Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bad Momma Social Media Manifesto - Part 1 - Twitter

In my brief experience with Social Media, many users forget that mediums such as Blogs, Twitter and Facebook are not meant to be one-sided. Hence the term: Social Media. It is time to put the Social back into Social Media.

Let's start with Twitter. This is also considered a form of Micro-Blogging with short text-based posts limited to 140 characters or less. While Twitter can be a great way to get a message out, there is also plenty of abuse that takes place. I have discovered a few guidelines that I follow that help make my Twitter experience a good one.

Setting up your account. When setting up your account, it is helpful to have a profile photo or fun avatar, short bio, and general location.
If you have a blog or website, there is a place in your profile to link to it. When deciding on whether to follow someone, I first view the profile. I am more likely to follow a person that I have something in common with.

2. Quality Not Quantity
- This is a great rule of thumb when "Tweeting" and in "Followers". When choosing who to follow, look at the nature of their tweets.
A. Are they responding to others? (look for the @ sign) If all I am seeing is one-way tweets, I tend not to follow. These are practices of Spammers & SEO "experts" that only want to sell something.
B. Do you enjoy seeing their tweets? Once you follow, this is what will fill up your screen. And possibly your email box, as you have now given the green light to Direct Messages.
C. Do they have single-digit followers but are following a hundred times that many? - This should be a Spammer red-flag.

This is a 2-way street. Make sure that you are reading & responding to your "Tweeps"(followers). A great way to make friends is to Retweet from your friends as well. On Fridays, remember to spread the love with #FollowFriday or #FF and give a shout-out to a few of your friends so that others will follow them.

3. Follow Backs - Despite what the "Experts" may have told you, you don't have don't have to follow back everyone who follows you . Make sure you are looking at quality of Tweets and their user profile.

Beware of False Friends - A trick that some Twit-wits will use is to follow you to get you to follow back to boost their "Followers" list. Once they have achieved this, they will eventually drop you to make it appear that they have more people following them than they follow. They also now have a one-way street to communicate with you!

A great tool to out these fools is www.friendorfollow . Just enter your Twitter i.d. and you will be shown 3 groups.
1. Following (those who don't follow you back) 2. Fans ( followers who you don't follow) and 3. Friends (2-way street)

There have been a few times, I will reluctantly follow someone back and a few weeks later, find that I was duped. I use www.friendorfollow to out and drop these jerks. I also try to see if I missed anyone following me that I might wish to follow back.

4. Direct Messages
- Use them sparingly and wisely. It is a no-no to use your direct access to Spam your followers. I like to use them for information specific to a friend(s) that I don't want others to see.

My biggest pet peeve is the auto-message.
Messages like:
"Thanks for following me! Tell me something about yourself. I look forward to getting to know you"

This is especially annoying when they are not following me back! And are therefore unable to get my messages. I then have to out them with a tweet like
"@(twerpsname) I can not DM you all about me if you don't follow me back!!!!!! #DMFail "

5. Other great practices & tools:

Check your @(yourtwittername) link on your sidebar for shout-outs or tweets about you that you may have missed in real-time.

TwitPic - While Twitter just allows for140 characters, TwitPic ( uses your same Twitter log-in and will post a url directly to Twitter so that you can share pictures. (or not if you check the appropriate box).

Tiny Urls - If you want to promote a blog or web post to Twitter and shorten it to fit into your tweet, there are a few sites that will do this. is a tool I like to use.

What are your thoughts about Twitter? Any great tools that we should know about? Pet peeves? Tips?
Love to hear them!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm still alive & well

I have cut back on my blog posting & reading for a bit due to a project at work which is keeping me on the computer a bit. It is also hard to find inspiration this time of year. Blah Humbug!

Kids are doing well. Report cards came Friday with no real surprises. I am happy to report that my children are getting much better grades than I did at their age. (just don't tell them; it can be our little secret!) The only big disappointment is that each of my Middle Schoolers each received 2 B's and all of these were 89s! With a smidge more work, they both could have gotten "Gold Cards" instead of "Silver". Regardless, I am proud.

We still struggle daily with getting the boys to practice their instruments . (piano, trumpet & clarinet). I find that dangling a carrot such as being allowed to get together with friends or extra t.v. or computer time seems to help. We were able to get some house-cleaning done yesterday so that a friend could come over. It also gave me an excuse to indulge my sweet tooth and bake brownies. Makes me look like a good mother but you all know better.

Winter Swim season is almost over. Between all 3 boys, we are driving 6 days a week to a pool. I think we are all ready to take the Spring off and resume swimming in the Summer.

As I hear the rain pinging on our roof, I am reminded that we are half-way to Spring! By then my life should be perked up a bit!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beating the Mid Winter Blahs

Bringing the Garden Indoors

I've learned over the years, resolutions are made to be broken. This is why I no longer make any for the New Year. I did have one goal / science experiment. In the fall I clipped some Basil from my garden before a frost. I rooted the clippings in water, and added marbles and time-released fertilizer.

My goal was simple: to try to keep my clippings alive into January. The above photo was taken January 5th. I lost a few of the other plants to cooking & to the elements (mostly lack of strong sunlight.).

Today my experiment came to it's conclusion. The last few weeks, there has been very little direct sun in my kitchen window and my brave plant finally gave up. After a proper burial, I washed the jar and marbles.

I may try to force some bulbs using a glass dish and the marbles. This is a project I had done years ago to help with my mid-winter blahs.

For more info on Forcing Bulbs:

RIP: Basil 1/16/10

Curl Up With a Good Book

Another great indoor activity at our house is curling up with a good book.
Thanks to some thoughtful Aunts & Uncles, my boys have accumulated a collection of Target & Barnes & Noble gift cards. It usually takes a few trips until the card are depleted.

Today my 6th grader was excited to find the sequel to "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. He highly recommends this series to ages middle-school & up.

He started reading his new purchase as soon as he was buckled in his seat for the ride home from the book store.

Beat the Boredom with a Board Game

Family Game night is a frequent weekend activity this time of year at our house. Cranium is one of our favorite new games to play as a family! Lots of creative challenges from drawing, charades, molding clay, humming tunes and much more. Hilarity is guaranteed to ensue!

Speaking of hilarity, it's time for late-night TV. I can hear Wanda Sykes in the other room....

That's all for now....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

I'm baack!! I survived another Holiday Season! This year I was busy right up until Christmas Eve at work. While I am grateful for the business, working 12-14 hour days can take their toll. I have been a complete sloth since Christmas, mostly eating, sleeping & spending quality time with my couch.

The last few days we have been getting a bit of snow as well as some frigid temps dropping into the teens. Great weather for hibernating!

For New Year's Eve, we got Chinese takeout. The highlight of the weekend has been a couple of short shopping trips where we exchanged a few gifts and bought some new snow boots.

I also had a chance to use one of my new presents, a new telescoping ice scraper.

Now that I have rested up, I realized I have neglected a few things. My blog & blog friends being one of the many areas I need to catch up with.

Hope everyone is healthy and had a good holiday.

Looking forward to finding out.

Here's to a wonderful year ahead! Happy 2010!