Facebook, enforcing like-ability, inspiring confusion?

I logged onto the Facebook Page I manage earlier today to find this message.

That message made sense to me, but I made the mistake of clicking “Learn more“.  It put me on a 7 section, 30 question FAQ.  I went for the “Liking” a Page section, hoping I was in the right place.

Why did “Become a Fan” change to “Like”?

To improve your experience and promote consistency across the site, we’ve changed the language for Pages from “Fan” to “Like.” We believe this change offers you a more light-weight and standard way to connect with people, things and topics in which you are interested.

Ok, this made sense too.  I can “Like” something and not necessarily be a “Fan” of it.

What does it mean to “Like” a Page?

When you click “Like” on a Page, you are making a connection to that Page. The Page will be displayed in your profile, and in turn, you will be displayed on the Page as a person who likes that Page. The Page will also be able to post content into your News Feed.

Ok, I think I’m following.  You’re now going to treat Pages like any other item in someone’s feed, but not really.  They can Like it, but that still means they’re a Fan and the Page can post content to their feed.

Can I still “Like” a News Feed story about my friends Liking Pages?

No. When you see a Feed story about a friend Liking a Page, there will be no feedback links below that story. However, if you hover over the Page name, you will see a small preview of the Page and the number of other people who have also Liked that Page. You can then Like that Page to add it to your profile, or you can click through to the Page itself.

So I can Like a Page, but I can no longer Like that someone joined a page, I can only Like it myself.  So if my friend joins a group called, let’s say, “Luddites for Social Media”, the only thing I can do to show my support is to Like the Page myself, even if I just want to encourage my friend? I guess so.  I hope the cause is worth it.

Is there a difference between “Liking” an item a friend posts and “Liking” a Page?

Yes. Liking a Page means you are connecting to that Page. When you connect to a Page, it will appear in your profile and you will appear on the Page as a person who likes that Page. The Page will also be able to post content into your News Feed.
On the other hand, when you click “Like” on a piece of content that a friend posts, you are simply letting your friend know that you like it without leaving a comment.

So to make this feel more lightweight and to encourage more connections across the site, you’re adding a new meaning to the word “Like”?  I guess this may encourage more Page connections as people are getting used to clicking Like on feed items.  Though I think it will create confusion.

I have to say I’m not a Fan of the change.  Can we add a “Don’t Like”?

-k

When is it ok to ignore a comment, tweet, etc?

No peeking, via Flickr (Dave Rutt)There’s a ton of advice out there that you ignore social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) at your own peril.  I’m having a difficult time finding best practices on when you may need to use ignoring as an approach — or is it something you should never do?

I’d love to know how you feel on this.  Is it ok?  If yes, when? Feel free to comment below, send me a tweet (@kevinmic), or email me directly.

Thanks!

-k

Best birthday yet! Two job offers and many good wishes.

Last Friday, October 31st, was my 37th birthday. It turned out to be my best birthday yet!

Two offers

The night before my birthday, I received another job offer. This means I started the day with two offers in hand, from Dimdim and from Mzinga.

Patrick Moran (@patrickmoran ), CMO at Mzinga, made me an offer for a Web Director role. Mzinga has great technology and people and I could easily see myself working for Patrick. I even had the opportunity last week to meet with Barry Libert, Chairman, and Rick Fault , President & CEO. They both seem to work very well together. In the end, I called Patrick Friday morning to thank him for the offer, but to decline. I feel the new role at Dimdim is where I need to be right now. It was tough coming to my decision, the offer was competitive, the challenges interesting, and Mzinga has some great people.

Later that morning, I spoke with Steve Chazin, CMO of Dimdim to let him know I would like to be the next employee at Dimdim. I accepted the offer for the Community Manager role at Dimdim because it gives me the opportunity to focus my attention more directly on building relationships with customers and participating the broader online conversation. Dimdim also has an excellent team and I’m sure I will be constantly learning new things. Steve has a great set of experiences and insights. (see his blog, MarketingApple .) I’m looking forward to working directly with him.

We’ll be sorting out the start date this week, but it was very nice to accept the offer on my birthday.

Many good wishes

The web rocks! I’ve believe this for about 15 years, but I love being reminded. I’m a fairly social kind of person and over the past few years I’ve connected, reconnected, and met many new people through the web. This year I was amazed when birthday wishes came pouring in via a number of mediums. I received 4 traditional cards via postal mail. (I’ll be the first to admit I try hard to remember birthdays but I’m terrible at getting birthday cards in the mail, so I’m not complaining) Here’s the breakdown of my birthday wishes this year:

  • 24 via Facebook
  • 14 ecards/emails
  • 6 over Geni
  • 4 calls
  • 5 via twitter
  • 3 via IM
  • 1 SMS
  • 2 automated emails (from DCU and webmaster-talk.com, and the best part was they only wished me a happy birthday, no other messaging or ads)

A few people even wished me a happy birthday through more than one medium. For me, it doesn’t get any better than having people wish you a happy birthday from across the US, UK, Spain, and Germany.

Interview with Alexa Scordato, changing the world, one chairman at a time.

alexa-scordato-128x128Background

One of the first people I met at my first tweetup in August 2008 was Alexa Scordato (@alexa). She was just moving to the Boston area to work for Barry Libert at Mzinga. Alexa and I spoke for less than a minute, but I made sure to follow her on Twitter. Since then, I’ve had more opportunities to talk with Alexa at events in the Boston area and even joined her a few weeks ago at an “Apple Pickin” tweetup in Stow, MA she helped organize. Alexa has a passion for social media and technology. She’s active in the blog community, working with some of the industry’s A-list bloggers, and has been working on “bridging the gap between Microsoft gurus and MySpace addicts.”

Tools

Alexa uses a relatively basic set tools for managing her online conversations.

  • Twitter (following 414 with 1063 following her)
  • Facebook (490 friends)
  • LinkedIn (39 connections)
  • Twitterific for following Twitter conversations on the go.

When it comes to blogs, Alexa remains very active in the blogosphere, but doesn’t rely on any feed/rss readers or Google alerts.

twitter logo-125x29 facebook-logo-125x47

linkedin-logo-119x32 twitterrific icon-54x54

 

Usage

Alexa follows conversations on Twitter primarily using the Twitter site and Twitter Search . Her approach is a bit different from others I’ve talked to. She is very comfortable joining existing conversations and starting new ones, but views the Twitter stream as an ongoing conversation.

For the blogs she follows, she doesn’t read every single blog post. She picks up on the current conversation when she can. Alexa knows many bloggers and will often call a blogger to discuss what’s being discussed on their blog. She’d rather have an hour conversation by phone to better understand the timeline. She keeps a strong focus on the personal relationships, with the understanding that you can’t keep up with everything.

Alexa grew up with technology (as with most millenials). She has a more native use of technology, not working to follow any specific “best practices.” As an early beta tester for Facebook and early Twitter adopter, the technology is just a new platform for the same type of conversations.

On Twitter, Alexa will typically check someone’s profile to see if they are in the Boston area. As someone new to the area, she is using the platform to help her meet more people. With Facebook, she typically connects to people she knows well or meets in non-social media contexts. For Alexa, the quality of the connections is more important than the number. She goes for higher quality connections.

When I asked her about how much time she spends a day on social media, Alexa asked a great question. “Was I including interactive sites like the NY Times?” I wasn’t — though I’ll need to give that more thought for future interviews. If she just focuses on the “social media/social network” sites she uses, she is currently at around 2-3 hours per day. Before taking on her new job, she used to spend 12-14 hours per day.

Insights

The way you conduct yourself in real life should apply online.

As I mentioned already, for Alexa it’s about higher quality connections and natural conversations. To help maintain this, she keeps her use organic and doesn’t try to force connections with tools. She uses a great metaphor, “If you were at a party would you want to know what everyone in the party is saying?”

Alexa feels you lose the “connectedness” the more people you follow. It’s about understanding what people need and “give so you can get.” She brought up the example of the teenage girls who are creating wildly successful MySpace fan pages. It’s clear they understand what people need and they are willing to let it grow organically.

Alexa believes that social media as it stands isn’t scalable if you are going for quality connections and natural conversations. In real life, who has 1,000+ good friends? She defines good meaning the type of person who would drop everything if you were in need.

Advice

personal is the new professional

Alexa sees the need for more “personal” with the “professional.” She’s found there is “no shortcut” when building your relationships. It needs to be organic and we need to catch ourselves so we don’t end up being socially inept in our attempts to communicate on the web.

For those getting started, Alexa recommends Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn . Facebook because it is a more living breathing social space. Twitter because it’s hot. It’s where the cool kids are. And LinkedIn because it is your digital resume. She’s even heard that some companies are only allowing their employees to have LinkedIn profiles.

Interview with Christine Major, High tech PR pro and social media junkie

Christine Major

Background

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Christine Major of PerkettPR. I first met Christine in August at a Tweetup in Cambridge, MA organized by author, blogger, and Forrester Online Community Manager John Cass. Since then I’ve been following her on Twitter (@CMajor). Through her I’ve learned of several events in the Boston area I would have otherwise missed and have had the opportunity to connect with more interesting professionals.

Tools

Christine uses social media both personally and professionally. She’s quite active on Twitter with more than 500+ followers and uses it to track for news, maintain professional connections, and some personal interaction. As a PR professional, Twitter has been a great tool to help her connect with reporters and influencers. She uploads photos to Twitter using twitpic and recently joined the twitter moms group. She keeps up with friends on Facebook with 150+ friends and maintains professional connections using LinkedIn with 92 connections. To help her keep up with the conversations on Twitter, both for herself and for clients, she uses Twitter Search (formerly Summize).

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

twitpic Twitterrific

 

Usage

Christine has been on Twitter for a year now. Initially she was resistant to jump into the dynamic Twitter conversation, but quickly started realizing its value and became more active. Through Twitter, she’s found a great blend of online and real life connecting unlike any other social networking tool.

She spends about an hour each day directly engaged with social media. Just like email is a part of everyone’s daily lives, Twitter is now part of hers to check for messages and monitor and participate in conversations. For general Twitter discussions and any replies directed towards her (called @replies), she checks them using the Twitter web site and Twitter search. This system lets her work during the day without being interrupted by the general stream of “tweets”. Any private, direct messages to her go directly to her email inbox. On the go, Christine checks Twitter on her iPhone using Twitterific (sometimes a little too often.)

With her personal connections on Facebook she uses a more passive approach, relying on the Facebook generated emails for comments and messages. Occasionally she will go to the Facebook site to check the statuses of her friends. Facebook has been good for catching up with old friends. She had tried MySpace, but wasn’t thrilled with it’s interface and ultimately found she made much better connections on Facebook and canceled her account.

She is being selective about what tools to use to keep things manageable.

Insights

Christine has found success using social media tools by investing time in helping others. Recently she was chosen to be a panel liaison for SXSW . When she tweeted about it to share the news, another Twitter user contacted her to ask how she went about it. She helped get them connected with the appropriate person to get involved. Christine has also witnessed the impact of the medium more directly. A few weeks ago, she tweeted about going for a run. She received a response that it had inspired one of her followers to go out for a run too. The tools have been great in helping her manage connections and make friends.

Using social media has helped her grow personally and push “out of her shell.” To help keep a balance, she has been careful about who she follows back on Twitter. If someone follows her, she looks to see who they are by checking out their bio and reading what they are tweeting about before she decides to follow them back. When she follows someone on Twitter, she’ll take the time to look them up on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn a bit more about them. People she has met in person are more likely to get connected with her across all her social media tools.

Using Twitter was a strategic move by her company. Once she began using it she grew to like it. Meeting people in person and connecting with them on Twitter has been very exciting. She is now working with her clients to introduce them to the space. Some of her clients are hesitant to jump on board, but know they need to do it. In Christine’s view, successful social interaction online needs to come from the client.

Advice

You can’t just feed news – you have to add value or people are going to ignore you.

  • Remember it’s public. Be careful what you are putting on there. People are going to check online for you. Show your personality, don’t stifle it.
  • It takes time to build up your following and your community. It takes effort to cultivate. Be patient. Grow it organically, don’t force it.
  • If you are starting on Twitter, follow friends and ask them to follow you. Ask your friends to suggest to their followers that they follow you. Again, don’t force it.
  • Put information about yourself in your bio so people know who you are. You are likely to receive a follow back if you seem like a real person with real interests.
  • Be consistent, don’t just tweet once a week and expect a following.
  • Get involved. Get engaged. Network. Meet. The best success comes from a combination of meeting people in person and extending that relationship online. It takes time and effort, but the benefits are so rewarding.

Author’s note : I want to thank Christine for allowing her interview to be the first posted to Practical Conversations. Not everyone is willing to blaze trails. It’s my hope that more interviews like this, with people sharing their experiences, will help us all to improve our personal processes for managing online conversations. Thanks Christine! -k