I Get Jazzed Talking About Social Media

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Talking Social Media, Business and Academia at the LSP Conference at UVa

Talking Social Media, Business and Academia at the LSP Conference at UVa

I am one of those odd people who truly enjoys public speaking. The bigger the crowd, the better. I do quite a bit of speaking about social media, social networking, public relations and reputation management. Last week, I participated in a panel on behalf of Standing Partnership and Social Media Club Charlottesville. The topics were social media, business and academia and the session was held at the University of Virginia for a group of IT professionals who support the University’s technology needs. With me (and pictured above, left to right) were Darah Bonham, the director of Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) and the infamous Steve Whitaker, director of technology at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning/Curry School of Education.

As you can tell from the totally geeked out look on my face, the discussion of social media and its possibilities is my favorite topic. I love being before a group and fielding questions on the topic and can, for hours, talk about the uses of social media and networking for building business, for relationship development, for customer service, for promotion . . . I frequently get the “finger drawn across the throat” signal to shut up already because we’re out of time.

If you can’t tell by the content of this blog, I thought a look at my jazzed up, goofy grinning face above would be more proof of how much I love what I do.

Feed Me, Seymour: 4 Reasons Your Site Needs an RSS Feed

By Social Media, Uncategorized

RSS1. It will make you less annoying. Offering an RSS feed to site visitors allows them to opt in to your content, when THEY want to read it. This is far less annoying than demanding they sign up for your e-newsletter. In the absence of either newsletter or feed, you’re forcing people to voluntarily remember to return to your URL. And that’s annoying.

2. Search Engine Optimization. Producing an RSS feed and creating regularly updated content to that feed helps your content get discovered. You want to be discovered, right?

3. Welcome to the 21st century. Without an RSS feed, your Web site looks like it might be your first Web site; you know, from 1999. That impression left on visitors also may make them wonder how outdated the rest of your practices are and whether you really care about your brand.

4. Convenience. There are a lot of people who say they haven’t adopted the use of RSS feeds, but then again, there are a lot of people who have, and don’t realize it. The advantage of feeds is that it allows the user to subscribe to your content by using an RSS feed reader or by having the content delivered to an e-mail account.


At Work? Watch What you Tweet

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A groundbreaking ruling will be handed down by the Supreme Court this summer, when a decision will be made regarding the privacy of text messages (and other, similar content such as Tweets) created on company-owned devices.

I’d be surprised if the final decision on this is anything other than the rule that’s existed with e-mail — that if it’s on a company computer, it’s not private and your company has the right to access the information. Even though we all “know” this by now, or should, it takes cases like these to remind us there is never any real anonymity or privacy in Web-based communication — and if you’re using a company-owned smart phone or computer to conduct illicit communications, well, you are doing so at your own peril.

It will be interesting to see how the official ruling turns out.

Q. I’m 64. Can I slide by without learning this social media stuff?

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A.  I answered this question from a local businessman who called yesterday with another question: how long do you plan to work? Since he replied, “Until they carry me out feet first,” I knew I didn’t have an almost-retiree on my hands.

The call was prompted by a colleague of his who suggested that his business could grow if only he would invest some time in social networking.

My advice is this: focus on social networking as a start. Begin with LinkedIn because, let’s face it, everyone has at least signed up for LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is at 100 percent complete and load all of your contacts. This is not difficult stuff to learn, it’s just moving your Rolodex online and connecting it to everyone else’s.

Depending on your type of business and the customer you’re hoping to attract, Facebook will probably be valuable – in this man’s case, and the kind of business he’s in, it would be.

For those who have not expanded beyond e-mail and visits to a small handful of Web sites, social networking is a manageable bite to chew, and one that the user can feel successful in using and if effort is put in to expanding, updating and interacting within social networks, business growth is bound to occur.

The caller said that all his business comes from word-of-mouth. As a solo practitioner he needs to use social networking tools to take word-of-mouth online and extend his reach far beyond what he can accomplish in person and on the phone.

How do you counsel members at the upper end of the Baby Boomer generation in taking the first steps into using social media for business?