Sharing Information or Shameless Self-Promotion?

Maybe it’s a generational thing, as Gen Xers were told from an early age that we were special, our thoughts unique and we could grow up be anything we wanted. Maybe it’s a technology thing, as the prevalence of social media mediums has given all of us opportunity and impunity to broadcast our most mundane opinions. And maybe it’s just a me thing – maybe I’m just self-absorbed and obsessed with tools that let me focus on my favorite subject (hint: he’s got blond hair, blue eyes and wears a smirk like nobody’s business).

Whatever the explanation, there is no arguing the fact that our online interactions have become increasingly bombarded with self-promotion…and really, why shouldn’t I fall in line with the masses? Today I’d like to share with you two tech tools that I will be using to communicate both my ideas and “matthewsm1th” brand.

The first is paper.li – billed as a content curation service that enables people to publish online newspapers based on topics they like. I’ve seen various “Dailies” on my Twitter feed and decided to create one of my own. For all your philanthropy, social media, nonprofit communication and related reading, I encourage you to check out the matthewsm1th.com Daily. This electronic newspaper will update each day, so bookmark it and return regularly.

For some, my Daily may be a bit broad. I have limited control over what the algorithm selects and have neither the time nor inclination to read every article published. Clearly, I can’t exactly expect anyone else to do so. That’s why I’m super excited about Twylah – a site that catalogs all my Tweets and organizes them (by topic and hashtag) into a sleek newsletter format. The result is something that, at first blush, resembles my paper.li Daily. Upon further review, however, you will notice that my Twylah page contains only the content I intentionally pushed to my Twitter followers. Still in beta testing, this tool provides a sleek way to organize and monitor content, while “showing the world who you are and what you’re about at a glance.”

Again, it’s entirely possible that these sites appeal to me simply for their power to broadcast my thoughts, inspiration and smiling face all over the interwebs…but it’s also possible that there may be some genuine value contained within. Check out my Daily and my Twylah and tell me what you think!

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8 thoughts on “Sharing Information or Shameless Self-Promotion?

  1. I like the connection being made between social media (and associated tools/apps) and narcissism. Hello Klout, we have your number! But really, how is there enough hours in one’s day to curate a twitter feed (3-5 tweets an hour? Really?), read one’s own “paper” or storify their feed, check fb, klout, linkedin etc AND get any work done. Although I suppose most of these activities replace hours spent on farmville looking for cows (or whatever). Hmnnm…

    • Thanks, Allison. Perhaps the narcissistic nature of social media explains why it’s such an addictive endeavor…for me and many others. Does a focus on your virtual identity/brand detract from your real-life existence? Hmmm…now that’s a question that deserves some consideration.

  2. Hey Matthew – good stuff and great questions. I feel that I have an ongoing internal debate over the delicate balance between virtual identity (and the inevitable self-promotion that accompanies it) vs. real-life existence. While paper.li and Twylah appear to be good tools/apps for communication, marketing and staying connected, there’s the potential for these to be yet another media task to perform. My recent stumble into and subsequent fail with Empire Avenue is proof to me of my personal capabilities to manage these platforms. I’ll be curious as to your impressions and results with these two. For me, today real-life existence prevailed; I cut short the usual Twitter #fundchat and played outside with my toddler. After all, it’s near 70 degrees in mid-November in upstate NY. What would you do? Keep up the good work!

    • Susan – thanks for the detailed comment! You’re right…social media is a fun distraction on good days, but can easily become a black hole for our time and energy if we’re not careful. Luckily, neither paper.li nor Twylah require any curation on my part; my pages are automatically pulled from content shared on Twitter (paper.li pulls Tweets from people I follow plus specific subject matter that I defined, while Twylah simply organizes my own Tweets into a readable format). Still, I know I need to avoid the time suck…if only I had an excuse like 70 degree November weather to nudge me offline!

  3. You know what – I’m going to look into this. Things tend to slow down for me towards the end of the calendar year, which gives me opportunities to geek out with new toys like Twylah. Can this truly be done with minimal effort and create an impact? It’s worth checking out I think. Let’s face the facts – this weird weather will not hold, and all too soon I’ll be huddled by the woodstove with laptop wondering how to pass the long winter afternoons. Let’s keep each other posted. I appreciate the dialogue!

    • Twylah does not require minimal effort…after setup (2 minutes) it requires ZERO effort! Of course, it’s probably helpful to monitor/promote your page, but you don’t have to do anything to have an effective presence on the service.

  4. Looking real good, Matt – and you’ve inspired me to dabble in these two forums a bit myself. It doesn’t hurt at all!

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