Facebook Messenger – Security, Privacy, and the Real Conversation

Should I Install Facebook Messenger?

ABSTRACT: This blog post covers security concerns over Facebook Messenger but also covers security, technology and philosophy/policy.

facebook messenger securityThis question – or something like it – has come up with clients and friends a LOT lately. Mostly due to Facebook separating functionality from their main app into two apps. The Facebook App (your timeline and stream of photos) and Messenger – an app focused on direct person(s) to person(s) chatting.

Articles have cropped out – most with an ominous tone of big brother watching you – due to “permissions” the application requests when it is installed. Continue Reading →

How to Use Google Drive to Record With Musicians Across The Internet

This article explains how to use Google Drive (cloud computing baby) to coordinate and organize recordings (musical collaboration) with other musician across the Internet.

Remote Collaboration For Musicians

Do you have an interest in collaborating with other musicians? I talk to a lot of artist who want to do just that. This tutorial explains the collaboration process and provides instructions on how to effectively accomplish this with Google Drive. Continue Reading →

Why LinkedIn Endorsements are like bad garage sales

LinkedIn Endorsements are not very usefulPeople clamor and rush to the next social network, while grasping, often weakly, to the older ones.

LinkedIn might be the best example of a largely disconnected social network. Very few people actually use it as a day to day connection.. with the exception of LinkedIn Groups – some of which are pretty effective. Of course, some are largely a jumble of “Look at me” parties.. Another topic for another day.

This past year, LinkedIn introduced “Endorsements.” That is where you recognize a connection for skills they have. Basically, you are offered a list of skills that you can click on as an endorsement.

FYI: In the above image, taken from my “endorsements” page, I know 2 of those connections personally and can whole-heartedly endorse them. But when I do, I write about them and link to their work.. That is how you know I’ve endorsed them..

This generates a message to the contact who can then, respond in kind, by endorsing you. It is all the rage it seems but, in the end, similar to Facebook likes, largely useless in advancing your business, career, or true social clout.

Why LinkedIn Created Endorsements

LinkedIn, like every brand (and this is a hint for you), wants eyes on its website/page. They are hoping/banking on the fact that while on their page, clicking on a word or two to “endorse” someone who has “endorsed” you, that you will help them monetize their efforts. Facebook has been the best at this, keeping people on their website – although their more recent “Suggested Page” ads are a bit confusing and too obtrusive in my opinion.

To date, LinkedIn has not be very effective at keeping people on their site. Most people go, connect, and then leave until the next connection. They’ve enabled a status feed and just today I got an email introducing new video and image galleries. We’ll see if this helps them.

The danger with endorsements is similar to the danger with Likes on Facebook. Individuals and brands are still focusing on the quantity of theoretic eyes on their page rather than the impact and value of the content they share.

Content is King… … still

I’m speaking with a new social media coaching client. They are being told many things.. Be on Pinterest. Be on Instagram. Be here, be there.

Here is the hard truth. You (they/any brand/individual) would be better served to have 20 connections who share your GREAT content on their networks/pages, then having 1,000 likes or endorsements, who are simply “drive-by clickers.” People clicking a skill or a like is nearly valueless.

In fact, it reminds me of visiting garage sales. There are garage sales where I look and do not even get out of the car.. I simply drive-by.. those are the useless “Likes” and “Endorsements.” Then, there are those garage sales that entice me to stop the car, get out, and walk around. MUCH GREATER CHANCE OF A PURCHASE… OBVIOUSLY.

People taking what you’ve posted, re-posting with some type of attribution, now that is powerful!

What is our take away?

Think about your content! Create something of value. I keep repeating, educate or entertain! Better yet, do both…. EDUTAIN or ENTERCATE. ;-)

And I’ll repeat this as well. That does not mean educate them about why they should buy your product or service… Educate them more broadly and they will learn to trust you. They will look at what you are doing more earnestly. They will share, connect, engage, and ultimately buy.

Someone clicking a skill – ie: Matthew Moran knows “Blogging” is far less important than someone using one of the “Share” buttons below and posting a message like

“Hey everyone, you should be reading this article about how to truly engage readers.”

That was a not so subtle hint – do with it what you wish.

If you want people to truly endorse you, engage them with true value.

My child saved my flier design

The past couple of weeks has been a flurry of activity around Casa Moran. My oldest daughter is in California for her dream job and my 3rd child is living with me again and learning some programming.

I’ve also started a new consulting company – Pulse Infomatics, Inc.

In creating some collateral material for Pulse, my youngest daughter saved my flier design. Let me explain.

About Pulse Infomatics, Inc.

I cut my teeth in technology with Blue Cross of Californai (Wellpoint, Anthem, Whatever they are called today). While there, I built a large and fairly complex document assembly system and a number of databases and reporting systems.

Since then, I created similar systems for both insurance and legal companies. My consulting crossed into network integration and a number of web applications as well as serving as the Virtual CIO for a few different companies. I do several things and I do those things pretty well… but I LOVE automation.

Recently, I worked on a project, creating a web-based time tracking system. The client then wanted the time to be entered or imported automatically into Quickbooks. Enter the Quickbooks SDK. This is now working and I’ve created additional integration with with their database and Quickbooks.

During a conversation with a friend and client in Arizona, she suggested that such automation was the most critical service I brought her company. She said I gave her the PULSE of her business. She then suggested that I should focus on this alone. Executive reporting and automation to give executives and owners the true PULSE of their business. She kept talking about the PULSE of her business and…

It is something I enjoy and so… Pulse Infomatics, Inc. was born.

A Simple Handout

First.. I’m NOT a designer. Never claimed to be one. I’m an entrepreneur and at times I am tasked with creating my own collateral.

I designed an image that created a picture of what Pulse Infomatics does. Basically, take data from multiple sources and create reports that are meaningful and provided at a touch of a button.

I then created an flier that asks some questions about the company’s I.T. and it’s perceived value.

My first stab at the flier started with the questions. It looked something like this.

Pulse Infomatics flier without a heading

When my youngest saw it, she said, “Shouldn’t it have some type of heading? I don’t know what I’m looking at.”

She was right.. basically, I was being lazy with my message. The new handout looks like this.

Quickbooks and SQL Server integration

Much better. Same information basically but it definitely ties things together.

She doesn’t do graphic design. She isn’t in business and hardly knows what I really do.. “computer stuff and writes.” And to be honest, that’s probably a good thing. She just knew that the first design was confusing because it never introduced anything.

I wonder if you’ve had a similar experience. Good advice on business from an unlikely source?

Change “Look at Me” to “Learn From Me”

Look at me! Look at me!Everyone is trying to win in the social networking marketing space. But while they do so, I watch them use their social networks primarily to say…. No SHOUT, “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!”.

Unfortunately, in the crowded, and often loud world, of social media marketing, this amounts to annoying static. It rarely results helping the shouter grow their business in any significant way. In fact, it turns people off.

Become a teacher and say, “Learn from me.”

Instead of a social media marketing plan, you need an education plan. You need to change what you are saying from “Look at me” to “Learn from me.”

And I don’t mean, learn about my products or my services.. that’s just a disguised form of “Look at me.”

Often, when I try to direct some clients or peers on using a “Learn from me” model, what I find is they end up with something that looks like/sounds like:

  • Here is the best ways to use our product.
  • Here is how our services can best serve you.
  • Here are 10 unique ways that our customers use our products.
  • Let us educate you on how our services differ.

Again, another form of “Look at me!” It’s awful to watch – embarrassing really.

Give information away so that, if they are capable, they can do it without you! In fact, educate yourself out of a job! I promise it works.

A lesson from the consulting world

Several years ago, when I had my first consulting company, I used to give a lot of free workshops. I’d cover network scripting, office automation, web applications, group security concepts, and other technical know-how.

When I gave these presentations, I provided the real knowledge – behind the scenes / under the hood – what you should be doing. I gave my presentations away with samples. I didn’t hold information back for the “real workshop” – the $299 but get it today for $199 bait and switch. I hate those seminars! You do too.

The result is that I can track our 4 largest clients over 2.5 years as having come directly from one of these free workshops. Additionally, we won several smaller clients as well. These, in turn, became referrals to other clients.

Learn from me by the numbers

Let’s examine the numbers. Now, this is largely by memory, so it is not a scientific analysis of the effectiveness of this method of “marketing.” And make no mistake, it is marketing. I’ll explain the psychology of the effective workshop below.

I knew that if 20 people attended my workshop and I covered a specific technical discipline, that between 3-8 of them could run with my information and start using the technology immediately. They didn’t need me. In fact, some of those people became resources – stretching the technology more than I had in a short period of time. That’s great! I’m glad to have been of assistance and they were grateful I’d shared the knowledge.

Another few would never hire me either. They simply didn’t have the need or the money. Again, that’s okay. At a minimum, those people knew I had knowledge and that I shared that knowledge. That doesn’t suck for sure!

But, out of our theoretical 20 people, there were 8-14 that were very interested in having me speak to them. Between 2-5 of them were ready to do something right away. And even if they had the in-house talent, they didn’t have the available time to allocate to the project. These became clients.

They didn’t just become clients for that technology, however. Because, once we were in the door, we found other places we could help. We started with logon scripts using kixtart for one client and ended up doing more than $150,000 in additional projects in our first 6 months. That’s pretty good pay for a 1 hour free workshop.

The Podium Imparts Credibility/ The psychology of the educator

Let me explain why being a teacher/ workshop leader/ educator is a great marketing strategy.

People buy on trust and in knowing that you can make their problem go away.. or something like that. I’m talking services but there is a reasonable equivalent with products.

I work with a number of entrepreneurs and executives on their presentation skills. Some are nervous that they won’t share some dramatic new information with their audience. They are afraid that most of the audience will know a good deal about their topic – and there are times this is true.

However, I explain that the “podium imparts credibility.” If you give a decent, high-energy, presentation and you are telling the bulk of your audience things they already knew, you are considered pretty smart. Because, well, your attendee knows he is pretty smart and you reinforced what he knew… therefore, you are an expert.

And you are bound to share one small piece of information, either hard knowledge or a perspective that is new to many of those attending. The combination of this small bit of new knowledge and those ideas you reinforced that they already knew, establishes you as a bona fide expert.

You almost cannot lose!

Don’t be boring

Al Gore learned this – you can too. I won’t discuss in detail but whether a public presentation or content for your blog, website, or social network, boring is a kiss of death!

Go forth and educate

You want a powerful social media presence? You want people to return to you again and again?

Give them true knowledge. Enough knowledge that they won’t need you..

When you do that, they’ll need you!

Live Streaming for Writing, Speakers, Musicians, and Other Creatives

I’ve used live streaming for a few years.. although, far less than I believe I should have. This is an short overview aimed at musicians but will have relevance to others interested in live streaming as a medium.

I’ve streamed some presentations, some gigs with my band, and a few solo performances. More recently, I several videocast called, “Concerts, Coaching, Coffee, & Conversation.” In these I might talk about a topic or technology, answer questions or allow the introduction of another topic, and play a few songs.

It’s been fun for sure, and I am getting some great feedback and had a few people join my mailing list.

I believe this is a great medium for performers, writers, speakers, and others whose professional direction includes a somewhat personality driven medium – ie: people follow you and your product.

Below are some general lessons and then some technical specifics.

Here are some lessons I am learning and some goals moving forward.

  • Energy is critical, especially when response is hard/impossible to guage.
    This is true for any performer and even a speaker in live situations. When you have a tough room, it can be daunting. And at those times, it is even more critical to increase your energy.With live streaming, the room is tough because you cannot see your audience at all. You don’t know if they are eating lunch and have you muted and are actually just chatting on Facebook. Sure, you get the occasional chat that says, “good tune” or “ha” or “interesting” – but typically, 2 or 3 out of 10 people might make a comment. Are the others sitting there, arms crossed, a dour expression on their face?
  • Don’t script it but some notes might be helpful
    Live streaming is like self-shot TV or radio. You don’t have the crew to play off of – or at least, I and others I know do not. You need to keep things moving. I usually write some notes on a piece of paper, just to look at once in awhile. The truth is, most of the time, I can mostly wing-it.. but the notes have proven helpful in reminding me of ideas I wanted to convey.I also try to jot down 2 or 3 songs that I can choose from.. I more or less decide on the fly which songs to perform unless there is a song with a specific message related to my primary topic.
  • Tell personal stories to provide context
    Live streaming is different than webinars. I provide webinars and there is a more or less linear discussion; a more strict outline. In those instances I am teaching.With live streaming, I am “riffing” – sort of ad-hoc with some general idea of where I’d like to go. But personal stories liven things up and give viewers some insight into who you are and what makes you tick. Be comfortable that you are the host of your own show.. step into the role.
  • Test the technology
    Because stuff happens. I was running sound through my mixer into my computer’s mic in. I wanted the better quality and control using my mixer and condenser microphone. It sounded awesome through the headphones but coming into a non-passive input (my powered laptop), there was an awful hum. I didn’t know until viewers told me.Get that stuff dialed in prior and do a few test runs. Get a couple friends on the other side of your stream to give you feedback.

    While I’ve used the external mics on my laptop, there are challenges with this. Placement is difficult and if someone is helping  you by typing responses to viewers, the mics pick up the keyboard sound. I use a Yeti USB Condenser Mic – and it sounds awesome! I also use an external camera on a tripod – rather than my built in web cam. Both for quality and, similar to the built-in mic, positioning. I can place both the mic and the camera away from my laptop.

    Nike got this right. No amount of preparation will truly prepare you or make you better at live streaming than live streaming. Schedule it like it is an appointment (the past two weeks for me not-withstanding) and keep the appointment. If it turns out that it is just you and a friend… do the show anyway.

Here are some services I use or have used and my quick assessment of them.

  • Spreecast.com: This is pretty cool. Well integrated social media tools and the ability to have a producer control some aspects of the stream and the ability to bring others on video with you.. sort of a group video conversation.
  • JustJamIt.com: Some guys out of the UK built this streaming site for musicians, by musicians. They’ve integrated a paypal tipping system.
  • uStream.com: I haven’t used them in awhile. They were one of the first truly effective streaming services. One drawback (and they may have changed this) is that unless you are paying their high fees, they have full-screen interruption ads – that stop your stream entirely – every 5 or so minutes. And you, as the streamer, have no idea when these are happening. That made it a no go for me.
  • LiveStream.com: They have a really nice “producer” app – you can show your computer screen while also showing your webcam. Their chat in their producer was so small and you could not modify the font, that I stopped using it.
  • Anymeeting.com:  Not truly a streaming service. This is a webinar service. But it is free and if you do NOT share your screen or show slides, your video takes the screen. The nice part, is you can require registration and even payment for your show.

Are you streaming? If not, why?

Creating a songwriter or band press kit. Microsoft Publisher and transparent overlay image

I uploaded a new press kit page yesterday and received an email about the overlaid image I use on it. You can see that here.

Below is a video that demonstrates how I created that overlay effect in Microsoft Publisher.

Short list: What you need

  1. A reasonably high-quality/hi-resolution image to create your transparency.
  2. Graphic design software or in my case, a graphic design expert.. I used Noel Ramos, founder of the Independent Music Conference, to create my transparent image.
  3. Desktop Publishing Software. I use Microsoft Publisher. It works great and is part of Microsoft Office Professional.

Basic steps:

  1. Write press kit text. I wrote some of it, had some great review quotes, and then had Val King, Editor and co-founder of Rock Revolt, offer some assistance.
  2. Insert/copy your transparent image and paste onto the page.
  3. Adjust text to wrap “tightly” around the image.
  4. Fine tune text wrapping “edit points”.
  5. Save your press kit as a: Hi-resolution image, standard resolution image, and PDF.

Original image and the transparent image

Carpenteria 2009

original image

Matthew Moran transparent

transparent image

Here is your video:

Please feel free to comment, ask questions, & share.



I’m streaming live with Concerts, Coaching, Coffee, and Conversations

C4 streaming videoLast week I started (re-initiated) something I’ve been challenged by a fellow business coach, a few readers & listeners, and my own interest and ideas to undertake… A weekly live streaming video show!

Concerts, Coaching, Coffee, and Conversation – C4: Continue Reading →

How to Put Together a Rational Content Strategy for Winning Business

content strategy to attract website visitorsI just posted on Facebook a link to HubSpot’s latest E-Book: 15 Business Blogging Mistakes and Easy Fixes. I recommend you get the EBook. HubSpot does a great job of providing some excellent information on blogging and social media. Whether you use their service or not, their EBooks alone are worth getting on the mailing list.

A rational approach to online presence

The graphic above – shown again below – demonstrates a very basic overview of what I consider to be a rational and effective content strategy.

content strategy to attract website visitors

Blog and Mailing List is Key

Yeah yeah.. everyone is saying email is dead and the social stream is how people connect. Yes and no. The social stream is a reality but it is a noisy and often disengaged space. You need to be there for sure.. because “everyone” else is.

But, if you want to really get the best bang for your social media buck, your content should be driven from your blog and traffic back to your blog.

Social Engagement to True Engagement

Social media activities should engage people enough so that you are worth listening to. You must create high-value content that is ultimately housed and categorized on your blog. That is what gets people off the Facebook wall or twitter feed and to your site where you are no longer competing with cute kittens, political rants, and renewed high-school crushes.

The Ethical Bribe Still Lives

Just as with HubSpot’s EBooks, give-aways that provide a reason for site visitors to join your mailing list is the ultimate true engagement. You know have someone who has demonstrated their interest in your information.. enough that they will “put up with” you’re ongoing messages and perhaps even help advance your cause.

Increase the value and engagement

After that, make sure you do not forget about those who have engaged while pursuing new engagements. Continue creating high-value (educational) content. Provide better ways for them to connect and engage. Get your fans/list involved with who you are and what you do.

Tools I Use to Help Generate Content

Google Reader

I’ll be providing a tutorial on this soon. Google reader allows you to subscribe to blogs, news, twitter feeds, and other web information so that you are notified about when they are updated. It is great for consolidating information and is an excellent source for ideas.

Google Docs

Are you tired of hearing me extol the virtues of Google Docs? I have a content planning Workbook with a few sheets in it.  Ie: Google docs has an Excel style spreadsheet

Content Ideas Sheet: I store things I can blog about and links to very interesting pieces of content.

Content Calendar Sheet: When I am ready to blog about something, I move it to this sheet and put a date on it.

Links to Check: This sheet is for links I want to check. They are not yet on the content ideas sheet but might be something I look at later. I track the date I put it in the sheet and where I saw it. I’ll also add a short note to the link.

Content Publishing Process

I’ll cover this in much greater detail later this week. But in short, it looks like this…

  1. Publish on blog/website.
  2. Publish link back to blog on social sites
  3. Capture email addresses on blog/website.
  4. Compile blog content for periodic (2-week) newsletter
  5. Republish link on social sites (content reuse)

Simple.. right?

Learn how to blog with WordPress

learn how to blog with wordpressSign-up by following this link
Eventbrite - Blogging with WordPress: SEO and other add-ons

Join me for a FREE Webinar on how to use WordPress.

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 – 10:00am (PST)

Learn how to blog for search engine placement and reader engagement. Additionally, learn the following:

  • Settings and plug-ins to help you manage your content;
  • All-in-one SEO plug-in
  • Image Galleries
  • Jetpack features like embedded video, stats, and more.
  • Creating a content strategy and calendar.
  • Plus your questions answered.

Sign-up by following this link
Eventbrite - Blogging with WordPress: SEO and other add-ons