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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Twitter
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RosenKlout & GuildInfluence Are Dead

RosenKlout and GuildInfluence discovered the power of Klout on their Social Media footprints and decided they needed to raise their Klout to show just how influential they really were.

G: Happy birthday!

R: Thanks. Did you Tweet that?

G: Yes. Then I got my 3 month old daughter to Retweet it.

R: I’ll Retweet it and thank you.

G: Then I’ll thank you back.

R: I’ll get my pet dog’s Twitter account to retweet you and post Bark! Bark! at the end of it.

G: Loved the birthday photo on Facebook.

R: Thank you. Did you see I tagged you?

G: Yes. Told you thanks under the picture and then shared it on my wall.

R: Good! Did you see the status I wrote of how much I appreciated everyone’s birthday wishes?

G: Yes. Last I saw, there were 10 comments under it.

R: I liked the first 5. Top News for sure.

G: Top News is good. Should double the number of comments.

R: Next month, I’ll hold a birthday contest and choose one of my friends who wishes me happy birthday and give them a gift card.

G: But your birthday is today.

R: I’ll change it tomorrow. A monthly birthday will increase my Klout 12X the rate of a birthday only once a year.

G: More influence, more Klout.

R: More Klout, more influence.

G: Amazing how our Klout scores are always the same.

R: Our Klout scores ARE nearly the same. Amazing, isn’t it?

G: Time to check in to buy your birthday cake. 4square and Facebook Places.

R: If you have a birthday and don’t Tweet/Facebook it, you have no social media life.

G: Or Klout.

R: Influence matters.

G: Stop moving so I can take a picture of your picking up your birthday cake. Then it’s time for the party.

R: I already blogged 5 Steps to the Perfect Birthday Party.

G: Funny. I blogged Excellent Parties in 5 Easy Steps and linked yours.

Unfortunately, as RosenKlout and GuildInfluence were discussing their social media strategy to maximize facetime from RosenKlout’s monthly birthday party, they walked through a red light and directly into the path of a truck.

If someone had taken a photo of the accident and Tweeted/Facebooked it, their Klout would have skyrocketed.

Unfortunately, no one did. If it isn’t on Facebook, it isn’t official.

So no one knows what happened.  Though blogs have been written….

Bieber Biever Snow Globes

For nearly 20 years, I’ve patiently spelled my last name on the phone: B as in boy, I as in igloo, E as in egg, V as in victory, E as in egg, R as in red. Old German spellings can make regular Americans stumble because they hesitate to say “beaver” when it looks different.

Once when I was talking to an obnoxious customer support person, I spelled it: B as in brat, I as in idiot, E as in egotistical, V as in vice, E as in errors, and R as in rude. That was an experiment not to be repeated; it neither won friends nor positively influenced my customer service.

Last month, I tried a different experiment while spelling my name aloud on the phone: Biever, like Justin Bieber except it has a V in the middle instead of a B.  The order taker laughed, immediately got it, and we had a fun, friendly conversation. I’ve repeated my experiment since and found that it works with 1 criteria: the person I am talking to needs to be under the age of 40. My response when talking with a 50 year old was, “Justin WHO?” Then I went back to my old routine. With 1 exception: anyone on Twitter knows who Justin Bieber is.

I’m between that 40 and 50 cut off on popular culture, and I get the Bieber phenomenon.  I don’t listen to his music, but I know who he is. A few of those I’ve spelled my name to like his music. 

My experiment with spelling my name teaches a social media lesson.  We have ways of communicating now that we’ve had for decades. They most likely still work. But we may have done them so many times that they are now routine and don’t engender conversations with people (or potential customers) we meet.  They are like the Christmas snow globe with the pretty picture, with all the snow dust glittering on the ground.

If we take what we know and add a dash of social media modern culture in those interactions, we shake the snow globe.  I may have been buying posters of Shawn Cassidy and Leif Garrett when Justin Bieber’s parents were babies, but I can still use the social media snow globe.

My challenge to you: shake the social media snow globe and see what new opportunities present themselves to you.

Five Deadly Villains in Social Media World

“Where’s your portfolio?” Clients always ask that of commercial artists.  

Digital illustrators and retouchers like my husband, Richard Biever, gladly show their work to prospective clients. Clients then can evaluate them. One of his portfolio pieces is linked.

When you hire social media strategists, evaluate their portfolio.  How do they personally use social media? Where do you look? If someone offers to train you on social media, make sure the person uses all of the following well:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Geolocation platforms like 4Square 
  • Blogs

Check their Twitter klout rating (the higher, the better). Do people retweet and reply to their conversations? Who is in their peer to peer network?  Who do they recommend that you follow – locally and globally?

Five Villains to Beware in Social Media World:

Paranoid Protector: The Protector only posts protected tweets. Twitter is a global conversation, and that only happens if you share what you say with the world.

Bullhorn Blowhard: They blast “What are you selling” instead of “What are you doing?”  Social media is not a billboard; it’s a conversation. 

Zombie-Tweeter: They link all Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter.  If you follow a zombie and receive an auto-dm reply, avoid at all costs.

Undead Follower: They never speak, never reply, and no one’s really sure if they breathe. Social media requires a voice, and avoid the expert who never speaks up or out.

Vampires:  They beg for your blood but never offer to help you back.  Your blood – and how it can help them – is their only interest in you. Social media vampires may live forever, but no one cares because no one reads their tweets or their posts.

We can beat the social media villains. Unfollow them. Don’t friend them. Don’t promote them.

Because social media is transparent, given time, bad guys show their true colors. The villains get caught.

The good news Social Media World has more Superheroes than villains. Superheroes with truth, justice, and a good sense of humor, beat villains every time.

Your company has a unique spot in the social media world.

Seek out the Social Media Superheroes and soar around the planet, faster than a speeding tweet.

Have Phone, Will Tweet

“Just a minute,” I told a 4-H meeting as I tapped a message on my phone.

“If you would quit texting, we wouldn’t have to wait,” my 16-year-old daughter (who was running the meeting) complained.

“I’m not texting. I’m tweeting.” I explained.

That inspired me to explain what I tap on my phone during the meeting. It’s not just texting. 

My phone is my calendar, pencil, and paper.  I use it to take notes during the meeting.  If it’s during a live presentation, I’ll probably tweet those notes so I can go back to them later.  My attention span is limited, and having to focus on a talk intensely enough to absorb it and re-interpret it into 140 character tweets makes me focus better on the subject at hand.

When my daughter admonished me, I was corresponding with Robby Slaughter, author of a recent book on Failure: The Secret to Success. He gave an example of a failure game to try, which we used as recreation during our meeting.   After we did it, I was tweeting him feedback on how the game went. (It went well.)

Where could I listen to a meeting and correspond in real time with an author of a book whose idea I have just tried in a meeting with 27 students?  Twitter!

If I’m in a meeting and you need pronto information, I’ll use my phone to search for it. If we set a meeting, I’ll enter it into my calendar.  If there is only 1 copy of a handout, I’ll take a photo of it with my phone and let someone else have the paper copy.  I can take photos of the experiment or other pertinent info to either post online, email, or refer to later.

If I can’t find it on google, I’ll probably tweet out to my lifeline of hundreds of followers and ask them if they can help me find the right answer.

If I’m at a meeting and you see me punching quickly into my phone, don’t automatically assume I am zoned out, living more inside the phone than I am in the real world.  It could very well be I’m using that phone as my personal transporter, to pull the rest of the world into our meeting so we can dialogue in new ways, with new people, in ways we never imagined.

Have  phone, will tweet.

The Tweeting Working Girl (or if Tess Tweeted)

“Your hair is so big no one knows you have a brain,” I was once told in the 80’s. “You’re just like Tess McGill in Working Girl.  No one knew what she thought with all that hair.”

Tess McGill was my heroine at the time.  She read everything she could find, about business, culture, whatever. And then she saw new ways to use that information and make money. Her stock broker bosses used her ideas as their own while Tess was trapped in her working class caste.  Most of the movie is based on her machinations to rebrand herself and get her ideas taken seriously.

During the course of the movie, she pretends to be a manager and crashes a wedding to get the right people to hear her ideas.  Once the right people hear her, they listen and take note. Of course, Tess gets caught. But at the end of the movie, she is finally taken seriously, on her own merit.

Working Girl is a movie that most likely won’t be remade. Why?

Tess McGill would be on Twitter. She would share her clever ideas a single tweet at a time, often with a punch line at the end. She could tweet opportunities. 

Most importantly, she could skip past the gatekeepers who never saw past her hair and get direct access to the people in charge.  They could develop relationships with her on Twitter such that when she came up with the ingenious plan to buy radio instead of television, they would first make time to meet with her and then would listen to her ideas.

If she did pretend to be a manager, someone in Twitterworld would catch up with her and call her out.  If her stuffy boss, Katharine Parker, deigned to be on Twitter and really wrote her own Tweets, her pretentious tweets would sound like twits.

I think if Tess had been on Twitter, she would have met Jack Trainer without the subterfuge, and they would have built their own business empire.

Not as interesting a movie. But I’ll bet $ stories like it happen on Twitter every day.

Twitter offers you the chance to be what you tweet. You can be judged on the character, intellect, and humor of your thoughts and deeds.

It’s a new world just like what pioneers sought 200 years ago. And it’s just as exciting.

A Tale of 3 Audiences and a Hammer

Last week, I spoke to 170 high school students about how they can brand themselves better with social media. Message: what happens on Facebook can help or hurt you in the job market. Add good content.

This week, I showed over 50 somethings how to use Facebook. Message: use it to build relationships and promote your community.

And I attended RE Barcamp in Indianapolis, honing my own social media skills for business. Message: leverage it to add content to build your business.

3 audiences, different demographics, different reasons for using social media.  All still had the same message:

  • Be honest
  • Be positive
  • Teach
  • Delight or amuse
  • Share your toys
  • Help your friends

In each audience, I heard a few negative comments:

  • Students won’t learn anything with social media.
  • People are selfish and stupid in social media and in real life.
  • Facebook is stupid, but I have to learn to use it to see pictures of my grandkids.

I disagree with all of the above:

  • College classrooms can use Twitter as a backchannel for life conversation. Three business owners from Evansville IN and two business consultants from Washington, D.C., talked to our high school groups live, while we were presenting. Live classroom conversation with pros around the world excited students more than a traditional lecture.
  • People on social media want to do good things. They just need to see how. This month, I saw strangers offer a guitar for a paraplegic student who wanted to try to learn to play. Strangers donated meals for an anonymous family facing a medical emergency. When a young mother faced a 14 hour surgery, prayer requests spread via social media around the planet. When a local shelter for the poor needed funds, an active social media user posted requests and personally collected over $1,200 in 3 hours.
  • The older man who said he thought Facebook was stupid left my class two hours later, ready to promote community events in his own hometown.

Social media is a tool, like a hammer.  If I have a hammer, I can choose how to use it.  I can tear things down or I can build them up.

If I have a hammer, I would rather use it build a home, a tribe, a village, and a better world.

Whatever I do with that hammer will show in social media.

Will the social media mirror show you using your hammer to build a town or tear one down?

Five Verbs to Thrive with Presentation Night Live

Saturday Night Live was groundbreaking 35 years ago.  I was young but remember the chatter; everyone wondered what would happen because they performed live to a national audience.

Now, as a speaker, Twitter back-channels change everything I’ve known for the past 25 years.  Though first it scared me, I love it.  What is it?

It’s a live feed Twitter stream where members of the audience comment live, during your presentation. They share a common hashtag for conversation. You may see the conversation live on a screen while you present.

This is the biggest change for public speakers since the advent of television.  Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook first discovered its perils at SXSW in 2008, when his audience revolted via Twitter.  Wired published  an article about it, SXSW: 2008, the Year the Audience Keynoted.

 How can you survive and thrive with Presentation Night Live?

  1. Tweet. Get comfortable with Twitter.  Know how to follow hashtags. Set one for your presentation if one isn’t given. Share your Twitter handle with your audience. Have access to the Twitter conversation. Bring a device with you, view it from a screen, or designate a trusted friend to view it close to you and share information.
  2. Prepare. Prep your talk and publish the materials. Either use Prezi or Slideshare and show your stuff. 
  3. Practice. Every phrase and sentence can be tweeted. Know your stuff and do it well, and you’ve got great publicity with a large audience.
  4. Seek. Feedback. Give sample presentations to the smartest, toughest friends you have, who will tell you exactly what they think. Listen to their feedback and adjust.
  5. Engage. Listen to your audience and adjust your talk to the feedback. 

Five verbs: tweet, prepare, practice, seek, and engage. Giving a talk with a back-channel is as exciting as skiing down the tough slopes at the resort. You never know when you begin what will happen during the ride. It’s not easy. With practice, the ride can be the thrill of a lifetime.  If you crash, you can view the instant replays via hashtag and figure out how to do better next time.

There’s a learning curve to backchannels for moms like me who remember when Saturday Night Live began. It’s worth the effort.  As a speaker, it’s the new What to Prepare accessory for your Presentation ensemble.

Tragic Tweets

When I was 16, I leafed through my grandmother’s photo albums. In the trunk bottom, I opened an album of my uncle. The photo on the first page shocked me so much I set it down and cried for an hour.

I knew the story. My uncle died when he was 22, a paratrooper on leave, heading home.  His car hit a bridge embankment 3 miles from home, and he was killed instantly. My mother and her parents watched for 4 hours as they cut his body from the car.

Until that photo, I didn’t realize the horror.  A news photographer happened to stop by and take a graphic shot of the dead soldier in uniform in his car, with blood splattered everywhere. The shot was picked up by AP wires and printed in several newspapers.  My grandmother clipped the picture for the front of the album.

There was no newsworthy need for that graphic photo to be taken or printed. 

Now we see struggles between the immediate news coverage on Twitter and a family’s need for privacy.

I am grateful for real time updates on Twitter.  It’s helped me avoid traffic jams and be alert for problems.   I want to know news first.

I would hate to be in the shoes of a journalist with New Media expectations, when real time means right now.  

Now with Twitter, everyone is a journalist.  Now we can all be first to break the stories around us.

At the same time, I wonder what will be in the scrapbooks made today.  Will a mourning mother not only include a news photo but a Twitter stream of news media commentary?  Will it include screenshots of Facebook posts? Will another niece open up that scrapbook in 30 years and see graphic details that reduce her to tears?

Will that niece search Library of Congress archives and find those tweets posted in heat of the moment, from reporters and spectators? What will she read?

How do we balance real time news coverage with real life tragedies involving families whose lives can be shattered in a single moment?

How do we remember, in the impulse of the moment to post that tragedy or someone’s bad hair day that there’s a person in that photo with friends and relatives?

I have no simple answers but a final thought:

The picture we post could show the worst tragedy a family ever faces.

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Along Came a Spider – Real Time Problem Solving

Case study in how real people solve real problems faster via social media.

One week ago, I attended the Social Media Club of Evansville monthly meeting, where Robby Slaughter of BlogIndiana spoke about building business productivity with social media.  I met a new mom there, Talina, and we began to follow each other on Twitter.

Through Twitter, we learned of common ground as coffee lovers.  Then we learned we both blog, enjoy Excel, and try to be environmentally friendly parents.  She has a baby, and my kids are now teens. We commented on each other’s blogs and became friends via Facebook.

Last night, I saw her tweet she was trying to figure out what kind of spider she found in her house.  I asked her to post the picture on Facebook.  She posted it, and then I shared the photo, asking my friends who are pest control experts to ID the spider.  Within an hour, two competing local pest experts ID’d the spider.

Not only did they ID the spider – they had a civil conversation about spiders in general. By this morning, a 3rd pest pro had posted.  Among the 3 of them, they had ID’d the spider, discussed where it was usually found, assured us it was not poisonous, and given a quick way to get rid of the spider.

What did I learn on Facebook today? This varied color orb spider is large – they are usually this big in the fall.  It is an outdoor spider, usually found in soffets and on porches, spinning large webs by which it catches other insects.  Sometimes they eat so much when they fall to the ground, they are so full they “burst” on impact.

Oh – & what did I learn about social media? Last week, Robby Slaughter asked for a good definition of social media.  I said it’s a tool by which real people build and enhance relationships in the real world. 

Along came a spider and sat down beside her and proved the point.

This could be a case study in how companies on Twitter can be first responders to potential customers. 

But that is another blog altogether…

Is Your Social Media Network Disaster Ready?

My grandparents survived the worst tornado in American history on March 18, 1925, when a mile-wide tornado ripped a 219 mile path of destruction across the Midwest, killing 695 people and destroying 15,000 homes.  It took days to learn who had lived or died.

When an F3 tornado struck Evansville on Sunday, November 6, 2005, killing 25 people, I thought of “The Tornado.”  Thank God we had cell phones and Internet access.

Evansville immediately responded.  Brad Gair of FEMA commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a community of people come out so quickly to help each other. All communities come together after a disaster, but this one is exceptional.”  

Every church and group sought ways to help. More people wanted to help than there were means for them to do so.

I was part of a homeschool network with an email list of over 200 families in 3 states.  A Yahoo group was our social network of choice; 5 years ago, grownups avoided Facebook.

For 2 weeks, our community turned its email list into Info Central.  Each of our families connected with its own network of faith and family, and we could share information quickly.  One mom was asked one evening to prep 500 sack lunches for relief workers.  Within 2 hours, we had a church kitchen and called for volunteers/donations.  The next morning, food poured in along with volunteers.  We prepped and packed 500 lunches for the Red Cross by 10 a.m.

With our network, we got information before it hit the news.  A dad told us who to call to get listed as a volunteer.  Once areas opened, we used our list to post requests for basic needs.  If someone heard of an elderly couple with a front  yard full of trees to be cleared, we posted it, and someone helped.  I think every call for help we heard was met.

What we did by email in 2005 was an early form of what Twitter and Facebook do today.  In future disasters, I foresee mobile stations arriving to help people charge smartphones and provide emergency wi-fi access for victims.

Facebook can be more than Farmville.  It is a vital link in disaster preparedness.  

Is your social network ready for the next disaster?

(Tornado photo courtesy of Stock Xchng.)

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