The Social Media Chutzpah Hit List

Recently, I was lunching at Chez Panera when I got rubbed the wrong way. No, it wasn’t you, Phoebe the Cashier – you’re aces in my book. It was the guy who asked for a cup of water and then filled with Dr. Pepper at the soda dispenser. His poor choice in soft drinks aside, who does that? The guy buys a $12 lunch and he thinks it entitles him to free soda, six ounces at a time? Seriously, who are these people?

senifeld meme

After a few dozen head shakes and eye rolls, my thoughts turned – as they inevitably do – to social media. What are some of the ballsy, unethical or just plain rude techniques employed on various social media platforms? What rubs me the wrong way? What pisses me off?

This is my no means a comprehensive list; I hope you’ll add your thoughts in the comments below:

  • Auto DMs. All of them. Without exception.
  • LinkedIn invites without context
  • Instagramming every meal (sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich)
  • Private conversations held in public forums. Just because I’m Facebook friends with two girls from high school doesn’t mean I need to see the back-and-forth of their Friday night planning.
  • Calling yourself a “guru,” “ninja,” or “tsar.” (Oddly, “czar” is ok).
  • Not crediting your source material
  • Emoticons. If you can’t say what you mean with words, it’s not worth saying.
  • Synching the same message across multiple platforms
  • Broadcasting without listening or engaging
  • Repeating the same message over and over again. If I wanted to hear a broken record, I’d own a record player…and records. Yeah, I’m going to have to come up with a new metaphor.
  • Outdated technology metaphors. This list is crashing like my Treo 650…am I right, folks?
  • Debating politics on Facebook. No one has ever changed his or her vote because of a well-worded wall post.
  • Censoring criticism (or simply dissenting opinions) on the pages you manage
  • Speeling misstakes
  •  Using interns to run a corporate social media account
  • #TeamFollowBack
  • Using a Yiddish word in your title without providing a definition
  • No avatar (or profile picture)
  • An avatar that’s a logo (unless you’re managing a corporate account)
  • An avatar that’s a cartoon version of you. Hey, I like Mad Men and the Simpsons as much as anyone, but my avatar is my real-life obnoxious face for a reason.
  • An avatar that is from 15 years and/or 85 pounds ago. This isn’t online dating.
  • An avatar that has someone else in it.
  • An avatar that has someone else poorly cropped out of it. Really? You can’t find *one* decent headshot?
  • Misunderstanding your network’s privacy settings. I’m looking at you, Randi.
  • Abusing #hashtags because you #think they’re #fun. They’re #not. And you’re not #cool.
  • Asking for RTs all the time (every once in a while is cool, but don’t be the boy or girl who cried wolf). Side note: please RT this post!
  • Deleting your mistake in the hopes that no one saw it. This is the internet. Someone saw it. And screen capped it. And now that mistake has been posted somewhere else. Sorry.
  • Buying followers
  • Sharing overly personal details on your professional networks (sharing professional details on personal networks isn’t always advisable, but it’s rarely as obnoxious)
  • Connecting on LinkedIn with someone you don’t really know and/or with whom you have not worked
  • Complaining about those brands that have wronged you without ever praising those who have done right by you
  • Vaguebooking
  • Unfriending or disconnecting in the heat of the moment. Even with an ex.
  • Over-sharing your Foursquare check-ins
  • Mistaking social media buzz for a verified news source.
  • Humblebragging without ironically pointing out your own Humblebrag
  • Mocking someone’s religious or political beliefs. Disagreement is cool. Debate is usually OK. But there’s a reason we don’t call this “anti-social networking.”
  • Anti-social networking
  • Not posting a bio or “about me” page
  • Consuming without adding to the discussion. Read an interesting blog post? Add a comment (hint, hint).
  • Shameless self-promotion
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The Day I Broke the Twitters

Yesterday, Twitter had a well-publicized downage, causing many discombobulated social media addicts to step away from their smartphones and catch a rare glimpse of that yellow ball of hot light in the sky. Needless to say, #whiletwitterwasdown quickly became a trending topic and speculation was rampant about how and why such a devastating “epic fail” could happen.

While the official story is that the two-hour outage was caused by a “noteworthy” double failure in Twitter’s data center, I can smell a ruse a mile away. You see, friends, Twitter’s data center is functioning perfectly. I know this because I know what really happened.

Twitter is covering up the real culprit: me.

Yesterday morning I tweeted a note about JC Penny’s Foursquare promotion that will donate $1 to the USO for every check-in through July 31. As you’d expect when social media titans collide (a major retailer, the world’s largest location-based application, a nationally-renowned charity and yours truly), the ReTweets came faster and furiouser than a Vin Diesel car chase.

That’s 32 (and counting) RTs in one day! Though I have no quantitative proof, I have it under good authority that I smashed Twitter’s RT record. The people from the Guinness Book are on their way over. Mr. Ripley has left several voicemails. I’m kind of a big deal.

In all seriousness, one seemingly innocuous tweet reached nearly 50,000 people, which *is* a big deal for someone with “only” 582 followers. While my tweet was merely intended to call attention to the meeting of two subjects about which I am passionate (social media and philanthropy), my name, brand and ideas were suddenly in front of thousands. Pretty cool, huh?

The takeaway is that whether you believe Twitter is a broadcast medium, a two-way conversation mechanism or simply the quickest way to stay in touch with what’s happening around our increasingly small world, using it to share your passions – while sourcing your content and giving shout-outs as appropriate – can yield surprising benefits. I’ve picked up a bunch of new followers in the past day (approximately 2% of my total followers). And, let’s not forget, the huge Klout bump I could expect from having my Tweet shared all over the interwebs.

What’s that? My Klout score decreased 0.15 since yesterday? Stupid Klout…

Four Reasons to Forsake Forecast

Last week, I went on a family vacation in Antigua. Since I’m a hopeless social media addict without an international iPhone data plan, I panicked – logically – about being disconnected from all my online personas. While I knew HootSuite would allow me to pre-schedule Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts before leaving the country, what about my location-based check-ins? Why wasn’t there an app that would allow me to schedule a check-in before arriving at a specific location?

That’s when I discovered Forecast, a service that bills itself as “a fun and simple way for friends to share where they’re going.” Not only would the application allow me to check in via Foursquare at a place and time in the future, but it would push check-ins to Twitter or Facebook with the click of a button (loyal readers – hi mom! – know I’m not a fan of this practice, but it is occasionally relevant).

Despite its lofty goals and my high expectations, Forecast was a significant disappointment. Here are four reasons why:

1. Scheduled Updates and Accompanying Updates are Pushed Separately – take a look at this Tweet:


On February 28, I scheduled a check-in for March 9 – a time I expected to be out of both cell and data range. I scheduled the update to be pushed to Twitter. And it was…on February 28! Can you think of a less relevant Tweet? If Forecast can schedule my check-in for a specific time at a specific place, shouldn’t it also be able to synch the corresponding Twitter update?

2. It’s Mobile-Based Only – while scheduling check-ins on-the-go is a convenient feature, why can’t I schedule them from my laptop as well? Forecast’s non-mobile display is a largely blank and aesthetically unpleasant display; why did its developers ignore static users?

3. It’s Not What it Claims to Be – Check out this push notification:

Instead of automatically checking me in to my location, Forecast asked me if I was actually at the location…then it required me to open the app to verify my location…and only then would it actually check me in! Without data (which I purchased midway through my trip) or Wi-Fi, I would never have received this notification, and thus, would never have been checked in. If I want a reminder to check in to specific locations, it’s much easier to use my native Calendar app than it is to program through Forecast’s bulky interface.

4. It’s All Sizzle and No Substancewith esteemed authorities like Mashable promoting the service as one of the “Hot Apps to Watch at SXSW 2012,” Forecast should have something new to offer. But hey, why develop your product when you can just hire a good publicist, right?

*****

To Forecast’s credit, I Tweeted a complaint about problem #1 and received an @ reply within minutes. But a responsive community manager isn’t enough to smooth over the inherent flaws in Forecast’s platform (especially since I was asked for recommended changes and then never heard back from said community manager).

Forecast is an interesting idea with the potential to become a valuable service. But until its designers undertake some substantial remodeling, I’m afraid it will remain an unFOREtunate and largely FOREgettable application.

Ugh. Word play. Please FOREgive me.

Why I’m Opting Out of #FollowFriday

Any social media expert/ninja/guru worth his or her salt will tell you that engagement is the key to getting results out of online activities. And yet, at the end of every work week, the Twitterati collectively engage in one of the least personalized and most automated of interweb interactions.

I’m talking about #FollowFriday. And I want out.

Last Friday, as my stream was flooded with #FF messages, I tweeted out a thought:

Millions of people are tagged each week in #FF posts. That sounds like a nice idea, but  most of the Tweets are really just a list of names without context. If I want to know who you’re following, I’ll visit your profile page. I believe that – for many of these users – #FF is a ruse by which they fish for reciprocation; after all, it’s impolite to not return a compliment (or at least say thank you). #FollowFriday – once a way to learn about new users on an emerging social media platform – has devolved into a system in which people solicit ReTweets and mentions without generating useful content.

Of course, not every #FF is a selfish act masquerading as benevolence. My friend, Jen Price, tweeted at me that she enjoys the practice. “When #FF is done well, with a reason for following, I find new people to follow. I appreciate the introductions to new folks.”

Jen is right…when people share details and make introductions, #FollowFriday can be a valuable tool. It’s just that 99% of #FF messages ignore that basic common sense. I’ve seen some people use the hashtag #WhyIFollow, while including a bit about the person. Ephraim Gopin has been known to use the hashtag #YFF (the Y is for WHY) and do the same thing. Aren’t these tactics more helpful?

Even after acknowledging the small numbers of folks who do it “right,” the sheer majority of bad #FF Tweets has pushed me to the breaking point. I appreciate each and every time I’m mentioned in someone’s #FollowFriday tweet, but please know that I will never again publicly thank you or RT your mention. It’s not that I don’t care…it’s not even that I don’t think you legitimately enjoy the content I generate. It’s just that I think there’s a more genuine way to point your audience in my direction, especially if you think my Tweets, blog posts and/or ideas would interest them.

Groucho Marx once famously said that he would never be part of any club that would have him as a member. The #FF Brigade is actively evangelical and would accept anyone with its ranks…isn’t that reason enough to be wary?

What do YOU think? Do you participate in #FollowFriday? Do you RT your #FF mentions? Why or why not?

NAUGHTY OR NICE: Credit Where it’s Due

Note: this week, I’ll be examining trends in social media and/or philanthropy and attributing a “naughty” or “nice” rating to them. This is the fifth and (thankfully) final installment.

Pardon my French, but Twitter is one big circle jerk.

Maybe that’s overly crude, but I think you know what I mean. A particularly interesting or valuable link can be shared dozens, sometimes even hundreds or thousands of time. When you follow many people in a specific sphere of influence, it often seems like the same people are sharing the same links from the same websites over and over again. Except there’s a major difference in how some of us share links, and even though it can feel like there’s no law on the “Wild West Internet,” there’s one rule that too many people have no problem breaking.

If you didn’t write it, credit the person who did. No exceptions.

Let’s examine how a specific link was shared by two different Twitter accounts today:

5 Social Media Articles to Unwrap and Enjoy Today j.mp/uJtYwn via @pushingsocial

— Stanford Smith (@pushingsocial) December 23, 2011

Stanford Smith writes for (and runs?) Pushing Social. He wrote the article and Tweeted the link, including his own handle. Was that redundant? Perhaps…but perhaps not when you consider that Michael Corley read Stanford’s post and thought it was valuable enough to Tweet WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION.

I have nothing against Michael Corley and feel a little bad for calling him out like this. Michael, if this gets back to you, I hope you realize two things: 1) it’s not personal; and 2) it’s unlikely that anyone besides the two of us know about this blog post.

I realize that 140 characters is a significant limit, but there’s always room to credit an author. Sometimes you want to squeeze an editorial comment into your Tweet, but I promise, your audience does not appreciate your personal opinion nearly as much as the writer appreciates getting recognized for his or her efforts. In fact, I believe that leaving out the author (or at least, the website) from your Tweet is akin to plagiarism.

That’s right, I said it. Plaigiarism. It’s an ugly word, huh?

Image copywright is likely owned by Fox and/or Matt Groening. But who cares, right? It's the internet. I invented Bart Simpson!

I urge you to remember this lesson the next time you share a link on Twitter. Writing is a cumbersome, often unrewarding task. Even if you’re not technically claiming credit for someone else’s work, an unattributed link *feels* like that to the author. Believe me, linking to an article without crediting its creator is a naughty, naughty no-no.

It’s the season of giving. If you think something is valuable enough to share, don’t be a Scrooge and deprive credit from its source.

**********

Whatever and however you celebrate, I hope you and your family have a warm, safe and happy holiday season. Thanks for reading!

**********

Previously in “Naughty or Nice”:
12/19 – Listing your Klout score on your resume

12/20 – Printing your face on a business card

12/21 – Social Media Interns

12/22 – Breaking a Promise

Don’t Thank Me for ‘Favoriting’ Your Tweet

NEWS FLASH: there’s a lot of mean spirited activity on the internet. People and brands – especially popular ones – are easy targets for “haters” and “trolls” who enjoy nothing more than being part of destructive mockery. If social media is truly about social interaction, you’d think I’d be in favor of any effort to exhibit good manners during online interactions. And that’s true…with one exception.

For the love of all that’s holy, don’t thank me for “favoriting” your Tweets.

Like many social media addicts, I check Twitter dozens of times throughout each day. It’s not uncommon for hundreds of Tweets to have filled in my timeline between visits and there’s no way for me to click on every link and read every story without being completely unproductive in my offline life. My solution: click “favorite” on those tweets that seem especially interesting, then read the links when I have time to digest them. Pretty logical, right?

Yet recently, perhaps in response to the growing anti-social masses, I’ve received more and more “Thank you for favoriting my Tweet” mentions. Besides the superfluous verbiage on my timeline, these people are missing the point – I favorited your Tweet because you shared solid content…don’t go wasting my time now!

There is obvious value in thanking someone for a ReTweet or mention, because that’s an intentional interaction. When someone RTs you, they promote you and your brand across their network…it is validation, acceptance and applause. When someone favorites your Tweet, however, you can’t know their motives.

Like most things social media, a little help from Inspector Google revealed I’m not the first to think about what a favorited Tweet really means. Mark Suster polled his followers and found that 90%+ use “favorite” like I do – as a way to save something to read later. 5% said to really “like” something (the way folks commonly use Facebook’s “like” feature) and 5% said “a bit of both.”

My own informal Twitter research yielded similar results. Tweeps Jennifer Price and Nick Savarese both said they use the favorite button as a bookmarking tool so they can read links later. Jen, a really smart philanthropy consultant and blogger, said she stopped using the favorite button because “I was getting so many ‘thanks for liking/supporting’ type of tweets” that were “creeping me out.”

Yes, my sample size was hardly reflective of the vast Twitterverse, and Suster admits that his was far from a comprehensive study. Yet I think the answers we both found are a fair representation of how people use the Twitter favorite button.

If we’re all simply favoriting Tweets as a way of adding something to our to-do list, is that really worthy of a thank you? Are the thankers simply overcompensating for widespread anti-social behavior? Are they desperately seeking validation? Or perhaps I’m being too harsh on them? Should good manners always be welcomed, no matter what?

What do you think?

BOOK REVIEW: Start Something That Matters

  1. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about being selected to participate in the TOMS Shoes’ “Books for Bloggers” promotion. I received two copies of TOMS’ founder, Blake Mycoskie’s, new book “Start Something That Matters.” One copy was mine to read and review, while the other was meant for me to give away. While this post is about my review, details on the giveaway can be found here.
  2. I read the bulk of “Start Something That Matters” while commuting to and from work on Chicago’s el. As I was reading, I tweeted the passages that most resonated with me…here are the quotes and context, compliments of Storify:
  3. “Increasingly, the tried-and-true tenets of success are just tried, not true.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 17, 2011 7:07:36 PM EST
  4. This quote was found in SSTM’s opening pages and its quirky word play was what inspired me to tweet out interesting passages as I came across them. Though I usually abhor puns and think they scream “GIMMICK,” I believe that Blake has truly touched on something valuable; today’s business world is long on advice, but short on originality and risk-taking. The same can’t be said for Blake himself, nor for TOMS Shoes…which should become apparent as you continue to read.
  5. “Stories are the most primitive and purest form of communication.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 21, 2011 9:08:11 AM EST
  6. Blake is big on story-telling and attributes it to TOMS’ success. Anyone can make a cool, comfortable pair of shoes…but TOMS was able to connect product with passion. Their customers feel like partners and ambassadors, all because of a compelling and inspiring story.
  7. “If you doubt your own authenticity, it will sap your passion.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 21, 2011 7:12:06 PM EST
  8. Think about your contacts in the business and/or nonprofit world. Now think about the people who personally commit to their product/mission…and think about the ones that “just” do their jobs. My guess (and Blake’s hypothesis) is that you’ll see two distinct groups emerge — one that’s passionate and successful, the other that’s ambivalent and middling.
  9. “What distinguishes the ultimate successes from the ultimate failures is what you do with them.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 22, 2011 9:04:31 AM EST
  10. Sometimes, there’s a fine line between good and bad…between pass and fail…between success and failure. Blake suggests that it’s not so much the idea that dictates a project’s success, but the drive and reactions of the person or people implementing it.
  11. “I surround myself with inspirational quotations.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters #meta
    November 22, 2011 9:12:36 AM EST
  12. Each chapter starts with an inspirational quote. I guess it’s no suprise, then, that Blake wrote a book filled with inspiring words from his own mind.
  13. “Lack of resources inspires creativity… It’s one one of the reasons @TOMS succeeded.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 22, 2011 6:35:22 PM EST
  14. One of the most compelling (and easy to replicate) parts of the TOMS story is how the company started on a shoe-string budget and found success before it was logistically ready to handle it. How did Blake avoid business disaster? By staying simple, exploring every possible cheap/free option and resisting the urge to burn capital (ahem, pets.com) simply because it was available.
  15. “Simplicity is simple. Perhaps this sounds redundant. But it’s true, and it’s important.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 23, 2011 4:12:28 PM EST
  16. ‘Nuff said.
  17. “Ur org’s next great idea may come from…the top down, bottom up or zigzagging thru the middle.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 25, 2011 4:46:01 PM EST
  18. Power to the people! Organizational hierarchy is often important, but Blake suggests that it not come at the expense of innovation. Often, the best insights can come from those employees with ears closest to the ground. Make sure you set up a system in which their observations are collected, appreciated and acted upon.
  19. “Being clear about where your donors’ money goes is the best way to build their trust.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 25, 2011 5:02:23 PM EST
  20. This is gospel to fundraisers, but cringe-inducing to many of our accounting offices. Yes, transparency requires a lot of extra effort…effort that will be rewarded tenfold by loyal, appreciative and increasingly well-educated nonprofit donors.
  21. “Compliment publicly and criticize privately, but do both directly.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 26, 2011 12:09:11 AM EST
  22. What a great business tip! This one has already gone into my rotation.
  23. “Incorporate giving in2 ur business model & give ur business a mission larger than ur bottom line” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 23, 2011 9:16:37 AM EST
  24. “Giving feels good. But…giving is truly good for business as well.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 26, 2011 10:23:28 AM EST
  25. “When giving is incorporated into ur business model, customers become product marketing partners.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 26, 2011 10:26:19 AM EST
  26. These passages appear in different sections of the book, but I’ve united them here because the message is a common one.While not every for-profit business can or should work on TOMS’ “one for one” model, Blake (and a growing number of other business leaders) suggests that to build loyalty among customers, today’s companies need a connection to social good. You may not be able to give away a million pairs of shoes to children in third world countries, but your customers will appreciate and reward your genuine efforts to make a difference in your local community. And really, can’t every business do that? Shouldn’t every business do that?
  27. “I firmly believe that every person alive can make this world a better place.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 26, 2011 10:45:04 AM EST
  28. Carpe diem, Blake. Carpe diem.

Secret Strategies to Maximize Fundraising Event Revenue

  1. On November 15, Shanon Doolittle (of the Group Health Foundation) hosted a fundraising event webinar as part of the National Fundraising Event Series. When I read the webinar teaser, signing up was a no-brainer:
  2. In this new economy, event fundraisers have to work even harder to sustain or grow their event revenue. But what if instead of working harder, you had the tools to work
    smarter? By focusing on activities that will drive event revenue, you’ll
    maximize your impact to raise more money for your cause. This webinar will spill
    the beans on specific techniques that can help you efficiently achieve better
    financial results. From audience development to auction procurement, you will
    learn new strategies for helping your nonprofit maximize its event revenue and
    other best practices are now trending in our industry.

  3. And guess what? The session was even more valuable than I imagined it would be!

  4. “Which revenue bucket makes you want to scream into a pillow at night?” – this is how I know this webinar is for me @sldoolittle #NFE11
    November 15, 2011 2:16:44 PM EST
  5. Our hostess with the mostess, Shanon Doolittle, started the webinar by asking about event fundraisers’ most common frustrations. Clearly, she “gets” it.
  6. Trouble securing event sponsors? Figure out the month when their funding decisions are made. Solicit on their schedule, not yours. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:16:24 PM EST
  7. NPO event sponsorship: get in touch w/ prospect and ASK when they make funding decisions- plan accordingly #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:18:02 PM EST
  8. Often, our pitches are good enough to warrant funding. But if the corporate prospect makes funding decisions in March, the world’s greatest ask won’t work if it’s delivered in December. How do you know when your prospect makes a funding decision? Shanon says it’s not complicated…just ask!
  9. Create entry-level (lower $) sponsorship opportunities. Opens door for new sponsors at accessible investment amounts. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:19:08 PM EST
  10. event sponsorship is like dating. don’t ask them to marry you on the first date. ease in and provide entry level sponsorship opps #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:20:26 PM EST
  11. An idea so simple you’d be amazed how many people miss it. Not every sponsor can be a platinum one; create an entry-level opportunity and you’ll get more sponsors, increased revenue and better relationships!
  12. Table sales: create a committee and gamify/incentivize the process. Competition breeds success! #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:20:45 PM EST
  13. NPO event table sales: top salesperson from ur org who sold most tables- give em gift, let em choose where they wanna sit etc #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:21:26 PM EST
  14. Selling tables can be a challenge, but Shanon suggests creating a committee to focus only on table sales. Offering those volunteers an incentive is a great way to get the best results.
  15. NPO event table sales: offer smaller size tables 4 those who can’t afford full table. get em in door & next yr will be easier #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:22:15 PM EST
  16. Don’t just offer tables of 10/12. Offer a small table option too…you’ll fill the room easier! #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:22:17 PM EST
  17. Some people just can’t afford and/or can’t fill your standard 10- or 12-person table. Sell a half table, says Shanon. Part of an event fundraisers’ job is to reduce opportunities for prospects to say no!
  18. NPO event ticket sales: offer discounted prices 4 young ppl. and YES- this totally works!!!!! #nfe11 @sldoolittle
    November 15, 2011 2:23:57 PM EST
  19. Many organizations are trying to reach the young professional demo. If you want to capitalize on their energy and networks, why not offer 20- and 30-somethings a discount to your event?
  20. use your invitation to share your story. make an emotional impact. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:25:33 PM EST
  21. NPO event invitation: treat it like direct mail- tell ur orgs story!!! if some1 cant go 2 event- invitation should make em wanna GIVE #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:25:44 PM EST
  22. Love this. “Treat your event invitation like your direct mail.” Another great opportunity to tell your organization’s story. #NFE11
    November 15, 2011 2:27:11 PM EST
  23. Event invitations are often the most boring mail we receive. Why not design them with your marketing eye? Doing so can only help drive event revenue AND brand awareness. If you already do direct mail, you should have an idea for what works and what doesn’t.
  24. NPO event invitation: include matching gift info #nfe11 @sldoolittle
    November 15, 2011 2:26:29 PM EST
  25. Include matching gift information on your invitations. You’re wasting an opportunity if you don’t include the option. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:26:49 PM EST
  26. It logically follows that if you start treating your invitations like direct mail, you should also include matching gift information (like you do in your direct mail pieces). Different donors will want to give in different ways; make sure you’re opening up every possible avenue.
  27. NPO event raffle: u can pre-sell tickets b/c person doesn’t need 2 be at event to join raffle. helps build buzz 4 event #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:28:09 PM EST
  28. Offer multiple raffle items that people can choose from! #nfe11 @sldoolittle
    November 15, 2011 2:29:29 PM EST
  29. Shanon’s charity raffle tips include pre-selling to ensure you maximize revenue from people who can’t attend your event. Also, create multiple prize packages/buckets so people can choose which prizes they’re eligible to win.
  30. If you’re doing a charity auction, use a professional auctioneer. Don’t let a volunteer do it…you’ll leave money on the table. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:33:03 PM EST
  31. NPO event auction: limit number of items; use professional auctioneer- u may be leaving $$ on table. they know how 2 get more bids #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:33:10 PM EST
  32. While your Board chair may think he can run your auction, a professional auctioneer will instinctively know how to maximize the bids for each item…and keep the event from devolving into chaos.
  33. Doing a “raise the paddle” event? Pre-solicit starting donations. The worst thing you can do is get ZERO bidders on items. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:34:13 PM EST
  34. It looks really bad if you can’t get anyone to make a starting bid. Talk to your major donors/leaders prior to the event and get them to agree to start off the bidding at a comfortable level. In most cases, other bidders will follow.
  35. use #donation cards to capture your quiet donors at the end. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:37:08 PM EST
  36. Don’t forget to put a donation card on the table. Not everyone wins the auction/buys raffle tix. Create another donation opportunity! #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:36:04 PM EST
  37. I love this idea of the “quiet donor.” Putting a donor card at every seat ensures that EVERY guest has one more opportunity to make a gift.
  38. Post NPO event: send event summary as quickly as possible after event, could be titled: Join us at our Virtual Table w/ donate button #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:39:59 PM EST
  39. ask non-attendees to join you at a post-event “virtual table” … and yes, follow-up with an ask. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:40:06 PM EST
  40. After your event, email an event summary to both attendees and non-attendees and feature the DONATE button. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:40:13 PM EST
  41. Post NPO event: u CAN make an ask after event, send e-appeal 2 ppl who didn’t RSVP or come- let em know ur org still needs their help #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:40:57 PM EST
  42. After your event, you should STILL be asking for donations (from both attendees and non-attendees). Shanon invites people to join a “virtual table” at which they get an event recap, see pictures/video and hear another call to action (the ask).
  43. Let your event dictate the technology you use; don’t let “cool” technology drive your event decisions. #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:49:56 PM EST
  44. There are a lot of exciting tech toys available to event fundraisers. Make sure you’re using the tools that make the most sense for your org and event…not the ones that are the shiniest.
  45. NPO event sponsorship: RESEARCH UR PROSPECTS!!!!!! if u cold call, let biz know u understand what they do, engage etc #nfe11
    November 15, 2011 2:58:59 PM EST
  46. No one likes cold calling (or being cold called). But you stand the greatest chance of success if you let corporate prospects know that you understand what they do and why they do it. Research their philanthropic agendas thoroughly before you ask them to contribute.
  47. You rock my world. Thanks for live tweeting my little webinar, @fundraisinisfun @matthewsm1th @jesstaback @mackenzietl @kantifaeff! #NFE11
    November 15, 2011 5:11:52 PM EST
  48. No, Shanon, you rock OUR worlds.
  49. I’m hoping someone is going to storify @SLDoolittle & #nfe11 awesome info! Event fundraisers need this info in the playbook!
    November 15, 2011 2:42:21 PM EST
  50. Done and done! 🙂

Is it Ever OK to Share your Foursquare Check-in on Twitter?

Yesterday I posted a rather lengthy diatribe about the over-sharing of foursquare check-ins across social media networks. My point was that there is no reason to cross-share a majority of 4sq check-ins on Twitter or Facebook. In fact, I think that most of the time, doing so is both rude and redundant.

And yet, there is a time and place for sharing your foursquare activity on other networks. Here are three examples of occasions in which you should feel free to share your check-ins across multiple social media platforms:

  1. You’re at a conference, class or event – yes, apps like Sonar will help you find and meet other attendees, but if your network may have a legitimate curiosity about where you are and why you’re there, I say share away.
  2. You’re somewhere relevant with someone relevant – you don’t have to be doing something interesting to warrant a 4sq check-in, but we’ve already covered why those activities need not be shared. Do something WITH someone interesting, however, and almost any mundane activity becomes pertinent for others as well.
  3. There’s swag at stake – many businesses give perks to customers who check-in on foursquare; often, you simply have to show your phone to a staff member and the freebie is yours. However, some businesses demand to see that you pushed your check-in to your Twitter or Facebook feeds. Though your friends may suffer from your oversharitis, anything goes if it nets you a free appetizer.

That’s it. Your home, office and/or favorite coffee shop – lambasted yesterday for stupidity of shared check-ins – may even apply. Just use your head, a sense of decency and remember that your social media activity should always be personal, never automatic and as relevant as possible to people not walking in your shoes.

Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Stop (Over) Sharing Your (Stupid) Foursquare Check-ins

Twitter is the source for a large majority of my blogging inspiration. That’s why I want to draw your attention to a Tweet from one of the most brilliant and handsome people communicating 140 characters at a time:

I told you he was good.

Don’t get me wrong – I like Foursquare. Hell, I even use Foursquare (to excess). I simply don’t understand why people feel the need to share their check-ins across multiple social media outlets. I’m so fired up about this that I feel the need to explain how you may be using Foursquare incorrectly…and how to change your evil ways.

We all know them when we see them, but I’ve taken the liberty of listing the virtual world’s three most over-shared, annoying and pointless Foursquare check-ins:

  1. Your office – yeah, I know where I can find you during normal work hours – it’s printed on your business card. Unless your employer uses Foursquare in lieu of a time clock, spare us the update. It’s interesting to see when John and Jane Q. Public come walking in your business’s door; it’s pointless when Ted from Accounting shares his cigarette break comings and goings.
  2. Starbucks – got a craving for a half-caff nonfat venti cappuccino? No one cares. Your daily errands may help build your Foursquare score and clout with businesses, but who’s so arrogant as to think their contacts care? If your check-in is all about you, best keep it to yourself.
  3. Your house – how desperate are people to “game” the Foursquare system that they create a location for their homes and check in every time they walk through their front doors? Before Foursquare recently changed their privacy settings for residences, I was fond of checking into obvious “home” locations and posting statuses like “going through the underwear drawer” or “nice Bieber memorabilia!” What can I say? I’m a class act.

Perhaps you think I’m missing the point about Foursquare. Sharing check-ins is a great way to build commonality across networks, meet new friends and learn what’s happening to contacts in real-time. Here’s the thing: I’m not missing it. I get it completely. You can utilize Foursquare perfectly and still not be an annoying, over-sharing attention whore.

“But,” you whine, “if I’m not sharing my Foursquare check-in on Twitter, how will anyone know where I’ve been?” That question deserves a detailed answer, one that you can provide by asking yourself the following:

  • Is there any reason someone would WANT to know about this check-in?
  • Am I connected on Foursquare to the people whose knowledge of my check-in I so desperately care about? Why or why not?
  • How will people find out about something important if I don’t share it?

If no one has a reason to care, it should be pretty clear that your check-in doesn’t need to be shared. If you believe they may care, invite them to connect with you on Foursquare. That way, every one of your check-ins can be accessed without overwhelming all of your connections’ timelines. If they don’t choose to connect with you, they’ve told you they don’t care.

The last question should steer you in what I believe is the direction best suited for location-based social media. You can still build your network through shared experiences – amongst friends and random strangers alike – without pushing pointless updates across platforms. I do so with Sonar – a mobile application that uncovers the hidden connections shared with nearby people. Linked to my Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, Sonar tells me when I’ve checked into the same location as another contact…or when I’ve checked in to the same place as someone I may/could/should know (“Jane has also checked into Whole Foods. You share two Twitter connections. View her profile here”). Best of all, Sonar runs unobtrusively in the background of my iPhone and pushes me relevant notifications without bothering anyone else (the Android app is on the way).

Isn’t this a much better option than the endless amounts of location-based bait dropped in the faint hopes of catching new connections? Why, in a world of Sonar (and similar apps), are people still sharing insignificant check-ins across multiple platforms? If ignorance was the excuse, I hope you’ll reform your bad habits. If you have another reason, for the love of God, please share it in the comments section on this post.

Just don’t post your rants on Twitter. My feed is already crammed with worthlessness.

Coming tomorrow – proof that I’m a hypocrite: the Foursquare check-ins I approve of sharing across social media networks.