Category Archives: Web Thoughts

Have I helped you…yet?

You could call this my journey to social media.

I started my career as a marketing administrator in the mid-80s. My company bought something called a PC, an XT to be exact, and on it was one program:  Ventura Desktop Publishing. So, I studied and became a graphic designer and eventually lead a team of designers who were producing about a quarter million in print collateral in house.  Our agency of record didn’t like me. They never said so, but I just got that feeling, you know.

In the early 90s, I designed my first website. A pet project with a colleague who hosted it on his personal webspace. The URL looked something like:

http:/www.emailhostingcompany.com/
users/~username/personal_data/
folder/personal/companytestsite/
home/therewerenotinyurlsthen?/
index.htm

It got noticed by our parent company and everyone cooed over the fact that we were on the information highway, the world  wide web. Our IT department decided this might take off and took it over.  I went back to designing print collateral.

After a few years, the web was fully entrenched in our business and I began working with it to develop user interfaces. I trained as a Lotus Notes Domino Developer (our website was a Notes site) and queried my way through the development of databases and business tools, always with an eye for the user and how they would interact with the finished product.

We moved away from Notes and my html skills became important again to tweak the code and make the page look just right.

It was then that understanding both the technical side and the business side of a project became useful.  So, I became an e-marketing analyst and worked to develop even more online tools and experiences.

Along came e-mail marketing and boom we were actually talking directly to people; albeit, en mass, with a personalized salutation.

My company was acquired.

I worked on my own as a writer, web designer, developer and e-marketing consultant and loved it. Working from home is what I miss the most about that experience.

I heard the word blog and wanted one. A la “Just a Moment”.

In my next role I was an on-line marketing officer in an academic setting. I had over 10,000 static html pages to manage, great niche content, zero usability and a site that received over 4 million visits a year…with a 70% bounce rate. Imagine what could happen if those pages were actually linked back to the home page. I ran my stats, developed a strategy, made my case and sold management on the obvious conclusion that the web was our best bet at attracting new visitors to our physical installations and re-energizing the brand.

My plan in place, I hired a rockin’ co-op student to help with the development and design of a few key stand-alone sites and got the ball rolling on the deployment of a content management system to bring a family of sites together under one roof. Then, I left for a better opportunity and the promise of more resources to do all the things I knew I wanted to do on the web.

I returned to the business world and my first task was to restructure the website to enhance its usability. I then demonstrated the power of the web to meet our communication and marketing needs and sold my peers on the idea that the web would take us there. Good stats always change minds.

For a year I managed the marketing department. I figured out that it was more enjoyable to help someone else do well than to actually do it myself. Leading others was where I wanted to be.  I returned to my previous role with the leadership skills and confidence to make us even more reliant on the web as a key business tool.

I created a monster, but a good monster.

With a full pocket of ideas and the right knowledge and skills to execute a project, I was relied upon to fulfill webdreams.

Then, we Tweeted.

And, then we Facebooked.

We Youtubed.

We LinkedIn.

We Google adworded, alerted and analyzed.

We internally blogged.

We built landing pages and measured.

We Radian6ed.

Yep, a full suite of social media tools established and churning out connections and brand building ROI. It got lots of attention. Everyone wanted to do it and I was the key to their knowledge. But, they were scared, a little bit, so I built a strategy, guided them and lead them to the best places with the most return and helped them set up profiles with the right keywords and structure tweets that would get noticed and ran social media monitoring reports that made them shiver with excitement.

But what brings the most personal joy?  Making connections.  Scouring and searching for niches and verticals we can tap to generate leads, offering advice and building web presences that work.  Demonstrating our brand, getting noticed and networking behind the safety of my computer screen with no heels or lipstick.

Helping people is what I do, and I do it well. I’m a fountain of knowledge, experience, ingenuity and resourcefulness. Throw a twoonie in and make a wish.

So what’s next? Well, have I helped you…yet?

____________________________________

Find me on:
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter
Helium
Foursquare (but I’m not active there yet)

____________________________________

People I follow to learn all this stuff:

Seth Godin
Gerry McGovern
Mashable
Marketing Profs
Marketing Magazine
Malcolm Gladwell
ISL.ca
Kula Partners
CIO Leaders
IABC
Smartbrief
My Tweeps
LinkedIn Groups
Youtube
Google
Facebook
Wordpress
Anyone who’s talking Social Media
Companies that are doing it right

Advertisements

Senior Moments

Being an over 60 male is not much better than being a 40 something female. Except, the tummys that are promised to be flatter are rock-hard 6 pack male abdominals. I could leave my profile as is, just for the eye-candy, but I think I like being myself too much. I’ll just stop looking to the left.

No viagra Stemo.

 


Life as an 18 year old male

New Kids on the Block, Rihanna, free gadgets…wow, life sure is different. Not one mention of the words flatter or tummy. Can’t say the music does much for me though.


Ha!

That was almost way too easy. I’m a transgender 20 year old on Facebook and the flat tummy ads have ceased. Now I’m being hit with ads to save the world. I’m going to change to an 18 year old boy and see what I get. I know, I need a life.

 


Profiling

I’m Facebook savy enough to know how the advertisements work. I’ve actually placed Facebook ads so I’m well aware of the amazing minute targetting you can do to get your ad in front of a relevant audience. What then is on my profile that keeps me bombarded with ads for products promising a flat, firm, tummy. I sure hope they aren’t scanning my photos. I think I’ll remove my birth year and sex to see if they stop. 


Where’s my SEO?

Ok, so besides being completely amazed by the new tools and blogger gadgets WordPress in rolling out these days, I’m depressed that I can’t add my new Twitter account to my blog.  If you want to find me, go here and Twitter me up. Excuse me if I’m not Twitter-literate, I’m still getting used to this and trying to understand how it will, in fact, help me, or anyone for that matter. What am I doing? Well, I rarely answer that annoying question on Facebook, but not one to be left behind technically, I signed up to feel out the possibilities.

I returned from the second annual Atlantic Internet Marketing Conference on Tuesday. This year it moved to Moncton and my colleague and I had a nice drive up and back. The conference was well attended and the lineup of speakers offered up great ideas and some new thinking about how the web is evolving. Rob Swick from Alphasearch, once again put on a great show and I think everyone would have walked away with something to swing around back at the office. Usually it takes me a few days to absorb and apply my learnings.

ISL had a strong showing once again and positioned themselves well as a leader in web marketing and development. That Bob and Carol have had a great year. Jeff from Brightwhite Design too had a jam-packed two days with more valuable presentations than I was able to attend. I was surprised he wasn’t hoarse today in our meeting.

Jimmy tagged along with me and kept me company in my lonely hotel room. I sure hope we didn’t keep anyone up, especially when I plucked his g-string. Thanks to Roger for that little visual.

I was honoured to be asked to sit on an expert panel the last day, but had to decline because our travel plans would have seen me about Amherst at that time. I would like to be more involved next year and have been thinking of a great topic to add to the agenda. Rob, we can talk sometime.

No calls, emails or @Twitters about winning a Wii or an IPod Touch. Not my lucky week. I attended a spring fair at my son’s school on Saturday and won zippo there too, waited all afternoon and was still hopeful on Sunday that I might get that call. I did however, buy a lottery ticket tonight and I’m sending good boomerang karma out there.

Have no fear, if I win something, I’ll definitely be answering that nosey web-age question.

 

 

 


People, protect your privacy

I’m re-posting this as I’ve gotten some traffic to it lately.

Updated October 19, 2007 

The Facebook experience has quickly become a social phenomenon. Some complain it is so “impersonal”. Others love being able to keep up/hook up with old friends. Which begs the question, what exactly is a friend? Are people collecting friends as tokens or is everyone on their list someone they would let drink beer in their living-room. 

It’s a psychology and sociology lab for sure. The technology becomes your ally when someone asks to be your friend and an ex-patriot when your extension of friendship isn’t returned as quickly as you would expect. I’m also left feeling like my life needs more excitement. Look at all these people. Look at what they are doing. How can I get a piece of the action? Actually, my life is full, I’m not complaining.

The privacy issue is paramount. As an on-line marketer, I am forced to run all forms and surveys through a rigorous set of privacy rules designed to protect the visitor’s information. And, let’s not get started on the issues around persistent cookies. But Facebook flies directly in the face of the privacy issue. Here you have individuals posting their own information and thereby giving permission for others to see it. The trouble is they may not be completely aware of how these seemingly innocent tidbits of information can be used maliciously. Call me paranoid, but I don’t think I want any information on there that isn’t obvious by looking at me.

The interface does allow you to control what you are sharing and it’s good to be aware and implement some privacy restrictions.

  • Make your profile only available to your friends, unless you are using your profile to attract business. In that case, limit your personal information—it is extremely easy for predators to “profile” you or god forbid, your children. Facebook recommends leaving the profile open and it definitely keeps people on the site longer—a fun way to kill about 12 hours a week. However, I often feel like I’m eavesdropping, or worse, like I’m on a dating website or stalking a crush I’m too shy to ask to be my friend. I’d love to see the stats on how many profiles are open versus closed, the trends and the demographics.  Actually, I’d just love to see the stats.
  • If you do have your profile open, at least turn off your wall. It really is a “predator’s playground”. I have nightmares of people being stalked in reality because someone was able to find out “everything” about them. And their wall says where they can be found on Friday night. I bet there is already more than one movie script in the works.
  • Remember that all those photos you load up are available to potential employers, your mother and your children.
  • I’m also mindful that pictures of me can be added without my permission and tagged. That’s definitely creating anxiety over my wine-induced antics. In all seriousness though, I can see this becoming a major privacy issue. I’ll be watching this one.
  • Turn off the news feeds for unimportant changes. The default is for every little change you make to your profile or wall to be fed to every friend. Often this information is provided out of context, not important (like fixing a typo) or something you don’t want to scream to the world (like you went from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated” to “single” in less than 3 days).
  • With the addition of all these applications that everyone, including me, so casually load up:  FunWall, Pirates, SuperPoke…I’ll stop there…you are, in effect, placing your profile information in the hands of third-party developers. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can change your privacy settings for the apps or remove them completely. In fact, your profile page will love the fall fix-up. I do get lots of traffic to my blog from my profile page because my posts are fed to my WordPress application. I’ll be keeping this one. I already have a relationship with WordPress.
  • Under search settings be sure to turn off the Public Search Engine listing if you don’t want your profile to be found by popular search engines, like Google.
  • I personally have my privacy turned way down and don’t shoot news feeds to my friends. However, it’s creepy that if I write on a friend’s wall and they do shoot news feeds, my comments are sent to all their friends.
  • If you’re ever uncomfortable, remove your profile, join a local FA group and start your recovery.

I was actually trying to create a clandestine Facebook experience with someone who isn’t listed as a friend. I have no particular need to do this, it’s just bugging me that I can’t find a way. It’s my response to the privacy issue — trying to find a comfort level and a little more control. One thing I have done is messaged or poked someone who isn’t a friend and voila, we have access to each others profiles for 30 days. That’s kind of clandestine I guess.


Music Lyrics

I love that it’s so easy to find music lyrics and guitar chords and tabs on the internet. All you have to do really is google a couple of words from a song and voila…the lyrics are standing there before you. Don’t always trust their accuracy though, the liner’s where it’s at, but then you’d have to actually buy the CD and isn’t it disappointing when the lyrics aren’t there? I mean what’s the point of printing all that stuff with just some thank yous and blah…blah…blahs that no one really cares about until they are playing trivial pursuit or something.

My experiment worked by the way. My last post brought some traffic. It was number 4 on the aol search list for the keyword in question. So I’m a happy internet marketer. I haven’t received my latest keyword tracker so not sure I googled myself enough, but thanks to everyone who did.

I’m having so much fun lately, I don’t have time to write. Life has taken an interesting turn for me and I’m holding on for the ride. I think it will be good.

Oh, and I’m not really shocked when I find p*rn on the internet. My only concern is that my kids will find it. Not that I think sex is bad or dirty. I just don’t want to have to explain what’s happening. That would be uncomfortable for me, not to mention I’d probably overexplain it, which would be uncomfortable for them. 

So far my kids can’t really spell all that well and I don’t think they’ve found the address line or the Google search box, so I’m ok for now, but just to be safe, I’m thinking I better turn on the parental control for their computer. And, I’m also thinking, that second computer will come in handy.

(p*rn=creep deflector. Don’t underestimate the power of search.)

I was going to end here, but…

Ok, I don’t follow movie stars. Not really interested so much in what they are up to, but just now I saw a link that read, “Can’t Jen and Orlando go to a wedding together without it being a big thing?”…and, I actually clicked through, so I guess the answer is a resounding “No”. 

Which says a lot about the power of content, especially the clickable kind. 


48 hours

According to my latest Word Tracker report, to make it to the list of top keyword searches (the short, 48 hour list). You only need to be searched about 300 times. So, I’m setting a target to google myself regularly for the next couple of days, just to see if I make the list. I’ll use the term, “Heather Hindle blog”, which shows up on my list of search terms quite often. Feel free to donate to this.

Oddly, and it’s not news, but the terms yahoo and google are consistently among the top searched keywords. Myspace is number one and youtube and facebook are up there too. You’d think people would be able to just add the .com in the Address line, but then we wouldn’t have all these cool stats, they’d be hidden away inside the companies’ files, hiding as unique and returned visits that we are not privy to.

Really says something about how people use the web though. Imagine a world with no search…scary isn’t it.

I’m going to google myself now…


It’s just going to get weird…

Like Manslations, I too check my stats, but only 499 times a day. It is indeed fascinating to see what search terms people use to find your site. Lately it’s been “naughty china” and I did coin that term in an earlier post. I hope visitors aren’t too disappointed with the lack of visual stimuli when they clickthrough. Oh, and shame on you…

My keyword tracker email arrived today, so I’m going to pick some obscure terms to post about to see if my stats increase. I know Juggling Cats got the little blue ball bouncing upward all day yesterday. **smiling**

Yes, my inner web marketer is coming out to play.