Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Christina Trapolino
132,591 followers -
Encouraging quality content on G+
Encouraging quality content on G+

132,591 followers
About
Christina's posts

A Few Words Regarding Thread Hijacking
I've noticed a nasty habit on Google+, and I think it's time to speak up about it.

If you comment on someone's post with a clever way to link to your own post, congratulations - you're an opportunist, and many marketers probably think you're brilliant.  But you're kind of being a jerk.  Here's why:

It's About Intentions

The comment thread on someone's post is intended to allow for conversation around that post, which can include debate, discussion, and yes, sometimes off-topic utterances.  The more readers the post has, the more robust that conversation can be.  When you link to your own post in a comment thread, you're redirecting readers who would otherwise have contributed to the original comment thread (which would make that conversation more awesome and diverse).  When that redirection is your goal, you're being a jerk.

Join The Conversation Instead

The original poster would almost always prefer you keep the conversation in his or her thread, as long as it's relevant.  Why?  To keep the conversation flowing.  To keep things interesting, engaging, and relevant. 

There is a ridiculously high character limit on comments.  That means you have a chance to add as much of your opinion as you want on the original poster's real estate.  Some of the best comment threads I've ever read had lots of long-winded replies!

Contribute instead of trying to hijack, because karma is super real on the social web.

Sometimes it does make sense to respond to a post with a post of your own.

If a comment thread is getting very long or convoluted, and you want to bring up a point that is related to the main conversation but would honestly make more sense as a post on your own profile, share the original post and add your commentary as an introduction.  And if you feel the need to link to your new post in the original post's comments, don't link to it without also contributing to the original comment thread in a way that's sincere.

Sometimes, you wrote a post 6 months ago that makes the same points being expressed in a new post you've stumbled upon.  If you want to link back to your old post at the end of your insightful comment on the new post, that's not being a jerk.  That's offering supplemental reading.  

Thread hijacking is one of those things - we just know it when we see it, and we know it's not cool.

We should be elevating each other, not trying to hoard followers and engagement.

In summation: be excellent to each other.


#netiquette

Post has attachment
Dear Consultant-bloggers: Please Stop Posting Crappy Content and Use Google+ Instead

+Demian Farnworth recently wrote an interesting piece titled "8 Reasons You Should Never Quit Your Blog for Google+."  You can read it by clicking below for context.  I'll wait.

Farnworth has (perhaps unwittingly) hit on something I've been burning to write about for ages, and that's the notion that if you're trying to monetize your blog directly, Google+ isn't the place for you.  What Farnworth doesn't say is...that's why we love Google+!

I am truly sick and tired of people who want to directly monetize their blogs.  Why?  Because they do things you can't do on Google+, like create landing pages, add stupid "branded" bars at the top of articles they didn't write, put pop-ups with email traps all over everything...and, to borrow a phrase from +Mark Mercer, they just plain don't respect the reader's intention, which is usually to - ahem - read the content.

Farnworth uses +Mike Elgan as an example of someone who has forgone blogging externally in order to live on the "Google+ Diet."  Elgan was one of Google+'s earliest adopters, and he's absolutely why so many folks have learned what's great about Google+ - discovery of people and ideas that can make you grow as a human being.  

The thing is...Elgan doesn't need a directly monetized blog to make a living.  He's a writer, a journalist, a digital nomad, a traveler, and all sorts of other things that his blog would simply support.  Elgan proves through example that when one has talent, one doesn't need to make a living off of the traffic on his or her blog directly.  Instead, one uses the blog as a platform to showcase ideas, and she wins business when her ideas are really, really good and there's an intuitive way to contact her.

Pop-ups, landing pages, and "personal branding bars" might make your metrics look good, and they might show you a clearer conversion path on the back end, but look - for the user, that crap is annoying, and the majority of "bloggers" who rely on those gimmicks produce shoddy content at best.

So, for those reasons, I must disagree with Farnworth and propose a different imperative, which is: "Quit Your Blog for Google+ and Become Better at Honoring the Reader."

Ethics in Marketing

Would you guys mind helping me with a new piece I'm writing?  I want to explore whether "good business" really matters to consumers.  All you have to do is answer some (or all!) of these questions:

1) On a scale of 1-5, how important is it to you that a business uses ethical marketing (in other words, do you care if they tell the truth)?
2) Why does ethical marketing matter (or not matter) to you?
3) Has social media made you more aware/interested in whether brands are being ethical?  Why or why not?

Bonus question: Are pop-up ads ethical?  :)

If you don't want me to quote you, please say so in your comment - otherwise I'll just assume you're cool with it!

#socialmedia   #marketing   #ethics  

Post has attachment
Some Things I Learned By Not Posting on Google+
or, why having an audience means you have responsibilities

A few months ago, I asked myself: if I stop publishing and become a content consumer/commenter instead, what will I learn?  Here's some of what I've discovered:

You shouldn't say anything if you have nothing truly valuable to say.
You'll hear everywhere that once you start blogging or tweeting, stopping is the worst possible thing you could do.  But I totally disagree.  We are inundated with noise on every channel.  It wasn't always this way - there was a time when "dark social" (things like IM, private chatrooms, email, etc.) was the only social on the Internet.  You had to seek out cat pictures if you wanted them.  Today, we all have a stage and all our stages are connected to each other - your audience is my audience if you share my work.  So if I have nothing valuable to say, then my attempts to be "consistent" and "active" are nothing more than noise, and I don't think that's worth your time.

Commenting on other people's work is a better way to grow than just publishing your own thoughts.  
Challenging others' ideas makes you use parts of your brain that can get rusty, especially when you work in a corporate environment.  If you've ever worked for a middle manager, you probably know that day-to-day, your actual job is to make her look good.  But that kind of thinking rots the parts of your brain that crave engagement and thoughtful discourse.  Commenting on the work of others gives you the freedom to stretch your thinking without risking your employment.  When people challenge you on your own posts, you can't do the same kind of growing.  We're all a little too attached to our own ideas in our own space, on our own posts. Venturing outside of our safe gardens and debating there is so important.

No one freaks out when you're gone.
The community here is unique.  After not posting for more than a month, I struggled with a feeling of guilt -- at the beginning of my time here, I had something to say every day because this was a new space with new rules and new opportunities.  I felt obligated to keep it up, but all that did was slowly burn me out.  Alas, after a hiatus, you're not all gone - in fact, there are more of you than ever - and any of you who reached out to me personally understood completely what I meant when I said, "I want to wait until I have something to say."  For an asynchronous network, that's pretty powerful stuff.  And even if I'd lost you - losing followers because you're not posting often enough is nothing compared with losing them because you stopped respecting them.  Which brings me to the last point...

Having a lot of followers is great, but you have to put them first - noise is noise.
You guys are, in many ways, a huge part of my life when I'm active here.  It's tempting to keep engaging with you by posting even when I'm not sharing anything valuable.  But no matter how seductive it is to re-share cat pictures for big numbers and ego-inflating metrics, I can promise you something right now - if I'm posting something here, it's because I truly felt it was worth sharing with you.  I won't always be right, but my intentions will always be in the right place.  Hold me to it, y'all.
Photo

Post has attachment
Is Ad Targeting Evil?
In honor of an epic Twitter conversation I had last night with a Bing scientist (https://twitter.com/cmtrapolino), I want to start a conversation with you all about what may or may not be a sensitive topic: ad targeting.

Microsoft's #Scroogled  campaign has upset a great many people because -- at least in my opinion -- it's in poor taste, but Microsoft appears to feel that more people are upset because they didn't know their Gmail was being scanned.  

Maybe the Scroogled campaign can be about education.  Do you know just how often your data is being gathered and used for ad targeting?  More importantly, does it upset you to think your data is being used to target ads back at you?  If you feel this is "evil" or a "violation," please comment below and explain why -- especially if you also feel data gathering is okay when it's done to protect you from SPAM or phishing attempts.

I'll start:

I don't mind ad targeting because it means I'll see more relevant ads, and relevant is good.
If I am using a service for free, I expect to give up something in exchange.  If it's my data and that data is being used to show me things I am more likely to find value in (whether that's search results or ads), I'm not just okay with that -- I welcome that.  Relevant information is hard to find in the sea of noise we call the Internet, after all.

What say you?

(This will be part one of a series of conversations about this issue.  Hopefully, we can come up with a plan to start a global conversation about data and consumers' feelings about privacy in a world of increasingly public living.)
Photo

Post has attachment
Microsoft, you're a bunch of jerks.
Have you seen Microsoft's newest anti-Google campaign?  Check it out here: http://www.scroogled.com/ 

I can't help but respond.  Microsoft, you're totally on my bad side.  Here's why:

Scanning is scanning.
You talk like scanning email is only a privacy violation if that data is used to target ads, but scanning is scanning.  Direct quote from the Scroogled site: "Outlook.com only scans the contents of your email to help protect you and display, categorize, and sort your mail appropriately." 

If scanning my email is wrong, why scan it at all?  Oh, right -- because it's necessary to scan emails to protect users from spam -- and it's just an algorithm, not human beings.  Just like Gmail.

You advertise and scrape keywords, too.
Bing personalizes search, and Outlook has ads.  Are you seriously trying to claim that you're not interested in your users' data for any purpose except to filter out spam and phishing emails?  Please.

Negative campaigns make me kinda hate you.
Just like in politics, negative campaigns leave a bad taste in almost everyone's mouth.  Speaking of politics, isn't your mastermind on this Mark Penn?  You know, the same guy who ran Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign into the ground?  Oh.

You are mischaracterizing the privacy issue by playing into people's fears -- and you're doing it disingenuously.
As consumers, it's important for us to understand what happens to our data once we send it into the universe of the Internet -- whether it's through email services like Gmail, social media sites, blogs, or comments we make on online news articles with our real names. That said, it is also important that we understand the trade we're making and that we consider the risk versus the reward. If I didn't want any of my private information to be shared with the world, I'd have an incredibly irrelevant experience online. Taking it further, I also doubt I'd be willing to enjoy the luxury of using credit cards at point of sale systems!

There is always a trade. Gmail is free. Whenever a product is free, your data is the product that company is leveraging in order to keep the price at $0.  If you're not okay with that, don't use the service.  It doesn't just apply to Gmail, it applies to Bing search, Facebook, Twitter, Disqus…well, hell.  I could keep adding services to the list, but you get the point.

Post has attachment
Security Cameras Capture The Good, Too

Sometimes, it's just about how you look at things.  I highly recommend you watch this video - especially if you're feeling like the world is an ugly place.

Google+ Tip: Harness the Power of Local
Try adding everyone you know in your city to a local Circle.  It will give you a relevant list for when you want to create local events, start city-specific discussions ("I hate how little parking there is downtown!"), ask for restaurant recommendations, and more.

Also, if you're looking to meet new people in your city, you can use the Google+ mobile app's Nearby stream to surf what locals are saying and then add them to your local Circle once you get to know them a bit.  Just don't be creepy about it!  ;)

#HappyNewYear  Google+!

May your 2013 be filled with all the ghosts, zombies, weight loss, and prosperity that you desire.

Post has attachment
Why My Google Voice # is Public
If you go to the "About" section on my Google+ profile, you'll find my Google Voice phone number.  I put it there over a year ago as an experiment (you can read that story here: http://bit.ly/RkhXqK).  Several folks have asked me lately how it went.  Well, in a word -- awesome.

Yes, it really forwards to my phone.  Yes, I really use it for just about everything -- it's on my business cards, it's on my Facebook page, it's in my email signature for work and for personal correspondence, and it's the best thing I ever did.

Why?  Here is a short list:

1) Consistency.  I don't ever have to worry about changing carriers, because my Google Voice number always stays the same.
2) Opportunity.  Living in public on the Internet means that I want to be open to new opportunities -- by being able to safely list my phone number anywhere online, I have been able to generate consulting leads and build relationships with the media.
3) Customization options galore.  Google Contact Groups make using Google Voice far more powerful than I ever initially imagined.  I have different voicemail greetings for different groups, I can toggle Google Voice on and off per group with Android (see how here: http://bit.ly/V7TEu4), and I can choose which groups' calls go to my phone.
4) Free calls/texts to Canada. I have a lot of Canadian friends! This helps us avoid hefty international fees from our carriers.
5) Easy block features. Surprisingly, after posting my number on Google+, I only ever had to use this once.  Regardless, the process was smooth, simple, and effective.  You can even choose which block message the caller hears (I like the one that pretends your number was disconnected/is no longer in service).

In a nutshell, I never worry about my Google Voice number "falling into the wrong hands" or being known by too many people.  I control the volume of incoming calls at all times -- I can even record them if I want to.

Do you use Google Voice?  Would you feel comfortable plastering it on a billboard?

#Android   #GoogleVoice  
Photo
Wait while more posts are being loaded