Trend Tuesday: Be a Twitter curator

Photo thanks to Flickr user richardbaybutt
Photo thanks to Flickr user richardbaybutt

Sometimes sharing your Twitter stream on other social networks feels like running into a church with a bullhorn.   Lots of confusing weird noise and people looking at you like you are cah-razy.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this – logging into Facebook to catch up with friends and seeing bizarre non sequiturs in place of more typical status updates:   ‘ROFL @randomperson I know!!! OMG!!! Frogs ARE awesome!!’ Huh, wha?

We often advise clients to re-purpose relevant online content to a variety of channels (‘doing more with less’ isn’t always silly consulting babble), this helps reach audiences that may not be on Twitter all day, for instance.

But it’s important to strategically target your audiences, taking care to match them up with the content that matters to them.   Just because Google now slurps up Twitter updates on the search page doesn’t mean that you want your Great Aunt Hilda seeing your late night bar Tweets on your homecooking blog ‘s sidebar.

Here are a few easy ways to make sure your Twitter stream is going where it needs to go:

Check out this handy Facebook ”Selective Tweet Status’ app makes it super easy to include only the Tweets you want to appear on Facebook.   Update your Twitter account as you usually do, but end your Tweet with #fb to indicate that it has the go-ahead to show up on Facebook.   Easy as pie.

Whether you are in the job market or just wanting to maintain professional relationships, LinkedIn can be a great place to frequently and easily update you LinkedIn status with your Twitter account.   Two birds with on Tweet.

However, not all Tweets are created equal and you may want to take an extra special look at what your future employer’s HR team sees when they view your profile.   No worries, LinkedIn puts you in control from the very beginning.

Your Tweet setup page gives you the option of how to share your Tweets – push them to your LinkedIn profile automatically or end your Tweets with #in to denote LinkedIn-safe content.   Job applicant nightmare averted!

Blogs and Web sites:
I love seeing bloggers include a feed of their Twitter stream on their site – it gives me a peek at their Tweet-style and makes it beyond easy for me to connect with them on Twitter if I find them engaging.

But this doesn’t mean you want EVERYTHING popping up in a Twitter feed, especially if your blog is a bit niche and your Tweets are a bit random.   Keep it focused and on-message by only pulling inthe content you want readers to see!

Create a widget for displaying an RSS feed that you grab after doing a keyword / name / brand search on the Twitter search page and embed it in your sidebar.   For the more technically advanced, try creating a Yahoo Pipe that narrows your Twitter flow down to the subjects and hashtags you’re the most excited about.

Or crowd source the Tweets you pull in by including a feed of one of your Twitter lists using a simple Twitter gadget here.   You won’t have complete control over who says what, but   you will have a constant flow of information from trusted sources that your site visitors might find fantastic.

Trend Tuesday: Talk to me and win a shirt!

Ah, the Blog Contest. Who doesn’t love a good blog contest. You may be think from the title and first words (and perhaps the by line) that this will be a bit of biting criticism calling out the blog industry for selling it self short. Or perhaps you think it is ridiculous self promotion for our current blog contest. Well, this is neither. It is the perspective of those two people who can agree on one thing: Blog Contests work!

One of the values at Schipul is Win/Win. This means that in an interaction or agreement or business-dealing, both sides walk away feeling like they have gained something. When we do work for our clients, we earn their business, and in turn they are provided with a service they need. The Blog Contest is, on most scales, a true example of Win/Win.

The Blog owner can be seeking PR, attention, an urge for traffic, or perhaps they just have extra stuff. To accomplish their goal, they can utilize traditional advertising, but this does not always help them reach their audience in a fun and interesting way. Even online advertising can be a poor fit for the audience or the budget. The flexibility of the Blog Contest allows you to give away pretty much anything, from a Wii Fit to netbooks to cat T’s.

From the reader perspective, generally very little is asked of you. Leave a funny comment, become a fan on facebook, mention something on twitter, etc. Much of the time your odds of winning are quite good compared to a business card fishbowl or a clearing house sweepstakes. And generally there is a high amount of transparency in seeing who wins. Unless a contest gets out of hand (see Wii Fit above), then the contest is contained to the community of people who read the blog, with maybe a few outsiders who are just around for the contest.

Even after a winner is announced, many great things have happened. Either a new reader has won something, which may keep them coming back as a reader, or an old reader has won something, which rewards them for being a part of the conversation. Attention is gained at a cost (like all advertising), but in this case the readers profit, not an Ad agency. Aside from some twitter contests which can be quite annoying (i.e. planet-orbiting-berry), the old-fashioned blog contest is a Win/Win event.

In all seriousness, these contests are really good for everyone and are turning into a great advancement in online economics. The scale of costs and attention help to create a happy event for all involved. A small giveaway creates a small burst of traffic, and giving away something large can create bigger waves on the internets. As a blog creator, you control the size and expense. As a blog contestant, you can control what contests you enter, and what is worth your time/attention/info. Everyone remains in control, traffic goes up, and someone is a winner.

In the words of Michael Scott, this is Win/Win/Win. One Win for the blogger, one Win for the contestants, and a Win for me for explaining it here and encouraging you to create a blog contest. There’s another Win too if you follow me on twitter, because all of my followers are winners.

Trend Tuesday: Teen Texting Rise and New Legislation

When I was a teenager (early 2000’s), text messaging didn’t exist. Blackberries were around and could send emails, but they were expensive, and no one my age had one. Actually, most of my friends didn’t have cell phones until they were driving, and some not until college. And even then, minutes were expensive, so my group didn’t really use our phones very often. We used instant messenger.

I can remember nights of having 9 different conversation windows open on my computer screen (until the miracle of tabs) and learning to type fast solely so I could chat faster. While IM was great at allowing multiple conversations, it did have it’s limitations.   You couldn’t really use it without sitting in front of a computer (connected to the internet), and IM required that the other person was in front of a computer, also connected.   This tiny requirement usually kept IM sessions to a few hours in the evening, and not always every night.

Texts are very similar to IM’s. Short messages are sent back and forth between two people (occasionally sent in mass). Texting, however, has essentially removed the limitation of being in front of a computer and connected to the internet. And it has changed everything for teens.   Now, teens can “IM” each other at any time, day or night. You just need to have a cell phone, which many are getting at younger and younger ages (I know a 12 year-old who sports an iPhone). Those of us older than 19 may text quite a bit, but not nearly as much as the teens. I send/receive around 1,200 texts a month.   In the world of the teens, though, that is bush league.   The teens I know (friends of my younger brother) send between 5k and 10k texts a month. Rumor is one girl sends almost 20k per month. Texting that much is almost inconceivable in my mind, but carrying on conversations with friends is not.

I’m sure if my IM messages were tallied up in a similar fashion, I would have sent similar numbers. But again, my IM’s were limited to time in front of the computer.   Because these massive amount of texts are being sent at any and all times, they are creating some dangerous situations.   Car and Driver recently did a study and found texting while driving to be (much) more dangerous than drinking and driving.

Texting while driving

As a result of the growing trend of accidents caused by texting, many states (Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia) are enacting legislation to make texting and emailing from mobile devices for teens (and in some cases everyone) illegal while driving. As society is adapting to new technologies, it is great to see that the lawmakers are doing their part to keep up. These types of laws are picking up steam across the country and will likely be the norm in a few more years.

Adults may not be texting up a storm as they drive, but sending emails and twittering are likely just as dangerous. These communication tools have brought communication everywhere, even places where we should be focused on other things. Let’s keep having the conversations, but make sure it is done safely.

Image from

Trend Tuesday: Still Waiting til the Last Minute?

(I realize this was published later than normal.   It is part of the story.   Welcome again to another crazy JMO post.)

In the blogging world, many people teach that having posts on a regular schedule is the way to create a readership.   But this is only half of the message.   It leaves out the ‘quality’ part.   To have a successful blog, there should be a regular stream of quality posts to feed a readership.   Here is a quick list on how to have a great blog.

  1. Make a blog. (wordpress is good)
  2. Set a regular schedule you can maintain.
  3. Write a QUALITY Post.
  4. Click Publish.
  5. Repeat 3 and 4 based on 2.

Ok, so that probably isn’t the Top 5 list you were hoping to see.   Too bad, because that’s really all there is to it.

In writing this post I was almost guilty of overlooking Step 3.   When you title your blog post Trend Tuesday, you are setting yourself up for a pretty hard deadline.   And Tuesday is almost gone.   Should I just hit Publish now?   Probably not, as I haven’t finished my story yet.   So, why am I not done yet?   I’ve got some great excuses.

  1. I haven’t reached the deadline yet
  2. I work better at the last minute
  3. It wasn’t a high priority

I haven’t hit the deadline.   For this excuse, I am really blaming the deadline.   Unfortunately, deadlines have a tendency to backfire.   A week ago we set a deadline to have a new Trend Tuesday blog post done by Tuesday.   I had a whole week to get it done.   But really, by giving myself a deadline of Tuesday, I committed to doing it on Tuesday.   Because this is due in a week, it ranks behind other tasks, until Tuesday that is.   Now it is on top of the heap, but it is almost too late.   Way to avoid this: set earlier deadlines, or, if you can, do things immediately. Think of the deadline as less of a due date and more of a time to actually do it.

And anyways, I work better at the last minute.   Because at the last minute, there is added stress and pressure.   And I work great under pressure.   NOT.   At the last minute, I am forced to get things done.   Not to make them right, or even above average. And certainly not to make them spectacular.   But they do get done.   Had I made my deadline, you would have stopped reading after the Top 4 list.   That is what is produced by someone who works better at the last minute.   Way to avoid this: set standards for quality. For this post, it could be the words, time spent on it, or links.   Or it could be that I got 5 other people excited after they read it.

But the real reason I didn’t finish on time is that this wasn’t a high priority.   Unfortunately, task managers and to-do lists have this annoying priority system built in with 1-5’s and stars and red flags, etc.   I think priority is really a boolean, or an on/off switch.   Something is a priority, or it isn’t. Merlin Mann agrees, or really, I agree with him.   But when I first learned of this task, I said this wasn’t a high priority. But if this isn’t a high priority, then why am I not done yet?   It is superseded by a real priority.

The real priority is that when I publish something with my name on it, it has to be my best effort. This is the priority.   This is Step 3 above.   And this is what makes great bloggers, writers, designers, and all creators.   When I first started this, under the deadline, rushing it out, it was about 200 words of garbage.   I’ve since deleted all of that, and written all of this.   While some may argue that I was just lazy and procrastinated and that’s why this wasn’t finished, I’d have to disagree.   I set myself up for failure when I did the following:

  1. I   made a deadline that was the absolute last minute I needed to finish.
  2. I did not make this a priority.
  3. I did not start until close the deadline because this wasn’t a priority.
  4. I lied to myself about my abilities to do quality work quickly.

All of these things caused me to miss the all important Step 3.   Fortunately, the place I work is smart enough to recognize that a quality post that is late is much better than a weak post on time.   Hopefully the readers if this blog and yours are also flexible.


  1. Set deadlines before things are really due, or just do them immediately.
  2. Don’t wait til the last minute.   Your work is not better when you do.
  3. Make quality stuff (which should be on time if you follow the first two).

Hopefully the trend of waiting til the last minute will fade like Will Smith’s hair on Fresh Prince.

Trend Tuesdays: Smart Phones just keep getting smarter!

alg_blackberryAll of the big cell phone companies are currently battling it out in the Smart Phone arena and we’re wondering who can get the smartest phone out the quickest (and which of them will actually be smart)….

  1. The Blackberry Tour 9630: This little girl supposedly has all of the best features from the Blackberry Bold, the Curve and the Storm PLUS a ton of other cool new things that will make her better than ever. It’s going to be available later this summer and (as a crackberry gal) I can’t wait!
  2. My Touch 3G by Google: supposedly thinner than the G1 and smaller than the Apple iPhone, this little one is anticipated to be the sexiest of the smart phones.
  3. The Nokia E75: I’ve already mentioned I’m a blackberry girl, so it’s probably no surprise as the Nokia E75 looks great to me because it’s smart and has a full QWERTY keyboard too. The downside? This little lady is expensive…. topping out at almost $600 (depending on your carrier)!
  4. The iPhone 3G S: The iPhone is already everyone’s favorite…. She needs no words.
  5. The New Palm Pre: Remember a few years ago when everyone had a Palm Pilot and they were the Queen Bee in the Smart Phone Kingdom? Everyone better watch out because Palm is back and better than ever. Some say the Pre is even better than the iPhone.

Which of these little ladies would you want in your corner?

Trend Tuesday – Will Bing cut into Google’s market share?

You’ve probably seen the commercials, and maybe even the tweets. Microsoft is putting its hat into the search ring (again). This time, it’s shiny and new (and rebranded) with Microsoft’s “Decision Engine” called Bing.

How it works

Bing is marketed as a “decision” engine – it displays results based on what Bing thinks is most helpful. Bing is fully equipped with what Microsoft is touting as a powerful set of intuitive tools to “help you make smarter, faster decisions.”

Bing decision making engine

Image searches allow you to view related searches, filter results by size, layout, color, style, and people… and customize your view. Mouseover an image and to give feedback on the result, and view similar images.

search for "kitten" images on bing

So, how’s it doing?

The SEM blog reported Bing’s release two weeks ago. So what has happened since then?

Bing had 11% of the search market share last week, according to Comscore. Much of this has to do with the fact that it’s Internet Explorer’s default search engine, and the television commercials may have people going on to just “check it out”…   but the bottom line is that 11% after two weeks is nothing to sneeze at. For now.

Also, advertisers are reporting that heat tracking studies have shown Bing’s ad placement to be more effective than even Google’s. There’s that good old Microsoft know-how at work!

bing - finding sushi

See for yourself

Keep watching this little engine that could. If Microsoft continues to innovate and give the people what they want – a way to cut through the clutter of search – they could take a niche group out of Google’s market share. One thing’s for sure – it’s “differentiate or get out” time… and that’s what Microsoft seems to get.

Oh, and no, there is no Bing iPhone app yet!

Trend Tuesday: You’re a Facebook pro, your friends are not

Tired of getting tagged in embarassing photos?  Yeah, us too.
Tired of getting tagged in embarassing photos? Yeah, us too.

File this under ‘(semi) oldie, but goodie’, this Facebook Blog post on 10 Facebook Privacy Settings is still incredibly invaluable if you’re one of thousands that find themselves logging on to Facebook for more business than pleasure these days.

So how do you separate your cool business persona from your old grungy college dorm pals on Facebook?

Glad you asked, here are our top 5 ways to keep your image all pretty-like on Facebook in the face of even the most obnoxious photo tagging collegial chums:

  1. Create friend lists
    Friend lists (accessible by visiting are an easy way to sort your Facebook contacts into your own personal Facebook spheres that each sport their own privacy policy. This is not only an easier way to read updates and see content specifically for a group of people you want to catch up with, but lets you control who sees your content too.Don’t want your co-workers to see last weekend’s birthday party photos (see #4 below)?   You get to say what friend lists, networks and even specific people can see them (and very specifically NOT see them).

    You are a multi-faceted person, so create whatever kind of friend lists work for you:   ‘college friends’, ‘high school friends’, ‘family’, ‘work’ or ‘roller derby pals’.   The point of being on Facebook is to connect with people you want to stay in touch with and/or grow a relationship with.   Make sure that you customize, tweak and mold Facebook into the exact kind of tool you need.

  2. Take control of your search (be invisible or be bold!)
    You may not be interested in your Facebook profile showing up in Facebook searches at all!   Update your Privacy Search page and customize your Search Visibility by selecting from the dropdown box.   Also take a peek at what content a search for you will come up with on Facebook (your profile pic, friends, fanpages, etc. to further customize your search experience.

    For further privacy, uncheck your ‘Public Search Listing’ box to remove you from search engine indexing.   This means that no one searching on Google or Yahoo will come across your Facebook profile when searching.

  3. Watch your contact information
    Depending on how open you are or what your professional goals are on Facebook, you might want to go all out and include your mobile phone number, your birthday and even your physical address.   But many of us want to keep some of those personal details under major wraps.

    Visit your Privacy>Profile page to select who gets to see what on your profile — you get to fine tune your friends’ access to your info.   From basic details to contact info to work experience, you have the final say on who has access to what.   Still concerned?   You can even test drive your profile’s privacy by typing in a Facebook friend’s name to see how they see your profile.

  4. Embarassing photos?   Forget about it!
    Facebook also lets you control who can see your Photo Albums – so you can send your goofy river trip photos to your family and select friends — or make it visible only to the   Friend Lists you specify.Go to your Privacy page >> Profile >>   ‘Edit Photo Albums Privacy Settings’ and select the dropdown applicable to who you’d like to see/not see that album.   To choose from your Friend Lists, select the ‘Custom’, select ‘Some Friends’ and then choose the Friend Listing from the dropdown box.

    If you want to limit who sees Photos and Videos that haven’t uploaded yourself but have been tagged in (remember those embarassing high school prom photos!?), select the dropdown and select ‘Custom’ > ‘Some Friends’ > and then choose the Friend Listing you want.   No more problems!

  5. Cloak your facebook activity
    Not everyone needs to know when you’ve gone through a relationship status change, have left a note on a friends’ wedding photo or have added a friend.   Check out your News Feed and Wall page to make sure that only the actions you want made public are, in fact, public.

Photo thanks to Flickr user (and awesome publication) Found Magazine