Personal branding's one-stop shop

As most of you know, I'll check out most any social media site to see what it's all about. It might be a fit for me; it might not. But I always like to know what's out there.

I recently came across and, at first, thought it to be nothing more than an aggragator site. However, upon further analysis, I think it's something worth sharing.

Now, if you want to follow all your friends' content from different sites, I'd stick with FriendFeed. However, if you're looking to put all your content together to market yourself, I think is ideal.

You can personalize your page (see the demo video below), add any of the 18 services they support (e.g. Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr), and turn your page into a one-stop shop to showcase your online presence. You can add the feeds to all your social networking sites, or just the links. could be especially beneficial to those who do not have a website or a blog and want to give people a web address that tells more about them.

If you'd like to see a solid example of how can be maximized, check out Stacey Soleil's page. She's added 9 services and personalized her homepage with a large photo of herself. Stacey's also done a great job utilizing the colors from the photo to create a color palette for the rest of her page. From her professional LinkedIn information to her Foursquare check-ins, tweets, videos, and blogs, you can get a real feel for what Stacey is all about.

If you're looking for a way to enhance your personal branding, might be a good tool to help you. At a minimum, it's a great resource that can help you highlight the content that you're generating on your social networking sites. And, unlike FriendFeed, you can create a page that is unique to your personality. So, what flavor are you?

What will crazy, old loons do if newspapers fold?

As some of you already know, I spent two years at The Los Angeles Times. The time period in which I was there was one of the most turbulent in the industry (and it continues today). Newspapers are struggling to adapt to the changing world in which people consume news online and in real time. The business model is taking an unprecedented hit and many wonder how long newspapers will survive.

Although I have the utmost respect for the quality journalism that newspapers produce, I couldn't help but to laugh and cry at the video below. I firmly believe that newspapers keep politicians and government agencies accountable like no online news site does, or can, but there's something tragically accurate about this spoof from The Onion. I suspect this sad account might just be all too true.

What kind of blogger turns off comments on their posts?

I read a lot of online content. I'm always clicking on tons of links and checking out great blog posts. Today, I stumbled across a new blog which I really enjoyed, but I was dismayed to see the following information at the end of the post I was reading.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think comments are just as valuable as most posts (sometimes even more so!). They frequently provide diverse viewpoints, insightful commentary on personal experiences, or other input that is of value to readers. Comments are what differentiate a blog from a website; the two-way conversation is a critical component.

In our web-centric world, blog posts also have a life that may extend days, weeks, months, and sometimes years into the future. It's not uncommon for a blog post to be circulated a year or two after it's been written and for it to still be of value to readers. Some topics are timeless.

So why turn off comments after two weeks? As a blogger, that makes no sense to me.

BLOGGER'S NOTE: Feel free to agree or disagree with me today or in 2012. Your comments are always welcome here!

This is one coupon I'll actually redeem

Isn't it satisfying when you see a company implement a smart idea? Something that makes you wonder why someone didn't do it before? Well, I had that very thought as I took my receipt from the cashier at Vons today.

Usually when you get your supermarket receipt, it is accompanied with a store coupon that entices you to return to the market and buy a specific item. Well, today, as I started to stash the store coupon in my purse, I noticed it wasn't a store coupon at all. What was it? It was a coupon for 20% off girl's best friend. Yes, I mean shoes.

In fact, the coupon was not for Vons at all; it was for Payless Shoe Source. It seems as though my local market isn't going to annoy me any longer with a 25¢ off coupon for generic peanut butter that expires in three days. It's actually realized that disseminating third-party coupons to its customers can be a revenue source. Wow!

Now, it's this kind of thinking that more businesses should implement. It helps the company, or supermarket in this case, bring in additional revenue without raising prices for its customers. This is the kind revenue strategy that I like and I wish more companies would explore.

Now enough blogging. I have shoes to buy!

The era of the egomaniac

In a day and age where very little is private and everyone is enjoying their 15 minutes (plus!) of fame, there always seems to be new ways for people to brag about themselves. One of the sites I find to be the most self-indulgent is (well, honestly, it's a tie between this and Daily Booth).

The concept is that anyone can ask you anything and you will provide an answer. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Boxers or briefs? Vodka or Gin? What are your super powers? What makes you awesome? These are just a random sampling of questions that I've seen. Granted, I think this might be appropriate fodder on a dating site such as eHarmony, but just to throw out into cyberspace? Don't we all have better things to do?

I'm under no illusion that people are fascinated with me or my life (now, if I were a celebrity or other high-profile personality, maybe folks would appreciate some insight into my world). But, do strangers really need to know that I love Archer Farms' dill pickle cashews from Target? Are their lives made richer by finding out that my knee hurts when it rains?

Social media is an amazing tool to create community, to make new personal and professional connections, to share ideas, to collaborate, and to broaden your horizons. But, I really see no point in the platforms that do nothing more than contribute to people's ego and sense of self-importance. Each year, the internet delivers more and more ways for us to talk about ourselves. However, it's the sites and tools that allow us to talk with one another that bring us closer together and build bridges.

Instead of me asking some random acquaintance what her/his favorite soft drink is, why not use that time to make a real difference? World peace, anyone?

DISCLAIMER: I suspect this post might irritate some of my social media colleagues who use and Daily Booth. If so, my apologies. I get paid the big bucks to discuss controversial subjects and challenge the status quo. Well, if big bucks means no bucks, that is.

Child labor comes to social media

I recently read an article in a publication from England about kids being used to hock product. Children as young as seven years old are being recruited to talk about Sprite, Barbie-themed MP3 players, Nintendo, snack foods, and specific musical artists on their Facebook pages, on message boards, and in instant messages. Apparently, marketing firms coach these "mini marketeers" on how to insert products into everyday conversations without sounding rehearsed. For their time, the kids earn about $37 U.S. dollars a week.

I don't know about you, but this just seems wrong on all kinds of levels. Yes, I completely get that marketing professionals need to constantly find new ways to reach their audiences, but using kids to pimp string cheese and Lady Gaga records? There has got to be a better way...

Are your tweets on

I have a presence on every major social media site out there. A platform you'll never find me utilizing, however, is one that uses geo-tracking. No, I don't "check in" at the grocery store via Foursquare. I don't even "check in" at my favorite restaurants using Gowalla or Yelp. This is a frequent issue of discussion amongst my social media peers. "I don't want a digital footprint of all the places I frequent," I say. "Furthermore, I rather people not know when I'm not home." This response is usually met with funny looks or rolling eyes.

Today, I feel vindicated. That's because I just stumbled across a website called This wonderfully evil site is all that serial felons and wannabe thieves need to steal all your worldly possessions. Essentially, the site filters all those check ins that are tweeted across the globe and creates a feed on its site to tell robbers when you're not home!

Any high school dropout can easily Google your name to find out where you live and then swoop in to steal that sweet 60" flat screen TV you love so much. And, unlike break-ins of the past, these guys will even know when they have an extra 30 minutes to sift through your hidden treasures because you just sent a check in tweet saying, "Having a picture of margaritas at Pedro's Cantina w/@obliviousfriend."

Call me overly cautious, but these geo-location tools just aren't for me. Granted, I think they can have fun applications in a business setting (e.g. for street teams and other promotions), but I have no desire to broadcast my whereabouts to strangers. Think I'm paranoid? Well, I can say with 100% certainty that I'm not listed on Can you?
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