How DO You Do It?

Stay on top of your industry, that is. If you’re a business professional in any category and you’re not using Google Reader or some lesser tool to monitor newsfeeds, I’m very concerned about your future. Whoa. What did you say, Todd? I said, I’m very concerned about your future!

You see, unless you’re working on a production line somewhere making widgets for an hourly wage [not that there’s anything wrong with that — I’ve done it myself] your growth and advancement in business and in life [see this if you don’t believe me] depends on your ongoing professional development and that depends in large part upon your ability to aggregate, manage, and leverage relevant information

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On being fascinating

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Image via CrunchBase

Are you fascinating? I sure am and Google Reader is the reason why — well, one of them anyway!

“The primary goal of your social media activities—whether for your personal brand or your organization’s brand—is to establish yourself as a fascinating subject-matter expert. The only exception to this is if you are a household name celebrity like Lance Armstrong, Oprah or Barack Obama. If you are this level of celebrity, then tweeting or updating, “I’m at Starbucks on the way to fly VirginAmerica to Vegas” is cool.

For the rest of us, the challenge is to achieve a consistent level of fascinating information about your area of expertise. The answer is simple. First, it helps if you actually know what you’re talking about. If you don’t, it may be better to let people wonder if you’re clueless rather than participating in social media and removing all doubt. But let’s say you’ve crossed the Rubicon.

Then it’s all about finding good stories, videos and blog posts about your subject and providing links to these sources. For example, if you own a restaurant, then you could post a link to The Second Annual New York Foodie Photo Scavenger Hunt, Cilantro Haters, It’s Not Your Fault, and Check It Out: Get Your Groceries At The Library. Do this for a few months, and people will recognize you as a food expert. And guess what? They’ll come eat at your restaurant.

Then the next question is how you can find these stories, videos, and blog posts. I have four methods for you to use:” Source: How to Be Fascinating : The World :: American Express OPEN Forum

Guy goes on to offer these 4 tools:

  • StumbleUpon
  • SmartBrief
  • Interns
  • His own service, Alltop

As much as I love you Guy, I have to take issue here. Ummm, how could you NOT mention Google Reader? Yes, StumbleUpon and SmartBrief are two great sources but I can manage hundreds effectively in Google Reader. In fact, because of Reader I don’t need interns! True, Alltop is one of the places I tell every client to go but Google Reader is the killer app for news aggregation. I broke it down here a long time ago…

So to Guy, or whatever intern reads this, please add Google Reader to your list — nothing makes you fascinating faster than Reader!

The way we get our news is changing

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Image via CrunchBase

Interesting data from a great source that should have you thinking…

“In the digital era, news has become omnipresent. Americans access it in multiple formats on multiple platforms on myriad devices. The days of loyalty to a particular news organization on a particular piece of technology in a particular form are gone. The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers. Some 46% of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day. Just 7% get their news from a single media platform on a typical day.

The internet is at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. Six in ten Americans (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day, and the internet is now the third most popular news platform, behind local television news and national television news.

The process Americans use to get news is based on foraging and opportunism. They seem to access news when the spirit moves them or they have a chance to check up on headlines. At the same time, gathering the news is not entirely an open-ended exploration for consumers, even online where there are limitless possibilities for exploring news. While online, most people say they use between two and five online news sources and 65% say they do not have a single favorite website for news. Some 21% say they routinely rely on just one site for their news and information. ” Source: Overview | Pew Internet & American Life Project

Me? I use over 600 online sources aggregated in one great tool; Google Reader! Occasionally, I listen to WTAQ, but that’s not for the news — it’s to catch my good friend Jerry Bader! I rarely if ever watch television or read a dead tree newspaper for the news — I get it ALL online. I’ve covered my methodology in great detail here and here. Comment, call or contact me if you’d like to take your news aggregation needs to an unprecedented level…

At least 3 reasons why I’m not Buzzing with enthusiasm

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At least two people in the Googleverse are underwhelmed with Buzz; me and internet maven Richard Scoble. Scoble bats first…

“Together with a lot of web workers, I depend on being able to skim through information sources quickly. Services like Google Reader are well-optimized for doing this, especially in List mode. (To turn on List mode, from the “All Items” view, click on “Show: List” in the blue bar at the top right of the screen.)

The List views in Gmail and Google Reader make it easy to look at the subjects of posts, and scroll through them quickly. Google Buzz, unfortunately, uses the threaded conversation approach of Google Wave, but without the tools for controlling what appears on the screen that Wave has.

I hope that the limitations of Google Buzz’s interface are just growing pains. Maybe the designers of Buzz didn’t anticipate that some posts would generate hundreds of comments. So let’s hope that they’ll give us the tools to use the service efficiently, or, as one commenter suggests, Google Buzz users might give up on it before it’s a week old.” Source: Google Buzz: Not Efficient? – WebWorkerDaily

On his own blog, Scoble goes on to say…

“OK, now I’ve had a bit of time to play with Google Buzz and everywhere I look I see a badly-executed copy of FriendFeed.

With two important exceptions:

1. Google Buzz actually has a lot of users and much better information flowing through its veins. There’s a reason that FriendFeed doesn’t have many users: it has some very anti-user features that retard user adoption (back when I was excited about FriendFeed I kept hoping that FriendFeed was going to fix some of their issues).
2. It has pretty nice location features built in, especially if you use Google Maps on Android.” Source: Google Buzz copied FriendFeed’s worst features, why?

If you want to read the rest of his rant, go to the source. Here’s my random list of pet peeves…

  • I don’t even like to get electronic newsletters because they’re a distraction; email is for email and needs to be segmented from social media…
  • Information comes into Buzz, but it can’t get out; no rss output for the things I want to share
  • Insufficient keyboard shortcuts; what happened to e for email like Reader? Google Reader is perfect for my needs — Buzz is like a fly droning around my head while I’m trying to concentrate…

What do you think?

When Clients Mess Things Up

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What do you do when a client ruins something you’ve created for them? Anyone in a service business knows that you can’t protect the assets you develop for a client from the client themselves. You can’t defend the work you did for them when it no longer resembles the actual work you did.

Maybe you’ve built a website that the client decides to modify with no regard for best practices or usability. Or you’ve set up and managed their Facebook or Twitter channels, building the conversations and exchanges to a fever pitch, only to watch their updates and tweets generate crickets. All your hard work — on the client’s behalf, of course — disintegrates before your eyes.

What do you do when you’ve handed over the assets that your client has paid for, and they proceed to muck things up?

It happens. Especially when you give clients administrative rights to tools like WordPress and Google Reader! If you’re a freelancer like me, you might want to follow the ‘via’ link and read the rest of the article…

4 must-have social-media dashboards for your business

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While big brands and agencies have the luxury of resources and money, local businesses don’t. What they need is a social-media dashboard — an all-in-one, Web-based monitoring tool for Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites where customers hang out — that can optimize their online presence, engage with users and manage social campaigns. But that tool needs to meet three criteria: cheap, easy to use and automated. With that in mind, here’s a list of the top four that I find particularly well-suited for business use.

I encourage you to follow the ‘via’ link and learn more about these ‘dashboards’. imho, the list is incomplete, however, without Gist and Google Reader. What are your favorite social dashboards?

Have you tried Alltop?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rze0ie_sIN8&feature=player_embedded

It’s an online magazine rack with many of the world’s top sources gathered together by category. It’s an excellent place to shop for great content for Google Reader, too!