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Facebook "Like" Button

Is The Facebook Like Button Ruining Your Life?

What if every time you hit the Facebook like button you had to call the respective business and tell them their products interest you and then ask them for other recommendations of similar businesses so you could call them and tell them of your impending interest in their products or services?  Sounds crazy, right?  I think so!  So, why are we so apt to dole out this information on Facebook and do we fully understand the impact this can have on our lives?

To start, let me say – “I get it” – the Facebook “like” button can be a sexy beast.  It’s so easy, quick, and mindless.  It allows people to show support, sympathy, interest, approval, humor, or agreement just to name a few.  But something we all need to understand is that every time we click “like” we are sending information back to Facebook so they can alter the algorithm that’s responsible for the information they spit out to us.

The 48-Hour Test of the Like Button

Matt Honan recently wrote an article about his experience and resulting effect from liking everything on Facebook within a 48-hour period.  The results were astonishing and quite disturbing to be honest.  I’ll let you read the article in full (it’s a worthy investment of your time) but in a nut shell his Facebook feed was overrun by everything commercial, even more specifically, news sites.  He saw fewer and fewer of his friends’ posts (despite liking all of his friends posts during the time period) and he found himself pigeon-holed into a newsfeed that would swing from tea-party conservative to the most liberal of left-wingers.  This was because Facebook took the information he was giving them through his “likes” and started pushing more targeted ads to him.  Now, why they removed his friends posts and only showed him predominantly commercial stuff – I think that’s pretty obvious – money talks – and that’s all I think we need to mention on that front!

Ironically, Facebook became a place he didn’t “like” very much and from the sounds of it – it wasn’t very “social” at all….hmmmm.  Even more disheartening was the point that Honan touched on about the potential pitfall of surrounding yourself with ideology that fits so nicely into your little box of personal preferences.  I think anytime you surround yourself with so much of what you “want” to hear you start missing out on what you “need” to hear.

The Like Button Is Not a Good Confidant

Now, if you’re thinking “no big deal if my newsfeed gets overrun with stuff I’m interested in, I’m OK with that” then super for you, but are you also comfortable with those “likes” revealing things about your identity that you don’t feel are necessarily “public knowledge”?  Raphael Satter wrote an article back in 2013 highlighting a study by the National Academy of Sciences regarding the assumptions derived from 58,000 Facebook user’s “like” patterns.  Here are a couple excerpts of interest:

“The study found that Facebook likes were linked to sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnicity, IQ, religion, politics and cigarette, drug or alcohol use. The likes also mapped to relationship status, number of Facebook friends, as well as a half-dozen different personality traits.”

“Among the more poignant insights was the apparent preoccupation of children of divorce with relationship issues. For example, those who expressed support for statements such as “Never Apologize For What You Feel It’s Like Saying Sorry For Being Real” or “I’m The Type Of Girl Who Can Be So Hurt But Still Look At You & Smile” were slightly more likely to have seen their parents split before their 21st birthday.”

While Facebook’s Frederick Wolens downplayed the significance of the study, others applauded it.  I’m sure there’s some truth, or rationale, to both sides but it does beg the question, “Are we revealing too much?”

I think there’s multiple ways to look at this phenomenon and no which way is “right” or “wrong” but rather a measure of personal allowance.  I’m not comfortable with Facebook or BuzzFeed or Kohl’s knowing my personal preferences and for that reason, I withhold MANY “likes” from businesses I do frequent just to maintain a certain level of privacy.  But other people may revel in the fact that their newsfeed is 100% republican news sources or that they always know the drink specials at their favorite downtown bars – to each his own! The main thing we all need to understand is that even the smallest of acts – like hitting “like” – has a BIG impact on your target-ability and may, over time, get you sequestered to a small niche of business and personal information that isn’t necessarily representative of the world around us.  It’s certainly food for thought!

Of course there’s always a “healthy” dose of “likes” to be had and if you’re looking to run a healthy business campaign to attract potential customers, we’ve got you covered in our blog about “How to Get Facebook Page Likes”

What’s your thoughts about the “like” button? Share them below!

By Nikki Blews


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How long does my blog post need to be?

How long does my blog post need to be?

There are many answers to this popular, yet frustrating, question – How long does my blog post need to be?  The first is around 1,000 words or more, the second is about 300 words and my personal favorite is “however long it needs to be to offer value to your readers” – or some variation of that response. The last is my favorite because it’s the only response that directly correlates to the reason you are writing a blog post to begin with – for your readers’ benefit! Although it’s tempting, you should not be writing a blog post for the Google machine or for aesthetics, it should be to educate your readers.  If you’re not addressing your readers’ concerns or giving them valuable information in your blog post, then it’s useless to them, won’t be shared or viewed and in turn won’t be the big SEO cheerleader you anticipated.

Answer #1: 1,000 words or more

The longer-blog-post theory usually lends itself to great SEO value…greater keyword density, increased chance of linkbacks, more information, etc.  But before you go slapping thousands of words down on a blog post thinking Google will increase your ranking, understand that Google is smarter than you think (and getting smarter each day) and they actually crawl your post for relevancy. One thing that may surprise you about a long post is that, according to John Rampton at Forbes, “posts which contain more then 1,500 words gained 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more facebook likes”.  Maybe it’s because they appear more “meaty” or because all things seem more legit when cumbersome – who knows – but that’s a fact, Jack.

Answer #2: About 300 Words

Again, Rampton points out that shorter blog posts are great for converting on product or service offerings.  This is because you’re giving the reader a short, but exciting, snippet of information about the product or service and then leaving them wanting more, thus prompting them to engage your call-to-action.  Short blog posts are also argued to be more attractive to today’s reader – who are usually short on time, hungry for information and not willing to invest 30 minutes to find what they hope is an easy answer.

 Answer #3: Whatever amount you need

So, that brings us to the last option which states a blog post should be however long you need it to be in order to achieve your goal.  Your goal may be to write about the inner workings of a wind turbine – aimed to educate your readers about wind energy, looking to entice them to join your mailing list for all things wind turbine related.  Or, you may want to write a blog post about the best local hotels for holiday weekend stays – with a goal of increasing holiday reservations.  Point is, if you need 2500 words to achieve your goal AND offer value to your readers, you type your little heart out.  If you only need 125 words to offer value and convert leads – kudos! Just make the words count! No matter the length of your blog post, MAKE SURE IT’S RELEVANT, VALUABLE, and INSIGHTFUL.  The SEO, shareability, and conversion rate will speak for itself.

This blog post is 483 words – just in case you were counting! :)

Need more tips on blogging? – check out the secret sauce here!

By Nikki Blews

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How to use Google Drive and Google Docs

How to Use Google Drive and Google Docs

The Google Drive and Google Docs are, in my opinion, one of the most under-utilized features on the web today. They’re both convenient and free and you won’t be able to live without them once you start using them. Let me tell you why and then show you how to use them…..

The Google Drive…..I stumbled upon this little gem in June of 2013 and it literally changed my life. Before you call me a loser, hear me out. At that time, which I affectionately call my BG (Before Google) Days, my computer hard drive had just crashed and I lost a great deal of my files. I was dev-a-stated….pictures from my kids’ birthday parties, tons of files I used for work, emails, family videos…..all GONE. I was in a flat spin and could-not-eject. (RIP Goose)

Sidenote: If this has ever happened to you, then you can relate and can appreciate my mental disarray. If you haven’t, well, you’re probably wondering when my next medication dose is. It’s all good. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So, once I brought my computer back to life, I decided to be proactive and come up with a disaster plan so that I never had to relive this hellish nightmare again. I decided to store all my files online and let someone else worry about backing them up everyday.

I researched all kinds of online data storage including Carbonite, Dropbox, SOS, and Mozy and ultimately kept coming back to the Google Drive. It is free for the first 5GB and the best part is that if you have a Gmail account, you already have it!

Google Drive

That’s right!  The Google Drive comes in your Google Bag-O-Goodies when you sign up for a Gmail account.  For direct access, you can go to drive.google.com.  But, I’d like to show you where you can find it without the link.  First go to Google.com and sign into (or create) your Gmail account.  Look in the very upper right hand corner to find the login button.  Once logged in, you will see this…

How to use Google Drive

Click on the Apps icon at the top that looks like 9 little squares and you will see this…

How to use Google Drive
Click the “Drive” icon and you will arrive at the Drive.

How to use Google Drive

It operates much like your own hard drive, only online.  If you’re like me, you’ll love that you can create folders, folders within folders and folders within those folders.  You can even share documents or entire folders.  This is a great tool if you collaborate with others on projects at work or even if you want to share personal photos or files with friends and family.  No more trying to email photos or files that are too big and get returned.  It’s all in one place for however many eyes you choose.

Note:  Anyone you choose to share documents with will need a Gmail account.  More on that in a minute.

To upload files and documents, just click the upward facing arrow in the upper left corner and navigate to the file on your hard drive.

How to upload a document to Google Drive

To share a file or folder you have stored on your Google Drive, simply select it by checking off the little box in the upper left corner, click the More button at the top, then click Share and Share.

How to share a document on Google Drive
You will then see this box where you can choose how to share it….

How to share a document on Google Drive
Anything you upload can be found under My Drive and anything shared with you will show up under…..you guessed it….Shared with me. You can even drag a folder or file from Shared with me to My Drive for easy access and organization.

If you need to check or change the sharing on a particular folder, just click on the folder on the left and you will see small photos of each person it is shared with in the upper right corner. Click the icon to the right of the photos that looks like a person with a plus sign to add, remove or change the rights of people it is shared with.

How to use Google Drive
In addition, Google has this nifty little tool that allows you to install the Drive on your local hard drive for easy read/write capabilities.  The files are not actually stored on your hard drive.  This app merely allows you to see what’s on the drive, copy new files to it and grab files off of it.  When I’m done typing this blog for instance, in Word, I will Save As and choose Google Drive as my destination instead of say, “My Documents”. The file will be saved on my Google Drive (online) and I never even went into my browser to upload it.

You can install the Drive from the link at the bottom of your left navigation bar.

How to install Google Drive on your computer

Nice huh!?

Something important to note is that you get 15GB of FREE space.  After that, they offer pretty reasonably priced disk space.  Keep in mind that any photos you upload to your Google+ page DO count against your storage space IF they are larger than 2048 x 2048 pixels.  Any images smaller than that are free to store on G+.  So, if you upload a ton of high resolution pics to G+ AND use the Drive for file storage, you may eventually max out on space and need to purchase an upgraded plan. But, it’s really not bad and beats the price of several other data storage sites.  You can view the pricing here and more info on how to use Google Drive here.

Google Docs

This leads me to my second favorite thing in the Google Bag-O-Goodies — Google Docs! These are documents that can be changed on-the-fly and completely online. You can access them right inside the Google Drive.

To create a new Google Doc, click Create, choose the type of file you want and type away…or paste away.  You can copy content from a Word/Pages or Excel/Numbers doc on your local hard drive and paste it right into a Google Doc.

How to create a Google Doc
So, if you collaborate with several other people on your social media content calendar (for instance), this will be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Just create a Google Doc in spreadsheet form, create a simple calendar using the cells (or copy it from your existing calendar in Excel/Numbers), share it with your team members, and get cracking on this month’s Facebook posts.  That’s it!!!  It auto-saves every 5 seconds so changes are live and can be seen by all contributors immediately.

Tip:  You can also upload a file and let Google convert it to a Google doc. 

Now, you may be asking, “Why wouldn’t I just upload my Content Calendar that I created in Excel/Numbers to my Google Drive and share it that way?”  And you CAN do that, BUT you won’t be able to change it on the fly.  Anyone you share it with would have to download it to his/her hard drive, make the changes, save it, and then upload it back.  This equates to a big ‘ole pain in the ass if you ask me!

So, for me, Google Drive and Docs are no-brainers.  They’re safe.  They’re secure. I can access my docs from any computer with an internet connection by signing into my Gmail account.  And perhaps best of all, it gives me piece of mind knowing I won’t lose data ever again.

What about you?  Do you use Google Drive or Google Docs?  Tell me in the comments below.

By Kelly Gretzinger

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