Social Media is Just Like the Mafia

May 17, 2011

Obviously, with shows like Real Housewives of New Jersey and Mafia Wives, Italians and the mafia are kinda huge right now.  As a the granddaughter of someone that came over on the boat, I can totally appreciate this. Italians are a little different. We’re a little crazy and a whole lot of awesome. When I moved to Ohio, I actually exploited the fact that I am Italian and from New York. I had a lot of people fooled into thinking that I was somehow involved in the mafia. Yeah, I knew quite a few idiots.

Nowadays though, you’ve got to respect some of the values that the mafia stood for. Those tend to be just like the Italian values I grew up with and really will help you along in your social media presence:

1. Collect Favors: This is something I excel at. I’m a connector in social media, so I am always putting people in touch with those that can help them. If I know about a job, I pass it on. If I can help someone, I try to (although you can’t help everyone). A Don would probably say that I am collecting favors for a rainy day.  I don’t do this intentionally, but yeah, that is exactly what I am doing. You never know when you are going to need help, so be helpful in the meantime.

2. Make Sure It’s Actually Raining: If you redeem your favors at every small bump in the road, what are you going to do when it is a torrential downpour out there? You’re going to get wet and become washed up. Like a Don, be selective. Is this really the best use of someone’s time? Are they going to hate you for asking them to do this? Are you trying to get them to do your job for you? And are you trying to make this consultant do their job for free? Unless you’re in a severe emergency that the person you are asking can relate to, this is never okay.

3. Know Everything: To be an effective Don, you have to keep your ear to the ground. I have a freakish memory and can tell you something about all of my followers that I have interacted with. Not everyone can do that. I once heard about a guy that used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the girls he was talking to via online dating channels. While this seems cold, if you don’t have the memory, you absolutely have to do this kind of thing in business. Hell, you should probably do this regardless of your memory. Know the who, what and why of the people that you follow, and you have already gotten yourself a more faithful follower.

4. Have Respect: We all know that in the end that I’m a smart ass and I don’t like to show off what I know, so I get no respect. This is just one of those things that I struggle with on a daily basis. You cannot move ahead without respect. If you want to be a true leader of men or a Don, it helps if people talk about you in hushed tones. Okay, maybe not in hushed tones, but you get the point. You can be funny, but at the end of the day, you have to bring it and bring it hard.

5. Kill the Competition: If you’re not bringing it, competition is going to sprout up. The only way to kill it is to make sure you’ve got something that the other guy does. A truly great Don can kill off the competition without a single shot being fired. That is because they offer their followers protection. In the social media age, if you are offering the very best information in the very best way, you will never have to worry about the war.

6. Keep Your Trap Shut: Hey, look! Here’s another one I struggle with! In the mafia, loose lips get you killed. In social media, you can lose every bit of credibility you’ve ever had. This includes calling out those that unfollowed you, feeling the need to tell off someone where everyone can see it and publicly pointing out mistakes. If you’ve got a problem, take it offline or to a private channel. Making it public just sucks. Of course, those of us with Irish-Italian tempers have to work doubly hard at this one.

So in the end, it’s all about being a loyal, awesome person. If that’s really a hard thing for you, then maybe social media and the mafia aren’t your things. That’s okay. Nothing in this world is meant for everybody, and unlike the mafia, you can always get off this social media train.

How else do you think social media is like the mafia?

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You deserve nothing

April 28, 2011

I have been coming up against an attitude that has just been pissing me off lately: “I wrote about you on such-and-such site and now I deserve a reward.”  This can be as complicated as a blog post to something as simple as a Foursquare check-in. Well, I have news for all of you people… You deserve nothing.

Well, almost nothing. A simple thank you is enough and then the business should surely be on their merry way.

But I’m mayor of your shop and I’ve blasted ten gajillion check-ins to my bajillion Twitter followers and Facebook friends. That’s nice. Did you actually say anything interesting when blasting that check-in out? Did you tell them about how we’re famous for our cream pies? Or that we have karaoke on Tuesdays? No? I didn’t think so. I have some news for you: What you did is called white noise and your followers’ eyes flitted past it as quickly as I am going to walk away from you now.

But I’m going to create awesome content for you. That’s fantastic. What is your experience in creating this content? What successful campaigns have you been a part of? None? Hmmm… Well, I’ll be nice and help out with some freebies, but no, I won’t do more. You’re still establishing this thing called a reputation. Maybe say thank you since I’m allowing you some access to my company to establish that relationship?

But I have all of these followers and friends! Congratulations. I bet your parents are proud, but anybody can accumulate people. Can you turn these people into buyers? You don’t know? But you’re sure these people depend on your advice? Well, I think I’m going to go with this person over here that has their crap together. See, they just showed me their past proven successes, because yes, that can be measured. And since I’m in business, I’m going to go with the person that measures and shows the results they can get.

Remember, those of us that you are trying to get a reward off of are in business. We are trying to make a buck. We are going to do things that make financial sense. And well, taking a chance on someone that can’t prove anything that they do provides actual, measurable results? That just doesn’t make financial sense. Get over it and start acting like you’re in business if this is what you want to do.

It’s My Party and I’ll Blog If I Want To

April 16, 2011

Obviously, I let this blog go.  Did I burn out?  Like a moth to a flame. It sucked, because there were so many reasons why I enjoyed writing this.  But things just couldn’t keep going the way that they were.

Here were my mistakes.  Hopefully you’ll pick up a few tips that will help you out.

1.  I spent between 20-30 hours working on this blog a week.  Yeah, you read that right.  The actual writing I did was only one piece of the puzzle.  The promoting is the actual beast.  I participated in relevant chats.  I read blogs and commented with links to posts that I had written.  I just found any way that I could to connect with people and get what I was writing about in their hands.  It’s a lot of work.  Did the work pay off? Fo’ shizzle.  Was I happy about it?  Not really.  I work 40 hours a week at a desk job, and I have things that I like to do that don’t include the computer or social media.  Crazy, I know.  This time around, I’m going to concentrate on work-life balance.  It’s unfortunate, but I think I’ll just concentrate on writing awesomesauce material and if people read it via my channels, great.

2.  I went in with no plan.  I’m not sure if many of you know the real reason why I started this blog.  Well, I read a blog post on Foursquare that made me mad.  I wrote out a reply and realized it was more of a blog post than an actual comment.  So I got onto WordPress, took a few minutes setting up the blog and published.  I had no clue if I’d ever write on it again.  Didn’t really know what I’d write about if I did.  Just wanted to make sure some idiot got a piece of my mind.  Don’t ever do that.  You end up with an albatross hanging around your neck and you don’t want one of those.  Instead, sketch out what you want to do and make sure it’s feasible.  Only then should you publish.  I’m working backwards here and let me tell you, it sucks the big one.

3.  I listened to everyone, but myself.  Everybody has an opinion and in most cases, I’m smart enough to ignore most of those opinions.  However, I wasn’t here.  I heard bloggers should post every day, so I tried to post every day.  I heard bloggers do this, that and the other thing, so I did this, that and the other things.  The problem is that I’m me first and then maybe a blogger.  It’s stupid to ignore that.  What works for me is not going to work for you and vice versa.  This time around, if my inner voice says, “No way in hell,” I’m going to honor that and tell whoever is criticizing me that there’s a fantastic bridge that I would be happy to push them off of.  Remember, in every facet of social media, you don’t have to do anything other than what works FOR YOU.

So there will be no posting schedule.  I’ll only post when I have something to say.  Luckily, I have a lot to say right now, so you definitely can look for more soon.  In the meantime, any topics you’d like to see me cover?

What is a DMO’s purpose on social media?

November 4, 2010

We should all be working a strategy like we work a two dollar whore.  But I know some of us are just winging it.  So during a discussion I was having on Twitter, it was brought up that Twitter should be for DMO to consumer communication to influence the decision-making process.  I gotta say I disagree here.  I think the major purpose behind a DMOs use of all social media channels is to foster peer to peer communications (where most decisions get made) and to create a stronger relationship with those that have already bought what you’re selling (making them want to come back for more).  Agree? Disagree? Would love to hear some thoughts on this.

The Public Education System, Depression & Bullying

October 21, 2010

My 16 year old niece quit high school.  My beautiful, talented and smart 16 year old niece quit high school.  Those words have been clunking around in my head these past couple of days.  Was it a surprise?  Not really.  I’ve seen it coming for awhile.  Did it make my cry?  Yes.  I don’t know what her future holds for her now, but I know whatever it is, it’s probably not good enough for her.

For those that aren’t familiar with the situation, here’s a little back story.  After failing 9th grade for the first time, my niece flat out refused to go back to school.  That is when the flood of revelations started coming out.  My niece was diagnosed with clinical depression and went through a series of medications to find out what worked for her.  The school, however, did not recognize this diagnosis as they should have.  Instead of working with my sister to re-introduce my niece in a positive way back into the school system, they took the hard line.  They were going to put my niece into a program that would require her to wear sweats to school and no makeup.  They gave her a probation officer.  They did everything but try to address the problem that was actually going on.  My niece was severely depressed and needed help getting through the day, but they refused to recognize that.

And then the bullying started.  As many of you can tell, my own struggles with depression has sometimes made social interaction hard and at times, impossible.  I don’t innately know what the normal social rules are and have had to teach myself many of them.  My niece is in the same boat.  If kids weren’t bullying her over the fact that she wasn’t in school, they were bullying her over things that she would say.  And I honestly understand when she says that she doesn’t realize that what she said was wrong.  She just doesn’t have that ability to realize that she’s being offensive.  There were Facebook pages put up against her.  Parents were even ganging up against her.  If she was feeling like the whole world was against her, it was with good reason.  The school’s reaction?  Very little.

I know some of you would say that my niece may have brought some of this on herself.  I think it’s impossible to say that about someone that has depression.  When she wasn’t going to school, it was because she physically couldn’t get out of bed.  When she was saying things that were out of line, it was because she honestly didn’t realize they were out of line.  So let’s do a little change-a-roo.  What if my niece’s diagnosis had been cancer?  What if she couldn’t have gone to school because of the cancer treatments?  What if kids were making fun of her because of the side effects of cancer?  I think it’s exactly the same thing.  And yes, the final outcome of depression can be just as deadly as any cancer.

So now a little girl that used to love school and used to be quite good at it is sitting at home trying to figure out what to do next in a world where education means everything.  A big thanks to the school system that failed my niece.

How to Sexually Harass a Girl on Twitter

October 19, 2010

Lately, I’ve gotten a few weird DMs that have just boggled my mind.  They leave me wondering if guys actually bother really reading my stream or are just not caring.  But the thing that really struck me was the fact that these guys had no clue that they were creeping me out.  So yeah, I decided to help some brothers out.  Yes, you totally have no chance with me (unless you are better looking, funnier and smarter than my boyfriend and I assure you that you are not), but that does not mean that I can’t help you creep on another girl in a completely uncreepy way.

Don’t call a girl hot

The word “hot” is a great word to describe the temperature.  If you call a girl hot, you’ve just screwed yourself, especially on Twitter.  There is just no way of using that word to describe a girl in a funny or clever way.  Drop it from your vocabulary now.

The best alternative is the word “cute”.  It’s non-threatening.  It describes the personality more than looks.  And anyways, remember that you have never really seen most of these girls, so you have no clue whether they are actually hot.  But from their stream, you can tell if they’re cute.

Don’t tell the girl that you’re better than her boyfriend

The chances of this being true are like next to nothing.  Plus, the girl probably actually likes her boyfriend despite what her stream says (Yes, I do like Mike).  Slamming someone that she genuinely likes will only screw you over and will only make you seem like a slimy insecure loser.

The alternative here is to just show off your cool self.  Don’t mention the boyfriend at all.  Just be you.  Getting into the friend zone with a girl that you have a crush on who is currently taken is not a bad thing.  And if she ends up getting out of that relationship, then you can push forward.  But just be a friend until then.

Don’t post pictures that you wouldn’t want your mother to see

This covers lots of things.  If a girl sees the constant partying, you’re not serious and therefore are not boyfriend material.  If you post pictures of a certain body part, well, no girl wants to see that.  It could be the best looking one of those thing-a-majiggers in the whole wide world, and still, no girl wants to see that.  Once again, I assure you that no girl wants to see that.

So yeah, um, stop, think, stop again, think about your mother and then tweet.

Don’t just talk to the girl

If your whole stream is just at-replies to this girl, wow.  Are we a little obsessed?  Do we not have friends?  Are we maybe stalking?  This is true even if you are putting in some regular tweets in there.  If all of your at-replies are just to one person, you’re not using Twitter right.  Does this mean that you switch all of those creepy at-replies to DMs?  Please God no.  Even creepier.

A few at-replies here and there are okay, but diversify.  Creep on multiple girls and throw in a guy every once in awhile to make it look like you’re not on Twitter just for the possible sex.

Do actually read what the girl is tweeting about

If you ask the girl something like how her Mr. Fluffypants is feeling after just having visited the vet, that shows that you genuinely care about something that is going on in her life.  It shows that you don’t want to just sex her up.  Do you really care about Mr. Fluffypants?  99% of guys could care less about Mr. Fluffypants, but the girl does.  That’s what matters.

And if the girl happens to ask back about how you did in last night’s softball game, well, that’s a good sign that she’s at least reading your stream too.  But I do need to qualify this because I’m a quasi-stalker out of pure boredom.  A girl asking you a question about what’s going on in your life in no way means that she has a crush on you.  Still proceed with caution.

Do be awesome

Be who you are and be your most awesome version of that.  This way, you don’t have to keep up with lies and you won’t tire yourself out from having to keep putting on an act.  No girl is interested in the act.  And remember, when you lie on the Internet, you are always found out and you will always look like a dick.

So what is the moral of the story: The rules for hitting on girls on Twitter are EXACTLY the same as in real life.  Abide by them and be respectful.  And most importantly, no one wants to see that Twitpic.

Any other words of advice for the guys?

The Non-Existent Problem of Women

October 12, 2010

So lately, I’ve been reading a lot of articles by women that pretty much demean women. I would link to them but I don’t want to increase the readership of what ends up being total crap. My favorite article basically said that if you’re unemployed, then it’s the perfect time to have a kid since you’ll have one soon anyways and it will just screw up your career. The latest said that women are fundamentally incapable of being entrepreneurs because they want kids. Bull, bull, bull.

I don’t know how to answer these articles except to go through some of my upbringing. I’m the daughter of a retired firefighter and a secretary. My father had two jobs for most of my life and my mother started a second job right after I left home. To be perfectly honest, I will also add that they are divorced and did so when I was seven. Regardless of that, I learned one thing growing up: People are meant to work and they are meant to work hard. This is a value that I treasure and that I plan on passing on to my future kid.

How do I plan on doing that? I plan on being the example that my kid can look up to. I already am like my parents in that I have two jobs. I work my regular 9-5 job and then I go home to work on my new business that I just opened. As my boyfriend has noted, it is very rare for me NOT to be working on something. This was even true during my stint when I was employed. I like to work. When I have a child, I know this won’t change just because it’s so ingrained in me. And I don’t want it to change. I want my child to see me enjoying work and to want to be the same.

Will this make me any less of a mom? Despite the fact that everyone says that I’m the man in my relationship, I don’t think so. This just happens to be something that I honest to God enjoy and get upset when it’s taken away from me. It’s kind of like reading. If you really like reading and know all of the joys that a good book can bring into your life, wouldn’t you want to share that hobby with your child? Well, I want to share one of my favorite hobbies with my child too.

Does this mean that I will miss some things in my child’s life? Undoubtedly, yes. Is that okay? Once again, yes. It will make me appreciate my child that much more and it will make my child appreciate the time spent with me that much more. And it will also teach my child about responsibility. Is it really that bad a thing for my kid to realize that sometimes my responsibilities come before him or her? I think it will only reinforce some great values and it will also make sure that my child does not have an overinflated sense of self-worth. After all, things don’t always go the way we always want and sometimes we have to put the needs of others in front of our own.

I do not think any of this is naive, although I fully expect to be called another naive 20-something. I don’t think I am though. I think I have identified what will work for me as a future mom, just like other women have identified what works for them and men have done the same for themselves. So can we all be cool with the fact that work hard or not work hard is an individual’s choice and not based on gender? And can we also maybe stop writing posts about how women should or should not be?

Oh and yes, I do feel better. Thanks for asking.

Mediocrity

September 1, 2010

There is really nothing I hate more than mediocrity.  I’ve spent most of my life pushing myself to be the best, to be interesting and to be something.  That’s why I’m kind of dismayed at what I’ve become.  I’m not special.  I’m not all that interesting.  And well, I don’t know what I am.

Do I hate my life?  Not really.  I have a pretty charmed life.  I have a boyfriend that I love.  No kids, but that has more to do with not really wanting any right now than anything else.  I have an awesome cat.  Great friends.  I get basically whatever I want.  This is a trait that was encouraged as a child and developed into a career for awhile.  If I don’t get it, there’s a good chance that I didn’t really want it.

So what’s the problem?  Nothing really.  I guess I just thought there was more.  I thought that I was going to find that thing that would define me, be it a career or something else.  The fact that I haven’t is kind of disheartening and a bit of a head scratcher.  Shouldn’t I have something figured out by now and shouldn’t I be uber-passionate about that one thing?  Probably.

Sigh.  Not even my existential crisis is all that interesting.

So that leaves me to the real question of life: Do I remain mediocre and on all accounts pretty happy?  Or do I start pushing through this mediocrity and give in to that philosopher in me that needs to figure things out?  And if I am pushing through, what am I pushing towards?  Do I struggle towards greatness for the sake of greatness?  That seems like the most boring option yet.  Maybe I don’t need a goal?  I’m too goal-oriented for that.  Maybe I’m just trying to move towards figuring things out.  But that isn’t much of anything either.  I mean, in the end, what am I trying to figure out?

Anybody else here?

(I’m probably on a string of writing some personal posts.  I apologize to my readers that are here strictly for tourism, association and social media stuff.)

Initial Thoughts on Facebook Places

August 20, 2010

We all know that I’m a Foursquare fan girl.  I’m not going to even pretend that I’m not.  So I was particularly interested in what Facebook Places was going to bring to the table.  And well, I’m kind of underwhelmed.

The biggest issue that is making the rounds is the fact that your friends can check you in.  The social media types all know how this is going to go.  People are going to think that they’re funny and check us into random places.  In fact, I’m already thinking of all the places I can check Mike the Boyfriend into. (I won’t but it doesn’t mean I won’t encourage others to do it.)  And then there are the privacy phobes that simply don’t want people to know where they are.  We have already seen how much noise they can make with previous privacy issues.  I don’t think there is any possibility that this feature will last.  And that is simply because we are all turning it off.

The other feature that I think will go away is the one that allows people to see who is at a location.  Yes, that is a GREAT feature on Foursquare.  I constantly use it to see who I should be meeting up with at a happy hours and other events.  I can’t scream how much I love this feature on Foursquare enough.  It can’t be translated onto Facebook.  Once again, I’m looking at you privacy phobes.  You don’t want people to know where you are unless you have a prior relationship, and even then, you don’t like it.  Therefore, you all will turn this feature off as well.

Then there is what this will do to the stream.  I know a lot of people that unfollow anyone that tweets every single check-in.  It’s annoying.  And there are a lot of tweets in most streams.  There aren’t nearly as many Facebook posts out there.  I think even broadcasting a few check-ins will get old fast.

Finally, there is no incentive.  To be honest, the only reason why I check-in to Foursquare is because I think I might get something out of it (badge, mayorship, coupon, etc.).  Without that, I don’t tend to check-in.  That means I have absolutely no reason to check-in via places.  And I like location-based applications.  Chew on that for a second.

Yes, Facebook seems to have a head start in that it has 500 million users, but these users are overall very different from those that use location-based applications.  The average Facebook user doesn’t like to share too much.  They like to keep things close to the chest.  And those that aren’t like that tend to be more friendly with Twitter than Facebook.  So Facebook has A LOT to overcome with their average user and they have to woo back these other users as well.  Especially since I’m seeing a lot of tweets on how to turn off just about every feature of Places.

Do I think you should not play with Facebook Places?  Hell, no.  Play, jump and giggle with it.  It’s a tool, and it could be helpful.  Just be aware, this is its first incarnation and it’s going to change.  Be okay with that and let’s see what this baby can do.

New System for Links on Facebook

August 12, 2010

This is going to right along with my post about realizing what your followers screens look like.  Have you realized that Facebook is now handling posted links differently?  And that this has an effect on how effective your campaigns are?  For example, it used to be that a fan page would post a link to their event.  One of the fans would go, “Oooo, that’s a good event that my friends would be interested in.  I should post it too.”  So they would post it on their wall and the two posts would be separate.  That is no more.

What happens now is that every time the link gets posted by someone that you are friends with or a fan of, that link shows up in your timeline with the added comments from every one of your friends or pages that has posted that specific link.   Um, holy problems Batman.

I know it sounds great that we all have just one item that we want to draw attention to on a particular link, but that is not always the case.  Sometimes we change what is on a page and sometimes we have more than one item on a page.  What if I have to use that link again to promote something else?  I don’t really want my comments or the comments of others about another item to muck up my latest promotion.

Also, what if we decide that the current way that we are talking about an item or event is just not working.  We want to take a left turn.  We want to make it new and exciting.  Well, there really is no way of abandoning our previous tactic if our previous comments are going to be sitting right there along with our new comments.

Yes, to solve some of these issues we can delete our previous posts, but forcing me to go through every post to make sure I have not used that link before is not cool.  And there really is nothing I can do about what other people have posted.  It’s not like I can figure out every single person that has ever posted that link and ask them to delete their comments.  That is beyond uncool, there isn’t even a word.

So what do we do?  I honestly have no answers.  Do you?