Tag Archives: twitter

Friends, Links and Twits

linksIt seems to me that these days there’s a whole lot of connecting going on. By now you understand that as a shallow person I don’t like to judge or make pronouncements about what’s good or bad, right or wrong. But there are simply times when something needs to be said and while I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade or seem like the proverbial party pooper, I am beginning to think that this whole social media “get together” thing is just a tad overrated and perhaps, getting a little out of hand. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m probably as connected as the next person (provided the “next person” isn’t your average 18 to 24 year old with 510 “FB friends”), with active accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and yes, even Twitter. To tell the truth, there’s nothing I like more than sitting in my chair, looking at pictures of my friends’ travels to exotic places like Africa about two minutes after they take them, which sure beats having to sit through those interminably tedious “vacation travelogues” where the world travellers struggle to remember which lake provided the backdrop to the “most beautiful sunset they had ever seen” or whether the magnificent stained glass windows were in St. Pauls or Westminster Cathedrals, or possibly taken during a previous trip to Mexico. Besides, there’s nothing better than engaging in an online, challenging game of WWF with one of my “real” friends. Not to mention that I always post this blog to my FB page. So I guess I get Facebook.

But then there’s LinkedIn which is a horse of an entirely different colour and from where I sit, one of the busiest sites on the WWW.  I’m on it but unlike Facebook, I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing there. From what I understand this is supposed to be a more “professional” oriented social media space where I get to showcase the talents I have acquired over the many, many, (do I need to add another one of those?) years I have been working. Once I do that I “link” (get it) with others who, apparently, do something similar to what I do during my working days. They in turn link with others and together we grow a long list of people we know or, more accurately, might know. After that I can’t say I can tell you what happens because so far, nothing really has. Unless of course you think that having people who have a rather spurious knowledge of your accomplishments endorse the skills that you have attributed to, you guessed it, yourself, is something. I’m not sure that it is and yet I am there, with you, checking out your connections and, on occasion even endorsing your skills. Which is ok with me because, when push comes to shove, it’s not really all that intrusive and I can do all this from the comfort of (have I mentioned it?) my chair.

This may not be the case once a new technology I just read about gets off the ground because it takes connecting to a whole new level. Before I get into it I should tell you that I have pretty much perfected the art of making myself invisible in a crowd which, in my estimation at least, is a skill that I can legitimately be endorsed for. In fact, I’m so good at it that I can actually attend a five day, in person conference without anyone knowing I was ever there which is why this new app sends veritable shivers down my spine. What it purports to do is allow you to figure out which of your connections (yes your “friends” and “links” and probably your “twits” too) are actually in the room at the same time as you are. You heard me! No more hiding in the farthest corner or sprinting to the nearest exit when someone you really didn’t want to see comes your way. Mastering the art of, what I like to call, “eye contact avoidance” isn’t going to get you anywhere. There’s no getting away from them now. Those virtual friends of yours will be connecting with you in real time and real space because that app is going to let them know you are there. But what seems odd to me about this “whole new thing” is that if I had wanted to connect with someone I likely would have contacted them ahead of time and made arrangements to meet. And if I didn’t do that, well you get my point.

Next week Wade and I are off to St. Louis to speak at an eLearning conference. Funny story. We were walking down the streets of Denver trying to figure out where we were and this lovely, young woman approached us and offered to let us use her phone. After some chit chat she decided to join us for the evening’s activities. Turns out she organizes a conference for a group of eLearning professionals in Missouri and, after a while, mentioned that she would be needing some speakers at their upcoming event. Now we are on our way. And that, my friends, is what I call a great connection!

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Birds do it so why don’t I?

thanks to Cécile Graat: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1030887For the most part I’m just like everyone else and if fame and fortune happened to knock on my front door I wouldn’t turn them away. As you may recall, the raison d’etre (linked, for those of you who are not from this bilingual country of mine) of this blog was to figure out a way to monetize my gift for being shallow. Now don’t go thinking I’m “out to lunch” on this one. Just this week I was watching the news only to discover that a fellow Canadian, one from my city of choice no less, has turned her knack for sharing her 140 character (really funny) quips into a Hollywood movie. How do you even do that? Wouldn’t the dialogue be rather choppy? Nevertheless, she’s hit the big time, and we’ve come learn that hers was no meteoric rise to the top. No, she’s been blogging since 2002 and, to tell the truth, that’s a little disheartening to me since if I have to wait that long for my break, I’ll be spending my extra cash at the tuck shop in the “home”. Putting aside the fact that she’s very funny and really good at what she does which, as we have come to know is not a necessary precursor to making it big these days, the problem for me, as I see it, is that she has also worked hard at getting people to know who she is and what she does and I’m afraid that is not something I have ever been prepared to do. Mostly because, as you must know by now, I’m shallow and “hard work” (unlike raison d’etre) doesn’t trend in my vocabulary.

It’s not that I don’t get plenty of advice on how to get this puppy, which is hovering around the 32 foot mark right now, to soar. Just the other day the subject of my blog mysteriously came up in the middle of a meeting at work and, as a result, some very good ideas about kicking things up a notch were generated. Among the many worthwhile suggestions was that I should start “tweeting” about my posts in order to attract the attention of those in the twittersphere. Now I’m tech savvy enough to know that tweeting is no longer something that only birds do, and that, in fact, my fellow Canadian has made quite a splash by following this sage advice. From what I can see though, it is just so much work, what with understanding all the “ins and outs” of where to put the @, how to use hashtags, how to get people to  retweet and whatever else goes on in that world. Besides, I have enough trouble keeping these triestes of mine under 1000 words, let alone trying to figure out how to adequately express my thoughts in less than 140 characters. Not to mention the fact that I have four followers on my twitter account and they already know about the blog, so I’m kind of tapped out on that front. I was somewhat more intrigued by the idea put forward to hire someone, at minimal cost who would write my posts, thereby alleviating me of the most onerous part of this whole endeavor and perhaps elevating it to a more professional level. While worth careful consideration, even as a shallow person I think this probably negates the whole purpose of having a blog. And it goes without saying that finding someone who is at least as shallow as I am, not to mention a writer of some note, may not be an easy task, resulting in the distinct possibility that I will spend more time not doing what I should be doing.

WordPress itself provides a plethora of suggestions and opportunities to increase blog readership, some of which I like and some of which I really don’t. According to the people at WP, the “top ten” ways to increase your readership include writing well and frequently. Well I’m doing the latter and keeping my fingers crossed that I’ve come close to the former. And I’m quite confident that I have mastered their recommendation to “bug your real-life friends” (is the alternative your “imaginary” friends because I don’t have any of those, anymore) as I am sure you are all painfully aware. On the other hand, I must categorically reject their idea to “like” or “follow” other people’s blogs for the sole purpose of having them “like” or “follow” me. You see, as a dedicated blogger (even a shallow one) there is a certain amount of excitement associated with having someone let you know they appreciate what you do and that perhaps, even for just a moment, you have brought a little ray of sunshine into their lives. So it is with some dismay that when, upon reciprocating their visit, I discover they have “liked” upwards of a hundred posts on that very day with the singular goal of increasing traffic to their own site. Now I may be shallow but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a strong sense of what’s right and what isn’t and there’s just so much wrong about this. Not to mention that it’s way too much work. So if that’s what it takes to garner attention I’ll find some solace when the people at WordPress tell me that, in the end: “size doesn’t matter but rather how much you care about your audience and they care about you”. As my little Bro has reminded me, my followers may be small in number but it’s a loyal group.  As the one year anniversary of this blog approaches, I thank you for that.

Now, with all that said and done, if you happen to know someone who can make me both rich and famous please don’t hesitate to pass this blog on to them. Because, as you can see, there’s a pretty good chance that I never will.

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