Monday, August 29, 2011

The 7 Deadly Sins on Twitter

If you’re new to Twitter or been on it for a while and wonder what will kill any social media strategy you may have involving the 140-character service think about this: It may be that you’re committing one of the seven deadly sins of Twitter!

Anger: How often do you see people saying something out of anger on Twitter and you just know they will regret it? If you are feeling angry go for a walk or find a punching bag and leave Twitter out of it.

Greed: This shows up when tweeps are greedy with others’ time (tweeting too much in too short a time) or following too many people in hopes that some will follow back and build their follower numbers. The old saying that "the more you want something, the more it eludes you" is true on Twitter too!

Laziness: People who auto-tweet and don’t engage (respond to questions and/or thank others’ kindness on Twitter) are usually easy to spot … and as a result they do not build communities of value.

Pride: Words on a screen can so easily be misinterpreted without the visual or audio cues we get from other forms of communication. Tweeps who fly off the handle at a perceived slight are victims of pride and likely revealing a lot more about themselves than they realize. If you always assume good intent until undeniable evidence to the contrary you will do fine on Twitter.

Desire: This manifests itself in Twitter users who are too anxious to achieve their goals on the network and spend a lot of time pursuing them oblivious to what is happening around them on Twitter. This narcissism is rarely rewarded.

Envy: This is one of the ugliest sins and shows up when a Tweep decides to use Twitter to tear down another Tweep (usually someone with more standing on the network). If you’re turning green with envy over how well others are doing on Twitter learn from them – don’t attack them.

Voracity: The "voracious" Tweep is that person who retweets (RTs) and comments indiscriminately – usually dozens of times in a short time period. For 10-30 minutes at a time Twitter is, in their minds, all about them.

So, does this list capture the main sins of Twitter? I’m sure there are others you’ve seen if you’ve been in social media for any length of time. Please share them here I’d love to write a follow up post on this.

Possibly related posts:
Twetiquette: 10 basics for Twitter politeness
10 Reasons I won’t follow you on Twitter

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to evaluate a social media conference

This is the second of two posts on how to find a social media conference and then having found one how to assess its merits. Full disclosure: I am an organizer of a conference at the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology on Sept. 29 called the Social Media and Communication Symposium. To avoid seeming self-serving I will not specifically reference that event here.

You’ve found a couple of social media conferences that look interesting and you’re ready to take your social media strategy to the next level. But how do you decide which conference is right for you AND a good deal?

It comes down to three things:


When considering cost it’s a good idea to add up all of the costs:

The ticket price: This is somewhat obvious and if you have an unlimited conference or training budget may not be a concern, but for most of us …

Other bills: Travel, hotels and meals can add up fast. Is the conference local or nearby? Will it require several nights at a hotel?

Opportunity cost: This is trickier, but you need to know: What business am I not conducting while at a conference? Will what I learn there outweigh any income I lost while away from my business?


As you assess the quality of an event there are several things you should do:

Ask your network: Check with others who have attended the event before. Did they like it or did they love it? Would they drop everything to go again?

Check the footprint: Just how often do the presenters speak at conferences? Get quoted by industry media? Or, how often have they presented in the past 12 months? All of these things will give you a sense of whether the speakers are a big deal or not.

Score the presenters: Using a tool such as Klout will help you find the range of their scores (which measures how influential they are in social media and to some extent how active they are). A recent comparison of two conferences I looked at found one charging $375 per ticket with an average Klout score of 41 and another charging one-tenth of that with an average Klout score of 59. Joe Fernandez, CEO of Klout obviously believes a Klout score is a great starting point for evaluating speakers for a conference, "but I'd encourage you to also check their influential topics on Klout and who they're influenced by. That will give you a more holistic sense of their influence and expertise."


What are you looking to get from the conference? Here are some things that may tip the scales one way or the other:

Networking: Conferences aren’t just about hearing from experts they’re also opportunities to connect with people you may only know via social media or not at all. What will the quality of the audience be at your desired events? How relevant is their background and experience? Ask others who’ve been to conferences organized by the same company for insight on this.

Stepping stones: Do the events you’re looking at fit into where you are right now and where you want to get in social media? It makes no sense to go to a beginners’ conference if you’re well beyond that and vice versa.

Continuing ed.: Will there be follow-up opportunities to learn from the people you hear from at the conference? How likely is it that what you take away from the conference can lead to even more learning? Again, check with others who have attended before. Did the learning and growing continue after the conference or was it “one-and-done?”

So, there you have it: A few ideas to help you assess any social media conference you may be interested in. What do you think? Are there other considerations?

Previous post: Social media conferences: How to find them

Monday, August 15, 2011

Social media conferences: How to find them

This is the first of two posts on how to find a social media conference and then having found one how to assess its merits. Full disclosure: I am an organizer of a conference at the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology on Sept. 29 called the Social Media and Communication Symposium. To avoid seeming self-serving I will not specifically reference that event here.

Keeping up with changes in social media and social media strategy can be daunting. So what better way to hear from some leaders in the field than at a social media conference?

But how do you find a conference that might meet your needs? Sadly there is no one catch-all place to find social media conferences.

One site that does list upcoming social media events is Mashable and its
listing of upcoming events. But, as good as it can be it does not appear to be posted on a regular schedule.

So here is what I’m sure is an incomplete starter list of social media conferences. Please feel free to add others in the comments area below and I will update this post as I can:

140 Characters Conference: A yearly conference founded by Jeff Pulver that gathers leaders in the tech industry to discuss Twitter and the real-time Internet. In dozens of 10- to 20-minute addresses, conference speakers cover topics about how Twitter influences the world and Twitter's effects on various industries.

Blog World & New Media Expo: This event includes a Social Media Business Summit and claims it is the world’s largest social media business conference. It says it features social media thought leaders and corporate pros.

Corporate Social Media Summit: This event, organized by Useful Social Media offers "best practice examples and in-depth case studies from some of the leading companies using social media today – Adobe, Dell, SAP, AT&T, Best Buy, the Coca Cola Company." It also offers recordings for a fee.

Social Crush: A two-day, hands-on, interactive social media business conference with a lineup that changes by event, but has recently included speakers and trainers from Twitter, HubSpot, Foursquare, Edelman Digital, Hashable, SayItSocial and PRNewswire.

Social Fresh: A one-day social media conference for marketing professionals that features, according to its site, "case studies, group discussion and learning, instruction and drilling down on topics."

Social Media Plus: A one and one-half day, three-event conference featuring in-depth workshops and expo and 21 seminars led by "marketing directors, technology professionals and social media experts, telling you how they have used social media to build brand, interact with customers and generate revenue. "

Social Media Strategies Summit:
A three-day event where, according to the website: "Attendee’s will learn how to best utilize and integrate the myriad social media platforms to engage customers directly at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. … Through presentations, case studies and workshops presenters will provide attendees with the skills needed to attract and engage quality customers."

Ragan Communications: This company offers numerous social media-related conferences and online learning opportunities (often with a public relations focus). As someone who has attended Ragan events I can only say that, although expensive, they are very much worth it in terms of the quality of the program and the speakers.

SXSW-Interactive: The “Big Kahuna” of social media events with literally too many venues and too many panels and presentations for one person to take in. Best attended by small teams who split their time and share what they learned. It should be every person in social media’s goal to attend this event at least once, if not every year!


Social Media Success Summit: This entirely online "conference" features 24 social media speakers and thinkers and runs over a three-week period. The sessions are live online and also available taped if the timing is not good for you. This may be a good solution if taking time away from your job or home is impractical.

So there it is. My incomplete, I’m pretty sure, and possibly biased short list of social media conferences. I hope it helps you chart your next learning opportunities in social media and social media strategy.

What did I leave out? Please comment below.

NEXT: How to evaluate a social media conference