‘Ello – Bye Bye Baby??

unsmiley

No, I am not leaving..  but in thinking back to the days of the Twitter Fail Whale…   wondering what we will all call the Inevitable Ello outages as they grow-  ByeBye Baby images anyone??

Ello Fail

‘Ello love

There are so many haters out there ranting on Ello right now, I thought I would do a short list of the things I am loving about it.

1.  New people, new discoveries, new creative inspiration. Sure, it is always nice to play with people you know in a new playground, but don’t you go to parties to meet new people? Examples of things I never would have found on my existing digital networks:

  1.  https://soundcloud.com/solarheavy/ellie-goulding-remix ( been background grooving all morning)
  2.  http://www.amazon.com/The-Black-Deep-Sea-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00NLWVMA6/ref=zg_bsnr_886086_4#  ( downloaded it to read on the plane tomorrow)
  3. http://food.nationalgeographic.com/  ( OMG. just OMG.. barely started  to dig through this)
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6aV-fUnb1M ( a little political thought and action)
  5. https://ello.co/tnpuig ( food porn)
  6. http://www.victorbezrukov.com/ ( I have a passion for black and white photography)
  7. http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-article/2013/05/we-have-always-fought-challenging-the-women-cattle-and-slaves-narrative-by-kameron-hurley/ ( nicely written thought piece)
  8. https://ello.co/broessel/post/2UwRH3uBL3f2GRZu19nhLg ( poem for your day)
  9. https://dribbble.com/shots/1743529-Spiky-lines ( new artist)
  10. http://scholarsandrogues.com/2014/09/28/peter-handke-the-nobel-prize-and-the-weight-of-the-world/ ( the kind of reading I need to do more of… slow down and take time to really think)

And that is just before lunch.

The great thrill of a new network? Finding new people, new creations, new thoughts, new inspiration, new ideas.  Stop worrying about how to find what you already new and make a little noise, a little splash.  Your friends will find you..

Ello and thoughts on how art in the digital world have evolved.

When I first started on Twitter ( nearly 8 years ago), people poked fun at it for being a little navel gazing. Most of the folks tweet

ing were IT geeks, commenting on Twitter itself. That eventually changed, but it was true of most new online experiments that the early adopters werethe geeks grooving on the tech itself.
Back then, a lot of artists had a love/hate relationship with the net.  Artists were blogging, creating websites, hanging on LJ but also cursing the tech. Bandwidth was still not great and the dreams they had to share were a challenge to produce on the web. There were of course, many great websites pushing design and interaction boundaries but there were also lots of “still” galleries.
When G+ launched, there was an early influx of artists, especially photographers. To this day, some of the most vibrant virtual communities of photographers exists on G+. When I get the cycles( not often enough) I lurk and dream and become inspired.  By this point artists had become active all over the net and social media and while there were a lot of  IT geeks who were early adopters, there were also lots of creative folks ( artists, scientists, poets and storytellers) who flocked to a new tech looking for ways to connect, share their creations and become inspired.
And now, there is ello.
Ello is still in Beta. so I am not going to comment on bugs or missing features or

anything else tech related. Let’s give that 6 more months, But what I am revelling in is the fact that so many of the early adopters are artists. Not just photographers, whose digital works are reasonably easy to share on the net, but sculptors,painters, writers, journalists, filmographers, furniture makers, and workers in all media sharing their dreams and creations.  Yes, it is buggy and sometimes awkward, give them  a chance to build out an app. I  will continue to hang out there, enjoying the creative buzz.
If you check it out, I am @roguepuppet there, stop by and say ‘ello.

5 Tips for Businesses New to Social Media // In which, I step on my Social Media Assumptions and give Small Business owners a bit of advice…

Every once in a while, I am reminded what an incredible geek I am.

When you swim in the geek every day, it is so easy to forget that terms like QR Code, Foursquare, G+, Podcasting, mp3,twitter,square, facebook page creation, blogging and video conferencing ( to name just a few) are either complete greek or else sound frighteningly technically hard to do.

I believe it is important for businesses to be involved in their neighborhood in ways that improve the neighborhood. Since part of what I do is IT and Social Media Consulting, my neighborhood is both digital and physical, so here is a little give back – 5 quick tips about using Social Media for Business.

1) Social Media – all digital interactions that involve people to people communication and conversation. This happens in many places (or platforms) on the internet- Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa , Google+, Quora, Empire Avenue, Foursquare are just a few you might hear people talking about. In the digital world, this is the same as the beauty shop/barbershop chat, the back fence or front stoop chat, the “after church coffee” chat or a postcard from someone traveling that comes back home. The same sorts of things happen in both places- people share news, movie reviews, baby pictures,travel pictures, product and business recommendations,or insights and opinions on politics, economics, and philosophy ( to name just a few). Just like in real life, there are people you trust and love, people who gossip, people you respect, people who are blowhards and people you avoid. Remember- Social Media is conversation and engagement- it is the online way to spread word of mouth advertising.

2) Facebook– one of the current leading platforms ( or places) for social media exchanges, although it is not always loved by the people who use it ( ask me why and I can post more). Most of you probably have a Facebook Account. If you have a lively Facebook community near your brick and mortar, or you sell online and ship product, your Business should have a Facebook page as well. This is frighteningly easy to do. Simply go to your home page, click on “pages” in the left menu and then click on the “create a page” button that shows up on the top of the page. Warning- just having a page is no good at all, unless you post to it, check on it, respond to people on it and make connections with it. One of the easiest ways to do this is to go to your page, then click on the “use facebook as page” option on the right. Now go forth in Facebook land. Like other pages that are strategic connections, comment on other people’s things, be a lively and contributing presence and people will stumble across your page. [There is, obviously, tons more to be said about Facebook- you can contact me as a contractor if you want the full scoop or more hand holding]

3) Twitter– another social media platform, where the things you share are limited to 140 characters, but can be links to other things ( like youtube videos, pictures, blog posts, etc..). The nice thing about Twitter for businesses is that it is very easy to search and find people interested in the things you do, to “follow” them ( see the things they post) and respond back to start conversations. Twitter is all about conversations. This is NOT the place to broadcast only links to your press releases, details about your latest specials or your latest product releases. Those things are fine to include in the things you share, but remember this is a conversation- no onne likes listening to someone who only talks about themselves.

 

4) QR Codes. These are those funny looking square barcodes ( known as 2D or Matrix barcodes) that you are starting to see all around town. Big businesses and manufacturing have been using 2D barcodes for many years because they can hold more information than a regular barcode. Then someone got smart and turned them into a QR ( Quick Response)code that can used to show on the spot information. All phones that have a camera and run apps can get a free barcode scanner application ( most come already installed) that can be used to scan the QR Code and display the information. This information might be a link to a web page ( URL), some text( offer a discount or special sales promo), a link to other online services ( maps, Foursquare, youtube, yelp, etc..), contact information, a phone number, or to send an SMS (to your phone). If you have one of those phones, you can try this one and see what displays on your phone.

5) FourSquare. ( also known as 4Square). As a personal service, it has lovers and haters. Some people love to “check in” and broadcast all over the internet where they are and what they are doing and some people hate it.  But as long as there are lovers, becoming a place that people can check into makes good sense.  When users check in, they share that information with all their friends online. This means lots of other people are seeing them come to your business.  You also have the ability to offer specials through Fourquare, and when users check in anywhere, they see a list of all the specials nearby, potentially reminding them to come to your address as well.  You do not have to personally use the service, but you do have to have an account and log in at your business to make it a place. You  want to create an account and search to see if anyone has already added your place. If not, go to the store, log into foursquare and add the venue. Then go to your computer, find your new place and “claim this venue”.  Foursquare requires verification, which can be done via phone or email and then does a lot of hand holding once you tell it you want to claim a venue and you are off and running.

Hopefully those first 5 tips give you something to think about and act on and let you get started in Social Media for your business.

Oh what a tangled web we weave….

In the complicated web of social media sites and networks, you have to navigate carefully.

Lacking a great centralized identication/contact/group/interest management system that interfaces will all of my social networks ( anyone? please??), I did a lot of my separation via  the networks themselves.

  • LinkedIn? Strictly professional. 
  • Facebook? Strictly family and real life friends ( who else wants to see silly updates about my kids and the gardens)
  • Twitter? some odd place inbetween– mostly for my geeky friends/virtual friends and contacts and people with whom I am mostly just unreserved me. 
  • LastFM? Pandora? ( and some older, now defunct ones…)  the musical me. 
  • Foursquare?GoWalla? The public, tourist me
  • GetGlue? Media Maven me 
  • This Blog? Geeky, parenting, gardening me
  • Diaspora? undefined, testing…
  • ( oh and I just added pinterest.. and there are  tumblr,posterous and startupli.st as well….
My user name on Twitter, LastfM, Pandora, 4Square, GetGlue, etc.. is purposefully the same. It is easy to cross reference and find me. If you are interested  in all the same things that I am, you might follow or track me on multiple networks. But if you could care less about media recommendations, etc..  you probably don’t hang out on GetGlue and I try not to clutter my other streams with that ( except for FreeMusic Finds Tuesdays, which I share out on Twitter and sometimes FB). 
I do NOT cross post things between Twitter and Facebook. I am a family oddity, most of the people connected to me on FB are fairly non-geeky, so my Twitter posts would bore or confuse them.  I rarely link this blog on FB, it always goes to Twitter. My EDS blog goes to FB and rarely to Twitter. 
It was a very clean system( if somewhat complicated). Then life happened.  I connected with a whole bunch of EDS folks on Twitter, who wants links to that blog there.  The more active I become in the (local) Indy entrepreneur circles, the more real life people request Facebook Connections and now I have a bunch of geeky folks connected to me on Facebook as well.  Acting as Social Media Director for the Ft Wayne Regional Maker Faire is also connecting me to new people in new ways on Facebook. Then, of course, there is Empire Avenue that connects Twitter and Facebook and Blog streams in one place.  Suddenly the Twitter=Geeky, Facebook=non geeky division is very blurry.  I am building groups and using group restrictions for some of my posts, but honestly, it is awkward and there are too many people who belong to more than one group. 
The “aspect” system on Join Diaspora is a little cleaner, but the audience is not there… and might make it there and might not.  I am still searching for the best solution… how do you manage all of your alter identities on the web?

Life as a Maker

The philosophy of living life as a maker is one we strongly embrace. Our house is filled with workspaces, tools, odd bits and pieces and a lot of creative/experimental freedom.  Our making happens in the yard, in the garden, in the kitchen, in the shop and in the office ( and most rooms in between). If you page through this blog, you will find many examples and samples. Everything from forge work, to gardening/canning, to fire play.

The fact that this conviction is core to our beliefs has driven me to my latest endeavor.

You may have heard there is a MakerFaire coming to Indiana Oct 1-2 this year. I am so excited about the possibilities in this, and so determined to make it successful, that I have volunteered as their Director of Social Media for the event.

I have launched a Facebook page for TekVenture ( the sponsors) and there will be lots of juicy maker information and inspirations there. We will also be starting some Maker conversations. Watch soon for this to grow over into Twitter, EmpireAve and other Social Venues. I am looking forward to reaching out to other regional makers and getting everyone else as fired up as I am. So get over to Facebook, like the page and get in on the discussion soon.

Twitter Dream or TwitterMare?

The flow of information over on Twitter has become a raging torrent these days. This is not a bad thing. I love diving in and out of the information flow,playing tag with bits and pieces of conversations and news blurbs. As an information consumer, this pattern of Twitter usage feels comfortable and is not overwhelming in the least. I follow a little over a thousand people and for the most part just use the standard web interface.

From an information dissemination point of view, this becomes problematic. Although I have more than a thousand followers, no single tweet gets seen by all of my followers. With people dipping in and out of the river, only DMs or @s are persistent and will be seen by followers across time – other tweets flow past. To paraphrase Heraclitus , “you can not read the same Twitterstream twice”.

When I am asking a casual question such as “what is a famous brand of rootbeer“, or “ please recommend a web development company for non-profits“, then I am likely to get a small handful of answers and solve my dilemma. I do not need to reach all of my followers at once to get the information I need.

But if I am trying to use Twitter as a marketing tool for an event or a project, the number of my fllowers who will see ( and potentially re-tweet) my otice is small at any given point in time. Add to this the concept of twitter groups becoming more common, and how long before we see a mass Twitter tol that is a Marketer’s dream? More importantly, wil this tool be useful for the twitter masses as well, or will it become a twitterMare?
Here is the vision:
Log into a web page ( or use a desktop client) set up and config your groups.
Type in the 140 characters ( or less) of your message.
Select the group and click “updateGroup”
The twitter mass mailer will then auto @ your message to each of the members of the group. ( up to some groups size limit, due to API limitations…)

Do you see this as a potentially useful tool, or the next Magpie Tweetmare ? Tell me what you think.

Twitter is not a Party

In a previous post, I was using the analogy of a party to describe different social media sites. But Twitter(and FriendFeed)is no party.
That does not meant that they are work. The difference is that where most social media sites are defined by the content shared by the people who gather there and the way(s) in which they interact, Twitter (and FriendFeed ( last time in parenthesis.. just imply it from now on, ok??)) is a framework for interaction.
Twitter has thousands of little (and big) parties all happening at once, with just a enough of a dimensional shift to keep them from colliding, but not adverse to the occasional inter dimensional tesseract. On Twitter, at any one point in time, you will find business meetings, creative collaborations, Q&A, games, help sessions, therapy, networking,old friends, new friends and flirtations. You can participate in as many ( or as few) of those interaction types as you like. There is NO “right way” to behave on Twitter.
Yes, there are business deals on Facebook and yes, there are even some old friends hooking up on LinkedIn. But those are the outliers, the people bucking the unspoken social consensus of why those sites exist.
On Twitter? There is no consensus for the raison d’etre for the twitterverse. Stop worrying about if you are using it right or wrong, find your way, create something new and make it fit your needs. The only caution I will give you is to know your audience and expect some push back and resistance to some of the things you try. That is fine. We all have personal tastes and preferences. That is part of what makes Twitter an interesting place. Personally? I am not in favor of inline advertising tweets like Magpie. My choice. I am not going to tell you are you not allowed, or you are “doing Twitter wrong” if you choose to participate. Maybe you have a group of people who really like it. I can un-follow those whose tweets I do not enjoy. I can not keep them off of Twitter.
People will try to tell you there is a “right ratio” of following to followers, or that if you follow too many people, you are “not true to the spirit of Twitter”. Balderdash, I say. Use the ratios that work for you, choose compatriots who agree. Feel free to express an opinion about how you like it and why, but don’t try to tell everyone else they are wrong if they are different or try to insist that they be like you.
My current pet peeve is tweeple who insist that you can not be friends with more than 25 ( or 50, or 100, or 501…) people. Thus, if you are following “too many” people, you are breaking “the rules”. I say they are right, everyone has a limit to how many real friends they can maintain. But they are wrong about following on Twitter and they just don’t get it. Not everyone I am following is my friend. Some of the “people” I am following are news feeds. I don’t interact (much, I do occasionally correct a news feed)with those tweeps. Some of the tweeps I am following just amuse me. They are not friends, I hardly ever respond.. but they make me smile. Some of the folks I follow are those with interests or hobbies that overlap mine. I do not interact with all of their posts and I have no idea how many kids they have, or what they had for dinner. I read through for the references to the interest we share and exchange information with them on that one topic. Sometimes the relationships grown from there, but not always. Some of the amazing people I follow have become friends. We chat, we DM, we interact off and on all day long. None of those are the right or the wrong way to use Twitter. You probably have three others that I did not list. Those are all OK, as well.
Tweet as much as you like about “correct following ratios”, it is a free twitterverse. It will gain you like minded followers, and others who disagree will drift away and congregate elsewhere. This is the freedom that the Twitter infrastructure provides.
As recently as this past summer, there were no games on Twitter. Now I see several per day. Maybe you like them, maybe you hate them. Choose the folks you follow accordingly. Maybe you have the next great idea for the evolution of the Twitter game show.
How will you innovate Twitter to help it evolve to the next undreamed application?

The Social Media Party Line

I was recently explaining to someone on Twitter that to me, social media sites are like parties. And like parties, they all have Dress codes, behavioral expectations and unwritten rules. Since every social media site is a gathering of people, this seemed like the world’s most natural analogy. I was shocked when a Google search turned up analogies to sports, ice cream flavors and shopping malls- but very few to parties. Since this does not seem to be the millionth shot at explained what to expect on other social media sites, here is my personal take on social media sites you might encounter.

Facebook: Facebook is the neighborhood block party/summer barbecue. Dress is informal, interactions are casual and it is perfectly fine to walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself. Just like in any neighborhood, this behavior might get you ignored in some cases, but in most cases it is a great way to meet new people. It is fine to have a couple of drinks, but don’t get stupidly drunk and don’t hit on your neighbor’s wife. Remember that this is a family friendly gathering, and there will be games. You are not required to play the games, but if you hang out here, expect to get invited and don’t get all annoyed about it. If you don’t want to get invited to play, don’t come to the party.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an after hours business cocktail party. Dress is still coat and tie, Business casual at the very least. Come, exchange business cards, make deals but don’t relentlessly cruise the room or you will be blackballed from future events. Don’t walk in with get rich quick schemes and scams. Come to the party with something to offer, contributions to make and have on your professional face. Carry a drink with you, but sip- don’t drink and don’t get all silly. This is not the office Christmas party and people are not going to forgive you for getting drunk, climbing on the Xerox and making copies of your unmentionables as gifts for your friends.

MySpace: My space is the after concert backstage blowout bash. The energy is screaming high, music and alcohol and antics flow fast and furious. Glitz and noise are the attention getters and it is perfectly acceptable for you to walk up to stranger with a bottle of bourbon in one hand and give them a little goose with the other. You will meet tons of people, but they may not remember you in the morning. Unfortunately, people are taking pictures and you might not want them to remember you that way tomorrow. MySpace is sometimes most useful from a slight distance, where you can still share and experience the music without getting caught up in the drama.

Tribe: Tribe is the party put together by that odd lady around the corner who makes glass ornaments, your aunt Alice, who is sure she was abducted by aliens and your second cousin Todd who builds way cool robots. You are never sure what to expect, or who is going to show up- but you are sure the people you meet will either be interesting or completely whacked. Unfortunately, the music and food here are not what they used to be and the annual event seems to be shrinking. Because the party sponsors are open minded and free spirited, there are some odd forward types who will hit on you, but if you ask nicely they go away and are harmless. That killer robot in the corner keeps the scary ones away.

Vox: Vox is a local poetry reading party. The levels of interaction are low, but the quality of entertainment is generally high. You will find intellectuals, inner thinkers and lascivious lovers of all kinds here. Come, soak it up and hopefully come back next time with a poem or two of your own.

LiveJournal: LJ is like a weekly book club, a bi weekly coffee clatch or whatever other party brings to mind a group of intimate friends who get together frequently. The support and love is great, people speak their mind confidently on many subject, but the drama levels can get high.

Last.Fm: This is the monthly “new music find” party for the college music lovers club. Come, share what you are listening to and listen to what others bring to the party. Make friends with folks who share interests, but understand these are going to be music club friends, they are unlikely to morph into the friends you go shopping with or walk in the mountains with. When the party is over, everyone packs up and goes home to their “real friends”.

Bebo: Bebo is a gathering of friends at your local corner pub. A bit of gossip, a lot of music and sharing, very reserved and not obnoxious at all. In an understated way, it is a comfortable place to hang out, even if you don’t know anyone at all.

iMeem: iMeem is a local Battle of the Bands party. You never know who is going to randomly bump into you or talk to you and the music ranges from amazing to “who let them in here”. Getting silly and flirting isn’t the point. If you did not come for the music, you should not have come.

Amiestreet: Amiestreet is the musical equivalent of the opening party of the SunDance Film Festival. You come here to talk and find music, not dates. But the mood is light and friendly. You will find winning small independent artists as well as famous folks showing off their creative efforts. But while at the party, they are all just folks and you can walk up to and converse with the artists, even if you do not know them personally at all.

And then there are Twitter, Friendfeed, and Jaiku. I was going to not mention them at all, but figured the comment storm would overwhelm.. so suffice it to say, I am saving them for the next post.

What other social media sites do you frequent? What sort of party will someone find at your favorite site?

old school does not rule

Tonight I got contacted by an old friend whose wife makes hand crafted jewelry and is trying to sell it online. “How do I get in the top of the Google search results?” I explained the basics about how Google ranks sites and pointed them to the concept of Search Engine Optimization. But when I tried to give them my real advice, I hit a brick wall.
“Do the easy SEO stuff, but I would not waste a lot of time trying to game the system. With handcrafted articles, you would do better to have her focus on some social media sites, become active and develop a network of people who know her, like her art and spread the link with their friends”.
I got a blank silence on the other end of the phone. “So I could use a really obscure keyword and then use it to test when the Google spider has revisited the site and see what changes with my rank, right?”.
We went back and forth like this for several rounds, slight variation on the words, but the same underlying meaning. No matter what I said, he was convinced that the only way to be successful was to get highly ranked on Google.
I finally caved. “You could always pay to have your site in the top listing….”
“Yeah, I think that is a little beyond what we want to do.”
I did not have the heart to tell him that Adwords was not necessarily as expensive as he thought.
“well, I wish you luck and hope some of this was useful…”

How do you convince people of the value of social media without them living it first hand??