When I logged into Gmail this morning, I noticed a new option under Inbox called Buzz. I had heard all the buzz about Google Buzz and decided to check it out.
When the page refreshed, I noticed that I was already following 32 people. I was curious how this happened. As I checked my “buzz stream”, Mathew Ingram posted a link to a blog post citing the lack of privacy with Google Buzz.
According to this blog post, Google Buzz automatically follows the people you email or chat with the most. For some, this may not be an issue, but for me, it is, primarily because:
- One of the individuals in my Google Buzz follow list is the president of a company who I’ve been chatting with over the past 3-months as we get ready to launch a major announcement. I don’t want my competitors to know about this.
- Another individual is a guy I’m currently dating and I really don’t need the whole world to know right now.
- And there are a couple women in my follow list who I’ve contacted often to talk about possible projects to work on.
As you can see, I don’t need people going through my follow list and coming up with their own speculations as to why someone appears on my follow list, especially since the criteria is whomever I chat or email with the most.
So, I just turned Google Buzz off for now. I don’t have time to decipher whether to unfollow someone (actually there were 2 people who made this decision easy) and I don’t need yet another social networking tool cluttering up my space.
And that’s why some of these new social media tools stink. Instead of opting you out of their service or a feature within their service, they automatically add you and you have to manually opt out.
This was a mistake that a social networking tool called Quechup did back in 2007. When users signed up for its service, Quechup automatically sent out invitations to all the people in that user’s address book in a sly way. Dwight Silverman explains it best:
New members are asked to submit the login and password for their Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail accounts, which are then scanned. Quechup then sends an e-mail invitation to everyone in the address book, making it appear the member approved the action.
Let’s just say that after getting an email invitation from, like, 20 of my colleagues over the course of 1 weekend who signed up for Quechup, I was miffed at being bothered by this service. I never signed up and like Robert Scoble, I kept getting apologetic emails from my colleagues saying that they were duped.
Social media services like Google Buzz and Quechup need to err on the side that opting users out of a feature and letting them choose to opt-in is the best solution.
Have you been using Google Buzz and if so, what are your thoughts?
Update: Thank God for geeks. According to ReadWriteWeb, there is a way to use Google Buzz and not reveal who’s following you and who you’re following. Plus, there’s a whole bunch of Firefox and Chrome extensions to add Google Buzz to your browser. Okay, I’m turning it back on now.
Elizabeth PW, a faculty member of the 2010 Social Media Telesummit, recently wrote 2 blog posts that got me thinking. Actually, her blog makes me think all the time. However, there were 2 things that she wrote recently that is prompting this blog post:
- As a woman, I need to tap into my feminine energy.
- That authenticity and transparency is great, but being vulnerable is way better.
Leesa Barnes: The Tomboy Turned Tough Gal
Growing up, I was a tomboy.
I found more interest playing soccer in the field with the boys than skipping in the playground with the girls.
What the girls did was so very boring. Talking about hair, makeup and which boy was the cutest.
What the boys did was fun. They played sports, they talked about cars and they could have a fist fight one minute then go out and pick each other to play on the same team the next.
From elementary school to university, my only focus was basketball. Anything “girlie” I stayed away from. I paid no attention to my hair, my nails or what I wore. I still attracted guys as a tomboy, so in my eyes, there was no need to change.
Leesa Barnes: The Tough Gal Turned Alpha Female
Plus, I started going back to church and he was so not interested.
Because my God was more important, I ended the relationship. Interesting, huh? I gave up an earthly man after falling in love with a Heavenly One.
The one thing my ex told me was a huge problem in our relationship was that I was a poor communicator and I never leaned on him for help.
Boy, I sound like I was the dude in the relationshp, huh?
Yup, that was the tomboy in me. “I can do it all by myself.” So, like a dude, I shrugged off his complaint, calling him bitter and went on with my so-called life.
I used to be very obsessed with the numbers. It started in high school. I was one of those kids you hated in math class who could carry the one (Dee you’d want to avoid me) and do fractions without a calculator.
I was the one the math teacher called on when no one else had the answer. He knew I did. Every time.
I sat in the front of the class so when I got my homework back, I could raise it high enough so those behind me could see my bright red “A.”
Yeah, I was that good with numbers.
So, when I started marketing online in 1998, I was obsessed with the numbers.
- I would run reports to see how many were clicking on my banner ads.
- I would view my web statistics every day to see if there was a bump in the numbers.
- I would login to my Ultimate Bulletin Board (remember that) to see if any new members signed up.
Then, social media came around and my obsession became a super obsession (no, that’s not a typo). I was in it to win it. I was competing with others to see how quickly I could get my 1,000th follower on Twitter. Or my 15th friend on Facebook. Or my 2-millionith connection on LinkedIn.
I Only Cared About How Much I Scored
When I was in university, I played 2-years of varsity basketball. At the time, I was dating this ultra-competitive guy. He too played basketball, but at the college level (in Canada, there’s a BIG difference between university and college – there’s a Wikipedia entry that explains it all).
Despite the fact that we would never, ever play on the same team due to our different genders (if you didn’t get it – I’m a gal, he’s a guy) and different collegiate playing levels, he always wanted to know what I scored after each game and how many minutes I played.
My coach liked to huddle with the team after the game ended. We would shake our opponents’ hands, tell them that it was a good game, then meet our coach at the end of the bench for a post game pep talk.
Instead of running to the huddle, I would boot over to the scorer’s table to review my points scored and the minutes played so I could stuff those hefty numbers down my (ex) boyfriend’s throat.
After doing this several times, my coach beat me to the scorer’s table after one game, removed the scorer’s sheet and promised to bench me the rest of the season if I ever checked my points before huddling with the team.
So, I stopped looking at the numbers.
And shortly thereafter, I broke up with my ultra competitive, shallow, insecure boyfriend.
But, I digress…
I’ve heard some people say that if you don’t push the publish button on your blog, type and publish your tweets in Twitter and update your status in LinkedIn, then you’re not using social media authentically.
Really? Is that how we’re measuring authenticity? By being push button communicators? This is a silly way to measure authenticity and this is what’s ruining social media.
And this quest to be the most authentic and the most transparent is killing productivity. If I have to push out every tweet, every blog post and every status update on the kazillion social media websites I belong to, when will I ever get work done?
That’s why I don’t have a problem with automating and outsourcing some social media tasks. In particular, I typically say:
“Outsource the tasks, not your voice.”
This has helped me to evaluate what I should and should not outsource when it comes to social media. And it’s helped me to become more productive and less bitter towards the very tools that were once eating up so much of my time. Because having tons of followers on Twitter, tons of connections on LinkedIn and tons of friends on Facebook mean diddly-squat if it means that I’m not making money.
That’s the honest truth. If I add a new marketing tool to my marketing arsenal and my business doesn’t grow – or worst – things start to decline, then I have to re-evaluate the tool and how I’m using it.
And sadly, many are so disillusioned with social media right now because they put all their hopes and dreams into Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and have seen little return on their investment.
Social media is still very important. It’s important to my marketing plan and it helps me stay connected to my clients and customers. And that’s why I’m hosting the 2010 Social Media Telesummit for the last time in January 2010. Out of the 14 speakers, there are only 3 I would consider social media experts. The rest are business owners who have used social media to really boost their business. Non-social media gurus giving you social media tips. I can’t wait to hear their advice on how to do a social media “do over.”
So, at the end of the day, I do believe I’m being authentic even if I outsource and automate some social media tasks. Just as long as I don’t outsource my voice, then I can happily use social media tools with vigour and enthusiasm.
How would you answer the question – Are you being authentic when you outsource or automate social media tasks? Leave your response below.
I’m happy to announce that the 2010 Social Media Telesummit is now open for registration. This is the annual virtual event that I host which features dozens of speakers and sessions over an 8-day period.
This is the 3rd and last year that I’ll host the Social Media Telesummit. There are many reasons why and one of them is that this year’s sessions will focus more on the strategy and less on the tools. For the 2008 & 2009 events, I looked for social media experts who could teach how to use a specific tool. However, for the 2010 event, I invited experts who are using social media to build brand awareness and make money. To me, once the strategy is covered, there’ll be no reason to continue hosting this annual event.
The one thing that will make the 2010 Social Media Telesummit unique is the format. Yes, there’ll be speakers offering great content, however, the emphasis will be through active listening. In other words, attendees will be active participants in each sessions and not passive observers.
Also, each attendee will be assigned to a small group where they can mastermind with other attendees. And each small group will be facilitated by a coach. There’s no better way to apply the things you’re learning at the 2010 Social Media Telesummit than to use your mastermind buddies and coach to hold you accountable.
Plus, every attendee gets a complimentary 30-day membership in the International Social Media Association. This association was founded by Mari Smith, a speaker at the 2009 Social Media Telesummit and who was named by FastCompany.com as “the Pied Piper of the Online World” by FastCompany.com. I’m thankful that Mari extended this bonus to attendees of the 2010 Social Media Telesummit.
Click here to get more details about the 2010 Social Media Telesummit and to get access to the preview calls.
Denise Wakeman, co-founder of The Blog Squad, sent me a note about her brand spanking new program called Online Visibility Secrets.
Denise and I have joint partnered on a number of projects, most notably, she’s a 2-time faculty member of my Social Media Telesummit, an 8-day virtual event that I host each year. Denise is tenacious about delivering meaty content and her sessions typically get top reviews from attendees due to the generosity of her content.
Denise has just revealed an extremely affordable 26-week virtual coaching program where she’ll guide you step-by-step on how to create a solid foundation for your business. The program is called Online Visibility Secrets: Insider Secrets to Getting More Traffic, More Leads, More Clients and More Opportunities for Your Business and this program is delivered to you via 26 weekly email lessons that include video, audio and articles. Plus you’ll get resources and most important you’ll get a weekly Action Step to complete before you move on to the next lesson.
Building a highly visible presence on the Web takes consistent, constant action. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, with each action building on the momentum of the previous actions.
You’ll learn about how to create a strategy for boosting your online visibility which includes the finer points of blogging for your business, how to optimally use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social networking sites, as well as how to create visibility with articles, teleseminars and much, much more.
I couldn’t believe how much it costs for such a wealth of information. Just $19.97 per month for a total of 6 months. You’d be hard pressed to find a marketing coach for $119.82! And the content in the course is valued at least 20 times more than your investment. Click here to learn more about Online Visibility Secrets.
If you’re not familiar with how to use the Event feature in Facebook to create a buzz for your virtual event, Mari’s tips will be an eye opener for you. I especially like point #7:
I’ve blogged many times on the ways you can use Twitter to fill your virtual event here and here. Plus, I shared a video by CeCe Solomon-Lee on the very same topic. Dennis Shiao, a colleague of CeCe, also weighed in on the topic and while I loved all his points, one stood out that caused me concerned.
Dennis wrote about the frequency of using your event’s hashtag in your tweets and warned that you shouldn’t use them excessively. In particular, he wrote:
Be careful not to over-promote to the related hashtags, as constant promotion of your virtual event will surely turn off the followers of that hash tag – you’ll even receive backlash from them.
On the one hand, I see his point. However, there’s a way to use your event’s hashtag on Twitter that will help you avoid this backlash and allow you to tweet out updates from your virtual event.