My Twitter Follow Policy? Simple Really

FacebookGoogle+LinkedInStumbleUponPinterestRedditShare

Twitter is still very powerful and doesn’t seem to be changing course except to pick up speed. With the announcement that Twitter dot com is planning on rolling out some deeper analytics tools with an upcoming upgrade I’m really kind of stoked about it. For me Twitter is still the better engagement tool for live online conversation. Certainly it is not the only but it is very powerful and has led to some great relationships over the years. Many of you reading (or listening) now I first met on Twitter.

One of the most frequently asked questions I take whether in person, at a session or online regarding Twitter is “how should I follow people”? Truly it is, to a degree, a very personal or corporate-centric answer. While I love data to back up answers and constantly challenge people who “just say stuff that sounds good” I have no data to back up the fact that it is personal. There is, however, a science to following just like there is a science to tweeting. That said here is my policy in a nutshell:

I use auto-follow tools to follow people when they tweet specific key words. I manually cull that list of people I know I will not benefit or will not be likely to engage (people who tweet only in Japanese for example). I do not follow people who do not follow me back – it doesn’t matter who they are, how cool or popular they are or how successful they are. Those people may or may not go into a list. The list they go in may or may not be public. Here’s a short audio bit about it:

What is YOUR Twitter follow policy? We want to know!

Jailbreak! So Toying With Your iPhone Can Land You Behind Bars?

“Some manufacturers (including Apple) have claimed that jailbreaking violates a section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)” states the article at Geek.com in no uncertain terms. Of course we have long known Apple to be brutal in keeping users in line and behind the line. It seemed everything was okay about users having the choice of what they wanted to install on their PC or laptop but when mobile came along things changed. Manufacturers decided they would take control of your nappy ass and tell you where to stand and how to hold their device.  Just another in the long list of reasons I enjoy using Linux and Android … mostly Linux but when it comes to mobile it’s Android or a string and two tin cans.

Your thoughts? Should jail-breaking your iPhone be punishable as a crime like producing illegal copies of software and distributing them? Read the Geek.com article here.

Highest Customer Rated Camcorder on Amazon?

Panasonic HDC-TM90K 3D Compatible Camcorder with 16GB Internal Flash Memory

Panasonic HDC-TM90K 3D Compatible Camcorder

Let’s face it, nothing beats user opinions. Advertisements tell you all the best points and users tell you when it’s just bovine scat. So it may be important to note that the Panasonic HDC-TM90K 3D camcorder is the highest ranked product in the camcorder category on Amazon.

So what do people seem to like most about this particular camcorder?

  • A user gives it 5 stars for image stabilization and zoom (I like both of those)
  • A 3 star reviewer also likes the zoom and stabilization but complained about the pre-record icon (makes sense)
  • Another 5 star reviewer really digs the 1080p HD results (don’t we all?)
  • Another user gave it 5 stars because of the 16 gig internal memory and the 32 gig expansion card (me too :)

Perhaps my favorite review included the video below and 5 stars. Interesting to note about the video is that it is shot in hazy low light conditions facing into the available sunlight. I’m certain they used only the default automated settings which tells me this camcorder must be pretty smart. View it in full screen and you’ll get a relative idea of the crispness of the progressive scan.

Also it is obvious the camera is hand-held so you get the additional image stability and zoom test. I like what I see. For the price I’m thinking this may be something great to keep available for quick shots or scene testing before you drag out the HVR-Z7U.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX55-jIGijY

Do More YouTube Likes Equal More Views?

Answer: I don’t know. But I’m looking for the answer and maybe one of you know. Certainly together we can all figure it out, right? Please don’t destroy my hope in humanity!

Okay, enough drama. That one scene would have putrefied any daytime soap. Thanks to Richard MacManus over at ReadWriteWeb for providing us with the list of the top ten all-time most viewed YouTube videos just yesterday. Oddly one has already been deleted for a violation of the Terms and only one of the remaining 9 is not a commercially reproduced music video: Charlie Bit My Finger, Again.

YouTube Chart Data

Click image to view full size.

Obviously this calls for deeper investigation because, chances are, if you’re reading this you are not on the development team for Death Row, Virgin or DefJam records. If you are, welcome. I’m sarcastic – often. I tried the Charts Channel. Can you say gold mine? Well, you could if the charts we worth a crap. The top ten most view according to that channel are Not Even Close. So I did some old-fashioned time burning … I looked up the numbers myself.

I looked at 3 samples from two sets of video types. The first set is from most viewed and the second set is simply a randomized selection from “real estate agent” search results. What we are looking for in these numbers is an indicator of the importance of the number of like and comments to the overall number of views. You will see in the Likes/Ratio column the percentage of viewers who liked. What is also interesting to note is the Subscribers viewing ratio. In my opinion and based on this very small data set I believe neither are crucial in a generic success story. However it stands to reason and I believe will be born out with more subject study that the number of subscribers for a niche topic will result in more views whereas it appears, as I suspected, the number of likes and comments has little bearing if any on the number of views.

What we did not measure or examine is how many non-YouTube pages (private blog pages etc.) each of these videos may also reside within. It is my suspicion that the “Where In DC” video is found on a more highly viewed site than the publishers YT channel such as ActiveRain or BiggerPockets.

And here is the final shot on this “how to get more YouTube viewers (and is that really important to your business)” topic. Your comments are not only welcome they are invited!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv-L5E5cf_4

How to Find a Blog Topic

My first thought was to title this post “Desperately Seeking Inspiration” but that is not entirely accurate. Seeking, yes – desperate, no. In fact just the act of seeking inspiration inspired me this morning as I prepare for today’s live broadcast of Social Media Edge Radio. Normally one need not look far for enough inspiration to fire off 250-500 words for their blog. Truthfully it matters little whether the post is by assignment, for hire or for personal reasons most writers need a lodestone to motivate them into creating a work worthy of reading … and sharing.

Having been behind the blocks when it comes to finding a topic or even get the inspiration to write an assigned article I know how it feels to twittle (or Twitter) until it hits me. Like today where I found a guitar pick on my desk, stuck it to my forehead and fired off a webcam photo and the next thing you know I’m writing an article about blog inspiration. I know, however, it is not always that easy so here is what I do when I need a topic whether it be for Social Media Edge, Zoonds, Active Rain, this blog, or anything else where my topic is not picked by the person stroking the check.

Mass Up on RSS Feeds

Use whatever reader you like. iGoogle is free, Google reader is free and both are platform independent. Group your RSS feeds into categories that make sense to you. I have mine as such: Business, Economy, Technology, Politics, and Humor.

Usually one of the first things I do in the morning is look through my RSS feeds. I do often use Google Reader and it will tell me just enough information to find something new. There are more powerful readers and some which do quite a bit of work for you but for free GR isn’t so bad.

Bookmark Everything Interesting

In my bookmarks I have a folder named “Topics”. Inside of it I have links to everything you can think of that I don’t have dumping into my RSS readers and some things I do. There are subfolders to match the names of the categories mentioned in the previous paragraph and one just named “Interesting”.

Dig on Twitter

Have you ever searched Twitter? I don’t mean for a person I mean for a topic. Go into Twitter and use that search function and search on just about any topic you want and voila … you’ll have 4,000 stories about Tim Tebow in a flash. Of course they’ll all be the same so you’ll have to dig a little. One of my favorite Twitter searches is for infographics. Try it, here’s the link.

Absentee Fishing with Google Alerts

If you do not use Google Alerts you should start now. Set up alerts on the topics you most write on or on topics that are currently trending. You’ll want to make sure you choose good search terms because in years like this setting an alert on “election” would be … dumb. I set alerts on things like “LAMP development” and “social media tool”. Google Alerts are here.

Follow The Trends

I am beginning to sound like a Google evangelist but the truth is they just have so many good, free tools. So I guess I am. One of the best ways to find hot topics to blog about is to visit Google Trends. GT will give you ten of the hottest trending topics on the landing page and if you click “more” you will be presented with 20. You can also set the date to some time in the past to see what was trending on that date. Google Trends is here.

What’s The Business Value of Empire Avenue?

Socially speaking I have to admit I have made connections on EAv (the way the EAv geeks write it) which I may not have made outside of there and have strengthened relationships inside of EAv that may not otherwise have strengthened. Who? Oh, I see – you want names. Well, first of all and perhaps most notably there is Liz Strauss. While Liz and I have been communicating since about the time she was first on my show Social Media Edge Radio we quickly became closer as a direct result of Empire Avenue. Someone I was not connected with prior to Empire Avenue but have connected with as a direct result is Chris Pirillo.

For the true capitalists among you here is the answer: I have not yet tracked one customer or investor directly to Empire Avenue. However my activity is up and I have no way to eliminate Empire Avenue from the mix. If you follow my maze along the meandering way through the nano particles of the threads created by constant interaction you may have read my words or heard me say, “this is the year of quantum”.

That said I am searching for the core of EAv and how it fits into the quantum 12 strategy.

Hey, where are you going? I was just getting started ….

Okay, so what influencers play or have played Empire Avenue? I don’t have a full list but here are some:

  • Shel Isreal – a celebrated consultant and author who has appeared on Social Media Edge Radio twice.
  • Scott Monty – some guy from Ford who has pulled a no-show not once but twice for his never-gonna-happen appearance on SMEdge.
  • Liz Strauss – already introduced you to Liz who has been on SMEdge 4 or 5 times.
  • Chris Pirillo – been on SMEdge once to talk about Empire Avenue

Get the theme? Right, I count people who have been on Social Media Edge Radio as more influential. That aside what the graphic I have included sort of says is I was doing worse when I was actually “playing” the game and have since done much better, if we’re counting my share price as better, since I started focusing on my job. It may help, too, that my corporate job vanished on November 15th and I’m freelancing in the LAMP development and content creation world.

In the end it seems EAv is just another place to leave your digital imprint. I don’t intend to spend much more time there on the site than I do now but I will continue to check it, to interact with others who have reached out, to reach out to some new people, and touch some old friends. Que sera, sera.

If You Must Use iPhone But Want to Manage Excel …

I read a tech opinion a few weeks ago where a real estate agent was asking how she could manage her Excel files (a Windows mark) on her iPhone and iPad. Of course my first suggestion would be to get an Android phone and tablet and do things right. However I recognized you may already have invested double in an Apple product so why invest more in tools you have to pay for to accomplish this simple task?

If you have an Apple mobile product but work on a Windows (or any PC other than a Mac) you can store thousands of documents for free on Google docs. You can also edit your files easily on any Android device without any additional necessities. If you use an Apple product, however, there is a solution and that is the iGoogDocs available in the App Store for only $1.99

Now the recommendations made by, actually a friend, are okay but unnecessary. While they recommended DropBox and DocsToGo chances are that’s little more than a waste of money for most people (I do use them both but they can be overkill for many). Google Docs is free and iGoogDocs is $1.99 which is much better than $19.99 and $75 per year.

No intended disrespect to my friend(s) but this would be my advice for those using iPhones and iPads to catch up with the Droid patrol.

Audio and Video Tools for the Serious Blogger/Marketer

Everyone who knows me even a little knows I have multiple blogs, write on some community sites and love audio and video. Doing all of that takes more than just time it also takes a few tools. Since people love to know and I am constantly talking about my equipment I want to share with you exactly what I use (or the nearest thing to it) here for you to go ahead and order.

These are the headphones I have been using for about 18 months and they are amazing. Nothing for the price I can find has been any better or even as comfortable. Long lasting is key – I was going through wired headsets in about 4 to 6 months. This one is wireless, holds a charge great and has a range of easily 50 feet. Plantronics .Audio 995 Wireless Stereo Headset

For voice over work I want something of very high quality and I may actually have over-reached with this microphone. It is amazingly clear, picks up sounds you can’t even here and gives the professional results you expect. I’ve read thousands of words into mine and never had any disappointment with the operation and performance of this amazing microphone. CAD GXL2200SP Studio Condenser Mic Recording Pack

With a microphone like the one above you don’t want to be dumping your voice onto just any recorder. While the capabilities of this one may be overkill for the standard podcaster it allows me to also mix in music, other sounds like sound affects and sound clips, and gives me all the control I need for vocal affects. Boss BR-1200CD Digital Recording Studio

For quick video I use the Kodak PlayTouch because it’s totally self-contained for most quick shooting. It actually gives a better raw finish than some of my other toys and is much lighter than my Mino Flip. Also the PlayTouch has an external microphone port which Jeremy Blanton points out needs the stereo splitter to get vocals from the mono lavaliere onto both channels – or you can split the channel in editing, whichever. Kodak PlayTouch Video Camera (Black)

For an ultra light-weight tripod and something I actually leave in the studio I needed something that would go to 60″ and still be relatively stable. Since this one can be secured in a stable position and it has the quick mount it’s perfect. I don’t need a 30 pound floating head for most of what I do so this is the trick and it’s cheap! Vista Explorer 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Tripod Bag

You have probably heard me talking about green screen shooting and having a green screen studio. This is the exact kit I started with. Since then a few little things have been added but many of the videos you see from me which are obviously green screened I used this screen and these lights. Photo Basics 402 uLite Video Lighting Kit

When I say “break out the bad boy” I’m still so far off from what the real pros use it’s laughable. But this is what I mean. This camera is amazing and has more built into it than some editing suites. You can really control the input and the low light function will let you hunt ghosts all you want … or possum! Sony NEX-VG10 Hi-definition Interchangeable Lens Handycam Pro Camcorder with 18-200mm E-mount Zoom Lens + WSP Mini tripod, Cleaning set

When I started doing video, some years ago, I used a Commodore, graduated to a Mac, used a couple of early non-linear devices and they all took hours to render. When I started getting advice from the people who do it for the big guys the first thing I learned was they don’t use Mac. My two best sources are both CNN experienced and trained and they both recommend the same thing: Sony Vegas Pro on a quad-core PC with at least 8 megs of ram. But it’s the software I needed and this is it. It definitely has a learning curve but it is well supported in the web and there are plenty of YouTube tutorials available for it. There’s really very little this software cannot do when it comes to editing. Vegas Pro 11.0

If you’re really into it and want to do your own special effects I recommend the free Blender. It’s well supported and powerful and has an amazing learning curve. You probably won’t need it especially if you go with the Vegas Pro because it has plenty of built-in tools.

For audio only editing I use quite a few things but the simplest for me is the counterpart to Sony Vegas and that is Sony Acid Pro. Since I have been using both of those tools for about 6 years I’m very comfortable with them but it only takes a couple of weeks of paying attention to really get you going. Honestly this is overkill but I do mix down music and the built-in loops make it as easy as buying a pie to create royalty free, unique soundtracks with zero musical skills. I just add some guitar to it to really make it mine. NEW ACID Pro 7 (Software)

Top Ten Highest Ranked Sites on Alexa – What They Can Teach Us

If you’re reading this chances are you use some, most or all of these sites daily. Having been a user of Alexa since 1996, when the web was just a diapered baby, I have always been fond of some of the tools they provide and the new era is no different. If you have not used Alexa’s Site Info go give it a spin after you read this article – you’ll learn a lot about your favorite sites.

  1. Google – Earth’s favorite search engine
  2. Facebook – a little community site
  3. YouTube – video library maximus
  4. Yahoo – that other link index thing ne news site
  5. Baidu – China’s hope for search dominance
  6. Wikipedia – a place to find the meaning of life
  7. Windows Live – yeah, uhm this must be a mistake
  8. Blogspot – a spot for blogging
  9. Amazon – a river of books, videos, games, hard goods and more
  10. Twitter – the little bird that tells everything

So what does this mean to you as a marketer, developer or community builder?

When I was a young fellow I grew up where a river fed into a lake so we fished. A lot. One of the first questions fishermen ask each other when greeting on or near the water is, “Catching anything?” That was followed, usually, by the other party saying something that may include, “Yes. They are biting really good down by the bridge.”

People are searching in increasing numbers for the information most relevant to their terms. Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm to make certain the best search results are delivered as often as possible. Amazon is tracking searches and delivering relevant information to their visitors. You can learn from these top performers by looking at their Site Info on Alexa which I have so conveniently linked for you here in this article.

Look at the search terms which result in traffic to those site. Now think about your own site, product, brand, or message and think in terms of search relevancy. One of the more difficult challenges is to teach new web marketers how to think like their prospects instead of like a brochure writer. “What are people going to type into Google to find your site”, is one of my most asked questions to new people I am working with as clients.

Using this site for example people generally will not be searching for “ken cook” when they find me. They may, however, be searching for “online brand consultant”, “social media strategy” or “podcast hosting”. At least they will now ;) So think about your product, service or content. Then think like the people who you want to find you. If you’re a dentist who wants to be found by parents in your area maybe you should try something like “children’s dentist in Kennesaw, Georgia” (if you’re in Kennesaw that is!) Speaking of which, do you know how to do a keyword analysis for your keywords and see which terms and phrases may be more valuable? Perhaps we’ll cover keyword analysis in another post.

Pop on over to Alexa and check them out. Take a moment and add your review of TheKenCook.com – for the Gipper! Membership is FREE.

Recruiting Affiliates Online

Since I am just now really starting a journey to conquer, or at least ride on the back of, affiliate marketing I have been noticing more and more ways people try to recruit experts or contributors to help them get to the space they need to be found in. Interestingly enough the most blatant attempt at recruiting me was a fail at least in the case of me. It did give me a great idea though and I will work on how to use it to my advantage over the coming days.

Foursquare is no secret and millions of people around the world use it. I have used Foursquare for a couple of years and looked for ways to use it for personal gain or the gain of my clients with limited success. After what I found on Twitter today I may have found a way to use it for recruiting through harvesting instead of for broadcasting. Even though the people who sent a recruitment tweet to me missed their mark I did find it non-invasive, with a good deal of tact and likely a realistic opportunity for them to engage some people who will contribute to their efforts and result in a win for them.

For those who know me it would be laughable for me to be called a travel expert since the most travelling I do is to speak at events or to visit family, the latter being rare and the former being too often sometimes! That said I received the twitter in the image today and though I am a far cry from anyone who should be contributing I found it engaging and worthy of mention.

How would you use existing social networks for recruiting experts to contribute to your work?