Tag: Social network

10 Ways to Piss Off Your Twitter Followers

Ah, the joys of Twitter. Some days, Twitter can be a great place for information and conversation. On other days, it’s damn annoying. It’s amazing to me how so many people haven’t picked up on what works and what doesn’t work on this social network. As for what doesn’t work, well, here are 10 easy ways to piss off your Twitter followers:

  1. Auto DMs. That’s all I’m going to say.
  2. Only retweeting other people’s tweets. C’mon. Say something! Anything!
  3. Never following anyone back because you a.) don’t know how to use Twitter or b.) are a snob.
  4. Include the words “guru” or “expert” in your bio.
  5. Leave your default user picture as an egg.
  6. Tweet the same message on 6 different accounts.
  7. Make three tweets a year.
  8. Tweet only links. All day, every day.
  9. Retweet something without actually opening the link, watching the video, reading the post, etc.
  10. Only tweet about yourself, your work,  your achievements, you, you, and more you.
Now, we’re all not perfect. In fact, I bet all of us have done at least one of these things at one time or another  – especially retweeting without reading or only making time to retweet without adding to the conversation.
Forget about the Klout score and what the “experts” are telling you to do.The easiest way to succeed (and enjoy yourself) on Twitter is to not over think everything. Just be yourself, have some fun, and actually join in on the conversation. Share things of value. Respond to other people. Ask questions. Take a step into the stream.
Treat Twitter like a party. Don’t be the drunk girl that falls down stairs. Don’t be the guy that tries to sell you something as soon as the handshake is over. Don’t be the person who stands in the corner staring at the punch bowl all night long. I can’t promise that it’ll be a great experience every time, but I can promise that you’ll feel better about Twitter if you make yourself more of a party guest (or a party host) instead of someone who becomes the uninvited later on.

 

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Building My Brand: Facebook

I have your basic Facebook personal profile, like most people. On here, you’ll find my interests, favorite quotes, connections, links to my website, a short bio…basically the essentials for a social media page.

Facebook wasn’t my first social network. Before I went to college, I had a Myspace page and a LiveJournal account. At the time, it’s where all my friends were and I wanted to be part of that. I, like every other teenager, slathered on the angst and went to town with emoticons, surveys, and quiz results. It was a messy time, but looking back on it now, it was my first foray into personal branding.

I picked usernames that hid my identity but still “said” something about my personality. They were usually similar to my AIM screennames and could best be described as words mashed together. I wasn’t much of a numbers person, so I left off the customary digits at the end of my name. The way I looked at it, everyone else was using numbers and I wanted to be different. I kept it simple but lofty. Oh yes, I was quite the lofty teen. All those poetry books…

When it came to content, I was a sparse publisher. I had friends who would post to their online journals or Myspace pages daily. I was more of a weekly or whenever I would remember sort of person. As time went on, pages were abandoned and I became bored. The things I had created were basically out there in the ether and based on my comments and page hits, no one was reading.

I moved into Facebook at the start of my freshman year at Marywood. Some of my classmates talked about Facebook, saying it was a better alternative to Myspace because it was only for college students. Fewer creepers and less spam. Sounded good to me.

I signed up for an account and started adding friends. I filled out a pretty thorough bio and added a user picture. As time went on, I’d join groups, create events, and share things with my friends and professors. By this time, I had learned that Facebook was an awesome way to network and communicate with other students, teachers, community leaders, industry professionals, and yes, businesses.

I majored in Advertising & Public Relations in college, so I was no stranger to discussing social media in the classroom. Most of the time, we looked at Facebook through a lens of it being a communications tool. How did it perform in a crisis? Which brands used it well? Which ones didn’t? Who held the copyright for the photos posted? How did creativity and digital publishing come into play?

As I started using Facebook regularly, I became much more conscious of the things I posted. Maybe it was because I spent time talking about it in my classes and how my Facebook page would impact me getting a job or internship. I spent time looking at my profile, finding areas that could be tightened up to sound more interesting, or at least make me sound more interesting. I began to transition from strictly personal to more professional updates. Around this time of transition, I also started working in internet marketing. That’s when my eyes got opened.

Working with client pages gave me awesome experience in social media. I got to update statuses, post photos, and best of all, watch how those updates affected web traffic, leads generated, or conversions (TRANSLATION: YOUR ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES). It was pretty awesome for a geeky chick like me.

This experience in social media for business equipped me with a lot of tools to use when it came time to start developing my own personal brand more. As I was given more opportunity to showcase my skills and experiement with new communications tactics, I saw a need to become more noticeable. I meshed together what I learned in the classroom about public relations with what I was doing at work in the social media sphere. As for what popped out? Well, that’s what we’re discussing. Trust me. I can go on about this for days.

But to keep things simple, let’s just dive into the biggest part of my Facebook brand: my profile page.

My Facebook Profile

If you look at my Facebook profile, you’ll notice I’ve done a few things to enhance my visibility and at the same time, paint myself in the best light. We all want to look our best. It’s just the way we are. Anyways, when you look at my profile, you’ll notice some of the following things (and lessons for personal branding):

  • My Photos:Yes, I have embarrassing photos of me on Facebook. I’ve been photographed in scenes that are less than flattering, but not so much that I have to worry about my professional reputation or career. Most everyone understands that people get caught in unflattering positions from time to time. We’re human. We look like complete idiots on occasion – but that’s okay. However, there’s a fine line.A few posts back, I wrote about social media following you well after you’ve posted. When it comes to the photos, there’s definitely an argument there for keeping things clean. Teachers in particular are faced with harsh scrutiny over the kinds of pictures posted on their pages. We’ve seen photos lead to lost jobs.My perspective on photos is to keep things professional, but still show some personality.If you are covered in vomit and look like a hot mess, don’t post it. If you’re doing something illegal or if you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be, don’t post it. If you’re scantly clad doing a keg stand, don’t post it. If you’re marveling at your physique in an Anthony Weiner-esque moment, you probably shouldn’t post it. Unless you want a scandal on your hands, of course.
  • My Info: I give links to my website and list my interests, as well as my relationship status, schooling, employment, and a few other tidbits. It’s basic information that serves as my elevator pitch. Anyone who looks at my info tab can get a pretty good overview of who I am and what I may know about.So, when it comes to your info tab, say something. Anything. It drives me crazy when people leave all bio information blank. We, as human beings, thirst for more information. The more you provide, the more we’re likely to consume. So, when it comes to your personal brand, be aware that your bio is one of the first forms of information consumption, next to your photos. Take the time to put something together that’s worthwhile or in the very least, put a link to your website so people can learn more about you.
  • My Links: I give links to my other social media profiles, my work, and my website because it’s good cross promotion. I get a fair bit of traffic from Facebook, so something is telling me that it works. If you have an online presence on other sites or have good work to share, post a link – but do so in moderation. I’ve followed marketers and marketing agencies that just throw craptons of links at me. I hate it. I know all of their other connections hate it too. So don’t be that guy. Post links to your stuff and give yourself a shameless plug every once in a while – but don’t make it a habit.
  • My Status Updates:I tend to update a few times per week. When I was in college, I updated daily. No, several times per day. Now that I’m in the 9-5 world, I have less time to update my Facebook. Instead, I update other people’s Facebook pages for a living…hehehe…Back to status updates: keeping your Facebook page updated is a great way to demonstrate your humanity. The things you post can relate back to your expertise, your knowledge, your interests, or even what you’re doing that day. All posts are a gateway to connection and making an impression. If you want to brand yourself a certain way, think about posts that go along with the image you’re trying to promote.Also, be helpful. I’ve built my personal brand around being a helpful person, so you’ll usually find me answering questions, posting resources, or giving feedback when asked. I’ve seen the rewards of being helpful come in a variety of forms. Give it a try. In the meantime, focus on posting updates that reflect YOU. If you’re a writer, post a link to your latest blog post. If you’re an artist, post a photo of your latest work. If you’re a marketer, share a tip. There are plenty of ways for you to demonstrate who YOU are.
  • My Contact Information: This is where personal privacy and preference come in. You’ll have to use your judgement, but for me, I only give some social media networks and an email address to contact me. I don’t want to give other information because, well, it’s just too personal. From a branding perspective, I think giving an email address or an alternate social media profile should suffice. There should be one alternate way to contact you listed besides Facebook.
  • My Likes and Interests:My likes are pretty diverse. You’ll find that I like musical theater and blogging. But I also like Blair Candy. The brands I’ve chosen to like on Facebook are ones that I’m connected with in one way or another. Sometimes it’s a client that I’ve worked with at SC. Other times, it’s a brand I’ve purchased and was pleased with.  Like it or not, people make assumptions and judgements based on the brands you like.People who like Apple products are a great example. Apple has found a way to make their products appear cooler than all others on the planet, and because of that fact, they have troops of brand loyalists spreading iGospel. Anyways, your likes say a lot about you, so consider them when you’re building up your Facebook presence. Seeing that someone “likes” a page can be a great segue into discussion and interaction.
  • My Friends: My great-grandmother use to tell me, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are.” A phrase like that sticks with you, so when it comes to my Facebook page, I’m conscious of who I connect with. If you have a friend who keeps posting things on your wall that make upset, you don’t have to be connected with that person. If you have a Facebook friend who thinks it’s funny to tag you in an obscene photo, well, have your 15 seconds of laughter and then deal with it appropriately. The friends you surround you on Facebook are just as important to your online reputation as you are. Trust me – people notice those posting around them.
This is what works for me in terms of my profile. What’s been working for you?

Why I Keep My Page PG-13

The thing about my Facebook page is that I’m connected with a variety of people. Family members. Friends. Classmates. Clients. Co-workers. Industry professionals. Friends of friends. These are people who all hold a stake in my online and offline reputation, which I think most people fail to realize. Everything you put out there on Facebook is there. It will be seen and in some cases, it will be indexed on Google. I tend to keep things light on my Facebook page and always make sure to reread what I post. Some statuses are better left unposted.

Some people may think I’m weak of opinion because I censor my comments. I do use slang and occasional profanity, but for the most part, my Facebook is PG-13. That works for me. Some people build a brand around saying whatever is on their minds, like Redhead Writing. Other people choose to stay pretty vanilla. Personal branding is all about what works for you.

When I do express my opinion, I provide an argument to back it up. When I post about things that are controversial, I make sure that I’m passionate about it first. I’d rather see my Facebook connections disagree with me over something I’m passionate about then start up a personal branding mess with a subject I’m indifferent about.

A solid reputation takes years to build and only seconds to destroy. I wouldn’t want to throw something like that away because I couldn’t control hitting the update button.

Personal Branding Takeaways

I know I just dumped a lot on Facebook and personal branding in this post (and rambled), but the key takeaways you should remember are:

  • Be careful with what you post. Every photo, status update, comment, and interaction with your connections is a direct reflection of who you are. Make sure you’re sending the right message about yourself.
  • Take time to fill out your Facebook page. Give us a picture of who you are by providing us, your connections, with information. You don’t have to give your life story, but at least write down a sentence or two about who you are.
  • Actively network. Facebook is a social network –  so get social! Most Facebook users are lurkers, using the network to check in on old classmates and ex-boyfriends. Instead, maybe make a comment or two. Wish someone a “Happy Birthday!” Like the page of your favorite TV show. You get the most out of Facebook when you actually participate.
This may have been quite the rambling post, but I’d love to get your take. What’s your experience when it comes to building your online reputation and brand with Facebook?
P.S. – You can see (and connect with) my Facebook page in action here: http://www.facebook.com/mandy.boyle
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How I Build My Personal Brand

Research on Iran. by Negar Mottahedeh Social M...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about personal branding, but it seems like now is the perfect time to do so. After completing the #Trust30 Challenge and writing a few reflective posts, I’m ready to get back into marketing, social media, and branding. It’s what I know best and feel most passionate about.

In previous posts and in some of my guest posts, you may have read about ways to strengthen your presence on LinkedIn, blog successfully, or utilize social media tools like Facebook to grow your brand, either as an individual or an organization. In this next series of posts, I’m going to share a behind the scenes look at what I use to grow my own personal brand, both online and offline.

Here’s what you can expect to hear from me:

  • Why I keep things PG-13 on Facebook
  • What social network I’m still exploring
  • Why I have two Twitter accounts
  • What’s in my portfolio
  • How I pay it forward
  • How I was a guest poster even before I got into blogging
I’m not a celebrity in social media by any means. What I’m writing about isn’t gospel, but it’s what’s working for me right now. I’m just sharing my perspective. Other opinions and points of view are welcome!
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Connections

Making Friends - Marketing Cartoon
Image by HubSpot via Flickr

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with an old classmate from LLHS. Andy, who is currently living and working in Asia, is living the dream. He’s traveling and doing what he loves – and to me, that’s pretty darn awesome.

He and I chatted about what we were up to and though we never talked much in high school, we had the chance to connect over the idea of connecting. More specifically, social media.

This brings me to my point: connections.

No matter what you decide to do in life, you have to keep in mind your network. The people you connect with can be responsible for you losing or finding a job, getting an interview, or even finding your life’s true passion.

I call myself a communicator, but when it really comes down to it, I’m a connector. I like meeting new people and expanding my network. I connect people I know with others who may provide them with some help or advice. I connect people to information they may find valuable. I share my connections.

It’s not easy.

Keeping up one’s network takes a ton of time and effort and while some consider it to be worthless to try to keep up, I beg to differ. I say “Happy Birthday” to people on Facebook. I reply to emails. I send a random “How are you?” every once in awhile to some friends. I’m not perfect about it, but I do make an effort, and believe me. It can be a huge challenge.

Challenge yourself to connect with your network for 10 minutes today. Email some old friends. Facebook someone to catch up. Meet someone new on Twitter. Write a recommendation for someone on LinkedIn. Really take the time to contribute to your network and keep it up. Just ten minutes every day can make a huge difference.

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Social Media & Relationships

First off, I absolutely love SlideShare.net. I think it’s a great resource and I’ve used it MANY times to gather some info. Well, as of today, I have uploaded my first presentation on there! It’s a persuasive speech I gave in my public presentation class on social media and how it affects our relationships. Check it out and enjoy! (and as always, give lots of feedback!)

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Non-Profits, Donors, and Social Media: It’s in the Mix

In so many blogs, we see posts about how businesses can utilize social media to strengthen their bottom line. But what about non-profits? I recently responded to a HARO query looking for information on how social media can help non-profits connect with donors and it got me thinking about how non-profits can be so different from businesses in the social media sphere. Businesses have agencies or staff tweeting for them. N0n-profits have to rely, often, on volunteers to get their messages out to their constituencies.

Social networking can prove to be invaluable for a non-profit for a variety of reasons, but in this case, let’s just focus on the donors. Here’s my response to the query, along with some additional tips on how non-profits can harness the power of social media smartly and effectively. Feel free to share your tips in the comments!

Take Advantage of Free

Firstly, social networking can be done for free, which is great for non-profits with small budgets who don’t have the resources to do expensive direct mailers, newsletters, or paid advertising. However, it’s important to keep in mind that social media participation does take time and strategy and the best advice I can give is for the non-profit to decide whether or not it has the time to take on a full-on social media campaign to reach donors.

Build a Strategy

If it can, then great! Start out by developing a plan with your staff and determine the key messages you want to send donors. Then, brainstorm ways to convey those messages through different social media platforms. For example, you could provide stories about the constituencies you serve on your Facebook page, which can then inspire a donor to reach out to your organization. Or, you can provide links to an online donation center in your Twitter profile. The possibilities are really endless.

Put A Face On Your Organization

Remember, social media is about putting a face on the non-profit organization and the people it helps, so, if possible, posting photos of past events held by the non-profit and including real-life stories from the people the organization directly helped them, can go a long way in actually touching prospective donors. That tug at the heartstrings can be what propels people to donate.

Be Consistent

Also, while you’re developing strategy, take the time to make a quick style guide so that messaging is consistent across all platforms, which can make it much easier to manage if you’re working with a variety of volunteers. If you can, delegate the role of social media coordinator to a single volunteer who is reliable, personable, and internet-savvy.

Empower Volunteers

If you can’t donate the time to social media, look to harness the power of buzz by interacting when you can. Sometimes, word of mouth can spread like wildfire on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Empower your volunteers to start little campaigns of their own on their own social networking profiles, however, bear in mind that when you trust your organization to your volunteers, you also risk your brand image. Make sure you are clear about what should and shouldn’t be put out there for donors to see.

Bridge the Gap

Social media is also valuable because it allows for many non-profits to reach donors instantly and provide an avenue for online donation. The key is to make social media a bridge between the donor and the organization so that it’s easy to contribute to your organization. Make sure that you’re clear about how to send a donation on your social media profiles or even provide links to where payments can be made securely online. By making it easy, it increases the chance of your organization getting the valuable funds it needs.

Strengthen Community

Also, look to connect with community leaders, local businesses, other organizations, volunteers, and past donors on your social media profiles. Sometimes, an organization can get so caught up in following prospective donors that it forgets to participate in what social media is really about: community. Don’t neglect the people who have helped to make your organization a success.

Do you have any other tips or strategies for non-profits? Feel free to share!

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How Do You Define Community?

I put the task of defining “community” out there in two of my communities. I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers to provide their takes. Here are some of their responses:
@Mike_McGinley: “A group of people or animals having a common likeness or sharing an interest that links them together. It doesn’t need to do with location.”

@p7sky: “People with a common interest; transcends geog, ace, rage, etc.

@MFHS1: “community = shared interest or purpose. A common goal or mindset. A community is a powerful thing to be a part of. :)”

@laurengcarey: “Engagement with others through tolerance, reciprocity, and trust.

Dan Miller (creator of Porch Castle): “Let’s break it down. Comm – Communication… people, talking, sharing and exchanging ideas and philosophies. Unity – Together, a whole, a cohesive unit. Community – People communicating together, sharing ideas and living with each other.”

How do you define community?

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Making Your Online Portfolio Stand Out

Virtual Resume & Letter
Image by Olivier Charavel via Flickr

My blog is a lot like a patchwork quilt. A little bit of writing skill here, some expertise there, and a stitch of what things interest me. It is designed to be both a form of self-expression and a portfolio, which makes it difficult to hone down exactly what I’m doing. Chances are, I fall into the huge category of young professionals trying to differentiate themselves from the competition by taking an active role in their web presences.

An online portfolio shouldn’t be dry or boring or cookie-cutter. It should pop and really speak to your strengths and personality. Over the past week, I’ve been reading about how you can make your portfolio stand out and here are some of the tips I found most helpful:

1.) Give Your Portfolio a Human Side:
a short bio of who you are, what you like, what you’re interested in, and what you’ve accomplished gives a prospective employer or client more information about you. They get a feel for who you are and what you might be like to work with. Plus, it shows you’re not just another producer of bland content.

2.) Pay Attention to Design: this is especially critical for those looking to enter an artistic or visually-driven industry. Having a killer design captures your audience and gives your portfolio a chance at standing out from the crowd. Plus, it’s another way to express your personality and reinforce personal branding.

3.) Clear, Crisp, Concise: we don’t want to be bogged down with a lengthy tale of your career history. Short, sweet, and to the point information will get your point across quickly to a prospective employer or client without making anyone feel agitated in the process. Slim and trim your paragraphs. Write actively. Keep the reader engaged and make sure your resume, case studies, or project descriptions are clean and neat.

4.) Make it Available: this is one of the biggest mistakes people make when they put a portfolio online. Either they put it in a place where it can’t easily be found or they make it difficult to share, save, or email. Make sure that your online portfolio or resume is saved in a PDF format (it’s pretty universal) and can be downloaded easily. Also, you may want to think about adding a share button so that it’s easy to email or post.

Try adding a link to your portfolio on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Brazen Careerist. You can also create a button for your blog so that prospective employers and clients can find your stuff and access it easily.

5.) Show Off Your Skills: Be sure to provide a body of work that displays your talents and really speaks to your abilities. Don’t just put in one or two samples of work in the same field or genre. Try to tailor your porfolio to a specific career goal, or go all out and show a little bit of what you’re capable of. As always, only put in your best work.

However, if you’re looking for another way to be creative, try writing a blog post that features some of your not-so-best work and discuss what you learned from the experience and what you’ll do better next time. This can be a great way to show an employer that you’ve got some mad critical thinking skills and that you care about improving.

What are your favorite portfolio tips?

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Do You Really Want to Be One of the Cool Kids?

cool kids
Image by Strawberriecake via Flickr

Alright, who decided it’s cool to be negative?

Looking back, I think it started in elementary school, when suddenly things became divided into categories. Things were cool or lame. Activities were exciting or stupid. People were all of the above.

And although we’re expected to mature as we age, I often find that very little has changed in the negativity department. In both my personal and professional life, I’ve encountered quite a few people who decide that it’s witty or likeable to provide scathing comments about someone’s idea in a meeting or to deride coworkers.

I’m guilty of it. We all are. When it’s the “cool” thing to do, we all have the temptation to want to fit in, so we say things we don’t mean and partake in the negativity because it gives us the sense that we’re part of a community. We mock and disrespect people we could be learning from. We take our huge network of connections and unconsciously start severing ties by closing ourselves off to being open to new ideas. While we may think we’re part of a community, we are actually alienating ourselves.

For example, you get frustrated one day and write a blog post about someone who really bothers you. Maybe you don’t say that person’s name or provide a lot of specific details, but nonetheless, you post it on the internet. That blog post gets indexed by a search engine or shared on Twitter. It gets reposted somewhere else. You see some nice traffic to your blog which is great, right? Then, you go for a job interview and on the desk of your prospective employer is a stack of paper with screenshots of your Twitter account, Facebook profile, and oh – that blog post you wrote. Suddenly, your entire level of competency and professionalism is called into account. Does the company you’re working with really want to hire someone who posts things like this? Who shows a disrespect for others and maybe even the company itself? Who might not be able to fit in with the rest of the team? Who can compromise the overall brand of the company should he or she be made a member? Suddenly, that post that made you feel like one of the cool kids costs you an opportunity. What’s so wrong with being an optimist?

Is it really so terrible to have ideas and share them?

Is it alright to actually encourage and engage others?

Absolutely.

Let’s give a proverbial “shove it” to all those people to decide to kill encouragement and squash every good idea because he or she is afraid of change or challenge. (See? Even in my language here it’s tough to break the habit. For some reason, we tend to equate sarcasm with wit and edginess…is that really the case?)

I think it’s time we change this whole world view that being sardonic equates with being one of the cool kids. The risks are definitely out there for people as individuals, as well as our world as a whole. When we reject ideas to feel like a member of the community, we’re squashing resourcefulness and ingenuity. We’re complicating and delaying innovation.

Let’s remember what we learned before things became cool. Let’s be nice to each other. Play with blocks and color in a coloring book. Practice tying your shoes. Tell stories with excitement. Approach the world with wonder, because let’s face it, we still have a whole lot to learn. Share resources. Share in the conversation. Share ideas and encourage others to do the same.

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Numbers Can Be Cool – Especially in Social Media

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Do you tweet from your phone?

If so, you’re like the growing number of Americans who are accessing social networking sites from their cell phones. According to comScore, a digital research agency, social networking sites are now being accessed on a regular basis by just over 30% of smartphone users, and 11% of all cell phone users. The top dog of mobile social networking: Facebook, which serves 25 million as of January 2010, up from 11 million one year ago.
As for Twitter, the site has seen as 347% increase in mobile access between January 2009-2010, which is huge for any site, though ironically, it’s still behind MySpace, which carried 11 million hits over the past year to Twitter’s 4.7 million hits.
Also reported in the study, 6 million Americans who access their social media weapons of choice through applications alone (such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Facebook for (insert platform here), Foursquare, etc.) weren’t counted in the total numbers as detailed above, but still, it’s impressive to see not only what mobile social networking is doing to the web, but also what developers and applications are doing to change the way we access it.

Just some random numbers. I can be a geek that way :)

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