If you have any contact with females online – I’m sure you’ve heard of Pinterest. It’s a service that provides virtual pin-boards (reminds me of a digital corkboard of sorts) that allows users to “pin” things to them. Think recipes, photos, products, etc. One of my favorites that I’ve seen is friends used a shared pin-board to help inspire another friend’s haircut.

It can be a great way to collaborate and share, but personally, Pinterest has never really interested me. Here’s why:

#4 – I don’t need another social media time suck

I guess this means I’ve officially earned the title of “social media curmudgeon”, but I hear from everyone I know that uses Pinterest how they end up wasting HOURS on the site. Now I like cool stuff, but considering I barely blog or Tweet anymore because of how busy I am, I definitely don’t have room for another social site.

#3 – They take viral contacts to a whole new level

I have a Pinterest account – however I have never pinned anything, but will browse around occasionally. One HUGE issue I had when I signed up for Pinterest is that when I sync’d it with my Facebook account, it auto-followed everyone on my friend’s list without asking me first. I also can’t figure out how to unfollow people. Having my accounts linked used to be something I didn’t think twice about, well once bitten, twice shy.

#2 – The user experience leaves a lot to be desired (IMO)

I’ll give it that it’s a fair attempt – and for a company that has only been around for 2 years they are doing a fair job, but whenever I go poke around on Pinterest I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed. Maybe I just follow people that pin a lot, but at the point I’m at in my life – I’m looking for ways to cut through the content to find what’s important.

Honestly – I find it more interesting to think about using it for myself personally than for any sort of collaboration. I could see my using it as an online inspiration board for any shows I’m working on, or for marketing projects. Right now I use a combination of Evernote and Delicious depending on the project. Pinterest could simplify that, but I need more control as a user and it needs to be clearer how to use it.

Now I’ve been complaining about Facebook’s user experience for years, but it’s not like that’s deterred any of their growth.

#1 – I question their ethics as a company

Recently it was discovered that Pinterest has been using a service called skimlinks which scans all the links pinned to the site and replaces them with affiliate links where appropriate so that if a purchase is made they essentially get a kickback. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for social startups figuring out how to monetize – however I have a serious concern with the fact that this was uncovered and NOT DISCLOSED. Leveraging social recommendations is something that is ubiquitous for brands on the web – I can’t tell you how many Sponsored Stories I am exposed to on Facebook on a daily basis. But do you know what’s different about Facebook? I can opt-out. I have a choice.

Pinterest doesn’t allow that, and they didn’t disclose it before it was uncovered. And as far as I’ve heard Pinterest hasn’t released a statement or made a comment about the practice. In social – silence speaks volumes. They’ve been caught, and instead of owning up to it, they’ve been silent. This causes issues for me.

On the bright side – it’s an interesting reminder that individuals could potentially use Pinterest to generate small amounts of revenue via their own affiliate tracking codes.

Now I’m not saying you should dislike Pinterest too, I’m saying that before you go diving into another platform, I wanted to provide some perspective on why Pinterest may just be the next hot thing for right now and then disappear. In the end – it’s all about where your audience is and what you can do as a brand to encourage and inspire their passion for you.


It’s been a little bit since I posted, but I wanted to share an article that Maggie McGary and myself were quoted in for the Associations Now Interactive Extra.

It’s all about building meeting buzz online; before, during and after the event.

Check it out.

Also, don’t forget the tips and ideas provided can extend way beyond just your meeting. 🙂


Back in March, I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Mr. Joe Gerstandt. He is an amazing person to converse with and an incredible speaker. I had the amazing opportunity to see him do the below Ignite presentation at ASAE Great Ideas.

He’s probably one of the best speakers I’ve seen in awhile. Maybe it’s because his content speaks to my rebellious nature, or maybe it’s because he is well rehearsed and his presentation technique is pretty flawless. Either way… I encourage you to check out the below Ignite session and start flying your freak flag.

Disclosure: PowerPivot is a client of mine, and the awesome chick in the blue shirt in the video is someone I work with often. In no way has the PowerPivot team asked me to write this post or talk about the tool. I thought it was awesome and useful to my readers, hence why I’m sharing.

So it’s not often that I run across a Twitter analytics tool that I feel like warrants talking about. Most of the time, tools are flashy, visually appealing, but leave me questioning “but what do the pretty charts mean?” Tools tend to be surface level. They don’t let me splice and dice the data in the way I want, so I end up coming up with some way to extract the insights that I need.

No more when it comes to Twitter. The Microsoft PowerPivot team has developed an add-in for Excel 2010 which leverages PowerPivot to give you power over your Twitter data. And best of all… it’s FREE.

They also created the below awesome video to introduce individuals to this tool. Now it may be too powerful for some of those newer to Twitter, but definitely will give those hardcore users the control that they are craving.

So to get started:

  1. Make sure you have Excel 2010.
  2. Download PowerPivot. (Free Download)
  3. Download the Excel add-in for Twitter. (Free Download)
  4. Get hardcore with your Twitter analytics.
  5. Enjoy the awesomeness. 🙂

If you end up trying it out and have any feedback I’d love to hear your experiences.

Any other Twitter analytics tools you use that you find useful?

I’ve been in one of my dry spells lately with regards to blogging. Feeling super guilty about that, so I thought I would share a favorite video session of mine from SXSW 2007. I saw this awhile back, but it still makes me laugh. It’s a little focused on web developers, but if you have any sense of what that world is like you should get a few chuckles. Enjoy!

How To Bluff Your Way in Web 2.0

Presented by Andy Budd and Jeremy Keith

BONUS: Here’s the slidedeck should you prefer that over the video.

Follow Friday (aka #FF or #followfriday) is a phenomenon on Twitter that has been around as long as I can remember.

The purpose of Follow Friday is to share with your Twitter followers people who you feel are worth following and why. This helps the Twitter community grow and our networks to become bigger and bigger over time by connecting with people who are seen as valuable by those who we already follow.

Basically it’s a great way to recognize your favorite tweeters.

Originally the hashtag was #followfriday, but most use #FF since character space is so valuable on Twitter.

Common Mistakes

Many people who participate in Follow Fridays, simply do this:

However, I would argue that this provides no real value and doesn’t capture the spirit of what #FF is all about.

Try This…

When I worked with my former association, one thing our Twitter account was really good at was helping members connect with each other. Keeping in line with that purpose helped fuel our FF choices.

For example, every Friday I would do one post alerting PAs of other PAs on Twitter and one alerting PA students of other PA students under the context of getting to know each other:

#FF – Get to know your fellow PAs: @jeflnyc @kred85 @mgerchufsky @cmbarry @PATravis”

This allowed my followers who saw my tweet to know why they should follow them, not just that they should.

Another good example was a shoutout I received last week from a theatre company I’m working with:

This tweets gives context to the theatre company’s audience and allows them to connect deeper to the artists they are working with. This is right in line with the mission and artistic endeavors of the company.

Also, don’t forget your etiquette. Thank them or do the same in return!

So though a Follow Friday may seem like something simple, there should still be a driving force behind why you are participating, and what meaning it will hold for your audience.

Additional Reading

#FollowFriday: Anatomy of Twitter Trend


Photo Credit

The closing day of ASAE’s Membership, Marketing & Communications Conference (aka MMC) started off with Josh Bernoff. For those readers unfamiliar with Josh Bernoff, he’s the Sr VP – Idea Development with Forrester Research (full bio).

Though I came in a little late (yeah traffic!), here are my notes from the session:

500 Billion impressions through Social Media postings about brands

Tapping Your Members as A Channel


I – Identify You Mass Influencers (Which of your customers spread the message?)
D – Deliver groundswell customer service (Reach out to those engaging in social channels)
E – Empower with mobile information (Provide support, service, info on mobile platforms)
A – Amplify your fan activity (Find your best customers; get them talking.)

Empowered Organizations and People

Hero Compact –

HEROes – Know the custom needs, use technolog to serve customers, operate safely
Managers – Make innovation a priority, support HEROes, works with IT
IT – Support HEROes with technology, scale up solutions, manage risk

HERO Project Effort-Value Evaluation

Measuring your people’s readiness: The HERO Index

Questions they asked:
– Do you feel empowered to use technology?
– Do they act resourcefully?

Disenfranchised Employees (not empowered or resourceful)
Locked Down (Feel empowered, but not resourceful)
Rogue Employees (Act resourceful, but don’t feel empowered)
HERO Employees (Feel empowered & act resourceful)

 1 in 5 nonprofit employees falls into the Rogue Employee category.

Making Your Heros Productive

1. Embrace New Technologies
2.  Encourage Experimentation
3. Connect to Collaboration Systems

A copy of his slides are available here.

One of my favorite moments happened in the questions after. There is a huge challenge within the association world about what is member-only content and what is not. Josh offers the advice of defining what is member content and what is not. It’s a smart, simple solution to a big challenge within the association world. Decide what is premium and what is not, but don’t get greedy about it.

My only note, and this is for most ASAE keynotes I see, professional associations are not like all non-profits. I completely commend Mr. Bernoff for talking about non-profits, but for the most part his examples where of 501c3 and most of ASAE’s members are 501c6, there’s a big difference between the two.

This post was written for and appeared originally on the R2integrated blog.

Users Major brands are investing serious time and serious dollars into geolocation. Whether that be Bravo or MTV on Foursquare or McDonald’s on Facebook Deals (an extension of Facebook Places).

Geolocation has been on the tip of tongues since Foursquare launched at SXSW 2009. Most people have probably heard of Foursquare or Facebook Places, and if you’re really up on your geolocation you’ve played around with Gowalla to earn some pins or joined a few societies on Whrrl. However, there are many players in this game, more than you may realize. Here are a few you might not have heard of yet and what makes up each service’s special sauce.

Bizzy Logowww.bizzy.com
(Available for iOS and Android)

This service is all about giving you recommendations based on the places you already love. When you first sign up for Bizzy, they lead you through a series of questions to find out what are your favorite places. It will ask you things like your favorite place to get coffee, where you like to buy clothes, or somewhere you go to have a fun night out. Based on your answers and the answers of others with similar interests, Bizzy recommends new places for you to try.

To keep you engaged, every time you log in Bizzy is asking you more questions to learn about you. And that’s what makes Bizzy stand out from the crowd, the focus is on the end user and finding recommendations that are right for you. I’d also add that they have an awesome community manager that really makes a user feel like a part of the Bizzy family via (gasp!) good ole fashioned email marketing.

What makes this app awesome for businesses is that you can see where else your patrons favorite and create special partnerships across businesses.

(Available for Android, iOS and Windows Mobile)

Glympse’s niche is letting you have serious control over who sees where you are and when. They position this app as the geolocation app for business and family life. It’s not about sharing your location with the world-at-large, but letting those who need to know where you are for specific periods of time. Let’s say you’re on your way to a business meeting, you can let your coworkers or you boss know your exact location for the next 30 minutes.

Though it’s a little “big brother” for me, this app will allow businesses to see where their employees are in real time. Great for small businesses that are on the go but still need to keep in touch internally.

NeerNeer www.neerlife.com
(Available for iOS and Android, with a web app coming soon)

Another player in geofencing, Neer targets those who want to share their location, but only with a specific subset of contacts. Everything in Neer is controlled by the end user, meaning you setup who you want to share your location with (family, friends, significant other, etc.) and you setup common locations that you visit most often (work, the grocery store, etc.), then Neer takes care of the rest by running in the background. It let’s your contacts know when you’ve arrived and when you’ve left. The thing about Neer that I find most awesome is the attachment of “To-Dos” when you arrive at a location. Attach a to-do and Neer will remind you of what you needed to do when you arrive at the location.

(Available for iOS and Android, some SMS integration)

This app takes the social gaming aspects to a new level. “Go Places. Do Challenges. Earn Points.” SCVNGR goes beyond just the normal checkin by actually rewarding patrons for earning points. Players checking in receive points for just checking in or participating in a number of user created challenges. Businesses can also set-up rewards based on earning points to keep your customers coming back time and time again.

This app is a great way to create loyalty programs by engaging your customers in fun activities that relate to your business. There is also lots of opportunity for businesses at events to create treks to engage users in the experience of attending the event.

(Available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Nokia and Windows Mobile)

Combo geolocation and crowdsourcing, Waze gives real-time maps and traffic information, as well as rewarding users for adding to the network or taking new paths. There is even Foursquare integration (and badge to earn). Waze provides users with accident reports and cop stops, which allows drivers to find the best ways to get where they are going. You can also connect directly with other users of Waze through the application itself.

Though there isn’t a great business use for Waze, it can help you by alerting you to traffic while driving, or helping attendees at a conference navigate around.

(Available for iOS and Android [native], as well as Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 [HTML5])

Touted as “Geolocation for the Enterprise”, DoubleDutch offers branded event apps and “Mobile Resource Management” apps (again geofencing makes an appearance). What makes DD different is that ability to attach content to a certain location, including meeting agendas, handouts, etc.

They’ve found their niche in the geolocation world, really tapping into how geolocation can make your business better.

Color AppBONUS:  Colorwww.color.com
(Available for iOS and Android)

Fresh off the development line, Color burst onto the scene in a big way in March. Backed by $41M in funding (yes, you read that right, MILLION) before the app ever launched, Color has been covered by tech influencers, media outlets and skeptics alike.

So what does it do? Color uses photos you’ve taken and uploaded at a specific location to share with other Color users that are at the same location at the same time. When you leave the location, the photos leave the stream. There is great potential for an app like this at events to share the experience of users at a central location.

Surprisingly though, this app was launched AFTER the quintessential early adopter mecca, SXSW, but has some pretty successful names behind it, including Bill Nguyen (Founder of Lala, acquired by Apple in 2009), D.J Patil (former Chief Scientist at LinkedIn) and Peter Pham (formerly of Photobucket). So far the verdict is out on what the potential for this app is. There is some great thinking behind it, but bad early user experience could potentially cripple the PR moment.


Photo Credit

So this is my second Ignite presentation I’ve been to in the past week (the other one being Ignite Baltimore 7). Since it’s kind of a firestorm of information, I’ve captured a key takeaway from each presentation. Enjoy! (btw, I will update with YouTube links when they are released)

freak flag-flying (what, why, and how) by Joe Gerstandt

Key Takeaway: Freak flag flying is rooted in self-awareness, it’s about knowing who you are. Do you know who you are? Do you know what you’re here for? Do you know what your gift is? Is there any evidence? If you want to be a part of change, you have to be willing to be different.

Failure Must Be an Option
by Jeffrey Cufade

Key Takeaway: So you want to make a change? What the hell are you waiting for? Look at abductive logic, the logic of what could be. If we are not willing to risk anything, aren’t we risking losing everything. “I know I can. I know I must.”

Don’t Judge a Mentor by Her Shoes
by KiKi L’Italien

Key Takeaway: Your mentors are all around you. Sometimes it’s the anti-mentors, the people that try to push you down that help push you to go bigger and become really what you can be.

The Meeting Environment of the Future
by John Nawn

Key Takeaway: Meetings should tap into all of our senses. Instead of fitting the meeting to the place, fit the place to the meeting.

Make It Happen Today
by Ann Oliveri

Key Takeaway: Ask for help and be generous. You can make it happen in 5 steps:

  1. Exhale. Stop. Watch.
  2. Expand your intention.
  3. Explore, be more.
  4. Express Purpose
  5. Extend the offer.

The Story of Your Life by Gary Rifkin

Key Takeaway: Storytelling can help lives change. If you have passion for you platform, your audience will take the ride and take action.

Social Media Gurus don’t do the job of the community manager.

Content Leader Ben Martin admits this session is not for the social media experts, but offers a

Think Web First – Go from the web or social media, popular ideas get pushed to the email newsletter and then escalated to the magazine.

Relevance – Is there any point to repeating what’s already been said?

Action – Everything must have a Call to Action, if there is nothing to click-thru how do you know that you’ve been effective? Give everything a link.

Social Media Publishing Workflow…

  • Find something interesting – Tweet & Facebook immediately
  • Write a post for the website – Tweet/Facebook the link immediately, schedule a followup tweet, syndicate it, Tweet/Facebook about comments
  • Include in email newsletters
  • Use short URLs in print communications


The Tools…

Posterous.com – Post by email, syndicates to Twitter/Facebook/Flickr. Helped with Government / Legislative Affairs staff to publish content as they are on the hill since email is a familiar form of communication for them.

Tumblr – Email blog, text, video photos, etc. Syndicates quickly as well.

TweetDeck – A great way to aggregate conversations and watch the conversation

HootSuite – A go to tool for working as a team to publish social media content. Publishes to many properties.

Timely.is – Tells you what time to send a tweet to maximize the impact based on retweets & replies.

Feedburner – Ben recommends using the summary feed option to help drive comments to the blog instead of having the comments on Facebook. (I ask why is it bad to have comments on your Facebook Page?)

Yahoo Pipes – (One of my fave tools) Pipes aggregates multiple feeds into a single feed and allows you to filter by keyword, etc. Great for News feeds on the homepage without having to pay for it.

[He then mentions some tools that are specific to the MemberFuse platform. Though I love the MemberFuse team, I try to make my blog a no sell zone so I haven’t included these features]

WordPress – A haven for plugins, especially if you are using the self-hosted version (aka WordPress.org). Allows you to integrate with multiple channels, and can even help increase your SEO using the RSS widget.

Drupal – Open source content management system. Drupal is powerful because it has a community of developers contributing to the progression of the platform.



%d bloggers like this: