Category Archives: Social Media

No More Google Reader: What Now?

Google Reader will cease to exist on July 1. Most of what I told you about reading blogs revolved around syncing your RSS feed using Google Reader, so I apologize for that. I have been very happy with my RSS readers, and Google Reader has been the glue that kept them all together. I don’t have a recommendation just yet as to what you should do now, but I thought I’d pool some of my favorite articles about the subject together so that you can form some of your own opinions and try multiple options.

Surprisingly, this announcement from Google sparked discussion on the popular blog reader, many people expressing their frustrations with the program. I agree that Google Reader in and of itself was not impressive-looking, but it integrated with a majority of the RSS readers that work across devices, so it will be sorely missed by those who like to sync.

At least I have until July 1. In the mean time, learn with me:

  • This guy said “Good Riddance, Google” and made me realize I’m an “information junkie,” as if I didn’t already know that.
  • Lots of folks are talking about Feedly, which apparently does the same thing and looks better. Since Google announced the end of Google Reader, Feedly has gained 500,000 new users in less than a week.
  • Gini Dietrich over at SpinSucks offers a few of her own suggestions for reading blogs.
  • Flipboard is trying to capitalize on the announcement as well. Some people really like Flipboard, but I’d recommend it for people who don’t mind missing things sometimes. I prefer to see everything and opt-out of reading certain things if I don’t see the need, rather than letting the App do that for me.
  • John Dvorak over at PC Mag says Google should make Google Reader an open source code, like the WordPress platform I currently blog on. I disagree with how he got to this suggestion, but I think it would be great. The problem with this suggestion is that the main reason Google Reader is going to File 13 is to send more traffic to Google+. Making it an open source platform would not help achieve this goal.

A lot of you may be scratching your heads wondering what I’m even talking about, which is fine. This may be your opportunity to look more into RSS Feeds and develop a strategy for reading your favorite blogs.

If you prefer reading all of your favorite blogs via e-mail, I can’t blame you. Scroll on down to the bottom of this webpage and you can easily sign up to receive e-mail updates for this blog. Personally, I’d go nuts receiving an e-mail every time a blog I read published new content. RSS Feeds make this a lot easier, and, no matter how you do it, I highly recommend reading as many blogs as you have time to read. There is some great stuff out there!

What am I missing? What are you going to do?


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3 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence

How many times have you heard, “If you’re not on [semi-popular social media site], you are missing out! You need to create a profile ASAP!”? How many times have we then navigated to that social media site, downloaded the app on our mobile devices and then checked in periodically – but never on a regular basis? I’m guessing that, if you’re like me, you’ve probably done this a lot. You may even be doing this now because of what I told you last week about LinkedIn.

If so, consider these three ways that will help you improve your social media presence.

#1: Be deliberate about your social media usage and don’t overdo it.

Breaking news: you do not have to be on every single social media site in order to be relevant, contribute to a conversation or network with your friends, family and professional contacts. In fact, being on too many social media sites and neglecting to give the sites you really care about any attention will do more to hurt you in the end than it will ever help you. Consider all of the hackers who get into Twitter accounts and send private contacts sketchy links with viruses and spam via Direct Message. If you’re not using Twitter on a regular basis, you may not know that your account has been hacked. In the same way, your Facebook wall and profile that still offers up your favorite quotes from “Old School” probably won’t do much to help you land that interview you’ve been gunning for.

It’s ok to delete an account if you’re not using it. In fact, I’d recommend considering this at least once a year. I used to have numerous accounts promoting music I recorded in college online. While I still love to play music, those songs aren’t a very good representation of my current offerings. Last year, I deleted a number of those accounts in order to improve my personal online presence.

If you want to hold on to the account, but still don’t want to use it very often, take the time to keep your profile updated so that if someone searches for you, they’ll receive accurate information (i.e. changing your current city, profession, etc.).

#2: Don’t link all of your accounts together.

This is one that I assume will “convict” a lot of you. Unlink those accounts, y’all. If I’m scrolling through my Twitter feed and I see a tweet exported from a Facebook wall, I can’t see it unless I’m also logged in to Facebook. If what was said needs to be on both social media sites, take the time to reword the content to fit the site it’s being posted to. In the same way, whenever hash tags are placed on Facebook, the poster loses credibility. Instagram pictures look great. They really do. But hash tags are not searchable on Facebook. In addition, the point of social media sites is engagement. If you don’t have the time to engage in all of the sites you have an account for, it might be time to refer to #1 and get rid of some of the ones you’re not using as much.

#3: Learn about privacy settings for your accounts and use them.

I don’t see any reason for folks to protect their tweets. If your tweets are that bad, you probably shouldn’t be tweeting. Twitter is really not made for you, you vulgar kid. However, you may have a reason to protect your tweets that I do not know about. You may need to keep your Facebook account completely private and unsearchable. You may not want to put your picture on your public profile on LinkedIn. Whatever your preference, make yourself aware of how people that you do not know see you Google or Bing. Find out how your boss, potential boss and co-workers see you on Facebook and Twitter. If changes to your content are necessary, make the change. If you need to get more private or less private, do it. Just make sure that you’re aware of what you look like to friends and foes. And recruiters. Because all three are important.

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4 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Boost Your Personal Brand

LINKEDINLinkedIn announced recently that they have more than 200 million members. 200 million members used LinkedIn search functions 5.7 billion times in 2012. 5.7 Billion. 74 million of those 200 million members reside in the United States. LinkedIn is huge, y’all.

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, why not?! What are you waiting on? If you do have a profile, when was the last time you logged in or used the app to do anything other than accept invitations to connect? My guess is that many of my readers don’t use LinkedIn very often at all. I arrive at this conclusion because I use LinkedIn a few times a week for various reasons, but would not consider myself a “power user” by any stretch. On Feb. 7, I received an e-mail from LinkedIn that said “You have one of the top 10% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012.” If I’m in the top 10%, that means that out of 200 million, there must be a bunch of folks that rarely use LinkedIn at all!

So, open up a new tab on your computer, log yourself into your account, and check out these three ways to use LinkedIn to boost your personal brand:

  1. Update your profile. Your LinkedIn profile is your online professional brand. Many potential employers might think you do not care about your career or your professional life if you update your Facebook status every fifteen minutes, but your LinkedIn profile still says you’re a student worker in the Dean’s Office seeking “a challenging position with opportunity for advancement upon graduation”, or something like that. Update your profile picture with a professional picture. Make sure your headline accurately describes what you’re doing now. Fill in your summary with a brief description of your current role (or what you’d like your current role to be if you’re looking). Make sure that the jobs you want potential employers to know about are listed and honestly list your duties at those jobs. Do not make anything up and try your best not to exaggerate. If a former supervisor gets a call and is asked to confirm your former responsibilities and they don’t line up with what you listed on your profile, you’ll look much worse than if you just tell the truth up front. That being said, this is an opportunity to sell yourself. Talk about your successes and use specific examples. If you sell stuff, use real numbers. If you make websites, provide a link. If you increased clicks on an e-mail you created, give a percentage. You get the point.
  2. Connect with people. Find connections based on people that you know or people that you have met. LinkedIn is an appropriate place to connect with professional contacts that you have only met once, maybe at an industry meeting or conference. In fact, it is completely acceptable to do so. But when you do, send a personal invitation to connect instead of the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” invitation. Customize your invitation to reflect why you are asking them to connect. For instance, say “It was great to meet you at the conference in Florida this past week. I look forward to gaining your insights on the impact of technology on personal financial decisions.” That way, you’ll remind the person you’re connecting with who you are and you’ll give them a reason to connect with you. Flattery never hurts, when offered in moderation. I would not recommend connecting with something who you do not know or have never met. I just do not think this is effective, although other folks may disagree with my sentiment.
  3. Keep up with the trends. LinkedIn regularly releases new tools and features, and the human resources field – the field that will hire you at some point – is keenly aware of the changes. Make sure that you are, too. For instance: LinkedIn offers a new “skills” section where you can broadly list skills that you have and then receive “endorsements” from your connections who have seen you exhibit those skills before. It’s much easier to receive an endorsement than it is to receive a recommendation, which is good for you. Although recommendations are more personal, being endorsed 30 times for a skill required at a job you’re applying for will speak volumes to your qualifications when a recruiter views your profile.
  4. Customize your public profile URL. You can make your own custom URL which makes your profile easier to share. On your profile page, click “Edit Profile”, then right under your picture, click “edit” to the right of the URL currently listed. Then, on the right hand column of the next page, click “Customize your public profile URL” and make it something that will be easy to remember and share. Once you’ve got your custom URL, share it! Put a link on your e-mail signature, link up your other social media accounts and even consider putting a QR code on your business card if you’re allowed to do so. The more people you are connected with, the better your chances of seeing new opportunities, elevating your personal brand and getting the most out of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is one tool to keep in your toolbox when trying to elevate your personal brand and develop professionally, but it isn’t the only one. Twenty-somethings and young professionals need to keep their profile updated, however, because it’s a free and easy way to network with colleagues, bosses, future bosses and leaders in your industry. Comment on here and let me know what changes you made to your LinkedIn profile to make it stand out.

Keep reading to see the infographic from LinkedIn announcing 200 million users:

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