Category Archives: social media

Digital 411: Celebrating Social Media Month

May is a big month for Digital 411 and Erika Pryor at Large. Since May is International Social Media Month, I want to focus on what’s happening in social media. On the most recent episode of Digital 411 I sat down with my favorite Irishman, Barry Chandler to talk about his latest initiative — Social Media Month Columbus.

Also known as TheBarBlogger, Barry Chandler is well known for innovative integrated marketing campaigns, first within the hospitality and tourism industries and later with nonprofits, small business and beyond. So, I was super excited when he agreed to sit down with us and talk about how he want to help any body or business that wants to wrap their mind around social media and grow their business using the best suited platforms.

There’s so much great information available on this episode of Digital 411 — I invite you to take a listen. Even if you can’t listen to the whole episode, I promise you’ll get some great take away points in the first 15 minutes. Also, check out the Social Media Month Columbus website. What you may not know about the site is there are new videos released every single day during the month on May! There’s more, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself from the site and this episode of Digital 411!

Digital 411 broadcast live Thursdays, 5pmET on New episodes record live twice monthly. You can follow what’s happening on Digital 411 here, on the Facebook page and Twitter @Digital411. Feel free to submit your topic suggestions and interview recommendations here, Facebook or Twitter.


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It’s Google +1, Not the The Rapture!

So, for much of the week everyone in the wide world of technology has been completely losing their *ish about Google +1. Since June 28, 2011 — Mashable has published over 20 stories about Google +1. Here are a few headlines to prove it.

10 Top Google+ Users Weight In on The Web’s Newest Social Network

Zuckerberg on Google+: It’s a Validation of Facebook Vision

Google to Retire Private Google+ Profiles on July 31

For those that are not familiar Google +1 according to Google, it’s news feature or a social network as one headline would lead you to believe is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “your should check this out.” Further about Google +1 says the search giant it is a way to “help your friends, contacts, and others find the best stuff on the web.” (a video introduction of G+)

About the addition, everyone has had an opinion. It seems as though people are completely blown away by Google’s newest product. Don’t get me wrong, I love new Google products, I’m willing to try anything out once and see how it goes, but for goodness sake — G+ is not the rapture.

In fact, what I think is actually more interesting in the world of social media is the latest Facebook features including Skype‘s video chat integration and deeper integration of Facebook with Skype. Facebook also introduced group chat — on the fly and invite several people to a group chat, and supposedly a new design — which I have yet to see.

Now from my perspective, I see the deeper integration between Skype and Facebook to be a bit more important than Google+1. First G+ is closed to most of the world at this point. But that’s actually small potatoes compared to the bigger issue — Facebook’s introduction of more products that keep users on Facebook.

Among the number of ways in which Facebook facilitates communication — the fact that users can now video chat through the service tell me a few things. Facebook is getting closer to potentially developing their own web browser. This not withstanding the fact that FB has had success with integration into web browsers like RockMelt. I will not be surprised to see a Facebook web browser in the near future.

Interestingly, Mark Zuckerburg says about the new Google addition that it’s a validation of Facebook. Although not overt, I get the sense that Zuckerburg is gearing up for something even bigger than a social network — but rather a browser, or search engine or Noah’s ark

I am also more interested in the Facebook’s announcement because again, FB has found another way to keep users on their site over others. Inevitably, users will begin video chatting right away, and will likely believe that it’s the video feature of Facebook — and nor will they know or care that they are using the Skype service to do that.

I’m sure there’s more to say about Google+ but I’m not sure I understand why everyone is losing their shit about this introduction. What do you think is the bigger and more important story? The Facebook-Skype integration OR Google +1? Weigh in below and let me know what you think.


Posted by on July 8, 2011 in communication, social media


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Facebook Fan Pages Blown Wide Open

Facebook Fan Pages Blown Wide Open

Facebook is a topic favorite on Digital 411, and there are endless things to talk about when it comes to the world’s most popular social media network. As the biggest online time sink and with more than 700 million users worldwide on Facebook everyday, if you’re not using a Facebook Fan Page to connect with your consumers you’re missing opportunities to be part of their daily lives.

On the Saturday, June 11, 2011 episode of Digital 411 we’re blowing Facebook Fan Pages wide open. Telling everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a successful page. We’ll discuss how to leverage custom tabs, social applications, email capture and much more.

Here are our guest co-hosts that will blow Facebook Fan Pages wide open:

Elijah R. Young

Co-Founder at Fandura (, Serial Small Business Entrepreneur, Small Business Start-up Consultant and Business Strategist, Elijah R. Young creates digital strategies that allow brands to both market themselves in the social media space, and connect their social online identities to their offline branding and marketing materials.

As a serial small business entrepreneur, as of January 2010, Elijah R. Young have started or been involved with the launch of 16 businesses from 2003 to Present. I am always looking to invest in entrepreneurship and develop new business ideas either offline, or via my personal blog. Follow Elijah on Twitter @ElijahRYoung

Mark Hill 

Mark Hill is a serial entrepreneur and has been so his entire life. He launched his first retail company out of his Ohio State dorm room at the age of 19. Since then he has either been a co-founder in or a part of 5 other startups, all but 1 being in the e-commerce or technology sectors. At Fandura (his latest company) he is excited about building web and social applications that help business owners grow their businesses.  Follow Mark on Twitter @IamMarkHill

I promise you will walk away knowing more about Facebook Fan Pages than you ever imagined. Join us during our live broadcast Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 10amEST on We take your calls at 1(877) 932-9766 and you can join the conversation on Twitter too @Digital411.

Can’t listen to the live broadcast — that’s okay. Catch the podcast the following week or subscribe on iTunes ( and don’t miss an episode!


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Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?

Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?
A few weeks ago, a few social media consultants and myself were having a spirited discussion regarding solo-preneur to micro to small business growing pains. What some of us were really saying was: I’m starting to feel that owning my own business isn’t fun anymore, I think I like working as a consultant better.We toyed around with the idea out loud and with others like was it time to get a full-time job? And if it was, could having a gigantic personal brand do more harm than good? Could my personal brand actual scare away potential employers?Is this really possible, I thought. I had spent the last three years or so, building a personal brand that stood for something and reaping – what I believed were — the benefits of a strong online and offline reputation. I never considered the possibility that  my persona brand could be too big for an employer?

Of course everyone from Katie Couric to Angela An and every other news caster, employment counselor and economist has talked about the importance of networking and building a brand. But what if the opposite can be true, with potential employers declining to meet with you because your brand is too big?

We speculated about the negatives of hiring someone with an inflated personal brand. Someone in the company — presumably a decision maker — doesn’t like you because of some inflammatory remarks you made at a speaking engagement.

Especially at a small business or startup, the president may be concerned that by hiring you, your brand will overshadow the company. We also speculated as to whether or not, expectations of what you can do and accomplish are inflated because of your larger than life online persona.

Clearly that conversation got me thinking. So, I reached out to someone who I know works with small businesses and asked what she thought about the question: Can a strong personal brand scare away a potential employer?

Here’s some of what Andrea Applegate of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce had to say on the subject.

Regardless of your occasional tech and social media savvy lawyer or nurse,most small business owners really don’t know much about social media. She continues, “technology, PR, marketing, or youth oriented industries are the types of small business owners that are well versed in social media.”

Andrea notes that since, “small businesses in other industries don’t even understand social media, so it (the killer social media brand you’ve been cultivating) is meangingless to them.”

Here’s the real dagger in your social media lovin’ heart: According to Andrea, “most small businesses and startups have no real understanding of how powerful social media can be and is.”

Although this is good news of sorts. I mean if you decide to hang up your consultant lifestyle for a straighter laced existence, then working with a startup or small business feels like less of a sell out — over working for the man and going straight corporate.

But that brings to light another problem: My potential audience may not have any idea about me and my awesomeness? Now what do I do.

According to Andrea Applegate — it’s time to get integrated. Since many business owners have their finger on what’s happening in their industry — start working traditional reputation building channels as well.

Social media my not be the first place your audience turns for everything from coupons to daily news, said Andrea “you have to distinguish yourself as an expert in your filed using traditional mechanisms (like speaking at conferences, writing white papers, etc.) because these activites have a higher value for these employers.”

Whoa, so you’re advice to consultants thinking about getting a 9 to 5 gig with a small business or start up generally is to go integrate old school reputation management with new school personal branding methods. That’s great advice! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but valuable nonetheless.

What do you think? Is this sounds advice to consider, or B.S.? Are you thinking if the company doesn’t get social media is it not the right place for you to begin with (I admit that’s my gut reaction =)


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Facebook Community Page Settles as Virtual Wake Sites

Facebook Community Page Settles as Virtual Wake Sites

A few months ago when I had Chris Groves and Ashley Shipley on my internet radio talk show, Digital 411 to talk about social media T.M.I. (too much information), Chris and Ashley introduced me to something I’m calling “virtual wake sites” (VWS). These VWS frequently appear following the unfortunate and untimely death of someone. This person is often times young as well.

In reading about the most recent incident of a young woman in London that posted to Facebook she felt threatened and believed she had a stalker in a number of status updates. now there is a virtual grave site, a Community Page called R.I.P. Emily Longely. This virtual grave site includes a tasteful picture, provides some basic information about Longley’s death and — wrapped in the warmth of teenaged angst — is the poem “Heaven’s Gates.” At the writing of this article, the page had accumulated more than 13,000 fans. The page creator indicated that the virtual wake site “was made with respect for Emily and her family, for her friends and all that would like to leave their messages.”

A few days — not weeks — prior to Longley’s untimely death, Tyler Rhodes, 17, not only said another neighborhood teen threatened him with a knife, Rhodes went so far as to identify the person by name on the world’s most popular social networking site.

Rhodes was slayed by this boy only 48 hours later.

The authorities turned to his Facebook profile page to get a sense of his life in the days leading up to his his untimely death.Those status updates were used to apprehend Rhodes killer, Jah-Lah Tyree Vanderhorst

Community Page, “In Memory of Tyler Rhodes,” features the 15 to 22 urban male recresite uniform — black tank top, gold cross combo. Interestingly there’s another virtual grave site, a Public Figure page. “Rest In Peace Tyler Rhodes 2.1.94-4.30.11,”

What seems to be a common denominator among these sites is that the young person had taken to Facebook in an attempt to seek out help for their situation. What is even more interesting in my opinion when you look at this phenomenon is that with the creation of these Community Pages, there’s no indication of irony of these virtual wake sites.

By this I mean, Tyler and Emily both turned to their Facebook network, likely made up of individuals geographically near and far for help regarding their current situation. Both indicated that they felt their life was threatened. There’s little indication that anyone took their concerns seriously — yet the same individuals that did not take their concerns seriously went to the social networking site to create a place of memorial.

I’m not exactly sure what that says, but it says something. I think it says something about the guilt people may feel for not taking the concerns of Tyler and Emily seriously. These virtual wake or grave sites may also say something about an actual purpose of Facebook Community Pages. (Besides being the best use of a useless Facebook development).

According to Facebook, which introduced their Community Pages last spring, says “Community pages — the pages that link from fields you fill out in your profile — are for general topics and all kinds of unofficial but interesting things. You “like” these pages to connect with them, but they aren’t run by a single author, and they don’t generate News Feed stories.”

So, the question remains, what are they good for and how do you use them? In most instances the use of this unofficial page (over the branded and official page of a brand) has only been able to frustrate businesses and brands that have put in energy and funds to maintain a great looking page for their fans. And now, Facebook has created a way for either Facebook or users to create this unofficial stomping ground.

What do you think about Facebook community pages or the phenomenon of virtual wake sites?

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Posted by on May 15, 2011 in communication, social media


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Inside the Making of an Internet Celebrity

Inside the Making of an Internet Celebrity

If you’ve been paying attention to popular culture for the past 10 years or so, you’ve noticed a rise in online or internet celebrities. These fun folks are responsible for introducing great phrases like “love muffins,” singing about their favorite day of the week, and protecting their favorite celebrities like Brittney Spears.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Obama Girl?

Join us Saturday, May 14 at 10am on to learn about the making of an internet celebrity.

But first meet our cyber celebrities.

Lex McAllister is a Business Owner, Motorcycle & Car Enthusiast, On Air Personality With Auto Smarts Radio, Reality Show Star, Spokesperson, and most importantly, A Woman With NO Excuses. Lex’s business and radio careers started with a ferocious bite that’s had her infected ever since! Sounds extreme, but her blood runs on gas, PREMIUM gas.

In 2009 the lights of Hollywood turned toward Lex as she found herself “On the Wings of Love,” during ABC’s fourteenth season of The Bachelor. Bachelor Jake Pavelka couldn’t keep up with Lex and her two HOGs, so Lex left the show to start her own show; one that pushes women into a lifestyle of risk-taking, NO-regret-giving, mistake-making goodness.

Since 2009, Lex has started her own company Lexicon Works, PR, Marketing, & Promotions Group and is an avid car and motorcycle enthusiast.  Native to C-Bus, Lex was schooled in NYC’s Marymount Manhattan College then later worked for NBC, ABC, MTV, Revolution Studios, and Sibling Entertainment.  She was recently named one of the 10 TOP Columbus CEOs by Columbus CEO Magazine.

Lex is the creator of the Live No Excuses Radio program broadcasting on Rewind 103.5/104.3 FM. Follow Lex on Twitter @LexMcAllister

Amy Schmittauer is the Founder and Face of where she shares tips to help small businesses and entrepreneurs own their social media presence. Amy is predominantly known for reaching her audience through video blogging, for both business and personal life. As a self-proclaimed socialista, if she is not talking to a camera, she is probably tweeting, dailyboothing, or checking in to meet people IRL (in real life).

Join Amy this summer in June as she takes vlogging on the road. Amy won a coveted blogger spot in the Fox Rent-a-Car Road Trip. With 16 days in a car and 6 new cities to check out– her vlog entries are going to be all new and Pro-Fresh-ional!

Follow Amy on Twitter @schmittastic

Listen to previous episodes of Digital 411

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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Digital 411, social media


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