Ten Steps to Being Everywhere in Social Media

So you want to be everywhere?Social Media Service Logos

I think that to succeed in the social media world, a key concept is social density. I work towards this by constantly looking for new sites and services to maintain a presence on and being active in many different microblogging communities. I also manage to at times have a life and do the writing that pays the bills. I do this by using a few different techniques to streamline my interactions with the virtual world.

Recently I got a comment on this post and realized that it would be helpful to some of my readers to learn how I do this until something better comes along (any venture capitalists reading? :P).

1. Make a profile document

You are going to be entering certain information again and again for awhile. Get used to it, and get used to changing it. You can get a plugin for Firefox called Sxipper that can automate this process and also automate your logins. I very much recommend it.

Make a plain text document (use Notepad) and list the following information:

  1. First name
  2. Last name
  3. Nickname/Username (you won’t always get what you want, be prepared with alternatives)
  4. A single sentence that explains who you are and what you do
  5. A short bio that explains who you are and what you do with no links to your work or other profiles
  6. A slightly longer bio with links to your work or other profiles
  7. An even slightly longer bio that is pretty much your online resume
  8. Address
  9. IM accounts
  10. Main email account
  11. Three interests (separated by commas)
  12. Three musical genres or artists you like (separated by commas)
  13. Three favorite movies (separated by commas)
  14. Three favorite books (separated by commas)
  15. Three to seven tags (simple words or phrases people looking for a person like you might use in a search engine; for example, I commonly use “writer, freelance, social media”) (separated by commas)

2. Make a picture or logo

You will need a pic for many sites. Prepare three versions, one big, one small, one thumbnail.

3. Make accounts pt. 1

Go to the following sites and make accounts:

  1. Friendfeed
  2. Ping.fm
  3. Profilactic

4. Make accounts pt. 2

Go to Friendfeed and look at the different services they have that you can aggregate. Pick at least one site from each of the following categories:

  1. News (if you make just one choose Digg)
  2. Bookmarking (If you make just one choose StumbleUpon)
  3. Microblogging (if you make just one choose Twitter)
  4. Pictures (if you make just one choose Flickr)
  5. Social Profile (if you make just one choose Facebook)
  6. Business Profile (if you make just one choose LinkedIn)
  7. Music (if you make just one choose Last.fm)
  8. Video (if you make just one choose YouTube)
  9. Commenting (if you make just one choose Disqus)

5. Make accounts pt. 3

Go to Ping.fm. and there will be a list of services to which you can post updates. Go find each and every one of them except the blogs and make an account. That’s right. Every single one. Fill them out completely.

6. Aggregate your accounts

Go to your Friendfeed, Profilactic, and Ping.fm accounts and connect up all of your accounts. Make sure to put a feed from all your blogs on the lifestreams.

7. Downloads

Download and install:

  1. Adobe Air
  2. SocialAddict
  3. Twhirl

8. Use

Use SocialAddict to connect to Ping.fm. Use it for all normal microblogging. Use Twhirl to connect to your FriendFeed and Twitter accounts. You will then get updates from everyone you follow on both services and be able to interact with each service. Either put your Profilactic badge and lifestream on your blog or point people at them in your profiles so people can see what services you use. (The reason to use Profilactic is because it will aggregate services FriendFeed doesn’t).

9. Network

Use the search function on FriendFreed to find rooms and people you are interested in and follow them. Go to their profiles and add them on whatever you share in common. Some will add you, some will not. Get used to it. Do this at least once a week.

10. Be social!

Now use the service you have accounts with. When you read a post you like, submit it to news sites or vote for them. Peruse the news and bookmarks sites to find things you like and vote for them. Listen to music on your music site and favorite or scrobble or whatever the process is. Favorite your favorite videos. Comment on blogs. Live your online life in this social way. And most importantly, use the microbloggers.

Final words

This guide is tentative. The method is not as clean and easy as I would like, and the technologies and services offered change far too quickly for any guide to be definitive. Nonetheless, this is what I do, and I hope it helps at least the reader who asked the original question.

If you have any tips on further streamlining this process, please share! If you have any other similar questions, ask away and it might lead into a new post like this one!

Good luck and remember to be social!

Update:

I was reminded by Pamir of another great service that allows you to aggregate your services and create a dynamic online business card called Retaggr. Even though I have an account with them, I had completely forgotten about how useful it is. See, this why we need to be as social as possible: none of us can know everything or do everything, but working together we can succeed as if we do, and that is all that matters.

Update 2:

It occurs to me that a lot of people would like a Google link for searching for FriendFeed rooms. I got this from Andy Beard here so if you like it, give him some positive feedback.

Thanks for all the great comments and questions, everyone! Keep ’em coming!

Update 3:

Unless you are aching to be on every possible site, you can safely ignore my earlier advice about Profilactic and use FriendFeed for all your lifestreaming services. In the time since I wrote this post, FriendFeed has come leaps and bounds while Profilactic (sadly) has not. Sorry, Profilactic team, but I have to recommend the right tools for the job, and FriendFeed has most assuredly become the best tool.

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50 thoughts on “Ten Steps to Being Everywhere in Social Media

  1. Max Forlani

    Great tips! Thanks.

    I had never heard of Sxipper, I’m sure it will come in very handy since I recenty got very bored with retyping the same but slightly different all the time.

    Cheers,
    Max

    Reply
  2. Kat

    @thePuck awesome post! I will stumble and buzz out to my community of peeps. Seems to me, there are several great tools like Ping.fm to help streamline our work to free us up to participate in a valuable way to the communities we belong to. It’s all about creating & participating. cheers~!

    Reply
  3. Scam

    I’ve never heard of ping.fm before, and some of your other points look like good timesavers.

    For that reason this post has just got 1 bookmark from me.

    Reply
  4. Steve Nimmons

    Nice post and useful tips. There are a few services there I need to take a look at, so onto the to do list for tomorrow. I’ve also been thinking a lot about ‘presence consolidation’. I will write that up in more detail tomorrow, but in essence I’ve been thinking about using mashups to control ‘feed sprawl’ and tools like Flock and PingFM as aggregators so as density increases I don’t spend all day chasing my ‘social media tail’. I’d love a big open portal for all my social media activity. Again I intend to blog a bit about that over the weekend.

    Reply
  5. John Roach

    Couple questions for you:

    1.) How do you use FriendFeed? Everytime I try, I get overloaded with information. I use Google Reader to keep up with everything, mainly, so I get a lot of duplicate links, etc.

    2.) In FriendFeed, how do you search for rooms? The only place I’ve found a link to a room is in a person’s profile. I’d love to see if there’s a room for my niche (grammar/writing), but no luck thus far.

    I really love the idea of friendfeed, but it seems extremely unwieldy. I probably just need more experience with it.

    Reply
  6. stephanerd

    Oh lord, I feel like such a social networking slacker. I need to carve some time out to implement everything here, as I have no doubt it will be helpful in strengthening my web presence.

    (At the moment, I have a bunch of stagnant profiles — Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. — and moderately updated StumbleUpon and Twitter accounts.)

    stephanerds last blog post..Not Exactly Book Smart

    Reply
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  8. Metroknow

    Excellent idea – putting the profile sheet together is such a good idea. Really useful summary!

    Funny thing is I found you because you friended me on Twitter. It apparently works!

    Reply
  9. thePuck

    @Max:
    That plugin saves probably at least an hour each day for me. I highly recommend it.

    @stephanerd
    This is one of those things where a small investment in time and effort can pay off big. Take that time and you won’t regret it.

    @Metroknow
    Exactly! Now go network and it will attract traffic and comments to your site, too!

    @Kat
    Thanks, you rock. There are some great tools, but it is still early in this aspect of the technology and while this method works pretty well, it’s not what I would call an elegant solution. I hope that we will soon see something new that integrates this entire methodology. I am thinking the idea is ripe for a startup, myself, and would love to start a project on that with the right people.

    @all of my wonderful commenters:
    Thanks so much for your great comments and kind words!

    Reply
  10. Blake Imeson

    Nice post! good reference.

    I would use Del.icio.us as the bookmarking one and stumbleupon should be mandatory.

    Next you should make a comprehensive list of all the alternatives. Like a second tier and third tier.

    So like YouTube would be first, viddler or vimeo as second and third tier.

    Reply
  11. thePuck

    @Pamir
    I absolutely forgot retaggr! Will update the post. Here’s mine: http://www.retaggr.com/Card/thePuck

    @Blake
    That’s a great idea! Thanks for my next post topic!

    @Steve
    I am really hearing a demand for such a thing, and I am working on a preliminary write-up and business plan for something along those lines. I already got the domain and now I am just trying to put the project together while managing the rest of my career and my recent move. If you are interested, anyone else reading this is interested, or you know anyone who is interested, point them in my direction.

    @John
    FriendFeed takes some getting used to.
    1. I use the system in my post, then pay attention to the updates and their general subjects. Things I am interested in I look at and do a “likes” or comment on. You kind of have to have a little ADHD combined with a good memory and a talent for multi-tasking, but it can be trained.
    2. Go to the “Everyone” tab. There will be a search box. Enter the term you are interested in, then it will search updates with those terms and the SERP will have links. You can also do an advanced search for updates from specific services you use. Then just look at who said what. When you see something you like, look at who said it, go to their profile, and see what rooms they are members of and join whatever you see that you like.
    Alternately, you can use a Google site search like this: http://www.google.com/search?q=:site:friendfeed.com inurl:friendfeed.com/rooms/&pws=0&gl=US&num=100 .

    @Everyone
    Thanks for the great comments and questions! Keep ’em coming!

    Reply
  12. Talk Binary

    Looks like one great post! Thanks for the info. I recently became introduced to Plurk and Twitter, so hopefully I’ll be able to receive more fellow followers because of places like these! Thanks!

    Reply
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  14. Steve Nimmons

    Extended thoughts on the need for aggregation and the current ‘Hallucinogenic Spirgraph’ architecture of Social Media.

    Reply
  15. Kathy Jacobs

    I am suprised that with everywhere else you are active that you aren’t part of the conversations over on Plurk. Beyond just the great personal contacts I have made over there, there is much everyone can learn from the regular Plurkshops and Plurkcasts.

    Come join the conversation!

    Kathy Jacobss last blog post..Hire me…

    Reply
  16. thePuck

    @Steve
    Interesting.

    @Kathy
    I am on Plurk, actually. http://www.plurk.com/user/thePuck. I spend a lot of time there, and pretty much split my time between Twitter and Plurk. But, while I love Plurk, Twitter is the “professional’s” microblogger at the moment, so that is what I advise.

    @everyone
    Thanks for all the great comments. I am really amazed how much interest this post is getting.

    Reply
  17. Susan Beebe

    Fantastic post! wow, thank you! Checking out the Sxipper FF plug in now.

    Since about February, I’ve been steadily doing all this Social Media fun, but you’ve definitely provided more goodies to look at and a solid strategy for managing it all – nice!

    Thanks!

    Susan Beebe
    @smbeebe

    Reply
  18. Susan Beebe

    @ThePuck — cool!

    I’d love to see more thought around Social Media strategy, especially with some some philosophical logic weaved into it! I like your big picture view – much needed for SM today, which tends to easily overwhelm with all the noise (honing in on the signal is the key!). More importantly, becoming the signal is elemental to brand development.

    If I had a better strategy and understood the landscape better I’d get better results…someday!

    Susan Beebe
    @smbeebe

    P.S. Configuring Ping.fm now… thanks again! πŸ˜‰

    Reply
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  20. Linda Sherman

    Thanks for the add on Twitter, Neal. I was glad I came over to check your blog while considering to follow you back or not. Good post!

    One caution on Twitter. Don’t let your “following” get too far ahead of your “followers.” It really is a site for relationships and conversations.
    @lindasherman

    Reply
  21. thePuck

    @Linda
    Thanks for the kind words and feedback! Commentluv can be a little tweaky, but the appeal is so strong!

    @everyone
    I have been thinking of installing Disqus or Sezwho. Not sure how I feel about it yet. Any comments or feedback?

    Reply
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  23. kenekaplan

    Sweet post. Thanks for taking time to share your top picks and sharing your clear, concise reasons. I would’ve fallen into a big rabbit hole trying to connect the dots I hop to each week.

    Glad I found your site!

    One that I finally got into and really like is Netvibes. It helps me collect feeds into tabs along — projects and interests into their own tabs and share them publicly or keep them private. This is a time saver and great for team collaboration. More time I spend there, more things I want to collect and organize — from networks, feeds and just about anything online. http://netvibes.com/kenekaplan.

    Looking forward to visiting her more often. Cheers!

    kenekaplans last blog post..Hoop It Real Good

    Reply
  24. Martha Lipson

    Thanks for this wonderful post on Social Media. I’m just starting to get involved with social sites, and I really appreciate finding this site with you giving the steps to making a profile with the various things we’ll need for the sites we sign up with.

    I’ve also read other post and love them lots of very helpful information.

    Thanks so much, and I’ll be checking back often for more great post.

    Reply
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  27. Clay Newton

    Nice one. This is a great list of “TODOs” for people looking to utilize social media. Great tips. I would caution the implementation of step 8 so as not to turn into a nasty recursion echo box. Aside from that, excellent process for newcomers. In following the early steps, people will start to get the gist of the latter steps, as well.

    Reply
  28. thePuck

    @Clay

    Thanks for your kind words! Don’t know what you mean about recursion errors using FF, Twhirl, and Profilactic in tandem, though. I have no problems.

    Reply
  29. Clay Newton

    Re: recursion … I have seen some strange things happen when people use Ping.fm and FF. Your FriendFeed can quickly become redundant, that’s all. As an example. I was using a Tumblr blog to repost the things I had favorited in FF (among a number of other things); I also had a Jaiku account syndicating my Tumblr. Both my Tumblr & my Jaiku accounts were added to my FF, so I was seeing FF items posted to Tumblr then reposted back on FF as coming from Tumblr and a couple of hours later, Jaiku. See what I mean?

    It doesn’t add value to have your content folding in on itself.

    Reply
  30. thePuck

    @Clay

    Ah, yes I get you. Yeah, that happens to my FF, but I don’t particularly care because I consider that a natural part of the aggregator side of things. People see your feed and say “Oh, he’s on Brightkite, too” and add you there, etc.

    Reply
  31. Laurel Plum

    Wow! Some seriously helpful information. I have signed up for many services, but was doing well to keep up with just one or two of them. I can’t wait to set this up and try it out. Thanks for the Big Assist!

    Reply
  32. Morgan Sully

    Great post and thanks for following me on Twitter too! I've wondered about keeping a 'passport' on hand for setting up accounts on different sites. To add to your great post above:

    PROFILE PIX FOLDER
    i actually have a 'profile pics' folder on my desktop to store the different sizes of pictures you mention in #2 above

    HTML 'list' SNIPPET
    I also have some HTML code in a text file on my desktop for pasting in a list of other accounts I'm connected when given a multiline text field to paste into (like an 'About' section (like on my Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/people/memeshift/ )

    PASSWORDS
    I also have a sticky note with all passwords for the sites I log into regularly

    Reply
  33. Neal "thePuck" Jansons

    Thanks for the feedback, Wayne! I think that this is just normal for any newly opened up industry. Everything is shifting to accommodate the change and everyone wants a piece of the pie. It is already starting to winnow down from competition, and I expect that will continue for awhile, with each category having a clear winner.

    Reply
  34. Scott Stevens

    Neal, as a newcomer to social media, I am happy to follow in your footsteps, I have learned quite a bit from your above article, as well as from following you on Twitter. I appreciate your great knowledge and if you see the shadow behind you, it is probably just me stealing all your social media know-how. Also, Thank you for being such a force in the Save SGU cause. I appreciate that as well.
    Scott, God of Nothing

    Reply
    1. Neal Jansons Post author

      Thanks, Scott! Recognize this article is older than sin, and while it worked well in its time, I know that some of it is obsolete. Maybe I should write a new version…”10 Steps To Being Everywhere in Social Media: 2011″ πŸ™‚

      And thanks for helping with the SaveSGU cause as well.

      Reply
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