Twitter Tuesday: Are you a social media dork?

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I came across this quote today while researching something for work. It was funny, accurate, and somewhat related to Twitter Tuesday, so I thought I’d share.

Unlike Twitter users, most Facebookers are into social media for social media’s sake, they’re not social media dorks.

via 7 Ways to Get Your Blog Posts Shared On Facebook.

While just about everyone I know in my age group has a Facebook account, I know very few people who are active on Twitter. Most of the Twitter users I do know are active bloggers who are interested in other social media channels like Foursquare or LinkedIn.

For the record, I consider myself a social media dork. And I’m proud of it, thank you very much.

Do you find this quote to be true? And more importantly: Are you a social media dork?

Facebook Friday: Sponsored Stories

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Facebook will turn friend activity into a new ad format with “Sponsored Stories.”

Sponsored Stories is “a way for marketers to sponsor activities that happen throughout the News Feed,” Facebook Product Marketing Lead Jim Squires told Mashable. Companies can choose to take certain user actions — such as checkins or actions within Facebook apps — and feature them in the column on the right side of the News Feed.

via Facebook Turns Friend Activity Into New Ad Format.

So if you check into Starbucks, for example, it can appear in the sponsored stories column on the page of any of your friends. . . whether you want it to or not.

Likes, check-ins, page posts, and actions within certain applications can be turned into stories.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

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What do you think about this? Let me know in the comments below!

Mandatory Facebook Credits

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Do you pay Facebook games? On July 1st, all social game developers will be required to use Facebook credits to process payments.

This decision is fantastic news for Facebook, as they take a 30 percent cut of all Facebook revenues.

“In other words, if you pay $2.00 for a talking horse on FarmVille, Facebook collects $0.60 from the Zynga. Already, Credits has made promising contributions to the company’s ever-rising revenue estimates (currently at $2 billion annual for 2010.”

via Facebook to Make Credits Mandatory for All Onsite Gaming.

I know that I’m a social media person (it’s my job, after all), but I just don’t get why people would pay actual money to play online games.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a gamer myself. I had a Gameboy, back in the day, and I used to play Crash on our Playstation 1, but my idea of a good computer game is Spider Solitaire.
However, I can’t deny that it’s a smart move for Facebook.

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What do you think about this? Do you play Facebook games? Let me know in the comments below.

Facebook Friday: 2010 Status Trends

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On Tuesday, I posted Twitter trends for 2010, so for Facebook Friday I thought I’d give you the 2010 Facebook status trends. This information is courtesy of the Facebook blog. The comments on the trends are all mine.

  1. HMU
    • This apparently stands for “hit me up.” To be honest, I have never seen someone use it. Have you?
  2. World Cup
    • Self-explanatory, though I don’t follow soccer (“football” for all of you non-Americans).
  3. Movies
    • Specifically, Alice in Wonderland, Inception, Toy Story 3, Eclipse, and Iron Man 2. Why isn’t Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on this list?
  4. iPad and iPhone 4
    • I kind of want both of these.
  5. Haiti
    • The earthquake in January.
  6. Justin Bieber
    • Let me just say it . . .  what’s with Justin Bieber anyway?
  7. Games on Facebook
    • I don’t play any . . .  I should probably see what they’re like, but I don’t have the time!
  8. Miners
    • The Chilean miners.
  9. Airplanes
    • Because of that song . . . “Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now . . .”
  10. 2011
    • What, this was used more than 2010?

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What were your top statuses for 2010? Let me know in the comments below!

Facebook Friday: Cartoon Profile Pictures

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Were you wondering why your friend looks like a cartoon character all of the sudden? There’s a new meme going around Facebook, where people change their profile picture to match their favorite childhood cartoon.

One of my friends posted this as an invitation:

Change your Facebook profile picture to a favorite cartoon from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday (Dec.6) there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories. It’s for a good cause.

Another posted this:

Change your FB profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal is not to see a human face on FB till Monday, December 6th. Join the fight against child abuse, copy & paste to your status to invite your friends to do the same!

Now it’s an interesting enough concept on its own, but why are people doing it?

It apparently began in Greece and Cyprus to support a campaign against violence on children. This campaign started on November 16th and will end on December 6th. The United Nations is also running a campaign to fight violence against women and children; it runs from November 25th to December 10th.

I absolutely think this is a good cause, but I fail to see how this meme will do anything significant. Here’s why:

  • I have many Facebook friends who have posted cartoon pictures as their profile picture. Only two have posted an explanation in their status, and only one mentioned the fight against child abuse. They just want to play the game.
  • Awareness is good, but does this cause people to go out there and support a cause? I think a better way to raise awareness would be to post hotlines and websites where abused children can find help.

So instead of posting pictures of my favorite childhood cartoons (incidentally, Doug or Inspector Gadget), I’m going to take my own advice and give some links and hotlines.

If you suspect child abuse, or are being abused yourself, please call a hotline.

  • Childhelp.org is the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Check out their website for more information.
    If you are in the U.S.A., Canada, or U.S. Territories, call:
    1-800-4-A-CHILD (or 1-800-422-4453)

If you know an organization that I missed, or the hotline for any other country, let me know and I will add it on.

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Twitter Tuesday: Celebrities “Die” on Twitter for Charity

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Do you follow celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, or Ryan Seacrest on Twitter?

Many celebrities will be “digitally dying” tonight to support World AIDS Day on December 1st. They will not get back on social networking sites until $1,000,000 is raised for Buylife.org.

What do you think about this?

This is a very good cause and a fascinating marketing tactic, but will it work? How many people actually care enough to donate for this reason? I guess we’ll see.

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What do you think about this tactic? Will you donate to Buylife.org? Let me know in the comments below.

Facebook Friday: Mom’s on Facebook

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The credit for this idea comes from this post, and this Saturday Night Live video.

For the record, my mom is not on Facebook. Even if she were, I wouldn’t care. I do have many relatives on the site though, ranging from my grandmother to my 12-year-old cousin.

Facebook used to be a place that only college students could join. You had to have a valid college email address (and not every college had a network at first). This was true four years ago, when I first joined Facebook. Now, anyone can join and it has changed the way people use the social networking site.

As a general rule, I only post things on Facebook I wouldn’t mind the whole world seeing. I keep my profile private, but work under the assumption that everyone can read what I post anyway.

Now if your mom is on Facebook and you don’t want her to read your profile, the solution is simple enough.

  1. Go to “Create Group” on the left side of your homepage.
  2. Follow the instructions to create a group for the people you want to exclude from seeing certain areas of your profile.
  3. Follow these instructions.

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Is your mom on Facebook? Let me know in the comments below!

Social Media and Black Friday Deals

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I sat down to do a book-related post, but I couldn’t think of any good Thanksgiving ones to review. However, I do recommend A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn if you are looking for a U.S.-themed book to read.

Instead of writing about books, I decided to do a social media post about how retailers are using social media to promote “Black Friday” deals. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and the official “start” of the Christmas shopping season for many. Retailers will often open extremely early in the morning (I’ve seen ads for places opening as early as 2 or 3 a.m.) and offer bargains. Although it is often called the busiest retail shopping day of the year, that is not always the case. In terms of sale volume, the Saturday before Christmas is traditionally busier.

Many retailers will offer Black Friday deals to those who “like” or “follow” them on Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare.

To find deals, follow @blackfriday on Twitter and check out the #blackfriday hashtag. News and updates can be found at black-friday.net.

Here are a few of the deals that I found:

Target—There’s a $25 Target Gift Card Giveaway open. Click on their Facebook or Twitter link to see the contest rules. Check out Target’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sports Authority—Sports Authority has a contest with 20 $500 gift cards available. To enter, check in via Foursquare to Sports Authority in-store during certain hours on Black Friday and tweet your check-in.

Sears—Sears promises to “unlock great deals” for those who “like” them on Facebook. Check out Sears’ Facebook page here.

Coca-Cola—If you are in one of 10 Simon Malls across the country, download the free SCVNGR app for your iPhone or Android. You can try to accumulate enough points to get rewards such as an American Express gift card and/or Coca-Cola merchandise.

Like I said, these are just a few deals to be found, and some of the ones that incorporated social media. Check your local newspaper or black-friday.net for more!

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Are you shopping on Black Friday? Do you know any retailers who are incorporating social media into their promotions? Let me know in the comments below!

Facebook Friday: Facebook Messaging Revamp

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So for today’s Facebook Friday, I want to talk about the Facebook messaging system revamp that was announced on Monday. I wrote an informal Tumblr post on this a few days ago,  but now I have enough information to go more in-depth.

According to the Facebook blog, users will soon be able to decide how they want their friends to communicate with them—via text messages, email, or Facebook messages. Users will be able to decide how they want to receive their messages. An @facebook.com email address will be available to any user who wants one. This means that users will be able to communicate with people outside of Facebook also. For example, if your mom wants to send you a Facebook message, she can do so from her own email account even if she does not have a Facebook.

However, Facebook email is not the same as regular email. It doesn’t have features like a subject line, CC, BCC, etc . . . but it is still great for people would rather check their Facebook messages than their email inbox. There will be two inboxes, a social one, and an “other” one. All messages from friends will go into the social inbox, and emails like bank statements will go into the “other” inbox.

Now what do I think?

I think that it is fascinating how the way we communicate with people is changing. I interact with people in various ways—primarily through text messages and email. Honestly though, I will rarely, if ever, let my Facebook friends contact me via text message. I would much rather use my email inbox, since it’s easier to stay organized that way.

I will set up a Facebook.com email address, because it’ll be nice to be able to contact my Facebook friends through my email inbox. As it is, I often read my messages from my email inbox first, then log onto Facebook to reply. If I could do this without leaving my Gmail account, I’ll be happy. My @facebook.com email address will probably be for this use only. I can’t see an @facebook.com address looking professional, and I like the features that come with regular email. However, I’m interested to see how this pans out. I’ve already requested my invite for the new messages system and I’ll probably revisit this once I try it. If you don’t want to wait, you can request one here.

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What do you think about the new Facebook messaging system? Let me know in the comments below! If you have a Facebook Friday question or request, feel free to ask in the comments below or via email (amy@amyerickson.net), or Twitter (@amye_).

Twitter Tuesday: Twitter Clients and Extensions

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If you don’t like the layout of the Twitter website, fear not. You can do pretty much everything on Twitter via applications and other clients.

DESKTOP CLIENTS

Desktop clients are a convenient and popular way to keep up on Twitter. Most of them even have a version for your smartphone.

My favorite desktop client—well, honestly the only one I’ve used—is TweetDeck. This is one of the most popular clients for a good reason—you can do almost anything Twitter-related on it. Plus it’s free. I was originally drawn to this program because of the simple interface and the groups feature. The groups feature allows you to sort the people you follow into groups. Each group gets its own column; this makes it easy to keep track of everthing. You can also manage Foursquare, Facebook, Myspace, Google Buzz, and LinkedIn from TweetDeck.

This is what TweetDeck looks like on my computer:

Tweetdeck Screenshot

Hootsuite is another popular client (although it’s one that I haven’t tried . . . yet). There are two versions of Hootsuite—a free one and a paid one. For the casual user, the free version should be fine. The pro-version ($5.99 USD/ month) would be great for a company or if you want to manage more than five social media accounts. The paid version lets you use Google Analytics as well.

Other clients include twhirl, Twitterific ($14.95), and Seesmic.

For me, TweetDeck worked so well that I didn’t feel the need to try any other clients. Of course, if I find one that better suits my needs or if I get curious, I will try it.

WEB BROWSER:

Another way to check your Twitter account without accessing the website is via a web browser extension.

Firefox

My favorite extension is Echofon. It’s a tiny little icon that sits on the corner of your browser and displays new messages. I always have turn it off when I need to concentrate on something, but it’s nice if you want to read your messages as they appear.

In the past, I’ve used Yoono, which put my email, Facebook, Twitter, and IM accounts in a sidebar on the left hand side of my screen. This worked for a while, but ultimately annoyed me too much (you can hide the sidebar, but I’ve found that other extensions just work better).

TwitterBar lets you type a status update from the address bar on your browser. It’s useful, especially if you share links often, but I uninstalled it because it didn’t do enough for me.

I’ve also tried FriendBar, which streams updates from your Facebook and Twitter accounts. The version I tried was too bulky for me.

There are many more add-ons available here if none of these suit your needs. To be honest, you sometimes have to just play around to find something you like.

Other Web Browsers:

I’ve never actually tried any add-ons for different browsers, but they do exist for Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera.

In any browser, I highly suggest that you try this bookmarklet. Just drag and drop it in the correct toolbar. I use it all the time! It makes it very easy to share links.

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What Twitter apps, clients, or add-ons do you like? Let me know in the comments below. Also feel free to Tweet me your Twitter questions @amye_, email them to me at amy@amyerickson.net or ask them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them in future posts.