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  • About askyouradmn
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    Virtual Assistant
    Punta Gorda, Fl
    Mom, Entrepreneur, Jewelry Designer, Blogger, Picture Taker, Power Walker, Pop Culture Junkie, Craft
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    Hi there! I'm a career executive assistant who recently decided to give it a go virtually!

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  • Last Activity: 08-27-2009
  • Join Date: 05-22-2009


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Posted 06-15-2009 at 01:07 PM Comments 0
Posted in Uncategorized

It's a pretty good bet that if you're not making a Twitter or Facebook application, you're probably making a lifestreaming application. Okay, so not everyone is into lifestreaming, but it is one of the hottest areas for development out there, and there are an overwhelming amount of services offering a way to aggregate all the little bits of your online life (which, for the purpose of this post, is the definition of lifestreaming that we'll use). Richard MacManus wrote an excellent primer on lifestreaming in January, but we touched on just 5 such services. The purpose of this post, rather than to review, is to just list the various options out there.

Lifestreaming apps generally fall into two categories: those that help you keep track of and display your own lifestream and those that help you keep track of your friend's lifestreams (or both). For the sake of clarity, we've focused mainly on the former for this list.

Tumblr - Tumblr is a microblogging application that also allows the inclusion of activity streams from other services.
Onaswarm - Onaswarm, which is in private beta, is a dedicated lifestreaming app that supports a wide variety of other services.
Jaiku - The chief function of Jaiku, as a presence app similar to Twitter, is enhanced by letting users aggregate activity from outside services. - -- in closed beta -- is a dedicated activity stream aggregator that quotes our review in the company line by calling itself a "standards based nerve center." - Similar to Tumblr, is a microblogging application. It also supports outside status updates for 11 services and any RSS feed.
FriendFeed - Due to being founded by a bunch of ex-Googlers, FriendFeed might hold the crown for most talked about lifestreaming app. It supports nearly 30 web sites.
MyBlogLog - MyBlogLog, which specializes in creating ad-hoc social networks around blogs, just got into lifestreaming with an update last night.
Profilactic - Profilactic supports 135 sites. Yes, 135 sites. As well as the ability to add your own. Have fun.
iStalkr - iStalkr is a hub for your social media activity and that of your friends and family, with a unique approach to lifestreaming that puts your life on a timeline. - creates a river of activity for a handful of supported sites, and graphs which sites you use the most, all with the design sensibilities of
ProfileFly - Focused on social networks, ProfileFly creates a replacement profile that mashes up status updates from your existing social profiles.
Second Brain - Second Brain takes takes a slightly less automatic approach to life streaming by asking that you categorize and group your activity into collections. See our review. - is a social media search engine that also offers "a profile to consolidate your various online presences."
liveZuu - A lifestreaming application that supports 28 networks and offer a Facebook app.
OneSwirl - A newer dedicated lifestream aggregator that celebrated its first public release today.
Socialthing! - Currently in closed beta, Socialthing! is a promising lifestreaming service that offers a nifty-looking iPhone optimized version. They're planning to release the service at SXSW.
iminta - iminta keeps you up-to-date on what your friends are "in to" and lets you share your own activity stream.
Plaxo Pulse - Most famous for helping to get Robert Scoble temporarily banned from Facebook, Plaxo's Pulse product lets you aggregate activity from a wide variety of third party services.
Identoo - A fairly standard social streaming site.
Escaloop - Escaloop is a free-form lifestreaming app that lets you combine up to 20 RSS feeds into a single stream (yeah, there are other RSS mixers out there, but Escaloop is notable on this list for specifically targeting lifestreaming).
Hictu - Hictu is a video microblogging app that supports importing activity streams from outside services.
Life2Front - Life2Front's LiFE-Line activity stream feature is a functional activity stream aggregator, if not the most attractive.
30Boxes - The online calendar app also has lifestreaming capabilities.
Readr - Readr mashes 21 different sites into a single profile feed.
Suprglu - Suprglu pulls content from the web services you use and then republishes them in blog format.
Where is me? - A lifestreaming app that pulls from 11 services or RSS feeds.
Slifeshare - Lifestreaming via a Mac OS X application (Windows promised soon).
MovableType ActionStreams - For do-it-yourselfers, MovableType offers a lifestreaming plugin for their blog platform.
SimpleLife - More for the DIY set, SimpleLife is a lifestreaming plugin for Wordpress.
WP Lifestream - Another lifestreaming plugin for Wordpress.
RSS Stream - You guessed it, a third lifestream plugin for Wordpress.
oneConnect - Yahoo!'s oneConnect mobile service includes activity stream aggregation features.
Facebook (?) - Rumor has it that Facebook will be opening up the news feed to outside service updates.

Socialstream - Nothing has come out of it yet, but this Google funded academic project at Carnegie Mellon University into lifestreaming has garnered a ton of press attention.
Jeremy Keith's Lifestreaming Script - Jeremy Keith's lifestreaming script was one of the first and inspired some of the services on this list.

Posted 06-15-2009 at 07:46 AM Comments 3
Posted in Uncategorized
[B][U]Beware the Social Media Charlatans[/U][/B]


Lately it seems I can't go anywhere without running into a gaggle of social media consultants bloviating about the wonders of social network marketing. Sure, you've seen 'em, too. Slick shake-and-bake "experts" promising to help you leverage the power of Twitter and Facebook to raise your profile and, inexplicably, boost your profits. But scratch the surface on most of these claims and they instantly crumble. Meanwhile, it seems the only people making any money in social media are the consultants themselves.

For anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand bucks, you can hire a social media consultant to come to your office and put on a training seminar for your staff. They'll spend an hour or two pontificating about the power of social media to raise awareness of your brand and the magical benefits of building closer relationships with your customers in 140 characters or less. They'll probably even offer you a few "insider tips" based on their "deep expertise" in the field. The only problem? It's a load of bull.

Unless you define success by the sort of loosey-goosey standards that might make your horoscope appear to actually predict the future, the real measure of any business undertaking is that it increases your profits. But in the vast majority of use cases, neither Twitter nor Facebook stands any significant chance of doing that for business users. And if you're a small business that depends on, say, actually selling real products and services to actual paying customers, wistfully tweeting about your daily specials is almost certainly a waste of resources.

But time spent typing 140-character updates about your company is nowhere near as frivolous as time and money spent listening to a self-styled guru blather about how to do it.

Everyone's an Expert
Combine a rapidly growing trend of social media adoption with an economy that has forced hundreds of thousands of workers to reinvent themselves as entrepreneurs, and you've got the perfect recipe for consultant overload. Since nobody seems to know what the hell's going on with Twitter anyway, nearly anyone can pass themselves off as an expert on the subject. So suddenly all those poseurs who might otherwise have bilked the hapless with offers of life coaching services or Feng Shui consulting have jumped on the social networking bandwagon. You can hardly swing a stick on the sidewalk nowadays without smacking one of these guys in the head.

In fact, shortly after I began typing this, I received a message from a fairly typical consultant offering to give me some expert insights in relation to another article I'd recently written. A quick look at this person's Web site revealed a career in a totally unrelated field followed by a sudden turn to social media consulting on the basis of being an "avid" social networker. Among this supposed expert's credentials: an admitted lack of technical savvy and a claim to be able to make businesses more productive through social networking.

The cognitive dissonance is enough to make one's head explode, but in the world of social media gurus this kind of thing is the rule rather than the exception.

A few weeks ago, a former colleague at another publication asked me my opinion of the "one-third rule" on Twitter. I had no idea what she was talking about.

The one-third rule, she explained, is that you should have about a third more followers than the number of people you yourself are following. The presumed benefit is that the imbalance would appear to be in your favor should anyone happen upon your profile, and folks just wouldn't be able to resist following such an obviously popular person. Where did my friend get this ridiculous rule? A high-priced social media guru speaking at a local business conference.

Do you know how many people are likely to be duped into following your company's Twitter account just because you have slightly more followers than followees? Pretty much zero. And if you did happen to trick someone with such a childish ruse, it's unlikely they'd stick around to add any value to your business.

The truth is that there are almost no rules in social networking that don't already apply in just about any other social environment. A great many smart people have already written worthy perspectives on how to be a good citizen on Facebook and Twitter, and I hardly need to reiterate here what amounts to general common sense. Just as in life, the only rule that really matters is the Golden Rule. All the rest is either derivative, or flat-out nonsense, and you really shouldn't be paying big bucks for either.

Get Real Or Get Out
Unfortunately, the dirty little secret about using social networks like Twitter and Facebook to promote your business is that, with the rarest exceptions, nobody wants to be buddies with a company. We live in a society that is absolutely sick of being advertised to and marketed to, and most of us turn to social networks to escape the forces of commercialism. We have a word for people who use social networks to send out unwanted offers and announcements about their business, and that word is "spammer."

In a few unique cases, some companies have managed to create a Twitter presence that actually appears to have beneficial results. Comcast is a notable example.

With its ComcastCares team on Twitter, the cable giant monitors the Twitterverse for negative comments about the company and then reaches out to the commenters to try to resolve whatever issues have raised their hackles. It's a novel strategy that I experienced first-hand when I recently tweeted about the fact that I was switching cable providers. Within a couple of minutes, a Comcast representative tweeted back to me to ask if there was anything he could do to help me. There wasn't, but I can imagine that this approach might occasionally work with some customers, and probably justifies the relatively small expense of having a few people monitoring Twitter at that enormous company.

Another example is Starbucks, which has one staffer named Brad tweeting about daily life at the company's headquarters in Seattle. He doesn't sell any coffee or anything, but his casual updates and cordial chit-chat with customers put a human face on a company that is often perceived as a monolith. As with Comcast, it appears to be a fairly low-cost PR effort for a company with vast resources.

For a smaller business, the benefits of social media are far less clear, and the relative costs can be much higher. A company operating with fewer than 50 employees can hardly afford to dedicate any full-time staff to posting updates on Twitter and Facebook. While you could charge one or two staffers with the responsibility of posting updates once in a while, it's probably a good idea to make sure you pick workers who can strike the right balance between social media and their actual job. Resist the temptation to hand all of the social networking duties to that one young hipster in your office who appears to "get it." Otherwise you risk losing control of your brand message and turning a meager publicity effort into a public embarrassment.

If you're going to start a Facebook or Twitter account for your company, give the responsibility to someone with poise, maturity, and tact, and then give them the freedom to do it their own way and figure it out for themselves. Ignore the "rules," avoid the "gurus," and let common social courtesy be your guide.

More importantly, approach social media with reasonable expectations. Know in advance what you expect to get out of the effort. In most cases, all you can really hope for is a little bit of good will from potential customers. In some cases, if you do manage to attract a decent group of followers, you can reward them with special offers, but approach such offers with temperance and grace, or you'll be unceremoniously dumped.

Ultimately, it's wise to accept that time and treasure spent on social media is unlikely to reap measureable rewards for most businesses. But that hardly means it's not worth trying. Just approach it with a modicum of reservation and take the advice of so-called experts (yes, including me) with a very large grain of salt.

Robert Strohmeyer has been using social media since before that phrase was invented, and he has no patience for quick-buck schemers. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to, and he'll never try to sell you anything.

Posted 06-10-2009 at 02:53 PM Comments 2
Posted in Uncategorized

I love this blog:

A post from Lon Safko on the Fast Company blog today talks about The 10 Commandments of Social Media. The advice is good and serves as a great starting point for individuals, brands or any organisation looking to use social media. Safkoís ĎCommandmentsí are:

Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy).
Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere).
Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them).
Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find).
Thou Shalt Podcast (often).
Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately).
Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs).
Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone).
Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week).
Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively)!
These ideas are great, and they encourage people to specific activities. However, I would add one simple and perhaps over-riding consideration:

Experiment and innovate - give social media a go
I once heard an interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett, CMO at Kodak, who advocates experimentation in marketing, saying that if you not going to kill somebody or break the law you might as well give social media a go. I think there is some truth in this, social media is a relatively forgiving environment as long as you are honest and open about who you are and what youíre doing. The cost of entry is also relatively low - itís free to set up a Twitter account or a blog, and as long as you commit what can be a relatively small amount of staff time you can experiment and find out what works for you.

So whilst I think itís great to get people to upload videos or photos, comment or write a blog, I think there is a simpler call to action - have a go, try things out, learn what social media is like by doing it and find out what works for you.

Some more reading

Iím Your Customer and I Canít Hear You (
Jeffery Hayzlett, Kodakís CMO about Social Web and Marketing (
Brands say social media still an Ďexperimentí (
Recent Comments
I am seriously considering...
Posted 07-24-2009 at 07:39 AM by Olinda Services Olinda Services is offline
Wonderful post - I love the creative presentation....
Posted 07-20-2009 at 07:02 PM by Essential Office Solutions Essential Office Solutions is offline
It can be said that...
Posted 07-19-2009 at 10:41 PM by VAerin VAerin is offline
Hmm for some of this I agree, and I don't claim to be a social media expert either. I do want specific companies to befriend me or allow me to follow them, I want my local library to join twitter so I can know exactly when the new books are in and what they are. It's less intrusive than constant emails so I prefer it.

There are the scammers, much like there are hackers on the internet and spammers on email. Also, with the internet not being that old but developing so quickly "expertise" has since changed from a measure of knowledge gained over time to a measure of knowledge gained from exposure and experience. Is the internet that old yet that anyone could actually claim to be an expert? And, is it well understood enough as a whole that we are all in agreement yet whether the expertise is measurable at all?

Wikipedia and collaborative likes will soon generate the answers for us, either that or forever mull over the fact :), so in some respects I agree with this article but in other respects there are some real "social media" stars out there who can truely show you how to make it work for your type of business... and it works differently for every type. Like I said before, the library (as a 'persona' more than a specific person) would be well and truely welcomed by me as a followee.

Just thought I'd share my perspective - neither for or against - rather, I prefer to think it's what you do with these tools that makes all the difference....
Posted 06-23-2009 at 03:45 AM by NZVAs NZVAs is offline
I love this - very cute...
Posted 06-10-2009 at 09:14 PM by Tess Tess is offline

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