To Share +1's or Not to Share +1's

Yesterday I was perusing my stream on Google+ when I noticed that +Dustin W. Stout had +1’d a post by +Taylor Swift. Now, I couldn’t help but think it was out of place for someone as savvy as Dustin to broadcast his interaction on a post with a mega celebrity that doesn’t have much at all to do with his realm (being awesome at the Internet).

When I privately alerted Dustin of what I thought must have been a mistake, something that he had overlooked, I got a reply that made me totally reconsider the way I thought about sharing +1’s.

Within minutes of seeing Dustin’s reply, I noticed this post in my stream by +Chris Jenkins that had been “vetted” by +Mark Traphagen+Derek Ross and +Eli Fennell (three people that I highly admire).

Prior to the screen capture, I didn’t have +Chris Jenkins in my circles. In fact, if the three people that I trust so much hadn’t +1’d the post and had their accounts enabled to show +1 recommendations, I never would have seen the post appear in my stream.

When the +1 broadcast feature was initially released, it was met with two schools of thought. One was that those that decided to turn the broadcast on, would either self-censor themselves or “over-share” and possibly +1 things that didn’t fit their brand or niche. The other school of thought was that by enabling the feature, you would allow your followers to be open to a whole new world of content and creative people.

Sadly, at the time of the release, I bought into the first theory. I didn’t want to censor myself by changing the way that I 1+ content. I wanted to +1 whatever the heck I wanted to, and not worry about someone else seeing it appear in their stream. I wanted to show everyone I was following that I was listening.

I guess at a certain point in your Internet presence, that school of thought is okay. But, with a large audience comes a bit of responsibility (at least in my mind) which is why I think I should take the opportunity to share what I find interesting with the rest of my followers. Starting today, I’m going to think about what I really enjoy reading, watching and engaging with. As I find things those things, I think it’s time to reward the people that took the time and effort to create and share those things.

Thanks, +Dustin W. Stout, for making me change the way I think.

The Importance of Sharing

The hardest part about sharing is finding the courage to do it.

We spend so much time during our petty existence worrying about our image. Some of us worry about sharing too much, sharing things that are too personal, or sharing things that others may not like. We feel that we have a duty to ourselves to create and preserve a certain image from which others will perceive us.

Although creating boundaries and maintaining a positive image are admirable traits, by censoring yourself, you deny yourself the opportunity to share your most important thing, you perspective. As I said on a recent post, no one can see the world like you do.

Two of the most important books that I always keep on my bookshelf are Life’s Journeys and The World According to Mister Rogers. Now, I know it may sound childish to some of you, but the concepts that Mister Rogers taught me at such a young age will forever shape who I am as a person.

One of my favorite passages from The World According to Mister Rogers is this,

“Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.”

Each of us has a unique story to tell. Our perception of the world is shaped by the people with interact with, the situations we were born from the actions that we take throughout our life. As we continue to absorb more information, our decisions change over time. With the more knowledge that we accumulate, the better we are to reason, question and ponder issues that will shape the future for generations before us.

No matter what your opinion, whether it is left, right, or straight down the middle, you will never make an impact unless you share your thoughts and ideas. When we collaborate and exchanges these thoughts and ideas, we learn more about ourselves and apply the knowledge to making better decisions.

By sharing, you are giving someone else information that could completely change the way they see things. By sharing, you have the power to help people better understand themselves and the issues that we face in our overly complicated world today.

As you embark on the journey of sharing, you quickly learn things about yourself. You start to pay more attention to your inner dialog, you get a better understanding for the way that you think and process ideas. As you start to share these ideas, the transmission of them becomes much more fluent, and much more comfortable.

When you decide that censoring yourself, trying to preserve some artificial sense of anonymity or convince yourself that you can make an impact, it is finally time to tell your story.

Your story will develop over time. You will say things at one point that you will later disagree with. Each day, week, month, year and decade you will accumulate new information and a better understanding for the things you ponder every day. These experiences and this additional knowledge will shape your thoughts and perspective and allow you to paint a more complete picture later in your life.

However, as you learn and experience new things, it is incredibly important to challenge them, debate them and think about them. Expressing them openly is a great way to encourage others to discuss these matters with you. From those discussions you will form great relationships, some bonds which will last a lifetime, others which will whither away. However, from sharing your thoughts, your ideas, your arguments, your hypotheses and your experiences, you will allow someone else to see the world through your eyes.

The more perspectives that you are willing to view and the more shoes you are willing to try on, the greater understanding you will have of the world around you and the issues that matter to you most.

However, if no one shares their story, their thoughts, their opinions or their ideas, you will have nothing to think of other than your preconceived notions. Without additional information to change the way you think about things, you will be stuck in whatever mindset you already have.

By sharing, we enable each other to help make the world a better place, that’s why sharing is so important.

Special thanks to +Yonatan Zunger for providing the inspiration for this post. Had he not shared this earlier post (below), I would have been without the perspective I have today.


Why People are Enticed by Headlines

You’re here aren’t you?

But why?

If I had named this post “Strategies for Increasing Click-through Rates” you probably would not have found my post. Odds are you found this post because of social sharing. People share posts or “curate” them when they find them to be relevant, topical or humorous, and usually do so when they fit within their brand’s interests.

When titling your blog posts, try to keep in mind who your audience is. You cannot write a title that is going to entice everyone so focus on the people that you want to join your tribe. If you’re a food blogger, you want to attract people that enjoy food to your blog, not chemists and woodworkers, so make sure your titles are attractive to people that share your interests.

Keep them short. Remember, people will hopefully be tweeting and sharing your posts through social media, so if your title is more than 100 characters, it’s probably not going to fit into a tweet with a URL. If your headline is long, make sure the important bits are in the first few words in case your title gets truncated when shared.

Last, but not least, keep them topical. There is nothing worse than having a misleading headline. Attracting people to your website to generate traffic is a strategy used by every successful website, but by misleading viewers through irrelevant headlines, you are destroying your brand or website’s reputation.

If you use these few tips, you should see more and more people clicking your links and sharing them across the web. If you want to learn more about how to get your brands message out through social media, send me an e-mail or visit my consulting website, McDermott Media. If you found this helpful, please remember to share!

 

A Week In Review: Taking Content Curation on Google+ to the Next Level

A few of Google+’s power users, such as +Mike Elgan, have touted the network as their new blogging platform. I have to concede that the majority of my content creation and curation takes place on Google+, but I’m not completely satisfied.

The way Google aggregates your posts and content doesn’t make your list of posts easily digestible. Looking at my profile, you’ll see a mess of status updates, long form posts, photographs, check-ins and shared posts from other creators.

What I would really like to see is a way to organize my content on my profile. Not in the quirky way you organize posts on your Facebook timeline, but in a blog-like fashion, much like Blogger.

Until then, we have a great tool at our disposal. We now have the ability to embed Google Docs into our posts. Embedded today for your enjoyment is my last week of quality content. I’ve sorted out some of the less valuable content and left you with what I call my quality posts.

Take a look at the Google Presentation and let me know what you think of the idea. This is a fairly simply presentation to compose, can be easily assembled, shared and gives me a vehicle to notify my audience without spamming them 25 times during the week.

Setting one up is easy. Just launch Google Drive, create a presentation and add links to your favorite posts. Once you’re done, share away. Since you’ve digested everything into a neat package, your followers might not mind a notification in their inbox…

What Makes Google+ Different

If you attended my session “Google+: Ghost Town or Game Changer” at+PodCamp Nashville yesterday, you were probably left with a few questions and the curiosity of what makes this space different than Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

The problem with all of those social networks is that your connections are based upon who you are already connected with, which really limits the extent of your discovery of new content and creators. Continue reading What Makes Google+ Different

What Google+ Means to Me

There have been so many other social networks out there. We can talk about Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Pinterest and the 1,000’s of niche networks out there, however, if we want to talk about the one network that has changed my life, we would need to talk about Google+.

Yes, I’m a fan boy, but I have a really good reason. I have met so manyinteresting, incredible and influential people through Google’s newest product. Continue reading What Google+ Means to Me

How to Meme Your Images on Google+

Using any image on your hard drive, you can instantly create a meme by adding your own text. There’s no need to use photo editing software or a third party website. You can do all of the work, effortlessly, right here on Google+!

Face it, no one likes boring funny images without a witty caption. Spice up your original photos by making your followers laugh! Now start getting creative! Who knows, maybe your next meme will top the What’s Hot list!

Photographic Archaeology: How To Find the Source of an Image on the Internet

Are you sharing responsibly?

Most of the content that gains traction on the Internet, whether message boards, social media sites like Google+ and Facebook or through e-mail chains (although becoming less popular) has an origin. A lot of people take for granted the fact that someone took the time and effort to create this work. Instead, they share the image with reckless abandon as if it was their own original work.

Now, that’s not to say that everyone that downloads and image to their computer and shares it on a social network is necessarily in the wrong. A lot of the images that are found throughout the web are not copyrighted and are usually “modifications” of existing images. Think of all of the memes where people take an existing image and populate their own text on top. Just because they captioned the image does not make it theirs, per say.

I was approached today by +Bud Hoffman who pointed out that he shared an image he had found on the Internet and was surprised by the amount of interaction and attention it drew. Bud shared an image of two men smoking and standing beneath a mural to make it look as though they were being buried at a funeral.

Image from Snopes.com
Image from Snopes.com

Continue reading Photographic Archaeology: How To Find the Source of an Image on the Internet

How to use Google+ Hangouts for Business

There is nothing more personal than having a face-to-face conversation. Exchanging e-mails is impersonal, speaking on the phone is a step up, but having a face-to-face conversation allows you to see people’s reactions and non-verbal communication.

Anyone that has had to interview someone for a job knows that body language indicates a lot about a prospective candidate’s persona. The same came be said when it comes to sales. Does your potential customer have his arms cross? Are they paying attention to what you’re saying? Are they smiling every time you mention their name?

Continue reading How to use Google+ Hangouts for Business

How to Conduct a Survey with Results

Any campaign usually has a call to action, whether it is to get a customer to purchase a product, to generate a lead or to engage your followers with social media. The toughest part of these campaigns is their purpose and that it to generate results.

Surely, if you spend even the smallest amount of time on the Internet, you are getting bombarded left and right being asked to “fill out a survey.” Businesses use these to gauge their performance and measure their progress as well as individual components of their products and services.

If there is information that you are interested in obtaining, you need to incentivize your participants. Hokey things like a free desktop background or a ring tone may have sounded good 7 years ago, but they are unlikely to drive results.

Continue reading How to Conduct a Survey with Results