10 Lessons I learned on Twitter in November

2 Comments 11.30.14

I’m cleaning my house, watching Jason Calacanis’s 90 minute interview with Reid Hoffman and was inspired to dig into Little Bird’s LinkedIn data as a result. Christopher Penn‘s blog post about analyzing your Twitter history over 2014 inspired me to look at my history from this month. You can too at analytics.twitter.com.

And from that chain of great content, I was inspired to share 10 of my most popular Tweets from this month. I tweeted 200 times over the month, on average almost 7 times per day, so these are the top 5% with a little bit of editorial and framing this as lessons I learned, that I shared with my Twitter community and that resonated.

In order of most recent to least:

I liked this blog post, I shared a link to it in our Slack chat room for sharing cool stuff, our fabulous designer Jason Zeiber enjoyed it and posted the subheads. I thought that was a good value add and decided to one-up him by posting it on Twitter, using @ mentions to introduce relevant parties and people loved it. On one hand the lesson here is that, in ten different ways, startup growth is an ongoing process. But another lesson is that people really appreciate not just curation but summary and introduction. This one got over 4,100 impressions.

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Great explanation of how we might use wearables at work someday

1 Comment 11.25.14

I love push notifications – I made my career as a journalist with them, from the first stories I beat TechCrunch to (which led them to hire me as the first writer there) through crazy data hacks with multiple thresholds for push notifications for ReadWriteWeb. Now today as an entrepreneur, I use mobile push notifications to jump on opportunities to engage with key people in my life: market influencers, investors, my lawyer, a wide variety of people. I mostly chose high-value streams and get all their content sent by push.

But what does that look like for the market in general and in a future made up of wearable technologies? It’s a little hard to imagine as I sit in my office in the dark, with my phone charging next to me, lighting up with push notifications every 30 to 90 seconds. Other people aren’t going to deal with the level of signal to noise ratio I’m willing to, and most of the time our phones are in our pockets.

I loved this explanation from Bryan Mills on Annuity Outlook Magazine, in an article titled The Future of Client Engagement – Wearable Technology.

I think this goes beyond financial professionals, that’s just their audience. I think this kind of real time text update from VIP sources could be applicable to lots of people. One big question I have: is this level of real-time UX something users are excited about? If so, I want to build more of that. But I’m not sure that more than a handful of us are into it, like this at least.
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NTEN helps nonprofits learn to use the web effectively.

How to make a new professional connection by blogging

0 Comments 11.22.14

An incredible thing just happened: I got an email from my WordPress system telling me it just got a notification from someone else’s blogging system that someone has linked to a post on this blog! :)

Called a Track Back, these kinds of messages used to happen all the time. Now they are so noisy and spammy that almost no one uses them; and fewer people blog, it seems. But this is what blogging is made for: not just for blogging but for connecting.

The blogger in question is a professional development specialist named Kate Pinner. Kate puts up posts each weekend with a few curated links to things she found online that inspired learning on her part, she shares those links with her readers and then she offers some of her own perspective on what the links discuss.
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I want to make sure you know about NTEN - the Nonprofit Technology Network.

NTEN helps nonprofits learn to use the web effectively.

The power of note taking and re-reading

3 Comments 11.20.14

I love taking and re-reading notes. Rereading your notes about an experience after some time has passed offers a whole new level of insight, I believe. I’m trying a new experiment now where I take notes about something in near real time, throw out open questions in my notes, put down working answers, then set an alarm to revisit those notes, questions and answers in a week. I’ll see if another week or month of experiences offer re-enforcement or revision of my thoughts. I’m really excited about this experiment and it’s one more reason I love Evernote.

I keep coming back to notes I took in Evernote more than a year ago about this article, If You’re Not Taking Notes, You Aren’t Learning. Great perspective in there, I highly recommend it.

This is something I want to continuously make small improvements on. Along with running, meditation and blogging! In that spirit, I’m going to put up this blog post short and sweet, just get it up and see if others have thoughts to share. I’m not going to worry about making it a fully thought out set of ideas, I’m just going to post it. I’ve been wanting to make the time to say something deeper all week and as a result, I’ve said nothing. So let’s ship it! I’m a little inspired to do that by this week’s online event, Work Out Loud Week. That’s a really interesting phenomenon, led by some really interesting individuals.

Those are my notes on notes for now!


I want to make sure you know about NTEN - the Nonprofit Technology Network.

NTEN helps nonprofits learn to use the web effectively.

Social listening is evolving towards strategic value

0 Comments 11.05.14

Kate Kaye writes in AdAge today about how social listening and publishing platform Sprinklr helped the Republicans regain control of congress.

“We are working with about half-a-dozen [Senate] campaigns to deliver daily and weekly updates along with social analytics,” said Lori Brownlee, social media director for the RNC. Rather than simply using Twitter and Facebook as a “broadcast tool,” she continued, “We centered our plan around using social as a strategic listening and data collection tool.”

Hear that? It’s not just about reacting anymore! It’s about listening, learning and being strategic!

That’s good thinking, but even more is possible.

The US Geological Survey says they discover earthquakes faster by listening to Twitter than they do from their own geological monitoring technology. I like to use that as an example of how the social web is one of the fastest ways to learn about new developments.

The follow-on thinking though is that if (a) you know what you’re looking for and (b) it’s as clear as the earth shaking under peoples’ feet (or conversation about Ebola in the RNC’s case), then listening to historical keywords in peoples’ content is a good way to do it. But if you’re looking for unknown unknowns and you want to see the future emerge, then I believe in focusing on figuring out who to listen to in advance.

That’s what we do at Little Bird, for some of the biggest companies in the world: delivering insights sometimes in real-time, sometimes an hour or a day ahead of time and sometimes 3 to 6 months before key trends go mainstream, our customers tell us.

But I’m really glad to hear about mainstream organizations engaging with social like this: for strategic listening. I would contend that the next, complimentary stage of doing so is to discover the subject matter experts that the rest of the community trusts before they talk about a particular issue, and set up systems to monitor what they say in the future. It’s also good to hear that these organizations are listening to more than just what people are saying about them, but what people are saying about matters of general interest.

Forward we go, learning how to use these networks to learn and communicate and work more effectively, together.


I want to make sure you know about NTEN - the Nonprofit Technology Network.

NTEN helps nonprofits learn to use the web effectively.

How automation in social media marketing can make you smarter instead of dumber

3 Comments 11.04.14

It’s tempting to try to put your business’s social networking on auto-pilot, but that’s not a way to get great results. Used effectively though, smart automation can be an important part of the game and help real-live humans up their impact in competitive markets.

I’ve used, built and seen examples good and bad of automated social media for years.

Here’s my perspective: The best automation saves time but it doesn’t replace hard work done by hand. Instead, it provides a foundation for you to shift your energy from drudgery and filtering through people and content, over to more high-skill and high-impact work, like responding, replying, resharing and creating great content and strategic connections. Let the machines do what they’re best at, so you as a smart professional can do what you’re best at: thinking and communicating.

Here are some examples of good and bad automation in social media, in my experienced opinion.
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I want to make sure you know about NTEN - the Nonprofit Technology Network.

NTEN helps nonprofits learn to use the web effectively.

So you want to make an announcement: 7 steps to make it a big one

4 Comments 10.31.14

I have been on one side or the other of thousands of tech company announcements – from making tiny feature announcements at a startup that doesn’t exist anymore to reporting under embargo on many, many other peoples’ startup launches and keeping it a secret that Neil Young was going to make a big announcement at Sun’s user conference that I was consulting for. (I got to interview him after the announcement too! It was awesome.)

Here’s what I recommend in order to make your announcement the biggest success it can be. I keep telling people about this, so I decided to just blog it real quickly. I must confess, sometimes I’m good about following these steps and sometimes I’m not. For our most recent feature announcement, I did not – but for many other announcements by my company Little Bird, we did and we got huge results (scroll back on that page to see). It’s all about taking the time to build the social capital and connections.

  1. Start planning as early as possible, weeks or months in advance.
  2. Make a list of who you’d like to talk to about your announcement in advance, in hopes they’ll talk about it with their communities come announcement time. Make special note of people you already have relationships with. (We can automate a lot of this with Little Bird, we just worked with Little Bird investor Jay Baer to do this, for example, which is what made me think I should write this post real quick. Advanced tip: I believe that the people you’ve been connected to the longest, and that you’ve connected to most recently are your most powerful opportunities – as your strongest and freshest connections. We automate discovery of that too btw.)
  3. Don’t have relationships with big voices online yet? Get ready to start investing time, brain power, emotion and communication skills in building those relationships.
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I want to make sure you know about NTEN - the Nonprofit Technology Network.

NTEN helps nonprofits learn to use the web effectively.