What is a (#) Hashtag?

Thanks to the member-driven online information site Twitter, the lowly “pound” or “number” symbol “#” has been elevated to a new role. The hash mark, or pound symbol, (#) is now known by social media users as a “hashtag” or “hash tag”. Posts that have the same keywords prefixed with the # symbol are grouped together in user searches, bringing a level of order to the frenzied chaotic world of Twitter.

Twitter user Chris Messina (@chrismessina) first Tweeted with a hashtag symbol # in August 2007, as a way to define groups on the social media site. The use of the pound symbol to categorize messages and define conversations spread quickly throughout the Twitter community, and is now an integral part of this fast-paced live information network.

via What is a (#) Hashtag? | Hashtags.org.

I can’t resist adding some Internet history along with the information about hashtags.

Hashtags can be used or organize information, create an archive or directory for a group of people. But, I think hashtags are just fun. Stick together a phrase (shortened for space) and add it as a sub-commentary to your post.

Don’t take hashtags too seriously.

Pay for Comments?

Granted, this will never happen. We’re still clinging to the idea that comments give people a voice. Plus, the idea of “community” and “engagement” is still too powerful—money depends on traffic, and traffic depends on readers, and a lot of sites confuse “making readers feel involved” with “giving readers and drive-by randos a platform to say basically anything with our tacit approval.”

But failing that, there is a way to save comments and shore up the flagging news industry simultaneously. It is this: Make comments cost money.

via An ingenious way to save the comments section.

Maybe it’s how you view the Internet but… I haven’t noticed a real problem with comments. Nothing different from the old newsgroups which would get flame wars and endless spam. Give people a forum where they can get a lot of attention without showing their face or taking responsibility for what they say… it becomes a free for all.

I think the problem is how comments are moderated. Some people think they have to give everyone a voice and let each person be heard. To delete a comment is awful, denying someone their chance to be heard. But, this is the Internet. Anyone can set up a free site and rant about their issues.

But, setting up a site, maintaining a site and promoting a site is work. It’s so much easier to steal the space someone else has created and worked to build. That way you can pick the best site, or a lot of sites, and drop your comment bombs like a cowbird leaving her eggs in another bird’s nest.

If you run a site, just don’t let the cowbirds comment. Moderation is all about “everything but in moderation”. When you run a site you are not responsible for giving anyone else a voice, or letting them be heard. Choose the comments worth keeping, those which add value to your site and the conversation.

Or, turn off comments and leave people to post comments via social media like Twitter or Facebook, or Tumblr. Somewhere off your site, yet connected.

I think Twitter is the best choice. Not only does it limit the length of comments, making people choose their words, it also lets readers choose who they want to read. You can follow someone who interests you and not follow people who don’t interest you. Readers of your site have the same option. So, in that way Twitter moderates your comments for you, or your readers moderate the comments themselves.

I agree with the post as far as not having to end commenting. I just don’t think asking people to pay for comments is going to work. Comments should not be based on how much money you can spend on them. Those who want to spew and rant will spend money on it. Those who might actually have said something interesting will likely not leave a comment. I wouldn’t. I already don’t like registering for any site in order to leave a comment so I sure won’t be getting out my credit card on top of that.

Telemarketers on Twitter

Do not do this!

I’ve been noticing a trend in Twitter following. Not the usual types who want to grow the amount of Twitter followers by following anything for no reason. But, businesses with Twitter accounts who then follow people as a way of introducing/ marketing/ spamming their business or service.

See below for an example. I blocked out names because it seemed the right thing to do. I’m sure you can find them if you really want to, but, why would you want to?

twitter spamvertising

I don’t often check who has followed me. There are always new followers and no one seems to say whey they followed me. (I often send a note when I decide to follow someone – because I actually do have an interest in them).

Why did this company, selling food products from the US, choose to follow me? No reason other than marketing themselves. They don’t know anything about me, what I like, where I am located and if I like gluten-free processed food products. This is no different from telemarketing which still plagues home phones no matter how long you have been on the Do Not Call list.

Just like telemarketing, this Twitter spamvertising is annoying, aimless and meaningless.

Aimless because they target Twitter, no filtering for location or anything else. Meaningless because this does not build goodwill even if it does randomly get their product attention – it’s not good attention and it will not bring good intentions.

Of course, I do not follow them back. Within a few days or weeks they will unfollow me so they have room on their account to follow another batch of a thousand or more Twitter accounts.

Maybe they make a sale from all of this. Which is why they do it. Someone will be followed and actually be local and interested in their product. This person may assume the business deliberately found them and chose to follow them in particular.

However, even if they do get one sale, is this technique worth the animosity it causes and the precedent it sets for others to use the same scheme? I think not. Why? Because the very people who use this sort of telemarketing/ spamvertising are the very people who pitch a fit about spam in their own personal (or business) accounts on Twitter, email and the old home phone too. If they don’t like it why do they feel justified in causing it?

Titles Matter Don’t Assume

Titles matter when you post to Twitter or other social media or the actual blog post itself. Don’t assume people will know what you are talking about. A title is especially important when you are sharing a link you want readers to click. Inside your blog post a link should be used for the words which describe the post. Not “click here”.

Don’t send a link to social media like a “click here”.

titles matter

 

If this appeared in your social media feed (Twitter in this case) would you click that link?

We follow a lot of people in Twitter, at least I do. We don’t know them all well and we can’t possibly keep up with all of them. So we catch snippets and some of them catch our attention or interest. Some of them don’t. This interview may have caught your attention if you had known what it was about. But, from this title you don’t have that information.

It’s too bad because a lot of women would have enjoyed the interview. Or, if not, they at least would have appreciated the concept of being a sexpot with stretch marks. Perked your interest? See how that works much better than assuming people will know who she is and what book she wrote. Now you might even look her up on Twitter. But, not so likely before knowing the details.

#NoCommentNoShare

#NoCommentNoShareBecause I am fed up with sites which expect me to register for another site, like Disqus, before I can leave a comment I am no longer going to share links to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc for any site which I can not comment on.

I have not been blocked or banned from Disqus. I just do not want to register for an account. For years we have given our email and name to sites in order to comment. That was more than enough. Trusting sites to collect our email addresses and not sell them was much more than enough to ask when I only wanted to comment on a blog post. To ask, or expect more is too much!

Disqus allows guest comments. If the site owner chooses to enable the feature – you can leave a comment without having to login or register with Disqus. So, it is fully the fault of the site owner if people can not comment. The site owner uses Disqus to track people. They want to track everyone so they can’t let people comment unless they become a number.

Well no more for me! I deleted my account at Disqus last year when I was fed up.  Now I’m taking it a step farther and putting the blame right on site owners. So, any site which expects me to register in order to comment I will not be forwarding or sharing links on any of my accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Scoop.it and etc.

#NoCommentNoShare

Content Curation with Scoop.it

This was originally posted to HubPages in 2012. Moved it from there because it wasn’t being read.

scoopit3

Content curation is all about finding great links and resources to share with others interested in your topic/ niche. The great thing is creating a resource which give credit and promotion to great sites and knowing you are getting them the readers they want. Directed traffic. Also, for your own benefit, you build yourself as an authority on the topic you curate the content for.

There is limited customization you can use to decorate or fix up your topic on Scoop.it. If you use a paid account, of course, you have more options.

Scoop.it does let you export your topic as a widget which works well in your blog’s sidebar if you want to promote it and get traffic to your Scoop.it topic.

See my topic – Creative Writing Inspiration on Scoop.it as an example.

Update: Since I originally wrote this, Scoop.it has begun offering their content curators the ability to send newsletters out for each of their topics on the network. There is a new mobile app too. Take a look.

scoopit1 scoopit2

How to Use Scoop.it

There are a few elements to creating the post (once you have found the link you want to add):

The image which is posted with the link.

You don’t want to post an image which is not relevant to the post. Don’t post whatever image comes up first and leave it like that. You won’t build yourself up as an authority by being sloppy or careless.

When you use Scoop.it you are able to add an image of your own choosing. So anything you cut and paste or even create yourself can be used. If I am not happy with the images to choose from I will use screen capture and take a quick capture of the site’s logo, part of the header, something to identify the link.

Also, whatever image you use is going to be a big factor in whether the link gets noticed and then clicked. Keep that in mind. The image is making a first impression.

Next up, the title of the link you are posting.

Don’t ignore the title. Scoop.it gives you a title taken from the HTML code on the site you’re linking to. But, not all titles are just fine right out of the box this way. Adjust them. You might even go all out and rewrite them to something your readers will be more likely to want to read.

Then comes the description.

I admit I get lazy at this point, probably more often than I should. If my title and the image are working I think that is enough. Most of the time. People are mainly going to notice the image and then the title to see what the image is actually about. So, a description is extra.

However, a description can be a nice extra. I will use “” and quote something from the post I’m linking to. Or, I might write a quick blurb about why I’m linking to that post. Something about my first impression or an idea I got from it.

Don’t forget to add tags/ keywords.

Scoop.it has the option to add keywords to each link. I leave it up to you to decide how valid this is compare to the extra time and effort it takes to forever be typing in the same words. This is one thing which doesn’t work for me at Scoop.it. I wish they would let the content curators set their keywords and have them posted automatically. Then, it would just be a matter of changing them if necessary, for individual links.

We already use a niche/ topic/ category to add the links/ posts we are linking to. So the topic is set and keywords could be set along with it. This would save some extra steps which seem pretty unnecessary to me.

With Scoop.it you can click where you want to share the link as you post it.

Pick your poison… Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Before you actually click on Publish, make sure you have set the category your link is being curated to on Scoop.it.

But, if you do send a link to the wrong place you can go back and edit it. Rescoop the link to the right category and then delete the one which was sent to the wrong one. No disaster to fix a little mistake but getting it right the first time will save you from opening another window on your web browser. I’m always using the bookmarklet in my toolbar when I curate content for Scoop.it, so I don’t have to go to the Scoop.it site to add content, I can just keep cruising along and find more.

Social Media Marketing Strategist

Social Media Marketing Strategist — Work at Medium — Medium.

Medium is looking for a social media marketing strategist to help support the engagement efforts of the platform’s five digital publications (Matter, Re:Form, among others). He or she will manage the creative, analytical, technical, and relationship aspects of all five publication’s social media channels. The role will involve creating measurable goals and conducting social experiments on a regular basis. This is a 3-month contract position with a competitive salary based in San Francisco.

This person’s daily responsibilities will include:

  • Building specific target audiences for all five publications using distinct voices and tones for each
  • Writing and managing all social media content for each publication
  • Creating and monitoring Facebook and Twitter ad campaigns, as well as other special engagement campaigns
  • Tracking and analyzing social traffic data
  • Optimizing strategy, content, and ads based on performance
  • Creating monthly social media content calendars for each publication
  • Crafting each publication’s weekly newsletter
  • Experimenting with new ways to increase engagement on the platform
  • Liaising with Medium’s User Happiness team on all support queries
  • Working closely with @Medium’s social coordinator to promote these publications across the platform and the web

This person should have previous experience with:

  • Managing social media content and campaigns

  • Experimenting with, tracking, and analyzing social data

  • Implementing online marketing strategies focused on community content engagement

  • Developing voices for brands

  • Copy-writing