March 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Google Buzz – Why Does it Matter?

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Google BuzzYou may have heard about Google Buzz by now.  The new Gmail add-in has created a stir in the media, with Google being accused of violating privacy among other issues – but the service itself is creating a stir as well among the “Social Media” types base solely on its merits.

In order to use Google Buzz you must have a Gmail email address. Our family has been using Gmail almost exclusively as our home email addresses for several years now. We are happy that Google has made email easy to use, easy to organize – and especially easy to archive and search. I can search my archived email for all kinds of items – attached photos and documents, etc. – my wife and I find this extremely valuable!

So, if you’ve just been sold on Gmail – or you already use it, getting back to Google Buzz – you may want to give it a try. If you haven’t been using the Social Media networks like Facebook and Twitter, Google Buzz is an easy to use service that will get you on to the Social Media train while it is still in the station!

I won’t go into how to use the service – it is easy enough to figure out – sign up for Gmail – and the Google Buzz icon will show up right below your email inbox. Start using it, and you will see why it matters. Follow your friends, and let them follow you – get social! It’s a great learning experience, and over time Google will improve this service based on your feedback.

Google Buzz matters because so many of you that have avoided social media will now have a quick entry ramp onto the new way that info is being exchanged on the Internet. Jump in with both feet – you won’t be sorry!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


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5 Reasons to Read Blogs, and How!

February 13, 2010 Leave a comment

What’s a Blog?

Blogs are no more than organized web sites that have a series of related “posts”. Posts are individually titled short articles that “fit in” with the overall theme of the blog. For instance, on the TechCrunch blog (one of the worlds most popular technology blogs), the most actively discussed posts are:

Google Plans To Deliver 1Gb/sec Fiber-Optic Broadband Network To More Than 50,000 Homes

Hulu Could Still Launch On The iPad

MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta Steps Down

Each of these posts has well over 100 comments by readers – it is these comments that make the “blogging” platform a social platform. Readers get to interact with the authors/writers in ways that aren’t acceptable or even possible in traditional media.

“and How”… or, How to Read a Blog

You can bookmark all your favorite blogs in your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox or my new favorite – Chrome). This is unwieldy once you start reading a number of blogs – and difficult to organize by subject in your bookmarks tabs. But – this IS a way to read blogs – and may be the preferred method that blog authors would love you to use!

You can also bookmark using any number of social bookmarking sites (like StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Digg). This may also get burdensome for you, especially if you have varied interests. For example – I read a number of blogs in the following categories: social media, small business, Lifehacker, blogging, fly-fishing, sailing, and the list goes on!

My absolute favorite way to read blogs is in Google Reader. You can subscribe to blogs via RSS feed using an aggregator or reader. Initially, this may seem daunting, but after a couple of subscriptions – you’ll be a pro. Read more about Google Reader in this earlier post, “5 Things to Like about Google Reader”.

Ok, now the 5 Reasons to Read Blogs!

1. Keep up to date on subjects that are important to you. You are keenly aware that this is a fast paced world we now live in – blogs are the way to stay in touch with all that info – info that changes from minute to minute.

2. Contribute to the conversation. You’ve become engrossed in a topic/subject that is important to you, so much so – that you either want to ask questions or give your own insights to it. This is where the “comments” section of blogs come in. Type away – and contribute to the topic – just make sure that your add something relevant to the post, and always be polite!

3. Learn about topics that a new to you. Blogs aren’t just about keeping up to date. You can do a blog search by going to blogsearch.google.com as part of your normal search routine – you’ll be amazed at the amount of quality material out there on blogs!

4. Research product purchases. There are a myriad of product reviews on blogs – some sponsored, but a lot of the reviews are valid, well-written and complete. Next time you’re making a purchase – conduct a blog search on the item before you buy.

5. Win free stuff! So many blogs these days are conducting contest to draw in readers, but there are also free invites to use new software join early beta testing of new web sites, etc. If you’re into contests and prizes – there is no better place to jump in than blogs!

The Social IneptiDude, me – John, would love to hear your comments and thoughts on blogs and how you read them!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


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2 Twitter Clients, Which is Right for You?

January 29, 2010 Leave a comment
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I’ve recently written about Twitter…here.

The elegance and beauty of an application like Twitter can be directly tracked to its API . Application Programming Interface, or API, are a set of rules for OTHER programs or applications to use Twitter (or any other application with an API) in unique and different ways.

Some developers use Twitters API as a way of displaying all the info coming from Twitter (tweets, hashtags, trending info) in different ways. Other developers use the API to use Twitter info in new ways – such as an application that will show Twitter users who you are following that are not following you back.

With this open API, developers have released Twitter “clients” of all sorts and flavors – enabling easy reading and organization of all the “tweets” that come your way. The people, bloggers and brands that you follow on Twitter can be displayed in a very orderly way if you use a desktop client, and you’ll be able to see a lot of info in one place.

There are Twitter clients for your desktop, native clients for Windows/Mac (programs written specifically for your operating system), clients for your phones and mobile devices, and the list goes on.

Let’s take a look at  two Twitter clients, TweetDeck and Seesmic Look, that I’d like to compare for you – mainly due to their striking differences! Each of these Twitter clients are remarkably good at what they do.

Let’s start with TweetDeck!


TweetDeck is an organizers dream. You’ll find it remarkably compact – everything in one place.

Create columns for each of your Twitter accounts, or you can create columns for DM’s (direct messages), mentions and your own tweets – customize it to your liking! You can tweet directly from Tweetdeck, as well as update your other social media statuses – very convenient for the user that would like everything in one place. Get everything you need all at once, including updates to Facebook and LinkedIn. If you closely at the image, you’ll see that I keep track of both my Twitter accounts, @joninc and @ineptiDude – all in the same desktop app.

TweetDeck uses Adobe Air to run, so you’ll be asked to download it to run the TweetDeck application. This may be the only drawback to using TweetDeck that I can find, and it’s not Adobe Air per se, but the amount of system memory you’ll give up to run the program. Simply put – this is NOT a reason to pass TweetDeck by, I still highly recommend you give it a try – see if it suits your style.

Some of the features that TweetDeck sports are:

  • Updates to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn accounts
  • Old and new style retweets
  • Manage multiple Twitter accounts
  • Add, creat and manage Twitter Lists
  • And many, many more!

Moving on to Seesmic Look

Seesmic Look is the ideal Twitter Client for the beginner, as well as the more advanced Twitter user. “Look” gives a gorgeous rendition of what is going on in Twitter in real time, and you can also customize it to a certain extent.

As you can see from the image above, Seesmic Look has a beautiful interface, and it is ultimately easy to use and understand how Twitter works, and why so many people use it!

Once you start to use Seesmic Look you will completely understand what the term “real time” means. I could go on, but highly recommend that you download the Seesmic Look client and try it. I recently used Seesmic Look while following a back-channel during an online conference I was attending. “Look” made it so easy to follow the comments of the other attendees, and to respond and comment while the webinar went on. It is just so easy to follow!   (Back-channel is a term used for an ongoing conversation while a presentation is being given.  Twitter is the perfect “back-channel” tool, you don’t have to speak, can include links, and can find new people to follow!)

Which Twitter Client is for You?

When you download and use a Twitter client, you will find Twitter so much easer to organize and use.  The client that you choose to use is purely a personal decision – all Twitter clients have features that vary from app to app.  Once you find a client that you like, use it – update your status, Retweet your favorites, and don’t forget to leave some mentions and messages to your followers!

Leave a comment below if you use a Twitter client – tell about your favorite!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

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Google Chrome, Are You Ready?

January 20, 2010 2 comments
MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 06:  In this photo...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Google Chrome is ready for you.  Google Chrome is an Internet browser developed by…guess who?? (Google!)

Chrome has been released in a beta version that now allows extensions/add-ins.  Chrome is a very fast web browser that will rev up your Internet surfing experience – and now with extensions that add so much to the experience, I highly recommend you give it a try.

There are several things to like about Chrome.  It is a tabbed browser, and each tab runs as its own “process” – so if an Internet site crashes your browser, you generally just lose the tab that your in a the time – not all the other tabs that are open.  This is a blessing!

Another great feature of Chrome is the ability to surf the web anonymously,  without cookies being downloaded, or your email address getting out there. You open up an “incognito” window to do this.

Chrome’s best feature is its speed!  It seems almost twice as fast as other browsers, but that’s just me.  You can look up the time specs, but trust me – it’s fast!

With the ability to extend the usefulness of Chrome through extensions and add-ins, I’ve now switched to it full-time, although I have to believe that Firefox and Internet Explorer upcoming versions will be hot on the heels of the Chrome features.

You can download the latest beta release of Chrome here…and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have been.

Let me know if you’ve been using Chrome, and how you like it!!

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OK, I’m on Facebook, but what is Twitter?

January 17, 2010 1 comment
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Twitter is a micro-blog.

You have 140 characters (total) to tell your story.  Most avid users of Twitter (follow me on Twitter at my personal account @joninc or blog account @IneptiDude) will post multiple times per day.

This can be a fantastic resource to those of you who want to learn more about social media, or anything else for that matter.

Although many folks that are NOT on Twitter think that users post things like: “I’m heading into the shower,” or “Going to sleep now,” – this is simply not the case any longer.  Yes, some new users (and perhaps your friends) use Twitter in this way – but there is so much more to it than that.

Sign up for an account at http://www.twitter.com, look for the search box on the right side of the screen once you’re on your new home page – and search for terms that matter to you, things like “baseball”, “politics”, even “religion” – yes all of that is discussed on Twitter.  If you want to learn more about “social media”, or “Facebook” – plug those terms in and see what you get.  You’ll find people, marketers, businesses – all sharing what they think is important!

You will have to “follow” people to get their “tweets” – I know, this is a whole new language – but once you get it, you get it!!  A “tweet” is a single, personal post to the Twitter “feed”.  The “feed” is the total accumulation of all posted “tweets”.  Once you “follow” a Twitter account/user, their “tweets” will show up on YOUR homepage.

I’ll be posting more on Twitter in the very near future.  In the meanwhile, check out some of the resources and related articles below.  And – please ask any questions in the comments section below.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below!!!

Twitter Resources:

Mashable’s Twitter Guide Book – this is my #1 learning resource, and all you’ll need to learn about Twitter!

Twitter’s Getting Started Forum – another great resource for beginners…

Related articles:

5 Things to Like about Google Reader

January 16, 2010 1 comment
Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Google Reader may very well be the best news/information tool in today’s social media world!  Utilized by Social Media experts (see  1st chapter  in Chris Brogan’s fantastic book “Trust Agents“) – as well as socially “inept” dudes like me, Google Reader will rock your world once you begin to use it.

There are many, many things to like about Google Reader – but here are my favorite five:


The Google Reader Home Page

the home page

The Google Reader home page layout is quite similar to your email inbox.  It is easy to create folders (or categories) for the blogs that you subscribe to.

When you subscribe to a blog – if you’ve never done that – what you are really doing is signing up to receive the blogs RSS feed.  This is a way for blog publishers to get their posts out to interested subscribers – and you, the subscriber to “aggregate” those feeds in an aggregator or “reader”.  This is what Google Reader is all about.


Google Reader Bundles

bundles...

The quickest way to Google Reader nirvana for beginners is to subscribe to a “bundle” of blogs.  There are bundles that Google has put together in various categories and with one click you will be subscribed to all the blogs that are in that bundle.

Here’s how to do it:  On the left side of your GReader screen, you will see a menu.  If you see a little “+” plus sign next to “Your Stuff” – click on it to expand that menu item.  Then click on “Browse for Stuff”.  You will see a screen that looks like the image directly to the left of this paragraph.  You can select one of the few bundles suggested – or you can click the link to view all 449 (to date) bundles that are available.

This is a great way to get started with Google Reader – highly recommended when getting started, as you can fiddle around with all the GReader setting, tags, etc. – and not worry that you’re missing something dearly important to you.  If you mess something up (I’ve never done this….ha!) you can always re-subscribe to the bundle (this may give you double feeds, you’d unsubscribe to the feeds you don’t want).  I know, this is all starting to sound a little confusing – JUST DO IT!!!  You’ll see that this is all easy and exciting!!  What a great way to learn about subjects that are important to you!!  You don’t have to wait for the news any longer – you’ll always have up to date posts!!


Google Reader “send to”

send to choices...

The choices of what you, the blog reader, can do with each blog post is almost limitless.  I have started to email important items to myself for future reference or saving.  But there are other things you can do.

You can “star” a post, or “like” a post.  You can “share” a post – with or without a note attached.  Change tags, add tags.  Email a post (to yourself or your friends/relatives/business associates).

My current favorite is the “send to” function.  You can send a post to Facebook, Twitter and many other social networks that you might use.  THIS is one of the newest innovations to GReader, and it makes it such a better “social” tool.  I use this function all the time to tweet (remember to give credit to the original blog or poster) – more on that in a future post.


Google Reader Shared Items Page

Here’s where we get into another “social” area of Google Reader !!

On the Shared Items Page, all of the posts that you’ve tagged as “share”  at the bottom of the post – show up on a nicely formatted page with pictures – a little blurb about yourself (if you’ve filled out a Google profile), all in a nice package.  What’s really nice about this feature is that if you have your own website or blog, you can insert a little widget that will display your shared items with the world!!


Google Reader Trends

Click on the “Trends” menu item to find out the percentage of posted items you’ve actually read.  If you notice, the image here show that I have 120 blogs subscribed to, and that I’ve read 265 items, starred 27, shared 0 (not very social!) and emailed 9.  I am using Google Reader to keep up with new innovations in social media.  I currently use Twitter and Facebook to share items that I think will be of interest with my friends and followers – I really don’t use the “share” function of Google Reader right now.  I dto like it, however, and am considering including a widget to shared items right here in my new blog.  If you like this idea, leave me a comment below – love to hear from you!