Down with the Auto- Era

Back in September of last year I wrote a post explaining how people use Twitter in the worst ways possible. I normal prefer to provide constructive criticism to those seeking guidance in online media, but these 7 items are some that I consider rookie mistakes. My hopes were that once many had learned that each was a social media faux pas, they would learn from the mistakes and change their Twitter approaches for the better.

Twitter

These "no-nos" are a Twitter FAIL.

As one might expect, there are still many more people “doing Twitter” all wrong, and these individuals outnumber those who have really grasped the platform. Hey, I guess that’s why there are consultants like myself available to help train people in the social space for the better, right?*

At the time I wrote my “rant” post if you will, I figured that would be that, and I would continue blogging about better business and social media approaches. As I look through blogs, fan pages, and Twitter profiles all day long, I come up with inspiration for new posts and the time (I have the jam-packed moleskine to prove it), but there is one aspect of my Twitter post that I’ve been dying to revisit in order to elaborate on. Care to humor me with this?

Here’s the one point that still greatly irks me:

the obsession with the auto (insert Twitter verb here)

Why must we automate such actions as direct messages and follow-backs on Twitter? How does this make sense for anyone to do? When you allow for a computer or some automated service to take the reigns of your Twitter account, do you not see how you are devaluing your reputation on the web? Your professional reputation? If you can’t even take on the task of deciding which individuals you would like to follow, why do you even bother creating your own tweets? Why not just sign up for a service that creates what they deem “relevant tweets to your following” and believe me, those services exist.

Don't check that box - just don't.

I haven’t even gotten started on the auto-DM. I’m honestly afraid to go in full rant mode for this one, so I will keep this part brief: if you can’t tailor a direct message that is personal to the given Twitter user, don’t bother sending one at all. The whole point of taking the conversation from the public space on the newsfeed to the privacy between you and the other individual is to have a one-on-one conversation. When you opt to send  someone a generic message, it essentially tells this person, whether new friend, client, or other, that you don’t care.

Twitter interactions already take place with at least two devices standing between individuals in a conversation, so there is no need to add even more to this equation. If you really want to build a following, and build relationships via this platform, then start abiding by the definition of the prefix auto- and do it yourself. Take your Twitter account back and let the automated systems continue being used by those not in the know.

How do you feel about the “auto- era”?

*Shameless self-promotion. I admit, it might’ve been too easy.

I Take My Coffee With Good Customer Service, No Sugar.

Coffee shops are like a second home to me. It’s the perfect place for a part-time telecommuter and full-time blogger such as myself, and these shops provide the perfect atmosphere to drum up endless blogging ideas. And yes, I am creating this post from a cozy swivel chair in a local shop as you read this.

Seeing as I frequent coffee shops, it’s important that I find a good venue that provides the setting necessary to help me work. Wi-Fi should be available (for the cost of free ninety-nine, s’il vous plaît), outlets a-plenty, and delicious coffee. Although Atlanta is home to many coffee shops that have incredible coffee – seriously, if you need a recommendation for a great cup o’ joe in my town, don’t hesitate to ask – the one aspect that I will not put up with finding a coffee shop to give my business to is bad customer service.

customer-service

Is good customer service too much to ask for? Never.

I understand that it’s an unspoken truth that all baristas must have a sense of entitlement when serving up an overpriced cup of coffee to customers, but where is it written that bad customer service is acceptable anywhere ever? You can serve me the greatest cup of coffee this world has ever seen (okay, tasted), but if you make me feel inadequate for not knowing the correct pronunciation of that rare Ethiopian roast, you can bet I will never give you my business again.

This situation doesn’t just arise in coffee shops: bad customer service is everywhere. Whether it’s the lack of training in front-line employees, or possibly too much empowerment of these staff members from management, these businesses should keep this in mind:

When you sacrifice customer service, you will sacrifice customers.

Every original business will have competitors that have practically identical product offerings, even that boutique coffee shop with the gluten free menu and 37 flavors of frappes. What will help them stand out against the monotony of the industry is superior customer service. Even something as simple as a smile when you take an order will make a difference to people, and that alone might secure you a repeat customer.

There may be a select few out there that will put up with anything in order to have this one specific roast at your coffee shop, baristas, but don’t count on those customers being enough to keep your business afloat. Start making better customer service a priority; otherwise your customers will find a quality chai latte elsewhere.

Remix Your Blogging Ideas

In the past few months I’ve been mildly obsessed with remixes. A song may be great the first time around, but if you cut it up, remaster it, replan it, remix it, it can become something brand new yet so familiar. Remixes are so much fun, and the thing is, pretty much anything you’ve heard could be made better with one.

remix-blog-posts

A remix could be just what your blog needs.

The idea of remixes reminded me of something that is brought up quite a bit in the blogging world. For those of us out there that write professionally, especially at a high volume, there comes a point when we will revisit old topics. I mean, I write over 40 blog posts a week making it nearly impossible to come up with something completely original each time.

When revisiting old topics, you may occasionally come across a post that you no longer agree with. Trust me, it happens to everyone. Whether your stand on the topic has changed entirely, or you feel that it didn’t really deliver the message you had hoped, this is a common happening for bloggers. But rather than get rid of your original post and start over, why not “remix” it? Here’s what I mean:

  • Write your own rebuttal. If you no longer agree with the content from a post, don’t delete it; simply write a new post touching on the ideas previously stated and tell your audience why you no longer agree with what you’d originally written.
  • Take one aspect of your original piece and develop it further in a new post. This is an excellent idea for those of you that create giant lists at one point or another in your posts. Pick an element from an old post and run with it.
  • Ask  someone to guest post on a topic you’ve previously used. Hey, remixes are even better when they feature new artists, right? Ask your colleagues to chime in, announce the opportunity to the Twitterverse, or even get your mom to tap away at the keys and see what she can come up with. Maybe not the last one, but you get the idea.

Just like songs, a post you’ve written can be given new life with a remix. It will cut down the time it takes you to create a post, and it can be really fun to see how you’ve grown in your writing, especially when you’re doing the rebuttal post. Revisit, remix and get to writing.

You can take my advice, and you should definitely take a listen – enjoy:

(track via The White Panda – get tons of their mash-ups for free at their website http://www.thewhitepanda.com/)

Taking the Plunge Back Into Blogging

I am a blogger for a living. I create upwards of 40 original blog posts a week for clients all over the nation. I create unique content on a weekly basis, and in my 6 months having been employed in the social media marketing realm have written thousands of blog posts. On paper it would seem that I am well-versed when it comes to the idea generation, creation, and execution of a blog post; this, however, is not the reality of it all.

macbook

If you think it's as easy as tapping away on the keys, then you'd be wrong.

This is the first time in months that I have gone anywhere near my personal blog, and even as I am writing this there is some sort of anxiousness that’s there, nagging me, the same feeling that has built up over the past few months.

I’m calling this “blogging anxiety,” though I’m sure someone has already coined the term. Though I’ve created a voice for myself through various channels for others, I am still learning to find mine here on my own personal blog. The longer I stay away and throw myself into my work, the harder it gets to return to my own writing. And the vicious cycle continues!

So this is my own “welcome back” to the blogging medium. You can’t find your voice unless you start looking for it, right?

Keep an eye out for me!

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”

-E. L. Doctorow

I’m a brand new blogger, & I believe this quotation sums up my situation perfectly.

I’m in love with all things social media, & I read Mashable and other social media blogs religiously. What I’ve learned from my immersion into the social media realm is that no matter how much I read about blogging, social networking, and microblogging, I cannot fully appreciate these new forms of media until I’ve given them all a try.

The issue that has kept me from taking the plunge & finally starting this was exactly the direction I would take: will I write about social media? my entrance into the “real” world following graduation? blogs I enjoy? absolutely nothing in particular?

I intend to do all these things. I’ve got a great deal to learn, both about blogging & growing up, but I’ve got to start somewhere. Earning my B.B.A. is what I consider my step into the latter. Now I begin my exploration into the former.

Wish me luck.

I Tweet, You Tweet.

Categories