Mar 03

The Foxes of SXSW and Grapes of Wrath

Today's guest blogger - Jeff Cutler

Today’s guest blogger – Jeff Cutler

From time to time I feature a guest blogger, this is one of those times.

South by Southwest (SXSW) comes but once a year in March and social media practitioners and fans are drawn to it like addicts to free heroin. Except SXSW isn’t free and the range of excuses for not attending is starting to resemble a dictionary of denial. Were Yogi Berra commenting on it, he’d surely say, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”[/pullquote]But I digress into fun quotes and my own grapes of wrath. To be clear, lots of people still attend SXSW, and their reasoning is widely varied. The festival (and that’s really what it is) seems to be less about valuable networking these days and more about getting drunk, being seen with celebrities (or micro-celebrities of the social media world), and creating some content so you can convince your boss to pay for your trip.
Before you think I’m the fox lamenting his inability to get a reward, realize that I’ve been to SXSW repeatedly and actually have been paid to attend. In these visits I’ve made valuable business and social contacts that have sustained my food and tech-toy habits well beyond the five days in March during SXSW. I’m not attending the conference this year because of three reasons. Let me know if you’re staying home or going and what your reasoning is.

No SXSW this year – and here’s why…

schwen1 – There’s no All-Hat!

A big component of SXSW is networking. Whether you sit in the Austin Convention Center hallway and meet folks as they walk by, or attend two parties each night to shout over loud music and free booze to solidify your relationships, SXSW is about meeting people. The best event within the event for doing so is All-Hat. Take a look at some photos from a recent All-Hat brunch meeting in Austin and you’ll see faces of genuine, helpful and intelligent people from all over the world. This year, All-Hat is on hiatus and that’s reason one for not attending SXSW.

reff and gorgone2 – Nobody is paying my way!

Past years have been financed by large technology companies, news outlets and even some brands that wanted to have me on the streets of Austin sharing content for them. This year, the budgets are tighter and the need for quality content has subsided a bit. Therefore, the big name companies that might have paid my flight, hotel and expenses at SXSW didn’t reach out in time to get me to attend. Perhaps they’ll move faster for SXSW 2015.


3 – I’m too busy to attend.

If the goal in attending a conference is to make connections and find work, then you don’t need to go if you’ve got other obligations. My speaking schedule this spring is such that I’m in that boat. While I could use a bit more content creation work and a few keynoting gigs, the work I do have is directly in conflict with the SXSW 2014 calendar. I’m speaking five times in four weeks and a few of those are actually during the festival. Perhaps next year the stars will align and set my work up on the weeks AROUND SXSW so I can attend.
That’s it. If you think SXSW has jumped the shark and isn’t relevant, I’d love to hear from you. If you think the show is still as important as it’s ever been, I want to hear from you on that too!
Thanks for reading.


Jeff Cutler is a content specialist who regularly trains people on the use of social tools to share their message(s) and reach audiences. Jeff has written for NPR, The NY Post, Technology Review, Gatehouse Media and others. Find out more with a quick click on his site – connect with Jeff via SocMed (links at the top of his site).

Feb 22

Free Twitter Analytics from Followerwonk

FollowerwonkA quick post about one of my favorite tools, Followerwonk. If you need to find specific types of accounts or analyze followers and follower behavior, you’ll want to check out Followerwonk.

Here’s some detail on the two ways I use Followerwonk.

Find persona types on Twitter

In the following example I am searching for anyone in Boston or New York with a minimum of 2,000 followers and at least 5,000 tweets who have ‘social marketing technology’ in their profile.  Click on the image below to see the results.

(click for results)

(click for results)








Analyze followers on Twitter

Here are screen shots that demonstrate some of the most valuable information about a Twitter audience and how to use this information.

Best time of day to reach followers

The best time to share on Twitter is the time when your audience is online.  This data allows you to examine which times are best for this account. Notice the Buffer integration. If you don’t use Buffer, here’s a post on how and why you should.

Best time of day to share

Best time of day to share (click to enlarge)









This chart above should match up with the next chart, the share times for the account being analyzed.  In this example you can see that @iamreff is sharing too much in the early evening and there is room for modifications to boost engagement.

Account share times (click to enlarge)

Account share times (click to enlarge)







In the report you can also evaluate the accounts share style. An account that only shares posts without RTing others or conversing with others would indicate an anti-social account.

Find influential followers

If you’re looking to build stronger online relationships with influential followers (or accounts you follow), Followerwonk easy identifies influencers for you.

Find influential followers (click to enlarge)

Find influential followers (click to enlarge)








The @iamreff has 4 followers with a social authority score in the in the 80s. The reports allows you to click to explorer those accounts.

Understand follower bios

It’s interesting to get a sense of your followers. Followerwonk provides that overview via a word cloud.

Bio word cloud (click to enlarge)

Bio word cloud (click to enlarge)





[important]What’s your favorite Twitter analysis tool?  Click to share via Twitter.[/important]

Need more information?

Here’s a video from Moz, the owner of Followerwonk.

[iframe src=”” width=”100%” height=”480″]


Dec 21

Top 5 Social Marketing Tech Posts of 2013

Top 5In 2013 I moved away from a weekly curated post of the top 5 stories of the week and went back to writing original content.  I’ve really enjoyed getting back to blogging about my professional passion. And thanks to the kids having tons of activities involving me waiting for them, I’ve had plenty of time to write. #dadlife

So without further ado, here are the top 5 posts of 2013:

Top 5 Social Marketing Tech Posts of 2013

1. Top 10 Tips From #SxSW Veterans

SxSW interactive was great in 2013.  My roomie, Jeff Cutler and I made the most of what Austin and the conference had to offer.  I suspect the reason this post was so popular was because so many great people were nice enough to participate in the post.

2. Promote Your Blog Content With This ‘RSS to Email’ Trick

email marketing - yoelContent Marketing is a popular topic now and perhaps that’s why this post resonated.  But as important as Content Marketing is, Content Promotion is just as important, and this post was a nice, tactical tip that can really increase the audience for your blog content. Connecting your blog to your email list is a good way to stay connected with your audience.



3. How to remember hundreds of passwords without writing them down


I had been wanting to write this post for a couple years. When you live on the Internet you use dozens of passwords (if not more). The only way you can use web services effectively, yet remain secure, is to have a system.  This system has worked well for me and everyone who uses it.  As I mention in the comments, you can also sync your password file across multiple devices so your passwords are always secure and available.


4. 4 Reasons Why Wearable Computers Are OVERHYPED

Iron Man Toon

I envisioned smart watches years ago and I ordered mine the day the Pebble Kickstarter watch launched. It’s not a revolutionary device, but I do like getting important notifications, weather updates from my wrist.  I can also easily access my music library and my work and personal schedule from my wrist. It’s cool.

I’m still bearish on Google Glass. No doubt, I wish I had gotten one, but such devices have a long way to go before they’re socially accepted.


5. Living without Google Reader

News Readers

I get all my news from the internet.  So when I heard Google was killing Reader, it was a big deal.  My hypothesis with this post was that not only was Reader going away, but so was RSS.  Google Readers absence would open the doors for companies like Flipbook to monetize the news process.  Many called me out on this and suggested I use Feedly as a Google Reader replacement.  So what happened? No definitive answer.  Many adopted news aggregator apps, but I did make the jump to Feedly and really, nothing has changed.


Thanks to you for taking the time to read my posts in 2013 and stay tuned, I’m working on a major change in 2014.

Sign up to receive updates via email if you’d like to keep in touch.


Photo Credits: Yoel Ben-Avraham, U of ArizonaDracRoig

Nov 30

Better Living Through Bluetooth

I get a lot of looks/questions about my bluetooth headset and I thought it might be an interesting post topic.

Lobot (not my selfie)

Lobot (not my selfie)

It’s starts with the look. They see the blinking light on the headphones and realize something different is going on. Many realize I have no wires so the ask “What ya got on your head Reff?
Sometimes they see me talking to myself, not realizing that the headphones have a built-in microphone and let’s me talk on the phone hands free. I suffer the slings and arrows of the early adopter so you don’t have to.

Better Living Through Bluetooth

As a technology, Bluetooth is underused and under appreciated.  Most people only think of keyboards and mice, but you do a lot with bluetooth.

Here how I use bluetooth:


As mentioned above, I use bluetooth headphones everyday. They are fantastic for commuting. I used to be  a daily source of amusement to other commuters. Each day I would become entangled in a mess of iPhone, jacket, messenger bag and earbuds. Bluetooth headphones often have volume controls as well as track controls making it easy to pause a song or podcast to have a conversation. If you struggle with earbuds, bluetooth headphones are a cheap upgrade. (affiliate link)

Car stereos

If your car stereo is beat and you need to swap in new stereo, definitely consider a bluetooth enabled stereo.  If you do, you’ll get a few nice features including: hands-free dialing (thanks Siri) and podcasts/music that plays out of your car speakers directly from your phone. Ready to buy? This is what I put in my Jeep when the CD player died. (affiliate link)

Smart Watches:

Pebble watches use bluetooth to connect to your iPhone/Android smart phone.  

Wireless speakers

Not always the most powerful or highest quality speakers, but they are a great option for an office.


Nov 23

Use social automation to serve YOU (not your audience)

If This Then That

If This Then That

Last week I railed against the “Dangers of Marketing Automation.” To provide some balance, I’m following up with my favorite automation tool, IFTTT.

If you don’t what IFTTT is, it’s a powerful rules engine that let’s you automate simple tasks based on conditions.  If THIS happens then do THAT.

IFTTT is great for making your life easier, but it’s a powerful engine that can let you do stupid stuff.  For example, for a while I was using IFTTT to wish people a happy birthday on twitter. Ideally this is great because I’m terrible at remembering birthdays. The problem is the messages are sent without any context or relevance. I didn’t get a chance to make a joke about a recent event. I could only say “Happy Birthday!”. Which seems so lame, especially for people I care about.


Rule of Thumb

Use automation where it makes your administrative life easier, but doesn’t connect with your audience.



Here’s an example of what not to do

NO! This is a kitten killer.

NO! This is a kitten killer.









Each example is clickable and will bring you to the IFTTT page with details on the task.

 1. Congratulate LinkedIn connections

Congratulate connections on their new job

Congratulate connections on their new job








2. Create a record of your tweets

Keep a record of your tweets

Keep a record of your tweets







3. Dress correctly for the weather

Tell me about nasty weather

Tell me about nasty weather






4. Keep a record of shared links  

Keep a record of shared stories

Keep a record of shared stories









5. Find your phone!

Ugh, where is my iPhone?

Ugh, where is my iPhone?









If you haven’t tried IFTTT, then get started. If you do you use IFTTT, share your favorite recipe in the comments.

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