Social Media Might Save Print Books

Holy Kaw! recently asked “Are e-readers making books obsolete?” They’re certainly not the first or the last to ponder this question.

This past Christmas was supposed to be the season of the e-reader, and Random House says that Dec. 25 and 26 were its two biggest ebook sales days ever.  I certainly helped make it a good year for Kindle when I requested one for myself from Santa (aka my husband).

I’m definitely a fan of the printed page, and collect every hardback Anne Rice book I can find, but must admit I’m loving the ease with which I can get new books whenever I want them.

For example, I was watching a webcast of a conference panel earlier this week and heard an interesting book mentioned. Rather than having to write down the name and hope I remember it the next time I happen to make it to a book store, I just hopped over to Amazon, plugged in the title, made a one-click purchase and it was waiting for me when I got home that evening.

So, I’m sure there will be an impact on print book sales, but a quick look here at several of the hardbacks I’ve brought home recently has me thinking they’re not exactly on death’s door.

social media books

In fact, it actually got me to pondering whether “publish or perish” has expanded from academia to the social media industry?

I suppose business books have always been an important marketing tool for consultants, but as a ZDNet blogger pointed out, the pace of change in social media is such that books on it are behind-the-times by the time they publish.

This also makes it a never-ending source of material. Keeping up with the changes in Facebook alone could be a good argument for e-books that simply continue to download new chapters!

Good news for the Social Media Club which just launched a book club program, right?


Does My Dog Need an Online Profile?

So, tonight won’t be a really in-depth blog post. I’ve been out to dinner with friends at Truluck’s on a night when they were having 50% off all bottles of wine, so don’t expect much.

One topic of discussion that came up at dinner tonight was dogs. Dogs are a nice, safe topic of dinner conversation in a group, don’t you think? Lots of people have them, and even those who don’t can usually appreciate them – even the cat people are on some level simply animal people. (says the cat person who had to convert to dogs when her kid turned out to be allergic to one, but not the other)

So, I learned tonight that there is apparently a small dog that is very popular on Facebook named Boo. I just checked it out and Boo has 987,764 fans!  That’s not quite the number of followers of @bronxzooscobra, but it’s nothing to sneeze at.

Our DogsOne of my own dogs, the Dachshund/Labrador mix as best the pound could guess (we like to call him our Dachsador – he’s on the right in this pic of our two), got lots of ooohs and ahhs when his photo was shared with everyone at dinner tonight. And it was suggested that he needs his own Facebook or Twitter profile, too.

So, what do you think? Should more pets be portrayed online? Or should we just keep it real?

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Hospital Visits and Blog Comments Both Spike on Weekends

I started this morning reading a blog post that asked “Has social media made blog publishing time irrelevant?

And then watched many people tweet this afternoon from a Hubspot webinar titled “The Science of Timing” that promised to help you “wonder no more” about the best time to publish blog posts, update your Facebook status and post tweets.

The two turned out to be more alike than different.

I’d hoped the blog post might touch on thoughts I’ve had about how there are way too many factors like topic, media and audience to factor in along with timing to wrap it all up into a nice, neat package. But it was more along the lines of how to find your own perfect time to update based on visits and clicks.

I’ve had the good fortune to be on a panel with Dan Zarrella, HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist, who led the webinar and have great respect for the research he’s done on the best days and times to Tweet, blog, email, update Facebook and more.

But, I think on at least some level he would agree with me that there’s more to it than a magic day of the week and time.

I like how @ArthurGermain put it when he added this comment to a retweet: “Hospital visits too – think it’s related? RT @ambaldauf: Blog comments spike the highest on the weekend.”

Yet Another SXSW Blog Post

I saw someone tweet jokingly during the recent SXSW Interactive conference that they thought the event was held so that the Mashable blog would have another year’s worth of material to write about.

A Google search for “sxsw recap” yields about 2,140,000 results, though, so it’s not only Mashable that gets material from the conference. To that cacophony, and to help me meet my new 30-day blogging challenge, I now add my look back.

First off, I need to thank two people for making it possible for me to attend this year – Scott Monty for not coming <wink>, and Bryan Person for asking me to pinch-hit for Scott on his “How Brands Respond to Facebook Attacks” panel. It was a lot of fun to join Ekaterina Walter and Michael Lazerow on the stage. SXSW audiences can be tough (remember Sarah Lacy and Mark Zuckerberg?), but from the sounds of this great Twitter compilation Bryan put together, we seem to have done ok.

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How Brands Respond to Facebook Attacks: Top Tweets

Best of all, however, what SXSW meant to me again this year was the opportunity to see so many people I interact with online in real life. The event is proof that no matter how much electronic connection we can make, we still crave personal contact with each other.

I’m thankful I got to catch up with many long-time friends and to meet new friends from around the globe.  I enjoyed a few panels like “The Legal Ramifications of Saying ‘I’m Sorry.'” I got to chat with some Dell customers and surprise them on camera with a thank you. And although I missed a few people I had hoped to see, the usual serendipity of SXSW brought many unexpected people my way.

More than one person asked if the conference has gotten too big this year. I know I was one to complain about how spread out everything was. But, looking back, I still think it’s all good.

Much like learning how to manage following thousands of people on Twitter, we simply have to resign ourselves to the fact that we won’t see everything and everyone. Make plans ahead of time to meet up with a list of your key contacts or to attend some panels, then dive in and see where the stream takes you – just don’t forget to come up for air occassionally.

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Challenging Myself to Write

When I started this blog several years ago, it wasn’t to establish myself as an expert at anything. I didn’t even have a topic of focus (hence the boring name of the blog). I mainly did it in order to practice writing.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and hear often that the best way to become a better writer is to write. Since I was at a point in my career where I wasn’t doing much writing for my job, I took to the blogosphere to ramble about whatever came to mind.

Looking at how long it’s been since my last post, however, you’d think my mind was pretty empty.  It’s not. My Twitterstream can verify that. I’ve just had a hard time making time for thoughts longer than 140 characters.  At least, that was the excuse I made to myself – lack of time.

Then I saw Alexis Rodrigo tweet:

lexirodrigo tweet

And – bang – it hit me that I was really letting that very thing get in my way. For some reason, I put more pressure on myself in my blog to write something meaningful, well-researched, balanced. It must contain links to related posts or news articles to make it richer. I hear my journalism professor reminding me to include at least three sources in my article.

But, that’s a false pressure I put on myself here. I’m not a reporter. This is not a daily newspaper. No one’s paying me, and they’re not necessarily expecting me to present unbiased reports on the day’s top stories. Heck, who knows if anyone even reads it.

And that’s the point. Or, really, it’s not the point. I need to remember that I’m doing this for myself, and if someone else gets something out of it along the way, well then that’s just a bonus.

So, thinking along the lines of Nikki Pilkington’s blogging challenge, I’m going to challenge myself to post something here every day for the next 30 days.  You’re forewarned if you do read this that there’s no telling what might be coming. It may be related to my work or my family. It may be useful or simply something to pass the time. Heck, it might even be what I had for dinner (maybe with the recipe to add a little something useful to the post).

The point is simply to get myself back into a habit of hitting the “publish” button again. So … here we go!

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