Tag Archives: Skype

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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3 Ways to Build Your Blog’s Niche Audience

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

This month on Digital 411 we are talking about blogging. On the first episode — of four total — we started at the beginning. My guests, Elijah R. Young, co-founder of Social Talk Live and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Red Head offered a tremendous amount of information for beginners and seasoned bloggers alike.

I really enjoyed our conversation about cultivating a niche audience, so I’m sharing some of our insights here.

Guest Post

So, you’re thinking about starting your own blog, awesome! Now, you’re asking yourself: How do I generate a niche audience? Consider writing guest posts for other blogs. Since a big aspect to keeping a blog alive is fresh content on a regular basis, bloggers are always looking for strategies to make that happen and guest posts can be a win-win for everyone.

Find a few blogs that cover topics related to what you are considering as a niche topic. Once you’ve found 2 or 3 that might work, review their content for fit. Next, come up with 1 or 2 article ideas that you feel comfortable and capable writing. THEN reach out to the author.

Although you may have dreams of starting the next Technorati or ProBlogger — consider a blog that is a little smaller. My educated guess is: The author may be less likely to turn you down because they aren’t inundated with requests.

Pitching a story is not that difficult, but you want to be sure to pitch to the right venue and provide the author a couple of options, since you don’t know what their content-publication schedule.

If things work out well, you may find yourself with a regular guest posting gig. This is great because now you are building an audience that is familiar with you and the topics you write about. When you start you’re own blog, you are giving people more of what they want and are familiar with. As an FYI: I’m open to guest posts, feel free to contact me by email =)

Comment on Other Blogs

If you’re goal is to build or develop a personal brand for yourself on a particular set of topics, then commenting on other blogs is a great strategy. Also, if you want to develop a niche topic — it’s very important to know the other blogs that cover topics similar to what you’re covering. This means reading and reviewing those sites regularly.

In “A Major Revitalization with Blog Commenting & Its Best Benefit,” Melvin identifies some great reasons to be an active blog commenter — here are a few.

  • Get some awareness from the blog community — Tell the blogosphere “hey I started a new blog, welcome me!”
  • Get more traffic — This is mostly the point of blog commenting. So, even if you’re the 99th person to comment, go ahead an leave your thoughts or question.
  • Show appreciation to bloggers who comment — In the blogosphere, the “give and take” relationship is practiced considerably. And when someone comments on a site, there’s a good chance that the author(s) will check out that blogger. And, if their content is compelling enough, they will comment back.

Interact with Readers

Although it sounds simple, it’s not a practice used by every blogger and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Red Head, takes this strategy seriously. I really liked some some of the suggestions she offers to engage readers and build a community around her Royal Nakedness!

  • Offline Meetups: There’s so much value to interacting with your readers offline — it cannot be underestimated. Of course, it’s flattering for you — the blogger — but it’s also flattering for your readers. It really gets at developing a community around your blog. Keep in mind, people talk, and are likely to spread the word that you’re an engaged blogger that really values your readers and makes that known.
  • Skype Conversations: Sarah said something she has enjoys doing when her readers are displaced geographically is to have Skype meetups. In an effort to not only learn what they enjoy and would like to hear more about, but just to get to know her readers better as individuals with thoughts and ideas that are valuable. I really like this idea and plan to incorporate it more in my own work and you can too. Thanks Sarah!
  • Social Media Engagement (Twitter and Facebook): Although it’s not technically “on your blog,” interacting with your readers using some other social media channels can help build a niche audience too. Think about it this way — the conversation is public —  so friends and associates of those you are talking to can see what’s happening and are more likely to check out your blog to see what all the fuss is about. Just remember to be authentic, thank them when ever they provide a shout or promote your articles, and try to be engaging or solicit feedback. This is a great way to acknowledge your key supporters!

There’s so much to be said about blogging and we are just scratching the surface. What strategies can you offer the novice blogger about audiences, content, subscribers or otherwise? Leave them in the comments section below. I’d love to include them in the next episode of Digital 411

As you can see from this brief snapshot — we cover a lot of ground on Digital 411.I invite you to listen live Saturdays, 10am on (also, you can access previous podcasts at this link). As an added bonus we love to have callers (1877-932-9766) and give away promos too!

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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in blog, Networking, social media


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I Survived Skype Baby Shower 2010– Can You Say the Same?

I suspect my family is like many others around the nation and world with relatives  living all over the place. Also, I suspect many families and friends are enjoying the new ways they stay in contact with their geographically displaced relatives using new media technologies like email, Facebook, blogging, Google Voice, text messaging and more.

Over Thanksgiving weekend 2010, I experience the most creative approach to celebrating the exciting events that families share — a baby shower — and Skype was the technology making all this possible. Hence the Skype Baby shower 2010!

The Problem

My brother and sister-in-law live in Pasadena, California while most of the family lives in the mid-west (throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana mostly). The great news is they became pregnant with twins — the bad news is they live in Pasadena, California.

How can a family celebrate such an exciting thing like the birth of twins when everyone is geographically displaced? What’s an expectant grandmother to do?

The Technology

For those unfamiliar, Skype is a web technology offering a range of interactive services — some offered free and some with fees. When you register on Skype, users have a number of choices including:

  • Instant Messaging: chatting or “IMing” one-2-one with other Skype users.
  • Phone Calls: You can make voice and video calls Skype-to-Skype, cell phones, and landlines to domestic numbers free. There is a fee to make international calls.
  • Facebook News Feed View:  Grant Skype access to your Facebook account and interact with your news feed via Skype.

We paced the laptop on the piano so everyone could see the screen. They could see most everyone in the room from this spot.

The Solution

A Skype Baby Shower! Being the creative and expectant grandmother she is, my mother devised a plan: Ask the parents-to-be to register online (as they normally would).

Next, request likely baby shower attendees to have their gifts sent directly to the parents-to-be. Then, schedule a baby shower.

Finally, during the baby shower, the parents open the gifts that have been shipped to them while on a Skype video call with all the attendees gathered together to watch. Fantastic plan right?

The Result and Highlights

An interesting family event.

Rather than scrap the typical baby shower games that circulate around the mother-to-be like guessing how many toilet paper squares it takes to go all the way around her belly or identify horribly tasting the baby food — we played other interesting games such as “Baby-Themed Scatagories.”

I admit, I did feel a little bad having so much fun with mom, but that didn’t stop me from accepting my well deserved door prize — a crown (which makes complete sense).

Since, my sister-in-law had her babies early — she was a little exhausted during the event. And since we (in Michigan) were ready to get started later than originally scheduled– the party was further delayed because mom needed to express milk.

I’m glad she decided to do that off camera — not everyone is so considerate.

As you can likely imagine — there were some technology issues and the declared  “Tech Committee” (AKA another brother-in-law with an engineering degree with mad pumpkin carving skills) was called to resolve them; however there were a few highlights of the event. The most notable being my brother and sister-in-law saying “hello” to baby Carter via Skype video call (pictured here).

I'm not sure what baby Carter is thinking, but I was thinking how funny to see a baby interacting on Skype -- what's next text messaging?

You can’t tell me it’s not weird to hold a laptop up to a baby — with limited motor skills and cognition — to view people he’s never seen in 2D?

I admit, I was a little skeptical of my creative mother’s idea, but being the tech enthusiast that I am, I really wanted to see how her brainchild came to fruition. Other than feeling a little strange celebrating a woman and babies that were not in attendance and having a lot of fun without the guests of honor – it was great.

When you put it all together – the use of Skype to have a baby shower for geographically dispersed family celebrations– makes for an interesting take on how the use of technology enhances our lives in significant ways.

Has your family or friends used new media technology in creative ways to stay connected? Share your story below, I’d love to learn how others use technology work for them.

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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in communication, media, social media


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