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Reverse Q&A with @ChrisBrogan

November 13, 2009

@ChrisBrogan at #socruiseWe seek components that better our experience: better meaning, better gifts, icons, making devices our own, seeking our own gratification. Seeking better environments and experiences. (Giving people a better thing to post on their FB status by giving them a better experience.)

Some of us seek to share and create in an autobiographical sense (writing about me and my experiences). We create when we make experiences for others.

Q1: What are the basic bare-bones components of yor business? What do you do and what value you create? The smallest words, the smallest sentences.

Q2: “How” do we share?

Q3: How do we extend relationships. Physical to virtual to physical. People to people. Dependent to Independent to Interdependent.

Q4: How do we collaborate? How do ALL of our media collaborate?

Q5: Are we addicted to our own comments?

Q6: How do we extend the network; how do we take the network with us? You live and die by your database. How do we touch people outside of the platoforn du jour?

Q6: How do we make new distribution? Read ‘Value-chain desegregation’ chapter from ‘The World Is Flat’ – Thomas Friedman. How do we extract more value from the distribution chain?

Q7: How do we develop relationships that yield? How do you separate your community experience from how you make money? ROI?

Q8: In a flat world, there are still street hustlers, so how do we extract value after flattening?


Is Twitter Slowly Eroding Discovery Value?

August 14, 2009

Today I learned about Twitter’s new “Project Retweet,” an initiative by which Twitter will proactively adopt retweeting functionality into their platform. Twitter’s being proactive about bringing more features into their service is on the surface a good thing, but once I delved into @Biz‘s description of how the new feature will work, I realized how poor the approach that they seem to be taking might be.

Here’s how I understand it to work: on the Twitter website a retweet function will appear near the existing reply function on each tweet you see in your timeline. Using the retweet function will echo the original tweet, appearing as a tweet for the original poster rather than a tweet from you.

The new post will appear in your follower’s timelines as if it were posted by the original author complete with that author’s avatar and username instead of yours with only a small notation at the bottom of the tweet that it was retweeted by you. If I’m following you but I’m not following the user whom you’ve retweeted, essentially what will happen is that a stranger’s tweet will show up in my timeline.

If I’m following just a handful of users whom I’m familiar with, then it may be obvious that the stranger’s tweet was reposted by someone I follow, but I don’t follow a handful of users; I follow a thousand users. I don’t even recognize many of the people I follow who are appearing in my timeline; I don’t keep track of whom each of the people I follow is.

I follow a core group of people whom I trust partly because of the information they retweet; their retweets help me “discover” more valuable things — people, facts, ideas, issues, opportunities, etc. To me this is exactly how Twitter creates value: enabling individuals to rapidly create and spread weak knowledge and relationship connections across a broad landscape, connections that make sense to me and are relevant to me and enable further connections.

As soon as the source or origin of the connection begins to erode, the connection begins to lose value. In other words, if I don’t know why a particular user’s tweet is showing up in my timeline there’s a high probability I’m going to skim right over it and ignore it; whereas, if a tweet appears from my core group whom I recognize there’s a high probability I’m going to read it.

The way retweets are currently passed around allows me to identify a potentially new and valuable connection originating from a user whom I already trust and whom I’ve already chosen to follow because they are doing just that: providing new and valuable connections. Disconnect the tweet from the trusted source and the connection won’t be created. Twitter’s discovery value will erode.

A few months ago Twitter eliminated the option to see @replies by people you follow to people you don’t follow. Seeing whom my trusted core group was talking with allowed me to discover new people to follow — another example of relying on the people you follow to present new and valuable connections. Once this disappeared Twitter began turning into a much bigger echo chamber with a much smaller opportunity to discover and create new, valuable connections.

In fact, I rarely add new followers anymore at all because Twitter broke the connection thread I relied upon to discover new people to follow.

The user backlash was tremendous and the founders were contrite yet they did not restore the functionality they took away. They only gave us a vague promise of a new method, saying, “the use cases that folks loved about this setting will return in a new and improved form,” which has yet to materialize.

If Twitter proceeds with “Project Retweet,” Twitter will break another valuable connection mechanism, the echo chamber will reverberate even more loudly and the opportunity to discover new value through Twitter will be eroded even further.

How will we find new connections via Twitter then? Will Twitter’s discovery value completely disappear? I don’t have the answers to those questions, and until I do Twitter’s future value to me is rapidly approaching zero.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Facebook Releases New Chat Functionality

May 11, 2009

Around 3:30pm today I noticed that Facebook‘s chat application had been upgraded. I wasn’t aware an upgrade was in the works, but the features they’ve released are extremely useful.

Your friends are now grouped by the list you assigned them to, and you can choose which lists you want to appear in the chat application.

Facebook Chat Groups Interface

Facebook Chat Groups Interface

You can also appear online selectively to these lists while appearing offline to others via a very iPhone-like toggle switch to the right of each list’s name. Re-order your lists, show Feed stories in the chat window and suppress avatars in the online user list.

Facebook Chat Options

Facebook Chat Options

Active chat sessions appear at the top of the online user list, although it seems new chat message notifications do not appear with the proper section. New message notifications are all showing next to the first session listed.

Facebook Chat Bug

Facebook Chat Bug

The best feature is that the entire chat app can now pop-out of the Facebook webpage, just like Google’s web-based Gtalk. I had just told @MCGSTUDIO and @longbrook this past Friday how nice this feature would be!

I’m not sure if every user has access to the new chat features. What do you think of the new features? Did I miss anything? What would you add to the featureset?

Response to “Why I Don’t Get Personal Branding Sometimes” posted at Network Solutions’ “Solutions are Power” Small Business blog

April 17, 2009

Hi, Joe. Thanks for taking the time to share your opinions on personal branding.

The terms “personal brand” and “personal reputation” are not interchangeable nor do they mean the same thing, and perhaps that is the source of confusion. “Brand” precedes and defines “reputation” in a space where your reputation is not already known.

Prior to the advent of the web, search engines and social media platforms, your personal brand was called “your resume,” at least in professional circles anyway, and it had severely limited distribution. Your resume was, or should have been, crafted to present your reputation in a positive light, in a way that would appeal to your target audience who had no prior experience with your prior accomplishments. Your resume preceded and defined your professional reputation.

Today we can easily reach out much farther than before, and in the case of “reputation management,” we can be reached by many more people much easier than ever before, and it’s only getting easier. That means many more people who have no idea of your accomplishments might be trying to draw conclusions about who you are. Enter the “personal brand.”

I want to control as best as I can my image that people may discover. I want to avoid the possibility that someone may have an idea of who I am that is not to my benefit. So I craft a brand that says what I want people to think about me; I craft a promise of my past and future accomplishments; I craft trustworthiness and reliability; I craft all the same concepts that companies do through their brands for myself. Then I have to deliver on that promise, just like companies do, or the brand will fail; the brand will be untrustworthy creating the wrong reputation.

Brands are not for the existing “customers” of the brand; that’s what reputation is for and where reputation is built. Brands are for future customers; a promise of reputation to be delivered. The brand defines and precedes the reputation.

My name is Lyell E. Petersen, and my personal brand is 93octane. Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Lyell E. Petersen / 93octane
@93octane on Twitter

Originally posted as a comment by 93octane / Lyell E. Petersen on Helping Small Business help themselves – Network Solutions using Disqus.

How I Use Social Media

March 27, 2009

While working the @CruiseDeals Twitter account looking for new followers I ran across @JanetEngel, Sales Director for Holland America Line. Janet was excited to learn about our depth of involvement in travel social media and invited me to join her new Facebook group, Social Media for Travel Industry Professionals.

Her group is relatively new and I wanted to contribute right away, so I jumped into the discussion forum to answer a question she posed, “How are you using social media currently?” Here’s my answer.

How do I use social media? Yikes…is there enough room here to list it all?

Blogging: I blog professionally, personally and entertainmentally. Yes that’s a word. I just made it up right there. I use both WordPress ( and Blogger. I blog to create a broad base of content for others to refer to to learn more about me.

Micro-blogging: I have an account at almost every micro-blog out there, but Twitter is the hub. Any place I can cross-post to from Twitter, I will. In fact, Twitter is my central hub for all things social media. (@93octane) I use Tweetdeck for my main account, and Twhirl for the rest. I cannot even begin to overstate the power and value of Twitter to me both personally and professionally, in dollar value and in social capital. Twitter is my pulse.

Sharing: I use Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr and Posterous ( to curate a lot of content I find relevant. Posterous is my current obsession as it is so easy to curate with, and it cross-posts to the most places. I cross-post to multiple places because I want to make myself accessible to the broadest audience I can reach. I don’t want to force someone to meet me in MY place if they’re more comfortable in THEIR place. I’ll just go to their place. (There’s a huge lesson in that.)

Professional: LinkedIn ( and Plaxo. I don’t bother with Plaxo much, but I like how Chelle is using it. I am involved in quite a few LinkedIn groups, but I haven’t yet derived tangible value from that. I’m going to put Facebook here too as I use it the same way Chelle does…mashing personal and professional there.

Online Brand Reputation Management, both Personal and Professional: Google never forgets. Use social media to your advantage. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Ask me.πŸ™‚

People: Yes, “people.” There’s no better way to derive real value from social media than actually meeting the people you engage with. I get away from the Interwebs as often as I can to meet people in my networks. I attend or conduct “Tweetups” (meetups of Twitter users) on average once a week.

Next on the horizon: Blog commenting. @tdavidson, an exceptionally brilliant individual, introduced me to Backtype (.com). Backtype collects all the comments I make on most blogs. Disqus does this too. It allows me to find and subscribe to other’s comment streams as well. Reading content someone pushes out via blogging is one way to learn about that person. Reading the comments they push back is another good way to learn, plus uncover new blogs.

And I haven’t even got to all the ancillary services like, digg, delicious, friendfeed, myspace, url shorteners, other image and video platforms, etc., etc., etc.

Seems like I’m a real social media junkie, doesn’t it? Well, I am, and willfully so. Participation builds experience, knowledge and social capital. But more that that, it builds community. And the power and value of community is missed or misunderstood by so many people and companies who are plunging into the social media waters.

Feel free to connect with me at any of the places I talked about. You can find me by my name, my brand: “93octane” or my email address: lyell [at] 93octane [dot] com. I’m looking forward to meeting you.

How Twitter Works

January 7, 2009

Corey Creed (@Charlotte_SEO) has invited me to participate in a panel for the Charlotte SEO Meetup’s next event, Twitter Experts – How (and why) they do it!, along with the fantastic company of Lisa Hoffmann (@LisaHoffmann, 2 f’s, 2 n’s), Jason Keith Keath (@jakrose) and Roy Morejon (@roymorejon).

I’d never consider myself an “expert” when it comes to Twitter, but if someone else thought of me as such, it’s only because I know how to use Twitter to learn, share and grow; and that’s by relying on my followers and the people I follow.

Corey is going to present four questions to the panel for each of us to answer. Since Twitter made me the “expert” that I am, it only makes sense that Twitter answer these questions instead of me!

So I am asking for your help. Please weigh in with your thoughts and opinions for the four following questions, and together we can all illustrate the real power and value of Twitter in a practical way.

Just post your thoughts and responses and your Twitter username in the comments. In return, you’ll have my sincerest thanks and I’ll give all of you public credit for contribution. Let’s see how this works.

Here are the questions:

  1. For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?
  2. How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?
  3. What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?
  4. What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?

BONUS: Do you have any better questions that would be more appropriate to ask?

The event is Thursday, January 8, at 7:00pm, and it will be live-streamed via Ustream (link forthcoming) at Live-tweets will be tagged #semclt.

Thank you!!!

Twitter’s Common Threads

November 10, 2008

Lisa Hoffmann (@LisaHoffmann) asked this question to her growing list of Twitter followers: “Why are you on Twitter?” The responses varied but all had two central themes: connecting with people and learning from people.

There are myriad other reasons to be on Twitter, but these Twitter benefits are the common threads that bind together those users who are the foundation of the userbase.

Yes, there are other “micro-blogging” services that compete with Twitter for attention and offer interesting features that Twitter doesn’t have. For now I don’t think there’s much reason to consider them as comparable platforms because of Twitter’s core of connected users.

Other services just don’t have the mass yet that grows connections exponentially in a significant manner. Without significant connections the opportunities to learn among users are more limited than they are on Twitter.

When you consider that micro-blogging already has significant barriers to entry above and beyond the limited and relatively unconnected userbases of competing services, Twitter stands alone in its space as the place for connecting and learning.

Why am I on Twitter? Because it’s the best place to be.

For now.