Chart: Social Media Demographics

Image representing Flowtown as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Highly detailed chart on who is using what social media sites. Created by the fine folk at Flowtown (link here). Get your magnifying glasses out again. Or hit the link for the wide screen view (link here).

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Organizing Your On-Line, Real-Time Research

Now that you have your RSS feeds organized, how do you collect and digest the great information you find there? Try Mashpedia (link here) – a real-time tool that searches and collects feed information and displays it in an easy-to-read format. Start off with a search-engine looking box and enter your topic of interest. You will then be directed to a page with results, including definitions, videos, Tweets, and other items. You can also view clickable semantic links between the search results.

Show or hide individual streams or feeds. Customize individual articles.  Static content and real time flow sit side by side, greatly increasing the depth of informtion on your given topic.

Mashpedia is another great application to aid the on-line researcher in staying up to date on a given subject.

Hat tip to ResearchBuzz and MakeUseOf.

Wanna Chat? Check out Pip.io

There are so many places to hang out on the Web. There are the big two: Facebook  and Twitter . There are other larger planets in the solar system, like LinkedIn  and MySpace , as well as countless other satellites that revolve around these two, such as Google Buzz ,  Plaxo , Friendfeed , Plurk , etcetera.

So, you probably aren’t thinking right now: “Gee, where can I spend even more of my on-line time publishing, communication and connecting?”  But maybe you should.

Check out Pip.io (link here). It is a relatively recent social tool that just came out of beta last month. More than a social network, Pip.io  calls itself a “social operating system.” I call it Google Wave  for the masses. Pip.io’s format is very chat-like – you create your profile and then set your “availability” for your connections to see. When you communicate via Pip.io, you can set your parameters narrowly (e.g. a private chat with a single individual) or broadly (a public broadcast to all friends of Facebook and Twitter and YouTube). You can also “target” someone’s stream with a post: not quite private but focused communication intended for a specific user or group. Pip.io gives you tools to be both efficient and private in your web communications at the same time. Sort of like your own dashboard for your social web communication.

Just this weekend, a Twitter friend was telling me that he communicates differently on different platforms, that he holds back more on Facebook because the audience dictates more discretion. With Pip.io, you can set who sees what across platforms by creating groups for certain types of communications, thereby eliminating concern with your degree of sharing.

But that is not all. You can form rooms and invite others to join you to discuss or share on topics. There is also a video chat feature. Pip.io has its own version of a retweet – you can reshare within Pip.io or send the content forth to your own social outposts. “Friending” on Pip.io is like Twitter and Friendfeed, where you can follow anyone without their express agreement or any obligation to follow you back.

I still struggle with Twitter as a communication platform. I agree as well with my Twitter friend that my Facebook population does not promote the same “free” communication I might employ elsewhere. If your desire is to streamline your communication on-line, to implement better channeling and discussion, and break down boundaries to that discussion, Pip.io may well be the best option. At the least, it affords a simple “one stop” locale for managing chat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube activity. At the most, it appears to provide a true communication forum for social interaction.

Check it out. I would love to hear what you think.

Sobees: Your Custom Twitter Client

I know what your thinking: not another Twitter interface! If you are into Twitter, you probably have a favorite or a combination of favorites for desktop and mobile that include Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Tweetie or even web and now mobile Brizzly (a personal fav).  So why should you consider another option?

Because you never know when one will combine all of the features you really want to have in one package. Sobees (link here), a Windows-based client, is a relatively unfamiliar option, with strengths in the area of customization.

First of all, Sobees works in XP, Vista and 7, covering a wide span of Windows-based machines. It also incorporates Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace along with Twitter. Next – Sobees gives the user a great deal of latitude in setting up their little “window on the world” with 16 different layouts and a drag and drop your social network interface. You also can choose whether to view your groups in columns or tabs – a nice feature.  There is support for lists and the ability to update all social networks with one, unified status entry – timesaver! Filtering and tweak options are plentiful and easy to set.

Image Taken from MakeUseOf

Sobees seems a pretty complete package. Whether you choose the desktop client or web interface (link here), I can’t imagine you could go wrong with the broad feature set.

Hat tip to MakeUseOf.

UPDATE: I should add here that, if customize-ability is of high important to you, you may want to check out a future version of Seesmic built on a plug-in architecture powered by Microsoft Silverlight. This means that you will be able to choose from third party developer applications to “plug into” your Seesmic Twitter interface and gain all sorts of added functionality. Consider a bookmarking plug-in for links or a mapping app for geolocation built right into Seesmic. Very, very cool. No foreseeable release date yet, but keep checking the wires (and the Studio).  Hat tip to The Next Web.

Archive Your Tweets

Do you save your Twitter tweets? Maybe you don’t have a need to keep all your posts about your last meal or Foursquare check-ins or latest calamity. If you primarily tweet your own blog posts, there are other ways to save that content within your own CMS. But if you use your Twitter stream as a business development tool and frequently save or retweet valuable links, you might want to keep a record of the cool stuff you find and share.

Sure, Twitter has a search function and you can peruse your own profile page to see your latest tweets. But, did you know that Twitter does not store your tweets much past a few days to a couple weeks? If you are relying solely on Twitter, you are missing a great deal of your back story. Friendfeed, for as long as it lasts, offers a fantastic means of saving and searching your own content – simply feed your tweets into the service and use their awesome filter-able search to quickly pull your desired link.

But maybe you aren’t so sure that Friendfeed will be around for the long haul and you still want to be able to put your finger on your Twitter content. As I am always looking for the quick, simple way to store, I feed my tweets into Google Reader. You can find your own Twitter feed RSS towards the bottom right of your page. Anything with an RSS feed can be sucked into Reader. Simple, cloud-based storage that is also searchable within the Reader app.

There are other third party means of archiving your content – Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb has a great list of these tools (link here). The one I find most intriguing (but haven’t yet used) is Twistory (link here) an app that integrates with your calendar to show your tweets over the span of days, months and years. You can even use it to feed in other people’s tweet streams, if you are so interested. Another application, The Archivist (link here) offers a desktop option for saving and storing tweets generated by saved searches. Pretty cool!

If you are like me and share tons of articles, as well as retweet others’ great content, on a regular basis, you might want to consider implementing one of these back-up systems. You never know when an old tweet might contain the precise answer you are looking for.

Social Media Cheat Sheet (Get Yr Mags Out)

This is downright crazy! The Next Web (link here) shared this Social Media Cheat Sheet by Drew McLellin (dailybloggr.com – link here) about a week ago. While it doesn’t really simplify the comparison process, it does include an awful lot of information. And you can always resort to the familiar green – good, yellow – proceed with caution, red – WATCH OUT! coding for a quick analysis. Because the Advocate is all about social media, even this crazy chart has its place.

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Facebook for Bloggers

Twitter tends to be touted as the number one place to promote a blog. But what about Facebook? Wouldn’t your friends and any number of the over 400 million users be interested in your content? Why not leverage Facebook to get your blog noticed?

There are plenty of applications within Facebook to help you toward this end. My personal favorite is Networked Blogs (link here)  - you can see my widget in the right-hand sidebar on this blog. My Networked Blogs app is also promoted on my Facebook Profile and on the AdvantageAdvocates’ business page. You can list your own blog within the application, people can subscribe to your blog and receive news feed updates when new posts are generated and you can subscribe to other interesting blogs. Comment, like and share using Facebook functionality. Easy way to stay up to date on your favorite feeds right within the Facebook environment.

But there are other applications. Facebook Notes (link here) was my original tool for feeding my blog into Facebook. You can set up Notes to accept your RSS feed from your blog and every time a new post is generated, it will create a new Note within Facebook for all of your friends to see. Downside is that it is limited to your friends, while Networked Blogs allows subscription by anyone. But, Notes is indeed a quick, simple method for showcasing your blog posts.

If you are already feeding your blog entries into Twitter and Friendfeed, you can take advantage of Facebook’s Twitter (link here) and Friendfeed (link here) applications to auto-update your feed or status with the new entries.  The upside is that these syncs are great tools for automating and streamlining your content publication. Downside is the potential for annoying your Facebook friends with excessive entries if you are a heavy-duty Twitter or Friendfeed user.

Although it appears not to be a fully active feature, just Tuesday the tech pundits were all a-Buzz (or a-Twitter depending upon your soc-med of choice) about a new feature on Facebook called “Promote This Post.” It appears to be a spot advertising option whereby you can pay to have a particular post promoted within the Facebook ad scheme.

Clicks are measured and payments are based on clicks. It appears to have been directed at Facebook Page admins and was not universally rolled out. If it ever does roll out, however, it could serve as a very effective means of targeting your message to a potentially interested audience. You can find out more about this feature over at WebProNews (link here).

Managing Your Buzz with Buzzzy Search

Love it or hate it, Google Buzz continues to capture attention. And with a huge built-in user base from the get-go, the content production continues to be prolific, even it if has slowed from its initially furious pace. The laundry list of improvements requested by users is quite long, but there is one that can be checked off. Configurable search.

Google Buzz does have its own search function, but it is quite simplistic. Buzzzy (link here) is its own, standalone search engine for Buzz and other services. Located at buzzzy.com, you can access Buzz content using a traditional search box from their site without navigating your Gmail inbox.  Buzzzy pulls results from Twitter and Friendfeed, Google Reader, Flickr and Live Journal and many other sources I didn’t recognize. Results are returned in chronological order or as close to it as the combination of posts and comments will allow. There are filtering options too, which makes it superior to Buzz’s own search function. And you can subscribe to an RSS feed of your search results so you can stay on top of your topic du jour.

Here is a sample search results screen for search terms apple ipad. Note the results filters along the left side:

Check out Buzzzy. You might like it.

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Incorporating A Social Media "Back Channel" In A Presentation

There is nothing quite like the immediacy of real-time conversation about your presentation while the presentation is going on! This is particularly true if your presentation is about the power of social media. I found this great tutorial on how to create such a back channel for your next presentation. The website is called “140 Learning” and the topic is “Incorporating a Back channel in a Presentation” (link here). The article presumes your use of Powerpoint, Keynote or Sliderocket in your talk. It is relatively short but quite comprehensive and impressive, discussing issues that range from how to create a hashtag prior to the presentation to how to encourage dialog, from tools for easily adding your own postings during the presentation to ways to encourage dialog, from how to show the Twitter stream to how to invite feedback after the presentation. There is a lot of other great stuff in this article, so I highly encourage you to hit the jump if you are considering adding such a high-tech feature to your next presentation!

If you are interested in sprucing up your presentations generally, check out Ray Ward’s suggestions over at the (new) legal writer on better Powerpoint presentations (link here). Thanks Ray!

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Chart Love: Compare Twitter/Facebook/Buzz

Those crazy Lifehacker guys are so good at taking complex information and organizing it! Take, for example, which social network to spend your valuable time in – apparently, there’s a chart for that. In their post “Which Social Network Is Right For You?” (link here), Kevin Purdy breaks down some of the features of Twitter, Facebook and Buzz and compares them, complete with color coding.  “Comprehensive” would be an understatement. Here is the chart from his article (you may need to CTRL + to zoom a bit for the text, or hit link above to original post to get a full-res image). Bear in mind that “green” is good – feature available, “yellow” is feature may be available but difficult to implement and “red” is you can’t find it here:

In a nutshell, Facebook’s plus is that it is relatively easy to identify friends, while the drawback is the convoluted privacy and other settings and issues surrounding same. Twitter also is a favorite based on its simplicity and ease of use. Downside is reliance on confusing array of third party applications and the noisy firehose of a substantial follow list, unless list controls are employed. Lifehacker’s jury is still out on Buzz mostly because it is too new and is undergoing some sizeable changes as it progresses. But it is agreed that, despite its flaws with respect to integration and privacy, Buzz represents its own animal (albeit with a strong resemblance to Friendfeed) and deserves attention.

I pretty much agree with their analysis of the sites. Pay attention to the ability to send feeds elsewhere (RSS), remote posting and notice options if you don’t plan to regularly reside on the sites themselves.