Having reviewed my posts over the last several years, I’ve realized that they’re almost entirely made up of darlings. In fact, if you check the source code, you’ll see I make liberal use of the little-known <darling> tag.
For whatever reason – not enough food with the wine at dinner, a coup d’état in the brain where the amygdala seizes control, or just a moment of weakness – someone in a position of prominence and authority posts a Dumb Tweet. Continue reading →
Suppose you read a tweet or a Facebook update: an urgent message about something truly vile that a public figure has said. Outraged, you click through… and discover that, actually, what they said is far milder.
Or you click the “About us” link on an organization’s web site… and you’re taken to a rambling, vague philosophical essay. Or you search online on three keywords, click a promising result, and discover the page has nothing, nothing to do with your search terms. Or you tap a link to “Read more” on a mobile web page, and a 30-megabyte PDF begins to download slow-w-w-ly onto your smartphone, sucking the life out of your data plan.
Been there? Me, too — all in the past week — and it left me fuming.
What happened in every case wasn’t just a little wasted time, or a frustrated search, or a dent in my data plan. What happened was a little tiny betrayal.
Because a link isn’t just an URL or a little HTML code. A link is a promise.
On a web page, it’s a promise that if you click or tap here, you’ll go to the page, document or resource that the text inside the anchor tag describes. In a Twitter feed or on a Facebook page, it’s a promise that this link will be worth your while – that it was worth sharing because it’s worth reading.
Breaking that promise means breaking faith with readers and visitors. And the ways people do just that are depressingly numerous:
Letdowns: Site navigation that leads to “Coming soon!” pages.
Surprise downloads: Links that lead without warning to Word documents, PowerPoint files and anything else that doesn’t load seamlessly in a user’s browser.
Hype: Claims that the content at the other end of the link is far more controversial, significant, useful, factual or hi-LAR-ious than it really is.
Lockouts: Links to walled gardens that many users won’t be able to enter: paywall-protected news stories, for instance, or any service that requires you to create an account to see the content.
Lies: Outright deception about what’s at the other end. (No matter what the motivation is – whether it’s rickrolling, black-hat SEO tactics or something else – you’re making a withdrawal from your trustworthiness account.)
The result? Some pretty upset people:
The flip side? When someone clicks a link of yours and gets exactly what you promised, it builds trust – the same way that keeping any other promise does. Trust helps to build relationships, and relationships… well, they’re what social networks are built on.
Here are five ways you can be sure you’re keeping those promises:
Open doors: Avoid linking to content behind paywalls or registration barriers. And before you pass on a link to something someone’s posted on Facebook or Google+, check the sharing settings on it to be sure it’s public.
Fair warning: Let people know when you’ve linked to something other than a web page or an image. Label your link with the file format and, if it’s a hefty one, add the file size: Interview with Nancy Duarte(MP3, 5.5 MB)
Working links: The web is a living thing, which means bits of it die sometimes – bits you may have linked to. From time to time, give your site a check for broken links. (Looking through your analytics for common 404 errors is a start.)
Unvarnished truth: Sharing your honest excitement along with the link? Great. Puffing up mediocre content as life-shatteringly awesome? Less so.
Due diligence: Twitter and Facebook make it awfully easy to repost someone’s link if they’ve made it sound appealing. But have a look first – so you know what you’re sharing when you pass a link along.
Sharing links can do a lot of good for you and your audiences. Just remember that when you share content, it reflects on your reputation – for better or worse.
Jeff Hurt reports on a study that suggests tweeting during a class isn’t distracting – it actually increases engagement:
Education Professor Christine Greenhow, Michigan State University, conducted a study on Twitter as a new form of literacy. Her results showed that adults who tweet during a class and as part of the instruction:
So the next time you look up from your speaking notes into a sea of heads bent over laptops, tablets and mobile devices, don’t despair – as long as they’re tweeting and not, say, checking their email, your audience may be more engaged with you than ever.
Most organizations would never send their leaders to a news conference in pizza-stained sweatpants and a moth-eaten Planet Hollywood t-shirt. But a startling number of them do the digital equivalent.
They stretch low-resolution logos and graphics to serve as cover images. They shovel photos online without noticing that the call to action is getting cropped out. Use intricate, complex images as pinkie-nail-sized profile photos.
The result is a blotchy, pixelated, distorted, unreadable mess.
If you’re swallowing hard as you read this, and recognizing your own organization in these words, take heart. Because even if you aren’t a graphic designer, there’s a simple way to take a huge step toward a better first impression.
And that’s to learn the pixel dimensions that your social platform uses… and then stick to them when you create your graphics.
Do that, and your profile photo will suddenly look crisper and cleaner; your logo will be recognizable; your infographics will still contain all their info.
These tips and resources can help:
When you’re creating graphics for the web, set your app’s measurement unit to pixels instead of inches, picas or centimetres (which don’t mean a lot when you’re dealing with screen measurements).
Always preview your graphics at their actual size (also known as 100%) before uploading them.
Don’t keep hunting down the same specs over and over again. There are some lovely folks who’ve done that work for you and shared it online:
Store that information where you can get it when you need it. Scroll past Dan’s infographic, and you’ll find a table with all the values listed as text. I’ve copied that table into Evernote, and now it’s at my fingertips when I need it. (That feels especially clever when I have Photoshop open on my laptop and Dan’s table open on my tablet.)
Can’t find the specs for a particular image? You can measure it yourself.
Or if you have a little HTML and CSS knowledge, right-click on the image and choose Inspect Element (or your browser’s equivalent).
The good folks who build platforms like Facebook and Twitter often change their interfaces, and that means changing image dimensions, too. So when an update comes out (like those banner images everyone’s been introducing over the last year or so), check to see if you need to rebuild your images – or create a whole new one.
Let’s be clear: how you look on a social platform like Facebook and Twitter isn’t nearly as important as what you do.
But as with the rest of life, a little attention to your appearance often makes a big difference. First impressions matter: looking crisp and professional can get you through the front door of people’s attention, and allow the conversations to happen that lead to deeper engagement.
5. Research speakers’ Twitter usernames beforehand. Keep them on a piece of paper or notepad for easy reference.
6. Confirm the event hashtag. Find out what the official hashtag for the event is, and make sure you use that watch out for typos. If there’s isn’t one, make a nice short one up check it’s not in use first.
7. Set up an automatically-updating search for your hashtag in your Twitter client. Since you are most likely on a mobile, an app like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Seeismic is really useful as they allow for you to save columns for individual searches.
8. Check whether your client allows you to automatically add a hashtag to tweets. It’ll save you some time and aches in your fingers. I use the Twitter app on my iPhone, which does this when you tweet from the search screen.
There’s some great advice here that you could easily turn into a live-tweeter’s checklist. If you’re having a staff member or volunteer live-tweet your next event, you could do a lot worse than point them to this post.
This episode: Social Media Group founder and CEO Maggie Fox
Only a few years ago, business – especially non-tech Fortune 500 business – was pretty skeptical about social media. One of the first people to break through that barrier was Maggie Fox, CEO of Social Media group. And she did it by creating solid strategies rooted in tangible business goals, breaking ground with companies like Ford.
Our conversation looks at everything from handling the backchannel to how you can stand out as a smallfrog presented in a big pond conference. And here are some links relating to our discussion:
If you were to assemble a herd of top-notch researchers, and tell them “Find me someone who embodies public speaking, social media and podcasting,” chances are fights would break out as several of them vied to be the first to get to Tod Maffin‘s door.
One day he’ll be speaking to large corporations about digital marketing; the next, to a hometown social media conference about podcasting. His “Taking Crazy Back” keynote takes an unflinching look at his own struggle with depression and addiction as a powerful way of bringing conversations about mental health into the full light of day.
In this conversation, you’ll hear Tod’s insights on using social networks to get a sense of a room weeks before he sets foot in it; how meeting planners want more value from an engagement, and how you can offer it; why a projected backchannel is as bad a distraction as a troupe of dancing chimpanzees; and why digital dazzle can’t top a good, compelling story.