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How To Become A Foursquare Mayor (With A Little Help)

When Will I Be Mayor Helps You Set Mayoral Goals!I’ve been a big fan of Foursquare for some time, going as far as to call it the “next” social network way back in October 2009.  For those of you that enjoy Foursquare as much as I do, I’m sure you’ve often checked into a place and thought (or even complained out loud), “I check in here all the time, how many more check ins until I’m mayor?”  Wonder no more.

I just checked out a new site called  appropriately, When Will I Be Mayor?  The premise is pretty simple and it does exactly what it states in the title, it helps you predict how many more check-ins you need to (potentially) become mayor of a venue.  It’s easy enough to use, just sign up for an account then log in using Foursquare OAuth, and you’re in! It will do a lot of API calls then give you a list of venues you’ve been checking in to and tell you approximately how many more check-ins you need to gain mayorship! It appears that the assumption is that the person you are trying to de-mayor (is that a word?) doesn’t check in any more times, and they will, so adjust accordingly.

If nothing else, the site is fun and adds another layer to the already popular Foursquare service.  I’m a Foursquare purist and think that the best way to earn a mayorship is to legitimately check in when you frequent a particular place, so I’m not really going to watch this diligently, but it does give me something to aim for.  Watch out, KyleM80 will be mine some day!

Give the service a shot and let me know what you think.  You can also keep up with their blog here, and naturally can follow them on Twitter here.

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Why Facebook Now Controls The Internet

Facebook Controls Internet with Open Graph Protocol All Your Base Are Belong To UsSince their announcements at F8 about Open Graph Protocol (OGP), I’ve been following Facebook far more closely that I normally do.  Why? From the moment I watched the videos about what OGP does, I knew that the way the internet works will be changed forever.  Today I saw something that confirms that Facebook now controls the internet. No, I’m not saying that to be sensational or dramatic, I believe it to be true…a shift has occurred with OGP that will forever change how brands and consumers interact, and Facebook owns it all.  How do I know? Because long time rival Google is already embracing Facebook’s new protocol.

More about that in a moment. But first, if you are not familiar with what Facebook has done, let me give you a very brief overview.

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11 Signs You Are An Old School Twitter User

Although I wasn’t at the infamous SXSW that saw the start of the whole mob, nor did I see Jack’s first tweet, I’ve been around long enough to feel like the old man in the Twitter neighborhood.  I know many of you feel the same way.  So here, submitted for your approval, is my list of how you know you’ve been around the digital neighborhood for a while.

You know you’re an old-school Twitter user if…

  1. You still type “summize.com” in your browser to get to the Twitter Search page
  2. You’ve felt ecstatic about Twitter being down less than half the day
  3. You had to explain what a “tweet” was…at least 3 times a day
  4. You remember when Kevin Rose had the most followers on Twitter, and you couldn’t believe that anybody could have over 30,000!
  5. You know that the first big follower race was not between Ashton Kutcher and CNN, but Kevin Rose and Barack Obama!
  6. You used to use the “TRACK” feature with Twitter via SMS to find out who mentioned you
  7. You remember the nightly news when they used an anchor’s title, not their Twitter name
  8. You referred to somebody in terms of Milliscobles
  9. You happen to know that the original Twitter bird was stock art (seen below), and Twitter paid less than the price of a pizza to acquire it
  10. When you heard the news that Oprah was going to talk about Twitter,you just knew that the service had jumped the shark
  11. You remember the day you heard the Twitter whale art was named “Failwhale

I could go on and on…but those are the first 10 that come to mind.  What would you add? Leave a comment, or ping me on Twitter with your sweetest old school Twitter memory.

Happy Foursquare Day (And How To Get Your Badge)

Foursquare Day Today! #4sqdayIt’s Foursquare day, what are you going to do to celebrate? No, not the super awesome kids’ game that you played when you were younger, but rather an ad hoc celebration of the geo-location social media platform.

If you aren’t familiar with Foursquare, it’s a service that sprung up last year and has really hit the scene (at least the geek/tech scene) with fervor this year.  I’ve been a fan of it for some time, going as far as to call it the “next” social network way back in October 2009. So today is a day of virtual celebration for all of the mayors, checker-inners and social media geeks, it’s April 16th! (Get it? Four squared is 16….4/16…..)

There are a few things that make today that special day, but one of them is a new badge, just for this occasion.  Today only, when you check in to your favorite local haunt, make sure you give a shout out to Foursquare Day and include the hashtag #4sqday…you’ll be rewarded by unlocking the cool new badge that tells the world you are an uber-geek.

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Working With Influencers and Enthusiasts For Your Brand

As somebody that develops strategy for large corporate brands, I often work with different types of brand advocates in various social media channels.  A common tactic of many marketers and PR professionals is to try to go after “influencers” to get them to talk about their product.  Sometimes these influencers are individuals, sometimes they are communities, but a common denominator is that they have substantial audience sizes. The typical way of approaching these people or groups is to ship them a sample of your product and include a note that says something like, “Hope you enjoy this, please blog about it”.  I think this is a good shotgun approach to communities, it’s a good step up from a press release and it gets your product information out to a lot of people very quickly.  For individuals, I think we have to look at a more measured and personal approach.

Influencers and Enthusiasts in Social MediaTo truly be effective in social media with influencers, I think you need to build a relationship, not ship a press package. You also have to recognize and understand the different groups that exist in social media, so you know how to develop and target brand programs and exposure.  In case you fear that I’m starting to sound a little too professional and polished in this approach, I submit for your approval a hand drawn diagram in the picture to the left.  Fancy, isn’t it? I put this beauty up on our office white board this morning while talking through the concept with a client.

Before we discuss what to do with these various groups, let’s start by defining them.

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Renewing The Line Between Public And Private

When Is Public Info TOO Public?I’ve been thinking about the ever-increasing blurry line between public and private lives now that social media is mainstream.  I’ve personally been opening myself up to the world for about a decade; I started blogging by developing my own (very basic) blogging platform before the term “blog” was popular…and I haven’t looked back since then.

There have been a couple of times that I was alarmed by what people are capable of thinking or doing.  A few years ago I started getting anonymous comments on various videos of my children, asking me to pose them in certain ways or have them do certain things.  Naturally I deleted all traces of the videos online (yes it is possible) and became very aware of what I was posting after that.  Although I was always careful to never name them or reveal the location of my children even before this incident, I became very protective after that and have been quite conscious of what I would and would not publish.  Over the years I have become more widely known because of my marketing and social media work, and although I’m certainly a small fish in a big pond, I do have a lot of connections with people that I’ve never met face to face.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my social media life.  I’ve turned so many of my digital-first relationships into real-life relationships, and I love social media and the way it connects the world. But, and there is always a but…

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Social Media 2010 Predictions

I really do try to stay away from writing “prediction” posts…most of the time you’re not going to be right, and it’s really easy for people to point out what you were wrong about. That said, I’m a bit of a masochist at times so I’m going to post this up here on the first day of 2010 because I think this year will reveal significant evolution in social media. If you are in the field either professionally or as a casual but interested observer I would love to know what you think the next 52 weeks will hold for this new medium of communication.

  1. Agencies will gobble up consultants. This is one of the biggest game changers I think, because a lot of the talent that is freelance now will be on payroll for an agency.  I already saw this starting in 2009 with amazing folks like James Whatley moving to 1000heads and Dave Armano going to Edelmen.  Heck, I even joined forces with M80 and I’m incredibly happy to be there. This change is going to be driven by three forces I think….

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6 Things You Need To Know About Running A Social Media Program: The Product

222-facebookThis is part 2 of 6 in the series “6 Things You Need to Know About Running A Social Media Program”. You can read part 1 “The Client” here, it has a full introduction.

I’ve created this list of “things you must know” mostly based upon very positive experiences I’ve had, but also from negative ones…things that I’ve either experienced myself or seen others do. This isn’t a tactical post, I think I write plenty of those. Instead, this is my advice to those that are going to lend their expertise to others, and hopefully by checking these off you will avoid some common mistakes that often result in unmet expectations, from one side or the other…or both.

Know The Product

I think this is the single biggest mistake that I see over and over and over again…lack of product knowledge when you are doing work for somebody else.You may be running a campaign for a durable good or a service. Sometimes it’s just brand awareness so there is not one thing you are pointing to, just the brand. No matter what it is, if you don’t know the ins and outs of what you will be marketing you are doing your client, their customers and yourself a huge disservice. I’ve been invited in to too many conversations that go something like this:

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6 Things You Need To Know About Running A Social Media Program: The Client

111-social networksPart 1 of 6

Over the years I’ve run a lot of social media programs, sometimes for companies or services that I own or manage, sometimes for organizations that have hired me to consult or drive their efforts in the various online communities.  This article is primarily aimed at those that do the latter, although several points can apply to the former.  That is to say, if you are a consultant or work at an agency whose primary focus is running social programs for somebody else, I’m writing this for you.

I’ve created this list of “things you must know” mostly based upon very positive experiences I’ve had, but also from negative ones…things that I’ve either experienced myself or seen others do.  This isn’t a tactical post, I think I write plenty of those.  Instead, this is my advice to those that are going to lend their expertise to others, and hopefully by checking these off you will avoid some common mistakes that often result in unmet expectations, from one side or the other…or both.

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Embrace The Crowd Or Die

TowerRecordsIf I were to ask you what social media is, you would probably pause for a moment then give me a pretty decent description of user generated material; you would use words like listen, engage and share…and more than likely you would mention (or at least think of) Facebook and/or Twitter.  Do you think it would be difficult to describe social media without these two services? Although social media is so much larger than any one company, there is no doubt that many companies make up a critical portion of this ever growing, ever changing landscape.

Imagine then what social media would be like if Facebook decided to keep their community confined to college students only.  What if Twitter really did make you answer the question “what are you doing?” and excluded external links, retweets and other crowd-sourced behavior? The reason that social media is the way is it today is because Twitter and Facebook, along with countless other services, adopted to the powerful voice of the crowd. They didn’t let pride or “what they knew to be true” hold them back from making smart, and undoubtedly difficult, business decisions.  Embracing the crowd is always challenging, it means you lose a certain amount of control…and to many that is a scary proposition.

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