Aloha Friday: Social Media Time

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was filled with memorable moments.  During one of these, a speaker asked if anyone wasn’t on Pinterest.  I tentatively raised my hand, but could see nobody else doing the same.  Was I the only one who wasn’t yet on Pinterest?  Or were the other people just not brave enough to admit it?

The thing is, Pinterest just doesn’t interest me.  Neither does Facebook, which I’m also not on.  I used to use Google+, but have even scaled that back to the point that I haven’t checked in there in about a month.  There are a ton of social media platforms out there, but I’m not on a lot of them.  Why?  Simple.  I just don’t have the time.

I work a day job from 8am to 5pm (approximately).  Then, I come home, make dinner, spend some time with the boys and get them to bed.  After this, I have about three hours to blog, catch up on social media, read online article/blogs, do some programming, etc.  I sometimes use social media during my work day, but I keep that to a minimum.  (Mainly, I’ll check in during lunch.  Work, of course, always comes first.)

Given my limited "social media time", I feel I have two options.  I can use Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, etc.  However, if I split my time in so many directions, I’ll likely be unable to use any of them effectively.  In fact, I’d likely get burned out from trying to keep up with it all and would begin to neglect other responsibilities.

Alternatively, I can ignore many popular social media networks and focus my efforts on the ones that suit me best.  In this case: Blogging and Twitter.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: How many social media networks do you use?

P.S. If you haven’t already, try out my Twitter applications: FollowerHQ and Rout.

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #140

The #DisneySMMoms Report: Speakers and Lessons

Note: To see all of my posts on DisneySMMoms 2012, go here.

After we ate breakfast on Friday morning, it was time to learn a few lessons in social media.  First, we moved to another room.  This wasn’t your standard conference room.  After all, it’s not every room that has a castle for a stage and inspirational stained glass scattered along the walls.


There were also these great centerpieces.


Power strips.  Just the thing for the on-the-go blogger with limited battery life.

Once we got settled, the speakers started coming out.

Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney World Resort let us know that Disney World isn’t in the "vacation" business or the "theme park" business.  They are in the experience business.  They want every moment from the minute you get on the Magical Express to the minute you leave Disney World for the last time to be filled with magic.  (And they succeed many times over.)

Maryellen Hooper came on stage at various times both to introduce the next speaker and to induce fits of laughter in the crowd.  Yes, though her jokes were mom-based, this dad laughed just as much as the moms in the audience.

Kelly Ripa and Katie Couric were there as well.  Ok, they had pre-recorded messages for us, but that was good enough for us.

Amy Jo Martin talked to us about balancing work and family time.  She was told to choose two out of Work, Family, and Self.  She chose all three and, though she failed many times, she never gave up.

Ramon DeLeon came onstage with incredible energy.  If he ever gives up the pizza gig, he could probably sell DeLeon Energy Drinks!  He gave us example after example of how social media can be used to positively impact people’s lives.  He also reminded us that a problem that is solved offline isn’t solved if it was described online.  Others will see the "unsolved" problem and assume nothing’s been done.  It’s not so much the bad experiences that will turn people away, he told us, but bad reactions (or no reaction) top bad experiences.

Gary Buchanan came onstage dressed as a Jedi to tell us about Star Wars weekends at Disney World.  One year, I really want to head to Disney World during this wonderfully geeky time.  Unfortunately, Gary also insulted a certain Sith.


He was ok, but I don’t think he’ll be insulting Darth again.

After lunch (photos coming Wednesday), we came back to mice on our table.  The good kind, of course.


As we settled in, the speakers just kept on coming.  First up was Peter Shankman.  He told us not to wait for others’ approvals, to face our fears, leave our comfort zone, and to be like a weed.  The first is a lesson that I learned long ago when I dealt with bullying.  The second and third I took to heart and led to my Face My Fears Disney Challenge.  (More on that in a later post.)  The last item pointed out that weeds are masters of survival.  They’ve learned how to do everything except grow a rose (aka "be like everyone else").

Lisa Druxman quoted Henry Ford and said "whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right."  She told us to break big projects up into smaller pieces.  Most importantly, she told us that there will often be a gremlin sitting on our shoulder telling us that we can’t do something.  When that happens, we need to knock it off our shoulder and continue on.

I realized that my gremlin is High School Me.  No matter what I do, I maintain a mental self-image of myself as a shy high-school kid who is terrified of how people will negatively react to me.  High School Me couldn’t do half of the things that I do today and so, mentally, I’ll keep telling myself that I really can’t do these things either.  I’m going to start knocking High School Me off my shoulder.  He may have been me once, but he isn’t anymore and hasn’t been for awhile.

Finally, Chris Brogan reminded us of how important it is to have your site be mobile friendly.  As a new owner of a smartphone, I’m finding a lot of sites that aren’t mobile friendly.  Nothing’s more frustrating than loading up a site on your phone and being presenting with itty bitty text that can’t be resized to be readable or obscured text because the developers assumed that everyone only uses huge monitors.  (He also asked who isn’t on Pinterest and I was the only one to raise my hand.  I think that’s another post right there.)

As the sessions ended, it was time to head out to Animal Kingdom.  DInosaurs awaited us there.

Disclaimer: We paid for our own trip to Disney World to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Though we were given an incredible deal from Disney, they never asked us to blog about this event. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Touching Without Ever Meeting

Heart_WorldYou may or may not have heard, but Susan N (aka WhyMommy) passed away yesterday.  She had been battling inflammatory breast cancer.  This aggressive form of cancer doesn’t show up with the lump that other forms of breast cancer have.  She batted this cancer for years, but unfortunately lost her battle.  She left behind her husband and two young boys (4 and 6).

Thanks to the Internet, though, she has touched the hearts of people all over the world.  People who never met her, who only knew her through blog posts and Twitter updates, felt the pain of her passing.  When I got home yesterday, I saw a tweet about her passing and hugged B as she cried.

In a way, it’s weird to feel such sorrow over the death of someone we’ve never met.  Yet, this is the power of the Internet in general and social media in particular.  People can find other people with similar interests and/or situations no matter where those people may be.  Once those people find each other, they can converse, aid each other, or perhaps just be sounding boards.  In many different ways, they can touch people’s lives way beyond their physical reach.

Where we live, we don’t have too many close, face-to-face friends to talk to in person.  I can’t really head out to see "the guys" and discuss marriage, parenting, life, the Universe, and everything.  However, by simply opening up my favorite Twitter application, I can reach hundreds of dads and moms with questions ranging from the mundane to the vitally important.  I can share sorrows and joys and form friendships.  These friendships aren’t any less real because I’ve never greeted the person face to face.  In many ways, they are stronger since you know that, where ever you are, your friends are a smartphone or computer away.

So, while we mourn Susan/WhyMommy’s passing, let’s celebrate our friends and family online.  Consider this a great, big virtual hug to you, dear readers.  Now go pass it on to another online friend.

Disclaimer: The "Heart-World" image above is derived from two images on Heart Gloss 3 and Glossy Globe.

Introducing Rout… Again

Remember this blog post back in October?  That was a joke post of mine intended to parody a popular social media ranking website as well as to whet my readers’ appetites before I released my real Twitter application. Then, last week, I happened to see an interchange between CuteMonsterDad and Chris Brogan.  I was inspired.  A few quick codings later, I had a full Rout application.  Now, I could give everything from a +A in Awesome Alliteration to a +Z in Zombie Defense.

Yes, this new version of Rout will actually tweet these random pluses.  You don’t even need to give me access to your Twitter account.  The text is passed to Twitter, which puts it into a tweet ready for you to submit.  In addition, virtually no tracking of these tweets is done.  They don’t contribute to an overall score or anything.  The two “tracking” exceptions are Google Analytics and a recording of the categories “routed.”  The former is to give me an idea of how many people are using it.  The purpose of the latter is to find interesting new categories to highlight on Rout.  (NOTE: These categories have to be approved by me.  This keeps topics that are inappropriate or limited in usefulness from appearing.)

So, go have some fun and give out some Rout:

My No-Longer Super Secret Twitter Application: FollowerHQ

For quite awhile, I’ve teased on Twitter that I was working on a big Twitter application.  I didn’t reveal the name except to a select group of beta testers.  Well, today that “select group” is widening.  Today, FollowerHQ launches.

First, some history.  As I gained followers on Twitter, I would get e-mails that Twitter would send to me letting me know about my new follows.  Some people decide to automatically follow back, but I’m not of the opinion that this is useful.  I tend to be more selective in who’s tweets appear in my timeline.  So I would open up each e-mail, open up the link to the person’s profile page, examine the last few tweets as well as the person’s information, decide whether or not to follow the person, and then move on to the next person.  This was fine when I’d get 20 new followers in a week.

Unfortunately for this process, though, I began getting more and more people following me.  It became more and more of a pain to manage these new followers and I fell further and further behind.  Of course, the more people I needed to go through, the less I wanted to spend the time pouring through page after page.  I wondered if there was an easier way.  Being a programmer, I decided to build an easier way.

Thus, FollowerHQ was born.

NotFollowingScreenWhat FollowerHQ Does:

FollowerHQ will, after you authorize it, check who is following you.  It will compare this list to the people you are following.  You will then see 4 tabs: You Aren’t Following Back, Not Following You Back, Dropped Friends, and Ignored.  There is also a fifth tab called Export.

  • You Aren’t Following Back – These are people who follow you, but you aren’t following back.  You can choose to follow these users or ignore them on a case-by-case basis.
  • Not Following You Back – These are people you follow, but who don’t follow you back.  You can keep following them or stop following them.
  • Dropped Friends – I’ve seen this happen quite a few times.  Someone realizes that they aren’t following someone anymore.  They didn’t unfollow the person.  It just happened.  FollowerHQ will compare your following list against the list of people you were following the last time you logged in.  Any dropped follows will be listed here.  These might be people you decided to stop following or they might be mistaken drops.  You can re-follow these people or continue to not follow them.
  • Ignored – These are people from the first queue who you’ve chosen to ignore.  You can stop ignoring them or just leave them in the listing.
  • Export – I’m a big fan of keeping your data yours so this tab lets you export your user lists to import into your favorite spreadsheet program.

In each tab (except for Export), you can search and sort through the listings.  You can even take actions on multiple users at once.  For example, if you spot a bunch of spam bots following you, simply check them all and click the “Ignore Checked” button.  They will all be moved to the Ignore queue.

FollowerHQ Pricing

For now, FollowerHQ will be free.  I’m not going to rule out setting up some pricing scheme in the future.  Should FollowerHQ become popular and/or require more time and effort to maintain, I would need to offset the time/money spent on it, of course.  (Let’s face it, I’m *hoping* this becomes popular.)  However, even if there is some sort of payment plan in the future, I’ll always keep a free version around.

Enough talking, though.  It’s time for everyone to go play with FollowerHQ.  In case you haven’t already guessed, you can find it here:  I’ve also registered the @FollowerHQ Twitter account.

Enjoy and let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

NOTE: I also want to thank my beta testers for all of their work finding bugs, suggesting new features and putting the application through its paces: Alena29, blogdangerously, CutestKidEver, dadofdivas, DadStreet, geekbabe, Kissyfur19, LindaCarmical, SandraFoyt, simplycathi, slpowell, and TheAngelForever.

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