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5 Social Media Gifts I Want From Santa

Matt Singley and Santa Clause Christmas 2010

All I want for Christmas (besides this creepy photo) is on my Social Media wish list

The holidays are upon us! Some celebrate Hanukkah, some celebrate Solstice, some celebrate Christmas. No matter your preference, I think we can all agree it’s a great time to reflect on the year behind us, be thankful for what we have today, and look to next year with hope and expectations.  Given the spirit of the season, I’ve put together a little list of things that I’ve asked Santa Clause for this year…in social media.  It’s a crazy list for sure, but if my 5 year old son can ask for a trip to the moon (and expect it to happen) I can dream big too!  I’m going to put out a plate of extra-special cookies and hope that ol’ Saint Nick brings me…

  • Hyperlinks within Tweets. Can you imagine having an extra 20 spaces or so (that’s what a typical bit.ly link takes up) to say whatever you want? Instead of a tweet looking like this: “Check out this post I wrote about the upcoming Facebook Page Admin Controls and let me know what you are looking fwd to http://bit.ly/g7B3Zc” (exactly 140 characters) it would look like this: “Check out this post I wrote about the upcoming Facebook Page Admin Controls and let me know what you are looking fwd to the very most y’all!” (still 140 characters but with more room to chat!)
  • Robust Admin Controls for Facebook Pages. I saw a sneak peak of them a while back when Facebook accidentally rolled out some new changes (you can see what I saw here) and it was definitely a step in the right direction.  Still, I would like better Insights (analytics) and the ability to ban users from a page without just flagging them.  I don’t want to wait for somebody at Facebook to *maybe* get around to it at some point. I get REALLY tired of the “first” and “gay” comments that go up on large pages all the time, but I have no tolerance for users that use hate language, attack individuals, constantly swear or link to porn
  • Overlay for YouTube videos. No, not just annotations, I want to be able to overlay the videos with graphic images.  You know…put a floating logo in the bottom corner (clickable of course), insert a graphic in the background…neat things like that. Sure, I can do this in a video editor then upload, but I would like to use full controls within YouTube proper so I can make cool SWF commands happen
  • Lists for friends in Foursquare. I treat Foursquare in a similar way as Twitter but with slightly tighter control.  Knowing that, I have a lot of “friends” on Foursquare that I would like to break into smaller groups so I can check on them in a more controlled and manageable way.  Kind of like Twitter Lists, but for Foursquare.  Foursquare Lists, anyone?
  • Dynamic backgrounds on Twitter. Everything else with Twitter has advanced over time…why not the backgrounds? Since the redesign, putting together a nice background (within the whopping 40 pixels on the left for people that view the page on a 1024×768 screen) has been a challenge to say the least.  Instead of outdated CSS and a static image I would love some basic HTML function so I could put up links to my other pages

We’ll see if I’ve been naughty or nice, I’m hoping to get these simple gifts under the virtual Christmas tree this year.  As you head into the weekend (hopefully with loved ones), I will leave you with a paraphrase of a famous work:

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And wrote up the meta tags, then turned with a jerk,

And laying his mouse aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his keyboard, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all coded like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he uploaded out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

How To: Use The New Tweet Button

<–See that little button right there? Click it. Go ahead…give it a try.

What should have happened is that a new window popped open prompting you to tweet out this article to your followers, which you of course did, right? You didn’t? Okay, one more try. Push the button, then click the “tweet” button in the new window.

Good job.

The new Tweet Button from Twitter is designed to replace the very popular TweetMeme button.

What you just experienced was the new Twitter button that is designed to take the place of the TweetMeme button that everybody has been using up to this point.  As you can see, I’m now using both…I’ll probably phase out TweetMeme when this takes over and people know what they are looking for.

Using this new Twitter button on your blog or site is actually pretty easy.  Go to the official Tweet Button page and go through three very easy steps

  1. Select your style of button and then customize it if you want. The button selection is very basic, it’s a matter of picking which style visually flows with your site the best. I really like the customization features, you can let it pull text from the title of the page, or enter your own text.  Get creative with this.  Nice options for different languages as well, although I’m not sure that allowing URLs that are different from the page being tweeted is a good idea…too much bait and switch to be had here
  2. Recommend people to follow. I like this! It goes beyond just mentioning the person that wrote the article and lets you put in another name and description of how they are related.  Pretty cool, great for encouraging follows.
  3. Grab the code! This show you what your tweet button will look like, and provides the code for an easy copy/paste.  Here’s what I like about this: it’s kind of a stab at the premise of Facebook’s Open Graph in that you can put this code on any website.  Seriously, it’s not just blogs…try it out! This code is super portable and can potentially drive a lot of tweet awareness about your site.

I really like what I’m seeing from Twitter on this…I expect to see a lot of creative implementations on different sites.  Much like being able to “like” individuals products and services via Facebook, I imagine this will be used to no just promote a site, but individual pages and products within the site. So far there isn’t a plugin for WordPress, but I have no doubt that it isn’t too far behind as there is a Dev Page that explains the attributes.

So what do you think…will this new Tweet Button catch on? The masses will determine its fate soon enough.

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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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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Mediagazer Aggregates Today’s Must-See Media

Mediagazer media aggregator siteI’m been looking over a new media aggregation site called Mediagazer.  My initial thought was, “great…another aggregator that will simply clutter up a lot of content and put it in a needle-in-the-haystack format”, but those thoughts were dismissed as soon as I really started looking at it closely.

Mediagazer is a new effort from the uber-popular tech sharing community Techmeme, and is their first news vertical in almost four years. It bills itself as a site, “which will focus on the content production and distribution business, organizing topics as wide as journalism, blogging, video production, e-books, and digital distribution technologies”, and sure enough it does all of that.  There are a lot of good content assimilation sites, but I think Mediagazer will stand out as a leader if it can get enough good press early to build momentum.

Mediagazer allows you to share with Twitter or Facebook easilyI really like it’s easy-to-share buttons, with the ability to send information linked to either Mediagazer directly, or the original source of the story.  I think that is a brave and noble feature, most aggregators are trying their very best to drive as much traffic as possible directly to their own site (increase in traffic = increase in ad revenue), so the ability to link directly out is a fairly cool and risky idea. They do have sponsored news aggregation prominently displayed in the right column and halfway down the main page with no signs of traditional banner and display ads…yet. I also like the sharing simplicity, obviously aimed at social networks as the only two options are Twitter and Facebook.  Honestly, those are the only two places I ever share news anyway. Naturally, Mediagazer is also on Twitter, although thus far it appears to simply be a feed from their headlines as opposed to an interactive, engaging account.

I like the navigation and sharing potential from this site, so I’ll give it a try as a news source for a couple of weeks to see if it makes it into my regular lineup.  If you try it out, let me know what you think: is Mediagazer just another news aggregator, or a useful service for finding and sharing information?

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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Vodafone Gaffs On Twitter: What Happened?

Since I oversee or run large corporate social media accounts and the company I work for is responsible for dozens of Fortune 500 brands, stories like this make me cringe.

Earlier today, the very large, very well known UK mobile company Vodafone posted an incredibly inappropriate tweet on their official company Twitter account.  It said VodafoneUK  “is fed up of dirty homo’s and is going after beaver“.

Ummm….

Needless to say, this is not something that any company would want published on their behalf.  I don’t know if Vodafone runs their social programs through an agency or internally, but either way it’s obvious that there was a breakdown of protocol.  I suspect one of two probable scenarios that would lead to something like this.  First, it’s possible that it is a disgruntled employee that was either on their way out the door already or was ready to be fired, because certainly somebody is getting disciplined for this.  Second, and what I think is more likely, is that a single dashboard was being used (perhaps something like CoTweet) to update business and personal accounts.

They responded in what I think is the best possible way: acknowledging it and apologizing profusely all day long on their Twitter account.  Many companies would be tempted to delete the tweet and then pretend it never happened, refusing to reply to anybody that pointed it out.  I’m glad Vodafone has taken this approach, but I also hope they will tell us how the “severe breach of rules” happened so that all of us can learn from this mistake.

Community managers take note: be extremely careful with your updates, and don’t mix up your personal and corporate updates!

Social Media Responsibility, Fact Checking (and Racism!)

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., and as such I intended to not post anything about social media, instead choosing to focus on the hope and vision that Dr. King believed in. That has changed after reading today’s blog post by Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist; I have now decided to write about both social media and racism.  After reading her inflammatory post about what she considers to be a “racist rodeo” I got to the kicker…her very last line incites her users to publicly lambaste the McDonald’s corporation on Twitter, telling them that we won’t put up with racism and hate. The obvious inference here is that McDonald’s does indeed support both racism and hate by supporting the All-Star Rodeo, and event that Ms. Trunk determined to be full of racist clowns and cowgirls that are only interested in threesomes. My big problem with all of this? She didn’t bother to fact check before calling up an angry mob. I brought this to her attention in the comments section, but she seemed to shrugs it off as if facts had nothing to do with it.

In this day and age of social media people can, and do, often write and publish opinion as if it were fact. As I write this, I still do not know if McDonald’s does officially sponsor the rodeo or not, but I have reached out to them for comment. Taking a step back, to so broadly describe the rodeo as racist because of one person’s obviously emotional blog post is, in my opinion, a mistake. Social Media allows anybody to publish anything at anytime. Most people that do this have small audiences, but some, like Ms. Trunk, actually get a pretty big following. I don’t know where the breaking point is, but certainly it must be acknowledged that at a certain point a person does have a certain amount of social responsibility when they have such a large audience.

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