaluate Social Media applications and tools, as they apply to the 'ordinary person' - defined as someone who is not promoting or marketing a business in any way, that does not blog, and is any age. There may be a difference to how Social Media is accepted or not accepted by different age groups. 

Second - I will review from a business point of view as pertains to blogging, small business and how other businesses may or may not use Social Media. This may be more difficult for me, but I will utilize the many businesses that are using Social Media, and many Social Media gurus providing insight, and give my own spin on the facts. 
I discuss Facebook, Twitter, blogging and YouTube to begin with tomorrow
- from my personal experiences.

How am I qualified? 
Well, other than the fact that I am very curious and have had many people within my own family and social network question me - not much to begin with. I hope to delve into this topic and be able to provide an overview of what it all means, and if it is true that we should all jump on the Social Media wagon. Or are we being hoodwinked to follow? Can we opt out?
I do have extensive background within the IT and Internet world, through work experiences over the past 15 - 20 years. Therefore, I know my way around to find information and how to use the software applications being used for performing Social Media.

Social Media Applications
There are about 297 social media applications - most can be broken down into a few categories.
The main common thread to define social media applications, is those that allow for social interaction, through web bases publishing.

Not just Facebook &Twitter
You may be surprised by this list, as most people when they hear the term "Social Media" - think about  Facebook and Twitter, and feel that business has no right within their family and friends sharing photos. You may more surprised to find that you use many of these others, possibly without realizing. You are providing your feedback, or contributing to causes - interaction = social and online.

I will take a look at how the 'average person', is using the internet - within my far reaching social real life network of people, and also review other feedback being reported.  I think most people will be surprised that they are already using Social Media - even if they refuse to Like companies Fan pages, and do not use Twitter.

From Wikipedia




Reviews and opinions


Brand monitoring

One way to start looking at this for the 'average person'  - ask a simple question:
If you had to go without internet or cell phone access for 1 year, or possibly even 1 week, how would you be affected? Would it just be for personal interaction and fact finding - or is there more you would miss?

Are we a connected society?
How do we use this connectivity as a consumer and business to improve our interactions?

Take a look at this post regarding an interaction with Sears

-- Interesting interactions.