connected: Life as the Internet

I can’t tell you why it took as long for weblogs to happen as it did, except to say it had absolutely nothing to do with technology. We had every bit of technology we needed to do weblogs the day Mosaic launched the first forms-capable browser. Every single piece of it was right there. Instead, we got Geocities. Why did we get Geocities and not weblogs? We didn’t know what we were doing.

One was a bad idea, the other turns out to be a really good idea. It took a long time to figure out that people talking to one another, instead of simply uploading badly-scanned photos of their cats, would be a useful pattern. That useful pattern has churned out entire online communities of interconnected people interacting on 2.0 websites every day. The numbers are STUNNING, with Google reporting in it’s Social Media Webinar, “86 million users on social networks” with 78% over the age of 18 and the number is expected to grow to 115 Million in the next 2 years.

The evolution of 2.0 software, as talked about by Clay Shirky, has lead to a new type of communication, and as you can read from his keynotes “”A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy” it poses a big challenge for website owners and designers, bloggers, as well as a more and more “Connected” society.

You cannot completely separate technical and social issues.

Our whole society is becoming more and more plugged in, as noted in this years “future of the internet III” survey from Pew.

The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.

It’s up to us to determine what kind of actions we will choose to make. We’ve all been to a blog post where a flame war has sprouted, or just random insults fly… The question about our future is will it be the case of  “Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fudgewad” as Viginia Nussey of Bruce Clay noted in her article “Let’s make intolerance intolerable“, or will we take her advice and “be a smarter, wiser, bigger person”….

One of the lessons that Clay Shirky teaches us is that owners of 2.0 sites actually can design platforms that encourgage good behavior, by adding member recognition, kharma, and a profile system. However, a site owner can’t just step back…your online community has to be engaged. So as a blogger, site owner, or moderator, you need to remain engaged in your community to keep it viable.

As users, we need to see ourselves as members of our online communities and work together to encourage a positive experience.  Desphinn bad comments, thumb down knee jerk flame comments and take the time to read your comments before you post them.

Google Suggests Advertisments

Google has gone just 1 step further than it’s competitors in the world of “suggestion” to the searcher. I had previously blogged about Aaron Wall‘s tips
about getting a “fat belly”  and targeting particular keyword terms that would be likely to be suggested by Google. Well, now they’ve taken the next step: Adwords in Google suggest. Now I am displaying these when I log into two different accounts, and when I am signed out. A co-worker doesn’t currently see the same advertisements.

advertisements in google suggest

When I type in the “ad” I get an advertisement for Advance Auto Parts. It seems to me that Danny Sullivan is also seeing these results, what do you all think this means for search/SEM?

Twitter: Finding free shirts and SEO tools

Just yesterday, I was on my twitter account, and I saw a tweet about a free t-shirt filled with glee I happily signed up.

*My wife when I told her about this sighed and shook her head at my giddiness over a free t-shirt. She said in expaseration, “You already have TOO MANY black t-shirts!” to which I replied, “But it was FREE!”. *

Ironically, I really had no idea who this company was, but it turns out they do SEO Tools. I was just commenting on Sphinn about needing an SEO tool to track my link building campaigns. LO and BEHOLD, they have that tool, a mix of keyword and diagnosis tools as well as serp checking, and historical tracking on a multi-user platform: Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you Twitter oh provider of free t-shirts and great SEO tools!

Update: Shortly after tweeting my joy about the free t-shirt and the SEO tool, Jon of SEO Raven DM’d me and quickly setup a webinar presentation of the full suite! Very impressive!

Update: I eventually became the in-house SEO for Raven Tools and worked there for a year. Now as a freelance SEO, I provide consultation for agencies wanting to use Raven Tools for their marketing.

IM Convo: Will there ALWAYS be a place for SEO

I was communicating with a co-worker today, over instant messenger and we got into an interesting conversation about the future of SEO. I thought I’d share it with you and get your feedback as well.

Coworker:
Do you think there will ALWAYS be a place for SEO?

Jeremy Rivera:
I only see SEO becoming a more general field

Coworker:
One day we are all going to wake up, conduct a search on Google and find:

  1. PPC Listings
  2. Two video listings
  3. Two – four static images
  4. Local listings + map
  5. News Results
  6. Book Results
  7. Blog Results
  8. Organic Results

Jeremy Rivera:
most businesses are going to continue looking for additional revenue streams.

Coworker:
So SEO will become a side dish to the main course; whatever that happens to be.

Jeremy Rivera:
Having an even more diversified set of items on the results page only increases the need for an expert who can guide a business to what is and isn’t successful. Just because it’s pictures/video/local doesn’t mean it’s not SEO.

Coworker:

Yes I agree BUT that isn’t SEO per se.

Jeremy Rivera:
You’re narrowing SEO to be JUST organic rankings. I don’t agree with that definition of SEO: Search Engine Optimization covers all aspects of results appearing on the Search engine’s site.

Coworker:
I know I am narrowing it down. I am doing so because now an SEO needs to have graphic design skills or image editing skills, video taking / editing skills and so on. An SEO will need to be an all in one and at that time would that really mean I’m an SEOer?

Jeremy Rivera:
It could just mean a categorization/specialization Content Seo, Video Seo, Image SEO

Coworker:
Nice take on the topic. Would prove interesting.

Jeremy Rivera:
I think that SEO will continue to expand requiring broader skill sets in order to be termed competitive and an expert. At the same time, he who is adept at all things, is a master at none. I think we’ll see a concurrent dissection into niche development at the same time as you see a diversification of skill sets.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of SEO?

Quick Reasons to use Twitter

This post is for a friend who was hesitant to use twitter. We had an extended email conversation, and I wondered the entire time why we weren’t just twittering it, and he wanted to know the reasons why. So here we go, why use twitter:

Lets start with my twitter profile @footinmouth:

  • Other people can follow your messages in your twitter stream.
  • You can send private messages that aren’t shown publicly as well
  • You can get a Firefox Extension like Twitterfox so you don’t even need to go to twitter.com

Uses:

  1. People who you follow generally follow you back, so you can get the word out about your new posts, online finds etc
  2. Follow industry leaders: For SEO I follow @graywolf, @mattcutts, etc and can see what they are twittering about. Instead of reading blog posts a day or two after they’re posted, I get it right away and sometimes participate in their conversations that found their posts.
  3. Interaction: You can send your friends articles, communicate smoothly instead of over time with emails.
  4. Build relationships: I have found new freinds at twitter, had twitter freinds like @erinmaher, who does a blogging tip blog, write a guest blog about content writing for newbies, and got added to this website Magazine article for tweets about 2009, all through twitter.

I have enjoyed this site, it’s helped me personally, professionally and I completely recommend this for…well…everyone! There are many more reasons, but these are the most fundamental in my opinion: So…What do you say? Join Twitter? Let me know if I missed any important points!

Update: Even Search Engines are getting into it @Yahoorealestate

yahoo1

Tips for New Content Writers

erinmaherErin Maher is a blogger who gives us all great tips on blogging,was kind enough to answer some of my questions and give some advice for those just starting writing content for their website.

If you’re starting a static website(Vs. a blog), do you think it’s best to wait until you can start with a full compliment of pages, or to launch sooner and then build up over time?

I’m a firm believer that you should launch as soon as possible. The worst thing that can happen is that your site will be the worst site to ever exist. It might/probably will/most assuredly will be. But there are a million things you might have to do before it stops sucking. We learn more from failure than success, so get the failing/sucking over quickly. I mean, come on, you’re not the type to pull a band-aid off slowly, in other words, a total baby? Of course not! So start early, be humble, learn, grow, get feedback and develop from there.

If you were giving advice to someone starting a site from 0, what link resources would you say are most important to start building your online presence?

My site is not even 6 months old, but I’ve had the best progress from commenting on others’ sites who I admire, building up relationships and learning from them. The key is that these communications need to be genuine, and then already established individuals are happy to help you out. I also found interesting/helpful content on www.problogger.com, www.menwithpens.com and www.becomeablogger.com, the last one which has video tutorials.

Which social platforms should a new site owner participate in first?

It would be good to look into where your niche goes. I heard Sphinn is a good place for bloggers, Digg and StumbleUpon is very wide and general. I participate on facebook, Twitter, and am branching out to develop my LinkedIn profile, as well as StumbleUpon (:)based on your recommendation). At first I found social platforms a little overwhelming and scary, but I’m finding a terrific crowd on Twitter. It’s really simple, good for a lot of info and some laughs.

Any other random advice for new website owners?

Be hilarious. Or just not stuffy. The web is an impersonal medium, so letting personality shine through like the glorious rays of the sun parting the clouds is good. Letting your humorous anecdotes split forth into the internet like the Earth does in The Land Before Time. Let all readers bow in gratitude and good spirits, like gracious dinosaurs on the ridge of the paradise that is your site.

Update: Found a really great related post about new bloggers driving traffic to their site.

tos

The Sugarrae Twitter Follower TOS

I’ve been promising a certain someone that I would publish this Sugarrae specific Twitter terms of service for quite a while (it’s half tongue in cheek, half not).

After seeing constant “experts” talk about the proper ways to use Twitter and having one person flip out over my personal use of Twitter, it’s become apparent that it’s time.

First, there are no “rules” on “how” to Twitter. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Sure, there may be guidelines you can follow that seems to have better odds at success, but much like television shows or movies, you can’t follow an exact blueprint to ratings and box office smashes. You never know what will resonate with people. And even the best storyline can flop with the wrong actors.

I came across an interesting post about the official Twitter terms of service that paraphrased Twitter’s stance pretty well:

“We are not really a community – we are a communication tool like the phone or email. Moderating content doesn’t scale. If somebody’s mean to you on the phone, you’re not going to complain to the phone company, are you?”

Seems Twitter is going to stay away from moderating how individuals can and can’t use Twitter and are leaving it up to us to decide how we’re going to use it individually. Since how I use my Twitter is up to me, the following is what you can expect as a follower…

1. I curse a lot, if that bothers you, you’ll want to unfollow as soon as possible.
2. I tweet a lot, I’m not sure what my average is, but I can guarantee you I will flood your screen with Tweets at least once per month.
3. If you’re a tool, asshat or otherwise moronic, I will tell you in 140 characters or less, which of my fantastic ass cheeks to kiss.
4. I will offend you at least once. My purpose isn’t to do so, but I can almost guarantee it.
5. Just because you follow me does not entitle you to be followed back. If you’re only following me to get me to follow you, don’t waste your time. I follow what I can keep up with, and that isn’t everyone who follows me. You can however expect that if you speak to me directly, I will read it and answer it if applicable.
6. I rant quite a bit. If you’d like total positivity, unicorns and rainbows, I’m the wrong girl for you.
7. I never send automated tweets. Any links dropped or promotion done in my feed is done by hand. If it wasn’t worth me taking one minute to do, it isn’t worth you having to read.
8. I occasionally Tweet while out partying. You’ll be able to easily define these Tweets by my total lack of spell and typo checking them.
9. I talk about MMA, my BlackBerry and football quite a bit. I’m a total geek tomboy. If you’d like to discuss shoes or fashion, there are better streams to follow.

It’s pretty simple. If you’re bothered by any of the above, don’t follow my Twitter stream. Otherwise, by following me, any annoyance my Twitter stream provides you is your problem.

Twitter is like sex folks. There are a ton of ways to do it and not everyone will find pleasure in the same way. Different strokes for different folks (pun completely intended). 😉

This post originated at the Sugarrae internet marketing blog, home to internet marketing consultant Rae Hoffman.

The Sugarrae Twitter Follower TOS