Why Aren’t You Using G+?

09.25.12

I love G+ because I can select who is in my circles. I’ve got a couple thousand people who pepper my timeline with electic yet interesting news items and I work hard to share the best of the web as I see it. 

Periodically I share a bit of my own work there, but like every social media effort I try to stick with a 7:1 rule. I try to share seven things that I have zero personal involvement in before I share one of my own. It’s like a dinner party, ask more questions than you answer.

Yesterday I shared a video that I enjoyed very much. Apparently the folks who have circled me on G+ enjoyed it too. Less than 24 hours later and 1,100 people who saw it in my stream have given it a +1 and 836 of them have re-shared it.

My experience is that video does very well on G+. My experience is also showing me that most of my peers are not on G+ and the ones who are use it only to promote their own feed which will likely lead to frustration and the declaration that Google+ “doesn’t work”.

I’d love to have a circle of readers so please leave your Google Plus URL in the comments below. To get your URL sign in to Google+, click on the left sidebar where it says “profile” and then copy and paste your URL in the comments below and don’t forget to circle me.

Why I Quit Private Facebook Groups

03.30.12

secret_open_closed_facebook_group

24 hours ago I was a member of approximately 20 private or secret Facebook groups. Some of the groups revolved around mom blogging, others were for Stumbleupon, others were regional and others weren’t particularly homogenous, we just happened to “know” each other.

I logged onto Facebook on my birthday and had the standard notes from friends, real friends, but I noticed that the folks in my groups were wishing Lady Gaga a happy birthday.

Because ya know, Lady Gaga is as real to them as I am.

I took a look at what those groups offered me as far as traffic, comments, social capital or inbound links and I realized there was a void. So I left. I left each and every Facebook group that’s not required as part of a job. I couldn’t even be offended because the folks in these groups aren’t my friends, they’re not even Facebook friends. We’re not obligated to one another in any manner. For the most part we don’t share common interests other than a career of relentless self promotion.

Secret groups of friends or family might work well on Facebook but I haven’t experienced one yet. Regional groups where you’re planning events together could make a lot of sense. Maybe planning a sports team or a party. I imagine that planning a wedding or a family reunion might be made much easier with a secret Facebook group but I found that by being a part of of them being a blogger was limiting.

Although there are great exchanges of knowledge and tips people probably wouldn’t share with the world there is also a lot of “support”. Support typically comes in the form of leaving comments on someone’s blog, submitting their site to StumbleUpon or thumbing up one of their posts. Support can also be tweeting their post or sharing it on Facebook. Support is awesome when the content is good and compelling and I love to share great posts with people but support has little value if you’re in the same tiny circles. People notice and people tune out.

What happened for me is that I felt compelled to read and share blogs that didn’t resonate with me. Sometimes I shared their posts but most often I did not. I wasn’t valuable to the group because it would take a very special writer to get me to share their brand sponsored post with you. When I did share posts from within these groups they didn’t resonate with you, my real community. Great writing discoveries don’t happen in small groups. Great writing discoveries happen when you cull the internet and read outside your own niche.

One of the many reasons I love Stumbleupon is the randomness of the sites that pop up. I love images and write ups of cars almost as much as I love discovering open source software or silk shirts. I assure you no closed group will provide this bounty of content. Facebook will provide diversity as well as twitter and google plus, but by sequestering myself in small groups I was wasting my most valuable non renewable resource, my time… and yours.

So I quit everything private and I’m back to diversity of content.

Facebook, Teens, Privacy and the end of COPPA

12.28.11

Recently I wrote about why I won’t be friending my children on Facebook and the rules of our house. I wrote about why kids don’t need adult friends online and access to our children.

The backlash was swift and severe. People just don’t agree with me and, as usual, I’m totally okay with that.

I have one suggestion for y’all while reading my blog. Understand that this is one document written by one woman. I’m not a lawmaker or a teacher at your child’s school. There’s a very good chance that I’m not even your neighbor. So before you get angry and offended that I’ve likened friending your child on Facebook to helicopter parenting take a breath and think about why I might have struck a nerve. If it doesn’t apply to you, move on.

In any event if your teen is on Facebook it’s the end of COPPA for you. Your children officially have identities that are being bought and sold. This is the price of free. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. I’m just saying the sky is blue and my daughter’s data is being bought and sold. It’s a big and profitable business.

Now, for those of you who got very upset with me on G+ and Facebook and told me that I was a horrible negligent mother because I don’t friend my daughter on Facebook I’d like to talk to you about some other ways you can effectively parent your children though the murky waters of social media.

You can sit with your children and go on Facebook with them. Point at the kids and say, ooh isn’t that Leah from Pre K? My daughter loves looking at everyone’s pictures and giving me updates on the kids, their lives, schools, camps and sports. It’s nice spending real time with kids.

You can be your child’s admin. This can take many forms from spot checking to screen sharing. When Jane was setting up her Facebook account she was upstairs on her computer and I was in my office with a computer set to screen share. She knew I had to see how she was setting the site up but she also knew she had to be supervised. Screen share is an AMAZING tool during the week for homework when two kids are asking for your help and you have just one working printer. It’s only creepy spying if your kids don’t know you’re using it… which is frankly just fine at younger ages.

You can add your child’s logon to your devices and check in periodically. You can parent 80 gazillion ways and do so very effectively.

What you cannot do is expect to see your child on Facebook and have a complete picture of who they are. Pay attention to them at home, at school, in the company of friend and, yes, on Facebook too. Parents aren’t “finding out” that their kids are depressed from social networks, parents are finding out that their kids are depressed/anxious/afraid/happy/successful from parenting.

Hopefully your child has been on the internet with you a lot and knows not to give away a ton of personal information. Don’t fill our family trees, enter home addresses, fan their school, friend anyone they haven’t met in real life… there’s a very long list.

Sitting with your child in front of a screen full of their peers might bring about interesting discussions like, “Oh I didn’t know she was a bikini model, that’s an interesting after school activity for a 14 year old.” or “Why don’t you spend more time with Hannah? She’s really turned into a sweet girl.”

Your children (and all of us) will enter too much data. It’s what we do, it’s a mistake everyone makes (expect my brother who could put the NSA to shame). Recently I hosted a luncheon for MyInfoGuardian.com and a few friends. Here are some great posts about how to get your information (and your child who is now sharing) off the internet.

Mamavation is giving away subscriptions…. HURRY!

JoAnn is not quite sure why anyone should worry.

Kim got chills when she saw the information that was being bought and sold around her identity.

Sarah makes a great point about changing passwords (and no “password” is NOT a password)

Romy reminds us that simply registering to vote releases our data.

Julie talks about dating and cybersecurity, something every man and woman should think of. 

Daphne has a great post about how much of her info is out there and mentions the money they lost to Maddoff

Growing Your Blog Traffic

10.14.11

This morning I read a post about how to get more traffic. It’s a good post, and like any blog post it’s a good beginning. Because blogs are short… they’re so short that blog isn’t even the word, they were Web Logs but bloggers can’t even be bothered to have seven letters and a space involved.

I digress. Everyone wants to know how to get more traffic to their site.

I don’t know with great authority, no one does. I know that if you try to do what someone else is doing it won’t work.

I can’t be like Ciaran because only one person can be Momfluential. I can’t be like Debbie because if I said Throat Punch it would be weird. I don’t disagree with Helen Jane, but she’s a vague about how to create that train wreck.

I might have hyperlinked back to those women because they have significant audiences and my hope is that my link baiting them they’ll share this post with their audiences.

I can help you avoid pitfalls that I’ve personally experienced.

Giveaways are incredibly time consuming and will not bring you a community or readers. You’ll get passers by who are unlikely to read you again.

Images are a great way for people to find you and should be well named. I do not use images because I’m slow to learn.

Do not automate twitter to share every post. The only person who can break this rule is Guy Kawasaki. I don’t know why Guy can overshare and no one else can, I just know that’s how it works.

Don’t join a StumbleUpon group. Those kids at StumbleUpon are smarter than any blogger, their algorithm will start ignoring you and StumbleUpon traffic is so delightful you wouldn’t want to lose that.

Don’t reprint a press release. It doesn’t count as quality content and I’m not visiting your site to get the same content that 2,000 other bloggers are publishing.

The things that you can do to get readers:

Tell people you’re a blogger. Add a signature to your emails.

Generously share other people’s content on your social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. Share different stuff on each channel.

Say something outrageous, memorable or poignant. Make your audience love your community.

Write every day, or as close as you can.

Respect your audience and don’t bullshit them about loving a product that no one in their right mind could love.

Above all else every blogger should know that they’re incredibly privileged that anyone wants to read anything they’ve written. Assume your audience is smarter than you are and never pander to them or to advertisers. People want, and deserve, honest writing that you can’t get from a glossy sell out space.

Don’t be an asshole. People will read.

Google Plus, SEO, Driving Traffic and Losing Friends

08.19.11

I’m enjoying Google Plus right now. I like the hangouts and I like the stream. I like the stream of information because it’s a small stream and it’s not super spammy, yet.

With twitter and with facebook I’m connected to a lot of bloggers just like myself. Bloggers love to promote their work. Bloggers are also paid to promote their work. I guess I should say that you have to circle bloggers with care.

I have a few G+ tips that may or may not build the numbers everyone is looking for, but would do a lot to increase the quality of interaction.

  • Keep a good ratio of solid content to promotional content. For example: share 5-10 articles written by someone other than yourself before you share your own
  • Ask questions. The best conversationalists are probably the folks who use the words “I” and “me” the least
  • Don’t monopolize a hangout. I was in one last night where one person seemed totally unaware that there were seven other people in the hangout. This is not YouTube where you talk at people, this is a group chat, where a group chats.
  • Name your circles appropriately. Although Google is run by adults we should all learn our lessons from Facebook. Anything could become public at any time. So that circle that you want to name “Social Media D-Bags”? Call it something else, like “Smarty Pants” just in case they see it some day.
  • Be specific and small with your circles. Circles of 100 people or more don’t do a lot of good, but circles for Foodies, Cars, Angelinos, and parents have served me well. If G+ lasts a while (I think it might) it’s important that you are organized from the start.
  • Know that if you’re in a hangout someone may screengrab or broadcast you publicly. It sucks, but it happens.
Google Plus will have an effect on SEO so you will be tempted to share every single thing you ever wrote. Fight the urge and just try to create good compelling content that others will be motivated to share on your behalf.
If you’re not on Google+ and you have a gmail address consider this your invitation. Of course it would be really great Karma to start by adding a +1 to this post.